Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Outdoor Discovery Center

I had a chance to go the the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland last week and photograph a couple of owls. A small group of photographers was meeting there Thursday evening, and I was invited to come along.

The Center has several rescued raptors, including a Kestral and Eagles, along with the owls. We were able to photograph two of the owls, a Great Horned Owl, pictured above, and I believe a Short Eared Owl. Both birds had been hit by cars and brought to the center. The Great Horned Owl, while able to fly, had nerve damage to a wing and was not able to fly long enough, or far enough to hunt. The Short Eared Owl had a damaged wing and was unable to fly at all.

In the lower photo above, the owl has its beak open because it was panting. It hadn't been around people lately, and it was stressed. Like a dog, they will pant to get rid of excess heat.

This was the first time I had been this close to these birds without bars or glass between us. The small group of us spent about a half hour with each bird, along with the handler.

Both gorgeous birds, it's sad they are unable to live in the wild, but at least they survived the encounter with the cars.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Portrait Project




I know I haven't been paying much attention to this lately, but hopefully that will change. The "real job" is finally slowing down a bit after an overly busy summer.

I've also been preparing for what I hope will turn out to be a long term project that will end up as an entry in next years Art Prize. A street portrait project. A project that lets me go out on the street and try to photograph people just walking by.

I had my first session last night and I got a few good photographs. I also had a lot of great conversations with people that let me take their photos and shook a lot of hands. A few people wouldn't even listen to me, I think they were expecting me to ask for money.

I also learned a lot. I need to have some backup equipment with me. My light stand tipped and while I didn't break the flash bulb, I bent the umbrella I was using. I also need a way to haul the equipment around. I also need to find a way to capture info while I'm talking to someone, probably a recorder or something. I've always had a problem with names, and I had one instance last night where I could remember the city she lived in, but not her name. Somewhat embarrassing. I'm also hoping I spelled the peoples name right.

Since I started somewhat late, I also had a problem getting a good focus on the peoples face. While a somewhat soft photo probably will not make much of a difference on the final project, I tend to be somewhat of a stickler for that.

I ended up with 19 portraits that I felt I could use. Converting them to square, black and white, and tagging them with the proper name and hometown, took a lot more time than I thought. Since I will need a lot more than that, I think I need to come up with a better way of doing it.

I'll continue to publish updates here as I go along, and hopefully I'll end up with a completed project by the middle of next year. At least completed enough to see a final product.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Wake Wars 2010

Last weekend, one of the downtown merchants held the 2nd Grand Rapids Wake Wars. A huge pool was set up in a parking lot, surrounded by seats, vendors and games.

Held both Saturday and Sunday, I wasn't really able to get down until Sunday evening. It had been a hot day, and the sun going down didn't help much. They didn't have a great crowd, but considering it was the last few hours of the event, it wasn't bad.

I wish I would have made it down earlier in the day, when some of the jumping events were held, but just too busy the first weekend back from San Jose.