Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Petit LeMans - Road Atlanta 2008

I finally did it! For years I've been saying I'm going to see the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta. Tim Clark and I went up both Friday and Saturday for several races and a lot of qualifying. Together we shot about 7,000 photos. Both of us were equipped with recently purchased 40Ds. I had the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and a new 16GB Extreme IV. Shooting in JPG I never saw the shots left counter dip below 999. Of course I did delete many on the fly but there were over 2500 shots on the card with that reading.

Easy access to the paddock areas for shots and driver meet and greets:

Winners of one of the many support races.

Anyway, it was a great deal of fun. It was a different world than what you see at a NASCAR race. For starters, these guys actually get to turn right and go up and down hills...LOL. I just HAD to get that jab in there. While I saw a lot of beer being consumed I never saw any "show us your b**bs" signs, anyone without a shirt, anyone wasted, anyone peeing between cars or behind the grandstand (or off of it for that matter). There were no long lines for porta-potties and they were actually clean. I didn't even see a drunk guy fall down a hill while taking a leak behind the restroom as I did the last time I worked at Talladega.

A little playing with the zoom here:

What I did see was a vast array of cars of all kinds both on and off the track. I saw lots of great racing action as cars fought for the lead through the curves. I walked right up to the tents in the paddock area and go great shots of drivers and mechanics. It was a blast. I may not go every year but I will return and I will camp there sometime.
We saw lots of spins in curves 10A and 10B:Pretty much all of my shots were with the Sigma 2.8. A few were with the Canon 75-300 IS. Al were with a 40D on a monopod.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Portland Head Lighhouse, ME

Portland Head Lighthouse claims to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world. I though I'd help out it's claim...

We saw very little of Portland, Maine but it seemed to be a pretty cool place to visit. I'd love to go back sometime when we're not on a whirlwind tour and spend more than 2 hours there.

There are several lighthouses in the area but we visited only the most famous one. It was comissioned by George it's a little on the old side. We got there after it had closed. If you're going, plan to be there before 4 if you want to see the interior.

The whole place is stunning. Jagged cliffs, the ocean, lobster boats churning by. Watch out for the poison ivy and the sheer drops. There were a lot of people milling around which made it difficult to get decent shots but I think I got a few were putting on here. Let me know what you think
View from beside the lighthouse

Southbound through Maine

Grass & earthen top of Fort Knox with a massive new bridge being built in the distance.


After leaving Bar Harbor we headed south to Bucksport, Maine. Across the Penebscot River is the original Fort Knox. Building on this granite fort began in the late 1830s because of tension between the US and England over the US/Canadian border. At a cost of over $1 million, it was never really completed but was manned during the Civil war and a few times since. It never saw a single battle and was sold to the State of Maine to be used as a park for just over $2K. What a bargain! It's damp, dark and dank but fun to explore. We stayed there about 90 minutes.

A picnic lunch at one of the many inlets along the Maine Coast.

Typical small town main street and bay in Maine.
Next stop, Portland Head...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A few more shots of Acadia

The tidal pools were cool.

So was the lighthouse. If you've been to our house, you may have noticed a painting of a lighthouse in the living room. This is that lighthouse. It was great to see the original.

Bar Harbor at night. We returned to town for a late Pizza dinner but were too late and the kids were too tired for any shopping.

Acadia National Park

Some more shots of Acadia National Park...

Near the entrance overlooking the town of Bar Harbor

Another shot on top of Cadillac Mountain. This is located on Mt. Desert Island. A lot of sand and rock atop the highest point along the east coast.

This is "Thunder Hole" (named after Ethan we think)

The chasm here has somewhat of a tunnel just at the water level. depending on the tide and size of the waves, it sounds like claps of thunder as the waves roll careful, though. The waves can spray quite high. If they're too high the area is closed. The other pic here is just down the road driving on around the shoreline toward the tip of the park.

This is the swimming area. Yeah right. Swimming for the Polar Bear Club. It was extremely cold. I got in about knee deep and it wasn't long before I started to lose feeling in the toes.

Baa Habaah and Acadia

It's spelled Bar Harbor but that's not how they say it..and people make fun of us Southerners.

I got up early and drove in the rain to Acadia National Park. I'm really loving the Sirrus radio that came with the rental. (Hey Bec, Christmas gift idea!) It is an astonishingly beautiful place. Unfortunately, for most of our visit it was shrouded in fog and rain.

I went back to the room and woke the rest of the crew up and we drove around the town of Bar Harbor. There are lots of little mom & pop type lodges with individual cabins to use. The town is nice. It's got a retro but trendy feel. There were very few, if any, chain stores or restaurants there. We ate breakfast at Tapleys. GREAT food. Great prices.

After breakfast we walked around the main streets and the shore and said we'd come back later for shopping in some of the many cool little stores overlooking the park and the bay...but we never did.

From town we drove into the park and up to the summit of

Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the US eastern seaboard. The fog obsured what I'm sure has to be one of America's best views. I wanted to be up there for the 4:15 AM sunrise but there was no point because of the fog and rain.

I can't begin to describe the beauty of this place. If you haven't been there you should make it a point to go. Mountains, rocks, crashing waves, sandy beaches, tidal pools, fishing, swimming (brrrr!), hiking, deep forests, and a LONG scenic drive around the island. I shot hundreds of photos! We didn't have near enough time to spend here. Allow at least three full days, probably more to explore one of Americas (the worlds!) most beautiful spots.


We were going in and out of shops in Bar Harbor and the wee one was tired and bored. He took the seat in the doorway. I went out to keep him company while Bec and KJ shopped.
I pulled out the Canon and began shooting. These are a couple of my favortie shots that I've gotten of him. I left the camera on full auto.

Bar Harbor was cool (as in chilly) place to be in late spring but was a welcome repose from the heat of ATL.

I'll try and post a few trip pics and comments over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Are we there yet?

We headed north east out of Boston into New Hampshire. We'd only been moving a few moments before we heard snores form the back seat.

New Hampshire has 18 miles of coastline. We saw most of them in the rain. While the kids slept we stopped in Hampton Beach. Bec and I took turns getting out and walking along the shore to see a sand sculpture contest.

It was about 5pm Friday. I'd had about 10 hours sleep since I got up Wednesday morning and we had a few hundred miles to go. I got Bec a coffee and a DP for me. That helped; but the chocolate covered coffee beans are what really did the trick. I drink my coffee pretty strong these days. Bec doesn't. She thought the beans were pretty nasty (as did the kids). I found a new snack food to add to my list of favorites. I was wide awake for the rest of the trip to Bar Harbor.

We stopped at the rest area at the NH/ME line. as soon as we pulled in, we saw a deep forest of evergreen and beautiful wild flowers everywhere. Maine is simply georgeous.

We drove on to Portland. The home of L.L. Bean and DeLorme Maps. We didn't go to L.L.B; it was in a little part of town that is pretty but basically a glorified outlet shopping center.

We stopped at DeLorme, the home of the world largest globe. Not sure if it is an omen, but the world was broken. It didn't spin because it had came off its axis.

A little further north we got back off the interstate and headed up the coast, although you don't get to see a lot of it, especially after dark...

We stopped in Belfast,ME for Pizza around 8:45 and were told we'd have to get it to go because they were 8:45 on a corner in the middle of town on FRIDAY NIGHT. Guess that's what it's like in an area where the sunrise is at 4:45am. We got a pizza, drove down to harbor on're gonna laugh but this really is the name... the Passagassawakeag River and ate our pizza. From there it was only a couple of hours to the Belle Isle Motel on Route 3. We quickly crashed in a small, but clean and quaint room. Nothing fancy but exactly what we needed.

Tomorrow, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Soggy Bottoms in Beantown

I'll have more photos of Bar Harbor. First, however, I thought I'd back up and start at the beginning of our trip.

After very little sleep, we headed for Hartsfield at 5:15am. After the drive and getting through the line for security we barely made our flight. It was the first flight we'd made as a family of four.

A BIG BIG BIG thanks to Airtran and Wendy's for their flight promotion. We got enough cups to give us all free flights to Boston and from Philly back to ATL!! Thanks to all who donated to the cause: Danny, David and Laura, Jana, Sherri and anyone else I might have neglected to mention. I hope my daughter found the trip enjoyable enough to overcome her embarassment of Daddy "diving" for cups.

We made it to Boston, picked up the Sirrus and headed to see the USS Constitution. It was out sailing; a very rare occurance. So we drove around the area, going safely through parts of the Big Dig (It was two weeks later that part of it came crashing down onto traffic) and had lunch at 99's. Great "local" place. Turns out, it's a chain in the area.

After lunch, we headed back to "Old Ironsides". We missed her under sail. She'd already docked and we had to wait for all the rigging and sails to be stowed so we toured the museum. We got in line just as the clouds began to really darken. We waited too long to make it back to the car before the rain hit. Unprepared, we were drenched while we began the "wait in the security line" that would become an almost daily ritual for the trip. The security is tight here because the Constitution is still a Navy vessel. In fact, it is the world's oldest warship still in service. It is manned by a U.S. Navy crew.

Because of the downpour, the normal afternoon tours were stopped and they just let us wander the ship. We spent about 45 minutes ducking through the lower levels and taking photos up top. Then we headed back to the parking garage and changed clothes in the basement. Then it was off to New Hampshire while the kids slept in the back seat.

I'd like to go back to Boston some day. It was a neat place to visit. I'd like to see Bunker Hill and walk around the Charlestown area (even if, per capita, there are supposedly more criminals there than any other US city).

Bec and the kids with the "wet look".

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ford GT

I shot this Ford GT at an outdoor car show in "Mayretta" shortly after obtaining my first DSLR. I always wanted a Canon. Now, I have one. A EOS Rebel with the factory packaged 18-55. Of course I got it through eBay. Did you even need to ask?

I downloaded the Free Beta version of Adobe's Lightroom last week and cranked up the blues to bring out the shadows. I then used the "Smooth" slider to lessen the appearance of the rain drops. It's a little dark but this is one of my favorite images. Let me know what you think of the photo.

I have thoughts of turning this one into a large painting. Should I put it on canvas? Maybe a water color? Probably acrylic...if it isn't all dried up. I haven't done a painting since 1992. I'm a little afraid to attempt it again. I've been away from painting more years than I did it. I look at this and I see it as a painting. Maybe I'll do it next week.

Same shot, different venue:

Check out lightroom at

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I got this shot on Pensacola Beach. It was a cluttered, ugly, bad colored mess. I was trying to get a shot of the beach when this little girl ran up to water's edge and stopped. Her dad was video taping her and wondered right into the middle of my shot. I was going to delete it but thought it'd be something to test my edit skills with. I used Picassa2 to edit it and came out with this. I cropped about 70% away, turned up the shadows, sharpened parts, blurred parts and used a B& W filter.

This was shot with my first digital camera. It was a Fuji Finepix. It is now an expensive paperweight. It was gravitationly rendered useless.