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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Photographing Cherry Blossoms

It's Cherry Blossom time, and we all want to get pictures of the
blossoms. The blossoms are pretty, and the delicate pink can be hard to shoot.
Take care with your exposures.

A close focusing lens will be helpful. A macro lens is made to focus much closer than a regular lens., so you can get in close and have a much bigger image of your blossoms. A lot of the longer zoom lenses have a macro setting that is not true macro, but lets you focus much closer. When you are getting in really close like this focus is critical, as is eliminating camera shake. You also want to use a smaller lens aperture (such as f11 or f16) to maximize the depth of field. This will make for a lower shutter speed. May want to use a tripod to keep everything steady.

Backlighting delicate blooms always makes nice images. The backlight ads depth
to your pictures. You may have to open up a little to compensate.

If you can get a bird, bee or some other creature in the frame, it keeps it from being just another flower photo. And move around, look for interesting composition, changes in light. Have some fun.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Shooting The Richard Fendley

I was shooting the Fendley Relays yesterday afternoon in Warner Robins.
I don't shoot enough track. Over the years I have shot the pole vault
event very few times. Usually I end up doing the running events, and sometimes
the high jump or long jump. Guess there are not that many great
highschool pole vaulters. This year Warner Robins Atain Jones is
different. He is kicking butt.

Yesterday he did 13' 6" during practice with a bum ankle. I was
at the west end of the track waiting for him to do his thing.
The 3200m was being run.

I noticed the sun was kinda low and had an idea. With
the 15mm and the camera laying in the grass I could
get the sun and the runners. I wanted the runners to have some
detail, but still have the sun looking big in the sky.
I went totally manual. I prefocused to where they
would pass by me, and metered for the sun and sky.
The first lap I shot was a bit too dark. I opened up
a stop and shot again.

The next lap I got these. I really like the three runners best, the
way they fill the frame.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lunch With The Cushmans

My editor Randolph Murray got a call this morning about a whole bunch of
Cushman scooters at the Museum of Aviation. He told me about the call, and I
thought it might be a good photo.

I knew last year that there was a big Cushman gathering in Cochran, and figured this was the same group. Thought I might get a picture and cutlines, maybe as they
rode away.

It was the same group, a rally sponsored by the Southeastern Cushman Club. They were eating lunch and would leave in about an hour. I spent the time talking to these Cushman aficionados and shooting pictures.

Any time you get around folks with a passion for something, you will get great pictures and a good story. My long cutlines turned into an eight inch story.
Any time you are around anyting with two wheels and a motor, you gonna meet some great people and find good pictures. That is one of Danny's basic laws of

They will be around Cochran for the rest of the week. If you run across them, take the time to greet them, and take some pictures.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bamboo Art

I have a bamboo plant that Deborah gave me two years ago. About once a week I look at it and think "there is a photo in there somewhere" and then go on to something else. Last Friday I noticed it was needing a little sun so I put it on a window sill. I went back to check on it and found that image. It was framed in the window against some blinds. Talking about an image jumping out to you. Wow!!!

Anyway I grabbed my camera with the 70-200 and started shooting. I set my white balance for sunlight and let the camera find the right exposure. It worked pretty well.

The Original Image is above.

I did a bit of work on these. I got my color right and close to the contrast I wanted. I then used Desaturate(in Photoshop go to Image, pull down to Adjustments, then to Desaturate.) I used the history brush to paint in the black and white area. I wanted to keep the color in the leaves, ribbon and the blue rocks. I used Levels to wash out the background. Pretty much the same for both images.

I still feel a twinge of guilt any time I do this much manipulation in a photograph. These are for the wall at home, and not for the newspaper, but still a photojournalist first.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tuesday Was A Great Day!!!

I was pretty happy with my shooting this week. Tuesday was really a good day. I went to Robins Air Force Base to photograph their new safety classes. Participants get to see a 3-D movie while laying back in some really cool chairs. I had photos of the folks with their headsets with earphones and goggles but I wanted to show them snuggled into the chairs watching the movie. Most of the lights were turned off as the movie started. I was able to get this shot at 1/4 second handheld. Most days that alone would have made my day.

On the way over to the base I noticed some guys repainting the old T-33 trainer in front of the Recreation Department. I was hoping they would still be working when I came back. They had done a dark primer coat and were taping parts before painting again.

I went around that aircraft about three times trying different angles. It was hard to get a clean overall shot. I really liked the worker at the end of the wing with the sky and nose of the plane behind him. Clean background and nice lines in the photo.

On the way home I passed the old truck under the barn. I have passed this thing so many times and always look a s I pass by. I lived beside this barn for almost five years. Tuesday the light really caught my eye. I had to turn around a go back.
i shot it, but it just didn't work. Guess I was in too much of a hurry.

Well, I will keep looking, and two out of three ain't bad.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tips For Better Pet Photos

We all love photos of our pets. Photographing them is not always easy. Kinda like photographing kids in some ways. Both an be just as exasperating, for sure.

One thing to remember is to get down on their level. Cats and most dogs are a lot
shorter than the average person. Kneel down, lay on the floor, but get eye level with Fido.

Get close. The biggest mistake most people make anytime that are taking pictures is not getting close enough to their subject. Be aware that fur absorbs light, so you may need to overexpose just a bit. Pick a background that will contrast with you pet's color.

Be ready to invest some time. Follow them around, photograph them while they are playing. Just like with people, candid situations make better photographs. A longer lens, like a 70-200, can be very helpful. Keep a camera handy and watch for those totally unexpected photo opportunities.

And shoot lots of photos.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shopping Carts

I have this long time fascination with runaway shopping carts. Another one of those things I can't explain. The first one I photographed was probably 30 years ago in the old Westgate Mall parking lot in Macon. The cart had made it almost all the way to Pio Nono Avenue.

I had an early assignment this morning, and was running kinda close. I walked out of the house and what do I see across the street? A shopping cart, the rising sun bouncing this wonderful light around it. I could not drive away without shooting a few frames.

I spent about five minutes shooting these before I had to go. Too little time with one of the true icons of our age.

Maybe I will try doing some night shots if it is still around tonight.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Create More Dynamic Photographs

I went out yesterday and shot workers pruning peach trees. The top image is my favorite. It is also from the end of the shoot. I started out following the guy around the tree, shooting from pretty much eye level.

The middle photo was one of the first. It is kinda confusing, no real focal point in the picture. Nothing grabs your eye. The horizon cuts through the middle of the frame, and your eye gets tangled up on all those limbs.

The bottom photo was my next viewpoint. I crouched down, bringing the horizon down, creating less confusion. Still not a real clean image, but better than the first.

My last series of frames, I went to the ground, looking up. The very low angle makes for a much more dynamic photograph. There is no clutter now, all elements help tell the story. The diagonal lines pull your eye into the image. Works quite nicely.

One of the easiest things to change in a photograph is the point of view. Too often, folks just walk up to their subject, put the camera to their eye, and push the shutter
button. Well, look through that viewfinder. Be aware of the clutter, both in the foreground and background. Walk around, shoot some from eye level, some low, and maybe some from above eye level. Don't be afraid to get on the ground, and don't forget to get closer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It Is Almost Spring!!!

Its spring, almost, and we got festivals coming up in Middle Georgia. One of the better parades to photograph will be happening this Saturday in Dublin. The annual St. Patrick's Parade will be in downtown Dublin Saturday at 11:30am. Always good photos. There is also an arts and crafts festival the same weekend.

Check out their website
for more information.

My favorite festival in Middle Georgia is the Harness Festival in Hawkinsville. Great photos of the horses running, along with other events. If you don't want to take photos, it is still worth the ride. The top photo was from the Harness Festival a couple of year's ago. Slowed my shutter and panned for the blur in the background and the horse's legs. Plenty of horses, plenty of time to play.

Of course the Cherry Blossom Festival is just around the corner, too. It is too late to enter their Celebration of Photography for this year, but you can shoot for next year's competition.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Beautiful Light

Some days really wonderful assignments come along. I got one of them this past
Wednesday morning. I had to photograph a young woman who works with deafblind children. Her name is Lindsey Day and she has been working with a young boy named ShaynePatrick Thompson. They ignored me and really got involved with their lessons.

His family built a one room school for him at their house. The room has two really big windows with white curtains, making some incredible light. Pretty much anywhere you shoot in the room is backlit. No complaints from me.

This is beautiful light, and ads so much to the images. I could have used my flash, bumping a bit of fill light in to the scene. I really felt using a flash would take away more than it added, ruining the ambiance. It was not too hard to compensate with my exposure, Just opened up a couple of stops. The light wrapped around quite well.

If you have never played with backlighting, give it a try. A great way to jazz up your images sometime, and one day you may be stuck in a situation where the only way to get your photo is shooting into the light.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spring Means Day Trips!!!!

Our photo group went to High Falls Saturday. The first time I have been in quite some time. I had forgotten how much I love that place. Down below the dam, some of the most beautiful spots in Middle Georgia.

I could have sprawled on those rocks like a lizard Saturday, and been very happy.
If you have never gone, it is sure worth the drive.

We went around to the old mill. sadly it is fenced in now. It was a great portrait spot.
Anyway, it is almost spring, time to get outside and start shooting again. Pick some places and make plans for some day trips. We live in a great state for photography.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Woody's Fire Photo

This is one of those pictures that just reaches out and slaps you across the face.
Our Director of Photography Woody Marshall shot it early last Thursday morning
after a church fire in McIntyre.

I saw the picture first early that morning on our website. It was play on 1-A Friday. Woody had sent his photos back and we had a gallery of photos from the fire scene. He had several nice images, the fire was over, just the aftermath. Really hard photos of get, the fire is done, but you need an interesting photo of the rubble.

I saw this one, and just went "Wow" knowing he probably really worked his butt off to get this angle, the guy going up the steps, the sun popping through the door. Just awesome.

So I call him Friday to compliment him on the photo, and to ask if I can use it on my blog. He laughed, and said sure. I have had a bunch of people comment on that picture. So I ask "How did you do it?" He laughed again, and said "I was walking away, and saw the guy going to the steps and thought I should shoot it. I turned and popped one frame. Never noticed the sun. Just lucky."

We went on to talk about how often luck seems to play into a great photo. Like he said, you hope you picked the right clothes to wear, and the right place to stand.
Well, a lot of skill and art goes into picking the right shirt for a given day, and then deciding where to stand. And you have to know when to push that little button.

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