Sunday Photo-Drives : Oxley and Tall Grass

The last few Sundays I’ve been trying to go somewhere local to take photos and explore my home state a bit more. Here are some of the fruits of my drives so far.

First is Oxley Nature Center, if you’ve been to my blog before you may have seen a post or two about this place. It is a local park and nature preserve, with hiking trails and visitor center. It is setup as an immersive experience to highlight our local flora and fauna. Here are a few images from Oxley Nature Center.

 

Second is a drive up to the Tall Grass Prairies Preserve north of Pawhuska, OK. The preserve is a Nature Conservancy conservation preserve, their goal is to restore the native grasses along with bison, birds and other native species. This is one of my favorite places to head to when I’m needing a breather from Tulsa. Here are a few images from the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.

Update 5-8-2017: I’ve reedited the image “Osage Prairie” to reflect more of a romantic feel that I was wanting to achieve.  I believe I was able to reach that goal.

 

October 2016 Free Wallpaper

The image for October 2016 Free Wallpaper comes from the White Mountains of the Inyo National Forest east side of the Sierras in California. This is an image of a Bristle-cone Pine tree of the Shulman Grove. They are the oldest living organism on the planet. The Bristle-Cone known as Methuselah tree is dated at 4,848.

Elder

The tree above is of course not Methuselah, the exact location of the tree has been removed from public record. This was done to protect it from people damaging it by taking a piece of it as a keep sake.

My short visit to the grove was really amazing. I had been wanting to visit for many years, and during a recent trip I was able to make it happen thanks to a great friend of mine Elisabeth Barton. She is part of Echo Adventure Cooperative, a coop for adventure guides in the Yosemite area. On your next trip to California you need to visit their site to book your next adventure.

She and I took the shorter Discovery Trial, at the Shulman Grove. The However being above 10k feet it still royally kicked my a$$! But being up there and near these amazing trees was well worth it. To touch them and feel how dense they are and to think about how old they are and still living and growing.

One of the things that I love about photography is being able to share the things that inspire and fill me with awe. Even though the images I capture do not do justice, I hope to share at least a small glimpse, of my experience.

 

Portraits of Steve.

My friend Steve came over for dinner, yay Hideaway Pizza – if you ever find yourself in Tulsa, OK and are in need of some good pizza go here, then we ended up working on a couple of portraits. Something quick and not too complicated. I already had the basic setups in mind that I wanted to try, so it wasn’t too difficult getting it together and making it happen.

Steve Taylor

Single light on Steve with a cone reflector, and one light bounced off the wall in the opposite direction, to provide a silhouette to define the back of his head. 1/250 f/5 44mm

 

Steve Taylor

I wanted to try a basic portrait while modifying the catch lights in his eyes. I blocked half of the soft-box on both lights, to isolate the light and keep the catch light narrow on either side of his pupils. 1/250 f/5 38mm

This wasn’t a big production, something small and easy to do, HELL I did it in my living room. Taking a few minutes to move a chair and a table, put the lights up, work the exposure, then away I went. Its something anyone can do, you just have to take the time and put in the effort and do it.

So no matter what you can always make a picture or two, not much to it. All it takes is the idea and the will to do it.

 

One step…breath…focus…one step…repeat.

While hiking along the Wapoma Falls Trail I captured this photo.

One step at a time, stay looking forward, keep focused, breath and take one more step then repeat. It sounds tedious, it sounds rudimentary but every once in a while we need to remember that all we need to do is to keep moving forward in whatever we are doing.

Its been a while since I have posted anything on here. In fact my blog was down for sometime until recently. So its been one year and seven months to be exact since my last post, now that is not exactly staying on top of things. I’ve thought about sharing what has been going on with me and my life. However I have struggled with how to approach it in a way that I was comfortable with and felt was appropriate. However until I am happy with the way I will share it I need to continue posting.

I’m excited and look forward to making some announcements soon regarding on going projects as well as coming events.

2013 Tulsa Tough…shooting the Tough can be mighty tough!

I had just gotten back into town a couple of days before the start of the 2013 Tulsa Tough, and I thought to myself that I would spend the entire weekend shooting the Tough. Ambitious I know, but as it turned out well worth it.

Friday, June 7th 2013.

I had gotten downtown to the Blue Dome district later than I should have. The parking was nil and far between, so after trying my usual places I ended up having to pay $5, it hurt just admitting to that. So lets move on nothing to see here. I got unloaded and began the walk to the start finish line. There were crowds, this was to be expected but DAMN! It was a double edge sword, I was glad to see so many people out in support of the races, but that also meant since I didn’t have a press pass I had to fight for the shots a bit more than if I had a pass.

So I got started shooting along 2nd street, just west of the Start-Finish line, then followed the edge of the track west and then north to 1st. Trying to get shots between and over people as I went. I did get a good spot inside of turn #2 near El Guapo’s, the sun was getting low and this provided light right into the faces of the racers as they turned the corner, lighting them nicely now it could be a bit harsh at times but it allowed the shutter speed to be a bit higher capturing the action int he turns.

DSC_9500

These two shots are from the start of the Men’s Pro final. The one showing them clapping, is when they were announcing the results of the Women’s final only moments before where there was a crash that help to determine the winner.

DSC_9445

And here are the men ready to get it done…over with however you decipher some of the expressions on the a few of the faces.

DSC_9522Along with these few images I have posted on here there are a lot more for view and download, available here at Billy Sauerland Photography.

Please stay tuned for more to come…

5 minute or so…. Portrait!!!

At lunch today I wanted to experiment a little at a fast yet affective lighting and camera setup for portraiture.

Well this is what I used and how I used it.

Camera: Nikon D80

Lens: 50mm F1.8

Filter: ND8 (to help with exposure levels, it was bright out, don’t hate me)

Flash: SB-600, (using the built in flash in the camera as a commander unit to trigger the    external flash)

Light-Modifier: Westcott-Micro Apollo

Tripod: Giottos MT 9370

While waiting for my friend, I setup my tripod, camera and flash with modifier. I preset the exposure to 2 stops under.  At this point my friend co-worker and fellow photographer Jim showed.  I had him stand out around 5 to 6 feet from the lens and to the left of center of frame.  A few exposures to dial in the flash power and position then began creating a few proper exposures, while I continued to work with the position in relation to the subject (Jim) until I came up with something close to what I was looking for.  Since this was a short, fast experiment at lunch.  I didn’t want to spend too much time fine tuning the image.  The point of this experiment was to see what kind of image I could create in a short bare bones time frame.

Well this is the last image in the line of exposures.  I am posting both the RAW unedited as well as an edited version of the final exposure.  Hope you enjoy.

Jim in the RAW!

Jim, playing model and extraordinary gentleman.

Jim in the edit.

Jim

What I did, I created 2 adjustment layer one for Levels and one for Curves.  Adjusting lightness, color and contrast.  On a 3rd layer I used the clone tool to take out highlight hot spots, a few blemishes and a stray hair or two. Then I made a 4th layer as an additional adjustment layer to modify the levels again and then isolate the modification to the eyes only to brighten his eyes just a touch. Just like when I created the exposure I didn’t want to spend a lot of time editing. Oh and I cropped the image to slightly reframe and create a more pleasing composition. I could have spent more time taking out the wrinkles and smoothing the skin tones, and on and on. Well this is how it turned out, not too bad for a 5 minute or so …. portrait.

Let me know what you think. I really would like some feed back, I am always looking to improve and to grow as a photographer.  Thanks