Tag Archives: festival

2014 NW Art & Air: Hot Air Balloons

This year I had the opportunity to head on over for two mornings to the hot air balloon launches at the NW Art & Air Festival in Albany, OR.  Below are a few in no particular order.  Just for fun – I did give myself a bit of a challenge later in the mornings to look for opportunities to use the sun creatively.  Not sure if I met that challenge – but I had fun trying.  Enjoy!

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Hot Air Balloon Launch Time Lapse

As an experiment – I set up a Contour POV camera for stop motion capture (1 frame / per second). Then I stitched the images together at 10 frames per sec to put together a quick time lapse of the hot air balloon launch from Saturday morning at the NW Art & Air Festival. Enjoy!

NW Art & Air Festival 2013: A Few Photos

iSoar - NWAA - 2013-8Had a chance to get out for the hot air balloon launches this weekend over at the NW Art & Air Festival in Albany, OR.  This year – I worked the entire weekend with only a 17-55mm f/2.8.  And yes – there were times I wished I had the fisheye and, yes, there were times that something a bit longer would have helped.   But it was a good challenge nonetheless.

By the way, been digging the VSCO filters.

And, yes, that’s one of those crazy “tiny planet” panoramas up there.  Over on the Camera 47 Facebook page you’ll find a few more.  I’ve been experimenting a bit with them lately.

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We’re not in Cansas Anymore: A Weekend with the X100S

cameras-8 Back in the day, you know – those days when we shot film – my favorite camera was the Canon GIII – a little rangefinder with a fixed 40mm f1.7 lens.  I picked mine up used after borrowing one from a friend.  A great camera with a lot of personality.  Was it ever my go-to camera?  No, not really – but I sure enjoyed shooting it.

When the wave of mirrorless cameras started, I had hoped that it might be possible to find some of that charm in the digital world.  And a couple of times, it was close – both the Olympus EM5 and the Fuji X100 inspired me to some serious review reading – but neither prompted me to push the big “Buy” button.cameras-7

The Fuji X100S is similar in size to the Canon GIII (Canonet QL17) rangefinder.

And it was more than just this romantic notion of a cool compact camera that kept me looking.  I also wanted to go out with the family without lookingcameras-9 like I was on  assignment.

Then the X100S charged onto the scene with a reported snappier auto focus.  X-Trans sensor.  And Adobe looked like they were catching up.  A few early reviews.  Pre-ordered.  Delivered.

Bottom line: I find the X100S to be a great camera.  It’s capable, delivers remarkable images, and though there’s been a bit of learning curve – I’ve really enjoyed shooting with it.

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(Just a note about the photos – they shouldn’t be considered straight-out-of-camera (SOOC).  They’ve been post-processed in LR 4.4 and a few of them have seen some Nik software.)

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For the last eight and a half years – I’ve pretty much only shot Canon DSLR’s.  And those tools have complimented my shooting style for action, event, travel, and portrait.  So, to be honest, shooting those first few frames in the backyard with the X100S left me a bit underwhelmed.  Zack’s whole “best camera ever” was ringing a bit hollow for me (though it’s got to be one of the most creative camera reviews of all time).

So back to the camera manual.  Review the menu system. What does this button do again?

We’re not in Cansas anymore.

Then a day later it was off to the tulip festival with the family and the X100S dangling around my neck.  Tossed a couple of batteries, an extra memory card, and a lens cloth (just in case) in the jacket pocket.  And that’s it.  No camera bag.  Felt kinda odd – but nimble.  I almost felt bad for those folks with photo backpacks and full sized tripods – except I knew they were having fun.

x100s test -3 The Mt Angel Sausage Company is a staple at the tulip festival.

x100s test -2 Every X100S review requires a B&W street-inspired photo.

x100s test-10 Trying some close up shots on a steam tractor that was parked at the tulip festival.

Still missed a lot of shots.  Blurry.  Blown highlights.  Under exposed.  Sigh.

Early next morning to Newport, Oregon.  After getting soaked by some morning rain and hail it was kinda nice out there.  But my photos weren’t necessarily following the nice weather.

x100s test -4 Early morning sport fishing boats waiting for departure time.

x100s test -5 A minus tide exposes the footings on this pier.

x100s test -6Stairs leading up to the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Then a quick afternoon outing with my daughter to Finley Wildlife Refuge (where it seems I test most new gear and lenses).x100s test -7

This barn at Finley makes an appearance in just about all of my gear / lens reviews.

x100s test -8  This oak tree should probably make it into more reviews.

And then another quick trip out to the Rogue Farm for a sheep sheering demonstration.  I still missed a few shots under some pretty tough lighting (the shot here is only at ISO2500 with 1/40 – but I tried some out at ISO5000 with 1/125 second).

x100s test -1 Sheering sheep at ISO2500.

A few notes:

Do I miss some shots having a fixed lens on the camera?  Sure.  But – as the adage goes – constraints drive creativity.

I’m still wrestling with the OVF and EVF.  I try to use OVF as much as possible – I find it brighter much of the time and I imagine it helps on battery life.  That said – there’s a need to remember to consider parallax when framing subjects that are close to the camera.

Battery life.  It’s nothing like your DSLR.  I bought two extra batteries straight away and I’m considering a third (I consider extra batteries and memory less expensive than missing the shot).

Lens hood.  Yes it sticks out and makes it less pocketable but it also makes it easier to hold while shooting (and likely helps with all of those other things that lens hoods are known to help with – such as flare and protection for that glass).  I consider it a must.  That said – the Fuji one is expensive.  Like surf-and-turf expensive – but it matches beautifully.  There are some other options out there.

I picked up a 49mm lens cap.  I highly recommend it with the lens hood as the spiffy cap that came with camera won’t work once the lens hood is attached.

One benefit of the fixed lens?  When I stop down to f16 – I don’t have to clean up the dust bunnies in LR.  🙂

More notes:

The maximum shutter speed at f2 is 1/1000.  On a bright sunny day that won’t be fast enough (it’s a physics thing with the leaf shutter).  Cleverly enough – there’s a 3-stop neutral density filter behind the lens (inside the camera).  I have it assigned to the Fn button for easy deployment (it’s not located in the Q-button menu and I wanted it close at hand).

LR 4.4.  If you’re considering any of the Fuji X series cameras – you’ve probably heard the tales of how Adobe hasn’t quite been able to handle the raw files all that well.  Update your Lightroom to 4.4 and don’t worry about it (I shoot only in raw except for sports).

I kinda wish the ISO5000 shots were good cuz I’d like to have shown them to you (my fault – not the camera).  But, instead, you’re only getting the ISO2500.

Did I mention that this thing is quiet?  I’ve turned off all of the helpful audible camera queues and when out-and-about in the real world – it’s essentially silent.

The camera has a bit of heft to it without feeling like a brick.

When you work with a tool like the 100S it requires you to roll up your sleeves and make something happen.  I kind of like that.

I wouldn’t recommend this camera to most folks.  And that’s OK.  It’s simply not the right tool for every environment or for every shooting style.

Unless your a current X100 owner – read the camera manual.  Yeah – I know, seems obvious.  And after you’ve read it once.  Read it again.  Go shoot a few frames – and then read it again.

The X100S is not your DSLR.  It feels, handles, and shoots much differently – and it will likely require a bit of learning curve.  But I think that if you’re looking for a camera with a compact form factor, large sensor, sharp lens, high ISO performance, and stunning IQ – this is definitely one to put on your list.

Of course, there are more reviews out there.  Be sure to check them out:

Hope that helps (at least a little).  If you have feedback, questions, comments, and/or more thoughts – just let us know.

A Few From 2012

At the end of the year – I like this process of digging through the year’s photo shoebox and culling it to a few that I find striking.  Is there a unifying theme among the group?  No – not really.  But for some quirky reason or another – they’ve made the list.

So (in mostly) no particular order – here are a few from the year.

Top 10 - 2012-1Here a man  at an assisted living home holds onto an ornament given to him by a six year old girl.  Her church group had visited to sing Christmas carols.Top 10 - 2012-3From the NW Art & Air Festival.  Two photos – two photos of hands.  Hmmm….

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Another one from the NW Art & Air Festival.

Top 10 - 2012-6My wife and daughter really enjoyed the butterfly farm.  I know this particular butterfly is not quite “picture perfect” – but I really liked the contrast with this photo.

Top 10 - 2012-12 From the Philomath Classic Car Show – shot with a Lensbaby – if I recall correctly it was the Sweet 35 optic.

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Coaching instructions to the Inn Keepers during rehearsal for the annual Christmas pageant.

Top 10 - 2012-10Butterflies and flowers in the same list!  This one from the Wooden Show annual tulip festival.  Fun with the fisheye.Top 10 - 2012-7

Someone quipped that this may be the most photographed tree in the world.  It’s possible.  This is from our afternoon at the Portland Japanese Garden.  Every time I open this photo up in Lightroom – I tweak it – still trying to get the oranges / reds / yellows / greens to match the photo in my head.

Portland Japanese Gardens-2 I have a blog post somewhere in the Drafts folder on our afternoon at the Portland Japanese Garden – but until I dig it up and dust it off – here’s another one.

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From the Oregon Special Olympics – bocce ball.  I’ll be honest – I spent a few frames trying to get this one.  Not sure why – but I just really wanted to catch the ball bouncing with the trailing artificial dirt springing in the air. Top 10 - 2012-4When you’re shooting rodeo – it’s seldom a good idea to have this shot on your proof sheet.  🙂

Top 10 - 2012-5 It’s not often that two bull riding shots would make the list (typically it’s steer wrestling or saddle / bareback bronc …).  Here’s another one from the Philomath Frolic and Rodeo.

Top 10 - 2012-20From a family shoot this last fall – they made sure to bring their Orange and Black. A heck of a lot of fun.  Go Beavers!

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Some wild irises from a sunrise shoot with Jim at Finley Wildlife Refuge.Top 10 - 2012-14Here’s Jim and Hugh walking back to the car after our last photo shoot together.  We miss you, Hugh.

Friday Fone Foto

This one is from Saturday morning at the annual NW Art & Air Festival held in Albany, Oregon.  This year they had more than 30 balloons out.

If you happen to be on Instagram – you can check out my entire feed at Camera47.

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Lake Charles Gospel Bluegrass Festival

What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!  Mid 80’s on a small lake with a bit of a breeze listening to gospel bluegrass.

Admission was nonperishable food items to support the Union Gospel Mission of Salem.

Unfortunately we missed hearing the first and last group of the day (Bethel Mountain Band and Jericho Road).  But the rest of the groups were great.

By no means – was I “on assignment” this afternoon – but I just happen to have had a camera with me.   🙂    Below are a few of the photos from the afternoon:

  • From the Halfway Home performance.
  • From Festival String Band – but I did notice this bass player also performing with Baxter Hill.
  • Sharing a laugh during the Heaven Bound gig.
  • Another from Heaven Bound.
  • The obligatory banjo shot.   🙂
  • From Baxter Hill.
  • And, just in case someone thought it might be a good idea to jump in to the lake.

If you’re in the Willamette Valley and you dig gospel bluegrass – you might want to check out Bluegrass in the Orchardgrass on 4 August.  More details can be found here.

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Tulips 2012

Well – here in the NW it’s Tulip time – and in these parts – the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon is one of largest destinations.  My wife likes to go look at the flowers – my daughter likes the activities – and I’m OK as long as I get to bring a camera along (and I really like to get lunch from the folks at Mt Angel Sausage who are typically at the event).

Here are two from Saturday.  The first is with the Sigma 10mm fisheye – and the second is an experiment with a 30 second exposure (includes both a 10 stop ND filter and a polarizer).

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Tulip Season 2011

Finally – a weekend to visit the tulip fields at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, OR.  The festival runs through 1 May – and if you happen to make it out there – make sure to bring your camera – there’s an annual photo contest sponsored by Pro Photo Supply in Portland.

As for the photos below – both were shot with the Hasselblad + tilt adaptor.

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Willamette Celebration: FMX

Willamette Celebration - Saturday 24 July 2010 - low res-15Just wrapping up a great weekend at Willamette Celebration.  To be honest – I’m still soaking it all in.  Later – I’ll try to give ya’ll a summary of the event – but right now I’ll just shoot you a couple of images of some freestyle motocross – sponsored by the Livin’ It Alliance.

These guys put on four shows over the weekend – and were great entertainers.

To be honest – the first time I saw the ramps – I simply thought to myself – “yeah – that’ll be kinda cool”.  After the first jump – I was a fan.

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