New Smugmug site

Yesterday, Smugmug announced and unveiled their new look.  It’s not just an update to their previous site – it’s a complete rebuild from the ground up.  I spent some time last night working on my page and customizing/organizing some things and I have to say I’m pretty happy with the upgrade.  It’s VERY fast, looks great, and is much more intuitive than the previous site.  Check out my new page –

One of the things I like is the multiple layers of folders and galleries you can now have – allowing me to better organize galleries of race track photos by location, date and even cars if I want.

Well done, Smugmug – this appears to be a pretty nice update!

HDR Resources

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography can be a touchy subject with some photographers.  There are some who don’t care for it at all, there are some who use it frequently and the range in between.  Some photographers seem to get offended when they see the ‘overly-processed’ and dreamy look that some people end up using on their HDR images.  Personally, I am not a fan of the overly processed HDR with the ‘halo effect’ .. but that’s not to say it’s wrong.  As HDR becomes more popular, there are more resources available to photographers to learn the process.  See some of the links below for some great resources:

As far as what applications/programs to use for HDR, Photomatix Pro was one of the first ones to offer a lot of adjustments and customization.  There’s another application by Nik Software which is getting positive feedback as well – HDR Efex Pro.  Both offer plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture.  I’ve used Photomatix Pro for all my HDR stuff, but the Nik product looks pretty good too, based on the free trial I’m playing with.

The key with HDR processing is to play around with it.. play with the settings and see what happens.. and have fun with it!

Won a local photography contest!

I recently entered this photo into a contest with my local photography club.. and out of about 25 entrants, mine won! Very flattering considering the talent of the other photographers who entered.  As a prize, I won an 11×14″ metal print from Bay Photo.. it showed up in the mail today and looks amazing! If you’re not familiar with Bay Photo, you’ve gotta check out their products!

Chevy Belair

My winning image

Road trips…

Emily and I took a road trip with the dogs (Maggie and Sammy) up to Oregon last week.. it was a heck of an experience…

It started off with me going out to load up her car (Honda Element SC) with our luggage and dog supplies Monday morning (at 6am) to find that someone had broken one of the side windows out of her car – broken glass everywhere! Fortunately, nothing was stolen, it looked like it was just a random vandalism.  So, between calling the police to report it, and vacuuming up the glass, we were delayed by about an hour.  We made the 600+ mile drive up to Oregon with a piece of cardboard duct taped where the window should have been.

Along the way, I was calling various Honda dealers to find out if any of them had a window in stock, and ended up just calling one near our destination, and ordering it for pick up the following day.  Fortunately, the cardboard held up through some torrential rain through more than half of our trip.  Tuesday, we drove to the Honda dealership and picked up the glass ($175), and I replaced it in the parking lot of the dealership while Emily and the dogs waited.

The following day, we went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and as we pulled into the parking lot, we got out of the car so I could get Emily’s picture in front of the Tillamook Cheese sign… as we turned around to get back into the car, we saw the dogs looking at us … and they had locked us out of the car (engine running, windows up).  Great.  Of course, I was NOT about to break a window to get into the car.  Fortunately, a used car dealer across the street was willing to help us out and got us into the car… no charge!

On the way home from Oregon, we got pulled over on I-5 near Colusa around midnight (Friday night) .. speeding.  89 mph in a 70 mph zone.  The officer was cool and only wrote me up for 80 in a 70 .. which should make the fine less painful.

Besides those ‘setbacks’, the trip was great – we stayed in a house about 200 yards from the sandy beach in Pacific City.. the coast up there is gorgeous! It was cold, windy and rainy for the first half of the week, but towards the end of the week, it started clearing up and warming up a bit.

If anyone’s curious, I highly recommend the area … it was really nice (and the house we stayed at was next door to the Pelican Pub, and across the street from a pizza place and a market – perfect location!)

Covered Bridge shortly after we entered Oregon

Covered Bridge shortly after we entered Oregon

On the Beach

Driving through the woods

Emily and Sammy

Emily and Sammy