Friday, July 31, 2009

Sidney's Lobster - Yost Van Dyke, BVI

Ever seen a Caribbean Lobster? Well here they are! Much bigger than I recall seeing in the local stores in Texas! Oh yeah and at the expense of offending the PETA group, they are delicious! This is Sidney. Owner of Sidney's Peace and Love in Jost Van Dyke. This is a must stop for lunch or Dinner. Only accessible by boat they have the freshest lobster in the entire Virgin Islands. The perfect lunch is their famous lobster sandwich which is heaven on a bun! One of the reason's I loved the Virgin Islands is the down home quaint relaxed atmosphere where you are just one of them. Everyone here loves to tell you their story. Most places you visit you will find the owner sitting right along side of you relaxing in the island experience. Oh yeah Sidney's has an honor bar as well!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catamaran in the Bay - St. John, USVI

This photo was taken during a hike out to a point called Hawksnest Point. Out toward the point there was a nice overlook and I notice there was an easy trek down to this rock crevice. I thought it would make for a good photo looking out across the bay with Youst Van Dyke in the background.. So I climbed down and set up. Just as I was about to snap the photos this catamaran came into the frame. Sometimes luck just makes your photos better. I have put quite a few miles on the feet this week and the blisters are coming out big time. Also I thought I would let you all know a little secret about my equipment. On my trip I brought 3 lenses with me. a 70-200L and 24-70 Tamron, and my 18-24 kit lens. By far the lens I have used the most was the kit lens. So as well all wish for that new piece of expensive glass I always remind myself, it is not the equipment that makes the photo but the photographer. Today I captured another great portrait of a local that goes by the name of Pirate Bill so be on the look out soon for this great portrait.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stress Free Bar - Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

So here it is my first portrait from our trip to the Virgin Islands. This was taken at a place called Ivan's Stress Free Bar on Jost Van Dyke. This man was a character. He agreed to some portraits as long as we did not use names. I said no problem because this photo needs no names. I know he was hamming it up for the camera but I love the way his face definitely does not say stress free, well maybe he was but just had quite a few rum drinks from the honor bar. Honor bar you ask? What is that? Well I had never heard of it either but an honor bar supplies the booze and the bar but you are your own bar tender. All they ask is you make a small donation in the money tin at the end of the bar. Now this is what island life is all about! On our day trip to the BVI I met all sorts of unique people and made several portraits so will have more up soon. Some of just normal everyday folks and others that have become quite famous on this little Island. I also have more photos from inside the stress free bar which while small is one of the most unique bars I have ever been to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fast Cowgirl - Georgetown, TX

Back to Texas as I catch up from the beach work. We have been to two rodeos with my daughter and by far her favorite event at each one is the one with the cowgirls who ride their horses "real fast." I think we may have a future barrel racer in the family. When I was taking this photo I purposely set up to take the shot to show a since of motion. The process in this case is called panning. Panning encompasses moving your camera during the shutter exposure to capture the motion of the object you are photographing. This is by far one of the most difficult captures in photography. I think I did OK on this photo but still have work to do on the technique. I wish the rider would have been more in focus. Overall, however I accomplished my goal in the photograph and I will continue to practice this technique.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Caribbean Blue - St. John, USVI

I can't help it! Every direction you look the scenery is so spectacular. The photo posted yesterday was taken at a 180 degree angle from this one. This is how beautiful this place is. This is technically the rainy season in St. John and almost every evening you can expect a brief shower to cool things off. The clouds that produce these showers though create some spectacular backdrops for photos.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paradise on Earth - St. John, USVI

OK I know I said I was going to try and do more portraits while in the Virgin Islands but with landscapes as beautiful as this it is so hard to resist. After a 13 hr journey by land, air, and sea, we arrived in St. John. Our first day was spent hanging around Hawksnest Beach. I spent some quality time relaxing before I ventured of on a hike that took me out to the point between Hawksnest Beach and Turtle Bay. What a beautiful place this is. Heaven on Earth if you ask me. I can't wait to get more photos up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shirley Temple Please! - Jost Van Dyke, BVI

You have to love places so relaxed that no one thinks twice about a 2year old sitting right next to you at a cool beach bar in the British Virgin Islands! I am heading back out this direction on Saturday and can't wait to pull the camera out while I am there. I have several goals in mind in terms of photography while there, one of which is going to be capturing the people of the Virgin Islands. I have been doing a lot of reading and looking at some great portrait photographers and hope to employ some of what I have learned in the field. One of which is this great video from strobist of photographer Clay Enos. Another is the great portrait work from the streets of India by my Flickr Friend Meena. And I will also be taking inspiration by the great, Arnold Newman who once said "Photography as we all know it is not real at all, It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Old Garage - Trinity, TX

There is so much detail in these old shops that finding the right spot to set up and compose the photograph can sometime be quite difficult. A flickr friend of mine Termin8er summed this photo up best. "How do we survive today without old coffee cans!" A common theme in old garages across the county.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

HDR Macro Flower - Branson, MO

No real interesting story on this photo. Just a nice flower that that I thought would work well in an HDR treatment. I also tripped out the background with a texture. I also recently spoke with the owner of the Framers Gallery in Georgetown about his plans to add a classroom to his store. As part of the classroom I plan on teaching some photography techniques for all levels of people. I am still working out details and dates but plan on some tips and tricks for shooting in HDR. I also plan on doing some more technique and tip post so you all see how I process my photos and can try them out for yourself so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Some Portrait Work - Dallas TX

I have been asked quite a lot if I shoot portraits. The answer to this question is yes, but don't expect the ordinary. I combine my art and photography to make unique portraits in natural settings. I combine textures and exposures to make portraits that don't look like they were made at the mall studio. Most of my shoots are on location and I take the surroundings that are given to make the best photos I can. The shots below are of an impromptu 15 minute photo shoot of a 6 month old that came to visit my mothers house. I had the baby's mom position her daughter so she was facing some light coming through a glass door. It was perfect, direct, diffused light and captured the babies eyes perfectly. I also am a sucker for shooting toddlers. I just love capturing the completely unforced expressions. You know there is never a fake smile. The expressions on the face are true and genuine! Oh and by the way are these baby's eyes something else or what!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

False Safety - Pea Ridge, AK

Without the story this is just a photo of a nice scenic pasture somewhere in Arkansas. But with the story there is so much more to this photo. A top the lookout at Pea Ridge one can view an entire Civil War battlefield. On this field below over 2000 American lost their lives as the Union and Confederate soldiers battled to hold control of Missouri. My title comes from the rock at the bottom of this picture. This vantage point would have been just above the confederate line. The line was guarded by this rock outcropping behind them that made it difficult to be flanked by the Union soldiers. During initial skirmishes the Confederate soldiers retreated to the safety of the rocks, only to be met by a barrage of artillery from the Union. What they thought of as a safe place to hide turned into a killing field as shrapnel from the rocks exploded everywhere cutting men in half leaving the Confederate soldiers with no place to hide.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Interview of Trey Ratcliff on NBC

For the first time on 50% Chance of Rain I present a video! I caught wind of one this interview on twitter and thought I would share it here. While I have never met Trey Ratcliff in person we have coresponded and his photographs are what got me started with HDR photography. This interview was done with Jim Swift on KXAN our local Austin NBC affiliate. If my schedule permits you may find me at the August photo walk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The 40 Acres - Austin, TX

The University of Texas was first established on a plot of land that was only 40 acres. Since its establishment in 1883 the university of Texas system now encompasses thousands of acres across the state but the campus in Austin still goes by the nickname the 40 acres. The original 40 acres can still be seen today on the University of Texas campus and many of the buildings with their red clay roof tiles still look the same today. The photo below was taken from the roof of a nearby high rise after getting permission and and an escort from the buildings security guard. It was stitched together as a panorama with 5 photographs. From the Tower you are looking north and as you pan to the left toward Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium you are looking east. This photo hangs in my office still today and is one of my favorites!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Southern "Blue" Bells - Burton Texas

This photo was taken on the 4th of July this year. I took a leave from the festivities to go out at sunset to capture a pasture of Blue Bell Flowers I had seen earlier. The intent was to capture these with the sunset in the background but when I turned around and saw the moon rise I thought I would do something a little different. If you are form Texas you probably have heard of Blue Bell Ice Cream. This famous creamery is located in Brenham which is just east of Burton. Their name came from these flowers that come out in the middle of the summer in pastures all around the Brenham area. They are a really bright large lavender flower and this is the first time I can recall seeing them in this abundance! The dark area in the lower left corner of the sky is actually smoke from a large grass fire that was burning in the area which I thought add another element to the photo. This photo was created by blending three exposures with a textural overlay captured from the top of an old tree stump.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wild Ride - Georgetown, TX

While my photography style is always evolving and changing I always love to do all genres of photography. I never want to say I only shoot landscapes, or only sports, or only portraits. I want to learn it all. It keeps me on my toes and always learning. I had never photographed a rodeo before but when I heard a pro rodeo would be in Georgetown I jumped at the chance to go since I thought this may be a good photo opp. What made me think this rodeo would be good for photographs was the venue. Many people think the cool thing about shooting sports events is the opportunity to capture some pro athlete or being on the sidelines of a major venue. The truth however is that shooting pro events should be left to the pros. as a GWC (guy with camera ) or amateur the smaller events are so much more fun! the key to a good photo is access, how close you can get to the action. As an amateur their is no chance of this at a major event. The below photo of the Georgetown Rodeo was shot from the stands with no press pass or no special access. This is a photo any paying spectator could have taken! The athlete and venue do not make the photograph, the photographer does! So whether it is a small venue or little league baseball go out and just try to make the best photograph you can!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The First Re-Run - St.John, USVI

So this post is one of my first multiple shot post. They also are my first so called reruns, ha ha! I thought after the last photo I deserved to go into syndication. So why did I re-run these photos??? Well I am heading back to St. John at then end of the month, and I will have in tow full camera gear. When I took these photos I was just getting into HDR and photography in general and I really feel as if I have learned so much since I took these. So I post these as a reminder to myself that every photo can always be better. In my opinion these are not that good! Even though I sure thought so when I took them and again when I posted. You are your own best critic they say. So this is not a re-run after all! Its a prequel to the photos you all will see come August! Goodnight all!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Clear Waters of Indian Creek - Dogwood Canyon, MO

I think this is my favorite post of Indian Creek at Dogwood Canyon . I like the cliffs on the right and how they added some more texture and color. I thought I should also let you know that 50% Chance of Rain is now an official NOMINEE in the 2009 Photoblog awards! Thanks for the votes and support. I however will need quite a few more to become a finalist, but I am honored to be among a few handful of photoblogs that are nominees. I am there with some of the best artist that inspire me everyday, the likes of Trey Ratclif at Stuck in Customs and John Maslowski at Sirius 2 Photography to name just a couple. I encourage you to visit all the nominees blogs but block out some time because you may just get lost. 50% Chance of Rain came online a little over 6 months ago and I am quite surprised at the loyal following I am beginning to grow. Thanks so much to everyone that comes to look at my work and especially those who take the time to comment. Those comments mean a lot to me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just Hanging Around - Branson, MO

Part of our trip to Missouri took us into the city of Branson. Branson MO is quite a unique place. I preferred the quite scenic area around Table Rock Lake but Branson is one of those places you have to go to at least once. While we could have done anything from riding a roller coaster to seeing the worlds largest performing family. Well we decided on the butterfly palace since that was my daughters choice. She was convinced that a princess lived there and insisted on wearing a princess dress. She was quite the attraction herself at the palace. This butterfly was one that sat still long enough for me to capture a photo.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Reflection - Georgetown, TX

Back from being off line for the weekend and having a nice time with the family over the fourth. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Here is the another photo from Blue Hole in Georgetown, Texas. The early morning and calm winds and great light made for a wonderful reflection on the river. I have some catching up to do on photo processing so will be working on quite a few new photos tonight. Here is the past photo from Blue Hole looking the other direction.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little Weight Lifters - Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve, Belize

One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to take a guided eco tour. The tour guides are able to point out so many things that by yourself you would walk right by. These little suckers are leaf cutter ants and when viewed close up you become mesmerized at the precision these guys work. When looking at relative size this is like carrying a VW bug over your head. Pretty amazing. While I would have loved to have a macro shot I did not have my macro lens with me so I went with a composition that gives more a sense of size of the ants. while these ants were quite the sight, its not what this preserve is known for. As the name suggest it is the worlds only Jaguar preserve. While they are protected and known to roam this jungle seeing oen is about a and a million chance so don't get your hopes up if you visit. I might be off line for the 4th holiday but but who knows we will see. So I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend. I am looking forward to seeing some great fireworks photos over the next few days!