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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Some OLD Old Images

My film scanner died on me a while back. I packed it up to ship away, and never sent it forrepairs. I figured it would be just as cheap to buy a new one. I was about to place my order
and decided to try the old one one more time. I hooked it up with a different cord, downloaded
the newest driver, and guess what? It is working.

Now I want to do what I have needed to do for years....scan in a bunch of old negatives and slides. Here are some I did just to be sure eeverything was working.
How old? Well the bottom image is Beau Cabell with an old Nikkormat and dark hair.
The other one is a firefighter sliding down a pole in one of Macon's fffire
stations. Pretty old.

I will share more before too long. All won't be as dramatic as Beau with dark hair.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mission Complete

I covered an historic event today. The 19th Air Refueling Group held its "Mission Complete" ceremony at Robins Air Force Base. The Black Knights are one of the oldest organizations in the US Air Force, originating in 1927 as the 19th Observation Group. Over the years they were at different bases flying different missions. They came to Robins in 1968. They have been flying refueling missions since 1983. They will be gone at the end of September.

I have probably covered them more than any other unit at Robins over the years. Some of the coolest assignments were doing refueling missions. A lot of good pictures.

Today's ceremony was began on the flightline at 2pm. Acres and acres of uncovered concrete. It was hot. My friend and co-worker Gene Rector brought his own shade, strolled in with his umbrella. The clouds began to build, we got a breeze, and distant lightning. The clouds and the wind made for some nice images.
The flags were all billowing against the darkening sky. Quite dramatic. The weather made what would have been a pretty routine ceremony a bit more photogenic.

The top photo I shot early as the clouds began to build. It may make the paper. The second two, Col. Bence, the 19th commander in the office chair in front of the blowing flag I had to shoot. What a cool photo, this guy in fatigues, the office chair and the flag. Sometimes I see these pictures while covering events and wonder why no one else is shooting it.

The real wide shot of the dais under the dark sky is another one that won't make newsprint, but I just had to shoot it. By this time I was getting a bit nervous, out on this open expanse, lightning getting closer, and I have lots of metal hanging on my body.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My New Toy Ain't So New

I bought a new camera last week. Well, it is new to me, someone else had it but used it very little. It is a Nikon D70. Kinda old technology when compared to the D3 and the D300.
Two of my good friends, Sue Sapp and Gary Harmon have just gotten their D300’s and probably think I am crazy for buying this old thing. BUt I had my resaons for picking it.

I have been shooting more and more using off camera flashes, using SB28’s and a Sunpak 120J, getting pretty good results except when shooting outside during the day. Too often I could not get the image I wanted because the camera would not synch with the flash highr than 1/250th of a second. Keep in mind that I am mostly shooting with camera and flash in manual mode during these occasions.

Enter the D70. If you don’t shoot TTL mode, you can synch this puppy up to 1/4000th
of a second. Whoa, baby. Just what I wanted. These images of Erica were done at 3pm on a sunny afternoon, shot at 1/3200th of a second.

This is using an old fashioned PC cord so the camera doesn’t realize there is a flash involved. I canonly use my radio trigger at about 1/1200th due to the delay in firing the flash.
The cord is that much quicker.

This will also work with the old D1. Just another tool for doing the job.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Few More Composition Tips

I mentioned the Rule of Thirds last time, here is a little graphic showing the image cut into thirds.

Disappearing Lines into Corners:

If there are strong lines in the scene, try to get them to disappear into the corner.   If the lines break into the center or the edge, it tends to divide the photo, but disappearing into a corner seems to make composition stronger.

This effect is often easily done with paths and railings.  Let the lines pull the viewer's eye into the photo.

Monotonous Content:

Some images would make killer jigsaw puzzles - they contain many examples of the same object but with deep detail allows the brain to dwell on and discover arbitrary parts of the photo.

Anti Left Right Symmetry:

The eye seems to enjoy a little surprise.  Left right symmetry is the rule in this world - many things have symmetry.  If you can find examples where there is symmetry (where it isn't expect) or symmetry is missing when it should be there, your eye will dwell to reconcile  the situation.

Using Silhouettes

Another aid to the eye seems to be the use of silhouettes.  Silhouettes allow you to form a stronger sense of scene depth because there is a colour becomes a function of depth. Dark Silhouettes at dusk are the easiest form of silhouette to form - just over expose the frame in a high contrast scene.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quick Tips For Composition

Point Of Interest

Identify a primary point of interest before taking the picture. Make your subject dominate the photograph. Move in tight.


Be sure that the only things you want the viewer to see are in your viewfinder. Watch for clutter in the background. If you can't find an angle to isolate your subject, consider shooting with a longer lens with less depth of field.

A light subject will have more impact if placed against a dark background and vice versa. Contrasting colors may be used for emphasis, but can become distracting if not considered carefully.


It is usually better to place the main subject off-center. You can then balance the "weight" of the photo with smaller or less
important objects.


A "Frame" in a photograph is an object in the foreground used to lead the viewer into the picture or to give a sense of where the viewer is. Framing also gives perspective to the image. The framing object does not have to be in sharpe focus.


You can often change a picture dramatically by moving the camera up or down or, stepping to one side. One of the best ways to come up with a prize-winning photograph is to find an "unusual" point of view.

Direction of movement

When the subject is capable of movement, such as an animal or person, it is best to leave space in front of the subject so it appears to be moving into, rather than out of, the photograph.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Roadside Beauty

I needed some beauty after all the destruction of last week. I found it in a wheat field. There are few things more beautiful or more American than a field of
wheat kissed by the sun and fanned by the wind. Glad Middle Georgia farmers are
planting so much this year. Seems like I am seeing more wheat fields this year.

I shot some wheat photos last week, but the wheat was a bit too green. Today's field looked good in the sunlight.

I shot the wide one with the 15mm, and the tight stuff was with the 500mm. I didn't want any depth of field, so I hauled it out. I like its look compared to the 300. Hope you all enjoy them. i felt much better after shooting them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Conversation With A Survivor

One of the things about my job I love is that I get to meet some awesome people.
I met one this morning.. I was over in the Flamingo Drive area photographing storm damage and turned down Villa Crest Avenue. I had passed the street earlier, and when I came back by something made me turn in. I went to the end of the street and found a neat little blue house covered in trees. I also found Ernest Butts.

Not only were trees on the house, but a tree crushed his well-kept 1989 Cadillac.
Mr. Butts has driven an ice cream truck for the last 14 years, and only last week got it ready for this year. Trees were on the ice cream truck as well. Someone stole his television Monday while he and his wife were gone. But he was still smiling.

Sunday morning he walked out on his front porch after the tree fell on his car. He was almost hit by a pine tree that fell through the porch roof. "I am a Korean War veteran" he said, "but I have never been so scared." He went back inside, "We got on our knees and prayed and prayed.

He has been through all this and then I show up. I am so honored to have him share his story with me. Only hope I did it justice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Macon After The Storm-Stepping up and Reaching Out

I spent Tuesday working in Macon. Sometimes I miss roaming the streets of Macon looking for pictures.

Still a great town inhabited by such wonderful people. Still home to me in so many ways.

It is a shock seeing the damage caused by Sunday's storm. Worst I can remember in my time. I can't compare it to the flood. One thing that comes out again is the way the people of this town react to a crisis such as this. Like Bridget Teasley said yesterday "Hey we are still breathing, so we keep on going." She was sitting on a fallen tree in her yard with children and friends. Too hot in the house with no air.
She said of Sunday morning "After we knew we we not hurt we had to check on our neighbors. She has a lot of elderly folks near her. "I climbed a fence in a dress and plastic shoes," she said. But she made sure they were okay. Now they are coping, waiting for the power to come back on, school to resume for the kids.

Macon Police officer Joseph Calloway and Donald Johnson were in the middle of the intersection of Eisenhower and Bloomfield Drive directing traffic around a city crew repairing traffice signals. Those two guys are brave. Scary enough being in a intersection on Eisenhower yesterday in a car.

Dennis Pennymon shared his faith in both God and his fellow Maconites while clearing a fallen tree from his front yard. Folks in retail stores along Eisenhower
trying to get their businesses ready to reopen. Others like James and Jarod Fry
taking the time to help their friends get back to normal. Others like Shane Stewart and Coty Collins doing for folks they don't know, giving out cold water and peanut butter sandwiches to people with no power. A lot of love, a lot of caring.

Yep, when the time comes, Maconites have a way of stepping up and getting it done, and looking after each other in the process. Makes me proud.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Covering the Storm Damage

Wayne Crenshaw and I went to Laurens and Johnson Counties to report on the damage and cleanup.

I have been doing this kind of stuff in Middle Georgia for 37 years or so, and I still amazes me the way folks chip in and help one another. It also amazes me the attitude of these people after suffering loss and damage. Very positive, get it done. Just so cool.

We found Ralph J. Mullis and his friends out helping folks clean up storm damage. He has been riding around with a sign on the back of his truck "Can I Help."
Cops, firefighters and utility crews going above and beyond. The Baptist Disaster Relief Team in Wrightsville preparing meals and feeding people.

And I get to record this.

I sent my pictures from Wayne's house out between Wrightsville and Dublin. As I was driving home, I thought back to some of those road trips from the past. You spend all day shooting, really wired, and when you put the cameras in the car for the ride home, you are beat.

Time was you had a long drive back to the Telegraph, then two hours or more of processing film. To make deadline you had to stop shooting too early and hit the road, driving faster than you should. Now you usually have sent your images by the time you start driving, so you just chill and head home.

A much better way to end the day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Couple of Portraits

I have two portraits that I shot this week. The first is State Representative Tony Sellier. The second is Perry High Valedictorian Amy Davidson.

The Tony Sellier assignment was for 3:00 in the afternoon. A time for really bad shadows in you shoot outdoors. I wanted to photograph Tony with his cows in the background, but the shadows on his face were really harsh. Too bright to make it right with fill flash. I moved him under a tree, lost the harsh light on his face and balanced my flash so he and the background were equally exposed. I used my off camera cord so the flash was angled from the side to provide's a more dramatic effect on his face. Beging in the shade is also easier on your subject. cuts out the squinting caused by the harsh sunlight.

The tree made a nice frame for the top of the image.

The second portrait was at Perry High. I wanted to shoot in the school's lobby. Really a cool looking place. Here again I wanted to balance the exposure for both the subject and the background, but keep some of the interior design.

I fired my flash through a white umbrella onto Amy for my main light source. The umbrella softened the light a bit. I didn't like the straight on shot, a bit boring. So I tilted the camera a bit and got the bottom image. It is less static and makes better use of the architecture.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Take The Time To Do It Right

Everyone thinks I have an easy job. It is a fun job most days. I love what I do every day. It can be a stressful job. And sometimes it can be easy, and then some pictures you really have to work for.

I really worked for these bird pictures.

I tried shooting from the ground, but the nest was too high, could not see the little birds. I brought a ladder and climbed it. I was shooting with a 300mm f2.8 lens. Kind of a handful from the top of a 12 foot ladder. So I shot some of the fledglings, and waited for Papa to bring a worm. And waited. Seems that Papa saw me and wanted to be sure it was safe. So I stood on the ladder holding the long lens and waited.

After a while, guess I seemed safe and the feedings began. Wrong angle, getting Papa's back. So i climb down and move the ladder, and wait for the next feeding. This time I had the right line so I stood and shot through several feedings.

Sometimes there is no simple way to get a really good image. Wrong time of day, wrong angle, maybe you need a ladder. If you can make it work, take the time. The results are going to be well worth it.

And by the way, this was a team effort. My wife Deborah came along and held the shaky ladder.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Building Exteriors at Night

I had to shoot a building last week. The folks who requested the photograph
wanted a night shot. The building is out from town, and well lighted.

My idea was to make use of the floodlights to light the structure and have enough ambient light to have some sky visible, not just the house surrounded by blackness.
I knew what time the sun was supposed to set and used that as a starting point for my shoot.

I got to the house well before sunset and checked different views. I wanted to have the building framed somewhat with the trees. The trees help pull your eye into the image. I needed some light in the sky to make this happen.

I waited for the floods to come on, narrowly escaping a wet surprise as the sprinkler system came on. Grabbed my tripod and ran. Anyway, the lights came on and I waited until the floods illuminated the front of the house. I was shooting on manual
so I could balance the exposure for both the house and the sky. Both photos were shot at 1/2 second and F16. The top image was at 8:35pm, the next one at 8:45pm.
The light on the building stayed the same, but the sky darkened q good bit in the 10 minutes between photos.

To make all this mixed light easier to deal with I shot with the white balance on auto.

Building exteriors are a lot more fun to shoot at night, and the photos are usually more interesting visually. Just take your time.

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