Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rolling Thunder

For the last few years I have shot the riders leaving Patriot Harley Davidson here in Fairfax. It is a very large group numbering well over 1,000 riders at my best guess. It takes about 30 minutes for everyone to ride by and shooting this group is always lots of fun. This morning I met up with friends Greg Daily and Jack Nevitt to shoot along Nutley Street in Fairfax. This year Jack and I decided to head downtown and shoot the group in D.C. Let’s just say I won’t make that mistake again. The biggest issue was the crowd in D.C. lacked some basic courtesy to their fellow man. We set up on Constitution Avenue with 7 lanes of traffic. As soon as the riders started driving by, the crowd immediately moved 3 lanes out into the street. At first this seemed to work since the motorcycles were riding down the center of the road 2 wide. For the next hour the police went up and down trying to get the crowd back up on the curb, but within minutes everyone was back out into the street. Then some people would cross the street, causing the riders to have to stop their procession. Add to that people jumping in front of us while we were taking pictures. After a little over an hour we had enough of this madness and decided to head back home.

With so many riders traveling across the country to ride in this amazing event, I’m sad that the locals could not have shown more courtesy and respect to our visitors.

Click here for a gallery

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thanks and Remembrance

Yesterday I decided to make a quick trip to Arlington National Cemetery. Every year on Memorial Day weekend an American Flag is placed on each headstone. In the past I have tried to shoot this with mixed success. The cemetery opens at 8:00 am, a full 2 hours after sunrise. This time of year the light tends to be harsh and does not lend to my style of photography. With clouds forecasted for the rest of the day, I headed over in the afternoon to shoot for a couple of hours. Arlington is large enough that you really can’t cover the entire grounds in one trip. Originally the plan was to use the diffused light of the cloudy day and keep the sky out of my shots, that’s how I did most of my shots but I really liked this one. I spent most of my time in Section 60. This is the section where our soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are being buried.

Typically when I shoot I’m in a different frame of mind. not always seeing the object in front of me for what it is, but for the composition and graphic nature of the shot that I’m working to compose. Today I found myself often stopping to pause and think about the better men than myself who were buried below me, taking note of the families and loved ones who are visiting and trying not to intrude on what might be a very private and personal time for them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jones Run Falls

This past weekend I wanted to get out and do some hiking with Duke my Labrador Retriever. The weather forecast was for cloudy skies so I decided to hike to Jones Run Falls. Jones Run is located in the southern end of the park and it has been about 25 years since I last visited and photographed this waterfall. Before heading out I referenced a couple of my trail guides. One of the guides suggested this was not a good waterfall to photograph. The last time I was there I thought it was a nice waterfall, so I decided to hike down to the falls and give it a try. I was pleased to find the falls in great condition and in my opinion quite photogenic. The only bad thing was that it started raining while I was shooting the falls and kept raining the entire trip back up the mountain.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dusk at the Car Farm

In order to start light painting the landscape it has to be close to dark. Otherwise you will not get the long exposures that you need to run around and paint with a flashlight. Typically my light painting exposures range from 10 to 30 seconds. So what to do after the sun sets but before the stars come out? The answer is Flash! Flash photos taken at dusk also have a unique look. The shot above is 3 different flash exposures blended into one shot. The really cool thing about using flash at dusk is since you are exposing for the flash, the remaining landscape is shot at several stops underexposed. This will sometimes lend color in the sky that you would not normally recognize.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Midnight at the Car Farm

I had a free night so I decided to work on my light paintings from my recent trip to a favorite location I affectionately call the “car farm”. I love light painting and have had pretty good success in the past, but I’m working on taking it to what I consider the next level. Doing this involves a bit more time and planning. I try and imagine the final shot and then figure out how to light it. The shot above is a combination of 6 different exposures. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another Quick Trip

Last weekend I got together with a couple friends to shoot a favorite location. I was hoping to do some light painting and star trails. I had the lensbaby attached to my camera when it came out of the bag so I walked around shooting with the lensbaby soft focus. The shot above is one of my favorites from the afternoon.