Category Archives Photography

… and it sure looked it! :(

(Above: That’s the game winning goal in Overtime above. Not a pretty shot, but then, none of them really were).

I absolutely love shooting ice hockey!
I’m just no good at it yet. Not only was it my first time shooting ice hockey, it was my first time at an ice hockey game. It was (as expected) a rough night. How rough was it? Well, I actually registered the domain you see below last night after I uploaded my photos to the wire service I was shooting for.

But I Still Had to Submit Photos
I was able to upload 25 shots to Southcreek Global that were, well….let’s say they were in focus. I think the puck might have actually even appeared briefly in one or two of those shots, but that’s purely by coincidence.

Here’s a capture from my Lightroom grid below of the uploads. They’d look better bigger (photos usually do), but not good enough that I want to put 25 of them nice and big here (though I’ll probably post a gallery later today over at my Google+ page, at

I learned a BUNCH!!!!
The only reason I was able to send in anything at all, was that I did do a decent amount of research first, starting with the magical unicorn of sports photography, Dave Black, who gave me some great pointers and tips (but after seeing these would probably disavow knowing me). I also learned a ton from Bob DeChiara (a sports shooter from the Boston area, whom I met during my seminar tour up there, who shoots for US Presswire). He was a huge help, and had lots of very specific tips that helped me limp through the night. Without those two guys, I would have been totally sunk.

(Above: this was my home for the night. I sat right there the whole time, praying a puck didn’t come flying through that little hole in the glass I was supposed to shoot through. The opening is just big enough for a 70-200mm lens).

I did have a support team
Unlike when you shoot football, the other photographers shooting the game were really nice, friendly, and helpful (though they did sit me down and fill me with horror stories of things to look out for safety wise, complete with stories of busted lips, broken noses, two 70-200mm lenses smashed to bits in just 8 months, having to get stitches, and they put enough fear in me that I wouldn’t even put my lens through the tiny hole in the glass until at least the 2nd period. I was a tad freaked out (and after shooting the game, I think it was with good reason).

Scott Audette, the Lightning’s Team Photographer (and a kick-butt photographer) and his crew were great. They knew it was my first game, and they were really helpful, fun guys, who kind of showed me the ropes and kept me from being maimed for at least my first game.

My Gear and Camera Settings
One lens. One body. A Nikon D3s with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (that’s what they were all shooting). Here’s the thing: the lighting in the arena was fantastic!!! (I’m not sure that sentence has ever been written before in sports photography history). They had just installed tons of new lights since every game is now broadcast in HD and I was able to shoot as 400 ISO, which is insanely low. Although I mostly shot at ISO 640, I would occasionally look and see my shutter speed at like 1/2000 of a second. This my friends, was a gift. I shot at f/2.8 the whole time (as usual).

I will say this: being limited to 200mm on a full frame camera using the 70-200mm lens was tough. I could cover the goal in front of me, but the far goal was just about off limits with that short a lens (however, my 300mm f/2.8 wouldn’t fit through the opening in the glass—not a chance). Since the lighting is so good, I think I’d probably try adding a 1.4 tele-converter at the next game, or I’ll take a D300s, so I get the advantage of the crop factor, and my 200mm will become a 300mm.

Even a thousand mile journey, must begin with but one step [gong]
OK, I know I kinda sucked my first time out, but I know this—I’m a fast learner (if “learner” is even a word). I picked up so much from that one shoot, and I am confident that I’ll do 100% better next game, and the next and the next. You can read about this stuff until the cows come one, but nothing beats actually doing it to spike your learning curve in a very dramatic way. In fact, I’m so confident I’m going to do dramatically better, that I seriously registered another domain with last night:

The bottom-line
The bottom line is—I had a ball. I liked shooting hockey much more than I thought I would. The action is incredibly fast, and having to shoot through a tiny hole, with both eyes open to avoid getting clobbered when they hit the wall, and never moving from that one position all night, didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it one bit. In fact, it just made me want to get to my next shoot faster, so I can get better at it quicker (cause there’s only one way to get good at something—practice it a bunch).

It was just like what everybody had told me—the single hardest sport to shoot. I was skeptical when I first heard that. Now I know they’re absolutely right on the money. Nevertheless, it was a great night of learning, frustration and fun, and I just can’t wait to do it all again!!!

A heartfelt thank you to the American Society of Photographers ( for presenting me with their ASP International Award (below). Here’s a little bit about the award from the ASP:

“Our Society presents this award annually to a firm or person that we feel has contributed in a special or significant way to the ideals of Professional Photography as an art and a science.”

It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award, particularly given the previous recipients, including George Hurrell, Dr. Edwin Land (inventor of the Polaroid), Thomas Knoll, Jay Stock, Graham Nash, and Robert Farber among others.

I would like to thank all the talented and gifted photographers who?ve taught me so much over the years: Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Vincent Versace, Bill Fortney, David Ziser, Jim DiVitale, Helene Glassman, Anne Cahill, Kevin Ames, Frank Doorhof, Jack Reznicki and Jay Maisel. I’m greatly indebted to these amazing photographers and I share this award with them.

I found a wonderful place in my office to keep this beautiful award, and each time I look at it I’ll be reminded of the recipients who came before me and how truly humbled and grateful I am to the American Society of Photographers to have presented me with this prestigious award.

I just learned about this week long workshop, taught by night photography expert, Gabe Biderman and Rocky Mountain School of Photography instructor and landscape photographer Tim Cooper, and once I read about what they’re doing, I was dying to go!!!!

You spend your days in the classroom with Gabe and Tim learning about the camera techniques and post processing for night photography (along with image reviews), and then at night you’re on location in some amazing locales in an intense 6-day total immersion into night photography. What I really loved about this (beside the instructors) is the variety of nighttime shooting opportunities—from shooting Vegas at night to the surreal nightscapes of the Valley of Fire and Zion National Park.

What they’re teaching
They’re going to be teaching everything from mastering star trails to pro techniques for capturing celestial skies, and they’re going to work ya hard but you’re going to learn more in that 6-days than you can imagine. Plus, they just announced that one of their nights in Vegas will be spent in the famous NEON BONEYARD!!! (this collection of over 150 neon signs from the 30?s-90?s will be available to workshop students at night for a 3 hour shoot!! They will be teaching workshop participants how to light paint and breath life back into those nostalgic old signs that have never been accessible to shoot at night before!)

While I haven’t gotten to meet Tim in person yet, Gabe is a personal friend of mine and an incredibly talented fine art photographer (I’ve called Gabe many times over the years for advice and gear recommendations, plus he’s led my New York City World Wide Photo Walks), and I wish I could be there with them—-it just sounds like an amazing experience, (and it’s going to be for some very lucky folks).

Here’s the link with all the details, but check it out soon because it’s coming up March 4th – 9th, so if you can, make plans to join them. If you go, make sure you share some of the photos you got during the workshop with me when you get back, because my favorite shot from the workshop is going to win a full conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in DC (or Vegas—their choice!).

Man, it sure felt like more, but as it turned out,I only shot 10 football games this entire season (I’m not complaining on any level—I just sure thought it was more). They were:

  1. Notre Dame vs. Michigan State
  2. Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Indianapolis Colts
  3. San Francisco 49ers vs. NY Giants
  4. USF Bulls vs. Miami Hurricanes
  5. New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
  6. Marshall Thundering Herd vs. FIU Golden Panthers
  7. Tennessee Titans vs. the Cincinnati Bengals
  8. Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings
  9. Countryside Cougars (High School Football)
  10. Georgia vs. Michigan State

And as we’re kicking off this New Year, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much shot with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: Nikon D3s and D3. Main lens: 400mm f/2.8. Secondary lenses: 70-200 f/2.8, 24-70mm f.2/8, and 10.5mm fisheye.  NOTE:  These look much better larger, so please click on them to see a larger size). Here they are (in no particular order).


There ya have it, folks—-my favorite shots from this season. Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts here this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it’s been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)

Hi everybody—-it’s time (well, it’s a bit overdue) for my 3rd annual “Best of 2011 Awards” (Well, it’s not actually my 3rd best of 2011; it’s my 3rd “Best of” awards but you know what I mean).

It’s important to note once again that I didn’t say “Best photography gear” or “Best Photoshop stuff” (though both of those are represented). Instead, this is just my favorite “bestest” stuff from 2011, (including things like songs, movies, travel stuff, food, etc.) presented in no particular order.

Hope it starts off your New Year right! (By the way; make sure you read my disclaimers at the end of the list). Here we go:


My Best Switcharoo of 2011:
Switching from Sirius Satellite Radio to XM
Even though they’re owned by the same company, Sirius XM, the station selection on XM is much better, and it has the best stations from Sirius already.

Most-receptive crowd to present to in 2011:
My LSR seminar in Toronto.
Those folks were awesome! Can’t wait to go back!

Best iPad App:
Photo Manager Pro
I’ve tried about every portfolio app for the iPad, but this one is the easiest, and most flexible

Best App for frequent travelers:
It finds which airport you’re at, and tells you what’s there, in every terminal, from restaurants to airport lounges, gift shops to ATMs, and it saves you a ton of time.

Best iPad game:
Temple Run
I could have had at least two more books written if it wasn’t for this addicting game.

Best Photoshop plug-in Update:
Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4
My most-used plug-in of the year 

My pick for best up-and-coming plug-in for 2011:
Topaz Detail
It’s “Freaky Detail” in a plug-in

Best new retouching plug-in:
OnOne’s Perfect Portrait
This one stands alone 

Best iPad Photo Editing App:
Apple chose it as their App of the Year. I’m not surprised.  

Best thing in 2011 for photographers that’s not a camera, lens, or lighting:
An incredibly vibrant, active community of photographers and it’s growing like a weed.

Best place to show your images online:
500px (link)
Plus, their iPad App is a fantastic place to go for photo inspiration.

Best place to get cool, inexpensive gifts for photographers:
PhotoJojo’s Store  (link)
They have the most clever stuff anywhere!

Best game of 2011:
Call of Duty MW3 for XBox Live
I can’t imagine the cool things I could have accomplished this year had it not been released

Best iPhone App for Photographers:
True HDR

Best Restaurant Find of 2011:
Max Brenner’s in NYC
I’m not a chocolate fanatic, but this place could convert me

Best fun new restaurant:

Best New Blog for Photographers:
Great information, including lots of cool HDR stuff, from photographer Elia Locardi

Best Blog for Fashion Photographers:
Great resource and wonderful photography from Melissa Rodwell

Best New Studio Accessories of 2011
The gear from Tether Tools 
I’m hooked on their tethering accessories. It’s not cheap, but it’s not cheap!

Best Point-and-Shoot Camera of 2011
The iPhone 4s 
I love it because it’s always with me. 8-megapixels; I can edit and process “in camera” and upload to the Web directly from my “camera” or send the photo I just took as an email.  

> Best new tech blog:
The Verge
Great reporting with a fantastic layout 

> Best gadget of 2011:
Brilliantly simple desktop cord management from

Best Photoshop Book of 2011
Matt Kloskowski’s “Compositing Secrets” (link)
I wish I had written it, but if I had, it wouldn’t have been as good 

> Best book every serious photography should own:
“The Photographer’s Survival Guide,” by Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki (link)
Don’t let the name through you off; it’s about model releases, copyright, and stuff you really need to know

> Best Prime Rib of 2011:
Keen’s Steakhouse on West 36th in New York City
When they serve it, it looks like something you’d see on the Flintstone’s

> Best burger of 2011:
Hands down it was Plan B in Hartford Connecticut

> Best burger in NYC:
Shake Shack
There’s a reason you have to wait 30 minutes in line to get in.

> Best Live Show I Saw in 2011:
Rock of Ages

Best Live Concert I Saw in 2011:
Rod Stewart at Caesar’s Palace
Some guys have all the luck :)

Best thing I added to my Mac in 2011:
Mac OS X Lion
Much better than I thought. Lots of great little improvements, and iCloud integration rocks!

Best business book of 2011:
Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

Another that comes close:
“Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Best really handy accessory for hot shoe flash:
Rogue Gels
I never mind paying for things that make my job easier 

Best romantic comedy I saw in 2011:
Crazy Stupid Love

Best romantic movie to watch again during the holidays:
Love Actually

Best movie that wanted to be good, but really wasn’t:
Massive holes in the plot sunk this one for me

Best movie that was so bad it was kinda good:
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
We wound up seeing this as part of my wife’s new “Date Night Movie Roulette” where you’re not allowed to even look at what’s playing until after dinner. Then you go to the movies, and see whatever’s playing at that time. H&K was all that was on. It was so bad, it was good.

Best list I was surprised (yet thrilled) to be included in:
Top 10 Best Portrait Photographers Today
(link) Toby

Best Old School Style Song I bought in 2011:
Diverse City by Mac
(iTunes Link)
“It’s like a freak show, in your neighborhood”

Best Golden Oldie I added to my iPod:
Duke of Earl by Gene Chandler (iTunes Link)
“As I walk through this world, nothing can stop….the Duke of Earl”

Best Classic Rock Song From A Band I’d Never Heard Of:
Inside Out by XYZ (iTunes Link)

Best old R&B song I added:
Don’t Stop by Jeffery Osborne
(iTunes Link)

Best classic rock song I added:
Be Good to Yourself by Journey (iTunes Link)

Best new song:
So Help Me God by Fireflight (iTunes Link)

Coolest kinda-jazzy but yet kinda alternative song I bought in 2011:
Hello City by Bare Naked Ladies (iTunes Link)

Best song I bought after hearing it on my son’s iPod:
Dear X: You Don’t Own Me by Disciple (iTunes Link)

Best Country Song I bought in 2011:
That’s What I love About Sunday, by Craig Morgan (iTunes Link)

Best Band I Never Though I’d have on my iPod:
Sixx: A.M.

Best New Song:
Stand, by Lenny Kravitz
(iTunes Link)

Best guitar-related gift I got in 2011:
A Hartke Kickback 12 Bass Amp (link)

Best new reason to love England:
Tim Wallace

He makes we want to grab my camera, and a bucket of water, and shoot!

Best new photographer to learn from:
Cliff Mautner
I can’t believe how much I learned from watching his online class. 

Best Day Trip of 2011:
Flying to Cedar Key, Florida with my wife as the pilot

Best bargain in lighting in 2011:
Westcott’s Giant 7′ Parabolic Shoot Through Umbrellas
The megapixel race is over. Now, it’s whoever dies with the biggest modifier, wins (Link)

Best way to start a fight since mentioning HDR:
Mention that your App is only available for the iPad


I could be totally wrong about any of these—they’re just my opinions

(2) Some of these things could have actually come out in 2009, or even 2008. I’m old and lose track of time easily.

(3) If you disagree with any of my picks, that’s OK.

(4) If some of my picks make you seething mad, and you want to post mean comments to me, remember—you can start your own blog today, for free, and by this afternoon you can post your own list (don’t worry—everybody will agree with all your picks). Here’s a good place to start (link).

Well, that’s it gang. I’m always on the lookout for great anything (songs, movies photo gear, iPhone/iPad Apps, restaurants, travel tips, etc.), so if you have something I missed on my list, just let me know.

On Wednesday’s episode of “The Grid” (our weekly talk show about photography, broadcast live each Wednesdays), I took some time at the end of the show to answer a lot of the questions people had here on the blog about how I post processed the images seen in my photo book from my recent trip to India (link to my “Four Days in India Part 1, and Part 2 from earlier this week).

The video clip above shows the Lightroom [Camera Raw] and Photoshop tweaks I did to the image, but there’s also some talk about shooting portraits on the streets, including a great street shooting tip from Zack Arias who was our in-studio guest. Lots of fun on the show (our topic was our Predictions for 2012 for the photo industry), and if want to catch the full episode (Zack was an awesome guest), you can watch it free online right here.

Have a great weekend everybody, and join me here Monday for my annual “Best of 2011” post.