Sunday, December 20, 2009
The one feature I had been ignoring was the camera's ability to shoot full HD video. I started out as a video guy. Coming out of college my degree is in Broadcast Journalism. I spent hundreds of hours in the editing bay and with the video equipment. I enjoyed photography at the time, but dreaded film developing or the expense of it all. Digital photography just wasn't affordable like it is now. Anyhow, i enjoyed working with video and figured thats where id stay. Funny how a decade can turn that around. So I found myself with some free time last night and decided it was time to give the 7D's video a good test run.
I headed down to the main square in Denton, knowing it would be buzzing with activity. There's always people out shopping, hanging out, going to the coffee shops, playing music or just people watching. Like me. A perfect scenario for a little street videoagraphy. Using a variety of lenses ranging from the 70-200 f/2.8 to the 50mm f/1.4 I walked around the square capturing people, un-noticed. After a couple of hours of gathering footage I came home, unloaded everything into Sony Vegas 9 and started piecing it all together. The music I used was called "Vale of Plenty" from the soundtrack of Blackhawk Down. I felt it gave the scene a relaxing mood, yet put a slight tension in it, showing the scene is alive and could change at any moment. If that makes any sense? haha
So here it is, my very first video made with the Canon 7D. I think its a good start. I'll probably do a few more just for the fun of it.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
There were several places on the track where I could tell would be perfect for what I was looking for. After a bit of a hike along the track, I came across this large flooded area in a field. The course took riders directly through it, no way to avoid it! I setup where I could shoot riders as they approached me and went past. As they began to notice me, some would hit the water with extra throttle to show off a bit for the camera. This kid was one of them. But as he nailed the throttle, he almost lost control and bit it. haha He did recover and rode out of the mud. But when i saw this shot on my camera LCD I knew i had a good one. This is probably one of my favorite shots of the day.
I had him wash it good and show up at a local rail yard in town. I felt this made the perfect backdrop for this car. I think it seemed to work well, adding a gritty, tough feeling to the images. The car looked great and was fun to shoot and later edit. I learned a few things and realized a few things I wish id done differently during the shoot. But overall im happy with the results. And so was Paul, which is what counts since it is his car. haha It wasn't difficult to make this car look mean and lean. And the photos really showed its color and body shape off well.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Well for the past 3 years I had used a very reliable Canon 30D. As time wore on I began to outgrow it. Not to mention camera technology began to really make it look dated. It was time to upgrade. For the past 6 months id been watching rumors of a new line of camera from Canon. Then it was announced, the Canon 7D was real! I pre-ordered mine as soon as I could.
Well finally after almost two months of waiting, it arrived! What a beast. Thats the best way of putting it. I kind of feel like someone who had been taken from the 1970's and dropped down in 2009.... in terms of camera tech. haha I know, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But people who had been shooting with more recent models, like the Canon 50D, might just think "ok the 7D is cool and all". But to me, its a massive jump in every aspect of photography. Everything I had wished the 30D could do, the 7D does. It man is it fast. For example, a long exposure shot of say... 30 seconds, would sit processing in my 30D for at least another 30 seconds. So i would sit and look at the little dark screen, watching the red buffer light flicker. With the 7D, the shutter of the 30 second exposure closes and in roughly 1 second the image appears! Thats the dual DIGIC IV processors doing their job. Sweet!!
Its body feels very similar to the Canon 5DMKII. Those who have one will feel like their holding their 5D when holding the 7D. Even the controls are similar. Its very comfortable to grip, feels solid, but not too heavy. Ive got the BG-E7 battery grip on mine, which does increase the weight a bit, but I'm so used to shooting with a grip I don't think I could go back to not using one. Its really nice.
One of the first things I noticed when taking the 7D out for some night shooting is its sensitivity to light. Its SO much better than my 30D was. I was shocked. I can shoot at a slightly lower ISO than I could with my 30D to get the same result. This is good because it means less "noise" from a long exposure. Im also in love with the large view finder. I didn't realize how much the 30D was cutting off from the eyes view. I look through the 7D's view finder and I feel like im suddenly looking through a full frame camera's view. I know im not, but I can see that much more! Its really.... eye opening. hah Another feature new to me is Live View. My neck likes this feature. As now I can take low to the ground shots without having to either lay flat on my stomach or painfully bend my neck to see through the view finder. Its real easy to look at the bright 3 inch screen and compose my shot.
Anyhow there are so many bells and whistles on this camera its mind boggling. I could go on and on about it, but I'll just close by saying I have zero buyers remorse over this baby. Its an investment in my photography and has met all of my expectations. If you're on the fence about getting one and you don't mind shooting with a 1.6x cropped sensor, get this camera... NOW. Oh and dont worry about digital noise. Its even beating the Nikon D300s in noise tests! Really kicking it in the nuts at ISO3200 and higher. I love it!
As you can see, im happy with this camera. :-)
While at the block party I think I saw every type of costume there possibly could be. And even some of the most creative ones id never thought of. It was my first time this event. Id been invited a few times in the past but never made it. I'll definitely have to go again next year. Big thanks to Craig and Bex for the invite. It was a blast.
So, until next Halloween Oak Lawn... I'll be back!
I was surprised to see how much the festival had grown since my last visit. Back when I last attended, the booths' filled Main Street and that was really about it. Fast forward 10 years and the festival now fills Main Street and extends 2 street deep on each side. Not to mention the crowd, it seems, has about tripled! But this was a good thing for me as a photographer. With the parade, the old west gun fighters show and plenty of people to observer and take pictures of, I knew it would be a good time.
I started out the morning by taking my spot on the parade route on Main Street. I had to really jostle for position with a bunch of cub scouts, but I found a spot! As the parade vehicles rolled by, I was able to get a number of really fun shots. The photo in this post was one I really felt captured the day. An old war vet riding in the back of a pick-up truck waving to the crowd. The Peanut Festival and Whitesboro are really classic Americana and this parade showed it. I think if anyone from another country was to be visiting here and attend this parade they would be thinking "this is what I picture when I think of small town USA".
After the parade I walked up the street a bit and found my seat again for the Old West Gun Fight. It was really entertaining to watch the 6 actors dressed in the old west theme act out a dispute, settled with riffles and revolvers. Ah.. America!! ;-) Watching the reaction of the people in the crowd as the guns went off was almost as interesting as the gun fight itself.
I continued to walk the street after the fun fight and found myself infront of Eye of the Storm Photography. It had been so long since Id last been to Whitesboro, I didn't even realize someone had opened a photo studio right on Main street! That someone turned out to be a friendly fellow photog named Mike (I can't remember his last name!). We immediately started talking shop as he showed me around his studio. It was a real treat that I didn't expect to find up in "the boro". Mike's a super nice guy and a great photog, so if you're ever up in the Whitesboro Texas area, stop in and say hi.
I left the festival around 2pm with a memory card full of photos. I had a pretty good time, better than I thought Id have. I may just have to venture up there for no real reason at all. There's some great photo opportunities!
Friday, October 02, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
And so it goes. Today, September 12th, 2009... I turned 38. Thats odd. I don't feel 38. I don't think I look 38. But, I am. I guess I have to accept that and move on. As a very good friend has told me many times in the past, "Dont worry about age... age is just a number". I have to agree with that. I often joke with my friends that while I may be 38, I have the mind of a 17 year old. Ha! Id rather spend time laughing, playing practical jokes and hanging out with friends than worrying about real serious matters. Life is too short to be stressed all the time. You've gotta have fun!
So... what will the next 12 months bring me? At this point in time, its very hard to say. But being the eternal optimist I am... I can only say the glass is half full and this time next year I'll sit here making a post on flickr... with a smile on my face. Im sure I'll travel somewhere, meet new people, take some incredible pictures and do my best to enjoy life. (knock on wood!)
A big thanks to everyone who visited my flickr stream to wish me a Happy Birthday. Its really great to see my real and online friends stop by and take the time to leave a comment. I smile and laugh at every single one of them! I consider you all, my friends. Thanks!!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Justin. His 365 day project self-portraits have always inspired me to be more creative with my own. Not to mention they've always been very entertaining. Justin and I even got the chance to trade prints of each others favorite photos. He's a great guy and i was really pumped to get the chance to meet him in person on this trip to NYC.
Justin is just as much a great guy in person as he is in the online world. Friendly, personable and enthusiastic about photography. And I don't even hold it against him that he shoots with a Nikon. :D Anyhow, I definitely know if I was someone living in the NYC area, Justin would be one of my photog buddies. I'll surely be calling on him again if I ever get to re-visit the Big Apple in the future!
Oliver. Over a year ago it was his 365 self-portrait project that helped convince me to start my own 52 week project. He's always been a great Flickr contact, commenting on my shots, replying to my comments to his photos and answering any questions I had. I also blame him for the final push i needed to drop big $$$ on my 70-200mm f/2.8. And Oliver, you were right... I don't regret it for a second! hah Getting to meet Oliver in person, in real life was a lot of fun. Its always great to get to finally meet a Flickr friend in person. Hopefully I'll meet many more as time goes by.
In this meet-up, Oliver took me down to the Queensborough bridge where we were given an amazing view of the river and bridge. it was a small park, accessible via a small sidewalk. Its this kind of place that only a local would know how to get to. Another reason its great to have a photo buddy in any city im going to visit.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
While in Philly we climbed the "Rocky steps", walked through Edgar Allen Poe's home and found our way to the haunted Eastern State Penitentiary. I was able to get some great shots and I was like a photographer in a candy store. Well, visually speaking. :-)
From there we caught a 1.5 hour train ride north and arrived in the Penn Station in NYC! The city is overwhelming at first. So much to do and see... so many people to watch. With only 3 days there, I could tell this was a place I could spend a couple weeks in, exploring and photographing. Definitely worthy of a future trip back. We spend the days exploring the streets, seeing the sites and taking it all in. I was able to meet up with a few of my best Flickr photo buddies and do some shooting with them. Oliver, Justin and Jenn... great to finally meet you in person! We packed so much into just this one week trip, it felt like i was there a couple weeks.
I'll definitely be returning to the Big Apple in the future. As a photographer.... how could I not?!
Friday, July 31, 2009
These photo's are a part of a new Portrait Series I am working on in 2009 in efforts to improve my portrait shooting and editing skills. Its also a great way to include the people around me in daily life in on my photography.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Most people go outside and light paint shapes of people, or hearts, or write their name. While on Flickr looking at all the uses for this technique, my first thought was to attempt to use it as a way of lighting a product. I needed a techie gadget that would work well for this. So, I grabbed my 580EXii Speedlight flash and set it up as my subject.
I setup my Canon 30D on the tripod with the 24-105 f/4L lens zoomed in fully. I then setup my wireless remote so I could fire off my shots without touching the camera. The camera was set to f/8, 10 seconds at ISO100. And the lens was set to manual focus, because the cameras IR would hunt for what to focus on once the lights were out in the room. The 580exii was set on a black laptop with a black shirt draped over some things behind it to give it more of a totally black studio look.
I then sat in a chair next to the flash gun, wireless remote in my left hand, LED pen light in my right. I pressed the shutter release button on the remote and began counting slowly to 10 as I used the pen light to paint smoothly around and over the Canon flash. I did this several times, painting more from different angles or spending longer lighting one area of the shot. I was finally happy with this exposure. It seemed to have the best "studio" look and feel to it.
Once I was done shooting, I unloaded all the RAW images into Lightroom 2 and narrowed my choices down to this image. I adjusted the exposure and fill light slightly, then increased clarity and reduced digital noise slightly. Then exported to CS3.
Once in Photoshop, I did notice there was still a bit of digital noise, caused by the long exposure. It wasn't bad, but for a product shot you want zero if possible because people will try to study the object closely, looking at the details. I then applied Smart Sharpen at 5.5% Then using my pen and tablet, I carefully created a selection around the flash and chose Selection--> Inverse. Which caused my selection to now select everything around the flash. I chose Filter ---> Blur --> Gaussian Blur. And set it to 4.5 pixels. This gave it a softer look in the lighting and really hid some of the noise. Once I had the noise pretty much gone, I used the healing tool to remove some obvious dust particles that were sitting on the flash and the laptop surface. Finally, one pass through Noise Ninja to remove any remaining noise and I was happy with the final product shot.
I guess if I ever need/want to sell my Canon 580EX II, I have a nice photo of it to post. heh
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This photo was the lead singer of local band Oso Closo. A true rock band that really had their act together. And it showed, as the crowd really got into the show. It was also the most crowded act of the night as I had to really fight for space to shoot from. It was all good though! Everyone was having fun and rockin out. And I came away with a bunch of nice shots for the evening.
This particular shoot was for the Denton music scene website www.mydentonmusic.com . They promote the local music and review bands playing in the city. A great resource for all the local talent coming out of Denton Texas. Be sure to check them out!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Anyhow, I decided to make myself shoot last night. I grabbed the camera bag and headed out on a photo drive. Wandering back roads and highways, just looking for whatever looked.... interesting. As the sun started setting I came across this highway rest stop. It was kind of in the middle of nowhere, but when i saw those Texas flags on the picnic table area's, I knew there had to be a decent shot in there somewhere.
I shot for a while at different angles using various lenses. Then the idea hit me to incorporate this little pavilion, the flag colors and the setting sun all in one shot. Doing so of course is a very challenging exposure to nail with the camera. So I bracketed my shots and created this HDR image of what I saw. I feel the end result gives it a look.... and feel that really grabs the eyes attention. And that's whats important to me, being able to "feel" a photo when viewing it!
I took somewhere around 200 photo's during my evening drive. But only 3 made it to my flickr stream. Probably only this one will make it to my website (www.thorpelandphotography.com).
See... im picky. :-)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
After several stops, we can across this fireworks stand outside a small town called Tioga. We figured it would be best to leave the cameras in the car at first, rather than get out snapping pics. So we walked up to talk to the folks working the stand and even bought a couple fireworks. We then asked if we could snap a few shots. They were more than happy to play along. After about 10 minutes of shooting, we said by and loaded up in the car for the ride home.
Overall a very fun and productive photo drive. Its nights like this one that remind me why I was attracted to photography in the first place. The excitement of shooting photos, capturing the local feel of my surroundings and sharing them with people thousands of miles away who've never experienced a hot summer night in Texas. I guess its like sharing a window into my world. So much fun!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I had two friends participating in the race, which always makes it more fun to photograph. My friend JB, who was racing in it, was sure to give me a card with all the plate numbers of his buddies also in the race who'd want some action shots. So our work was cut out for us.
The weather was classic Texas. Hovering near 100F by afternoon, some riders struggled to keep cool and stay on their bikes. I saw more than one rider pulled off the track, sitting on the ground, drinking water to re-hydrate. We saw many others drive by their fans and get dosed with water, in efforts to stay cool in the heat. What makes it worse is once the riders enter the woods, there is no breeze or wind. Just stagnate, oven-like heat.
Overall it was an awesome day of action photography. Im still working my way through all the images, but its well worth the time. Its days like this that remind me what makes photography so fun to me. Being there, in the moment, in the heat and dirt, capturing exciting images for others to enjoy.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
My last self portrait was taken back in like February, when my 52 Week Project ended. At that point in time, I was SICK of seeing any photo's with my face. Well a few months have gone by. I kind of missed taking them now and then. So when I was home for lunch last week, the urge suddenly hit me to take a new selfie. Partially because my photo stream has been a bit slow the past couple weeks. No events going on and not much free time to get out and shoot. So, a photo of me it is! I was actually pretty happy with out this photo came out. I think I took the pic and processed it in Lr2 in about 15 minutes total. Which makes it the best kind of self portrait. The kind where little effort was put into it. Now... onward to shooting photo's of things besides me.
"She thinks that happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway"
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
"She thinks that happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway"
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Congrats Spencer!! Off to bigger and better things. You'll go far my friend.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
There were a couple times during the day when I wished I could have switched over to the 200mm. But, I made it work out alright. I managed to get several quality shots I was happy with. Although the one thing that annoys me about this lens is how it handles sunlight when its anywhere but directly at my back. For some reason this lens creates sun flares more easily than any lens I know. And it also seems to blow out images with lots of sun, easier than any of my canon lenses. Getting a decent shot in normal sunlight often requires really stopping down to f/6.3 or smaller. And thats when shooting even at ISO100 with a polarizing filter. Overall the lens is "alright". I can see myself selling it and putting the money into the upcoming Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 IS lens being released in a few months. I suppose this is the classic case of "you get what you pay for". This Sigma lens runs about $300. The Canon lens im waiting for will run around the $1200 range. Ouch... I know.
Anyhow, back on topic. The Dog Days festival was a blast. Our little Heeler, Zita, had a ton O fun and was exhausted when we got her home. Went to sleep on the floor ASAP. Another great thing about this festival is the free stuff. Frisbees, chew toys, snack and doggie bandana's are handed out to all. You can bet we'll be looking forward to next years as well!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I immediately set out, shooting various angles and features on the planes. So many bright colors. So much to see. I was in photographers heaven! Then Emily's friends husband asked if I would like to go up in his Piper Cub. Sure!! Was all I could say! We squeezed into the small aircraft and taxied down the runway. I was very interested to experience this flight in this aircraft because Id recently been doing a basic pilot training in Microsoft Flight Sim and I wanted to see how it compared to the real deal! (I know, you're laughing)
Well, we reached the end of the runway, turned facing upwind and went full throttle. Just like the flight sim, 40 mph and we were lifting off the ground and headed upward! What a cool feeling! We began circling the surrounding farmland where he pointed out various landmarks and points of interest. We flew around for about 30 minutes while I snapped pics constantly. It was surprisingly like the flight sim, with the exception I was just a passenger..... and it was a real aircraft. :-) With both side windows down, the cool evening spring air poured in, but I was having too much fun to care. Also having the windows down made it easy for me to move my camera around for the best shot.
Finally it was time to land. He circled around to the end of the runway to what seemed like too high of an angle compared to the end of the runway, to me at least. Then again, im not the pilot with 20+ years of flight experience, like the guy sitting just in front of me! But without hesitation, we dropped down quickly, flared up a bit and drifted smoothly onto the runway. The Piper Cub is such a small maneuverable air craft, it doesn't need much runway to take off and land. Nothing to it.
We taxied back to the hanger and headed in for one more bite to eat before driving home. Really a fun day and a first for me! An afternoon I'll never forget.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
They arrived at on location about 15 late and everyone piled out of the car. Parents, bags, kids and the dog. I spent a few minutes petting Scout and letting him smell my hands and get comfortable with my voice and playing with me. I quickly learned this is one smart pup! Very obedient. Actually more so than the children! haha Wherever we setup to shoot, Scout quickly listened, sat... layed down. Whatever we needed. It was great. The challenge was getting the kids to both look at the camera and working quickly enough so that they didn't get too tired and bored.
After about 45 minutes we had a good assortment of photos. Just in time as the 2 little ones were starting to get impatient. This was one of my favorite shots of the day. It wasn't actually even a planned moment. We stopped between locations and Amy was trying to liven up the tired kids. She began playing with them, getting them to laugh and i just started shooting. A great moment captured!
Its always fun to see Amy, Jason, Fiona and little Molly!
After the 3 hour drive we arrived hungry and headed straight for Meers Restaurant. Meers is pretty much a 100+ year old building, one of the last standing in this one time miner town, which now serves some of the best Long Horn burgers Ive ever had. Then again, I don't know where else Id find a Long Horn burger. I like them because the meat is much leaner than normal beef. Very tasty as well. Especially when you've been hiking in the local mountains and are starving! So Rocky and I chowed down and headed out to shoot.
First stop was Sunset Trail at the base of Elk Mountain. This zig-zag mile long trail winds its way up to one of the best views in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. The trail isn't overly challenging, as long as your not severely over weight or have bad knees. Really a fun hike. We reached the top in about 40 minutes and commenced shooting photos. We hung out up there for close to an hour, until we both felt we had a decent amount of good shots. Then began our hike down.
Something funny happened on our decent. We ran into a boy scout troupe headed up. We stopped and chatted briefly and the scout leader asked how much further. We told them about 10 more minutes to go. Then he asks me, "So, did you guys hike up here?" Thinking to myself I cannot imaging any other way i could have arrived in my current location I replied, "Well, I don't recall being dropped off by a helicopter". He just gave me an odd look and we moved on hiking down. Rocky found that little exchange pretty funny. We're still wondering what exactly he meant. lol
Once down we stopped at a large field where a heard of Bison (pictured) were grazing and playing. This was a joy to watch and photograph. We had to use caution though. Unlike normal cattle Buffalo are known to randomly charge if they feel you're too close. Thank goodness for zoom lenses and our car! hah Our shutters snapped away as these massive animals butted heads, jumped, rolled and pushed each other around playing. The weather has been getting warmer and as you can see in the photo, their winter coats are beginning to peel off. They are very powerful animals that move surprisingly quick. What a blast to shoot!
A few hours later, tired and running out of daylight, we hit the road for our three hour return drive. It was a full day, but it was fun and a Saturday well spent!
Id definitely go to see them play again if they returned to Denton. Sometimes its hard to really get into the music when im focused on shooting photo's. So it would be nice to have a second listen to them.
Again it was the wonderful 70mm-200mm f/2.8 lens which shined for shooting in this dark stage lighting. I can't say enough about this lens and how it continues to impress me. Expensive? Yes. Worth every penny? Indeed!
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
We arrived in Amarillo's airport at 8am, got our rental car and headed out. It was a chilly 46F and drizzling rain. Not optimal conditions for hiking and photography, but we forged on not letting it dampen our spirits. We decided to first make a stop at a local Walmart for some snacks and so I could buy a sweatshirt hoodie to stay warm. My long sleeve pull-over I brought with me wasn't enough! From there it was off to find a place to grab breakfast. We found a little mom & pop dinner in town, where we enjoyed pancakes and french toast. Which I am glad we ate a high carb breakfast considering what lay ahead.
By the time breakfast was finished, the rain had stopped and the skies looked a bit better. It had also warmed up a few degree's, so it was time to get to the Canyon. A short 20 minute drive and we were at the parks main entrance. The lady working the gate gave us a map of the park and off we drove. We found a nice overlook section to park and start getting some photos. There was a visitors center near by with some exhibits and literature, which was very interesting.
We took a "quick" 2 mile round trip hike along a trail that followed the canyon rim. This was a great opportunity for many landscape and general scenery shots. The photo included in this blog post is from this portion of the hike. What you'll see here is a nice view over the canyon, with a striped red dirt area in the upper right of the photo, famously known as the "Spanish Skirt" because of the way it fans out with bands of color. Very nice view.
From here we drove to our next trail head known as the Lighthouse Trail. This of course referred to the Lighthouse rock structure, one of Palo Duro's most famous landmarks. (And which can be seen in my flickr stream!) This was a bigger challenge than we originally thought it would be. Three miles each way, 6 miles round trip... through hilly terrain. Although the trail itself was rather smooth, not requiring a high skill level of hiking. After about an hour and a half we reached the Lighthouse Rock. It really felt like an accomplishment and yielded some great photos. The last climb actually up to the Lighthouse was the most challenging. A real leg muscle burner! But we made it up and spent a good 30 minutes at the top enjoying the view and the breeze. Then, gathered our stuff up and began the 1+ hour hike back. We actually made it back in quicker time and we were exhausted! But we did it.
We all headed back to the hotel to relax, shower up and get ready for dinner. So where does a visitor to Amarillo go when they're only in town for one night? The Big Texan of course!! This restaurant is made famous for its "Free 72oz Steak Dinner" offer. The catch being, you have to eat this nearly 4 pounds of beef, along with the appetizer, salad, dinner roll and large iced tea in 1 hours time. Or its NOT free. In fact, its $100. There is a board on the wall signed by all those who have beat the challenge, accompanied by humorous quotes such as "Best and worst day of my life", or "Whats for desert?" haha It was an entertaining dinner in this authentic Texas steak house and we're glad we got to experience it.
Our flight Sunday was at 2pm, but we had one more destination to hit while in this Texas Panhandle town. Just west of Amarillo on the old Route 66 the Cadillac Ranch can be found. This is like an automotive version of Stone Henge, complete with old Cadillacs sticking up from the ground. Front ends all buried in the dirt, tail lights pointed to the sky. Lined up across the bleak, flat West Texas landscape. Its definitely an "art exhibit" worth stopping by.
After that, we were pretty much done with Amarillo. To the airport and time to get on home.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Another fun thing about hitting up the A&J Fest is all the artists booths. For me, particularly the Photographers booths. Its always interesting to see what type of shots they're selling, what they're prices are and if they're drawing much interest from passer-by's. I was surprised by the wide range of photographers skill levels who were selling their work. Some where clearly more polished than others. Sometimes makes me think I should have a go at the A&J Fest one year. See how id do. Hhhmmm... haha
Anyhow, this was one of a few interesting people shots I got that day. The fun thing about it is its so crowded, no one really notices nor cares that Im taking pictures. And its events like this, that the 70-200mm just shines! Everywhere I look there's a great shot in range. And since its really a fast lens with its f2.8 aperture and Images Stabilization, I can shoot well into the night. Love that lens, can't say it enough.
So, another Arts & Jazz Festival is in the books for this year. I probably had more fun at this one than any in the past. The weather was awesome and i had lots of friends come out to hang with. Emily and I really enjoyed the weekend.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This past Wednesday has asked me what I had going on after work. Well I wasn't going to my usual soccer scrim because of my sore knee, so I told him I had no plans. He said he had nothing going on as well. That's when the idea to go on one of my photo drives came to mind. I normally go on them alone, getting lost on dirt back roads, walking through fields and stopping at ever run down building i can find. But hey why not take a buddy? So I asked him and he was all for it. I picked him up and we headed North out of Denton. It wasn't long before we found some interesting fields and later returned to an old abandoned farmstead I had found a few weeks back. I had forgotten how much fun it was to go shoot with someone else. As we roamed around the abandoned buildings, we exchanged shot ideas, setting information and shooting angles. This opened many new creative windows that I might have passed up before.
So while out on this recent photo drive it hit me that Rocky was worthy of my #8 Portrait. I snapped this one with my 10mm wide angle as he was shooting an old work shed. The device mounted on top of his Canon 1D MkIII is called a Pocket Wizard. Its used to trigger a remote flash, which he had setup inside the shed. As soon as I saw the shot i had taken, i knew that was the photo to use as his portrait.
Welcome to the project Rocky!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The scene captured here was at the end of the night. All the guests lined the outside hallway leading to the parking lot, holding sparklers and the bride and groom ran through them together. I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for a wide angle shot. There was just so much going on in the scene i wanted to capture. The only problem would be I had pretty much one shot at this, no redo's!
I managed to get off 3 or 4 shots. Only 2 of which came out satisfactory for use. Not too bad. But this one was my favorite. So much happening in this one scene. I caught all the guests laughing and waving and cheering, the groom running out of the scene quickly and the boy and his father on the far right playing with their sparkler. To me, all things which make for an interesting shot of the night!
I think the bride and groom will be happy with the shots my sister Macey and I captured. Overall we got some really nice photo's of the evening and really captured their 'big day'.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
So, I attended the gallery show opening on March 7th, showing my 3 pieces along with about 25 other local artists. We had a big turn out and it was a blast. It was shortly after that, the owner of the gallery contacted me to say he had a new offer he wanted to know if i would be interested in. I called him back and we met at the gallery one evening to discuss what he wanted to tell me. He said there had been a lot of attention on my 3 pieces and he wanted to know if I would like to be the featured artist for the month of April. Wow.. thats was pretty cool. Then he told me I would need to have 20 to 25 pieces framed and printed. Ouch. That could get expensive! On the 3 I already had in the current show, I had spend between $140 to $170 getting framed and matted with really nice frames. Warren then gave me a crash course on framing on the cheap. And once i talked to the custom framers, I realized I was able to cut my framing costs literally in half (or more) by just going with a basic off white matte and brushed metal frame. And they still looked great. Granted, framing 20 pieces of various size still ended up costing a chunk of $dough$. But I saw this as an investment. What doesn't sell in this show can be used anywhere use in the future. And believe me, Im already brewing some future ideas. So, its considered "inventory" I guess.
Ok so April 7th rolls around and I was the "Featured Artist" of the evening. It was a really cool feeling. All the artists had name tags on so visitors could ask questions and hear from each artist personally about their work. This worked out well, as many people who were interested in my work were able to hear a bit about how I created what was hanging up in the show. Although I didn't want to give away too many secrets. haha This face to face PR must have helped. To the date of this posting I've sold 4 pieces from the show. Very exciting for me!
All of my work remains up for the full month of April. Then, a new featured artist will get the center display area for the May show. And my 3 pieces return to a place on the outside gallery walls. So the pictures in this post are for my memories of all my work hanging in the main show.
Be sure to check out www.oxidegallery.com to see info on their latest show, or to sign up for gallery updates.... or to be notified of the next Open Artist Call!
Friday, April 10, 2009
We started out with Ashley. This photo is of her at the start of the shoot. We placed her in the flowers and everyone got behind me to call her name and get her attention. She was amused and gave us a little smile before going back to playing with the flowers. I thought, "wow, this is easy". Then it was little Isla's turn. Being so young, she can barely hold her own head up yet. So they had to help her. Plus she seemed a little scared to be away from mommy and daddy. So I had to shoot fast. I got some great pics of her too, but she started becoming irritable more quickly.
Overall the shoot was a success. Both mommies were very happy with the pics I gave them. And I felt like I got some good practice out of it. So it was fun. It also gave me the excuse to use my favorite lens, the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L, for the shoot. Holy moly I love this lens. Portraits, wildlife, sports.... it does it all. Any of you who are reading this and wondering if its worth the price...... YES.
Well I get home and turn on the news. Top story of the evening is large wildfires on the far west counties of Ft. Worth, burning out of control. This was a good 40 miles west of Denton. So the smoke must have been thick to darken the skies over here! It was even covering the skies down in Dallas. News choppers and weather cams were showing the darkened skies.
Later that evening I went out in the backyard to play with Zita. I looked up at the setting sun and couldn't believe the view I had. I ran back in, grabbed my camera and ran back outside. I started snapping away as the sun seemed to set rapidly. I finally got a shot that accurately looked like what I was seeing. Which is this one. This seemed to be where the sun was passing low through the thickest part of the smoke and ash to the west. The skies lit up a bright orange. You could look directly at the sun without any discomfort. (Still not a good idea im sure) But, it was pretty cool. Later that evening while I was still outside, I noticed small bits falling from the sky. When i looked closer and caught one... it was ash! Blowing East, miles from the fires.
Very interesting evening.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
So a bit about this shot. This is an HDR image. It worked perfectly for this scene. Using multiple exposures really brought out the detail and texture of the wood and the bits of red, green and blue in the image. You can even make out detail inside the entrance on the left of the image. I took 3 exposures at -2, 0, +2 while I was on-site. Once I got home and had imported them into Lightroom 2, I took the -2 and +2 exposures and created 2 more shots each direction. Giving me -4 and +4 exposures to work with. I then exported all 5 TIFF files into Photomatix and worked on it from there. After that, I moved over to Photoshop CS3 and did some sharpening work. I was happy with this final image. Has a nice feel to it and looks very close to how it did as i stood there on that warm spring evening. I look forward to what shots I'll get there when i return.
For now, I will keep its location secret. Later I may geo-tag it for others to find. hehe
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Well a couple weeks went by and I went back to this shot. It was slightly blurry because of the movement while trying to shoot it, but I still wanted to use it... somehow. I liked the feel of it. Then an idea hit me. What a perfect chance to add a little radial/zoom blur in Photoshop! I placed the focal point on the nightclubs sign, which luckily was fairly sharp to start with. I then set the zoom level to 12%, giving the view the slight feeling of movement. And then converted it to B&W using a Lightroom 2 preset called PH Perfect B&W, which is one of my favorites because of the tones it uses. All said and done, I was really happy with the result and I was able to salvage a good shot I had previously dumped.
If you cannot make this event but would still like to have a look at the gallery, be sure to check out Oxide Gallery in Denton. Its located on south bound Carrol and Hickory and there's currently a lot of good stuff on display by many talented artists!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Man on the Street
Headed to Dallas
This past Saturday was Emily's Bday, so we arranged an evening out with a group of our good friends. We all met up for dinner down at the Village Burger Bar for a great meal. But after that all the girls had plans to go to a dance club. This left myself and Michael with about 3 hours to kill. I already had my camera gear, so we dropped them off at the club and headed out around Dallas to do some shooting. As soon as I told Michael I wanted a cityscape shot of downtown and would like to get a long exposure shot of traffic, he knew exactly where to go. He took me to this small overpass on the West side of Dallas, crossing I-30. It was freezing that night with temps hovering in the low 30's and with the wind gusting. So we worked quick to setup the tripod and camera and start shooting. After about eight shots I got this one and was pretty happy with it. I believe the golden settings were f14, 15sec at 70mm. This was just the first of a few good shots that night as we drove around town. We repeated the same routine of jumping out of the car, freezing while shooting then jumping back in to warm up, all night. But I was having a blast. Big thanks to Michael for knowing some great locations.
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland