Saturday, September 6, 2014

Trip to Galveston,

Alcy had two days off and wanted to go to Galveston. And as usual I photographed mostly the same things I generally photograph. The last time we got stuck on the Bolivar side of the ferry so we returned to Houston up the east side of Trinity Bay.  This time we went the other direction coming back to Houston from the west.

Meandering down we slipped over to Hwy 146 and then over to Baycliff and San Leon where I got a couple of shots. My usual abandoned clothing at a boat ramp in Baycliff and an abandoned police car on the way back to 146. As we passed Alcy said that she thought she just found Car 54 so we turned around. There wasn’t any 54 on it but there was a notice that the county was going to tow it shortly if the owner didn’t move it.

In Texas City we stopped at the Texas City History Museum. Very well done and very friendly staff—unlike MFA (just had to throw that in). Toured a few antique stores looking for flowers for Alcy and crucifix for me. Then stopped to shoot the Phoenix at the city government complex.

In Galveston we hit Fuddruckers for lunch then a brief walk around for downtown photos. Found a pink Yellow Cab—boy are those people colorblind—and a few architectural shots.

As always took the ferry over to Bolivar and stayed till sunset. Found the shrimp boats we couldn’t find the last time; stopped at a park on the beach for some late evening sunset shots and headed back to Galveston with a stop for photos at the Bolivar Point Lighthouse (now abandoned).


Trip to Galveston, Second Day

Started out at 7am for sunrise photos along the seawall. Sunrise was not specular but we shot it anyway. Decided to hit some of the beach access areas along Twelve Mile Road on the southwest side of the Island. Continued over San Luis Pass to the separated southern tip of Galveston Island. Drove on to Surfside. Got lost and never found the city of Freeport where we had planned on looking for antique stores. Drove on passing quickly through Needville (the only town I ever go ran out of) to Rosenberg where we had lunch and hit several antique stores.

Was supposed to attend a meet up in Katy but after two days we were both tuckered out. I kept falling asleep trying to process so I was in bed well before midnight in spite of my no sleep until all the photos are processed rule. I am not only kicked off of email, I can’t access the Interned now. I may have to find a new carrier even though I hate making changes—especially changing email carriers.


  1. Gary, these photos are A-MA-ZING!!! My favorites being 15, 23 and 25 (I think). 25 should be hanging in a gallery somewhere. Do you mind telling me again what software you are using to get the HDR effect on 21-22 and some others? Seeing your photos just makes me realize how (still) technologically challenged I am when it comes to my camera and software. I do only the smallest amount of processing, and it shows. You are a PRO and I wish so much you could tutor me on a daily basis! :)

  2. Jan, thank you so much. The interesting thing about photography is the latitude that is available. I, of course, do not understand why everyone doesn't do it the way I do it but in truth, I do respect other mindsets. That is what I think it comes down to—a personal belief as to what photography is or can be. The vast majority of photographers are interested in capturing how something looks. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that, on many levels it is a commendable goal. That is not my purpose. I want to see how things can look. It is presumptuous but I am interested in seeing what I can create using photography. I want something new, something that I am responsible for bringing into existence. Most of the time I am interested in going beyond how something looks. It goes back to my statement of minor gods snapping into creation their own little worlds. There is also a division between those that feel that the photograph must come out of the camera and my person belief that the camera is merely a draft. It is the take a photograph vs. make a photograph conundrum. The camera is extremely important and saying that you wish to make photographs in no way denigrates the camera skills that are required for interesting photography.

    Having grown up photographically in the wet darkroom I see post processing as simply the second step. I realize that it is easy to dismiss post processing because it is not any easier to learn than learning the camera. If one has mastered the camera why take on another task? I would have given up photography many years ago if I relied on what comes out of my camera. In most cases it is just not that satisfying. Some of that is that I get sloppy with my technique, but still I am not as interested in post processing to save the image as I am in using it to create a new image.

    As far a ‘pro’ I might question that. I have been using the same software since I first got into digital, Corel’s Paint Shop Pro. In all those years I have spent a total on software that would be less than purchasing a single copy of Photoshop. Because of the length of time I have learned what the software does, unlike most people I have known that uses Photoshop and now Lightroom, who spends dearly trying to learn how to use it for years on end. For a very long time I was opposed to using ‘actions’ ancillary plug in software to enhance the native programing. Recently, over the past couple of years, I have become more lenient and my photography has changed. I like to think of it as growth—whereas it is most likely that I am tired of fighting the system.
    I have purchased the entire Nik line but have only installed CEP. Someday I need to learn the rest. Recently I have added three programs from Topaz: Adjust, Clarify and Details. Not impressed with Adjust but I do recommend Clarify and Details. I use Clarify mostly to work with contrast and Details to work with sharpening. They do more than that, but that is what I find most useful. In Clarify you control the contrast not over the entire image but can selectively increase or decrease contrast based on whether the available contrast is already low, medium or high—a fantastic tool. In Details you control sharpening by the size of the object, micro, small, medium and large—and it does it without the artifacts you often get with Unsharp Mask. These two programs give you a tremendous amount of control over two of the most important elements in your photograph, contrast and sharpness.

    All of these programs, Nik’s full line including Color Efex Pro, and all of the Topaz programs will work with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom (be sure to check the version to make sure it is the one for your primary imaging program). Just keep in mind, with each there is that learning curve that we come up against every time we tackle a new software package.

  3. I have been coveting a studio for the last several months. Being on a fixed income makes me reluctant to make the commitment. I would like it of course to be able to do indoors photography, I am weary of doing it all outside. I have some art projects that I would love to attempt. But I would love to have a space where I could hold photographic classes and discussions. I am not as good at teaching as I thought I was at one time (I learned that lesson when I tried to explain the subject of the photograph is not the object photographed—LOL Not sure I ever got that across, or even that it really mattered.)

    Short answer is Nik’s Photoshop Plugins (Color Efex Pro) and Topaz (Clarify and Details). Paint Shop Pro has a HDR tool (actually it is tone mapping, not HDR but tone mapping is what gives HDR its distinctive look so everyone calls it HDR). I use PSP when I want it applied very lightly—lightly enough that is it not evident. But most of the obvious tone mapping is done in Clarity or Details or in a combination of the two. In the Nik bundle there is a much acclaimed module specifically for tone mapping or HDR. One day I will load it and try to learn to use it. Don’t know that it will replace Topaz, but it might. (yeah, you only wanted to know what time it was and I’m telling you how to build the clock!)

  4. Thank you Gary for taking the time to share all of this. It's a lot to process for a dummy like me. I am realizing more and more how severely handicapped (technologically speaking) I am and I either need to do something about it or accept my limitations and enjoy my photography at the (casual hobby) level that it is. I hope I can do something about it one of these days, but it will most likely have to come in the form of some classes or one-on-one tutoring. Perhaps after we figure out where we will settle down, I can make that a goal.

    You are an excellent teacher, just some of your pupils are slower than others (remember, there is always an acorn here and there). HA When I first met you, you were taking care of Janet and you didn't have the time to shoot as prolifically as you do now. Your arsenal of equipment (cameras and software) plus your knowledge and skill plus the thoughtfulness with which you go about it is producing some really incredible photographs.

    I was thinking as I was looking at your recent beach photographs that if I owned a beach property, I would most definitely want those hanging on my wall! Have you considered selling your photographs online? If not, why not? It could certainly fund that studio you've been dreaming about! I'm sure you know that some of these sights will take the order, print and ship for you (for a percent, I'm sure). You already have the product, you just need to put it out there and make it easy for people to see (and buy). I hope you will give serious consideration to that if you haven't already.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I enjoy your blog. btw, I've started blogging again (the old cowbright blog from when we were in Indonesia). I know enough to know that I am NOT a writer, but it's a way to share photos with friends and family. Most are SOCC but let me know if you're interested and I'll send you an invite or you can try and see if it lets you in. It's a private blog and a pain in the rear!

  5. i do wish there was a way to edit posts (maybe there is but i don't know that) but it should be "are producing" (not is producing) and that would be "sites" (not sights) and SOC (not SOCC). if there is no tool for editing, i would be smart to proof read before i hit send!