It’s nearly time for Motorama 2015 in Harrisburg, PA and frankly I’m looking forward to a better time than than I had in 2014. Year after year Motorama is one of my favorite events to cover. It’s so incredibly diverse and there’s so much going on. Most of all I love photographing the arenacross races in the main arena but everything is of interest. The RC cars for example can be quite a challenge and actually test your skill with a camera. Then there are the people and all that they are engaged in.
Arenacross Motorama Harrisburg, PA
Anyway, last year, for Motorama 2014, I went with a plan. I knew it was going to be my best year ever! Sadly early on the first day I fell and broke not only a camera body but I also bent the focusing ring on the lens that was mounted on the camera and completely shattered an external flash.
All and all there was over $1000 worth of damage. Equipment had to be either repaired or replaced. Because I went with only one body I was left with nothing to record the event except a small GoPro the rest of the weekend. What a bummer!
With that said this year, 2015, will be the year that I implement my plan to get new and more interesting photos of Motorama. It’s time to see if I can pull it off without distorting another camera and lens!
As always I look forward to seeing everyone at Motorama 2015. Hopefully without a busted camera in hand!
A Cold Winter Day at Motorama 2014 – Before I Broke My Camera!
A few days ago I spent an evening and morning photographing the frozen Susquehanna River and the Columbia–Wrightsville Bridge from Wrightsville, PA. Essentially I was testing out and quite frankly enjoying a new lens. Over the last 6 years I’d rented the super wide AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED from Nikon enough that I could have bought my own copy with the rental an shipping fees. I would only rented when I actually needed it but I really wanted my own copy. In the end enough was enough and I decided to take the plunge.
The lens arrived 3 or 4 days before I actually went down to the river to test it out. Though I was itching to give it a spin I hadn’t snapped so much as a single photo with it. Well, nothing beyond one or two hideous shots just to see if it worked and made it here unscathed.
An Evening Photographing The Frozen Susquehanna River
I wanted to test out a new AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED that recently gotten. It arrived in the mail three days before but I hadn’t so much as mounted it to a camera and I was itching to take it out and snap a few shots. I figured Susquehanna River would be a perfect spot. This time of year it often freezes over. There were also lights all the way across the Wrightsville bridge. If I closed down that aperture and shot long exposure I should be able to get Fraunhofer diffraction.
Fraunhofer diffraction is that cool star like point of light that you get when shooting long exposure with a small aperture. It’s sorta the opposite of bokeh though not exactly. Rather than simply being caused by focus the shape and size have a lot to do with the color and or wave length of light. Perhaps I’ll get into Fraunhofer diffraction, as well as how and why it appears but that’s for another day. Anyway, the combination of pack ice on the river, diffraction of light and this supper cool, new lens I’d coveted for years should help create some interesting photos. When the wife got home from work I asked if she’d like to ride to the river with me and off we went.
We arrived at the river after sundown as we had planned. It was 3 degrees outside, that’s -16 Celsius for you non US folk, so it was quite chilly. Luckily there wasn’t so much as a breeze blowing that night so it wasn’t horrible. I was dressed quite warmly and had planned to be setting still in cold weather for sometime. The wife could have dressed a bit warmer. Better boots really but she wasn’t going to be laying down in the snow and ice like me so it worked it. Well, for the most part it worked out.
I really wanted to the the pack ice in the foreground so I set the tripod as low as it would go. I laid down beside it and snapped my first frame. I wasn’t really happy with the foreground so I decided that I needed to get closer. The only way to do that was to get out off the bank and out on the river a few feet. In doing so the ice broke under me and I fell into the river. Luckily I was wearing Gore Tex and the wife was there to help pull me out. If I’d of been alone I never would have attempted stepping out on an ice covered river. With the wife there I felt better about trying, was feeling frisky and really wanted the shot. Bad Idea.
After obviously deciding that getting on the ice covered Susquehanna River was a really bad idea I shot the rest of my photos from the bank. In the end I snapped 13 frames in about an hour. My favorite of which can be seen above.
Back to The Susquehanna River Again To Photograph The Sunrise
After having had reasonable success I decided to share another Kodak Moment with the beautiful Susquehanna River and her frozen pack ice the next morning. This would require waking up early and hitting the road before sunrise. My plan was to shoot from the Northwest, facing rising sun in the Southeast, and try and capture the sun as it rises. I wanted to get the sunlight shinning through the ice when it was an an acute angle and still low in the sky.
Once again I talked the wife in to getting up early, it was her day off, and going with me. In the end it was her that had to drag me out of bed. How sad is that?! Having learned her lesson from the night before this time she was dressed more appropriately for the weather. Once my lazy ass was dressed I grabbed my camera and of we went.
Finding a suitable location I started shooting before the sun cracked the horizon. I snapped many more than the 13 frames that I captured the night before. Perhaps 35 or 40 this time but once the sun had risen above the bridge I shopped shooing because the heavy contrast and shadow detail I wanted was gone and the scene. This time there was also none walking onto and falling in the river drama! This was much better for all involved. Most especially me.
In the end the photo I selected out from the mornings shoot can be seen above. I like that you can in fact see the sun shining through the peeks of the ice. I also like the cool blue tones of the ice and sky with the warm glow of the rising sun both in the background and shinning through and on the ice. For the most part the color is natural and has no heavy post processing. I did pop the existing color and luminosity just a touch in the lab color space but that’s all.
The AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED From Nikon
In the end the Super wide angle, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, flat out rocks and I look forward to having access to it anytime rather than just when I need it. If you have any comments or anything to add please drop me a line in the comments below. The Susquehanna River and the Columbia–Wrightsville Bridge also ROCK and are a beautiful locations anytime of year. I’m surprised that I haven’t gone there to shoot more often. Perhaps these shots will inspire me, and you, to do just that.
Thank you for reading and y’all have a happy day.
I really don’t know much about frogs. In fact my only real experience with them is the many nights that my brothers and I went frog gigging when I was a boy. I can however say that they are about the stupidest creatures alive. Now, I’m sure that there are some of you out there that are true frog lovers or perhaps Dr. Egghead, the world’s leading authority on frogs will disagree with me. Perhaps you will point out all the cool and intelligent things that frogs are capable of but for my part I’ll continue thinking that they are just stupid!
The Camera On My Mobil Phone
For my part, being someone who is not necessarily taken with frogs, I have discovered that they can be fascinating animals to photograph. For the most part they are rather elusive little creatures and jump away and into whatever pond or creek they are near before you even see them. About a week ago however I was out with my wife and saw a small bullfrog setting on a lily pad in a little pond. It was a scene right out of my imagination of what a frog might look like. I decided to sneak over slowly and get as close as I could to grab a shot. I was able to get quite close and was very happy with the resulting photo. Sadly because I didn’t have a decent camera handy I resorted to using the camera on my phone. Though the composition of the photo was good the quality sucked. There is just no way that a phones tiny little lens can compare with good quality glass and a large full frame sensor.
Getting Close To Frogs
Because of this I decided to go back a week later with a better camera and a 105 MM macro lens and do the job right. In the end I spent about 30 or 40 minutes walking around the little pond and sneaking up on various frogs. I would belly crawl up to them and get as close as I could, often with in 3 or 4 inches. Moving as slow as I was I could even touch them but as the lens I was using won’t focus any closer than 3 or 4 inches that’s as close as I would get to actually snap the photos.
I never was able to get a frog that was perched to nicely on a lily pad like the first shot with my phone but I was able to get some decent shots but “herding” the frogs here and there to try and get them in a better angle or location. Many times they would jump away and splash into the pond and be lost. Other times however they would just move a bit and be in a much better position to be photographed.
Anyway, despite my low option of their mental capacity I have recently found that they make amazing subjects to photograph. Despite a bit of dirt and mud on my clothing I’ve also found that the lowly frog can, in many ways, be a better and more willing subject to photograph than humans.
To learn more about the American bullfrog have a look at the two links below.