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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This has been a good year for me. I have truly enjoyed my work here with the Leader Tribune, and really loved the opportunity to write stories to go with my pictures.

I have photographed and written about some wonderful people this year. I sat thinking about today about the past twelve months and these three stories came to mind. I began the year with the story on the Lawnmower Man, Chester Dawson. He had been in his show out on Highway 49 for years and years. A sweet soul who loved his work, but even more loved the people who came to see him. He sold his place for the construction of a new motorcycle dealership. Hope you are enjoying your retirement, Chester.

I met the McDowell’s, James and Lorene, in May. A couple of folks who have a huge garden each year and bring the produce to the Byron Tailgate Market. They were my American Gothic 2009 photo.

My other pick of the year is Fort Valley Police Officer Jessica Weidner. She is the local animal control officer. The day I spent with her, she began by diving into a dumpster to rescue a bunch of throwaway puppies. Another sweet soul who loves her job, and is very good at what she does.

They improved my year by my being able to tell their stories, but also meeting them enriched my life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rain and Leaves

I was leaving home after lunch the other day. It had been raining really hard all day. As I crossed the sidewalk I noticed this leaf in a puddle of water. I liked the pattern and grabbed a camera. This is another one of those tight shots with my old Sigma 70-300. I have certainly got my 150 bucks out of that lens. The macro is great.

Anyway, the pattern caught my eye, and as raindrops hit the surface of the puddle, cool shapes would move across the water. I really like this. The colors are always so wonderful on an overcast day.

Glad I was looking down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Using Backlight With Flowers

This photo is from a shoot I did earlier this month with Mark Ballard. Mark had picked an outside setting for the photo. I wanted strong backlight to help separate the arrangements from the background and to light up the fruit in the main vase.

We positioned them so they were in pretty heavy shade. I set up one flash to the left of the camera coming in at about 45 degrees. My original ISO was 250 which was too much. My first shot (the one at the bottom of the page) was way too hot. There was no detail in the table cloth. This first image was a test shot, with no flash.

I reset my ISO to 100, adjusted my basic exposure for the background and the table cloth. I wanted to background to be a bit darker than the subject. I was shooting manually, so I had to pick the shutter speed and lens aperture. I blanked them for my image, and then set my flash output to match the lens aperture I selected.

And there you have it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The contrasts we encounter each day always amazes me. They also present some interesting, or at least different images. I began my day today at the site of the new school on Highway 341. The building is still a work in progress. Students will move into the school in late January. It is a colorful building, very modern. The top photo is of one of the light fixtures hanging in the front entrance way. Like I said, very modern.

I left the new school and went by the old high school building. It was built in the 1920’s and has been sitting vacant for some time. Fort Valley State University is going to renovate the building and use it as home for their nursing school. I wanted some before pictures. It is a real contrast to the modern elementary school.

Old buildings have character that is sadly so often missing in our newer structures. The stairway leading to the second floor is awesome. Even in its present condition, the old auditorium makes for a great photograph. A really haunting image.

So many of Middle Georgia’s old historic buildings have been torn down to make way for a new structure when the old one could have been recycled. We should all say a “Thank You” to President Larry Rivers, Mayor John Stumbo and all the folks that worked to save this building from the wrecking ball.

And by the way, did I mention the pigeon?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pictures With Santa

Saturday was the annual Lunch With Santa in Byron. It makes some good kids and Santa photos for the paper. A commercial photographer always shoots photos of the kids on Santa’s lap for Mom.

Each time I am at one of these events I am impressed with the patience of these brave photographers who regularly do photos of children. I am a firm believer that the best kid portraits are candids. Turn them loose and ‘em around with a camera. Shot for a while and you are bound to have some killer photos.

Just like these two here. The top photo, any mother would love. The bottom one, probably not too many. But it is still a nice moment. I have similar moments of my kids. Not always smiley, but a time to remember.

They are only kids once.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fog and Christmas Lights

It’s an annual thing with me now, shooting the Christmas lights in Fort Valley. Each year I want to do a little better than the year before. On the way home from an assignment Saturday night I swung through downtown and shot some photos. It was wet and really cold. I suffered for my art, but got some nice pictures.
Sunday night was really foggy. I walked the dogs around 6pm and was thinking Christmas lights in the fog would be nice.
I ate dinner and sat around, putting off going out. After I walked the dogs at 11p.m., I couldn’t stand it any longer. Deborah and I(and Wesley, our wiener dog) cruised uptown in the fog.
These are my photos. Kind cool. Shoot with a telephoto to really get the feel of the fog(top photo). A wide angle sort of diminishes the effect of the fog up close. Spots of light really make it kick. I usually shoot my fog pictures on manual so I can get the exposure like I want it. These were all handheld, but if you are shooting in fog, you might want to bring along a tripod.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fake HDR Images

I have enjoyed playing with HDR images the last several years. I have tried different programs to process the images, and the best one(to my taste, which many people have already questioned) is Photomatix. It is easier to use than Photoshop’s HDR program, and I like the results better as well.
I have also played with several programs that take one image and make it look like an HDR. Most of the ones I have tried were either a pain or the images didn’t really look like I wanted.

I was surfing today and found a program I had never tried before. It is HDRist and can be found at I downloaded it and have played with it a bit.

These three images are all done through it. Some photos work fairly well, others don’t. You can process several images that are bracketed and do real HDR’s. I will let you know how that works later.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Blocked Kick

I never shoot filed goals, or very seldom, anyway. Friday night I was jjust behind the line of scrimmage when East Side ran out of downs and decided to go for three points. For no particular reason, I shot the play, but with the wrong lens. Wish I had been just a bit looser. Peach County’s Travis Richmond came in and got one hand on the ball, knocking it down.

I got half of Travis, enough to see his hand on the ball. I did have enough wits about me to follow the ball. Ended the play with a nice photo of Luke Crowell running upfield with the ball, carrying a defender on his back.

Happy I did get part of the shot.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just Another Photo

I photographed the Peach County/East Side game Friday night. I got to spend a bit of sideline time with my friend and former co-worker Grant Blankenship. The game was full of action and made for some good images.

Grant and I had moved into the endzone at the end of the first half expecting a long pass play by Peach County. Grant even remarked the pass would be to Lamar Zanders, Peach County quarterback Patrick Taylor's favorite target.

Sure enough, it was a pass to Zanders and we were in the right spot. So was an East Side defender who played the ball perfectly, breaking up the play. Were looking at our images after the play and Grant said "If Peach County looses, this will be the game picture."

Peach County went on to win, and the broken pass photo became just another picture.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World AIDS Day

I went to our local World Aids Day event here in Fort Valley last night. It was held in a little park in the middle of downtown at our bandstand. Christmas lights and decorations cover the area.
I thought it was a great contrast, the AIDS message and the Christmas decorations.
There were some really compelling signs posted around the bandstand. Each one had signs on both sides. I shot some looking in to the bandstand and some against the downtown buildings.
The sign photographed against the empty streets kinda says something, too. AIDS is another one of those things that Americans(as well as most affluent nations) showed real concern about for a while. Guess now it is looked upon as more of a third world problem.
That is the way we are, like with bird flu, then swine flu. If its not knocking on our door, then it is not our problem.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

King Cotton

I have tried quite a few times to get a decent cotton picture. I did a black and white a couple of years ago that wasn't bad, but still didn't quite get it for me.
I went out yesterday looking for a little wild art to fill a hole we had in the paper. I knew this field had cotton that had not been harvested yet. I expected to get the machines running in the field.
Half the field had been picked, and work had stopped because of rain. The rain had stopped for a bit, but the clouds were awesome. I shot in several places and then saw this bowl that was a bit deformed. It had not opened and made nice fluffy cotton. I really like the gold spot in the middle of the frame.
This one I can live with.

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