Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Close Shave

Another from the Eastern State Penitentiary HDR Workshop with Tony Sweet. The red barber chair is a popular subject in this venue for photographers. Here is my take on it. This image is comprised of 15 exposures to create the HDR panorama in NIK's HDR Efex Pro. After the pan was stitched together, I converted to Black & White and then painted the red chair back in using Capture NX.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Paintballed Panel

IMG_3937 72 dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Paintballers are also attracted to the old coal pier as it is a perfect place to shoot it out among the many columns. This old electric panel has been a target of hundreds of neon colored paint balls.

While I also captured this with my Nikon, this was taken and processed with my iPhone. Used several apps- which I don't recall now. The iPhone is such a creative medium and I knew at first glance I had to get my phone on the tripod (yes, there are tripod brackets for a phone!).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Graffiti Art

3460-74pan nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Toward the end of the facility are located a number of rooms that the graffiti artists continually repaint. Some of the art was quite recent. It was a riot of color.

I stitched three HDR images together in Photoshop CS5 (a total of 15 exposures) to make this one. I used a hint of NIK's Glamor Glow. The colors are very vivid, some are neon paint so no reason to touch the saturation slider.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Car Remains at the Graffiti Underground

This scene is at the old coal pier in Philly known among photographers as the Graffiti Underground. The fascinating feature of this place is that it is constantly changing due to the graffiti art. On this visit an old car had been dredged out of the water and left among the columns.

This is a 7 shot HDR series in HDR EfexPro, Topaz Detail and a few NIK filters. Raw files converted in DXO Pro.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Kiss

“You may now kiss the bride”, the part in the ceremony that signifies it is time for the party to start! As I recall, in my wedding the preacher forgot this part. I had to take the initiative myself which drew a chuckle from the audience. I still vividly recall that sweet kiss, perhaps more so because of the circumstances. It’s the inevitable little glitches that add to the richness of the memories of the big day. My mom says her wedding cake toppled on the way to the reception when crossing a railroad track. The cake underwent last minute emergency repair. OK, this was probably not a little glitch at the time, but the story is funny years later. As the new couple in our story was preparing to leave the reception for the honeymoon it was discovered that Kyle’s bag, including his wallet, was missing. His oldest brother Caleb and I were able to retrieve it from the church after the custodian let us in. We did get back before Kristine was ready to depart. Kyle did seem awfully anxious to depart for some reason. Just a fun footnote to the memories of a grand day. Kyle and Kristine, welcome to the grand adventure we call life!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Solemn Moment

Sure there were many joyous moments throughout the day. This was particularly poignant moment during the ceremony. A wedding is about faith on many levels and it is good to have that as a foundation.

I thought a BW version would convey the timeless feeling I was after here. Started with DxO, did some topaz in Photoshop, tried a few OnOne presets in Lightroom and ended up in SilverEfexPro- I think.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vows and Rings

_DSC8379_DxO topaz nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I was seated with a good view of Kristine's presentation of the ring to Kyle.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shared Joy

_DSC8353_DxO ps nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Weddings are emotional events for both the couple and those in attendance. Of all the emotions during the course of the day, joy should be chief among them. Both were remarkably at ease and I think this image portrays their comfort with one another. May Kristine and Kyle be blessed with many years of joy together.

A quick click from my front row seat. I had given considerable thought to lens choice, debating between a fast prime and a stabilized short, wide zoom. After reading David Ziser's latest wedding book I choose the latter figuring if it is good enough for him (a premier wedding photog) then it would be good enough for me. Processed with a number of NIK filters including Glamour Glow and Dynamic Skin Softener. I also added a touch of Tonal Contrast, but I painted that out of the faces. Some very minor cloning to remove a light on her nose and few control points and I was done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kyle and Kristine's Happy Day

_DSC8462 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
Congratulations on your wedding day! Last Saturday was a fabulous day for Donna and I as our fourth son, Kyle, married Kristine. With five boys we are steadily adding girls to our family! While I was not the official wedding photographer I had to snap a few shots. OK, so maybe it was closer to a thousand over the course of the 3 days including rehearsal and reception. But hey, I shoot more than that at a college soccer game, so I thought I was taking it easy on the shutter button. We had a grand time with friends and family over the weekend. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it an extra special day for Kyle and Kristine.

This was one of the shots I had to get. Welcome to the family Kristine!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beady Eyes

_DSC5481 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
The two young birds I have featured recently are shown here in this post as they were one month ago this weekend. The growth rate has been remarkable. Below you can see the growth in a months time:

Also, just one month ago, the chicks were just beginning to grow their wing feathers and move about in the nest under the watchful eye of their parents.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Up and Away

_DSC7390 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.
The adolescent Osprey begins with a short flight. Less than a hundred yards to the nearest light pole. A little rest and back to the nest. Within a week they are flying around with the adults. Now that the young birds are almost full size, it is easy to tell them apart as the young birds have white speckles on the brown wings (adults are solid brown) and the young birds have orange eyes (adults have yellow eyes).

Building Courage

_DSC7328 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

Ten days ago the chicks were thinking about flying. Here the oldest stepped up to the edge of the nest. Just a couple of days later she took to the air.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wing Stretch

_DSC6998 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The Osprey chicks did a lot of flapping prior to flying. This photo was taken in the first few days of August, just a week before flight. There was about two prior weeks of vigorous flapping, followed by hopping and flapping. Quite uncoordinated at first and funny to watch. Actual brief flying took place during windy conditions- especially as a thunderstorm approached. They would nose into the wind and flap with the aid of the wind to lift off, rise straight up a couple of feet, land and repeat. Natures wind tunnel. A week afterwards, they graduated to flying to the nearest electric pole less than a hundred yards away. Each day they would go a little further down the line of poles. After a week of these short flights they began to venture further afield. The parents are still bringing fish back to the nest for them to eat- they are never late for dinner. Now they are gone from the nest for a few hours at a time, presumably to the river. Judging from the rapid pace of development I guess they will be learning to fish for themselves soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Osprey Update

_DSC7273 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I have been so busy farming I have not had time to present some of the thousands of Osprey pictures I've taken since the last Osprey posting here on the blog. I believe the last Osprey post was back in the late spring showing the adult pair building their nest outside my office window. Quite convenient for a busy farmer who happens to enjoy photography. I will endevour to unveil more Osprey pics in the coming weeks.

Seen in this silhouette is the mother and the two surviving chicks. Originally there were three chicks. The little guy did not make it past the middle of July. Ever since the eggs were laid, dad has been busy fishing and bring fish back to the nest with very little rest. When the chicks were about half grown, the mother began to help catch fish for the ravenous chicks, more so after the chicks were old enough to eat on their own. The chicks are now almost grown and started to fly this past week. As you will see in the coming pictures, their growth has been remarkably rapid. They just hatched in late May or early June. It was only a month ago today that they started to grow wing feathers and were about a quarter of the size. Just in the last day, both chicks have started to fly further than the next light pole. I suspect they are now flying to the river with their parents and learning how to catch fish. The reading I have done indicates they will begin their migration south to Central or South America around the end of August- just 3 weeks from now.

Pumpkin Flower

_DSC7050 nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

The pumpkin fields are a sea of green leaves. In the morning the bright yellow flowers open for a few brief hours, beckoning the bees for pollination. This is a male flower. The female flowers grow closer to the vines and usually found near the ground. Each flower is open only one day, early in the morning and by late morning the flower closed for good. Our pumpkins are pollinated primarily by wild squash bees and bumblebees.

It has been a very busy summer so far on the farm. July was the hottest month ever recorded in our area and with little rain here we irrigated a number of times to keep the crop growing. The pumpkins are setting pumpkins now and the little pumpkins are growing rapidly. So far, so good.

Step into my office...

The maintenance crew is falling behind, I'm afraid. I did not take the time to photoshop the ID tags from the artifacts in the scene at ESP.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Root n Bunk

More decay from ESP that is well rooted. Which appeals to you more- the color or black/white version?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


_DSC3803_DxO nx 72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I spotted this this valve against the wall inside one of the cells. Seemed to be a curious location. How many coats of paint, of various colors, do you see?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We visited this cell block near the end of the day. It was a hot summer day and I was dehydrated and since seeing straight was becoming difficult, I went with it. Actually, Tony Sweet, our workshop leader suggested trying something like this and the result is among my favorites from ESP. The entire place is about lines, grit, decay, light and shadow and I think this composition combines all of those elements. This image is a 7 shot HDR series processed in DxO Pro, HDR EfexPro, Topaz Detail and a few other NIK filters.

I still have a slew of shots from this venue, but I think I will have to pick a just a few to showcase here on the blog before boving on to other venues I have photographed this spring and summer. There are a bunch from the Graffiti Underground (another Philly location from the same weekend as ESP) and my week long trip to the Smoky Mountains back in May that I have yet to process.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Corner Chair

3696-3700 Bps nx 72dpi crop, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

A haunting reminder of times gone by. Reportedly, the place is haunted. Sections of the prison are turned into a haunted house every fall. It is said to be quite popular. I have to say, I did not, however, detect anything spooky during my visit there. This cell had a sense of loneliness.