5 May 2019, or Cinco de Mayo, was the last race day of the season at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.
I thought I'd stop by and take in a few races.
Unless you have permission to get inside the track to photograph, it is very difficult to get a good angle at track level. The track is actually a few feet higher than where fans can stand, so that means having to shoot through rails.
Over the years, I found the best place to capture racing images is from the top deck of the stadium, looking down.
I used a Canon 70-200mm lens on a Canon EOS R camera body. NOT the best lens for this kind of photography! I have a Tamron 100-400mm lens, similar to the Canon lens I used at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky last week.
In April of 2019, I visited in and around Lexington, Kentucky to photograph horses and two stops on the Bourbon Trail. I was with a group from Canon, even though I saw one photographer carrying a Nikon! I capture images with the new mirrorless Canon EOS R. On this trip, I brought the EF 17-40mm and the RF 25-105mm lenses. At the racetrack, I borrowed the Canon 100mm-400mm lens.
Curious Horses Wondering Why I Was Up so Early!
The first stop was the Manchester Farm of Lexington, Kentucky for some sunrise photos. This was about a ten minute drive from our host hotel but it still meant a very early morning wake-up call. The iconic white fences you see at these farms I found out cost something like $14 a foot, so DON’T TOUCH THE FENCES. If I visit again, I’m going to contact Manchester for a tour. By the way, the dogwoods were in bloom. I don't see that often in Phoenix, so I had to photograph.
Racing Action at Keeneland in Lexington
Right next door was Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington. I had time to wander around and walked outside the horse stalls, talking to workers as I went along. Horse people, I’ve found, are the friendliest people around! They welcomed me as I peeked around taking photographs.
In the Stalls at Keeneland
Post Time at Keeneland was 1pm, so our group walked over to the 3rd and 4th turn on the grass to get action photos. I’m used to this because I’ve photographed Turf Paradise in Phoenix. To capture action, I had to make sure my shutter speed was at least 1/1000 of a second. I was secretly hoping for rain this day so I could capture mudder horses. That opportunity just doesn’t happen in Phoenix. But it was dry. Not a problem!
Dogwoods in Bloom
High Dynamic Range Capture in the Cask Room at Buffalo Trace
Next up was a visit to Buffalo Trace Bourbon Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, part of the Bourbon Trail. Hanna the intern helped get the group around to capture great images in the cask room and elsewhere on the grounds.
Shaker Village Scene
Another stop was at Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill. In the early 1800s, there was a religious order that was celibate so they died out. But they left behind interesting buildings.
Maker's Mark Bourbon Waiting to be Bottled
Our final stop back on the Bourbon Trail was Maker’s Mark of Loretto, Kentucky. It’s OUT THERE. Lots of driving on very narrow roads, what I call “Irish Freeways.” Then, up pops a distillery. After early morning photos, Christopher our tour guide showed us around, ending at the cask room and tasting room. Here I found out to be considered bourbon, it needs at least 51% corn. What an education. And what great bourbon.
Before watching, listening, and photographing Shari Rowe at the Arizona Horseman’s Challenge and Expo on 20 April 2019, we had time to watch some of the horse and horse trainer competition. I'm used to rodeo, but these competitions for trainers take some eight hours over a few days.
Then Shari and her band went into the arena and I got a close up and personal view of them, watching to make sure I didn't step in horse #%$#.
I've lived in north Phoenix for over 18 years. I thought I knew interesting and great places to visit and photograph in my area. And then I found the Roadrunner Saloon in New River, about 14 miles straight north of me, off the I-17.
It's a large bar with a band stage and bull riding arena. So I contacted them to make sure my camera would be welcome, too. You never know nowadays.
First off, the burgers are massive and good. Next time, I think I will try it with their cole slaw. There were just too my fries!
Anyway, I walked over to the arena and they had the little people mutton busting (children riding sheep), then the novices or first timers rode very very tame bulls.
That was followed by the serious bull riders. I was a wee bit surprised because these were serious bulls and serious riders. The competition was better than I thought. Sadly, the arena was full and I didn't get a chance to photograph from my usual perch on the top row. That will be for another visit.
Special shout-out to Josh, the Roadrunner videographer, for coming over and saying hi.
I've also posted photos on Flickr and on my portfolio site on SmugMug.
The Cave Creek Rodeo in Arizona has to be the best small PRCA sanctioned rodeo in North America. I've photographed this rodeo for about ten or more straight years and it is an absolute joy. The best group of folks around.
Images were made with a Canon EOS R and Canon 70-200mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom and Photolemur.
Usually bull riding comes last. This time around for this finals event they started with bull riding, part one, and ended with bull riding part two. Kind of an interesting way to do it. There's a lot of tradition involved in rodeo and I have to think people like things the way it's always been done, but this worked out well.
The bulls were especially nasty today as I don't remember more than one cowboy sticking around past eight seconds. Somebody did. The all-around cowboy was JC Mortensen, winning $1,858 for bareback riding and bull riding.
The featured event is always bull riding. But before that the ladies of rodeo perform at barrel racing. And what a show they put on!
The Texas School of Professional Photography sponsored a Caribbean cruise February 2019 that visited Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica, courtesy of the Liberty of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship.
The first port of call was Cozumel, where we had a private party aboard a pirate ship! This was just flat out fun and silly. The pirates aboard fed us food and grog and we all danced... many snorkeled in the calm sea. For really no good reason, I stayed aboard ship thinking I'd have something to photograph. All I got was tiny bouncing heads in the water. Lesson learned.
Our second stop was George Town in the Caymans, a British West Indies territory. We visited "Hell" which... well, take a look below.
And, the Caymans glass bottom boat. The captain of the ship donned scuba gear and went below to feed the fish.
Our last stop was Jamaica, where we visited the Green Grotto and Dunn's River Falls.
A few highlights onboard included an ice show. And a galley tour with Sous Chef Ramone. "Yeah Mon!" So this is how they feed thousands of guests in three decks every day!
I covered the Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns game Friday 8 February 2019 for a Spanish publication called The Wing. I was also at Phoenix Talking Stick Arena for a University of Arizona event celebrating alums Steve Kerr, Andre Iguodala, and Deandre Ayton.
Here is the article I submitted to The Wing:
Golden State Downs Phoenix Suns
(Photographs and story by James Gordon Patterson)
(Phoenix, Arizona - 8 February 2019) —- The bad news is the Phoenix Suns defeat at home against the defending world champion Golden State Warriors marked the thirteenth straight loss for the home team.
The good news for the Suns is they fought hard through the whole game to finally lose in the fourth quarter 117 to 107 after a Golden State 23 to 6 run in the fourth quarter put the game away.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr after the game smiled but said “they outplayed us the whole night.”
For around 200 fans, it was also University of Arizona night at Talking Stick Arena in downtown Phoenix. After the game, Arizona graduates Steve Kerr and Deandre Ayton came down to the court after the game to talk to the Arizona Wildcat fans in attendance.
Ayton, by the way, scored 23 points with 12 rebounds.
With this loss, the Suns stand at 11 and 46. Golden State is at 39 and 15.
22 December 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s cool in the 50s and it looks like a perfect night to go to Phoenix ZooLights.
I recently acquired a new Canon EOS R with the new RF 24-105mm lens and thought this would be a great way for me to get comfortable with the new camera.
It’s a smaller camera than the Canon 5D Mark IV and weighs less. All good things for me. I carry the camera with a Black Rapids strap and a Joby wrist strap.
All of the photos I shot were in auto ISO, f/4, hand held.
I set up the camera for back button focus. The button on the back of the camera is in a slightly different place than it was on the 5D Mark IV, so that took some time to get used to. There is a new multi-function bar on the back of the camera and I’m trying to figure out if I can use that for back button focus. Otherwise, I’m going to turn it off.
One additional thing I discovered is to go into the menu and turn on the econo mode to save battery power.
It takes about five hours to get there from north Phoenix. It’s worth the drive, but from Holbrook north, it is very desolate two lane roads to Chinle, Arizona.
I highly recommend staying at the Thunderbird Lodge because that puts you right there at the Canyon. The rooms are clean and modern with television and WiFi and there is a restaurant right there. A short drive into town and you will find other places to eat including a Denny’s which has a fine breakfast.
The first evening allowed us the fun of taking night photographs from point White House, about a five minute drive from the lodge. The first image I captured was taken about a half hour after sunset, pointing north into the canyon. Then I turned looking east for these night shots. One of the images I captured shows another photographer turning on her light. She apologized but I thanked her because I thought it made a nice photograph.
Before going into the canyon, we had a visit from some Navajo dancers. This is the land of the Navajo Code Talkers, so there was a salute to veterans. But military service seems to be ingrained in the Navajos as I suspect it is with other native nations.
Daniel Draper and his other tour guides drove us into the floor of the Canyon. To get in there you have to have a guide. It is not a smooth luxury ride! But who cares because the scenery is amazing.
Then our time at the Navajo Nation ended with Daniel’s daughter Tonisha Draper singing for us.