Archives for August 2009

Dahlia Daze…

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Dahlias are my favorite flower; I love the variety of colors, patterns, sizes and shapes. I look forward to the end of August with both nostalgia and anticipation…nostalgia for the summer that is fading and anticipation of a trip or two to the Swan Island Dahlia Farms to photograph acres upon acres of dahlias. I can get lost amongst the rows upon rows of bright colors in every combination imaginable. Hours slip away as I move from flower to flower training my macro lens on one flower after another.

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It was a sunny morning with bright, hard light but that did not deter me as this gave me the opportunity to dig into my bag of tricks, working with the light. I used a Lastolite Tri-grip diffuser to soften the light. I also used a soft gold reflector to bounce warm light into the shadow side of the dahlias. And, I used my flash with the diffuser attached to fill in the shadow side of the dahlias.

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Several hours flew by as if only minutes had passed. Soon, I was brought back to the present with the feel of the hot sun on my back as it climbed higher into the sky. Whew, I felt like I spent time in a dream world. Not wanting to lose the feeling I immediately set to uploading my images seeking the images that spoke of my morning wandering the dahlia fields. I selected several favorites and let my creativity go wild as I explored NIK ColorEfex Pro 3.0 adding familiar favorites as well as exploring new filters to be used to creatively finish my images.

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I finished each image with a custom frame that I created using OnOne Photoframe 4

To learn more about the processes I use to finish my images stop by the Kelby Media Booth on Expo Floor at Photoshop World where I will be teaching my finishing techniques using NIK and OnOne plug-in filters.

Images captured with Nikon D3X, AF 200mm f4 Micro on Lexar digital media

Nantucket Race Week Recap

When I headed to Nantucket to with a PT student to photograph sailing, I had every intention of blogging each day with the events of the day but, once there I found that there was so much to know about sailing to have even a hint of understanding so, I spent the time watching, learning, shooting and simply absorbing everything that was going on around us. I learned so much…like a jib is a sail and to jibe is a sailing maneuver, tacking was changing the direction of the wind coming through the sails, a sheet was actually a rope and on and on. But, most importantly I learned that I have so much to learn if I want to understand sailing.

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So, rather than talking like I know what was happening, I will simply share the days we spent in Nantucket sailing and photographing the 12 meter race.

I left Portland at 10:30PM in order to have an early arrival into Boston where Carol was waiting. We headed to Hyannis to catch the Ferry over to Nantucket. Once we landed we headed straight to the Yacht Club arriving just in time to stow our gear and head out on the water to sail in the first annual womens race sponsored by Bacardi. With four of us on board and three of us having to steer the boat at some time, I put my camera aside and jumped right in to the event. It was a great kickoff to a sailing week.

The next morning we had the privilege of actually sailing with the American Eagle ( a 75′ professional racing sailboat) as the crew practiced for the next days races. I boarded the boat fulling intending to stay out of the way being a spectator watching, photographing and learning more about sailing so I could better understand the next two days races but, instead, they put me right to work. Talk about baptism by fire. It was awesome being part of the crew if only for a short time. I managed a few shots here and there but overall enjoyed participating in the mechanics of sailing, feeling the wind on my face, tasting the salt on my lips and the sheer joy of being out on the water.

The team consisted of the captain and three hired crew members along with 12 women. Each of the boats had 16 people, the American Eagle was an all woman crew. Herb, the owner of the boat was captain, Linda (our host) took control of the helm.

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Sailing is definitely a team sport where each member has a specific job to do and in a specific order. The team had to work smoothly together and after a few hours of sailing I could see them beginning to get the flow. It’s crucial that each member does their job at precisely the right moment in a small area on a rocking boat in order to maintain speed and to make things run smoothly.

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If something goes awry things can get tangled such as this time when Dan had to climb the mast to release something that caught the sail preventing it from catching the full wind slowing us down.

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The practice day was excellent for sailing and working out the bugs with a 10-12 knot wind, we were able to keep the boat around 7-9 knots. The first day of the race was another story…we awoke to rain and wind (20-25 knots). It was going to be a rough, wet day out on the water and the wind would certainly make things exciting. Carol and I were on a motor boat where we could photograph the race from a safe distance. While our boat rocked and rolled with the waves, we had a great time capturing dramatic action. We followed the American Eagle as we felt a close alliance to the crew after sailing with them the previous day.

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I found myself constantly having to wipe the water from my lens to get a clear shot. The image below is an example of shooting through a water logged lens. I think it’s actually a happy accident.

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The second day of the race was a complete turnaround with beautiful weather and very little wind.

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All in all it was an incredible few days. I had a chance of a lifetime going out on the American Eagle and then having the opportunity to photograph the race from another boat out of the water up close and personal. We had dramatic stormy weather and a beautiful blue sky day giving us a variety of photo opportunities. Carol did a great job and I was proud of her and the images she captured. As I packed my bags and headed out to catch the Ferry back to the mainland and reality I can feel the pull of the sea, the thrill of sailing and I know I’ve got the bug. Thanks to our gracious hosts, Linda and Burgess and to Carol for making this great experience happen.

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Images captured with Nikon D3X (practice day and day two of the race), D3 (day one of the race), AF-S 70-300mm VR on Lexar digital media

Nantucket Race Week

I have been in Nantucket for the last couple of days working with a PT student. It was all timed around Nantucket Race week where there are all kinds of activities and boat races. Our hosts went way beyond the call of duty by getting us on one of the 12 meter sail boats for training day. Wow, what a great experience…we did have a few photo opportunities but, with the seriousness of the upcoming race we could not move around the boat at will but that was ok. We shot when we could and jumped in and helped out when asked. It was great fun and got us prepared for the actual race where we were on a speed boat following and photographing the actual race itself.

We awoke to rain, wind and basically a blustery day. No problem, off we went to the Yacht Club to meet our “ride” who was not really anxious to take us out in the rough seas. But, he was a good sport and after seeing how excited we were, he agreed to give it a try and off we went. It really was rough and several boats gave up before the race even began. Nick (our driver) was in full chase mode and put us in some excellent positions to capture the action.

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Carol, my PT student did a great job capturing the action and in my opinion, smoked the instructor by using a longer lens and getting in tight with her image of a boat keeling way over. This image captures the essence of the day… Well done Carol!

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Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 70-300mm VR on Lexar Digital Media. (CArol’s image was captured with a Nikon D700, AF-S 70-200mm VR, TC-20E on Lexar Digital Media.