All the pretty horses

This past Thanksgiving, we made a quick family trip out east to spend a bit of time with some of Mrs. Argos’ relatives. While we were “in the neighborhood,” we swung through the Oglebay Resort’s “Winter Festival of Lights.”

All the pretty horses

Well worth a stop, should you ever find yourself near Wheeling, West Virginia some December…

The night’s reflected brilliance

Captured on a photowalk through the Denver Botanic Gardens:

The night's reflected brilliance

Every year in December, the Denver Botanic Gardens puts on a “Blossoms of Light” show — it’s always a great display, although generally also a bit cold. But if you bundle up and carry a spare battery in your coat’s inside pocket, you’re good to go!

Oh yes, and don’t forget a tripod too — this is a 2.5 second exposure (at ISO 800 for minimal noise). Fortunately there are plenty of turf areas along the paths, so you can set up a tripod without blocking traffic or damaging the plants. But no commercial photography (i.e., stock shots for Getty) unless you want to fork over a $350 fee to the Gardens…

Sacré Coeur – en noir

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you may remember that I do most of my image post-processing in Aperture on a Mac. Well, Apple just released an update to Aperture (containing a slew of needed bug fixes), so I’m taking the opportunity to dig back in my archives to revisit some old shots that were ready for a second chance.

Sacré Coeur - en noir

This one was taken looking up the steps east of the Basilica. I think the B/W treatment gives it a noir film feel…

A little “light” entertainment

If you ever get to Hawaii (in particular, if you ever get to the island of Oahu), chances are you’ll wind up stopping by the Polynesian Cultural Center. It’s the #1 paid attraction in the state, after all. An adjunct of the BYU-Hawaii campus, the PCC serves a cluster of purposes — entertainment, helping college-age kids from across the Pacific pay for college, and providing some cross-cultural education.

Granted, the displays of polynesian culture at the PCC are “cleaned up” a bit (as you might expect given the circumstances), but for most visitors it’s at least a quick way to get exposure to a slice of Polynesia they wouldn’t see otherwise. The after-dinner show is also a great way to get practice photographing flaming torches:

A little

I was more than a little surprised that this shot didn’t require much noise cleanup — the torches do a great job of lighting the entertainer (just had a bit of noise in the darker background). BTW, this is a shot from the “Ha: Breath of Life” show. Great stuff for the kids…

Night along the trail

So let’s say you take a trip to Hawaii and manage to hike out to where the lava meets the sea. Pretty spectacular, particularly at night:

Pele's workshop

But of course, you hiked there in the dark (likely) over near-black lava (certainly), and now you need to get back to your car, in the dark. Makes for a pretty tough scene unless you brought a flashlight. Luckily, though, most folks remember this little item of equipment (although you’d be surprised how many show up unprepared)

Once you’re back at the trailhead, you can take a long-exposure shot of the folks behind you on the trail:

Night along the trail

If you’re having trouble visualizing what’s going on, here’s a VERY STRETCHED shorter exposure shot from the same spot:

EB256989

Note that all the ground below the horizon is solidified lava flows, the sky is only visible here because I took this on a cloudy night. I’m still amazed at how much detail is visible in this frame…

Red alignment

We’ve got relatives in Arizona, so occasionally when we’re visiting we get an opportunity to drop in on some local attractions. On one trip I thought I’d experiment with a long-exposure nighttime shot of one of the telescope domes at Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory:

Red alignment

It’s odd, but once your eyes get adjusted to the lighting, you don’t particularly notice its red coloration.

City ablaze

One of the fun things about night shots is that you can get some interesting “free” effects from the different color temperatures used in street and building lighting. This is a shot of downtown Seattle, taken from the Space Needle late at night — shortly before they chased us all off the observation deck.

City ablaze.jpg

Here, the white balance is set to make the building lights look right — resulting in orange streets. I particularly like how the monorail line is silhouetted from beneath.

Originally posted to the old blog on May 5, 2009; on Flickr over here.