Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tired, but Inspired

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

I had a post all ready to go that included chatter about how bone-tired I have been every night from carrying my camera around so much, and how I have been having more fun than most adults expect to have except when on a vacation.

But, last night I got a phone call from my niece telling me that my sister is in the hospital with a broken hip. Needless to say, my mood this morning is a bit more subdued. Nevertheless, this is mostly a blog about my photography and I will attempt to stay on course.

What with working three major photography projects, I have taken several hundred pictures in June. Let’s just say that I have had to learn to be much more rigorous in my editing process, filling the recycle bin several times a day lately. If I were not throwing away a lot of files, I would need at least half a dozen terabyte hard drives to contain all the experimental shots.

The three projects that I am combining are work on my SoFoBoMo project in Oak Canyon, testing my new 50D, and building my action photography skills. The time spent in Oak Canyon is a joy, and the more I photograph in there the more certain I am that I could work the canyon for a year and not exhaust its possibilities. A thirty-one day project seems so superficial now.

As I examine the pictures that I took yesterday evening, I will know more about how far I can push the ISO on this new camera without sacrificing all pretense to quality. I had wondered about the usefulness (to me) of the battery grip, and I am still not 100% certain about that. But, I would say that this is an indication: it hasn’t been off the camera since I tore into that B&H box and attached grip to camera. So far, I have no serious complaints about the camera. My one quibble is why on earth Canon took away one of the custom functions buttons for something called “Creative Auto”. Come on. When I picked up The Husband’s new point and shoot a few years ago, I might have loved with that feature; but, it is nothing more than an annoyance with this camera.

I am having a wonderful time exploring more action photography and I am chomping at the bit to share some of the photos here. I have not photographed barrel racers before. What a kick that was. Over the weekend and again on Tuesday, I spent hours lugging around the camera fitted with the 70-200mmL IS 4.0. I learned an enormous amount. In fact, on Sunday, I added a 1.4 teleconverter for more reach in the large main arena at the Equestrian Center. On Tuesday, I practiced on the team sorting. Talk about unpredictable action. Believe me, those calves don’t follow any prescribed course. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have the names of the riders I have photographed and want to get their permission before posting, but those pictures will eventually work their way into the queue.

My shoulders are a bit achy, but I have had a big smile on my face, and I am getting a crash course in photography.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Golden Poppies for a Cold Summer Day

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

Since the poppies came into bloom weeks ago, I have had in mind how I wanted to photograph them. Foolishly, I fell into the old trap of stubbornly clinging to that image in my mind and waiting for the right time to get those photographs. Nature has had an entirely different plan—presenting us with an unseasonably cold June and an unusual amount of early evening clouds. Day after day, new roadblocks. When the light was right, the wind was howling. If the wind was not blowing and the light was nice, the poppies were not quite open or had already closed for the evening.

Today, I finally let go of the images in my mind and took photographs of the poppies we have: windblown poppies on a June day when the temperature probably never made it to 65 degrees. I experimented with 1/2500 shutter speed to see if I could get anything; and, even though I moved very little, the wind was blowing fast enough that I got several compositions within a few seconds. I ended up with one that was surprisingly sharp; but, in the end, it is the softness of this frame that feels right to me. Not the poppies I was waiting for, but the poppies I was offered.