NEW – Panoramic wallpapers for users with two monitors!
I’ve been using dual monitors for years, but it never occurred to me to make one wallpaper to stretch across both screens until a friend of mine brought it up. On a recent trip through southern New Mexico’s Rock City State Park, I decided it would be a perfect place to start shooting panoramic photos with this in mind.
BEHOLD – MY FIRST EVER RELEASED DUAL-MONITOR PANORAMIC WALLPAPERS!
My travels have brought me to El Paso, TX. I spent the afternoon walking around downtown. I enjoyed looking around at all the shops on El Paso Street, and eventually I wandered into the Convention Center. I wanted to get a fish-eye view on this, but I didn’t have one with me. I stood as close as I could and held the camera in portrait orientation shooting 6 photos from left to right. I stitched the RAW images together in Photoshop, and processed the panoramic as an HDR.
Ever since I found my love of photography, I’ve wanted to create some portraits of my Grandpa. For myself and many others this farmer & preacher has been the living symbol of unconditional love and inspired wisdom. I find myself painfully inadequate to write about him – my words could never do justice (you’ll just have to meet him yourself). Of his character, I’ll simply say this: perpetually compassionate, ever faithful, a teacher, a worker, a pacifist, an optimist.
I had been looking forward to this trip for months, so I was supremely disappointed when I started to have flu-like symptoms the day before our early morning departure. But there was no turning back! I had non-refundable tickets, and no desire to sit out of this adventure. I had never been to Idaho, but I’d heard my friend Brad talk about it on numerous occasions. An “undiscovered bird hunting paradise,” he described it. I anticipated mountains full of wild birds never before hunted, and I wasn’t about to let a sore throat stop me. As promised, it was much more than walking through a field of liberated birds!
After landing in Boise, we began the scenic drive north on Highway 55. I had never before seen terrain quite like that – I felt like I was on some other planet! The mountains looked like they had a light brown coat of fur!
As we continued north, we made a much-appreciated pit stop at Gold Fork Hot Springs near McCall. It was incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating to just float in the naturally hot water flowing from the mountainside. It probably helped soothe my illness too.
We arrived in Riggins just in time to catch the Boise State game at the Seven Devils Saloon – quite an experience in itself. After witnessing their boisterous victory, we turned in for the night at the very comfortable Salmon Rapids Lodge overlooking the Salmon River, and enjoyed the extra 2 hours we gained by being on mountain time.
For the day of the hunt, Brad invited his friend Tom from Boise to come up with his dogs – two beautiful Gordon Setters. I have never seen calmer, more obedient dogs than these. The best thing about these dogs was that they were more than tools to Tom. They still had that sense of companionship that is abandoned with most hunting dogs, but their performance in the field was still superior to most dogs we’ve hunted with. Their beautiful dark coats stood out wonderfully against the brown grass. Between the dogs and the setting, I have never had an easier photo shoot of a hunt! Everywhere I turned there was a gorgeous landscape for me to capture – full of texture and depth.
We were hunting for Chukar partridge, Pheasant, or California Quail. Mainly we focused on Chukar, which was a tricky hunt, and very physically demanding! Thankfully, they drove us near the top of the mountain so we could walk mostly downhill – but it was still no stroll in the park! Imagine walking for miles along a 45 degree pitch – that’s hard on the joints. Besides that, there were places that didn’t have much solid footing, but just bare rocks faces lightly dusted with pebbles. The tricky part about hunting these birds is that the cover is pretty light. Once the dog points, the bird won’t stay put for long since it’s not very well hidden. Often the birds would flush while I was trying not to slide hundreds of feet to my death, which makes it tough to aim. Up on the mountain the Chukars would fly down, which is an unnatural motion for a bird hunter who is used to tracking a bird flying up.
They weren’t kidding about it being loaded with birds. We saw coveys of 30-50 birds flushing. If only we could hit them! Oddly enough, I bagged the only Chukar of the day. Brad found and collected an unexpected Ruffed Grouse along with several California Quail at the foot of the mountain.
Though we only hunted one day, my legs have never been sorer in my life! With the sun starting to set behind the mountains, we staged some photos with Pete the Gordon Setter beside his prize. Tom commanded, “Sit Pete!” but also made the comment “I’ve never taught them to sit.” But Pete was smart enough and obedient enough to catch on to what his master was requesting. He was even able to fulfill my requests to “scoot him a little closer to the birds.”
Such a memorable experience! I am so thankful that I get the opportunity to explore God’s amazing creation. Idaho was unlike any place I have ever been. I would love to go back (and I probably will), but I’m even more excited to discover other corners of this incredible world.
My wife and I have been married for 5 years this summer, and it occurred to us that we still don’t have any of our wedding photos displayed in our house! As we looked back through our album we realized why. The photographer we had chosen was good, but very old fashioned. Each photo was flawless, but so boring! The color representation was perfectly true, everything looked exact. Perhaps that’s what inspired our philosophy as wedding photographers: people don’t want to see photos just to remember exactly how the event took place, but also to relive how it felt.
So we donned our wedding garb (my wife still fits in her wedding dress, and I rented a tux), and recruited our long-time friends Brad & Bethany Fitzpatrick to compose the shots for us.
Talon Winery has a beautiful little vineyard just outside of Lexington. We drove out there on a Monday evening with our friends. It was hot and sticky, but worth the effort!
We each imported the photos onto our computers, and will edit them individually. When we show them to each other, it will reveal one another’s own personal editing style. We’re still working on them, but I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what I’m working on.
When we were finished posing, the sunset was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of my own.
I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! I took these photos at our annual company picnic.
For fireworks photos, I recommend starting off with settings of ISO 100, f/8, and a shutter speed of 2.5 seconds. A tripod is a must-have to get anything good at all.
Let me just begin by saying that I’ve wanted to have 2 dogs from the very beginning…. When we bought Pita (our 3-year-old fawn boxer), I lobbied for getting two. Every time we see dogs for sale, I try to get my wife over to pet them (and hopefully get all gooey so she’ll get one).
Finally, this past weekend my dreams came true! We saw some boxers for sale, so my wife and I decided to go play with them. When we pulled up, we found that half the little was completely white – which isn’t very common. They were selling at a good price, and since my wife really likes white puppies we ended up getting one!
Her name is Daisy because my wife’s favorite flowers are daisies, and they come in white.
Today I mowed the yard and the dogs were outside with me. I was a little worried about mowing with this new puppy. She always seems to walk in front of us or between our legs, so I wasn’t sure how cautious she would be around a lawn mower. At one point I experienced a moment of panic when I looked around and didn’t see her anywhere. I discovered that she was actually following right behind me! Up and down the rows we went, and she rarely lagged behind more than a foot or so.
We really enjoyed mowing the yard together, but I learned one thing about having an all-white dog…
…it’s tough to get the grass stains out!
Brad and I took a trip down to Providence, KY to test out the CZ Upland Ultralight that he’s writing an article about. Testing the shotgun however was only 1 of many purposes of our trip, not excluding simply having fun with some guns, although I didn’t shoot much since I needed to focus on the photography (I sometimes tend to get carried away with the shooting and forget to take photos). Brad is also hoping to write another article about Winghaven Lodge, and we discovered some more opportunities
along the way. Brad invited Andrew and Katie from Must Have Outdoors to come and test some Browning and Winchester shotguns for their show (which will also give Winghaven some more much-deserved exposure). We both got to try out the new Browning Maxus 12ga semi-auto, and Brad was thinking about the possibility of writing a review about it, so I took plenty of photos of it too.
But the most intriguing part of the weekend was meeting a gentleman by the name of George Gans. George is a regular at Woodhaven, and is a friend of Russell, the owner. We met George when we arrived on Friday night, and it didn’t long before it was revealed that he brought not only a Purdey shotgun, but also a Holland & Holland – both of which are high-dollar, hand-crafted firearms made to order in London, England. George actually carried the Purdey when we went afield the next day. In some ways George actually reminded me of “the most interesting man in the world” from the Dos Equis (XX) commercials. Not that he walked around with a harem of women, but he had a seemingly endless repository of stories to keep us entertained all day.
George was fun to talk with while walking through the fields, and he was also very generous in sharing his toys. To my amazement (and Brad’s) he actually let brad shoot a bird with his Purdey! Brad was tickled to death, and I was glad to take pictures. Brad definitely looks better with a Purdey. Brad shot his bird like the pro that he is, and George was glad to share the joy.
After lunch, George was gracious enough to lend me his Holland & Holland for a photo shoot. Brad is also doing an article on Kentucky bird hunting, which will talk about other Kentucky traditions such as bourbon. Winghaven was the perfect place to stage this shot because of their vast selection of fine bourbons. Having the Holland & Holland really made this photo. Nothing says shooting tradition like a hand-crafted double barrel shotgun.
George is a neat guy. I hope our paths cross again some day.
This past weekend we actually got to stay at home and do some work around the house. I wanted to get a jump on planting some grass in the back yard, so we went up to Southern States to pick out some tough grass (we got Kentucky 31).
It happens to be “Chick Days” at Southern States (and Tractor Supply Company) so they had a trough full of little fluffy chicks. They also had a trough of ducklings! Super cute… So tonight we decided that we would get 2 ducklings. They are a type of mallard, but my wife was hoping for a white duck. So we stopped by Tractor Supply Company where they sell pekin ducks, which are white, and picked up a third. So the pekin duckling is my wife’s LuLu, while the mallards (Darla and Ducky – named by my niece) are for me. We’re not actually sure of the gender yet, so that should be a fun surprise.
This was kindof an impulsive decision, but apparently ducks are pretty low-maintenance. They’re fairly self-sufficient as long as you make sure there’s food and a bunch of water somewhere.
When we got them home, we set up the heat lamp. It makes a nice soft light (since it’s so close), so I decided to take some photos with my Tiffen macro +4 lens attachment. I think the macro really emphasizes their cute/fluffy-ness. This is going to be fun!
A few weeks ago we visited our friends in Ohio. We happened to have some of our photo equipment with us, so Brad recommended that we take a few photos of this CZ shotgun for an article he is writing about it. I’m always interested in shotguns, so I was excited. When I picked up this particular gun, I was shocked at how incredibly light it was. The “Upland Ultralight” weighs only 6 lbs! It was a pretty good fit for me too. I wanted to take some photos of it, but I also wanted to shoot the thing!
Being winter and rainy, there wasn’t a great place outdoors to take photos of it, and the backdrops we brought were only good for a little girl (who we were planing to photograph the next day). So we found a white sheet to put it in front of. I wanted to hurry the photo shoot because I wanted to have enough time to shoot some clays with it.
When I download the photos to the computer, I was very unhappy about the result. The Upland Ultralight is somewhat of a no-frills shotgun, so to have it in front of a plain background was a huge mistake. I could not in good conscience submit those photos for Brad’s article. So this past weekend, I drove back up and brought some good backdrops etc., and we did it right.
I think I learned my lesson about doing things half-way. I never want to let myself down like that again!