Category Archives Photography

Here’s a few of my favorites from my two pre-season shoots:

Camera Info:
I shot the game with my usual set-up; Two camera bodies: A Nikon D4 with a 400mm f/2.8 lens (mounted on a Gitzo monopod), but I put a 1.4 tele-extender on for the entire game, which turned my 400mm into around a 550mm lens, but you lose a stop of light so I could only shoot at f/4. Shooting at f/4 with that lens means I had to crank my ISO up between 3,200 and 4,000 depending on where they were on the field due to changes in lighting. My 2nd body was a Nikon D3s and I tried (again) using a 24-70mm but I’m going back to my 70-200mm from here on out — the 24-70mm just has such limited use — the players have to be literally right in front of you).

I shot both cameras wide open (at f/2.8 or f/4 because of the tele-extender). I shot in JPEG (for more shots in burst mode). My shutter speeds were around 1/1000 of a second and higher. Since I was able to shoot at f/2.8 with the 2nd body, I only had to crank the ISO on my 2nd body to around 1,600 to 2,000 (that’s the difference one stop of light makes —- from shooting at 1,600 to having to shot at 4,000).

OK, onto the photos (they look MUCH better larger, so be sure to click on them for a bigger view.

Hope you guys have a Super Tuesday (and don’t forget to scroll down one more post to my Photo Walk update, ’cause things are getting crazy!!! :=)


OK, here’s why I wanted to switch:
(1) I wanted to maintain my portfolio myself
In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to have my buddy RC design and maintain my port, but if I want to delete, add, or rearrange my portfolio, I had to contact RC and ask him to do it. RC is incredibly gracious about things like this, but I always felt bad about having to bug him every time I wanted a little tweak, so I wound up not updating and tweaking it very often out of sheer guilt.

(2) Smugmug is designed so you can sell your work
Although I don’t have any prints for sale yet, I get asked about it all the time, and I have a good reason to sell prints (raising money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage).

What Got Me To Pull The Trigger
I’ve been wanting to make the switch for a while now, and I was on some Web site a few weeks back where I saw a SmugMug banner add where they had a free 14-day trial offer, so I thought, “What the heck” and I signed up. That same night I uploaded  my first gallery and it was a breeze, and shortly thereafter I  went from 14-day trial guy to Pro Account guy.

Once I created different galleries (Sports, Football, Fashion, Travel, People, and Landscapes) then I had one of their designers set-up a custom layout for me (they use a network of freelance designers who work directly with you to create your Smugmug layout — I worked with Charles Chung of CreativeSoda and he was absolutely fantastic. Very responsive, easy to work with, and he made the whole process a breeze. If anybody from Smugmug reads this — Charles is awesome!!! Give him a raise/bonus/lexus, etc.).

What I Was Looking For:
A year or so ago, I had a portfolio layout I really liked â” one where you can scroll horizontally through the images. The reason I like this layout is that horizontal and vertical images get the same amount of attention (whereas usually only horizontal images get any “juice” in an online port because of their width, and the tall images get lost). The layout let you scroll through the images at the speed you wanted, but the problem was â” it was flash-based so if you looked at it on an iPad, it switched to an html version which….well…it wasn’t as elegant (ahem) as the flash one. Then, when they updated my WordPress Blog, for some reason it broke that plug-in RC was using and they had to change it to a layout I didn’t like nearly as much (thought it did kinda scroll).

It works on Tablets, too!
I wanted a portfolio that looked decent on a tablet, and the new SmugMug works really well there (although it does lose the scroll-ability â” you have to tap the screen for it to move to the next image) at least you can see it pretty much like it does on a desktop.

What I like best, is…..
The fact that the back-end of my SmugMug site looks like a regular ol’ smugmug default account (see below), but when I add a photo or change the order, it updates the custom layout without me having to tweak stuff I don’t even want to know about (HTML, CSS, STP, ADD, LSD, or any of that stuff).

So, give it a whirl
If you click on the Portfolio link at the top right of this blog, you can take it for a spin. I know the right-scrolling this isn’t for everyone, but after looking at lots of their templates (and other sites), it’s the one I like best, so that’s what I’m going with (also, if you resize the browser it resizes the images).

Thanks to Charles (and Creativesoda) and to the folks at Smugmug for giving me control of my port. Right now I’m gathering shots of cats, people on railroad tracks, and flowers shot in a harsh direct light for uploading. ;-)

P.S. One of the guys that turned me on to SmugMug in the first place was my photo assistant Brad Moore — check out his site, which they customized for him (he’s a kick-butt pro concert photographer). Here’s the link. 

I’m in Denver Wednesday for my “Photoshop for Photographers” full-day live seminar (well, as long as that hurricane stays away, and it looks like it’s staying away from Tampa), and if you want to come out for a day that is likely to curve your spine, you can join me by clicking this link.

If you read this blog and you’re going to be there, make sure you come up and say “hi.” Cheers and we’ll see you in Denver soon! :)

P.S. The next stop for the tour is in Arlington, Texas on September 14th, where RC Concepcion will be the instructor, and then I’m back teaching the seminar in Los Angeles on October, 3rd, then RC is back in Minneapolis on Oct 17th, and then I’m in DC on the 29th. Hope to catch you on the road! :)


(Above: My new Retina MacBook Pro, shot with my iPhone, but there’s something missing that should be there).

It’s Game Day!
When you shoot an event for a sports wire service, they need the images from the game as soon as possible, and so during halftime I upload half-a-dozen images, and then immediately after the game, from the photographer’s work room at the stadium, I transmit (as it’s called) another 25 or so final images. They have free wireless in the workroom (and now, in the entire stadium for fans as I noticed on Friday), and there are power plugs and a counter to work on.

(Above: Another iPhone shot, this one of the Photographer’s Work Room at Raymond James Stadiums. Ahhhh, the glamorous life of a sports photographer. They really go all out for us. LOL!!! There are two rooms like this, side by side. Note the laptops throughout the room, all used for transmitting images during and after the game). 

Prepping Before You Leave For The Stadium
I’m going to have to properly identify each player (correct spelling of their name, team, position, and jersey number) for every photo I upload, and describe the action in the shot. To make things easier there’s a service you can subscribe to called “” and it’s for photographers who use the program Photo Mechanic (which used by all pro sports photographers, myself included) and you import this generated team roster into the program and then you just type in the player’s number and it fills in everything for you. It’s amazing and saves a ton of time (totally worth the inexpensive subscription).

So, before the game I go and generate one of those rosters and load it into Photo Mechanic. Then I set up a metadata template in PM with all the details of the game (who is playing home, where it’s played, the date, copyright info, other stuff), and lastly I set up the FTP server to upload my files to the wire service. It’s takes a few minutes, but you’re better off to do it beforehand than rushing to do it at the stadium at game time.

Here’s where my problems began
I’ve got everything all ready to go, and I’m packing up to literally walk out the door. I’m excited to be taking my new thinner, lighter and much faster MacBook Pro to do my transmitting, and I grab the essential Kensington Security Cable and lock (you use this to physically lock your MacBook Pro to the table, so while you’re on the field, another photographer, or staffer, or passerby, doesn’t slip your shiny new laptop in their bag and it’s gone forever. Hey, it happens enough that every photographer locks down their stuff, just like you would at Starbucks when you have to go to the restroom).

It was at that moment that I freaked out, because when I looked at the side of my new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro I noticed that the tiny security slot that Apple puts in ALL MacBook Pros just for this purpose, is missing. It’s just not there (see the photo at the top).

There is no way I’m going to leave my new MacBook Pro unattended
I’m searching everywhere for that security slot (it’s about 1/16 of an inch by 1/32 of an inch, if that) but it is just not there. Now, what do I do! I go find my old MacBook Pro, which thankfully I hadn’t erased yet, and I frantically download a new CodeReplacement roster, and reconfigure the metadata, and I have to change card readers and now I’m running late, and sure enough I get to the stadium a half hour later than I wanted, and I literally just made it to the field before the team came out. Whew!

(Above: Here’s my old MacBook Pro so you can see the tiny slot for the Kensington Security Cable lock —- this is a really close up shot so it looks bigger than it is. Taken with my iPhone which does not need a security slot but should probably have one because mine slipped out of my jacket pocket in a taxi and it was gone forever). 

It gets worse
At halftime, I go to start the process of finding, editing, tagging and transmitting my files, only to realize that I don’t have the user name and password for the FTP upload to my wire service, and I don’t have time to get it (halftime is only 12 minutes for preseason games), so I download my images from my two cameras into the laptop so at least that’ll save me some time after the game.

After the game, I rush into the work room (we all do), while two cards are downloading, I’m going through my images and finding my “Picks” (shots that might make the final cut to be transmitted), and then I find them, launch Photoshop only to realize that I had deactivated Photoshop on that laptop when I got my new MacBook Pro (so I could activate it there).

Please, just for a moment, imagine the look on my face. It’s my first gig for this new wire service, I missed the upload during halftime (thank goodness this was a preseason game), and now I’m going to have to leave the stadium, drive 30 minutes home, and do my editing and transmitting from home. I’m really cranked, embarrassed, frustrated, and most of all…

…I just can’t understand how Apple didn’t include this tiny, tiny 1/32 of a inch slot we so desperately need!
This isn’t just a problem for sports photographers â” it’s for schools that have MacBook’s in their labs, and at work, and anywhere we need to have our laptops secured (Starbucks) and now we have to find some other solution (and I’m looking at a few), but I would dearly LOVE to hear why Apple decided NOT to include this tiny slot. While they’re at it, I’d love to know why in Mountain Lion Apple decided to do away with the menubar Display menu, which is another thing that makes me shake my head, but don’t get me started.

There are other solutions (none of which I like so far, and the only one I like isn’t shipping until next month at the earliest), so there is an option or two, but now at least you know. I wonder what I’m going to do this Friday. My old MacBook Pro will need to go to someone else in my company (I think Brad) pretty shortly, so what’s my backup plan for securing my laptop this week.

Now, you’re about to learn exactly what an “Apple Apologist” is
I love Apple products. I have an iPad, an iPhone, an iMac, and two MacBook Pros. I’ve been an Apple customer since 1986; I’ve written books about the Mac (my first book ever), and the iPod and the iPhone (I have a book out on the iPhone 4s currently), and I’ve even written about Apple itself (my book, Macintosh: The Naked Truth, published 10 or so years ago became a cult hit), so I’m a pretty pro-Apple guy. I love their products, how they’re designed, and that they “just work.” However, when anyone (and I mean anyone) says something negative about Apple or an Apple product (as I have here), you will read people commenting on this post that:

(a) It’s not Apple’s fault they removed the security slot. Apple doesn’t make bad decisions. They are a perfect company.
(b) It’s somehow my fault for working in situations that require me to leave my laptop unattended.
(c) That steel cable and lock was no real deterrent, and could easily be defeated by a real criminal.

On that last point — that Kensington lock has saved many-a-MacBook Pro and you do have to be a real criminal, bringing wire cutters or having the intent to steal a laptop coming into the stadium to make away with one, and of course you still run the risk of getting caught. In the end, it’s far better than nothing, even if not “unbeatable.”

How dare we!!!
In 2009 Terry White wrote on his blog that he thought the USB ports were too close to each other on the old MacBook Pros (link), because half the time you couldn’t plug-in two USB devices at once. I totally agreed, and I had this happen to me all the time. Apple apologists lined up on Terry’s blog to tell him that it’s not a design flaw — the manufacturers just need to make their USB plugs thinner.

Or back when Apple first added the rotation gesture to the MacBooks and I complained that I kept rotating my canvas in Photoshop and InDesign by accident on my trackpad. I mentioned that I would love it if there was a way to turn off that gesture in the Mac OS, and Apple Apologists lined up to tell me that I was literally stupid for using Photoshop with a trackpad, and that “nobody uses Photoshop with a trackpad.” I guess nobody uses Photoshop on a flight.

The flip side
Because I mentioned Apple, it will also bring out the haters. There will be the requiste “You should be using a PC” and “That’s because Mac’s suck” and the whole “You’re locked into a closed environment and that’s what you get” stupidity, because mentioning Apple is like mentioning HDR, Nikon vs. Canon, iOS vs. Android, Sony or Bose — it just brings out the worst in everyone. If you own a Mac, or a PC. Nikon or Canon. You shoot HDR or not, you DO NOT have to defend your choice by attacking everyone elses. It’s OK to use the products (or techniques) that appeal to you. Grow up.

So why did I open this can of worms?
Because I want anyone to know who is thinking of buying a MacBook Pro with the Retina display, that something’s missing. It doesn’t have a Security Slot, and for some people (like me) that’s a real problem (and one I’m now going to have to deal with somehow). So, that’s it. A heads up, and here’s hoping that Apple adds them back in future models, and that someone comes up with as elegant a security option as Kensington did (who obviously teamed up with Apple on that slot). Hey, we can always dream. :)




…especially being rusty (regular season football has been over for nearly eight months), and for making some stupid mistakes (coming up in a moment), so you can totally understand why I did a BIG happy dance when I saw one of my shots from Friday’s Bucs vs. Titans NFL Football game (above) on the front page of’s NFL home page.

That came after two of my shots had been on’s Sports “Pictures of the Day” (shown below).

(Above: I’m not certain, but that just may be a “hold.” Wink).

Mistakes were made
I’ve shot in Raymond James Stadium a number of times before, so I knew in advance what settings to use for a night game (which this was), so as soon as I took my camera out of the bag, I set up my camera with those settings. [Aperture Priority mode, f/2.8, and my ISO at 1,600 which is enough to get me the 1/1000 of a second shutter speed I need to freeze the action and have sharp non-blurry shots).

So, I attached my lens and set out to shoot and about 1/3 of the way through the first quarter, I zoomed in tight on one of the images and it was blurry. I started looking at other shots and a lot were blurry. I was freaking out until it finally hit me that I had added a 1.4 tele-extender to my 400mm f/2.8 lens, and when you do that you automatically lose 1-stop of light, so it changed my f/stop to f/4 (agggghh!!!!) and so my shutter speed fell to 1/640 of a second and I had blurry shots. No need to tell me all the things and features I could have used to avoid this — it won’t happen again.

I didn’t test my 2nd body…
And sure enough, there was a problem with the dial on top and when I had to quickly switch to my 2nd body to get the touchdown catch happening right in front of me, instead of firing in High-Speed Continuous mode (burst mode) it took just one single shot……and stopped. Sure enough, he caught it. I was (for once) in the perfect position, with the ideal angle, and just one single “click” before the ball even got near him. I was really cranked. It took me 10 minutes to figure out the dial on top was sticking. Totally, my mistake (but I did have a back-up body if all were lost back in the photographer’s work room).

Luckily, I recovered
After that very rusty (and frustrating first quarter) I was able to shake the rust off a bit and focus back on the action instead of messing with my equipment, but at the end of the day, I still felt like it was my first game of the season (which it was), which is why I was so doubly-psyched to see that shot on and making Zuma’s “Photographs of the Day” especially since this was my first assignment for them.

(Above: that’s me and my buddy Donn Jones, Team Photographer for the Tennessee Titans. They give him a green vest so he’s an easier target for the defensive line. Kidding, it’s to designate that he’s with the team and he has access to areas, like the Titan’s bench, that the rest of us “khaki-vesters” can’t. Photo by George Walker).

And then, where was this….
There was also an issue with my new Apple MacBookPro with the Retina Display (unreleated to the display itself), but I’m hoping to write about that separately tomorrow), that caused a mini-nightmare, but that’s what Tuesday’s are for, right. :-)

Bring on the Patriots!
This Friday the New England Patriots are coming to play the Bucs at home and I’m excited because:

(a) It’ll be my first-time shooting the Pats, and…

(b) I’ll get another chance to shake some more of the rust off before the regular season begins in two weeks, and I know I won’t make those same mistakes again.

I am still struggling with my post-processing workflow (tagging, editing, adding metadata and uploading at the speed I would like to), but that’s yet another story. Can’t wait for Friday’s game now, but first I’m off to Sacramento to teach my Photoshop for Photographers seminar on Wednesday.

Here’s wishing you a “Big Happy Dance” Monday! :)


That’s right baby, NFL Football Season is here, and I’ve been assigned to cover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games for Zuma Press, and I am psyched!

I’ve got a season credential to shoot all 10 home games, starting with tonight’s pre-season against the Tennessee Titans, and then next week the Bucs play at home again against the Patriots, and the first Regular Season home game is against the Carolina Panthers.

I’m really looking forward to working with Zuma Press this year (they featured a couple of my shots last year for their “Sports Photo of the Day”), but I’m still very grateful to Kathy Miller and the great folks at Southcreek Global Media (which closed last year) for the opportunities and support they gave me, which led to me getting me in front of the folks at Zuma.

I’ll have more to share next week, but for now it’s time to get geared up for my first game of the season (Brad, pack up the 400mm f/2.8! Whooo hooo! :-)

P.S. There’s a “This Weekend Only” deal today, so make sure you scroll down to the next post!