Jewelry and fashion shoots for Hoopla

•July 23, 2009 • 4 Comments

Today’s issue of Hoopla was the first shoot I have done specifically of jewelry. It was a fun challenge to show off something as intricate and delicate as jewelry within the context of a portrait. -Cliff

Kelli Weber Hoopla Cover Story

Kelli Weber Hoopla Cover Story

Kelli Weber Hoopla Cover Story

Kelli Weber Hoopla Cover Story

Gazette marketing intern Kelsey Richards channeled her inner supermodel for last week’s MyStyle shoot.  -Cliff

MYSTYLE KELSEY

MYSTYLE KELSEY

MYSTYLE KELSEY

MYSTYLE KELSEY

Suburban girl at the county fair

•July 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

linn county fair auction

I’ll admit it: I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to all things farm-related. Sure, my uncle raised longhorn cattle (I remember feeding one by hand, Uncle Bugs, who I presume was named because he wasn’t destined for the auction/butcher’s block) and had a room full of rodeo prizes. Visits to that farm when I was living in Oklahoma in elementary school are a fond memory — if I’m guessing ages right, I was less than four years old the first time I “rode” a horse.  And I mucked stalls at a neighbor’s barn for a couple years in middle school. (7/14 Update: this isn’t from the first time I rode, but it is pretty darn cute, huh? That’s me in the middle wearing blue, with brother and cousins.)

Riding Aunt Marion's horse

All that being sad… I was raised in the suburbs, from Edmond, Okla., to St. Louis to Dallas/Fort Worth, and until last week, had never had occasion to visit a dairy farm (more on that later), or a cattle auction until today.  Like I’ve probably said before, as journalists, we sort of have to become experts in whatever it is we’re covering that day.  So I tried, I really did, to sound like I knew at least a little about 4-H and cattle auctions when I was out at the Linn County Fair auction today.  But sure enough, one of the first kids I talked to (Josh Fangman, a Center Point/Urbana graduate, below) asked, “You were raised in the city, weren’t you?” (He at least gave me some credit for the longhorn-raising uncle.)

linn county fair auction

After I had my shot of Josh getting his 1,355-pound Reserve Champion (in rate of gain, which I guess means how quickly he grew..?) ready for the auction, I headed to the arena.  I watched the first lamb go up for auction to figure out where I wanted to be and what was going on — standard practice for any story I work on — before I headed into the arena.  Almost every photographer would tell you that one of the great things about this job is that I get a front-row seat to everything.  Granted, I stay out the way of whatever I’m covering, whether it’s race cars at Hawkeye Downs, football players barreling down the sidelines or cows on the loose from their young owners, but I still get a point of view that most people don’t.  I took advantage of that in the photo below to show the spectators/bidders in the auction, as well as the focus of Jamie Donaldson of Springville on her lamb.

linn county fair auction

It was pretty funny — and impressive — to watch 10-year old Levi Flitsch keep his 1,175-pound steer in line. I can barely keep my cats, or my neighbor’s passive Beagle mix, in line, much less a steer that outweighs me almost 9 times over.

linn county fair auction

When it comes down to it, this is a pretty normal day on the job.  Okay, better than normal.. I love working on stories that introduce me to new subjects, where I get to learn something new.  My only disappointment was that the food vendors were already closed up, and I couldn’t get a deep-fried Twinkie. (Ex-suburbanite I may be, but my years in Texas taught me to appreciate the deep-fried things in life.)

-liz

Friday night at Hawkeye Downs

•July 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

hawkeye downs miller 100

I spent last Friday out at Hawkeye Downs covering the Miller 100 race. Photographers are at a bit of a disadvantage when covering a single long race out there.. once the race starts, you’re stuck in whatever position you’ve chosen. The view may be better from inside the track, but there’s no tunnel under the track, so you’re stuck there once the race starts. (Above: post-race rehydration by the winner, Steve Carlson)

hawkeye downs miller 100

I opted for covering the race from outside the track, so I could have some diversity to the images in the slideshow I put together.

hawkeye downs miller 100

hawkeye downs miller 100

hawkeye downs miller 100

From before the race, a fan shows her collection of autographs..

hawkeye downs miller 100

-liz

Fourth of July Fireworks

•July 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Here are the photos of fireworks submitted by reFocus readers from this year’s fourth of July celebration. There are also a few I took in downtown Iowa City. Enjoy!
-Brian
Bryce Moore shot these photos Saturday night (7/4/09) at Lake Macbride, from the beach/boating area.

Bryce Moore shot these photos Saturday night (7/4/09) at Lake Macbride, from the beach/boating area.

Bryce Moore shot these photos Saturday night (7/4/09) at Lake Macbride, from the beach/boating area.

Bryce Moore shot these photos Saturday night (7/4/09) at Lake Macbride, from the beach/boating area.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Joyce Meyer shot these Fireworks at The Riverside Park in Spillville. She said she was outside the park, because if she is too close it gets to smoky for photos. Joyce says she is constantly trying different types of shots from close up to far away with a background and liked that I got a reflection off of some cars when I backed off with her zoom. She uses a Canon Rebel xsi.

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Fireworks explode over the Old Capitol building in downtown Iowa City Saturday July 4th, 2009. A large crowd attended a similar display at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, where it was moved because of safety concerns in downtown CR, the normal site of the show. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Photographing Fireworks

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Spectators watch the "Celebration of Freedom" fireworks grand finale from the parking garage between 2nd and 3rd Ave. in downtown Cedar Rapids Sun. July 4, 2004.

Spectators watch the "Celebration of Freedom" fireworks grand finale from the parking garage between 2nd and 3rd Ave. in downtown Cedar Rapids Sun. July 4, 2004.

With the Fourth of July Holiday rapidly approaching we thought it would be good to provide  a quick tutorial on how to photograph your local fireworks display.

Fireworks

The "Celebration of Freedom" fireworks light up the night sky behind the 3rd. Ave bridge in Cedar Rapids Sunday July 4, 2004.

The most important piece of equipment you will need to bring with you besides your camera is a tripod. The tripod is necessary because long slow shutter speeds must be used to effectively photograph the movement of the fireworks through the sky. With out a tripod not only will the movement of the fireworks be recorded but also any movement of the camera itself causing your photographs to be blurry.

When you arrive at the site of the show scout out a good location with a clear view of the sky. Also look for interesting things on the ground that you might want to include in the framing of your shot. Things like notable buildings, lighted statues, flags, and carnival rides can all make interesting additions to your photographs.  A good example of this technique can be found to the right.

FREEDOM FEST FIREWORKS

Fireworks light up the night sky during the Alliant Energy Concert Night at the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival Friday June 28, 2003 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Once you have selected your spot, set up, and leveled your tripod it is time to select a focal length or zoom for your shots. For the most part you are going to want to select a wider focal length so your photographs will cover a larger part of the sky. You can zoom in to try to get more creative shots of the fireworks exploding but you will most likely have more success with a wide angle lens.

Spectators watch the show during the annual Freedom Fest fireworks display at Kirkwood Community College on Friday, July 4, 2008, in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Spectators watch the show during the annual Freedom Fest fireworks display at Kirkwood Community College on Friday, July 4, 2008, in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

When it comes time to actually start taking photos the first thing you need to do is make sure that your flash is turned off. Set your camera to manual mode and to a low ISO such as 100 or 200. Choose a small aperture such as F8 or F16 and set your shutter speed to the bulb setting. If your camera does not have a bulb setting set it to 1 or 2 seconds. For those of you that are able manually focus your lens set it to infinity. If you are not able to manually focus your lens or the infinity setting is out of focus use the first few bursts of the show to establish a focus point.  These settings are just a place to start. You will have to do some experimentation to see what produces the best results for your unique situation. If you are using a digital camera make sure to periodically check your results and make adjustments as needed.

For those of you using a digital point and shoot camera check and see if it has a fireworks mode. This will likely produce the best results because cameras of this type usually lack the types of exposure controls discussed above.

Just remember to be creative, have fun, and enjoy the show!

If you have success photographing your local fireworks display and want to share your work email your photos to:

brian.ray@gazcomm.com

by July 8th and I will post the best submissions to the reFocus blog. Please include your name, phone number, date, and location of the display in the email. (Your phone number will not be published and will only be used if I have any questions about your submission)

Links to other info on photographing fireworks:

http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks

http://www.nyip.com/ezine/holidays/firewks.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Photograph-Fireworks

http://www.photographyreview.com/fireworksphotoguidecrx.aspx

FOURTH_OF_JULY_FIREWORK_3Q8.JPG

Trekfest

•June 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a couple images from Trekfest in Riverside, which is always a really fun event to cover. Additional photos at gazetteonline.com.-Cliff

TREKFEST

Actors from the original Star Trek series George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig laugh as a costume contest participant collapses on the ground, portraying one of the innumerable, anonymous red-shirted crew members who often didn’t survive the original crew’s adventures. 

TREKFEST

Gary Barclay of Anderson, IN, dressed as Spock, performs for the judges during the Federation category in the costume contest at Trekfest in Riverside, IA. 

TREKFEST

Casey Slack of Waterloo, who is dressed as a Horta, a sentient rock-like creature from the episode “The Devil in the Dark” of the original series, entertains the crowd after winning first place in the supporting cast category in costume contest at Trekfest in Riverside.

MyStyle

•June 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sean McCoy Hoopla MyStyle

Sean McCoy was this week’s subject for Mystyle. More images and video for the shoot along with Sean’s interview are at hooplanow.com. -Cliff

blog03

Sean McCoy Hoopla MyStyle

 
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