Deep Ellum – Dallas Texas

My wife and I had a long week vacation to Dallas. Original plans fell through with Covid. Concert got moved to 2021 and game tickets were refunded and then reposted for double the price so we skipped on that until 2021 as well. We decided to keep out airbnb’s and just explore the city.

Our first AirBNB was in Deep Ellum of Dallas. This is an area near downtown that is full of shops, bars, restaraunts and art. The art is all over the place and love it. This is the first of a couple blog posts coming from this trip I am sure.

Today, I want to share a short montage video I put together of the street art that fills Deep Ellum!

Check it out!

My next blog post will be from a new film I have been holding on to and that is CineStill 800t. I shot 98 percent of this film at night down in Deep Ellum. Neon lights fill the area so that’s how spent the roll.


Another roll of film. Portra800

The title says it all, I have finished another roll of film and that is a 35mm roll of Kodak Portra800. This film came out with some of my favorite images ive taken since getting my Nikon f4. I take the film camera out for family gatherings or weekend outings and so a recent weekend some of us got together and stayed at a cabin. It had it’s own dock on the lake and it was a good time overall.

We got on the boat, went swimming, played cards, say by the fire and just hung out. I shot all of the photos with the only lens I have for this camera and that is Nikkor 20mm f2.8d lens so it’s a pretty wide focal length but I like how it looks.

Click on the first shot to see the full resolution and click through the gallery!

Dogs, nieces, sisters and the in-laws are all present here in these photos as well as my sister in law and my wife, Terra. It was great weekend and I love the dynamic range the portra800 offered. Worked great shooting in the shadows and not blowing out the highlights on a high sun day where the lighting change is dramatic. I will be using this film again for sure but for now my next roll is just a roll of FUJI 200 color and after that is a special film I am saving for my trip to Dallas in a couple weeks.

Quick note on that special film*

I have a roll of CineStill 800T and I will be using this film for night photography around Dallas. My wife and I will be staying at an AirBNB down in Deep Ellum for a few nights and then over on the west side of downtown for the other half of our trip. I hope to come out with some awesome photos and I cant wait to see what comes from it.

You may ask, why Dallas? Well, before covid we bought tickets to the My Chemical Romance reunion tour and Dallas was the closest city for us and so we followed up with tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game. MCR rescheduled to 2021 and Dallas cancelled tickets and so we got a refund and when they put out the limited ticket sale our normal seats ended up doubling in price which pushed us up a level and this was the year we planned on splurging to a low level so.. We will wait and use our refund for 2021 in hopes we can get the lever we prefer. So with all of that said, we kept our AIR BNB’s deciding we can see parts of the city we never usually get to see and be able to keep safe at the same time so night street photography is on the list, along with a trip to Waco and check out some breweries around the city as well. BrainDead is one of our go-to’s.

See you all next time!

Tiffen Black Pro-Mist Filter – A camera filter worth using.

Title says it all. I have found a filter that is worth the money and worth using. I have used filters throughout my career as a photographer and videographer and I have never been a fan of them. Some come in handy and some are just a waste of time or too clunky to work with. I don’t like to be slowed down by having to remove and add filters to lenses but this one, this one changes it all.

The Tiffen Black Pro-Mist filter is a filter I thrown on and just leave on for photo and video. If you’re okay with the look that this filter gives you, it’s nice to just keep on. I use the “1/4” filter so the look that this filter gives off doesn’t effect the image too much but where it does effect it, it’s worth it in my eyes. This filter adds a nice haze and softens lights throughout the image. I really love it in my wedding videos I have shot this year. It also helps with softening the skin but not too much, just enough that it’s elegant.

I shot a video to show some of the work I have shot with this filter. That included shots from my two wedding videos and some photos. This filter lives on my Sigma 24mm f1.4 art lens. I love this lens and this filter just makes it that much better. My first two weddings I haven’t used any ND filters but I will be trying out a ND on top of it in my upcoming wedding videos and see how it looks.

Foogy morning drive.

Photography has been my escape for awhile now. I need a reason to get out of the house and just waste some time and relax, I grab my camera and hit the road. The road doesn’t have to be far away, it can simply be a back road near my town, gravel or pavement. It doesn’t matter much, I just want to shoot and so I drive until I see something interesting. Now there is one thing that makes it much easier to get images that please me, at least in the morning.

That one thing is fog or a mist from a windy rain. You know, moody shots some would say. Last week, Friday to be exact it wasn’ a morning drive to get out of the house, but a morning drive to work. I get to work around 7am every morning but don’t have to be there until 8. With that much room of time, on Friday’s I find myself more motivated to find photos to take on my drive. I drive a back road all the way to work that is surrounded by fields, cattle, horses and the occasional pond. The fog rolls off of the crops, over the fields and hover over the water ways and ponds. Leading up to this, there were 3 consecutive days of fog filling this pasture of cattle and the sun would hit them from the east and gave a really cool effect so Friday came and I set out to capture that image but some things changes that morning. The clouds were settled in and the sun wasn’t coming through like it had be but the fog was all there. Passing that cattle and the shot wasn’t there, they had moved to the back of the property away from the road, so I kept going.

Heading down the road, you cross over a couple creeks and they usually have a good amount of fog building up over them which creates a cool image in my head but stopping on the bridge to get the shot really isn’t smart, so I don’t stop but I do see a shot coming up of this big tree in a foggy field right past the creek crossing.

My foggy morning drive.

Above you can see the image I took. First I focused on the vegitation in front of the tree and the second I focused on the tree. I do this sometimes with photos because you never know when one of the other might come in handy or surprise you with a look you weren’t expecting. I really like how both of these came out. I shot these with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8.

Now I am back down the road looking for some more photos to take on my way to work. I know of a field with cattle and the cattle are very unique for the area. They’re long haired cattle and may still have their horns so a foggy photo would really be cool! Sadly, that cattle was on the back pasture that morning so the shot in my head wasn’t going to happen. If you’re curious, the cattle this field has are Long-haired Highland Cattle. Very cool for the area, which is SE Kansas, you don’t see that much or if at all! So, I keep driving and I see a shot. It’s a simple cow standing there in the fog eating some grass I get lucky and I can see both the road behind and ahead of me so I knew I had plenty of time to get a couple of shots off in time before anyone comes along.

This photo was shot a 200mm at f2.8. The fog and the pasture sitting slightly above the road really made this image in my opinion. Getting a lower vantage point I feel like made the image what it is. Now I am back on the road and I am almost to town but wasn’t ready to leave the back road and fog behind so I took a turn down another side road that is just on the outskirts of town and there is a field that has pine trees and often is occupied but 5-6 horses every time I pass it. As I am driving to that field, I see some deer just standing there, eating, moving around and they’re 30 ft from the road, perfect for a photo op. I stop hoping not to scare them and pull my camera up and just shoot as many photos as I can, before they run.

I would say, I got a decent shot from the mix of images I got off before they ran. I had some shots of them running but with it being early, my shutter was too slow for the run and jumping so those came out with some motion blur. I really love how this morning went as you can see. Within a 5 mile stretch of road I had captured the tree, the cow and these deer and now hoping to see the field with the horses in the fog.

The horse field is right off of a big creek bridge so the fog is usually pretty dense in this area so I had some high hopes. I pull up to turn so I can see the field and the horses were not out yet. I had never gone by in the morning. I usually see them at 5pm when I am heading home because my route home is different than my route to work, due to traffic. I had one image to take that really caught my eye though. The fog was setting in, the sun hasn’t came out yet and a tree sat alone, framed by two bigger trees just off of the road.

Now picture this. A horse or a couple horses mixed into this shot, with the mist and fog. Wow, I would have been pumped to get that image but this is the one that I got. I really like these images which is why I am writing a blog post for them! Fog alone makes many things look better or more appealing but back road driving with my camera in the passenger seat is the best way to start a day or just get away when you need a break.

I hope you enjoyed these images. Want to see more photos? Follow me on instagram @ DerekLiving

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