Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Photo Philanthropy at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and Crossroads

I spent my college spring break in Santa Fe, New Mexico taking a course on photo philanthropy called “Crossroads Santa Fe: Where Photography and Philanthropy Meet.” The primary instructors were Brenda Berry and David Middleton, both from Crossroads Photographic Workshops.

This was a different type of photo workshop from the ones I’ve taken in the past.  As David said in class, this isn’t about taking the pretty picture, the calendar photo.  What it was about was working with non-profit organizations to provide great photos they could use in their promotional literature and website. 

As a college professor, I found the idea fascinating.  I teach Photoshop, among other business and i.t. classes.  I could teach Photoshop as a boring cookbook “do steps one to seven” class, but I think it is more fun for the students to be able to apply what we are learning to their own work.  I’ve thought we could find non-profits locally, allowing students to improve their Photoshop and photography skills, and doing good for non-profits!  I’ve already done some unofficial work locally with the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the local Horses Help.  At Paradise Valley Community College, we call it service learning. 

What did I learn in the workshop that I can share with students?  Many non-profits have no money for promotion or professional photography.  Most would be overjoyed to have photos taken and contributed to them.  In addition to the Relay for Life and Horses Help, I’m sure I could contact United Way to find even more non-profits who would love to have photos. 

You rarely if ever get paid doing this kind of work.  The payoff is in doing good with your camera and having a chance to hone your skills.  Who knows?  If you do a good job, you could get a recommendation for a paying gig!  Plus, here’s another one I hadn’t thought of:  you can get a tax deduction for “in kind services.”  Every 501c3 non-profit can write you a receipt for your work. 

Once you find a non-profit, David and Brenda said you should find out what they want.  What they want in photos may not be exciting or win any awards.  For instance, a representative of Santa Fe’s Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary came to our class and mentioned how proud they were of a new handrail.  Yes, a handrail.  Well, that was important to them and their contributors, so we had to make sure we had various photos of the handrail!  We went back several days as a group to make sure we got photos of that handrail.

As a team, we came up with a shot list after hearing from the Audubon official.  We developed several “buckets” that we would fill.  Obviously, the handrail was on the list.  David and Brenda taught something they called “Visual Grammar” to tell a story.  First, the establishing shot.  It gives context to where we are at.  Secondly, is a middle ground shot where you step in a bit closer without any sky.  Third you get the details and get close up.  For instance, with the hand rail, we used a shot of a person’s hand on the handrail. 

I use a Canon 5D Mark III.  I was very glad I brought the Canon wide angle lens, the 17-40mm.  It’s a great lens for wide establishing shots outside and indoors, especially in cramped quarters.  This was quite useful inside the Randall Davey house, which is on the Audubon property.  For some portraits and middle shots, I used the Canon 24-105mm, which was my main go-to lens.  One I wish I had brought was the Canon 70-200mm to get bird shots.

The second “client” we had this week was the Nature Conservancy, located next to the Audubon center in Santa Fe.  We went through several visits and built a shot list, then filled each of the “buckets” with photos. 

What I found was to do this job right, you have to visit the site a few times.  It’s rare to get all the shots you want in one visit, especially if you have never seen the place before.  Morning light is different from afternoon light is different from sundown light. 

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!

...and here are some of my photos from Santa Fe!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turf Paradise With the Tamron 150-600mm

7 Horse Wins and Costs Me Money 

President’s Day at Turf Paradise.  Was I there to bet on the ponies?  Drink beer and eat hot dogs?  Or, test out my new Tamron 150-600mm lens?  How about all of the above!  The betting?  I got skunked. A few beers and hot dogs and I’m happy.  Now on to the testing of the new Tamron lens.

Last Stretch Near Finish Line!

This lens replaced my Tamron 200-500mm.  I tried the new lens with and without a monopod.  The lens is heavy, but not so heavy you can’t use it handheld.  I tried to take most shots at at least 1/600th of a second if not somewhat faster.  Overall, I was pleased with the results.  I could have also tried using the Tamron 2x extender with this lens, but of course I’d lose two or more stops of light. The good news is I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III and I shot at 400-800 ISO with pretty good results.  Just a few years ago, there was no way a person could shoot with this lens without a tripod, but lenses and camera’s ISO sensitivity is vastly improved.
Real or Plastic?

One fellow at the race track told me about two owls… “do you like to photograph birds?” He asked.. so I looked through the lens and… they were fake plastic owls.  But this guy kept at me that they were real and had moved.  I think plastic owls move the more drinks a person has.  Just a guess.  

This will show the reach of the lens at 600mm.  I never noticed the slight haze.  This was hand held, too!  
Far Side of the Track
Until My Next Adventure (rodeo, Santa Fe), 

See You On Down The Road!

Jim Patterson

...and here are all the photos from Turf Paradise!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Horses Help 1 November 2014

I went to another benefit dinner for Horses Help here in Phoenix on 1 November.  Horses Help uses horses as therapy for mentally challenged and injured people. 

Appearing at the benefit was Loop Rawlins.  Now he might look familiar to you if you’ve watched America’s Got Talent.  Although Loop didn’t win, he put on a great performance.  Loop, who is from Tucson, has appeared at Horses Help several times.  I had a chance to chat with him and I mentioned I didn’t think Horses Help could afford him any longer, but he said he’s pleased to do this event and it was great to see him again. Loop also had his son do some roping.

Also appearing was the Dina Preston Band, a local band that has travelled the world appearing at military bases with the USO.  They are also regulars at Horses Help.

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!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships

Westworld in Scottsdale was the scene of the 4th Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships.  Saturday 25 October in the Phoenix area and you’d think it would be in the 70s… but oh no, it was 95 degrees and incredibly sunny. 

This is, by all accounts, the biggest polo party in North America.  That’s what the experts told me. 
Polo might have been the centerpiece event, but there were more things going on at the same time!  Bentley’s, Ferrari’s, Fiat’s, and more.  A world food championship that reminded me of a kinder gentler “hells kitchen.”  Dog shows.  Models and fashion shows.  An art auction.  And of Heineken beer.  I actually found a type of Heineken I could enjoy called Heineken Light. 

My camera is a Canon 5D Mark III and I used two lenses: the Canon 24-105mm and for most of the shots of polo action I used the Canon 70-300mm.  For postprocessing I used Lightroom and MacPhun Focus2Pro, SnapHeal Pro, and Intensify Pro. 

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!

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!