Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race

I love bicycle racing. I used to do quite a bit of it when I was younger — I managed a bike shop, ran a club, raced myself as a Category 3 racer back in the day. I’ve forgotten more about bikes than most people ever know, so when it comes time for the racing season to start up here in Arizona I try to go out and hit a couple of races to stir the blood again. I’ve been riding my bike to work on occasion as well, and it REALLY feels good to be back on two wheels. Or rather, it really feels good now that my butt is once again used to the saddle. It hurt a LOT for a couple of days until that happened.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went out to the Avondale Criterium in Avondale, AZ and shot some of the early races, and had a lot of fun. Bikes haven’t changed that much since I was riding seriously, but there sure are some good riders out there. There’s another race on the 26th that I may try to hit as well, just for fun.

Shooting cycling is a great way to practice a number of photography skills. First and foremost, it helps with controlling motion. The shutter’s function on the camera (as part of basic exposure) is to control motion. Shooting with a fast shutter speed will stop motion, while shooting with a slow shutter speed will allow the motion to register on the image. It’s the photographer’s job to decide what the final output needs to be, and in order to determine this it’s vital that the photographer understands the camera. So shooting bike racing is a good predictable way to experiment with shutter speed choice and control. Second, cycling is a great way to practice focus control and panning, meaning experimenting with the continuous focusing function of the camera and also following the rider with the lens as he zips by. See if you can figure out what my settings were in these photos!

Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race
Avondale Criterium Bicycle Race

BLOONS!!

With the windows and doors open in the beautiful weather, we heard what sounded like small jets overhead. I grabbed a camera and went out to find three hot-air balloons overhead! The people in the gondolas were waving at me as I pointed my long lens at them, and one friendly soul called out “Howdy, Neighbor!” as she floated overhead. These balloons were so low that I we could see the flames from the burners. And then they drifted out of sight.

Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons

New Camera and Lovely Birds

Last week I upgraded my camera bag to include a new Canon 7D camera body. As with any new piece of equipment, I had to take it out immediately and start working with it to learn its ins and outs, so we went to the Gilbert Water Ranch for a BEAUTIFUL walk among the trees and birds. Hummingbirds were everywhere, and there were blue herons, egrets, ducks, and zillions of other kinds of birds that I haven’t the first clue what they are. I can’t wait to go back, now that I’ve figured out how to set the focus points and the autofocus modes on this camera.

Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch

The PBY Lives!

There’s a PBY sitting at Glendale Airport. It flew in some years ago, and the owner’s been working to get it up to snuff to move it to its new home at a new aviation museum here in Arizona. I was lucky to be able to be there when they fired it up to test the engines prior to a taxi test. Unfortunately, the taxi test didn’t happen since there was a fuel system issue with the left engine, but it sure is beautiful to hear round engines run. There’s something classic about radials.

It’s interesting that when an aircraft is sitting derelict (this one’s not derelict, just a work in progress, but this concept applies) it seems lifeless, dead. And when it runs it comes to life, like it really wants to be back in the air where it belongs. This is the most life I’ve seen in this PBY since it arrived at Glendale.

PBY Lives!!

PBY Lives!!

PBY Lives!!

PBY Lives!!

Coronado Dons Marching Band

I love marching bands. I was in marching band all the way through high school and on into college, and actually earned money with my mediocrity as a brass player for a while. So when my daughter decided to join the marching band, I was thrilled! She was blessed to be a member of the Coronado High School Dons marching band, which has a long history of quality, pride and skill. I try to make as many shows as I can, and I always have my camera with me. To view the gallery, please click here — this gallery is passworded, so if you are a parent of a Dons Band member, please contact me for a password.

Coronado Dons Drums

The Rockin’ Sounds of JOYRIDE!!

Joyride is among the best cover bands I’ve heard in a LONG time — I mean, seriously, I don’t know any other band that can cover Evanescence and Pat Benatar and Journey in the same set and do it so well. And Sharett, the singer, is the sweetest thing ever (and so is her mom!). They played at Cactus Jack’s in Ahwatukee and absolutely rocked the joint. What a pleasure to hang with friends and do a little shooting and listen to great music.

You can see the whole gallery here. Band managers — if you like what you see, please contact me about gig and concert coverage. Concert promoters, venue owners as well — I can cover your events affordably and with the highest quality.

Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!
Joyride at Cactus Jack's!

Snow in Phoenix!

The weirdest thing happened last Saturday night. We woke up to cold weather, and when we saw that there was snow on the McDowell Mountains, we decided to go for a drive up Cave Creek Road towards Carefree. The further we got through Carefree, the more snow was on the ground. Crazy! I’ve not seen this in years. But boy was it pretty. And I think my little red car looks really nice against the white and the blue.

Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!

Just walking around

So whenever I go out, I usually take a camera with me. Recently, I joined a group of other photographers for a photo walk around Litchfield Park, AZ. Though it may seem at first glance that there’s not much to see in a small town like Litchfield, there’s always a lot to photograph. A tip for budding photographers is to look closely at things for patterns, repeating designs, contrasting colors, and shapes. It’s not necessary to photograph a whole building; rather, photographing parts of a building can be far more interesting and graphically pleasing.

Here are a few of my shots from the photo walk in Litchfield. Enjoy!

Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times
Taking a camera with me at all times

A Lovely Day for a Family Portrait

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to photograph Danielle and Bob’s lovely family. The last time I saw these two little girls they were mere babies! How time flies. Adorable blonde hair flying in the wind, bright blue eyes flashing in excitement in the marvelous weather made for some wild and crazy and fun photos!

As the weather warms up, it’s time to schedule your family portrait session. Just contact me to get your session scheduled!