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2013 Memorial Day

This is another statue I photographed just recently.  I love photographing statues especially since they make some of the best HDR (High Dynamic Range) subjects.  The rich texture and fine details of these statues produce some very cool images.  This eagle statue is located in the center of Ridgewood.  Truth be told, I have probably passed it a thousand times but never noticed it.  However, when returning to the car I noticed all the memorial wreaths that were placed below.  I looked up and saw this statue and knew I had to photograph it.  I did not have much time at all to do this.  My wife was getting my our two children into the car and I had probably about three minutes to get the shot.  Normally for HDR you need a tripod because you are trying to capture three exposures and you do not want the camera to move.  Being it was sunny and setting up the tripod would take more than two minutes, I did without it.  I change the lens to a telephoto (70-200 mm) and adjusted the settings so the longest exposure was 1/250 of a second (at an aperture of 5.6).  I tried to stay as still as possible and knew that any small amount of movement could be taken care of in an HDR program or Photoshop.

I have posted three images.  The first one is the final version (the sepia colored one).  The other two are earlier versions.  The last image is the RAW, unprocessed and provides you with an idea of what I was initially working with.  Keep in mind that when I decided to do this image in HDR, I took three shots (under-exposed, over-exposed, and the correct exposure).  The last image is the correct exposure.  Being that I was at a low angle and there wasn’t time for me to scout a new location, I knew the eagle was going to look distorted.  After combining the three exposures and making some simple adjustments (exposure, color, etc.), I used some of the tools in Photoshop CS6 (lens correction and transform-warp) to fix the distortion.  The second image is the near complete version in color.  I did make some adjustment after converting it to sepia.  For instance, the tree shadows on the column were not as noticeable in the color version but when I converted it sepia it became glaring.  So there you have it.  Took me probably about 40 minutes to get the image to its final version.  I think the final version looks like an illustration you would find on a dollar.  Hope you enjoy it!

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New York City Tribute Lights 09/11/2012

This is one of my favorite images from last year.  As you can probably guess from the Tribute Lights this was taken on 09/11/12.  I regret I never got an earlier opportunity to post them but it was the beginning of a new school year and I got wrapped up with other obligations.  So a little background on these images.  They were taken in Jersey City, NJ from the top of one of my best friend’s apartment building.  I had been there previous times and thought taking some pictures from his roof might produce some interesting results.  I got there about half and hour before sundown and I thought that was when I would get some of my coolest images.  I was so wrong.  There was just too much light and you could barely see the Tribute Lights despite the unique colors sundown has to offer.  Most of these images were taken approximately an hour after sunset.  My friend suggested that I relocate to his neighbors’ roof patio to capture more of Jersey City.  Amazing suggestion.  The first image is my favorite.  I used a long exposure to create a trail of lights from the passing cars on the street below.  What I really love about the trail is that it leads the eye right to the Tribute Lights.  The bright blues and yellows just makes it pop.  I am still not sure what the red swirling object is around the Tribute Lights but I like it.  All these images were long RAW exposures.  No high-dynamic-range (HDR) or blending of various exposures.  For the post-processing, I used Photoshop CS6 to remove any small marks or blemishes and repaired any distortion caused by the lens.  I then pushed the image into Nik’s Color Efex 4 and used my own special recipe to amplify detail and increase saturation.  The only major setback occurred when I was on the roof and I realized I forgot my ball-head (connects the camera to the tripod) at home.  I could still attach the camera to the tripod but I was limited to a horizontal position. Ultimately I would like to print out this first image on aluminum (probably use Image Wizard, who is far and away produce the best metal prints I have ever seen).  Enjoy and share!

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Iron Man Illustration

Finally had time to finish off this illustration from quite some time ago.  I drew it out in my sketch book, scanned it, digitally inked it, and colored it.  I had it practically completed about a year ago but had to add in some final touches.  My father owns an iron work business so I figured it would be fun to create a character based on this.  Although this is by no means my most favorite piece I have ever done, I do like the result.  Hope you like it too!

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Introducing Gavin Grey Russo

Here are just a few images of the newest addition to the family.  Gavin Grey was born on March 30, 2013 at 11:41 PM (21 minutes before Easter). He weighed in at 7 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long.  He is in great health and my wife is slowly but surely recovering. Cole loves his new brother but we are still practicing “being gentile” with him.  I had a few people wonder how I got so lucky to get some pictures of Gavin smiling while sleeping.  That was no luck.  I waited there 10-15 minutes with the camera to my eye.  Of course, minutes before I decided to do this he was smiling up a storm.  When I got the camera, two clear smiles in 15 minutes.  I don’t care, I am just loving every minute of it!

 

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Captain America Illustration

Captain America created completely in Photoshop and inspired by a Jim Lee illustration

This is a Captain America picture inspired by a specific piece of Jim Lee artwork.  The funny thing about this piece is that it just started out with his shield last year.  When the Captain America film came out last year, I was inspired to create a simple piece in Photoshop.  I figured how hard could the shield be to create.  By the time I completed the shield, I was pretty satisfied with the outcome and decided to push it a little further.  Last summer, I started working on this piece but once the school year started I just got too busy to complete it.  Well I had enough time to finally finish it off and I am loving the results.  The entire image was created in Photoshop using filters, the pen tool, and countless layers.  No idea how long it took me to create this image but I would guess over 20 hours.  The final copy is also much higher quality than the one I am posting.  I am contemplating about getting it printed and eventually framed depending on how the printed version looks.  Hope you enjoy the image!  I have already started my next image of a 1950s pinup girl which I am only about 50% completed with.  Hopefully I will complete the new piece before the end of the summer.

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