Bel Air Glamor

Glamour Glow Special One of the effects of HDR photography is also to bring out textures and color in a very realistic way.

I took this photo and had some fun with it in HDR Efex Pro 2, then ran it through Color Efex 4.  Sharpened to taste and called it a day.

RC Conception pointed out to us on the second night that the purpose of HDR is to get a good product to finish in post processing.  He found many people shot, process and don't finish.

It would be like writing the first acts of a play, and then walking away from the final act.

I called this Bel Air Glamor because the Glamor Glow filter seems to be all the rage in many a circle today, and I wanted to try it out for myself.

If you want to see some really extraordinary HDR check out both RC Conception's website and Jim Begley's.  Both are true master artists with this technique.

Check them out at and



Five Year Old Saves Christmas

20121224-151139.jpg My five year old saved Christmas!

The last few weeks pressed me from every angle. Work, not being able to get my dream moving, the evil at Newtown and in my own town..All felt like a bone crushing weight on me. Even my picture taking, my refuge for sanity, was falling flat. The spirit of Christmas felt as far away as the moon. I could recognize the evil was in a person's choices, not the wonder of creation.  I was just overwhelmed by the amount of darts thrown at good people of late.  I had closed myself off to the spirit of Christ's power because I was letting things other than keeping God foremost in my thoughts and family's development matter.

All this started to change when as I put my head down, my lovely wife said...make small changes and the change will come. I slept on it, and through the night the weight of everything started to feel workable. I got up and walked into the living room to watch the sun rise on the Christmas tree. It was then that my five year old came down the stairs and plopped himself right on top of me.

His first words were, "Dad we have a wonderful tree. It is magic." God was speaking through the mouth of a babe. For ten minutes we sat still, and quietly talking about favorite ornaments lest we wake up the other four souls in the house to early. Then he said, "Dad we need to take some pictures of our tree." That was all I needed. Out came the tripod, the light for my first light painting attempts, and photographic direction from my five year old. My soul was alive, and responding to the cuing from God to live and enjoy Christmas in the present.

Every year I look at the Christmas tree form a new perspective. This year I took it from my five year old. Christ does bring grace if we let him. I pray that you and yours can do the same.


PS These photos are from perspective of my five year old...his height I hope conveying some of the awe we felt as kids before the Christmas tree.


Christmas Ball

Christmas Ball on a tree at Church We enjoyed another evening at church with my service and fraternal organization, The Knights of Columbus, at the annual Christmas Dinner.  We enjoyed being with other families, good food, and a festive atmosphere.  During the day my family went to church to help decorate for the holy day coming up, and my wife and four kids decorated two trees in the church.  I was pretty impressed when I heard my wife had the 11 month old on here back while stringing lights!

Well they inspired me to take a look at the trees for something fun to snap!  The hardest part of this was getting me out of the reflective surface of the ornaments.  So this took a  few minutes....and caused my wife to come rescue me from my photographic obsession!

This is yet another photo with my hip bound Oly XZ-1.  Processed in Perfect Photo Suite 7.  Just a note for you tech junkies... I am shooting RAW with my Point and Shoot.  So my files are typically the RAW flat, so I need to post process them.  This is just my normal preference and gives me more control over the product.  If I had no time to process them, I'd really have no problem with the on board jpeg engine or effects filters.  Olympus colors are just great.  I often use filters when I am on the road to get an effect without the post shoot work of RAW.

I am leaning to picking up a M4/3 camera as a slightly bigger "hip" camera.  That way I'll have a few accessories that can be used on either camera.  We'll see what the future will bring.  For now this is a good tool for my mission.