Sunday, January 19, 2020

48th Annual Houston Marathon

Joined a small group of photographers to take in the running of the Houston Marathon today. The weather was cool, windy but bright and sunny.

Being my first venture into photographing marathoners, was a great learning experience. 
Following are a few of the shots I like. Let me know which ones you like.

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The handicap cyclists start out first. Each cyclist has a safety officer immediately behind them as there are numerous trucks and vans equipped with video equipment on the route filming the marathon leaders. 

Photographers were lined up along the route to catch the action. 
All looking for that perfect shot.

On an up hill portion racers slow down so taking their picture is easy with little blur.

There is no pedaling on those rigs. All 100% arm muscle to move you along.
Would not wish to arm wrestle one of these folks. 

Liked the play of light in this simple shot.

Then came the runners, one by one...
There was a large gap between the top marathoners and the also rans

then small groups appeared ...

Many runners would let someone else set the pace while they do their best to keep up...

Stationed myself on an uphill portion of the marathon, mile marker 22. 
Runners are getting winded, having exhausted their energy reserve by now. 
It shows in their faces.

Many have "hit the wall", dropping out before reaching this point.

Keeping a fast pace...

Determination and will power is what keeps them going at this point.

You have to wonder... did she complete the final two miles? 
I hope so.

Running with a support group of friends helps one to tough it out.

And my favorite shot of the day...

Running on Air

At mile 22, she did not look tired. Her step was high and light as she floated along.
She ranked among the top finishers.

Hope you enjoyed the marathon as much as I did.  
Of the hundreds of photos taken, these are the ones that made the cut.

See you on down the road.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Top Photos of 2019

The year 2019 started with a hit... with accompanying pain and disappointment. 
The year 2019 ended with another hit... with a sense of accomplishment.

January 4th, was walking on a sidewalk in Miami, on my way to South America to continue an interrupted motorcycle tour from ten years earlier, when a distracted SUV driver knocked me down. Instantly my long planning to resume my South America ride was terminated.
Months of recovery and therapy followed. 

By April I was once again thinking about which long distance motorcycle rides I could do in the States and on what sidecar rig. The Kawasaki I had built for South America was too slow and inadequate for the long distances of US touring. 

Sold the Kawasaki and bought this BMW - EZS touring rig.

Here it is in Globe, Arizona on the ride back to Texas from California, where I picked it up.

Comping from California, swung south thru Big Bend National Park. 
I like how this photo illustrates the heat and emptiness of Big Bend. 
The flagman stops everyone for unseen construction far ahead.

After riding the new rig to Coeur d'Alene Idaho for the national sidecar rally, I spent a month in northern New Mexico photographing Spanish adobe missions. 

The new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parrish in downtown Taos

The old St Francis de Assis Mission in Rancho de Taos

San José de Garcia Mission in Trampas, Nm

A pre-dawn moon set, Trampas, NM

Learned and practiced a little more with portrait photography this year. There are portraits and there are pictures of people. My thinking is, a portrait should capture an essence or feeling or personality of the person in the image. Not a standard snapshot of their face.

Here is Billy...  "The Real McCoy"
What you see is what he is. 

Playful, full of zest, mother of three

First Nations Warrior
Pride in his heritage, calm, focused, concentrating yet a feeling of tension and energy.

Kootenai Maiden
Reserved, modest, beauty, mother of two

At year's end, I entered the following photograph in the Photography Club's Print of the Year competition with hundreds of other culled photographs.

2019 wrapped up with a final hit...

"Three Amigos" was awarded "Best of The Best" ribbon in the show 
by the three professional judges.

Looking forward to 2020 being about pushing my photography envelope, 
visit new places and revisit old favorites on the BMW motorcycle, 
looking toward the horizon, wondering what adventure awaits.
Hope your 2020 will bring you new adventures.

Let's go ride...the future is now.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Lights & more

Joined a group of fellow photographers in visiting an area where the stores decorate for Christmas. A good place to practice night photography, playing with lights, motion and the festivities.

First, the Wine Store, 
Didn't go in, sorry.
When the lights are of varying intensity, it is hard to not get blow outs. 

What is Texas without a Hat store?
Something peaceful about this shot...

 Or Handmade Boots? Another iPhone shot.
It still amazes me how advanced the phone cameras are today. Why lug around a big heavy expensive camera when you can capture 90% of your photos with what you use to receive 
auto warranty robo-calls.

Reality stays outside, Fantasy is inside.
Or is it the other way around? Which is real?
another iPhone photo...

Dos Equis Honky Tonk in the Christmas spirit
Nothing like Christmas carols and cold beer...

Can be down right dangerous at night.

 Yellow lights, Silent night in the barrio

And of course we can't forget a little motorcycle porn. 
Not mine but wouldn't mind owning it.

Merry Christmas ya'll
2020 is already shaping up to be an exciting year. 
Stay tuned for more travels, photos and adventures.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Snapshots versus Photographs

Under comments in a previous posting, JerryM asked to see both the original photo and the finished image so he could see the changes made. Great suggestion, thanks for asking Jerry.

He's right, we all see wonderful photos everywhere, but are never shown what the camera initially captured. Only what the photographer wants us to see. So here are several examples of original and final images, gives you a peek behind the curtain so to speak.

 First going back to my previous posting, this was the early morning shot I took in Rancho de Taos. The camera being very sensitive, captured more light than was actually there at the time.
The colors were not as rich as I wanted for this early morning shot...

The final image, richer color, more shadows, less light. 
The power lines in the upper left corner were distracting, pulling your eye out of the photos, 
so removed them. The mission structure looked like a grey monolith, 
so darkened it to bring out the lights in the middle.  More contrast was needed.
 I wanted to highlight the tire tracks in the dusty road as they lead your eyes into the image... 
now it has more of that crisp cold pre-dawn morning feel.

Note: If you want cold, add more blue, if you want warmth, add more yellow. 

This late afternoon shot was okay as is, but the car was distracting and the sky was dull.

Cropped the photo, applied a sky accent to the clouds that the camera had captured, 
then lowered the color saturation to accentuate the setting sun.

Here we have an early morning empty dirt street, with a street light still on in the distance. 
Has an old Mexico feeling but not quite there.

Converted the image to an old tintype print to age it, took out the color, cropped it and gave it depth.

Here is another typical raw image. 
Was trying to get a good angle shot of the Isleta Mission south of Albuquerque, 
but this stranger kept standing or walking into my shots. Was hot, middle of the day, not a good time to be taking photos anyways.

With a cloudless sky, had nothing to work with up there. 
When you get lemons, make lemonade.

So crop the sides, convert to higher contrast B&W... Done.

And that is the amount of post processing I do. Some shots need a lot of work to bring out the desired look or feel. Others are a simple click, click and you're done. 

So what is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph?

 In my mind, a snapshot serves to offer information about people, objects, location, etc., i.e. facts.
 It gives information to the viewer. Like this shot of my rig at a I-10 rest area in southern New Mexico. Not a particular attractive image but it provides details to the viewer about the type of trees in the area, the weather, the bike, etc.  A snapshot...

Now this next is a photograph of the same sidecar rig, color was enhanced, image cropped, sharpness increased, warmth added. Doesn't really tell you who, what or where.

This image was accepted for a national publication and featured in their calendar. 
The snapshot above would have been rejected. 

The first image gives you information, the second is eye candy. 

Thanks for following along.

Ride safe, take lots of photos my friends


Thursday, November 21, 2019

More Photo Tweaks

NOTE: If you wish to leave a comment, 
try using the Chrome browser. 
Using Safari will not allow comments on 
this Google Blog platform. You write them and they disappear. I never see them.

Did you know that if you click on the images, it will expand the image to the size of your screen?

And now for some newly edited or tweaked photos...

First some street scenes:

A New Day Dawning...

 Autumn Setting Moon 

Coffee's on...

Carved Door

Looking in on St Francis

Now for some of the old and new missions...


Crisp and clean, Our Lady

 Come on in. Gate's always open.

 Old Sandia Mission
Some structures lend themselves to a particular look or feel...

The Good, the Bad, th...
Can you hear the jingle of spurs,
the metallic spin of a six shooter,
a slow Mexican guitar...
a body lies face down in the dust.

Setting Sun
Fading warmth..

For telling a story or giving trip information, those are pics. My philosophy for photography is the image should evoke a feeling, an emotion or tell a story. There are millions and millions of beautiful images out there that have no feeling.  Eye candy. Calendar photos.
Many great images, even technically perfect images, but with no soul. 

In the motorcycle world, we have a saying: 
Four wheels moves the body. Two wheels moves the soul.  
That's what I'm searching for, to move your soul when you view my images. 

Still learning, practicing, having fun creating a particular look or feel,
 then trying another... there is no final destination, only the journey.

Life is a ride.