Category Archives Photography

Hi Gang (and happy Tuesday)!

If you’re anywhere near Philadelphia or Chicago and you need to be at my new “Shoot Like a Pro” Tour but for whatever reason, you can’t afford to go, I’ve got two-tickets available for each city.

Just leave me a comment below, which city you want to attend, and I’ll pick two winners in each city tonight (and then I’ll see you there). For more info about my new tour, click here or if instead you want to watch my one minute and 52 second video explanation of what the tour is all about, then click here. 

See you out on the road (of course by that I mean out on tour, not actually standing in the road). ;-)



Well, they’re actually shots from practice runs and qualifying from Saturday,  the day before the race (The Grand Prix race was Sunday but I wasn’t able to shoot the actual race because of a prior commitment on Sunday). I was shooting for the City of St. Pete’s Website (thanks to my buddy Andy Gregory who got me the gig, and covered the race on Sunday).

Above: Here’s the rear view taken down low (on my knees) from a break in the retaining wall heading into the straightaway. Specs: Nikon D4 at f/4,  at 1/2000 of a second at 200 ISO. Using a 400mm f/2.8 lens at f/4  because I was using a 1/4 tele-converter, so it was actually taken at 550mm. 

Anyway here’s a few shots from the day (and I’ll leave the rest to the captions).

Above: Here’s an overhead panning shot taken from up in the control tower at the airport (more on this in a moment). Specs: I lowered the shutter speed to 1/80 of a second (to get wheel spin — if I can clearly see the wheels I switch to these specs — if the car is more straight on, then I got to f/2.8 or f/4 and use a really fast shutter speed). The f/stop had to be increased to f/11 to get a proper exposure. 


Above: Here’s a perspective you don’t always see — thanks to Rob Neff  for the first time ever we got access to the 360° walkway around the control tower at Albert Whitted Field (the race runs over one of their runways), which is where I got this tight-in shot with my 400mm. 

Above: When I was up on the airport control tower I spotted a photo hole (official large cut-out area of the fence for media photographers assigned to the event) I had never seen before and I headed over there and was able to get this low perspective as the cars were coming out of a hairpin turn heading to the straightaway.

When cars are coming straight toward the camera like this (where you really can’t see the sides of the wheels), I tend to shoot at a high-shutter speed and freeze the motion. Not every shot has to have spinning wheels,especially since when the car is coming directly at you the tires don’t have visible treads to spin like normal cars (see popular F-1 shooter James Moy here, here, here and here). That being said, I have hundreds (actually probably more than 1,000) of spinning wheel side shots from this race (as seen in the third shot from the top). 

Above: I put on my 1.4 tele-converter to get this rear view of my favorite car (looks wise), as they came out of that hairpin and started down the straightaway VERY close to the wall. 


Above: Between the morning practice runs and the qualifying runs in the afternoon they had a “Historic Sportscar Racing” session where I got this shot. 

Above: Another shot from the “Historic Sportscar Racing” session. 

Above: Rob got this iPhone shot of me from up on the Control Tower (thanks Rob!). 

Thanks for letting me share these, and here’s wishing you a kick-butt Monday (even though I know that’s an oxymoron). Cheers,  –Scott

…I’ve read enough from people in forums on the Web who have convinced me this isn’t a good shot because….

  • (a) It was taken with a 6-megapixel consumer camera (the original Canon Digital Rebel) back in 2006
  • (b) I shot it with the cheap kit lens that came with the camera
  • (c) My camera was set to JPEG mode
  • (d) It was taken on a $14.95 tripod (I forgot mine at home so I had to buy one at Walmart)

I’m going back there again soon on a family vacation, but this time I’m taking:

  • (a) A Nikon D800 36-megapixel camera or my Nikon D4
  • (b) A 14-24mm f/2.8 lens that along costs more than the camera, lens, and tripod I shot the image above with combined.
  • (c) I’ll shoot in RAW mode and post-process the image in Lightroom 4
  • (d) I’ll be using an Gitzo Carbon-fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 ball-head and I’ll have a cable release this time

But with all that cool gear and technology, I am pretty darn certain I won’t get nearly as good a shot. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. ;-)

Have a great weekend everybody, and here’s wishing you great shots no matter what gear you’re shooting with.

Above: Here’s our class group shot, taken with a remote camera mounted inside the goal. On Sunday morning we had a session just on mounting and using remotes. 

I thought from the beginning it was going be the coolest hands-on workshop I’ve ever been involved it, and it totally, totally was! (If this is the first time you’re hearing about, first go watch this very short video clip which explains the workshop).

Above: Here’s our workroom for the weekend, inside the VIP Club at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Sweet digs!  (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s Scott Audette (far right) doing a presentation on what makes a good hockey photo; which types of shots make it, and which one’s don’t. Really eye-opening and candid. That’s me (left center) and Mike Carlson (far left). (Photo by Brad Moore)

I’m going to tell the story with captions, but here’s a 30-second synopsis:

(a) We had an awesome group of photographers in our workshop. Totally into it the whole time, and we saw lots of great shots throughout. It was a weekend of non-stop laughing, learning, and making new friends.

(b) Tampa Bay Lightning’s Team Photographer Scott Audette did an absolutely kick-butt job from start to finish. His insights, tips and real-world advice really resonated with the class. He really worked hard to create something very special, and it showed. What a great teacher! (I picked up a ton from him myself).

(c) Our guest speaker, pro-sports photographer Mike Carlson was a tremendous addition to the workshop and everybody loved him.

(d) We were all, and still are, amazed at the incredible access we had throughout the workshop (hats off the Scott and the entire Lightning organization who totally supported the workshop from the start).

Now onto the workshop, which started off Friday night with a “Burgers & Beer” get-together, followed by a presentation from Scott and Mike covering everything from Safety to Camera Settings. Apparently, the safety briefing wasn’t for nothing (see below).

Above: Yup, that’s what his 70-200 f/2.8 lens looks like after getting hit with a puck during Saturday night’s game. He’s OK but the lens, wellâ¦not so much. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, and he had a great attitude. Plus, the great folks at (totally awesome lens rental company —- I rent from them myself), helped ease his pain and gave him a $150 gift card while his lens is being repaired. How cool is that! We went to great lengths to warn our students about the realities of shooting “at ice level through the openings in the glass” but after this, they totally got it.

Above: Here’s a view of the class while they’re working on shots from the Lightning’s morning skate. The class shot from the first Mezzanine and the shooting holes at ice level (we rotated students in/out). I taught a session on post processing with Photo Mechanic and Lightroom, and my latest sports photography workflow. (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: After the class had some time to work on their images (and I answered a number of  one-on-one post-processing questions), we did some in-class blind critiques.  Scott Audette’s and Mike’s comments were incredibly helpful and the class SO got it!!!! (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: I did shoot the pre-game warmups from the ice (my buddy Brian Blanco was covering the game and let me shoot some of the warming from his assigned position). Guess what — my 80-400mm lens took a direct hit shortly after this photo was taken, but thankfully it didn’t crack the glass; though it cracked the plastic outside ring around the lens in a couple of places, and smeared the glass with ice, but luckily it wiped right off. (Photo by Brad Moore)

Game Night
After a dinner break, we all came back and got ready to shoot that night’s game at the Forum: The Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the Carolina Hurricanes (great game, especially since the Lightning won 4 – 1). The class shot from both “Overhead” locations (shooting spots at the first mezzanine level, which give an unobstructed view of the entire rink) and from 3 shooting holes at ice level (we rotated the students each period). I shot from the overhead positions and with Scott & Brad Moore’s help, we mounted a remote camera up in the ceiling of the forum aiming down at one of the goals.

Above: Here’s one of my shots from the remote camera up top. You guys know how I love remotes!!!! :-)

Above: Thank God for Brad Moore, who climbed with Scott up to the rafters way up above the ice (since I am, wellâ¦scared to death of heights) and rigged my D3s in place with a couple of magic arms. Lots more on this later this week, but for now, here’s the view from the rafters. Yikes! (don’t look down Brad!).

Above: Although I’m not a “climb up in the ceiling” kind of guy, I don’t mind hiking up to the top of the stands for a wide-angle shot or two, and I got this one as the Lightning scored their 2nd goal of the night. 

Above: Here’s workshop participant Matt Sunday shooting during the game Saturday night from one of the ice-level shooting positions with a hole in the glass (photo by Pete Collins). 

Above: One of our shooting holes at ice-level — you can’t get much closer to the action than this! (Photo by Pete Collins).

Above: Shooting from the 1st mezzanine shooting locations (you only needed a 70-200mm or a 300mm tops). It’s MUCH easier to capture the action from up here, and most of the images chosen as finalists for the “end of workshop competition” were taken from this overhead angle which offers an unobstructed view of the entire rink, and much less chance of being hit by a puck square in the face or having it break your lens and/or nose. This is where I shot from during the game (this isn’t my first rodeo). (Photo by Pete Collins).

Above: She’s rockin’ that 300mm — right over the glass with a clear view of both goals. (Photo by Pete Collins).

Above: Sunday morning kicked off early with a session on setting up and using remote cameras. Scott actually makes (and sells) the enclosures approved by the NHL for remote cameras inside the goal, and he knows this stuff inside and out. He set one up in the goal and the class all got to take remote goal shots with two skaters rushing the goalie. It made for some awesome shots (and we got together for that group shot at the top of this post). (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s one of the goal cam shots; this one taken by workshop participant Thomas Quinn.

Above: Here’s Scott and his assistant Casey (she was awesome and helped out the entire workshop), showing the class how to rig an “ice level” remote.

Above: After the remote camera session, we put on “grippers” and headed out to the ice to do some portrait lighting. We set up three stations and broke into groups of seven. Here’s my station where we’re shooting with a Nikon SB-900 and a pop-up 24″ softbox. Once it was set-up, each student got to direct the subject, try out different settings and poses. (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s one of my test-shots from my hot-shoe flash station. I did two looks: (1) One dramatic look where I clamped down on all the ambient light and let the background fall to black (shown above), and (2) One where we lots of the ambient light show and it was clear he was at center ice.

Above: Going over the different settings with my group. I used some of the new PocketWizard Plus IIIs to trigger the flash, and I’m totally digging them (everybody brought their own PocketWizards). One student brought the new PocketWizard Plus X (which I talked about a few weeks ago), and it rocked — the model of simplicity. (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s Mike (2nd from left) at his  shooting station (we rotated groups so everybody got to shoot at each station with each athlete). On the far left is Ingo Meckmann, a very cool guy, and darn good photographer, who came all the way from Lucerne, Switzerland to attend the workshop.  (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s Scott’s shooting station and a three-light portrait set-up using his Elinchrom BXRI’s. (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: Here’s one of the goalie portraits (photo by workshop participant Ingo Meckmann) 

Above: After the portrait shoot, it was back to our workroom for another post-processing session, and then everybody gathered their best three images from the game on Saturday night to enter into our “Blind Critique” Contest. The winner would take home the coveted “Kick Ice” hockey trophy (shown below) and besides insane bragging rights, they won a full-conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo.  (Photo by Brad Moore)

Above: The best shot from Saturday night’s game walks away with with cool trophy and bragging rights to last a lifetime!

Above: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! From L to R: Scott Audette, Yours Truly, our “Kick Ice” trophy winner, photographer Thomas Quinn, and Mike Carlson (the human trailer hitch).  (Photo by Brad Moore)

The Wrap Up
You know what was really cool? The whole time, the teachers, the students, the assistants — everybody knew we all involved in, and experiencing something really unique and that feeling just ran through everything we did. The group got close really fast (we shared a lot of time and meals together, including a wonderful lunch over at the Columbia Spanish Restaurant), and even though we all came through the doors of the Forum as strangers, by the end we all left as friends.

We all learned a lot (the students and the teachers), and the entire workshops was permeated with laughs and learning and that sense that we had all been a part of something really special. Something that happens just once. Or..ya know…maybe twice. ;-)

Thanks to Scott, Mike, Casey, Brad, my wonderful assistant Susan Hageanon who did a fantastic job organizing the event, and to Pete Collins who came to help out and share some “Pete-a-cisims,” and of course to the wonderful folks at the Tampa Bay Lightning and The Forum whose support and enthusiasm for this workshop from the very beginning helped make this dream a reality. #kickice

The new tour kicks off in just a few weeks in :

  • PHILADELPHIA on April 3rd
  • then to CHICAGO on April 30th

I did a test-run of the full day a few weeks ago in our headquarters for a group of about 40 photographers (to get their feedback, ideas, and comments on the day and to help me tweak it before it goes out on the road), and the feedback was just fantastic!!!!

In the short video (less than 2-minutes) above I go through the five sessions I’ll be teaching that day and what it’s all about.

Here’s the link for more info or to reserve your seat right now. (Seating is limited and filled on a first-come/first-served basis).

I hope to see you in in person in Philly or Chicago very soon (it’s a nationwide tour, so we’ll be announcing lots of new cities and dates coming very soon).

On Monday morning I a took a short flight down to Key West, Florida to meet up with my buddy Jose Ramos, a military aviation photographer who was on assignment for Pilot magazine doing a story on Fighter Squadron VFC-111 (The “Sundowners”) based at Key West Naval Airstation.

It was absolutely beautiful down there (and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s), and on Monday, after shooting some takesoffs and landings from long range, Jose and I stayed late to get some nice light at sunset with some of the jets on the flight line.

One of the highlights of the trip was Jose and I having lunch with his good friend, and Squadron Commander,  Joe ‘Monty’ McMonigle. I told him about my carrier shoot, and since he had been flying off carriers for years he had some amazing stories, and I learned a ton about the process of landing on carriers. I already had an incredible amount of respect for carrier pilots but that went up a big notch after our talk with Joe. I seriously don’t know how these guys do it, but I’m sure glad that somehow they can.

Jose goes Air-to-Air
On Tuesday, Jose (who is rated by the Navy to fly in jets) got the chance to go up and do some air-to-air photography in the backseat of an F5 and he got just some absolutely sick shots!!!! He’s done that air-to-air stuff down cold (but when I heard some of the stuff they did in the air, I’m not sure I would have the presence of mind to even raise my camera to my eye. Especially with all the screaming I would have been doing). But Jose has done this stuff a bunch, and he totally nailed it. Everybody was freaking out over the shots he came back with.

I’ll leave the rest to the captions below, but a big thanks to Jose for having me tag along for the shoot, and to the men and women of the Sundowners squadron who couldn’t have been friendlier or more accommodating to us during our visit. Jose is still down there working on the story and by the time you read this, he’s probably in the cockpit for another air-to-air shoot. OK, not the best term, but you know what I mean. Hats off to Monty and the entire VFC-111 — thanks for your service to our country.


Above: The jets were all facing toward the setting sun, so to get the good light, we had to shoot from behind or beside the jets, because if we faced them, the sky behind them was kind ofâ¦wellâ¦gray and boring. 

Above: After the jets come back in from their last runs of the day, the ground crew takes over and that’s when I got this open-cockpit shot. 

Above: At about 5:30 pm and sun was getting low in the sky so we headed out to get some shots, and the clouds were totally cooperating with us. This is a E/A-18G Growler, a specialized electronic warfare variant of the FA-18F Super Hornet.

Above: Here’s the hanger. It’s a half-HDR shot (an HDR shot mixed at 50% with the original non-HDR’d image).

Above: Here’s an F5 fighter (used by the Navy to portray “Bad guys” in dog fights, ala “Top Gun.”). This shot is taken just after take-off (my only take-off shot. Long story) and the front gear hasn’t retracted yet (they go up after the rear. It’s an old plane).

Above: Here’s one of the F5’s taxiing out for a training session with the Growlers. It’s pretty warm down there so they keep the canopy open until they’re about to take off. 

Above: Here’s one of the two-seater F5’s that Jose goes up in for his air-to-air shoots. With a camera. You knew that, right?

Above: Jose is always doing these shoots, but nobody’s ever covering Jose, so I took on the job. Here he is headed out for his first air-to-air of the week (and yes, that’s a parachute on his back). Apparently, it’s more dangerous than shooting football. I’ve never had to wear a parachute. ;-)

Above: Here’s Jose (rear seat) before heading out. That’s ‘Monty’ Piloting the F5. 

Above: Here’s Jose looking very “Top Gun”

Above: Here’s me looking like I always do, standing beside an F5. Snooze. 

Above: Here’s a shot taken inside their F5 flight simulator. It was pretty amazing (I took this one from the platform where you climb into the simulator. I shot it with a 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/5.6. The lighting was pretty dark in there, but I wanted to shoot it with just the ambient light, so I shot it at 2,500 ISO handheld at 1/13 of a second. I fired a lot series of shots in High-Speed continuous to make sure I had one in focus (and sure enough, I did). 

Above: Here’s a closing shot. It would have been sweet if we could have gotten them to turn the jet around so we could have shot from the front or front side with the sunset in the background. Of course, we never asked (for obvious reasons). The squadron has just about adopted Jose (he’s been shooting and flying with them since was 18-years-old), so they would actually probably do it if he asked far enough in advance.

Above: It’s great to see such a great relationship built between Jose and the Squad, but Jose has worked very hard to earn their trust (plus he delivers some amazing images, which literally line the walls of the squadron’s headquarters, as shown above in this photo taken with my iPhone —- that’s Jose’s shot framed on the wall beside him). 

Anyway, it was a quick, really fun overnight trip, and I was already back home the next afternoon, but I gotta tell ya — shooting jets is just a blast!