Last week I was asked to help recover a Maule airplane that had landed on a sandbar on the Cimarron River near Cashion, Oklahoma. A couple of guys I knew were landing along the river and ended up nosing the airplane over in the deep sand, resulting in a prop strike. Luckily the only thing seriously damaged was the propeller. The aircraft mechanic who works on my Maule had taken care of the repairs, replacing the prop blades and doing a runout check on the engine crank. After obtaining an FAA ferry permit, we all flew up there in a Robinson R44 Raven helicopter to see if we could get the airplane to wet hardpack ground and then fly it out. Luckily a Oklahoma Department of Agriculture guy just happened by on his 4-wheeler and helped us drag the airplane to the wet hardpack sand. From there it was a simple matter for me to fly it out and back to Wiley Post Airport. I was asked to fly the airplane because of my fairly extensive bush flying background. The flight out ended up being a piece of cake and 15 minutes later we touched down at PWA safe and sound. I didn’t get a chance to shoot many pics or video, most of the video was shot on my camera by someone else, but still pretty cool.
After planning my personal project and gathering the necessary supplies and assistants and scouting a location, we converged on Lake Thunderbird near Norman, Oklahoma on Thursday evening. It was HOT – about 104 where we were at and even hotter in some locations around Oklahoma. I had two volunteers/friends there to help with setting up equipment. First we set up “camp” with a tent, sleeping bag, and all the peripheral accessories. I scoped out my planned shots in advance, since I knew once the sun started sinking behind the horizon we would have to move fast to get multiple setups completed.
Aime Taylor, my model for the evening, showed up right on time with her husband and a couple of bags full of clothes. We went through the wardrobe and I picked out some attire that I thought would fit our theme. I wanted the shot to be very realistic yet cute and sexy. It was to be a fantasy shot for adventure riders – someone they would dream about meeting at a campsite.
My original plan was to use my AB800 lights for the shoot – not because I needed the light output, but because of the great light modifiers I have for the AB’s. But alas, somehow the AB-800’s missed the loadout so we fell back to shooting with Nikon SB-900’s. Plenty of power out of those babies, since we were shooting after sunset, but we had to do a bit of finagling to control the light the way I wanted – on the subject and not on the ground in front. I wanted to boost the sunset colors on my models face, so gelled one SB-900 with a full CTO gel and bounced that into a silver umbrella. The second SB-900 was used simply for fill, shot through a Lumiquest softbox. We shot various configurations with just these two lights. VERY happy with the results.
First set was Aime camping, hanging around the tent cooking dinner.
Next we had her in the water cooling off – of course!
Finally a shot of her getting ready for bed in the tent.
I wrote and photographed this story about Lucille’s Restaurant in Mulhall, Oklahoma for Ride Oklahoma Magazine. Lucille’s had a great deal of history and some excellent food. As the result of this story and the great food at atmosphere at Lucille’s, their Sunday biker breakfast grew from a dozen motorcycles on a Sunday to well over 200 riders on a Sunday morning. The story gives a bit of history about Lucille Mulhall, the history of the town, and a bit about the food and atmosphere at the restaurant. Unfortunately it burned down in late 2009 and the owners are not able to rebuild it. A great loss for fans of great places to visit and dine.
This story was on the Oklahoma Cross Country Racing Association charity event held in Guthrie each year. I wanted to capture some pictures of youth riders. I grabbed this shot while they were waiting for the start of the race. While a lot of photographers use a telephoto lens for sports action, I prefer to use a wide angle lens and get in really tight with my shots. It gives you a feel of “being there”. I used flash to fill in the shot against the bright sun. I think this first picture would make a great cover shot.
I thought this next picture was great with the father encouraging his daughter before the race.
And finally some action shots. I found some shade from the bright sun and was able to slow my shutter down and use off-camera flash to freeze the action. Panning with the subject helped freeze the rider, and the panning action gave a blur to the background.
I love doing portraits of people. It is always a challenge to capture a picture that really tells who that person is. My job for this story was to tell the story of Geoffrey Wooldridge, an up and coming motocross racer from Broken Arrow. I traveled to Tulsa to photograph him at practice at a busy motocross track. I had to dodge bikes flying around like crazy, and deal with a really boring, cluttered background. I shot the portrait right at sunset using an off-camera SB-800 on a portable light stand. For the action shot I used two SB-800’s to cross light the photo. Dust is always a problem at dirt bike events, so I had two cameras, each with a lens, and did not swap lenses at all during the shoot for fear of a dust-filled sensor. I also wrote the story for this article.