The Cape

This seems interesting. The effects aren't great and it looks a little cheesy, but that's never stopped me from enjoying shows and movies in the past. "The Cape" appears to be a low-budget take on Moon Knight and Batman.

Hey, it can't be worse that a lot of what NBC has been pushing lately. Right?

Mission Trip

This Thanksgiving I am taking a mission trip.  The destination?  Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The goal?  Bringing technology to the Amish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

As I wing my way back to Lancaster, PA to visit the parents, I thought I would share a photograph that I took back in 2007. This is another one of my "I was too lazy to get out of the van so I took the picture through the windshield" shots.

Processing-wise, this was mostly some level adjustments. (Through the windshield shots tend to be low-contrast.) I added a very slight DoF blur and vignette to try to bring some depth back. (Through the windshield shots also tend to be very flat.)

Mazda Design Change [AutoWeek]

I am something of an automotive enthusiast. While I'm not the kind that can tell you the displacement of a 1972 Dodge Whatchamacallit, I like to look at, read about and pretend to drive cars.

I also have an artsy side (in a totally masculine way, of course) and I have a deep appreciation for a car's appearance.

The past few years I've noticed that the most head-turning vehicles (and I'm talking more about standard day-to-day drivers) have come from Japan. Mainly Nissan and Mazda. One thing I did not realize until I saw this article from AutoWeek is that Mazda has a named "design philosophy". In retrospect, I should not be surprised by this.

So begins the transition from "Nagare" (flow) to kodo (soul of motion). And based on the Shinari concept (pictured above), it's right up my alley. (With the exception of the corner "intakes" in the front fascia.  Ew.)

Race on to the AutoWeek site to read more!

After much hype (and one van), Mazda rethinks design plan

Frolicking Bear Cub

Frolicking Bear Cub, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

Memphis was pretty toasty in May and since we are well into Fall at this point, I'm already missing the warmth. This bear cub wasn't feeling the heat at all as he romped in the watering hole that the zoo had provided for him and his brother. Or sister or cousin. I'm not really up on the genealogy of this particular bear family. Not that I keep up with other bear families, mind you.

Needless to say, get me near water with a camera and I am all over it. Throw in a cute animal (yet still dangerous, I'm sure) and one can hardly go wrong in my book. Well, hopefully not.

And thank goodness for long lenses.

So this picture got the Photomatix treatment to increase the tonal range. (Frankly, I believe a curve adjustment in Photoshop would have done just as well.) I then added a very slight lens blur to the background to add to what was already there because I felt that it was still a little distracting. Some burning of the background and edges to make the bear stand out and a bit of Topaz Detail 2 in spots (mainly the face and water splashes) finished things up.

Resting Wolf

Resting Wolf, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

This photograph was taken at the Memphis Zoo this past May.

I used Photomatix 4 to increase the dynamic range. I then I made some targeted exposure and curve adjustments. A touch of lens blur to increase the DoF just a bit and the application of Topaz' Detail 2 filter on the face finished things up.

Guarding the Pass

Guarding the Pass
Guarding the Pass, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

More from the Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois.

I went ahead and purchased Photomatix for some HDR processing. Of all of the options available, it seems to be the defacto gold standard for quality.

The pictures I took at the GotG were with HDR processing in mind. So while most of them were handheld (versus tripod), I did use bracketed exposures (0, +2, -2) with the hope that the software could compensate for any camera movement.

At any rate, I will be posting more of the results of this learning experience as I find the time to go through my shots.

Peeking Through

Peeking Through, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

I recently took a bunch of photos at the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois (not to be confused with the Garden of the Gods in Colorado). This picture was partially an experiment in some "non-obvious" HDR. I created it as a black and white image because I have a thing for interesting textures and nothing brings that out more than getting rid of those distracting colors (said the colorblind guy).