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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Creative Lighting

I shot these two photographs during a recent shoot with model
Brogan Flemming. We were on the River Walk in Macon on a
Saturday morning. I was able to get low and let the sun peek
over her shoulder.

I wanted good detail and contrast, so I added some light to
her face and upper body. The flash was to my left and elevated
slightly above her face level. I used a second flash behind
her and to my right. This second light hit the side of her left
leg and back of her right leg to give some seperation from the
background. I shot at a really high shutter speed to darken
the sky and background.

Normally I would not want utility poles and power lines in
my photo, but this time they complimented the fence on the left.
Makes for some cool images.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Christmas lights on Cherry Street in downtown Macon, 1982. Another couple of
oldies dug out and scanned in. I have always loved downtown Macon, especially
early morning and late at night.

Downtowns are just cool places to photograph. Go vist your local downtown and see
what you can come up with. Compaare the same scenes at different times of day
to see the different possibilities in the same location.

Never was a big Ansel Adams fan, maybe if he had done cityscapes instead of
the desert?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cool Hats and Mirrors

Here are two more black and white oldies. Two images from a shoot back
in the late 1970's. I thought they were neat. I love old hats and mirrors, combine the two with some sweet natural light, results gotta be kickin.

So, go forth and be creative.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Some Nice Oldies

Here are another couple of oldies. i shot these back in late 1970's, again some
good old Tri-X. There had been a late-night fire in Macon's old industrial area.
Can't remember what the business was that burned.

Anyway, the fire was over but the editors still wanted art for the Macon News(our old afternoon paper.) I got to the scene while the sun was still fairly low in the sky and first shot the vertical shot with the water tank reflecting in the water that had puddled while firefighters were battling the blaze. Fire hoses are still seen in this one, the sun burning through the smoke.

i moved deeper into the scene and found the dramatically leaning roof and rubble. made for an eerie image. Glad I found these.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Photo Editing

I began my day today photographing a retired MH53 Pave Low helicopter
being towed down Georgia Highway 247 past Robins Air Force Base to the Museum of Aviation. The last couple of times I have photographed aircraft being
towed along this route I have shot from road level. This think is so massive I decided to shoot from the Russell Parkway bridge as it came down the road.
This angle shows the way it fills the road and how traffic backs up behind it.

Gary Harmon had the same idea, and we were grabbing our equipment out of our cars when we were approached by a base law enforcement type who wanted to make sure we were not terrorists photographing the base. Gary has that effect on people. I think he's just a bit too edgy. We proved trustworthy, and waited for the procession to come our way.

My first shots were with the 300mm with a 1.4 extender which gave a lot of magnification and compression to the image. The first image I really liked because of the way the road just seemed to flow. It shows the traffic backed up as well. Only problem you have to look really hard to find the helicopter.

I chose the second photo instead because the copter really jumps out, and shows how huge the thing is. Shows the traffic good as well.

I did the last image with the 15mm. It is a cool photo, very interesting look. Only thing the 15mm spreads everything out so much that it is deceiving. Looks like traffic is flowing along as usual.

So for the newspaper, it is not always the photo you like the best, but what will tell the story the best.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If I Had A Hammer........

I went to Robins Air Force Base this morning for the second day of historic flights. Yesterday an F-15 flew at more than twice the speed of sound using a synthetic fuel. Today was the second day of flights.

I was early enough to get some shots of the F-15 being loaded with fuel, made some nice art. We waited for a couple of hours as the aircraft was readied for flight. I was steadily shooting.

The pilots of the history making F-15 and the chase plane arrived, and finally boarded the aircraft. A writer for Jane's News was accompanying the pilot in the chase plane. She posed briefly as she boarded her F-15, then the birds were fired up. The ground grew went through their preflight checks and a group lingered under the wing of our history making plane.

One guy leaves the group and goes into a nearby hanger, returning with a large hammer. I thought "surely he's not going to....." but before I could finish my thought, he was hammering on the aircraft. Guess this is standard procedure.

Seems a valve had stuck, totally unrelated to the synthetic fuel. The flight was delayed for several hours to find a bigger hammer. I had to leave.

Glad I got this photo, cause the first time I told this story, folks thought I was making it up. This picture is a keeper.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Possum On The Half Shell.....

I have always loved this photo, the perfect Monday morning image. Some years ago before I stopped drinking, I could really relate. Anyway, you know the story by now, I was going through this box of negatives and.......

This was back in 1994, armadillos were just beginning to come this far north. Our managing editors Barbara Stinson and Ron Woodgeard had been been in heated discussion about the migration of these phantoms of the highway. Stinson clamed to have seen them around and Woodgeard said no way. Well, Barbara asked that I photograph one of these possums on the half shell to settle the argument.

Bill Boyd, my son Thomas and I were on a roadtrip to Albany and found this one feet up along Highway 300 between Cordele and Albany. We stopped and I commenced to photographing Armadillo. I made a couple of color 11x14's,Barbara won her bet, and I had a photograph to cherish forever. Always makes me think fondly of Boyd and Thomas.

And why don't you ever see a live armadillo on the road?

Friday, August 15, 2008

The D3 For Sports

I shot my first high school football of the year last night, Warner Robins and Peach County had a scrimmage game. Also the first sports I have had the chance to shoot with the Nikon D3. WOW...

I know you have heard me rave about the D3 before. It is an awesome camera, full frame, shoots incredibly high ISO's while producing wonderful color. What more could you want? How about some killer autofocus?

Man, if you get the lens on it, it is in focus. I like tight football. I got it. The first one was a pass play, No problem. How many times have I been in the perfect place, followed the ball into the receiver, and had a great out of focus image because the autofocus didn't get there when the ball did? Too often to count. Not with this puppy.

Fast enough to get both ends of a pass play. I shot Peach quarterback Patrick Taylor unloading the ball, stayed on him until he was hit by Warner Robins linebacker Sam Hvizdzak, and was able to get the ball reaching the receiver downfield.

Another nice thing with the D3, you change lenses less. I was shooting with the 300mm and a 1.4x. Instead of changing the lens, I just went back and forth with the image area between 24x36 and DX format.

The finder is really clear and bright, and the camera is so well balanced with a wide angle or a long telephoto. 37 years of shooting high school football, and this is the BOMB.

Nikon, you did it right.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Making Dramatic Portraits

So often when doing pictures of people, we forget that we can really cook up some cool images by incorporating the environment, making what has potential to be a distracting background an advantage.

I shot these photos this past weekend while working with Brogan Flemming. We were at one of the coolest places to shoot in downtown Macon, one of my favorites anyway. I began by placing her against the rail, using the stairs behind her as background. I shot these using off camera flash so I could let the background go a bit darker.

The first picture was with a telephoto so she was isolated, and the background consisted only as interesting patterns. A nice portrait with shallow depth of field. Brogan really stands out.

I swapped the telephoto for my wide angle and moved in closer using the lines in the background. The second photo was with a 24mm lens. The lines have a nice flow to them, and the photo has a lot of depth, but no distortion. The lighting and background make for a dramatic image.

The third image I really got dramatic. I went to the 15mm lens to have some distortion, but used it to my advantage. I went to a really low angle of view, cranked the camera sideways, and Voila....we really have a eye catching photograph

So, take a look at your backgrounds, not just to be sure you don't have tree limbs growing from your subject's head. And don't be afraid to shoot with a wide angle. Just don't make 'em look like freaks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Old Bird to Another......

Yesterday afternoon I went to Robins Air Force Base to photograph an MH-53M Pave Low helicopter that was being delivered to the Museum of Aviation for display. This aircraft began its flying career the same year I started working at the Telegraph. H'mmm, does that mean I am museum ready, too? Our photo opportunity was out on the flight line where two helicopters sat. One was to be donated to the museum, the other was to carry the flight crew back to Florida.

The donated chopper was to take some base employees on a short flight. I started photographing as the crew prepared for the flight. Pretty bland stuff, when you photograph a helicopter at a normal daylight shutter speed, you stop the rotor blades. I wanted to have some movement in the blades, so I dropped my ISO to 200, which is as low as my camera will go. That allowed me to shoot at 1/80 second and have some motion in the blades. Any slower and I would have washed out the image through overexposure.

I got the shot of the crewman taking the fire extinguisher out on the ramp, and then tried some tight shots of the blades. Made a kinda cool image.

When they took off I was afraid to shoot so slow, and kicked the shutter speed back up. I had noticed the C-5's out on the ramp, and was hoping the helicopter would fly low enough over them to shoot it between their tails. Worked out okay.

Too bad I didn't get a ride.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What??? Again.....

This week has brought up the old question of "How do you shoot the same event over and over and not get bored to death?" I shot the first day of school in Houston County Monday, and in Peach County today.

I guess if I let myself I could look at it like "Here we go again" but to me its another day, different people, and each minute something else is happening, and I am going to try to find a unique little slice of time to record. I just love what I do.

I went to Hunt Primary early this morning and found this Back To School sign soon after arriving. I really wanted a photo with the sign. I held the camera up as high as I could to make it dominate the frame, and tried to make it work with the doorway to a classroom. It never did work out, so I waited until I had some folks walking down the hallway. It was okay.

I went back to the main entrance where school staff were gathered to greet parents and students and help them find their way. I photographed Principal Chip Messer with this first grader. Great expression, nice moment. When Dr. Messer led the boy down the hall I followed, shooting from behind with my wide angle. They stopped outside a classroom and Dr. Messer leaned in and I got this really nice frame.

The first image is really nice, like I said the expression on the kid's face is wonderful. The second shot is my favorite image of the shoot, probably for the week so far. You can feel the first grader's apprehension. The light spilling out of the classroom separates them from the background. It just works.

Getting images like this are what motivates me, makes me so eager to shoot the "same assignments" over and over. Just anticipating what I am gonna get next time. The challenge of trying to it a little better. That's what keeps me going.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fire In The Hole!!!!!

I had just finished my second assignment of the morning and was headed to the office when Stephanie Hartley called me from the Macon office. She told me about the evacuation and I headed over to the Police Department.

Situations like this can make decent photos, or be a total waste. The biggest factor in determining what you get is where the cops let you shoot from. The Warner Robins Police Department is great to work with. They are a very professional group.

I set up with the 300mm with a 1.4 extender on one body and the old 500mm on the other. The devices were brought out by robots and placed in a sand pile to be destroyed. We got a bit of warning before it was zapped, a siren alert, then the old "Fie In The Hole" Of course you don't know when it is going to happen, how soon after the "Fire In THe Hole" shout. So you sit with your finger on the button waiting for the bang, knowing how embarrassing its gonna be if you are too late on the trigger.

The first one was destroyed with a water cannon and made a decent photo. I got the laptop out and sent the top image using my cell phone while sitting
under a tree across from the Police Department. .

Before the transmission was complete, the robots were back in action, placing the second device in the sand pile. I got a better image when this one was destroyed. The robot was not in the way, and an explosive device was used.

Thanks to my laptop and cell I was able to get an image to Macon, and online quickly. I love technology when it works!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back To School, For The 37th Year!!!!!

I got up really early today for the first day of school in Houston County. This is over 35 years of "First Days Of School" I have done. I visited Linda Horne and her folks at Perdue Primary in Houston County. What a great school. I love to be around people who have a passion for what they do every day. She does, and shows.

She and school board member Fred Wilson were the main greeters this morning out in front of the school welcoming students and their parents. I got this photo of Wilson, typical of how he spent his early morning. I love this image, the expressions, just makes me smile.

What a great way to start my week. Hope it makes you smile as well.

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