Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fishers Freedom Festival Parade, 2014

Many communities throughout the country have Fourth of July observances, and many of those include parades, fireworks and festivals. The annual observance in Fishers, Ind., is called the Freedom Festival, a two-day affair that begins on a Saturday with a 5K run/walk and includes various activities at the circular Roy G. Holland Park, which is in one of the community's mainstay subdivisions, Sunblest.

This year's Fishers Freedom Fest was last weekend. A mid-afternoon parade on Sunday helped set up the fireworks, which launch after dark. I had an itch to photograph people and variety, so the parade fell right into my bailiwick.

There was concern at the beginning; as spectators lined up along the parade route just minutes before the scheduled 3 p.m. start, light sprinkles passed over. Fortunately, the shower was light and fleeting; it had dissipated by the time the lead-off entry reached the intersection of 116th Street and Holland Drive, where I was stationed. Skies remained mostly cloudy for about three-quarters of the event before the sun broke out and cast some dramatic lighting on the final floats and entries.

One of the most interesting entries was the giant red inflated tiger enveloping a U-Haul truck trailing the Fishers High School football team. I had time to pull off only one shot of the tiger, featured in the lead-off photo. My attention had been distracted for a moment, so I didn't notice it was upon me until it was almost too late. I was shooting with just one camera -- my Canon 6D equipped with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens -- so the shot would have been out of my range if I hadn't gotten it when I did.

Among my favorite shots are the two creative spectator-and-parade-participant "selfies" I was fortunate to notice and quickly capture.

These photos are from that shoot. A full gallery of images from the parade can be found at my SmugMug site.

Above and next two below: In the minutes before the parade's start, the primary concern was the rainfall, and umbrellas were out in an array of colors and styles. 

Above and next two below: The Hamilton Southeastern High School Royal Command & Guard. 

Above and next three below: The Fishers High School Tiger Band.

Zoe Parker, Fort Wayne, Miss Indiana Teen (above) and Audra Casterline (below), the first Fishers resident crowned Miss Indiana. She won the title just last month and will compete in the Miss America pageant in September.

Above: Representatives of The Twilights at Wishes Dance Club.

Above: Moments before I grabbed the above image, the Wishes Dance Club mascot posed for one of two spectator-parade float interactive selfies I grabbed (below). Several parade entries later, the same youngster and an accomplice pigeon-holed another animated character for yet another selfie (second below).

Above and below: A couple more "stuffed" animals, who had to be a tad uncomfortable in the heat and humidity, although the one below caught a slight break under cover of the cart. I don't know if the "selfie" boy scored with these two, but at least one youth (above) was fortunate to slap skin with this one.

Above: Not sure what entry this combo was performing for, but I do recall that it was religious and/or faith based.

Above: A smile from a girl riding on the float of Primrose School of West Fishers.

Above and next two below: Classic cars and racing cars are popular entries in parades everywhere.

Above: The national and state colors.

Above: Pet Pals TV's Patti Spitler, a former longtime news reporter and anchor at WISH-TV (Channel 8) in Indianapolis.

Above: A member of the Title Boxing Club in Fishers.

Above and next five below: A favorite past time at parades is recording the spectators and their reaction to the goings-on, which I hope these images adequately convey.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jeff Day at the Ale Emporium

It had been 10 months since I last photographed a live music performance, so when I got the opportunity to capture local singer-guitarist Jeff Day perform at Ale Emporium in Castleton on June 25, I took it.

Jeff, who hails from Bedford, Ind., but now lives in the Indianapolis area, performs mostly as a solo artist, playing an array of tunes, much of which harken to the 1970s and '80s. He also does gigs as part of a combo. On this night, he was by himself. These pictures are from that set.

The shoot threw a challenging curve my way early on when the sun and pub awning played shadow games with the lighting on Jeff, who was staged outdoors about 20 or so feet from the pub's main entrance, singing to the crowd seated in the patio seats. I hesitated to shoot with that contrasty lighting ... until it hit him in an interesting way that some of the last pictures below will depict better than I can explain.

For a look at the full shoot, you can visit the gallery at my SmugMug site.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A peek at what you don't see
when attending a theatrical production

My shoot for First Folio Productions' presentation of Romeo and Juliet late last month was a two-day affair. As indicated and illustrated in the previous post here, the first day was devoted to scenes from the dress rehearsal.

The second day was used to grab "behind the scenes" images, a group shot of the cast and crew, and some photos reflecting a refinement of the visual "show" the crew devised as part of the opening musical sequence. You saw a couple shots of the latter in the previous post.

This post is about the behind-the-scenes images, and it leads off with a shot of Susan Yeaw getting guitarist/vocalist Al Hoffman wired up for amplification. Susan worked the show in the control booth of the Ben Davis High School theater, but she is an accomplished actress who I met through her various roles with the Garfield Shakespeare Company.

I've come to learn that an angular perspective, or tilt, seems appropriate when composing a shot, and this scene in the control booth in the back of the theater seemed to be that time.

Above and next three below: Crew in the control booth work with the stage lighting and visual portion of the show. On stage are Glenn Dobbs, the play's director (first below) and cast member Jurrell Spencer (in costume), who played Count Paris. Shortly thereafter, Spencer would join fellow cast members Mark Varick and Anderson Parker in the first row of seats to watch further fine-tuning of the visual presentation. Varick played Benvolio, friend of Romeo, which was Parker's role.

Above and below: This silhouette of stage manager Melody Burnett, who also was in charge of set decoration, adjusting the curtain to the balcony is one of my favorite from the night's shoot. Earlier in the evening, Burnett and cast member John Mortell, who played Romeo's rival Tybalt, were nearby as the fog machine was tested.

Above: In the men's dressing room, Stephen Scull (Prince Escalus) makes his way toward a locker to put on his outfit.

Above and below: Outside the dressing rooms, cast member Brian Kennedy, who played Lord Montegue, finds his costume from the rack. A while later, he was in the dressing room beginning the makeup process. 

Above and next three below: Elsewhere in the men's dressing room, Daniel Clymer (above) finessed the look around his eyes, his costume (first below) hanging several yards away at his locker. Clymer played Friar Laurence. Also working on the eyes was fellow cast member Tristan Ross (second below), who played Juliet's father, Lord Capulet. Sitting on a chair against one of the walls were neatly arranged belongings and a dance scene mask.  

Above: In the women's dressing room, cast members Debbie Coon (left) and Michelle Wafford Mannweiler enjoy a laugh while tidying up. Coon played Balthasar, Wafford Mannweiler was Juliet.

Above: Carrie Reiberg's work with the aerosol can is captured in three mirrors. She played Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet.

Above: Kat Paton, who played Lady Montegue, concentrates on the eyes.

Above and below: Makeup artist Delores Dugger adjusts cast member Joyce Feichtner's bonnet (above) and sprays Paton's hair (below). Observing Dugger above is Jessica Thompson.

Above and below: Pre-rehearsal confabs can occur just about anywhere. The one above featuring (from left) Mortell, Dobbs, Varick, Parker (mostly obscured by Varick) and Spencer, ocurred outside the dressing rooms. The one below, featuring (from left) Dobbs, Andy Burnett (who played Abraham), Yeaw, Paton and Mortell, occurred behind the stage curtain, near the stairs to where performers reached the area for the balcony scene.

Above: After the behind-the-stage conference, Mortell has a playful exchange with another cast/crew member.

Above and next two below: The rehearsal's pre-show routine includes various stretching regimens. Above, Scull walks past Varick, who is using the stage as his mat for hamstring work. Both men will need to be limber for combat scenes. Scull (first below), supervised by Dobbs, does a hop routine. And the full cast (second below), in circle form, runs through a drill of tongue-twisters to hone the skill of recall ... and enunciation.

Above: The stage as seen from the theater's control booth, and the crew's table of stage props.

Above and next two below: A couple of performers have come up to me after seeing my pictures from shows, whether theater or music, and have told me how much they appreciated shots I've gotten from the perspective the performer has during a show. It serves as a fond, vivid reminder of their experience. Of course, these shots are missing a key component that they also see -- the audience. But from a perspective standpoint, the above shot is roughly what the actors see when they are on stage (even though lights there are mostly dimmed), and in the case of the second shot below, what a soloist has to deal with by way of a spotlight when they are front and center. The first show below reflects what Juliet looked out on when she did the balcony scene.

Above and below: These two shots represent a novelty of sorts. The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 ultra-wide-angle lens I used for these was designed for a small-sensor camera, like my Canon 7D. But I used it on my full-frame sensor Canon 6D. I simply had to zoom down to a point where vignetting disappeared. But the wide angle the lens provides give you a feel for what the First Folio visual presentation during the musical interludes looked like from difference perspectives. 

Above: Behind stage, a table holding the sundry props that would be used during the course of the performance. 

Above: The cast and crew of Romeo and Juliet.