One of those weekends- Coming home with a bunch of broken stuff


Although this past weekend at Virginia International Raceway was a great shooting weekend (see my VIR AMA Big Kahuna Nationals Gallery), it was one of those weekends that the self-employed freelancer dreads: Lots of broken stuff! Fresh of my recent smashed iPhone episode, the after effects of which I'm still dealing with, I cut a fresh swath of destruction through my gear at an otherwise fine weekend at VIR.

1- I discovered that my scooter had some contaminated gas in its tank, which made it impossible for me to travel more than a couple of hundred yards before conking out. Although not a serious problem , I still was unprepared to deal with it, having neither the time nor the tolls to make the repair.

2- During one of my halting scooter rides, my camera swung down against the moving rear wheel, smashing the lens hood of my 7-200 zoom. POOF! there goes $50.

3- About half way through the day on Saturday, I began to notice the dreaded horizontal light streak through the images on the back of my EOS 1D Mark IIn. Blown Shutter and another $300 evaporates just like that.

4- Early Sunday morning as I was unpacking and setting up in the media center, I fumbled the same 70-200 zoom and it bounced on the floor, now the front barrel of the lens wobbles unsteadily. Although the lens still shoots, I'm certain this effects the focusing and it will have to go in for repairs, probably another $200.

5- Later that day, in a hurry to get out on the track to shoot, I shoved my strobe in the pocket of my cargo shorts, and halfway across the paddock, it flew to the ground, smashing the transparent plastic piece on the front . Another $100? $125?

Thank god the races came to an end before I was able to cause any more damage and now I'm scrambling to fix everything before heading out to next weekend's Grand-Am race in Montreal!

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Being prepared for when you're unprepared


Have you ever stumbled across a great photo opp only to find yourself self camera-less and looking at the missed opportunity, trying not to think of the photos your not going to get?

This happened to me last weekend in Kansas City. I was driving to the airport and had a little time to kill. As I drove past a large Cabella's outdoor store, I decided to stop in and browse for a few minutes. The store featured an huge, incredible taxidermy display and I soon found myself wishing my camera was available, but it was packed away and I did not have time to unpack my gear and still get to the airport on time. I did, however, have my little Aptek HD 720 camera in my pocket. Not my first option for high quality documentary photography, but at least I could grab a few pics.

As I walked through the display snapping away, and enjoying the way that the animals were positioned in relation to one another to create a series of real-world looking scenes, I thought that these pictures might be great candidates for a little photoshop session.

While the camera original images from a lower-res point and shoot may not be up to your regular standards, you may be able to produce an interesting picture by tweeking it in the computer. I look at these situations, as a chance to practice my photoshop skills and get a little creative. Start throwing some filters and effects on the images an see what happens. You may be surprised at what you come up with.

Click here to view my "Stuffed Animals" photo gallery

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Thoughts of a part-time motorcycle racing photographer


Just off my latest assignment, covering the Tornado Nationals AMA Motorcycle races at Heartland Park Topeka, in Topeka, KS:

-Motorcycle racers are among the craziest people I ever point my camera at.

-They all have that look in their eyes that says they've been to a place where the rest of us will never go.

-It's a pleasant change to be able to wear shorts while covering a motorsports event, this is generally unheard of in car racing.

-Are there snakes in Kansas? Spent a lot of time tromping around in knee-high grass this weekend contemplating this.

-When you make a mistake on a motorcycle, the consequences are quick and unpleasant!

-Motorcycles are smaller and quicker than race cars, and much more difficult to shoot.

-It's hard to get a large variety of photos when the race is only 20 minutes long.

-Motorcycles and motorcycle riders seem to attract a lot of pretty women.

-I'll be on a plane en route to Watkins Glen in 2 days to transform back into a race car photographer.

CLICK HERE FOR A GALLERY OF PHOTOS FROM THIS EVENT

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