Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nightshoot: More Abandoned Cars

Todd and I out and about again.  December can be iffy in Texas.  The forecast for this evening was supposed to me cool and clear for the week before.  The two days prior were perfect.  We were scheduled for a full moon, clear skies and cool - we got the full moon, a lot of clouds and cold.  Well, make the best out of it is the best course of action.

Previous recon established the primary target, an abandoned gas station with a decrepit mid '40s sedan on site.  When we got there at about 3:30pm, there was a nasty ten foot tall deer fence about 10 feet in front of the place.    Took some scouting photos to see if it was worth a return trip.  Certainly was not ideal, but again, make the best out of it.  Left there and scouted some other sites Todd had pre-located.

Well, without further ado, here are the shots.  I hope you enjoy them!

Todd gets the most amazing photos from his iPhone 4.  Okay, he is looking at his star finder app to see where the Milky Way would be presenting itself for this evening.  I think my version is funnier!

This is the set-up shot for the final image.  I LOVE my tripod!  I can take the center column and put it to horizontal. This worked out very well for this application.  My lens just fit through the hole in the fence.

This is the final image.  I really like the dark brooding feeling I got in this frame.  This was lit with a combination of a touch of a 4D Mag-Light and a Coleman camp lantern.  Shot on my 40D with Tamron 28-75 2.8.

This is pretty much straight on using my Tokina 11-16 2.8 at 11mm.  I had to get way low and shoot up a bit to get the whole awning in the shot.  I used a very heavy handed 4D Mag-Light to light this frame up, I wanted the feeling a little more open than the last.

This location was quite a ways away from the old gas station.  This ol'boy had a great big mess in his front yard.  Fortunately for us, he had the better junk toward the outside of his property with almost a non-existent fence.  When I saw the grill of this old panel delivery van, I was determined that I would have to have this image.  This was with the Tokina and lit with my 2AA Mag-Light and the break light of a passing car.  Love that little touch of red!

Slightly different view in the yard.  The guy across the street was hanging Christmas lights and had just turned them on.  I did add a little 2AA Mag-Light to round it all out.

A rare landscape shot from me - in portrait orientation - the  moon is just behind the tree.  I ran the beam from my 4D Mag-Light up the trunk during the exposure to just bring the bark detail out of the shadow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Night time shoot - Dodge Challenger RT and an abandoned GMC pick-up

It was unusually warm for this time of the year in North Texas.  But 70 degrees for mid-November is not always a bad thing.  It was partly cloudy which actually worked to our benifit as it gave some interest to the sky.  This evening it was Todd, Lonnie and me with the plan of shooting Lonnie's Dodge Challenger RT.  Started out at about 4pm on Saturday and I didn't get home till about 3:30am on Sunday morning.  We had a lot of fun and it was good meeting another N. Texas 'tog!

When we got to this site, we realized that there was a huge sodium vapor light on the opposing corner of this building with this super cool 'ghost sign'. I decided that I was going to try to get the image anyway. This is actually a stack of about 7 or 8 layers and a lot of tweaking. I actually think that the color of the overbearing light really kind of made it for the color of this car.

Todd knew of this little site in another little Texas town.  This is an old gas station that had been converted into a diner.  I was happy to see that they still had their old pumps and they seemed to be in pretty good condition.  Because of the big lights close by, I was unable to gel strobe the way I wanted to in one shot, so I seperated the different colored gel frames into their own 10 second shots.  This one is 5 images stacked and masked, blended... 

Still on the same site, this truck was begging to be shot.  Again with the large amout of light polution.  Wish that the truck had better wheels, but I still really like this shot.

This is my favorite shot of the night. 

Yet another small Texas town.  We were driving through and crossing some train tracks looking for a different spot to spin some burning steel wool, when Todd and I both at the same time noticed that the trains were parked here, where they usually never were.  Plenty of beautiful non-flamable gravel.  Positioned the car and took the 24 second shot (the shot on the left).  Checking it on my screen after I really liked the sparks but was really bummed out that the car was seriously under exposed.  Trying to be a problem solver, I formulated a fix that involved taking another 30 second shot, this time popping a bare 580EXII multiple times during the exposure.  My thought was that I could stack the images, mask out the sky on the second shot, partially mask out the gravel and change the blending mode so that the properly lighted car layer would show up and blend with the spark layer.

This is the final vision I had.  I am actually really glad that I missed the exposure on the first frame.  I learned something and I have a new 'tool' in my imaging arsenal.  I really like the way this turned out!

Most of these were taken with my Tokina 11-16 2.8 on my 40D.  The first one at the ghost sign was taken with my Tamron 28-75 2.8.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Assassination City Roller Derby

Downtown Showdown

Fair Park Coliseum - Dallas, TX

Brian Ullrich of f-stopme photography contacted me about Shooting this event as the guests of Mickey Mayhem of Viva La Revolution.  It was certainly a pleasure to hook back up with Brian and catch up on each other.  Haven't really seen him since High School.  I also had the pleasure of meeting his son Nick, who was also shooting the bouts. A great kid with a really great eye for composition.

This nights action packed line-up featured in Bout 1 - Deadly Kennedys vs. Lone Star Assassins, and in Bout 2 - Bombshell Brigade vs. Viva La Revolucion.  I was so inthralled by the action, I didn't remember to make note of the final scores.  BB did win their bout handily over LR.  I   LOVE  THIS  SPORT!  Oh  - almost forgot, when the Bombshell Brigade were announced, as they made their entry lap, they threw dog tags out to the crowd.  Guess which photographer caught one?

The halftime show featured music by Local Dallas band - THe BAcksliders.  If you get a chance, please check them out - they really rocked the house!

Shooting a fast moving event in less than ideal lighting conditions presents several issues.  I tested several settings and set ups till I found one I was reasonably happy with.  I hope you agree.  I have since communicated with several derby shooters and have received various tips on how to eek out better quality.  I want to particularly thank Bill from Austin for his brain dump of C&C and tips and suggestions. I think he said that he covers 3 leagues down there. Check out his Flickr, he gets some amazing captures. The photography community is typically a very creative and helpful species.  I have helped a ton of people better their skills, and I have been helped by a ton of people.

There is another match coming up on June 23rd.  Hopefully I am going to be able to make it.  See you there?

Showing the space that is the Fair Park Colliseum.
Trigger Mortis giving Small Block the cold sholder!

The Dixie Witch contemplating mayhem!
The mayhem.

Gloria Vanderbitch of the Bombshell Brigade giving me an
over the sholder pose.

Viva La Rev.
Dirty Mouth Dell apparently lending Dimentia 13
a helping hand.

Red Hot Rage stacking up the points. 
This was my favorite shot of the evening as I was allowed to shoot from the infield for a few minutes.  And yes, I was given the full rundown of safety precautions.  The things that stuck in my head was that the ref's do not watch where they are skating, they are watching the action.  They will run you down.  You will get hurt if this happens.  I was VERY watchful of the ref's!  lol!

This one made me smile.  Love the socks!
Brian and Nick Ullrich with Mr. and Mrs. Mayhem.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Glowing Orbs of Fire... Spinning burning steel wool.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE - if you are looking for a tutorial on how to do this, please Google "spinning burning steel wool".  Please read all that you can and follow all of the safety rules and precautions. 

     Last night Todd and I went out for an experimental foray, to spin burning steel wool and capture it on 'film'.  The plan was to go to one of our lake locations and spin over the water.  This would accomplish several points; to catch the reflections from the sparks in the water and to have a safety zone for the sparks to fall.  Water would be good for that.  Well, plans are made to be spoiled.  We last minute changed lake locations due to timing with sunset.  Unfortunately, the area we wound up in was a little too populated, and we had gotten 'Rick rolled' by the park rangers.  Not too defeated, as we got some cool sunset shots.

     With no real previous thought as to a plan B, other than a left handed comment from the initial planning stages 2 weeks ago, we decided to go to out favorite abandoned grain mill silo complex.  This turned out the be a stellar idea as the process of the spinning sparks blended well with the grungy abandoned sites we visited.

     So without further ado, here is my first attempt at spinning burning steel wool.  Please feel free to comment below about this set if you wish.  I always enjoy peoples reactions to my work.

This shot was the second attempt.  I liked the way the sparks flew off of the orb.

With this attempt, I purposely spun a little harder.  I almost hit Todd's camera.

This one we played around a little with alternate lighting.  The red gelled lights in the fan coverings in image right and a blue and purple gelled light in the huge fan shroud in image left.

The next set is a different location, about a quarter mile from the images above.  I love the concrete pilasters.

Something a little different.  I walked the spinning rig.  This kinda reminds me of a theatrical stage.

I really had a blast with this.  I hope you enjoyed looking at these as much as I enjoyed shooting them.  And please, share your thoughts in the comment section below.  Thank you and now off to bed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tiffany - Senior

Have been working on getting a shoot with Tiffany for some time.  For those of you following me closely, Tiffany is one of the eye models that I used in my "The Eyes Have It" series.  She does have amazing eyes!

Fantastic evening for a shoot.  Overcast and windy.  Mom was there to assist in holding my lightbox.

Due to a timing issue, we were not able to get a full set.  I am looking forward to setting another shoot  and getting the rest of the images that we both want.  Will update this post with the new photos as they happen.

When I first saw this rock, the first thing that popped into my head was "Little Mermaid".   I really like this image!