My Last Several Months

Over the last six months, I may not have been taking many creative images, but I have been shooting. Shooting what, you say? I had the privilege of taking an engagement photo shoot, then the subsequent wedding. Following that came multiple assignments of architectural photography. Squeezed in between, I still managed to take a trip or two downtown also.

I don’t typically do weddings. Not because I can’t deliver a technically good set of images, but wedding photography takes a good eye, the ability to adapt and solve problems on the fly, all while being creative and staying calm under pressure. The several I’ve shot have all turned out well and the clients seemed pleased. But simply put, they’re just a little stressful. With more practice, I’m sure I would relax and enjoy them for the creativity that they can afford. I have a lot of respect for those photographers that make their living that way.

I have shot architectural photography off and on over the years, but only recently have been able to photograph these subjects more often. Shooting inside mostly, the goal is to deliver an image where the client wants to spotlight certain aspects of the room or equipment. It might be unique overhead lighting, wall panels, built-in cabinets and such. While not as fast paced as a wedding, it still has its challenges and rewards.

Below is just a small sample of the variety of assignments recently.

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Houston Police Officer Memorial

The Houston Police Officer Memorial is a public recognition of the sacrifices made by police officers as they carry out their duties and, in particular, those who have died in the line of duty.  The central pyramid rises 12 ½ feet above ground level, and the four outer pyramids are inverted to sink 12 feet into the ground. Every pyramid base is 40 feet square.

The night we visited there, it was bathed in very bright blue lights from tall poles on the four corners. It made any kind of shot from a distance pretty difficult. I had to hide the light opposite of me behind the Memorial itself. The challenge here was balancing the brightness of the structure with the skyline of Houston in the background. The Memorial is located close to Eleanor Tinsley Park on Memorial Drive. If you’re lucky, you can get one of the only four parking spots available.

 

Houston Police Officer Memorial

Uptown Downtown

Walking around at night offers you a chance to view things in a totally different light. Pun intended. As exciting as it is to view downtown Houston during the day, you really have only experienced half the view.

At night, buildings light up and while other areas go dark, offering a stark contrast of color and shadow. Here, a sleek black limo waits outside of a colorful Houston City Hall for someone lucky enough to have a nice ride for the evening.

 

Houston From Above

I have always loved mountains. I suppose it’s their size and grandiose nature of them. But, alas, I have never lived in a state where I could enjoy them. Sure, I’ve traveled and visited folks that live near or on them, but those limited visits are just not enough.

The next best thing around my area is the great skyline that Houston has to offer. A great skyline is something to take in, especially at night. Last year, one of my daughters and I went downtown and visited the Chase Tower. It has a great observation area on the 60th floor to enjoy a great view of Houston from above.

Since I have never worked in an office building downtown, it felt strange looking down on the city for a change. The visit if free, but only open during regular business hours, so unfortunately no sunset shots here.

Houston from Above, by Tim Stanley

Looking West, by Tim Stanley

A Dinosaur Panorama

One area of photography that camera phones have made easy are panoramic images. Creating one using a traditional camera yields much higher quality images, but takes considerable more effort. You have to use a tripod to steady the camera, take multiple images, then stitch them together using computer software.

As part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Pixel Party, I was able to shoot a panorama in the Morian Hall of Paleontology. It’s a great place take in the large exhibits of dinosaurs many of us dreamed of as kids.

This is a partial of the original image. I had to crop out a portion on the left, only because the head of the brontosaurus was backlit by a large ceiling light and couldn’t be seen. When shooting, it was dark and hard to see fine details on the camera’s small viewfinder, but next time, I’ll have to pay closer attention.

Though it may not appear that large on this blog, be assured that panos have more detail than a single prints. In this case, the original file is over 18,700 pixels wide, meaning it would make a great large wall print.

 

A pano of the Morian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Photo by Tim Stanley

Rising from the Wortham

Downtown on a crisp, winter’s evening is a great time to walk around and look for that perfect skyline shot. On this particular trip, my good friend and fellow photographer, David Morefield and I had parked downtown in the theater district and set about looking for a good angle. The leafless trees provided an interesting frame for this scene, along with the colorful lights on the Wortham Center and the downtown buildings.

I had just managed to take a few images when David informed me that he wasn’t feeling very well and would have to cut our excursion short. So, we packed up and headed home. Though our evening ended abruptly, I’m pleased with what I was able to capture. Besides, it just gives us an excuse to get together and go shooting again.

 

The leafless trees provided an interesting frame for this scene, along with the colorful lights on the Wortham Theater Center and the downtown Houston skyline. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

The Aero L-39 Albatros

Half the reason I enjoy going to the Aeros and Autos show at Ellington Field in Houston, are the airplanes of course. My only complaint is that I wish there were more of them; plenty of awesome cars, just add a few more airplanes, please.

The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia. More than 2,800 L-39s have served with over 30 air forces around the world and the Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world.

This 1986 Aero L-39ZA Albatros is a great example and looks like it would be a blast to fly.

 

The L-39 Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world. Photo by Tim Stanley