Triceratops Skull

Dinosaurs down in Seymour!

Dimetrodon Sculpture at Whiteside Museum

SONY f/4.5, 1/1000 sec, ISO-400

This past Saturday, the boys and I traveled down to Seymour, TX, to visit the Whiteside Museum of Natural History or as it’s best known around here as the dinosaur museum.

Seymour is a town that has almost 2000 people in it. This place is true small-town Texas. So when you tell people there is a dinosaur museum down here, it really baffles them. The closest big city, Wichita Falls, is about 40 minutes away.

Once you realize this is literally the middle of nowhere, you come to a gravel parking lot with huge animals painted on the side of a building. This is the Whiteside Museum and home to the North Texas dinosaurs. The museum features animals in this area, including the dinosaurs that once roamed this area millions of years ago. You’re greeted by a Dimetrodon sculpture, the local dinosaur that made this place famous for paleontology digs. Don’t forget to take a picture with it, because it was made to be shared on social media.

Dimetrodon exhibit

SONY f/2.5, 1/400 sec, ISO-5000

Most museums I’ve seen with dinosaurs have favorites like the Stegosaurus or Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils. This museum had only the locals, which was surprising to me, that at one time, Tyrannosaurs Rex did roam this area. There is a giant skull located inside the exhibit as well as a replica head of how big they would have been.

Tyrannosaurus Rex Eye

SONY f/2.5, 1/640 sec, ISO-5000

I think what most impressed me was how the exhibits were set up. Everything looked state-of-the-art without being state-of-the-art. Small lighting tricks and great use of space make this place look bigger than it is. This doesn’t take away from the experience either. The amount of fossils available to you to view is astounding. Some stuff you’d only expect to see in a major museum, but here they were right in front of you.

There are also models of the dinosaurs, with many having hair to emphasize the newer interpretations of these giants beasts. Personally, my favorite was looking at the Triceratops skull.

Tyrannosaurus Rex and other dinosaurs

SONY f/2.5, 1/640 sec, ISO-5000

The place is great for kids too. Both of my boys enjoyed the experience. My oldest son is really into dinosaurs right now, so he was in a trance the whole time he was there.

We went on a weekend, and there were a couple of places that looked closed, such as the area where they clean up after the digs. There is glass around there, so you can watch them working, but no one was there on a Saturday. They’re also working on a new exhibit that will be about skulls.

Triceratops Skull

SONY f/1.8, 1/250 sec, ISO-5000

Aside from the dinosaurs, they also have local animals like iguanas, horned lizards, and turtles in exhibits to see what real-life reptiles look like. Walking into another exhibition are animals from Texas. You start at the front of the museum with the dinosaurs and then travel through time to the current animals that are alive in our time. 

If you do go, you can see everything in about an hour. There are admission prices, so keep that in mind as well. There is also a gift shop in the front that has a lot of hard-to-find dinosaurs. Overall, it was fun to learn about dinosaurs that roamed around the North Texas area, the boys, and I call home.

Triceratops Skull

SONY f/2.5, 1/250 sec, ISO-5000

Underneath the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge

Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/18, 3 secs

I’m finally back to blogging. After being away for a while and trying to find my way back into the world of photography, I’m here and promise to put more stuff up. I’m back in the Corpus Christi area. After college, I found a job down here and am having a great time living in a city again. I loved West Texas, but for a night photographer, the city lights are a playground. You will be seeing more stuff from Corpus Christi in future posts. I have two pictures in this post. Hope they satisfy you for now.

The Harbor Bridge is the iconic landmark in Corpus Christi. A couple of years ago they re-lit it with LED lights and now it looks as beautiful as ever. Normally you take shots of it from the front, but I’ve done that so many times, I wanted to try something different. The great thing about this area, is that it has easy access and there isn’t much traffic. If you are in the area, I highly suggest you take a stroll down here and snaps some shots at night.

I used a sturdy tripod and I suggest you put some weights or have something that can block the wind because you feel that good-old Texas breeze here and it’s no joke. Of course I used the clarity tool in post-processing to help out with the little bit of movement I did have. It wasn’t much, but I love the new tool from Lightroom. I did leave some of the light trails from the lighting around, because I liked it and it reflected my own personal style.

Since my tripod has a ball-head, I positioned it horizontal to get a different look. The bridge does change colors and since it is silver, the colors respond differently with the sky. It’s industrial down here, so you have a lot of ambient light that gives an orange glow in the sky. I focused on the pink, purple and blue lighting to bring out the best in the Harbor Bridge. Of course, try different colors, but I found those to work best for me. I also suggest white balancing the bridge with the tungsten setting. It makes it easier to get the natural colors you want.

So next time you are here, try shooting the bridge on a different angle. Until next time, keep shooting!

Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/18, 3 secs

Scenic View of January travels…

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/1000 sec

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/1000 sec

I have not blogged in over a month. It has been a crazy few months for me, as far as getting ready to move and planning for a wedding. So hopefully a few eye-catching images will make up for my blogging absence.

And per request, I am starting to put my data file on the image. I don’t think you were able to see it before, but now instead of me saying it in the blog and confusing everyone to death, I’ll just put it under the picture.

The Christopher Columbus statue underneath the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge is a gorgeous statue. It’s kind of hidden away in a nice area of Corpus Christi I had never seen. There was a lot of construction in that area for the longest time, so I avoided it. It seems that all of the construction is officially finished and it offers a nice scenic view of the bay and under the Harbor Bridge. If you are in the area, it’s a good place to take some shots of your visit to Corpus Christi. There is plenty of parking and it is right next to the Museum of Science and Natural History.

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1000 sec

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1000 sec

Near by, I was also able to take a few pictures of the Heritage Village. I have done a few photo shoots here, including my most recent back in August. This is a nice place for pictures. If you need family portraits or senior portraits, this place offers a number of background options. And if you are not satisfied with those, there are plenty of other places close by that offer just as many backgrounds.

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec

Nikon D90, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec

In the midst of all my travels in Corpus Christi, I also payed a visit to Rockport, Texas. Rockport is about a 30 minute drive from Corpus Christi and is a small coastal community that centers around fishing and shrimping. It also has a large art culture. I went there to work on wedding stuff, as our reception will be at the Texas Maritime Museum. This is a beautiful building and I wish I would have taken more photographs, but here is one to check out. Anyone in the area, I urge you to visit this place and admire the gorgeous architecture of the building.

Nikon D90, ISO 800, f/13, 2.5 sec

Nikon D90, ISO 800, f/13, 2.5 sec

And finally, here is an image of the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. I had to take a picture for work, to use in advertisements for an event we are having here in February. I got a great shot on a Sunday evening with the hustle and bustle of people going back and forth from the historic hotel. I was also blessed with a deep blue sky, which are normally my favorite natural backgrounds to use.

Of course the challenge was lighting everything evenly, and it still is darker at the top, but I think I got some great light out of the photo as a whole.

The Wichita Theatre!

Wichita Falls Theatre - A J L 3 Photography

Had some fun this weekend shooting in Wichita Falls, Texas. We went to the theatre downtown and I was able to snap some pictures since the houselights were on. Rarely does this happen in Wichita Falls when ever I visit. Normally, the lights are off, so this was a big hit to get all the lights on.

We were able to take pictures across and under the Wichita Theatre Performing Arts Centre. The above picture of the theatre was where the entrance used to be, but since it is not used anymore they just turn the lights on when there is a performance. The building right next to the actual theatre has been converted into a theatre itself and combined with the old one. This allows for more space and a bigger crowd.

Wichita Falls Theatre - A J L 3 PhotographyOn the left, you can see an above view of the theatre with the sign slightly cut off. It reads ‘Wichita’ in neon letters that change colors. A lot of this has some LED’s installed giving it a newer look. You can still see where all the old tiles and theatre setting are and what has been retouched. For most part it is still looking like the original theatre.

It was a fun shoot, and I’m glad I’ve finally been able to get the lights with this beautiful theatre. It has been a long waiting game. Let me know what you think of the photos in the comments. Also, below is the last photo of a larger image of what the theatre looks like. Overall this theatre design looks retro, but feels brand new. It’s a great contrast to all the old buildings in the city.

Wichita Falls Theatre - A J L 3 Photography

Garage shoot set for the evening…

Selena Photo Shoot - AJL3 Photography

This past Thursday, I met up with Selena, one of the local models in San Angelo. Along with my friend Jason Archer, another local photographer with an impressive knowledge of photography, we set out to one of the seldom used parking garages. This one is partly abandoned and the bottom is used for public parking.

The above photo is of a lighting set up we arranged near the entrance to the garage away from any oncoming traffic. We busted out the Alienbees for this particular shoot. I used the PLM system and Jason used a beauty dish and a blue gel set up. We synced our connections and started taking pictures.

Since it is already dark in the parking garage, we have a good control on how the lighting will look like. Except for a few openings, the majority of the parking garage has very little light coming in.

Selena Photo Shoot - AJL3 PhotographyAs you can see towards your left, we positioned Selena at some particular angles to get some nice catch light from the sun rays setting around the garage. We exposed for the lighting behind us and then used the rest of the fill light to light up Selena accordingly.

This is a rather easy set up. With the PLM system, we set one Alienbee right on top of her, to give her hair a natural shine and to cover up any shadows from the left. With the beauty dish with an AlienBee, that was facing on the other side of Selena opposite the PLM system. This gave her the soft light and glow on her dress.

Of course make sure you adjust accordingly with the sun setting, we lost light a lot faster being in an inclosed space.

The last picture below is one of my favorites. We had Selena pose for us leaning down and then with just using the beauty dish gave her a shadow that glowed towards one part of her face. The PLM system was shooting away in the distance giving her some rim light. The blue gel gave off a hint of more blue in the photograph, for a darker and mysterious feel.

I did have the trouble of her eye looking too much like a cat, so instead of Selena looking at me, I had her look away, allowing the other white part of her pupil to be seen and it looking a lot more natural.

And as you see in the picture below, since the sky in the background was already going dark, it was a better choice to go with a faster shutter speed to make sure we had a good sharpness on Selena since half of her body would be in the shadows.

Of course I would like to thank both Jason and Selena for working with me on this photo shoot. It was nice working on a personal project. Let me know in the comments what you think of these photos.

Selena Photo Shoot - AJL3 Photography