Sunday, June 7, 2015

Riding With the Verde Canyon Railroad

Only an hour and a half from Phoenix, Clarkdale is the home of the Verde Canyon Railroad.  It’s an old fashioned railroad trip that goes through the beautiful Verde Valley in Northern Arizona. 

I thought this would be a good four hour trip on the rails to thoroughly try out my new Tamron 28-300mm “travel lens.”  This lens is what they call an “all in one” zoom, perfect for traveling.  I put it on my Canon 5D Mark III.  It’s much easier to travel with an all in one like this that is lighter than Canon lenses and fits the range of zoom that I am liable to need. 

What was a bonus was to find out that the Liberty Wildlife people show off Sonora, the bald eagle on the first Saturday of the month.  Liberty Wildlife is based in Scottsdale and specializes in rehabilitation, education, and conservation.  Sonora hurt his wing when he was young around eight years ago and is trained to travel on the railroad and show off for the passengers. 

Now, anybody that knows me knows one of my interests is in photographing for non-profit organizations!  So this truly was a treat for me.  I plan on sharing my photos with Liberty once I post them. 

I am quite pleased with my new camera lens.  The Tamron performed quite nicely on my trip.  I’m also thrilled to have some photos to share with Liberty Wildlife!

Until My Next Adventure, 

(The June San Diego West Coast School!)

See You On Down The Road!

Here are all the keeper photos!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cave Creek Balloon Festival May 2015

Falcon Field Fly By
The weather in the Phoenix area for late May was absolutely delicious, with a high barely reaching the 80s, a far cry from the previous five Cave Creek balloon festivals held in the middle of winter.  Now, this is the desert and sure it's warm, but the night in winter can be FREEZING!  
Lauren Riley Performs

This was the 6th annual balloon festival.  I took photos of the early fly-by from planes based at Falcon Field in Mesa, local country singer Lauren Riley, and the balloon glow.  

Lauren Riley Close Up
Photographing the performers on stage was difficult during the day as the backlighting pretty much washed out the details of the musicians.  As it got darker, my luck improved and I was able to use the stage lighting.  

And as it got dark, I had to use high ISO to capture the balloons as they were fired up by their owners.  

Balloon Light

For those interested, I used a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 70-300mm lens.  Some of the photos were also treated with MacPhun's Noiseless Pro to eliminate noise that comes from photographing at a high ISO.  

Until My Next Adventure, 

(Sedona, With the Tamron Tailgate Tour)

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

Here are all the keeper photos from Flickr!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Relay for Life Book and Video Out

I'm done.  Finished.  The book is ready to be sold!  The photo video is uploaded to You Tube!  As a way of raising more money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, I put together a book for sale at Blurb called "Hope: North Valley Relay for Life."  

It is made up of photos from 2011 to 2015 Relays held at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix.

The book is listed at $29.99 and $7 of that will go to the North Valley Relay for Life


I primarily edited the photos with Adobe Lightroom.  I imported some 60-plus photos into the Blurb bookmaking program called BookWright.  The book is being sold on Blurb.  I could have sold on the Apple site or Amazon, but costs would have run higher meaning less money going to the Relay for Life.  

I created the video using a program called FotoMagico.  It allowed me to lay down a music bed and narrate the video, too.  Then I uploaded to You Tube to share with you and the world.

This is all part of the "photo philanthropy" concept... giving back with a camera.  I hope to do more of this in the future.  

Until My Next Adventure, 

(Sedona, Environmental Portraits, with the Arizona Professional Photographers Association)

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Relay for Life at PVCC Friday 10 April 2015

The Survivors Lap
It's time for another North Valley Relay for Life at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a benefit for the Cancer Society and my fourth year photographing the event.
Young Students Show Enthusiasm

This year, it did not go overnight like the other ones had done.  It started at 4pm and ended around midnight.  

This time around, I had a specific idea in mind.  I am going to put together the best of the last four Relays for Life at PVCC and publish a photo book that you can buy to benefit the relay for life.  Stay tuned on that as I'm still putting the book together.  I can tell you it will be on the Blurb site and hopefully we can sell it to you on the Amazon site, as well.
Shoshannah Raised Money with her Dolls

I had a shot list of things that I needed for the book.  Mostly, I wanted to do some wide angle photographs.

We had some excitement around 5pm.  Seems a dust devil hit were some booths were set up, throwing the tents and paperwork high into the air.  
Dust Devil Hits Without Warning!

Everything Thrown High in the Sky!

They had an interesting contest involving trying to tear apart a frozen tee-shirt and putting it on.  This guy tried so hard to get that frozen tee on!
Trying to Tear a Frozen Tee-Shirt Apart

Here are some other shots from the 2015 Relay for Life at PVCC...

My Attempt at "Art"


Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

* Look for my soon-to-be published photobook on the Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  Sales to benefit the Cancer Society!

Click HERE to see all the photos from the Relay for Life!

Opening Day at Country Thunder Arizona

The Main Stage!
I've always been interested in concert photography.  I've done some shots in the past of country bands and really enjoyed it.  What kind of photographer am I?  What do I love photographing?  These are important questions really.  I do what I love.  I love country music.  I love photography.  A nice match.  I don't have any feeling for loud rock music or rap, so I won't photograph that.  I also like horses, cowboys, cowgirls, and rodeos.  So I photograph them too!  
Old Pals Jim Brady and Faron Hall in the VIP Section!

Before Country Thunder, I would just go and shoot... but I did something smart at the 2014 Photoshop World.  I took the Alan Hess/Scott Diussa Real World Concert Photography workshop.  It really helped me photographing the opening day at Country Thunder.  

First off, I'm a former newsman/broadcaster, so I'm used to how they treat media and the need to get a media pass.  I was able to secure a media pass, so I could get up nice and close to the acts.  As Alan said, you have to ask.  Worst that can happen is you get turned down.  I asked and got one!

Use burst mode on your camera.  I found that was good advice.  Burst mode ensures one of the photos will be sharp and the performers eyes will be open.  

Open up the aperture.. as low a number as the lens will allow.  Lighting is weird at these concerts, so I also started with ISO800 and as it got darker outside, I switched to ISO1600.  My Canon 5D Mark III can handle the higher ISO without much grain or noise.  I found the Canon 70-200 lens was my workhorse.  I also used the 24mm setting for some wider "establishing" shots from my Canon 24-105mm.  

As for my goals, I wanted to focus on the opening acts, the up and coming performers.  The headliners like Brett Eldredge, Blake Shelton, and Luke Bryan are what everybody goes for.  These are the acts where photographers are told the limitations:  maybe you get to photograph two or three songs and that's it.  Or, in the case of Blake Shelton, none at all.  The artists I photographed had no limitations on how many I took.  Frankly, I want to photograph the hungry ones, the soon-to-be-stars so I can show them what I can do.  Who knows?  Maybe I will impress the artist or their publicity people and get them again when they hit it big!  By the way, I had another commitment on Friday night, so I missed my all time favorites BIG & RICH!!!  This was the duo that got me interested in country music in the first place.  

Little Girl Gonna Get an Autograph from Clare Dunn!
I also looked behind me at the fans.  By the way, another reason I like to photograph country artists?  The fans are the nicest in the world.  Just like the performers.  
Happy Country Thunder Fans

I photographed Old Dominion.... 

Old Dominion

The amazing Clare Dunn... pressure is on with her because I found she just doesn't take a bad photo!  I hope you agree.

Clare Dunn

American Longspurs...

American Longspurs


The Railers... a group from Arizona!

The Railers

A special thanks to KMLE Country Radio (my favorite station!) in Phoenix for being the major sponsor and Caitlin DeForest, Publicity and Events Manager for Webster Public Relations, for helping me with the media and parking passes!  

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

* Look for my soon-to-be published photobook on the Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  Sales to benefit the Cancer Society!

Here are all of my photos from opening day at Country Thunder Arizona.  Music by Derek Clegg from Free Music Archive.  Thank you!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cave Creek Rodeo Finals 29 March 2015

The Future of Rodeo!

I was happy to photograph yet another Cave Creek (Arizona) Rodeo finals.  This is one of the top five best small professional rodeos in the United States.  Every seat is a good one.  I like sitting at the very top row.  That way, nobody complains when I stand to take a photo.  I sat “center stage” high enough to give me a great vantage point. 
Leon Coffee, Rodeo Clown... and he was GOOD!
One of the Compton Cowboys

A movie crew was in town to film “Fire on the Hill: The Compton Cowboys” about some hard charging cowboys (Ghuan, Chris, and Calvin) from Compton, California, not really known for being a hotbed of rodeo talent.  But those fellows competed.  This is an interesting story so make sure you check out the link above.  I wish the film project well!

The other story line was the rodeo clown, Luke "Leon" Coffee, a Hall of Fame inductee, actor, and Vietnam veteran.  He was funny, too!
Rick and Callista

Of course we think of the cowboy and cowgirl athletes at these events.  But let’s not forget the animal athletes!  This years stock, like the last few years, supplied by the Cervi Brothers. 

And this year, I brought two rodeo newbies with me, Arizona Wildcat softball great Callista Balko and her fiancĂ© Wildcat football great Rick Elmore.  I think they both know what great athletes compete in rodeos.  These folks often haul their animals with them, pay the entrance fee, and if they make one mistake or have an animal not compete, they are out of the money and have to move on to the next rodeo.  Also note that only the bull riders seem to wear helmets.  This is a dangerous sport. 
Barrel Racing... the ladies turn!

I shot with my Canon 5D Mark III and this time with one lens, the Canon 70-300mm.  I found where I was sitting I could pretty much stay at 200mm.  I shot mostly f/16 at ISO400, AI Servo/fast continuous.  I ended up with nearly 500 photos but you will see just a portion of that. 
Thrown from the Bull... a dangerous sport

I do hope you enjoy… Next up for me is shooting the North Valley Relay for Life located on the Paradise Valley Community College campus on April 10th.

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

Here are all the photos from the Cave Creek Rodeo!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Camel and Ostrich Racing at Turf Paradise

Every year Turf Paradise in Phoenix offers up camel and ostrich racing, this time between races six and seven.  Oh yes, there was horse racing too. 

Eric Wilson from Indianapolis
While shooting near the paddock area where the horses and jockeys come out, I talked with a nice fellow with a camera.  He is Eric Wilson from Indianapolis, who was in town on vacation.  Eric told me he primarily photographed weddings and portraits so he wanted to know what type of settings worked best at the racetrack. 

Great question!  It made me stop and think what settings I prefer when photographing at Turf Paradise. 

I use a Canon 5D Mark III and my lens of choice today was the Canon 70-300mm.  I brought along the Tamron 1.4x extender, which I ended up not using very much.  The 300mm was reach enough.  My normal perch is in the upper deck, in the shade (it was hot and sunny). 

I tended to shoot wide-open f/2.8 or so, ISO 100, and 1/1000 of a second shutter speed to freeze the action.  On a few of the shots I used MacPhun’s Focus2Pro (to add bokeh or out of focus to some elements) and SnapHeal Pro (to get rid of extraneous objects in the photo).  On a few other photos I used both Photomatrix Pro and Google’s HDR Efex program.  I will tell you sometimes when I’m not all that happy with a shot, I apply some HDR toning to see if I can save it!

Next up for me is shooting the Cave Creek Rodeo again, then the North Valley Relay for Life located on the Paradise Valley Community College campus.

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

A short video clip here... 

And, here are all of my photos from Turf Paradise!