Another Amazing Year at DCI

Just got home from another amazing year at the DCI World Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  I’m blown away every year by the level of marching skill and musicianship these kids show.  They give up their summer to travel the country performing in the sweltering heat at a level of professional athletes.  If you’re looking to support youth in music, check out Drum Corps International (DCI); we joined the Friends of DCI this year and plan to continue our support next year.  Though I support all the corps, I tip my hat to Carolina Crown (below) who had a performer injured during the show.  He broke his leg near the end of the show, which was heartbreaking to see.  But they finished their show, “A Second Chance”, and placed 4th with a score of 95.95.  Check out the entire set here.
DCI World Championships 2010

Off to Indianapolis

Phantom Regiment at DCI World Championships 2008 We’re off to Indianapolis for the Drum Corps Internationl World Championships tomorrow.  It’s are annual “thang”, and I’ll get to try out my new camera this year.  Out of the 12 corps that perform, I usually take 200 or so pics that I’ll share here and on flickr.

This will be our 7th year, and I’m like a kid at Christmas… don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.  Marching band has always been a love of mine, and these guys are the best of the best.

I’m ready for the goosebumps…

Have Camera, Will Travel

My Nikon D70 has been a great camera, but I haven’t taken a single photo since I started having trouble with the shutter release a few months ago.  Since then, I’ve been exploring the new cameras from Nikon.  I was fixated on the D700, but the new FX full frame format wouldn’t work completely with my DX lenses, and the pro-level full-frame lenses aren’t cheap.  Not to mention the $2,700 price tag is a bit daunting for a non-pro hobbyist.   I narrowed it down to the D90 – a good hobbyist model with video capabilities, and the D300 – a semi-pro model with much of the same features as the D700, but in the DX format.

I finally settled on the D300.  It was a bit pricier than the D90, but with a magnesium body like my D70, it just felt more substantial.  It’s much of the reason I chose the Nikon D70 over the equivalent Canon at the time;  the Canon just felt cheaper to me.

I also splurged for the Tamron 18-270 mm lens, which will eliminate the need to switch lenses during my upcoming trip to Drum Corps World Championships.  I purchased the last generation Tamron 28-300 mm lens last year, and was very unhappy with it.  It was incredibly slow when focusing and most of the photos at 300 mm were out of focus and dark.  But the good people at Cooter’s Camera (funny name, but worth a visit if you’re in the Dallas area) let me try out the new generation on a D300 and I was pleasantly surprised.  The focus was quiet and seemed as smooth and quick as my standard 18-70mm Nikon lens.

Now with the Black Rapid camera strap I got for Christmas, I’m a photography force to be reckoned with.  I’m convinced this strap is a must-have for any DSLR camera user who likes to get out and about with their camera, especially walking city streets.  If you haven’t seen one, check it out.

So here’s the first photo I took with my new camera from my backyard.  I’m happy with the initial quality already.  With my D70, I always felt the need to edit the RAW photos, boosting the color, tweaking the exposure, adjusting the contrast.  This shot was taken with the JPG Medium setting with no editing other than resizing.  One of my goals was to spend less time editing and more time behind the camera.  With the same 51 area auto focus and EXPEED image processing as the D700, I think I’ll be a happy camper.

First Shot Taken with Nikon D300

Halloween on Cedar Springs

Halloween is one of the biggest parties of the year on Cedar Springs in Dallas. We’ve been the last thee years, but haven’t dressed up. The last two years, I kept thinking I should bring my camera and get some shots of all the amazing costumes.
So this year I decided to take my “good camera”, and even decided to dress up like a 40’s journalist to help complete the package. Rich wasn’t sure what to be, and we saw this shower cap with wolf’s ears and the idea of the Big Bad Wolf dressed as Granny grew from that. We ended up at Wal-Mart shopping for a night gown and fuzzy pink slippers. He was pretty comfortable all night, since he got to wear a nightgown and house coat out.
The weather was perfect, though and we met some friends out and had a great time. We even ran into our long lost friends, Bob & Gabe, who we haven’t seen in months.
You can view the entire set here.
Halloween on Cedar Springs