Desert Dolls Roller Derby

Last month, April 22th, I photographed the Joon Cleavers vs Cosmic Killas at the Desert Dolls Roller Derby in Peoria, AZ.  Last year I had photographed the Arizona Derby Dames.

Joon Cleavers Team-Larry Cowles WLC_0965

Derby Dames is a banked track league while the Dolls are flat track.  I remember many years ago watching banked track skating on TV.  I think it is a little faster and more dangerous if you get close to the track as a skater can come flying off the track and into the onlookers.

Cosmic Killas Team-Larry Cowles WLC_0979

Flat track appears a little slower because the bank doesn’t hold them onto the track but there is still a lot of action.  Before the meet got started, I had a chance to do a group photo of the two teams.  In Peoria, the seating is set up with chairs at each end of the track.  If you get a seat straight down either straight away you can be comfortable and get the action as it comes straight toward you.

Had a lot of fun and met some of the girls and will probably go back again.

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Civil War in the Southwest

Battle in the Desert WLC_9414The Western most Civil War battle occurred near Picacho Peak, Arizona between Tucson and Phoenix.  Every year in March this battle is reenacted along with two battles that occurred in New Mexico, Glorieta and Valverde.  I went to this years event.  It was strange seeing a Civil War battle in the desert as most of the time we think of battles in the South in wooded areas or large fields.

Picacho Peak Canon Fire WLC_8999 I always enjoy photographing the cannon fire trying to get the red burst coming out the front.  It takes patience and some timing to get it just right but I was able to capture it on this outing.

Ranking Officier Confederate Side WLC_9064

Most reenactments have a Northern and Southern Camp which are always places to find a few interesting images such as the ranking officer of the Confederate army in front of a tent and in contrast the little girl with her yellow umbrella.

Western Girl Yellow Umbrella WLC_8875

While it is mostly men interested in this type of hobby, it can be a family event.  Most of the participants belong to the Arizona Civil War Council.

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Photos of a Chuck Wagon Cook

Wes Chuck Wagon Cook WLC_6520

I am always looking for places to photograph, events and other activities–sometimes unusual events.  Earlier this year we went to the Arizona Livestock Show at the fairgrounds.  I certainly enjoyed taking pictures of all the livestock and judging but the Chuck Wagon cookers caught my eye.  In all their western garb, old pots and pans and doing it the old way makes for a lot of great photographic possibilities.

Wes Red Bandana WLC_3554

We met Wes.  A really interesting man that is a true cowboy having worked in horseshoeing, as a wrangler and many other jobs of the type.  He has been doing chuck wagon cooking for many years and won a lot of contest.  He really loves the Dutch Oven cooking.  I took a bunch of images of him at this event and invited him to come to our studio for some nice portraits.

Wes Tall Cowboy Hat WLC_3491

Several months later we were able to hook up and did get some great shots in some of his outfits.  I was really surprised when he showed up with a van full or outfits, guns and other western gear.  Great time and great pictures.

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Photographing Your Pet at Home

Most of my pet photography is done in the studio with studio lights.  I always get asked how to photograph your pet when you don’t have studio lights.  The easiest way to photography a person, pet or a still life arrangement at home is the use that big light source–the sliding glass door you probably have in your kitchen.

Joy Lazy WLC_0827For a pet, I usually take an arm chair from the living room and put it in front of the big window.  I cover the chair with a cloth or old curtain that would make a good background.  Open up the drapes or shades to let in as much light as possible.

This will give you some nice soft light that will almost look like it was taken in the studio.  You don’t want direct sunlight on your subject so you will want to photograph in the morning with a West facing window and in the afternoon for a East facing window.  North facing always has soft light.  Depending on time of year, South facing windows might give you some direct light.  If your light is too bright, you can always hang up a white shower curtain that will diffuse the light.

Joy Paisley Back WLC_0726Images shown are of a friends little dog, Joy.

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Carillon – Cast in Bronze

Cast in Iron Player WLC_7594I enjoy going to Renaissance Fairs and photographing the many characters to be found.  The Arizona Renaissance Festival runs from mid February to the first weekend in April.  Being new to Arizona, I went several times this year.  One of the most interesting things I had never seen before was the Carillon.  This is a large musical instrument made of up bells and played with a keyboard and by foot pedals.

Cast in Bronze WLC_2858 This one is  a transportable and moves from event to event; it has 35 bells and weighs 4 tons.  Actually there are 3 of these traveling carillons in the US, all operated by the same company.  It is played by a masked man know as the “Spirit of the Bells.”  At this event the Carillon was played by Cyrus Rua.  He indicated that besides learning how to play the instrument, you have to develop theatrical movements to make the presentation interesting.  Part of the financing of the shows are the CDs they sell of wonderful music of the bells.  Of course the mask makes for a great image.  Cast in Bronze is the name of the company.Cast in Iron Hands to Face WLC_0003

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Civil War at Pioneer Village AZ

Pioneer Village is a Living History Museum that has various events for tourists but mainly for school children.  Several times a year they have a civil war reenactment.  They day I was there it was fairly small but allowed for being able to talk to the participants and take a few images.

pioneer-village-civil-war-panorama1-mono

I enjoy doing people pictures and try to make them as best I can and attempt to make them almost look like studio pictures.

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On sunny days it is best to move your subject to an area with shade.  This gives nice even lighting and doesn’t give you that very contrasty look that puts dark circles in the eyes.

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Pick a background that is not distracting.  You don’t want a lot of tourist in the background or other distracting elements.  Look for a plain background like the tent or cabin wall.

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You can do a full body shot to show all the clothing and gear or just do a waist up shot.  If the background is not the best you might just want a headshot.

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Don’t forget to do a few in monochrome (black and white) as this can give an old look to your images like it was actually taken in the 1860’s.

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Tourist at Yellowstone Prismatic Pool

Yellowstone has hundreds of pools that collect water.  When the mornings or days are cool, the heat produces lots of steam.  At times it can look like the whole place in on fire.  The Grand Prismatic Spring (pool) is one of the larger pools, the vivid colors in the spring are the result of microbial mats around the edges of the mineral-rich water.

tourist-at-yellowstone-prismatic-pool-wlc_2487

On this cool morning the fog was so thick you couldn’t see the colors but it made a nice background showing these Tourist, jut being tourist.

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