Bull Riding at the Polk County Fair

The Polk County Fair and Rodeo – not only did it produce more good barrel racing images than the bronc events – but the bull riding images were some of the best from the night.  I often don’t shoot straight into the gate – but on this evening it worked well.  And like the barrels – the light + dirt were nice compliments.

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Barrel Racing at the Polk County Fair

barrel racing - Polk County Fair-3As I mentioned over on the Camera 47 FB page – it’s an odd day when I get more barrel racing keepers than  from the bronc events.  But that’s exactly what happened up at the Polk County Fair  – rodeo provided by Wild West Events, Inc.  It was mostly an evening of rough stock (bareback bronc, saddle bronc, and bull riding) – but there was also some barrel racing – and just for fun – some mutton busting.

All too often, I can get into a groove (rut?) when shooting rodeo –  mostly because I have a preferred location (or two) for each event.  But while up at Polk County, to be honest, I was a little out of sorts.  It was a pretty small arena but for the horse racing segment – I happened to be outside the arena near what is often the 1st barrel (depending on the rider’s preferred pattern) – and in between some gulps of water – tried for a few images.  The dust + low light were great elements to work with.

This trip to the rodeo was also the first gig with the new camera.  I’m digging it – but I’m still trying to dial in the nuances.  Hopefully, more on that later.

In no particular order – here’s a few barrel racing images from the evening:

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Test & Tune at the Willamette Speedway

Willamette Speedway August 2015-10

This had been on my “list” for awhile and last Friday night during their Test & Tune evening, a buddy and I headed on out to the dirt track at the Willamette Speedway.  It’s just unfortunate that I can’t push some dirt, exhaust, and engine rumbling through the screen to you.

This was the first time I’d taken the opportunity to shoot fast moving cars and, truth be told, it was a heck of a lot of fun.  The Test & Tune format really provided a great opportunity to get some daylight images without a lot of distraction.

At the Willamette Speedway, these Test & Tune nights are free to attend but for $15 you can get yourself in the pit.  If you’re asking – it was worth the $15.

And if I have my classes right – #25, #90, #31, and #22 are Street Stock.  #0 is Modified and #33 and #2 are Super Sports.

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Willamette Speedway August 2015-9

2015 Great Oregon Steam Up: Part 2

Yesterday’s post from the 2015 Great Oregon Steam Up had images from the Oregon Electric Railway Museum.  Today’s post includes steam tractors, fire trucks, and some farm tractors.

If you read yesterday’s post – just for fun, I suggested that the last photo gave a hint about today’s post.  That hint: IR.  As for the images today: each of these continue my experiment with IR + X100S.

So, let’s talk a bit about the IR process.  With this technique, if you’ve not yet had the chance to work with an IR filter – the images out of camera can look like this:

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A very orangey / red photo.  Blah.

So, the challenge when working with IR images is deciding on the best technique to get them to something that looks interesting.  There are some great techniques out there – and I’m constantly fiddling with mine – but generally my steps include (1) apply my custom LR preset (2) flip the red / blue channels (3) adjust as needed.  The results can look something like this:

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But during this batch, I guess I was feeling a bit impatient, and started fidgeting with the photos after the preset – and I sort of stumbled on what I’m going to call Bleached IR.  So,  here’s a few from that set.

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To be honest, for these very industrial tools – I like this treatment.

But maybe it was the “vintageness” of the hardware that inspired me to add a bit of “remix” sauce to a few.  So – here’s a few with the the Bleached IR + Remix:

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2015 Great Oregon Steam Up: Part 1

steam up - 2000px-20This last Saturday, I had a chance to head out to the annual Great Oregon Steam Up.  It’s an event I haven’t visited in a few years – and much like car shows – these sorts of photos are not my strength – making it a great challenge to pull together a few reasonable photos.  Just for fun – I’m going to split this post into two parts.  Part 2 is scheduled for tomorrow.

So what’s out at Steam Up?  Well, the focus is on vintage equipment: farm tractors, steam engines, fire trucks, construction, and early engines (e.g. hit and miss).  Demonstrations include flour making, logging, and blacksmithing.  And, if that’s not enough, there’s also a swap meet for folks looking for vintage parts and what-not.steam up - 2000px-21

Part 1 of this two part series will focus primarily on the Oregon Electric Railway Museum – a relatively small part of the event – but a part I like to visit.  Within the car barn are a number of pieces from around the world.  And outside the barn are a few (I assume) electric buses in various states of decay.

This year I went light on the gear – just the X100S and the Fuji Instax Mini 90.

If you’re in the Oregon area, you can still make it out there – the 2015 Great Oregon Steam Up runs through next weekend (1-2 August).


If I remember correctly, the car below is from Portugal.

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These next two photos are part of my recent Fuji Instax experiment.

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And this last one gives a bit of a hint about tomorrow’s post.

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2015 PFR: The Dismounts

Had a chance to shoot the Philomath Frolic and Rodeo last weekend.  And just for fun – I thought I’d change it up a bit.  So, here you go, in no particular order – some of the top dismounts I was able to put on film.

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Two frames before the image below – you’ll see this fellow in a near swan dive.  Unfortunately, it’s not a very usable image.  Still – I thought this one worked well, too.

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These little guys took some spills, too.

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OK – so it wasn’t entirely an unplanned dismount.

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Can’t have a list like this without a bull rider.

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The Super Plungers!

Maybe a better title for this one (and I completely stole this from Alicia) would have been “The Secret Lives of the Super Plungers”.

That said, it’s possible the writing is a bit shaky on this one – but hopefully the story successfully highlights this team’s efforts to raise money and awareness for Oregon Special Olympics.

So, here it is, my next photo story over on Exposure – The Super Plungers.

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Pinewood Derby Car with Camera

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Pinewood Derby 2015-14As a Cub Scout, I recall my one year on the Pinewood Derby circuit.  Sure – that season was compressed to a single evening in the cafeteria of my elementary school – but it was a heck of a lot of fun watching my car take 2nd in all three heats that it bounced down the wooden swooped track.

So, imagine my joy when my daughter announced that she had a morning of Pinewood Derby racing on the calendar.

Of course, we worked on her car.  It was pink.  And, as it turns out, the fastest “legal” car of the day.  But for this project – we wanted the fastest car of the day.

I was looking for a bit of track level video and thought it would be fun to bolt one of the Contours to a car as an experiment.   Thankfully, by simply weighing more than twice the allowed limit of 5 oz – the extra weight helped get the car out in front of the pack.  And with the wide angle lenses on most POV cameras – your car won’t need to be much faster – maybe only a couple of car lengths.

This design is essentially a basic wedge Pinewood Derby kit and a Contour camera.  The weights?  Well, where they’re located on the image above – I don’t think they really helped.  A simple quarter-twenty bolt attached the camera.  The spacers you see were only added to take up some of the bolt length – as it was a bit long.

As for the track footage – I cleared it with the event organizers, got a race number for the car so that it would be integrated into the real-time racing matrix (this allowed for footage from all 4 lanes and a mix of cars) – and simply let it go.  For most cars on this day, it was fast enough.  This version of the camera car only ran in the high 2.5’s.  Next year – I’ve got some ideas to see if I can get it a bit faster.

If you decide to try this – or something similar – let us know!

Pinewood Derby 2015-6

#25 Jerome Kersey

2014 SOOR - 200px-237For folks that read this blog regularly, you know that my assignments typically don’t have me rubbing elbows with public figure types.  But one of the organizations that I’ve had the opportunity to work with the past few years is Oregon Special Olympics (SOOR).  And as a near life-time Trail Blazers fan (there – I said it  Smile  ) – I think it’s great that the Blazers have a strong relationship with SOOR.

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This last summer while I was at the Oregon Summer Games, former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey was in attendance, spoke at the awards ceremony, and was on hand to pose for photos.

Last week, Jerome Kersey passed away suddenly from a blood clot at the age of 52.  Those who knew him well, speak much of his warmth and his infectious personality.  Those who played with him speak of his tenacity and hard work.  I didn’t know him personally, but2014 SOOR - 200px-256 one thing that impressed me in my very few short minutes with Jerome was his genuineness with everybody around him.  Not once did he seem distracted or if there was somewhere else he’d rather be.  Heck, I’m not even sure if he ever stopped smiling.

Prior to the ceremony, I was asked if I could get a photo of Jerome with the Olympic torch.  So, after the ceremony, I introduced myself and we tried to cross the fifty feet from the stage, down the steps, and to the torch for a photo or two.  And as he was surrounded by athletes and coaches – Jerome stopped for every hug, handshake, high five, and photo that he possibly could.  By the time we made it to the torch, it was quickly evident that we weren’t going to the get the photo we’d set out to make.   Just a quick bit of eye contact, a smile and small shrug, and we got the photo below.  A quick nod of thanks (as the crowd rushed in – we weren’t going to get our parting handshake) and Jerome got back to the hugs and autographs.  Looking back – I’m glad that we missed on the initial photo idea.  I’m pretty sure this one is much better.

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Top Photos from 2014

Is it too late for a “2014 Best of” post?  Hopefully this one is only arriving “casually late”.  Smile

That said, regardless of your photography experience, I think it’s a good practice to go through your photos periodically and choose a few that you consider to be among the best.  The transition from December to January provides, if nothing else, a convenient marker.

So, in no particular order, here are a few from my 2014 archive.



10 for 2014-1

This is arguably my best Milky Way image.  More details here.

10 for 2014-2

From a quick trip up to Mt St Helens – here’s an image of the edge of the crater that I’d posted over on the Facebook page.

10 for 2014-3

And there I was standing on the Morrison Bridge (trying to get an image for the Bite of Oregon) when the bridge went up.  I also posted a number of images from that gig over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-4

From the Harrisburg Harvest Festival and Tractor Pull.  More images from that afternoon can be found here.

10 for 2014-5

Who would have thought that fisheye lenses and historic bombers were a great combination?  More images of this B-17 can be found here.

10 for 2014-6

2014 was the year that I learned about the IR72 filter + X100s.  More details can be found here.

10 for 2014-7

Happened to be in San Francisco for business and brought the X100s along.  This is a panorama cobbled together from a series of handheld images.

10 for 2014-8

Could I really have an annual list of photos and not have a rodeo image?

10 for 2014-9

Or two?  More images from this year’s Philomath Frolic and Rodeo can be found here and here.  If you’re looking for more rodeo – check out the Exposure story.

10 for 2014-10

Or some hot air balloon photos?

10 for 2014-11

Just playing.  This photo can also be found over on my Exposure.co site.

10 for 2014-14

Had a chance to shoot some Polar Plunges for Oregon Special Olympics. The Portland event had a group of Super Plungers that ran once an hour for 24 hours into the very chilly Columbia River.  I posted a number of photos from my time with the Super Plungers over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-15

Just a bit of flooding here in Corvallis.

10 for 2014-16

More Viking! At the Bend Polar Plunge.  More images from my trip to Bend can be found here.

10 for 2014-17

The debut of Saddle Shop over the summer.  You can see more from this gig over at Exposure.co.

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Was looking for a vintage-feeling portrait for this one that connected the student, his school, and sport.

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At the county fair for a dance performance and happened to have the X100s + IR72 filter with me.  Really dug the architecture + sun + colors on this one.  I thought the combination provided an unexpected industrial feel.

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Our dog was waiting for a bit of beef jerky in some pretty strong light with shadow.

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Christmas morning sunrise over Fish Lake just outside Leavenworth, WA.  Not sure what created all of the sparkles speckles.  I’m guessing it was a really dirty filter.  Then, again, it was Christmas morning.


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