This last weekend the wife and boy were out of town which means I had plenty of time to paint the town HDR!  Don’t get me wrong I cherish the time with my family and would not trade it for the world, but sometimes it is nice to have 7 hours of free time to gallivant through the city snapping away brackets like there is no tomorrow!  For the first time in a long time I shot 5 and a half gigs worth of HDR brackets and textures.

Kansas City holds a lot of promise for great photo opportunities.  You know it is going to be a great day when the first shot you make turns out awesome (the shot of the VFW statue)!  I then shot the church which was an amazing work of art.  I went inside to get my first indoor church shot, it seems that is a necessity for any HDR photog.  I did not get a chance to shoot the interior as there was a wedding party moving in.  I headed to the fountain outside the Plaza at the most inopportune time 1:30 PM.  There was no competing with the sun, it made everything look horrible.  So I cut my losses and headed over to the nearby Nelson Atkins Museum.


I love being infiltrated with inspiration and it is so easy to in a museum.  I started in the painting section and it made me want to paint again.  I then went to the sculpture section and low and behold, it made me want to sculpt again.  So I finished off at the Photography section to get myself back into what Blake does now!  The Nelson Atkins Museum is a great way to kill time and best of all, it is free!  I have been to the MOMA in LA, the MOMA in San Francisco, and several other paid museums and I have to say… they have NOTHING on the Nelson Atkins Museum!  If you are ever in KC, this museum is a must!

I finished the day off at O’dowd’s, an Irish pub in the plaza, ate a fantastic meal and had an awesome talk with a stranger about movies, cameras and well life in general.  Thanks for the convo Rick!  I stepped outside and snagged a few shots of the fountain nearby and the bridge over the stream.  Kansas City is known for its fountains, many of which were functional stopping points for horses to grab a quick drink on their way through.  Now every building that is erected puts some kind of fountain on its foundation.  Looks like I am going to be busy shooting fountains!


Tip For The Week:

Don’t think that because it is overcast at 11:00 AM when you start shooting that it will remain that way until 1:30 PM.  Try to plan your shots around the early morning and late afternoon.  I am not saying wait for sunrise, sunset, the  “Golden Hour” or “Blue Hour” photographers that do that are limiting themselves to some awesome times to shoot.  However, it is very difficult to compete with the sun between the hours of 11 AM and 4 PM due to harsh shadows and highlight blow outs.  Between these times, the sun is usually directly over head and acts as a giant blinding spot light that casts harsh-hard shadows.  In the early morning and late afternoon the sun is at an angle and tends to cast longer-softer shadows.  I have several sun tracking Apps that make it very easy to judge the direction and angle of the sun, check out Sun Surveyor to get yourself started!

Also, Shooting In A Museum:

Museums do not allow you to shoot with a flash or use a tripod, and to top it off, they put near candle lighting in every room.  This makes it very difficult to get a decent shot of anything you want to document.  Try these tips next time you shoot in a museum:

  • Set the ISO high, as high as you can get away with without noise.  I set mine between 400 and 640, any higher than that on my E-30 and the noise gets out of control during tone mapping.
  • Set the f/stop to something wide, between f/2.8 and f/4.0.
  • Find something to brace yourself against if you can… a wall not a sculpture, the museum police don’t care for that sort of behavior!
  • If you are shooting for HDR, plant your feet in a stable position, bring your arms in tight to your chest, and control your breathing to a minimal exhale when you click away the brackets.  I call it the position of attack!
Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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