Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another great burlesque performance

Vita DeVoid (, a jack of all trades, hosted and performed in a burlesque show at Eclipse in Jacksonville, Florida, this past weekend.  I've seen her perform a few times and she always puts on a great show.

Not only did she dance and MC, but she also did a brief sideshow.  Here she is having a nail that she nailed into her nose removed by an audience volunteer's mouth.

This is probably one of my favorite shots.  From a distance, it looks sweet and romantic, but upon closer examination, you see the nail he's pulling out of her nose with his teeth.

And the fire play!  Let's not forget about the fire play.

More images from this show can be seen at

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunrise Surfers at Jacksonville Beach Pier

I have lived near the ocean almost my entire life.  It's something that I take for granted, and as such, I don't visit it nearly as much as I would like.  There's always an excuse:

  • It's too far away (about 30 min drive)
  • I'm too busy
  • It's raining
  • Antiques Roadshow is on Netflix
So every now and then I force myself to go to the beach.  I'm always glad that I did once I get there.  I usually go to the Jacksonville Beach Pier.  It's a little further out of the way than other parts of the beach for me, but it's worth the extra few minutes in the car.
  • The pier adds a nice focal point to photographs
  • There are people usually surfing nearby
  • For a dollar, you can walk out on the pier and get a different view of things
  • Parking is really close
Here are some photos from my most recent trip.

I call this one "the pier to enlightenment or I couldn't sleep and went to the beach to watch the sun rise"

These girls were really nice.  The one on the left was learning to surf.  I've always wanted to learn to surf, but never taken the time to do so.  Maybe someday...

Some tips that I learned/already knew and reinforced from photographing surfers this time were:
  • bring an umbrella with you
    • it was drizzling for a while, so it was nice to keep myself and the camera dry
    • after it was done raining, it was still nice to have something to keep the sun out of my eyes
    • it also kept me from getting sun burned, which I'm prone to do
  • bring a tripod
    • the camera can get heavy after holding it up for any period of time
    • this also allowed me to always have the camera ready to shoot an action shot
    • it leaves a hand free to hold the umbrella from the previous tip
  • be nice to people
    • I had various surfers come out of the water and talk to me about what I was shooting for and where they could see the images
    • I met a few potential clients to shoot future surfing events
    • one guy that wasn't surfing, just out for a run, stopped and talked to me for a bit, then asked where he could buy some prints of my work
  • the lighting isn't ideal for shooting surfers just after sunrise
    • I think next time, I'll try to go later in the day
  • beware of the tides
    • the tide was coming in while I was shooting, so there were a few times that I had move back
  • leave any unnecessary gear in the car or at home
    • you don't want to spend time worrying about it getting wet, sandy, stolen, etc...

Friday, August 16, 2013

The perspectives of flooding

A few months ago, I moved to an older part of the city.  One of the things people complain about here is the poor drainage and frequent flooding after it rains.  While I can see that flooding can pose problems, it can also create possibilities.  As with most things in the world, it depends on your perspective of the situation.

After a recent storm came through, I grabbed my camera and tripod and went for a walk.  I started out down by the river.  (which just made me think of that Chris Farley sketch about living in a van down by the water. )  Any ways...

I got there just after the sun had set and had some gorgeous lighting and clouds.

St John's River at nightfall by John Shippee Photography

After taking a few photos, I looked to the left and saw that the road had flooded.  I walked past the flooded area and turned to see some great reflections in the road.

The taller building is an apartment complex and the smaller one that looks like a little castle is one of my favorite houses in the city.  Hopefully one day I'll get to see the interior of it.

My favorite shot from the night came from this spot.  To get the colors to show better, I opted for an HDR image instead of a standard photograph.

HDR image along the St. Johns River by John Shippee Photography

Yes, I could have stayed in and complained about the recent rain and mild flooding, but had I done so, I would have missed out on this gorgeous scene.  I'm so glad I chose to go out.