Sunday, May 20, 2012

112 MPH Panning

Today was a pretty fun day.  I went out to a drag strip to watch some friends race their mustangs.  This is my first experience with drag racing and it was pretty exciting.  When I was invited, I was pretty excited to try out a technique referred to as panning.  The concept of panning refers to me moving the camera to follow a moving subject, in this case the cars.  By doing this, the cars stay in focus and everything stationary blurs.  It's kind of the opposite of your normal moving photography.

Here are the three muscle cars that I was photographing today.  The red one belongs to my friend Brent.

There were a lot of horses under the hood and the red white and blue kind of lent itself to the term "American Muscle".
 This is Brent doing his burn out.  Fast shutter speed here, both for the stopped action and the bright sun that was out today.  For once, I was kind of excited to have so much sun out.  With fast cars, I was going to need a fast shutter speed.  As you'll see below, it came in handy.
As you can see with these two pictures, the panning causes the moving cars to be in focus while everything behind them blurs.  The power of these cars was amazing as you can see by them raising up as they came off the line.

So, this was a fun experience.  By far, these are the fastest things I've photographed.  I've been wanting to try out panning and I think I did pretty well for my first time.  There is another technique that I want to try out soon.  As soon as I get it done, I'll put it up here and show ya'll.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Longhorn Sunrise

This is a spot that I have been wanting to shoot for some time.  My friend Jill came out with me this past Sunday to stretch our trigger fingers.  The first thing I noticed is that East was completely NOT the direction I thought it was!  The last time I was at this spot, I forgot to check which direction east was, so I looked at my pictures to see which direction the shadows were facing.  I also discovered that there was a HUGE overhead light that was probably causing the shadow.  lol  Oh well.  You roll with the punches and get shooting.

So with the different point of view, I had to change my composition.  I pondered for a couple of months on how I would compose the pictures towards where I though east was.  The funny thing is that with my new east, the composition seemed to just hit me.  I like what I got and here it is.

This is my new east direction.  The cowboy watching over his herd.  The color in the sky was great, but it sure didn't last long.  I would estimate it was there for about 10 minutes before the sky went blue.

 Here's the herd.  I thought this would be the best picture for black and white.  I just wish I had a fan blowing up some dust for special effects.  These statues are located in Pioneer Plaza in downtown Dallas near the convention center.

These are my two favorite shots.
  I like the composition of the water and greenery in the foreground and the cattle in the background.  I think the picture on the right is one of my favorite shots in awhile.

Thank you for your continued viewership.  I am currently working on a website for MarcusDavisPhotography and lining up some portrait sessions of friends to get some practice shooting people and building that aspect of my portfolio.  If you need some photos made, let me know.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sons and Daughters of Scotland

My wife and I went out to the North Texas Scottish Festival today, at the University of Texas - Arlington.  We spent about 3 hours out there before the heat began to take its toll.  It runs through 6pm Sunday the 6th and I highly recommend checking it out.  There is a great combination of bands, dancing, shopping, eating and my favorite, the Highland Games. 

 I don't care what people say.  I think bagpipes sound great.  The combination of the pipes and drums can not be beaten.  I also think that there is nothing more Scottish than this sound.

What I was looking for in the picture below was to show the movement of the mallets of the drummer in the foreground.  The movement was amazing.  He is very good at his craft.

The picture at the left of the fiddler is a band that came on stage as we were watching some of the games.  The fiddler was quite good and really got into the show.  We really enjoyed the couple of songs that we heard them play.

There was a lot of good food there.  I personally had a meat pie, which is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and is similar to a chicken pot pie.  It is stuffed with spiced ground meat and some onions.  It is very light and very delicious.  My wife had shepherds pie, which is similar to what I had, but hers was topped with mashed potatoes.  There was also Scottish and Irish Stew and lots of Scottish inspired beers.

The Highland Games are what I really wanted to see.  These consisted of the Hammer Throw, the Caber Toss, a Kettle Bell Toss and an event similar to the shot put, but with a large stone.  Throughout the weekend, there were going to be competitions for all age groups and this is very fun to watch.  The big photographic element here is a fast shutter speed to freeze the action.  Luckily, it was bright and sunny out, so I could almost max out my shutter speed.

So that's it for today.  A fun day over all.  I got to see some culture, see some sport, eat some good food and of course, pull my camera out and shoot.  I hope you get to take some pictures of the "super moon" tonight (5/5/12).  It is supposed to be 14% larger than usual tonight.  Here is my shot.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keeping Your Eyes Peeled

As I've gotten more and more into photography, I've found myself keeping an eye out for new places to shoot.  Possibly not the safest thing to do while driving, but what can you do?

On Saturday, I was headed into Frisco to take pictures of my friend's son playing his last soccer game of the season.  As I was headed up the tollway, I noticed this place out of the corner of my eye.  I made note of the cross street and planned to come back after the game.

This first picture is a regular shot.  I spent some time reading through my camera manual (Possibly the only manual I've ever read) and I noticed a section on some presets built into my camera.  One of them was a setting for landscapes.  The setting is designed to make greens greener and blues bluer.  This feature enhances grass, trees and skies.  I really like how the sky came out, because you can see the clouds against the sky.  I will do some fine tuning to it, but I like the setting.

One thing I know for certain is that the only thing you can count on is that Mother Nature is unpredictable.  As I'm sure you can tell, I love the look of flowing water and will take pictures of it every chance I get.  However, the wind decided to keep blowing while I was taking these shots.  With HDR consisting of 3 different shots, anything that moves creates blur as you put them together, as you can see in the trees.  However, I still love this shot.

Another shot that I really liked.  This is a little bit "downstream" from the previous waterfall.  I like rocks in HDR, because they always burst with color that you really don't see looking at them with the naked eye.

This was a great place to stumble upon and I plan to go back out here.  It will be a great place to do family or couples photographs.

That's it for now.  I'm still working on Sunday's sunrise photographs.  I should have them up soon.  It was a nice morning hike and I think you'll like the photographs that came out of it.

Until next time...