Shoot Out in Texas

I am a fan of photographers.

I am inspired to see how someone else looks at a place, or an object, or a person. I enjoy the comradery of seeing my fellow photogs out in the trenches at a parade, in the field with the elk, or out chasing the fall colors. One of my favorite things to do is to have a “shoot out” – shoot a photo of a fellow photog shooting a photo of me shooting them.

Your camera is an extension of your eye, or is it your arm? Whatever. It has to come between you and whatever it is that you’re shooting. In my book, a portrait of a photog requires a camera somewhere in the frame.

Last spring I shot the Artrageous Parade with my pal Judy. After the festivities I asked for a shoot out…20130124-104337.jpgNote her concentration and the delicate way she operates the zoom, she’s closing in on me. Judy has a love for shooting, and a love of life. She can tell a story better than just about anyone I know and her photos are full of insight – Judy shoots thoughtfully, capturing the light at just the right moment.20130123-211132.jpgShe seems to have caught me growling. That’s what she gets for insisting I not cover my face with my camera. When I know I’m shooting outdoors I wear my Transitions Aviators – I can mash the eye cup all over those huge lenses. I must not have noticed the lack of sunshine, since I’m sporting the huge rectangular hood. I used exactly one lens that day, so of course I carried 4. That Domke Bag is classic though…

This is my sister-in-law Karen in the Observation Car of the California Zephyr. We shot constantly for 3000 miles last spring. We shot elk, marmots, prairie dogs, and each other.

20130124-110911.jpg I like Karen’s grip, it’s almost like the camera was made to fit in her hands, corners covered with fingers free so that she can still zoom. Karen always seems to hold her camera so level, she studies shots carefully. It shows in how she holds onto the camera and how she has all the controls completely in within reach.

This is Chip – an amazing local photog who has self-published the definitive work on the area in and around Eureka Springs. 20130123-211222.jpgOn this day Chip was shooting for the local paper, the Lovely County Citizen. He was shooting me, covering my show last summer. Chip is not only one of the most talented photogs I know, he also shows so much grace covering silly things like my show or a parade. You might see his work in galleries, and you might see him covering a traffic jam. He does it all and does it all well – and he does it with one kick-ass Nikon. That sucker is the most amazing camera I have ever seen. Great photography may not be about the camera, but rocking a D4 can’t hurt…

Just last weekend I had the opportunity for a shoot out in Texas…20130123-211243.jpgI met Honie Briggs!! This is a shot of Honie shooting me. I was in town for a trade show and I read her awards post – she shared her position on crazy Dallas Freeway Onramps – Seriously, no one does an awards post like Honie. I left a comment about having driven on one that day. She emailed me and asked if I had time to meet – it was awesome to meet her and her Loyal Follower…20130123-211313.jpgHere is Honie’s shot of me shooting her, she did a better job with the light inside this amazing Italian market. I was using my Leica portrait lens, I had hoped to shoot my reflection in her filter, but that prime doesn’t focus close enough. A couple of times we snapped at the same instant and all I got was flash, those shots look a bit like an alien with a huge glowing eyeball, nothing at all like Honie…20130123-211345.jpgAnd one more shot of Honie shooting me. Nice form – nice gear. Honie takes wonderful shots of nature and flowers, I love her classic car shots too. Truly a renaissance woman here.

My quick trip to Texas gave me the chance to meet on of my favorite bloggers in person. 20130123-230717.jpgShe was a warm, thoughtful, and funny in person as she is here in the blogosphere!

Everyone Loves a Parade – Mardi Gras in Eureka Springs

I have done a lot of posts about birds lately so I thought I would change things up. These are a series of shots from last winter taken with what was then a brand new lens – it’s now one of my favorites.

I live in a small village in the Ozarks called Eureka Springs and we love parades! Christmas, St Patty’s, Art’s Festival, VWs, Corvettes, Antique Cars, Diversity, Folk Music and more. Most of our parades are a part of the party we throw for our visitors. We host festivals on dozens of weekends throughout the year. Come see us during VW weekend and we’ll throw a party with a parade and you can be in it! But there’s one party we throw that is unabashedly about us.

In the dead of winter we crown royalty from among our own citizenry and host a week of parties culminated by the annual Eureka Gras Mardi Gras Parade. It’s one of my favorites. Instead of a visitor in a Model T, I get to see our own folk decked out in their best finery with beads-a-plenty. We’re not New Orleans – but that’s OK. Everyone’s welcome, even if you aren’t a Eurekan.


There’s something uber fancy about adding some beads to any ensemble


Adding an ostrich feather sets just the right mood.

This year I decided to make myself us only one lens.  No bag, just my camera and a single lens and a strap. I had just gotten a Leica 25mm 1.4 portrait lens and decided it was the one to try out. I shoot a mirrorless M4/3 system so the focal length is equal to double the number so this lens is the equivalent of a “fast 50”.

I love this lens and I love the freedom to just shoot. It was so nice to dive in and out of the crowd and not worry about my equipment. With our parades no one cares if you just jump in so I did and got as close as I could to those in the middle of the action.


I think this guy might have been a Grand Marshall – I don’t think he got the memo about the dress code.


I did not realize that I knew this lady until I posted the image on Facebook.

Of course it’s fun to shoot the crowd in between floats. The noise and the crowds make this parade a joy to be a part of and the faces of those in the parade echo those of us who were just watching.


This is Judy – We both have birthdays near Mardi Gras so it’s just another party.

One of the things I love about this lens is the way it can isolate the subject. Casual portraits are pretty easy to pull off. I love the control I have over the DOF.


This is my neighbor Lynne – all beads and grins.

As the royal court approaches the beads really start to fly. I was actually hit in the face several times – too busy trying to get the shot to go for the beads.


A member of the Court tosses beads into crowd.

The next three shots are from a series of a woman who was originally from New Orleans – the gusto she had for the enterprise of tossing beads into the crowd were amazing – these were my favorite shots of the day – Duchess Pamela.







This Duke can’t quite get the beads free to toss.



This gentleman owns the local Indian restaurant. I love his smile.


Turbaned Duke

This lens lets you pick a face out of the crowd. This is my friend and co-worker Sharon.


Beadmobile – the crowd’s looking up because beads are flying down.

This young man was all about the beads – he was focused on grabbing as many as possible.


This young man was in the crowd with us – his face painting is awesome.

Some of the floats were quite tall so you get a chance to play with the perspective – the King towers above the crowd.


Here comes the King!

In between the royal floats there were these fellows on bicycles. I love how this lens let me capture the streamers in motion.


Steampunk Bicyclists follow the royal procession.


I’m thinking this is a great idea for those who just don’t want to commit to a full sleeve full time.

These kids we part of the Queen’s court – they did the bead tossing for her.


The Queen’s Helpers hoist beads into the air.

Of course we needed someone to control the crowds and keep the peace.


A bedazzled officer on crowd control

I typically try to avoid shooting into an overcast sky – but on this day the colors were so bright I shot up to get Alice letting loose.


Looks like Alice has gone down the rabbit hole and come back with lots of beads.

As the parade ended I got a chance to see some more locals adorned for the day’s events.


This little guy was worn out. Amazing he could sleep over the brass bands.


A beaded chapeau

I love the way this lens made me get close. There were moments when I wasn’t just watching the parade, I was in it. Now I don’t consider myself a street photographer – but I do love a parade.