Thursday, November 4, 2010

Western Idaho State Fair 2010 –Part 2

                                                           Colors of the Fair…

As the sun was setting, I wandered over to the antique farm equipment and tractor displays and found some surprising colors for my “colors of the fair” project. The image here of the spinning red wheel is the belt driven flywheel of some arcane antique pump.  This image was taken in low light, hand-held at a slow shutter speed to make the flywheel as transparent as possible as its belt chattered and the flywheel spun a some-hundred rpm. The sun was setting so I prepared for some nighttime time exposures I had in mind of the colorful rides over by the midway.

Walking around this warm summer evening soaking up the sounds of the fair—the shrill cries of the young girls on the rides, at least I think they were girls , the barkers on the midway luring passersby to play their “everybody’s a winner!” games, the songs of the rides—music from traditional calliope to rap and hard rock, with a back beat of diesel engines and hydraulics. 

The sights of the fair’s colors and lights—florescent, incandescent, neon, stroboscopic—creating a wonderful moving kaleidoscope of competing attractions each trying to outdo the other for our attention.

The smells of the fair… A unique medley of cotton candy and popcorn, hot dogs and chili, beer and pretzels, mixed with the ever-present barnyard scents of hay and dirt in the background.

It was marvelous to revisit these sights, sounds and smells of a big fair and realize how little they have changed since I was a kid and first went to the state fair in Sacramento, CA more decades ago than I would like to admit. 

For the techy ones…The images of the rides were all done with my widest-angle lenses, on the tripod at shutter speeds from 1 second to 3 seconds.

Lets start a poll here…how may want more technical information in these posts? Let me know… ~ Jerry

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Western Idaho State Fair 2010 –Part 1

A walkabout at the Fair

Met-up with fellow members of the Eagle Camera Club at the Western Idaho State Fair for one of our walkabouts—kind of a photo safari—looking for interesting people and/or things to photograph just for fun.  My self-assignment was “Colors of the Fair,” which I will talk about in part 2, but first we had to check out the photo competition.  Evidently there is a lot of interest in this competition from the various camera clubs around the Valley.  The Eagle Camera Club members showed keen interest, having won several categories last year.  The Boise Camera Club even had a display booth this year, and it appears that there is a bit of rivalry between the two clubs.  There were a lot of photos to look at with the combined entries in the professional and amateur classes exceeding 1600 prints. Our club did well with several of our members winning First Place in their respective categories, one Best of Show in Black & White, and I helped out with a First Place in Weddings and Third Place in Farm Scenes.  In Farm Scene the first place winner used the same subject I did, but it was iced-over…awesome print. I have attached my two winners for you to view and now to complete this part I am going to give the photo buffs some information about how these images were created.  So, you can read on for some light techy stuff or just hang around a moment and admire the images.

I have always enjoyed photographing weddings primarily because it proved to be the most challenging photography I have ever done.  On a wedding day your biggest obstacle, to creativity and technical perfection, is time…you have to be able to switch gears at a moment’s notice and there is no margin for error…this is your clients once in a lifetime event.  This image of a traditional Japanese bride was created as she was walking out of the building to be introduced to the guests.  I saw the finished image in my head and, in an instant, had her pause a moment so I could capture it.  The image was created by available light coming from an open doorway into this relatively dark room.  I had about 30 seconds to meter her dress, compose the image, zoom-in to focus and zoom-out to my desired focal length, ask her to turn her nose towards me a little and take three exposures before she walked out the door!  Then I had to reset the camera on the run and continue photographing outside. When you know the technical and your equipment without much thought wedding photography is always fun and challenging.

Nature photography…my first love.  I can’t tell you how much I feel like a kid in a candy store here in Idaho.  Everywhere I look I see such beauty.  I was coming back from an appointment and saw this field here in Eagle, bordering a business complex across the street from Arts West Academy.  The sun was setting and a ground fog appeared between the wheeled irrigation units and the row of trees in the background creating a soft painterly image.  I quickly stopped the car, got my camera out and began to play.  I used the same big zoom lens (120-300mm) on this image that I used on the Japanese bride, so it gave me many compositional choices.  However, the most important decision I made was about color since the sun was quickly sinking into the clouds and I was loosing light.  I quickly changed the camera’s color palette by choosing the slide film emulation mode and under exposed just like I did in the good old days of doing nature on Kodachrome slide film.  This is a really good example of knowing your equipment.  This way, I get the image I want without Photoshop manipulation.

Look for Part 2, which will be about my personal assignment, to be posted soon. 
~ Jerry

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Can Lead A Horse To Water…

I had the pleasure of photographing Jasmine and her Paint horse, Cadberry.  He is a gorgeous black and white horse who reminded me of an antique carrousel horse. There was a regal quality about his every movement until… we reached the lawn!  Less regal was his penchant for snacking on the lawn every time I asked Jasmine to lean forward to hug his neck.  After a few attempts, Jasmine dismounted and we captured some images with her safely on the ground.  Sometimes, you can’t reason with a 1000+lb horse when he wants a snack.  
~ Jerry 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our Mission? Photo Assault in Rome!

Kathi and I only had 2 days in Rome on our way to Naples and the Isle of Capri.  I was determined to make the most of it by staying at a hotel within walking distance of the Coliseum and Palantine Hill.   These were the two areas besides Pompeii and Capri that I really wanted to photograph.

On our day walk to the Coliseum I was disappointed, awed and appalled all at once.  I was disappointed by the ugly gray patina of the coliseum in daylight; I was awed at its size and the magnificent architecture; and I was appalled at the number of the tourists already there in the morning! There were six tour buses there and more arriving every five minutes! So, what did we do?  We played tourist!  We looked at everything around the coliseum and made plans to come back for a nighttime photo—assault on the old stone ring.

Walking the six blocks at 11:30 at night was a little scary carrying all of our photo gear; we were alone; there was nobody out there; there was no traffic and no noise!  At least when it started to rain, we had our umbrella handy!

All of our concerns melted away when we looked down the street and The Coliseum was aglow, internally lit by hundreds of incandescent lamps looking like a huge four layer wedding cake, spanning the end of the street in front of us!  It was truly stunning and the closer we got to it the more impressive and powerful was its affect on me.  I thought, “How am I going to create an image that does this massive structure justice?  It’s just too big!”  Then I saw the image in my head.  A vertical slice of the building showing some of the road, just narrow the vision a bit, tilt the camera so you could see the mass of the walls and the sparkle of the lights.  And there is “The” image!  What seemed impossible became an image that I’ll always cherish!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guardian Angel

A short time ago our son’s girlfriend, Alisha, came home with a gift from a client of hers.  It was a statue of a beautiful angel holding a puppy.  It seems that Alisha, who works as a pet groomer, noticed something unusual about 13 year-old Chardonnay and advised Cathy Luckinbill, her owner, to take her to the vets to be checked out.  They found that Chardonnay had breast cancer.  The vet told Cathy that Alisha’s early detection gave Chardonnay a few more good years with the family. After Chardonnay’s recovery from surgery, we invited Cathy to bring Chardonnay into the studio for a session.

She is such a sweet dainty little thing and Cathy couldn’t thank us enough. She said, “I will now always have Chardonnay with me!” We were so excited to know that this beautiful papillon is a breast cancer survivor! 

~ Kathi

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Search For A Hairdresser Led Me To These Three!

If you’ve ever moved to another part of the country, you know how traumatic finding someone new to do your hair can be!  After using the same hairdresser for all of my adult life, selecting someone to do my hair here in Idaho became a quest for the right personality, skill set and a location that would make me feel warm and welcome. You know…just like I had in San Jose…a tall order to fill!

I finally found Barbara Z at Eagle Salon & Spa in Eagle.  We hit it off right from the start and as most grand parents do, Barbara bragged about her 3 cute granddaughters. 
I invited her to bring them into the studio for one of our model sessions and we scheduled a session for the next week. The day of the session came and in bounced 3 excited beaming young ladies. I immediately knew this was going to be a really fun session.  Emma, who is 7, was definitely the big sister to Sophia and Ava who are almost 5 and twins.  These young ladies weren’t just cute they were just as beautiful and precious as they could be. We have so many terrific images of these girls it was really hard to pick just one to share with you, so I didn’t…Barbara has every right to brag about these 3…it was our pleasure to spend some time to get to know them and we look forward to having them visit soon. 

~ Kathi