Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Video-Two Wooden Speedboats

We recently produced this short video featuring two antique, wooden speedboats.  It's Volume II, following a similar one we produced last year with the same boats.  The photos and video footage were taken in July and August of this year.

The still photos were taken by me.  The video footage was taken by dedicated staff and includes GoPro camera work, both mounted and handheld.  A second handheld video camera was also used.  Our apologies for the handheld parts that appear shaky.  We rarely had calm water and the chase boat was bouncing.  Also, due to being understaffed on some days, I was sometimes driving the chase boat myself, not taking photographs but allowing staff to use the video cameras.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Racing Wooden Speedboats

These two antique, wooden speedboats were photographed recently on Lake St. Clair as they ran together in close formation.  We wanted the drivers to get as close as possible but the driving was very tricky in the choppy water.  This shot looks very nice with the bright spray showing well against the dark water.  The lake was too deep for me to stand so I was positioned on the swim platform of a chase boat that was pointed into the sun.
The boat on our left is a Gar Wood runabout and the boat on our right is a HackerCraft runabout.
100-400 lens at 250mm, 1/1250 second at f/5.6, ISO 250.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hacker-Craft Speedboat

This is a nice action shot of an antique, wooden speedboat.  This image was not planned in advance but I happened to be a passenger in another boat running with this 30 foot Hacker-Craft runabout in the St. Clair River.  The light was fading quickly in the late evening but the action was so exciting that I tried a few shots anyway.  This image captures the old, wooden boat just as it launches off the wake of the leading boat.  The light is soft and pleasant.
150mm lens, 1/1000 second at f/5.0, ISO 1250.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cape Buffalo

We were just as surprised as this bull cape buffalo when we rounded a bend in the trail while riding in the safari truck one morning.  He had been eating (note the grass in his mouth) and raised his head to stare, presumably pondering whether to run away or charge.  It was early morning with not much light and we weren't yet prepared to take any photos.  The ISO was dialed up and we got a couple of frames before quickly moving on.  The buffalo turned and ran away at the same time.  It's a memorable shot because we were very close to this wary and ornery animal.
100-400 lens at 285mm, 1/200 second at f/5.6, ISO 6400, handheld with image stabilization.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Show Jumping

This is one of our favorites of a horse and rider jumping a fence during a recent horse show because it shows peak action.  The horse is at its highest point in the air with both front legs even with each other.  The back feet are off the ground and the ears are forward and alert.
Most of the time we shoot in the horizontal orientation.  It's more natural and there is more room for framing error when following fast action like this.  But the vertical orientation works nicely when tightly framed.  The slope of the horse's back and rear legs gives a nice diagonal element to the composition.  We certainly don't claim to nail the timing and the framing perfectly every time.  The success rate is lower than we would like but a lot of practice helps immensely.
100-400 lens at 150mm, 1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 400.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Impalas at a Waterhole

This photograph of impalas is one of our favorites from the recent trip to South Africa.  We were concealed at a waterhole and were able to watch as this group of antelope came in to drink.  The shoreline was devoid of brush so we had a clear view when the animals came to the edge.  The sunlight was strong but the late afternoon sun was low enough to make the image attractive.  The ram on the right side is a nice specimen and is focused on something in the distance.
100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1250 at f/5.6, ISO 250.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cape Buffalo in Fog

We recently returned from South Africa where we were hunting Cape Buffalo in an area near Kruger National Park.  This bull was spotted during the morning fog along with several others.  It wasn't fully mature but it gave us one of the few opportunities to get photographs.  The buffalo were very hard to find and very skittish when we did find them.  This photo was taken from the back of a safari truck.  100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1250 at f/5.6, ISO 800.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Semi-auto Pistol in Full Recoil

Here is a close-up image of a 1911, semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol in full recoil.  The photo was not planned by me so I was excited to get this action.  The GoPro camera was mounted on the shooter's head and was recording the action.  I shot a few frames with the still camera and this one was the coolest.  The empty cartridge case is in mid-air after being ejected and the next cartridge is visible through the ejection port.
200mm lens, f/5.0 at 1/1000, ISO 800.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Close Formation-Ducks in Flight

We like this photograph of two drake mallard ducks flying in close formation with their wings set.  This is a little different than what we usually get when the ducks are dropping in to land in the local creek.  This pair was low and locked up as if they would drop in but instead they kept going to make another circle around the area.  Speed was very fast.
The wings on the left duck are almost straight and make a strong diagonal line that contributes to a dynamic composition.  Indeed, the two ducks are flying so close to each other that together they form a nice diagonal.
100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1600 at f/5.6, ISO 640.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wings Set and Feet Down

This is another favorite photograph of a duck in flight with his wings set and his feet down as he glides to a landing.  The drake mallard was coming in hot and has deployed his feet as air brakes to slow the descent.  I was positioned next to a creek and a lot of ducks were coming in and flying back out during their spring courtship flights.
100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 320.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wings Cupped/Feet Down-Ducks in Flight

This is an exciting shot of two ducks in descending flight with their wings cupped and feet down.  Photographs like this are rewarding because it isn't a high percentage shot.  The descent is rapid and often the ducks are slipping side to side.  This makes it difficult to keep them in focus, not to mention in the frame.  It was fairly early in the morning so the sun was still low enough to put some soft light on the undersides.
100-400 lens at 200mm, 1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 1250.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Close-up: Giant Slalom Ski Race

This is one of our favorite photographs taken during an alpine ski race on the giant slalom course.  Good close-ups are difficult because the skiers are at such high speed that it's difficult to keep them in the frame of a long lens when they get so close.  A shot like this pays off, though, because we can clearly see the intense facial expression on the athlete.  The eyes are also visible through the goggles and this adds considerable interest to a viewer.  That's just luck, however, because many skiers wear darker goggles in the bright sun.  We have peak action, too, as the skier is just making contact with the gate.
400mm lens, 1/2000 second at f/3.5, ISO 100.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Giant Slalom Ski Race and off-camera flash

This alpine skier is racing on the giant slalom course.  It was taken in the very late afternoon on an overcast day so the natural light was weak.  We set a Speedlite on a tripod on the side of the course to give us better light.  The flash was slightly uphill from the gate and angled to light the skiers from the side and a little behind.  We have to avoid popping the flash directly into the skiers' faces.  The Speedlite was triggered with a wireless radio.
This single light brings out all the colors on the skiers that would ordinarily be quite drab with the flat, natural light.  It also gives us a nice separation from the background.
70-200 lens at 150mm, 1/1250 second (high-speed sync) at f/3.2, ISO 800.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Giant Slalom Ski Race

This is one of our favorite photos taken during the recent alpine ski racing season.  The skier is turning at a gate on the giant slalom course during a race and he has a very aggressive stance that shows great speed.  The skis are on edge, the body is crouched low, right hand almost touching the snow, legs sharply angled and powdery snow trailing behind.  Many of the gates provide action like this but we chose this one because of the clean background.  We were downhill of the gate and placed the subject in the upper part of the frame to accentuate the fact that the skier was coming from a higher point.  The sunny day was crucial to getting some detail in the snow and providing nice contrast and color.
400mm lens, 1/1600 second at f/4, ISO 125.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Portrait on a Chairlift

This portrait of a couple was set up on a chairlift at a ski resort.  The couple chose the setting to fit the skiing theme of their upcoming wedding.  A lift was chosen at the slope farthest from the lodge so that there wouldn't be many other skiers riding.  This allowed the lift operator to slow the lift and give us more time to shoot.
We shot in the late afternoon with a low sun.  The temperature was quite mild and this allowed the couple to be comfortable without heavy clothing.  I had two assistants holding speedlites that were mounted on monopods.  We were standing on a steep slope and with the monopods extended the lights could give some fill on the shadow side.  We did two runs on the chairlift and got 6 shots on each pass.  I used the 70-200 lens so I could zoom as the chairlift approached.  This frame was shot at 148mm.
The overhead cable that supports the chair ran from the top of the frame to the heads of the couple.  It was out of focus but still appeared to be a distraction so I removed it in post-production.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Buck Whitetail Deer in Winter

This buck whitetail deer stepped out of the woods behind him into a snow-covered meadow.  His attention was focused on some does that were feeding nearby.  I was struck by the sunlight gleaming off his antlers because the dark woods in the background made them stand out so much.  I quickly shot a couple of frames and then rotated the camera to the vertical position for this portrait.
400mm lens, 1/1250 second at f/2.8, ISO 500.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Video Clips of Wood Boats at Speed

A selection of boating video clips have been added to our sales site and can be downloaded for commercial use.  These clips include high-speed action of two wooden speedboats running side by side as well as other footage of the boats taken from dramatic angles.  We are primarily still photographers but often include video clips in our projects.  This nautical video was taken during one of our photo shoots and some of the more interesting clips are available here:
Video clips of antique, wooden boats at speed.