I go out to Lake Havasu, Arizona once a year with two friends. Lake Havasu is on the Colorado River between California and Arizona, roughly 100 miles South of Las Vegas, Nevada. Even at the beginning of June it’s blistering hot and not unusual to reach 110+ degrees. The best thing about the trip is that there’s not much to do except run around on the boat, jump in and out of the water to cool off and drink beer. It’s relaxing.
Large hoards of people go to the sandbar, park their boats and walk around in the waist-deep water. It’s a big party with lots of people and everyone seems to have a camera, me included. I’ve built up an interesting collection of photographs after 4 years of traveling out there and have assembled them in a collection (now removed). You can see a bigger group on my Flickr account or my website.
It’s not typical of the photography I do but the results are interesting, nevertheless. The sun is always bright because there aren’t any clouds in the sky. The best results come from using a point-and-shoot camera, my Canon G2, with fill flash. Even though the camera is only 4 mega-pixels the image quality is solid. I can’t enlarge them much but they look fine at about 9.5 by 13. They’re a little gritty but that seems OK given the subject matter.
The point-and-shoot approach is critical as everyone moves around fast. The crowds also get thick and a lot of images are made without even looking through the viewfinder, like the one above. It’s not my typical approach but making images like that keeps you loose. I’ve spent too much time and lost a lot of pictures setting up a 4×5 on a tripod. Putting an auto-focus camera on automatic and holding it out at arms length and pressing the shutter takes a leap of faith for those of us who don’t typically do that. If you’re used to carefully framing, composing and studying each and every picture this approach is refreshing…and fun.
Printing is fairly straight forward but the biggest problem I had was balancing the color at first. I use the color balance settings in Paintshop Pro to select a neutral color like white and then let the software adjust automatically. This usually works great. The problem with this group of pictures is that everyone has a sunburn so the pictures look red. I always end up removing a little extra red just to make them look fairly neutral.