Vintage car owners around North America are a fun group of people. Held together by the common bond of their vintage cars. Most belong to clubs large and small. The Spokane Washington area with a radius of about 250 kilometers seams to have more than average. I suspect that Southern California would be the vintage car capital but up here you don’t have to look far, the cars are everywhere. Every sunny summer day you can find groups of vintage car lovers gathered in some parking lot or another.
When the car clubs organize an outing it can be a rolling museum with dozens of jaw dropping vintage cars reflecting the sun shine and inviting anyone to stop by and gaze at each amazing model. The clubs and individual owners welcome photographers to prowl around take all the photos they want. It can be a great opportunity for photographers new and old to get some fun photos. The trouble can be getting something a little different than the rest of the photographers. Not as easy as you may think.
From the inception of photography the person on the business side of the camera has been attracted to reflections. Capturing people in mirrors, sunsets over water and any image that a reflection can improve on. A photo of a sky scraper would be dull in anyone’s view. But add a unique reflection of the building across the street now you have something. I was watching a fisherman row his boat on a small lake this summer and was attracted to the scene primarily because the reflection of him and his boat was a real artistic vision. When the trees around the lake added their color I couldn’t get my camera up to my eye fast enough.
On the beach earlier this summer I had my camera glued to my hand all day. The water and sun provided me with more reflection photo opportunities than I could take in. I guess most photographers feel the same way. A well placed reflection can add grand dimensions to a photo if your looking for them or just happen to look up at a glass covered building and see what has always been there. Now just take the picture.
After being assigned to shoot the local area Rodeo for the past few years I have become to some a fixture. “This guy with the camera is okay”, they seem to think as I pass by or pick out my spot on the rail. It can be a tough clic to get into. Photographers can get a bad rap by getting in the way or lurking around where they are not welcome. Even well established pros can be kept at arms length by publishing unflattering photos of cowboys face down on the arena floor or cowgirls in anything but most attractive poses. That’s not to say that I don’t have those shots because I sure do, lots of them. I just don’t publish them. At least I don’t where any Rodeo people would see them. My business card is floating around the Canadian circuit and if I’m going to continue to get requests for prints I will tow the line.
This year the weather didn’t cooperate very much for the three day event. It was dark and cloudy for most of the events and this made sharp clear photos pretty tough. But I did complete my assignment and came up with the photos expected of me. Before and between the events my camera is always on patrol for good images in the crowd and behind the scenes. This year I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite photo came from far away from the arena. A little girl playing on the back of a big truck used to pull a very large horse trailer was by far my best opportunity for a great photo. Lucky me she was willing and her dear mother was just as happy to have her photographed. After I e-mailed her mother copies. As it often happens children make some of the best subjects.
Not far from my home it can be easy to find good photo opportunities and this time of year with all the nesting birds to hunt it gets pretty intense. Intense and enjoyable. I do know how lucky I am to live where I do, ( the Canadian Rockies) and get the pictures I get. Thank you to all those great people involved deeper than I with all the great conservation efforts. Good to know that when I bring my grandchildren to these same spots the wildlife will be there. Words are not enough to properly thank Art Grunig for the many thousands of nest boxes he has built in his life time. Without Art’s efforts these photos would not be possible.
Street photography is an aspect of my professional development that continues to be a work in progress. Snapping candid photos of unsuspecting people on the street is the easy part, capturing a truly interesting and quality photo is where my challenge lingers. Once in a while It just pops up in the view finder like some from the water park series last summer. The Rodeo I shoot every year always provides dozens of good opportunities for good “street photos”.
Knowing that, I look for them between action shots of the cowboys and livestock. It can be easy to find good street photo opps at outdoor gatherings like Rodeos, farmers markets and street fairs. People are generally up beat and in good humor. That alone can be all you need to get your shot. Most dress for the event too, unlike the same people just walking to the car after a trip to the store or walking to work. I suppose what I’m learning is just some age old photographic basics; you just have to be patient . The good photo your after needs your effort in time and planning. Very few subjects just walk up to you and smile.
In live and wonder in the Canadian Rockies. That being said I am blessed with an abundance of wildlife all around me, if you know where to look. I’m also pretty lucky in that I don’t have to travel far in most cases to get the photos I want. Since early December I’ve been on a hunt to capture two big horn sheep butting heads. While I did get a shot it’s not a great one. In the process I did get some good photos of some of the sheep in the heard of nearly 60 animals. The rams challenging each other is hard to capture. Most of the time you hear it and don’t see it. Or in my case it was going on behind the trees. I have been on location several times this last month and hold the hope I will get the shot I want. I will post it when I get it, cross your fingers.
Perfecting HDR photography is still perfecting photography in that I think you never really get it right, you just get better at it . Oh yes you can get better at it but if you are your own harsh critic you will always find ways to make improvements. Ways to tweak things so you can see progress from the early beginnings. It’s a fun journey but some times a long and slow one. When it works it can really work. That’s the reward I suppose.
Our winter here in the Canadian Rockies has been a little slow to take hold. While the valley bottoms have had very little snow all the mountains have had their fill. Local ski hills are planning early openings and you can see that all the mountain peaks are capped in white. It’s coming we know it’s just a matter of time. More winter photos to come…
For the last few years I have made the trip to the local rodeo here in Cranbrook British Columbia with my cameras. I am granted a press pass and this gives me some pretty good access to get close to the action. Over the three day event I get some great shots and have fun doing it. It’s hard to narrow the list to just a few for my blog post. I hope you enjoy photos I’ve posted as much as I did shooting them.