Developing Photography Part 1 – Texas 2011

Welcome to a new series of posts where I look back on my photography to see how my skills have developed, talk about what I’ve learned as indicated by the photographs I have captured, and also talk about any stories behind the photos if they are notable in some way. I will post the good and the bad and I welcome discussion in the comments!

Before we begin, I must state that my quest has been to get as high of quality photos as possible without any editing. None of the photos I have posted will be cropped, touched up or manipulated in any way, you are seeing what came straight off of my SD cards.

I begin with my first day on tour with the Blue Devils in 2011. I had messed around with my camera at home for the months leading up to tour, but this was the first time getting out and taking pictures of some real action. For the first few weeks of tour I only had the kit lens (Nikkor 18-55mm) that came with my D3100 and didn’t have a full handle on focusing and reframing quickly and efficiently. I also may not have done much with my ISO settings, and I might have experimented with shutter settings but my gut tells me that the blurry photo of the guard is a result of relying on some amount of automatic settings. Eventually I would use a slow shutter on purpose to sometimes great effect. In this case however, not so much. Overall from this first night of photography, I didn’t get the greatest results, but there were a couple of shots that turned out presentable.

The next day I discovered three things. 1) Sunlight is your friend for action photography. Obviously more light means a faster shutter and crisper photos. You can see that I still struggled with focus, however. The guard dance warm up would mark the beginning of my quest to capture the performers in midair during jumps of any kind. 2) Subject in shade is the enemy of sunlight. If my camera had HDR capabilities this wouldn’t be as much of an issue in some instances and editing might make these photos more presentable. 3) During show warm up I took my first couple of portraits of the season which I feel has become one of my strengths, especially once I got a hold of a 50mm f/1.8 later in the season. But we’ll get to that.

Overall it looks like a bit of a rough start, but it definitely could have been worse. Actually, it probably was worse, since I think I deleted all of the photos that didn’t make the cut for facebook and mediabox. After the first few days I started to save everything, so we will be able to look at the worst of the worst pretty soon!

Thanks for having a look and join me next time for Part 2!

The 3rd Annual JKIRE Awards

Welcome to the 3rd Annual JKIRE Awards! It’s just like the Golden Globes except without a tv broadcast, interaction with the people receiving the awards, or any tangible manifestation of the reward. Check out last year’s awards, and the year before that!

Best New TV Series – Almost Human
This fall I haven’t been nearly as on top of television as I have in the last few years, but luckily I was turned on to this delightful sci-fi buddy cop show from some of the people who brought us the amazing Fringe. It’s funny, has tons of action, and Karl Urban is legend. Urban legend. Yep.
Runner-up – Orphan Black Holy cow this show is great. Actually I could swap these. They both win.
Co-Winner – Orphan Black!

Best Movie – Gravity
I can’t say enough how much I love this movie. That’s all.
Runner-up – Rush This took me by surprise. That’s not entirely true, I finally went to see it after it had been out for a while because I had heard it was great. I wanted to see for myself. It was great. I can’t wait to see and own both of these movies on Blu-ray.
Honorable Mention – We’re the Millers I also didn’t expect this to be as good as it was. I unfortunately didn’t see it in theaters, but I feel like it delighted me more than the other excellent comedies I saw this year This is the End, The Heat and Bad Grandpa.

Best Podcast – Mysterious Universe
I’m a proud MU Plus subscriber, how can this not be my favorite podcast? A new podcast I started listening to this year that’s worth checking out is The Star Wars Minute. I’ll also shout out to Doug Loves Movies and Doug Loves Minis since I was present for the Benson Interruption of Lethal Weapon!

Best Sci-Fi TV Show – Almost Human
Of course.
Runner-up – Orphan Black Damn it this problem again….
Co-Winner – Orphan Black!

Best Non-Sci-Fi Show – Breaking Bad
Do I even need to explain this?

Best Non-Sci-Fi non-AMC Show – Justified
Yet again. Last season was fantastic as always, and the new season starts TONIGHT! Yes!

Best Animated Film – Did Wreck-It Ralph come out in 2013? I guess that. Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part 3 was pretty good but totally insane. Eh, why did I even carry over this category…

Best Sci-Fi Film – Thor The Dark World
This is my favorite Marvel film so far and the action sequences were fantastic. If the new Star Wars comes close with it’s dogfights and lightsaber battles I will be happy.
Runner-up – Star Trek Into Darkness I just realized that I did see this in theaters and didn’t include it in my list of movies I saw in 2013. If you consider Gravity a sci-fi film then obviously it wins this category, but it doesn’t contain anything that doesn’t exist in the real world so I just see it as fiction.

Best Reality Competition Show – Survivor
Of course. No runner-up this year because I have only seen the first few episodes of Amazing Race’s spring season, and haven’t watched any of the fall season.

Best Actor – Bryan Cranston

Best Actress – Tatiana Maslany
Wow. What she pulls off on Orphan Black… Wow. Also she was on Parks and Rec. That’s an automatic ten point boost.

Best New TV Comedy – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
If you haven’t seen this yet CHECK IT OUT. I hope this show lasts a long, long time. It has all the greatness of Parks and Rec without any of Office-y stuff (the documentary style).

Best TV Comedy – Parks and Recreation
You should always see this coming.

Best Animated TV Show – Bob’s Burgers
This is the only animated show I watched this year so I had to choose it, but I’m sure I would choose it anyway! No runner-up because I have yet to watch the latest season of Archer.

That concludes the 3rd Annual JKIRE Awards! If you have other categories you’d like me to weigh in on please leave a comment and I will add it!

enjoyable stuff by erik j skinner