Monday, March 12, 2012


I entitled this blog post as "Knowledge", because my ultimate goal whenever I go out to shoot, is to learn something.  Yesterday was supposed to be my Sunday sunrise shoot, but as Mother Nature giveth, Mother Nature taketh away.  I woke up to the sound of steady rain.  Don't get me wrong.  In Texas, rain is a beautiful thing, but it's not conducive for going out to shoot.

So, in honor of daylight savings time and being rained out, I went back to bed.  However, Mother Nature, being fair, offered me a beautiful sunset.  I decided to go out to White Rock Lake to shoot the sunset.  This is possibly the most iconic lake in Dallas.  It is great for sailing, fishing, picnicking, jogging, just about anything you can imagine.  The Dallas Arboretum sits on the southern bank of the lake.  White Rock Lake is easy to get to from Northwest Highway or Mockingbird Ln.

On to the learning.  One aspect of photography that helps to get a great exposure is to learn how to use your histogram.  The histogram looks sort of like a curved graph; sort of like a bell curve but with more peaks and valleys.  On one end, your highlights are represented.  On the other end, your lowlights.  The goal is to keep your graph from shooting up one side or the other.  Too far to the right and your picture will be too bright.  Too far to the left and your picture will be extremely dark.  My learning experience is that I found out how to pull up the histogram on my view screen.  I was able to adjust my histogram where I wanted it before I took the picture.  I am able to adjust this on Photoshop Elements, but getting right at the beginning helps prevent "Garbage in, Garbage Out".

The second thing I learned was completely by accident.  As I've said before, to shoot in HDR, you take 3 or more shots at different exposure levels and then combine them in HDR software.  I have been using a shutter release to take these three shots with three different pushes of the button.  Well, my shutter release has become damaged over time and it started acting up yesterday, firing uncontrollably and randomly.  I got tired of it, so I unplugged it and turned my camera on to a 2 second delay.  Waiting for the delay allows for the camera to shot shaking from me pressing the button.  To my surprise, the camera took all three pictures for me with one press of the button!  It is a time saver, but I will have to weigh that against the convenience of the shutter release.  The jury is still out on that one.

So enough of my ramblings, on to the pictures!

 This is a shot of a boat house with some docked sail boats.  I plan to go back out to the lake when the weather gets a little warmer to get shots of more boats with their sails up.

 This is on the east bank of White Rock Lake.  
There was only one sailboat with its sail up, but I was able to catch it.

 When I looked up the lake on Mapquest, I switched it to satellite view and saw the piers around the lake.  I thought that would make for some great pictures.  This is an HDR shot that I did some more work on with adjusting the settings.  You can really see the advantages of HDR technology in the planks of the pier.

One last shot of the sailboat.  This is a non HDR shot.  I like the reflection of the sun on the water with the sailboat sailing in to it.

Once again, the next few days are calling for rain, so I will find something to shoot indoors.

That is it for now.  Thank you for continuing to follow my blog.  You can also see more of my pictures on Facebook at

Until next time...

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