Sunday, April 6, 2014

Turf Paradise Horses and Models 5 April 2014

Coming Down the Stretch!
I spent a pleasant Saturday with Marni, and colleagues Hank and Casey at the horse track, Turf Paradise, in Phoenix.  It was nice to be with friends on such a beautiful day in Arizona.  Plus, I wanted to use a lens I normally don’t use all the time, the Canon “L” class 70-300mm attached to my Canon 5D Mark III.
Lovely Model at Turf Paradise

I thought I was only going to photograph horses.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was also a model shoot going on for a video game.  So why not tag along and photograph lovely models along with the action on the track?
We Have a Winner!

Of course, I use Lightroom 5 as my main post processing platform.  I had to pull the shadows out on every shot, it seemed.  Plus I did some sharpening on all photos. 

On the models, I also used OnOne’s Perfect Portrait to soften skin and highlight the eyes. 
Another Lovely Model at Turf Paradise!

On some of the horses on the track photos, I used Macphun’s SnapHeal pro to eliminate rails, for instance, along the track.  On one shot, I used Macphun’s Focus2Pro to put everything except the horses out of focus. 

It didn’t take much time to edit these photos.  Probably took me less than an hour total.  Then I uploaded to both my Flickr and Zenfolio sites, write the blog, and post that. 
The Finish Line

Until my next adventure….

See you on down the road!

Bonus Photo... 
Done with Macphun's ColorStrokes

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cave Creek Rodeo Finals 30 March 2014

Team Roping, Background Out of Focus with Focus2Pro
This is one of the finest smaller pro rodeos around.  It’s in Cave Creek, just a few miles north of Phoenix, in a very compact arena.  I’ve photographed this event before, and I thought I’d try another vantage point.  This time, I went to the very last row center stage.

Barrel Racing
I shoot primarily with a Canon 5d Mark III.  I mistakenly brought the Canon 70-200mm lens.  I was disappointed at first because I thought I needed more reach.  Yes, many of the photos I ended up with are cropped, but I’m still pleased at the output. 
Black and White with Silver Efex Pro

I used Tv priority, or shutter priority, setting the camera at 1/1000th of second to capture action without blurring.  It was a sunny day, so I used ISO 100 and a sunny white balance, although since I shoot in raw I could change white balance in post processing.  I didn’t need to, though.
HDR Toning with HDR Efex Pro

I use primarily Adobe Lightroom in post processing.  I did use some plugins for the black and white photo, using Silver Efex Pro.  I like the look and feel of the black and white conversion; it reminded me of an old Lone Ranger scene.  I also used an output filter for HDR toning called HDR Efex Pro.  And I used MacPhuns’ Focus2Pro to put focus on selected areas of a photo. 

Rider Thrown from the Bucking Bronco!

My salute to all the cowboys and cowgirls of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) and the people of the Cave Creek Pro Rodeo.  This is a dangerous and very hard business.  These folks go from rodeo to rodeo chasing wins.  All it takes is one mistake and they get nothing and have to move on.  Some people in Europe think they can insult Americans by calling them “cowboys.”  I always answered I WISH I WERE A COWBOY! 
Bull Riding, With Help from Focus2Pro
From Color to Black and White back to Selective Color

See ya on down the road!

Here are all my photos of the rodeo from Flickr….

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Parada del Sol Rodeo 2 March 2014

I just flat out love photographing rodeos!  I’d have to say these are my people… the fans, the cowboys, the volunteers, the music … and the cowboys and I should say the cowgirls too are in a really rough sport.  It’s dangerous, hard work, and sometimes doesn’t pay that well.  The Parada del Sol in Scottsdale was a new venue for me.  I’d never been to WestWorld where the rodeo is held.  I got in general admission thinking it was an outdoor rodeo like the Tucson and Cave Creek events.  But WestWorld is an inside arena!  In addition, the lighting is fluorescent. 

Next year when I go, I’m going to spend extra money and sit in the VIP seats much closer to the action. 

OK, so I photographed with my Canon 5D Mark III and brought along a Canon 70-200mm “L” class lens, plus a Tamron 2x extender just in case.  I ended up using that to give me 300mm to 400mm reach. 

I set my camera white balance to fluorescent and took a few test photos to see how it looked.  I knew I was safe anyway because I shoot in raw format and I could change the white balance later on in Lightroom. 

I also decided to go Tv or shutter priority along with automatic ISO.  Yes, the Canon 5d Mark III can handle a really high ISO.  In this case, I’ve had some photos in my collection that were up to 12,800 ISO and look fine.  Imagine a few years ago trying that.  It wasn’t long ago that 1600 ISO was stretching it.  I set the Tv or shutter to 1/1000th of a second.  With a wide open aperture, you know I was really testing the cameras ability to take useable photos at incredibly high ISOs! 

But next year, I’m getting closer to the action.  I only got one useable lady barrel racer, darn it!  But I got some real keepers anyway.

A special shout-out to MacPhun software... In post processing, I used Lightroom along with SnapHeal Pro and Intensify Pro.  Give 'em a try!

See ya on down the road,

Part Two:  Fun with MacPhun!  Since I wrote this blog, I started playing with a few MacPhun editing tools and thought I'd share what I did.  

First, here is the photo I started with....   

Everything is in color and in focus.  Not bad.  

Next, from Lightroom I edited this in MacPhun's Focus 2 Pro.  I painted in the two areas I wanted in focus and the background was set out of focus.  I thought the volunteer to the left was interesting, so I painted him in focus along with the bucking horse and the cowboy. 

Finally, I took the above photo and edited it with MacPhun's ColorStrokes.  It converts the above photo to greyscale, then I am able to paint back in the original color.  If you make a mistake it is easy to correct, by the way.  

So now I ended up with a photo with selective bokeh (fuzzy focus) and areas I wanted highlighted with color.  Pretty neat, huh?

You can view all of my photos of the rodeo on Flickr