Sunday, October 19, 2014

Turf Paradise Opening Day 18 October 2014

A lovely autumn day in Phoenix as Turf Paradise opens another racing season.  It was as crowded as I've ever seen it, but there was plenty of hot dogs, beer, and soft drinks for racing fans.  

I photographed and betted.  My normal perch is at the top of the grandstands.  I use a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-300mm lens.  

For post processing, I used Lightroom and this time made extensive use of MacPhun's ColorStrokes (to paint color back in on a black and white photo) and SnapHeal Pro (to eliminate distracting items from the background).  

Former PVCC Science Division Chair Dr. Hank Mancini provided betting tips.  We used "Docs" tip sheet along with one last hunch bet from yours truly on Dirty Diamond Jim to win (he did, at 16 to 1 odds!).

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr or by clicking the Zenfolio slideshow below!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Coyotes Rookies vs Kings Rookies 17 Sept 2014

The Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League are now the Arizona Coyotes along with new ownership.  Mid-September in the NHL means training camp and it was a great excuse to go to the Glendale Arena and see a free scrimmage between the Coyotes rookies and the L.A. Kings rookies.

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and today I only brought my Canon 70-300mm lens.  I set to 1/600th of a second shutter priority (to freeze action) and auto ISO.  I shoot in RAW format, so I knew I could easily change the white balance inside Lightroom, which I ended up doing. 

I stayed through two periods, enough for a hot dog and beer and a few action shots.

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

See all of my photos from this adventure by clicking the Flickr slideshow below!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Concert Photography at Photoshop World

Something I do once a year for the last eight years has been to visit Photoshop World in Las Vegas, kind of a Disneyland for photographers, photoshoppers, and illustrators.  

This year, I also went to a pre-conference class, “Real World Concert Photography” with Alan Hess and Scott Diussa. 

I’ve photographed concerts in the past and now I want to know what I’ve been doing wrong all these years! 

My camera of choice is the Canon 5D Mark III and I used a Canon 24-105mm lens.  I wish I had my 70-200mm lens because there were times I wanted to zoom in on the drummer in the back, but I still got some usable shots of him. 

Much of what I heard reinforced what I already do.  I set ISO to 1600, NO FLASH (NEVER!), I start out at 1/200th of a second shutter speed, and open up the aperture to the highest setting, which in my case was f/4.  Sometimes when the white light came up on the band, I had to increase my shutter speed, but for the most part those settings worked fine on manual.  I also used auto white balance.  Shooting in raw, I could correct for color temperature within Lightroom. 

Our group photographed a band called “Rebel Soul,” a southern rock band that appears in Las Vegas.  Joey is their lead singer.  They were incredibly cooperative.  Essentially, we had three songs to take photos.  Then Alan and Scott would take each band member and give advice along with suggesting things to the photographers, and then they did three more songs. 

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr or by clicking the Zenfolio slideshow below!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

North Rim of the Grand Canyon August 2014

View from the North Rim with Two Fires in the Background
What a pleasure it was to join the Arizona Highways Photo Workshops along with photographer/instructor Suzanne Mathia and tour leaders Ken Brown and Rick Jacobi to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 
Two Young Navajo Dancers at the Lodge

We stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim, a very out of the way place.  If you want crowds and the canyon, go to the South Rim.  If you want peace and quiet, come to the North Rim.
Sunrise View of the Grand Canyon

Moonrise over the Grand Canyon 
We had a number of goals on this trip.  Take sunrise photos, sunset photos, photos of the moon rising, and edit in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  That’s the official title; most of us know it as Lightroom.  As a college professor, I wanted the experience of watching a day-to-day pro like Suzanne and listening to her teach Lightroom.  It was a good refresher of what I knew and gave me some different ways to teach the subject. 
I photographed with my Canon 5D Mark III, the Canon 24-105mm lens, a Tamron 2X extender, and a Manfrotto 190 tripod, essential for low light photography that gives the best chance at sharp photos with low (100, usually) ISO.
Navajo Bridge, on the way to the North Rim 
On the way to the North Rim, which takes about eight hours from Phoenix, I photographed Navajo Bridge. 
Inside the Canyon

We hit Bright Angel Point and Point Imperial at the Canyon.  To get the great morning light, what photographers call the “golden hour,” I got up at 3:30am to catch our van leaving at 4:30am.  In some of the shots, I caught the canyon during that pre-sunrise period called the “blue hour” which is only a few minutes, actually.  I did very little post processing to the blue hour photo of the canyon. 
Another View Inside the Canyon

On the last night of photographing, I was frustrated to find the moon hiding behind clouds.  So, I walked back to the van and put my equipment away.  Then I turned to see the huge moon peeking nicely out of the clouds. 

Just leaving the North Rim, we stopped to see a herd of buffalo.  They can run fast, but mostly just want to eat.  They grunt and produce a lot of, shall I say, waste material. 
Lee's Ferry

Coming back near Navajo Bridge is Lee’s Ferry.  I’ve included a photo of that entrance for boats on the Colorado River. 

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr or by clicking the Zenfolio slideshow below!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack: 3N1-35PL

Front View of the 3N1-35PL
Photographers, go ahead and look in your closet.  How many camera bags do you have?  How many have you tried?  Like you, I’ve seemingly tried them all and most if not all have been lacking.  I settled on one “holster” type case for my one-lens travels, but what about longer trips where I needed a few lenses, a flash, and a tripod? 
Perhaps I’ve found my last bag and you will too. 

It’s the Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack 3N1-35PL.

I’ve had a chance to use it over the last month or so. 
Back of the Bag Showing Shoulder Straps

This bag is NOT huge.  Most people think oh it’s gotta be big.  Nope.  And it’s NOT heavy!  That’s another thing.  I don’t need to lug around even more weight.  The construction is sturdy.  This thing is not going to rip apart on you.  When you are carrying around several thousand dollars worth of equipment you can’t be worrying about whether or not the bag can hold up.  This one can. 
Huge Top Pocket

Now, it’s got pockets.  And pockets.  And places to put things.  One of my complaints, if you can call it that,  is that I had to remember where I stuck things!  Is it that pocket?  No.  Try another.  But you learn over time.  So it’s not that big of a deal.  If you travel with a laptop, you will like this bag, too.  It has a nice very padded pocket that will fit a 15-inch or smaller laptop. 
Bag With Manfrotto Tripod

OK, one more complaint.  The zippers.  My suggestion?  Take some WD-40 and put it on a rag and rub it across the zippers.  It will make opening and closing the pockets so much easier.  Otherwise, you end up tugging at them, not that any of it would break or tear but it’s a minor inconvenience until you put some light lube on the zippers.  NOT TOO MUCH!  You don’t want to stain the bag. 

So how much can the bag hold?  For its size, it can carry a lot.  The bag can easily hold my Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-200mm lens attached.  There is a side pocket that makes it easy to get at, sort of like a sling.  In my bag, I can easily fit in another lens or two, my Canon 600 EX-RT flash, a flash cord, and a few flash modifiers.  On the outside of the bag you can attach a tripod and it comes with these little leg holders at the bottom for a secure fit. 
I'm Ready to Go With My Manfrotto Backpack!

Do you have gadgets and you don’t know where to stick them?  This bag had a huge pocket at the top.  I put in a Sto-Fen, cords, batteries, charger, cable release, a notebook, pens, a loupe, you name it right there. 
My Laptop Has Plenty of Room

Is the bag comfortable to walk around in?  Yes, and you have choices.  You can set it up like I did to sling over your shoulder (either right or left) or pull out both straps and carry it like a traditional backpack.

What if it rains?  You are all set because this bag comes with a rain cover. 

Follow up:  One more fix to the bag.  Get a cheap bungee cord for your tripod and attach the top to the handle on the top for more stability.  Otherwise, your tripod is going to flop around some.  I went to ACE and picked up a bungee cord for $1.49.  But really, a simple extra strap on the bag would do nicely.

The Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-35PL, strong, lightweight, maybe your last bag ever!

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alaska July 2014

North to Alaska!
Panorama Near Juneau, Alaska
Tracy Arm, Alaska
There is an advantage of taking a cruise ship to exotic ports.  You get there quickly and you can see a lot in a short period of time.  I could have wandered all over Alaska on my own at greater expense and a huge waste of time.  I instead went with Holland America on a cruise to Alaska and the tours got me up close for photographs.
Birds Feed Where Whales Go!

My standard travel equipment is the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-105mm lens.  I also brought along a 2x extender.  One thing to remember on using extenders is you lose a stop or two of light.  In this case, my f/4 went to an f/8 and that is ok in daylight, but lousy in darker environments. 
Sawyer Glacier - Note the Icebergs!

From Seattle, we sailed to Alaska along the Canadian west coast and entered Tracy Arm.  We were headed to view Sawyer Glacier.  The ship sailed really close, as these photos will show.  RIGHT INTO AN ICE FIELD!  I had visions of the Titanic, but I knew we were safe.  However, if a person falls in the ice water, they have about 20 seconds before succumbing to the cold.  So I photographed with one hand while holding the railing with the other.  As pieces of the glacier broke off, you could hear what sounded like a gun shot.  KABOOM! 
A Whale Doing a Tail Flip

From Tracy Arm, we sailed to Juneau, the state capital.  I caught a small boat from Allen Marine to find whales, eagles, and otters.  It was a photographers heaven; everywhere I looked there were things to try to photograph.  On a side note, Juneau has a population of about 30,000.  When four cruise ships come in on a day, the population goes up 10,000!  And that is about every day in the summer. 
Bald Eagle at the Sitka Raptor Center

Next stop was Sitka, Alaska.  Allen Marine also got me close to wildlife on the water with more chances at finding whales.  I also visited and photographed the Alaska Raptor Center, where they nurse injured birds like bald eagles.  It’s truly a good cause, so visit that link and look around.  Another great work I visited was the Fortress of the Bear.  These folks rescue abandoned or injured bears. 
Bear at the Fortress of the Bear in Sitka

On to Ketchikan, Alaska, a lovely town that gets 300-plus inches of rain a year.  A real rain forest but not hot, cold.   One fun event I photographed was the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.  Now, yes it is hokie… but lots of fun and the events they showed were interesting and took skill.  From there we went off to the Totem Bight State Historical Park.  It’s right on the ocean and is filled with various examples of totem poles. 
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan

Then it was ocean cruising all night to Victoria, British Columbia, a lovely city I’ve visited before.  It was only a few hours stop… then back on the ship to Seattle and eventually back to the heat of Phoenix. 
Totem Bight in Ketchikan

What equipment did I wish I had taken?  Well, when I travel I like to pack light.  That means a camera body and ONE LENS.  At times, while hunting whales and eagles, I wish I had more reach.  Maybe the Canon 70-300mm lens next time? 

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr or by clicking the Zenfolio slideshow below!