For the last several weeks, I’ve been attending a class at Loeb School of Communication. Each week there is a photo assignment due for the class. This week, I had an photo assignment due within eight hours on an “unplanned” event. I’m usually not a procrastinator, but with my imperative work schedule the last week, I’ve been placed in this category. There is nothing wrong with being a procrastinator. It’s just not my style to raise my blood pressure while limiting my time to think it through before submitting a deadline. I guess this is the perfect learning assignment for me.
Well, it happened… I got my “unplanned” event. I was on my way to work when I spotted this porcupine sitting next to the shoulder off the road eating acorns that have fallen off the Oak trees. I quickly pulled over, put my hazard lights on, and grabbed my camera with the 105mm (Macro lens) already attached to the camera. I tried not to disturb this little guy as he ate his breakfast. This lens requires me to be up close, closer than I’d like to be to a porcupine (At least it wasn’t a skunk. My father has more experience with this foul-smelling weasel since his neighbor feeds them cat food.). I was about 5 feet away from the porcupine and had only one shot to take before he turned his back and waddled his way into the woods.
Assignment was now complete for the week!
I spent several days out in Las Vegas attending another powerful Photoshop World Expo.
This time having known the routine and some of the most well know photographers from the last time, allowed me to advance into other lectures and workshops taught by more professional photographers. I took “crash courses” on light painting, photoshop techniques, landscape photography, compositing, HDR, photojournalism, sports photography, and more!
I got to see Jay Maisel AGAIN! This time with another master photographer, Gregory Heisler, as they talk about light, their work, and what inspires them.
It’s been a long week, loaded with inspiring people, learning from some of the best photographers, while having to drink lots of coffee to keep up with the daily agenda… My type of week!
The above photo was the last photo I took before boarding my plane to head home.
I grabbed my camera and met some friends at the Hopkinton State Fair to watch the Rodeo in the Grandstand. I started out in the bleachers, but soon enough became too antsy to be confined to a seat, so I needed to find a better spot to capture the event. I approached the fence – the closest you can get as a spectator and was disappointed. The fence was in the way, bad angle to capture the event, and I would be blocking the view from the people sitting in the front row. Julie, a wife of one of the riders (whom I’ve never met before), was there watching her man prepare for their competition. I asked her a couple of questions about the risks of bull riding. She answered the questions, then asked me if I worked for “the paper”. I told her: “No, I’m taking pictures for personal use and this is my first Rodeo experience.” That was all I needed to say… Five minutes later, Julie had me in the safety pen with the cowboys. It’s amazing what doors open up when you are willing to make conversation with a camera and a smile. I was the closest you can get to the bulls, the action, and the risk without being on the bull.
I was trying to find the right formula to prepare my camera for the low-light situation with the overhead floodlights being my main light. The lighting, my lens, and flying dirt from the bulls pounding their hooves, wasn’t easy on the camera. I pushed my camera to it’s limit, trying to capture the fast action in a low-light situation. I was ill-prepared and challenged with one lens (my 70-300 lens) and had only the environment light (no flash) to work with. I needed a faster shutter speed and wider aperture. I cranked my ISO up to 3200 and the lens was as wide as it could go.
I’m truly grateful to have had the up close and personal experience at the rodeo. I was within 5 feet from the bulls as they waited their turn to challenge a rider in the arena. To be there to capture the cowboys on camera as they prepared for competition and as they rode bad-tempered bulls was truly amazing!
I hope to meet these guys again someday with a better lens.