Wreckage (The plane is not forgotten and it is anything but untouched.)

Wreckage on a distant shore.

Wreckage on a distant shore.

The images of this iconic fuselage that sits on one of Iceland’s black sand beaches has haunted me for years. I first seen this photo of this wreckage years ago and In doing recent research for exotic photography locations, I keep seeing it pop up in my searches.

Although it is called by many names and it really seems to have no official name the wreckage of a (and I quote) “Douglas Super DC-3 airplane lies hollow and forgotten on a deserted black beach in Iceland – untouched since it crashed more than four decades ago.” Actually that statement is far from true. The plane is not forgotten and it is anything but untouched. It has been the focus of several fashion shoots and of recent it is one of the top exotic wedding photography locations in the world. I was recently reading an article about these exotic locations and again I seen this wreckage and that gave me the idea to acquire a high-resolution copy of the wreckage and give it a work up in Photoshop. I made it a little weekend project and I actually worked on some Photoshop techniques that I hadn’t used in a while. Photoshop for me is a lot like playing an instrument; If you do not keep at it you will soon forget what you have learned.

This image will be put to large-scale print for future sale as I do from time to time. This would certainly make a nice 16 x 24 inch print or larger. But I still have to fine tune it.

So for those who are wondering this is a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 that crash landed on or about November 23, 1973. I say “on or about” because there are some discrepancies in the details around the reason and the date. Some articles say it was put down due to “icing” and that the pilot chose the openness of the black sand beach, while other articles mention fuel calculation errors. Being a military plane I would like to believe the first story of “too much ice.” Either way all crew members survived and the Navy chose not to recover the plane. It seems that everybody who writes about the plane tells a tale of how hard the wreckage location is to find. And I find this very hard to believe, with tools like Google Earth and a good GPS unit you can drive right to it. The actual location is 63.459523,-19.364618. https://youtu.be/LwBDzMFVbnA

Thanks so much for reading.

Pavilion of The Enlightened (literally a maze of walkways over the water.)

Pavilion of The Enlightened located in Ancient Siam City, Bangkok Thailand.

Pavilion of The Enlightened located in Ancient Siam City, Bangkok Thailand.

He we see an image of the Pavilion of The Enlightened located in Ancient Siam  also known as Ancient City. Ancient Siam is a 200 acre outdoor museum located in the Samut Prakan province of Thailand and is a photographer’s paradise. Pavilion of The Enlightened is #110 on the Ancient Siam map for those who are looking to put it on their photography list. My visit there was in December 2014 the last day of my trip and what an amazing day it was. Sadly I took so many photos I could not edit them all, but this was also a good thing, because I every so often pull a set of RAW files out and run them through Photoshop’s HDR Pro and have some fun.

This photograph was a seven bracket HDR and it was shot towards the end of the day. I had rented a golf cart for the day and as I was approaching the Pavilion I was once again taken by the amazing scene, the colors are mostly Green & Yellow and the whole structure sits above the water. Although I captured many angles I really feel I did not capture the best angle of the structure and this would be due in part that I was tired and just plain wore out from not only the day of shooting, but also from my whole trip. I had been in Thailand for about a month and I was looking forward to going home.

My visit to Ancient Siam was a last-minute “on a whim” visit and I did not know what I was in for. When I arrived I almost did not rent a golf cart, thinking I could use the exercise, but in a moment of clarity I thought “hey wait a minute… if there are golf carts here then they are here for a reason.” If you ever visit and your there for photography please take my advise and rent the cart, no matter what your physical shape you’ll be glad you did because the place is huge. I really do not remember any other place I have ever been to shoot for “just the fun of it” and actually got tired of shooting amazing structures. After a while I was saying to myself “ok, I’m done this is the last one and then I would round the corner on the cart… OMG look at this, I just have to get shot of this. Yeah it really was a lot of fun.

There are basically three styles of structures Replicas of Original, Reconstructed Original and Creative Design. The Pavilion of The Enlightened is a creative design and is literally a maze of walkways over the water.

Prayers for Paris (However I know they will never forget what hatred has done.)

Please Pray for Paris

Please Pray for Paris

It is a time of crisis in a city that is so loved for its history, beauty and culture. The city and it’s country are feeling a pain that us Americans know all too well. I have family (by way of my wife) and friends in France, although none in Paris. It is a time for prayer and mourning and in time the people of France will heal. However I know they will never forget what hatred has done.

Autumn Walkway ( just driving up & down Princeton using my computer until I found it.)

Hand held HDR of a walkway in Princeton New Jersey in the autumn.

Hand held HDR of a walkway in Princeton New Jersey in the autumn.

I really like this image I captured this morning while traveling through Princeton New Jersey with my wife. I like the image, but it could be better. Truth be told I did tweak the yellow just a little in Photoshop and the photo is a “hand held” HDR. For those who are not photography geeks should know an HDR image is most times captured using a tripod and it is a combination of under exposure, normal exposure and over exposure images all merged in Photoshop.

So why not use a tripod? And why do I not love the image? Like most landscape images you never really capture the “wow” factor the first time out to the location and this time was no different. I want to capture the day when there is a carpet of yellow leave blanketing the ground. So because it was not at its peak moment I decided to take a quick photo by hand holding the camera.

I first saw this location posted on a photo site three years ago and the caption read “Princeton Sidewalk.” I am familiar with Princeton because I live not far from there and I knew at some point I had walked past this place, but I could never really remember where it was. I used Google Earth Street View to actually locate it. And believe me that was not easy. I spent three different sessions on Google street view just driving up & down Princeton using my computer until I found it. And of course when I did find it, it was a big DUH!

So I will head back to the location in a few days for a second chance.

 

Photo of The Day (Thai Tractor/Truck)

Farm truck. 1/200 sec f/3.5 ISO 160 168mm

Farm truck. 1/200 sec f/3.5 ISO 160 168mm

I love this image and more so I loved capturing this image. It was late day and the sun was going down so most likely this man and his son are heading home from a hard day’s work. I was heading home too, we had been on the road for almost the whole day, traveling around photographing temples and other places. On the ride back I opted for riding in the back of the pickup truck because I knew I could get some nice shots of something… and I did.

A Day At the Iconic Steel Stacks (If it said “Bethlehem Steel” it was made by “real” American workers.)

Five Bracket HDR f/16 ISO 50 75mm

Five Bracket HDR f/16 ISO 50 75mm

 

I spent several hours out at the “Steel Stacks” in Bethlehem Pennsylvania yesterday. It was actually quite an interesting day. When I left my home in New Jersey to make the 50 minute drive I had blue sky with lots of big white fluffy clouds. And having used my sun calculation app I knew I could get some really nice late day shots with dramatic skies. I arrived early so I could walk around and check things out. I was disappointed to see that as I arrived the sky tuned to just a clear blue with no clouds at all. Blue is good, but blue with those high white clouds would have been so much better.

In my travels trekking around the plaza I met up with a video crew shooting a cooking show for world-renowned Austrian chef Erwin Cooks. With him was Philadelphia musician Alex Meixner. Erwin is in the Lehigh Valley filming a cooking show and Alex was providing music for the show. Really nice guys as were the crew members I had talked with earlier in the day. We exchanged social media links and websites before we parted.

I also met a wonderful lady from Australia who had lived in Bethlehem when she was six years old. Now at 56 years old she comes back to visit Bethlehem and was really happy to see the Stacks still standing. Her father was an engineer who worked in Bethlehem. She was very awe-struck to see one of her father’s friends in a historical photo posted at the Steel Stacks. We had a great conversation and she too got to meet and talk with the chef and musician.

So as the sun was fading and the even light was quickly approaching I left our friendly get together and set out to capture what I came for. Sadly enough I did not capture what I wanted and that was to get the stacks with a dramatic sky. Sure I could Photoshop it in but I wanted something organic. The good news is… I get to go back another day.

For those who do not know the Steel Stacks of Bethlehem are an iconic reminder of how great the USA once was when it came to manufacturing raw materials and the power of engineering. These stacks and this foundry produced raw iron & steel that literally built the USA and the world. These stacks saved us from the perils of WWI & WWII… These stacks represent what the USA used to be “hard working people that produced something great” not pansy pencil pushers or keystroke smackers that we have become. If it said “Bethlehem Steel” it was made by “real” American workers.

A Romantic Tale (young, free, adventurous and traveling the world with a female companion… taking photographs all along the way.

Istanbul circa 1974

Istanbul circa 1974

Now that it is complete I would like to share with you a project that I had worked on for another photographer. Harvey Davidowitz had asked me back in February of 2014 if I would like to edit some black & white images he was having problems with. At first I thought they were digital. When I received the files I realized that this was going to be a photo restoration project. While the images I received were in digital form they were actually scans of black and white prints from years gone by. Some images had problems with scratches, bends in the paper and more, and because the end result was that they were going to print in a book they all needed to be somewhat close in they’re toning.

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While I have done photo restorations in the past I never really had to worry about toning a whole set of images to be the same. This was not out of the realm of my Photoshop skills, but it was daunting nonetheless.

The book: Harvey has quite an interesting story to tell with his images.

The year is 1973-74 and Harvey takes two huge overseas trips, the second of which is the chance of a lifetime trip. Receiving an offer to work for the assistant dean of Chapman University’s World Campus Afloat, it was an around world educational cruise. Having a boss who would not let him take a leave of absence Harvey just quit his job as a pharmacist and became a passenger. And being a photographer he brought a darkroom with him. He packed a darkroom in a suitcase and away he went.

Now I have heard most of his story told to me in person and it really is a romantic tale, to be young, free, adventurous and traveling the world with a female companion… and taking photographs all along the way. Truly is a dream for anyone. Now cut to decades later Harvey decides he would like to produce a book of these images and he asked me for technical help.

So today much to my surprise I reached in the mailbox and pulled out a package… hummm I did not order anything? It was like Christmas morning when I opened the package and seen a fresh copy of the book with a personal message hand written inside the front cover. Very touching and so nice to see Harvey’s project complete.

See Harvey’s color images at https://harveyd.smugmug.com/

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Photo of The Day (It doesn’t always come easy)

7 Bracket HDR at f/16 ISO 50 40mm

7 Bracket HDR at f/16 ISO 50 40mm

Here we see a replica Sanphet Maha Prasat temple. This replica is located at the open air museum Ancient SIam City just outside of Bangkok, Thailand.  An image like this does not come easy. Most people think you just set up a tripod and start shooting. Ok… so then what do you do about 100 plus tourists that are all mulling around? And what about the light poles that are so conveniently located as to ruin your image no matter what angle you shoot it from?

Well as for the tourists… it was a waiting game. I had the camera on the tripod and I was moving around from place to place and I noticed that the tourists would come in waves. So I found my spot and just waited. Still it was mostly luck.

Now the light post… that is a 2 hour tale in Photoshop using every skill I knew and even learning some new ones.

Reminiscing With Your Photos ( This is where my love of photography really leads me to people, places and situations… )

1/320 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm

1/320 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm Pattaya Thailand

I was really missing Thailand today. For those who don’t know, my wife is Thai and she still has her house there so we travel there about once a year. Don’t get me wrong I love the USA, but I love Thailand too.

So today I was talking with a customer by phone and he told me he was in New Orleans and it was very hot. That then turned the conversation to the like or dislike hot weather. And talking about warm/hot weather always takes me to Thailand in my mind. Then after I hung up the phone I started to really miss Thailand and of course I turned to my monitor and opened up a folder of photos from my 2014 trip and started to reminisce. After all what are photos for, right? Being a photographer it is easy to get caught up in the whole scheme of capturing “that next great shot” and after the capture there is the edit. Using tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to create an awesome final image is what I refer to as “grand scheme of it all” and as photographers we are always pushing for that next image. This is where my love of photography really leads me to people, places and situations that I might not normally meet or get to see. But at the end of the day (so to speak) I still like to sit and look at my images and reminisce or sometimes just study the photo, after “all a picture is worth a thousand words” so they say. I often wonder how many photographers actually sit and go through their photos.

Now I know you may be thinking “why would someone take pictures and never look at them?” But it happens… and a lot more often than you think it does.  Rewind to my post from a few years back about the “Enigma Photographer” the man I met who takes thousands of photos and never downloads them. Myself I keep everything in a respectable order so I can find my photos as needed.

So now back to the reminiscing of Thailand; Take this photo for instance; it was captured at 8:18am as I was on my way back to the hotel where I was staying. What are the chances that I would have been up before dawn and out and about and headed back to the hotel when most people are just rolling out of bed? But that is what photography does to/for me, it makes me get up early and go out hunting. Now of course I do not do this every day, but when I am in a new place I know I may find different things and meet different people. So on this day I was up and out on the street at the crack of dawn, walking along the beach and taking it all in. So when I look at this image it takes me back to that morning in Pattaya. I remember snapping many shots of the morning street activity, all the people coming into the city to go to work. I captured many motorbikes and this one was interesting because as I shot the burst of 3 to 4 images I notice in the viewfinder that the little boy sees me and is looking right at me as they pass by. I was not standing close and the street is very wide, but still he noticed me. On this particular morning I captured many images and several were good “street style” images. I guess you could say that was the so-called project for the day “to get up early and go shoot street style photography” and that I did. Then went back and had a wonderful breakfast with my wife and as the heat of the day rose up I retreated to the cool hotel room and edited my images and waited for the late day light to head back out to the streets again. What a life…

Fonthill Castle House (just wandering aimless with my camera today)

 

 

Moravian Style Castle House

Moravian Style Castle House

Today I had some good ole photo fun. No models, no photo shoots just me and the camera. Personally I would have much rather been capturing images of a face, but plans changed and I was just solo. It has been a while since I have went out rather aimless with a camera. Most times I choose to give myself an assignment or project, but today I had no plan. I opened my notebook and the first thing that I seen were my notes on Fonthill Castle house. It was the home of Henry Mercer and it is part of the Mercer Museum Park. The park also incorporates the Moravian Tileworks. None of which interests me and today of all days I arrive only to be met by streamers and park rangers directing cars to park, because today was a festival of sorts at the tileworks. There were tents and people were just pouring in. I wasn’t going to be out done. I asked a ranger if it was alright to go photograph the house and he said it was fine by him.

The house is a rather odd place, not only by design and looks, but it is one of those locations that will not let you photograph the inside of the house and you can not photograph the outside of the house with people or models. I’ll explain; See many a photographer would like to photographer brides here and the foundation wants their fair share of the purse. So for a $75 photo permit you can shoot a model (I believe two hours). How ever you can photograph the outside of the house with no people or models for free. This is according to the nice lady I spoke with on the phone last year when I added this location to my list of places to shoot models or brides.

Here is a second edit of the house.

Thanks so much for reading.