I went to a New Years Dance party in Chicago back in 2012. Literally just weeks prior, I had taken delivery of a trio of Alien Bees studio strobes and spent an evening putting together a “portable” white seamless setup. I brought the setup to the dance party and set it up out in the hall, if I recall correctly. After some serious stumbling around for an hour, I finally got into the grove enough to shoot pictures that weren’t completely terrible. Being that today is the New Year, I thought it appropriate to share this image, taken moments after we rang in the new year, 2012. Photo shot with a Nikon D7000, a Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens, and a trio of Alien Bees B800 strobes triggered by Pocket Wizards.
Why drag someone on to the dance floor when you can saunter on to it like a boss? I took this picture at Ann Arbor’s Friday Night Swing Holiday Dance, with the Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club jazz band providing the live music. Picture this: the dance floor is empty, and the band begins playing their next song. These two are the first to step on the dance floor. I spot this confident stroll from across the room, grab my camera, and sprint across the length of the empty dance floor, raising the camera to my eye as I come to a sliding stop in my leather soled dance shoes in front of their path. They start laughing, as I’m sure this all looked ridiculous. Snap. Picture taken on a Nikon D7200 with a Tokina 14-20mm f/2.8 and a Flashpoint R2 speedlight.
I went with a couple of folks to a roller skating rink. Several of us dressed in our finest ugly Christmas threads, perfect for making us old people stand out from all the young, spunky teens that overwhelmingly made up the night’s roller rink population. Image was shot from the wall of the roller rink, panning the camera, and encouraging my friends to ham it up. As it’s Christmas today, I figured I’d post something appropriately festive. Picture shot on a Nikon D700 with a 24mm f/1.4 lens.
I was asked to shoot photos at one of the muddiest rallycrosses I’ve ever been to. It was so muddy, in fact, that I didn’t get to run — it was decided that Stock Front, the class I was driving that was due to run at the end of the day, would be spared the hours of undercarriage cleaning that would inevitably be needed, and that the club would clean things up in an attempt to close down the site at a reasonable hour. The mud, while making the driving agonizingly painful and slow for the competitors, did make for some very nice photos at the end of the day. To get the sensation of speed in my pictures, I was dropping my shutter speed down to 1/80 and even 1/50 of a second. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens.
My friend Angela and I decided to celebrate our nation’s birthday by going to Canada during the 4th of July weekend, heading to Montreal where the Swing Riot took place. I brought along two digital cameras with me and shot other dancers on the dance floor in between my own dances. This was my favorite image from the weekend, an enthusiastic lunge to conclude a song. Photo shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens and a Nikon SB-900 speedlight.
Before I moved to Michigan, in 2011, I took an epic solo road trip in my 2009 Mazda MX5 Miata from Illinois to California and back. Along the way, I stopped by Arches National Park, arriving late in the afternoon, later than I had planned. Still, I wandered about the park as much as I could, trying to see everything. Before I knew it, the skies had become dark, and I was astonished to find out that there were no lights in the park, making it a great place to stargaze.
This was the first time I had ever seen so many stars in my entire life. I was awestruck. I attempted to take a picture of one of the arches against the stars, and this picture of my Miata waiting in the parking lot underneath the dark sky, and failed pretty miserably on all counts.
This was the best picture I took from that evening. As an image, it’s unremarkable, but as a milestone, it’s huge. I was off on a quest to shoot the night skies, and vowed to return to Arches National Park to shoot a nightscape shot worth printing. Five years later, I would return to Arches National Park in my ’66 Mustang.
Photo shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 11-18mm f/2.8 wide angle lens.