Day 197 – Hill Climb

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Day 2 of Bike Week, the event of the day was the Hill Climb. This was my first time attending a Hill Climb. I had my press pass and was free to roam wherever I chose to get the best vantage point. I met up with a couple of veteran photographers, who were kind enough to give me some tips. Boy, I’m really glad they did, because I had no idea what was about to happen. I figured the best place to start out was on top of the hill, a 250 ft tower of compacted dirt at the Bunting Sand and Gravel Company in West Branch, Michigan. By the time I reached the top, I felt every year I had experienced. I decided to accept a ride down the hill in a golf cart, when it was time. I spent 2 hours shooting these motorcycle hill climbers. It was another 90 degree day and I was soaking wet with sweat when the first climber took off. I was excited, I was close, I had a great view. I did get some nice shots, but the amount of dust well, let’s just say I was not prepared for that! My first thought was, “oh no, my camera is done!” I looked to the other photographers, and they were caked with dirt and dust, the same as me. This is the way it is, you get dirty, you go home and clean the camera. I must say it was a lot of fun being so close to the action. These riders are very courageous. The danger is high, as they are climbing at a very steep angle, and the dirt is loose, there are bumps along the way, if you get airborne, you will most likely take a spill. Then the fun begins, because the motorcycle tends to roll down hill, whether the rider is in the way or not. Some of these bikes are rigged with chains on their rear will for traction, watch out when that comes at you! This was a very exciting event. But I will say, the hill kicked my but. I had to go back to camp and take a nap. 🙂

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Day 181 – Lunch Time

Hickory Smoked Beef-stick with Romaine Lettuce

Today’s photo is a food picture. When it comes to food photography, I am a rookie. I do enjoy looking at pictures of food, almost as much as I enjoy eating it. The only problem is, some of the photos look so great, they make me hungry. While I was thinking about what to have for lunch, I decided to shoot my lunch before I prepared it. Pictured above are the ingredients of my lunch, a Hickory Smoked Beef-stick sandwich with Romaine lettuce on whole wheat bread (bread not included in photo). To set up this photo, I placed all of the elements on a wooden cutting board near the window. Natural window light is the only light I used. Camera settings were manual mode, 1/125 @ f/5.6, RAW format, then processed in Lightroom 4. After looking at the picture, I wondered what it would look like as a sepia toned photo. The picture below is the same photo, but processed as sepia tone.
Hickory Smoked Beef-stick with Romaine Lettuce – sepia

In the case of food, at least in this case, I think the color version is more appealing, although the texture of the romaine lettuce seems to stand out more in the sepia. What are your thoughts? If you have any food photography tips, please share them. All comments are welcome.

Day 92 Remember When…

Sometimes we forget about our favorite activities from our childhood days until something jogs the memory. This was the case today as I was out shooting with the Nikon. I love trees, in case you haven’t noticed yet. I really like the way the rugged, sturdy trunk branches out to smaller and smaller branches, then twigs, and eventually, once Spring kicks in, leaves. It’s while the trees stand bare, that we can really appreciate the framework. In this shot, I leaned in close to the trunk, pointed my camera upward and released the shutter. I really like the look of the branches as they fan out from the trunk of the tree. Without the leaves, we are able to see the blue sky peeking through all of those branches and twigs. I processed this photo in Adobe CS5 and added a layer with the find lines filter, to give the tree a little more of a fine art feel. As I was processing the photo it jogged my memory back to my childhood. This is the view I would have when sizing up a tree for climbing. I took it as a personal challenge to climb the “hard to climb” trees. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment to climb a “hard to climb” and then perch atop a sturdy branch and just look and take in the surrounding area from high above the ground. Funny thinking back to my tree climbing days… it doesn’t appeal to me in the least now. I would much rather stay planted firm on the ground, lean into the sturdy trunk with my camera in hand, peer through the view finder and capture a nice photo; and then remember back to those, “good old days”.

Day 32 Woody’s Photo Shoot

Sometimes it is tough to find time to get out and take pictures during the work week.  Tonight we also had a meeting at church, so my photo time was limited.  I decided it was time to get out my Nikon SB 800 strobe and reflector and practice my lighting technique.  I used my SB 800 in a soft box high and to the right of, “Woody”, and placed a white reflector directly to his left to fill in the shadows.  I used a faster shutter speed, 1/250th at f 5.6, to darken the background area so it would not create a distraction and keep all attention on Woody; he’s such a happy and friendly model.  The wood grain of the table blends nicely with Woody’s “skin” tone and the dark background really helps him stand out.  Thanks for being such a cooperative model Woody.

Day 24 iPhone 4s Camera

I love my iPhone 4s. I am impressed with the 8 mega pixel camera and the quality of the pictures. I can leave my D300s at home when traveling for business. Which means one less bag to carry. This is a shot taken in the lobby area of the Courtyard. I like the contrast of textures, marble floors, the grain of the wood, and the foliage on the little mini bushes (not really sure what they are).

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