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

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photographing The Cobras

Billy Davidson called several weeks before the air show at Robins Air Force Base to let me know
about a really cool chance for photos. He has an landing strip beside Georgia Hiway 96 between Fort Valley and I-75. The Sky Soldiers, a precision flight team wanted to use his strip for a bit of practice the day before the air show. The team flies retired and refurbished AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters.

They flew in around 4:30 Friday afternoon, took some time to visit with the local folks who came out to see them, and then did their routine as the crowd sat in the hay field and watched. Really cool stuff. The team is made up of retired Army and Marine pilots who flew these birds during their active duty days.

They put on quite a show, demonstrating the abilities of these old war birds. The maneuvers were all quite precise and often at very close quarters. The folks attending the practice session really got a better show that those attending the air show. Not only was the action a lot closer, but they had the opportunity to meet the pilots and have them relate a bit of history.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day. Hope you all did more today than be lazy and have a cookout.
Nothing wrong with doing those festive things on this day, but I hope you paused at 3pm, or some point during the day and remembered the real purpose of Memorial Day. A day honoring the men and women who have given so much for the freedom we Americans enjoy.
I shot the Memorial Day service in Byron today. Usually my Memorial Day photos have pictured veterans, mostly men. This is my favorite photo from today’s shoot. The hands holding the flag belong to the wife of a veteran, the lady looking at the display in the background is also a veteran’s wife.
A very simple photo, but I am happy with it.
Happy Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Fire Photos

We had a fire here in Fort Valley Monday night. It had been an unusually cool
day. We had our windows open to catch the breeze, watching Benjamin Button.
Deborah noticed the smell of smoke before I did. The fire was about three blocks away and the smoke had filled the neighborhood.

Didn’t take me long to find it. The Fort Valley Machine Company was on fire. Flames were coming through the roof when I arrived. I had some nice flame shots, but I really like this one that was shot after the flames had died down. You can still see the glow through the windows and along the roofline.

I am not usually a fan of wide shots of anything. Most times I want something to dominate the foreground, but this one is different. The smoke, the lights, hoses and reflections. I get lost in this picture. I thought it would be a nice black and white, so I converted it. Think I like the color best.

This was handheld f3.5 at 1/13 second, 800 ISO with the white balance on Auto, if anyone is interested. The D200 does pretty well with lowlight.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Gothic 2009

I love my job, love taking pictures. Can’t even to imagine not taking pictures. I also love people. So many wonderful people have let me into their lives, sharing the good and the bad. It has always amazed me when I ask some perfect stranger for the opportunity to interrupt their day, to invade their space and record a moment of their time.

I have been doing a photo and story each week on a different vender for the Byron
Downtown Saturday Market. All have been super nice. For this week I needed to photograph James and Lorene McDowell. Wanted to get a picture of them in their vegetable garden. Called them yesterday and arranged a time for this morning.

You never know how a photo session will go. Most folks are not Heidi Klum, not totally at ease in front of the camera. Well, I found two naturals today. Lorene and James, Ma and Pa to half of Byron, are two folks who are very comfortable with who they are, and with each other. Still in love after 35 years of marriage.

I told them on the phone I wanted the photo in their garden. I got to their house this morning and they were ready for me. I try to not preplan most of my shoots. I want to get where I am going and talk to my subjects, and then do the picture that fits them and the story. Hang around and listen to them and you will find your picture. A picture that they are comfortable being in.

Well, here they are. Completely natural, dressed as they do every day for the garden. And no, I didn’t tell them to pick up the garden tools. I didn’t pose them either, just told them where to stand.

My American Gothic, 2009. Hope they like it as much as do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fisheye Again

I shot peach picking again yesterday. I have no idea how many times I have gone to either Lanes of Big Six Farms to photograph the beginning of peach season. It is always a neat thing to shoot. Yesterday I shared the orchard with commercial photographer Chip Sparrow who was down from Atlanta.

I made use of my fisheye lens to capture workers dumping their baskets of peaches into the wagon for transport to the packing shed. I have wanted to do this picture for several seasons, but due to the 1.6 magnification factor with my digital camera, it was not possible. The fisheye made it happen.

The bottom photo is of David and Mary Ann Thames in the sanctuary of Fort Valley United Methodist Church. David is retiring as the church’s Minister of Music. I wanted to show them with lots of the sanctuary. It is such a neat interior. I balanced the light for the ambient light and my flash. The warmth given to the background by the daylight white balance really sweetens the image.

I was careful to get them in the center of the frame to cut down on the “fisheye” effect but it enhances the lines in the ceiling.

I really try not to overuse this lens, but I do love it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flowers On A Cloudy Day

We all know the old rhyme “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, what about May showers? May showers make it nice to photograph those flowers. You have probably tried to photograph flowers in bright sun and been disappointed by your results. Flowers, especially those with soft colors, photograph much better on cloudy days. The bright sun and inherent high contrast washes out those soft colors and some of the detail you want to capture. The softer light of a cloudy day is not so harsh letting you capture more detail. There is also less difference between the highlight and shadow areas. It helps to underexpose a bit.

The photographs here were done on a cloudy day and underexposed about one f stop. The colors are much richer and the raindrops show up quite well. The lower light levels also mean a larger aperture can be used, giving less depth of field.

This same bit of wisdom applies to outdoor portraits.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dirty Pictures

The opportunity to shoot folks playing in the mud(lots of mud) doesn’t come along too often. Especially folks who are old enough to know better, and are large enough to make a really great splash. Well, I have had the occasion to capture some very cool mud images twice in the past month.

The first time was during a church youth event the first weekend in April. Harmony Community Church had a Disciple Now event and my friend Greg Whitaker made a really fantastic mud slide. The slide stretched downhill and ended in a pit of mud that was a couple of feet deep. Greg worked long and hard getting it just the right consistency.

I had a bunch of cool pictures from the afternoon of mudsliding, but my fav was the one above of Wesley Gandy doing a belly flop into the mud. The splashing mud and his expression were just wonderful. And yes, both me and my Nikon caught some of the spray.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, Battle of Byron mud volleyball. Byron firefighters were responsible for the mud pit, and I don’t know if they used Greg’s recipe or not, but again some really great mud.

This time the best image from the shoot was a no brainer. I had a series of shots of William Walker and his teammate going for the ball. William was going backwards, and ends up in the mud. The photo below was my choice, and no mud on me this time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Photographing The Governor

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue came to our neck of the woods last week to sign some agri-business legislation into law. The event was at Lane Packing Company and was well attended by the TV folks. A table was set up for the signing, and of course the TV types all set up their tripods about ten feet in front of the table.
I went to the end of the table. I wanted to have the pen, the bill and the Governor’s
face as he signed the bills.

There were several to be signed, and after signing he would hand the one he had signed to an aide standing behind me. I decided to try shooting the handoff, seemed like a more interesting photo than him writing his name.

I came up with this one, kinda like it. Better than standing ten feet away and getting the top of his head.

Blog Archive