Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Passion for Dance

Saturday afternoon I hooked up with our middle granddaughter so I could photograph her in her dance gear. I have photographed all of the grandcrew playing on their sports teams, but dance competitions do not allow photography of any kind, except to the guy that they pay to photograph everyone and then sell the images to the eager dance moms and grandparents in the lobby of the event. The only way I can get images of our granddaughter in dance gear is to meet her at the dance  studio and have a photo session. Here are the results.

One of the walls in the studio is done in a graffiti theme so let's start with that.  Once I got the images home I realized one thing.

I love these images in black and white. Strip all of the color away and focus on the form and the mood of the image. There are times when color just gets in the way.

A little stretching is in order before we really get down to the business of dance and photos.

Long arms and legs create some very nice lines. Again, color would just be a distraction.

Ballet has always been her favorite dance form and she has gotten very good at it. She is hoping that it will lead to a scholarship that will help pay for her college education. She's only a sophomore, so there is still time to get better.

One final leap and we're done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday

 Last week my schedule allowed me my first opportunity to photograph the local High School boys soccer team. Generally speaking boys soccer is more about speed and power while the girls game is more about finesse and teamwork.  The home team (in the white uniforms) won the match 2-1. They are defending state champions, but graduation thinned their ranks and they are having to adjust to the loss of several seniors.
 The opponents were pretty proficient at the slide tackle. This is a technique you don't see as much in the girls game.
 The trick to the slide tackle is to tackle the ball without touching the opponent. It's a pretty tricky maneuver and failing to do it correctly can result in a penalty, even the dreaded "yellow card".

 I must admit, the slide tackle does provide some great photo opportunities.

 Here the opposing goal keeper has come out of the box to prevent the home team from scoring an easy goal. It takes a pretty tough individual to play goal keeper.

Here is the winning goal, scored on a penalty kick. A more exciting image was published yesterday, so just scroll down if you want to see it.
One important lesson I have learned this year about photographing sports. If a ball is involved, the ball needs to be in the image. If possible the face(s) of those playing the ball need to be visible. That isn't always possible, but it is most desirable.
For those who may be interested in the technical side, I ALWAYS shoot in manual mode and for sports I always shoot in jpeg. For night games at a well lit park I shoot with an ISO of 1600-3000, a shutter speed of 1/400th - 1/500th  at f3.5-5.0 and Auto White Balance. I have the focus set on single point, contunious focus and high speed continuous shutter. For my camera, that means it will fire 7 frames per second. Have a blessed day.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inspiration Thursday

Spring is finally here and everything is beginning to turn green. While the colors of Autumn are beautiful, most people look forward to Spring. It signals a new beginning. This waterfall is part of a spillway for a small, private lake. In the winter, when there is little rain, it slows to a trickle. But when the Spring rains come, it bursts to life and it seems that the surrounding woods follow its lead and become the most vibrant green of the entire year. It seems to be a reminder that water is the source of life. No plant or animal can survive without it.
Christ is described as the "Living Water" and no one can experience eternal life without Him. Some people never bother to look for meaning in their life while others spend their entire existence looking for their purpose in this world. They thirst for the satisfaction that comes with knowing that they are here for a purpose, what the purpose is and the source of happiness. They may try several different professions or live in multiple locations around the globe. Some will even forsake everything and go on a quest for the meaning of life. As long as they look for fulfillment in the things of this world, they will always be disappointed and thirsty. Christ Himself said, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:13-14) The search for personal peace and satisfaction ends at the well of living water that is Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Aww...Ahhh Mondays

Ahh...Spring Soccer! One of my favorite times of the year.While Autumn is my favorite season, I have to admit that I like photographing spring sports. There is baseball, softball, track & field, and my favorite...spring soccer. Last week the local high school girls team played at home. The team is always a contender for conference and state honors so they are great fun to watch. The boys team is the defending state champs so photos of them will be coming soon.

I have to admit that I like some of the girls sports better than the boys. The boys are all about speed and power, while the girls games are more about finesse and teamwork. Just a note, I am working on a blog site that will feature sports photos exclusively. I don't know exactly when it will be ready, but hope to have it up and running pretty soon. Have a blessed week.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Skwatch Friday

I went to a local junior high track meet Monday afternoon. Since I'm a little burned out on photographing sunrises and sunsets, and since the afternoon sky wasn't all that glorious, I filled the frame with a high jump contestant.

This high jump contestant happens to be the youngest grand daughter. She finished 4th overall which qualifies her for the conference championship meet next week. Stay tuned, more photos will be coming. This is her first year as a high jumper, so she has some work to do, but she likes the sport and is catching on very quickly.

In junior high, the long jump was my favorite event. I still like to watch the kids fly through the air and try to leap deep into the pit.

I believe that this is from the 4x800 relay. I like this image because all four feet are off of the ground. I was never good at distance running and passing a baton only complicated matters.

The classic 1600 meters (metric mile) requires the ability to run in a pack and find your space, then wait for the right opportunity to break into the open and finish well. I do find it interesting that we have converted to metrics for running events, but the field events are still measured in feet & inches. Have a blessed week end.

Inspiration Thursday

Many people may not realize this fact, but our architecture says a lot about our society. There was a time when large office buildings were being built at a rapid pace and they were a testimony to the importance that we placed on business and the economy. Today we seem to spend excess amounts of cash building the next great sports facility because athletics and entertainment dominates a large portion of our attention at every level of our life. There was a time when churches were the most important and most beautiful buildings in town. They were a reflection of the importance of God in the lives of the citizens.
 It seems that every aspect of our lives have become more casual, from our work, to our dress, to our worship. Somewhere along the line, the importance of God and the relevance of His Church has diminished. If one examines the 25th chapter of Exodus, where the instructions and construction of the tabernacle is described, you will find that casual is not present. First of all, the people gave an offering, not of convenience, but of sacrifice and most importantly, from a willing and grateful heart. The offering (or building fund) consisted of gold, silver, bronze, fine linen, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the breastplate of the high priest. The people gave their very best, not their leftovers, because their relationship with God was the most important relationship in their lives.
One thing has not changed. Regardless of the opinion of society, the most important relationship that a person will have is the relationship they have with their Creator.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday

Recently, I took a drive about 30 minutes north of our home to Neosho, MO to do a little street photography. I had the option to take the four-lane highway or take the county roads that my wife and I used to drive before the new highway was completed. I chose the county roads. Here's a little of what I found.

These old county roads cross many a creek or stream and there are a lot of these old bridges. One can only wonder how long they have been in place and how many a traveler they have seen. Well...

 the Missouri Highway Department used to place these plaques on the bridges and this one was built in 1931.  Not to far down this road I found a structure whose days are numbered.
I'm pretty sure this barn is no longer in use and it's only a matter of time before it gives way to the elements and collapses. There are several examples of  out buildings that have already laid down to their final resting place along this road. Well, on to Neosho. I have only been to Neosho a couple of times and this is my first visit to really drive around the downtown area and explore photographic opportunities. I was not disappointed.

Neosho is the county seat and is built on a square, with the county courthouse in the middle of that square. Anyway, there are a multitude of architectural styles and some wonderfully rehabbed and restored structures in the downtown area.

The Newton County Courthouse is done in a "Machine" Art Deco style. All of the decoration is very clean and precise. All of these buildings provided an opportunity to photograph some great details and then convert them to black & white images. Here are a few examples.

So, if you're tired of photographing stuff in your town, get out, drive to another location and see what your neighboring communities have to offer, in terms of photo opportunities. You might be surprised. I know I was.  Have a blessed week.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ruby Tuesday Too

Yesterday we took a look at Bentonville in Black & White. Today we see Bentonville in Living Color.One of the major changes in Bentonville was the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum is now several years old and is considered world class. The Museum has acquired another property and is in the process of developing an artists workshop and display space that focuses on contemporary art. Right now, there is no time frame for completion.
These image represent graphics that have been painted on buildings close to the downtown square. I suppose you could call it controlled graffiti or cartoon graffiti.  I admit that I do like it better than the spontaneous, uncontrolled artwork that usually adorns railroad cars.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Awww...Ahh Monday

If you drive around Bentonville, AR it is getting hard to find "rustic" or "grunge" photo opportunities. There is so much new construction going on that many small town details are disappearing. I guess that's okay. I've lived in areas that weren't growing and areas that were growing. I pick growing. Anyway, here are a few images that I turned into black & white photos. I just think that the B&W treatment gives a timeless character to these photos.

 Let's face it, you know that your town has transitioned from small country town into something new when the Farmer's Exchange shutters its doors.

 A local investor has purchased the building but hasn't made a decision about what the future use will be. Since the investor is a lifelong resident, I know that the building will not be destroyed, but will find new life.

 I found this hat hanging on a hook at the Farmer's Exhange. Someone had to have a ladder to put it there, but I appreciate the photo-op.

Another icon is this garage. There was a time when Bentonville looked just like Mayberry RFD and you could imagine Andy, Opie, Aunt Bea and Barney living here. Head down to the garage and you just knew that Gomer or Goober would meet you at the door. This building is still in use. Have a blessed day.,

Friday, April 8, 2016

Skywatch Friday

A few days ago I was in Neosho, Missouri photographing some of the downtown architecture. The sky was crystal clear blue and obviously not very interesting. I was intrigued by this stone work so I captured a rather mundane image, but I love the craftsmanship that is on display here.
Once I got home I cropped the image and added a little color saturation. Here are the results.

Now the mason's craft is really on display. I love this detail and it is repeated several times along this exterior wall. That was fun, now let's see what happens when I add a special filter preset.

Recently On1 photo editing software released a set of 10 filters for free. Previously Google had released the entire Nik collection of filters to the public for free. For those of us who have almost as much fun editing the images as we did capturing them, it just doesn't get any better than free filters for your PhotoShop Elements software. This filter is called "Tin Type Dirty". I have strengthened the details a little and reduced the opacity just a bit. It's funny, if you found a photo that looked like this, you would probably scan it, and try to restore it to like new condition. When you have a perfectly good image you take it out and play in the mud. We humans are strange like that. Have a blessed week-end.