Shepka Photography: Blog en-us (C) Shepka Photography (Shepka Photography) Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:22:00 GMT Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:22:00 GMT Shepka Photography: Blog 120 90 National Hot Rod Association New England Nationals - Epping, NH 2018

The NHRA New England Nationals were held this past weekend in Epping, NH and I am always up for the challenge of capturing imagery of these incredible machines. When you consider they accelerate from 0-100 mph in less than .08 seconds, and to over 320mph in 1000' in under 4 seconds (yes, you read that correctly), the challenges and excitement are many.

Just think about that for 4 seconds - they accelerate to over 320 mph by the time you read this simple line of text - yup, that is crazy fast!

So from a photographic perspective, it is very difficult to capture a clear image of these cars for a whole lot of technical reasons - speed, sound percussion (your body literally vibrates) from the air flowing over the cars and heat from the exhaust pipes which act like jet exhaust, heat and vapor wakes (like the kind you see on the highways in the summer), coupled with changing lighting conditions and the like, well - you get the idea.

So below is my attempt at some of the action with the narrative - hope you enjoy viewing/reading as much as I enjoy producing the imagery.

And as always, feel free to leave a comment ;)


Funny Car - 320 MPH @ 4 seconds.

Top Fuel Dragster - 330 MPH @ 3.8 seconds.

Nitro Methane Harley - 215 MPH @ 6 seconds! Bikes are designed to carry the front tire off the ground for the entire run. The rider shifts their weight to keep it straight down the track - say what!?!?!

The women of the NHRA - Brittany Force, 'Monster Energy' Top Fuel Dragster.

Her older sister - Courtney Force, 'Advance Auto Parts' Funny Car

Leah Pritchett - 'Papa John's' Dragster. She is mixing a batch of nitro methane for her next run. This fuel makes things go boom!

And speaking of things that go 'boom'!!!!!!!!!

The aftermath of catastrophic engine detonation as a Funny Car crossed the finish line - and a very expensive hit to the bank account. Thankfully the driver walked away!

A set of racing slicks goes for just shy of $2k and lasts a whopping 1.5 miles - aka 6 runs down the track. The cost of an average run for Funny Car and Top Fuel is around $20k per run! 20 gallons of nitro methane are forced into the engine, as well as large volumes of air via the supercharger on top of the motor, creating in excess of 10,000 horsepower (an average car is around 200 HP, for comparison sake).  Coupled with barometric air pressure and a few other factors, there is a unique science and art to the power equation the engine tuners have to constantly adjust for optimum performance. Motors, tires, clutches, fuel and sometimes a complete body are rebuilt or replaced every run and have to be completed within the 60 minute allotted time frame between runs. SO, next time you bring your car in for an oil change and tire rotation, you have a right to complain if it takes longer than 30 minutes! 

The quiet contemplation before the rush of adrenaline and speed.

And a moment of reflection with a faith based official who is present at all events. An RFC representative (Racers for Christ - see his lanyard) takes a moment with a driver before suiting up to have a quiet moment with their maker. This is a very dangerous sport and this is nice to see.  

This is Alexis Dejoria (daughter of Patron Tequila owner) and her husband, Jessi James sharing a moment before strapping into her 10,000 horsepower Funny Car . Yes, that JJ who was married to Sandra Bullock. Alexis recently retired from the sport.

  Drivers strapped in and waiting at the starting line for their heat race.


The chassis of a Top Fuel Dragster actually flexes in the middle due to the extreme downforce on the front and rear wings compressing the tires into the track surface. The rear tires 'grow' in height as the car accelerates (note the prior image of tires in the pit area and how wide they are). There is only 6 pound of air pressure in them so as the car increases in speed, the wide tire now grows and narrows reducing drag (contact area with the track surface) and also acts like a 'gear effect' as these cars do not have a transmission. All that is figured into the equation to achieve maximum performance. These cars are also equipped with data logging electronics which map a ton of different data elements so the crew chief (more like an IT rocket scientist) can review the data after each run and adjust according to track and weather conditions. Track temperature and barometric pressure are key components to fuel mixture calculations. Nitro Methane is very volatile, you have to control the amount of 'boom' to be successful.   


Don't waste your time looking back, we're not going that way.

Ragnar Lothbrok - Viking









]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 10 Jul 2018 21:48:02 GMT
Santa Fe - my perspective from the streets  

'hey jim ~ these are great! I look like a weather-beaten old dirt farmer, rather that a weather-beaten old busker! how interesting what the photographer brings (& the camera, I'm sure) to the shoot. it's not just the subject.

peace to you amigo,  jmc '

(j. michael combs - street singer citizen revolutionary)



'These are crazy belong in Santa Fe Jim - come back soon'.

John H.

(Director - American Traditions Gallery)

and yes John, we are working on that SF connection ;)




And below is a Marine Buddy - Jack Caffrey from NYC. He proudly served his country in the Korean Campaign.

Thank you for your service JC and Semper Fi!

Once a Marine ~ Always a Marine


And special thanks to these biker brothers who graciously allowed me to photography them in a dirt lot outside Pojoaque, NM. Interestingly enough, they told me they were on their way to see 'mom'.

Straight out of central casting for the remake of 'Easy Rider' - ride safe!

'The journey of my discovery is not in seeing new lands, but seeing with new eyes'


peace to you amigos!



]]> (Shepka Photography) Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Mt Washington Valley The Mt. Washington Hotel and surrounding Presidential Range are beautiful regardless of the season. These first two images taken at different times of the year speak to the beauty of the valley. Winter or summer, you will always find something to do. From skiing to golf - hiking to biking or a ride to the Mt. Washington Observatory aboard the Cog Rail Train (you can see the trains step vertical ascent path), regardless of what you do, you can never get enough of the views!

Mt. Washington AKA 'Home of the World's Worst Weather' held the record of the highest wind gust ever recorded @ 231 mph. It was eclipsed in 1996 by Typhoon Olivia at Barrow Island, Australia with a new record of 253 mph. The 231 mph record however still stands as the highest ground speed recording of all time.   

If this hotel looks a little familiar to my Western State friends, you may find similarities to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. And, for what it's worth - they are both reported to be haunted!

Just to wrap up our extended winter season this year, below are additional images from the area. It was a brutal late winter - but oh so beautiful!

'Live Free or Die' (what a great State motto!)


]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 17 Apr 2018 23:18:25 GMT
Feel the Thunder!

Capturing this mighty 260' water fall is one thing, but having a few fisherman casting near the base of it for reference is just too good to be true! The hike down and back up from the upper parking lot to the base of Snoqualmie Falls is not for the faint of heart - especially with a backpack full of gear. The falls and surrounding hillsides create a natural rain forest effect so the vegetation and colors of the moss and flowers lining the trail are breath taking. It also makes for very slippery footing - so be careful!

The force and power at which the water cascades over the falls is mind boggling. And did I say loud and intimidating!? It is quite a vertical descent down the rain forest-like walking trail from the upper parking to the power station located at the base of the fall. It's then a short walk over a very narrow boardwalk surrounded by wire mesh to a viewing platform next to the power station, where the above image was captured. That spot gets you a 'nice' view of the falls but if you really want the 'Dolby Cinematic Surround Sound' effect, up close and personal, that requires a bit more effort to step clear of the platform and make your way closer in.  

Late afternoon is the perfect time to make your way down as the sun settles up the river from the west edge, creating some fantastic photo opportunities. It is a bit of a challenge to find the 'perfect' spot to shoot from, plus you have to be mindful of the constant spray and mist. Protecting your expensive photo gear is a must! And how lucky to have 2 guys standing on a couple of the larger boulders at the base of the fall, trying their luck at fishing. I had no idea that you could fish in this environment.  Heck - I figured the poor fish would get pummeled to death by the crashing water and debris coming over the fall!

Aside from the obvious mist and spray, the sound of the water crashing from this height is something you don't easily forget. The sound was deafening and frankly, intimating to be that close to it. Not sure I saw either of these guys catch anything but honestly, that experience pales in comparison to the awesome power of mother nature.


     'The journey of discovery is not in seeing new lands, but seeing with new eyes'.

]]> (Shepka Photography) Mon, 05 Mar 2018 22:00:00 GMT
'Winter Blues' got you down? 'I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand. Not a worry in the world, cold beer in my hand. Life is good today - Life is good today!' (Zac Brown Band)  

Sunsets from the east and west coasts of Florida ;).



]]> (Shepka Photography) Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:19:48 GMT
New England SnoX Racing When in New England during the dead of winter you have but 3 good outdoor options - Skiing, Ice Fishing or 'wicked awesome' SnoX Racing!


Somebody once said that racing began as soon as the 2nd Model 'A' rolled off the assembly line and sno-machines are certainly no different in that respect here in the North Country. Spread out a huge pile of mother nature by adding in some bumps, jumps, a few banked turns and just to make things really interesting, toss in a massive aerial jump straight from a Ski Jump Hill, sprinkle in a splash of neon and you have just the right ingredients for SnoX racing.


What wins on Sunday 'Sells on Monday' as the tag line goes and there is certainly no shortage of manufacture branding and team colors in this sport. I can't think of a better way to spend a winter weekend in the Northeast ;). Hope you enjoy the action.


If you want to know more about this series, check out their website -


DISCLAIMER - No snow flakes were harmed in the making of this 6 image crash sequence!!



The same can't be said for this one though, a double hand-stand by riders #405 and #14 (7 image sequence) - Ouch!


Near miss by the yellow sled!


And it's about to get ugly!



Note: Both riders 'walked away'  -  now back to the action!












]]> (Shepka Photography) Mon, 29 Jan 2018 22:22:04 GMT
‘Walk This Way’

Many have taken a 'hike about' in our fair State - known for the Appalachian Trail and Presidential Range up in the 'North Woods'. For something a bit closer to home when I have a couple of hours on my hands, I prefer the more gentle rolling hills around the Merrimack Valley area (southern) part of the State. Rainy days are a perfect time to step out - few make the effort preferring the comfort of a warm fire place and cup of 'joe' to wait the storm.


There are a few other NH notables who have walked in our woods you might have heard of - Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings and J.D.Salinger.  If poets aren't your taste, how about the first man in space - Alan Shepard! And who doesn't like a little Red Sox Nation legend like Charlton 'Pudge' Fisk.


We are also very mad for our winter season and who better that the ultimate bad boy of ski racing - Bode Miller. Or perhaps the entertainment industry is more your thing - SNL's Seth Meyer, Sarah Silverman and our own 'Happy Gilmore' - Adam Sandler.


But there is one dude who stands above the rest in my book, but you won't see him hitting the trails any time soon but what the heck, he still rocks our world - Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and 'Walk this Way'.


My inspiration comes in many forms ;)







]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 31 Oct 2017 21:16:37 GMT
Horses helping Horses - Crane Beach Ride The 12th Annual Horses helping Horses Fall Beach Ride was held over the weekend at Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA. to benefit the Equine and Farm Animal Center at the MSPCA Nevins Farm. Stunning weather greeted the large gallery of horse riders and lovers for a wonderful ride along the beautiful beach of Crane! Sunny weather and very large crowd lined the beach front making for a fun and worthwhile event. All the riders had huge smiles on their faces and it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the riders or horses as they romped their way up and down the coast line! It's a fantastic fundraising event for Nevins Farm and the riders, horses and guest alike.

Enjoy some of the imagery from a wonderful and different day at the beach! As always, feel free to leave a comment ;).

]]> (Shepka Photography) Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:39:32 GMT

I was invite by one of my photo buddies to my first ever 'Schutzhund' competition to cheer on her sister who was competing in a National Event over the Labor Day Weekend. Being new to the sport and training process, I was anxious to capture some unique images for the portfolio - and OMG is it ever unique! I had no real idea of what this entailed but after the first couple of participants, you get the idea that this is about serious dog handling/training techniques and developing protection dogs for families/security purposes. I don't know enough about the sport/competition to give you a clear understanding of what all it takes to do this, but one thing I quickly figured out - these are some seriously awesome animals, trainers and field tech's working the event. 

Pictures are worth a thousand words - so here you go! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of 'Schutzhund'!






]]> (Shepka Photography) Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:29:31 GMT
RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park), Estes Park, CO

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally east–west through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft. The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet (3,713 m), with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.

Estes Park

Most visitors enter the park through the eastern entrances near Estes Park, which is about 71 miles northwest of Denver. The most direct route to Trail Ridge Road is the Beaver Meadows entrance, located just west of Estes Park on US 36, which leads to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the park's headquarters. North of the Beaver Meadows entrance station is the Fall River entrance, which also leads to Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road. During peak tourist season, there is free shuttle service within the park and the town of Estes Park provides shuttle service to Estes Park Visitor Center, surrounding campgrounds, and the Rocky Mountain National Park's shuttles.


]]> (Shepka Photography) Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:44:59 GMT
Seattle Seafair 2017 A Pacific Northwest tradition since 1950, Seafair Weekend is an unofficial Seattle holiday weekend at the beginning of August. Seafair Weekend offers a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, tastes and action. From boat racing on the water, aerobatic performers in the sky and live music abound, Lake Washington is the place to be this time of year. I was extremely fortunate to be asked to join the event photo team on the shores of Lake Washington for a few hours to capture the sights and sounds. Conditions were a challenge as the temperatures topped nearly 100 degrees (!), and adding to the heat/haze was the smoke filtering down from BC from the current forest fires in the Northwest. I likened it to shooting inside a bowl of 'clam chowda' but you take what you can get - hope you enjoy the imagery from the front line!



]]> (Shepka Photography) Fri, 11 Aug 2017 17:12:44 GMT
Happy Birthday USA! Happy 4th of July 2017!



]]> (Shepka Photography) Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:30:25 GMT
Aveda Earth Month

I had the opportunity to once again work with my friends at Aveda to capture imagery of the 2017 Aveda Catwalk for Water Fashion Show held this past weekend at the beautiful Liberty Hotel in Boston. 13 models representing as many salons were present with their teams to participate in Aveda's Earth Month fund raising event. Below is just a small sample of the fantastic hair, make-up and outfits created for the fashion show. These are some very creative people raising money for a great cause.

Hope you enjoy and more can be seen at the folder marked Boston Aveda 2017 under All Photographs.




]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:40:38 GMT
Denver Equine Art in the Park

Every now and then the stars align and good things come your way...

Three of my Equine images were recently juried into the 2017 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo ‘Art in the Park’ which was held in Denver on March 10-12. Only 20 artists were juried into the event, with 3 of them being photographers. Judging was held on Friday and Saturday with an artist reception held Saturday evening, were I was awarded 'People Choice' award for my efforts! Always great to be recognized for your work but the best part was talking to all the equine lovers at the show. I made the comment to someone that my work was mostly from a local horse rescue and was quickly corrected by them  - 'People don't rescue horses, they rescue us' - that comment made my night! 
As a back story – most of the Equine images have been inspired and taken at the BlueStar Equine Center located just 1 mile from my childhood home in Western Massachusetts. The old ‘Domey Dairy Farm’ was purchased a few years back and since turned into a horse rescue farm. Over the years, I have become friendly with the farms Director (Pamela Rickenbach) who often walks me out amongst the ‘herd’. This is a ‘Draft’ Horse rescue community (think carriage ride/work horses – more info on their site) and honestly, it’s quite intimidating being with these gentle giants of the horse world.
My image of ‘Tex’ is probably my favorite, plus he is the 5th largest Belgian in the world – according to Guinness. I'm told he is 6' 8" tall at the shoulders and weights well over 2000lbs (can you image the size of the other 4 - geez)! They often show there spirit and control by bouncing you around like a bowling pin so I’m thankful for Pam’s guidance and help walking in and around them on the property to stay safe.
Below is a another link to Pam's Facebook page with some nice comments. And as always, you can see more Equine images on my 'Hoof It' page. 
And while you are at it, please consider making a donation to their 'hay' drive - every little bit helps!
]]> (Shepka Photography) Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:29:33 GMT
Denver Broncos Colors

I bet you are all wondering why I am writing a blog with the header ‘Denver Broncos Colors’ since I live in New England, but let's face it - many New Englanders (AKA Patriot Fans) find it hard to believe there is life outside the Boston 495 Beltway, and especially when it comes to their beloved sports teams.

And what you probably don't know is that I lived in the Rockies for many years (albeit always a Pats/Sox/Celtics/Bruins Fan) and had to endure the bias broadcasting of local sports announcer Dave Logan (in fairness, Boston is just as bad) and his love of all things 'Blue and Orange', the Broncos team colors. SO as a peace offering to the football gods, I offer the above image captured from my latest trip west depicting what is commonly known in the Denver market as a ‘Broncos Sunset’ – the team color of their beloved ‘Broncos’. This is taken from my friends Chris and Kim's backyard looking towards Boulder with Long's Peak in the distance (14,000 feet).

And just in case you can't deal with the heavy dose of BS sport analogy above, check out the one below. It is of sunrise over the town and ski area of Breckenridge, CO. You might have heard of a pretty good song with the lyrics 'Purple Mountain Majesty' in it, I'm thinking this is what they meant. 

And interesting enough, I skied at elevation over 13,000’ – I now live at an elevation of 150’ in New Hampshire!  Coloradoans call us ‘flat landers’ – which is a tad bit better than what they loving refer to the Pats as (one can only imagine)!

And for the record, we live in a kinda nice place in New Hampshire too....

Go Pats!





]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:00:00 GMT
SUPERMOON I never quite bought into the fascination of the rise of the SUPERMOON. After all, it's just another moonrise and who hasn't seen a few of those in their lifetime. But after some egging on by photo buddies, I jumped on the bandwagon and headed to the coast to check it out and yup - guess what, it was just another moonrise over the ocean. Perhaps a bit bigger, perhaps a bit brighter - but it was just another moonrise until......

It's often said about capturing a moment in time - 'You have to make the effort to be afforded the chance' -

I have a call into a friend at the airport to see if they can identify the aircraft based on flight path and time of flight. I'm thinking they would be interested in a copy of this for their office ;)

Technical info: Canon 5D3, Sigma 600m, F6.3. 1/2500, ISO 6400 - handheld.








]]> (Shepka Photography) Thu, 17 Nov 2016 16:05:22 GMT
The BEACH BOYS I had the opportunity to once again work with my friends over at to cover the 'Mission Gratitude 2016' fundraiser - featuring 'The Beach Boys'! It was another great night of fund raising for this organizations efforts in support of Veterans and their families. Lots of dignitaries in attendance including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, MA Governor Charlie Baker, as well as of host of supporters from the Red Sox Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, and various civic and business leaders from the greater Boston area.

Keynote speakers from the night included Peter Slavin, MD (Mass General), Tom Werner (Red Sox Management), Gen. Jack Hammond (Executive Director of HomeBase) and Medal of Honor Recipient (and New Hampshire's own) - Ryan Pitts.   

The evening was capped off with a concert by 'The Beach Boys' featuring original band member - Mike Love. They played a great set and had everyone dancing in the aisles - what a fun night!



]]> (Shepka Photography) Wed, 09 Nov 2016 03:30:00 GMT
Nova Scotia and PEI Since being back on the east coast, this trip has been on our 'bucket list' for sometime. Boarding the high-speed 'CAT' ferry out of Portland, ME, it's a 5.5 hr open ocean ride over to Yarmouth, NS. With a hurricane passing by the New England coast just a few days prior, the ride over was a bit rougher than expected and we finally docked at nightfall. 


The following morning I was up and out before sunrise and made my way over to Cape Forchu and captured a beautiful sunrise!


On the way back to breakfast I drove into the little village of Yarmouth Bar and spent sometime capturing the scenes and morning light from the dock.


After breakfast, we headed north along the east coast of NS and took in the sights from all the inlets and small towns along the way.


And one of my favorite stops - "Do you BELIEVE' !?!?


We spent the next couple of days in the beautiful town of Lunenburg - a World UNESCO Heritage site with a hotel room overlooking the harbor!


We woke to a foggy morning which was perfect for the next leg of the adventure. We headed north past 'Oak Island' (from the TV show about the buried treasure) on our way up to the famous 'Peggy's Cove'. It was VERY crowded from tour bus activity out of Halifax, but it was still nice regardless of the traffic. This might be worth a separate trip back to in the winter to avoid the tourists!


Next stop- Halifax!


The boardwalk and Citadel areas were a nice break with great little shops, food vendors and cruise ship traffic - lots of cruise ships!



Back out of the city after a couple of nights as we again headed north to PEI. We came across this cool sign along the way!


We finally made it up the Confederate Bridge that leads to PEI - this bridge is a world wonder as it stretches 14K (8 miles) over the open ocean! This one is worth a 'Google' to check it out!

The Island of PEI (Prince Edward Island) is absolutely beautiful!! There are 3 main driving loops with the center being based around farmlands and rolling hills, and the other 2 coastal routes - and did I mention there are over 30+ golf courses on the island!



PEI was by far the best part of the trip, beautiful farmland, coastal areas and awesome weather! We headed back over the 'Confederate Bridge' and paid our toll of $45 to leave the island - there is no fee to get on PEI - just leaving!

Next is a screen shoot of my car's GPS, not including the ferry ride over to NS or the trip up to PEI. Not exactly an overnight trip ;)














]]> (Shepka Photography) Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:04:59 GMT
Mission Gratitude 2016 Big and Rick - Save a Horse, Ride a CowboyBig and Rick - Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy

The HomeBase 'Mission Gratitude' 2016 concert scheduled for November 7th @ Agganis Arena is just around the corner! Past performances have included country stars - Reba McIntyre, Big and Rich, The Band Perry, as well as Harry Conick, Jr., Sarah Silverman, Darryl Hammond and Cassidy Pope. This years headliner..............THE BEACH BOYS.

Come out and support a great cause for our Veterans -

Hope to see you all there!


Cassandra Pope - The VoiceCassandra Pope - The Voice











]]> (Shepka Photography) Sun, 02 Oct 2016 16:09:27 GMT
New England Cowboys/Girls

The 'Northeast Six-Shooters' association held an event over the Labor Day weekend at the New Hampshire State Fair in Hopkington. What a treat to watch great horsemanship and shooting skills all-in-one exciting event. Riders and horses compete over a time course testing their speed, accuracy and control - all while shooting real single-action revolvers (black powder blank rounds) at balloon targets! You can check out more about their organization and future events at










]]> (Shepka Photography) Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:37:46 GMT