Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Odysea Aquarium Scottsdale

Over the last year or so, I watched the construction of a new aquarium in Scottsdale called Odysea.  The building is next to Butterfly Wonderland, a place I photographed earlier.  

I can't see hitting both of these venues in one day.  There is a lot to see and do, so I'd suggest this is a two day adventure.  Definitely worth it!  

Be prepared to walk!  The aquarium is huge.  For photographers, this is low light.  And weird, unpredictable, colored light.  Take your fastest lens.  I used the 24-105mm Canon lens.  Focus in low light was still a challenge.  I might have considered taking my Canon f/1.8 "nifty fifty" lens.  I wish I had thought about it; I could have put that little beauty in my pocket.  

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tom Wagner at the Buffalo Chip

As a follow-up to meeting Tom at Country Thunder, he made the invitation to come to the Buffalo Chip in Cave Creek, Arizona to photograph him and his band.  

I used my Canon 5D Mark IV and chose the Canon 24-105mm f/4 II lens.  The right way to do a shoot like this is try to visit early and take some test shots, but I thought I was ok with this setup.  The only thing I would have done differently is probably also bring my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens too.  

The indoor lighting was great for dancing and watching a band.  But it was low light for photography.  I found I was shooting wide open f/4 at over 10,000 ISO.  I also had to change my white balance in Lightroom to tungsten, but that probably took a few seconds to do. 

Tom and his band mates were personable and fun, as they were at Country Thunder. That makes photographing them fun.  The Buffalo Chip is a great venue with incredibly friendly people like Dottie, the manager, and the waitresses busy serving up burgers and beer (all was delicious.. the burger seemed to go on forever and I loved it!).

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Country Thunder 8 April 2017

Country Artist Tom Wagner at Country Thunder Arizona, April 2017
Tom Wagner at Country Thunder Arizona
Saturday was my day to photograph as many artists as I could at Country Thunder.  In four hours, I was able to photograph Tom Wagner, Ry Bradley, Dorado, Ryan Hurd, and Austin Burke.  

Tom Wagner connects with fans at Country Thunder
Tom Wagner

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Tamron 28-300mm lens.  I was a one lens pony this day.  The Tamron lens gives me all the reach, if I need it, and it is light to carry. 
Tom Wagner with an adoring fan
Tom with a Fan
 The first act I photographed might have been the most fun for me.  Tom Wagner, I found out, is a local guy.  And an opening act for Garth Brooks.  He’s animated and obviously has fun with his audience.  And his audience seems to love him.  He also performs regularly at Cave Creeks’ Buffalo Chip, so I will have some follow up shots of him in action.
Ry Bradley

Ry Bradley was the next act.  He has that certain look,doesn’t he?  I was thinking “James Dean” from Rebel Without a Cause, although I bet the young folks won’t know what I’m talking about. 
country band dorado at country thunder arizona

Dorado followed Ry (that link goes to Dorado’s Facebook site).  Now, we often were going from a smaller sound stage to the main stage, with many beer and food stops along the way!  

Ryan Hurd has been a successful songwriter in Nashville and is now trying to cross over as a singer.  From his website, I learned that Hurd has written songs that have been recorded by Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Maren Morris, Tim McGraw, FGL, among many others. In 2015, he celebrated his first No. 1 single as a songwriter with the GRAMMY & CMA-nominated duet “Lonely Tonight,” recorded by Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe.  I also learned he’s from Kalamazoo, just an hour west of where I grew up in Jackson, Michigan.  
Ryan Hurd at Country Thunder Arizona
Ryan Hurd

The final act we photographed was Austin Burke.  According to his webpage, he grew up in the 1990's in Phoenix, Arizona, Austin was a huge country music fan and began singing as soon as he could walk.  At the tender age of of 3 he sang the national anthem for both the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks and at a chance meeting with his hero Garth Brooks at a Padre's spring training game, his destiny was set.
austin burke at country thunder arizona
Austin Burke

Until My Next Adventure,

(Tom Wagner at the Buffalo Chip?) 

See You On Down the Road!

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Steve Kerr and Warriors at Phoenix Suns

Golden State Warriors versus the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Arena
The Golden State Warriors and Coach Steve Kerr visited the Phoenix Suns in an NBA game Wednesday 5 April 2017. 

Steve Kerr is coach of the Golden State WarriorsThis was a special University of Arizona Wildcat Club event because Steve is a big thing in Arizona Wildcat basketball history.  He was the starting point guard for the first UA final four team back in 1987.  Since then, he won five NBA championship rings as a player and one as a coach of the Warriors two years ago. 
allonzo trier plays basketball for the University of Arizona

Following the game, we were escorted to the floor of the arena to hear from Steve and special guest, former University of Arizona basketball star Andre Iguodala, who plays for the Warriors.

Steve Kerr, Coach of the Golden State Warriors and University of Arizona graduateAnd, a face in the crowd was University of Arizona basketball star Allonzo Trier, who was met by shouts of "one more year" (will he or won't he enter the NBA draft?).

Special thanks and a shout out to University of Arizona Athletics and Callista Balko Elmore, Phoebe Chalk Wadsworth, Tom Theodorakis, and Ray Wells and Phoenix Suns Chris Moran (also a University of Arizona graduate).

Callista Balko Elmore with Robert Golden and Colin Jordan

Until My Next Adventure,

(Country Thunder) 

See You On Down the Road!

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cave Creek Rodeo 2 April 2017

cowboy grabs cow by the horns
I photographed the Cave Creek Rodeo finals on Sunday 2 April.  This made it seven years in a row I photographed this wonderful PRCA Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sanctioned event. 
cowboy misses tackling the cow in Cave Creek

The Cervi people provided the four legged stock athletes (animals).   The two legged cowboy and cowgirl athletes were the other half of the event.
cowboy flies off bronco in cave creek

I really respect this sport and the athletes.  It’s dangerous and these folks have to do well in these events to make a living.  If a cowboy or cowgirl gets a penalty or no score, they are out and must go to the next rodeo for another try.
justin "rumpshaker" rumford entertains cave creek rodeo crowd

Country artist super star Garth Brooks put it best in his hit “Rodeo” about how really hard this sport and life are!  Part of the lyrics goes like this,

Well it’s bulls and blood
It’s dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
barrel racer in cave creek loses five points

Take a good look at how these cowboys and cowgirls “bring it” in the finals.  By the way, rodeo clown Justin “Rumpshaker” Rumford was funny too!

Until My Next Adventure

(Country Thunder) 

See You On Down the Road!

cowboy dejected after low score in cave creek

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eric Church in Concert 28 March 2017

eric church in phoenix
Country music artist Eric Church came to Phoenix the end of March and played to a sold out arena downtown.  Eric was the sole performer in two sets and did not disappoint his fans.  
eric church plays country music in phoenix

I was smart enough to contact the arena ahead of time to find out what their camera policy was.  In this arena, they do not permit "professional cameras."  They define that as any camera with a detachable lens.  I get that.  All it take is one numbskull to bring a huge 600mm lens and bop people in the head.  If you shoot events like this, also note they will NOT allow tripods or monopods.
eric church in phoenix taken with a canon G3x camera

This kind of even is exactly why I have a second camera.  My first camera is the Canon 5D Mark IV.  My second camera is the Canon 3Gx with a built in lens that zooms to 600mm.  Now, it will never replace my main camera.  For one thing, it can't take rapid fire shots for action sports.  But it does save photos in raw format and gives me about every other freedom in options.  
eric church and drummer in phoenix, arizona

I shot all of these with a wide open aperture of f/2.8 and an ISO of 3200.  Post processing mostly with Adobe Lightroom.

Until My Next Adventure

(Cave Creek Rodeo, then Country Thunder) 

See You On Down the Road!

eric church in blue light towers in phoenix, arizona

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Parada Del Sol Rodeo Scottsdale 12 March 2017

welcome to the scottsdale parada del sol rodeo in Arizona

This is one of my favorite rodeos, commonly called the Scottsdale Rodeo.  The venue is Westworld, an indoor arena, so at least no worries of a sunburn on this sunny Sunday in March.  Plus, it was air conditioned.

stock horses run the arena at the scottsdale parada del sol rodeo

On the negative side, for photographers, was the mixed natural and fluorescent lighting.   And, that type of lighting always looks bright to the naked eye, but for the camera it isn't.  I had to compromise between shutter speed and the needed high ISO.  I was around 2500 ISO and a shutter speed from 1/160th to 1/200th of a second.  And the f/stop was as wide open as I could get.  So... I had to watch for grain in photos and maybe some unwanted motion blur.  I shot with a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Tamron 28-300mm lens.

horseback quick draw at the scottsdale rodeo
We got to the arena quite early and was delighted to see a pre-event, ladies and gentlemen horseback target shooting.  The shooting made for a smokey arena, but this was fun to watch and it seemed to me the ladies did an overall better job of it!

rodeo clown at the parada del sol scottsdale rodeo
What would a rodeo be without clowns?  I've always thought the clowns were some of the hardest working people in rodeo.  They are there to entertain but also distract angry animals away from cowboys.    
5 second penalty in barrel racing in scottsdale, arizona
The ladies of rodeo put on what I consider to be my second favorite event:  barrel racing.  Now, this is a sad sight.  A barrel that goes down costs 5 seconds on the total time.  This young lady knocked down two this day so she was out of the runningLynn Payne rounding up buffalo at the parada del sol rodeo in scottsdale

This fellow rounds up buffalo and gets them on top of that trailer.  Magnificent creatures!

bull leaps over cowboy at the parada del sol rodeo in scottsdale, arizona

Probably not a good idea to play "horsey" with these big animals either!

Until My Next Adventure

See You On Down the Road!

Photos from Flickr ... and, here are all the keeper photos!