Camino Del Muerte (en HDR)

Road of the Dead (in HDR)

That's what I call the stretch of road between Florence Junction and Thatcher. I was in Thatcher today (reason is unrelated to not working). One thing I have noticed about this stretch of highway (I have driven it before) is the rather large number of road side crosses. On the way to Thatcher I counted 25 on the south side of the road and on the way back to Phoenix I counted 13 on the North side of the road. for a total of 38. I may have missed a few, and this does not count the cemetery I passed. I was only able to take a few pictures due to time constraints on the way up. On the way back traffic and the lack of time, or unusual location prevented me from stopping. It seems to me the last time I drove this way (4 years ago) there were more.

I did see a couple of non death related things, and got some good pics on the way back, all of the pics were single frame HDR's. I attempted to do multiple frames but there was to much wind, in fact the pics with the clouds showed major changes between frames (and can be animated).

Anyways here they are:


Stock Photography

Sorry no recent posts. In an effort to earn some money from my hobby "Photography" I have started uploading images to a couple of stock photography websites. one is Crestock, the other is Dreamstime. My Crestock Portfolio is here (while on Crestock check out Judge Ross's best and worst image of the day). My Dreamstime Portfolio is here. You'll notice both are pretty much the same. It is interesting to note which images were selected and rejected by the two sites. Crestock with it's "high" standards has accepted images without the modifications requested by Dreamstime and vice versa. However I have made .50 cents at Dreamstime (woo hoo!) someone liked my picture of the Durango and Silverton locomotive.

Stock photography is interesting. I can't just upload any pictures, all the pictures must meet the following standards:
In focus
Properly lighted
Proper contrast
Composed (more on this later)
No logos, trademarks, or copyrighted items visible.
Larger than 4 mega pixels

Sounds simple, right? Ha Ha Ha, how naive you are.
Here is an example of a rejected and accepted image.

What I did to make this acceptable would take up a whole blog entry. To summerize, I isolated the bird and twig on a seperate layer. and using a layer mask I addjusted the color, saturation, and contrast independently in each layer (it was much more complicated than that), and clone brushed out the smaller distracting twig.

This image is an example of what a properly composed image is:
I won't tell them that it was just an accident I was walking to the scene of a fire and snapped a picture.
The image is divided up into approximate thirds. The red and blue squares are in two of the 4 golden spots. For stock photography you rarely want an image perfectly centered. You want you points of interest in one or more of the 4 intersections. So We have the fireman and fire truck in one and a column of smoke in the other. To add more interest the fireman is running.

This image was rejected, the only reason given was "Lack of composition".
Even though I spent a lot of time clone brushing out several cars on the road, houses in the valley, and a fat guy on the next hill to the right of Mike it was not considered interesting enough.

Here is the only image I uploaded that has sold (so far). Can you spot what I did to make it acceptable?

That's Right I clone brushed the tree on the left side out, added a blue sky, clone brushed the Durango & Silverton name off the side of the tender (and first visible car), and clone brushed the McDonald's crap from the background. I also added more steam to cover up a problem area on the mountain above the train.

One thing that is popular with Stock photography websites are Isolation's. Isolations are used to add an object into another image
In this case I suspended a .45 caliber pistol from fishing wire, in front of a projector screen. I then setup some lights to limit the amount of shadow on the screen, I then messed around with the camera settings to get a good picture with very little background. I opened the image in Photoshop, and to save time here "worked my magic on it". I then set to work deleting the background. once completed I "worked more magic on it" and uploaded it. At this time it's status is pending and I won't know if it has been accepted for a couple of days (update 7-12-07 image accepted).

Why is my name on some of these images, well I don't want anyone being able to get a free copy if they follow the links in my profile on Crestock, or Dreamstime.


Colorado 1998

Way back in 1998 Kathi and I went to Colorado to visit her relatives, Pat and Bruce. Bruce was a Corporate head hunter and Pat is self employed. This was our first trip to Evergreen Colorado so Pat and Bruce took us on a whirlwind tour of everything. One of the things we did was ride the Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway. The railway was built in 1889 and ran steam cog trains until 1964. When they purchased self contained Diesel Cars from the Swiss Locomotive Works in Winterthur.
The Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway uses the Abt rack system. The maximum grades are 25%. A standard train runs on a grade of 4% to 6%. When you get to the top there is just a little bit more than half the pressure at sea level so you get dizzy real easy and winded from even the shortest walk. Behold two Very dizzy people.
We also visited the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden Colorado.

The lady With white pants and a Red shirt is Kathi's Cousin Pat. Being from Arizona and not having seen much snow we also had our picture's taken during a snow storm.
More on Pat & Bruce in later posts. This is the trip in which the Infamous snowball fight occurred. While high up on a mountain at a ski resort where we were going to have lunch, I decided to have a "playful" snowball fight with Kathi. So I threw a snowball at here, and she ducked right into it catching it square in the face. needless to say there will be no more snowball fights with Kathi, she was not happy.