Gary Buzel's Blog...

A venturer with a camera, a storyteller on the loose.  

Using the magic of image capture to levitate creativity and tell stories.  Every image comes with a story.

Best Photoshoots of 2017

December 31, 2017  •  1 Comment

Yep, another year is coming to an end.  Bye Bye 2017.  That means yes, I am getting older, but really this is a time to look back at our imaging accomplishments.  As a photographer, we always look back with a critical eye for detail first, then it's usually followed by our own acceptance and pride if we like the image.  Of course, the wonderful social media likes and shares certainly help too.  I want to thank 2 of my friends from the San Diego Photo/Sierra Club, Tracy M. Schultze and Alexander S. Kunz for the inspiration and motivation to compile this for 2017.

Pacific Beach Pier Crystal PierCrystal PierA tranquil sunset on the Pacific Ocean

Out one July evening with some friends to shoot steel wool in the surf, I decided to step away from the group and walk several hundred feet south of the pier.  As I kept walking more south, I watched carefully as the light of the setting sun kept moving over the pier, first starting at the far end, and then it slowly creeped to the center of the pier as I advanced along the shore southward.  


The foreground had this nice Kelp pile that washed ashore, which as you can see I placed in the foreground.  A nice 10 second exposure smoothed out the water and blurred some of the walking of the people on the pier itself.  This effects creates awesome mood and feel.  The picture was entered in Arizona Highways Focus on Photography Photo contest and won the Grand Prize of 2017.  This was an honor.


Alcatraz - San Francisco

Aerial View of Alcatraz Island (northside)Aerial View of Alcatraz Island (northside)Looking southeast. BroadwayBroadwayThe main corridor in Alcatraz. North WatchtowerNorth WatchtowerOverlooking the bay for escapees. The former site of Alcatraz Federal Prison, now a national monument has been a place that has alluded me for years.  I can't tell you how many times I have been to SF, but due to numerous reasons, I never got to the island.  On one cold day in February, I was up in the Bay Area on business and had some free time, so I headed there.  The place still has the feeling of cold and confusion.  A place where time was tough for its inhabitants.  While walking the island, I noticed a vibrant group of volunteers that have been caring for the building and grounds.  There is a nice garden in front which was being upgraded with more flowers while I was there.  

Due to the grundy and timeless rustic feel to this place, I elected to go with a black and white gallery.   This is a these pattern I default to as I did in past years galleries for Eagle Mountain, and some mine ruins in Nevada.  Black and white photography is an art, that speaks tones which correlate into moods.  "Black and white are the colors of photography.  To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected." - Robert Frank.  Check out my Alcatraz film here.


Supermoon 2017

"Supermoon" over San Diego"Supermoon" over San DiegoA late fall Supermoon rises over downtown San Diego on a cool night while the city radiates its heat into the fall air.

2017 was a year of astronomical treats.  Taking the cake was the solar eclipse in August. Since San Diego didn't fall into the zone of full totality, I was left to enjoy other events like the supermoon of 2017.... This shot taken from the shores of Coronado using a Sony 100-400 f3.5-5.6 GM lens.   


Pelican SoaringPelican SoaringPelican Soaring Over Shore. Gorilla GazeGorilla GazeRazorback Gorilla keeping watch.

In 2017 I didn't get as much animal pictures as I wanted to.  I did make it down to La Jolla a few times and shoot the local waterfowl, and of course our wonderful zoo here in San Diego.  As a Sony shooter, I was pleased to ditch my Sigma lens for a new Sony 100-400 G Master native Sony lens.  Espically with birds and fast moving animals/subjects, the native lens with superior autofocus is great!  When we shoot animals, we need to take a minute and look at their simplicity.  What I mean by "simplicity" is how they are when it comes to personality.  We should take a lesson from this and keep life simple.  









Harrier High Sped PassHarrier High Sped PassWater vapor condensation shown on AV8/B Harrier plus SNJ-5 GlowSNJ-5 GlowA SNJ-5 owned and operated by Air Group One part of the Commemorative Air Force. Aviation is near and dear to me.  As a FAA licensed pilot for both airplanes and drones as well, and being a flight instructor, I don't hesitate to raise my lens for a flying machine.  The capture above is an AV8B Harrier Plus based out of MCAS Yuma doing a low pass at the 2017 MCAS Miramar Airshow.  The highlight of 2017 was shooting alongside San Diego area Aviation Photographer John Ford shooting Word War II aircraft at Gillespie Field.  Thats where I captured this nice sunset image of "Sassy" the SNJ-5 owned by Air Group One.  In 2018 I hope to get some more air-to-air shots in.  









Green Energy - Ups and Downs

Desert Solar Panel FarmDesert Solar Panel FarmSolar facility just after completion of construction.

Ocotillo Wind FarmOcotillo Wind FarmDesert wind facility in Southern California 2017 I photographed and filmed several green energy projects for journalism work, advertising, and art.   The year started with a marketing shoot for a large hospital/medical provider in San Diego who just went green with a new solar array, to later heading out to the Imperial Valley Desert to meet a man on a mission to stop the wind turbine facility that was erected near his home (you can see that story here at 5:31).  The year ended with another marketing shoot for a major bank showing a solar panel shot in a TV commercial.   







San Vicente ReservoirSan Vicente ReservoirA nice sunset over the San Vicente Reservoir in San Diego County California. Coast WaterfallCoast WaterfallTidal waterfall in La Jolla California. 2017 was a year where I really had drone (UAS) capability integrate with my photography.  In years past the drone was mostly a video acquisition tool.  Above is the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside, CA.  I feel the drone will become a part of my everyday, every shoot, landscape workflow.  

This year, I spent more time around water, exactly where I captured this image as Hospital Reef in La Jolla, CA.  I project 2018 will be a very big landscape year for me.





Plane Crash in El Cajon CAPlane Crash in El Cajon CAA small plane crashes just after takeoff from Gillespie Field in El Cajon CA. 4 people on board escape the flames and survive. Homeless Man Passed Out on SidewalkHomeless Man Passed Out on SidewalkSan Diego has been struggling with a homeless problem for many years now. They have become a everyday sight for residents. San Diego is a city with a small town feel, but frequently has big city news taking place.  2017 is the year I ended my TV reporting career, but I will always be a journalist at heart.  The shot above is a North American Avion that crashed just after takeoff in December out of Gillespie Field I shot for an aviation website.  3 people on board survived and escaped the post impact fire.  The shot to the left is a homeless man passed out on a North park Street I found during a photowalk with friends.  I notice in the photography community frown about photographing the homeless or other tragic events. Some local photo contests won't even judge a street photo of a homeless person (I learned this firsthand).  As a journalist, you have to detach personally from capturing a moment.  Human life, like all forms of life has its ups and downs, we all experience them. Sharing the human story to the fullest includes its adversity, it is life.  Some of the best photojournalism photos throughout recent history would have been missed if the photographer carried an over sympathetic approach or guilt.  Frankly, I would have lost my job as a journalist many many years ago as well if I came back with just an excuse and no images. 


On the MoveOn the MoveA Union Pacific Train heading toward Los Angeles Pacific SurflinerPacific SurflinerAmtrak's Pacific Surfliner making its way north out of San Diego along the Pacific Coast. I have grown an affinity to trains lately.  The power, the sheer force of these mechanical beasts is amazing.  They are somewhat timeless to a degree and really are symbolic of classic Americana.  The shot above is an Union Pacific Diesel cruising along the Salton Sea heading to Colton, CA.  The shot to the left is the Amtrak Surfliner headed north to Los Angeles.  This year, I was lucky to attend some rail museums as well.  







Cabrillo BridgeCabrillo BridgeNight at the Cabrillo Bridge Night Fountain GazeNight Fountain GazeA couple enjoying the tranquility of this Balboa Park fountain. I am indeed a creature of the night.  The crisp air, and the calm still of the night can be an interesting environment to shoot in.  The shot above was taken with Sony Artisan of Imagery Spencer Pablo, who I just met for the first time that night.  He let me use his Laowa 12mm lens, and I got this shot of the Cabrillo Bridge.  Thanks Spencer.  The shot to the left is two young ladies admiring the Balboa Park fountain.  Yep, I'm sure you see the common theme here.  Balboa Park, San Diego.  A great place to shoot night shots!




Lungfoce teamLungfoce teamAmerican Lung Association LungForce walking team Pow Wow DancePow Wow DanceBarona Band of Mission Indians Pow Wow I have heard it said: "People is what makes it.." Now, what commercial I heard this in, I cannot recall.  But shooting people is a chance where a photographer can connect, can interact, and can build an image together with somebody.  We don't get this shooting horizons or machines.  The shot above is from LungForce 2017 in downtown San Diego.  To the left is from the Barona Pow-Wow, where culture of our Native American friends is on the main stage.  Both fun events to shoot.  









Let's go shoot!

I'm always looking for more friends in the photographic world to connect with collaborate for shoots.  Feel free to connect with me here!  2018 is going to be awesome!!

Happy New Year!  Gary Buzel

Are YOU ready for the ECLIPSE!!

August 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Well, all the hype is coming down to the wire.  The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 is upon us.  Many people have been waiting years for this cosmic event which culminates down to just a mere few minutes.  A solar eclipse is essentially the moon passing in front of our sun.  Think of it as the sun, then the moon, then us, are all in the right alignment.  Many centuries ago, early man thought eclipses were the gods turning the sun on and off.  Today, we have better science in place to understand what is really happening here.


Gotta have the RIGHT gear for the job....


If you are photographer, having an event like an eclipse that is so rare, you feel compelled to document it with your camera.  But, before you take to your camera bag, slap on a bunch of dusty ND filters and call it good, you need to know the right gear that must be in your possession if you're gonna make this work; without having the collateral damage to your camera or eyes.  YES! looking at the sun, either directly or through a lens on a DSLR can PERMANENTLY DAMAGE your eyes!  Ok lets look at what you have to do....


You want to use a filter that is rated under the ISO 12312-2:2015 standard.  You may have seen some retailers on Amazon and other online merch sites selling glasses and camera filters that are NOT safe for direct sun viewing.  So make sure this is in check.  As for camera filters, I recomend after hearing the advice of eclipse masters Les and Mary Anderson (see their work here), using the Thousand Oaks Optical Solarlite filters (see here).

The filter is covered with ISO 12312-2:2015 film and is 100% for direct sunlight viewing for extended periods of time.  The bezel is made of lightweight aluminum and fits very well over most telephoto lenses.  And speaking of lenses, you want to be using a telephoto lens.  Minimum 200mm (in full frame speak).  

Use the felt sticky tape to add snugness inside bezel.  

Once you get this filter, you should use the felt insert it comes with to "snug" the fit around the end of your telephoto.  

You can see in this picture, I placed the felt tape along the entire inside of the bezel.  At 3 different points equally spaced all along the bezel, I "doubled up" the tape to add some more snugness and thickness to the felt.  You don't want this filter to come off while in use, nor do you want it attached so tight that you cannot get it off your lens when it's time for totality shots, which by the way you CAN shoot full totality WITHOUT a filter.  (it's essentially night photography at that point).  


For good practice, always attach your filter with the lens pointed up at least 60 degrees to avoid the event it should fall off.  


Ready to go...

I tested today the Thousand Oaks Optical Filter on my Sigma 150-600 and A7Rii in my front yard.  Having the tilt screen of the A7Rii is great  to compose shots while not having to get below and behind the camera.  At 600mm, 1/500 sec:


 You can see the sunspots of sunspot cycle #2671 here.  For more information about our sunspot cycles, check out this cool page from NASA here.  So that's the basics if you want to partake in this fun event.  Just remember the basics:

  1. You NEED glasses and/or filters that are ISO 12312-2:2015 compliant.  
  2. You DON'T need to be in an area of totality to see something from the eclipse.  
  3. NEVER look directly at the sun, it can permanently blind you, and NEVER point your camera directly at the sun without the proper filter.
  4. Check the eclipse times for your location at this site.
  5. Have fun, you don't need to be a scientist or PhD. to enjoy this!

I am not going to the area of totality for this event unfortunately.  I do know of a professional photographer that is going to totality.  So feel free to follow him and check out the totality shots!

Spencer Pablo, Sony Artisan of Imagery - Spencer Pablo Photography   (website, instagram. facebook)

Enjoy the eclipse!




No A7S III.......yet

April 23, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Some Upset During Livestream....

No A7S III today :-(


Through the likes of many camera "rumor" sites, news was being spread that Sony would be announcing an A7S III and 16-35 f2.8 possibly G Master lens at NAB - National Association of Broadcasters event in Las Vegas on Sunday.  The Livestream began with the announcement of new broadcast HDR technology and a new broadcast camera, nothing was mentioned about this A7SIII or the new 16-35 lens.  NAB is over the next few days, we can only hope it will come later.  

Anniversary of an aerial imaging first

April 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Time flies when you're having fun.  Just this week marked the 1 year anniversary of when we made UAS/Drone history when we shot aerials for Fox affiliate WDRB-TV in Lousiville.  

A joint collaboration with WDRB-TV in Louisville, KY made this possibile.  The Thunder Over Louisville airshow is the weekend before the Kentucky Derby and was broadcast live on WDRB, titled "Thunder on WDRB."  This multi-hour live broadcast featured many reporters and cameras all along the Ohio River covering the event from many angles.  After months of coordination with the Louisville FAA FSDO Office, we were granted authorization to fly our UAS (Drone) under the airshow's COW (Certificate of Waiver).  


These UAS flights gave WDRB-TV an unprecedented aerial view of the crowds coming to Thunder along with the Louisville skyline.  In addition, WDRB-TV reporters were able to take live UAS video and cut to it during their live shots in the field.  UAS flights were conducted under FAA 333 exemption rules and standards.  2-way radio communication was established to local air traffic control (air show - air boss) through VHF airband radios and with a communications officer in the command center.  This facilitated immediate contact to the UAS for take off and landing clearances.  

Because this was a successful deployment of UAS inside the congested airspace of an airshow, we hope this will be used by the FAA as a model for future UAS operations at airshows nationwide.

I hope a year later we continue this progress we have made, and hope the public perceptions of drones and UAS become a positive one. 

My New Blog

April 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Well, this is my new blog at Zenfolio!!

Lets's see if this gains any traction  

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