Staring a moment with Andrew Hindman and the City of Angels limited edition print in the background
If you live in or around Sacramento, you surely must have heard about the Second Saturday Gallery Art Walk. If you are ever visiting Sacramento, I highly recommend visiting the second weekend of the month. Every second Saturday of the month, every art gallery and all manner of related arts and entertainment establishments open their doors all day into the late night, serving wine, music, appetizers and and abundance of inspired art often times presented by the artists and curators themselves.
This Saturday I have the honor and pleasure of featuring one of my fine art canvas prints at the Hindman Fine Arts Gallery. Andrew Hindman has been my print partner for some time now, helping me bring my photography to life through very detailed and painstaking process. This weekend Andrew and his wife Sharon opened their first gallery. It has been a long journey I have been honored to have a front row seat to and share in from time-to-time. For this opening I was honored to showcase one of my limited edition fine art canvas prints – City of Angels (Los Angeles). There was a lot of great energy, a good turnout.
Most notable of the evening was local artist Maren Conrad. She has recently completed a mural in tribute to the movie Lady Bird (watch trailer here) and partnered with HFA Gallery to host signed reproductions of her mural. I later later attended another signing the following day and stopped by another mural art project she was working on. Stay tuned for more on Maren and her works around town.
In all, it was very refreshing to meet so much great talent, energy and the amazing community of friends and family who support it all. One of the many reasons why I love Sacramento and happy to call it home.
My loved ones Rachel and Samantha
Andrew and Maren discussing the finer points
Sharon, Maren and Andrew
Earth Shaker – Monster Jam freestyle competition.
Few things are as quintessentially American as Monster Trucks. While I have always seen video, photos and all manner of media featuring Monster Trucks, up until this past weekend, I had never witnessed a Monster Truck show in person. I got to see the Monster Jam show at the Golden1 Center downtown. It did not disappoint. Photos cannot convey the powerful sensory experience – even more-so as an Engineer and Artist, I found every last detail of the performance extremely impressive from a technical, engineering, artistic and athletic perspective all at once.
Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act.
The forces at play in these Monster vehicles are tremendous, yet they make the most outlandish of feats look effortless. The stresses on both vehicle and driver are constantly riding a fine line between complete self destruction and a well choreographed ballet. The more skilled the driver, the tighter they ride that line. One driver/athlete in particular stood out or a field of very talented, young and capable individuals – Earth Shaker. I watched him clutch, power and brake his way through wheelies, jumps, and stoppies one demand. No one else came close to his level of mastery of these machine. It was a real treat. Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act, drove his Monster Truck on both front wheels. It was amazing, terrifying, and hilarious all at once. What a treat.
What camera did I use. Well, since this was my first time experiencing it, I thought I should just kick back, focus on the show, take it all in and perhaps get a better sense for the subjects from a photography perspective so I may return next time around and give it a proper photographic treatment. My compromise this time was my advanced point-and-shoot – the Canon G15. I had not taken it out in over a year. Surprisingly the battery still had a full charge which was impressive in itself. The wide aperture f/1.8 zoom lens really helped keep a fast shutter under the artificial low light situations. Shutter lag and AF were of course a problem as would be the case with any point-and-shoot. I did however manage to compensate for the lag most of the time. The OVF was a huge help while tracking fast moving subjects. Being able to shoot RAW was also a huge bonus. The resulting images came out much better than I expected. I shot Manual Mode at 1/100s to preserve some wheel spin motion but still freeze the vehicles as I tracked them. ISO ranged from 400-800. What a little gem of a camera. I definitely look forward to covering the next Monster Jam with my 7D Mark II and 5DsR.
Below are some highlights from the show. I hope you enjoy them. Have you ever been to a Monster Truck show. Share your thoughts.
2017 Solar Eclipse start
2017 Solar Eclipse peak
Well as the saying goes, “better late than never”. I did make some kind of effort to capture the solar eclipse a few weeks ago. There was a lot of hype about this eclipse here in the US particularly because it presented an opportunity to many across the country to witness a full solar eclipse. I wasn’t however as motivated or hyped-up as some. I just didn’t think it was worth the hassle this time around considering my work schedule and the travel to an obscure location and deal with the gridlock and traffic jam. This especially considering that there are anywhere from 2 to 5 solar eclipses around the world each year. I simply do not think it is as rare (or special) an occasion as it is made out to be. I would sooner chase the eclipse at a destination that offers interesting and exciting possibilities for photography.
Canon 7D mark II + EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM + EF Extender 2x III
Nonetheless, I did at least take out my gear for the occasion. The view from Sacramento was of a partial eclipse as we were not in the line of the full shadow. I used my Canon 7D Mark II and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II super telephoto lens. I also used the EF 2X Extender III, albeit begrudgingly. I say this because it softens an otherwise perfect lens but I had no choice given that for solar observation you really need 600mm at a bare minimum. Of course I did not forget to use a solar filter. Originally designed for my telescope, it fits perfectly on my canon lens. I would have liked to setup my Computerized German Equatorial Mount for tracking, time lapse and also use my 1000mm telescope. However I really had more pressing things to get to that morning. So I threw my kit in the truck and headed into my morning commute. I managed to step out of my office a couple times throughout the eclipse to capture a few key shots. Here they are.
Did you capture the eclipse? Did you view it?
Mr. & Mrs Love
I would like to take this opportunity to say Happy Wedding Anniversary to Mr. & Mrs. Love. A few years ago I had the distinct honor of capturing this special day. It was the perfect, private and intimate event. It was a very special affair with a lot of soul.
The couple was kind enough to let me share these snippets from their wedding. I assign all rights to all commissioned work and do not retain any rights unless explicitly expressed and approved by my clients. As a result what you typically see here on my blog is photography from my personal collection.
This of course makes showcasing my wedding photography very tricky, but I am glad nonetheless that I could share this with you.
Well this is how my year started off – chasing the sunset. I had a unique opportunity to make the trip to Miami, Florida for the new year. So I jumped on the last flight I could across the country to Miami. I did miss the sunset however. So I proceeded to plan B.
As with most destinations I travel to, I began studying the local maps and topology. Because of the limited time and long journey, I put extra emphasis on my research. I settled on a harbor area on the keys just across from the front face of the Miami skyline. I liked the relatively unobstructed view. After checking with local staff at the venue and confirming it was okay for me to setup my camera equipment, I went to work. This perhaps wasn’t the best location to photograph the fireworks. As it turned out, the Miami International Airport departure route flies right above the center of the skyline. This meant that the fireworks will not be anywhere close to the center of the frame as I hoped. I only realized this hours into my shoot and could not move as I was already hours into a time lapse sequence that was to last most of the night through the fireworks. Bummer! I suppose I need to factor air traffic into my research.
All that aside, it turned out to be a very productive shoot. I shot a time lapse with the Canon 7D Mark II and 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. This is now standard practice most of the time. While that was going, I started taking frames for a very detailed ultra high resolution panoramic of the skyline and waterfront with the 50 megapixel Canon 5DsR and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. The final result is breathtaking. It is at least three times wider than the shot above, and you can count Christmas tree ornaments on the trees in the apartments. As it turned out my first pass ended up being my shot of choice. The 5DsR is the perfect camera for this sort of photography.
This shot made it to my collection of limited edition large format prints and I cannot wait to print and share the first one!
Mercury Transit of the Sun – May 9, 2016
Can you spot Mercury? In case you missed it there is still about an hour left in today’s celestial event. Today Mercury transits the Sun. The next time this occurs will be in 2019. I did consider setting up the telescope and camera for some close-up shots and even doing a time lapse, however the transit started before sunrise here on the West Coast in California so by the time the sun cleared the horizon, the transit was well under way. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time in 2019.
None-the-less I had to at least get a few shots for my archives. For this shot I used the Canon 7D Mark II + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the EF 2x Extender III for an effective focal length of 400mm. I also stacked one 10-stop filter and two ND4 neutral density filters in front of my lens and I could still barely look at the sun at f/13. Please always exercise the utmost caution when observing the sun. A split second mistake could lead to instant blindness!
For more information on this event you can check out this NASA Page.
Global Winter Wonderland Sacramento CA
Not too long ago I had to scrap a photo excursion to the coast due to unfavorable weather. I was also searching for lots of good color and contrast to test the new Canon 5DS R for my review I recently posted here. So with the evening skies clearing up here in Sacramento I decided to visit the Global Winter Wonderland light show at the California Expo. It is essentially a winter fair. A great place for those who crave getting outside and enjoying a fair atmosphere in the winter.
Thousands of little bottles!
If you haven’t visited one of these shows before, you really must go at least once. The light sculptures are spectacular! They make especially great subjects for photography. The piece I found most impressive was the bee hive that was made up of thousands of small medicine bottles. The Canon 5Ds R was right at home capturing all the incredible detail, talent and effort that goes into these sculptures. I shot the whole evening with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens on a Manfrotto BeFree Tripod. It was great practice exercise. It also became readily apparent that this lens is nowhere near sharp enough for the camera. Still it was sharp enough to make out faint fabric textures while standing back at it’s widest. Impressive no less, considering how dated this lens design is. Great job Canon.
Without further ado, here are the highlights from the show. Global Winter Wonderland runs until early January so you still have some time to catch it. I believe they also host shows is several other cities, so it might be worth looking up.
Thousands of little bottles!
Global Winter Wonderland Sacramento CA