Sunday, September 30, 2007



and rockstar sunglasses too. While the smile and sunglasses look like they should be somewhere more exotic, this was shot in a back alley in Fredericksburg, Texas. We'd been out wine tasting for the day with some friends, enjoying the fact that things were finally cooling down in the move towards Autumn. Amanda has these great sunglasses and I was looking for something to work as a good background. The deep blue dumpster proved perfect for a couple of quick shots. The blue is harmonious to the purple in the glasses and the whole shot fits together as a result. It works well with the purple/ maroon sunglasses and also the blue sky reflecting in the glasses. She's getting a bit of shade under a tree that's mostly keeping the shadows under control, with just a bit of dappled sunlight on her face. I'd also just tried on the sunglasses, much to Amanda's amusement and she had taken a few pictures of me, falling around laughing, not suiting those shades at all. We'd gone from all that laughter, straight into shooting this, so the big smile on her face is really genuine and unforced. Last week I listened to a LightSource podcast with Jock McDonald that described fantastic portrait photography as a great conversation that happens to have a camera in between. Communication. Connection. That's the key, however you manage it. Even wearing the silly shades can do it. Whatever works.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

not a portrait photographer


September. It was something like this. Just a few of the people I've photographed this month. I wouldn't say I was a portrait photographer. A year ago I had a real hard time photographing anyone, close friends, even my wife. I have a whole list of blog posts in the archive on fear, avoiding people, spending hours not approaching someone I wanted to photograph. I remember listening to some of Craig Tanner's podcasts from the Radiant Vista about a year ago and starting to make the effort to go a bit out of my comfort zone. Approaching my fears, take the pictures I really wanted to, but was too afraid off. I started a small project shooting some friends and that was a lot of fun. This month I did the 'Next Step' workshop with Craig in Savannah - which has a lot to do with again working through fears. September is almost over and I just realised I've taken pictures of a few people, so I decided to go back and look. I found well over 150 people that I'd taken pictures of in the last 3 weeks. Strangers, close friends, family. Some I spoke to for a few minutes, some we shot for hours, others I didn't even say a word to. So, I'm not a portrait photographer, but here's some of the people I've shot this month.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007



I went out on Sunday afternoon with a couple of friends to talk through some portrait lighting techniques. We walked around one city block and looked at the different ways light was bouncing around and how to find the quiet light. I took a few pictures along the way and this one has beautiful, glowing light bouncing around a very brightly lit, sunny plaza outside the new Austin city hall. We are under a big white tent, providing even more wrap around fill. All just available, found light. No modifiers, no strobes, simple once you find it. I went back this evening and walked around, shooting overview shots of the light we'd found on Sunday. Next step is to put those pictures together with the portraits I took and try to explain how I find the light. Going to be serialising that article in this blog over the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007



Colby is another great person I met on the Next Step workshop. He described himself as a bit of a ham, always being the joker in the group. Luckily we got to work together on a few shots and I had a chance to talk to him. Such a generous and helpful person. He even bought me beer when it was required for artistic purposes! Now that's a true friend. Here we are setting the scene for a shot that I'll actually be in - Colby is working as my stunt double. We shot a few pairs of concept images together and worked on looking at the lighting and communication. I found collaborating with another photographer helped me take an image to a new level. We'd discuss and improve a concept, talking back and forth on the issues and ideas in a way that's difficult on your own. It is certainly something I'd like to do more of in the future. Inspirational.

Saturday, September 22, 2007



I had a great time meeting Dale on the Next Step workshop in Savannah. She claims to have a problem with focus, either that or a real fondness for blur which she turns into a great virtue. Either way, the images Dale posted were all simply stunning. Most of the images I saw from Dale had been manipulated through Photoshop. She uses it to express her ideas in a way that I can never grasp with tools like that. The changes strengthened or even radically changed the images but made them beautiful and emotive. I've been working to remove Photoshop and editing tools from my workflow for several years now. I'm not against the idea, but I spent many years learning and working on digital imaging professionally and have developed an aversion to that kind of editing in my personal photography. I think also as I developed as a photographer I wanted to stop fixing my images, forcing myself to get it right in camera rather than trying to save results. I got increasingly tough on myself in editing, throwing shots away that I used to make work in Photoshop and I'm certain that bias has helped me grow as a photographer. But you can have too much of a good thing and maybe I need to start paying more attention to creative uses of post-processing in my photography and learning how to take my images to the next level, digitally. When I do, I'll thank Dale for that inspiration.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

the new darkroom

Read an interesting blog post over lunch on the design goals for Adobe Lightroom. The majority of my image processing is now done in Lightroom. I occasionally pop in to Photoshop when I'm doing more complex bit pushing but Lightroom has all the features I need for 80% or more of the images I produce.
I like the unified and streamlined workflow. I love being able to select and sift images quickly (perhaps because I shoot so much) and quickly get to the keepers. Then being able to switch gears and work directly on the image is a joy. Particularly, the combination of using a large graphics tablet and the lightroom click and drag colour adjustments works very intuitively. I can switch Lightroom into select mode, point at a colour with the pen and push it in the direction I want to go. This extends to creating black and white images too, find a tone in the image I want to change and drag it to be lighter or darker. Really powerful, yet a very elegant, simple interface.
The slideshow features finish out the product letting me show the images quickly and easily, or then export them straight out for flickr upload or printing. All painless and quick. I think Adobe did well in meeting their goals for this product and incidentally making something useful for photography. It doesn't get in the way and that's the best praise I have for a software package.

don't be blue

red Zone

My favourite colour is blue. I'm drawn to that colour, love water, shoot a lot outdoors with a tungsten white balance and am generally calmed by the whole blue palette. It suits my mood and normal emotions, all of the standard stereotypical ideas that you'd associate with blue. It's my colour.
But on the Next Step workshop one day I was asked to make a series of images that thematically tied to that colour. I wasn't having a great day due to some hard assignments the night before and I started journaling and thinking about ideas around the theme of blue. I wrote words like 'cool light', 'shadows', 'orange compliment', 'tungsten', 'sad', 'lonely', 'moody'. Perfect for my mood. Perfect to keep me in the mood I was in. But I wanted to change that up. So I decided to go 180 degrees and head in the opposite direction.
My first thought on this was to shoot red. But I don't shoot red. For some reason, you won't find much in the way of images based around the colour red in my portfolios. I have a lot of blue. There's a lot of yellow and blue or orange and blue too. Plenty of other colours, green features heavily, but not much red at all. I tried to throw the choice out to someone else, so that I wouldn't be biasing the decision. I asked a couple of people what their first impression of the opposite of blue was. Yellow was one answer. Red was the other. That settled it. For this assignment, I chased red around for the morning.
It was really interesting to shake things up like this - suddenly I was tuned in to a whole different colour palette. I was seeing red everywhere, where before I'd hardly notice it as a photographic concept. Signs assailed me from every direction (we were shooting in downtown Savannah - a typical urban area in many respects). People wearing red jumped out at me. It is amazing how much you can find as soon as you go looking for something. Things you'd normally just walk right passed become a focal point for a shot.
I've done this sort of assignment many times with shapes or textures. I'll decide to go and shoot circles and suddenly the whole world is made up of circles and arcs. I'll think about shooting lines and everything is an edge. Look for rough textures and the world is a scratchy place. But I haven't tried it with colour before. Sometimes I've worried that when I go and shoot in a particular theme, I'll miss lots of other shots, but the opposite always ends up being true.
Instead of walking around, trying to find something, anything to shoot, having a theme in mind focuses me in quickly. I start working earlier, with more direction and focus. On days without a theme, I end up with a mismash of different ideas, some half formed, others not so far along. Days with a theme tend to spiral towards a goal, I might abandon the theme after 10 minutes, because the real theme comes along, but I'm attuned to the idea of working on something and it makes me much more productive. So give yourself an assignment every day you go and shoot. It can work wonders to get you moving.
So there I am, in Savannah, under assault from all sides by red. I shoot some signs, I shoot some brick walls. Then I start noticing the words within the words that make up signs. Suddenly a 'For Sale' sign has the word 'ALE' in it. I can 'dig' a digital camera sign. I started shooting ideas based on extracting hidden words. All from red signs. Still the original theme, but now it has evolved to be another, more focused concept. I was trying to push myself along and had been having a tough time, so I started shooting some positive statements. I've dabbled in NeuroLinguistic Programming and the power of positive thoughts and while I struggle to accept some of the underlying ideas, it tends to work. Sometimes if you fake it long enough, you'll start to act that way anyway. So, I shot positive messages. I even put myself into one of the images to tie it back more personally to me.
G Can Do
Next thing I know I'm approaching a stranger with a great face and a vivid red hat. The bonus is, he's standing in front of the perfect colour compliment: a green wall. I figure I'll just be honest and tell him - I love the colour of his hat. Leading with that easy, honest gift of a compliment breaks the ice. We start talking from there and he is kind enough to let me shoot several shots of him, even allowing me to move him a few feet to take best advantage of that great colour background. Harold's cap capped off a great morning working with an unfamiliar colour for me. I know I wouldn't have spoken with him or photographed him, if I hadn't started out by throwing away my favourite colour for a few hours and trying something new. I'd be off in the cool blue shadows alone, not talking to someone new in the bright, direct sunlight.
next stepAt the end of the week, I went on a final shoot, to the beach and took hundreds of blue, monochromatic, simple, blue, blue, blue photographs. Blue water and blue sky images. In tungsten white balance just to make them more blue. I love them all. Blue is my favourite colour. But red isn't so bad.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

video killed the radio star

A few people have commented that I shoot so much I might as well be shooting video. I adore my Canon 1D MkII, it's 8.5 frames per second shooting speed and large buffer. I'll fire off sequences of images, some times in full auto mode. At other times, I'll just shoot freely, working a composition, or around a subject. When I shoot people I try to talk to them a lot and have them talk back, as a result I'm shooting off quite a few frames, trying to capture that fleeting change of expression or reaction to something I say. I also find that after a while they get so used to the sound of the shutter it stops bothering them. I'll be shooting in one shot mode when doing this, but those sequences still usually share a common framing and subject that would perhaps work well as a video sequence. If I'm being silly, I can switch the camera down to small JPEG mode and shoot hundreds of frames without the buffer filling.
This might sound somewhat lazy or careless, but I tend to think of it as sketching with the camera. Even when I'm not shooting something as dynamic as a person I'll shoot as I work on the composition, moving towards where I want to be. I remember a National Geographic documentary where the photographer talked about shooting thousands of frames of film over a two week period, just to get a couple of good publishable images. He described shooting in a location, purely for research, exploring angles, light and composition, prior to returning to really shoot there. That's where I first heard that sketching idea and it has stuck with me and become part of my process when I'm shooting well. I also try to free my creativity through shooting a lot. When I feel blocked or uninspired, I'll start taking pictures, just one or two, or maybe 100 in auto mode. Just to get over that feeling that the pictures have to be good. None of them have to be good. Hopefully some will. But I can be certain that if I only take one shot, that'll be the best I'll take all day. Once I start shooting, I'll home in on a particular idea, develop it, evolve it, get the shot I wanted all along. Each click of the shutter is a step towards that goal. Even in single shot mode, I'll expose many frames if I find an interesting subject, each step changing some aspect that I find. My friend Randy taught me that he looks for three things he'd change each time he looks through the viewfinder, then he changes them and repeats the process. That's his approach to working towards a final image. I follow a similar thought process but I tend to shoot each of the frames as I go along. Sometimes, that first shot will capture everything that I saw or wanted to see - but not usually. I guess my logical mind kicks in once my creative spark lands the lens and I want to improve and refine the idea. So I shoot a lot, but I keep and share far, far fewer images. I really strive not to show two versions of the same shot, ever. I aim to edit heavily, share the good, hide the bad. That works but I wonder if there isn't something to learn in all those intermediate or not quite shots ? Will it show my process ? Expose my way of seeing ? Help someone else understand how I get from here to there ? Be interesting in its own right ? Over the Next Step workshop, I shot about 3000 frames in 4 days. One evening, when I was really struggling against some personal demons and having a hard, hard time shooting, I took 30 images in 4 hours. In another case when I really felt I hit an amazingly flowing, beautifully creative place, I took over 200 images in about 15 minutes. Each one different, each one gorgeous and expressive to me in its own way. After the fact, I do wonder that when I was struggling so much, that if I'd just started shooting, I might have calmed down more and dealt with things better. The difference in numbers of images made over those periods is pretty significant for me. When I put them in the context of a video sequence, that 4 hours of struggle passes in a second, while the creative period of flow has a much longer screen life.
So I'm going to give it a go. I'm not going to start shooting video with a video camera, but I do want to look in to producing short videos of all the frames from a particular shoot. it might be an interesting artifact in its own right. It could provide some instructive insight into how I approach a subject. You might even learn something from it, or I could, which would be great.
I've been trying out various options for doing this and have had mixed results. I've used Photodex ProShow Gold in the past to produce slideshows (and that's all this really is: a glorified slideshow) but it continually crashed when presented with such a high number of images and fast frame and transition rate. I've used Microsoft Windows Movie Maker but found it to be so clunky as to drive me to distraction. I downloaded a trial of Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 last night and it seems to do what I need, but the options for re-timing or editing the slideshow as a single sequence of video seem sadly lacking (no doubt they are in the multiple hundreds of dollars version of the product). I don't want to do anything particularly complex, just queue up a large number of frames [pre-rendered at a smallish video friendly size (VGA or so)] and be able to edit the transitions and slide timings to co-ordinate with some audio tracks. I think I'll probably throw in some pan and scans over the keepers as and when they appear in the stream too.
If you know of any good (windows based) software for doing this sort of work, I'd be very interested. Bonus points if it is under $100. Thanks in advance for any comments!
I have a more grandiose longer term goal too. I started shooting 6 years ago now, never really shot film, always digital, and I have a pretty complete archive of every digital file I've ever shot, growing ever larger on a large RAID storage box. I'm thinking that when I find the right workflow, it might be possible to turn this loose on every image I've ever taken and turn that in to one sequence, 1 frame per image. There's probably enough images for about 3 hours worth. Now that could be mind numbing. And you thought interminable home movies and holiday slide shows were bad. I might need an editor for that one.



This was a hard thing for me to accept. I've always defined myself as an engineer. I might describe my photography as a hobby or something I do to pass the time, but I'd shy away from such a bold statement. I took pictures for fun, I spent a lot of money and time on camera gear and working with images, but I'd always avoid saying this. But here it is. I am a photographer. I see photographically. I frame images in my mind, even without a camera. Colours and colour pairs jump out at me as I go through my normal day. I can see the difference and intersections of indoor and outdoor light and can see the difference in colour temperature. I take & make pictures more than I collect camera gear. Ideas for photographs or concepts for projects assail me constantly. I am a photographer. I noticed in Savannah when I asked someone if I could take their picture that I'd bring a long, boring story along with me to justify the process. I'm on a workshop, I'm taking a class, no I'm not a photographer, it's just a hobby, blah, blah, blah. Then somewhere along the way, someone said this to me and it suddenly crystallized and became easy. I accepted the truth. I am a photographer. I'm a lot of things. No one term or label can or has to define who you are. I'm a husband, a son, a triathlete, an engineer, a consultant. I'm also a photographer.

Monday, September 17, 2007



A new good friend of mine, Nick. Here Nick is posing with a DVD, that I made a series of similar portraits through. As part of the workshop we were given a fairly random item and then instructed to make some images around, involving or relating to that object - all with it physically present in the picture. I was thoroughly unimpressed with the object I got. I harboured jealousy towards the people that got the interesting items, umbrellas, weird and wonderful gadgets and here I was stuck with a DVD. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I was unmotivated, uninspired, then I was asked to pose for a record shot of my item and I immediately looked through it. So without thought, I had my theme. For once an idea came to me completely formed, without lots of logical progression. So I went with that. I wanted to make all the images have a similar style and composition, so I shot 12 images all in this similar portrait style. Tight crop, portrait orientation, about the same amount of the DVD and person in each frame. This shot of Nick was by far my favourite. The blue/ purple hue worked well with his hat and that hat also provides a great frame and repetition. I think the lettering on the edge of the brim really plays well against the lettering around the DVD too.ContactSheet-001Nick also took one of my favourite portraits of me on the whole workshop. At one point during dinner I went around the table, taking a picture of each person and asking them to shoot one of me. It was interesting to see the different takes on a simple portrait like that from 11 different photographers. Even though we were all in the same location, with the same light and restrictions, people really brought their own approach to it. Some just took fairly simple pictures. Others moved me around to catch certain light or colours, others worried about the background, some waited for a good reaction. Nick got me to crouch down and look upwards towards him and the light and that really worked well. Inspiring.

lake travis

Arun was generous enough to take us out on his boat yesterday, on Lake Travis. I think though, that secretly, we were a good excuse for him to get out sailing, so it goes both ways. We had a great time sailing. The wind was mild and the weather was warm. I can't think of a better way to spend a quiet late summer afternoon in Austin. Tim also had a great time, as he's an avid sailor but hasn't been on a boat for 4 months, since moving to Texas. We may well have re-awakened a monster there. I'm sure there must be some good sailing lakes around Houston.

My camera phone seems to have done a reasonable job of capturing the pictures too, which was a pleasant surprise. I decided to leave all the cameras at home for the day, then when we were out there, realised I had one more with me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Austin City Limits

The four musketeers

Took a break from the photos of my week in Savannah and went to the Austin City Limits festival. This is a three day event but we just decided to head out for the Saturday. Kate and Tim came through from Houston to stay with us for the weekend and we went there pretty early on the Saturday afternoon. It was hot! I think I've been spending more time than is good for me shooting conceptual ideas, hence the quartet of portraits above. I've got some more traditional views over in the flickr set (or as a slideshow)
20070915_acl_9558I'd had high hopes of seeing The White Stripes but they pulled out earlier last week, bumping Muse up to be the headline act for the night. I didn't really know much of their music so didn't have a lot of expectations. They put on a great show though - fantastic visuals, high energy stage show and they rocked it out. I had a great day, all in all.
Standing, watching, reminded me of how much I've enjoyed the few attempts at gig photography I've done. The energy is hypnotic and as a photographer you get to be right in the thick of things, in front of the audience, right under the musicians. The hours don't fit too well with my schedule, the smoke and atmosphere isn't too great but Austin has all these smoke free venues so that shouldn't be too bad. The energy is such a rush that I'm drawn back to doing that again.
I was also impressed how well my little point and shoot camera (a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1) stood up to shooting in various locations and light - bright sun light, low concert light, the results were all pretty good and spectacular for a little camera.

Saturday, September 15, 2007



A new good friend of mine, Gil. Somehow I never got a straight portrait of Gil over the few days we spent shooting in Savannah. We talked and I was inspired by the strength of his belief. Gil's a great film maker and that really came through on some of his assignments. You could see the flare for storytelling. This shot used Gil's trademark Hawaiian shirt to provide some light and subtle colour to lift an image of the square's name plate. I wanted to shoot the park name, but the light was flat and not that interesting. I positioned Gil in the sunlight, about 15 feet away, so his illuminated reflection would lift the water lying on the plaque. I always find it interesting the things you can use for a light source or bounce or how you can provide fill in a portrait, just by wearing a bright shirt. Gil also involved so many people in his ideas and really got them to contribute. Inspirational.

Thursday, September 13, 2007



A new good friend of mine, Harry. I didn't really get to talk to Harry as much as I would have liked during the workshop but his images were always beautiful. He created my single most favourite picture from the whole week and hopefully I'll be getting a print soon. Harry really pushed out of his comfort zone on this workshop, working with people and getting them to help him create great shots. Inspiring.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007



A new good friend of mine, Karen. We were paired up on an assignment in one of the squares in Savannah. It turned into a walk around to look at the different types of light quality we could find. Walking along, using each other as models, we talked about what light was hitting us and looked for ways to find it. The square had one large orange building in full sunlight and I've used that here has a huge orange reflector to warm Karen's skin. I'd use the back of my hand as a guide, seeing how the reflected light changed as I turned my fist around, watching it hit my forearm as I moved my arm in the space. After a few minutes of carefully paying attention I started noticing that I could feel the light hitting my face, turning half on I could really feel the light falling across my skin and how the ratios changed. Moving through the tree shaded area I could tell when the sun behind me was hitting my head, providing a back or accent hair light, or the warmth bouncing from a wall. Just taking the time to look at light was making me more sensitive to it. Karen also took the funniest set of self-portraits I saw in the whole workshop. Great imagination and hysterically funny to see. Inspiring.

Monday, September 10, 2007

coming home

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be posting images from the Next Step workshop that I've just finished in Savannah. There are a couple posted already. In some small part, I'm going to try and explain the things I learned or found out upon the workshop. As Paul mentioned in an earlier comment, it was an amazing and very challenging workshop. I'm not sure I can do justice to the whole thing and some of it is kept under wraps to keep it special for the next round of participants. But then I happened across this quote:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Sounds about right.

Sunday, September 09, 2007



A new good friend of mine, Jim. All natural light, in a square in Savannah. The squares are surrounded by buildings that bounce lovely currents of light through the space. Just finding the right spot makes a person glow. I found some quiet shade by a tree that was getting a lot of reflected light and asked Jim to let me take his picture. I had him crouch down by the tree so I could shoot from a slightly higher angle, that tends to flatter most people's faces and also lets you focus on the eyes with a lot of fall-off across the rest of the face. Jim has great eyes so that's exactly where I want the focus to be. Because we were in quiet light, Jim can also be looking up towards the clear, blue sky without being dazzled by the glare. The blue sky acts as a huge catchlight in his eyes, with my silhouette breaking things up. Jim is a successful film producer and director and it was a real privilege for me to be able to pick his brain about how he sees the world and light. He was really generous with his time and ideas. The amazing thing was that all his images also had a cinematic quality of light and composition. Inspiring.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

next step

next step

wow. What a workshop experience. Emotional rollercoaster of a time. Such a great, talented, creative and inspirational group of photographers and Savannah is such a beautiful place too. I'll write more about the workshop when I get home but wanted to share one of many portraits I've taken out here. Such a great week. Meet Harold. I was initially drawn to his bright red hat. We chatted a bit about Jazz and his love of B. B. King. Luckily enough he was happy to let me take his picture. I asked him to step over to just in front of this green awning, in the full sunlight. The quite harsh, direct light really makes the colours pop and his skin glow. I shot a few more as we talked then tried a couple with a similar background in open shade - the colours and mood of the shot in shade just don't work for me as well.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

the next step

amusingI'm not a great believer in horoscopes. It seems unlikely in the extreme that a particular paragraph is going to apply to 1/12th of the population, just because the stars said so. However, I do still read them on occasion.
I'm in Savannah, Georgia this week, attending the Radiant Vista 'Next Step' photo workshop. We don't really get started until tonight but I'm here a day early to enjoy some vacation time and see some of Savannah. I picked up a copy of connectSavannah and found this horoscope for Pisces, which did seem quite appropriate.
Hopefully I'll find my mojo this week. I'm excited to find out what we'll be doing! Part of the appeal of the workshop is that I don't really know what challenges Craig is going to throw our way. Savannah is a beautiful city, the people have been really friendly and it seems like a great place to spend some time.

forsyth park, savannah, georgia

from my camera phone

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Austin triathlon


Dragged myself out of bed to go and shoot the Austin Triathlon this morning. Didn't get a whole lot of sleep the night before but pushed myself to go and start taking some more photos of the people I train with in T3. This shot of Jane above made it all worthwhile. She spent the whole race grinning happily and I happened to be in the right place at the right time for when she was getting soaked. Ended up having a lot of fun, lying in gutters to get good low angle shots of the bikes, dodging kids with squirt guns who were soaking the athletes and occasionally me. I was trying to go a bit beyond the safe, event style of shooting that usually gets done at these events. I'm not being paid for the photos so took more risks and had a lot less keepers than normal. Though also meant there are a few that worked better. Also found that a camera bag can make for a good impromptu tripod to lean the camera on if you are lying flat out in the road. Getting down really low with a longer lens can really work out well, as in the shot to the right, where the road starts to provide a bit of out of focus foreground. I was lucky with some mist in the air too that fades out the capitol building in the background. I found some great busy, colourful backdrops in south Austin, using the painted store fronts as backgrounds for the images. Panning tends to reduce the contrast a bit and in general mixes the colours up, as you can see in the shot below, so while the background is busy, the slow shutter speed and moving camera blends that background and makes it less confusing and helps the subject pop. I was shooting at about 1/50s at around 100mm focal length, so I have a lot of blurry, failed images. But there are a few that work that gives me hope if I just practice some more!
20070903_austin_tri_8552Was a good day to go and shoot in the end, too. Not too sunny, lots of bright, even light from the clouds. I did decide to leave my flash at home, which I'm not entirely sure was a good idea. There were a few times where it might have been useful, but you do tend to get a lot of reflective clothes that glow in odd ways with triathlon gear and bikes. Also decided to cut some weight and only take a 70-200 lens (with a 1.4x tele). I wish in the end I'd taken the 17-40 along too. A lesson in being too lazy I think. I walked about 5 miles up and down Congress Avenue shooting the bikes then caught the tail end of the run course. Getting a bit further away from the start area meant I had more space to shoot and not so many people to avoid in the backgrounds. The rest of the shots from the day are over on flickr.