Race Cars on Water!

I found out that the APPA Gold Cup Hydroplane race was going to be taking place this weekend and it would be a great opportunity for some panning practice. The Gold Cup race has many classes of boats but it’s the unlimited hydroplanes I wanted to see again. With top speeds up to 200 mph and those large rooster tails as they turn the corners, there are like Race cars on water!  The hydroplanes race on the Detroit river in between Detroit and the island park of Belle Isle. Which is connect to the city via the MacArthur Bridge.

google map image for belle isle

For years now, I’ve been wanting to shoot from the bridge to get a head a on shot of the hydroplanes as they race to the first turn. In past years, shooting from the bridge was restricted and was unsure if I could shoot from it this year. I figure what I’ll do once downtown, drive over the bridge, I’ll try and spot any signs and ropes blocking the sidewalk facing the race course. If so, I’ll keep driving and shoot from the fishing pier on the island. If not, I’ll head back to the parking lot at Gabriel Richard park and walk to the bridge. I packed up my gear, downloaded the race schedule and heading off to Detroit.

Once I got Downtown, I had forgotten how much I love Detroit. I used to live downtown for several years and love to venture all over the city with my camera shooting the urban landscape of Detroit. Driving through Detroit was like revisiting old friend that I had lost. Memories of creating images over the years, finding the right time of day for a shots and searching for new ones… I miss those days.

Going down Jefferson Avenue and a quick lane change so I can take the bridge to Belle Isle. Driving over the bridge and I see no ropes or posted signs. Sweet! Time to “Whip a shitty”, look for parking spot, gear up, walk to the bridge and wait for the heats of the Unlimited class. The first heat came and went without incident.

Click on thumbnail below to view larger image.

 

During the second heat, the Miss Rock KISW hydroplane flipped and crashed. The driver, Kevin Eacret escaped without injury. The crash did cause the second heat to end early.

APPA_GC_7

I headed back to my car and was going to shoot the remaining heats from the fishing pier on Belle Isle. As I’m walking back, I spotted another shooting location. It’s close to the action and right on the water in Gabriel Richard park. One of the hydroplanes that had stopped due to the flipping had restarted and was heading around the course to get back to the pits. The hydroplane pass by at near top speed and was dragging a huge wall of water behind it. Most of the time I hate back lighting. But here the light lit up the wall of water. The falling drops of water looked like thousands of sparkly diamonds. But it was another hour until the next two heats and decided to move on. I’ll save that shot for next year.

For the next two heats, I’m going the shoot them from the fishing pier on Belle Isle. There are many advantages from shooting from the Belle Isle side of the river. Your facing north and the sun is behind you all day. Also, if you shoot from the pier, it gets you closer to the race course and the action of the hydroplanes fighting the first turn. I have found if you sit on the pier, you can use the lowest rail as a guide for your lense while panning. I shot most of the day in shutter priority, starting out at 1/200th then dialing it down to 1/80th and I’m really happy with my results.

 

Click on thumbnail below to view larger image.

 

 

Until next post,

Steven

The Story behind an Image, Part Two

For the past 13 years, I have had a love affair with photography. I love images that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few images that has a story. Here is part two of a series I call “The Story Behind an Image”.

Part 2: The Bus Stop

Summer of 2008, I was working for a major automotive company in southeast Michigan and the Economic crisis was well under way. The crisis had slowed sell the sale of cars and it was time to save money to get through the rough times ahead and that meant layoffs. The weeks working up to the layoff was some of the worst times I had ever worked anywhere. The level of worry and anxiety seem to be unbearable at times. How many would be let go? Who is safe? Where would go to find work? How long would my money last?

On July 31, 2008, I got the news that I was to be laid off indefinitely. I took some comfort in the fact that the worry and anxiety of it all was over and now it was a matter of figuring out what’s my next step. As an out of work automotive clay sculptor, I knew it was going to be difficult to find work during this time. If cars were not selling, there is no reason to develop new products. And when you’re not developing new product, there is no reason to hire new sculptors. At the time, I did not have a car and relied on public transportation to get back and forth to work, amazingly it worked out well given I lived in Downtown Detroit.

The following days my lay off, I had applied to as many available positions I could find. While not getting feedback from any company I applied to, I was starting to lose hope. Until one day as I was waiting at the bus stop that use to carry me to work. I received a call from what was to become my new job in sunny California. That bus stop is in the image below. On the right side of the image, there is thin sliver of light running down the building. Where that sliver of light hits the ground, there is a light pole which marks the location of my bus stop. The amazing part of the image is that I shot it in April of 2006, over two years before I got the phone call which lead to my next adventure in life. I knew it was a great image but had no idea of the personal importance it had to me and to my future.

the bus stop

Be sure to check out

The Story Behind an Image, Part three >

Why having a copyright mark on your images is so important and how to make one.

Because of copyright infringements. What is Copyright infringement? Here is how Wikipedia defines it, is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. Why is it so important you say? It’s simple, you created an image and it is your. It does not matter if your a professional, amateur, if you shot it on a DSLR(even on a Nikon..lol), on a point and shot or even on your cell phone. The image is still your and no one is allow to do anything to it without your permission along should give you credit for your image.

I’m writing about this because I came across this on a forum I frequent.

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?/topic/298367-one-of-my-uss-arizona-photos-on-ebay/

Somebody downloaded, printed, got a Pearl Harbor survivor to sign it, then put it up on eBay all without the permission of the photographer. That’s pretty shitty! Would a Copyright mark stop this from happening. Not the downloading and printing but the signing and selling I think so. I’m not going to explain copyright laws and registrations but please do your own research. I did a quick Google search and easily found a bunch of informative and helpful site. Goggle is your friend, use it and learn!

And for those out there that do not know how to make a copyright mark,

http://www.hacktrix.com/2-ways-to-insert-copyright-symbol-in-photoshop

Knowledge without application is meaningless. –Thomas Edison.

airshow gear with copyright

Airshow Gear!
Date & Time        8/8/2010  9:58am
Gear used            iPhone 3G

The Story Behind an Image

For the past 14 years, I have had a love affair with photography. I love images that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few images that has a story. Here is part one of a series I call “The Story Behind an Image”.

Part 1: The Spirit of Detroit

In the Summer of 2007, while living Downtown I started a long-term photo project called “My Detroit”. Showcasing the areas I love and can only see in the “D”. During first week in July, Detroit and Windsor participates in the International Freedom Festival. Celebrating both Fourth of July and Canada Day. The multi day event brings millions Americans and Canadians to both sides of the Detroit river. The highlight of the Festival is one of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest. To add an image to my project, I wanted to photograph the fireworks along with an iconic landmark of Detroit. I chose the Renaissance Center, it dominates the Detroit skyline and is the tallest building in Michigan. I had seen images from past Freedom fests and the fireworks are launched from barges on the river. I just need to find a location where I could frame both the Renaissance Center and the fireworks in one shot.

The afternoon of the day of the fireworks, I headed out to the river front to scope out a few shooting locations. As soon as I left my apartment, I was overwhelmed with how many people were already out. Both the sidewalks and street were full of onlookers walking to the riverfront. Woodward as well as Jefferson avenue were blocked off and was full of spectators sitting and waiting for the fireworks to start.

As the sun set, more and more people showed up. Jefferson avenue became an impassable sea of chairs. Sitting on the curb with The Renaissance Center, camera, and tripod in front of me hoping that this is going to be the shot in my mind’s eye. But as soon as the fireworks started, I quickly realized it was not. The barge closest to the Renaissance Center was too far to frame the fireworks together. My first thought of to move to my left to close the gap between the Renaissance Center and the closest barge launching fireworks. But at street level, there were too many obstacles in the way. Trees, light poles and a bunch of junk to ruin the shot. With limited time, I tried to make the best of the situation. Try to relocate to another Detroit landmark and shoot from there. The closest landmark that came to mine was the Joe Louis fist in the middle of Woodward and Jefferson avenue. With the sea of people there that idea was not going to work.

Bummed out that my plans were quickly failing, I decided to pack up and head home. Walking west on Jefferson, weaving in and out of folks watching the fireworks, I pass by the Colman Young building and turn onto Woodward. At the end of the Colman Young building sits the Spirit of Detroit statute. I decide to walk behind the statue instead of in front and get in the way of people watching the fireworks. As I pass behind the spirit of Detroit, I turned one last time to view the scene before returning home empty handed and this is what I saw…

FAR_5
The thought never crossed my mind to shoot in front of the Spirit of Detroit.

Be sure to check out

The Story Behind an Image, Part two >

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