Thursday, April 30, 2009

Art & Jazz Fest

Last weekend (April 24, 25 & 26) was the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. I'd been looking forward to it for some time. Its always a really fun weekend of sitting in the park on a blanket, listening to bands play, eating good food and people watching. That last one is more of a highlight if I have my camera handy, just as I did with this ride operator. This character begged to have his picture taken by me. Well, he didn't literally beg me. But by looking interesting, he was asking for a shot to be taken. He was operating the bungee ride for the kids and I knew he'd draw interest if i got a good shot of him.

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

People In My Life - Portrait #8

Just when folks started to think I had forgotten about my People in my Life project, I throw one in there! So, as the text under the photo says... this my buddy Rocky. Rocky came across one of my motocross action shots on flickr and wrote me saying he was interested in shooting some race shots in the future as well. I checked out his flickr stream and profile and could see he was also a serious photographer. So I wrote him back inviting him out on to the next race. He replied back a few days later and then joined my Denton Area Photographers Flickr group. It wasn't long before we were talking about techniques and our photography experiences and trading ideas. I even let him borrow one of my lenses for a big shoot he had lined up. I had only known him for a couple weeks, but I could tell he was a good guy and would take care of my equipment just as I would.

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

Wedding Bells!

Wedding Bells!
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
On the rare occasion I do take on a wedding photo shoot, I try to look for some type of creative scene or angle. Well this past Saturday evening I helped my sister shoot a wedding she had signed on for a few months back. It was my first time operating as the "2nd shooter" as its called. But I did enjoy it, as it let me roam around getting the other shots of interest while she worked on taking all the groups portraits. Which is actually the real meat of a wedding event.

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

Art Gallery Showing

Art Gallery Showing
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
For those that could not make it up to Oxide Gallery on April 7th for the shows opening, here's a little recap. In early January I took three of my framed pieces to an artist open call at the gallery. About a month later I was notified the judges enjoyed my work and wanted to include me in the March-April-May show. This was great news! Id never done anything like that, so it would be cool to be involved.

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 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

Shooting Babies

Little Ashley
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
With my camera.... of course! haha So yeah I don't normally do a lot of baby photo shoots. But my sister called me up to tell me her good friend Kim from Michigan was in town and she had her baby along with her. So me, Macey (my sister), Steve (her husband), Kim (friend) and their two babies Isla and Ashley met up at a local blue bonnet field for some shots. Now, Ashley is Kim's baby and is 8 months old, while Macey's baby, Isla, is barely 2 months old. So I knew this could be a challenge.

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.

Fire In The Sky

Fire In The Sky
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
I walked out of work yesterday evening and thought our city was on fire! There was a haze of smoke in the skies and the smell of smoke. Yet I didn't hear any sirens. As I drove home, the smoke and smell was still there. It was odd because the fire seemed to be everywhere, but no where. What was going on??

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

Nobody Home

Nobody Home
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
And there probably hasn't been anyone home for a good 40+ years! Last night I headed out about 6pm on one of my evening photo-drives as I like to call them. I basically pack up my photo gear, pick a rural area i want to wander around in... and drive. I take highways, then hop off on to side roads, then turn off on to gravel roads. I basically try to get lost. Its usually when im lost that I find interesting places, such as this old farmstead. I plan on going back to this location. There were 3 buildings, including this one, still standing. Id like to examine it a bit close to see if i can tell what time period its from. Inside the house, there's not much left. Walls are gone, no trace of anything which looked like it was a house. Totally gutted. Only the worn down, weathered wooden exterior remained. Perfect for photography!

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

April Gallery Night

April Gallery Night
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
Mark your calenders! Tuesday, April 7th from 6pm to 8pm is my big show at Oxide Gallery in Denton. In March's show I had only 3 pieces on display. But this show will have about 24 photo's on display. Its been a lot of hard work getting everything printed and framed on time. So I'm very excited to see it all up and hanging. Last months show opening had a great turn out. There were probably 75+ people. I expect just as many, if not more this time. I really enjoy these gallery nights because its so cool to see other artists work as well. It really shows how much local artistic talent is in the area. Besides photography, there are paintings, ceramic sculptures, jewelry and metal sculptures. All the artists present will be wearing name tags so the visitors can ask questions and make comments. And of course the food from Carino's is great. Its not the full sit down meal you'd normally get in the restaurant. But its some of the best snacks and finger foods you could get and apparently my friends thought the wine was pretty good too. Ha! Ok, so I hope to see everyone down there. Be sure to come up and say hi. I will most likely be the only Thorpe in the building. Easy to find. :-D