Spirit of 45 Day, Salem, Oregon

August 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Pictures from Salem’s Spirit of 45 Day – click here to view

I had an incredible (and very emotional) evening taking photos at the Spirit of ’45 Day, on Sunday, August 11, 2013, at the Willson Park Gazebo on the Oregon State Capitol grounds.

This special event honored Oregon’s “Greatest Generation” – the men and women who served at home and abroad in World War II.  The schedule was filled with guest speakers, music, re-enactors, story-telling, dedications, and ended with the “Across the Country” Wreath Laying Taps Ceremony.

It was a humbling experience for me, visiting with true American heroes: a time to celebrate their courage, and also a time for somber reflection at the sacrifices of so many……

Click here to see images from the Spirit of 45 Ceremonies.

If you would like more information on the “Spirit of ’45 Day” celebration, please visit their website at www.spiritof45.org

Oregon Spirit of 45

Copyright Pacific Sports Images

Oregon Spirit of 45

Copyright Pacific Sports Images

Benton County Rodeo 2013

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Benton County Rodeo, Corvallis Oregon, August 1-3, 2013

I took a few pictures at the Benton County Rodeo Saturday afternoon (Aug 3, 2013), and had a great time – everyone was so nice! Several years ago, I lived and worked in Corvallis, and glad to see it’s still one of the friendliest cities in Oregon!

Rodeo photography has so much great action, it’s hard to keep up! I tried to get a few shots of each event, from a couple of different locations. I wanted the sun behind me, and the fans in the background (rather than gates and signs – but I gladly stood behind those big signs to block the dust). Most of the shots were taken in an area between the chutes and the corner of the arena.

I’ve been going to rodeos since I was a kid, so I had a good idea of what types of pictures I wanted. I was pretty happy with most of the shots, though I missed a few because I was standing too close to the action (I didn’t want to change lenses with all the dust and dirt flying around), and missed others when I moved around to different locations in between events. This rodeo ran like clock-work, so there was no waiting around for the next event!

Click here to see Benton County Rodeo photos.

Barrel Racing

Copyright Pacific Sports Images

Rough Stock Bronc Rider

Copyright Pacific Sports Images

Hoopla 2013 Salem Oregon

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

ONG Hoopla, Salem, Oregon, July 2013, put on by the Oregon National Guard.

The annual 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament is in full swing in downtown Salem, with all types of basketball activities continuing through the weekend. It’s always been a terrific community event, and for sports photographers who usually battle dark gymnasiums in the winter, this is a great chance to take pictures in full sunlight!

Below are a couple of pictures I took of the finalists in the Salem Hoopla Slam Dunk  contest, won by Dustin Jones, on Saturday, July 27, 2013.  Click here, or on the images below to see more photos of the dunk contest and of the 2013 Salem ONG Hoopla at my PacificSportsImages.com website.

Dustin Jones

Dustin Jones: 1st Place Dunk Contest, ONG Hoopla 2013. Click to see more pictures.

Reese O'Connell

Reese O’Connell: 2nd Place Dunk Contest, Salem Hoopla. Click to see more pictures.

Ride to Defeat ALS

July 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Ride to Defeat ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), July 13, 2013, in Mt. Angel, Oregon – held by the ALS Association of Oregon and SW Washington  – a great fundraising event for a great cause!

Hundreds of bike riders participated in 100, 50, 25, and 3-mile cycling courses, winding through the rolling hills and scenic valleys (with every shade of green imaginable!) of Mt. Angel, Silverton, Stayton, and Aumsville, Oregon.

Everyone associated with this second annual Ride to Defeat ALS, including staff, volunteers, and bike riders, were incredibly nice and enthusiastic – you could tell they were completely invested in supporting this fundraiser! For more information, you can visit their website: http://webor.alsa.org/

It was a perfect day for taking pictures of the cyclists, and I found a few spots with fairly clean backgrounds. The first area was near the Gallon House Covered Bridge, in a drainage ditch…..where I did a little tumble the first time I got into position – saved the camera, though!

Around noon, I came back into town, as the first wave of riders neared the finish line. This was my first visit to Mt. Angel, and I’m definitely going back!

Here are a few photos  – to see more pictures, you can click on the images below:

Ride to Defeat ALSOregon Ride to Defeat ALS

Oregon ALS Bike Ride

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Sports Photography Tips

July 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Sports Photography Quick Tips

Taking pictures at sporting events is always an exciting challenge, and there is a LOT of information on the web to help you capture great shots. If you need a few quick tips to get you started, here are my “shutter thoughts” – things I’m always keeping in mind while shooting sports and events.


This means don’t block spectators’ views, and don’t get in the way of the action, ever! The safety of the athletes is your top priority. I always try to introduce myself to coaches and officials before each game, and make sure we’re all okay with the pictures, and where I am allowed, and not allowed.

2. The sports photographer’s mantra:

“Two faces (or just one depending on the action) and a ball”! Action coming at you is best, and the closer, the better. Don’t forget about the emotion of the game, and keep your attention on the bench during time-outs, and after-the-game jubilation shots. Also, if you show your pictures on the web, you may want to think about posting just those pictures that are flattering to the athlete/team – I don’t post shots that are awkward, embarrassing, or that show a team in a bad light.

3. Compose well and don’t cut off limbs!

One of my early bad habits was concentrating so much on getting a face in the picture that I was putting the faces in the dead-center of the frame…leaving a lot of boring, empty space in the top half….not pretty. Generally, I focus, literally, I put the autofocus on the stomach – it’s easier to track, and you usually end up capturing everything, including the athlete’s feet and outstretched arms, rather than cutting them off at the elbows or the knees.

4. Watch your backgrounds!

Nothing ruins a great action shot like garbage cans, utility poles, signs, cars, colorful fans, etc., in the background. But what do you find at sporting events? All of the above! Using a wide aperture opening, meaning a low f-stop number (think of the f-stop as a 1/fraction to help you get the “lower-number-really-means-a-bigger-opening” thing) will help blur the background, but always be on the look-out for distractions, and move to a different spot if you can, and stay low.

5. Keep an eye on your exposure and white balance.

I use manual exposure settings, and when there is a break in the action, I’ll quickly review my pictures – using the histogram view for accuracy. Do not rely on the camera’s monitor, as it’s probably going to look pretty dim, especially when you are wearing sunglasses. This is more important when taking pictures outside when the sun is setting or if clouds roll in, as the lighting changes will affect your exposure and white balance. In gyms, you don’t need to worry as much about exposure after you do your initial test shots, but in those tighter quarters, you DO need to be careful about getting smashed by a ball, or worse, a large athlete speeding directly towards you (and they are fast!).

6. Check your battery and number of shots remaining.

If your battery is getting low, change it; if your card is filling up, change it. Don’t wait until the last minute; because you will miss a great shot (or several) while fumbling around your bag for a battery, or a new memory card – trust me, it’s happened to me more than once!

7. Stay relaxed and have fun!

Classic Car Show at Salem’s Riverfront Park, July 4, 2013

July 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Some great classic cars and trucks were on display at Riverfront Park, in Salem, Oregon!

The weather was just about perfect: some sun, and a few rolling clouds to cool us down. Here is one of the vintage automobiles – you can click on the image to see many more pictures, or click on our photo gallery link on the right to go to our photo gallery website.

Classic Car

Hard Drive Crash + Good Backup = Happy Photographer

June 16, 2013 Leave a comment

The bad news: our 6-month old all-in-one computer crashed – without any warning at all.

The good news:  it is still under warranty, and the manufacturer replaced the hard drive, and had it back to us in a week.

Better news: we actually had a pretty good backup system and didn’t lose too many images.

Lesson learned: keep your backups current! In addition to our online photo galleries, we copy our files onto an external hard drive, and do another copy to some flash drives. The only hiccup was that we hadn’t done a backup in a couple of weeks, so we lost a few files, but were able to re-create them pretty easily as we still had them on the camera’s memory cards.

Generally, we love this computer, though we still have some concerns with heat build-up, as the components seem to be jammed together pretty tightly in a very small space. We bought it last December when our 7-year old desktop started failing on us. We ran to Costco and bought the only Windows 7 computer they had left. It has plenty of power and speed to handle hundreds of images in Lightroom 4 – no waiting for the images to render while editing them, it boots up quickly, and the monitor has a wide viewing angle. We will be keeping our fingers crossed that it continues to work!

Silver Falls Kennel Club Fun Match 2013

June 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Silver Falls Kennel Club put on a fantastic all-breed Fun Match at Bush Park on June 2, 2013!

Everyone, dogs included, had a wonderful time at Bush Park here in Salem, Oregon. I walked down to the park with my camera, and tried to get a few pictures of each dog and their handler. I was amazed at how well-organized the events played out: all-breed obedience, conformation, and a mixed-course rally. If you have  a chance to attend next year, I highly recommend it!

Click here to see my photo galleries of this event.

Silver Falls Kennel Club Fun Match: June 2013

Click on image to see more photos!

Silver Falls Kennel Club Fun Match:, June 2, 2013

Click on image to see more photos!

Updates – Switching to Nikon Gear

May 1, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s finally springtime in Oregon – great weather for taking pictures! I’ve been busy with work and doing some sports photography for one of our local high schools – having a great time!

This summer, I’m hoping to get to some rodeos, club sports, baseball games, local activities, motor sports, etc, and will start posting some of my favorite shots.

I’m also switching over to Nikon gear.  I picked up the D7100 and am amazed by the improvement in sharpness and auto-focus tracking – you can believe all the hype about this camera!

Photography Is A Lot Like Golf!

November 10, 2012 Leave a comment

As my very strong “focus” (aka obsession) with photography has increased 10-fold the last couple of months, it occurred to me that photography is a lot like golf (I was similarly obsessed several years ago). Here’s why:

1. Shutter Thoughts v Swing Thoughts:

Now you may think that swinging a golf club or taking pictures are simple things, but for us over-thinking-types, they are actually very complicated 🙂

Back when I played golf, I kept a notebook of my progress and my “swing thoughts” (elbow in, arm straight, head up, feet flat, back straight, low and slow, don’t rush it, tempo like a roller-coaster, did I turn off the stove, etc….it’s a wonder I actually swung the club).

These days, I keep a notebook of my sports photography progress, and things to think about when I press the shutter: are my exposure settings still good, what’s in the background, am a I close enough to the action, don’t cut off arms and legs, fill the frame, try for peak action, two faces and a ball, don’t get hit by the ball, etc….

 2. Gear, you can never have enough!

Looking at my dusty golf bag, I can find duplicates of several clubs, all brands of golf balls, gloves, gadgets, an extra golf bag (really?), I could not pass up a great deal on a good used club, ever…..

Looking at my camera bag(s), I see a couple different old 50mm lenses (an AF 1.7 and an older MF 1.4 (both of which I will use for gym games), two different wide-angle lenses (for my product photography business), two 135mm 2.8 lenses (one AF and one MF, the MF will be used in the rain, so both are indeed necessary), two camera bodies (my plan is to put a 135 on one body, and a 50 on the other – again, very necessary!), some old Minolta Maxxum AF zoom lenses, some really old MF Rokkor lenses, and a couple of Sony kit lenses, all to be used for specific types of shots….and fun to look at.

3. You can never, ever, get enough knowledge.

Golf: I still have magazines, books, gizmos, etc., all in the hope of finding the magic words to make my golf game better – I’m sure they helped, but it was just fun to read.

Photography: I still have my old photojournalism books, and now I have more books I picked up at the local used book store, a couple of new magazines, and various assorted photography bookmarks on my computer – ahhh….the power and glory of the internet. I can spend hours reading through the sports photographer forums, how-to websites, equipment reviews, etc….hours and hours….

4. Practice, practice, practice!

Golf: the driving range was my second home, the practice green my real home, and I would volunteer to pick up range balls, so I could practice for free. In the winter, I set up a practice area in the garage, if it was too cold in the garage, I would practice in the living room…..

Photography: I try to get to all the games I can: varsity, jv and freshman matches, one right after the other. If I’m not out shooting, I’m visualizing the shots I’ll take the next time I’m out. If a game is on TV, I think about what shots I would take if I were there. When I’m cleaning the house, I stop and go through my lenses and make sure they are all clean.

5. Getting Better

Now, with all this gear, time, and obsession that you (I) devote….do you really get better? Great news: yes! I’ve seen my photos improve with each game or match I’ve shot; the new/used gear that I’ve found,  really has helped (faster lenses equal less noise!); and I’ve learned tons on the internet that I’ve actually put to good use.

And, pretty good exercise, too (the outdoor field games – going up and down the field, much like walking the course, looking for my ball….).

And, most importantly, it’s fun!