Monthly Archives January 2011

It was an awesome game. An awesome night! For the Colts, this was a must-win final game of the season to make it to the playoffs. For the Titans, the role of “spoiler” if they beat the Colts in their house. What an incredible atmosphere to shoot in.

[Above: I got this shot of Colts Defensive End Robert Mathis as the players were getting introduced right before kickoff [CLICK ON IT FOR A LARGER VIEW].

They run out through a large inflatable tunnel at the corner of the field, and I was in the tunnel, down on one knee—with my 24-70mm lens aiming up, catching the players the moment before their name is announced in the stadium. It’s pretty dark in the tunnel, but as each player moves forward, the lights from the stadium partially hit them from the front, and that’s when I captured that image above.

I love it in black & white [converted using Silver Efex Pro]. With the bright blue colors of the tunnel and the jerseys gone, you can feel his concentration and focus before he rushes out onto the field and 70,000 screaming fans, on their feet, cheering them on).

I was at the game as a guest of the Titans, and team photographer Donn Jones (a terrific guy by the way) and what a night to be there. Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, is an incredible stadium—one of the best in the league. It has a movable roof, so it can become a dome stadium in cold or rainy weather, and it was 20° outside [11° with the wind chill factor], so I was glad the roof was closed, and it was a perfect 72° inside all game.

The game came down to the final seconds, but you don’t want to let Peyton Manning have the ball with less than a minute to go, and sure enough he drove the Colts down within field goal range, and with just a few seconds left, kicker Adam Vinatieri took the Colts to the playoffs (it’s up…it’s good!).

Getting Kicked Off The Sidelines
During each game I like to change my shooting position on the field quite a bit, so my shots don’t all have the same look and direction. In a day game, I’ll also be taking the sun and it’s position into account, but in a Dome like this, it’s fairly evenly lit, so it’s really more about me just mixing it up. I shoot from both end zones and both sidelines at some point during each game.

It’s near the end of the first quarter, and I’m shooting from the Colts 15 yard line, and a security guard comes over to me while I’m shooting and asks to see my photo credential. Now, as you can see in the iPhone photo above (photo by Donn Jones) I’m wearing the official red NFL photographer’s vest you’re required to wear on the field, and I’m toting a 400mm lens and a second body, so I didn’t just slip in here off the street, so I give him a puzzled look.

He pointed down to my credential, and it had turned around backward so he couldn’t see the front. He said, “I need to see the front.” I just shrugged, turned it around and showed it to him (Hey, he’s just making sure I’m legit. No sweat, right?). Then he says, “You’re with the Titans. You can’t shoot on this side of the field. You have to shoot over there…” and he points to the Titans bench across the field. I laugh and said “You’re kidding right?” (I thought he was just goofing with me, because all the staff, police, and everybody was really friendly at the stadium). He gave me a stern look and said “No sir. You can’t shoot here. You need to leave now.”

Now, I’m smiling and being very friendly, because at this point, I think he’s still kidding me. I said, “Come on, really?” He just stared at me for a moment and pointed to the other side of the field. Finally he said, “You need to go, sir.” I didn’t want to make a scene (after all, I’m a guest of the Titans, and I have zero juice in the Colt’s stadium” so I moved down to the end zone, and didn’t shoot from the Colt’s side again.

When I saw Donn (The Titan’s team photographer) a few minutes later, I told him my story, and he was as surprised as I was. We’re both aware that’s it’s generally a no-no to shoot from behind a team’s bench area (you can walk behind it, but you shouldn’t take any photos while you’re back there), but neither of us had been banned from a sideline. Oh well, I still had two end zones and a 100 yard line sideline, so I just rolled with it for the rest of the game, but I’m still a bit surprised (and I wonder if it’s really a Colt’s policy, or that of an overzealous security guard).

Despite getting banned from the Colts sideline, I had a great experience up in Indy. They treat the photographers really well, and they have a nice photo work room set up, with a buffet for the photographers, a drink cooler, a salad bar—even snacks on the tables (that’s the first time I’d seen that).

Above: That’s Colt’s Quarterback Peyton Manning (I know you know that, I just included that tidbit for Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton). I was close enough to where I could hear what Peyton was saying. He pointed right at me and yelled, “Hey…get that photographer off the Colt’s sideline!” ;-)

Camera Specs
Pretty much the same gear as usual. Two camera bodies: A D3s with my 400mm f/2.8, and my second body was a D3, but this time I went with a 24-70mm instead of my usual 70-200mm. I was hoping to get some wide shots as they came out onto the field, and after, and with any luck a wide end zone shot (which didn’t pan out). I shot all game at f/2.8 on both lenses, in Aperture Priority mode, at 1250 ISO on both cameras, which gave me over 1/1000 of a second shutter speed.

(Above: Touchdown Titans!)

(Above: Even though I was there covering the Titans, you can’t help but snag a gratuitous shot or two of future Hall of Famer, and a man with a whole string of mind-boggling NFL records, Peyton Manning, seen above).

A big thanks to Donn “Double-n” Jones, and the Titans organization for having me there. I had just a fantastic time, and outside of a Titan’s win, I had about as good a time as you can have. Plus, as a special bonus, my iPhone alarm did go off the following day, and I made my 8:05 am flight, and I was back at work right after lunch. Not a bad way to start the New Year! :)

P.S.: I’ll be posting more shots over on my Facebook page, including some taken at center field moments after the game. When you visit my page, click the “Like” button up top to keep up with my Facebook posts and photos.

I thought I’d kick off the first blog post of the new year with a quick look back at the most popular, and most commented-on posts of 2010, and some of the fun stuff we shared during the past year.

The Top 10 Most Commented-on Posts of 2010
Here are the posts that garnered the most comments from readers during the year, in order:

  1. How US Airways Just Lost Yet Another Customer (link)
    This was the #1 most-commented post with nearly 400 comments. This was just one of those “I have to get this off my chest” type of posts, and I never dreamed it would get that kind of response (but apparently, I wasn’t alone on this one). Here’s the rest in order.
  2. What I’d love to see in Lightroom 4 (link)
  3. HDR Quote of the week (link)
  4. Why is everybody so angry about Apple’s iPad (link)
  5. What they’re not telling you about HDR Images (link)
  6. To Correct or Not To Correct? (link)
  7. When will we finally get frames and mats for digital camera images sizes? (link)
  8. US Airways Responds (link)
    This post was a follow-up to the original post, where I reported that USAir had contacted me and said they would reinstate my miles. Within a few days, they had credited my back miles, and credited my missing miles, and the same day they hit my account I donated all the miles to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
  9. What constitutes an over-the-top HDR shot? (link)
  10. Apple’s iPad and Apple Secret Weapon (link)


Guest Bloggers
I’m indebted to all the Guest Bloggers who shared their images, ideas and inspiration with my readers each Wednesday. Here are the top commented posts from 2010.

  1. Matt Kloskowski’s “Photoshop is not a bad word!” (link)
  2. Alex Walker’s “Parental Sports Photoshop — My Most Fantastic Voyage” (link)
  3. John McWade‘s “Design for Photographers” (link)
  4. Brad Moore’s “The Shot” (link)
  5. Jeremy Cowart’s “Perception” (link)
  6. Peter Eastway’s “What is Photographic Reality?” (link)
  7. RC Concepcion’s “How HDR saved RC’s Star Wars Celebration” (link)
  8. Andy Locascio’s “I never thought it would happen” (link)
  9. Calvin Hollywood’s “I am addicted to Photoshop” (link)
  10. Jasmine Star’s “Optimal Wedding Timeline” (link)


My Photo Shoots
When I do a shoot, I usually post the images here within a day or so, and here are the shoots that garnered the most comments from 2010 (in order of popularity):

  1. Back from 16 days in China (link)
  2. NFL Sidelines Shoot: Bucs vs Rams (along with my sports camera settings) (link)
  3. Shooting the NBA Bulls vs. Cavs (link)
  4. NFL Sidelines Shoot: Steelers vs. Jets (link)
  5. A few shots from my week in Maine (link)
  6. Behind the scenes at a major sports shoot (link)
  7. College Football Sidelines Shoot: LSU/North Carolina (link)
  8. Shooting the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (link)
  9. I’m back from 9 days in Barcelona, Spain (link)
  10. It’s Fashion-shoot Monday (link)
  11. My first Soccer shoot (link)

While not technically a “shoot” the post I wrote about my New Online Portfolio Design (link) got more comments any of the shoots.


Other Milestones
This year we saw seven new books produced by Kelby Training launch here on the blog (four from me and two from some of the best in the business today.  Here they are (in no particular order);

1. David Ziser’s “Captured By The Light” book for wedding photographers.
David wrote the definitive book on the topic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photography book with a better review rating on 67 5-star reviews, and one just that just hated it (there’s one in every crowd).

2. My Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers
This one was a lot of work, and I added a new “Lightroom Killer Tips” section to each chapter, but I’m so passionate about Lightroom that it made this major rewrite a lot of fun for me.

3. The iPhone 4 Book (co authored with my good friend Terry White)
There are two things I love about this book: (1) It causes me to really learn my new phone inside and out, and (2) We split the book in two, each writing half the chapters, and I love the fact that Terry takes all the hard chapters.

4. Captured: The journal of a wildlife photographer, by Moose Peterson
Moose did something in this book that I think few people have ever accomplished with their books—he shared his most important techniques for capturing wildlife in a very straightforward way, and he captivated the reader with simply amazing photography, and weaved throughout the book is the story of his life and his career shooting nature. Brilliantly executed, and not surprisingly it’s become one of the most highly acclaimed books of the year.

5. My Photoshop CS5 for Digital Photographers
Adobe made my job really easy on this book, as CS5 was almost tailor-made for photographers, but as an author, I had to make some difficult decisions about how to develop this new version, one being my decision to remove the chapters about Adobe Bridge from the printed book and move them online (updated for the minor Bridge tweaks in CS5), and instead focus on the “Mini-Bridge” built- in to Photoshop CS5. This gave me more room to cover new features, and workflow stuff, without overly bloating the book. This decision of what to cut becomes more difficult with each new version, but I’m happy with how it came out.

6. My Photoshop Elements 9 book (co authored with my good buddy and ace Call of Duty: Black Ops teammate Matt Kloskowski)
This book is tough to do for the totally opposite reason of my CS5 book. Adobe doesn’t add a ton of new features to Elements in each rev, so what Matt and I do instead is add the new things that we have learned during the year, and we take the techniques we use in CS5 each day and try to convert them into techniques that work in Elements, and that has worked wonderfully well (based on feedback from readers).

7. My “Photo Recipes Live 2” Book/DVD Combo
This one skated in just under the wire—shipping right before the end of the year. I shot this down in Miami over a two-day period, and tried some new stuff and more ambitious lighting set-ups, along with some fun location lighting shoots, and I think it turned out even better than Photo Recipes 1 (which I guess is always the goal, right?


Taking Time Off
This year I did a lot of new projects,  books, new classes, I was out on tour for both Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5, and I taught at  Photoshop World, and did workshops, and just a lot of training-related stuff this past year. Of course I want to share all my projects with my readers, so every time a book comes out, or I do a seminar, I would mention it here on my blog (after all, I want my readers to come out to my seminars, and read my books, and watch my online classes, and so on).

Well, some weeks I’d have two or three things to mention, and it starts to seem like (to me and you) that that’s all I’m talking about, so I tried to consolidate all my training and book stuff onto just one day a week—Thursday—which we now affectionately call “Pimpy Thursday.”

Thankfully, my photo assistant Brad Moore stepped up to be the person who actually compiles and writes the post each Pimpy Thursday, which gave me a break during the week I so desperately needed (thank you Brad!). This let me focus more on shooting and other fun stuff during the rest of week (though sometimes, because of timing, I still wind up having to find a mid-week pimping in, I try to wait until Thursday if at all possible).

2010 has been a year of huge growth and expansion at Kelby Media Group, and during all that, blogging four days a week was really starting to take a toll on me. I actually missed a few days of blogging during year (I called in “lame” 5 days with essentially nothing to say, or no time to say, including 2 days during Photoshop World), and I had one sick day in Jan of 2010 where I didn’t blog, but outside of that, between Brad, my Guest Bloggers and I, we pretty much kept the ship afloat all year long.

My most surprising fact about me from 2010
I went to my calendar and looked, and believe it or not, I took nearly EIGHT weeks of vacation with my family this year! (Whooo hooo!), and I didn’t work a lick on any of it (which is even better). Yet, I got quite a bit done in 2010 anyway. Maybe I should take more time off in 2011? ;-)

We Did Some Really Important Stuff, Too!
Besides all the fun stuff, and discussions, and controversy (HDR & iPad) we did some really important stuff, as the readers of this blog donated literally tens of thousands of dollars to help feed and cloth the orphans of the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (the very orphanage my readers helped to build from an empty plot of land in 2009).

You guys bought Photo Walk t-shirts, we raffled off one of my guitars (signed by all the Photoshop guys), and you guys generously gave to some wonderful, deserving kids on the other side of the world. Ya done good gang!

More 2010 highlights to come on Thursday
I’m planning on running my 2nd annual “Best of” awards on Thursday to celebrate the best of all kinds of stuff, so I hope you’ll join me then.

One more thing….
I couldn’t do any of this without wonderful readers like yourselves, who make doing all this so worthwhile. You guys are as forthcoming and helpful and sharing as an blog author could hope for from his readers, and it’s very gratifying to see the wonderful community that has grown here. I consider it a real privilege to be able to get together with you here each week and I hope you’ll continue to check back during 2011—a year that truly hope will be your best yet!