Let Them Eat Cake!

Being a professional photographer (and owning all the gear that goes along with that title) I do get asked (wink wink) to document a lot of family/friend gatherings. The one's I enjoy most are the ones with young children. That glorious age before self aware embarrassment and the fear of looking less then proper sets in. Remember those days of salivating over a cake that was made especially for you? With your favorite flavors? With your favorite colours? With your favorite television character? With YOUR NAME ON IT?!?!?!?!??!?!?

The only though in my head as a child was plowing my face into that chocolate indulgence and letting sweet icing slide over every taste bud. Ah to be young again.

Emmaleigh blows out the candles on her birthday cake.

Emmaleigh blows out the candles on her birthday cake.

Here’s Emmaleigh and her cousin Logan enjoying birthday cake in ways only children can.

Let's break it down

With not much availability for movement, improvization is key.

Nikon D5 nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 FL VR ISO 125 f/8 1/13 sec

Nikon D5 nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 FL VR ISO 125 f/8 1/13 sec

At Kansas Speedway when your shooting from the outside access is limited to one of the photo holes in the fence for safety reasons. This means that for the entire expanse around the track the availability shooting locations are 4 cutouts each approximately 8 feet wide and 2 feet tall. Trying to capture something different can be a bit of a challenge. What I like about this picture is the curve of the bottom lights in the foreground and how it leads the eye deeper into the picture. The truck is well set off by its sharpness and colour popping against the gray track. The blur of the billboards conveys the speed to the viewer. The skill of seeing at slower shutter speeds if truly an art.

What was I thinking?: IMSA at Mid-Ohio 2019

In a messy wet weekend at Mid-Ohio racecourse I found myself muddy, shaking off some kind of sinus infection and soaked through. While not one of my favorite track Mid-Ohio offers some excellent photo opportunities. I wanted to share a few of my favorites, along with my thoughts about my photos. I'm calling this new blog idea, "What was I thinking?"


I thought it was a pretty straightforward idea. Try to capture as many cars as I could during the start of the Weathertech Race. Nice sky is a plus, being a bit backlit is not. I had to pull the shadows up more then I would have liked to but the light was pretty harsh. It was pretty much the first time I had seen the Sun the whole weekend, but at least the colours popped. I hate the fact that there are at least six safety vehicles in the center of the photo, but it’s not like I could adjust and try to shoot around them. Aside from that I like the picture. Except for one thing that is compromising. I want to show a lot of cars to convey that it’s the start of the race. To do that I can’t sho a ton of motion. I hate looking at parked cars on a racetrack, but sometimes it’s a matter of priorities. Nikon D850 Nikkor 24-70 FL VR ISO 64 SS 1/1000 f5.6


The BLUE! That’s what I was thinking about. That bright beautiful Blue Lamborghini. With all that yellow and green, colour theory years for some blue, and there it was, right in the middle. The other thing that drew my eye was the curve. That big giant ess drawing the eye from corner to corner. Poetry in motion. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm F2.8 @ f7.1 1/400 ISO 50


Colour and sharpness. Shots like this are a challenge for a few reasons. Mostly composition and speed. To be this wide I needed to be far enough away from the racetrack to include the foliage. I also needed a spot for the racecar to stand out. (composition) To show motion I needed a very low shutter speed because of the small amount of distance the car would cover because of my distance from the track. Panning gets exponentially harder the longer the shutter is open, and I needed that car to be in that exact spot. Needless to say, there’s A LOT of deleted pictures around this shot. I was shooting for Ignite Media while I was there and their client is MAZDA. After 20 minutes, and countless laps. I had 2 pictures that I could work with. Nikon D5 Nikkor 70-200 FL VR ISO 50 1/15 F13


Location, Location, Location. Certain access points are restricted during race weekends. Some even to credentialed photographers. The starter’s stand at Mid-Ohio is often one of these locations. But knowing the right people and planning ahead comes in handy. With rolling starts and a front stretch that isn’t too long, the green flag waves at Mid-Ohio along the ribbon of asphalt after TURN #3. Allowing a head on shot of the field is an expected photo for delivery at almost every track, and Mid-Ohio provides a unique perspective. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ISO 200 f/5.6 1/800 sec.


I’m standing in about 4 inches of mud. And by that I mean 4 inches deep of mud. I almost lost each shoe more then twice. It was raining. Not hard, but I already had a loaner camera from Nikon while my D5 was in for repair from a rain incident two weeks before. What caught my eye was the spray as the LMP’s crested the hill. I was shooting through the fence so i chose a very low f stop. Way to go Nikon! Nikon D850 400mm f/2.8 ISO 200 F/3.2 !/320


At the moment I was thinking, “Stay out of the way, just keep your eyes open and watch for cars approaching, cuz you could die!” The Mazda tore in and the crew came storming out for service. Pit stop practice is thrilling and dangerous, but it’s where races are won and lost. Pit stops can make or break your race, and the Team Joest crew is one of the best! Nikon D5 Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 FL VR ISO 800 1/800 f/3.2


Wet and Dry: It had rained off and on all morning but as soon as the LMP cars came onto the track shortly after lunch the clouds parted and sunshine scorched the asphalt. Sections were still puddled so every now and then water would douse the car trailing behind. I got lucky as the first car was on dry track so it was the second car that obscured the patriotic car close behind. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ISO 32 f/5.6 1/320sec

I hope you enjoyed this post. I hope to write more like it to share stories behind the photos. Let me know via any social media.

2018-12-10 Army vs Navy

For many years now Philadelphia has played host to America's football game. Lincoln Financial Field is conveniently located roughly halfway between the United States Military Academy in West Point New York and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland. Last Saturday marked the 119th occurance of this long time rivalry, and the spirit and enthusiasm lived up to the tradition. Hours before the kickoff two spearheads of America's armed forces marched onto the field individually displaying a panoply of sites for the adoring fans. First the Midshipmen took to the field dressed in their shining white hats and black coates while the polished gold trim reflected the bright sunlight that streamed into the arena. After paying respect to both sections in the stands they retired to their assigned seats. Soon after, the Army Cadets took to the field. While the United States Military Academy West Point Band played, rows and rows of cadets blanketed the gridiron. Their grey dress uniforms were a stark contrast to the earlier display but the gleam from golden buttons and badges would cut through the uniformity of color with flashes of dazzling brilliance. The cadets also paid their respects to the onlookers and orderly took their seats eclipsing another quarter of the stands opposite their Navy equivalents.

As the afternoon sped on, the tension of the annual rivalry heightened. Opening ceremonies delighted the crowd with cannon fire, two flyovers from four helicopters and four fighter jets, the "prisoner exchange" and the pregame coin toss by President Trump.

After all this there was still an epic game to be fought, and in the end Army would stand victorious over Navy 17-10.

All images are copyrighted by Icon Sportswire and Gavin Baker press F11 to view the pictures full screen.

2018-12-06 Balls and Baubles

What a delight to see all the festive colours dazzling in spherical exposition. Hanging from trees, wreaths, banisters, hats, or tails, Christmas ball bring laughter to the season. Imaging a cat playing with the balls hanging low beneath the tree or chasing one as it rolls along the ground. Reflected sights of smiling friends and family shine off the glossy finishes or soft hues bounce from the matte finishes of other Christmas balls.

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