Danny McDonald

Photography and more

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

College Daze Radio Show

I have been a part of a weekly online radio show that airs from Rhino Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Mark Lombardi-Nelson, Joey Catalano and Taylor Upchurch. I have been working on their social media and kind of the “unofficial” honorary fourth member and make guest appearances on the show. All of the hosts are current college students and the show is meant to talk about the best and worst parts of college. The show is very entertaining, a lot of fun and has a pretty good amount of listeners. It has been averaging at about over a 1,000 listeners per week from all around the world.

The live recording of the show happens at Rhino Studios on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. In the back of the studios, Rhino has their own station called Rhino on Air which has shows that are hosted from people in the community. Joey met the one of the owners of Rhino Studios and pitched him the idea and after a very successful pilot, the show starting making its mark in the Rhino on Air.

The show begins with the word and phrase of the day that is taken from a website and discussed among the three. Joey is usually pretty blunt about what he has to say and usually has the unique extreme opinion that will ignite conversation. Mark seems to have more of a general opinion that will lighten the mood. Taylor represents a strong side but breaks down conversation very well.

Each week the show features a live musical guest or a panel to give their opinions. The musical guests range from acoustic guitar players who sing to rappers who perform over their own beats they made. Usually each guest is from the local area, but they have had one guest stop by from Colorado when she was in town.

The show will make you laugh, think, criticize and learn from the discussions about life during the time of college. Listeners who are currently in college will learn new stuff to do while graduates will reminisce about a period where their youth was ignited.

The lighting in the studio is pretty simple and I love how the walls are painted green. I can usually get some really nice shots without ever using flash and I post them on the facebook page for College Daze.

The tagline for Rhino on Air is “For the arts, by the arts” that is painted on a board and sat next to the studio so everyone who is on the air can see. The studio is also pretty intriguing with some creative designs such as guitars sticking out of the walls and will catch someone’s eye.

You can listen to College Daze every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at http://www.rhinoonair.com and can visit their facebook page here.

Behind the studios.

The lovely Taylor Upchurch from College Daze.

Guitars sticking out.

The whole crew.

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A Plant

I was going through my old pictures and found this little guy. Caught my attention, hopefully it will catch yours as well.

Fallen Officers Memorial

Last month on January 24 marked the year anniversary of the shooting of Officers Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg held a memorial service for the community on campus. The service included talks from the Student Body President, Chancellor and representatives from the police department. Several members of the community were in attendance including family members of the fallen officers. The moment was special and has been a part of Students who were there part of something.

I remember the day when the shooting happened. My photojournalism course got cancelled since there were cops on campus. The topic became the discussion at almost every course I attended, especially our Media Law class. I still went to campus to check out the environment and there was just a general cold feeling throughout the day. I turned on the news and about 10 minutes into it, the headlines read the official report that the officers were dead and the names of them.

I felt sad, but it didn’t truly hit me until the memorial service. T-shirts were being sold and all the money went to the families. I observed the families cry and still see them around the community at several events. Mayor Foster has shown several times his sympathy. The city ended up dedicating a section of Fourth Street to the fallen officers and also Officer Crawford who died in a shooting on February 21st and was remembered for the anniversary of his passing yesterday.

I didn’t bring my tripod to the memorial service and I remember looking at it and decided to not bring it. It was a big challenge to get good shots at the event since the sun went down really quick. The shots that came out great were some of the speakers and the prayer circle. Since it was a memorial service, there were lit candles just about everywhere. So the lighting of the pictures was mainly from the bottom up and hit the face.

If I had a tripod, I would’ve had taken a lot of clearer shots that could have grabbed a better emotion. It is really interesting for me to see how far I have come in photography just a year ago. I start to see everything differently and notice when and how are the best shots achieved. I couldn’t use the longest shutter speed for these pictures because of the lack of stability. I tried to get as close as I could without interrupting the service to get pictures that can make an impact.

This blog of reflection is helping me tremendously understand what I have done wrong and what I need to do to make a better shoot in general. If I were to go out now and with the same lighting and equipment that I had, I feel that I will be much more efficient in the pictures that I can do now.

Wrong Way Skate

Kettle Corn

I love the Saturday Morning Market in Downtown St. Petersburg. Fresh and home made just about anything you can think of. Whenever I go though, I always run into the Kettle Corn people. At first I think “sounds good, but I am fine,” but this guy has a bag and a scoop and offers free samples! I have to say, I always fall for the sample and walk away with a bag. The are too good!

Lets Draw Underwater (Review)

St. Petersburg, Florida is an awesome community that has art as a part of it. The new Dali Museum has been packed every weekend, the museum of fine arts is very large and the Chihuly exhibit makes St. Petersburg so unique.

One of my favorite local artists in St. Petersburg is one named Hunter Payne. His art style has changed a good amount during the last four years, but one thing has not, and that is his passion and drive for art.

Hunter cares so much about art that he has made major sacrifices to dedicate every thing he possibly can to art. Last year, Hunter decided to pursue one of his many dreams with art. The project is titled “Lets Draw Underwater” which is Hunter going to the Florida Keys and snorkel in the ocean while drawing whatever he sees down there.

The first challenge was to get funding for his project. He tried out a website called Kickstarter, which is a site that allows people to post projects and dreams which then allows for the public to fund the ones they like. Hunter set a goal of $1,000 and ended up getting $1,292 which was more than enough for the materials and boat to take Hunter out.

Hunter went out to the keys to the open water two times and drew over 200 drawings while snorkeling. He went along with his close friend, Reuben Pressman, who assisted him by filming Hunter for his documentary by using a GoPro.

The launch of the “Lets Draw Underwater” expo was on January 27, 2012 at Studio 620 in Downtown St. Petersburg. Hundreds of art appreciators gathered to see the inspiring documentary, ponder about the art, drink chocolate milk and most of all be happy.

The overwhelming emotion of happiness spread to every single human being that night at Studio 620 because we all witnessed someone write down a goal and worked to his full ability that he could. A dream was accomplished, and we had the honor of seeing it documented and shared.

Hunter received several hugs, congratulations, visits from old friends and teachers because of his talents, love, dedication, uniqueness and most of all, because of him. People left the night with a smile, inspiration or a piece of art. There was something special about that night, something supernatural than any other expo. This was the birth of Hunter Payne in St. Petersburg, and we can’t wait to see what other dreams he will accomplish.

Hunter made Studio 620 into a feel that we were walking around underwater. The paintings were hung from the walls on fishing hooks. The walls were painted blue and had waves on top and there was actual sand pushed along the sides of the wall to give it a realistic effect and vibe.

I really enjoyed taking pictures at the event. The lighting was really neat and I don’t like using flash that much. I sacrifice the flash so I can get more colors to work with. These shots have a pretty low f-stop and about a 1/10 shutter speed for most of them. There is still a lot more that I need to learn in shooting photography at night or low lighting, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

The walls painted blue, sand pushed on the sides and paintings hunt by fishing hooks.

Free stickers and prints for sale.

Hunter explaining a little bit about the trip before the screening of his documentary.

People coming in and out throughout the night to see the art.

To see the documentary and the drawings, please read and see all about it here at HunterMadeIt.

Dayspring Tree

This was my last Student Government retreat. I enjoyed coming to Dayspring in Ellenton, Florida so much these last four years.

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Cusco Bread

Last summer I got to go to Peru for a photography internship. It was one of the best times of my life. I have uploaded a good amount of pictures in my blog I kept while I was there, here. I am going to upload more pictures here and some that I haven’t posted on that blog as well. So be ready for some neat shots of Peru! This is the bread that they make in Cusco and the small towns around them. It is amazing and delicious! It goes so good with soup and I tried to eat this bread every day. Image

Sunrise Run

This is a shoot of the Bayboro Bay from the Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg for the annual Sunrise 5K Walk/Run. I took this shot in the morning starting at around 5:30 a.m. It is easy to build a passion for photography in St. Petersburg because the city makes it easy on us. This city is so photogenic that a photographer can just make a quick spin and shoot something amazing here. After living here for about four years, I have noticed that the potential in all the pictures to do in St. Petersburg are endless.

The best part about shooting an event, that requires getting out into the city early in the morning, is the amount of unique colors and light that you can work with. Since the sun comes up on the bay and sets at the beach, the amount of colors that a photographer can work with ranges from each end of the city.

I was sent to shoot this event on behalf of my internship with Rothwell Marketing Concepts. My internship has been mainly based on going to events and taking pictures for the company. We were working with one of our clients, Chik Fil-A, which is one of the main sponsors of the event.

The day was long, but I really did enjoy taking pictures and walking around to experience the event. The weather was perfect and the participants in the race were from all different age ranges. There were also a lot of leadership figures attending including the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster.

There was a lot of sunlight and I had to use a very fast shutter just to get the sky to be blue. But after seeing some of the shots that I took, you might see where my area of improvement should have been in. Always be sure to check your pictures while you are taking them.

This first shot would have been much better if I would have shot it with a higher f-stop, but I kind of liked the effect that came out. The colors came out white, but detailed, instead of yellow.

Sunrise on Bayboro Bay.

I really enjoyed taking pictures of people running and walking during the sunrise. The angle of the light seems to have a much different effect compared to a sunset, especially in St. Petersburg. During a sunset in St. Petersburg, you have to be next to a beach and the colors are much warmer with strength in red. Here’s a shot with a slightly higher f-stop. See what I am talking about?

The sunrise on the walkers.

Something really unique about our Mayor is his calmness and how much pride I see in him for our city. I just took this shot because I love his pose of just waiting during his introduction. He was not standing on the stage or right next to the steps, but instead he blended in so well with the community.

Bill Foster

I really like this shot I took of this girl who wrapped a blanket around her after she ran. But I do see the improvements I need to make here. This shot needed a much faster shutter and higher f-stop. I do like the pose of the girl and her expression, but I see what needed to been done to make this shot much better.

Girl and her blanket

Blogging about my previous shoots are making me a better photographer so I can understand what I did wrong or right so I can keep in mind for the next shot.

All photos and writing by Danny McDonald

Chihuahua

This is a picture of a Chihuahua named Chi Chi that I took at the St. Petersburg dog park in downtown. This shot was back in my photography course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and took first place for the week voted on by my peers. Image

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