Catch Up Blog

By Roger (23 October 2016)

Sorry for the lag in blogs. I have many valid excuses, but let's just dispense with those and get caught up. I've had a very busy five weeks. I've been to several states, for various reasons and always had, at least, one camera with me. There were lots of different photography subjects covered.

It started, at home, with a young man, Michael, and his girlfriend, Ally. I have been photographing Michael's family since long before he was born. I have photos of him throughout his life. Mike and Ally stopped by the house, on their way to visit another college friend. Let's just skip the fact that he shouldn't have aged this quickly.

We went out to the Manassas Battlefield to make some quick photos. It's an ideal photo venue because it has clusters of locations with great backgrounds. We shot in several areas, but this was one of their favorites.

Mike and Ally make a cute couple

Then, it was up to Maryland, to take the grandkids to the Renaissance Fest. It's always a target rich environment. It was full of colorful characters open to posing. There were several performing groups, on stages around the venue. We all enjoyed this great little trio, Piper Jones. We must have listened to them for 30 minutes – that's a long time when you're hanging out with three young grandkids. They were just that good. We bought one of their CDs and wandered around some more.

Piper Jones

The next weekend, we went down to Elizabeth City, NC. We travel down there several times a year, so I've found several favorite locations there. It's a great place for sunrise photos because the sun reflects across the still water. There are always boats and cypress trees around to help create a moody vibe.

Sunrise Sailboat

Then, I needed to make a trip to Florida (it's a long story). I snagged a window seat on the plane, and, as we were descending into Orlando, I glanced out the window. I've never really had much luck with aircraft window shots, but the clouds were really interesting, and the sun was just creating really interesting light. You've heard that the best camera is the one you have on you? Well, that was my Iphone. This is probably only the second time I've seen a photo that made me try to shoot through an airplane window. It has received very little critical acclaim from the family, but there's something about it that looks cool to me.

I was just a few days ahead of Hurricane Matthew, so there were lots of clouds and heavier-than-normal waves. The beach was full of surfers, even early in the morning. Cocoa Beach was hopping. I set up the tripod for an interesting sunrise. Several of the surfers came by and asked me to take some photos of them near the pier. This young lady made several runs for me. She kept getting closer and closer to the pier. If I'd known the surfers were going to be so accommodating, I'd have brought a longer lens. We finally got one she liked.

Surfing Cocoa Beach

Believe it or not, when I got back to work, my company wanted me to take a quick trip up to New York City. I was there and back in 24 hours, so I knew I wasn't going to have lots of time to go exploring. I decided to take my little Lumix LX100. It's a great little camera that I can carry with no fuss or muss, but it still shoots in RAW. I walked past Pershing Square, on my way to the meeting. After the meeting, I had some time, while I was waiting for transportation back to the airport. I took a photo from the meeting location, focusing on the geometric shapes of the buildings.

Geometry and Repeating Patterns

On October 1st, Mark and I led our seventh Kelby Worldwide Photowalk, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. We had 25 people signed up, but only 13 were present at the start time. There was rain in the forecast, but it only rained for 15 minutes during the walk. At that time, we were at the halfway point, inside a great store, with lots of old reproduction items. We didn't get a drop of water on us.

Our Shepherdstown, WV, Photowalk Group

It always surprises me when so many people back out of an event because there is inclimate weather. If you look at lots of photographs, you'll notice that the supply of bad weather photos is much, much smaller than nice weather photos. I think bad weather gives you the opportunity to make a photograph that is different from the usual fare. That's a good thing, in my mind.

My favorite photo was taken before the walk. The wet pavement, at our meeting place, the Bavarian Inn (link), created some nice reflections from the outside lights. The staff made us feel welcome when we all got together at the end of the photowalk. The food was great; they even had a Dunkels Bier, one of my favorite German brews.

Bavarian Inn

Next up was a model shoot. I was working, as an assistant, for my friend, Tony Gibson. We've worked with each other for years; sometimes, he's my assistant and, sometimes, I'm his assistant. Sometimes, we're just shooting together. In any event, we always have a good time.

I had plans to second shoot, but it was a very windy day and the retreating light meant we had to move quickly. I did carry my Lumix for some behind-the-scene photos, so I got a few photos but spent most of my time moving gear and holding the reflectors against the wind. We had another photographer with us, Anna. She provided an extra set of trained eyes and a woman's point of view. We had a great time and clicked well as a team. I would love to do some more work with the team.

You can check out both Tony's site (link) and Anna's site (link) to see their great work. You'll notice they photograph many equestrian events. That's where we met Anna.

All three of us were working, yesterday, at the International Gold Cup event. Just before I left for last week's trip, I received my credentials for the Gold Cup. Those photos will have to wait for another blog because they're still being processed. I got my first real credentials in 1981, but I still get a thrill every time I have them. The access they provide to different photography locations and angles can make for more unique photos (and, to me, it's just fun).

Between the model shoot and the International Gold Cup, Mark and I left for a week in the Smoky Mountains National Park. We mentioned, earlier in the year, that we had a special trip planned. We made photos every day and visited numerous sites within the park. Besides having fun, I learned so much – about my camera; about slow shutter speeds; and more. We'll talk about some of these lessons learned in future blogs.

So, you can see I've been busy while I've been away. The next blog won't be so slow in arriving – promise.