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Howell Photographic Arts
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Eiffel Tower

edgeThe last evening of my european adventure was spent in Paris. We made the trek down to the Eiffel Tower. Rode the elevator to the top and had a great dinner in a nice French Restaurant. It was a little windy and chilly, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Here are a few photos of the evening.

Red Square

edgeMy first visit to Russia was to Moscow. The day was cool and overcast and the city comes across as gray and muted. I didn’t have much time, just one evening in the city, so after dinner I took a cab ride to Red Square. Wow, I’m glad I did! Red Square is a very colorful, cheerful venue. A real contrast to my initial impression of Russia.

Click on the image above to view a 360 panorama of Red Square. A few static images are here.

Porsche Museum

edgeI visit a very good friend of mine in Germany whenever I get to Europe. The last few times we’ve visited car destinations: The Mercedes Benz museum, the BMW museum, and today … the Porsche museum!!!

A lot of very fun cars with a lot of history. Of course I picked out my favorite: the Porsche Carrera GT. Only 339 thousand Euros … about $450,000 … yikes!

A few photos …


edgeOn a business trip to Mannheim, Germany over the weekend. My colleagues suggested a trip to Switzerland. So … a couple trains, a bus, a gondola, and a hike and wala! Here we are in Reigoldswil, Switzerland at the Wasserfallen. I did see a small waterfall … The scenery is great. We took a gondola to the top of a mountain (hill) and rode scooters down. A great day … I grabbed a few photos … take a look.

2012 Quad Cities Marathon

edgeThe Quad Cities Marathon started at 7:30 AM this morning and 2 hours and 19 minutes later the winner crosses the finish line. More photos later …

That’s how I started off the blog entry this morning …

After hanging out at the finish line watching all the marathoners, 1/2 marathons, and relay teams come in … I discovered that the story today isn’t about the winner, the women’s winner, or even the finishers. Today’s story is really about Joe Moreno. I haven’t been around this event much before, but I had a blast today. There is just a whole lot of energy and feeling of accomplishment here. And the energy seems to flow from Race Director, Joe Moreno. This photo shows him congratulating and cheering on the women’s winner. He did this for every single finisher … and he seemed to know everyone by name. Every finisher got a personal “high five” and “great job” from Joe. You can tell he just has great passion for this event and is really, really enjoying himself today.

Great event Joe! Thank YOU for all of your passion, energy, and hard work that made this such a successful, and truly enjoyable event.

And … a few photos of the day …

Moline Football Homecoming

edgeJared Requet makes a good gain early in the Moline High School Homecoming Football game Friday night. Moline scored on their opening drive and then had some challenges until late in the game. They almost pulled it out. Here are some photos of the evening.

Moline Homecoming Parade

edgeThe Moline Homecoming parade winds it’s way down 23rd Avenue (oops, I mean Avenue of the Cities). The highlights include the kids, bands, board members, and of course Ray’z Barber Shop VW Microbus. Here are a few of the photos I captured.

SHCC Cardboard Regatta

edgeCelebrating the last weekend of summer, Short Hills held the annual cardboard regatta. The quality of the boats this year is definitely up … as well as consumption of duck tape. Is there cardboard inside there???

As you can see, everyone had a great time.

Moline Maroon Football

edgeThe Moline Maroons took on the Dunbar Mighty Men and dominated in both the Sophomore and Varsity contests. While the Sophomores had the offense going from the beginning, the Varsity turned a 1st half defensive struggle into a second half offensive display. Unfortunately the reporter from channel 4 missed all the action as he had to leave to make deadline by 9:10 PM.

The highlight of the evening were the Superfans … they were Off The Hook.

Here are a few photos of the evening.

SHCC Staff Appreciation

edgeThe Short Hills Board and Members hosted a cookout for the staff in appreciation of their great work. Thank you Lynn, Carolyn, Krysta, Gabe, Brian, Tim and staff for all you do for our club. Of course, I captured a few pictures of the event.

YWCA Pirates in Paradise

edgeRita Ostrom joins the band during the YWCA Pirates in Paradise event held at Short Hills Country Club. Here are a few photos of the evening … it was a great time! Nice work Rita and team.

SHCC 90th Birthday

edgeEstablished in 1922, Short Hills Country Club is now 90 years old. In honor of the occasion we had a 90th birthday party. Here are a few photos of the evening.

SHCC Club Championship

edgeIt was quite the dog fight. Clay Lee and Adam White battled it down to the final hole of a 36 hole match to determine the winner. In the end Adam White was victorious as our Short Hills Country Club Champion … now two years running.

The match was tied “all square” after the first 18 holes. Then in the second 18 holes Adam White built a commanding lead to be three up with five to play. Clay had a few great holes and battled back to one down with one to play, but ran into some tree issues on 18.

All the while our Club Pro was tweeting the status of the match. At least a tweet a hole. This made it very easy to follow and the current status was always clear. Nice addition this year Brian,

Congratulations to Adam White, our 2012 Short Hills Country Club Champion. Here are a few photos of the Championship Match.

Congratulations also go to our other flight winners:

Championship B Flight – Will Wallace
Directors Flight – Robert Wunder
Professionals Flight – Pat Brorby
Superintendents Flight – Ron Williams
Managers Flight – Dean Bull
Women’s Flight – Patti Lee

SHCC Member Guest 2012

edgeThe Short Hills Member Guest was another great event this year. We had 27 teams battle it out and just plain enjoy themselves over 3 days of golf. In the end Team Venderbeke came out victorious. Here are a few photos of the shoot out and the evening dinner.

John Deere Classic 2012

edgeRory Sabatini walks up number 9 fairway during a practice round at Deere Run.

It was a full week of events at Deere Run for the John Deere Classic highlighted by a fantastic playoff finish where Zach Johnson emerged as the 2012 John Deere Classic Champion. I spend a few days taking photos … take a look by clicking on the weekdays.

The John Deere Pro Am was held with the sponsor exemption golfers: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Rodgers, John Peterson and Luke Guthrie. I also caught a few shots of John Daley and David Duvall.

Youth Day Activities in the Family Zone
Wounded Warriors Club Fitting
First TeeYouth Clinic w/ Pat Perez and Jason Gore

The John Deere Classic Pro Am. John Deere’s CEO, Sam Allen and the John Deere Classic Board President, Todd Raufheisen, played with Steve Stricker.

FInal Round of the 2012 John Deere Classic

R&R Stables Photo Shoot

edgeSpent the evening shooting the R&R Stables Ranch and 5 beautiful Gypsy Vanners.

Korndorf Resort 2012

edgeThe Korndorf’s were kind enough to invite us up for a great day at the Korndorf resort. We all had a great time. Tubing, skiing, kneeboarding, etc. Take a look.

Short Hills June Party

edgeThe former first lady of Short Hills, Laurie Dalfonso, joins the Almost Brothers for a little impromptu “Mammas and Pappas” (At least I recall California Dreaming … :-). We had approximately 150 members and guests come out for the summer party event at Short Hills. It was great seeing all the old gang and a number of new acquaintances as well.

When guests arrived they were greeted by the president Craig Thatcher, and his wife LeAnne, as well as the head of Entertainment Tim Newcomb and his wife Carolyn. After a complimentary Blue Hawaiian the guests moved to the patio to listen to the Almost Brothers and to the ballroom where the chef had quite a selection of Pacific / Asian / Tropical fair. The coconut shrimp and the teriyaki shrimp were my personal favorites.

Of course there was socializing and dancing poolside on the patio, on the deck, in the Pavilion, and in the Ballroom. It was a perfect evening and a great event.

I didn’t stay very long as I wanted to make it an early evening as I’m off to Germany in the morning. Still, I was able to grab a few photos.

IT Leadership Community Service

edgeThe John Deere Global IT Leadership Team dedicated the afternoon with a Community Service Project at Arrowhead Ranch to help celebrate John Deere’s 175th anniversary in business. The Arrowhead Ranch staff was very organized, easy to work with, and was very happy to have us there to help. We broke into 6 teams and did a wide variety of clean up activities including: weeding, tree trimming, painting, pond cleaning, brick edging removal, workshop cleaning, and a few other activities. Arrowhead ranch kept us hydrated with water, sodas, and an ice cream break. The entire team worked very hard and it was a very satisfying endeavor.

After the Community Service Project, we caravanned to the John Deere Construction Demo site to socialize, eat dinner, have a few drinks, and play a few games of corn bag toss. Here are a few photos of the days activities.

Calvary Lutheran Panorama

edgeNot far from the Quad Cities, in Illinois, there is a very nice community called New Windsor. While New Windsor is famous in our area as the host of the “Biggest Little Rodeo” … it should also be known as one of the nicest “country” church around. You don’t need directions to get to Calvary Lutheran as it is a very prominent landmark in New Windsor that would be difficult to miss. This is the church home to a few of my friends and colleagues and in particular Eric Young asked me to do a 360 Panorama of the sanctuary. Here’s my attempt.

I used a 35mm lens at f16 on my iDmkIV for this pano and therefore took 75 frames to stitch together. I did 5 horizontal rows of 25 frames each with a Nodal Ninja 5 pano head. Church sanctuaries, in particular, have a lot of dynamic range to them with some dark shadowy areas and some brightly lit highlight areas. This one was no exception, and was particularly challenging since it was a bright, clear day and the morning sun was shining directly in the stained glass windows over the entry doors. Therefore I used HDR processing to accommodate this high dynamic range scene and used 7 exposures of each frame with a 2eV step between each exposure to capture a 12eV total range. As a result, I ended up with 525 separate images to process into this single panorama.

The image you see above is the flattened “sphere” that results from the stitching and HDR operations. I use a software product called PTGui, which uses the Open Source Pano Tools project, to get this far. I am pretty proud of the quality of the stitching. While it took me a little white to hand tune the control points for the image, the result is pretty satisfying. I have yet to identify a stitching error.

The HDR part is a little more challenging and I continue to experiment with different HDR processors to improve the image to capture more of the detail in the windows. One of my challenges is that this image is pretty large, something like 37,000 x 12,000 pixels. It’s difficult to find good software tools that can handle these types of images. (The resulting photoshop file of the above image, including each of the 7 blend planes is something like 30GB is size).

So far I’ve tried true HDR Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion with PTGui and then improve the image in Photoshop CS5. The above image was created with Exposure Fusion processing and is an improvement over the the HDR Tone Mapping I tried originally. I’ll update these as I go along.

Even though I am using a 4 core i7 processor with 12GB of memory, these images take days to process … literally.

While this is an interesting overview of the Panorama, the objective is to create a virtual environment that the user can navigate around and zoom in and out as they see fit. Therefore I use another set of tools called krpano to convert the above flattened sphere into 6 faces of a cube, these are then combined into a large set of multiple resolution files that use Flash for display on PC’s and HTML5 for display on mobile devices. You’ll be able to zoom in more on PC’s and Mac’s than you’ll be able to on mobile devices

I hope you enjoy this display of the Calvary Lutheran Church in New Windsor, IL.

Short Hills hosts the AJGA

edge132 of the nation’s best junior’s golfers came to Short Hills for a week full of golf. It was pretty humbling to see these kids with the grooved swing throwing darts at our greens. I loved the buzz. Here are a few photos of the second round.

SHCC Retains Velie Cup

edgeShort Hills Country Club’s Sunday Team posing with the Velie Cup. They started the day six strokes ahead and finished with a resounding 21 stroke victory. Congratulations! Feel free to peruse the photos of the day.

SHCC Mueller Cup

edgeThe Sunday Mueller cup team gets ready to tee off at Davenport Country Club. It was a challenging course for coach Lewis’ first outing. Here are a variety of photos from the day.

USA Today and My Photo

edgeI recently had the opportunity to attend the Peter Reed Miller Sports Photography Workshop. There were some great photographers in the workshop and of course we had some great instructors. One of images (above right) was described as a potential “Sports Illustrated Cover”. I was honored …

This past weekend I noticed the USA Today Sports Section had a very similar photo on the front page. I know it’s not humble to say, but I think my photo is even better.

TPC at Deere Run

edgeThe John Deere Classic is now just 56 days away. I thought I’d stop out at the golf course and grab a few photos of the clubhouse and course. Take a look.

John Deere Classic Portfolio

edgeThe John Deere Classic is now a short 2 months away and I thought it’d be appropriate to share a few photos from previous John Deere Classic Tournaments. This photo of Steve Stricker with the John Deere Classic trophy was from 2010 when he scored his 2nd John Deere Classic win. Last year he won again and I’m sure he’ll be gunning for his 4th straight John Deere Classic victory this year.

Here are a few of my favorite John Deere Classic photos.

And … of course … a few panoramas of Deere Run decked out for the John Deere Classic. Just click on these and “tour the course”.

Deere Run- 18th
Deere Run - 16th
Deere Run - 17thedge

I'll Have Another wins Kentucky Derby!

I’ll admit, I don’t research the horses for the Kentucky Derby very thoroughly. Since they are all three year olds, the horses are really pretty unknown with just a short year of racing as experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Kentucky Derby since it is almost always a fantastic, exciting race to watch, has a great spectacle to it, and is just a great excuse for a spring time party.

Anyway … back to the race … I placed my bets on three horses:
  • Take Charge Indy - Calvin Borel was aboard as the jockey and we’ve seen him with the Kentucky Derby quite a few times.
  • Bodemeister - The favorite.
  • I’ll Have Another - My long shot pick since I just liked the name.
It was a very exciting race with Bodemeister taking the early win and threatening to take it wire to wire. I was cheering him on down the final stretch when out of the pack came another horse to clip him right at the end. Who is that … it was hard to see the silks and the number … and there it was, out of the 19th chute where a horse has never won from, came I’ll Have Another. And well … my long shot favorite came home to pay $30 to win!

Thanks to everyone who came out to help celebrate, Bill Lewis and John Bollart for manning the Art Studio, and Chris Dufour for the fantastic photos of the day!


SHCC Girls Gone Wild!

edgeWow! 173 Ladies had a great time at Short Hills Country Club’s Girls Gone Wild Event! And a few SHCC Hunks as well. Here a few of the organizers arrive in style for the event. I have lots of photos of the event, including the “Hunks” entertainment! Take a look and feel free to right click and download or reference them as you see fit. If you’d like to get a print, you should be able to order that here as well.

Kentucky Derby Time!

edgeIt’s Kentucky Derby Time! This coming Saturday is the 138th running of the most exciting 2 minutes in sports and it’s time for another Howell Kentucky Derby party. Kimberly and I and looking forward to seeing all of our friends and cheering on another Kentucky Derby. Just as a reminder, here are a few photos of last years event that my friend Chris Dufour was generous to photograph for us. Great shots Chris! Thank you so much.


R&R Stables - Sizzle & Rianna

edgeRianna’s new horse Sizzle finally made it home. So we had to grab a couple quick photos. Here are a few.

Peter Read Miller Workshop

edgeI had the great pleasure of attending the Peter Read Miller Workshop on Sports Photography this past week. This was a full 7 days of presentations, critiques, shooting, and editing. As part of this workshop I shot 10 different sports, thousands of frames, and had 62 images critiqued. Needless to say I put in a lot of time and effort and was really rewarded as I learned a lot, met a bunch of very talented individuals, and greatly improved my photos. While I learned of lot, the single most important thing was what makes a great sports photo. This shot of the baseman running drew great praise as Peter suggested it could be a Sport Illustrated magazine cover. He should know as he has more than 200 covers to his credit!

One of the photographers sharing instruction duty with Peter was Grant Leighton who specializes in Portrait Photography. I took the opportunity to have him review some of my Portraits and he generously gave me a number of suggestions for improvement. I can’t wait to put them to use.

I shot somewhere between 500 and 1,000 frames of each sport. The motor drive on my camera was humming right along … I reduced this to my favorite 5-10 for each sport for the critique session. Take a look:

Mountain Biking
Roller Derby
Track & Field

Augustana Basketball

edgeThe Augustana women celebrate their win at the buzzer.

It was an evening of up and downs as the Augustana Vikings took on the North Central Cardinals at home in Carver Center. First, the women put in a 3 pointer as time expired to pull out a 66-65 squeaker. Unfortunately the men could keep their winning ways alive and fell 67-62 in only their second loss of the season.

I had my Radiopoppers with me and two Speedlites to try to get a little better light here. This allowed me to shoot at 1600 iso, 1/250th, and f2.8 for most of these photos. I put the strobes on the balcony railing and they provided mostly fill in light. Here are a few photos of the evening.

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