Monday, October 25, 2010

Near Picture Perfect Wildcats!

23 October 2010...  The Arizona Wildcats defeated the Washington Huskies 44 to 14 to cap homecoming in front of a capacity crowd of over 56,000.  The win puts the Wildcats tied for second place in the Pac-10 conference, 6 and 1 overall, and ranked 15th in both the AP and Coaches polls. 

Matt Scott, subbing for injured starting quarterback Nic Foles, was like most of the Wildcat football team - near picture perfect.  With the exception of some sloppy arm tackling early in the game and some bizarre Pac-10 referee calls, the Cats dominated their rivals from the Pacific Northwest.

Before the game, the UA mall was filled with tailgaters and party tents.  The homecoming parade came before the Wildcat Walk of football players from Cherry and University Avenue to the football stadium.  Sadly, I missed the Wildcat Walk, but I had a very good reason:  Homecoming for our tailgate gang means STEAK!  No way I was leaving my steak behind. 

Happy Shooting,

Enjoy more photos from the Arizona Wildcats Homecoming....

Friday, October 8, 2010

“JIM! What’s new with your photography?"

I heard that so often this last month I thought it was time to update the ole blog.

I went to another Photoshop World in Las Vegas the first week of September.  Lots and lots of classes from great instructors on everything having to do with photography and Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.  One of the fun things I did was attend the APC Artistic Photo Canvas “walkshop” of Fremont Street in Las Vegas, dedicated to HDR or High Dynamic Range photography.  Photographer Brian Matiash was the host.  It’s the kind of photography you’ve seen that reminds you of “grunge” for the lack of a better word.  That was a fun activity that took us out into the earthier Fremont area of Las Vegas.  About thirty photographers with tripods all walking through taking photos.  The easiest explanation I have is you take several photos of the same thing with slightly different exposure settings, then combine in the new Adobe Photoshop CS5. 

AND, of course, the fall for me means more Arizona Wildcats football.  So far, we are four and zero.  Given where we’ve been in the past, we cannot afford to look past any opponent.  The PAC-10 seems especially strong this year so the next eight games will be quite challenging.  The season is a third over and the Cats have beaten Iowa at home and came from behind to beat a very good California Golden Bears team.  I think we all needed a break this past week; the players needed to heal, the coaches needed to re-evaluate and recuperate, and the fans.. well we need to take a deep breath and get ready for the rest of the season. 

Since I live in Phoenix, many of the locals here will ask me what I think about that outfit in Tempe.  Frankly, I don’t think about them.  Not until it is time to think about them.  I’m worried about my own guys. 

A few of the fun things so far this season include the football game versus The Citadel that we watched from a Super Suite at Arizona Stadium.  It was a fund raiser for the scholarship I dedicated to my parents, Doc and Ann Patterson, and goes to a Paradise Valley Community College graduate who transfers to the University of Arizona.  I’m proud to say we collected close to $5,000. 

Hey, I have to put in a plug to join the Arizona Alumni Association, as one of the newest members of the alumni association board.  Just tell them Jim Patterson sent you.  And you can join even if you didn’t graduate from Arizona.  Most of my tailgate pals did exactly that. 

Hockey season in Phoenix starts on 16 October against the hated Detroit Red Wings (I can say that, muchachos, because I grew up a Red Wings fan... now, not so much).  So I should have hockey photos soon.

Shut up and shoot, as the great photographer Paul Mobley once told me!

Jim Patterson

Sunday, August 15, 2010

With the Arizona Wildcats - Fort Huachuca/Sierra Vista

Jim Patterson... EXPOSED!

It’s been a fun week for me, following the Arizona Wildcats athletics department and football team around Arizona.  The ten-city tour concluded with a luncheon with Coach Mike Stoops and players at Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army post outside of Sierra Vista, located in Southeastern Arizona.

I got a chance to chat with Arizona Wildcats athletic director Greg Byrne at the three stops I made it to.  I figured Greg had to get me in doses in a few places.  All at once is too much shock, I fear. 

After a long drive from Phoenix, the core of our tailgate crew got together at the old NCO club at Fort Huachuca.  This is indoor lighting, a crowd, and the people are moving... a challenge for a photographer.  I adjusted ISO to around 600 on most of the shots; fast enough shutter speed so photos were not that blurry.  There just was not room to set up a tripod; plus I think I would have been tossed out had I tried!  The coach and players were very cooperative and photographer friendly, as I hope the photos show.  As a University of Arizona graduate, I was particularly proud and pleased of the players that ate lunch with us and the whole team in general.  A nice bunch of guys... people you’d love to have over to the house. 

Toward the end of the lunch program, I asked Coach Stoops a silly question that probably didn’t go over as well as I thought it would.  I was sitting next to starting place kicker Alex Zendejas, who kicked the winning field goal against Arizona State last year.  We had a nice chat about his career so far and my memory of his uncle Max kicking the winning field goal for Arizona versus Notre Dame in 1982 (yup, I’m an OLD Cat!).  I asked Coach Stoops if this guy Zendejas didn’t work out as kicker if he’d consider bringing me out of my thirty-three year redshirt.  I think he thought I was a nut, because he just kind of laughed and gave me a hard time for mispronouncing  Alex’s last name!  Later at the scrimmage I asked coach where I should go on the field to work out, while I was making kicking motions. By that point, I think he got that I was just kidding.  Maybe. 

Photos of the scrimmage at Buena High School in Sierra Vista were in bright sunlight.  The problem was taking photos in part shade/part sun.  Luckily I could help adjust some of that in Adobe Lightroom 3, which I did on several shots. 

Happy Shooting,
Jim Patterson

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cave Creek Photowalk Rousing Success!

Saturday 24 July 2010 fifty photographers trekked north of Phoenix to Cave Creek where we all met for the 3rd Annual International Photowalk, this time at Frontier Town. 

I’ve embedded several photos I took along with the slideshow from Flickr.  But the event was on the photographers who joined me and the social gathering afterwards at the Silver Spur Saloon, where we shared photos and talked about photography.

By the way, this is the group site on Flickr where you can see all the photographers’ photos during the event. 

After all the participants have submitted their favorite photo, I will decide on the “winner” of this Photowalk and then that winner will compete at the international level for prizes. 

Future events to be announced but will include a local Photowalk during cooler temperatures.  My thought now is a Photowalk around Christmas at the Phoenix Zoo.  The Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey team and I are looking for a date during the season for me to run a photography workshop at a game.  And, I plan on leading a photography cruise to Alaska during the last week of May 2011.

Happy Shooting Until My Next Blog,


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Afternoon With Doug Gordon

I spent a Monday afternoon with wedding photographer Doug Gordon, a high intensity New Yorker with a passion for baseball and wedding photography.  Doug spent the first hour or so actually providing a type of motivation speech, a “you can do it” type of rah rah, which is fine.  Like he pointed out, many in the audience are new photographers or people coming in as a last chance effort to see if they can make it.  A few things stood out:  Dare to be different.  If all the wedding photos look boring, break out of the mold and take a chance.  Don’t let fear stop you.  He’s a big believer in relationship building and making friends, good advice for any business.  You have to create the moment, create romance in your photography.  And, one of the big things I got out of the workshop was learn how to pose (it’s back in style, he says).

Doug works fast.  Very fast.  Coming from a journalism background, I like that.  While other wedding photographers may say they take up to 1,200 photos, he says he often takes less than 400.  Why shoot two or three or more times of the same thing if you know you got it right the first time?  He poses fast, too.  He calls it “flow posing” and he demonstrated outside the Hilton at the Airport on a very hot Phoenix day by the pool with two models.  He has a posing system and can work very very fast to get the poses in.  Personally, I’m more of a photojournalist, looking for the captured moment.  But I would easily incorporate set poses that look very real into a shoot if I did more weddings (not really sure I want to, given the Bridezilla stories I’ve heard about). 

He has a four step method of posing.  Tuck: Tuck the bride’s back shoulder behind the groom’s back.  Roll: Have the bride roll out her front shoulder.  Lean: Then lean them forward.  And Cover: Cover her arm with a veil or she put her arm on him and his arm on hers. 

He stressed learning to shoot it right the first time.  Lighting was key and he uses a gadget he sells called a torch light.  He doesn’t use flash.  The light... it’s sort of a flashlight but not really and comes with colored caps to match the light in a room or outside.  For instance, for inside shots where there is tungsten, he matches that light with an orange filter.  He stresses not to mix the kinds of light.  He also uses reflectors when necessary.  I like that.  I got to use reflectors in a big way when I was shooting with Paul Mobley in Santa Fe last March and really like using light that way.  He is also consistent using spot metering (picking a point under the brides eye, then locking that exposure, and reframing) with his torch light off camera and aperture set low to f/2.8 if possible. 

During the break I watched him edit the photos we all took earlier.  He works, as you might have guessed, very very fast here too.  He’s worked with Kevin Kubota, an expert in PhotoShop and author of action packs for Photoshop, and uses them extensively.  Personally, I use Lightroom 3 and presets and Photoshop CS5 along with OnOne Plugin Suite and Topaz Bundle, but to each their own.  Also, he works exclusively in JPEG, I am a strong believer in RAW.  He also edits in what he calls real time (shoot, edit, upload, shoot, edit, upload).  My head would only let me do one thing at a time, and that’s shoot.  Then away from the wedding, edit.  But hey he’s the highly successful wedding photographer and his system works for him! 

If you want to learn more about Doug Gordon, I suggest you click on the link to his articles.  Here, you will find his suggestions on posing and more.  The Professional Photographer magazine in 2009 also wrote a piece on Gordon and Kubota called “29 Take Home Tips from the Two Worlds, One Dream Workshop.”  And the best way to explain his “torch light” is to see it in action in this video, obviously long before he went on a diet (I should talk, huh?). 

The things I took away from the session?  Work fast (check), be different/take chances, lighting (he hates flash), and his flow posing system.  Makes me glad I’m a college professor and not a full time wedding photographer, so I don’t have to compete with the likes of him!

Friday, July 16, 2010

From Venice to Croatia to the Greek Islands...

My photography adventure this time took me to Venice, Italy where we were to pick up the Royal Caribbean “Splendor of the Seas” for our trip to Split, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Athens, Greece; Mykonos, Greece; and finally Katakolon, Greece.  The cruise was sponsored by the Texas School of Professional Photography and led by professional photographer Don Dickson.  Being with high-speed professionals put the heat on me to produce some photos of value.  And that’s a good thing, although as Don pointed out several times, this was about FUN first.  And fun is what we got.  This time, Paradise Valley Community College teaching colleagues Jeanne Franco, a first time cruiser, and Sue Van Boven came along, which made it more fun.

I used my Canon 7D with my Tamron all-purpose 18-270mm lens carried in a ThinkTank 50 holster case.  It’s a big holster case, but gives more than adequate protection.  When I travel overseas, given how security is, I use the Tamron lens exclusively.  I do post production editing with Lightroom 3 (about 90% or more) and Photoshop CS5.  You can simulate painting with Photoshop, but I prefer using the Topaz PS5 plugin called “simplify” to do that job.  I also have the OnOne Plugin Suite that I use for color correction and more.  I use Photoshop, but I also talked with pro photographers who only use Photoshop Elements and get by.  With plugins, I think I could probably live with PS Elements over Photoshop, but now the Photoshop upgrades are pretty reasonable.  

We had two and a half days to explore Venice on our own.  Venice is, as you might guess, all about being on and around water.  AND, being that it is July it was HOT and HUMID.  Now I’m a confirmed desert rat from Arizona, so the humidity did take its toll.  But hey, THIS IS VENICE!  We stayed at the Hotel Marconi, right on a canal.  The one thing I liked about it was it was a few feet from the Rialto Bridge, perfect for photography, and there were cafes right outside our door!  One of the things I played with was making paintings out of photos.  I did that twice with scenes from the Rialto Bridge that you can view at the bottom of this blog. 

One evening we were sitting at the café only a few feet from the Marconi when a bride and groom appeared.  The fun thing was at the time we were with a bunch of professional photographers.  As soon as we saw the newlyweds, we immediately got out our cameras and started to take photos.  The groom was a bit startled, looked at us and said “Paparazzi?”  We managed to tell them both we were all photographers and we just wanted to shoot photos. 

I was in Venice the night Holland played Brazil in the world cup.  That day I decided to wear my “HOLLAND” soccer jersey.  Well, Holland won.  And everybody it seems in Venice wanted to pat me on the back.  I don’t mind if there is a beer attached.  A very excited German man grabbed me by the shoulders and said DEUTCHLAND UND NEDERLANDS!  Ok, ok... Hey I’m an American.  Cool it.  Later on we were sitting at a café when a group of people approached, one of the guys wearing a Holland jersey.  We started yelling NEDERLANDS and he came up for a photo.  I whispered, “I have a surprise for you.. I’m an American.”  He laughed and said, “Guess what?  I’m from California.”  So, Holland.. you had two Americans at least in Venice celebrating your victory.  Sorry about the loss to Spain, though.  Love those chance encounters!

Once we got on the ship, I told Jeanne what I always say, “check your brain at the front door and pick it up on the way out.”  That’s how it is on cruises.  This time Don Dickson’s Texas Professional School of Photography picked up a few cocktail hours and we had a few break out sessions.  The last one featured photographers Jon Wolf of Tucson (Tucson is special to me because I lived there many years and I am a University of Arizona graduate) and Jim DiVitale, both wonderful speakers and photographers.  Jim is also a National Association of Photoshop Professionals member and NAPP and Adobe instructor. 

Our first port of call was Split, Croatia and we were able to visit the Roman Ruins there. 

The second port we visited was the Greek island of Corfu, every bit as beautiful as you can imagine, and now see, from my slideshow at the bottom of this blog.  Jeanne and Sue have decided to buy a bed and breakfast on Corfu and have made me the chief photographer.  I’m good with that.  We had fun visiting the Achilleon Palace and monastery.  Our wonderful tour guide was a gentlemen that spoke English with a English accent.  I asked how he learned Greek and he said, “I am Greek!” 

Our next port of call was outside of Athens.  Luckily there were no strikes that day and we joined all the Texas photographers for a trip to the Acropolis.  It was HOT and HUMID and the steps up looked daunting, but dang it this is Greece and this is the Acropolis!  I have many photos of the views of the Acropolis, down to Athens and the shrine to Zeus.  After coming down, an iced lemonade never tasted so good, but I admit drinking it so fast I had a terrible brain freeze.  But it’s the Acropolis!

Mykonos was our next call, and it was every bit as gorgeous as Corfu.  I captured some cute young Greek ladies there... one wasn’t even three years old, peeking around the corner.  There are cats everywhere on that island too.  And, I was surprised by the mascot of Mykonos, Petros II the pelican, who jumped up in a café I was in.  I managed to get a quick photo of him.

Our final call was to the island of Katakonos.  We had planned to take the train up to Olympia, but once we got there they said the trains were shut down because of the strikes that happen all over Greece all the time.  So we stayed in town and shopped. 

Then it was back to Venice... and I conclude the slideshow with a few early early morning photos of the City of Bridges.  Note how different the light is at that time of day.

Now I’m done traveling for a bit.  Although I enjoyed the travel, I was never so happy to set foot back in the USA, in Newark, New Jersey of all places.  My first joy upon re-entering the USA was a GIANT diet Pepsi with TONS of ice. 


Jim Patterson

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Zealand May 2010: Auckland to Queenstown to Christchurch

New Zealand in May presented a host of challenges in photographing its beauty.  It is winter there now; so even during mid-day it was on the darkish side.  I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, so that was another challenge.

People have asked me, “Why New Zealand?”  Hey, why not!  Qantas Airways had a sale on tickets, the time was right, and I’ve never been there.  So why not?

New Zealand is about twelve hours flight time from Los Angeles.  That time on the airplane for me is spent watching movies.  I think I watched three on the way out, haha.  Plus several television documentaries.  They feed you dinner and breakfast and snacks and drinks.  Beer is free, thank you very much.  I try to sleep , but I’m pretty excited to see New Zealand.  We are headed to the largest city of Auckland, with a population of over one million.  Not a big city using USA standards, but there are only four million people in all of New Zealand.  So Auckland is made up of a quarter of the population. 

Four million people... and 32 million sheep.  And soon I would see this up close!

First thing I notice, being from Arizona, is New Zealand immigration asks for my papers!  I didn’t realize other countries actually do that.  It was no worries for me as I quickly showed my passport. 

Auckland is on the north end of the north island.  New Zealand is made up of the north and south islands.  The north island is a bit warmer as this is south of the equator.  I learned many Kiwis, as they are called, move to the warmer north island as do others from the British Commonwealth.  One ad in the local paper had a headline, “Don’t be a ping pong pom!”  I learned that meant that British citizens sometimes move to New Zealand and then move back.  A “pom” refers to a Brit.  The story I got was a POM (or POHM) meant “Property of His/Her Majesty” and referred to prisoners sent to Australia from Britain. 

One of the main attractions in Auckland is the Sky Tower and that gave me good up high views of the city.  In one night shot, you will notice a cable that goes up and down on the right side of the photo.  Professionals bungee jump from the top of the Sky Tower on that thing.  It scared the #$%$ out of me the first time I saw somebody leap over the top of the tower past me.  Somebody came up and said, “no worries, mate.. just a jumper.”  Yeah, I figured that one out.  Wish I was able to get a photo of that but they jump so fast and with little warning.

Then off we went to the Auckland airport to fly to Queenstown, a small city of about 15,000 in the southern part of the South Island.  It’s a resort town in both summer and winter.  Skiing in the winter, but the ski season was just a week or so away.  Here is where they filmed Lord of the Rings, so the scenery was spectacular.  A planned flight to Milford Sound was cancelled however because of poor weather conditions.  One of the young ladies at the hotel said to me, “so sorry your flight was cancelled; you don’t want to get weeet.”  I thought she said “you don’t want to get weird” so I asked her again.  She said, “oh it’s my twang; I meant you don’t want to get wet” overpronouncing “wet” so this American could understand her.  Getting “eeeeegs and bacon” in the morning also took a bit of getting used to.  Queenstown is surrounded by the Remarkables Mountain Range.  As you can see, we had a lot of cloud cover and snow all over those mountains.  The town is on Lake Wakitipu, very cold water now but in the summer it is filled with anything that can float.  Taking the steamer Earnslaw over the lake, we head to a sheep station on the far side.  And oh do they have sheep.  New Zealand has been hard hit by the downturn in wool and mutton demand.   Another experience we had was the ride up the gondola to the top of a mountain that gave great high views of Queenstown. 

Then it was off for Christchurch, further north on the south island, over the mountains by bus with a stop at Mount Cook.  Christchurch is New Zealand’s second city with about 400,000 people. 

Mount Cook in the Southern Alps is not really that high as far as mountains go.  It’s 3754 meters or 12,316 feet above sea level.  But the whole area was blanketed in snow.  For an Arizonan, it was fun to see.  Photographing was a difficult challenge though.  Some of the photos look like I took them in black and white because about all you could see was black... and white.  One interesting site along the way was this little stone church.  While walking around taking shots, I ran into an Australian gent who told me he got married there 25 years ago and he and his wife had gone back to take a look.  And, sure enough we see a wedding party walk out toward the shoreline of the lake.  I was able to get a photo of them from a distance. 

After a bus trip of about 12 hours with lots of stops, we finally made it to Christchurch.  I rode the electric tram downtown, took a bus up to another ski lift to get great shots of the city, watched locals play a giant chess game in the city square, and visited a Kiwi Bird park.

I would suggest seeing New Zealand in their summer in the December to February range.  The flight isn’t too bad and the next stop on the flight I took would be Melbourne from Auckland.  For my next adventure out that way I want to see Sydney to Brisbane, making sure I stop in Tamworth, the Nashville of Australia.  

Jim Patterson

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Professors Rubi and Patterson Lead PVCC Class to Southern Arizona

April 30 and May 1, 2010 saw Professors David Rubi and yours truly, Jim Patterson, take a group of Paradise Valley Community College students from Phoenix to Southern Arizona.

We visited the Tucson Museum of Art, featuring the work of Mexican-American artists David Tineo.  From the TMA, we ventured south of Tucson to the Tumacacori Mission, near the Mexican border.  Jesuit Father Kino established the mission in 1691. 

Then we visited San Xavier del Bac, known as the “White Dove of the Desert,” and still a Catholic Church.  Pick up any travel brochure on the Tucson area, and chances are you will see a photo of the mission. 

Finally, we visited Ted deGrazia’s “Gallery of the Sun” located on Swan Road on the north side of Tucson.   I was privileged to interview Mr. deGrazia for National Public Radio in 1980 shortly before his death. 

I took all the photos with my Canon 7D using natural light, ranging from an ISO of 100 outside to 800 to 1600 for some indoor shots.  I used a Tamron 18-270mm lens.
This only scratches the surface of places to visit and photograph in and around Tucson.  I would suggest Tombstone and Bisbee, Kartchner Caverns, and Fort Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence School (and where I was an instructor for many years) to start in Southeastern Arizona, located an hour or so from Tucson.  In Tucson, the Pima Air and Space Museum and the military “bone yard” of mothballed aircraft is located next to Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  My alma mater, the University of Arizona (Bear Down!) is located in Tucson.  To the west of Tucson, are Gates Pass, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson Studios

Happy Shooting,
Jim Patterson

Go to Jim’s Web Page            

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hockey and WrestleMania in Arizona, 27 and 28 March 2010

The weekend of 27 and 28 March 2010 here in the Phoenix area as far as sports was concerned meant hockey (the resurgent Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Colorado Avalanche, reaching 100 points for the first time in franchise history) and the WWE’s WrestleMania XXVI, held at Glendale Stadium in front of some 77,000 screaming fans. Something had to give and since I could not be in two places at once, I had to miss the Paul McCartney concert going on nearby in Glendale on Sunday.

These are just interesting venues to take photographs. Many places prohibit cameras with lenses longer than six inches. That may be to protect the fans in front who might get bopped by a longer lens or it might be to just hassle fans who happen to be photographers. But at any rate, this meant I had to use my backup camera to my Canon 7D, the nifty little Canon SD950IS. It only takes jpg photos but sports a 12-megapixel resolution. The photographer has very little control over a camera like this, as it really is a point and shoot.

One of the first problems inside is the white balance, especially in the tungsten lit hockey arena. Luckily, I had Lightroom and could correct the lighting by hitting the AUTO white balance. Remember, this camera only produced jpg’s so auto or “as shot” were my only choices unlike shooting in RAW when you can easily change the white balance.  A side note on camera flashes in stadiums:  Folks, it looks pretty to see the flashes in the stadium, but it does not a whit of good for your photographs!  Those on camera flashes are good to light your subject, or blast your subject, for about six feet.  THAT'S IT!  So turn off your flash.

The major problem in the stadium for WrestleMania was the poor and unusual lighting and that I was much further from the ring. At least I was on the first row of the second deck and could steady my camera on the rail or by making a pyramid with my arms. Still, the close ups were mostly unusable. Do note how I salvaged the Undertaker photo making it look almost like a painting. I actually think that version looks pretty good. Also, the lasers and multi colored lights of WrestleMania made for some interesting wide-angle shots.

My experience with the Canon SD950IS (thank you Canon for at least building some image stabilization into this camera) made me yearn for my Canon 7D, knowing full well its tolerance for high ISO. Plus, my ability to zoom nicely would have made for some on top of the action ring shots.

Happy Shooting,

Jim Patterson

Jim's Home Page                               Jim's Camera Store

Monday, March 22, 2010

Faces of Santa Fe, March 2010

I spent a week in March 2010 studying photography at the Santa Fe (New Mexico) Photographic Workshop.   In particular I worked with New York photographer Paul Mobley. Oh did he work us for that week.  Paul is a marvelous photographer who has done a lot of published portrait work, including his new book American Farmer.

Our first day of shooting had us go to the plaza area of downtown Santa Fe, where I had to approach total strangers and ask them to pose for photographs.  For me, that wasn’t that hard to do.  I’ve found being bold often catches people off guard and for most, they are flattered by being asked. 
Day two was a day of shooting at the old New Mexico State Penitentiary in Santa Fe, home of a riot in 1980 that killed 33 people.  Rick was the tour guide and he worked for the prison some 28 years, missing the riot he says by 15 minutes.  He told stories of how the prisoners attacked mostly rapists, child molesters, and snitches and killed them one body part at a time.  In my photos that follow, you will see the soulful Rick, face framed with white hair and muttonchops.  You will wonder what he’s really seen and what he thinking. 

On the third day, destination was the Bar S ranch outside of Santa Fe.  Our host was Powhatan “Pow” Carter, who also appears in many of my photos.  Pow was a real cowboy who competed in the Professional Rodeo Circuit.  I asked him and he did indeed compete in the La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros (Tucson Rodeo), which I’ve attended many times and hope to some day photograph.  Some of my favorite shots came from that visit.  Here’s a short television show from “America’s Heartland” where host Paul Ryan interviews Paul Mobley.  Later in the clip, you’ll see Pow Carter with Paul Mobley.  Watch long enough and you might see Pow turn the tables on Paul. 

On the final day of shooting, we went to a Santa Fe Harley-Davidson dealership and met some really nice and cooperative local Harley bikers.  They were patient as we found shafts of light to paint their faces and light them with professional lighting equipment.  One of my favorites was Rebecca, the lovely lady shown in my photo collection on her motorcycle wearing her leathers. 

It was a physically and mentally demanding trip to Santa Fe, but the effort paid off in the photos and friendships I’ve come away with.  To Paul Mobley, I said at the farewell party “I’m proud to be able to say I studied photography with Paul Mobley.”

Jim Patterson

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jim at the George/Reba/Lee Ann Concert

You've all seen the warnings or have even been stopped at a venue for having recording devices or video cameras. And we all know what hassle bringing a tripod can be. On Friday February 5 in downtown Phoenix, I went to the George Strait, Reba, and Lee Ann Womack concert, and with available light managed to grab a few nice photos.

My main camera is the Canon 7D, but that can be bulky and hard to use in a large crowd. So I brought my trusted backup, the Canon SD950IS instead. It fit in a nice little Lowepro pouch that attaches to my belt. You know, many of these little pocket cameras can take video too, which is a no no at these events. So far, nobody has given me a hassle about that.

Obviously, the biggest challenge in photographing these events is light.. or lack of it. PLUS, the colors change all the time. And you get unexpected light flashes from various sources that can mess up any photograph. I use Lightroom to edit and still find I have to toss many as just too grainy or blurry. I did the best I could steadying shots, but many were not useable. I found that the reddish lights on stage gave me the sharpest photos and the white light gave me the worst photos.

I love country music so I came in expected to be pleased. And I was. Lee Ann Womack is still got it. Reba is.. well, simply terrific. Reba and Lee Ann did a duet which the crowd really responded to. And the star of the show, George Strait, is cowboy cool. Love that black hat for some reason. The show started on time at 7pm and got out at 11:30pm. As with all country events I've ever attended, the shows start on time, the performers give their all, and nobody leaves feeling cheated. And the country audiences are the nicest people you'll ever want to meet. Years ago I thought I was too cool for country until I saw all the pretty cowgirls that show up at these events. Oh the music is great too!

Enjoy my photos!

Jim Patterson