Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Angels

Ahh...vacation!  My family and I have been looking forward to vacation for a while now.  Beside having a day or two off here and there, I've not had a week's vacation in quite a while.  Needless to say, each of us were ready for a break.  As we have a nephew in Florida who we still had not met (he was born over a year ago), we decided the Sunshine State would be where we would go.

Most folks think of a few things when they think of Pensacola.  White sandy beaches, spring break, and the Blue Angels.  My MIL told us that the Blue Angels were going to be practicing while we were visiting, so this was definitely a "must do" while we were here for the week.  Even though it was "just practice", the crowd that showed up to watch was fairly large.  We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start and it was already crazy with people!  By the time we got out to the tarmac, we were a good 40-50 feet back from the rope that separated the crowd from the runway.  As the planes would be in the sky above us and not on the ground in front us, we figured this shouldn't be a problem.

Most of you know I love to take pictures for my church, my son's soccer games, and travel photos of the great places in this country I've had the privilege to visit.  Photographing an "air show", or even "practice" for an air show, was something new for me.  As we were waiting for things to get started, I had my standard 75-300mm zoom lens on and I fired off a few test shots.  With big, white, fluffy clouds overhead mixed with a vibrant blue sky as a backdrop, I figured this should be a pretty straightforward exercise.  I made sure my settings were dialed in and waited for things to start.

As the planes took off and started their "flyby's" and other maneuvers, I did my best to shoot and pan with the planes as they went by.  Wow!  It was so cool!  The noise of the jet engines and the skill with which the pilots fly those planes is breathtaking.  Here's one shot I got of 5 of the 7 planes that practiced.  I liked the different elements of the photo that played together so well including the clouds, sky, and the signature yellow and blue of the Blue Angels.  Even though this was my first attempt at "air show" photography, I certainly hope it won't be my last.  I have a few shots that I'm pretty happy with, but plenty that show it was my first time.  If any of you have photographed an air show before and have any tips, tricks, or techniques that you use, I'd love to hear them.  Feel free to comment and let me know.

I hope you enjoy the photo as much as I enjoyed taking it!

shot at 1/1600 sec at f8.0, ISO 200, 120mm

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hatfield Paint Company

With "the winter that never ends" still hanging on into late March, I have been anxious to exercise my creativity.  I read a few photography blogs like Digitial Photography School and I have seen posts about "photo walks".  A "photo walk" is where a group of people get together and just walk around and take photographs of things that look interesting to them.  This always seemed intriguing to me, but I had never been able to find an appropriate day or time to do one (much less someone to do it with).    As my wife had plans yesterday and I would be spending the day with son, C, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out one of these "photo walks".  Even though he is only 11, he is interested in photography as well and does pretty good with a camera.  During our walk, C and I found this sign for the Hatfield Paint Company, Inc., on the side of a building in downtown Indianapolis.  This sign is situated at the end of a valet parking lot for a hotel and definitely appears to be from a bygone era in the city's past.

This photo was taken with my Canon 60D and a Canon 18-135mm lens.  Some Lightroom adjustments were made to accentuate the texture of the brick and to make the lettering on the sign pop just a bit more.

C and I had a blast on our first "photo walk" and he took some good pictures of his own!  As a bonus, I've included below one of the pictures that C took with his "point-and-shoot" camera, a Fuji JX650.  This photo was taken on Monument Circle.  I made some small adjustments made in Lightroom to boost the contrast and bring out the texture of the building for this one as well.

Hopefully this will inspire one of you to get out and get their creativity going by trying something you've never tried before!  If you do, let me know how it goes.  I'd love to see some of your photos!