Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year and All That

Yeah, no pics right now, prepping for a trip to see some snow. Maybe re-visit the Green Bank Radiotelescope. Been too long since I was there.
I do not know what the new year holds, only that it will be a good one. I can feel that. I hope it is good for all of you, wherever you are.
On a side note, that is sort of related to photography, a reader sent me a link (thank you, whomever you are) that one of my pics, a snake, was being posted elsewhere without my permission. I was initially flattered someone thought enough of my images to nick one, then had second thoughts, then third.
Ultimately however, it boils down to this: I don't make money with my work (not often anyway.) I take pics and post because I want to share a little bit of my world, with you. I want to add a little bit of beauty to the 'net and leave it in a better way than I found it. If someone thinks my work is good enough to re-post, I'm flattered. It'd be nice to give me credits, but it's not a perfect world.
If any of my readership ever want a full sized image of anything I've shot, do feel free to drop me a line and I'll be happy, more than happy, to send it to you.

Finally, some New Year's greetings:
Miss you Lia, hope all is well in your world. One day, in another life perhaps.
Heather: Never give up, never stop fighting for who you are. I got your back.
Lloyd: All my best to your and yours. Wish I could be closer.
L.A.P.: Here's to a better life for the both of us.
Kieron: Take on the world, go far. I know you can.

All my best to all of you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All

To all my faithful readers I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an excellent start to the New Year. I have found a pure metal venue that I will be going to much more in the upcoming months and hope to further hone my concert skills. First up, the mighty (and beautiful) Doro!
But in the meantime, do enjoy your holiday, I will see you soon.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Back for Attack

I do so love photographing concerts, especially concerts where there is proper lighting. Witness the following four pictures. The lead singer from 3 Pill Morning, the bass player from Twelve Foot Ninja, the guitarist from In This Moment, and the drummer from Starset. The venue was darn near perfect. We had a dedicated press pass, photo pit, unlimited time to photograph each band, and on top of all that, interviews with some of the bands and a free water cart.
What more could I have asked for?
Well, a better camera of course. While I love my D2x to death, the low-light/high ISO  capabilities are starting to be long in the tooth. Oh Nikon D3x, you will soon be mine (just as soon as I sell off all my old gear that is, which, since I am loathe to part with it, will probably be never)
I have been too long removed from music, this shall be rectified in the coming year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gone Daddy Gone

A band I hadn't heard of before, The Glorious Gone. The bass player was incredibly enthusiastic about his playing  so most of my photography efforts for this band was concentrated on him. As I recall the singer could hold a note and what I heard I liked.  

No Introductions Required

I'm sure this man needs no introduction, but on the off chance you don't know who he is, it's Ice-T and his band Body Count. The music is a curious mixture of Thrash and Rap, but mostly Thrash. He was very good at talking to the crowd (something a number of bands I've shot could stand to learn) and got them laughing as well.
His enthusiasm for the concert meant he was bouncing all over the place and coupled with a packed press pit, made good shots difficult to get.
I threw in the drummer pic because I liked his mask. 

Very Loud

I always wear eagplugs to a concert for several reasons, one, I'm usually next to the speakers, and two, by drowning out the music it allows me to concentrate on the musicians themselves and predict what they might do so I can catch a good shot.
This is a band called Hatebreed, who played at the GwarBQ. They were so bloody loud it was like I didn't have earplugs at all. I've never encountered a band that could penetrate what I have for hearing protection. Needless to say, I shot a bit of the band and got out of the pit as fast as possible. I have no idea how they managed to be that loud. 

Wintertime Catchup

Now that cooler weather has shone up, my photography has slowed down enough for me to catch up with the *summer* pics from the GwarBQ. The press pit was packed to the gills to the point I could not move, so having to stake out a position and shoot from there means the pics all have the same angle to them, sorry about that but I never expected the sheer mass of photographers for this.
In any event, for your consideration is the bass player and lead guitarist for the mighty Gwar. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

On the Flip Side

The other two rolls, however, yielded far more difficult images to work with. While the three shots previously posted were straight from the developer, these two had to be adjusted so you could see anything at all. As I mentioned before, the rolls were foreign, and expired, so who knows what they've been through before I got them in my hands. I believe the Nikon F5 saw them as ISO 400, but I do not remember exactly. The contrast for each has been increased and some other histogram levels were modified, but the colours (such as they are) were left untouched.
When I first looked through the images, I was disappointed nothing turned out, but then I had to remind myself this is what you get when dealing with film of unknown quality. If I had wanted magazine-worthy shots, I should have used the D2x.
But I did want to be different this time, hoping the age of the film would work to my advantage. The top shot reminds me of the old 60s slide images our parents showed us that had been taken with disposable cameras, while the bottom shot reminds me of the poster for the original version of "Night of the Living Dead" 
So perhaps not all has been lost after all. Fortunately, those were my only two rolls of the foreign film, so I hope to have a little more control in the future.
There is a zombie obstacle course/5k fun run coming up in a few weeks, I'm debating whether I should continue with the film path, or revert to digital for the event.
What say you my readers? Would you like to see more uneven surprises?

Halloween Experimentation

 So it's that time of year again, when the zombies come out to play. I always enjoy the effort people put into their outfits and love to photograph large gatherings. A local venue has a zombie walk every year with hundreds of zombies gathering for the thirty minute walk/run/shamble. I've photographed it many times before and this time I felt I should do something different. Expand my horizons so to speak.
So, I gathered three rolls of expired film, my mint condition Nikon F5, my rather battered and abused 80-200mm f/2.8, and went to town. Given the expiration dates were unknown, I really had little idea of what I was going to get. One roll was Kodak 100 Gold, which even in the best of times produces muted flat colours, and the other two rolls had no english on them whatsoever. As near as I could tell, they were from India, or possibly Pakistan. The three shots to the left are from the Kodak roll. Note that even though this was rated as ISO 100, you can see the emulsion starting to break down, and the grain become visible and rendering the already shallow DoF (all shot at 2.8 to isolate the subject from the rather cluttered background) become even
more indistinct. Of all the images I have taken throughout the years, from Colorado, to Canada, Belize and beyond, the first shot is my absolute favourite to date. The grain hit just right to add to her makeup, the colours uneven and wrong, in short, everything typical about shooting with expired film and it all came together perfectly for that one shot. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Once In A Lifetime

 I won a once in a lifetime chance to fly on my choice of a WW2 B-17 Flying Fortress or the WW2 B-24 Liberator. When the event promoters called me up and told me I had won two seats, I was stunned, when they asked me if I was free that day, I told them, practically shouted at them, "Yes!" and my choice was automatic, the iconic B-17. So I gave them my name and my friend's name (wasn't a difficult choice on whom to pick to go with me) and they sent me the details and locations to be.
Fate having a twisted sense of humour, in cahoots with Mother Nature, ensured it was
 raining cats and dogs. Undeterred, I packed by best gear and went in search of the plane.
There is something about standing in the shadows of history that gives one pause. The men who fought and died in the plane, and damage it took, the sheer awesomeness of it all, it wasn't something to be approached lightly. With the, at times heavy downpour, the colours, already muted with military greens, were further rendered into drabness, all the exterior images have been converted to Black and White.

Despite the rain, there were a fair number of people about, both inside the plane touring, and outside, so taking a picture of each plane without people around was a matter of patience. We waited a fair amount of hours for the rain to let up, which it finally did, at least enough for the crew to take the B-17 into the air. Inside the bomber was much more cramped than I expected, given the tremendous size and moving about required dexterity and flexibility, but once we were settled in, the captain and co-pilot taxied us down the runway, waited for the green light, and then opened up the engines. 
The sonic wall of power and fury assaulted my senses and I was awash in the roar and motion as the B-17 tore up the tarmac and launched itself into the sky. Once up we were free to move about and explore, with the only off-limits area being the ball turret inside and read tail gun. Given the fortress had no fancy electronics, or radar, we stayed reasonably low, above the rain and mountains, but not so high up as to freeze us. Nonetheless I was glad for a heavy coat. I do not recall how long the flight was, but it was worth every second and even now my ear still hum
 with the sounds of the Wright Cyclones bass rumble.
I will probably never again have such an opportunity, but in this case, one will be enough.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Learning From Success

You can learn much from your failures, but you can learn equally from your successes. Case in point: this shot.
I was approached by a friend, who needed some pictures taken for a job she was applying for. She sent me the list of requirements for the pictures, and boy were they long.
And detailed.
And involved.
And on occasion, contradictory.
I wasn't sure I was good enough to take the pics, but I said I would try. So I read and re-read their requirements, pulled out some of my photography books on lighting and poses, read some more, and set up my gear.
I had a black cloth backdrop to absorb some of the light, she (and my snake, Pokey) in front. A hair light shining down from above, one strobe at a 45 degree angle on the left side about 4 feet away, and another one at 90 degrees from her at the same distance.
I used my 50mm lens at F/14 (now, a sidetrack here: F/14 isn't a "real" f/stop in the classic sense, but it worked in this case) set the ISO to 200 and shutter to 1/250.
One of the requirements of the shots that are submitted is they cannot be photoshopped in any way, straight from the camera only. So what you see is what I took.
I took about 30 shots, and she submitted the ten best. All ten were accepted and she got the job. I was super happy for me, but also for myself, for it showed I could pull off demanding shots in an area I'm not well versed in.

Learning from Failure

A local photography group had a themed shoot where the main focus point of the image should be the colour red. Being an inventive sort, prone to thinking outside the box, I thought I'd shoot in infra-red.
Well, too clever for my own good it seems. I'd scored a mint condition Nikon D1x (with buffer upgrade even) on eBay for pennies (literally, it was condition unknown) which I thought would make a perfect IR camera. Grabbed a 720mm IR filter and went to town on the shoot.
Sadly, the day was partially overcast and the IR-look I was after didn't quite pan out. There were several challenges in getting this shot, one, the bike was sandwiched in a parking lot between several large cars, so I had to decide how best to isolate it from the background clutter. This meant getting down low, so I broke out the tripod, set the camera for a 2 second exposure on my 17-35mm lens, and fired. 
I did this about 10 times from different angles and positions until I was happy with the result. A little post processing and here you have it. More Black and White than IR, but it was a learning experience. In addition, when I get the spare cash laying around, I'm converting the D1x to a pure IR camera so be on the lookout for some (hopefully) otherworldly shots.

Up Close and Personal

One of the wonderful advantages of the 80-200mm lens, is getting right into the action, and coupled with the track not being that wide, gives me the chance to fill the frame with the biker. 
The downside is you really have to be quick on the focus and tracking, not an easy accomplishment when you're being pelted with gravel spray. I tossed more than one shot like this where I missed the focus.

Falling Behind

I've gotten way behind in posting pictures, so the next few posts are not going to be in chronological order. Life has gotten in the way (as life seems to do from time to time) and while I've made time to take the shots, I've not made time to post them.
Here is another dirt track bike race. As always, they are great fun to shoot, part action, part noise, part getting pelted with gravel spray. Everyone there was friendly, even the Canon users (and to all my Canon fans, they only thing more insufferable than a Canon user, is a Nikon user) and we had a great time swapping stories. Given this was a race for real-world money, hotdogging like this rider here was a rarity. I think he recognized there were more than a handful of photographers on site and was simply showing off for us. And we thank you for it.
Taken with my rock-solid, never-say-die Nikon D2x and impossible-to-kill Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Being Careful

Most of the band members could play multiple instruments, so they could switch out and take turns bashing each other around. They were respectful of the (many) photographers there, but the fans get rowdy and accidents happen.
I had to shield a little person who was trying to take pics with her cell phone, all while trying to get good shots myself.
Ultimately we both got pics we were happy with. Here you have dueling guitarists.

Pics From The Show

The Gwar-BQ of 2014 was utter and complete chaos. They expected 5-6 thousand people, what they got was over 11 thousand screaming metalheads.
The ran out of food.
The ran out of beer (not that I drink)
They ran out of soda.
They ran out of water.

But they didn't run out of insanity. Witness the following band: Eat the Turnbuckle. EtT are a wrestling-themed thrash band who flail around and smash each other with various things, doors, chairs, etc. The music is energetic and the fans are into it, but the blood they spill from each other is real.

Like I said, insanity. Can't wait to go back next year.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just a Statement

I have a media pass to photograph all the bands in the upcoming Gwar BQ this weekend, very excited! The Meatment and Ice-T will be there, as well as (of course) Gwar, Iron Reagan and many others.
In other news, for those that know me personally, I am free now. Broke, but free.

It's a good feeling.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Need More Cowbell...errr...Colour

 I realized I didn't have enough smiling faces or colour for the summer, so here is a batch of happy people from the Colour Run. All shot with my absolutely wonderful Nikon 50mm on my Nikon D2x. Stellar combination really. Perfect for people.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to basics

Many years ago I experimented with Infrared Photography, with reasonably pleasing results but I was new in the world of cameras, so I tried a bit of everything and it fell by the wayside as I concentrated on other subjects and techniques.
This weekend, along with the colour run (see below) I dug out my ancient Nikon D1x, my 720nm filter and had a go at IR work again.
Still the same old problems with using the filter, focusing is off (because the camera focuses on visible spectrum, not the IR one) so the image is soft, setting the shutter speed is highly dependent on the sun (or lack thereof) and a million other issues (the D1x hasn't been used in years and it's developing hotspots on the sensor) but if you don't look too closely at the image, it's acceptable.
One day I will get a dSLR converted to full time IR, but not this year, unless anyone wants to donate a dSLR to me, then I'll take pics in your honour.

A Splash of Colour

Some years ago the concept of a "fun run" came into being and around here started with a colour run. Five kilometres of running/walking/dancing through splashes of colours being lobbed at you. Start in white clothes, end a technicolour rainbow. All great fun.
I've photographed them from within the race, outside the race, and all points in between. The weekend had another one. Much smaller than any I've been to, but no less fun as evidenced by all the smiles.
Taken with my Nikon D2x (just cracking the 40k actuations on this) and the truly incredible and versatile 80-200mm f/2.8.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ancient Film

I scored a major find last month, of about 100 rolls of expired film in both 35mm and 120 format. Ever since I shot my Savannah Monitor some years ago with expired film, I've been in love the unpredictable nature of it. So you can only imagine how happy I was to get my paws on this much.
Took a roll of ISO 200 film out in my Nikon F3HP to a local marina and shot away. Check out the grain on this image. More like ISO 3200. That's what I love about expired film, you never quite know what you are going to get from it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


So I decided that since the last time I had been camping was in the early 90s, that I was overdue for another round of self-inflicted pain. Grabbing a spot, I pre-registered on a Monday, for the following weekend. 
So to punish my mis-placed optimism, it rained non-stop the entire week, stopping only enough to get this picture, and set up tent. After that, it poured, and in some places, hailed.
I was wet, and cold, and didn't sleep well because the wildlife woke up at 4.00am and started singing.
I'm ready to do it again!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bringing Out The Best

Same white flowers, adjusted in post to bring out the browns. I think the spots really add something to the image, in the prior shot of the single flower, you could just make out some pale yellow dots, but here the flowers really stand out.

Isolation or Purity?

White. A symbol of purity, both in body, and spirit. Singular, a sense of isolation, or completion?
Again, not sure what the flower is, but I have a huge clump of them and isolating one was difficult.

Man's Duality

Good. Evil. Light. Darkness. Two sides of the same coin? Perhaps, perhaps not. But overwrought prose aside, here are two of the same (I think) purple flowers. I like how they are slightly facing away from each other, as if they were lovers having a disagreement.

In Full Bloom

Yes, I've been remiss in my photographic duties. Not only have I not done any concert work lately (on account of the main heavy metal venue shutting down) but I've done little else as well. Blame it on job hunting (got a new job, much better place, more money, nicer people, better benefits, etc etc etc) and recovering from a flu.
But excuses are not images and so on this sunny warm weekend, I have re-acquainted myself with my camera (Nikon D2x) a Macro lens (50mm dedicated) and the local flowers in my backyard.

Here is a trinity of....well purple flowers. The amount of knowledge I have on plants would fit inside a thimble, and have room to spare for your thumb. So, it's a purple trinity of flowers.

Friday, March 28, 2014

All Hail The Freaks

Gone, but never forgotten.
Go Dave, hit the stars, break the mold.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winter Begone

The weather has struggled towards Spring with the utmost lethargy. We will have a day of Spring-like weather, followed by rain and then snow. Now snow that will make a Winter Wonderland, but the snow mixed with a crust of ice that turns everything dull. In short, not the weather for inspiring photography.
So instead, I will leave you with a quote, spoken about America in the 40s.

“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.

Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.
They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.”

I'd say we've reach this point.
Now, what are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Trying my Hand

At a bit of portraiture. This is Monica, a young singer who needed some shots for her accounts. I had hoped to take these indoors at the Main Street Station, but those plans fell through and we took them outside instead.
They were in colour, but converted to B/W for more impact.
Nikon D2x, 50mm 1.8 lens.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Foggy Day

Ok, I've been experiencing issues today creating posts, either Chrome or BlogSpot is being dumb and eating my posts. Long story short: No Gwar shots, venue were being jerks. Had a warm weekend so heavy fog, here are the results.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Present

An awesome gift from a totally awesome girlfriend.
The camera is the gift, the 10 Trillion dollar Zimbabwe note I already had. It's worth, about 0.05$ US. Although officially the Zimbabwe currency was abandoned around 2008. At the height of the (ongoing) economic issues Zimbabwe faces, their inflation was in numbers so high they practically have to invent words for it. 90 Sextillion percent. I read somewhere that if each percent was an atom, the highest inflation Zimbabwe encountered would be equal to one third of all known atoms in the universe. That's still a mindbogglingly staggering number. Sorry, off topic, this is a photography site, not a history or geopolitical journal. 
The Yashica 635 TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) pictured here is one of only a handful of TLRs that were dual format, they could take film of 120 format, and with an adapter (hard to find, but included with mine) standard 35mm format film. There are no more medium format film houses here in town, so I'll be shooting a lot of 35mm through this.
The serial number of the 635 indicted it was made around Christmas of 1960, which I thought was cool, making it almost exactly 53 years old when I got it.