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by on Aug.12, 2012, under Articles, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

Gymkhana – Arizona Style

Actually, I don’t know if it’s Arizona-style but this was the first time I’d attended a horse event showcasing kids as youg as 2 and 3 years old. The owner of Ike’s Cook Shack, a small diner in town (great biscuits & gravy,) told me about it. His 3 year old was participating so I thought it might be fun to photograph the event. Here are the first few I processed in LR3. Mostly, I tweaked the exposure and added a bit of sharpening.

I’ve processed about half of the ~300 frames I captured that day. Normally, I would have made 400-500 frames during a 3 hour event but, after 2 hours, the Arizona sun wore me out. Also, not having photographed an event for nearly 5 months, it took me a good half hour to dial in the exposure and focus. I felt like a newbie all over again. At one point, I switched from center focus point to all points active and couldn’t get the focus right. It was fun getting back to photography after 6 months of dealing with my idiot RE agent and putting up with crappy excuses from my contractor. (Sorry about the cat photos that appended themselves to the end of this gallery.)

(Immediate family members are welcome to download any photos of their kids/grandkids for electronic use such as web sites or e-mail. You may NOT use any photos for any commercial purpose including, but not limited to, for-profit, not-for-profit, advertising or any purpose where the intended audience is strangers beyond the poster’s immediate family and friends. You may NOT print any of these photos. If you want a print, please contact me via this site.)

Meet T the Cat

Some may remember my buddy Alf, the obnoxious, cantankerous, geriatric 21 year old cat who passed away in January. I knew I could never replace Alf but, someday, I’d want another fur-covered meatloaf to annoy me while I worked at my computer. The sale of our San Diego house and remodel of our AZ house pretty well kept me occupied for the past 6 months but something that caught our eye here is a local humane society (aka, pound) that appears to be well managed and caring.

Well, meet T the Cat. His given name was Mr. Thomas but the pound staff had shortened it to Mr. T and I further shortened it to T. He settled in within hours and decided having his own human to boss around was a good deal. I’d forgotten how much energy young cats and dogs have. He jumps on me and attacks my feet at 2AM but then sleeps under the bed after his morning kibbles and potty break. He most resembles my past cat, Tim. T has no pretentions about being a human. He prefers being superior.


98% Moved In at Arizona House

Anyone who has ever owned a house knows that you’re never 100% moved in. There are always boxes of “stuff” lying around that you have no clue why you bothered moving. And, in the case of a remodel, you’re constantly finding things the contracter did wrong, broke or just messed up. In a small town, the bench of qualified trades people is pretty shallow. For our remodel, the painter (interior and exterior) and cabinet installer were the only ones who did great jobs. All the rest including the concrete guy, electrician, plumber, tile/carpet layer and granite fabricators were subpar or worse. However, there’s always a silver lining.

Paul, who owns a local tree service, planted some citrus trees for me. It turns out he’s of the Mennonite faith. Now, I know better than to make broad generalizations but every Mennonite I’ve met through Paul has turned out to be honest, hard working and conscientious. I’ve hired a few to help move boxes and furniture into the house, repair broken furniture and fix electrical errors  and I’m impressed with all of them. It appears what really sets their kids apart is lack of television and supervised use of the Internet. Gosh, what a concept, parents acting like parents and instilling values and mores in their kids.

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17 Comments for this entry

  • Andy Kliss

    Welcome back Lee! Looks like my black little kitty, Nicky. What is it about black cats? They must be of a different breed from the regular domestic short hair.

    I hope to shoot Burrowing Owls out by the Salton this winter… if my shoulder surgery will allow it. Going in, in November.

    • Lee

      Hi Andy,
      Good to hear from you. Best wishes on your surgery. You should be healed and good to go by Jan/Feb when it’s BO mating season. We’ll have to make plans to meet up out there. T says “hello” to Nicky.

      • Andy Kliss

        I would love to team up on the burrowing owl shoot with you! I have the Nikon 200-400m + a 1.4x teleconverter. Have both DX and FX bodies. Will we be able to get close enough to them without spooking them?

        • Lee

          A 200-400 is more than adequate. I use my 300/2.8. If I add my 2X TC, I can see their bellybutton lint! Let’s plan on late Jan/early Feb 2013. In CA, BO may start breeding as early as December but Jan-Mar is a better time.

          • Andy Kliss

            Sounds real good Lee. I should be out-and-about by that time. Doc says 4 months should get me back to work (boohoo, sob, sob…). I’ll most likely stay in a motel around the Brawley area.

  • Gloria Hendren

    The beauty is different than Ca. but you will be
    fascinated by hues and surrounding contrast.

    Good Luck!

  • Marie

    Hi Lee,
    Glad to hear from you. Moving is never fun. I think I still have boxes from our last move and that was 16 yrs ago from Maryland to San Diego.
    I haven’t practiced my photography since my trip to Barcelona in the Spring. I just finished going through all the photos. I’ve been busy job hunting and taking a class at the extension. I’m also considering a career change, still staying with science but going a different direction. If I become one of the long-term unemployed, I’ll have plenty of time for my hobbies as long as my husband stays employed. There’s a bright side to everything.

    • Lee

      Hi Marie,
      Thanks for posting. I didn’t know you were unemployed. I’d say, “I’m sorry” but, in today’s world, I believe it’s more appropriate to say, “I hope you do something that inspires you.” I wasted too many years in hi tech simply because I had convinced myself that I didn’t know anything else. Who knows, if I had stayed with photography since 1966, I might have actually been good at it! Of course, I’d probably be one of those guys with the bumper sticker that reads, “They’ll get my film when they pry the fixer out of my cold, dead hands!” 😉

      Hope you got some great Gaudi photos in Barcelona. Let me know when you have them posted.

  • Shirley

    Happy to see you back on e-mail. It’s been too long, but I understand what moving and remodeling can do to your time and patience. Loved the pictures of the little ones and their horses…they start them young. T (the cat) does look as if he has a little attitude!!

    • Lee

      Dealing with RE agents and contractors always reminds of the old cartoon of two buzzards sitting in a tree and one is saying, “Patience my butt, I’m gonna kill something!”

      T didn’t take long to show his true colors. He’s constantly trying to push the envelope of what he can get away with.

  • Doug

    Hi Lee, glad to hear you almost moved in to your new house. Are you still coming back to CA once in a while? The pictures look great too. I haven’t been shooting too much as work has get me very busy and sure would like to get out in field again. If you schedule a shoot at the Grand Canyon in December between Christmas and New Years, I might be able to go. We will be in Sedona the day after Christmas for four days.

    • Lee

      Hi Doug,
      I won’t be back in SD to “hang out” but I’ll definitely return for shoots. Tentatively, I’m going back to the Eastern Sierras in mid-Oct for 1-2 weeks and, hopefully, Grand Canyon in Dec. I want to also fit in a trip to the Salton Sea and Cibola NWR in Dec/Jan. In AZ, I’m hoping to get to Willcox to scout the sandhill crane population in Nov.


  • Hillra

    Hi Lee,
    The cat, T is so pretty. Having had a black cat long ago the photo looks great. Thanks, Hillra Qualls

    • Lee

      Thanks, trouble is, he knows he’s good looking and tries to play, “Cute kitty.” He did that this evening while trying to snag a piece of my dinner.

  • charles mittman

    Hi Lee

    Good to see the letter after weeks of absence. Great that you are moved in–I fear having to do a move. We plan to go out of this place in the horizontal position.
    I look forward to your planning an outing in your vacinity.
    All well here. I’ve been busy finishing working on photos from our last two trips. There are 3 new slide shows on . I am still frustrated that the quality of photos from these 2 trips was messed up by the intermittent failure of the Tamron 18-270. In Africa it often failed to autofocus when the CPL was on–I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t pin point problem because I didn’t take a netbook with me on the trip. Won’t make that mistake again. Tamron repaired the lens and it seemed to be working, but in Scandinavia it intermittently had a stuck iris. I’ve dumped it and now have the T4i with the new 18-135 STM lens and the Canon 70-300. Seems to be a good arrangement. Never again will I get a non-Canon lens.

    Best regards, Charles

    • Lee

      Hi Charles,
      You have some great images from Africa. You should have lots of entries for the 2013 Fair.

      I’m not a fan of the mega-X zooms like the 18-270. That’s like driving your F1 racer to the grocery store or, in your case, using a pocket knife to perform surgery. I believe the CPL was cutting too much light for the AF to work properly. The Tamron 18-270 already exceeds Canon 5.6 minimum AF aperture, especially at the long end which probably starts around 200mm. For a photographer of your skills, I’d recommend staying with Canon L lenses.

      Let’s plan a Grand Canyon shoot during the winter.


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