Dec 21, 2009

An early xmas

So tomorrow is Christmas, hope everybody out there is doing great and having a good time over the holiday. Here's a couple pix from an early Xmas we had at Ness' mom's place in Portland last weekend.

Joining us by way of modern technology was Ness' sister in New York

Merry Christmas,

Dec 15, 2009

Hot lights & cold ice

What do you get when you have a group of kids dressed all in black, lit by strong stage lights, as seen from a side angle? (that was a ridiculously long set-up) Essentially the pic below.
Last night I was at the Ilwaco Middle/High School winter concert at Hilltop and was pretty cool with how they presented themselves. I saw this pic coming together over about the first 20 minutes. It kinda reminds me of the cover of With the Beatles — same basic principal, black background, black clothes, strong side light.
It was also cool to see that my wife and daughter are not the only ones hip to the new show Glee (I was starting to wonder...), as the concert choir did a little song and dance routine to the classic R&B tune Do You Love Me
For those of you who don't live around here, it was damn cold here for more than a week (we're now back to normal, just gale force winds and rain...). My late Gramma, who was well known for her witicisms, would have likely said "it was colder than a witches teet!" Never quite sure if that made sense or not, but it seemed fitting. Anyway, on I think the last day that it really froze I found this scene on my car windhsield.
Later that day I went out to get a few pix of the flock of swans who are living at Loomis Lake right now, only to find that the lake was almost totally frozen and they were walking across the top of it. Now my wife scoffs at such a notion, but I was quite convinced that it was frozen thick enough — at least 6 inches — that people could have ice skated on it.
The swans also swam around in these two little pools of water in the middle of the lake that didn't freeze over, and I was lucky enough to catch a landing.


Dec 8, 2009

Falling out (in) to the halfcourt trap

Man, I don't know if its the holidays or just plain laziness in getting new stuff on here with any frequency, but here's something new (that I was originally starting to put up on here last Saturday and never finished...)
So.... hoop season is back and last Friday night I was at the Bear River Battle doubleheader between the boys and girls teams from Ilwaco and Naselle. 

When I first started shooting hoops 15 years ago (oy, that just makes me sound old right?) my first photography mentor Mark Ylen gave me an old Nikon 85mm f1.8 HC lens that he no longer used and it was great. On a film camera (yep, no digital back then) it had a great field of view for shots from the waste up of guys driving to the hoop, and with a 1.8 aperture I could shoot fast, usually around 1/500th, in most gyms pushing B&W (film) to 1600, or in dark gyms with the old TMAX 3200 (again, film). For some reason, I really have no clue why, I sold it or traded it in for something else in like 1997, and I've wished ever since that I had not (I've done that with a lot of equipment over the years unfortunately.)
Anyway, for the last season and a half of shooting hoops I've gone with the wide angle under the hoop and mostly liked the results, but seeing as how I get bored easily I'm switching it up again.
I think you'll be seeing a lot more stuff like this in the months to come as I have changed my strategy yet again to shooting across the court with an 80-200 2.8 zoom. I've set up my strobes from above, one on each side of the gym, but instead of aiming from them from the baseline toward the key, I have instead set them up at halfcourt aimed between the halfcourt line and the foul line on the other end. It seems to work pretty good, especially since all the teams I shoot use a pressing defensive style with a lot of halfcourt traps. 
And whereas I shot almost exclusively with one body for hoops in recent years, I'm back to going with two, using a 50 mm f 1.4 under the hoop on the other one, using natural light. It's field of view on a digital body is fairly close to the 85 (75mm equivalent on a digtial) and with the fast aperture I can shoot around 1/400th at 1.8 at ISO 800 (I don't shoot at 1.4 cuz it is such a slim margin of focus I don't find it sharp enough a lot of the time). 

Funny thing about this new set-up, which I'd been thinking about since the first volleyball game I shot this year, is that I don't know if it will work at both schools. I have always had a much easier time lighting the gym at Naselle, as it is smaller and has a lower, white painted ceiling that is curved. But while the Ilwaco stands are high and their auxiliary hoops are set up at halfcourt, the Naselle stands are low and their auxiliary hoops are down by the baseline. It may take some tinkering, but I think I'll be out there on Saturday to or next week to find out. I'll be back at Ilwaco's gym tonight and believe it or not I'm actually looking forward to shooting in that cave of a barn!


Dec 3, 2009

I see a full moon risin'

Saw this as I was going into the post office the other night to check the box. Got out the camera and snapped a few through the trees in our buddy Chris Jacobsen's front yard. Wish I woulda taken the pic before going into the PO as the moon was bigger as it rose on the horizon, five minutes made a big difference in how big it looked...