Viewing entries in
Photo

2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona

Comment

2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona

I made good on one goal so far this year, return for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  This years race was as fun as ever with an outstanding field and great racing.  Although my preferred teams ran into a bit of bad luck, It was still a great event.

I tried a few new things photographically, but at the same time fell short in a few places.  While I tried a number of new angles and shooting locations, I got so caught up shooting the cars on the track, I neglected to shoot some of the key details like the garages, crew members, and other key things that make Daytona so much fun.  There's always next year I suppose!

First up in the gallery is the Prototype class.  With so many storylines like Fernando Alonso's entry into sportscar racing, the return of Penske with a field of Acuras, Ricky Taylor's move to that team, and the LMP2 spec cars joining the mix, it was great fun to watch.  Ultimately, my two favorite teams failed to make it through the night, but it was still a fun, record setting class to watch.

There was more disappoint in the GTLM class as my beloved Corvette's failed to mount much of a challenge to Ganassi's pair of Ford GT's.  That said, I love this category and it's always a favorite to shoot.  There's no denying the beauty of the Ford GT, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, or a Ferrari 488.

I'll be honest, I've never paid much attention to the GTD class which is a shame.  There's some great stories and equally great racing that takes place back there.  As seems to be the theme this year, my team of choice failed to put up much of a challenge, but it was still a terrific race to watch.  Congratulations go to the #11 Lamborghini delivering the first Rolex 24 win to the manufacturer. 

I can't say enough just how much fun this event is.  Big thanks go out to Chris for making all the arrangements, Mom for being an amazing host, and Raquel for having to deal with me for weeks leading up to as well as after the event.

Comment

2017 Best in The Desert BlueWater Resort Parker “425”

Comment

2017 Best in The Desert BlueWater Resort Parker “425”

Continuing the motorsports theme, I attended the BlueWater Resort Parker “425” Presented By Impact (thats a mouthful) in Parker AZ last weekend.  This was a work event as the majority of the course is on public land, but that didn't stop me from capturing some of the action.  I've never been to a race of this sort, but the buggies and trucks were impressive on a course that claimed many of the participants.

Comment

2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona

1 Comment

2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona

Continuing with the "it's been a while" theme, I recently attended an event I hadn't been able to make for the last 13 years.

From the late 80's through 2003, late January brought the annual pilgrimage to the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race.  Camping in the infield of Daytona International Speedway with my father and friends is one of my strongest memories of my youth.  The sights and sounds of the exotic cars, mixed with the party among the other spectators are forever ingrained in my mind.

 Me, Chris, and Eric at the Rolex 24 at Daytona around 1989

Me, Chris, and Eric at the Rolex 24 at Daytona around 1989

Life eventually kept me away from the annual event.  Our time in Kuwait and later, Hawaii made the trip impractical since 2003.  This year, I decided I could be kept away no longer and flew to Florida, met up with my childhood friend Chris, and enjoyed a long motorsports weekend.  

Naturally I had to bring my camera to capture some of the action.

1 Comment

Khloe and Paige

Comment

Khloe and Paige

After the previous two posts (here and here), I thought I'd put up something a little more fun, and what could be better than two adorable little girls?

A few weeks ago I traveled to upstate New York to visit family including the daughters of two of my nieces.  We decided to shoot some pictures of the two of them in my sister's back yard just before the sun disappeared behind the trees.  

This was a really fun, last minute shoot of two beautiful little girls.  I loved getting to spend a little time with them.

Comment

Just a Quick Update

Comment

Just a Quick Update

Just wanted to take the opportunity to post a quick update with some randomness.  I haven't really been working on anything lately, brewing or photo wise, but have taken a few shots here and there.  

As a family, we love the zoo.  We go at least once a month and always have a great time.  The Honolulu Zoo is a really nice, compact spot we can go and see our favorite animals.  I wish I had pictures of it but the last two times we went to see the orangutans, the male, Rusty, came up and sat down next to us in front of the glass.  It's been such a cool intimate moment.  Like he just wanted to sit and talk.

Anyway, the zoo is packed with lots of cool spots for a quick photo so every time we go we try to work in a few snaps here and there.

We had a lovely easter with some close friends, some of which stopped by the house easter morning.  They had stopped at the beach and tried to get a quick family photo in with little luck so I found a small bit of shade in the yard for them to sit and started snapping a few pictures.

Not bad for a quick session, but I wish I had changed a few things.  A reflector would have been nice to direct some light and I should have paid better attention to hair and clothing but overall not bad.

Lastly, I have been making an effort of exercising more lately.  I'm terribly out of shape and have been doing what I can by getting up extra early before work to work out some.  Luckily we live in Hawaii so the view early in the morning isn't half bad

Thats it for now.  Hope to have more soon.

Comment

Day at Sea Life Park (or Why I'm in Love With The X-T1)

Comment

Day at Sea Life Park (or Why I'm in Love With The X-T1)

A post with two titles.

Earlier in the week our little guy, Christopher, had a field trip to Oahu's Sea Life Park with his pre-school class.  Not wanting to let him have all the fun, we made a full family day out of it bringing Robert as well.

In addition to the awesome family time, the trip reminded me just how much I love our new Fujifilm X-T1 camera.  It was attached to my wrist all day with little thought to it.  It never felt bulky or in the way but most importantly, I always had it with me to shoot with.  This just emphasizes why I replaced my old Canon 5DkII with the X-T1; less weight, less bulk, and outstanding image quality.

Looking at it further, in October we took a trip to Florida which included three cities, a reunion, a birthday, a cruise, a wedding, a proposal, and of course Disney!  In reality this was my first long term test of the X-T1 as I would have it with me throughout.  Bottom line, the camera gets out of the way yet still has the ability to support my shooting.

Again, I'm not going to go into a formal review but in short, I love the camera.  For the majority of the time, I have it mated with the battery grip (mostly to help with longevity) and the XF 18-135 lens.  While the lens is a little large compared to the compactness of the camera, this makes for an excellent walkabout combo.  I really look forward to rounding out my lens collection in the future, but for now, I have few if any complaints. 

Comment

Comment

My Struggle with Self Identity

Allow me to get personal for a minute. 

I have a constant battle in my head over my own identity. How do I see myself? What label do I give?  How do I answer the simple question, "what do you do?"

I realize as I'm writing this how silly and contradictory this sounds.  

"Um, isn't this site about Lee Tucker? You know, photographer? It even says it in the title! Duh!" 

Fair point.

Well, let's start with the simple answer, first and foremost I'm a husband and dad. This is the easy one.  I'm lucky to have a supportive family in Raquel, Robert, and Christopher who back me up every step of the way. But beyond this, the question about identity becomes a little more cloudy for me. 

As I've said before, I started my career in television.  I found I loved creating video in high school and followed that path through college. I landed some nice gigs along the way doing everything from shooting to producing but learned that my particular niche in that world was editing. There was really nowhere I was more comfortable than in a dark, quiet edit bay. I'd spend countless hours in there, often forgetting to eat or sleep.  That said, I never wanted to title myself an editor.  I just didn't want to exclude everything else. 

Then through a few interesting twists, I found myself a graphic designer.  You see, when I joined the Air National Guard, there weren't any video production positions available so they put me in a graphic designer slot. This wasn't a big deal for me since the same office housed video production, graphic design, and as fate would have it, photography. So I found myself being sent off to graphic design school. 

I was scared as hell about this since I had no previous experience in the field. But, soon found I was decent at it and actually enjoyed it. Thus adding to the list of identities, Graphic Designer.   

Fast forward a few years and I discover the world of photography. I've written about this before so will spare the details but this soon became my passion.  

So now, I'm a photographer.  but what about everything else?  I still love television. Still love edit. And I know my way around a layout or two. 

But later found I had a passion for photography

But what kind of photographer? Everyone wants to pigeonhole to a speciality. Wedding? Portrait? Commercial? Product?what are you? 

I didn't want to choose. Not because I didn't like or wasn't particularly good at any specific category or thing, but because I loved it all.  

Jack of all trades, master of none.  

Comment

Comment

Photos in the News

I woke up this morning to a nice surprise, one of my older (Aug 2004) aerial photos being used for a news story about a fleet of UK Tornadoes being sent to aid in the fight against ISIS.

 http://gizmodo.com/the-uks-sending-a-fleet-of-supersonic-tornadoes-to-take-1640839670/all

http://gizmodo.com/the-uks-sending-a-fleet-of-supersonic-tornadoes-to-take-1640839670/all

This happens from time to time when there is a military aircraft related story.  Sometimes you're given credit, sometimes not, but it's very cool to see my imagery still getting some play some 10 years later.  Here's another one from earlier in the year:

 http://www.peninsulawarrior.com/news/top_stories/article_269c5c6e-a939-11e3-98cb-0019bb2963f4.html

http://www.peninsulawarrior.com/news/top_stories/article_269c5c6e-a939-11e3-98cb-0019bb2963f4.html

The images also pop up in books and magazines:

And have even made the cover of a set of DVD's:

image.jpg

They also pop up often in military and aviation related blogs and forums and I've even seen clocks and other merchandise with my photos being sold throughout the web.  I'd love to say I'm making some decent money off these, but since they were taken during my military career, they are the property of the DoD.  

Oh well.

It's still cool to see and I'd like to think it's a testament to the quality of the work I did then that the imagery is still relevant today.  Thats what I'm going to tell myself anyway!

Here's a gallery with more of my aerial work, including some of the images seen above:


Comment

1 Comment

Wings Over the Pacific 2014 Airshow

I was worried I wouldn't be able to get out of bed on Saturday.

This wasn't good cause I had the opportunity to shoot an airshow this weekend, and with aircraft being one of my favorite photography subjects, I had to find a way.

Earlier in the week, I had my annual Flu vaccination and this time opted for the nasal mist.  Fast forward to Thursday and I could barely function.  Headache, fever, sore throat..... I was a mess.

Saturday rolled around and I didn't feel great but pulled myself out of bed and headed out to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, unloaded my gear, flashed my "Media" pass at the gate, headed for the press tent to find a place to drop my bags, and slump into a chair to catch my breath.  

You can do this.

This is fun, remember?

 U.S. Air Force F22

U.S. Air Force F22

The weather over the weekend was pretty crappy.  Defiantly not the best for photos, and nothing compared to my last show.  That said, while the schedule of performances was a bit light, those that did failed to disappoint.  First off was the F22 demo where the U.S. Air Force's top of the line fifth generation fighter was put through its paces.  Think what you will of the costs and all the production issues which have plagued the program over the years, but the Raptor is an amazing piece of machinery.  I've been lucky to spend some time around the F22's during my career in the Air National Guard but I'm still amazed and impressed when I have the opportunity to watch one of these demos where the aircraft is put through its paces.

I spent some time after the F22 Demo walking around checking out the static displays.  Lots of cool aircraft to see but one thing that caught my eye was the Red Bull skating demo.  These guys were lots of fun to watch and an opportunity to shoot something I hadn't before.

Saturday capped off with the U.S. Navy's Aerial Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels.  I've seen them quite a few times now and I'm still so very impressed with their performances.

Saturday was for me to go shoot but Sunday was for the family.  Raquel and I took the boys in the afternoon to see the static displays and to view the Blue Angels performance.  The boys gravitated to the helicopters, checking out the cockpit of a Blackhawk and the interior and guns of a Chinook.  After those, we found a nice spot to watch the Blue Angels perform and again they didnt disappoint.  Robert and Christopher were so excited by the show, much more than we ever thought. Christopher just screamed with joy after every pass and Robert was so impressed he had to go get autographs after. He was sure to tell each pilot "I really like how you fly." Funny Kid. Christopher, when asked what his favorite part was said, "When the planes go upside down!"

Before we left, we surprised the boys with a couple Blue Angel F/A18 toys.  They were so excited and took off "flying" them throughout the crowd.  Both boys clung tightly to them throughout dinner and even to bed.

It was a fun filled weekend.  I'm thankful to be feeling better, shoot some decent pictures, and spend some time with the family.

1 Comment

1 Comment

First Sergeant Humphrey

A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery for United States Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey.  This service was unlike others I had attended.

On September 15, 1918, Humphrey participated in the first U.S.-led offensive of WWI under the command of General John J. Pershing. The battle with the Germans became known as the St. Mihiel Offensive. There were 7,000 Allied losses during this offensive and it was the first time the American term “D-Day” was used and it was the first time tanks were used by American units.

Humphrey, a member of the U.S. 6th Marine Regiment, attached to the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, was killed in action during the battle and his remains were buried by fellow Marines the next day. In October 1919, a Marine who witnessed the death wrote a letter to Humphrey’s brother recounting the attack near the village of Rembercourt, France. He included a map of his recollection of the burial site.

Attempts to locate Humphrey’s remains by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel following the war were unsuccessful. In September 2009, French nationals hunting for war relics found artifacts near Rembercourt-sur-Mad they believed to be those of a World War I American soldier.  A month later, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the area, recovering human remains and military-related items including a marksman’s badge with Humphrey’s name engraved on the back.

Ninety-two years later, First Sergeant Humphrey was given a final resting place at Arlington.

I cant begin to describe the feeling of being a part of this ceremony.  Our Nation’s commitment to it’s service members is timeless and I’m honored to be a part of it.

1 Comment

1 Comment

I've sold it all....

Don't get nervous, I've not abandoned photography or anything, just going in a little different direction gear-wise.  Let me explain.

 The Evolution of the Photographer.   Fujifilm posted the above graphic on their Photokina 2014 page and it perfectly describes my own evolution as a photog.  The guy on the right, that's so me right now.  Free from the weight and burden of gear and excited to create again.

The Evolution of the Photographer.  Fujifilm posted the above graphic on their Photokina 2014 page and it perfectly describes my own evolution as a photog.  The guy on the right, that's so me right now.  Free from the weight and burden of gear and excited to create again.

No wonder I have back problems today.

First let me say just how much I loved my Canon 5D MkII setup.  It served me well for six years.  I knew this camera, its lenses, and flashes inside and out.  It takes amazing pictures and even more amazing video and is a system I still have and use at work.  But in the everyday, and in my personal work, I found myself using it less and less.  Ever since I started experiencing back issues and the resulting surgery, I just didn't want to carry around a large camera body, two large heavy lenses, flashes, and all the other accessory gear.  So I didn't.

The problem with this is my life as a photographer began to diminish.  I was no longer creating the body of work the creative in me needed.  So I decided to sell it all, body, lenses, grip, bags, and everything else I didn't want to carry on a daily basis and move to a new system.  But what?  

This is a scary proposition for a photographer.  Just do a quick search for Canon vs. Nikon and you'll get thousands of results and quickly find that people are VERY passionate about their choice of gear.  I never really fell into that debate because I always felt that a good photographer could produce amazing imagery with any system, the basics are all the same, it's just a matter of taste.  Myself, I used Nikon gear throughout my career in the Air National Guard.  It just happened that when I bought my first camera system, I really liked the feel of the Canon 10D so thats what I went with.  Now, some 15+ years of gear acquisition later, I found myself staring at a closet full of gear I no longer wanted to carry around and wondering what I could replace it with that still met all my needs? 

I looked at some smaller Canon bodies to replace the 5D MkII but that wasn't enough.  It would have been the cheapest and easiest solution but I would still have to lug around the same lenses.  Have you ever shot for a full day with a 70-200 2.8L?  It gets heavy fast, even if it just stays in the bag.  After deciding that wasn't going to work, I started looking at other options.  Eventually it was Zach Arias and David Hobby who turned me on to Fujifilm's newish line of x-series mirrorless cameras.  I lusted over the X100s and the X-Pro1 but it was the X-T1 that eventually sealed the deal for me.  I ordered the body and a couple lenses and was hooked right away.  This is a setup I don't mind carrying.  It fits in my everyday work bag easily, even when paired with a couple flashes and the images from it are outstanding.  

 A quick size comparison between systems.  On the right, the Canon 5DMkII with 24-105 f4L IS and 70-200 f2.8L IS compared to my new Fujifilm X-T1 with 18-135 as well as the 35mm f1.4 on the left.

A quick size comparison between systems.  On the right, the Canon 5DMkII with 24-105 f4L IS and 70-200 f2.8L IS compared to my new Fujifilm X-T1 with 18-135 as well as the 35mm f1.4 on the left.

I don't want to get into the nuts and bolts of the X-T1 as this isn't intended to be a review.  There's enough of them out there.  It's more a post to explain where I'm at as a photographer and why I'm excited about the art again.

So what's next? Well, I don't really know.  I carry my camera with me every day now and am excited to create again.  Is it because of my shiny new toy or is it something else?  Again I don't know, but it doesn't hurt thats for sure.

1 Comment

Comment

Aerial

image.jpg

When I was in middle school, I decided I wanted to be a pilot.  I would go into the library during lunch and read all the books I could find on airplanes and flying.  I would read pilot manuals, aircraft reference books, magazines, and whatever else I could get my hands on.  Much of it way above what my 7th grade mind could probably handle, but I did everything I could to soak it all in.  

In high school, I got my first introduction to the world of video production and decided that was something I really wanted to get into, however that love of flying never left me.

Sometime, around my junior or senior year of high school, my family got me a ride in a T-6 Texan, a single-engine trainer aircraft used to train pilots during World War II and into the 1950s.  What an amazing experience that was, and one I knew I wanted to relive again.

In college, I decided to follow my new love of video production, but was dissatisfied with the program leading me to join the Florida Air National Guard where I could be around aircraft and video production all the time.  Throughout my career in the ANG, I have been able to combine my two loves and fly in a variety of aircraft shooting photo and video.  I was given the ultimate ride, in 2004, in an F-15 Fighter.   This was an experience I will never forget and solidified my love for shooting aerial photo and video.

Today, I latch on to any opportunity to shoot aircraft of any type.  If I’m able to do so from the air, all the better.

Comment

Comment

Aviation's Early Days

While in DC in June for another project, I stopped at the National Air and Space Museum, one of my favorite places in the world.  I could spend day after day there looking at the exhibits, just taking everything in.  I guess it’s just part of my love of everything aeronautics.

One of the displays that really caught my eye this visit was the old aircrafts from the early days of passenger aviation.  The display included planes from TWA, Eastern Air Lines, and United Air Lines, the only one still around today.  Looking at these aircraft and their old logos was a neat experience for this trip.  

Besides the simple wow factor I also looked at things as a photographer.  For some reason my eye and camera zeroed in on many of the logo’s displayed throughout the museum. There is something interesting in the simplicity of the logo designs and the silhouettes of these older aircrafts.  You can’t help but feel amazed at the advancements in aviation all while walking away with a feeling of nostalgia.

Comment

Comment

A&C

Since our first son Robert was born, I've learned a ton about shooting children but most importantly:

 #1 - Always have a camera ready.

 #2 - Expect the unexpected.

That really sums it up, they are so much fun but so challenging at the same time.  You can't exactly pose children or even expect them to be in the same place from one second to the next.  And there are soo many other factors to take into account that can make a few snapshots turn into an afternoon from hell.  Who would have thought naptime or a hungry belly could turn a sweet little angel into a demon child?  That's just one of the reasons I'm thankful I've made the move to small flashes for my shoots.  It really offers me the ability to work fast and flexible.  

This ability came in handy when my friend asked me to shoot their four month old son.  He's such a cute little guy with bright blue eyes and a tranquil demeanor.  For some reason on this particular day he would not sit still and he didn't want to lay down or be held!  It's not that he was unhappy or anything, he just didn't want to cooperate with what WE wanted him to do!  Very unusual for this little boy but par for the course when shooting children.  Being able to shoot fast and light really helped.

I started off with grand ideas, set up a large umbrella and creating a nice scene on the couch.  This didn't work out well because he just didn't want to sit.  I adjusted to try to give myself a little more working room by moving my main light to an overhead position and added a little fill with an Orbis ring flash adaptor.  This didn't work out either so I decided to move in close with a Lumoquest Softbox III held by daddy and came up with the shots below.  I'm pretty happy with the results and love the pop of his eyes.  Really I just had to be adaptable.

 As a bonus, I got this great shot of their daughter as her dad walked by with the flash and umbrella.  It's funny, no matter how much I plan and setup, some of my fav pictures are made completely by accident.

Comment

"Did you get any good pictures?"

This is the question I hate more than any other and for some reason the one most people feel the need to ask everytime I click my camera.  In fact the exchange usually goes something like this:

Person: "So, you get any good pictures?"

Me: "Nope"

Person: "hahaha, funny one.  Seriously, that kid/plane/event was great, you had to get some good stuff."

Me: "No not really, nothing good."

Person: "Oh.......... really?"

Me: "Yup, nothing but junkers."

Now, let me say that I do this with a smile on my face and would never say anything like this to a client, but for some reason this exchange really gets on my nerves (seriously, why do people feel the need to ask this!).  I would never say something comparable to the chef at my fav restaurant, to my plumber, or my mechanic.  Can you imagine asking your doc “So did you do a good job?”

Comment

Children of Tarawa

In a previous post, I told of my trip to Tarawa, an atoll in the South Pacific.  Of everything I experienced there, I will always remember the children.  From their ongoing singing of Justin Beiber, to their begging for our empty water bottles, the children were a constant presence on the island.  I believe here the story is told in their eyes and in their faces.

Comment

Comment

Cindy's Belly

Cindy was such a great model and we had a wonderful time with this session.  I love shoots like these because she was so easy to work with.  She was so confident with her pregnant body, easy to pose, and ready for anything I could throw at her.  How often do you get to take pictures without any complaints.  

We started off with some easy stuff; in a dress, wrapped in cloth, hands on the belly, but she was ready to jump into some of the more unique setups right away.  I love the first two images below because they really show off her personality and confidence.  

The best part of having such a willing participant is that I was able to try new things.  Some worked and some didn’t but it really gave me a chance to play with techniques I had been unable to before.  Look at the third image.  It was so easy to get her to stand still and try different silhouetting techniques until we found something that worked to show off her belly in a classic style.

Comment

Comment

Tarawa

Much to the displeasure of Raquel, I’m starting to travel some for my “other job.”  I think she’s happy she doesn't have to clean up behind me for a while but I think deep down, she misses me when I’m gone.  In August I traveled to Tarawa, site of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII.  Starting on the morning of November 20, 1943, more than 1,000 American men were killed in roughly 72 hours of fighting with the Japanese. Hundreds of Marines were gunned down in the water trying to make it to shore.

It's estimated that as many as 450 Marines remain buried on Tarawa. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command returned there this year in an attempt to find some of these lost heroes.

I’ve been sitting in front of this computer for quite some time, trying to come up with the words to describe this place.  It’s beautiful yet disgusting.  Inspiring yet depressing.  It is at the same time the best and worst humanity has to offer.

I spent almost four weeks on the tiny, overpopulated atoll, working under the South Pacific sun in heat I had never experienced, even in Kuwait.

I watched a woman wash laundry by hand for over 6 hours non-stop.  I saw numerous young children ride in the lap of their parent, on motorcycles.  I witnessed people relieving themselves in the streets.  We were shown extreme generosity by those who have nothing.  And then there were the children, but I’ll save that for another post.

I’ll never forget the smell, the heat, the people.  My time on the islands will always be with me.

But I am very happy to be home.

Comment

Comment

Syracuse Crunch

Had a great opportunity to shoot the Mirabito Outdoor Classic hockey game between the Syracuse Crunch and the Binghamton Senators on the 21st of February.  I was there to shoot video for my other job but brought my still camera with me to click off a few frames.  It was lots of fun to shoot some hockey, one of my favorite sports, and every time I do I learn something new.  

What made this such a great opportunity is that it was an exhibition game played outside.  The mood was so different among the crowd and the players, that it actually felt like I was shooting differently.  There seemed to be an extra added sense of electricity in the air.  Everyone was so excited.  Below are a few shots from the game.

Comment