Change of Command

23 11 2007

Solders at Attention

I have to admit that one of the fun things about being a photographer is getting to photograph events while moving around from perspectives unavailable to most people. I was recently asked to photograph a Change of Command and Change of Responsibility Ceremony for the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Brigade just got back from a tough 15 month deployment in Iraq and seemed to mature years from the solders I photographed during the Deployment Ceremony in June, 2006.

Whether one believes in our being in Iraq or protests it, we have to admire these solders strength, bravery, and mere presence. And while we’re at it, we must also recognize the sacrifice of their families. The wives, children and parents of these solders live through is something that many – if not most – of us cannot directly relate to.

The families of these solders are as tough as the solders themselves.

I salute you all!

When the Old Meets the New

13 11 2007

Old Greets New

Sometimes having a camera at hand is just a good thing. It is so easy these days, with cameras in everything from dolls eyes, to cell phones to… well the latest $5000 digital SLR. It doesn’t matter what you have, just use it.

On a recent trip out of town, Sherry was sitting in the hotel and we started a video chat on our Apple MacBook laptops. For us, it a common occurrence (both the trip and the free video chats) but for Sherry’s folks it was a new experience. Now mind you, both are 89 years old. Sherry’s mom grew up in the Arkansas Ozarks where she had to soak the wagon wheels so the rims would stay on as they took the horse and wagon to church! Sometimes I think about the progress and the change they’ve seen in their lifetimes…. I am amazed. From wagon wheels to cars, to commercial flight and space ships and to the thing called the “Internet”. Until the other evening, the Internet was only something they heard warnings about on Fox News. Then the Internet came to rest before their eyes as they held it in their hands. I turned the laptop over to Ann and Leroy so they could see and talk to their daughter.

It was a marvel to witness. They were amazed and delighted to almost reach out and touch their daughter who they missed. Leroy whispered that he never thought he’d live long enough to see something like that.

Sure glad I had my camera.  It would’ve been a shame to have missed!

Turn and Burn

5 11 2007

Big Smiles

This past weekend started the 3rd season I’ve had the pleasure to photograph the Evergreen Barrel Racing Association events. This will be the first season I’ve officially ‘sponsor’ the association through the use of my photography on their website and photograph gift certificates for their yearly raffle. Now, if you aren’t familiar with barrel racing… hold on to your hats cause these ladies (and even a few guys) get on these rockets on four hooves and race the clock around three barrels and a cloverleaf pattern at breakneck speed! Pretty much the distance between the barrels is the same, but the distance from the line where the time starts and stops can vary depending on the space in the arena. This weekend’s race at Stewart’s Arena was held inside and winning times were just over 15 seconds, if my memory serves me right.

Barrel racing is set up for everyone from Peewees (as in the attached photo) through and up to those over forty. Males and females compete in the same divisions. Horse and riders range in experienced from those ‘not very’ to ‘professional’. While competitive, races are a great social gathering of like minded folks and a great times seems to be had by all.

As a photographer, the biggest challenge besides dodging flying dirt clods is trying to use enough flash to produce a pleasing photograph while not scaring the horse as it rounds the second barrel were I am pre-positioned and waiting.  Action is fast and with the flash, continuous shutter release is not possible (at least on my budget).  Timing is important!!  Speaking of budget, I shoot all of these events on ‘spec’: meaning I am not being paid to be there by the race promoter. I only get paid if I sell a photo. It takes the sale of many photographs to begin to cover the costs associated with a day of shooting … but hopefully the work will sell itself.  And on those days that it doesn’t, being a horseman it is just plain fun to be around the horses.

The dark arena will eat as much light as you can through at it. Finding the right lighting is a challenge.  I will continue to wok on until I get it right.