Busy Traveler

Busy traveler at the train station
Lady rushing to catch a train.
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/9 1/80 second ISO 1000 52mm
Aperture priority
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I paid a visit to El Paso’s Union Train Depot just looking for a photo opp. This lady was rushing by and I saw the picture. Traveler rushing by with people sitting an waiting for a train. I only had time to raise the camera, compose and click. No time for fancy adjustments and composing. Get the picture. As luck would have it I already took some pictures in the station and set the ISO at 1000. It all worked out great for a nice image.

A view from the far end.
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 18-300mm lens
f/9 1/30 second ISO 200 18mm

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The El Paso Union Depot is an Amtrak train station in El Paso, Texas, served by the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited. The station was designed by architect Daniel Burnham,[3] who also designed Washington D.C. Union Station. It was built between 1905 and 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

In addition to Amtrak service, the station is served by Sun Metro local buses at nearby stops. There has been intermittent talk of resurrecting streetcar service across the border to Ciudad Juarez since the last trolley rolled some thirty years ago.

The station’s office space are occupied by the Texas Tech College of Architecture, which opened in 2013. Sun Metro was formerly headquartered in the space until it moved in 2014. – Source Wikipedia


Broke Hungry Traveln

Homeless person
Random Homeless person. I think I woke him up as I walked by.

This guy’s sign got my attention. I was doing a walk around downtown El Paso when I passed by this guy. I was actually trying to find some interesting shots of a neighborhood called Duranguito. It’s an interesting battle between some activists and City Hall. City government is in the process of razing most of the neighborhood in order to build a multipurpose arena. There are charges, counter charges, lawsuits and lies on both sides of the issue. The undeniable truth is that Duranguito is a slum. There is nothing in Duranguito of any historic value. Common sense says, “burn the place down”. That’s how I feel. There are plenty of people that disagree with me and that’s fine. However, none of their arguments make any sense.
The one touchy issue for me is the use of eminent domain to kick people out of their homes. I’m not a lawyer but I know one thing. People on both sides of the issue lie their asses off. So this issue will probably be settled in court.


Old rundown building of no value
Soon to be demolished

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Target of opportunity

As I was making a U turn this guy popped out of the fire station.


I had just finished photographing the Pancho Villa Stash house and was making a U-turn to get on my way when this fire engine came roaring out of the fire station. I immediately reached for the Nikon D-7500 but I still had the Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye mounted on it. Of course I snapped the picture anyway. When I got home and looked at the image I almost tossed it because it was very small. I cropped it anyway, then polished it by sharpening the image, removing noise and removing the artifacs.
The moral of this story is:
What’s the best camera?
The answer is always, “The one you have with you.”

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Christmas Decorations

Christmas House
The Fred Loya House decorated for Christmas.

I was eager to test my film equipment, especially the Gossen Luna Pro in more difficult lighting conditons, so I headed out for the Loya House. I used the Pentax 67 medium format camera, Gossen Luna Pro light meter and Kodak Portra 400 film. All of it worked beautifully. I’ll be writing more about my adventures with film because I just got started with this medium.

I scanned the negative using my Epson Perfection V550 scanner. This is not the most expensive scanner by far but it does the job. I did buy different software for the scanner, because I thought the Epson app lacked a lot of capability. I got a package called Silverfast, which does a lot more as far as noise reduction and image optimization goes. The process is slow however, taking more than 2 1/2 minutes per image. That’s OK however since I don’t plan to do a lot of scanning. For those of you that have never scanned slides or negatives I have one word of advice. DON’T! Scanning is a time consuming, irritating pain in the butt. I have already started to order my developed film to be scanned by the developer. It’s just too big of a hassle for me. The developer I use is The Darkroom. You can google them if you like. Good service, good prices. I have also used Dwayne’s Photo Service with excellent results. The main difference I have found is The Darkroom provides a postage paid mailer.

There is one use for the scanner that is important to me. I have a shoebox full of old nagatives that go back to the 1920s all the way up to the 1970s. These I am scanning slowly, a few a day. More on that later.

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I went to this tattoo festival

man with tattooOne thing about tattoo festivals. If you are into photographing faces with character, then you are in the right place.

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Lila and I attended a tattoo festival that was wall to wall with interesting faces and people.

Shooting conditions won’t be prime but the interesting goings on more than make up for that.

Click on image for a better view

I used the Nikon D5000 with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens. No flash, so I set the ISO to 1600, f/5.6 at 1/20th with vibration reduction on. Since these photos will never be turned into any kind of prints, I figured I could get away with photographic murder so to speak. For photos that are to be displayed primarily on the net or from an IPOD type device this type of shooting is just fine. I do pay heed to the ultimate use of my images. If I think I will display them at a photo show or gallery then I go about taking the pictures in a different way.

radical hair style grossinger photographyClick on image for a better view

The action at this festival was both indoors and out. Sometimes I would follow a person outside and then go back in, as was the case here, so I snapped the picture with the same settings as the first one but at a shutter speed of 1/1250th. The nice thing about shooting with Nikons is I have no fear of high ISO numbers.

Beautiful woman grossinger photographyClick on image for a better view

This picture illustrates one of my guiding principles that I never break. When I see a beautiful woman I take pictures of her. End of story. I will ask and most of the time will get lucky and have the lady pose for me, as was the case here. It’s a crime against humanity to pass up a picture like this. Never pass up a shot like this!

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The House Of Red Neon

red neon joe grossinger advertising restaurant

I have been meaning to photograph this striking Chinese restaurant for months now. Every time I drive east on I-10 at night I see it just south of the freeway. This image is a 9-image HDR I created using a Nikon D90 camera with my favorite walk-around lens, the 18-200mm Nikkor ISO was 400. When photographing for HDR I like to be in aperture priority so that the depth of field does not change with the different exposures. I set the D90 to bracket 3 images at 2 f-stops apart. After those 3 images were taken I set the exposure compensation to -2 stops and then finally to plus 2 stops. That gave me a total of 9 images for a range of 18 f-stops. Using a steady tripod is an absolute must for this kind of photography. I use the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro with the Manfrotto 804RC2 head. For general photography, not using extremely heavy lenses, this is an excellent combination in price/performance. I also use this combination with the Sony A350 and Tamron 200-500mm lens with total satisfaction.

I always photograh with the camera set to RAW file mode. I process the RAW files using DXO Labs Optics Pro 6. DXO, which  does the heavy grunt work with the images and saves them in JPG format. I generally only work with JPG files and save the RAW files as my negatives. This procedure saves me an enormous amount of time and effort.

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grossinger photography red neon

This is a single image photo taken around the same time using the same equipment with the aperture set on 7.1 and .62 second shutter speed.

Click on image for a better view

Which picture is “better” comes down to a matter of personal taste. Lila likes the single exposure because in her words “it’s cleaner”, while I like the HDR for the tonal range. Lila has a valid point because in the second image many of the distracting elements such as cars and handicapped parking signs are subdued and hidden.

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More Speedway Photography

Bringing out the racer photograph grossinger photographyWhen I spotted this car being brought out from the top of the trailer I knew I had a funny caption. Of course the Barnett Harley-Davidson team was very professional and did not drop off the deep end.

Click on image for a better view

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I photographed this with the Nikon D5000 and my walk around lens, the Nikkor 18-200mm. ISO was 400 because this was late in the afternoon and with a lens aperture of f/9 I was able to shoot at 1/320th. The vibration reduction on the Nikkor comes in really handy for this kind of shooting.

dirt track racing photography grossingerClick on image for a better view

The races started around 7pm, so it was starting to get a bit dark. I took this picture with the Nikon D90 and set the ISO to 3200. I don’t worry much about high ISO settings with my Nikons because the noise even at ISO 3200 is very low. My advice is “don’t sweat the ISO – get the picture!” I was shooting with the 18-200mm vr Nikkor set on f/9 in aperture priority and that gave me a shutter speed of 1/500th. Some folks would choose shutter priority when shooting this kind of scene and that’s fine but I like to keep things simple and stay in aperture priority. If I want a faster shutter speed I simply go to a larger lens opening (smaller f/number). I could be perfectly happy if the only choice my camera gave me was aperture priority. The only other shooting mode I use is manual for my studio work.

grossinger photography dirt track racing Click on image for a better view

I was about 100ft or 30 meters from the action. See those mud balls on the cars? They were on me as well. It’s the price you pay. I was feeling a bit foolish about the mud balls but as I looked around there were about 10 other brave souls watching the race from this close distance and of course they were wearing mud balls as well but I was the only one taking pictures!

into the turn grossinger photography
Click on image for a better view

I snapped a lot of photos when groups of cars were in the turn, that seemed to give me the best action feeling.

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You just can’t beat a Nikon!

You just can’t beat a Nikon!

MIAMI – Paul Shultz was walking along the pier of a Key West marina when he saw what looked like a rotting tomato pounding against the rocks.

The Coast Guard investigator waded ankle-deep into the water to fish out the ocean rubbish: a bright red Nikon camera, small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. Its waterproof plastic case was covered with six months’ worth of crusty sea growth, but the camera itself was almost pristine when he found it May 16.
However, clues to tracking down its owner were few. So Shultz decided to test his investigative skills.
There were photos of two men preparing to scuba dive and a towheaded family nestled together on a couch. There was a mysterious relic settled deep into the sea floor. And even a puzzling video clip of splashing water that appeared to have been taken as the camera thrashed around under the control of something that wasn’t human.

“There was nothing on the pictures that said this camera belongs to so and so,” Shultz said.

After looking through the pictures, Shultz adopted the screen name of “Aquahound” and took his hunt online.

He uploaded the images on Scubaboard.com, hoping some diving aficionados could help identify where they were taken. Within days, the Internet sleuths had parsed the pictures and found some clues all pointing to Aruba, a Dutch island off Venezuela’s coast that’s 1,100 miles from Key West.

There was a plane’s tail number — and a computer search showed the aircraft was in Aruba the day the photo was taken. There was a blue-roofed building that searchers pinpointed to the island using Google Earth. And there was a school poster written in Dutch.

But could the camera make such a trip? Villy Kourafalou, an associate professor of physical oceanography at the University of Miami, said such an odyssey is possible. The buoyancy of the plastic case combined with various currents could have taken the camera to Key West, she told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

With Shultz’s search narrowed, the resolution came quickly. He posted the pictures on the travel websites Cruisecritic and Aruba.com, and within two days was contacted by an Aruban woman who said she recognized the children in some of the photos as classmates of her son.

She contacted the family, the de Bruins, and all the pieces came together.

“I have a smile on my face … I can’t stop laughing about it,” Dick de Bruin said in a phone interview from Aruba. “It’s really big news (on the island) and in Europe.”

De Bruin, a sergeant in the Royal Dutch Navy, has been stationed with his family in Aruba for three years. The camera floated away from de Bruin while he and a dive team were salvaging an anchor from the USS Powell for a World War II memorial. The American ship protected Aruba, a major oil producer, from German forces during the war.

“There’s a big connection between America and Aruba … first with the anchor, and now the camera brings us together again,” de Bruin said.

The camera is on its way to the de Bruin family via FedEx and should be there any day.

Shultz said he’s thrilled the story is ending well — for a brief moment when he first viewed the mystery video, he feared the camera’s owner had met a tragic end.

There was footage of the divers recovering the anchor, and then in the next video, “the camera started thrashing around and a fin came into the picture,” Shultz said. “Then 20 seconds in I realized there was no blood.”

The culprit: a hungry sea turtle trying to take a bite out of the floating camera in January, two months after it was lost. The camera’s leash apparently got caught on its flipper, and the animal’s splashing turned on the video camera. Shultz’s best guess is that the episode happened off the coast of Honduras.

That video clip has been seen more than 200,000 times on YouTube, with viewers everywhere from Alaska to Africa to Australia. It’s de Bruin’s favorite part of the whole story.

“When I told people what Paul had done, they were astonished. They didn’t believe it,” he said. “But we have the sea turtle on film proving the camera floated from Aruba to the U.S. It’s unbelievable, but it’s true.”

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E43sg-Ytt58

Photos from the camera: http://travel.webshots.com/album/577735131ZvBWTi

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Expect the unexpected photography opportunity

Expect the unexpected photography opportunity

click on image for a better view
I am not the kind of person that carries a camera everywhere they go. I generally don’t carry a camera unless I am going to a shoot or coming from one. I have a small point and shoot I never use. Basically, that kind of photography is not for me. However, when a photographic opportunity presents it’s self and I am packing cameras, then of course I have to see what can be photographed.
This house fire is a case in point. I arrived after the fire was put out, so I was left with looking around for something to shoot as it were. People shots are always interesting and everyone loves fire engines, so I decided to try and do some interesting shots of both. I parked my truck in an out-of-the way area and then walked up to the scene. That gave me some time to switch the gears in my head and start thinking about what I’m going to shoot.
When I encountered the group in the shot above I found the uniforms interesting and knew they would photograph well. So I just yelled at the group “smile” and took this shot with the Nikon D5000 and the 18-200mm vr lens. This is my favorite combination to photograph with. The lens was set to f/7.1, the shutter at 1/30th and ISO was a low 100.
I also had the Didymium photographic filter on the lens. I have been using that filter since April and it just stays on my lens instead of a UV filter. I love this “intensifier” filter! Check out the colors in this photo, especially the foliage. I did a post on this a while back. Check it out when you have the time. It’s not an easy filter to find, you might try Amazon.com, I that is where I got mine.
Anyway, I just walked around looking for interesting scenes like this:
click on image for a better view
Lots of color, lights and reflections.
I had fun doing this little shoot, nobody was hurt in the fire and fire departments from Horizon City, Socorro and El Paso County all took part and prevented a much larger fire.
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America’s first Thanksgiving – 23 years before the Pilgrims landed!

First Thanksgiving by illegal aliens no less!

Juan de Onate and his expedition of 500 on April 30, 1598 stumbled into the San Elizario, Texas area. They were out of food, water and at the end of their strength. When they arrived at the Rio Grande Don Juan de Onate held a Thanksgiving celebration.

Click image for a better view
The San Elizario Chapel is not a mission as most people believe, rather it served as a chapel for the fort the Spaniards built. The organizers of this reenactment of America’s first Thanksgiving did a fantastic job decorating the area right in front of the chapel. I took this picture with the Nikon D90 and the Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye. I love this lens! It offers so many choices when taking a picture.
ISO 200, 10mm, f/5.6, 1/2000th.
I decided to concentrate on faces for the most part since it’s really difficult to photograph and display a story line.
click on image for a better view
This guy is a member of the San Elizario Desperados, a reenactment group. They did a fantastic job entertaining the audience as you can see from this image.

This kind of picture is exactly what I was looking for. Lot’s of character and fun. The picture grabs your eyeballs and forces you to look.
I arrived at San Elizario one hour before show time. That gave me plenty of opportunities to walk around the plaza, and talk with the actors. I took a lot of pictures before the show but tossed most of them because of bad background. I wanted to stay as pure as possible, shooting authentic looking characters with authentic backgrounds. Getting to know the actors before showtime helped  because they would look my way and play to my camera during the show.
I took this image with the Nikon D5000 and the Nikkor 18-200mm lens. ISO 200 f/8, 1/320th 42mm.
The Nikkor 18-200mm was the workhorse of the day. With the exception of the first image showing the chapel, I shot everything else using the 18-200mm. This is a great “walk around” lens.

click on image for a better view
I photographed this beautiful young lady before the show and was lucky enough to catch her with a nice background. Of course I was flirting with her, that explains the beautiful smile. Shmoozing with the actors was really important because I wanted good pictures.
click on image for a better view
This handsome young man was actually sitting on a small pony. Shooting the boy with the pony in any kind of pose or background was impossible. I think every kid in San Elizario was crowded around him and his pony. I opted for shooting this image, which I thought cute.
click on image for a better view
Another member of the San Elizario Desperados. This image was also shot before the show began.
click on image for a better view
This beautiful Native Amrican woman was with the organizing officials. She took part in the opening ceremonies. To get a shot like this requires a bit of patience and staying focused on the subject until she is in the clear and has a nice bright smile. I did let her know that I was photographing her, so she could give me a quick pose.
Click on image for a better view
The most difficult problem with this kind of shoot is location. YOUR location. In order to get this shot I had to get in front of the crowd and just sit in the street. I moved around quite a bit trying for different angles and perspectives. I never stay in one location too long because the pictures then tend to become stale and static.
I had a great time and hope you enjoyed the pictures.
I am not a professional, I take pictures for the fun of it and let my cameras take me to beautiful places and interesting events.
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