I usually don’t shoot video even though my Canon 5D MII shoots great HD video. I have however messed with shooting some of my favorite bluegrass bands, although I usually just “lock it off” and hit record. The audio obviously isn’t the best either, but hey the bands love it and the fans of the bands enjoy reliving the shows.
If you know me on a personal basis you know my family has lost one of our members to a heroin overdose. In response to his death, we have started a website (NKYHateHeroin.Com) that we hope will be a resource of information needed by heroin addicts and their loved ones. The response to our site has been amazing and we have learned a lot and met lots of great people fighting the same fight we have become determined to win.
So what does this mean for BluegrassPhotography.Net? Well I was asked recently to shoot some interviews of family members of those lost to heroin. Which I readily agreed to. I decided to go with a basic background and keep it simple so the message was the most important part of the video, not the effects or style. I did however decide to convert it to black and white, as it’s a very black and white subject, people die from heroin. I was afraid the people I was shooting for wouldn’t care for the black and white, but I felt strongly about it and was willing to push back hard. I didn’t have to fight for the effect because they agreed it was a good choice.
The final video was used for a recent public advocacy meeting and featured on 4 out of the 4 local networks.
If you’d like to share this video for advocacy purposes, drop me an email and I’ll do what I can to get you a DVD or digital copy.
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I have been looking forward to seeing Sierra Hull since I saw her last, 10 years ago at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The first time I met her was in the green room of the Fan Fest for the awards show. I was shooting photos of Ricky Skaggs and over in the corner of the room was this tiny little girl playing the mandolin, attempting to keep up with Ricky, note for note. Apparently she was doing a good job of it because Ricky stopped mid-chorus and walked over to the little girl struck up a conversation. One of those conversations I don’t truly understand, one between two incredibly talented musicians, which usually turns into a musical conversation that I must admit turns me extremely jealous! The two new friends shared a couple of tunes with one another and that seemed to be the end of the situation.
I left the green room to head to stage front, stopping along the way to chat with Del McCoury, which was awesome in itself! But what was in store for the crowd on stage was really the awesome event of the night. Ricky Skaggs started off with his normal hard hitting stuff, but changed gears a bit by telling the crowd he wanted them to meet his new friend, his 12 year old friend, Sierra Hull. Out came the little girl that just a short bit ago was hiding in the corner of the green room! Now on stage with one of bluegrass’ biggest and best! Needless to say, she killed them! I think what amazed the crowd the most was her mandolin skills. But what we all didn’t now at that moment in time is that we were listening to what has become one of the most incredible female voices in bluegrass music today, my opinion of course!
Long story, I know, but one thought was cool enough to share. I’m not sure if this story proves I’m old man that has seen today’s young bluegrass stars grow up, or not. But I like to think it’s a great example of how young people shouldn’t give up on their dreams. I know in the green room that night Sierra knew she had talent, but having talent isn’t enough, she also had determination! I think that’s something we need to share and instill in our children.
Even if you don’t care for bluegrass music like my dear wife, you should really check out Sierra Hull, she truly has the voice of an angel!
Here’s her official website…
and some samples from her latest CD…
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The first time I photographed the WEBN Fireworks was back in 1981 while I was home on leave from the Air Force. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I was on the bank of the Ohio in front of what was Helen’s Newport Yacht Club where just four years earlier my family watched the very first display from the Yacht club on our family cabin cruiser, the Lazy River. Newport Yacht Club was located right below what is now Newport on the Levee. That night I showed up with 2 USAF issued tripods and 2 Nikon F5′s. I ended up shooting 10 rolls of Kodak E-6 slide film and 4 rolls of Kodak Kodachrome. I ended up entering a photo contest on Minot Air Force Base, and winning with an image I shot that night on the riverbank. The same photo went on to win 5 levels of competition up to and including the Department of Defense photo contest! I still have the slides from that night in a sleeve in my office.
Little did I know I wouldn’t shoot the fireworks again for 22 years. With various Air Force assignments, raising a young family, and many years of family camping trips and bluegrass festivals I just never had time for the fireworks.
In 2010 my normal Labor Day weekend bluegrass festival was cancelled so I thought I shoot the big end of summer celebration again. This time with no limitations on film due to the fact I was now shooting digital, I stood within 50 feet of my first shooting location and went to work. With Helen’s Newport Yacht Club long gone and the city long ago having decided it was best for pleasure boats to stay a safe distance away, I have no obstructions so I sat myself right on the riverbank. My feet were actually in the water. Once I started setting up I wished I had not missed all those years as I was really getting pumped to shoot. Apparently I have a knack for shooting fireworks because that year I entered and won the WEBN photo contest!
So with visions of prizes such as a stack of coupons to local fast food joints, some WEBN stickers and a WEBN calendar with my winning photo on it, I went to shoot again this year. But merely sitting on the banks was not an option this year. I had higher goals for my shooting location. Which turned into a morning of scouting my locations. One, the deck of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge… close, but not a good shot of the down low fireworks. The second choice was on top of Newport Central Catholic High School… absolutely incredible view, but everyone knows you haven’t really seen the fireworks if you’re a couple of miles away. My third choice, no contest, was the rooftop of Newport on the Levee. Barnes & Noble to be exact. I won’t mention how I came to be able to shoot from any of those locations as I would never give up my “connections” and share the awesome locations with fellow shooters. After all, I have another contest to win!
Although I truly don’t shoot the fireworks to “win contest” I have to admit I’m editing and sending some of this year’s shots along to the folks at WEBN. The main reason I shoot them is the same reason I shoot any of my photographs… I’m totally relaxed when I shoot photographs. I’m in my own little world, whether it be out on a long Saturday drive shooting old barns or in the middle of a half million people watching fireworks, I’m by myself!
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Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new gallery to BluegrassPhotography.Net. The lack of galleries posted to this page is not due to lack of shooting, just busy with life’s other priorities.
Yesterday was one of those days that I felt like I just had to get out and shoot some pictures. Life’s been pretty hectic over the past few weeks, lots going on at White Design Studio, and lots going on in the family. So I have been yearning to “hit the road and shoot”. My great escape.
Where to go, and what to shoot is always a challenge for me. I feel like I’ve shot every barn in a 100 mile radius, certainly every Mail Pouch barn. No bluegrass nearby to shoot either. So I decided to hit the web and search local events for the weekend. Google once again came through… Rising Sun Indiana was having their “A Roar of Thunder Regatta”. So like many of “photo trips” in the past, I was off to the Hoosier state!
As it turns out, the gallery I’m sharing today has nothing to do with speeding boats on the Ohio River. While driving along Route 50 on my way to Rising Sun, a trip I’ve made hundreds of times, I saw a local business I’ve told myself every time I pass, “I need to shoot that someday”. Again as I passed it I figured I’d shoot it at some point. So after shooting 8,200 photos at the regatta (for some time lapse photography testing) I decided it was time to shoot what I’ll call the “Sign Garage”. If you’ve read any of my posts on this page or looked through my galleries you’ll know I love old signs. This garage on Route 50 is a sign lovers paradise! Something you’d see in an episode of American Pickers. When I used to collect old signs I’d always look for perfect signs in perfect condition, but as I’ve grown older I really have grown to appreciate the worn looking signs. Like me, they show their age!
Take a look at these old beauties and reflect on the good ol’ days of taking country rides in the family station wagon. If you have no clue what I’m referring to, you’ve missed out in a great slice of life!
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Thanks to everyone that stopped by and visited during our first BluegrassPhotography.Net open house this past weekend.
Betsy and I decided to have the show at our house just a week before hand. So to say our house was pretty crazy last week would be an understatement. But after lots of help from friends and family, we pulled it all together.
I do have to specifically thank Betsy for helping me turn our house into a gallery in a week and all the food, Tom and Caroline for keeping Betsy and I in check and my Mom for helping out with the Christmas decorating. The weekend wouldn’t have been the same without their help.
In case you weren’t able to make it, you can still order photos as Christmas gifts. Take a look at my galleries and feel free to drop me an email if you see something you’d like to order.
Again, thanks to all for your continued support and encouragement!
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Check out these shots from the Del McCoury & Keller Williams “Delloween” show on October 28th.
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Fall is the bluegrass time of year for me. I just got back from Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, and shortly before that I was at Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival.
Since I’ve been around so many of my bluegrass fans recently I thought I’d post a link to a bunch of past galleries from festivals and shows I’ve shot. I have been asked if I have a place where you can go to see photos from “just bluegrass shows”. I’m not sure if that means they don’t care for my other photography, or they just love bluegrass, but I’m happy to oblige.
The link below is to a gallery of quite a few shows. I’ll be digging out from my archives and adding to it until everything I’ve ever shot is uploaded. Stop back often and check up on where I am in the process. I’ll be adding shows from 1998 up until just tonight’s show at the Richwood Opry.
Be sure to pass this along to any of your friends, family or festival owners.
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I shot my boy’s soccer games for close to 10 years collecting an image library of thousands upon thousands of shots. After shooting all those soccer games one would think I’ve had my share of soccer but when a friend of mine asked me to shoot the Highlands varsity girls I jumped right on it. Of course I didn’t realize it was an 8:00 pm game! Nothing like testing the old skills under the lights. Shooting at night really boosts my respect for pro sports shooters. For those of you with any understanding of photography, I was shooting a good part of the second half at ISO 2500. Thanks to Canon’s CMOS sensor on my 5D Mark II there wasn’t a huge grain (noise) issue. Though it’s not the fastest Canon for sports, the full-frame helps with tighter crops. So much for the photography mumbo-jumbo. I try to keep my blog on the lighter side, without a bunch of technical junk, so sorry for getting off topic!
I hope to get to some additional games this season, so if you or someone you know has any interest in me shooting for “your” team, drop me an email and if I have the time available I’d love to shoot some more games.
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