Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Phoenix Herpetological Society Critters

Early Saturday on the 7th of November 2015 I visited the Phoenix Herpetological Society.  Yes, I know... what the heck is that?  Located in north Scottsdale, they take care of snakes, crocodiles, spiders.. all kinds of reptiles and amphibians really.  

Before the organization started, exotic animals illegally imported into the state would be captured and euthanized to hold as evidence in court trials.  Now, the animals are alive and well cared for.  

I took most of the photos by "bracketing" the shots.  Three rapid fire photos of the same thing that varied in exposures, then I mostly used Photomatrix Pro to achieve a High Dynamic Range look.  Doing HDR combats the light/shade problems and it gives a more contrasty look to the photos.  On a few of the photos, I merely used one shot in Photomatrix Pro for HDR toning, kind of a fake HDR.  My main editing program is Lightroom.  I used a Canon 5D Mark III camera and a Tamron 28-300mm lens.  

This was an opportunity to see animals most of us could never see in real life.  And to see so many in one place over a five hour period was terrific!

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Horses Help Barn Bash 2015

Horses Help is a non-profit organization in Phoenix that provides therapy through the use of horses to a variety of clients.  Returning war veterans, abused children, and disabled people find success by working closely with the horses. 

But the care and upkeep of horses costs money.  So each year the Horses Help people put on a benefit called the Barn Bash.  The latest Barn Bash was on the 7th of November 2015.

Entertainment was provided by the Dina Preston BandWhiskey Ranch BBQ provided the food (and it was THAT good!). 

Until My Next Adventure,

See You On Down The Road!

…and more photos from the Barn Bash!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Opening Day at Turf Paradise!

The Phoenix area had a thunderstorm an hour or so before opening day at Turf Paradise.  I was happy!  Why?  I got a chance to photograph race horses in the rain, which is pretty rare here in the desert.  

Lightening was hitting all around us by the time I got inside and I did wonder if they'd pull this race meet off for the day.  They did!  The first race was in the rain, then it cleared up nicely the rest of the way.

I got a free tee-shirt and a few hot dogs and beer.  First time, however, I ever won a race and actually got less back than I bet.  That was odd.  

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

…and more photos from Turf Paradise!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barcelona Mediterranean Cruise July 2015

Street Performer in Aix-on-Provence
This was a cruise on the MSC Fantasia.  MSC is an Italian line that has few Americans aboard.  The appeal of this cruise was the ports of call:  Barcelona, Marseilles/Aix-on-Provence, Genoa/Portofino, Naples/Pompeii, Messina/Sicily, Malta, and Palma de Majorca in Spain. 
Fountain in Aix-on-Provence

Typically, this blog is about the photography.  Before I get into that, I will say that the MSC cruises may be rough on Americans used to a certain level of customer service.  This is for Europeans, mostly southern Europeans, on holiday with their entire families.  That means screaming kids EVERYWHERE.  Just go into it with your eyes wide open.  Go for the ports of call.  And, oh by the way, they do NOT serve coffee in the dining room.  Do not ask me why.  Just little frustrations.  Go for the ports!
Barcelona Fountain

Barcelona.  Getting there very early the best thing to do was to jump on a hop on hop off double decker bus that are everywhere in Europe.  It’s a quick way to see the sights. 
Wow, I come to France to see an APPLE STORE!

One surprise to me was the town of Aix-on-Provence, near Marseilles, France.  In the center of town was a water fountain, of course… but look!  There’s an Apple Store!  People hung around the front of the building because, as our tour guide told us, they have free wi-fi.  That was fun going in the store and looking around; everything written in French.  Plus, there were break dancing kids outside.
Break Dancing Outside the Apple Store

Next up was Genoa and the lovely resort town of Portofino.  To get to it, you have to take a water taxi. 
Portofino Home, Up the Hill
From the Port of Genoa, off to Naples and a skip over to Pompeii.  I studied Pompeii in grade school, like most of you did.  It was HOT that day.  I mean HOT.  95 degrees and about 95% humidity.  Please don’t tell me Phoenix is hot.  This was so hot sweat went into my eyes.  Plus walking on those cobblestones was difficult.  But it was POMPEII!  And there was Mount Vesuvius, ready to blow at any minute. 
From the Port of Naples we sailed to one of the reasons I wanted this trip:  Sicily.  My dad spent considerable time in Sicily during World War II and always spoke highly of it.  I wondered while there… did my dad walk these streets?  See these sights?  I’m sure he did.  And now, so did I.  Of course, much of Messina was bombed during the war.  The cathedral we saw had been mostly rebuilt.  It’s funny too that when you tell locals where you are from they often answer “Oh I have a cousin in Philadelphia!” or something similar.  We have such a strong tie to Italy and Sicily.  Did you know Sicily petitioned the USA to become the 51st state during World War II?  It’s true. 
Messina, Sicily
From Sicily we sailed to the little nation island of Malta.  Malta endured terrible hardships during the 2nd World War by the Nazi’s.  The people were truly heroic and received the George Cross in April of 1942 by King George VI of the United Kingdom.  More churches to see, jewelry stores, and of course British style telephone booths.  They say Malta has more of those red telephone booths than the U.K. now! 
Malta Jewelry:  They Love Knights!
And from Malta, we sailed to the Baleric Islands to the east of Spain.  Our port of call was Palma de Majorca and we visited at night.  We saw night life there and flamingo.  Flamingo was great but oh my the colored spot lights were difficult to handle in post processing. 
Time for Flamingo

Then we returned to Barcelona.  I was able to enjoy a cerveza at an outdoor cafĂ© and made friends with a young baby girl and some local workers (who bought me endless drinks, by the way). 

Until My Next Adventure, 

Now, I’m off to Photoshop World in Las Vegas for a few days of pure photography. 

See You On Down The Road!

Chicos y Chicka in Barcelona!

…and my collection of photos from this trip!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Arizona Coyotes Prospects Camp July 2015

The Arizona Coyotes National Hockey League club started their prospects camp on 7 July 2015 at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona. 
Coach Dave Tippett

I photographed the highlights of the first day.  It was what appeared to be a hard skating hour and a half.  This wasn’t a scrimmage.  They had set things they worked on, then the coaches broke them into smaller teams of three and two. 

Photographing inside with artificial light is always a challenge, but since I shoot in raw I knew I could adjust the white balance within Lightroom in post processing.  I also used Photoshop’s content aware fill to eliminate some distracting elements in a few of the photos. 

There was either net or glass surrounding the entire rink, which was also a challenge.  You may see some of the net in a few of the photos.  I photographed through the net and later through the glass. 

I used a Tamron 28-300mm “all purpose” lens on my Canon 5D Mark III.

Until My Next Adventure, 

(Spain, Italy/Sicily, Malta...)

See You On Down The Road!

Here are all the keeper photos!