Category Archives: Gardens

Our World – HDR Photography the Easy and Inexpensive Way

I am a picture taker, not a photographer, I don’t give a flip about f stops, RAW format, and shutter speeds and all the rest. I just want a decent photograph. One thing that I find a really difficult is taking decent photographs when the subject is in a shadow, or when there is a lot different shadows and sun on the subject. It drives me crazy. I found out something this past weekend about a way to overcome, at least partially, these problems.

I was at the Philbrook Museum and I was trying to take a photograph of one of my favorite sculptures there, “Prayer” by Allan Houser. I have never had much luck. I decided to try the “Bracketing” function for the exposure setting on the “P” mode of the camera. I have a Canon Powershot SX40 HS and I understand that the “Bracketing” setting is pretty common. Basically on that setting the camera takes three shots, one with the correct exposure, one underexposed, and one overexposed.  So the shot above was the correct, the one below is a little overexposed, and the one below that is a little underexposed.

Next, I found a website once I got home Fotor HDR Software that combines the three photographs into one. It also has to do some other magic like correcting for the movement of the camera  while you are taking the the three exposures. 
The result is called an HDR photograph. HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” where by taking multiple images and combining them one can get a photograph closer to what one sees with their own eyes. Check out my friend Wikipedia HDR for more information. Back to the Houser Sculpture, below is the result.

Houser Sculpture Philbrook HDR

I am really happy with this. Everything looks better.  I’m sure that there is software out there that can do the thing a lot more handily than the web site. I’m not into software though. I like to do everything on the cloud. Software requires updates and then moving the software to a new computer is always a hassle. I’m intrigued by the Photoshop model now where you kind of rent the software. I’d love to hear from somebody who is doing that to see how it is working. I notice that Paintshop offers HDR tools and you can buy it for $80. I have an older version that I could upgrade but it was verrrryy slooooooowww. I have a new computer but I don’t want anything that drags.

Feel free to correct me if I have the whole HDR thing wrong. I’m just now getting into it. Also if you have information about other websites or software that can do HDR I’d love to hear about that also. 

Below are some more pics from Philbrook that I did the exposure bracketing and then processed them through the Foto HDR site.

Philbrook Tulips HDR

Red and very dark purple tulips.

Hippo HDR Philbrook

This is a good example of a subject that is hard to take a photograph of due to its shadowy setting.

Philbrook Tempietto HDR

The Tempietto is the signature structure of the gardens at Philbrook.

Philbrook HDR

This is Philbrook built by Tulsa Oilman Waite Phillips in the late 1920’s and then donated to the City of Tulsa in the 1930’s. It houses an outstanding art museum. Check out the Philbrook Museum of Art‘s web site for more information.

Anyway, I feel that I have discovered a great tool that anybody with a rather modest camera can use. I’d love to hear from other people who use HDR imaging.

I’m linking up today with Our World Tuesday.

The Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel at Powell Gardens


The Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel overlooks a small lake at Missouri’s Powell Gardens just east of Kansas City, Missouri.


It is a beautiful building in a beautiful setting. It is basically wood and glass set on a rock foundation. It soars into the sky and is very light and spacious.


It was designed by E. Fay Jones (1921-1994) who designed similar chapels in Eureka Springs and Bella Vista, Arkansas. Mr. Jones was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. The architecture school at the University of Arkansas bears his name.


I don’t know the first thing about architecture but I do think the design is very graceful and simple in form but sumptuous in details.


What a view! You can rent the chapel for a wedding if you wish.

I found the chapel to be very inspiring. Have you been to an inspiring place lately?

Our World – Philbrook Museum of Art

Last week me and SuperPizzaBoy had some time to ourselves to we went to the Philbrook Museum of Art. We are members thanks to the world’s great MIL, SPB’s Grandmother “Nana.”


We di the whole thing, inside and out, we saw great murals.


Native American Pottery


Modern Native American Art


People brunching.


We love the entry hall at museum, it is grand and very geometric.


A painting of the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran.


Their collection on Modern Design


We even liked the fireplace screens.


And in a house built by a oil tycoon do you expect the wild naked fish riding women to stay under covers? So to speak.


We also love the gardens of the museum.


We saw both Philbrook cats.


SPB went to say hello, the cat had things to do and places to be.

Philbrook is the place to be if you find yourself in Tulsa.

OurWorld Tuesday

Our World – Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden

We got a little break ffrom our 100+ temperatures on Saturday so we loaded up and went to see the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden about ten miles northwest of downtown Tulsa.


It covers about 170 acres located in the Osage hills with a variety of terrain from a small lake to meadowland to lots of woods.


We had never visited the gardens before. I had run a couple of trail races through it but I was more interested in not tripping and falling on my face than looking around and seeing what is going on.


It is a work in progress but they have built nice trails with benches, the lake and a small visitor center overlooking the lake.


The Gardens have been a long time in coming and I think it is already a great asset to Tulsa. As they install the gardens it will become even more valuable.


Meantime, I’ll just poke around way behind Sweetie and SuperPizzaBoy taking my pictures and seeing what’s what.



In deep summer the colors are mostly gone, except for the greens, but if you look you can color here and there.


It seems like you are never very far from an oil well in Oklahoma.


Right now it is only open on Saturdays from April to October. They will expand the hours as they expand the facilities.


It’ll be fun to watch this play grow as the years go by.

Our World

Botanica Shadows


I was in Wichita, Kansas recently attending an energy industry convention. While there I took a little time out to visit Botanica, Wichita’s wonderful little known gem of a botanical garden.


I have to tell you I’m not much of a flower person. I mean I love them but I don’t know one from another. I love gardens. To me gardens are much more than flowers. Flowers are very important of course but so is how they are planted in relation to the other plants and settings.


How the garden makes use of shadow and light is just as important as any other component. The key is how it all fits in. People go to gardens for the total experience, not to just look at plants. You can go to nursery to do that.


Gardens engage all our senses, sight, hearing, touch, feeling, smell. There is something ancient and comforting about being in a garden. I think the being is important. You should go to a garden and just “be.”


Of course, so that you can just “be,”  somebody else had to work their butt off.

I also posted about Botanica last year.

Shadow Shot Sunday