Have a Magical Night!

Have a Magical Night

I photographed this last night at the Magic Kingdom and thought you all might enjoy it :)  Someone said there was some Super Bowl thing going on, but from what I heard about the score, you might as well have been playing minecraft (you might have been better off playing minecraft anyway ;))

By the way, you can checkout my photographing fireworks tutorial to read up on how to create images like these; fireworks can be intimidating at first, but can be one the most straight-forward subjects to shoot (once you get the hang of them).  You’ll need a couple of things (like a good tripod) and, if you can afford it, a remote trigger (I use an radio trigger, but just a simple wired one will do the trick).

I say all this then have to tell you that all I did yesterday was shoot handheld: camera, lens, that’s it.  While I normally do carry a tripod with me,  I wasn’t really planning on shooting the fireworks yesterday.  The plan was to be home pretty early, but time can run away from you when you’re having a bit of fun!

Have a magical night!

The Crew of the Challenger: STS-51L


Left to Right: Mission Specialist, Ronald McNair, Payload Specialist, Gregory Jarvis, Teacher in Space Participant, Christa McAuliffe. Directly behind them: Mission Specialist Judy Resnik and Mission Specialist, Ellison Onizuka.

January and Early February are a somber time for NASA.  The Apollo 1 fire occurred on January 27th, the Challenger was lost on January 28th, and the Columbia on February 1st.  I can’t imagine this time of the year for the those at NASA who worked with the astronauts lost furthering our knowledge of ourselves and the cosmos.

Two years ago, with this on my mind, I created a tribute to the crew of Apollo 1 – some part of me wanted to say “we remember you”.  My hope was to bring the crews, their memories, and their images into today.  This year, I decided to do the same for the Challenger and Columbia’s crews.

I try to find behind-the-scenes images of the crews and do not normally choose press photos.  Unfortunately, finding source images, especially those of good quality which communicate the crew members’ personalities, is not always easy.  Once I have the image(s), I take them into Photoshop and Lightroom for noise reduction, sharpening, tonal changes, and cropping.  I also add my own small, but restrained, artistic touch to the source material(s).

For the Challenger crew, I started with the first image above taken during an emergency egress exercise 20 days prior to launch. The image resonated with me, but the original was quite poor and it did not show the full crew.  I couldn’t, in good conscience, publish it alone.  I very much wanted the whole crew to be represented, hence the second image.  While it is a press photo, I do feel the personalities of the crew come across.


From the back row, left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair.

The before/unedited images Courtesy of NASA.

Ali_Elhajj_STS-51L Crew


Jordan River Egret Paintography

Ceiling of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building

This may look like the death star, but it’s the ceiling of NASA’s VAB. The building is over 500 feet in height (that’s over a football feel high!). In the image below, you’ll see me setting up and taking the shot.

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The interior of the Orlando Convention Center provided an attractive collection of shapes that I had to photograph.  I don’t think this photo could have worked had I chosen to perfectly expose the walls and the glass.  

Living Ghosts

Who says your images always have to be in focus, or that they can’t have blown out areas in them?  This image is was shot on the move at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

I like the surreal nature of it and how it breaks just about every photography rule.  Enjoy :) 

Photographer’s Weekly Hangout: Photowalks & Fireworks

First Episode of Photographer’s Weekly Hangout on Google+ with co-host Shane Srogi (http://primallens.com).  This was our first episode and we had a few hiccups, but all in all a great discussion. Many thanks to Keith Barrett from KeithBarrett.tv for livestreaming and to all the folks who stopped by:

Christina Rollo – check out her work at http://rollo-christina.artistwebsites.com/

Bob Rolfe for his sage wisdom that comes from years of experience. Welcome him into your photographers circle.   http://www.rj-imaging.com/

Michael Riffle for discussing his world photo walk weekend experience and making time between work and a school function. Good luck shooting in Utah! http://500px.com/mikeriffle

Dirk Heindoerfer for sharing his experience shooting and living in Taiwan with a European eye. http://500px.com/dheindoerfer

Jim Davis for hopping in and talking about how G+ has connected the photographic community. Best of luck with the show tonight. Check out Photohangouts Tuesdays at 6:30pm EST.  http://500px.com/JimDavisPhotography

Robert Jones for talking about your fashion work. Check out his site http://bobjonesphoto.net/

Darcy O’Doherty Flaming headphones need I say more! Thanks for dropping in.

Camel at the Dead Sea

As I’ve been working to prepare for the the The Bethlehem Christmas Project, I started thinking of some of the images I have collected over the years during my time on the ground. Some of them are poignant and some are whimsical like this one. I plan on posting a few here and there as we get closer to December.

The one you see here is of a camel at the Caves of Qumran (the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found). At the time, I was shooting with a Rebel XTI and an EF 75-300 lens – that lens died on that trip. This is one of the last images I was able to shoot with it.

By the way, if you can zoom in, you will see flies on the camel and buzzing around him. The downsizing for getting this on the web obscures them to a certain degree, but they are there.

Alone Through the Storm

Today’s Photo was shot the same day I shot the Winter Garden Water Tower just as a storm was moving in. It’s a 3 exposure HDR with some tweaks in topaz adjust.By the way, I’m in Jacksonville, FL as I write this and tomorrow will be St. Augustine. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post, but will definitely try.

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