Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Day Late and a Tripod Short

I’d passed the ferris wheel set up in the parking lot a couple of times while I was in Danville, VA, shooting for the Images of Danville/Pittsylvania County, Virginia Magazine. Each time I’d make that mental note to check it out once the sun went down. And, as it always is, I was tied up with another shoot and never could make it back in time for sunset.

Finally, on my last night in Danville, I made it a point to try and get there in time.

Well, I got there. But it was a little late. The sun had gone down and I was in the final minutes of twilight. To make matters worse, I left my tripod in the car. Not wanting to waste precious time hiking back to the car for the tripod, I used a light pole as a brace and crossed my fingers the light pole and the built-in internal stabilization on the lens would provide me with a little help. To give myself a little bit more of an advantage, I fired the camera in bursts, hoping that the stars would align and one out of the four or five frames would be in focus.

I managed to get some frames in focus and make a couple of nice pictures. Not what I could have gotten if I was a little bit earlier and didn’t have a brain fart and left the tripod in the car. 

But, I guess on the bright side, this at least leaves room for improvement.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garden of Good Eating

L.W. Farmer, a retired fireman, sits on the tailgate of his pickup truck and watches the action at the community garden in Rocky Mount, NC. Suffering a heart attack hasn’t stopped him from coming out and helping as much as he can, but it has slowed him a little. Sometimes it’s just advice that he’s able to germinate in the minds of the junior green thumbs.

Farmer uses gardening as a way to give back to the community in Rocky Mount. He leases a piece of property from the city, tills the soil, and offers the land up to others in the community to use and grow crops.
In it’s second year under Farmer, the garden has grown from about 30 plots in its first year to over 50 in its second. It’s a chance for residents to learn the importance of tending and caring for their plots. Many are doing this for the very first time. But like the gardens, it will take time for their knowledge to grow and produce a bountiful harvest.

Monday, July 12, 2010

One-Wheel Wonder

It’s one of those things we all do while we’re driving, between texting, grooming or drinking a starbucks beverage, my attention was somewhere else besides my driving.

I was headed down Riverside Drive in Danville, VA, when something caught my eye. It was the front window of the Bicycle Medic bike shop. In the corner were a couple of unicycles.

Danville didn’t seem to me to be a haven for unicyclists so I turned around and headed back to the shop.

The guys at the shop told me how they go into carrying unicycles. Local rider Barry Davis had been in the store looking for parts to fix his unicycle and sparked their interest in them as well. They managed to scrounge around for parts to repair his ride and he was back riding on one wheel again.

Barry’s interest in unicycles started when he was about seven and thumbing through one of the Christmas catalogs that came to the house. Within the glossy pages, he spied what he wanted for Christmas; a unicycle.

Now, his parents being like most parents, were a little apprehensive about buying their young son a potentially dangerous apparatus that defied common sense and lacked the all important second wheel of normal bikes. Not to mention, there were no training wheels. 

But as most kids do, Barry hounded his parents until they gave in. After all, he already had a BB gun and hadn’t manage to shoot his eye out with it. How much more dangerous could a unicycle be?

That Christmas morning, Barry awoke to with anticipation to see what Santa had brought. Sure enough, under the tree was a brand new, shiny unicycle.

Within 15 minutes, he was on his way to mastering his new toy.

Ever since, Barry has been known to pull out his one-wheel wonder and hit the pavement. Usually it comes after a little coaxing from friends and a little desire to prove to himself that he still knows how to ride.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Warning: It’s Illegal to Take These Pictures

No, I don’t mean yoinking these copyrighted photos and using them for your own personal use. (That’s another illegal use altogether.) I mean it’s illegal to capture these images with your camera.

“Gyre” is a sculpture by North Carolina artist Thomas Sayre and stands in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Museum Park. (Say that ten times really fast.) The park is adjacent to the museum and contains about a dozen pieces of art scattered along the numerous walking trails.

It also closes at sundown.

 I found this out the other day as I was setting up to take some more pictures of “Gyre” at twilight. A very polite policeman from the city of Raleigh informed of the park’s closure as he passed in his patrol car, driving along the walking trail to inform the other no-good-doers of their illegal actions.

Needless to say, “Gyre” really shines at twilight and makes a great picture against a blue sky. There are several halogen flood lights that illuminate each ellipse. And when you’re camera’s white balance is set to tungsten, the sky turns a rich blue and the sculpture a saturated orange.

It just goes to show, sometimes you have to break a few rules/laws to get a great picture.

(Pictures are for the North Carolina Travel Guide)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Room with a View

I recently spent a week down in Charlotte, NC, working on the new Charlotte USA Economic Development Guide for the folks at the Charlotte Regional Partnership.

For those who know, and for those who don’t, Charlotte is probably the epicenter of NASCAR racing. With the opening of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame, the city has solidified itself as THE destination for the racing faithful to make their pilgrimage.

As it would happen, my stay happened to coincide with the 16th annual “Speed Street” in downtown Charlotte. The event is bookended by two major races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and is a weeklong celebration of all things NASCAR. The annual event features a little bit of everything including: NASCAR drivers, music, food and The Boost Mobile Freestyle MotoX Experience.

Did I mention the Boost Mobile Freestyle MotoX Experience?

There were about five or six riders showcasing their acrobatic skills; each trying to one-up the others and get the loudest cheers from the crowd. They even managed to catch the attention of a few people that didn’t even have to walk out their front doors to catch the action.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

By Definition, a Tree is Not Always a Tree

Definition: cam • ou • flage
  1. The method or result of concealing personnel or equipment from an enemy by making them appear to be part of the natural surroundings.
  2. Concealment by disguise or protective coloring.
  3. Fabric or a garment dyed in splotches of green, brown, tan, and black so as to make the wearer indistinguishable from the surrounding environment.

This tree was planted near the campus of UNC-Charlotte.