Friday, October 13, 2006

FZ30: Cancer Survivor; D2H: Weeping Tree; School Shooting


Here's a shot taken with this Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30. Like I said, it does well with both videos and stills, a great portable and adjustable multimedia camera. I have to save the image to a lower file size in order to save on my monthly allotment, but the file size is incredibly large for such a camera. Read through the earlier post a couple days ago, there's a posting that gives much more detail about the FZ30. Panasonic now has upgraded the camera as well, and I'll dig that out for you. No, it's not a main camera, it's a do-all camera, and one as a terrific back-up for emergencies when you're out of town.

So on the conclusion of another week of shooting, quite a a few interesting scenarios worked themselves out today. I had to cover a sports portrait, a photo of a weeping tree, and then a football game. Sports was kinda cool, having to capture a field hockey player before her practice. The first thing to look for is a good lighting setup and the second is looking for background. And if you can't find good light, make good light.

In front of the subject was an interesting pattern of shadows from the awning above the building, so I banged off a shot there. But I also wanted to shoot some portraits using the "floor bounce flash" technique. I simply love the effect it has on the subject. The light just comes from a direction not usually seen, yet it's not only pleasing, it's also in a strange way, natural-looking. I say "strange," because light normally comes from above.

I took the player to a walkway near the field and asked her to kneel down so I could place a flash just to the other side of her body and in front of her. The light was rested aiming towards her knees, set on the ground to allow the light to travel right along the walkway. Doing a couple tests, the light pattern looked good enough to finally make the portrait.

Taking a look at the detail, you can clearly look at the sharpness in the hair and eyelashes as well:


My next shoot was capturing a "weeping tree," reported by a resident near Patterson Park, who had posted a query about it on a website. It turned out to be a challenge to shoot, and I returned to shooting with the Nikon D2H. I actually had hoped that there wouldn't be such a thing, because I wouldn't know off hand how to shoot it. As we stood in front of his home on Baltimore St on the clear fall afternoon, I felt some droplets hit my face and hands, so I knew that the challenge was on. But he lived on the block facing north, which didn't get any sunlight.

Fortunately, he knew about a weeping tree on Lombard Street, where the sun shined on it in the afternoon, so we went over to the North side of Lombard at Madiera, where maple showers rained on the walk. I love shooting backlit, and this was the perfect op to let the sunlight catch the rain:

Maple Showers

Never one to be satisfied with just one image, I worked on getting a different view to give a more rounded perspective of what was happening. Okay, what's your opinion of this phenom? I'll give you my take at the end of this blog.

Heading back to my turtle, Chuck bounced me from the football game to head for Frederick Douglass High for a shooting, which might have made the victim of a student. The shooting happened a couple hours ago, I was told, but I figured that investigators would probably still be there.

Crime scene tape surrounded the grassy front lawn on the school grounds as investigators gathered evidence and tried to piece together what happened and who did it.

Another shooting at a school.

That's what played in my mind, along with the Amish school shooting. And the shooting in North Carolina. And the other recent events throughout the country. The only image I could picture that might be dfferent was a shot of crime scene tape literally blocking the front of the school. Some students leaving the grounds walked just where I had wanted to capture some images, and I banged off a frame as they headed home from a football game.

The reporter, Jonathan, told me about where the student might have ended, but against the suggestion of investigators ("Why would you go there? There's nothing there."), we headed south on Payson to where the student headed. An elderly woman sat on a picnic chair as he asked her if she had seen anything. I was interested in the cool tabby that moved about near my feet, and started petting it, ignoring my allergic reaction to felines. Kitty was cool, and looked like a young version of Nikolas, who passed away a few years ago. "Mister, can you grab him for me?" a voice said twice, to my left. Grabbing kitty by the scruff and beneath his belly, I returned Tigger to his thankful owner who stood on the steps of her home several doors down. She had been trying to get her cat back for a while.

Jonathan, coming up empty with his first subject, asked the lady with the cat if she knew anything about the shooting of the boy. "Yes," she said. "He ended up here, at my front doorstep," Sandra said. Troy made it to her home, injured by the shooting at the school. He was taken to Shock Trauma, where he is at this moment, she said. Only a short time later, Sandra watched TV to learn that the shooting on the news was about her nephew, who turns 14 tomorrow.

Perhaps thankful that I caught Tigger, Sandra gave us more information about what may have happened, and let me take some photos of her with Tigger. "Send it to me through the mail," she said as we returned to edit what we had.

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