Is May over yet? Almost?

May is always the busiest month for me. The races in Charlotte, the fiscal year ending at work, the kids’ activities all coming to an end as well as their school years, and other factors contribute to the turbulence in May. Last Saturday I got up early to go shoot a newly-engaged couple at a farm in Rock Hill, SC.

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 100, 1/1250s

Stephen and Deanna chose a beautiful setting and it was easy for me to shoot. I had to drop ISO down to be able to get the apertures I like. Afterward, Deanna wanted some shots with her horse, Galileo, but she went a step further and rode him bareback in a beautiful purple dress and barefoot!

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 100, 1/800s

Afterward, I had to blitz back to pick up my youngest boy and take him to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Taking a three year old to the track is no easy task but I was able to fire off a few shots with my A77.

SLT-A77V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 100, 1/800s

The next day I took both of my sons to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca Cola 600. I got a lot more shots. Here is one of the flyovers…

SLT-A77V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/5, ISO 100, 1/1250s

During the race I didn’t get as many shots as I would have liked but I did get an odd shot, I was trying to shoot the orange moon over the world’s largest HDTV and this accident was occurring exactly when I was shooting.


SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 200, 1/250s, –1EV

I also shot a variation of this shot several times, with this one being one of the best.

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 1600, 1/160s

For some reason I like to shoot the cars lined up for a restart with the pace car peeling off to the pit area. This shot also shows a very populated part of the stands and helps show how tall the 24 degree banking in turn 4 is  compared to the flat area where the Dollar General sign is.

June starts this weekend and I hope to get a chance to test out a couple of old lenses I picked up a week or two ago. I picked up a T-mount 135mm f/2.8 lens and a M42 Mount 55mm f/1.4 lens and other than a couple of test shots, I haven’t gotten a chance to shoot them yet. My first impression is how small the lenses are without electronics. The 135mm f/2.8 lens would fit inside my 85mm f/1.4 ZA lens with room to spare. The 55mm f/1.4 lens would easily fit inside my Minolta 50mm /2.8 Macro fully compacted.

I am also looking at a fairly epic travel schedule coming soon. I am definitely going to Austria via Germany in late July, but another international trip or two may be in my future for work. All I need is for some ink to dry.


6 comments on “Is May over yet? Almost?

  1. Gustavo Campos says:


    I just finished reading your blog. And I found it VERY amazing! Thanks for sharing your experiences, dreams, insights, mistakes, acomplishments and, above all, good (and some great!) photos. I had a wonderful time reading, had my share of laughter when realizing that my own mistakes where not mine alone anymore!

    Hope your new bussiness is flourishing and that your trip to Austria goes well.

    Keep on writing, because you’ve got a fan! And I’m eager to read more!


    Gustavo Campos

    • Thank you, Gustavo! Are you in Portugal? I’ve always wanted to visit more t than I did last time, which was a layover at the Lisbon airport. I’m glad you like the blog. I always hope my mistakes translate to others’ successes or at least others can relate to my mistakes. Keep in touch!

      • Gustavo Campos says:

        Hi Joe,

        I’m spaniard, lived in Brazil and now live in Portugal! 🙂

        It’s a wonderful country not only to live (great weather, nice people, unexpensive) but also to visit. Besides, being such a small country it’s easy to thoroughly visit it in just a few days. Lots of history (it’s a unitary country for the last 850 years!), lots of natural parks and beachs and, for those who like it, great food and wine.

        I’m an amateur photographer with just a year experience, and being a Sony fan nothing came more naturally than picking up a Sony camera. I have the A65 (my mistake… should have gotten the A77 back then) and now I’m fiddling around to buy the A99 or just upgrade to the A77. I thought I’d photograph mostly landscapes when I bought the camera, but it turned out that most of my photos are a mix of indoors (museums and castles where no flash is allowed) and city landscapes. That means that the high ISO noise problem with the A65/A77 is sort of cumbersome. But upgrading to FF is a little bit expensive (I have only 3 lenses, all DT), so I’m giving the matter a little thought, hence finding your blog! 🙂

        BTW, in your good analysis of the ISO with your cameras you didn’t compare the A77 with ISO 6400 vs the A99 with ISO 12800, which would be fair since your conclusions on the manufacturer lies (GREAT WORK, BY THE WAY!) put them sort of on the same level. Could you post one comparison photo with these parameters? It would give me a better idea on how great a difference I’d get.

        Of course I’m not considering upgrading just because of ISO performance, but also because of DOF and overall IQ.

        What do you think about it?

        Ah, I of course read about your aquaintace with Nik software. Have you ever tried TOPAZ LABS bundle? They are also good stuff. I do own both and many times they are great tools combined to give that uuuummmpufff some photos need! 🙂

        About our mistakes… I once learned (a teacher of mine had it as a mantra): one’s doubt is everybody’s doubt. Translating it to mistakes, your mistakes are also mine, even if I didn’t make them yet!! So, better to learn beforehand them to make them myself!

        I’ll keep in touch, ok?
        If you could do me that favour and compare the 6400/12800 ISOs I’d really appreciate.

        Thanks, again, for sharing your photographer’s live.

        Best regards,


  2. Gustavo Campos says:

    I forgot to mention. If you’d like to have a glimpse about Portugal, I’d suggest you to “like” DESCOBRIR PORTUGAL in Facebook. Most of the photos are not good ones, but they give a great idea of the beauties of this country.

    B. regards.


  3. […] Pretty girls and horses. If you’ve read my posts, you know I did a shoot for Deanna and Stephen’s engagement. Deanna asked me to come back and shoot some more horse photos with her and one of her trainers, […]

  4. […] ago… Actually more than a month ago now, I had the opportunity to return to the same farm I shot Stephen and Deanna to shoot Deanna and her friend Laura on Galileo and Sylvester. Here is Deanna with […]

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