Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lakes and mountains of the Olympians.

Donner Lake
Last weekend we had the pleasure of driving up to Reno to spend time with and photograph Errol Kerr of the Jamaica Ski Team. When we arrived at his home we were also introduced to Filip Flisar who is a member of the Slovenia Ski Cross Team. Both these athletes competed at the last Winter Olympic games and competed against each other recently at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. As friends as well as competitors, Filip was spending some time visiting the USA.

Before reaching Errol's home, we had spent an afternoon lounging around and picnicking on the shores of Lake Tahoe, before continuing on to spend the first night at a hotel in Downtown Reno. An experience that was balanced by a surprisingly pleasant walk by the river and tea at Java Jungle. There was even an incident during the night when someone, a little worst for wear, fell down the hotel stairwell and landed on the 8th floor!

But, the real fun was hanging out with Errol and his friends and meeting his mother and his girlfriend too. Errol also shared with us an amazing dvd that showed how he had built jumps in the yard of his mother's home in Truckee to practice and hone the skills that have eventually allowed him to become an Olympian. It's an amazing thing to watch as the young Errol literally flies through the air around the house. At one point his mother even allowed him to build a snow jump from the roof of the house!
Sharing a Jamaica Ski Team Jacket with Antonella

For the shoot we drove down to Donner Lake and had a session by the lakeside using speedlites to tame the glorious sunshine in the clear blue sky. Filip was also happy to assist with the lighting and was a real sport allowing me to address him as tripod 2. For speed and flexibility I allocated a speedlite each to Antonella and Filip making them into human tripods so that I could verbally and instantly change the lighting as I shot.

In the next few days, I'm going through the shoot to pick out the best shots and once done and approved, I'll post some. The last thing I have to say here about Errol Kerr is, he is deeper and wider than you would ever have imagined. At his present young age, he probably already has the experiences of 2 or 3 lifetimes of someone twice his age! A great and really genuine person to know.

We had a nice easy drive back to San Francisco on Monday to complete a really fun and worthwhile weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's all good!

I've just had a wonderful time in the tiny Central American country of Belize. The weather was great and the beaches were wonderful making the whole experience worthy of being called Paradise.

A tree whose branches are right up by the house, regularly plays host to many birds. Especially a flock of green parrots who visit it 2 or 3 times a day to eat the fruit buds that sprout from the trees branches.

We stay at a fairly remote location when in Belize which allows us the possibility of encountering all types of wildlife. So as well as pelicans, herons, frigates, hawks and all kinds of other birds, there were armadillos, snakes, raccoons, and many other animals including a visit from a puma one night.

My stock images sold well and here you can see my first and last image sale for the month of May.
Finally, I'm also happy to report that my Tamron Di lens is repaired and back with me after 2 months at the repair center. I had dropped the lens onto a wooden floor and the auto focus and vibration controls no longer worked correctly. Also manual focus was only accurate within a limited focal range. I contacted United Camera Repairs, got a quote and boxed up the lens and sent it off to them. The lens got back to me just in time for my trip to Belize and actually works a little better than before it was dropped. They had to strip the unit down and rebuild it so I had the benefit of my lens being carefully reassembled by hand.

They have an excellent online tool for tracking progress and when I was getting anxious about timing, Jennifer Tarpening, from their customer service center, was fantastic and personalized the experience for me, including having the lens flown next day delivery to me at no additional cost. I do recommend United Cameras if you need a repair.

Ok, time to do more shooting now!