Sunday, August 31, 2008

30 Weeks and Rolling
Just 2 hours before my "deadline" for getting my weekly self portrait posted, I got it done. This was actually a picture I took Saturday evening but didn't do anything with it until Sunday passed. Just in case I was able to take a better one. Ever do that? Anyhow, not much in the way of creativity for this week in the actual shot. I was able to take a pretty straight forward, looking at the camera SP and turn it into something half interesting I believe.

I think I like the intensity of this shot and the clear focus I was able to accidentally get right on my eye. While shooting at f1.8 the depth of field is so short that if I missed my eye with the focus point, the picture would be useless to me. My face also looks rougher than it actually is. Geeze, its getting worse the more I look at this pic. Oh well.

This is actually the third self portrait taken in this chair, which is my computer desk chair. Hence the lighting to my right is from my computer monitors. I thought it put out a nice glow for a self portrait. I have a decently creative idea for my Week 31 shot, next week. I just hope everything works out and I can get what Im looking for. Man, I can't believe Im on week 30 already. These weeks are just rolling by!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 29
Well this is my Week 29 shot of my 52 Week self portrait project. I'll have to admit this turned out to be one of my top shots so far. Also it was up there creativity-wise. This photo is actually a single exposure. I took it by setting my camera on the tripod and on manual at f5.6 with a 6 second exposure, ISO 200. I then stood in 3 places holding my Canon 580EX II flash and manually firing it each time I moved to a different spot. It took me about 4 tries to get the look in each flash that I wanted. But when i saw this one I knew I had my shot of the week.
A Day at the Races
This past Saturday turned out to be a busy one! I packed up my photo gear, met up with my buddy Beau and headed down to watch our friend JB's kid (Hunter) race in a dirt bike cross country event. He was racing in the 65cc class, which I believe still lists him as a "Pee Wee" class rider. But they were still pretty fast. Hunters friend and fellow racer ended up taking 1st place, while Hunter managed to get into 4th place at the finish. Earning him a trophy for the ride home! Right before Hunters race was the really little guys, the 50cc class. These kids were so small, their helmets made them look like bubble heads. I shot many pictures at both races. Each race being 10 laps and lasting about 25 minutes, came home with somewhere around 600 pictures to go through! I started editing them and had most up before bedtime. You can find a few on my flickr gallery at .

I was supposed to go shoot a womens roller derby match later that night. But after being in the sun all day I was exhausted. I showed, ate dinner and just wanted to lay around and watch TV. Drained. There's another roller derby match in a few weeks which I hope to go to as I think it would make for some great action shots.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

King Clown
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
North Texas State Fair
So with the NTSF starting last night, I was excited to give my new f2.8 lens a real test. A fair/rodeo is traditionally a very tough event to photograph because of the poor lighting and fast action. I got to the rodeo grounds just after it started and found a seat as close as I could to the arena. I mounted my 200mm lens, set the aperture to f2.8 and started out with ISO1600 in hopes of keeping grain to a minimum. After the first few shots it was clear to me I would need ISO3200 to get a decently bright exposure. Thank goodness the Canon 30D has decent low grain performance at high ISO. I can also fix it up in Photoshop during post processing with grain removal.

Now for those who know me, I am about as far from 'country western' as you can get. Sitting in the stands I felt like a round peg trying to get into a square hole. I was wearing cargo shorts, t-shirt and running shoes and I was surrounded by cowboy hats with cow manure covered cowboy boots. Oh well, I was out for some good action shots. Although I was reminded of where I was when the lady one row in front of me turned around to towards her cowboy friend and screamed, "gimme the Copenhagen!". Im sorry, I am just not used to seeing women as for/use chewing tobacco. Just odd. Anyhow the event was up and running and I started snapping away. I managed to get a few keepers, but it was a 15 to 1 bad/good ratio. Because of the low lighting my average shutter speed was around 1/60 to 1/80 of a sec. Which caused some unwanted motion blur. Overall a good evening for some unusual action shots.

Monday, August 11, 2008

27\52: Just Me
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
When Big Plans Fall Through
Week 27 of my 52 week project shot was really kind of anti-climactic for me. I had all these ideas to do for this weeks shot, but they all fell through. So there I sit, almost out of time for getting my shot posted for the week. I turned on all the lights in the kitchen, set the camera on the tripod and just looked at the 50mm and fired a few shots. I got this one which i see as a good SP of my strange looking face. haha I guess I'll have to save my "cool ideas" for next week. But I am proud of myself for not missing any weeks yet. Ive come close, posting some weeks shots in the last hours of Sunday night. I consider a self portrait week to be Monday morning through Sunday at midnight. Well now at Week 27 I am over half way through my 52 week project. What I thought would be very tough and frustrating has been fairly easy and pretty fun. Before this project started, I HATED being in front of the camera and was content being the unseen photographer. Now, ehh.... I don't mind it as much. Taking a self portrait gives me the control to always get a shot I like. Preventing me from looking like a total dork. Well... for the most part. Anyhow, 27 weeks down, 25 weeks to go. They are really flying by now!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

12\52: Suburban Drone
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Getting Explored!
I just checked Flickr Scout and found I now have 9 images which have made their Explore ranking at some point! Most are in the mid 100's to 400's but still. For those that do not know, Flickr has some secret formula for selecting what they consider the best 500 images each day out of the thousands and thousands uploaded. I used to think it was solely based on how many view the picture got and how many people "faved" the picture. But then one of my pics made Explore that had zero faves (people who saved it as a favorite) and very few views. So it kind of blew that theory out of the water. Either way im happy to see a few get in there. Its some type of photography goal to work towards and seeing a few get in there tells me im taking better pictures as time progresses. I suppose its a bit of a yard stick to judge how I've improved. I know I've gotten more creative with my shots, developed a better eye for composing a picture and massively increased my photoshop skills over what they were this time last year. I credit a lot of this to the 52 Week Project I started a few weeks back. Its really been a big help in getting me out with my camera, taking pics and trying new things. So, im up to 9 Explored images at this point. Hopefully more to come!