In mid-July (yes, I’m that behind on processing some of my photos) I spent a little over an hour chasing one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. I shot over 120 photos because I just couldn’t stop – every few minutes the light changed, and a new version of the sunset would appear. I shot from three different locations until the sun went down past the mountains. The beauty of creation was never so brilliant! The whole gallery is found here.
Ashley and I went to the Lethbridge Air Show with our friends Kim and Mitch Berreth in August 2007. It was the first air show I’d been to, so it was interesting to see all the planes up close. The Snowbirds performed, and a monster truck showed up as well – a curious addition to an air show, but it was fun taking pictures of a big truck crushing already mostly-crushed cars.
My camera worked overtime – I shot around 1300 photos, trying to capture the best shots possible. Unfortunately many of the aerial acrobatics were a bit outside the range of my zoom lens, so these photos involved a lot of cropping and a lack of sharpness. The biggest challenge though was in post-production: I had shot so many photos that were nearly identical it was a headache to pick the best ones. It took me hours to get through them all and an added bonus was a smudge on my lens that had to be fixed in almost every single photo. At any rate, the photos turned out pretty well for being my first attempt at shooting fast-moving objects from the ground. Here are a few photos from the online album.
Last weekend a friend of ours was having a birthday and she decided to have her friends come out and join her at Shakers, a “family fun park” that has go-carts, mini-golf, arcade games, and other amusements. I opted to not do the mini-golf or go-cart racing, instead offering to be the event photographer. The afternoon light was quite nice, if a bit overcast. Later on I put the camera away and played a game of laser tag – it’s clearly a game for sissies and paint ball is much better (did I mention that I got a score of zero, getting killed more times than making kills?). Here are a few photos* from the event:
*I’m amazed that I was able to get so many photos given that the battery in my D200 only had a 28% charge and my back-up battery was dead. The D200 has such great battery life (for my needs at least) that I hardly ever think about power issues and forget to recharge it every now and then.
Jef and Alex getting things going in the first of many go-cart rounds.
I think Ashley was yelling at someone to get out of the way – she does that when driving too. 😉
That’s right kids, this isn’t bumper-cars, it’s go-carts!
I finally managed to get through some of my back-logged photos after having a very busy summer full of shooting a wedding and the reception, a BBQ, a softball game, and a baptism. So after shooting and processing photos for everyone else, I’m finally getting some time for photos of my own. In late June/early July, Ashley and I went to visit our friends Tim and Melissa Heerebout in London, Ontario. We were there for a weeking, making trips out to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, and elsewhere. Lots of fun – here are some of my favourite photos below (can you tell I had a hard time picking just a couple?).
It’s not often that I see true abuse of a digital technology – technology is amoral; the people who use it are the ones who decide to use it for good or bad. This site that my brother sent to me is probably the worst thing of it’s type I’ve seen, and I think it falls into the realm of technology abuse: it’s one thing to retouch an adult model (we live in an ugly, shallow world), but to do that to a child goes too far in my opinion. Most adults have self-esteem problems about how they look, but your average child under the age of ten is likely blissfully unaware of how the world works when it comes to physical beauty, and that’s a good thing. I know very little about the world of beauty pageants, although if I combine what I saw in Little Miss Sunshine with what I intuit from this Web site, I’d say that parents putting their children through beauty pageants probably don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their children. I suspect they’ll be paying for it later with therapy bills or bail money.
Back to the digital retouching: look at the image below. The “child” on the right doesn’t even look human any more. This isn’t digital re-touching, this is digital re-construction. Everything that makes the child cute has been ripped away and replaced by a horrible digital mockery of beauty. Click through the samples to see more (this one is particularly awful).
Ultimately the “artist” doing this re-touching work is providing a service (and some of the work is perfectly reasonable), though I openly question her/his morals for offering to do this in the first place. The real blame here lies with the parents of the children for thinking that anything could explain why they’d take a picture of their child and let some digital hack take the natural beauty away and replace it with a synthetic, digital façade that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie than real life. This is just sad.
Despite the fact that I was nervous as all hell the day of the wedding, I managed to pull off some decent wedding photos. I say “decent” because everyone else seems to think they’re great, but this is the benchmark I’m comparing myself to (they go to my church), so they’re just “decent” to me. But hey, it’s good to have a goal to shoot for, right? Someday I’ll be as good as Dave and Quin. 🙂 I had a hard time with the lighting, trying to control my flash + LightSphere combination, and the fact that the Catholic priest told me I could only take photos at four opportunities during the service, and I couldn’t move anywhere other than a 180 degree arc behind the bride and groom. Here are a few random photos from the wedding ceremony (and just before it).
(this photo was taken by Ashley – mad photo skillz are inherent to the Dunn household!)
Funny thing is, the outdoor wedding I turned down shooting (I was recording the video, those pictures were taken mostly by Ashley) would have probably been a cakewalk compared to shooting inside the church. My confidence as a wedding photographer was boosted by this whole experience, that’s for sure.
Last weekend I took my Nikon D200 and my 50mm prime lens, the cheap F1.8 one, out for a spin. I’ve had poor (blurry) results from this lens in the past because I think I had adapted my shooting style leaning on the image stabilization in the 18-200mm lens as a crutch. The 50mm prime lens has no image stabilization, so if I’m not steady, the photos are blurry. I focused more on stability, and the photos came out fantastic – the early evening summer lighting was soft and glorious, making every shot look superb. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the shoot.
Since installing and reviewing v4 of FotoFusion, I’ve been really enjoying using it to create photo layouts – it’s amazing how quickly I can whip one up, and it’s equally amazing how quickly I can remove frames, resize them, and keep them locked into the grid so everything is clean looking. I ordered some 12″ by 12″ matte paper from an eBay seller a few weeks ago, and I decided to combine the two: creating a photo layout with FotoFusion and printing it out on the 12″ x 12″ paper. Here was the result:
This is such a fantastic way to create a unique, great way of remembering an event: I’m hooked and I suspect I’ll be printing many more 12 x 12″ prints in the future. I printed up several of these and gave them to a few of the people involved, and they all loved them. Scenarios such as this are when I feel I’m most successful with technology: when I can take useful software, a bit of photographic skill, a nice printer, and create something that people can cherish for years to come. That’s when technology works as it should.
A couple of weeks ago, on June 3rd, the church I attend (RockPointe) had a fund-raising event for AIDS and extreme poverty prevention as part of a “Compassion in Action” push we’re doing as a congregation. They did it in an interesting way: they got together some of the most exotic and unique cars in western Canada, charged $100 a ticket, and put on a first-class event with food, entertainment, and an awesome assortment of jaw-dropping cars. Then then asked the nice (mostly) rich people who attended to reach deep and donate what was within their means. The final tally isn’t quite in, but at last count this event raised $115,000 – is that amazing or what? Calgary is such a financially blessed city, and it’s nice to see some of those people giving to a good cause. I attended the event and was the official event photographer. Here are a few pictures of some mighty lovely cars…
You can check out the full gallery over on my photo site, and you can even order prints if you like an image you see.