Steve Sheppard Photography Blog

Archive for December 2010

The Story Behind The Photograph – The Homestead

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Mattie and I were married at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia on New Year’s Eve in 1998. The resort’s New Year’s Eve gala was our reception complete with a great band, about 80 friends and another 500 people we didn’t know.

Several years, we have gone back to celebrate our anniversary at the gala. The year this photo was taken, 2004, I decided to not to take a digital camera and only carried a Leica M6. I still have a darkroom and enjoy shooting film.

When I worked at Martinsville Speedway, as the director of corporate communications, I used one of the first Kodak digital cameras to put photos on the track’s website. I still shot film and made prints to send to newspapers and magazines. Eventually, I got a Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera, in 1999, and was able to send publications digital photos that were good enough to print. I’ve used a lot of different film cameras since I was six and have used many different digital SLRs since the Nikon D1H came out in 2001.

Anyway, I digress. But the whole point of that is, we were sitting at the 2004 gala with some friends and a couple we didn’t know. There was a guy at the table who spent a lot of time telling me that instead of using that old camera, a Leica M6, I should be using a digital camera. I continued to smile, nodded and chatted with him and thanked him for all the good information. I didn’t tell him I had been using digital cameras for years.

At some point during the night, I walked up to the band and moved in close to the singer with the Leica M6 and a Konica 50mm F2 lens. Since I never put a battery in the M6 for the meter, exposure was always an “educated guess”. I enjoy shooting with a Leica, without a meter, because it keeps me sharp on looking at a scene and knowing how to expose. I’m always proud of myself when I shoot, without a meter, and get a roll full of negatives that are printable. I had Tri-X in the camera and planned to push it two stops in development. I set the aperture to F2 and then the shutter via my “educated guess” and waited for a good moment. When I saw it, I opened that nearly silent shutter. Then I went back to the table, grabbed my lovely bride of six years and started dancing.

Whenever I look at that photo, I think of the guy who wanted me to update my camera. I did eventually update that M6 to an older Leica M4-P which doesn’t even have a meter so I’m not tempted to put a battery in it. By  the way, happy anniversary to my lovely bride.

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December 31, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Kodachrome – The End Has Come

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Today is the last day for development of Kodachrome. Seventy-five years of photography on the color slide film will end today when Dwayne’s Photo, in Kansas, develops a final roll. If you care to read about it, you can do so in the New York Times.

Over the past week, I have been scanning my Dad’s and my old Kodachrome slides. In honor of the end, here are some of my Dad’s Kodachrome photographs with the final photo being my father and mother. Obviously, someone else shot that one for them. My older sister is under that coat. She hadn’t been born yet.

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December 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

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Merry Christmas

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December 25, 2010 at 4:46 am

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My Favorite iPad Apps

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I feel certain there will be some people who visit my blog that get an iPad for Christmas. Here’s a gift to you. My suggestions for great apps.

These are my most used and favorite iPad apps. I got an iPad in June and use it on a daily basis for news, social media, reading and just plain fun. Here’s a list of the apps I use on a regular basis and why.

MLB At Bat – If you love baseball this is the app for you. The current version is MLB At Bat 2010. It has all the news you need. Pitchers and catchers begin reporting on February 13, and I assume MLB At Bat 2011 will be out around that time. With this app and a MLB TV subscription, you can watch all, out of area, baseball games. You can also get the home and away radio broadcasts. I’ve had an MLB TV subscription since it was first offered and was listening to games via the internet before that. Not being tied to your computer for baseball games is wonderful. I watched or listened to a lot of games while sitting on our deck last summer.

Flipboard – This app turns your twitter and facebook feeds into basically a magazine. It also works with news feeds from various companies like USA Today and Fox. You can read a preview and then go to a link for the full story. With your twitter account, you can pick out just one person you follow or a list that you have created and turn that info into an online magazine.

SIRIUS XM – This is one of my newest favorite apps for no other reason than I can listen to MLB Home Plate on my iPad and iPhone. It costs an extra $2.99 a month on your XM subscription to be able to listen on the devices but it is well worth it.

TWiTPad – This is an app to listen or watch all the podcasts from TWiT TV. I watch MacBreak Weekly and several others. It’s a great to have these playing while I’m post processing photos.

The Candid Frame – If I had to point to one podcast that’s a must for every photographer, this is it. Ibarionex Perello interviews many of the great photographers and allows them to tell what’s on their mind. If you are looking for a podcast about gear, this isn’t it. It’s about creating photographs, the thought process, what photographers are doing and why they are doing it.

iBooks – The last six books I have read have been on the iPad. Most of the classics are free. Many books are less expensive from the iTunes store than the hardback versions. You can make the type larger than what’s in a book, tap the screen for a bookmark, a dictionary, write a note or highlight a passage. Besides, it’s just fun to turn the page. However, don’t hold the iPad over your face if you are reading on your back in bed. It’s not quite as forgiving as a book when it smacks you on the head.

AP News, USA Today, WSJ, CNN, NPR and Fox Business – These are all great news apps.

NASA and Buzz Aldrin HD – If you are interested in the space program, these are worth your time. You can even watch NASA TV.

Earthquake – Yes, I check everyday to find out where earthquakes hit.

The Weather Channel – There are maps, a local report, severe weather notifications and you can watch various forecasts.

Twitterrific – There are a lot of twitter apps. This is the one I’m using right now.

Angry Birds – It’s an addicting game that has made me lose many hours of sleep. If I start playing at night, after finishing work, it’s really hard to stop. In this game, pigs have stolen the bird’s eggs and you slingshot the birds at the pig’s fortress and try to kill them. It sounds stupid, it is, but gee it’s fun.

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December 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm

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TheatreWorks – A Christmas Carol

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TheatreWorks in Martinsville, Va. will perform A Christmas Carol beginning tonight through Saturday night. Last night, I had the opportunity to shoot a dress rehearsal. Here’s a few photos.

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December 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

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