Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012 Run For The Wall: Concordia, Missouri Pit-Stop

This year is the 37th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. There are 1,720 soldiers still accounted for in Southeast Asia. 137 MIA from the Cold War, 7,221 missing from Korea and another 74,213 still unaccounted for from WWII. Many more remain missing from the Desert Storm Conflict.

In 1986, Carl Rice, a veteran Vietnam Fire Team Leader, walked the interstate highways from Los Angeles, California to Port Angeles, Washington (his home) carrying the POW/MIA flag to show support of the missing soldiers. Over Memorial weekend in 1988, two biker Vietnam veterans, Artie Muller and Ray Manzo, gathered a group of bikers to form a rally they called Rolling Thunder as a voice to the government for the POW/MIA and KIA of the war. They came together with James Gregory to plan the first motorcycle ride to Washington DC. They called this ride the Run For The Wall. In May, 1989, the first RFTW left San Diego with local police and 115 bikers. Most turned back, but 15 went all the way. The mission was complete May 26, 1989, arriving in Washington, DC at The Wall. The next day they placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and that Sunday, they lead Rolling Thunder. This year, they will make 39 fuel stops in 11 States in the Central Route.

The Run For The Wall is an organization of bikers who are either veterans of foreign wars or are family members riding for their KIA or POW soldiers. The reason they ride is to promote healing among all veterans and their family and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War, those Missing in Action (POW/MIA) and to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support the military personnel all over the world.

It all started around 10 o’clock on a bright Monday morning. A group of veteran bikers from Kansas City, Missouri arrived at Conoco gas station in Concordia. They were just the first of many groups to show their patriotism that day.  I was driving through town when I saw the group of bikes sitting in the parking lot and knew how the rest of my day would go. I ran home and grabbed my camera to capture the loyalty and spirit of these riders.

Some rode for their sons and daughters, some for their brothers and sisters, and others for their friends. The majority rode for themselves with their wife in the back seat for support.

For each stop they make along their journey, they have a different pin they attack to their jacket. For each trip they make over the years, they have a new patch. This year is the 24th ride across America. 

One group of riders call themselves the Flag Support Unit. I had the privilege of talking with one rider about her experience. This was her first year stopping in Concordia. She and her husband made the patches in their sewing shop they own in Pittsburg, Kansas. They got their name from all the funerals they would ride to. Her husband and she would ride to different towns, averaging 7 funerals a week, with the flag of each town they were visiting on the back of their truck or motorcycle. This was before each town came up with their own flag guild, making it unnecessary for them to do this. They keep the patches as a sort of memory for all the trips they have made over the years.

Over 400 bikers stopped in Concordia to fuel and eat lunch. As the platoons rolled in, thousands of dollars of gasoline were pumped at all three downtown fueling stations. The amount of support the businesses and townsfolk showed this group was amazing. The love was palpable.

For more on the history of the Run For The Wall, visit the RFTW website. They have a complete story of the makings of RFTW as well as stories from new and seasoned riders. If you or someone you know would want to join, you can register there.

For more images, please visit the HNF Photography fan page. For images to print, please contact me at and I’ll send you the full size image and print release for printing at your choice of locations.

Thank you for taking your time to read about the Run For The Wall and the amazing cause they ride for. 


Sunday, July 17, 2011

52 Weeks of Awesomeness

A good friend of mine, Chris Hsieh, La Brisa Photography, has challenged our small photography group to a year long challenge called 52 Weeks of Awesomeness. The weeks "assignments" go as follows:

  • Week 1               Free for All
    Week 2               Introduce yourself
    Week 3               Show us your home
    Week 4               Your Name
    Week 5               Sports (anything related, teams, players, equipment, etc,)
    Week 6               Guilty Pleasures
    Week 7               ONE object shot at 5 different angels/distances
    Week 8               One for the road (signs, streets, traffic, etc.)
    Week 9               Objects that tell something about you
    Week 10             Things that make your life easier
    Week 11             Your favorite color
    Week 12             Household item
    Week 13             Foods
    Week 14             Flashed (an image created using artificial light)
    Week 15             Sun (sunlight, sunset, sunrise, etc)
    Week 16             Emotion
    Week 17             Lines
    Week 18             What you do outside the world of photography
    Week 19             Weather
    Week 20             Emotional attachment (heirloom/special gift, etc.)
    Week 21             Pets
    Week 22             Things you couldn't live without
    Week 23             Habits
    Week 24             Fire (candle, fireplace, etc.)
    Week 25             Scrapbooking (stash, room, lo's, etc)
    Week 26             Textures
    Week 27             Hands
    Week 28             Shoes
    Week 29             Jewelry
    Week 30             OOF (Out of Focus)…purposely OOF
    Week 31             What I consider dessert
    Week 32             Fill the Frame (close ups)
    Week 33             A week in our lives
    Week 34             Faith (what you believe)
    Week 35             Dance (body in motion)
    Week 36             Family & Friends
    Week 37             SOOC (straight out of the camera)…before & after
    Week 38             Patriotic
    Week 39             Object: straight up shots and then straight down shots
    Week 40             Something at night
    Week 41             Something that gives you the feeling of warmth
    Week 42             Smell
    Week 43             Water
    Week 44             Animals
    Week 45             Music
    Week 46             Reflections/Shadows
    Week 47             Flowers
    Week 48             Sleep
    Week 49             Action Shots
    Week 50             Circles
    Week 51             Your car
    Week 52             Self portrait

    I will post ONE picture for each week's assignments and writing a little about what it means to me. Please follow along and give me encouragement to actually finish this project! :] 

Friday, April 15, 2011

How-To: Reverse Lens Macro Images

So, the other day, I was trying to figure out how to get some awesome close up shots of the amazing dandelions that have now plagued my back yard. I had learned back in high school (Thank you Mrs. T!) that you can take the lens off and flip it around to make a macro (super close up) lens out of a regular one. I wasnt sure how to go about it with a digital camera, but I did what I know how to do best. I figured it out on the fly! After I had posted a few pictures to a photography group on Facebook, someone had suggested I try a few things. So, let's get to it! (This is my first tutorial so be gentle!)

Things you'll need:
Paper (I used cardstock because it's a little more sturdy than printer paper) 
Pencil to trace your hole
Scissors to cut your hole
Your favorite lens
Your camera body 
Tape (not pictured)
and something to take pictures of! (in this case, a peacock feather) 

Step 1: Get your paper, pencil and lens out. Place the lens just under half way down the piece of paper. Trace around the end of your lens (the part that doesn't touch your camera.)

Step 2: Carefully cut out the circle you drew.

(Some Nikon lenses) 
Do you see that little silver piece of metal sticking up?
Step 3: Take a piece of tape and tape it about half way. 
This is to keep your aperature open. I prefer to have it wide open, 
but that causes some problems with the DoF

Step 4: Carefully tape the Flash diffuser to the lens. 
Either on the front, like this, or behind the paper.

Step 5: Fix your settings!
*For your camera to work without a lens (any camera,) you have to be in Manual mode.
This means your camera does not chose anything (shutter speed, aperature, etc.)

(This is for the Nikon D40 Body) 
Push the Menu button on the left hand side of the body. 
Then down in the Custom Setting Menu, find #14 Built-in Flash. 

Select Built-in Flash and you will come to this page. Select Manual.

 For the image I have posted below, I had my flash set to 1/2 power. 
The smaller the fraction, the less light will be put out. 
The settings of your flash will depend on how much light you have around you. 
I usually keep my power on 1/8 or 1/16 while outside and 1/4 to 1/2 while inside. 

Now for your other settings. These are what I used for the image below, 
but your settings will depend again on your surroundings.
(I just realized I have my white balance on auto... oops) 

Step 6: Carefully hold the lens to the camera body with the larger size of paper sticking up toward your flash.
Every camera body should have a tiny pin sticking up where the lens is locked onto the body. 
I have found it is very helpful if I put the outer ring of my lens, where filters and such go, 
on that tiny pin to help stabilize the lens while I'm shooting.
There are Reverse rings available at for sale.
These rings hold the lens on for you. 

Step 7: Go shoot! I couldn't get a shot of me taking a picture of the peacock feather. 
But here is my final result! :] 

Some tips I have for shooting like this:
I have my focus ring pulled out as far as I can have it and locked it on Auto.
I also try to keep my focal length at 35-55mm, but when I'm wanting the super close up pictures, 
I'll bring it up to 18mm. 

I hope you can understand this tutorial and have fun shooting! 
I would love to see what you end up with!
Leave me comment with the link to what you've done! 
~Heather Frazier

*Edited to add this little note.. I forgot to put that in there.