Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dallas Photowalk, Hosted by Brian Braun!

On Cloud 9

While browsing the DFW Metro flickr group last week I came across a photo by local Dallas photog Brian Braun promoting a photo walk he was organizing. I'd been itching to go on one of these so I jumped at the chance of course! Being that it was January and the weather has been a bit dodgy lately, I wasn't sure if we'd get to hold the event or if we did, how many would even show up. With a light rain falling, I loaded up my gear and drove down to downtown Big D determined to take photos even if I had to wonder the streets by myself!

To my pleasant surprise, I pulled up in the parking lot to see a few other photogs already gathering. I quickly recognized "The Braun", organizer of the day as he flashed his friendly smile and a peace sign as I got out of my car. I then knew the event was on! Shortly after I arrived, quite a few others began to pull up and park. This was turning into a decent sized turn out and I knew it would be a fun day. Just as I had hoped.

With no real destination, our group first made our way to a multi-level parking garage with the idea of getting to the top floor and shooting some scenic downtown shots. A thick low fog made this difficult and most of downtown was engulfed in it. So after a few minutes we all headed back down to the ground floor. We were met with a surprise. The garage security gate had closed, trapping us inside! We were just about to all start climbing through the side of the gate, when a car pulled up and the gentleman had an access card. We were saved!

We continued our walk for another couple hours, moving to various location, stopping to shoot for a while at each. By the end, this group of strangers all felt like old friends. I guess thats not a difficult task when everyone has such a common interest like photography. From what ive seen, everyone came away with some really cool photots. One thing about photowalks which always fascinates me is how we all will shoot the same scenes, but everyone has their own take on it. Different angles and different ways they post process gives each photo a life of its own.

Big thanks to Brian Braun ( for putting this together. And a friendly shout out to all the great fellow photogs I met yesterday! I hope we have another one of these in the coming months as it warms up. It was definitely a blast!

Here's a few of the photo's I took during the event. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Long, Dusty Road

Long, Dusty Road
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
I recently accompanied my good friend JB to the cross country race series he participates in. I always try to come out and shoot the action if they are racing somewhat local to me. This race was only about 30 minutes from me, so I packed up the gear and headed out for a day of dirt, 2-stroke fumes and race action.

Unlike the past events of this type Id shot, i wanted to shoot this with a bit of a different perspective. Not just shoot the riders going by and jumping. But this time include an artistic element into action photography. These past months Ive been inspired by an excellent professional sports photographer who in many ways I consider a mentor. His name is Ryu Voelkel and he truly is a master of his craft. In his words, he strives to "... Make sports photography more beautiful". I kept this motto in mind as I spend the day shooting the race event. Always looking for unusual angles and perspectives, breaking away from the ordinary and including more of the environment in frame. Ryu has really opened my eyes to a new way shooting action sports. And while he mainly shoots soccer (football), his photography philosophy really can translate to any sport. You can see some of his work here--> . Not only has "toksuede" motivated me with his photography. But he's a super nice, down to Earth guy who has always been nice enough to respond to every email ive sent him, answering all my questions. You won't find many full time pro photogs willing to do that. So I am eternally grateful for his patience with me. :)

So, I spent the day laying on my belly shooting, hanging off of tree's to get more over the track, firing away with the camera up in the air trying to catch something unique and analyzing my photos in post for interesting crops. Its really changed the way I think of shooting action sports. I think everyone should find a mentor in the type of photography they want to do. It gives you new goals to reach for and helps you see things in a new light. And right when you think you've shot that same old subject to death and nothing can make it look anymore interesting, your mentors work will have you going back through all your old shots to see what you could have done different.

I can't wait to shoot other sports and apply this same type of thinking. I really believe it's the key to expanding my photography skills and opening the door to a new level of work. I feel a lot of great photography opportunities on the horizon for 2011 and many great photo's to come out of them!