Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Catch Up After a Couple of Busy Weeks

As usual I am behind on posting so this is going to be a very long catch up. Sunday, a week ago, Janet and I attended the Models Posing with Horses Photoshoot in Huffman. Janet kept me jumping because she insisted on sampling all the various grasses (and weeds) in the pasture. Between that and trying to maneuver a wheelchair out across very round ground I was worn out almost before we got there. I only worked with two of the models and mostly only with Niecy Moss. I got a few photographs that I liked but on a whole was greatly dissatisfied with what I turned out probably because my mind was on Janet and not on taking photographs. Niecy seems pleased with two or three which always pleases me. My favorite of the day was shot when Niecy’s husband, Dan, mentioned a photograph he had seen of a model walking away leading a horse that drew a relationship between the models buttocks and the horses behind. Sounded like fun so we gave it a try—didn’t work because the horse, Dixie, was much more interested in pulling a Janet and sampling the fodder than in being photographed from behind. I did shoot a series and as Niecy turned and started back the wind caught her hair and I got my favorite photograph of the shoot. I titled it Walking Miss Dixie, a takeoff of course on, Driving Miss Daisy.

Walking Miss Dixie

The following Saturday I attended the Houston Photowalk Meetup’s photoshoot of the Zombie Walk on Westheimer. I teamed up with Debi Beauregard and we got a few interesting shots as we strolled from the meeting area to the starting point of the walk.

Then it was every man for himself. I just calculated that during the Zombi Walk I photographed more people in that two hour period than I generally photograph in most years. I don’t often get an opportunity to use flash in such a rapid fire situation so I tried some untested for me techniques. I set the camera on aperture priority so I would not worry about exposure and the flash on TTL so I would not have to worry about adjusting flash output for the varying distances. Using TTL is a relatively new experience for me but I was amazed at how well it worked.  The results of TTL was extremely pleasing but the technique that most impressed me under these circumstance was something that I read a year or two ago from a wedding photographer. I set the shutter to fire on focus ONLY, meaning that if the camera was not in focus the shutter would not release. That allowed me to hold down the shutter release and when the subject zombie moved into focus the camera fired but not until. I shoot somewhere between two and three hundred photographs during the walk. On that many photograph my average keeper rate might if I was lucky be
100 Strangers Project, Neal Armstrong
twenty percent—Saturday night it was much closer to eighty percent. Needless to say I was elated and will be looking for situations where I can again use this technique. Even those discards were more because of missing interesting subject matter rather than technical failures.
I also added two more shots to my 100 Strangers project. Neil

Armstrong in a back brace was riding a bicycle while carrying a coffee table on his shoulder. He had, as he said, smoothed out the rough spots and was trying to sell the table
100 Strangers Project, Vina
to one of the employees of a used items/antique/junk store that Debi and I were photographing. Vina sit down on a park bench near us and mentioned my camera. I asked if I could use her to zero in my flash sitting and she agreed. She and her family were there to see all the zombies.

The Sunday afternoon I attended the Houston Models, Actors and Photographers Zombie Photoshoot over in the depressed East Side—one of my favorite places to take photographs. As usual the first hour was wait for everyone and get organized time which really cuts into my photography time so I shot very few photographs but got a few that I liked well enough to keep.

Kaycee with Friends or She Devil (you chose)
Jarrad Flowers, Very Up Close and Personal (Toshiba Fisheye from about 12" away)
On top of it all I got a couple of McDonald's Portraits of Janet that I like even though neither were And in the process I got a couple of descent shots of Janet for my McDonald’s Portraits project (few of which any more are shot at McDonalds—it is simply too difficult for me to get her in and out of the car so that is limited to major meals out with little spur of the moment frivolities like McDonald’s included.)

Janet at IHOP for Lunch

Janet at Aunt Bea's for Breakfast
All in all it has been a pretty satisfying couple of weeks photographically. But it has worn me out to the point that yesterday evening I changed my RSVP for the next two HMAP events for next weekend, one in the Woodlands and one farther out I59, from YES to NO. The NWHPC is having a photoshoot at the Farmer’s Market on Airline Saturday morning and I will try to attend that since it is very close to the house and I have been wanting to photograph in the market for ten years or better. Haven’t been there in a couple of years but I am hoping that there is still plenty from the fall harvest and possibly some color for the November assigned category competition, Fall Colors. As everyone knows Houston does not have fall color.

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