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Haystack

_DSC1727Some of it is for feed and some for bedding. If you ask me the difference, it beats me. These bales sat in the field for months after they were made, so I assume they are for bedding. I just drive by and take a shot as I travel past on my journeys to somewhere else. I admit to having a soft spot for images of haystacks.

Local Lighthouse, Portland

_DSC1034There is a distinct advantage to having a local lighthouse to visit. While I was in Maine I took advantage of the less than sunny days to visit the Portland lighthouse. Fog, snow, and rain became part of the inventory of interesting images. I always saw tourists in a hurry, drive up, photograph the lighthouse, hop in the car, and drive away again. I never even had the chance to point out the best show was at their feet in the reflections of the tidal pools on the rocks below. On the days when the reflection was sharp because the wind was still, you got that signature shot everyone looks to get.

_DSC1019I’m not one to camp out and wait for sunset, or to wait hours upon hours for the clouds to arrange themselves for my image. And I’m not a fan of changing things in Photoshop. I prefer drive by shooting. Hey, it works for me. I can appreciate some images that were made by others who toiled and waited…. just not me.

_DSC1021If you just look down at the tidal pools, there’s a reflection to reward you. On a sunny day a polarizing filter will get you a more distinct image. Either way try to break out of the typical tourist mode and get something different.

Woodsman Day

_DSC0783The county fairs in Maine had woodsman day. Excuse me, ‘women’ day also. The best group was ‘Chicks with Axes’ well at least the name. In one place they put a Coke can (full) in the bullseye for the axe to hit. Sawing, chopping and other assorted timber skills were contested. The loudest were the chainsaw events. Cut down a tree, yes, there was a contest for that as well. For the participants this was really serious stuff. The trees were erected like telephone poles. It’s the last event. The trunks are trimmed to  the same diameter. Bring a sharp axe and wear a shin guard. No bleeding this time.

_DSC0486Beard is optional. But there are some folks who don’t seem to get out too much into the world.

_DSC0505What would a competition be without a two man hand saw event? You need rhythm and a good partner on the other end.

_DSC0646But it’s the chainsaw that has made all the difference. They even compete in souped up chainsaws to cut the block in the fewest seconds. It’s way too loud. They actually hand out ear plugs among the audience.

_DSC0697There are always the old ways and you compete here by chopping this block as you stand upon it. Watch the axe. Don’t cut yourself.

_DSC0472Remember I mentioned Chicks With Axes? They had their own T shirts. Aim and fire away.

_DSC0484At one point they put a Coke can in the bullseye so the reward of a soda spray resulted if you were accurate.

Blue Angels, Portland

_DSC0205Another day, another airshow…. If you keep scanning the internet, actually, I’m not sure how I got the news of this show. So you experiment, long tele or wide angle, I keep thinking that the detailed close-up is a better shot. But then you don’t get the whole picture. I was there. But it took cruising my archive to remember the event. Nothing too photographically memorable that day…_DSC0285

_DSC0299I got some shots in formation. The jets fly low and the noise is impressively loud. The government budget for airshows was already being cut back. I read that this was the last show that would occur in Portland.

Air Show

_DSC8351Red Bull. San Diego. The series. They happened to be staging the air races, a series, in San Diego. Lucky me. Looking at the series of images, this was a documented event but I didn’t really have the eye to catch a signature image. If I did it over again, I’d try some different things. I certainly keep evolving my photographic eye. It’s what’s fun. You’re always changing things.

San Diego Zoo

_DSC7227It’s world famous! Until I had been to Africa, this was pretty good. Now that I’ve had a completely different experience in the wild, this zoo is and interesting series of images in retrospect. If you isolate the animal and the background, you might convince yourself you are in the African veldt._DSC7315 It’s like going to the aquarium. You can get a shot but you know it was from behind the glass in a tank._DSC7171

Tijuana

_DSC6945If you’re in San Diego, you can easily enter Tijuana, Mexico. David joined me traveling from Los Angeles, USC. There’s a train that takes you to the border. You can then walk over without ever being stopped. Getting back into the USA is more complicated. The customs service will definitely want to see a passport. But walking is pretty easy since there’s not much place to put contraband. So you pass through with minimum waiting. _DSC6901

The native folks headed to Mexico all seemed to be carrying large bundles of toilet paper. Really! And once you are in Mexico, everyone seems to be bringing back prescription medication. There are big signs and many (hundreds) of pharmacies close-by to the border crossing. _DSC6873

We just wanted to say we were in Mexico. We wandered around and had tacos. That’s it. No need for drugs, legal or illegal. I would have brought some toilet paper if I had known it was in demand._DSC6986You also have to be impressed by the traffic jam back into the USA.

Tennis

_DSC4888It was pretty cool! Justin Henin, Belgium, Svetlana Kuznetsova, US Open Tennis 2007 finals… Manny Milan, a well-known Sports Illustrated photographer, invited me as his assistant. I got to access the venue from as close as you can get. It was exciting! And it was an education in shooting sports. Manny told me the shots that the photographers were trying to capture. Then I had the opportunity to get them myself. Lighting is artificial because the finals are in the evening. Most photographers prefer daylight. Everyone tries to capture the moment when the champion collapses in joy on the court.

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The preferred action shot always has the tennis ball and a look of total concentration. Where you’re stationed in the stadium determines whether you are trying wide angle or telephoto images. The cameras are fast and the lenses fast and heavy. The preference is overwhelmingly Canon. The “glass” ranges to the biggest fastest lenses, which are more than a handful. You don’t carry them as much as you “lug” them. Thanks Manny.

In thousands of images there is only a small fraction, which get the player, the expression, and the ball in the same frame. And after all of that, the editors take only a few to illustrate the story of the event.

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Even the award ceremony is scripted. Photographers are assigned positions from which to shoot the champions. It helps if you have connections.

Harness Racing

_DSC6105You bet?! It’s a big money maker for the organizers. The riders are coming from far and away to compete. The advantage for me is that no one seemed to know what to do with me. I just wandered all over, along the rail, in the infield, in the paddock and was never really prevented from getting up close. Everyone ignored me. Later I found out you can’t do any of this. No one from the audience is allowed in the staging area. But a big camera and looking like you belong can go a long way. I had a great time all along the rail in the infield. With all this freedom to roam, I was stuck trying to get the best action shot. You do your best. Unlike stock cars, there were no crashes, at least while I watched.

Greased Pig

_DSC6160It’s another event I came across at one of the Maine County Fairs. Throw a series of pigs into a pen and let kids try to catch one. Each kid gets a bag and the mission is to put a piglet into the bag. It’s pretty chaotic. Everybody wins. There are enough piglets, one for each kid. Cute? This is a lot of piglets all crowded around to feed from mama. They make their money/profit on the lottery to pick which kids get into the pen. I’ve heard of greased pig contests ….

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