Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Event Photography – Retirement of Captain David Newton

Dave Newton Retirement-14
Recently a good friend of mine, Captain David Newton, retired from the US Coast Guard after 25 years of service.  As the date of his retirement approached, Dave asked if I would take some photographs of the event.  For the loyal readers of this blog it should be clear that “event photography” is not something I normally do.  On the other hand, I thought it would be great fun to marry my artistic approach to Dave’s ceremony.
Coast Guard Silent Drill Team-1
In addition to the challenge of trying something new while helping a good friend, this event was a real treat because it featured a number of interesting subjects including the U.S. Coast Guard Honor Guard, and the U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team.
Coast Guard Silent Drill Team-10
I imagine event photography such as this is similar to the process and challenges faced by wedding photographers – a prominent genre of event photography.  While I have never photographed a wedding, I experienced some of the challenges that I am sure wedding photographers encounter on a regular basis.
Dave Newton Retirement-19
Some of the challenges include:
  1. Being in the right place at the right time.
  2. Having the right lens on the camera while being in the right place at the right time.
  3. Changing lenses in the midst of activity…risking missing that perfect moment.
  4. Adjusting and adapting to a variety of light conditions.
  5. Aunt Irma moving into the frame at the wrong time.
  6. Fully prepping your equipment (batteries, memory cards, etc.).
  7. And on, and on.
Dave Newton Retirement-24
In the end, I had a great time shooting Dave’s retirement.  It was a fun challenge and certainly a target rich environment.
Leaning Rest-1
I have a number of additional photos featuring the U.S. Coast Guard Honor Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team.  I promise to post more images of these fine young men and women.
Dave Newton Retirement-20
A photographic note regarding the first and last photographs.  The ceremony proper occurred inside.  The official party for the ceremony was back dropped by a set of windows with bright midday light shining into a dimly lit room.  This was further complicated by the white uniforms.  At first, I was horrified…these are difficult conditions to shoot.  Rather than fight the environment, I decided to take advantage of the conditions.  I exposed for the highlights in the uniforms and let the background blow-out.  I took this a step further in post processing by increasing the contrast dramatically while also increasing the exposure.  The result is this somewhat surrealist interpretation of the event.
Congratulations to Captain David Newton, USCG (Retired) and best of luck with your next adventure!
Have fun and go make some great photography!


  1. Craig, great photos and you are a good friend to capture Dave's retirement. I found one of your shots especially interesting from my perspective. In all the years (10) that I was a Yeoman, I never once played the bos'n pipe. Very impressive.

  2. Craig,
    Excellent post(s)! Nice job with the bright white subjects/background. You really captured the essence of the ceremony, especially the very first (top) image.