This weekend was the fourth running of the US Grand Prix in Austin, TX. I joined two close friends for an incredible weekend. Wet, but incredible. We sat through a torrential downpour for the UT game, they beat K State fairly convincingly (if you ignore the second and third quarters) and Sunday morning we headed out early to catch the qualifying round that was cancelled from the day before and finally at 2 PM the race would get underway. Assuming, of course, that the rain would stop. This would be the race at which Lewis Hamilton secured his third world championship.
Regarding camera gear, I rented the Sigma 150-600, f5-6.3. It is a heavy, solid lens in every sens of the term. Very fast focusing and quiet. But I did not have a lot of time to play with it before the race. I may not have gotten the best out of it but I used it well! It certainly was much better once the sky lightened, the 5-6.3 limitation is just that with overcast or low levels of light. I have over 2200 images to review, so here are just a couple for now.
The full album (unedited) is up on Flickr now. A few more pics are below.
Seb Vettel coming around for his final lap.
One of the Dans.
Early on in the rain.
The rest of the pack.
Hamilton on his final lap as he secured his Third World Championship.
When we stay in Freiburg we walk into town at least once a day, just to stretch our legs and pick up some groceries. (These little fridges make US-size shopping impossible!) Today I took my D810 and 50mm 1.8.
We travelled up to the small island of Föhr, off the northwest coast of Germany in the Nordsee and part of the North Frisian Islands. It is a beautiful little island, only 32 square miles, with a residential population of 8,000.
Today, in an effort to escape the 100º heat in Freiburg we drove up to Schluchsee, a beautiful lake in the Schwarzwald. What I did not expect was the Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus. From the outside it appears a fairly traditional looking church, with a large wooden structure. The first hint of something different is the sculpture out front, “Kinderreigen.” It is four children holding hands going around a mitre and staff. The sanctuary itself is a gorgeous work of modern sacred art.
Now while I love modern architecture and like a lot of modern art and I have seen some of the most amazing modern sacred art rarely have I ever seen it work in a church or worship space. Usually it is too brutal and chilling, rather than inviting and affirming as I believe a place of worship should be. This church was very different. So far as I could tell almost all (if not all?) the work was done by Helmut Lutz, a native Freiburger, who did der Kreuzweg, the “Stations of the Cross.” I was only able to capture a few of them with anything like the power and energy of the originals. He clearly also did the altar pieces and even the chairs for the ministers.
While there I also lit a candle for Mack.
It was a beautiful, quiet and reflective space, made all the more meaningful due to the unique Kruezweg. If we had a car longer I would go back again.
The Normandie Hotel was clearly a gorgeous hotel in its heyday. Built in 1945 it has been closed for years. The toothless-man working the parking lot told me that it was being renovated. A quick look on the internet told me that this has been the case since it closed.
I love art deco and it there is a special kind of beauty to it in decay. B&W seems to bring that it in certain frames.
This spring break we took 72(!) students to Puerto Rico as part of our Leadership Academy. Of course it was also an excellent opportunity for photography. I took along my D810, 28-70, 80-200, and 50mm, along with a Nikon J1 with the underwater housing (which, sadly, was lost in a waterfall; I don’t want to talk about it). A few of the images are below.
I am traveling through the west coast, starting with Las Vegas. In at least 6 visits I have never so much as pulled the arm of a slot machine. But I have snuck out twice to take pictures at sunrise in the Red Rocks Canyon National Park. Yesterday I had a few hours so I was able to amble among the rocks themselves around Calico 1. Just beautiful and breathtaking. And still not enough time.
I am working from an iPad so these images have no or very little edits to them. Shot with D810 and Nikkor 28-70 f2.8 or Tokina 20-35 f2.8.
December 14th was the Worldwide Candle Lighting commemorating children who have died. Since there was not one within close proximity of our location in central PA my wife decided to organize an event on campus. It also happened to coincide with the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy; a student of mine shared a few words and read the names of all those whose lives were taken. Since I am in a few of the shots you can tell that I did not take most of these images. My good friend and the father of our son’s best friend took them. Thank you JC3.
Below is a portion of what I shared that evening. In the two short weeks that have elapsed since that night all too many have also left us. We remember each and every one.
When the tragedy of loss of life comes we feel powerless, overcome and overwhelmed. But we still have choices that we can make. And we have all made one, important choice tonight. We have gathered together in love to remember those who have left us too soon. It makes us sad, yes, but let us also find joy in remembering the joy that they brought into our lives. To do any less would be to allow death the final victory. Instead we allow their light to shine in our lives always, not just tonight, but forever. Zichronu livracha. May their memories be for a blessing.
Lam 3:19 The thought of my affliction [is bitter]!
20 My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
We give thanks for having shared in these lives, we pray that we may be good stewards of their memories, and we ask for blessing and peace, comfort and mercy.
Every year I take a few shots of our ornaments, trying different things. This year I decided to be very mundane, I simply set up the tripod and tweaked aperture, ISO, and speed. This is the best way to learn, after all. I am still learning, in fact, my way around the D810 and I have to say, its ability to capture so much data, allowing one to pull out almost endless shadows in post, is simply amazing. Here a very few images. When I have time I may set a holiday task of taking a picture of all our favorite ornaments.
As many know, we are avid supporters of Penn State Men’s Soccer. The goalkeeping program is the recipient of the Mack Brady Fund in memory of our son and I am the “faculty partner.” All of that means I attend most of the games with camera in hand. As of a few weeks ago that camera is now a Nikon D810.
I was in the stands for the second round of NCAA playoffs called the “College Cup” in soccer, versus Syracuse and I was armed with my Nikkor 300mm f4 (the older version, not the newer version). Even so, I had a fairly good angle. Our lads lost but our keeper Andrew Wolverton had an incredible game, blocking 8 difficult shots. Connor Maloney scored on a PK and for a time quieted the 1500+ strong Orange crowd. Our Bhoys in Blue ended up losing 2-1, but it was a hard fought match and I could not be more proud of this great group of young men. Watch for some of these men to be playing in the MLS! Especially our Mack Brady Keeper, Wolvey.
I was invited by Athletics to be “Guest Coach” for a game and chose Maryland. It was a cold and blustery day, gray with occasional sunshine. An interesting experience for me, to be sure, sitting in on team meetings and meals over Friday and Saturday. Photographically, I borrowed a friend’s D300 with grip in order to get the greater frames per second. The sensor is not as good as the D7000, but I hoped the FPS would outweigh that. And I think it would have if I had been more comfortable with the set up. These shots aren’t too bad, but I lost focus on many, just simple user error. It is great to have that frame rate though!