Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The beauty of youth

I have always loved this shot. The young lady (whose name escapes me) was a sophomore at a local high school dressed up for a football homecoming game. I was there for the game and was getting some sideline shots before the kickoff.
I had my 2,8/300mm lens on one body in preparation for the game but saw some kids at the other end of the field. This young lady spotted me as I was surveying the crowd and I could not pass up the shot.
I love the light here but, more importantly, I love her smile and the sparkle in her eyes.


Just as I started to squeeze the shutter, the wind picked up a little lifting her hair and really adding to the overall effect.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, December 30, 2013

Just chillin'

Just another shot from the recent cruise. Caught this lovely poolside just enjoying the sun and warmth of the day at Nachi Cocum beach resort.



As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A pair of eyes

Still homebound while trying to get over a pair of ills, I delved back into the archives for an image. This one is from a shoot at a local beach apparel shop called Beach Bums. My wife, a reporter with the newspaper, was doing a business article on the operation. Initially, I went to take some photos of the owner but wanted to also have some pics of the facility. I asked the owner, half jokingly, if she had someone who would be willing to model some of the suits. She immediately said "yes" so I had the opportunity to shoot this young lady in several of bikinis and one-piece suits.
This image caught my eye recently when I noticed the advertisement on the left. I had not noticed I had two pairs of "eyes" looking at the camera.


Her name is Melissa and she was an absolute joy to work with. I hope she is doing well. This was shot on a Nikon D2Hs with a Nikkor 18-200mm superzoom, a lens I used quite often on travel. It was shot with available light in the store that I thought worked out perfectly.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Nice try but what do ya think?

Sorry for being offline since my last post but sickness (sinusitis and pink eye!) sidelined me for almost a week and a half! Finally saw the doctor yesterday, got a steroid shot, added several meds for the next week or so, and am finally on the mend after trying over-the-counter meds to treat a cold!
Feeling a little better, I thought I would try and post something between the coughing spells and get y'all's thoughts.
I took this shot (an attempt at street photography) in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I like the positioning of the people elements that seem to lead the eye around the image. I have always loved diagonal compositions as I thing they favor adding action to a image and get the eye to roam from spot to spot to take in the whole image rather than just focusing on a single element.


Probably could have used a higher shutter speed to freeze the motion of the guy just entering the image from the left but this is what I got.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Just back!

Just got back from a cruise to the Western Caribbean on Carnival Legend out of Tampa, FL. Now the cold weather in Georgia is giving me a cold! Here is a shot of the ship as we approached Sunshine Skyway Bridge and moved into open water. The ship's engine exhaust funnel passes within 10-15 feet of the span. I have a shot of the funnel as it passed under the span but I was at the base of the funnel and you really cannot tell how close it is to the bridge.

Gear: Fuji X100S

This was on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico, at the Nachi Cocum resort.
 
Gear: Fuji X-E1, XF 1,4/35mm

Here is something I do not understand - the need of today's society to be constantly connected. I remember the days of old (and it really has NOT been that long ago) when you took a vacation and were disconnected. All you thought about was relaxing and enjoying life. I guess I have just gotten old and out of touch!!!

Gear: Fuji X-E1, Nikkor 1,8/85mm AF-D

As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, December 5, 2013

For every high, there is a low

One of the things about shooting for a small town weekly newspaper is you have to cover everything. From the simple check signings (boring) to championship ball games (highs) to death on the highways (lows).
Being on the coast, during the summer months when the tourists flocked in, the chance for rip tides varied but when they happened, they seem to happen over and over. I picked up the call for a water rescue on a radio scanner and was close enough to get there about the same time the rescuers showed up.
On the up side, jet skis had recently been donated to the department for this particular use. On the down side, I do not think this gentleman made it. He was brought in unconscious and airlifted to the local hospital. This was one of several rescue attempts that were made this particular day.


During the decade I spent shooting for the newspaper, I had to go through a number of lows from car accidents to water rescues to forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. But I would do it all again given the opportunity.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Legs

Still working to adjust my way of seeing, not only with the new gear but in relation to existing images. Decided to crop this shot for what I think is a little more impact. I am also deviating from my pj days and doing a little manipulation to help drive the eye.
In this case, I selected the woman, then did an inverse selection, used curves to darken the background, and Silver Efex Pro 2 with a slight increase in contrast. Part of trying to see outside the box after years of documentary/press work.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, December 2, 2013

Joyce Cooling in concert

I spent 14 years covering the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in the northwest Florida Panahandle. The festival started in Seaside and shifted to several different sites before landing at its most recent location, Panama City Beach.
With 14 years and, literally thousands of images in both analog and digital, I am working on a photo book to showcase the festival. I spent over a year trying to find just the right look to the images that would seem to really shout "JAZZ"!
Just simply converting to black and white (my preferred look) and using various colored filters just did not seem to make the images pop. So, I started trying several presets in Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 to try and see if anything caught my attention. When I tried preset number 037, things seem to click for me. This preset gives the look of a pinhole camera with all the grain and vignetting that goes along with it.
Here is an image of guitarist Joyce Cooling from the 2008 festival. She has been to the festival on several occasions and is one of my favorite performers.
If you have an opinion, positive or negative, I would truly like to hear it.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

There is always one!

Just a quick shot as my wife and I prepare a belated Thanksgiving dinner for our son and daughter and their families.
Shot this earlier this year with the X-E1 and no one except my son's oldest daughter was paying any attention to me. But she always seems to find the camera!!!


 As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, November 29, 2013

Art Lover and Shrimp Lover

Still trying with the new equipment. Still not sure if I prefer the 35mm FOV of the X100S over the 52mm FOV of the X-E1 with the XF 1,4/35mm lens. For the subject matter I generally shoot, the image quality between the two cameras is equal and contains enough resolution and detail for doing prints.
This image was shot with the X100S at a local art show. We had stopped to look at a friend's artwork when I got this shot of another patron.


The next shot was from the X-E1/35mm combo at a local market as this worker was setting the display of shrimp.


Both were shot at the lens's wide open aperture (f2.0 on the X100S and f1.4 on the X-E1). I am probably going to have to keep both cameras to satisfy my needs on any particular day.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the USA and I want to send my best wishes to everyone worldwide. Hopefully, as the world enters this holiday season, peace will truly be "on earth"!
After taking care of my wife after dental work yesterday, today's post is from our first Thanksgiving with our extended family in 2012. It was the first time in over 15 years that all of us had been close enough to be together. My wife and I gladly had our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, four granddaughters and two grandsons, for Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday after the actual holiday.


 As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some may never RETURN

For 20 years I worked in another career field while pursuing my photography part time. In 1998, I finally made to jump to being a full time photographer. The one thing I had always wanted to do was shot for a newspaper. I was fortunate that a weekly newspaper had started up just a year earlier. While the paper was doing ok, there was no full time staff photographer. I started out freelancing getting paid by the picture, became their first contract photographer, and, eventually, their first staff photographer.
During the ten-year period, the paper became known for its multi-image spreads for just about any story. The paper won numerous awards over the years for both writing and imagery.
Like all passionate photographers, I have a number of images that stick in my mind when I think back over the years. This image is one of those.
After Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts, the local firefighters pulled together and sent a team to help out some firefighters in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I tagged along to document the experience. Over the several days, this image has always stood out in my recollection of the what happened. The woman in the image is Mary Hardy who is the wife of one of the Ocean Springs firefighters.
When I arrived at the Hardy home the last morning, the paper was sitting on the kitchen counter with the headline that read "Some may never RETURN". I took several images with a Nikkor 18-35mm zoom but, when Mary stepped up to get a coffee cup, I took this shot. For me, it told the whole story of the happenings along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


I ended up selecting a series of nine images that ran as a two-page spread in my newspaper. The photo essay won first place in the Florida Press Association category of Photo Series in one issue in 2006.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dying breed

Back in 1972, my wife and I went car shopping. We ended up with a street machine, a 1972 baby blue Plymouth Duster 340. It was the car of a young man's dream - dynoed at 325hp, three-speed on the floor with a front bench seat, plenty of trunk space, and lots of get-up-and-go. Did a fair amount of street racing with it and won some and lost some.
But the best street race I was not involved in.
In 1976, my wife was working at a nursing home in Newsport News, VA. The administrator of the facility owned a 1970's Corvette that he thought was hot. I had challenged him to a race but he turned me down. Then he made the mistake of taking on my wife one day as she left work. She promptly cleaned his clock with the Duster and, when she got home, she was glowing and told me what had happened. Her boss never said a word about it to her or to me. Even today when she tells the story, she smiles.
We owned that car for 15 years before a company transfer forced the sale of the car. I still miss my "BabyBlu" today.
Sadly, the Plymouth marque no longer exists as DaimlerChrysler Corporation dropped the brand. According to my information, the very last Plymouth, a silver Neon, rolled off the line at the DaimlerChrysler assembly plant in Belvedere, IL, in June 2001.
The car shown here I saw at a local car show this summer (the Plymouth badge brought memories of my Duster). At this time, I was just starting to try and figure out my new Fuji X100S and took this shot. One of the nice things about the X100S is it has a 3-stop neutral density filter integrated into the electronics. On my X-E1, I had to buy a 3-stop ND filter for the 35mm and 85mm lenses that I use with it so I can shoot wide open in daylight.

 
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Can I handle a single focal length, part 4

The final installment of this subject and maybe even some conclusions.
Image #4, again from the 2004 UK trip, was taken in the Edinburgh train station. We had arrived from our bed&breakfast, checked the schedules, and were just sitting waiting on our train.
The station was not real busy but there were a number of travelers rushing about getting their tickets, using the ATMs, grabbing some reading material at one of the stands, etc. Seated on the bench next to me was a lady reading the morning newspaper she had picked up. I thought she would make a great subject and brought up my camera.
Seeing that my shutter speed was only a tenth of a second, I thought I could get some motion in the image if I waited for some travelers moving through the frame. Sure enough, it worked out as I got not just one but two walkers passing by behind her. But she was so intent on reading the paper that she never moved.


CONCLUSIONS

So after running through four images, can I make do with a single focal length? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. As I have seen in these four images, it is possible to still "fill the frame" with a subject if I am patient and spend time looking for an image.
I still have a tendency to look too far as if I had a 200mm lens so that is a tendency that I need to change so I can see images that are, literally, right in front of me.
Since the only "publication" route I have open is in exhibitions, I can take the time to develop this change.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Can I handle a single focal length, part 3

Part 3 and I am still using images from the 2004 trip to the United Kingdom. One of the reasons I am studying these types of images from a single focal length is, in part, to try and convince myself that it is ok to not have a zoom and really focus on the image again after so many years of shooting enough images to fill the paper.
Today's image, again shot with a zoom but only at the widest focal length, is from the last part of our trip. We were in London and heading to the Portobello Market. Again, this image shows what can be done with a single focal length. Image #1 took in a whole street view without a particular subject . Image #2 tried to drive the eye to a particular part of the image with both perspective and depth of field.
In image #3, I wanted to try and capture a little of the feel of the Market.


This image is similar to image #2 in its view but does not try to totally absorb the viewer's eye with the signs. Here I was able to capture one of the vendors and a few interested buyers but with enough depth of field to add some context to it.
Next, could I find an image that had a single person dominating the frame. Tune in tomorrow to find out in the final installment of "Can I handle a single focal length".

As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, November 22, 2013

Can I handle a single focal length, part 2

Here we go with part 2 to my seeing dilemma.
As I said in part 1, I have a particular idea of how images should look coming from a 35mm lens. In most cases, the images are not something I would normally take, or so I thought before I started looking through my archives.
Today's image is one that goes along with yesterday's style with one change. In this image there is a prominent focus for the viewer. Shot a week earlier than yesterday's image, I wanted the viewer to see the "MIND YOUR HEAD" at the entrance to a business in Moreton-in-Marsh, England. But where yesterday's shot had nothing in close inviting the viewer to look at the entire image, this one tries to drive the viewer to that sign.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Can I handle a single focal length, part 1

I have taken to studying my old images to see which ones I could shoot today with my new gear. After several decades of shooting outside of the normal range (say, 28mm to 60mm), I have been restricting myself to the Fuji X100S as I make the transition which has a 35mm field of view.
I dug into images from a 2004 trip to the United Kingdom to see if there were any images that fit close to this FOV. On that particular trip, I used my D2H and a Tokina 24mm-200mm superzoom to help keep down the weight of carrying several lenses.
In looking through the photos from that trip, I found four that fit the bill. All of these images were shot at the shortest focal length, 24mm, giving me a 36mm FOV with my D2H.
I am going to post each of the four images over the next few days and relate how each image is making me realize that I do not need to change my style or way of "seeing" as I had thought. I just need to open my eyes to what is there.
This first image is the one that epitomizes what I thought would have to become my standard shot with the new equipment. To be honest, I do not really remember taking this shot but it seems in my mind to really look like what a 35mm FOV image would be.


On initial glance at this image, I liked the perspective which created the diagonal lines from the architecture that add some bit of a 3D look to the shot. But what was it that got me to save this image rather than deleting it? What is the subject or subjects of the shot? Why bother giving this image a second glance? At first, I could not figure out why I pushed the shutter on this shot.
I mean, it is an ok scene that could be just about anywhere. Then I noticed the three workers goofing off on the balcony of the construction site. They all seemed to be looking in the same direction. That is when I noticed the young lady crossing the street. Now I realized why this image had not fallen victim to the dreaded "Delete" button on my keyboard.
While it is a visually interesting image because of the architecture and the perspective, it is the human element that really keeps me from sending this image to the recycle bin.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ice cream and Popcorn

Not much to say here. Still trying to get a feel for the new cameras.



As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, November 18, 2013

Aspiring model

This image has quite a story with it.
I was covering the Fourh of July Parade for the Walton Sun in 2003. It was a miserable day on the Fourth. It was rainy and chilly but the crowd showed up anyway to celebrate Independence Day.
I had walked the entire parade route (roughly two miles) and was in Seaside looking through the crowd. I spotted a young boy on the ground wrapped in a bright orange towel and grabbed a shot.
Naturally, I found his parents, got the info for a cutline, and moved on.
The next day, a beautiful beach day, I was roaming the beach looking for filler art for that week's edition. I happened on the boy's parents and learned that the boy's sister, who was 11 or 12 years old, was extremely upset that he was going to be in the paper. She had aspirations of doing some modeling and wanted some exposure I guess.
Anyway, her dad pointed her out to me and asked if I would do him a favor and take some pictures of her. I said "of course".
I made sure she saw me as I started to photograph her in the water. She made like she did not noticed me as I grabbed a few images and then asked her where her parents were so I could get their permission. She had no clue that her dad was already well aware of what was going on.
I walked back over, spent a few minutes acting like I was getting info (which I already had) and moved on down the beach.
I sent him several images of both his son and daughter including the ones that were published. I saw them several times over the next few years at the parade as they owned a vacation home in the area and came back for the holiday every year.
The last time I saw them was 2011 (of course at the parade) and the two kids were now young adults. He was the typical young, strapping lad while she had become a beautiful young lady who was doing some modeling.
It was things like this that made my job as a small town newspaper photojournalist so enjoyable. The people I met that not only lived and raised their children in the community but also the people that visited each year with regularity to the same events. Tourists and residents alike became my extended family.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

To crop or not to crop?

These days I am in a quandry. Having sold all my DSLR gear with lenses ranging from 18mm to 450mm in full frame, I still see photographically in the extremes. I am working to get used to the having just a 35mm, 52mm, and 127.5 mm (again, full frame, lenses are actually 23mm, 35mm, and 85mm) lenses.
In the past, I stayed within the rule of "fill the frame." I did this for a couple of reasons. With the DSLRs I have used, it was a necessity. The largest sensor I owned was a D100 which was only 6 megapixels. But it was my backup camera until I was able to purchase a second D2H which was only 4.1MP. Second, filling the frame saved me time in post processing. I was able to go wide when necessary and reach out with a telephoto when necessary.
I still "see" images that way.
Take this image for example. I spotted this pair just as they met each other. My "eye" saw the chance for an image. But getting closer to "fill the frame" was not an option as it would have destroyed their interaction. So I stayed where I was and fired off a frame. This is what the original image shows.




Not really what I wanted but with the X-E1 with a 35mm attached, it was what was available. As I looked at the image, I could see the shot I had really seen in my head. But would it be suitable for printing?
Now, I had a previous post ( see http://tinyurl.com/m3h78kn) about megapixels. There I showed a billboard of an image from one of my D2H cameras blown up for use on the billboard. The X-E1 has a 16.3MP sensor so would I be able to crop it, resize it to 8"X12" @ 300dpi for printing?
I cropped the image using Photoshop CS6 from 10.88"X16.32" @ 300dpi to 3.88"X5.82" @ 300dpi, or about one-third its original size. I then resized the image using Perfect Resize 7.0 Professional Edition to 8"X12" @ 300 dpi and came up with this view of what I really wanted to see in the print.



Now, while a digital version can never show what the final print looks like,I did a print of this image. I was amazed that the print totally satisfied my hopes. After years, yes, decades, of trying to always "fill the frame", I now see the possibilities.
Today's street photographers (the new genre term but, to me, it is still documentary photography) talk about getting in close, using 28mm-50mm lenses. When you think of some of the great "street" photographers, they always seem to be in a place like New York, Paris, Istanbul, London, Chicago, Hong Kong, and the like. Places that are just TEEMING with people.
When I visited the UK, I found London & Edinburgh to be a shooter's paradise. Even carrying around a bulky DSLR like my D2H with a superzoom on it, I was able to capture documentary images throughout the range of the zoom (27mm-300mm in full frame) without a problem. I could even get closer without drawing attention because there were always people around.
But, in a small town like Apalachicola, the streets are not teeming with people to cover someone approaching with the intent of grabbing a photograph. But, as I let go of all rules such as "fill the frame", I am beginning to see some possibilities especially with the capabilities of the new equipment.
AND that excites me.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting....

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bird and moon at sunrise

Grabbed this as I headed out early one morning on our recent vacation to Apalachicola, FL. Sunrise was approaching but was able to capture the moon and a seagull on the Apalachicola River.



I do not do much shooting like this as it is not really something I am any good at. But I am trying expand my skill set (LOL!). I love how the camera caught the lights at the base of some of the distance power line poles.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Longing for Summer

Here winter is just starting to settle in and I am already looking forward to warmer weather. Growing up in the southern USA, I just have never enjoyed winter and/or snow and ice. Give me the beach in summer any day over a day in the mountains in winter. But, like photography, to each their own.
This image was shot on request from the Orange County Register for an article one of the reporters was doing on the Florida Panhandle. Somewhere, in one of my notebooks, I have the names of this couple that I caught on the beach in Grayton one morning. It was the image used by the Register for the article.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kids raising the American flag

In working for a newspaper, even a little weekly, I was privileged to be allowed into local schools. Some of my most memorable images (to me they are memorable) were taken at schools. From elementary school kids up through young adults at the local colleges, I was able to catch them at their best and worst.
Today's image is of a couple of fifth graders at an elementary school as they raised the American flag one morning. I had been at the school for another assignment and was on my way out to my car when the boy and girl came out the doors behind me.
I walked on past the flag pole and turned back to see if there was an image there. I got several images as they unfolded the flag making sure that it did not touch the ground. Then the boy held the flag as his female compatriot turned to the flag pole to attach the flag. He spotted me hence the shot you see today.


I probably should have shifted slightly left to get all of the flag but I also wanted the sign that was amongst the flowers planted at the bottom of the flag pole.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BUS LANE

It is hard to believe it has been a decade since my wife and I made our first trip to the UK in 2003. I had wanted to take her there ever since I was there back in the 1970's (I was in the U. S. Navy pulling into Holy Loch and Faslane, a British naval submarine base).
We traveled there again the following year in November 2004 with our first stop in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thanksgiving Day in the States. This time the trip was for 17 days (Edinburgh, London, the Cotswolds).
Edinburgh is magical at this time of the year. Princes' Gardens is filled to overflowing with markets, carnival rides such as a ferris wheel and carousel, and even an outdoor skating rink. To watch the look in my wife's eyes as we roamed through the Gardens is something I will always remember.
But the shot I love most is this one. We were at a bus stop waiting for the bus when I took this shot. Everything just seemed to fall into place. There was still some light (it was dusk) so there is a lot of shadow detail to give an idea of the surroundings.She was not aware I was taking her photo and, for me, that was perfect.
I was using my fairly new Nikon D2H along with a Tokina 24-200mm superzoom. While not a great lens, it did all right here.


I actually like the way the lens rendered the scene - not overly sharp but with a nice kinda film look to it.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, November 11, 2013

WAT

Just like the textures, peeling paint, the pipe, and the WAT (sorry, I could not do an upside down AND backwards question mark) that somebody spray painted on the wall with a figure.


Slightly different image from my usual fare. Hope you like it.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Breakfast view

Here is another shot from our recent trip to Apalachicola. We stayed at a bed&breakfast called the Riverfront Inn. Breakfast is served in the restaurant called Caroline's attached to the inn. You can literally have breakfast, go all day, and bypass lunch there is so much food.
This was the view that greeted us in the mornings as we wandered down for breakfast.


Since it was close to Halloween, the roses were black instead of the usual red.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, November 8, 2013

14 years of Seabreeze Jazz

For the last year I have been looking through images from 14 years of covering the Seabreeze Jazz Festival. The festival was first held in 1999 in Seaside, FL, with a few hundred people attending. In 2012, the last time I was able to attend, the festival, now relocated to Frank Brown Park amphitheater in Panama City Beach, FL, drew approximately 8,000 jazz enthusiasts each of the four days of the event.
I had been looking at the images trying to do an initial edit in hopes of producing a tabletop book. But I had not been able to get the images to produce a look that said "Seabreeze Jazz".
Until recently.
While working to put together a gallery on my website of the 2012 festival, I started playing with Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2. First I just did my usual looking at various filters, adding contrast, etc., but nothing really popped the images off the screen.
Then I began looking at various presets. At the very end of the available presets was one called "037 Pinhole". I thought, "why not?"
After doing the initial preset, I began to modify it using the contrast and shadow sliders, various filters, etc., to see if it would bring back the feeling of "being there".
For me, it seems to work.
I have a new gallery on my website with all of the images now manipulated using the preset modified differently to meet the needs of each image. Maybe, just maybe, it will get me to actually do the book.
The image I chose for this post is of Rick Braun who was part of the closing set the first night of the 2012 festival along with Richard Elliott. I love the grittiness of the image and how the pinhole effect produces extra contrast, heavy vignetting, and a grainy texture that just seems to work for jazz.



As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Incomparable Bo Diddely

After missing posting yesterday, I thought I would toss up two images today.
Still rummaging through the archives, I ran across some images from 2002 when R&B guitarist Bo Diddely was in town for a concert. My next door neighbor's girlfriend, a local bartender, told me that Diddely was planning on showing up at her bar the night before the event. The band preceeding Diddely the next day was showcasing at the bar.
The first image is one I captured of dance instructor Anna Blank (yep, same one from the ballet photos) with Diddely at the club after he arrived. Right after taking the shot, he looked up and saw me. With a crook of his finger, he motioned me closer to find out who I was.
Fortunately, Anna took care of the introductions and he became at ease. But my heart had jumped to my throat thinking I had somehow upset him.
The image is horrible. The focus is off. Because of the darkness of the venue, it was difficult for my Nikon F100 to lock on so I had tried to manually focus. Plus I was shooting Tri-X pushed two stops to ISO1600 so the image just did not scan well. But it is still one of my favorite images.


The second image was taken the same night when Diddely went up to jam with the band. To give you an idea of what the venue was like, this image was shot with a Tokina 2,6-2,8/28-70mm lens on my camera. I was kneeling on the floor right in front of the stage and, even shooting at 28mm, I could not get everything in. And there was no way to move back as the bar was packed to overflowing.
If the fire marshal had shown up, he probably would have shut everything down.
Take a close look at the body of the guitar. While not the best angle, you can still make out it is the square guitar he became known for.
It really was a crazy night.


One more thing about this entire event. The next day a freak windstorm came through the area just before Diddely was due to perform wiping out the stage area. His set was cancelled as a result. So the only photos of the great Bo Diddely performing were the ones I took the night before...
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The First Position

Several posts back (http://tinyurl.com/lpk7ljj), I did a post about a dance instructor, Anna Blank. The image in that post was taken when Anna was just starting her studio since relocating to Florida. That image only showed the feet of a student at Anna's temporary studio at a local elementary school.
This shot is at Anna's newly opened studio in a strip mall. Today, 11years later, Anna is still going strong. Here she is showing a young student the proper way to set her feet for position one.
I always enjoyed going to Anna's studio and taking photographs of her working with the various age groups doing ballet, tap, and other dance moves. Part of the fun was sending the images to the parents and having the parents gushing over images that ran in the paper.
That, for me, was the real fun of working for a little weekly newspaper. Seeing the joy in eyes of people of all ages after they had seen their photo in the paper. Somehow, it made their day and the look in their eyes made mine.
Here is "Position One".


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Workin'

I have been reading online here lately that to have a successful (and the term is relative) blog that one needs to cater to the needs of his readers. This is needed in order to get one's page views up into the stratosphere. That way you can hit up advertisers and, when the unwary use them, you get a cut from the advertiser.
Well, I don't have many readers or followers and I am really doing this to have some fun and take a look at some old photos.
For me, it is all about the images.
Today's image is from 2002. I had gotten media access to the Florida Jazz Festival in Seaside, FL. It was a one-day affair with the closing headliner none other than Al Jarreau.
But this image is not of the artists.
I have always enjoyed watching other photographers work. I did some assisting for fashion photographer Michael Belk after the turn of the century. Besides learning loads from Michael, I enjoyed watching him work. The ease with which got people to relax and go with the flow was nothing short of amazing.
In this image at the jazz festival, I met a German photographer who was making his way across the USA shooting at various venues. His name escapes me and I do not remember where he was heading next but I envied him his gear.
In between sets, we talked while the technicians set up the sound for Jarreau. We admired each other's equipment and talked about different films that we used. The usual photographers' talk.
Watching the ease with which he worked the event, it was obvious that he knew his equipment quite well. He had a pair of Leica M6 bodies, one with a 35mm and the other with a 90mm.
Well, that is about it. Here is the image.




He was working in the media pit while I was onstage. I loved the way he worked the stage but also took advantage of the crowd's antics as Jarreau rocked the house.
For me, I was using a pair of Nikon F100 bodies with a 80-200mm on one and a 18-35mm on the other with Tri-X film in both bodies.
I really enjoyed working for a newspaper and having the access that it allowed. Working on and backstage at events was always very enjoyable. On occasion, an artist would ask for a specific shot which I was more that glad to do. Being willing to do those sorts of requests always brought a reciprocal with the artists allowing me to really do my job. A win-win situation all the way around.

As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Apalachicola still life

Here is another shot I got while roaming around Apalachicola, FL, early one morning. All the raw textures of this caught my eye. The frosty glass, the vine running up the wall, everything just seem to say "take my picture". Even the box of motor oil peeking out from under the window frame just seem to really emphasize the laid back atmosphere that is Apalachicola.


This was captured with a Fuji X-E1 and XF 1,4/35mm lens. I am still getting used to this new gear. After years of a variety of zooms, I am down to just three prime lenses and the longest is only 85mm.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Done fishin'

Not much to say here. Right place, right time. I was out early one morning and this guy was coming back to the boat ramp on Hogtown Bayou in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. There was still fog on the bayou and he had just come into view when I grabbed this shot.


This was with a Nikon F100 & Tokina 2,8/80-200mm Tri-X film at ISO400, developed in D-76, 1+1.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, November 1, 2013

Seabreeze Jazz!

For 14 years I had media access to the Seabreeze Jazz Festival. Starting in 1999 at the Lyceum in Seaside, FL, with only a few hundred jazz enthusiasts, the festival has grown to a five-day event drawing thousands each day. I was very fortunate to cover every year from 1999 until 2012.
Since going into retirement, I have been looking at those images and contemplating a retrospective on the festival. But I, until recently, could not really lock on to a method of presentation that would be a little different from the normal concert photo book.
Enter Nik's Photoshop plug-in Silver Efex Pro 2.
On a lark, I started playing with various presets in SFP2 just to see the effects. I did a variety of things. I worked with filters, changed structure, added noise, tried different film emulations, etc. But none seem to really click.
Then I tried preset #037 Pinhole.
I was working on an image of trumpeter Rick Braun sitting backstage while sax player Richard Elliott was wowing the crowd. I thought why not? So I clicked on the preset to see the effect. Wow, what a change! But it still was not quite right.
I added a red filter and played with the shadows slider and there it was! An old-school look to a digital image that really worked for me.
I am now working on a number of images from the 2012 festival for a gallery on my website and will then start pulling images from previous years for the retrospective.
It is actually a lot of fun to see the effects that this preset does and, with a little manipulation, how the final image comes across.
So, that being said, here is the Rick Braun/Richard Elliott image! I love the rim lighting around the drummer on the left and how it separates him from the dark background.


This effect has excited me and I am looking forward to editing images and finding the ones that work with the pinhole preset. I may have finally latched on to a look that works for me!
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Spiderweb

I have never been a big nature/landscape shooter preferring to shoot people. But my editor in my news days used to ping on me every once in a while to get something "different". So here is a piece of filler art that she ran in one week's edition.
I much preferred roaming the beach to shoot bikinis!!!


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Filler art"

A lot of what the newspaper needed during the good times was what is called "filler art." Photographs that can be used anywhere to show what is going on in the local community. I do not remember if this shot made the cut but it was taken during the good times. Lots of residential building was going on as people built vacation homes near the beach.
This shot works to drive the eye around the image with all the diagonal and intersecting lines. And, with the solitary figure, adds a human elements as well in close to a rule of thirds composition.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's all about megapixels......or is it?

I am going to diverge from my usual posting of an image that sticks in my memory banks and talk a little bit about gear. I have been affected only slightly over the years by the malady known as gear acquisition syndrome, or G.A.S.
I started with an entry level Olympus SLR (OM-10) in 1978, moved to a mid-level SLR (OM-2S), then to the Olympus top of the line (OM-4T). Then, needing autofocus for high school sports, I shifted to a Nikon F100. Shortly thereafter, I shifted to digital starting with a Nikon D1, added a D1h, a D2H, D100, and a D2Hs.
Today I have sold all the DSLR gear in favor of the Fuji X-System concept as I enter retirement and want to carry less weight.
Each time I upgraded, I did so because I wanted some more technical capability. The move to the OM-2S gave me a in-camera spot meter. I used that capability, with a 18% gray card, to get a shadow and highlight reading that I manually averaged together. That allowed me to usually get detail in both shadow and highlight areas. The upgrade to the OM-4T gave me an in-camera spot meter that was capable of nine spot readings and averaging them together. That allowed me to have the camera do the averaging and I could stay in aperture preferred mode.
In 1998, when I started freelancing for a newspaper on a consistent level, I shifted to Nikon, initially an F100, in order to get autofocus and, more importantly, autofocus tracking capability for high school sports. Then came the shift to digital. I traded a pair of F100 bodies (and their motordrives) for the Nikon D1. I followed that with the purchase of the D1h as a second body which allowed me to have a wideangle zoom on one camera and a telephoto zoom on the other. For me, it just made things easier. I sold both the D1 and D1H in favor of the D2H as the latter used li-ion batteries (much lighter and longer lasting than the NiMh batteries used in the D1-series). As a bonus, I also got better high ISO response, higher frames per second, and an autofocus system that was (and is today) outstanding. I used the D2H/D2Hs combo until shifting to Fuji in 2013.
I told you all this history to talk about the megapixel race.For years, the marketing folks pushed megapixels until manufacturers started using full frame sensors. Then they started pushing sensor size AND megapixels.
The D1 was an APS-C 2.73mp sensor as was the D1h. Processing was better in the D1h but to get more megapixels you had to buy the D1x. It had a sensor that produced 5.47 megapixels.
Then came my D2H. While still an APS-C sensor, it provided a 4.1 megapixel output. This camera, and the D2Hs, were two of the finest cameras I have ever owned. The AF system was (and is) superb and, a eight frames per second, gave me the sports capability that is still outstanding today.
But, as full frame came into view and higher megapixels kept being pushed, people continued to buy newer, more technically capable cameras. During this time, as I continued to shoot with my D2H bodies, I had an opportunity to do a commercial shoot for a local real estate developer. The year was 2007. The shoot went well and I delivered the images to the accolades of their marketing department.
Almost a year later, the same developer hired me for a second project and I learned that one of the images had been used on a billboard.
I had always told people that the megapixel race was "pie in the sky". It was just what the photo manufacturers' marketers were using to continue to sell the next model like computer manufacturers do.
Now for a little show and tell. I went and looked at the billboard. The image from my D2H had been cropped and enlarged to roughly 12 feet wide. And, damn, it looked good! Here is a shot of the billboard that was on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach, FL.



Not too shabby, eh?
So here is original image converted to a JPEG. The original image opened as a 5.44 inch by 8.213 inch image at 300dpi. A decent image with some marketing possibilities.



Remember, this is a NEF file from a 4.1mp Nikon D2H that is a 6.61 megabyte file. Very small by today's standards.
The next image shows how the image was cropped.



As much as 50-60% of the original image was discarded. And still it was enlarged to approximately 12 feet wide! Not bad for a poor little 4.1MP camera.
I hated selling my D2H cameras this year. The cameras just worked. In the end, they were an extension of my hand and eye. I instinctively knew how they would perform after 10 years.
But, after trying for over a year, it became apparent that I would never work for another newspaper. So I decided it was time to change my focus and start looking at what the next step in my photographic journey is and a pair of cameras like the D2H just had more capabilities than I would ever need again.
I have always been inspired by the likes of the original photojournalists like Atget, Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson, Capa, and others. The subject matter varied for everyday people to war but the image content was what has always caught my eye. I still have two cameras but only three prime lenses. No longer do I carry the six lenses (ranging from 12mm to 300mm) I needed as a newspaper staffer. I have a 2,0/23mm on my X100S (35mm focal length in full frame). For my X-E1, I have a Fuji 1,4/35mm (52mm in ff) and a Nikkor 1,8/85mm AF-D (127mm in ff). And I may sell the 85mm when Fuji finally releases the 1,2/56mm. So instead of a 2,8/300mm 2,8/70-200mm, 4,0/12-24mm, 1,8/35mm and the 1,8/85mm, I have just those three mentioned lenses and two camera bodies. My entire kit is probably 75% lighter than previous. And, for an old fart like me, my back and shoulders scream "thank you".
So the moral of the story is don't get caught in megapixels. Find a camera that does what you NEED it to do for your output.
If all you are doing is putting images on the web, a smartphone with its small sensor will perform admirably.
And, if you want images on a billboard, get a D2H (LOL!)!
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....