Sunday, July 17, 2016

Around Iceland Counter-Clockwise July 2016

Iceland was always in my bucket list.  Every year for the past three or four I always waited too long.  First, I wanted to get to a few ports by cruise, then I thought about a fly/drive there and hit the highlights on the ring road around the island.  Then Windstar came out with a lovely yacht cruise that hit all the places I wanted to see:  Reykjavik, Heimaey Island, Seydisfjordur, Akureyri, Isafjordur, Grundarfjordur, and back to the capital Reykjavik.  It was perfect.  A lovely yacht, great food, wonderful crew, and a tiny passenger list!  


After landing in Reykjavik, we were hustled off to the yacht and off to our first port, Heimaey Island, off the south coast of Iceland.  The photo to the left shows golfers enjoying a warm Iceland day (it was about 50F, a heat wave in Iceland!).  In 1973 they had a horrific volcano eruption.  The tour guide told us he was 14 and living there.  He and his parents left in a hurry... the boat captain told them the boat engine was water cooled and there was a problem:  the water was boiling in the ocean.  Just imagine the terror.  A few years later, he snuck back to the town with a pal and he found his old house.  We drove past the house during our tour.  Much of the island was covered in lava and the locals tried to hide it with grass. 

Heading to the far east end of Iceland, we land in Seydisfjordur.  We went to this lovely blue church and heard a trio sing traditional Icelandic songs that were sung to children.. things like "we're coming to your house at night to eat your children."  Seriously.  Iceland is a land of trolls, giants, and monsters that come out at night.   

We also visited the home of Gunnar Gunnarson, one of Iceland's great writers.  By the way, Iceland is one of those rare countries where there are no family sur names.  For instance, if I had a son and named him Fred, his name would be Fred Jamesson.  If you look in the Reykjavik phone book, the names are sorted by first name.  Seen here are giant fingers at the Gunnarson residence.  There were also a number of tree stumps.  A caretaker at the residence asked me if I knew what they were.  I thought... hmmm, grave markers?  Nope.  They showed the various ear markings on sheep so sheep owners could prove who owned what.  

Now on to the lovely little city of Akureyri, located on Iceland's north coast.  It was on the way to Akureyri, at 10:02pm on the 4th of July, that we crossed the Arctic Circle and I have proof!  As sunset was at something like 12:30am (sunrise was around 4am), I was on deck in bright sunlight to see us cross the invisible line.  

The very walkable town of Akureyri loves their trolls!  

If you go to Iceland, you'd better like waterfalls.  Here's one in the Akureyri area called Godafoss.


Isafjordur is in the northeast part of the island.  I went to the Arctic Fox Centre, which protects and rescues the only native mammal.  We also visited a little village of Sudavik, and then the Alftafjordur fjord.  

Our final stop before returning to Reykjavik is Grundarfjordur on the far west coast of Iceland.  


On the yacht, some jumped into the cold water.. the Arctic plunge.  Captain Richard Reville supervises (on the left).  

Here's a look at the coastline around Grundarfjordur, followed by more area waterfalls.  



Back in Reykjavik, we had a lovely tour called the Golden Circle.  We visited a gyser, waterfalls, and yet more coastal scenery.  



Here's the geyser that goes off about every seven minutes.  The guide said most people miss the first spurt, then normally get it after two or three.  I was lucky and got this guy the first time.  



I now feel confident I could return, this time renting a car and driving around the ring road, maybe doing bed and breakfasts along the way.  Iceland has slowly become a tourist magnet, so you'd better get there quickly.  

Another interesting thing to note is hot water from geysers pretty much heats most of Iceland and provides steam generated power for the island.  Although a can of beer may cost around $12 U.S. dollars, the electricity and heat is cheap.  


Until My Next Adventure

See You On Down The Road!


Jim Patterson

...and, here are all the keeper photos!


.....And, on my Flickr site!  



Friday, June 24, 2016

Macros in San Diego and More

My trip to the West Coast School in San Diego made it my third straight trip.  Held at the lovely University of San Diego campus, I took the week-long macro course from the great Frank Peele... and it was well worth it.  Nine months of the year I'm the teacher; the summer is for me to be the student.  

Macro is close up photography and I used my Canon 5d Mark III and my Canon 100mm macro lens.  Lighting consisted at times of natural light, strobe lights provided by the instructor, and my own Canon MR-14-ex II ring light.  With few exceptions, most of the work was done on a tripod.  

For extreme close up photography, I used a bellows attached between my camera and a lens. Guess what this object is???

It is Benjamin Franklin's eye on the $50 bill!   

Then I used a white box to photograph my watch.  You could do the same for any product, food, object.  One of the difficulties I had in the past was eliminating the glare off the watch face.  Here, I used a small Canon 270ex flash, pointed outside the white box through the cloth and got a real even light.  


How about the fun of photographing water droplets coming from above?  Now, this took timing.  Drip drip drip FIRE THE TRIGGER!  And hopefully I'd get a good shot.  

Here's some examples of using red dye in water for interesting drips and crashing glasses.  








And, here's what photographing smoke in the dark looks like.  Two strobes from each side, triggered by my remote control.  


We had a flower pot in the classroom and I decided to do some macro work with these.  The next example is a shot used with a Canon Ring Light.


And here's a few more shots of flowers with water droplets and lady bugs.




And the class ends.  Here's a photo of the sunset looking west from Shade's Restaurant in San Diego.  




The weekend we spent going to Balboa Park and La Jolla and the beach.  I used a Canon 24-105mm lens during the weekend.



Until My Next Adventure

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

...and, here are all the keeper photos!




.....And, on my Flickr site!  





Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Country Thunder Arizona 9 April 2016

David Ray

It was Saturday the 9th of April and I found myself again in the middle of Country Thunder (C.T.), one of the biggest country music festivals of its kind.  This is my third Country Thunder, accompanied by Marni and my good pal Faron who has many C.T.'s under his belt along with a number of Stella Beers.  Also thanks to Kim Blevins and Gerry Krochak of Country Thunder for making this opportunity for me happen.
Casee Allen

I shoot with my trusted Canon 5D Mark III.  I used two lenses:  The Canon 24-105mm and the Canon 70-200mm.  

Why do I do this?  I love country music and I'm a photographer.  If I photograph any concerts, and I love doing that, I'm photographing country.  First, the music suit and soothes me.  Second, the artists and the fans alike are some of the nicest folks around.  Here's a big crowd of folks, many who camp out in the area, almost all of the liquored-up, and there was peace and happiness and fun... and the place by the way didn't have any trash laying around either.  
Locash with their fans

What do I do with the photographs?  I share them with you here.  I also go after the lesser known up and coming artists that play during the day.  I love the big stars that you hear on the radio and see during the award ceremonies on television, but those folks are photographically overdone.  Last year, one of the groups I photographed that played during the day was Old Dominion.  I could tell then, this is a group that is going places.  I was right.  They made it big with the hit "Break up with Him."  photographed them when!  See, I get more thrill watching a group or singer and knowing soon I will see them take off!  I always send my photos to their publicity agents... hey, you never know.  Maybe I'll get discovered and get to go to Nashville (a dream, folks) and photograph them there.  
She said WHAT?

I photographed Casee Allen, David Ray, Locash, Dannie Marie, Dylan Jakobsen, and Shari Rowe.  Thanks to all and hope to see them soon on the network awards shows and on country radio.  
Arizona Wildcats Cleve and Marsha McGaughy

My pick from photographing only six artists and groups for the next to make it big... I'm going with Casee Allen.  His sound is pleasing and fresh and AND this guy is personable! He interacts with the fans.  Folks, there is sooo much talent out there that one big break, one great song, and they are on their way.  So it could happen to any of them. 
Casee Allen and fans
Until My Next Adventure

(Relay for Life in Phoenix)
See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

...and, here are all the keeper photos!




Also, my photos are on Flickr!  


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cave Creek Pro Rodeo - 3 April 2016

This was the fifth straight Cave Creek Rodeo I’ve photographed.  There is something about rodeos that I really enjoy attending and photographing.  It’s the cowboys and cowgirls.  It’s the volunteers who work so hard at this… believe me, it takes a ton of folks to pull this off.  It’s the rodeo clowns and the judges and the fans that ask for it all.  

The Cave Creek arena is about perfect for me.  For the best angles and to stay out of the way of fans in back of me, I waaaay back in the last row.  It’s a much smaller arena than the Tucson Rodeo uses.  I like that.   It’s easy to get to, easy to park, everything is right there.  Plenty of beer and hot dogs so I was happy.  

A smaller arena meant I could get away with using a smaller lighter lens.  For the second half of the rodeo, I used a Tamron 28-300mm.  For the first half, I used a beast of a lens, the Tamron 150-600mm hand held.  Yes, hand held.  It’s designed to be used on a tripod or monopod.  I made it though.!  

Given we were in bright sunlight, I shot mostly at ISO 100 and tried to keep the shutter to about 1/800 to 1/1000 of a second.  


The feature of every rodeo seems to be the last event, bull riding.  Now I do love eight seconds of hell on top of such a beast, but the ladies event, the barrel racing, might be my all time favorite.  Wow, they were good.  One young lady looked to be competitive, but knocked down two barrels so the penalty seconds took her out of the money. 

Until My Next Adventure

(Country Thunder!)

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson




...and, here are all the keeper photos!



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Turf Paradise Camels Ostriches and Zebras

Saturday March 26, 2016 saw one of the largest crowds I've ever seen at Turf Paradise... and all for the show between the sixth and seventh races.  Fans brought their children to watch the fun races featuring Camels, Ostriches, and Zebras, including a "zedonk" - a cross between a donkey and zebra.

Given the large crowd, I didn't have much choice as to photographing location.  So I went up to the top of the grandstands.  I used a Canon 5D Mark III and the Tamron 28-300mm lens.  For post editing, I used Lightroom and plugins from MacPhun (SnapHeal to erase annoying objects) and Aurora for the High Dynamic Range (HDR) look.  I also used Topaz Labs "Simplify" for a watercolor painting look.  

In addition to the action on both grass and dirt, I also photographed the fans.  Turf Paradise must have made a mint on doodads like stuffed animals, as these kids demonstrate.  

And many of the young people seemed more interested in their cell phones than the action on the track.  

Until My Next Adventure


See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson     



...and, here are all the keeper photos!



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona

Mid-March and the weather is perfect here in the Phoenix area.  Time to visit a place I’d never seen before, the Wildlife World Zoo on the far west side of the Phoenix area in Litchfield Park.  It boasts the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona.  They also have an aquarium.

I saw swans, kangaroos, parrots and other exotic birds, ducks,  monkeys, giraffes, a lovely meerkat that loved to pose for me, a leopard, a few ostrich, a tortoise, and a lot more.  

I photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III, a Tamron 28-300mm lens, on aperture priority, most of the time at ISO 100.  I did post editing with Lightroom and plugins from MacPhun, Topaz Labs, and OnOne.  


Until My Next Adventure

(Who knows before April 3rd and the Cave Creek Rodeo)

See You On Down The Road!











Here are all the keeper photos!




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tucson Rodeo February 2016

A beautiful February day in the upper 70s greeted fans out to see the Tucson Rodeo, or La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, or Festival of the Cowboys.

Since my college days, I’ve gone to this professional rodeo the most. 

I remember very cold rodeo days, and the last one I photographed in 2011 was downright windy, making lens changes especially difficult.

Before the big girls and boys competed, the young ones came out.  I might have enjoyed the young ones most of all.  The little ones gave it their all in riding sheep.  And, the one rodeo event for the ladies is barrel racing.  Note the little girl with her blonde hair straight out as she rode hard around the barrels. 

Maybe one of my favorite shots of the day was the lady holding the sheep on a leash, with the other sheep waiting nearby.



I shot with a Canon 5D Mark III body using a Tamron 28-300mm lens and a Manfrotto tripod for a bit more stability.  I did use at times a 1.4x Tamron extender.  I left at home, sadly, a lens I should have used:  the Tamron 150-600mm.  I ended up having to crop most of my shots.  I processed them using Lightroom and a few plugins from Macphun:  SnapHeal and Focus along with the plugin called Perfectly Clear.  I took nearly 900 shots and pared it all down to about 67. 


Until My Next Adventure


See You On Down The Road!




Here are all the keeper photos!