Photographing The Flower Fields

Photographing The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California is a funny concept to me. A ranch overlooking the Pacific ocean plants 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus in every color imaginable then charges an admittance fee to admire and photograph the results:)

Only open for a few weeks a year, it gets a big crowd wanting to have their photos taken with the flowers as a backdrop. The crowd also means it’s hard to photograph the flowers without people in the background.

My strategy has been to get as low to the ground as possible. You’ll find me sitting or even laying on the ground with my camera pointed up. This allows me to just get the flowers and the sky. Also photographing flowers on their level rather than standing over them is a more interesting photograph.

Do you agree?

Click on any photo to view slideshow

Photographing the Planes of Fame Airshow

Heritage Flight

Heritage Flight

The challenge of photographing planes with propellers is that you need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the blur of the propeller, but not so slow that the rest of the plane is a blur.

When photographing the airshow at Planes of Fame, I put my camera in shutter priority mode and selected a shutter speed of 1/80. By choosing shutter priority mode, I’m selecting the shutter speed and the camera selects the aperture or f-stop. On a bright sunny day, the camera is going to select a small aperture like f-22 or f-36, depending on the ability of the attached lens. The problem with this combination is that small aperture along with the clear blue sky will show EVERY spec of dust you have on your sensor.

In order to get rid of all those spots I use Lightroom’s spot removal tool along with the visualize spots setting. The visualize spots setting is key to finding all those little buggers. If my camera sensor is dirty and it usually is, fixing these in post, can take some time.

Check out the rest and I’ll let you decide if the time is worth it 🙂

Photographing the F-22 Raptor

F-22 Raptor

F-22 Raptor

Okay. This photo is example of why airshows need to hire photographers to stage their static displays. 🙁 What could be a better photograph of a static F-22 Raptor then looking straight down it’s nose? So why block the view with light stands and other junk? Not to mention the building in the background. If there has to be a building it should be a hangar.

The side view just doesn’t have the same impact.

F-22 Raptor

F-22 Raptor

CPP’s 2nd Annual Hike for Healing

On May 3rd, I participated in Creating Partnerships for Progress’s (CPP) 2nd annual Hike for Healing to raise money for a medical clinic in Cambodia.

CPP is a non-profit organization founded by Angela Wendel, the organizer of the So Cal Explorers photography meetup group, and her family.

Primary Care Center

Primary Care Center

In 2010, they built a playground in Tanzania that included a merry-go-round that generates electricity. In 2011, they partnered with Constru Casa in Antigua, Guatemala to help 4 families build new homes in 2 weeks.

In 2012, they partnered with Raise the Poor to build a library serving 25 communities and over 10,000 people in Cambodia. While there, they discovered children dying of dehydration caused by Hand, Foot & Mouth disease. They were able to provide funds to stop the outbreak and it gave them a purpose for their next project.

In 2014, they will help Raise the Poor build a primary care clinic in the community.

To learn more about CPP, the medical clinic project, or to donate, check out their website at http://www.creatingpartnerships.org/


The hike was in Peters Canyon, a regional park located between the cities of Tustin and Orange. You’ll see from some of the photos why it was called a hike-a-thon rather than a walk-a-thon 🙂

Photographing the Benson Sculpture Park

Gorilla face

Gorilla face

I wouldn’t make a good photojournalist. If I was, I would have gotten an establishing shot to show where I was. I would have photographed each sculpture in it’s entirety before zooming into the details. I would have photographed the plaques that showed who the artist is and what the sculpture is called.

So where was I? I was at the Benson Sculpture Park in Loveland, Colorado. The park contains a lagoon, flowers and plants like any park should. It just happens to also include 139 sculptures situated through the walkways and is open to the public. The purchase of the sculptures for the park is funded by proceeds from an annual show and sale.

So what did I do? I zoomed into the details, usually the face, of the sculpture’s that I found interesting. You can see the assortment of animals and people that are the subject of most of the sculptures by clicking on the link to my SmugMug page

Thanks to Shirley, my hostess and tour guide, I did remember a few stories she told me….

The hands that don’t meet in this depiction of ring around the rosie represents a child who had died and was therefore missing. It provides children, including her grandchildren, the opportunity to be photographed filling the gap.

Missing child formation

Missing child formation

Sitting on the gorilla was also a photo op for the grandkids.:)

Gorilla sculpture

Gorilla sculpture

This is the most controversial of the sculptures. It was originally located in the center of town, but there were so many protests, they moved it to a secluded part of the park.

Controversial

Controversial

This finishes my trip to Colorado.
Next up…The hike-a-thon for Creating Partnerships for Progress

Photographing the Wild Animal Sanctuary

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acres with species-specific habitat ranging from 5-acres to 25-acres.

Future Expansion

Future Expansion

They specialize in rescuing large predators like Tigers, Lions, Bears & Wolves to name a few. These animals have been rescued from private owners, circuses or other zoos that could not take proper care of them. The goal is to let these animals live out there natural lives in these large enclosures which include underground dens for shelter and hibernation.

What makes visiting this sanctuary different than visiting the zoo, is that you get to see the animals from above. They have built a “Mile into the Wild Walkway” that lets you walk above the different habitats. In the orientation, they said that was good for the animals because they don’t see us as a predator or food so our presence up there doesn’t stress them.

Part of the "Mile into the Wild Walkway"

Part of the “Mile into the Wild Walkway”

But just like at the zoo, the animals like to spend the day sleeping unless they are eating. I so needed a longer lens for this location. 🙂

Click on anyone of them to view them all larger.

Photographing City Park, Denver

After a week of training in Denver, we were sprung early on Friday, so we went to City Park. City Park is an urban park on 330 acres in east-central Denver. I had seen a photograph in one of the tourist magazines that I wanted to try and get the same vantage point of the Denver skyline. I didn’t quite get the view of the mountains in the background that I was hoping for. Here’s a sampling of my late afternoon efforts.

Click on anyone of them to view them all larger.

Next stop…The Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Denver

Photography Sego Canyon

Sego Canyon contains rock art from three different Native American cultures with more current graffiti mixed in, as well as a ghost town. I thought the rock art was in surprising good condition considering how old they are. There has been some graffiti added over the years, but not as bad as some places I’ve seen. It’s located off of I-70 between Green River, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado so I don’t think it has a huge tourist draw although we were hardly alone there. There were signs available to explain the three types of art and the differences between them.

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There are house and coal mine ruins in the area.

Ruins

Ruins

What is referred to as the ghost town is where a company store and boarding house still partially stand.

Company Store

Company Store

To see the rock art and other ruins, check out my SmugMug gallery

Next stop..back to Denver

Photographing Golden Colorado

The first day of my trip to Colorado was spent in the city Golden. I flew into Denver, rented a car, and drove to the Colorado Railroad Museum.

Colorado Railroad Museum Entrance

Colorado Railroad Museum Entrance


The museum sits on a 15-acre rail yard full of old and restored trains. There were some puffy clouds in the sky that helped make some of the photos more interesting. Click on the link to see more in my SmugMug portfolio

My next stop was the Coors Brewery tour also located in Golden. They have tours throughout the day until 4:00. My strategy was to get there around 3:00 as I felt that was a good time to sample some beer 🙂

What's on Tap?  I tried the Killian Red

What’s on Tap?
I tried the Killian Red


I enjoyed the tour and learning about how to they make, package and ship beer. Photographically it was a little challenging. Being indoors, I just put my camera into auto mode and let the camera figure out the ISO (as high as 6400) needed to not get blurry photos. The packaging line was behind glass and the reflections make the photos look a little blurry. To see some of the results, check out the link to the SmugMug gallery

The final photo stop of the day was Lookout Mountain. As the name would imply, it’s a scenic drive up a mountain that looks out onto Golden and Denver. The mountaintop also contains the Buffalo Bill Museum and grave site. I got there too late to tour the museum but I was really only there for the view. I wish I had a wind gauge as the wind was so gusty at times I could hardly stand up straight 🙂 The wind was blowing clouds and haze that blocked the sun at times. Seeing the Coors Brewery from that vantage point, really shows how big the complex is.

View of Coors Brewery from Lookout Mountain

View of Coors Brewery from Lookout Mountain


I was wishing for a longer lens as I couldn’t zoom in as much as I would have liked for this view of the Downtown Denver
Downtown Denver from Lookout Mountain

Downtown Denver from Lookout Mountain

Next stop Sego Canyon, Utah