Category Archives Photography

…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 SportsIllustrated.com’s NFL home page.

That came after two of my shots had been on Zumapress.com’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 SI.com 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! 

 

I call it a “Location Scouting” trip, mostly because I know this — I want to go back again!!! (here’s a few shots from the photo book I always create after each trip).

First, a little about Ireland
What an absolutely magical place! The Irish people are as warm, witty, and kind as everyone said they would be, and we had an absolutely wonderful experience from beginning to end. It truly is a beautiful country, and even though I just saw a tiny bit of it for five days, it makes you want to spend months there and just explore the countryside and learn more about the people, their history, and their lives.

Now, for the shooting
This was a family vacation trip (joining me, Kalebra and the kids was my brother Jeff and my in-laws, so we were seven in total). I knew from the outset that photography would not be the focus, and honestly, that was fine with me. I never got up for a dawn shoot (it would have awakened the wifey and kids for sure), and at sunset we were usually at dinner, so I just had to shoot in whatever light was there. The only problem was — there wasn’t much light at all.

Ahhhhh, the weather
We were there for five days (with two travel days on either end), and it rained every single day. All day. When you woke up, the sky was dark gray and it looked like it was ready to rain. If you looked outside and didn’t see dark gray clouds, it was only because was already raining. There were a few moments each day when the sky would start to clear a bit and the rain would pause, but literally just for few minutes here and there. I read while I was there that July had been Ireland’s rainiest month in history, and August was already looking like a record-setter as well. Yup, that’s when we chose to go. (LOL!).

I didn’t push that shutter enough
I only shot around 150 shots a day total, including multiple frames shot for HDR and Panos, which is really low for me (I shoot twice that in a 3-hour football game), but the weather kind of limited what I could shoot. For example, we drove out to the famous Cliffs of Moher, and it was so socked in with fog and rain, we couldn’t see 50 feet in front of us (not to mention it was windy and cold!. Brrrrrrr!). So, while me and my gear got plenty wet, I never pushed the shutter button once.

We had originally planned to get up to Galway, and spend more time in Cork, and to see Shannon a bit, and well… we where having so much fun (we got to stay in Dromoland castle, which everybody loved — especially my six-year-old daughter), that we wound up doing more relaxing and playing around they we had planned, but it made for an incredibly fun vacation for everybody.

The Gear
I took my Nikon D4 (so I could shoot in really low light if necessary), and I took two lenses: My 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 VR lens, and I had tried out a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens from LensProToGo.com (awesome folks — highly recommended) a few weeks back, so this time around I borrowed Matt’s 16-35mm and it’s a great little lens (though I can’t really justify buying one when I already have a 14-24mm, but the advantage of the 16-35mm is that you can use 77mm screw-on filters (like the 8-stop Tiffen ND I took with me). I also took an Oben travel tripod with a Really Right Stuff Ballhead. That’s pretty much it (I actually did take a lightweight flash kit, but never even got a chance to use it once).

The danger of setting your own expectations
I had in my mind the kind of shots I was hoping to come back with. You know the ones —- the tiny thatched-hut village with a quaint dirt road overflowing with a flock of sheep and stranding a Land Rover. Well, I never saw anything like that. That’s the danger of setting expectations — you go thinking you’re going to get a particular type of shot, but then the reality of where you wind up sets in you’re disappointed with your shots, (which I was), and it’s not Ireland’s fault, and its not the weather’s fault. It’s my fault. I should have gone open to whatever came my way, instead of standing there saying “This isn’t what I was really looking for. It must be somewhere else here.”

Now that the trip is over, and I put my photo book together (seen here), I’m happier with what I got then I was while I was there, but it sure makes me want to go back and capture those giant waves crashing against the coast, and sheep in the streets, and sweeping landscapes under crisp blue skies. I now have a better idea where I want to go when I go back, and I have some specific locations I want to return to. I also want more than five days.

Contrast this with Cuba or India
In India, I had a guide and driver, and it was just Kalebra and I so we could cover a lot of ground each day.  If I saw something I wanted to shoot, the driver would just literally pull over. If I wanted to shoot a particular thing, the guide knew right where to take me. Same thing in Cuba. But in Ireland, we were literally on our own  — seven of us in two rental cars, so it definitely changes how you shoot on your trip.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, it’s only about my photography failures, because I had one of my best vacations ever (and we got to celebrate my wife’s birthday while we were there, which was a blast). I saw a beautiful country, met some lovely people, I watched Olympic boxing in a pub with a pint of Murphy’s, I got to stay in an amazing castle, watched my daughter learn archery (and she rocked it!), watched my son row across a still lake in the morning mist, saw my wife experience a life-long dream (I’ll leave that for her to tell on her G+ page), and saw my brother make a beautiful chip up out of the bunker right and land right near the hole on the 18th green. We had lots of laughs, wonderful meals, and at one point we almost drove straight into a stream (another story, with more laughs). It really was a perfect trip, and set me up to go back again when photography is the focus, and I can’t wait to go again to shoot, and to return once again for another family vacation just like it.

Thanks to everyone here and on my Google+ page who sent me ideas on where to visit, where to shoot, where to stay, where to eat, and what not to miss. I missed some of it, but now I have a perfect excuse to go back to one of the most beautiful, warm, welcoming places I’ve ever seen. :-)

If you’re a Kelby Training Online subscriber, you’ve gotta check out Joe McNally’s new class. Here’s the description:

Join Joe on the set with professional dancers as he teaches you how to respond to the grace and elegance of the dancers with an equally graceful light. This class is all about matching a light to a move, where you start out with the set as an empty box that you fill with your creativity and imagination. As the dancers work through different moves Joe shows you how to light them with both studio strobes and speedlights to achieve a variety of looks, all the while sharing the tips, techniques, and tricks he's learned over his impressive 30-year career.

Joe wrote about the class in his own words, and if you’ve got a quick minute, it’s worth the read (here’s the link). Then go watch the class  (we add a new class every week)

If you’re not a subscriber to our online training, here are all the details. 

 

http://youtu.be/DJPs3j8K1-E

Hi Gang: First, watch that 60-second video above, and then come back here for what the video didn’t tell you (no peeking — go watch the video clip first — plus, you get to hear me speak French, which I usually reserve for special occassions).

OK, here’s what it didn’t tell you
It’s a two-part class; the first part is the “how to shoot” part, which is around an hour and half long, shot on location in Paris, France (the ideal place to shoot a travel photography class). By the way; the class isn’t about how to shoot Paris — it’s just filmed in Paris  — it’s about shooting travel photography in general.

In the second part  of the class, I take the images shot in the Part One, and go through the entire Lightroom / Photoshop workflow and post-processing, from start to finish. We do all the Camera Raw editing, stitching of Panos, retouching, the whole nine yards starting with the raw photos right out of the camera. That 2nd part is three and half hours of in-depth training. Of course, you don’t have to watch all three and half hours — you can jump right to technique you want to learn if you like, but at least all totaled it’s around FIVE hours of travel photography techniques and post-processing.

There have been two online classes that I have been over-the-top excited about; one was my “Crush the Composition” class and the other is this travel class. I really feel like it’s going to help a lot of folks get the best travel photos they’ve ever taken. It’s very pragmatic, straight to the point, packed with techniques you can really use. If you’re a Kelby Training Subscriber, I hope you’ll check out the class when it’s released later today right here. If you’ve haven’t subscribed to Kelby Training, n’attendez pas une autre minute. Joignez maintenant.!!! :)

One of the most frustrating things about photography gear is that sometimes there are SO many options available to you, it makes it challenging to find exactly what you want. It’s why so many photographers I know (yours truly included) have so many different camera bags, and lenses, and tripods, and filters on and on. We’ll all searching for “the one” that will do everything we want.

Every once in a while, you find it.
Just like I’ve been searching for the perfect iPad portfolio App. There’s a bunch out there, but none of them did all the things I wanted one to do. Some did most of what I wanted, and some did some of what I wanted (and believe me, I tried them all), but I have finally found it. Best of all, it’s only $12.99. I’m not sure I have anything photography related that only costs $12.99.

It’s called FolioBook Photo Portfolio (by Architek, Limited).
While I was on vacation last week, I read another photographer raving about it (I wish I could remember who it was, because I’d like to give him/her credit), and the weird thing is, after I read it, I thought to myself, “Don’t I already have that App?” I did. I just had an older version. Now it’s at 3.0 and the free update addressed some of the things that I felt were missing. I was one happy camper.

Here’s why I love it
(1) First, it lets you create a custom splash screen and layout (that’s mine above — I went with a clean simple look, but it’s very customizable, and you can create separate splash screens for horizontal or vertical layouts). You can import logos and/or background images, and this splash screen is what you see when you launch the App, so it lets you just hand it to somebody and they’re ready to roll. Also, you can lock it down so they can’t accidentally make any edits or mess up the presentation.

(2) You can have as many galleries as you want (well, as many as you have space on screen for anyway), with up to 200 images per gallery.

(3) You can import images already on your iPad, or directly from Dropbox (which is what I used, since I prepped all my images on my laptop. Also, you can upload up to 200 images at once.

By the way, if you have an iPad 3 with the Retina Display, you’re definitely going to want to use higher resolution images (like 2038 x 1053 pixels). When you use the higher resolution like that, the images really look incredible. Otherwise, they look a little soft (not the fault of the App, it’s a screen resolution thing).

(4) You can drag and drop to arrange your photos in the order you want in a thumbnail view (as seen above).

(5) It’s got a great slideshow with different transitions, and it can play background music behind your slideshow, and it’s very simple to configure and use (that’s the pop-down controls shown above).

(6) You can email any photo in your port right from the App itself, so if someone wants a comp, or you want to share an image for any reason, you can do it right there.

(7) I think if any one thing put me over the top, it is the amount of customization you can do. You can really get things just the way you want them (I didn’t realize quite how much you can do until I watched their online video demos, which I strongly suggest, because if not you’ll go hunting for stuff you know it can do, but you’re not sure how). By the way, any time you’re looking in a gallery, you can have a row of thumbnails appear (as seen above) by just swiping down from the top of the screen.

What would I change?
If there is one thing I would change, it’s pretty minor, but it just feels weird. Once you’re looking at a gallery, to return to your main screen (your splash screen with links to your other galleries), you have to do a pinch gesture to shrink the image that’s on screen down to 1/2 its size, the the main screen appears. I’ve been using this App a lot, and I just can’t get used to that. It seems like there’s got to be a better way than pinching, but I’m not quite sure what that might be (tapping once in the corner? Swiping up instead of left/right? I dunno, but pinching just really doesn’t feel right.

The Bottomline
Outside of that one thing I would change, I’m amazed at what it can do for just $12.99. It’s clean, flexible, easy to use, and I love the “client” mode where you can just have them tap the app icon and it’s in presentation mode — ready to go. This is the iPad portfolio App I’ve been waiting for. Thank you Architek, Limited. This is one search I can now stop. Ahhh, now if they only made a laptop bag. ;-)

Here’s the link to it on the App store (or of course you can just go to the App store on your iPad).

 

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