My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Friday, February 29, 2008

Extra Lighting

I find myself lighting more and more of my images these days. For so long I have been so much into available light, for everything. Sometimes you gotta have a bit more light to make a usable image. Here lately I have been lighting more for the effect. A little more drama, if you will.

I have had portable lights for years, and used them mostly doing personal work.
My complaint was always their size and weight, the time needed to set them up, and then dealing with wires. It is still worth the time and weight when you need a lot of light.

I have made me a little kit with my SB28's, real portable light stands and a radio slave. I can carry my usual camera gear and my light kit anywhere with no problem, takes five minutes to set up, and I actually use it.

I did these images of Pastor Willie Reid this morning using two lights. One light on a tall stand to the left of the image, and one light on a mini tripod on the table to the right.

Cheap, easy, and very mobile light, with a quick recycle time. I can live with that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Orange Barrels

Writer Wayne Crenshaw talked to me early this week about a story he was
working on, and needed art. Often an idea for a story will come up, then the story
evolves, sometimes the main theme of the story shifting as the writer gathers more information. This was one of those. The initial story idea was SPLOST related road construction in Houston County. It shifted more to be about the growth and ongoing roadwork in the county.

The subject for my photo, the old orange traffic barrel. A common sight in Houston County. My first idea was compressing barrels and traffic with a long lens. I found some spots and shot away. Did alright.

Then I tried some with my 15mm, up close on a barrel. I dropped my ISO to 200, the lowest my camera will allow. This let me lower my shutter speed to 1/80 of a second, slow enough to let Warner Robins traffic blur.

The first shot was from about mid way the barrel. It didn't work for me. I put the camera all the way to the ground and shot again. This one really popped. The yellow vehicle helped a bunch.

Hopefully better than just another road construction picture.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Loving Technology

I spent my Tuesday evening with Jake Jacobs in the Peach County Board of Education office. All of Tuesday evening. From 5pm until almost 10pm. The school board had a special called meeting to hire a new school superintendent. In almost any other county, a slam dunk, a done deal. The new super, Dr. Susan Clark was going to be there, so you go early, get some nice happy huggy shots before hand. Then after the executive session, get some congratulatory pix, send your pictures to the paper and done.....well not in Peach County.

The executive session lasted four hours. I love the new technology. I know it is really not new anymore, but after doing film for 30 years, this is still new, and so very cool. Not too long ago I would have been stuck. Either leave early with what you have, or wait to the end and blow deadline.

Not any more. Just drag out that trusty laptop, do those early pix, and send them on to Macon. Just after sending the top photo, school board members Jody Usry and Jamie Johnson moved their discussion into the hallway, making an excellent photo, probably the best photo of the night.

By the time I had it toned and ready to send, the board ended their executive session, and announced they had a new super. Super. That final congratulatory shot, and done. Beat deadline by minutes, Cool.

What I don't understand is why we have all this great technology now, do things so much better and faster, but over the years we keep getting earlier and earlier deadlines. Hey, I just shoot the pictures.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photographing the Eclipse

I hope you all took the time to walk outside last night and look skyward.
One of nature's wonders began about 8:45pm. The eclipse of the moon.
So beautiful , and at the same time quite spooky. I imagine our ancestors
probably freaked big time.

I almost didn't shoot any photos, but Deborah, my muse, inspired me to shoot. She has really become interested in photography and we worked on these togethe

Most people don't realize how bright the moon is. I shot the top photo at f8
and 1/125 second. My ISO was at 320. I shot the two larger images with a 500mm lens. My old 500 has the tripod collar close to the end of the barrel, and I could not thread it onto the tripod due to the shape of the bottom of the camera. I threaded the tripod into the bottom of the camera. The red image was during the height of the eclipse, and my exposure was still f8, but slowed to 2 seconds. I got a bit of movement in my slower shots, had some camera shake due to the way it was on the tripod.

The last image shows the planet Saturn below the moon and the star Regulus above. So disappointed that this one didn't do better. It was an awesome sight, the red moon hanging between those two points of light.

The next total eclipse will be December 10, 2010, so mark your calendar and get ready.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Portrait Of A Good Friend

I ate lunch today with one of my best friends, Gary Harmon. People are always confusing us so I shot this photo of him to put an end to this mistaken identity thing for good.

This photo really flatters him, I think. I know it makes him look taller and less like Willie Nelson.

This is just another example of why you should always have a camera with you. Never know when the chance to capture a special moment will come along.

Bet his mama will want a copy of this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Before it Melts.....

I went to the Fort Valley State annual Black History Month Luncheon today.
I know it sounds like it would not be an interesting assignment. Luncheons
usually mean shooting a speaker, or folks with food halfway to their mouths.
Well, for me, this is always a fun thing to shoot.

For one thing, there are a bunch of great folks at Fort Valley State, and I get a chance to visit with them. President Larry Rivers is one of my favorite people.
The event always provides a lot of good photo opportunities, It is fun to look for them.

As soon as I came in the building, I knew I had to shoot the floor full of tables. Shot it early before there were too many people around. Gave it a bit of an angle, and was pretty happy with it.

The Tea shot is one of those "I don't know why my eye was pulled here" images, but here it is. Like it a lot, the iced tea and the slightly out of focus Fort Valley State clock tower logo. It speaks to me. Just not sure what it says.

The color guard shot almost works. They came by closer to me than I expected, was up against some speakers and could not go back more. Wanted more of the flags. Oh well, I will grab a glass of tea, and be lost in contemplation......

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Was Too Easy.....

As I was finishing an assignment this afternoon I got a call from one of our writers. He was doing an assignment on the housing market. Wanted to know if I could look around and find a picture to illustrate his story. Maybe some for sale signs.

This kind of assignment can really be hard to do. You just have to ride around and look for a situation where the elements of a photo are all in the right order. Just a for sale sign in front of a house won't work.

As I drove away from my other assignment I was deciding where to go look.
About two blocks later I passed this house. It caught my eye, and I should have stopped immediately but I kept going. Went another two blocks and turned around.

I knew I had to try this one. I got out and shot this. Really liked it. Could not believe it was this easy. The sign was leaning somewhat. I got in tight cropping
most of the sign but keeping enough of the top to know it was a realty sign. The "Will Build To Suit" added a little urgency to the sign. I tilted the camera a little until I liked the feel through the viewfinder.

This should run over the weekend. Now to see if an editor likes it as much as I do.
You just never know.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Detail Shots

I shot the AARP TaxAide program in Warner Robins today. These are some of the images from the shoot.

I love detail shots. Detail shots can ad so much to a picture package. I had some good images, and was really wanting a close shot of a hand and calculator. While I was waiting, I got this photo of volunteer Jack Peck working with Shirley Coleman.
Her glasses were laying on the table near her hand.

I shot a tight shot of her hand and the glasses, and then shot the bottom photo, still focusing on the glasses, but including their faces. Really like this one.

I did a slideshow with my images, and did a voice over. Man, that is humbling.
Glad I shoot better than I talk....

Friday, February 8, 2008

Go Early

I always try to get to my assignments a little early. I hate making someone wait for me. Their time is as valuable to them as mine to me. I schedule assignments so I have enough time to adequately photograph what's going on and have time to get to the next one.

Another reason to be early is quite often you get some nice photos. All of these pictures are the results of being early. The top photo was from a Peach County school board meeting this week. When I arrived, the two board members who are the main characters in the current squabble were together in deep conversation. Made for some strong images that were not available when the meeting started.

The second photo was from signing day at Perry High. Three football players totally
ignoring the camera, laughing with their friends. Much better than them sitting behind a table.

Sometimes by being early you get folks setting up. preparing for the event, or just
mixing and mingling with other people. Have an idea of who the main people involved are, and then just watch for interesting situations, then shoot. How many times do you get a Major General signing a kid's cast?

Well work being twenty minutes early. Plus by the time the action starts, you have found the perfect place to shoot from.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Burning and Dodging

Someone asked me what I meant when I referred to burning and dodging the other day. Burning and dodging are old terms from the old wet darkroom. When you were
printing, you either held back light from some areas of your print, or added more light, or exposure to other areas of the photographic paper to make your finished print look more evenly exposed.

You held back some areas(dodged) to keep them from getting too dark, and made some areas that were too light darker(burning). We all had our tricks and techniques, shaping your hands between the enlarger lens and the paper. Sometimes used hot water to speed up the development.

These two techniques were sometimes used only for the aesthetic value, to emphasize the subject.. I have spent an hour on a black and white print before making it like I wanted, wasting a whole lot of paper.

In photoshop it is more forgiving. Don't use the burn and dodge tools. Lighten and darken areas of the picture using curves or levels. Then go back and paint the changes using the history brush.

This photo had a bit of burning and dodging. I darkened most of the frame, trying to balance the exposure on the flower petals. The top ones were lighter than the bottom. I lightened the butterfly as well.

Give it a try sometime. Just be sure to save a an unchanged copy of your original.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This picture just won't go away. I was going from Fort Valley to
Perry last year and saw this scene alongside US Highway 341.
Old motel was being remodeled and they junked this television.
Was too strange to pass up.

I have tried to do something with the photo half a dozen times,
and always get stuck. I don't diddle photos too often, but this seems
like the perfect candidate. I have put different images on the TV
screen, but nothing sticks.

I dug it out this week, spent a couple of days getting frustrated. I will play
with it again one day, but time to file it again for a while.

Guess I have not shot he right companion image. Gonna keep looking.

Too bad I didn't shoot it at night.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Shooting Beauties

I know I have talked before about some things I shoot almost every year. Some of them I worry about getting stale, shooting the same situations over every year. One event is coming up soon that I have never worried about shooting again and again.

Each March Peachbelt Health and Rehabilitation Center in Warner Robins holds its annual Ms. Peachbelt Pageant. I believe that this year will be the 6th year it has been going, and think I have been to almost all of them.

All the other pageants I have shot are pretty predictable. These ladies are full of surprises, completely candid as they answer the mandatory questions, and maneuver through the competition.

Some events have to be covered for their news value, we have a responsibility to let our readers know what is happening in our community. Some just make really cool images, and are fun to shoot. It is also what an editor friend used to call a
Warm and Fuzzy. Makes folks all warm and fuzzy feeling to see the photos and read the story.

This world can always use a few more Warm and Fuzzies. They sure help me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

My favorite Photos of the Week

Apologies to my readers. I really want to post five days a week, but I have been getting busy, and not making it. I appreciate people taking time to check my blog.

I went to Masse Lane Gardens this week for a story to run this weekend. What a neat place to go with a camera. Cool images all around.

These are two of my images from the shoot. The top photo is some of the porcelain in the Fetterman Building. It is a mixture of objects and reflections. The birds are in a huge window box. Behind me were some large windows looking into the courtyard. The birds, tree, and globe are part of the display. The windows and fountain are the view outside reflected on the back glass of the display. It was hard to shoot, had to position myself to avoid reflections on the glass nearest me and
have some order to the composition.

Had to do some burning and dodging to get the final product to this state.

The camellia bloom below was shot upside down to get my lens closer to the
ground. The top of the viewfinder was on the bricks when I shot this. Tried it right side up, and the view was too high due to the height of the camera.

I like it better this way than right side up.

Won't say they are my best images, but these are my two favorite photos from my week's work.

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