Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Blue Angels Give Me Goosebumps!

I love the BA's. Something about jets doing incredible maneuvers.. If you have never seen a show in is unlike anything that I can describe. It is not just about flying.. it is about the human spirit, the military, daring to dream. At least for me it is. My dad got me interested in shows when I was a kid, after all he was a defense contractor! We would go to shows, and we would go to airports to watch the planes take off and land and we went down to the cape for Apollo 11's lift off. So I was lucky the Jennie's brother has ties with the coalition forces stationed at Centcom on McDill.. so he had (and has had for the past several years) VIP passes for McDill airfest. VIP passes are the best. They park you in the front right where the maneuvers are executed. You basically have front row, center seats. Also, by having VIP passes, you are allowed to bring in back packs so it was easy to bring in my photography kit. (regular entry disallows backpacks). So this was my first try at photographing them. My lense (Nikkor 80-400 vr) is not known as the best lense, but I read up and I believe that this lense is capable of getting some good shots, with some major practice on my part. I only really use this lens to photograph whitewater boaters. So here are a few from my first try. I am going to try and get to a practice session or two this summer while visiting with Debra, and look forward to next year and hope that Ben invites me again to McDill Airfest!

For those interested in the photography aspects.. it is tough shooting.. You need to expose to the right more than you think.. because you are essentially facing into the sun, your camera will want to meter off the sky, spot metering is not possible because of the speed.. so you must over expose so that the jets don't wind up as a silhouette.. well I still had to beef up in PS. Also I would be too tight and lose them.. again, it is a matter of practice. I knew what a lot of their maneuvers would be, but I was too slow, or would lose them. It is a wonderful exercise and even though I don't have that many keepers... I know with practice it will get better.. I can't wait for the next opportunity!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Nice Break from the Routine

I had a nice little pat on the back this week. I am a reader of Pioneer Woman the last few years (since her first SXSW recognition)and thoroughly enjoy her site. If you aren't familiar with her, google her and you will read quite an incredible success story in the blogging world. Anyway, she has a pretty good photography section to her blog and periodically runs assignments/contests. PW is infamous in the blogging community for her contests across all of her web site, she is very generous. I have entered a few pictures over the last year in her photography assignments, but this one hit home for me. The assignment was dog pictures. Well since my animals are my main models, you bet I had a few I could enter for that. I entered 4 pictures and she chose this one as one of her final 10 (out of approximately 10,000 entries). I feel a little special right now.. and very much inspired. It's amazing what a little positive recognition does ones soul. And for those who are interested in the technical aspects: shot with a Nikon D300, 70-200 2.8. I shot this the first week I had this camera and the second week I had the lens. I believe I was wide open and probably at 1/1500 at ISO 200-400 (my standard outside although I may have been on auto ISO at the time since the camera was new) I loved my D50 but the focusing system on the D300 is excellent for action of my calibre and for driving the 70-200 and I knew I wanted to be able to capture more pictures like this, hence the move up in equipment.

But there is sort of a downside to this story.. I don't have my raw file of the above shot. In fact, I had to download the picture off of my smugmug account, as I didn't even have the jpg. In December I made a major boo boo and blew away (like the alliteration?) my external hard drive with all of my photos on it. I have a general backup here in Florida, but it didn't contain this shot (I lost most everything I had shot last summer)and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I backed up the photography external to another general external that is at the cabin. I remember distinctly backing up before we came down, but I am thinking I was backing up from my hard drive rather than my photography external.. so I am bummed.. in a bittersweet kind of way. I also blew away the photos in the previous post of the dogs in the snow last spring.. and only have the web sized photos of those too. Not a good year - but I have learned my lesson and now have good a good backup procedure in place so I hopefully won't ever be in that position again.. makes me so mad at myself. But hey! Watchya gonna do? I know that I would never be able to enter any picture in any professional contest (if I ever choose to) without having the raw file to back me up.. Anyway - it was fun to be a small part of PW's site and see the comments from her readers. It has inspired me to keep on keeping on!