Shepka Photography: Blog https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Shepka Photography (Shepka Photography) Sun, 12 Sep 2021 01:31:00 GMT Sun, 12 Sep 2021 01:31:00 GMT https://www.shepkaphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u1013758683-o27599030-50.jpg Shepka Photography: Blog https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog 120 90 Every story has a picture.... https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2020/4/every-picture-has-a-story-you-cant-make-this-stuff-up From the "it's a small world" department...so, what do bull riders, horse barrel racers, NASCAR, mountain biking and Windjammers have in common? Read on my friends, read on!

 

I spent a good part of last year working on two personal projects; the first being a behind the scenes look at rodeo bull riders titled, "Cowboys".  There will be an exhibition of my work from this series at my good friend John Michael Herrera's gallery located in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the very near future.  Stay tuned for more on that. 

 

 

The second project was an invite from the fine folks at Maine Windjammers.  You can find more about that organization at my prior blog post, "The Great Schooner Race".  

 

 

 

Fast forward a few months to late fall.  While shooting another rodeo event for my Cowboy series, I made an unexpected but pleasant contact with the head of New Hampshire's Barrel Racing organization chapter president (an example of Barrel Racing below; a timed event around a fixed three-barrel course). 

 

 

We struck up a conversation and exchanged contact information for the following season.  It also turns out she is an avid mountain biker like myself, and had raced in the California Bay Area series.  We spoke a good while about our mountain bike adventures in Colorado and Utah - good times!  A few examples next.

 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

Anyhow, a few days later I get a call from the New England Chapter of that same barrel racing organization (coincidence - I think not!), asking if I could be a last minute fill-in photog for their annual Tri-State event (MA, RI and CT) that coming weekend in CT.

Unfortunately, I was already booked to work a NASCAR event that Saturday at Lee Speedway NH, but I did mention that I could be available on Sunday, if that met their needs. They quickly reached back and said YES, so I booked out the weekend at 2 different events, in 2 different States! Ironically, both are based around horsepower - just in various forms ;).

So after finishing up an exhausting weekend of shooting, I uploaded the racing pics to my editor's platform (Speedway Illustrated), 

and the same for the Barrel Racing images. 

     

Now this is where it gets interesting.  A few days later I received the following e-mail via my website.  This is mind boggling. 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Message: Hello!


My name is Ashleigh Shepka and I have recently started a small photography side business in Cincinnati, OH. In doing so I had seen your website when doing research, but didn't think we'd have any contact seeing as it's a big country and we aren't doing the same types of photography. Well recently a lot of people with horses in their profiles pictures have been liking my facebook page. One person messaged me and asked about where to go for the Barrel Racing Championship photos. I googled you again to see and sure enough, you have pictures like that on your page. So I have messaged the person directing them to you instead of me. But here is where the story gets more interesting.

As a Shepka you probably know there aren't many of us. My husband's family is from Cleveland, where are you from? I decided to see if I could find out your name so I was browsing your site. One picture of a schooner caught my eye as I have been on a schooner that my Grandparents loved and frequented (the Heritage below from this years event).

 

I thought there was NO WAY I would ever recognize one boat with all the boats in this world. BUT I DID!! I have been a passenger on the Heritage Schooner in 2012 when my extended family released the ashes of my Grandparents into the bay on a gorgeous night with an amazing sunset. Thank you for reading my message. Please tell me more about yourself, since there aren't many Shepka's I'd be interested to see if we are related! 

Sincerely,

Ashleigh Shepka

 

I figure this is another chapter for my book one of these days. By the way, we are not related, but that doesn't dampen the spirit for me! As always, love to hear your comments. Please feel free to add a response on my Guestbook link.

 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2020/4/every-picture-has-a-story-you-cant-make-this-stuff-up Fri, 24 Apr 2020 16:24:33 GMT
Tex https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2020/4/hoff-it  

Arts and Horses a favorite subject for photographer

 

                                                                                   By Douglas Farmer

Staff Writer

 

 

PALMER — For photographer Jim Shepka horses are an inspiration, both inside and outside the frame of his camera. Shepka, who now lives in Wind­ham, New Hampshire and maintains a studio there, grew up in the Four Corners neighborhood of Palmer, where some of his family members have continued to live. He recalls the days when what is now Blue Star Equiculture was a dairy farm, and has found it a source of both art and tranquility.

 

He credited Blue Star Executive Director Pamela Rickenback with being a gracious host , and letting him mill among the retired work­horses in the pens on the farm. “I’ve been back to town a lot and I’m enamored of what they do there,” he said. “I teach private pho­tography classes and have occasion­ally brought a weekend crew down there to take pictures. It’s so amaz­ing to be among these gentle giants of the horse world.” As it turns out, he also has fam­ily in the Denver, Colorado area, and has taken photos of horse jumping and other equine-related events out west. And when friends suggested he submit some of his work to the “Art in the Park” expo held during the Rocky Mountain Horse Show in Denver, it was Blue Star that provided some of the fodder for his submission.

 

Among 20 artists on display earlier this month, three were pho­tographers, and Shepka was grateful to be one of them. And three of his images were selected, including one of Tex, the popular, large Belgian horse at Blue Star that towers over many of his equine friends – and the humans that come to visit him. “I try to tell people in Denver how big Tex is,” said Shepka. “I’m six-foot-three and I only come up to his shoulder. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Belgium and photograph the horses pulling carriages there.” His photographs earned him a “People’s Choice” award at the show, which he said he appreciated. “It’s always good to be recog­nized for your work, and it’s also gotten me some exposure, so I have been asked to do some work out in the Denver area,” he said.

 

Rickenbach said that she’s hap­py to give the horses, and the Blue Star property, exposure as well. “Photographers call all the time and beg us to let them get close to the horses, and I say, ‘Yes, come!’” she said. “We’re always happy when they win awards for their work, and let people know that we have this place right here in Palmer. I think the reason they are great to photograph is because they’re in a natural setting and are comfortable. I also think that we have more of a variety of horses in our farm that any other place in New England, so that gets people’s attention, too.”

 

Shepka does not limit his work to equine photography. A Marine veterans in the 1970’s and 1980’s, he donates some of his talents to the Home Base Program, an initiative of the Red Sox Foundation and Massa­chusetts General Hospital to provide both psychological and physical treatments to servicemen and wom­en in the post-Sept. 11, 2001 world. He has photographed the program’s cornerstone fundraiser, the Run to Home Base at Fenway Park in Bos­ton.

 

But somehow, he his camera has always turned back to horses. “I think the body of the animal is majestic, and I’m impressed with the nature of the horse rescue itself,” he said. “I’ve seen how people move among the horses at Blue Star and the way I see it, we don’t rescue horses. They rescue us.”

 

For more information on Shep­ka’s photography, visit www.Shep­kaPhotography.com.

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2020/4/hoff-it Wed, 22 Apr 2020 18:51:10 GMT
The Great Schooner Race - Penobscot Bay, Camden, Maine https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2019/7/the-great-schooner-race---penobscot-bay-camden-maine  

 

 

Every picture has a story and our story started a year ago, but this story began centuries before. 

 

 

Before there were super-highways or even country roads, cargo trade was dominated by the great schooners ferrying supplies up and down the east coast.  By all accounts, the first schooner appeared around 1700, off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts.  A common-day analogy would probably define them as the tractor-trailer rigs of the modern day transportation industry. Thousands of schooners graced the eastern seaboard but eventually went out of favor with the introduction of roads and byways, and motorized vehicles to move supplies. Many went into disrepair or were simply abandoned at port, taken back by the sea. The few that survived were thankfully nurtured back to life in the form of dedicated passenger/hospitality trade vessels.   
 
 
 
This is where our story begins.
 

We have always enjoyed our annual trek up the Maine coast after Labor Day.  While everyone was returning south after the weekend of the 'unofficial' end of summer, we ventured northeast to enjoy the last days of summer and lesser crowds along the Maine coast.  Boothbay, Rockport, Belfast and Bass Harbor were often stops, with a more recent side trip via Cat Ferry over to Nova Scotia to the east.  Truth be told, I really wanted to see Oak Island.  I hope they finally find some treasure buried in the money pit.  I fell in love with Nova Scotia, especially the small fishing town of Lunenburg which is a designated a "UNESCO" World Heritage Site.

Our travels eventually took us to Camden, and the beautiful harbor that the town is built around.  While in town that trip, we took an evening sail aboard one of the many schooners and upon return to port, saw one the best sunsets we have seen since being back in New England.  The sky exploded with color as we gracefully slipped back into the harbor that night.  

While in town we picked up one of the local magazines and noticed an ad for the Maine Windjammers Association (MWA - www.sailmainecoast.com) Annual Photo contest. Having just sailed on one of their boats, I decided to send along an image that was eventually chosen for their annual competition - sweet! 

Based on that entry I struck up a conversation with the MWA organization (thank you Marti and Alisa) which brings me to our story line. We communicated throughout the long winter months and by early spring, the MWA was kind enough to extend the opportunity to shoot from the decks of one of their Schooners for the 43 Annual Running of the 'Great Schooner Race' held on Penobscot Bay over the 4th of July weekend! Below is a shot of the fireworks over the harbor on the 4th.

Our morning started out by catching the ferry at 8 am from Lincolnville (just up the coast from Camden) over to Islesboro Island, where the fleet moored the night before in a protected cove on the east side for the start of the race.  Once ashore, we transferred to a small boat named the 'Retreiver', skippered by 'Captain Mike'.   A short 5 minute ride out to the center of the fleet, we made our way to the starboard side (that's the right side for land lubbers).  We transferred our gear and made our way up the ladder.  It was a bit sketchy at first, but Lee did a great job of climbing aboard as the deck hands lifted my photo gear aboard.  Once aboard, we were quickly greeted by deck hands and passengers who were on day 4 of their 5 day sail and were excited to have some new folks to talk to, especially since we were part of the photo pool for the event.   

 
Victory Chimes - The Queen of the Windjammers Fleet
 
 
Wow - what a vessel!  Built in 1900, she is a 3-masted schooner that sits 130' in length, and weighs in at a healthy 200 tons.  She carries a crew of 9 and has berthing space for 41 passengers.  This is not a small sailing vessel and takes quite a bit of wind to make her sail.  The course went south from Islesboro Island, past Camden with the finish line at Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light.  The breakwater and lighthouse sit 4000' into the harbor (you can walk the top of the breakwater to the lighthouse) and is located right behind the Samoset Resort and Golf Club ( www.samosetresort.com ). This, too, is a picturesque location.
 
The race began at 10:45 am with an estimated finish around 2:00-3:00 pm, wind and weather dependent.  By the time we crossed the starting line the winds were, shall we say, on the non-existent side.  We moved with the tide for a good 90 minutes.  Many schooners were in the same situation and basically lingered at full sail waiting for winds to pick up - and did they!  Unfortunately, winds came up from the SE which was a direct headwind.  Being such a large vessel, it took multiple tacks, or direction changes, to get us moving on course.  Boats this large don't exactly start or stop quickly and the crew was constantly working the sails to keep us pointed toward the finish line.  The smaller boats could be seen off the bow well ahead of us and 'nicely making way' as Crosby, Stills and Nash often sang.  
 
 
Our 3-4 hour sail turned into an 8 hour sail with very long runs made to the east to take advantage of the winds.  After many tacks, we finally made it to the Rockland Harbor finish line as the winner in the 3-masted schooner class! Ok - we were the only 3-masted schooner but that did not quash the enthusiasm of the crew and passengers!    
 
 
 
 
Once the anchors and sails were dropped, Captain Sam had his crew make ready the ladder and skiff.  After the crew and passengers wished us well, we made our way over the starboard side, back down the ladder and into shore - our own personal escort. Captain Sam below aboard the Enoch on our way to shore.
 
 
I often scratch my head and wonder how this all happens to us but someone once reminded me, “You get in life what you have courage to ask for” - that's good enough for me.
 

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2019/7/the-great-schooner-race---penobscot-bay-camden-maine Tue, 09 Jul 2019 21:40:21 GMT
'Down East' Maine https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/10/down-east-maine Traditionally known as the stretch of Maine running from Ellsworth to the Maritime Provinces - this section of the coast is a photographers dream. I'm not one to fancy myself as a 'landscape' photographer but when you get these kinds of views at sunrise and sunset, you have to take the opportunity to do your best. I made it my mission to wake an hour before sunrise (instead of my usual 'up at the crack of 9am' when on vacation :) and drag myself to the nearest harbor to catch first light. And thanks to the recent forest fires on the west coast, both sunrise and sunset over a 4 day period were absolutely off the charts! Toss in an evening cruise aboard the Schooner 'Appledore' based out of Camden Harbor, include great food, warm weather and a few cocktails - well, you get the idea! Hope you enjoy the imagery as much as we did!

 

'Rockport Harbor' Sunrise at the crack of dawn - Day 1

A short drive around the corner to Camden Harbor moments after sunrise - Day 1

Mid Morning, back at Rockland Harbor

A view from Megunticook Golf Club overlooking the entrance to Camden Harbor

Evening cruise aboard the Schooner Appledore II 

Sunset from Sea - 'Captain John'

Coming back into Camden Harbor as sunset - the sky was on fire!

Sunrise - Camden Harbor from the Yacht Club dock - Day 2

 

Sunrise - Clam Cove - Day 3

Sunrise - Porpoise Harbor - Kennebunkport - Day 4

Sunset - Porpoise Harbor - Day 4 , not a cloud in the sky looking east.



Blue Fin catch going to market - they were huge! 70" @ 275 lbs.

And moments later looking west @ sunset - wow, wow, wow (note to self, always turn around to see what is behind you when shooting!)

An amazing few days of color brought to you by Mother Nature!

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/10/down-east-maine Tue, 09 Oct 2018 16:00:00 GMT
National Hot Rod Association New England Nationals - Epping, NH 2018 https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/7/nhra

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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/7/nhra Tue, 10 Jul 2018 21:48:02 GMT
Santa Fe - my perspective from the streets https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/6/santa-fe---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 beautiful...you 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'

and

peace to you amigos!

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/6/santa-fe---from-the-streets Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Mt Washington Valley https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/4/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/4/mt-washington-valley Tue, 17 Apr 2018 23:18:25 GMT
Feel the Thunder! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/3/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/3/feel-the-thunder Mon, 05 Mar 2018 22:00:00 GMT
'Winter Blues' got you down? https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/2/toes-in-the-water '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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/2/toes-in-the-water Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:19:48 GMT
New England SnoX Racing https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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 -  www.eastcoastsnocross.com

 

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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2018/1/new-england-snox-racing Mon, 29 Jan 2018 22:22:04 GMT
‘Walk This Way’ https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-walk-in-the-woods

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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/10/a-walk-in-the-woods Tue, 31 Oct 2017 21:16:37 GMT
Horses helping Horses - Crane Beach Ride https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/10/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/10/horses-helping-horses---crane-beach-ride Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:39:32 GMT
Schutzhund! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/9/schutzhund

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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/9/schutzhund Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:29:31 GMT
RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park), Estes Park, CO https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/8/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/8/rmnp-rocky-mountain-national-park-estes-park-co Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:44:59 GMT
Seattle Seafair 2017 https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/8/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/8/seattle-seafair-2017 Fri, 11 Aug 2017 17:12:44 GMT
Happy Birthday USA! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/6/happy-birthday-usa Happy 4th of July 2017!

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/6/happy-birthday-usa Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:30:25 GMT
Aveda Earth Month https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/4/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/4/aveda-earth-month Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:40:38 GMT
Denver Equine Art in the Park https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/3/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 http://www.equiculture.org 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! 
 
https://www.facebook.com/equiculture/posts/10154165089830881
 
 
 
]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/3/denver-equine-art-in-the-park Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:29:33 GMT
Denver Broncos Colors https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/3/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2017/3/denver-broncos-colors Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:00:00 GMT
SUPERMOON https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/11/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/11/supermoon Thu, 17 Nov 2016 16:05:22 GMT
The BEACH BOYS https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/11/the-beach-boys I had the opportunity to once again work with my friends over at HomeBase.org 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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/11/the-beach-boys Wed, 09 Nov 2016 03:30:00 GMT
Nova Scotia and PEI https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/10/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) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/10/nova-scotia-and-pei Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:04:59 GMT
Mission Gratitude 2016 https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/10/mission-gratitude-2016
 

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 - www.homebase.org.
 

Hope to see you all there!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

  
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/10/mission-gratitude-2016 Sun, 02 Oct 2016 16:09:27 GMT
New England Cowboys/Girls https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/9/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 www.masixshooters.com.


 


 


 


 

 
 

    
 


 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/9/new-england-cowboys/girls Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:37:46 GMT
Horse Jumping https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/horse-jumping
 

The grace, beauty and skill required to ride these magnificent animals has always been an interest of mine and I've been working hard on my own skill set to capture the athletic nature of the rider and horse. This summer I've traveled to Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts and New Hampshire and at each stop I've tried to capture the excitement, as well as the social nature of the events. Below are just some of the images from along the way with many others posted under 'Equine Jumping' on my site - I hope you enjoy!  And a quick shout out to my friend 'HB' for her great ride @ HIPICO in Santa Fe this year- way to go 'HB'!
 

 
 

 
 


 

  
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/horse-jumping Sun, 28 Aug 2016 04:01:00 GMT
Amsterdam https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/amsterdam
 

Amsterdam is the home of bicycles, house boats, tulips, canals, bridges and the color orange! Not sure who took the time to figure this all out - but here are some interesting facts about the city!
 

Bicycles - 881,000
 

Bridges - 1,753
 

House Boats - 3,050 
 

Canals - 165 totaling 60 miles
 

The color 'Orange' - Although the country flag is red, white, blue - Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family!
 

Coffee Shops - Why don't coffee shops serve coffee? You will have to Google that one ;)
 


 


 


 


 


 

 
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/amsterdam Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:12:00 GMT
The Loudon Classic https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/the-loudon-classic
 

The Loudon Classic is the longest running motorcycle road race in the country and is held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race has its roots in the area dating back to 1916, having been run at this location long before NHMS was built and brings together some of the best road racers on the planet. I had the opportunity to cover the event for a sponsor and here are a couple of shots from the event. It never ceases to amaze me to see these guys and gals dragging a knee or elbow in the turns - amazing lean angles at speed. You can see more event images under my 'Speed' link of photos.   
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/8/the-loudon-classic Mon, 01 Aug 2016 19:30:00 GMT
Brugge, Belgium - 'Venice of the North' https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/4/brugge-belgium---venice-of-the-north

 

It's not often that you get to visit a city that was first recognized in the year 1128. Think about that for a moment - that's 648 years before the US celebrated its first birthday!
 

Often referred to as the 'Venice of the North', Brugge is located in the northwest corner of West Flanders, Belgium and was known early on as an inlet commerce site. More recently, this historic city was designated as a prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aside from the 49 Catholic Churches and 15 some odd Cathedrals, there is no shortage of religion in the area. Although the center 'Market' and 'Belfry' dominate the center square of the city, there is plenty of interesting canal, side streets and local neighbors to tire your feet out walking along the centuries old cobblestone streets.
 

A number of movies have been filmed here and the 2 notable ones that come to mind are 'In Bruges' with Colin Farrell and a scene from the 'The Monuments Men' with George Clooney. The 'Madonna of Bruges' (Michelangelo's 'Mother and Child') is also located here in one of the Cathedral's, as well as the 'Basilica of the Holy Blood' - which reportedly holds a cloth containing Christ blood.
 

Brugge is also well known for it's 'lace' as part of the textile mills of the time, but my attention turned more to the 400 different types of famed Belgium beers and assortment of tasty homemade Belgium chocolate shops! People watching in the City Market with a fine Pilsner and dark chocolate snack doesn't get old ;).
 


 


 


 


 


 

   
 


 


 


 


 


 

  
 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/4/brugge-belgium---venice-of-the-north Sat, 23 Apr 2016 17:06:00 GMT
Fly Boys! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/4/fly-boys The 90m ski jump at Harris Hill, Brattleboro, VT was a first for me. It's been around since the 1920's and recently underwent a major renovation to comply with international requirements in order to bring back world class jumping to the green hills of Vermont. Mother nature wasn't to kind to the ski season this year, but a local ski area brought in portable equipment to coat the hill with just enough man-made winter a few days prior to the event. The weather over the weekend was awesome for sunbathing, tailgate parties and ski flying!
 

Brattleboro and Harris Hill put on an epic family event - everything from local grown 'foodie' tents, fire pit, live music and the constant ringing of cow bells! The parking lot (albeit a mud pit from the warm temperatures) is a natural amphitheater so tailgating off the back of pick-up truck is the party of choice.
 

What a blast! 
 


 


 

 
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/4/fly-boys Sat, 02 Apr 2016 16:06:01 GMT
Blue Star Equiculture https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/1/blue-star-equiculture There is a lot that horses and art share in common - I have found that most horse people are art lovers - and vice versa.
 

 

Alice Walton 
 

Having grown up in rural New England, just around the corner from this farm, I took much of its beauty for granted. It wasn't until recently that I reconnected with the area and it's inspiring to see the work and commitment by the staff and it's many volunteers, to not only preserve the property, but to provide refuge and sanctuary to the 'working horse' community. It will only take you one visit to walk away with a sense of family, awe and respect for these magnificent (and did I say BIG) creatures! As a photographer, I am always looking for a unique photo opportunity and Blue Star certainly fills that calling. Whether it be a cold morning sunrise or a late summer evening sunset, art and horses go hand-in-hand.
 

Over the recent holiday, Pamela Rickenbach (Director of Blue Star and all-around nice person ;), graciously allowed me a first hand, up-close and personal visit with her extended family. Leading me out into the meadow on Christmas morning (thank you Santa!), Pam introduced me to the herd and allowed me to capture some of the images you see here. Both Pam and I are 6'2" so the below picture will give you some idea of just how big they are! We spent nearly an hour in the meadow talking to, hugging, petting and getting tossed around by them - yup, they like to push you around. And be real careful if one of them takes a liking to you - as intimidating as that can be, I was just in awe of their size, beauty and unique personalities. 
 

You can check out more about Blue Star at the following link www.equiculture.org and to see more images please click on the 'Featured' section in my website. Also please note that a 20% donation from any print purchased will be made back to the farm.   
 

 
 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/1/blue-star-equiculture Thu, 07 Jan 2016 23:59:04 GMT
Happy New Year! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/1/happy-new-year
 

It seems I am always scrambling to capture an image for our annual New Years card and this year was no exception. For what it's worth - my new years resolution is to make an image before the holidays starts so I'm not rushing - we shall see ;)
 


 

Health, Wealth and Happy 2016 to all!
 

Nubble Lighthouse, York, ME.
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2016/1/happy-new-year Fri, 01 Jan 2016 19:02:00 GMT
New England Fall Foilage https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/10/new-england-fall-foilage I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers
 

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/10/new-england-fall-foilage Mon, 19 Oct 2015 16:13:36 GMT
Home Base - 2015 @ Fenway https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/home-base---2015-fenway The Home Base Program is dedicated to healing the “invisible wounds” of war for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. The goal at Home Base is to help veterans and their families regain the lives they once had. The clinical staff provides caring treatment each day for Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, depression, relationship challenges, military sexual trauma, substance abuse, and the stress and anxiety that result from wartime military service.
 

 
 

Following the 2007 World Series win, Red Sox players and owners met with wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and learned of the medical challenges many of our returning Veterans were facing. Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner made a commitment, following this 4-hour visit, to partner with the Massachusetts General Hospital in order to address the signature “invisible wounds of war.”  Home Base is the first partnership of its kind in the nation between an Academic Medical Center and a Major League Baseball team.  
 

In 2015, Home Base will transition from a Boston based regional program to National Center of Excellence for the Invisible Wounds of War. They will launch a "first in the nation" two week intensive clinical program for veterans that will extend the reach of this program to any Post 9-11 Veteran in the United States.
 

It's been an honor to donate my services to such a meaningful cause - Semper Fi!

 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/home-base---2015-fenway Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:49:23 GMT
Oh Canada! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/oh-canada
 

This image was literally years in the making as I have tried on multiple occasion to capture this 'vapor cone' effect without much success. Most casual observes often believe this effect to be the result of breaking the 'sound barrier', but I can attest that this was not the case here. I was fortunate to finally capture this image of a Royal Canadian CF-18 'Hornet' making a high-speed, low level pass during a period of very high humidity - creating this awesome 'vapor cone' effect. Travelling at nearly the speed of sound, the water vapor is condense via pressure resulting in multiple 'halos' appearing for just a split second. So fast, it is nearly impossible to capture it with a camera. You can even notice a small condensation trail just over the pilots head.
 

I was only able to fire off 4 images as it was nearly impossible to acquire 'focus lock' since the aircraft was moving so fast. However, once I did acquire 'lock', I tried to time my shutter release to the very instant the 'cone' appeared. Honestly, I though I has missed it again but there is an old saying in the photo world - 'If you didn't see it happen in the viewfinder - you probably captured the image'!  WHY is that you ask, well - the shutter opens for a split second and the viewfinder then goes black as the mirror moves out of the way to allow light to hit the sensor/film. So if you did see that 'moment in time' - you didn't catch it on the sensor/film.  In this case, I timed it perfectly!!
 

And on a side note, ever wonder why the aircraft is painted the way it is? Well, if your looking from the ground up, the color blends with the sky. If you are looking down from above, it blends with the forest - and we know Canada has a lot of that!
 

So the moral of the story is or as Winston Churchill once said - 'Never, Never, Never - give up!'
 

I am off to my next conquest - stay tuned!
 


 


 


 

   
 


 


 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/oh-canada Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:39:25 GMT
Happy Birthday USA! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/independence-day
 

Ever wonder why our forefathers choose July 4th as our National Independence Day? Although the original Declaration of Independence was completed on the 2nd, it took a few more days for all the edits and changes to be made - with the final version being completed on the 4th. The fancy one with all the signatures (on display in the National Archives) wasn't completed for another month. Adding to that, it took another 100 years before congress official recognized the 4th as a national holiday - and you thought our current House and Senate was slow to act on anything - yikes!
 

The 4th is now known as the 'unofficial start of summer' or as New Englanders like to say - 'only 8 more weeks of summer' so get out there an enjoy it. I never really understood that comment because it's not like the nice weather ends on Labor Day - just another local oddity of living out this way.  
 

And speaking of oddities, my hometown decided to get 'ahead of the curve' and celebrated this years event on Monday night prior. I got no meaningful explanation other than to say - 'who doesn't love a good fireworks show' - so good for us! Plus, it now gives me another opportunity to see a few more shows over the weekend!
 

Happy Independence Day and go USA!!
 


 


 

 
 


 


 

 
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/7/independence-day Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:41:49 GMT
Light 'em up! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/6/light-em-up The 92nd edition of Laconia Bike Week (New Hampshire) was another great event in the famed trilogy of motorcycle rallies, with Sturgis (75th) and Daytona (74th) being the younger of them. Laconia is the oldest of the rallies and envelops the entire 'lakes' region of New Hampshire, as well as a good portion of the area for day rides, track days (hill climbs, road racing) and vendors fairs throughout the region.
 

For motorcycle enthusiasts and general party hounds, Laconia is quite the mix of riders from the northeast and southeastern parts of Canada. You find a lot of license plates from north of the border, as well as many of the New England states. As far as riding options, Laconia is second only to Sturgis in that regard - the lakes region of New Hampshire is spectacular this time of year.  
 

Just south of the Weirs Beach area (the official location of the event) is New Hampshire Motor Speedway (AKA 'The Magic Mile' for NASCAR fans) and the central location for many events for bike week. The countries oldest motorcycle road race is held here, as well as many vendor events and factory test rides are available from all the major bike manufactures - neatly combined in one area.
 

This year a 'stunt' riding team was also on-site and put on daily shows of incredible precision and quite frankly, amazing bike handling and trick riding skills that left most in awe. Although is was great to see all the new bikes in one area - the 'stunt' riders stole the show and the below image is just one of many crazy things them performed. I hung around after the show for a few minutes as a video team was working on location to film the event and this one rider came back to perform this amazing 'burn out'! I won't recommend pouring gasoline on the ground and standing 3 feet from it with expensive video gear, but that's what happened when I captured this image from the 'safe zone'....man, I love the craziness of bike week!
 


 

 
 

   
 


 

  
 


 


 

 
 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/6/light-em-up Mon, 22 Jun 2015 14:45:49 GMT
Get out there and shoot! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/1/get-out-there-and-shoot

I was talking to a couple of photo buddies over the weekend and we chatted it up about the rapid advance of digital photography, the mega-pixel wars, new lens technology and just the overall state of the digital photo world. We compared notes on not only our current line-up of equipment, but the latest and greatest that is on the market. It occurred to me that my current DLSR line up was at least 6-9 years old – yikes, that is prehistoric from a digital perspective. For the record, I have 3 DSLR bodies - one is 8m 1.6x crop (9 years old), one is a 10mg 1.3x crop sports body (7 years old) and one full frame, going on 6 years young. Added to that, all my lenses are the previous V1 versions to boot. Anyway, over the holiday break I decided to at least test the waters and began a pretty in-depth review of the latest and greatest in DSLR, 4/3’s and mirrorless technology reviews. With the weather in New England being pretty blah of late and in need of any kind of photo inspiration, I jumped on the web and read enough articles by the so-called experts to make my brain go numb!

Needing a break, I ran across the street to pick up the mail. Yikes, it was cold but I was excited that my 2 favorite magazines had arrived. This is the month that both Cowboys and Indians and New Mexico Magazine  announce the winners of their 2014 annual photo contests. I always look forward to these editions (having lived out west for many years), so it’s kind of a visual homecoming for me. Besides, I submitted an image for consideration and was curious to see how it did.

So really - what are the chances of someone submitting one image to 2 separate magazines, at 2 different times, with 2 different audiences - that would have a prayer in heck of being chosen? I have no frigin idea but I was clearly excited by what I found. Both magazine packages contained a letter outlining the competition and results and yup, you guessed it – my image titled ‘King of the Hill’,  was chosen as a finalist for both publications and was awarded 3rd place in both ‘wildlife’ categories of these respective magazines!

So what is the moral of the story……the below is a statement that I found on line that expresses my thoughts to a ‘T’…

“All the gear and technique in the world won’t help you take a great photo of a landscape or an animal if you aren’t there. At the end of the day, the great photos are taken by those who are willing to go out of their way to make great photos. Opportunities for great images will not come to you. Photographers tend to obsess about gear and settings and forget that in the end, you have to be in the presence of a great photo opportunity”.

*I captured this image will hiking near Taos, New Mexico in early fall. Somewhere near 13k' in elevation, the weather started to turn when I ran into a small herd of these guys. We had a good 'stare' down but I was too cold and out of breath to go on, so I clicked off a couple of images just as the sun came out between the snow showers. Being there is more than half the battle.   

Now get out there and shoot!

 

www.cowboysindians.com

http://www.nmmagazine.com/

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/1/get-out-there-and-shoot Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:17:43 GMT
Happy New Year! https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/1/happy-new-year

Burrrr....It's been dry but cold and now mother nature finally decided to treat the Northeast to some snow after the holidays. Not that I was complaining since I got to extend my mountain bike season by a few months - not a bad thing! But now it's time to buddle up and do what hardy New Englanders do - layer up, put on the snow shoes and enjoy the great outdoors. It's a great way to burn off the holiday calories while taking in the peace, quite and beauty of the area.

 

Happy New Year!

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2015/1/happy-new-year Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:07:40 GMT
Nubble Light - Society of International Travel and Tourism Photographers https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/nubble-light---society-of-international-travel-and-tourism-photographers I recently submitted a couple of images to a photo contest sponsored by the above organization based in London.  Over the weekend I was notified that 2 of my images were chosen for recognition.  My black and white image of Nubble Lighthouse took second place and my Plate House image received a 'highly commended' rating in this international competition! 

The images will be published in the UK magazine Professional Imagemaker and the press agency National News of London is releasing a press release to all the UK newspapers to publicize the competition and winners' images.  This is my first venture into the world of professional image judging and I couldn't be happier with the results.  You can find both images in my galleries.

Wahoo!!

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/nubble-light---society-of-international-travel-and-tourism-photographers Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:18:10 GMT
Blood Letting AKA RUGBY https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/blood-letting-aka-rugby  

I've seen and even participated in some insane sports, but this one takes it to a new level for me!  As part of the New England College Homecoming 2014 festivities, which I cover for the school, this is the first time I have been up close and personal to this brutal game.  One of the most fun things about shooting sporting events at the school is that I get to shoot from the sidelines which puts me right in the heat of the action.  Coupled with the fact that NEC has a nationally ranked program, it's a safe bet you're going to see some intense action.  I'm not sure this tackle is considered legal by the rules, but the referee didn't object and the scrum went on.  This sport is awesome to watch!

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/blood-letting-aka-rugby Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:17:57 GMT
Park City https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/park-city

I often travel to the left coast for work and always try to squeeze in a side trip back through Denver or Salt Lake City (SLC) to visit friends. This time the flip of the coin went to SLC so I rang up my buddy Mike to see if he was up for a mountain bike weekend.  Mike and his wife Jane transplanted from Denver 20+ years ago and now call Park City home (PC, just 30 minutes up the hill from SLC).  They live right outside the front door of PC Ski Area and the Olympic Training Facility.  Needless to say there are some hardcore athletes in them 'thar' hills!

I haven't ridden at altitude since moving back to the east coast (we lived in Denver for 12 years and have been back on the right coast for 6) and coupled with my flat land training while recovering from cancer treatment, I was a tad bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to handle the altitude, but I was up for a good climb.  Day 1 was a nice warm-up ride - 15 plus miles @ 10k', just enough to remind me that living at sea level really sucks!  We awoke to another bluebird day on day 2.  Since Mike felt I survived day 1 ok, he decided we would make the climb to the top of PC ski area.  It turned out to be a 4k' climb from the trailhead up 'Puke Hill', aptly named to scare off the tourists, no doubt!  After a brutal 60 minute climb in unseasonably warm weather, I made it to the view you see here!

The effort was clearly worth the result.  Next time though, I think I will try it later in the day so I can be there for sunset.

 

 

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/park-city Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:17:48 GMT
Blue Angels https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/blue-angels

I spent a good part of my service days stationed at various USMC air wings so who doesn't love a good airshow!?  I first saw the Blue Angels perform in 1976 at El Toro Air Station, CA, prior to heading overseas.  I saw every conceivable aircraft in the military during my tour, including the larger than life SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft while stationed in Okinawa, and even the famed 'Black Sheep' Marine Corps squadron while on duty with the Republic of Korea Marines (ROKM) in South Korea. 

Back in the civilian world, we bought our first home (condo) at Westover Air Force Base in western Mass, and continued to be around flight demonstration aircraft, as it still remains an active reserve base.  Westover continues to hold the 'Great New England Air Show' and I was fortunate, while we lived there, to be able to just ride my bike over to the airstrip to see daily flights/shows.  When the airshows came to town, we were often 'buzzed' by various aircraft including the B-2, B-51, F series fighters and the list goes on.  Flight demonstration teams have included the Air Force Thunderbirds, Italian Freece Tricolori and the Canadian Snowbirds.

So when the Blue Angels came back to the area (Portsmouth Naval Air Station, NH) I couldn't resist the urge to secure myself a pass for the weekend.  This image was captured from the front row of the flight line as the team was taxiing out to perform their show.  Capt. Greg McWherter (seen here) is a 2-time team leader.  He was asked to return to lead the demonstration team after his predecessor was relieved of  duty for flight safety issues during a show and was immediately grounded for 6 weeks for additional training.  You can view the flight safety incident that grounded the team on 'youtube'.

 

  

   

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/blue-angels Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:17:37 GMT
Pecos Kiva https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/pecos-kiva When the stress of work, life and everything else getting in the way of living, it's sometimes best to just hop on a plane and get out of town to replenish our visual arts calling.  With that in mind, this images represents a well thought out plan (one of few of late, hence the trip) and was taken on the last day just before heading back to the airport.

Located in the absolute middle of nowhere New Mexico, Pecos National Park represents a long forgotten civilization and culture that once thrived 400-600 years ago.  Much like many of the pueblos that sprung up from the Spanish and Native American cultures of that era, the Pecos built an absolutely beautiful piece of nirvana for themselves.  Unfortunately, as with many of the cultures from this geographic area, many did not survive due to famine, drought, tribal, religious and grand inquistions (Spanish conquest) of the period.

This location was discovered around the turn of the century and has since been reclaimed and designated a National Park.  Being managed by the government, however, creates some unique challenges for the photographer.  Since the park is only open from 8a - 6p (not exactly prime time 'golden light' hours), one must be creative when dealing with National Park Rangers.  A well placed bribe of coffee and donuts from the day before secured me an early entrance the following morning, during which I had the park to myself one hour before the public!

There are 2 kivas on the property but this one is aligned with the rising sun which allows for the perfect 'sunbeam' as you see here.  Sunbeam captures aren't normal or common and require timing and well, a whole lot of dirt being tossed in the air to disperse the light.  The small, underground chamber coupled with little room to maneuver does create some unique photo challenges.

I spent nearly 1 hour of uninterrupted shooting waiting for the proper sunrise light angle to get this.  Needless to say, pack a lot of water, don't ever think about changing lens once down there, and make sure you use a wide angle and mini-tripod.

And, do take the time to soak in the spiritual meaning of it all!

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/10/pecos-kiva Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:17:20 GMT
Home Base Program https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/7/home-base-program

The HOME BASE PROGRAM is an organization sponsored by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital that supports veterans experiencing combat stress or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I've been fortunate to offer support in the way of capturing images for their many worthy fund raising events. Their two largest events are the 'Mission Gratitude' event www.missiongratitude.com held at the beautiful Boston Symphony Hall and the 'Run to Home Base' event www.runtohomebase.org held at legendary Fenway Park. Mission Gratitude is just around the corner on November 10 and this years' headliner is Harry Connick Jr. who will perform a benefit concert.  

You can view a couple of images from last years' event under My Photographs/All My Photos/Blog.   Kimberly Perry - The Band Perry, Cassandra Pope - 'The Voice' and Big and Rich!  Stay tuned for a follow-up from this years' concert! 

 

  

]]>
(Shepka Photography) https://www.shepkaphotography.com/blog/2014/7/home-base-program Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:28:00 GMT