Up in the air

I love being a photographer. There are so many perks to the job. Recently I had the chance to go up in a helicopter again (for the fourth time) to shoot for Intown Expert, now Nest Realty. I always go up with my buddy Evan (click that link and check out his awesome Youtube channel) and we invited Chris along for this ride. I just wanted to share a few of my favorites from this round. Hope you enjoy, and as always, if you're interested in any prints, just let me know!

Special thanks to  Prestige Helicopters  who always give us a great flight. 

Special thanks to Prestige Helicopters who always give us a great flight. 

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Thanks for checking my blog out! Hope you enjoyed it. 

Recent Cinemagraph Work

I've been putting together some pretty fun cinemagraphs lately and wanted to share a few of my favorites. 

This first one was taken on assignment from a realtor looking to sell a $1.5m condo in Buckhead. This view is from the amazing back deck of the penthouse. Usually I'm not a fan of overcast, but I think the multidirectional clouds really add a beautiful element to this cinemagraph. 

The second one was taken at Foster Falls in Tennessee, one of my favorites places to get away. I wanted to create a surreal feel to this, so I chose to freeze the foreground water while keeping the water flowing from the falls. I could stare at this for a long time, it's so mesmerizing.

 

I have a few of my cinemagraphs for sale if anyone it in purchasing some for their website. Check them out here: https://www.gallereplay.com/profile?author=aaroncoury

Or if you'd prefer, I can make some custom ones suitable to your needs. Just let me know, I'd love to work together! Thanks for stopping by. 

The Town of Spectre (part 2)

As promised, I wanted to post a series of photos I shot while at the Town of Spectre, located on Jackson Lake Island in Millbrook, Alabama. These are the remaining buildings of the set from the movie Big Fish which was released in 2003. 

My wife, our dog Dexter, a couple other friends and I went and camped there the weekend of the 4th of July. I had heard lots of great things about this little island and was excited to see it in person. I had heard that the land owners were incredibly nice and accommodating and all of that was absolutely true. We were greeted at the gate by and a gentleman who we ended up chatting with for a few minutes. He asked us where we came from and showed legitimate interest is us, something that you rarely find in meeting people these days. We payed for camping ($10/person per night) and headed in to find a spot. 

This place is perfect for us because there aren't any defined camping sites (yet), so you just set up camp wherever you can fit. I believe this will soon become a popular destination, and when you go there you'll feel all the feelings...there is something special about this little island. 

These buildings were constructed for the outside alone, and they are literally just shells. The inside is a combination of dirt floors and the occasional gift from the permanent herd of goats that live on the island. 

I wanted to create a very moody and dark scene for these photos because that is what you see and feel about this town at the end of the movie. I used a 10 stop ND filter made by Vu Filters combined with the Fujifilm XT1 and the 16mm f1.4 lens. I was fortunate to have a nice cloudy and windy day so I slowed my shutter speed down a 20 second exposure to capture the movement of the clouds and trees. Obviously at an exposure that long you'll need a tripod and I was set up on my Roadtrip by MeFOTO, which is perfect for packing light but giving you the support you need.  

The images were shot in RAW and brought into Lightroom for minor straightening/cropping then I opened the images in Silver EFEX Pro (a free program with lots of B&W control) to convert it to black and white. There were a few stray cars/campers in some of the photos, so I had to go into Photoshop and remove those before making my final tweaks in Lightroom. 

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Thanks for checking out my photos and trip to Jackson Lake Island, and if you're ever close, make time to stop by this magical place. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this series. Have a great day! 

 

The Town of Spectre (part 1)

One of my favorite movies, Big Fish, was made mostly in Alabama. Part of the set still remains on Jackson Lake Island where a few remaining buildings from the The Town of Spectre. Our whole family woke up one morning to catch the sunrise and was rewarded with this amazing view.

This is a 19 shot panorama with the Fujifilm Cameras XT1 and the 16mm.

I'm working on a series of images that I shot of the remaining buildings left on the island and will blog those once I'm finished making the final tweaks.  

Davidson-Arabia Mountain

I love Arabia Mountain in Conyers, GA and I think its a super underrated spot in Georgia. It's a 20m drive from where I live, so Cleo and I visit often. Last week we packed up our bikes, because there are some great trails, and our cameras and headed out. After a quick ride, we went and scouted our spot to watch and capture the sunset. Here are a few of my favorite images. 

A Moon to Remember

I'll forever be in awe of the moon and it's textures. This shot was from a spot off of Chapman's Peak Road in Cape Town, SA. After we'd finished watching the sunset, we looked behind us and caught this beautiful moon rising behind one of the mountains.

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  140mm @ f4.0  //  1/250sec

Revisiting Yellowstone

I've learned a lot about editing in the last few years. From watching tutorial videos to just experimenting. I decided to go check out some old Yellowstone photos again re-edit a few that maybe got overlooked originally. I'll be posting some of my favorites and hidden gems over the next couple weeks

Catching the Full Moon Rise

Earlier this week, Cleo and I went out to watch the sunset at one of my favorite spots in the city and I hoped to catch the full moonrise in a sequence. I'd seen it done so many times and had always been fascinated, so I wanted to give it a shot. Thankfully we had a super clear night and it was a great temperature, all that was left was to capture the moments. 

I'd done some research earlier in the day (though I should have scouted a couple days before) as to where I wanted to set up based on where the moon would be rising using the super helpful app The Photographer's Ephemeris

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  140mm @ f7.1  //  1/160sec handheld

I set up my Fujifilm XT1 and decided to use the incredibly sharp 50-140mm f2.8 for the sequence. My view was blocked a bit by some of the buildings, so I ran down the street to see if I could see the moon, and sure enough despite my research, it had already started rising 20min earlier than expected. I snapped the shot above then headed back to my location frame up my shot. When framing your shot, you need to think about where the moon will end up in the sky and frame accordingly. The moon rises in the East and sets West.

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  // 50mm @ f10  //  1/40sec on MeFoto tripod

The first image I took would serve as my foreground for the composite. It's super important to make sure you get your exposure for the moon right, but it's easy to overexpose. Make sure you zoom in (if your camera is capable) and look for the details in the moon. As a rule of thumb, it's always better to underexpose than to overexpose. 

Once I got the first shot, I kept my exposure the same for the next hour and a half. As ambient light from the sunset disappears, my scene get dramatically darker. But what's most important is that the moon is exposed correctly. 

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  // 50mm @ f10  //  1/40sec on MeFoto tripod

As you see above, all of the detail is lost in the photo, but the moon detail is perfect. Again, my exposure was the same for all of the 22 shots I took in this sequence. Here is the final composite image.

Final Image. Composed of 22 individual photos.

For the editing process, I imported all of the photos into Lightroom and labeled them with a blue flag so I could separate them from the rest of the images taken that night. I used my first images for the foreground and performed my normal edits by straightening and cropping, then tweaking the highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. I bumped the clarity and vibrance up a bit, then sharpened and added just a bit of luminance for a little noise reduction in the sky. Once I was happy with that image, I copied all of the settings from my foreground photo and applied those settings to the rest of the photos in the sequence. 

Now that all the photos were in sync, all that was left was to make the composite....and it's MUCH easier than you think thanks to the free program StarStax! I followed this easy tutorial and the composite was done in less than 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy the final image and the walkthrough, please let me know if you'd like to see more of these and I will start posting more. Have a great day and go capture something beautiful!  

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  16mm @ f14  //  30 seconds on MeFoto tripod

On a Whim

We had a pretty thick fog come through Atlanta this morning and it stuck around for quite a while. After sitting at the computer for a little bit trying to do some work, I just felt like I needed to go shoot for a little bit. So my wife and I got ready in about 10m and hopped in the car to an unknown destination.

Lesson #1: Always have your cameras ready, your batteries charged, and your memory cards formatted and clean. 

We made it about 50 yards and pulled into a park across the street from where we live that we haven't spent much time at. I knew there was a lake though and thought the fog might make for some prettiness. Here's a couple shots that are the result of going with my gut on a whim.  

Lesson #2: Listen to your gut sometimes. 

The New River Gorge, West Virginia

My wife and I decided to make a little pit stop last weekend in West Virginia on our way home from visiting our relatives in Ohio for the holidays. We didn't really need to be back in Atlanta the next day, so we decided to stay the night at a cheap hotel and go check out the amazing New River Gorge Bridge. I'd been there once before about 10 years ago and remembered it being one of my favorite places I'd visited. 

Once we saw the bridge and started crossing it, all the memories flooded back. I knew we'd made the right decision. 

This was the first view we got of bridge after we parked. It seemed to go on and on and the rolling fog at times made it just disappear. It was so beautiful I decided to shoot a little time lapse (which I have yet to have time to put together. no worries, it's on the agenda for next week.) I took this shot with the fujifilm xt1 and the 10-24mm. 

This was the first view we got of bridge after we parked. It seemed to go on and on and the rolling fog at times made it just disappear. It was so beautiful I decided to shoot a little time lapse (which I have yet to have time to put together. no worries, it's on the agenda for next week.) I took this shot with the fujifilm xt1 and the 10-24mm. 

Once I shot about 10 seconds worth of time lapse material (250 shots) we made our way down to another path that opened up to this beautiful view. As you can see, the fog was coming in pretty thick about this time. So we set up shop for a while and soaked in this moment (literally, because it started raining). After the blanket of fog had come and gone, we got in our car to head down to the bottom of the gorge. There are lots of places to stop along the way with different angles/views of the bridge, but most of them were covered by trees. Below are a few shots we took on the way down. 

There is nothing like a thick layer of fog to add a nice mood to photos. 

We could have stayed at the bottom of the gorge for hours. The rolling fog created new scenes every minute. I set up on the smaller bridge and shot another time lapse of the larger bridge. Then we walked around for a while shooting all angles. Our last stop before we left was a little pull-off with a few beautiful waterfalls. Overall, this "pit-stop" has now become a favorite spot. We'll be returning for a weekend once we get some color again. Hope you enjoyed following our little adventure! 

*All photos available for prints. Please use the contact form for inquire about pricing. 

Geminid Meteor Shower

Last night at 10p my wife and I braved the cold to go try to capture some meteors flying through space. Unfortunately, in Atlanta you have to drive at least an hour away to find an area with less light pollution be able to REALLY capture the night sky. We tried going to a new place last night about an hour outside the city that, according to a dark sky finder website, was in a dark enough area, but when we showed up there was still a lot of light from some nearby towns. Oh well. When this happens, I usually just decide to set up the camera anyway and see what happens. And while I didn't end up getting the shots I was hoping for in my head, I think I came back with a couple pretty cool images. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to let me know if you have any questions. 

This is the spot that we pulled off. I loved the curve of the road and the perspective the trees gave, so I used this shot as my exposure test. 

You can see the light pollution from a nearby city behind the trees. Unfortunately, this makes long exposures (very important for night photography) almost impossible. Caught a couple small meteors though. 

Probably my favorite from the night. I love the warm glow from the street light in contrast with the cool sky.