Almost time for Christmas

What’s in store for 2009?
So here we are at the very end of the year. For me, Halloween is basically the end of the year. Once we get past that date, it’s a mad rush for the holidays, finishing work projects and trying to put everything in perspective before Christmas. It seems like only a few minutes have passed since the end of October and my pumpkin stylings, but here we are just a week away from Christmas.

I have to say it was a pretty good year for the most part, although this economy is certainly bringing things to a screeching halt. Track pictures have been a big part of this year and previously it hasn’t been that big of a deal to go to the track, but with the enormous surge in prices it was brutal. Spending $60-75 in gas just to take the pictures was pretty limiting. Now that prices have dropped a little the bottom has fallen out of everything else. At this point I’m not sure what events will go on for next year and if I can afford to attend them. I’m already downsizing a lot of aspects in my personal life and cutting costs wherever I can. Extra trips to the track may not be in the cards. Of course that didn’t stop me from getting a new lens :)

But in looking back over the year I am pretty excited about some of the projects I was involved in. It should come as no surprise that a lot of those projects centered around the Porsche Club. I have to admit one of my favorite projects was the cover of the Panorama magazine. Harvey and I experimented with a couple of different ideas before taking pictures of his car and then blending those with the pictures of downtown Charlotte. It was a fun experience to be up on the roof of the Westin hotel to take those shots. Sure, there are plenty of taller buildings, but there is still something about the thrill of standing on the roof of a hotel with camera in hand.

The fruit of that labor, the actual Porsche Parade, was a sight to behold. Thousands of cars and many thousands more spectators come out to see one of the most impressive auto displays around. From the classic roadsters to the ultra exotic Carrera GT, they were all out there. And let’s not forget the man of the hour, Peter Porsche, who came out to see all the fine cars his company has produced. And I remember it as one of those chance meetings that makes you smile.

Track events were plenty at both CMP and VIR and so too were the brushes with the wall or skidding across the infield. Harvey and his group suffered a few problems with several engines and body panels meeting their demise. But as Harvey says, “which part of Porsche Racing did you think was cheap, the Porsche part or the Racing part?” You gotta pay to play.

I did manage to ride the length of the Virginia Creeper bike trail which was fantastic. An incredibly scenic ride which I hope I can do again next year. I’d actually like to do things a little differently and ride the whole thing in one day. I really don’t think it would be that difficult. We would need to stay a lot closer, but I think it would be a great weekend trip. I would also like to use a different camera setup, specifically I see the OS lens being a big help up there.

And there was one of the very few vacations I’ve taken where Donna and I headed up to Indiana to visit her college campus; a truly beautiful place full of peace and serenity. The church at Saint Mary of the Woods held me in rapt attention and I spend a few hours trying to capture it.

There was also the kayaking adventure. Short and sweet. I’ll have to try that again next year.
Halloween was fire and brimstone to be sure. Dozens of pumpkin carvings and some wild flames made it pretty exciting. I think my finale was perhaps the best with flames shooting out from all angles, but let’s not forget my pumpkin totem, which although it was short lived was quite spectacular in its own right. That is before it collapsed under its own weight and rolled down the hill. It still seems like scene from a cartoon.

I got my trip to the beach in this year, albeit very late in the year. It was a little cold but still some good pictures and the beach is always an exciting place. There might be a trip to Savannah right after Christmas. The weather may not be ideal for these trips, but you have to take your sightseeing adventures when you can. I don’t really have anything planned, but there would be plenty to see so I’m sure something will come up.

For the upcoming year track racing is the order of the day with several track events scheduled already. I plan to make it to several of them, but let’s keep our fingers crossed that gas doesn’t rocket back up to $4 or $5 a gallon. If that’s the case I will be sitting at home taking pictures of vegetables.

I’m hoping I can get back to the Virginia Creeper next year, that would be very fun. I’d like to take my own bike this time around since we all know its crash worthy.

The Herons down at the state park would be nice to see again. I really do think I would need a bigger lens for that, but nothing wrong with just getting out to see it.

With so many of the lights gone in McAddenville, I’m not sure it’s even worth trying to get photographs. It still looks nice, but its nothing like it was a few years ago.

I was also planning on a camera upgrade for 2009. It was my intent to get the Canon 50D since I have really been pushing the XTI to the limit in many respects. Unless the economy gets moving again I think it may be prudent to hold onto the money and make sure I don’t need it for something else, like paying for food and heat. I hate having to squander money on that sort of thing.

It could be a tough year in a lot of ways, so I’m not sure what the future will hold. The photo opportunities might be skimpy for a while until things stabilize a bit.  But there is one new project to keep and eye on. I will be working with Harvey and his racing buddies on their new venture which is This is their official racing site and I will be contributing photos throughout the year. They are just getting underway, but you can already see some pretty good shots of them on the track and a few not so spectacular moments. I’ve been working with Harvey and his group through this year, but now they have a full time place to put pictures and show off what they do. It should be a lot of fun.

And Harvey will now ascend to the ranks of El Presidente of the Porsche Club so goodness knows what that will lead to.

I’m really excited about my 18-200mm lens. I need to get out and get some Christmas light pictures, but it’s been raining and foggy for the past week so it’s not exactly prime conditions. I’m looking forward to using this lens a lot in the upcoming year once I get some decent subject matter. I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up some lights and such in my basement so I can try out some posed photos. Gonna have to do some cleaning up down there before I get serious, but it might happen one of these days.

I’m off next week so there will be plenty of cooking and lounging around for the holiday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure there will be plenty of computer tinkering going on, backups to be made, hard drive space to clean up and not to mention dozens of TV shows and movies to catch up on.

It’s gonna be fun!

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