All posts by Dave

Central Delaware Blues Society Roadhouse Bluesfest

The Central Delaware Blues Society did their first annual Roadhouse Bluesfest August 31st and I was invited to do photography for the group as their official photographer. More than 200 folks showed up to see four great acts: Johnny and Zep playing old time Delta blues, Lower Case Blues did their rock/blues, Eric Steckel doing his Texas blues rock, and Chris Duarte finished up with some serious Texas blues rock too.

Johnny Never and Zep Harpo doing Delta style blues. Johnny with a tie on! These guys were a real class act. Loved talking to them after their gig.
Johnny Never and Zep Harpo doing Delta style blues. Johnny with a tie on! These guys were a real class act. Loved talking to them after their gig.
LCB jammin to some blues
LCB jammin to some blues
Lower Case Blues Killin' it on a perfect day. Great band, great fun!
Lower Case Blues Killin’ it on a perfect day. Great band, great fun!
Eric Steckel was an extremely dynamic performer! Reminded me of Ted Nugent when I saw him back in the 70s, 15 years before Eric was born.
Eric Steckel was an extremely dynamic performer! Reminded me of Ted Nugent when I saw him back in the 70s, 15 years before Eric was born.
Eric has been recording and performing since he was 11 years old! Loved this in the wind playing photo
Chris Duarte tearing it up! He and Eric were super high energy performers
Chris Duarte tearing it up! He and Eric were super high energy performers
It was Craig Coffield's birthday, and most of the folks there signed his card. Chris Duarte had fun doing  Happy Birthday too!
It was Craig Coffield’s birthday, and most of the folks there signed his card. Chris Duarte had fun doing Happy Birthday too!
Chris Duarte was jammin hard and had to stop because there was a lightning storm that came in.
Chris Duarte was jammin hard and had to stop because there was a lightning storm that came in.

The acts were great! Lots of great folks volunteered to make this show happen, Great job Central Delaware Blues Society! A wonderful group of vendors showed faith and took a chance on the first show. I have to give a shout out to the folks at June Jam that supplied the stage that was so key to the show! One of the things that’s  cool about our small state is that it’s only separated by 2 or 3 degrees of separation. I understand the June Jam folks stepped up and offered the stage, gratis, when they found out there was a need. It’s a great music environment here in the first state!
Can’t wait ’til next years show!

What I did on Summer Vacation: Germany (Switzerland and France too) with a Fuji x100s

I recently went to Germany to spend some time with good friends that have been visiting here in the US since the late 90s. They welcomed me, my family and friends into their home and showed all of us the things most tourists don’t see. We went to some cool places and great restaurants that focused on the local specialties. It was an amazing experience!

Photographically,  I brought my Fuji x100s camera, 2 regular film cameras and 2 Holga cameras. I thought I might shoot some film, and wanted to bring the film cameras in case I decided to get a different focal length than the fixed focal length (no zoom!) on the x100s. Turns out I could have skipped the other cameras, I only shot the Fuji! I viewed it as an exercise in working within the limits of a single camera, single lens project. It turns out that the single lens worked out fine. I zoomed with my feet or just skipped some shots that weren’t doable without a longer lens. Truthfully, I don’t think I missed anything that mattered, and, I also wasn’t carrying around 25 lbs of camera gear!

One of the challenges of being passionate about photography when traveling with a group that isn’t so obsessed,  is to not be a problem for the group! I tried to keep up, and not hold folks back. We went to many different cities and passed many cool things that if I was alone or with photographers I would have spent a lot more time shooting or hanging around to see what happened. With  those constraints, it’s important to get the shot and drive on. The Fuji kept up and wasn’t an issue. Using the electronic view finder and aperture mode, I was able to ride the exposure dial up and down, see the how the shot would look before I took it, click the shot and catch up to the group! lol

I did 1600 or so photos in ten days, went through them and did a first cut to about 650 photos that were decent enough for more attention. I’ll be showing a few from that group at a time, but surely not all 650!

Lately I’ve been interested in how people arrange their lives and their things. That’s the over riding theme in the photos I suppose. Here’s a start of photos from my trip.

 

I never saw so many flower boxes as I did in Europe. Almost all the homes had them! Loved all the colors and textures too!
I never saw so many flower boxes as I did in Europe. Almost all the homes had them! Loved all the colors and textures too!
We stopped in France at a little roadside stop and enjoyed the gorgeous weather, simple food and wine. It was amazing!
We stopped in France at a little roadside stop and enjoyed the gorgeous weather, simple food and wine. It was amazing!
I never saw so many bicycles in my life as I did in Germany. I liked the bench and windows, the bike was a bonus.
I never saw so many bicycles in my life as I did in Germany. I liked the bench and windows, the bike was a bonus.
We went across Lake Constance from Germany into Switzerland. I thought it was cool there were no border guards, though I would have liked to have my passport stamped.
We went across Lake Constance from Germany into Switzerland. I thought it was cool there were no border guards, though I would have liked to have my passport stamped.
We went on a ferry ride to see one of Crazy Ludwig's castles. I handed my camera to a lady and she did the photo, with flash. It came out great!
We went on a ferry ride to see one of Crazy Ludwig’s castles. I handed my camera to a lady and she did the photo, with flash. It came out great!
I liked the shapes, colors and textures.
I liked the shapes, colors and textures and the sideways mail slot.
Framed. I liked how this window sat in the field of the wall. Just cool shapes.
Framed. I liked how this window sat in the field of the wall. Just cool shapes.
I liked how these rectangles and shapes were arranged.
I liked how these rectangles and shapes were arranged.
OMG, I fell in love with Weissbiers while I was in Germany. American popular beers pretty much suck, they're too bitter. These just went down smooooth and cool and refreshing. No headaches later either!
OMG, I fell in love with Weissbiers while I was in Germany. American popular beers pretty much suck, they’re too bitter. These just went down smooooth and cool and refreshing. No headaches later either!
So, myself and 8000 other photographers have done this postcard shot of the Wagner Concert Hall in Bayreuth Germany. Oh well. I had to do my take on it too.
So, myself and 8000 other photographers have done this postcard shot of the Wagner Concert Hall in Bayreuth Germany. Oh well. I had to do my take on it too.
One of many castles we saw or visited. I liked how the rectangles were arranged and colored.
One of many castles we saw or visited. I liked how the rectangles were arranged and colored.

 

It doesn’t get more personal or emotional than this

The tagline for my blog is “It’s Emotional. It’s personal”. As a photographer I have done lots of pretty girl shoots and they’re ok, but kind of meh overall. It’s been done before, and it’ll be done again. Essentially, they’re throw away photos. Sometimes folks ask me to do photographs that are important to them. I’ve done several weddings, and some family shoots in their homes. I take these photos seriously because the families are trusting me, and opening themselves up to an unblinking eye. It’s important to me to live up to that trust and capture those honest moments of love and life. Hopefully I’ll get the true essence and save it for them for generations to come.

Last week my friend Jen contacted me to ask if I could photograph a funeral procession for her father’s funeral. Wow. I’ve never done something like that, and I wanted to be sure I understood exactly what she had in mind. I knew I didn’t think I wanted to photograph anything in a church service, in particular anyone grieving for their loss, as those aren’t the memories I could imagine wanting to relive or look through again and again. I called Jen and we talked over what she had in mind. Her father was a lifetime member  volunteer fireman in the Camden-Wyoming fire company, and was also in the Delaware National Guard. They were planning on having a fire truck to escort the hearse to the cemetery and another with a flag draped to pass under at the gate to the cemetery. In addition, they had an honor guard and plans for a bag piper and to release some doves. Could I photograph those things for her? Absolutely. I was honored to be asked.

Then all I had to do was do it. There were no rehearsals, no second chances. No pressure. Actually, the pressure wasn’t from Jen, the pressure was internal. The pressure comes from the trust. Jen had told me to just do what I do, and she was sure I’d get the best possible photos. While I knew she meant every word, I also knew I couldn’t let her down, or myself down. This was a one time event that couldn’t be re-done. In addition to my new camera, I brought along an older film camera in case there were any difficulties with the new camera. I couldn’t afford to miss photos because a camera had quit for whatever reason. I got to the cemetery an hour before the entourage was expected to arrive. I wanted to be sure I understood where the fire trucks and funeral procession were coming from and what position would be best for capturing the time they came under the banner and then where exactly I needed to be for the graveside services and the honor guard, bag piper and release of the doves.  That’s when it started to rain. Heavily. I was prepared with an umbrella and just dealt with it.
With the heavy rain, I couldn’t hear a thing going on with the service. In just a few minutes, it was over. I was soaked from the rain from behind, but, the camera was fine. No need for the backup. (A photographer has his priorities.)  I felt like I had gotten the photos though. Was it personal, heck yeah. Was it emotional. No doubt.
Jen told me after I delivered the photos they were beautiful. That was all I could ask for.

The Camden-Wyoming fire company escorted the hearse to the Cemetery
The Camden-Wyoming fire company escorted the hearse to the Cemetery
The honor guard awaits the arrival
The honor guard awaits the arrival in the pouring rain
Honor Guard Folding Ceremonial Flag
Honor Guard Folding Ceremonial Flag
Three doves fly away after their release.
Three doves fly away after their release.
Bag Piper playing Amazing Grace. That song gets me every single time.
Bag Piper playing Amazing Grace. That song gets me every single time.

 

I was honored to do these photos. Thank you Jen for trusting me to get them right.