I love getting outdoors. My wife and I regularly ride motorcycles, both dirt and street. We explore out-of-the-way places in our Jeep. I have over 5,000 hours as a pilot in small airplanes with extensive experience at “bush flying” in the backcountry. So when my editor at Oklahoma Living Anna Politano asked me to write a story about outdoor adventures, I didn’t even have to leave my desk. I just pulled from my huge archive of images and stories to write this piece titled “5 Outdoor Activities in Oklahoma”. We wanted the story to be about unusual activities rather than the normal golf or tennis.
My wife and I took in north central Arkansas in May and I wrote a feature story about our trip for Thunder Roads Magazine. My photograph of my daughter Emily Mathews made the cover. For this story I used my Sony A7R full-frame mirrorless camera. When riding on my dirt bike, I need a camera that is small, light weight, durable, easy to carry and that still offers high quality wide angle lenses. I like to shoot wide angle and a full frame 35mm camera like the Sony A7R allows me to shoot at wider angles of view than a cropped frame sensor camera. In the past I would sometimes carry my Nikon Df camera, but even though it is one of the smaller DSLR’s on the market, it is noticeably bigger than the diminutive A7R and difficult to tuck away when riding dirt bikes.
I chose to carry a 28 F2 and 50 1.8 lens on my Sony – high quality primes that take up very little space. I usually kept the 28 F2 on the camera and carried it in a small camera pouch that I zip-tied to my dirt bike chest protector. This way I could easily pull to a stop on my bike, grab my camera, and snap a shot, without needing to pull the camera out of a backpack or tail bag. Not to mention that carrying a camera in a tail bag is a recipe for disaster, since the butt-end of a dirt bikes on rough roads is a very shaky ride.
The quality of the A7R was outstanding and the full manual controls were easy for me to manipulate, even with gloves on. I HATE touch screen controls since I often work in dirty, dusty, wet conditions and touch screens are just not all that reliable or easy to operate in adverse weather. I don’t feel the A7R or the lenses are as durable as my Nikon gear, but they are durable enough if I carry them strapped to my chest where they don’t get bumped around, and the flexibility of having a full frame camera with full manual controls and high quality lenses far outweighs carrying around a digital point and shoot camera.
This was my first story shot fully with my A7R but I doubt it will be my last. While I still plan to continue using my Nikon gear for most of my work, I expect the A7R to see more use when I need to go small, light and fast.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Amy Downs, an OKC bombing survivor, for a story in Oklahoma Living Magazine titled “Finding a New Normal”. Writer Dana Attocknie tells a moving story about Amy, who was in the Murray Building when the bomb went off and was trapped under a huge concrete slab for several hours before being rescued by firemen. Amy went on to change her life after the bombing, and now is an avid bicyclist and runner. I was able to photograph Amy at the OKC Bombing Memorial and in front of the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City. She has an infectious personality and was quite fun to work with.
Want to be inspired? Do yourself a favor and read the story —> Finding a New Normal
Recently I was given the opportunity to write and photograph a story for Oklahoma Living Magazine titled “Creating a Culture of Safety”. Basically I was to tell how Oklahoma electric cooperatives work to instill safety into all aspects of their operations, especially in regards to line work, which is inherently dangerous. I was able to interview several safety training officials at a number of coops as well as the state offices of OAEC.
As a journalist I love these opportunities to learn more and write on subjects I am not necessarily familiar with, but interested in. Luckily the story turned into a feature and cover story. It is always a pleasure working with the Oklahoma Living staff and especially the people at Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives.
I recently photographed action film star Ernie Reyes Jr. for Century Martial Arts and their Martial Arts Success magazine. I did the shoot at their in-house studio in Midwest City, which was very nice. I used much of their own lighting and mixed in some of my own Paul Buff Einstein lights so as to better freeze the action of Ernie during his martial arts moves. Ernie has been in a number of movies, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He has co-starred with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as other action and adventure stars. Ernie was very easy to work with and was in amazing physical condition. I had everything set up and tested well before he arrived, and kept him in the studio no more than 30 minutes. It was nice to finally work with my niece Amber Coble on this cool project!
His photo made the cover of the magazine and a nice inside spread.