Capitol Building in Nashville

Yes, I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted last. I’m going to continue to focus on images here in this blog. I’ve also installed a Shadowbox plugin that’ll make the image show up a bit better. Just click below on the image and a lightbox effect will be invoked.

This is an image of one of the state capitol buildings in Nashville, TN. It was taken on June 7, 2009 with a 18-200 Nikon lens on a D300 at 18mm, ISO 200 and 1/1,000 sec at ƒ5.6. I corrected the perspective a bit to make the buildings look straight. A little Topaz Adjust and increased a touch of Lucis plugin work, and that was all I did.


Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Posted in Nashville, Photography, TN Capitol Tagged |

Puttin’ on the Ritz!

While on the HDR workshop with Trey Ratcliff in Austin, TX, in mid-January, we did a [cold] photowalk the first night. This image is a 5-image RAW HDR. First, tonemapped in Photomatix, then the rest of the processing was done in Photoshop. I used Topaz Adjust 4 to help mask in the brick details. First time I had done a night shot and with neon signs. Pretty fun, but a bit challenging to make it look right. Comments?


Posted in Photography Tagged |

HDR Images of the Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX

Ok, so I’m behind in posting. It’s been an incredibly busy couple of months. I needed a break from work stuff, so thought I’d process a couple images from my HDR (high dynamic range) workshop with Trey Ratcliff in Austin, TX in early January 2010. The workshop was held in the amazing Driskill Hotel. The weather was surprisingly cold, but had a great time regardless. I met some excellent photographers at the workshop and provided both inspiration and the realization for just how early in my photography journey I am. One of the participants came all the way from Norway for the workshop, which sold out in 10 minutes!

I’ll post a series of four images, all taken with my Nikon D300, using various lenses. All images started by being brought into Adobe Lightroom, then tonemapped in Photomatix, and finally the processing was completed in Adobe Photoshop. The first image below was taken from 7 RAW files using multiple exposures of a grand piano in the lobby bar of the Driskill Hotel. The exposure was pretty difficult due to the high variation of light from the bottom to the top of the image. There was a fair amount of Photoshop work to clean it up too.


The next image below was also in the Driskill Bar (hey, don’t get the wrong idea that I was spending a lot of time there), which is a stunning place. It was taken from 5 images. Interestingly enough, a couple of the images had people walking through the lobby. Given the long exposure they looked like a ghost trail, which was pretty easily removed in Photoshop. By the way, the tif file of this is about 60MB, so be glad this was in around 80K.


The Driskill is truly a beautiful place and a happy reminder of the elegance not found in hotels today. The HDR image below shows the magnificent lobby, again using 5 RAW images. The tile details were made more visible using the Topaz Adjust filter in Photoshop. No other part of the image used the Topaz filters.


The final image below for tonight is also in from the Driskill Hotel lobby, just a different spot and angle.


I think these are a bit better than my previous HDR attempts as they look more realistic. What do you think?

Posted in Photography Tagged |

Deli Mexicana in Germantown, TN

The owner of the Deli Mexicana, Jonathan Magallanes, talks about his restaurant and what makes it unique — primarily fresh food selected daily. We’ve been going here for several years and outside of Frontera in Chicago, this is our favorite Mexican restaurant. Three things that make it unique for me are:

  1. Rely on word of mouth, or essentially social networking to get the word out for their restaurant.
  2. Enthusiasm for quality food shown by both Jonathan and his dad, Pepe.
  3. Welcoming attitude; Jonathan knows my family by name and what our favorite dishes are!


Jonathan & Lynette

Those of us old enough to remember the hit TV show Cheers know the mantra of the show was that it was a bar where everyone knows your name. Well, perhaps the patrons don’t know my name, but Jonathan sure does and genuinely seems happy when we are there and we are treated as friends. Regardless of the business, it is rare to find such passion and zeal for excellence that Jonathan and Pepe show. I’m thrilled Memphis has a place like this and hope they have continued success.

I shot the video below on Feb 19, 2010 and it shows Jonathan talking about Deli Mexicana and their philosophy. It’s easy to see the passion for freshness and quality of food when you hear him talk. Watch it in 1080p HD for the best quality! Oh, and go see them at: 1215 S. Germantown Rd, Germantown, TN. Tell Jonathan that Dean sent you!

Posted in Ramblings

3 Secrets of Great Food Photography

Danielle makes some awesome tasting and looking desserts. She reads a blog that has the most amazing food photography. Sorry – don’t have it right now. Maybe Danielle can post a link in the comments. We started out this morning on a run to find almond flour, which we found at the Whole Foods store.

She made the these delicious macarons, which tasted really good. She claims that she failed that they weren’t supposed to look like this. I don’t know about that; what I do know was they looked delightful and tasted heavenly. Chocolate is always a good thing. After Danielle got done making them we decided it was time to try our hand at food photography.

The camera was set up so we could see the image up on the laptop screen right away, which was a huge advantage to making it easy to try different lighting techniques. first image was taken with the Nikon D300 and the 50mm f1.8 lens. We messed around with the lighting quite a bit. This was was done with using an SU-800 commander on the D300, then used a SB-800 and SB-900. The SB-900 had a Honl grid on it. We had a pretty small depth of field since I did have aperture at f1.8.


This next image below is a closeup of the same dessert. For this we used the Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens. This one also has a short depth of field as the aperture was wide open at f2.8. We used a similar lighting scheme with both the SB-800 and SB-900. We were using a reflector too, but honestly I don’t remember if this image had it.


Last one for tonight are Danielle’s blueberry scones. We were kind of tired by this point and didn’t spend much time getting them set up (or maybe our hunger was getting the best of us). I went back to the 50mm f1.8 lens again. Similar lighting. Next time I do this I should get a photo of how the lights are set up.


Ok, so what are the 3 secrets? Well, they’re really not secrets, but it did make for a good title:

1. Start with a great subject.

2. Use a tripod with multiple light sources.

3. Use a tack sharp lens with a wide-open aperture, if you want a nice blurred bokeh.

I have a new-found respect for food photographers. Now I’d like to learn the right way to do this!

Posted in Photography Tagged |

Bridges of Madison County

I grew up close to the Covered Bridges of Madison County near Des Moines, Iowa. Growing up I really didn’t appreciate them till after I’ve been away for quite a few years. Anyway, back in Iowa over Thanksgiving, we traveled to see the Bridges of Madison County.

These are perfect for using HDR photography. The image directly below is of the Holliwell Covered Bridge, and was made by combining 9 individual shots using exposure bracketing. This bridge was built in 1880 and is the longest covered bridge in Madison County coming in at 122 feet. The Holliwell bridge was featured in the movie Bridges of Madison County. It was renovated in 1995 at a cost of $225,000. Enjoy!


This next image below is another HDR image, but this one is just using 5 images. The name of this one is the Hogback Covered Bridge and was built in 1884. The length is 97 feet and it was renovated in 1992 for $118,810.


This last one for today is a 5-image HDR taken inside the Hogback Covered Bridge. I really liked how the holes is the right side of the bridge shined light like a laser on the bridge floor and left side of the covered bridge. This light really wasn’t noticeable much when I took the shots. What do you think?


Posted in Photography Tagged |

Wedding Toasts for Nathan & Megan

This video has four great wedding toasts for Nathan & Megan. Enjoy!

Nathan & Megan Wedding Toasts from Dean Mueller on Vimeo.


Posted in Ramblings

HDR Images at Collierville’s Square

It was a great morning to walk around the Collierville Square (Collierville, TN) and take a few HDR images. The first one below is of the little cabin on the square. It is all decked out for Christmas. We’ll have to go one night to see the lights on. You can see more images from this morning at:


The next image below is of the front of a locomotive. Used the 70-200 zoom on a tripod. 5 RAW photos merged into Photomatix, then a little clean up in Photoshop.

Collierville Train.jpg

The last one I’ll put up for now is of the gigantic wheels of the locomotive. This time I used the 12-24 zoom. As above, I had 5 RAW images merged into Photomatix, then a little tweaking in Photoshop.


Posted in Photography Tagged |

Car on a Boat

What you say? A car on a boat? Actually, the boat is the Freedom of the Seas and the car was on the Promenade. It’s a RAW image that I did a pseudo HDR processing by taking into Photomatix and tone mapped. It really brought out the shadow detail.

The processing also brought out the grunge look. Some like it and some don’t. What do you think? The bottom image is the untouched original.



Posted in Photography Tagged |

Brevard County Sheriff’s Boat

As we were leaving Port Canaveral during our June 2009 cruise, I was standing out on the balcony (with camera, of course) and saw an interesting view of the Brevard County Sheriff’s boat. I won’t give all the details here, other than to say it was shot in RAW, then brought into Photoshop, used the Topaz Adjust filters, and ended up with this.


Posted in Photography Tagged |