Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentines Day at the Senior Center

Jan Balmelli and Al Walp of Shelton do the Boot Scootin' Boogie at the Valentines Eve dance and  fundraiser sponsored by the Mason County Senior activities  Center held at the Pavilion in Sentry park in Shelton, Washington on Friday February 13th, 2015

I decided to go to the senior center to photograph their Valentines Eve dance and fundraiser.  I'd like to start photographing weddings and engagements so this seemed like a good way to add to my portfolio while getting paid.

Bill Hillstead and Betty Berry dance at the Valentines Eve dance
 and  fundraiser sponsored by the Mason County Senior activities Center
held at the Pavilion in Sentry park in Shelton, Washington on 
Friday February 13th, 2015

After I walked in the room and looked around I knew that I wanted to get a photo of a couple dancing in front of one of the big red heart decorations on the wall.  But there was a problem, the biggest and best heart had a coat rack in front of it.  So I asked for permission to move the coat rack to the side for better shots of the heart.  At first the heart was lit up very nicely but while I was trying to get my first shots of it with a couple dancing someone turned off all the overhead lights on the edge of the room.  Darn it!  That meant that I would really have to drag the shutter if I wanted the heart to show up at all.   

I tried to light up the heart with a second flash on a tripod but could not get it to fire remotely so I gave up on that.  I think it was a compatibility issue with my two different brands of flashes. I was trying to use my flash in slave and master mode.  I really think that radio transmitters are the answer for me but I don't have money for that right now.

I got away with taking the above shot with the heart in it at 1/40th with no blur.  I suspect that the image stabilization in my new lens helped out a bit, but maybe it was just the wide angle that let me get away with it also popping the flash must have helped.  The above photo was shot at 1/40th f/2.8 ISO 1000 at 20mm.

My auto focus was lagging too much and I was missing shots, so I used back button focus.  I learned the back button focus trick while shooting basket ball and this was the first time I tried using it on dancers.  Back button focus worked out really well, all of the focus delay was eliminated.

I was really happy with this couples hand  and body placement in relation to the heart. As far as timing goes I feel like I nailed this shot.  Sure there was some luck involved, but it was not all luck.  I knew what shot I wanted and  I moved the coat rack and then I waited quite awhile and took many pictures over the course of several songs before I got the shot that I wanted.  I had this shot visualized in my mind, the lucky part was that it happened at all and that when it did happen the picture was not blurry. I was also lucky that the couple was looking at me but they were not posing.

Shanna Cox and Ted Little stand at the bar during their "romantic Valentines Eve" at the Valentines
 Eve dance  and  fundraiser sponsored by the Mason County Senior activities Center
held at the Pavilion in Sentry park in Shelton, Washington on Friday February 13th, 2015

Robert and Michelle Kurtz on the dance floor at the Valentines Eve dance
 and  fundraiser sponsored by the Mason County Senior activities Center

held at the Pavilion in Sentry park in Shelton, Washington on 

Friday February 13th, 2015

This venue is very dark so I was happy to have my new fast wide angle zoom.  This was the first time I got to use my new lens in this room.  I can say that the lens helped a lot.  It was nice to be able to shoot at 2.8 from 17-50mm!  I did not bring my prime 1.8 lens into the room as the versatility of my fast zoom lens seemed to be all that I needed.  I did have it in the car on a second camera body waiting in case I felt like I needed to shoot faster than 2.8 but I never felt the need to go out and get it.

I bounced my flash of the ceiling this time.  I thought that the ceiling was too high for bouncing and always shot my flash right at people but with a soft-box in this room.  I think bouncing the flash with the bounce card up worked out quite well and that is how I will approach this room from  now on.  

When I use my on camera soft box it attracts too much attention.  The big box only cost $6.50 but  looks really fancy and people always come up and ask me questions about it and that could cause me to miss some shots.  It makes people think that I have a super fancy camera set up, but I don't have a fancy set up at all. 

Even with a fast lens and a bounce flash I still needed to brighten up all of the photos in post.  So maybe next time I will crank up the bounce flash a little bit.  I had it set at + 1/3 for most of the night and the photos looked good when I was chimping but were clearly too dark on my big computer screen. I should have heeded what my histogram was telling me.

By shooting at 500 ISO for most of the the night I was able to get away with a lot of post processing, where if I tried to brighten images shot at higher ISO's I know there would have been problems.

 David and Kathleen Hopkins tear up on the dance floor at the Valentines Eve dance  and  fundraiser sponsored by the Mason County Senior activities Center held at the Pavilion in Sentry park in Shelton, Washington on Friday February 13th, 2015

Friday, January 27, 2017


Ah well the feast is over.  Two of my varsity photos have run since the end of the feast, but no more sports assignments for me now that more help has been hired.  I can say that I know how to shoot basketball now.

Jan 19th B-4

Jan 26, B-4

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A nice wrestling photo essay, wrestling under the spotlight

Slam Dunk.  My editor said that as far as he knew this was the first time he had
ever run a photo of a high school boy dunking the ball.  Yelm at Shelton Boys Basketball

Jan 12 B12-13

Wrestling under the spot light.  This is tricky stuff and my new camera really helped.  Most of the shots that were printed were taken with my D500 with my f/2.8 70-200 Lens.  There are a few wide angle shots taken with my D7100 f/2.8 17-50 Sigma lens and external flash.  The flash photos with the d7100 were poorer quality, but the wide lens let me get in closer.  I'd love to have two D500's, but that's just not happening.

Jan 12 B-1

Jan 12 B-1

Jan 12 B-5

This bowling meet was in Port Orchard and Kitsap Sun photographer Larry Steagall was there.  You can bet that I watched him so I could learn.  He tended to hold his camera over his head a lot, so I did the same for the high five shot.  Ron Quin was there as well.

Jan 12 B-6

Jan 12 B-12

Jan 12, b-13

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Year!

Jan 5 A-1 and A-12-13 Center Spread

I had my second camera set up on the beach to get a photograph of the swimmers from behind, while I stood in the water to get a photo of the swimmers from the front.  I had my beach camera set to interval shooting.  My beach camera took on picture per second until the memory card was full.  This is a good technique for covering all the angles at and event that is over in a flash.



Varsity page

Monday, January 2, 2017


Dec 29 A-1

These past few weeks I have learned that our home school's stadium and gym are among the darkest around.  So I guess I got thrown in off the deep end by learning to photograph sports in our local venues.

My "holiday run" is about to end, the new sports reporter starts Jan. 9th.   My paper has never sent me to photo a sporting that they have also sent a reporter too.   I'm trying to let my photos speak for themselves and hoping they will see the value in sending both a reporter and a photographer.

My 50mm f/1.9 is now my favorite basketball lens.  I like to sit near the baseline and to my right of the back of the backboard to get most of the shots.  I've also started to experiment with shooting from the stands to get a clean background and to get away from the referees who often block my views.

Dec29 B-1  
  • 50.0 mm f/1.8
  • ƒ/1.8
  • 50.0 mm
  • 1/1250
  • 3200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)

  • Dec 29 B-3

    Dec 22 B-1

    Dec 22 B-4

    Dec 22 B-5

    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    My Holiday Sports run Continues!

    Still a couple of weeks left in my Holiday Run.  December can be a great month for a stringer.  Loving my D500 camera.  Love the low light capablity of it, love the frame per second, love the anti-flicker technology.  Love that the focus point can be set to move when you change from horizontal to vertical shooting.  Love that it came with a name brand battery grip.

    My only real compliant about the D500 it so far is the way it eats up batteries.  I have a lot of extra batterie and using a battery grip help.

    Saturday, December 3, 2016

    More sports photos and some wild art

    Learned that its okay to shoot basketball and wider apertures than imagined.  My 50mm prime lens set at f/ 2.0 did a fine job.  I'm very tempted to leave my 17-50mm  f/ 2.8 zoom at home for basketball, but it can be nice for wide horizontal shots.  More on that next week when the shots get printed.

    Dec 1 B-22

    Dec 1 A-24

    Dec 1 B-4

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    Sports and Salmon

    Keeping busy for now.  I went ahead and ordered a D500 camera, this will insure no profit for the year, but it is needed for sports.  I hope to have it later this week.  I wish it could come today since swimming and bowling are on the schedule for tomorrow.

    Nov 24th A-7

    Nov 24th B-1

    Nov 24 B-4