Tag Archives: Portland

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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#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.

top 10-21

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

top 10-22

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.

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.

Top 10 - 2012-2

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!

Top 10 - 2012-13

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.

Pro-Life Rally: 17 January 2010 in Portland, OR

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-41On a wet Sunday afternoon about 3000 to 4000 people gathered  in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square to support Pro-Life.

The rally kicked off with the Portland Praise Band – and then followed with several dynamic speakers:

Rally sponsors included Oregon Right to Life, The Oregon Family Council, Christian News Northwest, 40 Days for Life, Precious Children of Portland, KBVM 88.3 FM, and 93.9 KPDQ FM.

The Oregonian’s online coverage of the event can be found here.

I also stumbled onto Daniel Payne’s photography site with more images – and a write up from Pro Life Tribe.

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Motorcycles at Portland International Raceway

2Fast Track Day at PIR - 26 Aug 2009-8In late August, Galen (#38 above) invited me up to the 2Fast Motorcycle Track Day and Instruction at Portland International Raceway (PIR) to do a bit of shooting.  A great opportunity – as I hadn’t yet tried motorsports.

And to be honest – I didn’t really know what to expect – and after 4 or so hours out there – I came home with +5000 frames.  Did I need that many shots?  No – not at all.  But I also didn’t know the next time I was going to get the chance to shoot at a race track – so I just kept experimenting.  What’s a few more bits, right?

A couple of things I learned:

  • Motorcycles are really fast (seems obvious, yes?).  I kept my lenses on autofocus – and the L glass / 50D combo did a pretty good job keeping up – but I understand why many will recommend manual focus – and to anticipate a shot at a particular point on the track.
  • Earplugs. I threw some disposable ones in my bag.  Glad I did.  It’s loud out there.
  • Sunscreen and water and an energy bar. If you’ve been to racetracks – you know how big they are – if you haven’t – they can be big.  Walking to a far corner of the track can take some time – once you’re out there – having water / food on hand is a good idea.
  • There can be a lot of walking at a track. A lighter gear bag will make the treks easier.
  • There’s a lot of chain link fence at race tracks. Finding clear access points may be difficult if you don’t have credentials.

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A Day at the Oregon Zoo

zoo low res - may 2009 for blog-4 We took a mid-week trip to the Oregon Zoo – in Portland.   The thinking was something like this:

“Hey, mid-week before school gets out – and the weather is mid-80’s…”

And when we arrived, big yellow buses filled the parking lot.

Oh, well.  At least it was enjoyable to get a day out – and though the place was filled with kids on field trips – it really wasn’t too crowded.

As for the photography – I started with the 70-200mm.  Nice for the animals roaming their enclosures – but not good for setting the scene.  Dang – tough choices…  Finally went to the 24mm – and kept that on for the rest of the day.  Trips like this, photographically, I think, would be easier with a wide-to-mid zoom lens.

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Lensbaby Panorama Photography

OK – it’s been a flurry of posts recently as I’m trying to clear my backlog – and, oddly enough, this will be the third straight post with a car photo.

And, yes, the title reads correctly: Lensbaby Panorama.

It’s an idea that I’ve had clanking around since I picked the lens up.  Everything is all fuzzy except for a very specific sharp area – and it’s all stitched together with Photomerge – which sounds easy enough…

(Note: A quick search will turn up a few others that have traveled this way.  It appears we’re currently a small crowd.)

While at the 2009 Portland International Auto Show I tried my second Lensbaby panorama.  As for the first?  Well, it’s buried somewhere in my photo archive – and is not yet stitched together.

So, why a car?

First, the ‘57 Chevy is an iconic American car and it has that great silver trim running down the side – a great focal point.

Second, I had a Lensbaby right there on the camera and I wanted to try this technique.

Some details:

This image used 10 photos shot with the Lensbaby Composer at f/4 on the Canon 50D.  Instead of twisting at the hip – I mostly repositioned myself along the length of the car for each image (this is probably not good technique – but then again – neither is using a Lensbaby for a panorama).  After a lot of futzing with Photomerge – it looked like Perspective view was going to give me fewer bad alignment points.  This also gave the shot some unexpected elements – which I think works – at least for a test image.

I did have to crop some of the individual images prior to the merge – as I was getting some sharp and some blurry segments on that center trim.

Once I chose Perspective – the final image couldn’t be cropped without losing part of the car.  Tradeoffs!  I chose to keep the whole car in the image, flattened the layers, and filled the white space with black – keeping the jagged edges as a sort of frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-1

Then I thought about it a bit more – and I imagined that a lot of car folks weren’t going to be happy with a funky ‘57 Chevy (even if I kinda liked it).  So, I had to make a run at a Reposition Only image.

The lines don’t align as well (say that 10 times fast…) – but it does look more like the history books and less like an old taxi with oval wheels.  I also like that I have photo to the edge of the image – and not the jagged frame.Lensbaby Panorama - 57 Chevy-3

And on both images – to help isolate the car from the busy background – just a bit of layers, erase, and a dash of B&W.

A few thoughts:

  • Take lots of images – more than you might take for other panoramas.
  • LB images can be difficult to align using just the algorithms in Photomerge.
  • At least in Elements 6 (I don’t know about CS4 or Elements 7) – only the Perspective and Reposition Only settings in Photomerge allow the user to help align the images (see previous point).
  • Just for fun – I tried the Cylindrical setting – and Elements dumped the job.  Not satisfied – I tried this a few more times – with the same results.  I might try again on later images – just to see if it’s a trend.
  • Patience.  The image might take a bit of elbow grease.
  • Patience.  The image might not work.  I didn’t show the Ducati motorcycle or Lotus Elise panoramic images…
  • Have fun (remember – it’s a Lensbaby).

2009 Portland International Auto Show

2009 PDX Auto Show for blog-1Looking back on my photo archives – I’ve attended the Portland International Auto Show since 2004.  And if my memory serves me correctly, I went a time or two before that.  Either way, when it’s that auto show time of year, I try to leave the cube for a day and scoot on up to Portland2009 PDX Auto Show for blog-3 with a few other guys.  We try to go on the first day of the show, Thursday, as it’s far less crowded than on the weekend.  In years past – we’ve also made a bit of a tradition to eat at Campbell’s BBQ on Powell (though we didn’t make it over there this year).  Good stuff.

2009’s show was visibly scaled back over previous years and I don’t recall a single concept car.   This show is not the size of the Detroit, New York, or Los Angeles auto shows – but typically there’s at least one or two concept cars.

So, why have I made it an unofficial annual trek?  Twofold, really.

2009 PDX Auto Show for blog-6 First, I’m not really a “car guy” – but it’s a great reason to take the day off from work with friends with the side benefit of crawling through new cars – just to kick the tires – as they say.  Second, cars on the floor of an auto show are really difficult to photograph.

2009 PDX Auto Show for blog-5 Most folks have seen good car photography – it’s everywhere in advertising.  Now, imagine the challenge to grab a reasonable image of a car sitting on a convention center floor, with crazy lighting, people everywhere, and someone behind the wheel making vroom-vroom sounds.

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Typically, my favorite lens for this venue is the Canon 24mm f/2.8.  It’s wide, fast, sharp, and I just zoom with my feet.  And, again, that lens was in my bag.  But this year, I added the Lensbaby – just for fun.  And after a lot of sputtering – there were a few reasonable images from the day.  I don’t think Car & Driver will be calling anytime soon – but they’re OK to share with friends. 2009 PDX Auto Show for blog-2

This year, there was an exhibit with a few cars representing each decade – going back 100 years.  Very cool.  We didn’t find the exhibit until after lunch – but that’s where I took the most images.

And the cars?  In order: Nissan, Maserati (if I remember correctly), 1946 Dodge, 1913 Case, 1953 Ferrari, and Dodge Viper.

50 Million Lost Rally: Wrap Up

50 Million Lost - more - low res-4Shooting a rally like this can be enjoyable and rewarding.  If you’re thinking about attending a rally/protest/event with camera in hand – here are a few general tips to consider:

  1. Be confident with your camera.  A lot is going on around you – it’s hardly the time to be futzing with the aperture setting.
  2. If possible, talk with the volunteers and police officers working the event.  They know, typically, what’s going on and who’s who.
  3. Be polite.  No explanation needed here.50 Million Lost - more - low res-2
  4. Look for contrasts and try to capture both sides of the story.
  5. Have your gear ready to go.  Have memory, extra battery, lens cloth, and anything else you might need close at hand – and a place to stash full memory cards and depleted batteries.  In other words – have a system that works for you.
  6. Know what’s happening around you.  This is especially important if it’s a protest.  If you see riot gear – remember #2 – and try to keep a safe distance.  Of course, there was no riot gear this last Sunday. 50 Million Lost - more - low res-3
  7. Have a plan – but be flexible.  It’s OK to scrap or modify it once you arrive, if necessary, but have a starting idea. 

And to be honest, I missed a few shots from the 50 Million Lost rally.  First, I wish I had taken a series of shots for a panorama that would have captured folks from the pro-life rally and the protestors facing each other across a downtown street.  Also, I should have been more diligent to document the speakers and worship band (Portland Praise Band).

Finally, I’d like to say thanks for the kind words from the folks at Oregon Right to Life and Vocal who took the time to comment on the first post in this series.  More photos from the event (photographer unknown) and transcripts of the speeches can be found here.

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