DragonCon 2015

We had a good time at DragonCon this year. It was a strange year and I felt kind of off the whole show. But I had a good time talking with friends and taking pictures.

The Costume Contest and Masquerade were great, seeing the BSG folks and Karen Gillian was great, and listening the Jim Butcher is always fun. Steranko was a crack-up and the American Horror: Freak Show folks were a blast. The Georgia Philharmonic Orchestra was amazing and Rasputina was delightful.

DragonCon 2015 Photos


American Horror: Freak Show


Costume Contest


Battle Star Galactica


Steranko


Georgia Philharmonic Orchestra


Rasputina


Jim Butcher


Masquerade

DragonCon 2014 Recap

We had a great time at DragonCon this year. The costumes were amazing, the photography staff did a great job capturing the event, and we actually got some sleep. Our son Eli stayed with the grandparents where he got to run wild and play with new toys.

My favorite costumes were How to Train Your Dragon, the Music Box Dolls from Chitty Bang Bang, and The Dreamer.

How to Train Your Dragon

Music Box Dolls from Chitty Bang Bang

The Dreamer

Bobbie made a great costume from a lost episode of Doctor Who named "The Celestial Toymaker".

Bobbie

The Celestial Toymaker

My favorite panels were Colin Baker, Ron Glass, Jeri Ryan, Terri Gilliam, Evanna Lynch, and Sparkfun.

Ron Glass

Jeri Ryan

Terry Gilliam

Evanna Lynch

Sparkfun

A Lot Going On

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

Working my way backwards:

Roy Lantz

Roy LantzHey, one of my pictures has been published in Roy Lantz’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s Good Tyme Gazette newsletter.

You can also see more photos of Roy on my website http://photo.davenelson.com/Events/Roy-Lantz.

National Geographic Photo Books

Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs
Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places

I believe that to be a great photographer I should study a lot of images created by other people, especially those considered great by a consensus. So I spend a lot of time looking at books about art history that contain photos of paintings by “The Masters” and photo books like the two I am writing about here.

I found these books at a local thrift store and could not pass them up. “Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs” and “Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places” are both full of great photographs that any photographer could learn from.

I think after reading these two books what I came away with is a better insight into what makes a great photograph. It is not always the lighting, the shadows, focus, color, contrast, and/or framing, but it can also be purely the subject matter. Of course keeping in mind that all those things can enhance a photo of a special subject.

These two books and books similar to them can be a good education about what makes a great photography for any photographer and they are very inexpensive, “Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs” is available at Amazon for less than $12 right now with used copies available for under $6.

I give these books a combined 8 out of 10 and highly recommend them for any photographer.

Basketball: Norcross vs. Mountainview

blocked shot It was a great game at Shiloh High this weekend.

It was great to get out and take my first sports photos of the year. I have a lot of open days left on my schedule, if you have an event you would like photographed please let me know.

Barber Vintage Festival

The rain did put a damper on things, but it was a great weekend with a lot of vintage motorcycles, racing, stunting, and talking.

DragonCon 2009 pictures are up!

The Gallery is at http://photo.davenelson.com/DragonCon/DragonCon-2009/.
Here are some quick highlights

Here are some cool searches

Painting with Light Workshop

On Thursday April 9th I participated in a “Painting with Light Workshop” at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA. Judith Pishnery of Pisconeri Studio & Workshops brought us together for a night of photography and learning.

Photo: Our Confederate Dead

We began the night around 7pm filling out releases and donning nametags on the porch of the visitor’s center. After an introduction by Judith and some words from the cemetery staff we were left to wander the cemetery to get acquainted and take some pre-nightfall photos.

Around 8:30 Judith gave a presentation explaining how to paint with light. Although I had done some small experiments with a handheld speedlight and have written my name in the air with a flashlight before I had never “painted with light” to create a “real” photograph and I was looking forward to giving it a try.

Right away I learned that using a camera flash handheld really doesn’t put out as much light as I thought it did. Multiple flashes, 5 or 6, produced very little extra light even though each flash felt blindingly bright to me. A 6-volt camping flashlight slowly passed over a subject produces a much brighter image than a flash.

Photo: Ms. Watson

I was also surprised by the results of a small but very bright LED flashlight, which to my eyes appears very bright even if it is on the blue side of the spectrum, but to the camera’s sensor it was very dim indeed. The camping flashlight with its old-school style bulb was brighter and whiter than either LED flashlight I tried.

My best results were with using the 6-volt lantern panning it slowly first horizontally and then vertically to ensure total coverage of the subject(s) while the camera’s shutter was held open in bulb mode for as short as 20 seconds and as long as 3 minutes. Then in Lightroom I did some quick tweaking only spending some real effort on two of the photos to knock down some distracting lights.

This workshop was a lot of fun and I look forward to using what I learned in the future.

Links:

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

If you love motorcycles you will love this museum.

motorcycleMy wife was kind enough last year to give me a gift certificate for a weekend at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. I finally got to cash in on that gift this January and spent a Saturday touring the museum. I have always loved motorcycles, a Honda Shadow, while in the Navy and now ride my BMW R850R every chance I get.

According to an employee Barber Museum is currently home to around 1200 motorcycles with around 750 of them on display at any given time and they are acquiring more all the time. Located just outside of Birmingham Alabama, the museum is located on the grounds of the Barber Motorsports Park, which hosts both motorcycle and auto racing.

On display are bikes going back to the earliest days when they resembled bicycles with tiny motors attached up to the latest sportbikes and recent model racing bikes. I especially enjoyed seeing the scramblers and enduros from the late 70’s along with the 2 stroke motoGP bikes.

motorcycle
1923 Scott Sprint Special. This was my favorite bike in the museum. It smelled of leather, oil, and gasoline. Just wonderful!

2008 Wings over Marietta Open House & Airshow

Had a great time at the 2008 Wings over Marietta Open House & Airshow. This was my first opportunity to see the USAF Thunderbirds.  It was a beautiful day with a wide variety of aircraft to see.

Photos of the 2008 Wings over Marietta Open House & Airshow Gallery or you can view the photos as a slideshow.




Red Sox vs. Dodgers

Today was a beautiful day for baseball. I had a great time photgraphing the Red Sox and Dodgers playing a great game at Pinckneyville Park. Photographs of the game are now available.

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk

On Saturday August 23rd I spent a beautiful night participating in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk in Atlanta Georgia around the Buckhead – Lenox area. At 7:00 pm about 45 photographers gathers in front of the Terminus 100 building at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont eager to attack the neighborhood.

I did not really feel inspired until I got to Dante’s Down the Hatch where I stepped inside and got a couple pics of the crocodiles inside. The energy inside the restaurant and seeing the reptiles fired me up to get out there and take a lot of photos.

But even then I did not start capturing photos that made me happy until the light started to fade and the street lights turned on. Using a tripod very close to the ground along with a remote shutter release I took many photos with the lights from cars and trucks blurring across the image.

I think may favorite image is of the fire hydrant. It is an atypical image for me, just not the kind of image I think about.

After being rained on for a bit and another trip up and around a parking deck I returned to where we started and entered the restaurant Bricktops where many of the photographers were enjoying food, drinks, and conversation.

We spent about an hour talking about scanning services (http://www.scancafe.com/) Microsoft Pro Photo Tools (http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/tools.aspx) and one of us spent the night taking photos of the food and drink.

I would like to thank Judith Pishnery for leading our band of photographers. She can be found at www.pisconeri.com and her blog is at www.pisconeriworkshops.blogspot.com.

It was a great experience and I hope to participate in another photowalk soon.

Links

DragonCon is Coming

It is almost that time again, DragonCon is less than a month away. I am a staff photographer for DragonCon and have 7 years of DragonCon photographs on my web site.

This year I am most excited about meeting Hayden Panettiere, James Kyson Lee, and George Takei of Heroes, Sean Astin and Brad Dourif from The Lord of the Rings, Gareth David Lloyd and James Marsters from Torchwood, Beau Bridges from the upcoming Max Payne movie, Joel Hodgson the creator and host of MST3K, James Callis, Aaron Douglas, Michael Hogan, Tahmoh Penikett, and Katee Sackhoff, from Battlestar Galactica, Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin from Firefly and Serenity, Randal L. Schwartz computer geek extroidinaire, and my favorite science fiction author Mike Resnick.

Come back after September 2nd to see pictures of the guests listed above along with costumes, fans, and events from DragonCon 2008.

Below are some of my favorite pics from previous years.

2004

2004 2004

2004 Jewel Staite 2004 Nathan Fillion

2004 Fairy 2006 Joker

2006 Thom and Barry

2006 Anthony Daniels 2006 Kari Byron and a slice of cheese

2006 Summer Glau 2007 Robert Asprin

Stone Mountain Park Fantastic Fourth Celebration

Fireworks at Stone MountainWe really enjoyed ourselves at Stone Mountain Park Thursday night with the laser light show and fireworks display. I get excited about any opportunity to take pictures of fireworks and this night proved to be exceptional. I didn’t get a lot of pictures, but having the carving at Stone Mountain as a backdrop to the fireworks makes for some wonderful pictures.

Raptors T-Ball

It was a great game and want to thank Sam for the opportunity to come out and take photos. Head on over to SmugMug and check out the pictures of Raptors T-Ball action.

When taking pictures of children playing sports I prefer to be at eye level or lower to the players, with the Raptors I was able to sit on the field and get the type of shots that I really like. I am making a lot more pictures available than I normally would since I probably won’t have a chance to shoot another game this season.

Please don’t get to distracted by the slideshow, there are much larger versions for viewing and for sale over at SmugMug.