Archive for September, 2009

Flashaphobia

September 28, 2009

Or fear of flash. I have it. It’s time to ditch it. The fear……not the flash.

A couple of years ago, I bought a flash for my DSLR, but I’ve never really used it much. Mostly because I don’t know how to use it properly. When I have used it, I’m most often disappointed with the results. Over the next few months, it is my goal to conquer my fear and learn to use my flash, or rather control my flash. Mixing ambient and flash. Overpowering the ambient. Bouncing. These are all things I would like to begin to understand and get a grasp of over the next few months. I hope to be posting results of my experimentation with flash soon. Stay tuned….

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Canadian Whitewater Slalom National Team Trials

September 25, 2009

Earlier this year I had a chance to head out and shoot the Canadian Whitewater Slalom National Team Trials. The event was organized by the Ottawa River Runners and was held at “The Pumphouse”, their facility in downtown Ottawa. I was there assisting local photographer Harry Nowell who had been invited out by the club to document the event.

I attended the Friday and Saturday afternoon sessions. The weather on Friday was a bit of a mixed bag, from drizzle, to clouds, with a little hint of sunshine. Saturday was a much nicer day with plenty of sunshine and warmer temperatures.

I thought I was having some success Friday afternoon, but was disappointed when I got home and had a chance to look at my shots in more detail. Examining my photos I saw that I was doing well with my exposures, but I noticed that timing was key when shooting paddlers. I was quickly deleting many photos as it always seemed a paddle or shoulder was obstructing the view of the paddler’s face.

I headed back out Saturday having gained quite a bit looking through Friday’s shots, and found my results improved greatly. I concentrated more on my timing, making sure to capture faces. I was also getting better exposures having seen my issues from the day before with the bright sun reflecting off of the water.

Below are some of my shots from that weekend. I look forward to getting back out to The Pumphouse next summer. It is a great facility, and a wonderful spot for shooting the paddlers as they ride the whitewater.

Friday Night Races

September 20, 2009

With the season winding down, I had another chance to head out to the Capital City Speedway to catch another night of racing. Conditions weren’t the most favorable as it is now getting dark early and the temperatures are getting chilly at night. When I wasn’t shooting, I was standing around with my hands in my pockets to keep them warm.

The lighting at the track isn’t the greatest for photo taking once the sun goes down. Even at 3200 ISO, I was only managing to get exposures of about 1/125 sec at f2.8 on a lit section of track. Despite this, I still caught some keepers. When all else fails, it’s a great opportunity to work on some panning.

With a couple of nights under my belt now, I’m looking forward to getting out earlier in the season next year to get some shooting in under daylight conditions.

Lesson learned

September 18, 2009

Always back up your photos off your flash card ASAP! I just learned this the hard way.

Last weekend I was in PEI for a wedding and took a bunch of photos while I was there. I hadn’t yet had a chance to transfer them to my computer having had a busy week. This evening I decided to head out to the race track again for another chance at shooting my cousin’s races. When I got to the track and turned on my camera, I saw a message on the display that I had never seen before, “Error reading card”. Odd I thought, so I turned my camera off and then back on. I took a couple test shots and all seemed fine. That was until I got home and went to transfer my photos to my computer. It seems all my PEI photos had been wiped out. I know there’s recovery software, but seeing as I had filled up about 90% of the card tonight, there wasn’t much point in trying it out.

So don’t suffer my fate. Always back up your photos from your flash card ASAP. I know I will always be prompt about doing so in the future. I now understand why the pro’s have small onsite backup drives with them! While I lost some personal photos, it could have been worse. They could have been photos from a paid shoot that were lost forever. Had I been paid to shoot the weddding……..how do you explain that one to the client?!?!?

A Night at the Races

September 3, 2009

Last night I had my first opportunity to head out to Capital City Speedway and catch some racing. One of my cousins took up stock car racing a couple of years ago in the mini stock class, so I thought I’d head out to support him and try my hand at shooting some auto racing.

Conditions were challenging from obstructions and low light as it got dark. On top of that, these cars were moving faster than anything I have ever photographed before! While the fencing is there to protect the spectators, as a photographer it quickly became my enemy, but I made the best of it. I was definitely jealous of the track photographer Rick Young, who had an unobstructed view from the middle of the track.