2012 Canon USA Photo Contest, I need help!

Hey Guys, I need everybody’s help. I am entering the 2012 Canon USA Photo Contest. The Rules say that each entrant is allowed 3 5X8 prints. The contest theme is “Snapshots of Hawaii”. Knowing that my first two entries are going to be:

“Passing on the Addiction”

and

“Hawaiian Harmony”

The contest is being judged on the following criteria: “The top 25 entries that best combine visual impact and technical photographic skill while representing the theme will be selected for awards.”-Canon USA. That being said, I can’t figure out what my final entry should be. I need yall’s help. Check out the following pictures and vote in the pole PLEASE. Help me figure out what I should submit as my final picture. I went through my portfolio and picked out what I thought felt like it had “Aloha” from my point of view. I am really excited about this contest and I have thought up a wager, to all of my friends who are gracious enough to take the time and vote on these pictures and help me with this. The top 25 photos will be framed and placed in the Canon USA Hawaii Office on exhibit at the end of the contest, so if I place in the top 25 with any of the 3 photos that I submit, I will randomly choose one person who voted to receive a free family photo shoot (sorry mom your out of this one haha). Being that I still live in Hawaii but have a lot of friends from my home state of Virginia, if my winner can’t make it to Hawaii while I am still here (I will be moving back to Virginia in the Summer 2013) then I will honor the  prize when I get back to VA for good.

Entries are due by February 29th, 2012 so VOTE NOW! I will be turning in my entry on the 27th or 28th most likely at the Canon USA Hawaiian Office so I am going to end the voting at 12am on February 20th to give myself some time to get the print done and packaged to the contest rules specs.

Here are your options! (In corresponding order with the poll options):

These are pillars from an old pier Dana and I found the last day of my birthday camping trip at Malekahana Campground on the North Shore of Oahu.

This is Byodo-In Temple, it is in the back of Valley of the Temples Memorial Park near Kaneohe, Oahu. It is a gorgeous Buddhist temple with beautiful Koi ponds all around it. One of the most amazing places I have been to since we moved to Hawaii by far.

Maunawili Valley,  I got this shot of the sun rising over the ridges of Maunawili mountain during an early morning hike. This is a perfect example to me of lens flare gone perfectly right.

Our old building is on the right of this picture. The canal is the Ala-Wai Canal. Plagued by muddy brown water and signs that warn against swimming and fishing because of disease, its beauty comes out at night. I opened the shutter up longer to get the lights of passing cars streaking by to ad character to this frame.

The Banana Flower grows on the end of the rack of Banana’s. I took this picture while hiking to Akaka Falls on our recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.

This to me may be my favorite sunset picture ever. I picked the first choice for my entries because of the composition, (the boy and his father, fishing, the ocean, the sunset, the Hawaiian Style dinner cruise boat on the horizon) it seemed to fit the theme more than this one but I still love this picture. I took this at world-famous Sunset Beach on Christmas Day. We had just finished Skyping with my Uncle, Aunt and Cousin when the sun started to set and as you can see, they don’t call it Sunset Beach for nothing…

This was also taken on the Akaka Falls hike on Big Island. The light shining through the palms caught my eye and I got a couple of good ones this one being the best.

The Banyan Tree is a Hawaiian Staple. This is my final finisher from the Akaka Falls Hike. We saw the light shining through the tree at just the right angle and as the gentleman in front of us said “I feel like we’re in Avatar.” I got the perfect angle. He was also kind of correct. Avatar’s tree of life is said to have been inspire by the huge Banyan Trees that James Cameron saw on research hikes on Oahu, Kauai and Big Island.

This is also on Big Island. Thursten Lava Tube is still active at the bottom end so they only allow you to walk about 5 minutes of it now. Imagine back when this entire tube was full of molten lava flowing to the ocean. This is a huge piece of the Hawaiian Archipelago’s history. Lava tubes like this cover the Big Island in the Lava Fields and where the reason that the islands exist today in large part.

Here’s the Poll, please vote while keeping the theme (Snapshots of Hawaii) and the criteria (combining visual impact and photographic skill while staying with the theme) in mind.

Thanks for the support guys! Stay tuned for the blog post next week!

-Chase

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Action Photography

Considering that I got my first NCAA press pass last Saturday, I couldn’t think of a better topic for this weeks entry than action photography. As a life long baseball player I have always loved action photography. My mother was always a photographer for at least one of my sports at any given time and was fearless to boot. She was even the team photographer for my tournament paintball team that I played on for four years. I have never seen someone go through so many filters in my life as she did during those four years of shooting major paintball tournaments on the field. I still have a 62mm Tiffen Skylight of hers with paint stuck inside of the retainer ring. I also have never seen someone take such awesome sports shots either. What she got from a 3.5 fps Nikon D70 in the midst of a hailstorm of paintballs all the while wearing jeans, a hoodie and one of my old masks still dumbfounds me. I struggle to get some of the shots that she did while shooting my D7000 at 7fps for crying out loud. My mother is definitely the reason I feel such a draw towards action photography.

Sports photography has always appealed to me because I am a sports nut. I also am a slight adrenaline junkie and the danger and excitement level draws me in as well. Lets admit it, to any photographer who enjoys the thrill of sports and excitement the thought of trying to take the best picture possible all the while dodging linebackers or foul balls sounds like fun.

This past Saturday I got my first official NCAA press pass to the University of Hawaii vs. San Jose State basketball game here in Honolulu. I had never been on the floor of any event like that so needless to say “nervous” was an accurate description. I found out a few tips that I would like to share very quickly during that game. I have shot plenty of baseball before but not having the photographer point of view of basketball yet I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as far as my settings. The following tips are just what I picked up from this game. Keep in mind that to me this genre is still a major work-in-progress so take my advice with somewhat of a reservation. Think of it as something between gossip and gospel.

Shoot in manual: As intimidating as it may seem, and it did to me, shooting in Manual or Shutter Priority is a must. Sports scene does an OK job but to get the best results these modes are better suited. ISO is going to depend on the venue of course. I was in a D1 single A University Stadium but obviously you may need to stop down and increase your ISO if you are shooting a high school or other youth game where lighting isn’t as intense. Using these modes will also help you reduce motion blur greatly. By controlling your ISO and shortening your shutter speed with a low F-Stop it helped me reduce motion blur greatly.

Set a focal point for Auto focus and put the AF in Continuous: By doing this you will force yourself to pre-crop your image but it is easier to maintain a constant focus on your subject by locking onto a certain area in the frame and then tracking with it. The tough part about basketball is that there are so many players crossing in front of the camera and so much ball movement that tracking your subject, from what I gather so far, is more of an art form than anything else.

Try to focus on a certain shot you want to see: This is often easier said than done with basketball, but I had good luck with it. Baseball is easier because usually plays happen in certain areas on the field and it is a large field so plays develop rather slowly and intently. I decided to focus primarily on low post shots and got some good dunks and driving pictures. This however, does lead to my next point which is by far the most important of all.

Know what you are shooting: This should be implemented in every type of photography no matter the subject but it is absolutely necessary when shooting sports. To shoot a sport effectively you must understand the flow of the game to know what is exciting and when to expect it. Usually this isn’t a hard thing to accomplish because, lets be honest, who wants to shoot a sport for 4 hours that they hate. Understanding game flow and what is expected, or just as important unusual, will help you capture the moments that everyone wants to see.

Hopefully these tips will help and I hope you enjoy the pictures too. Feel free to email me any questions and please comment and rate the blog.

See ya’ll next week.

-Chase

Haole Boy Photography

For those who don’t understand what it means, Haole is the Hawaiian slang term for someone of the Caucasian variety. So yes, technically I own White Boy Photography and Productions haha. When I finally decided to start my photography and productions business after a few years of consideration I tried to think of a name that best fit me. Being that I was born and raised in Chesapeake Virginia and then moved to Honolulu, “Haole” fits me perfectly. To re-affirm that fact not a day goes by that my room mate doesn’t make me say the words window (which I pronounce “winda”), water (which I pronounce “wooter”) or tomato (which I pronounce tomata) just for a laugh. I will be here in Honolulu for another year and a half while my better half finishes her graduate degree in Social Work at Hawaii Pacific University and while starting my business I decided to start a blog to go along with it. I am going to be updating weekly about anything and everything under the sun out here in Hawaii.

Thanks for the support and stay tuned!

-Chase Simmons

HAPPY 2012 PEOPLE!

Ahh, 2012. The new year is always an awesome time. It’s kind of cool to think about one point in the year where almost everyone on the planet is ending an experience and starting one at the same time. 2012, of course, is being regarded as the apocalypse amongst certain people. Aside from all of the humorous R.E.M. re-writes and random jokes about the Mayans running out of ink (my personal favorite said if the Spanish hadn’t come maybe the Mayans could have finished the calendar ha ha). However, anytime something is rumored to end the world everyone must form an opinion about it just to stay sane with all the media and random buzz. Now, as some of you may know I am a complete Baseball freak. I played baseball all my life until I graduated High School and due to an elbow injury I now only play softball. That being said, inherently as a baseball player and youth coach I am the usual, stereotypical amount of superstitious I am never one to mock a belief or bring on the bad juju, however, I am also of the belief that I have heard enough about the end of the world over the past few years and including Y2K. Personally I think the Mayans just got tired of writing. I mean if I was given the task to make a calender, and I made one that had a total of 2000+ years I think I’d call it a day at some point wouldn’t you?

All jokes aside the new year is also known for other things namely resolutions. I have come up with some resolutions to make me a better photographer and help my business.

1: For the next year, unless my plans for the day involve water, my camera will be with me everywhere I go no exceptions.

2: I am going to make one image per day

3: I am going to publish a blog post once at least once a week.

So until next week thanks for checking out my blog, follow me on twitter and enjoy a few pictures I took of our New Years Fireworks here in Waikiki