Friday, October 31, 2008

Fair Photos - Jesus at St. Paul's

This statue stands over the entrance to St. Paul's Cathedral in downtown Birmingham, blessing those who enter. As I searched through my photos for one I could enter in the "Architecture" category in the Shelby County Fair, I came across this one, and it was the closest thing I had to architecture that was any good at all. I liked the way the stained glass window sort of formed a halo. Glad I entered it, because it won a First Place Ribbon. I like the photo, but I did not expect that.

Jesus at St. Paul's

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fair Photos - Fading Railroad Car

This photo was entered in the Vehicles category at the Shelby County Fair. I made this on a trip to the Railroad Museum at Calera. It was a tough day to shoot, with glare from the sky, but I took this of one of the old cars, and had it fade out of focus as it was further away. I then, I must admit, did a little photoshop to have the color fade at the same time as the focus. To me, it represented a vehicle that was way past its prime and fading into history, and I tried to convey that. I was fortunate enough to get a second place ribbon in the Vehicles category.

Fading Railroad Car

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fair Photos - Willie

My first photography class was last year and was called Photographing the Magic City. In that class we had to pick a theme and prepare a series of photos around that theme. I had no idea what to do, but while photographing near the Five Points South fountain, I hit upon the idea of photographing some of the street people in close up intimate portraits. I wound up calling the series, Somebody's Uncle, after my wife said this photo just looked like somebody's uncle. I agreed, and except for the filter on the cigarette, this could have been taken any time. This is Willie, and he's probably 70 by now. I enjoyed talking to him, and giving him copies of this and other photos of himself. This photo was entered into the category of People in the Shelby County Fair this fall and it took the Third Place Ribbon in that category. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fair Photos - Honduran Beach with Fish

The next photo from my fair entries was in the category called "Beach." I've taken quite a number of beach photos in my life, but it's been a while and there was a requirement that the photo be taken within the last two years. Well I did go on a cruise last February, and at our first port, Roatan, Honduras, my wife and I decided to do one of the glass bottom boat excursions. Great idea, but not very good in the execution. First, we had to climb down into this very narrow, cramped hard seated bottom of a boat. Second the air conditioning was broken, and although it was okay for about 10 minutes, there were about twenty people down in there with no air circulation and it got stifling pretty quickly. The reef and the fish were very beautiful, but the windows weren't extremely clear, and photographing through the windows wasn't satisfying unless the fish was right beside your window. After a while people started getting desparate to get back topside to the fresh air, some almost became frantic. My wife and I sweated through it. It was better after about half of them climbed back to the top. Anyway, as we walked back down the dock to the bus to take us back to the ship, I snapped this photo looking straight down into the water. It took a third place ribbon in the beach category. There were some gorgeous beach shots, but this was the best one I had. You may have to click the photo to get the original to see the fish, or at least their shadows.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fair Photos - Santa and the Moon

Today is the first of my ribbon winners. There was a category at the fair called "Other," and since I couldn't fit this one into any of the "other" categories, it went into the "Other" category and took 3rd Place. I honestly don't remember the competition in this very diverse category, but obviously two "other" photos were deemed better. That's okay, just glad to be in there.

This photo was taken from my deck in November, 2007, so it really wasn't Santa. I used my longest telephoto, 300mm with a 1.7x teleconverter, and the smallest aperture of f40. Even so, it had to be cropped a little to better fill the frame. The reindeer, etc. are leaves hanging on a sweet gum tree about 200 feet from the deck. I took several, but this was by far the most interesting.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Fair Photos - Sunset and Oats

My third losing entry in the fair was the following photo taken in Pennsylvania. It was in the landscape category, and there were really some other good entries, so I did not expect this to win a ribbon. My judgement was correct, but I still liked it. Tomorrow, the first of my ribbon photos.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fair Photos - Red Lily

Now this photo was entered into the "Flower" category in the fair and I thought maybe it had a pretty good chance at a ribbon. I especially like the red and green counterpoint, but alas, the judges liked others better and this was an also ran.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fair Photos - Carolina Anole

Shelby County, Alabama has a fair annually. It is a real old time country fall fair, with rides and competitions for baking, canning, plants, animals, crafts, and one of my favorites, photography. It is not a big fair. It is held in Columbiana, the county seat, and it is put on by the local Kiwanis Club. I enjoy going every year, but Six Flags it isn't. Anyway, this year I decided to enter a few of my photographs, just to see how they stacked up, and I did pretty well. The photography division was divided into 11 categories and you could enter only one photo in each category. There were a few, like children, that I did not feel I had any worthy photos, but I did enter in 9 of the categories. I did pretty wel in ribbons, but what I thought had a chance did not necessarily win, and what I just entered to have something in did well. That's why I'm not the judge. I will be posting pictures as I get the time, and I'll tell you how they did.


This is my Carolina Anole. This is the one I entered in the Animals category, and personally I thought it had a chance of getting a ribbon. Wrong! I got beat by some hummingbirds and something else. Oh well, I still liked it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

2 Things Challenge - Big/Little

Every spring in Birmingham there is a great pet parade called Doo Dah Day. It is an opportunity for people to dress their pets in outrageous costumes, then dress themselves in even more outrageous outfits and parade the whole group through an older neighborhood with lots of parks and winding roads, raising money for local charities in the process. Almost all of the pets are dogs of various varieties, from cute to down right ugly, teeny tiny to HUGE, and everything in between. There is the occasional groundhog or tortoise in the parade too. Needless to say, it is a field day for the local photographers. I caught these two cooling their rears on a patch of grass near the start of the parade, just waiting patiently for the whole thing to get started. They are likely father and son, and were well photographed that day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

2 Things Challenge - Black/White

This is Chuck. I met Chuck while photographing some of the "street" people who hang around at the fountain at Five Points South in Birmingham. I called them street people because it is not always obvious to me which people are really "homeless" and which ones really have a permanent place to live but like hanging around down there. I liked Chuck after I got to know him a little, and I think he liked my photographs, but I haven't seen him in a while.

This is a black and white photograph of a black man with white smoke curling around his face. Okay, it meets the criteria, but I think the color photo is better.