Category Archives Photography

http://youtu.be/Lvfl-0vMncI

Check out this quick “helicopter fly-over” of my seminar
The folks from IntelligentUAS & DJI Innovations were at my seminar on Friday in Washington DC and did a flyover of the seminar crowd using a DJI Phantom (with Zenmuse H3-2D and GoPro Hero 3+). I love that overhead video view. Too cool!

I’m on my way, today!
I’m teaching my “Shoot Like a Pro” Seminar there tomorrow at the Hynes Convention Center. Over 500 Boston-area photographers have already signed up, and if you want to come too, it’s not too late: Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/14bAUDJ

Next Stop: New York City on Thursday, November 14th.

I’ll be back for “The Grid” on Wednesday
I’m heading home right after my seminar on Tuesday, so I’ll be back for live airing of “The Grid” on Wednesday. Matt had a really good topic for this week….I just wish I could remember what it was, but I do remember thinking, “Man, that would make a great topic!” so make sure you tune in to see if I was right  (LOL!). It’s this Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET (New York Time) at http://www.kelbytv.com/thegrid 

What will photography look like 10 years from now?
PC Magazine did a nice write-up on the Photo Plus Expo industry panel I was part of on Wednesday night where we tackled that very question. Here’s a link if you’ve got a sec: http://bit.ly/1g3BbNi

http://youtu.be/1fx_htur718

Here’s one for Lightroom users
I get a bunch of questions about managing your images and folders in Lightroom, and Matt just did a really great, short, to the point video about it in his “Lightroom Killer Tips” show, and I included it right here (above).

Don’t Miss Wednesday’s Guest Blog
This week, we welcome Washington DC-based photographer John Harrington, and he has some really pragmatic business advice for photographers on working within a client’s budget (and determining what that budget really is). It’s a really insightful post and you don’t’ want to miss it this Wednesday right here.

That’s it for Monday. I’m off to Boston, and I hope I’ll get the chance to meet you there! Cheers (no Boston pun intended). ;-)

I’ve got a busy week coming up, and I hope at some point along the way you’re a part of it. :-) [Photo above by Bede McCarthy].

WEDNESDAY
Tomorrow I’m speaking on a panel with a very interesting topic: on the future of photography

THURSDAY
Canon has invited me to speak in their booth theater on one of my favorite topics: Sports Photography, and it’s open to anyone at the Expo, so come on by — I’m on at 2:30 pm (I’d love to get to meet you in person, so if you come by, make sure you come up and say “hi”). Here’s the schedule for all the instructors and Canon Explorers of Light teaching in Canon’s theater:

Note: On Friday, Peter Read Miller is speaking at 1:00 pm. I’ll be out-of-town on Friday but that’s one I wouldn’t have missed. Also if I were there that day, I’d be sure not to miss Greg Heisler — he is really amazing (and a terrific speaker).

FRIDAY
On Friday I fly down to Washington DC for my “Shoot Like a Pro” Tour there at the Washington DC Convention Center. Over 600 photographers are spending the day with me on Friday, why not come along? Here’s the link to grab your seat and we’ll see you on Friday.

SATURDAY
On Saturday I’m back at Photo Plus Expo for my Canon booth presentation at 11:00 am, and then I’m headed back home to take a quick breather (Whew!) before I head to Boston for my Shoot Like a Pro tour there on Tuesday (here’s the link if you want to come and join me).

It’s a busy week, but I’m really looking forward to it, and for the chance to meet you in person, so I hope if you see me anywhere this week (NYC or DC), you’ll stop me and say “hi.” See you somewhere soon! :-)

 

 

This weekend, I had absolutely one of my most-fun football weekends ever, covering the University of Tennessee Vols big upset win against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday and then right after the game flying over to Atlanta to shoot with the Falcons crew for Sunday's game. It doesn't get much better than that!

Today, I'll cover Saturday's game and the two locations we mounted remote cameras. I called my buddy "Big Daddy" Don Page (the head of sports photography for UT) and asked if there was any chance of us mounting a camera on the Goal Post itself. I often see video cameras mounted up there, but so far I haven't seen any still cameras, so I thought it was worth a shot. Don worked on it, and sure enough â” on Friday we got the go-ahead, with the warning that the camera or lens absolutely could not cross the plane of the goal post which could interfere with the game (and we would make darn sure it wouldn't).

 For me, there are two main reasons to use remote cameras: 

(1) To let you cover two or more locations at one time. For example, when I shoot Major League Baseball, I'll cover the batter myself, but I have a remote camera aimed right at 2nd base, so if something happens there I've got it covered with the 2nd camera.

 (2) But mostly for me, it's to give me angles and views from places either I can't shoot (like with the Falcons, right up next to the smoke and fire pyrotechnics when the player intros happens right before the game, or hanging from the truss the players run out through), or in our case, a Goal Post came up high aiming down right at the 5-yard line with a wide angle lens. I totally dig this stuff! :)

My Loadout
We packed four Canon 1DXs, a slew of lenses for the trip (long and wide), and a Pelican case full of remote rigging gear for the trip.  This was going to be challenging since two of my flights this weekend would be on Delta CRJ-900 Regional Jets with small overhead bins. I took a Thinktank Photo Airstream Roller, which is like the Airport International but about half the height. It's an amazing bag because it looks so small, but holds so much (Two 1Dx-bodies; a 70-200mm f/2.8, a 24-105 f/4, a 8-15mm fisheye zoom, a black rapid strap, my card reader, my backup drive, a Hoodman Loupe, memory cards, misc cables AND my 15" laptop and my iPad in the outer sleeve PLUS, my full-sized Gitzo Monopod. That is one amazing little bag, and believe it or not, it slides right under the seat in front of me on that small regional jet (the flight from Atlanta was only 24 minutes, so having a little less legroom was no big deal).

I carried my Canon 400mm f/2.8 in a soft-sided Lightware bag, and son-of-a-gun if it didn't fit perfectly in the overhead bin of both the CRJ-900 and the smaller CRJ-200 on my way back to Atlanta (seen above right). I checked the Pelican case (with a TSA-approved lock) as baggage along with my overnight bag with clothes (and I tossed my gel-filled knee pads as well in there).


Above: That’s Randy and this custom-made goalpost rig (see the metal bands?). 

The Goal Cam
We got to the stadium really early because we realized that the goalpost was MUCH thicker than how wide a Manfrotto Magic Arm clamp would fit, and so Don called his buddy Randy Sartin, who shoots for USA Today Sports Images and is really clever at coming up with solutions to problems like this. On Friday night he went to Lowes and bought two large metal bands (the kind you would use on a dryer hose or indoor plumbing) that you can tighten with a screwdriver, and he connected those (somehow) to a Manfrotto Magic Arm. You can see the metal bands in the shot above.

Above: That’s “Big Daddy” Don Page flashing a classic Big Daddy “I’m up on a laddar” smirk

We pulled our a big ladder (at 7:30 am) and Randy got it attached to the goal, then Brad Moore (who came on the trip with me to help out, and to visit family in his hometown while he was there), scampered up that ladder and mounted a 1Dx up there with a 24-70mm f/2.8, and we used Auto Focus to focus it on the 5-yard line (at around f/8) and then once focused, we switched the lens to Manual Focus and used gaffer's tape to make sure it didn't move.

Above: That’s Randy, me and Brad testing the remote after it’s in place. 

Above: I cannot begin to explain this shot of Brad, taken by Brad (note the PocketWizard in his right hand).

Above: Here’s a close-up look at the rig (Randy added a GoPro camera on top to make a time-lapse video). You can’t tell very well from this angle, but the camera is well behind the plane of the goal post.

We would leave the camera there all game, but we'd also get the big player entrance as they take the field (and leave the field) from right behind that goalpost, so it was the perfect place to position it.

Above: Here’s the goal post cam of the players taking the field.

The camera was up and running by 8:00 am, so we went up to the roof of the stadium where I shot some fisheye shots of the empty stadium (it was scary as anything up there for someone like myself who has a fear of heights). On our way down to the field, we passed right over the tunnel where the players stack up right before they take the field and I took a fisheye shot of it empty, and showed it to Donald and said "Ya know, we've got another camera, and a couple more Manfrotto Magic Arms" and about an hour or so before kickoff, we mounted that camera, with the fish-eye set to 15mm on a railing above the tunnel. So, when I fired my camera, it would fire both the goalpost cam and the tunnel cam.

Above: Here’s the tunnel remote cam right as the players take the field. The two cameras both fire simultaneously when I fire my camera, or press the “test” button on the PocketWizard.

We used PocketWizard Plus IIIs to trigger these remotes, which are just perfect for stuff like this (with a 300+ foot range) and they are just so easy to work with and incredibly reliable. You just need a cable that goes from the remote into your camera's sync port, and you find the exact right cable that works with your camera using the free cable-finder widget on the PocketWizard site. Works like a charm.

After the players took the field, Brad quickly removed the remote and the rest of game I just kept a PocketWizard Plus III in my pocket, and when the play got near the end zone, I'd fire shots with it, no matter where I was in the stadium.

Field Camera Gear & Settings
I used pretty much the same gear I've been using all season: two Canon 1Dx's with a 400mm f/2.8 on my main body (with a 1.4 tele-extender attached most of the game) supported by a Gitzo monopod, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 on my 2nd body. Canon sent me this loaner gear at the beginning of the season, and I already let them know not to expect it back any time soon LOL!! (and by soon, I mean not until well after football season. 2015). ;-)

Above: I do this when I get sleepy. ;-)

At the beginning of the season a friend at Canon who shoots sports too asked if I'd like to try out some of their gear, and ever since their 1Dx came out (and my buddies from the Falcons all shoot the 1Dx and just rave about it), I've been anxious to see if it's "all that." Well, I can tell you, "it's all that" and then some. So much so, that for shooting sports I've totally switched over to Canon (in a related note, I saw my buddy pro-sports shooter Paul Abell [who guest blogged here my blog] at the Falcons game yesterday and I noticed he had switched over to Canon as well).

Anyway, I haven't had much time with Canon's other bodies, just my trip to Rome using a 5D Mark III, and I'm still getting used to using it, but it's been a lot of fun trying out some goodies. I also tried out some Sony gear at a studio shoot last month which was really interesting, but I didn't get to shoot with it long enough to get used to the electronic viewfinder.

At some point, I'll do either a video review or an in-depth blog post about the 1Dx and Canon lenses, because there's a lot I want to share about why that body was born for shooting sports, but this week I'm off to Photo Plus Expo in New York, and then my Washington DC seminar on Friday, and then back to NYC on Saturday (whew!), and then off to Boston for another tour date on Monday, and wellâ¦it's gonna be a few weeks, at earliest.

Canon did invite me to do a presentation in their booth about shooting sports at Photo Plus Expo this week, so if you're in NYC, I'm on stage at the Canon booth at 2:30 pm on Thursday, and at 11:00 am on Saturday, so I'll hope you stop by, so I can meet you in person (I haven't been on stage at Photo Plus Expo since 2010 so it's exciting to be back, and my thanks to Canon for the invitation to talk about one of my favorite topics).

What was especially exciting about all this though, was the game itself. For the past two years I've been only  shooting NFL games which are great, don't get me wrong, but the traditions of college football, and the passion of the fans is really something special, and something I have definitely missed, so it was great to get swept up in it all again. When the game came down to a last-second field goal for a big upset Vols win, the place just erupted into celebration that was beyond those even any college bowl game I've covered, and that was just amazing, since I was right in the middle of all of it. I have had special access to the locker room after the game, and that was just insane!!! A really amazing experience.

At the end of the game, when the Vols lined up for the last-second kick, instead of covering the kick (which I knew they had covered by the other team photographers), I turned and focused on the Vols bench and I figured I'd know whether the kick was good or not based on their reaction, and either good or bad it would still have the makings of a interesting story-telling shot. The kick was good, and the players exploded off the bench to rush the field, where I got the shots you see above.

I haven't had a chance to process all the images yet (I sent some to the Vols that they needed right away), and I I'm working on more Falcons stuff today, and I'll share those as soon as I can, but since I did some different stuff with remotes from this game, I wanted to share those here today.

Above: A really great moment when Coach Jones jumps up on the podium and directs the UT Marching Band in a rousing chorus of the Vols fight song “Rocky Top” — the place was just going nuts!!!

Above: I was able to fight my way through the sea of players and photographers and video camera crew to get this shot from the front side. 

Above: Go Vols! 

Here's wishing you call an awesome Monday (well, as awesome as a "monday" can be anyway).

http://youtu.be/shob-1t8eCY

If you missed the live broadcast of our photography talk, a Walk in Rome, you can watch it in its entirety, right here (above). We got really great feedback on the show, and I hope you get a chance to check it out.

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> My loadout for this weekend’s games
I’m shooting two games this weekend; first on Saturday the University of Tennessee Vols vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville, and then that night I’m off to Atlanta to shoot with the awesome Falcon’s crew for Sunday’s game against the Bucs.

On Saturday, we’re hoping to mount a remote camera on one of the goalposts, and if all goes well, we’ll have some shots from a different perspective than I’ve been able to get before. Keeping my fingers crossed, but also bringing the gear in case we get final clearance (the gear is shown above: Two Bogen Magic Arms, safety cables; Two f/plate.net floor mounts with ball heads for player intros, and three PocketWizard Plus IIIs to trigger up to two remote cameras.

I’m flying to Knoxville in two legs on Delta, and it’s the 2nd leg that has me concerned because it’s on a CRJ 900 Regional Jet, so here’s my loadout:

I’m taking my smallest ThinkTank Photo Roller Bag (it’s kind of a half-height bag), and you can see above that I’m bringing three Canon 1Dxs, a 16-35mm, a 70-200mm f/2.8, a Black Rapid strap for my second body during the game. I’m taking the 400mm f/2.8 in a separate smaller bag (a soft-sided bag made my Lightware — that’s it sitting on the floor in the foreground) that fits in the small overhead bins (the camera bag will have to fit under the seat in front of me  — and it does). I also have a Gitzo monopod for the 400mm. Brad is bringing a few more camera bodies and a fisheye with him (he’s helping me on the sidelines for Saturday’s UT game).

Hopefully, I’ll have some shots from the UT and Falcons game to share next week.

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> The “Refresh” of Part 2 of my “Digital Photography Book Series is now available

The original Part Two was published back in 2008, so I brought the book up-to-date with a pretty significant refresh using today's latest cameras and changes in gear; plus I added a new chapter; I went through and updated all the photos and techniques where needed throughout, and I re-wrote from scratch the most popular chapter, the "Photo Recipes" chapter with all new images and descriptions.

It’s not a total rewrite — it’s a refresh, but if you have Part One and you’re thinking of picking up Part Two, make sure you get copy that looks like the cover on the right (above). Here’s the link to it at Barnes & Noble.com,  Amazon.com, and from Peachpit Press (the book’s publisher).

Cheers everybody, and here’s hoping you get some killer shots this weekend (and here’s hoping that your real team, and your fantasy team both win, unlike what happened to me last weekend). ;-)

Mornin’ everybody. I wanted to wrap up the week with a quick trick for creating realistic backgrounds for compositing, so here goes:

When I was in Seattle for my “Shoot Like a Pro” Tour, before the seminar kicked off in the morning, Brad and I went just outside the convention center so I could create some real shallow depth-of-field backgrounds I could use in Compositing. I did this mostly because I hate how it looks when you take an in-focus background and try and “fake it” by adding a massive Gaussian Blur or Lens Blur filter in Photoshop.

Above: I had Brad stand in the street, and I zoomed-in fairly tight on him with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, at f/2.8 so the background would be way out of focus (as seen here). Once I was focused on Brad, I would hold the shutter button half-way down to lock the focus on Brad, then I would give Brad a signal and he would walk out of the frame (that’s Brad walking out of the frame above).

Above: Once Brad was fully out of the frame, I’d just press the shutter button the rest of the way down and take the shot. Mission accomplished  — a realistic shallow depth-0f-field background.

Above: Since this technique literally took less than 30-seconds, we shot a handful of different backgrounds, at different angles and on nearby streets, and every time the technique was the same: Brad stands in place: I focus on him at f.2/8; hold the shutter button half-way down; I give him the signal; he walks out of the frame; then “click.” I had 20 or so background in just 10 minutes.

Above: Here’s the image at the top again — it was my first test of the concept. I didn’t crop our subject here as tightly as I had actually shot Brad, so it would be more realistic if I had matched her size relative to the frame, but at least I can see that it worked — now I just have to find the right image for the foreground.

My subject was shot on a light gray background in my studio, and then I used Photoshop’s Quick Select tool along with the Refine Edge feature to remove her from that background and then I copy and pasted her onto the out-of-focus background. Once there, I matched her overall color-tone to the background, and then lastly I put a slight tint over the entire image (to help visually unify the two) and I added a soft glow effect as well (a 50-pixel Gaussian Blur, and then I changed the blend mode to Soft Light and lowered the opacity to 50%).

Anyway, just a quickie for Friday, and maybe something you’ll consider next time you’re out shooting with a friend who can act as an “in-focus” stand-in to create some out-of-focus backgrounds.

Back to Football
This weekend I’m shooting the Bucs vs. Cardinals NFL game with the Buc’s new starting quarterback Mike Glennon. That should keep me busy during the first quarter, eh?  Also, trying some new techniques I picked up from the just-released book, “Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography.”

I’ll share some shots next week, but next week is also Worldwide Photo Walk week (the actual walk is next Saturday, and we have 1.200 walks organized in cities all over the world, with more than 22,000 walkers so far. Hope you’ll join us next Saturday. 

Here’s to a great weekend. Hope it’s a safe and fun one. :)

Cowboy Stadium has been at the top of my list for stadiums to shoot for a few years now, and yesterday I finally got the chance.

I had only seen it from the outside, a few years ago when I was doing my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” tour in Arlington — it’s within walking distance of the convention center where we hold my classes, and it’s just an amazing feat of architecture and design, and when I found out I I’d be here a day early, I reached out over Twitter to find a contact with the Cowboys, and before you know it I was talking with Shannon Gross, Social Media powerful overlord for the Cowboys (and as luck would have it, a photographer).

Our shoot was set for 2:00 pm yesterday, and I was planning out my shoot in the morning when I realized that the massive overhead high-def screens would be black, I shot off a quick last-minute email to Shannon asking if we could get the Cowboy’s logo up on the screens for our shoot, and I would need a helmet (for the shot you see above), and Shannon scrambled to make both happen. This were some of the first dedicated stadium shots the Cowboys would have since the new AT&T branding (It’s now AT&T Stadium) and so I wanted to make sure there was something on those big screens.

These shots were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III using an 8-15mm Fisheye zoom lens, and I usually had it zoomed out to between 14mm and 16mm on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead. Contrast and Clarity added in Lightroom (except for on the turf field itself).

This shot was taken at the 50-yard-line, up high with a super-wide angle lens â” the 16-35mm set at 16mm.

The stadium itself was just amazing. The screen….well…what can you say about the HD screen — it’s just insane, but the whole facility is incredibly well designed, well thought-out, and just so focused on creating the ultimate fan experience.

Above: Brad snapped this iPhone shot of me during the shoot.

The Cowboys offer daily guided tours of the stadium, and so we’d wait until the short break between on-field tours to take our shots, so we’d get set up, check our email and stuff until the tour headed for the locker-room tour and then we’d have a nice empty field all to ourselves. We’d shoot, pack and move to another location and shoot until the next tour hit the field, so it was a pretty relaxing shoot, and we still had everything wrapped up in about two hours from start to finish.

Here’s one for the road, shooting right down the handrail toward the corner of the field. I have lots more shots, and some great stories, but I’ll have to save those for next week’s episode of “The Grid,” ’cause it’s time to hit the hay — big day tomorrow here in Dallas with my tour tomorrow, and I hope I’ll see some of you there.

A big thanks to Shannon Gross and the gracious folks in the Cowboys organization for the wonderful opportunity to take some shots for them (and for me) and I hope to see you all again real soon! Cheers. :)

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