Sunday, April 21, 2019

Shari Rowe at Arizona Horseman’s Challenge and Expo 20 April 2019

Before watching, listening, and photographing Shari Rowe at the Arizona Horseman’s Challenge and Expo on 20 April 2019, we had time to watch some of the horse and horse trainer competition.  I'm used to rodeo, but these competitions for trainers take some eight hours over a few days.  

Then Shari and her band went into the arena and I got a close up and personal view of them, watching to make sure I didn't step in horse #%$#.  

I photographed Shari a few years ago (2016) at Country Thunder Arizona.  

My entire photography portfolio is on SmugMug.  And, here's my Instagram feed.

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

... And here's a slideshow from my time with Shari Rowe.

.. And a few photos from the horse competition.

Friday, April 19, 2019

At the Roadrunner 13 April 2019

I've lived in north Phoenix for over 18 years.  I thought I knew interesting and great places to visit and photograph in my area.  And then I found the Roadrunner Saloon in New River, about 14 miles straight north of me, off the I-17.

What fun!

It's a large bar with a band stage and bull riding arena.  So I contacted them to make sure my camera would be welcome, too.  You never know nowadays.  

First off, the burgers are massive and good.  Next time, I think I will try it with their cole slaw.  There were just too my fries!  

Anyway, I walked over to the arena and they had the little people mutton busting (children riding sheep), then the novices or first timers rode very very tame bulls.  

Then Hollywood Yates and the Hitmen played.  

That was followed by the serious bull riders.  I was a wee bit surprised because these were serious bulls and serious riders.  The competition was better than I thought.  Sadly, the arena was full and I didn't get a chance to photograph from my usual perch on the top row.  That will be for another visit.

Special shout-out to Josh, the Roadrunner videographer, for coming over and saying hi.  

I've also posted photos on Flickr and on my portfolio site on SmugMug.

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

... And here's a slideshow from my visit to the Roadrunner!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Cave Creek Rodeo 24 March 2019

The Cave Creek Rodeo in Arizona has to be the best small PRCA sanctioned rodeo in North America.  I've photographed this rodeo for about ten or more straight years and it is an absolute joy.  The best group of folks around.  

Images were made with a Canon EOS R and Canon 70-200mm lens.  Post processing in Lightroom and Photolemur.

Usually bull riding comes last.  This time around for this finals event they started with bull riding, part one, and ended with bull riding part two.  Kind of an interesting way to do it.  There's a lot of tradition involved in rodeo and I have to think people like things the way it's always been done, but this worked out well.  

The bulls were especially nasty today as I don't remember more than one cowboy sticking around past eight seconds. Somebody did.  The all-around cowboy was JC Mortensen, winning $1,858 for bareback riding and bull riding. 

The featured event is always bull riding.  But before that the ladies of rodeo perform at barrel racing.  And what a show they put on!  

Here's a complete list of Cave Creek Rodeo winners.  And great professional stock was again supplied by the Cervi Brothers.  

And the Cave Creek Rodeo ends with the horse stock running around the arena.  

I've also posted the Sunday finals photos on Flickr and on my portfolio site on SmugMug.

See ya soon!!!

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

... And here's a slideshow from the Cave Creek Rodeo!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cozumel-Caymans-Jamaica on RC Liberty of the Seas

The Texas School of Professional Photography sponsored a Caribbean cruise February 2019 that visited Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica, courtesy of the Liberty of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship.  

The first port of call was Cozumel, where we had a private party aboard a pirate ship!  This was just flat out fun and silly.  The pirates aboard fed us food and grog and we all danced... many snorkeled in the calm sea.  For really no good reason, I stayed aboard ship thinking I'd have something to photograph.  All I got was tiny bouncing heads in the water.  Lesson learned.  

Our second stop was George Town in the Caymans, a British West Indies territory.  We visited "Hell" which... well, take a look below.  

And, the Caymans glass bottom boat.  The captain of the ship donned scuba gear and went below to feed the fish.

Our last stop was Jamaica, where we visited the Green Grotto and Dunn's River Falls.

A few highlights onboard included an ice show.  And a galley tour with Sous Chef Ramone.  "Yeah Mon!"  So this is how they feed thousands of guests in three decks every day!

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

... And all the photos from the trip!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Phoenix Suns and Golden State 8 Feb 2019

I covered the Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns game Friday 8 February 2019 for a Spanish publication called The Wing.  I was also at Phoenix Talking Stick Arena for a University of Arizona event celebrating alums Steve Kerr, Andre Iguodala, and Deandre Ayton.

Here is the article I submitted to The Wing:

Golden State Downs Phoenix Suns
(Photographs and story by James Gordon Patterson)

(Phoenix, Arizona - 8 February 2019) —-  The bad news is the Phoenix Suns defeat at home against the defending world champion Golden State Warriors marked the thirteenth straight loss for the home team. 

The good news for the Suns is they fought hard through the whole game to finally lose in the fourth quarter 117 to 107 after a Golden State 23 to 6 run in the fourth quarter put the game away.  

Warriors coach Steve Kerr after the game smiled but said “they outplayed us the whole night.”  

For around 200 fans, it was also University of Arizona night at Talking Stick Arena in downtown Phoenix.  After the game, Arizona graduates Steve Kerr and Deandre Ayton came down to the court after the game to talk to the Arizona Wildcat fans in attendance.  

Ayton, by the way, scored 23 points with 12 rebounds. 

With this loss, the Suns stand at 11 and 46.  Golden State is at 39 and 15.


Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down the Road!

... And all the photos from the game!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Phoenix ZooLights December 2018

22 December 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  It’s cool in the 50s and it looks like a perfect night to go to Phoenix ZooLights.  

I recently acquired a new Canon EOS R with the new RF 24-105mm lens and thought this would be a great way for me to get comfortable with the new camera.

It’s a smaller camera than the Canon 5D Mark IV and weighs less.  All good things for me.  I carry the camera with a Black Rapids strap and a Joby wrist strap.  

All of the photos I shot were in auto ISO, f/4, hand held.  

I set up the camera for back button focus.  The button on the back of the camera is in a slightly different place than it was on the 5D Mark IV, so that took some time to get used to.  There is a new multi-function bar on the back of the camera and I’m trying to figure out if I can use that for back button focus.  Otherwise, I’m going to turn it off.  

One additional thing I discovered is to go into the menu and turn on the econo mode to save battery power.  

The auto focus worked fast and effectively.  

All-in-all, I am quite happy with the EOS R.  

Until My Next Adventure,
See You On Down the Road!

And, all the photos!

Photoblog Addendum!

I had so much fun with my new Canon EOS R that I thought it would be a good idea to photograph the Christmas lights in my own Adobe Highlands neighborhood in Phoenix.

One thing I noticed was how easy it was to autofocus in dark conditions.  This was later confirmed by a few articles I read that said the EOS R was one of the best in autofocus when it was dark.  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Canyon de Chelly and the Navajo Nation

The Arizona Professional Photographers group sponsored a trip to Canyon de Chelly, on the Navajo Nation, in the far northeast part of Arizona 9 to 11 November 2018.  

It takes about five hours to get there from north Phoenix.  It’s worth the drive, but from Holbrook north, it is very desolate two lane roads to Chinle, Arizona.  

I highly recommend staying at the Thunderbird Lodge because that puts you right there at the Canyon. The rooms are clean and modern with television and WiFi and there is a restaurant right there.  A short drive into town and you will find other places to eat including a Denny’s which has a fine breakfast.  

The first evening allowed us the fun of taking night photographs from point White House, about a five minute drive from the lodge.  The first image I captured was taken about a half hour after sunset, pointing north into the canyon.  Then I turned looking east for these night shots.  One of the images I captured shows another photographer turning on her light.  She apologized but I thanked her because I thought it made a nice photograph.  

Before going into the canyon, we had a visit from some Navajo dancers.  This is the land of the Navajo Code Talkers, so there was a salute to veterans.  But military service seems to be ingrained in the Navajos as I suspect it is with other native nations.  

Daniel Draper and his other tour guides drove us into the floor of the Canyon.  To get in there you have to have a guide.  It is not a smooth luxury ride!  But who cares because the scenery is amazing.  

Then our time at the Navajo Nation ended with Daniel’s daughter Tonisha Draper singing for us.  

Until My Next Adventure,
See You On Down the Road!

And, all the photos!

Monday, July 23, 2018

3 Baltics and Poland July 2018

Arriving in Tallinn, Estonia after a very long trip from Phoenix, what do I see out of the bus window on the way to the hotel but… a Circle K!  Circle K is based in the Phoenix area.  By the time the trip was over, I’d discover Circle K is all over the Baltics and Poland.  They have hot dogs (Kielbasa) and sell gas too, just like in the USA.  Their stores over there seem cleaner, too.  
Tallinn in the northern most capital in the Baltics.  Being just south of Finland, they identify most with the Finns.  The languages are also similar.  Estonians say they can understand Finnish a lot better than the Finns can understand Estonian.  To be in any European country means seeing a lot of castles, churches, and old towns.  Tallinn is no exception.  It is also a popular port for cruise ships.  We went to the Song Festival grounds and the photo I have of that shows workers tearing down equipment after a concert.  But this was an important site for protesting Soviet rule.  Between 1987 and 1991, this was a place Estonians sang nationalist songs in protest, the so called Singing Revolution.  And on 23 August 1989, over two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined hands in protest of Soviet rule in something called The Baltic Way.  

At this point, I should add I’m not just a dispassionate traveller to the Baltics.  This trip was special because my grandparents on my mother’s side were from Lithuania.  I can tell you the pain these little Baltic countries went through with the Nazi’s and then the Soviets.  In our family, we gave up trying to communicate with relatives in Lithuania in the mid-60s as we found they were not receiving money and clothing we were sending.  I’d love to send our American socialists to these countries, and to Poland, to see the devastating effects of socialism.  In these countries, their history is never far from the surface.  
The second Baltic capital to visit was Riga, Latvia, on the mouth of the Daugava River, also called “the Little Paris of the North.”  Riga’s central market is filled with goods from all over the Baltics.  We quickly saw Riga Castle, St. Jacobs Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church.  
One of the delights of travel is the unexpected.  While heading down the elevator, we saw a young man holding a uniform.  It was the uniform of the Canadian military.  He was a member of the Canadian military band and would be performing in a nearby park with the Latvian military band.  So we went over to the park and listened to the two bands perform.  A delightful evening totally unplanned!

The next day we travelled to Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.  My information is sketchy about exactly where my grandparents were from.  I knew my grandfather was from the western part of Lithuania, in what at the time was Prussia (Germany).  My grandmother talked about living on a farm somewhere between Kaunas and Vilnius.  I spent a lot of time wondering… did my grandmother walk these streets?  Was she here?  

The Germans, then the Soviets, were particularly cruel to Lithuanians.  I had a chance to visit the KGB Museum (also former Gestapo headquarters) and walked where Lithuanians were tortured and killed.  As I said earlier, their history of being brutalized is never far from the surface.  

In Vilnius, we visited St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Anna’s church, Vilnius University, Gediminas Tower, and Vilnius Castle.  Later in the afternoon we visited the red bricked Trakai Castle on gale Lake.  I have memories of my grandparents having a painting of this castle.  One of the regrets I have is that I didn’t ask more questions of them.  Back in the 60s, the thinking was that I was to focus on English only.  Lithuanian was something they talked over my head.  And there was little talk of the old country.  I remarked at one point on this trip that I recognized the language, not the words, but the cadence of it.  I’d turn, and see young people speaking.  For me, Lithuanian and Polish were languages old people spoke.  Just an “ah ha” moment.  I’ll share another story.  Around the corner of the hotel was a street filled with outdoor cafes.  While eating dinner, I wanted to order a local beer called Svyturys.  I asked for it reading the name from a sign like an American.  My pronunciation wasn’t even close.  Lithuanian is, to this American, a very strange language.  
Once again we hit the road, this time our destination is Warsaw Poland.  We stop for a break just over the border from Lithuania into Poland.  The bus driver Robert, who is Polish, told me to look at the license plates of the cars in the shopping area.  Most were from Lithuania.  He said that was because the Euro from Lithuania made shopping much cheaper for them in Poland.  Poland still does not have a strong enough economy to use the Euro; they use the Zloty instead.  I went to an ATM and forgot the exchange rate.  I took out 3,000 Zlotys.  I asked the concierge of the hotel how much this was in U.S. dollars.  Ha, it was worth over $800, a bit more than I wanted to take out. 

Once we arrived in Warsaw we saw a gaudy large building next to the hotel.  The locals call this “Stalin’s Birthday Cake.”  This was a “gift” from Stalin most locals could have done without.  Most in Warsaw hate the building but it is so large it would create many problems to tear down.  Seconds after taking a photo of this massive building, it rained.  And rained HARD.  I was totally soaked and on the way back to the hotel found a local cafe where I had some pasta and a local Polish beer.  
The next morning included a visit to a park dedicated to the composer Frederic Chopin.  We also visited the site of the Warsaw ghetto, the Cathedral of St. John, and the Royal Castle, which was restored after destruction in World War II.   Later in the afternoon included a visit to Wilanow Palace.  

Sunday we headed toward Krakow, but first stopped at Czestochowa and the Pauline monastery of Jasna Gora, home of the Black Madonna painting.  Millions of pilgrims come to visit the shrine to the Virgin Mary.  I think at least a million people were there this particular Sunday.  In a fast pass-through, I was able to get a few photographs of the painting.  Our tour guide through the monastery was a priest who was actually pretty funny.  He said, “Many ask how we make holy water… we boil the hell out of it!”  

The Polish city of Oswiecim may not mean anything to you.  But the nearby Nazi death camp of Auschwitz might.  You’ve all seen this place in photographs.  To be there in person is hard to express in words.  It has left a mental mark.  

The final city stop was Krakow.  Of course there is a castle and cathedral to visit.  And a market square in their old town.  There is quite a rivalry between Warsaw and Krakow.  A cab driver said Krakow was best, more laid back.  Warsaw was for politics and making money.  

The final tour was to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, where we went down close to 1,000 feet.  Salt, before refrigeration, was a valuable commodity.  Some say as valuable as silver.  It’s because salt was used to preserve foods.  

After twelve days of racing through three Baltic countries and Poland, it is time for me to take a vacation from my vacation!

Until My Next Adventure,
See You On Down the Road!

See all of my photos, including a few statues of the Polish Pope, John Paul II