Category Archives Photography

Don’t Forget our LIVE “Cyber Monday” episode of D-Town TV (The FREE weekly show for DSLR Shooters), is today, as we broadcast live from B&H Photo’s massive store in New York City.

TODAY: at 2:30 pm EST.

CLICK THIS LINK: right here.

We also have a BIG giveaway during the live show, plus we’ll be answering your questions LIVE, so you don’t want to miss it!!!! (the video below has all the details). :)

And yeah baby, my Bears won 16-0!!!!! (That makes the Bears 7 and 3 this season, and puts them in first place baby, yeah!!!). OK, I had to get that out of my system first. Now, onto the shoot (and my near freak out!):

The game was a week ago Thursday night in Miami at Sun Life Stadium. The shot above was just a glimpse of the really tough night Miami back-up quarterback Tyler Thigpen had, as he gets sacked and fumbles (he was sacked numerous times and flushed out of the pocket and had to scramble all night long). He actually played fairly well, but their offense could never put enough together to really get in the game.

(Above: I love this shot because you can see the Dolphins Wide Receiver Davone Bess literally running right over his own Center, Cory Procter).

I got to the shoot the game from the sidelines alongside my buddy, Bears Chairman Mike McCaskey (who snagged some awesome shots, as usual), and we had a ball. I even had more than usual, because I got to ride from the team hotel to the Stadium on the Team Bus (which included a full police escort all the way, and then I got to hang out with the team in the Bears Locker room before and after the game.

It was all I Could Do To Keep From Freaking Out!
About two hours before the game, Mike and I are in the locker room, and we’re getting out our gear, and I attach my 400mm f/2.8 and this one guy starts asking me about it, and when I use my other lenses, and we’re talking about stuff (he wasn’t a photographer—just a guy being curious), and the whole time I’m talking to him, inside I’m thinking: “Oh My God!!!! You’re Greg Olson!!! You’re on my Fantasy Football Team!!!!” but you’ll be proud to know that I didn’t do that, or squeal like a 12-year-old girl, but I sure wanted to.

I’m driving Mike crazy the whole time, because I’m standing like three feet from Julius Peppers, and I’m telling Mike, “Dude, that’s Julius Peppers!!!! Do you know how good that guy is?” (of course, Mike just nods and laughs at me). It was wild being just a few feet from Brian Urlacher, and Jay Cutler, and Devin Hester, and well…it was all I could do to keep from freaking out, but I managed to hold it together. A very memorable experience already and we hadn’t even stepped on the field yet.

(Above: Not an action shot, but I like this shot of Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher because I liked the ray the stadium lights provided a rim-light effect behind him. Plus, he just looks like somebody you wouldn’t want to mess with).

Camera Settings
Being able to shoot at f/2.8 (with my 400mm and my 70-200mm) rather than at f/4, even though it’s just a one-stop difference, allows me to shoot at ISO 1600 for a night game like this, rather than at 4,000 ISO. It’s not just the lower noise—the contrast and color are dramatically better at 1,600 than at 4,000. As always, I shot in Aperture Priority mode on both cameras, and in JPEG mode (gasp!) on both cameras.

A Few To Take Us Out
I’ve got a lot of other stuff today to cover today, being Black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year in US), and all, so I’ll just show a few more shots to wrap thing up.

An incredibly memorable shoot
I won’t soon forget this one, because it was the first time Mike and I got to shoot an entire game together, and of course, riding over on the team bus, hanging out in the locker room, and getting to see the Bears, my adopted team, get another win in a great season, was just a ton of fun. I’m going to hate to see football season end.

Nighttime in New York City

A week or so ago my buddy RC Concepcion stops by my office and he’s showing me some great night photos he took of the New York City skyline (seen here and below). I asked where he shot them from, and he told me some were taken from the top of Rockefeller Center, and some from the top of the Empire State Building.

Since these were night shots, he’d need a tripod to get shots that sharp, but neither of those places allows you to shoot with a tripod. In fact, they pretty much confiscate your tripod if you even walk in the front door with one (of course, they tag it, and give it back when you leave).

So I asked RC how he got permission to shoot with a tripod, and he said he actually didn’t use a tripod at all—then he let me in on a little trick that he’s been using that so far hasn’t raised any eyebrows, but still gives great tripod like results for low light shooting.

He said he: …”uses a Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Magic Arm with Camera Bracket and a Manfrotto Super Clamp Without Stud. B&H Photo offers them together as a kit, but the arm is different – it has a lever instead of the ball tensioner” (which RC thinks is better).

He told me, “On both the Top of the Rock and The Empire State Building there are protection fences that are pretty sturdy. You can attach the arm to the structure and fire away.” (that’s the rig shown at right—you can see it clamped to the fence, and it gives you a lot of freedom as to where you position the camera).

The shot you see below was done using this same rig, but it was shot from the observatory at the top of the Empire State Building.

Anyway, I had just never thought to use a Magic Arm and Clamp for situations where tripods aren’t allowed (that RC guy is pretty clever). Anyway, my thanks to RC for the photos, and for letting share his cool tip with you guys. :)

Flatiron Building at Dusk.

Two weekends ago I got an assignment from Southcreek Global Media to shoot the 2010 Foster Grant Ironman Triathlon World Championships, held in Clearwater Beach, Florida (the image above is from the start of the race. As luck would have it, the athlete I focused in on wound up coming in third).

I had never shot any kind of Triathlon before (and honestly, I didn’t know that much about them), so I had to do a lot of research before the shoot to get an idea of what kind of coverage to provide. Even at that, it was a real learning experience, and now that I’ve got one under my belt, I already know all the things I’d do differently next time.

Above: The panning shot above was taken in Manual mode, at 1/50 of a second, so I could blur the background as I panned with the cyclist. Southcreek Global chose this shot, and the one at the top, for their “Hot Shots” gallery (it’s the first time any of my images were chosen to be in “Hot Shots,” so I was pretty psyched!).

The race started just minutes before dawn (at 6:45 am), as the first wave of 1,700+ athletes (including men’s and women’s pros) swam for 1.2 miles, bicycled 56 miles, and then ran a 13.1 mile half-marathon. The shot above was taken near the start of the cycling part of the event. The sun hadn’t been up for too long, so it was still a warm color, and I took a whole series of these slow panning shots directly into the sun.

(Above: This was one taken as the first of the men’s pros reached the beach. I shot this with my 200-400mm f/4 lens on a Nikon D3).

(Above: Here’s the first wave of men’s pros racing for the beach).

(Above: Once the swimmers hit the beach, they run through these showers to get the salty sea water off, but as they’re running through, most of them are already stripping off their wet suits, but even with all the swimming, cycling, and running, the race comes down to literally seconds, so every one counts. This shot was taken with a D700, using the new Nikon 28-300mm lens, out at 24mm. It worked out amazingly well for a daylight shoot like this).

The shot was taken outside the photographer’s area, so I had to fight my way through the crowd to get this shot. Sadly, it was the only one without the guy standing next to me’s arm in it, holding his cell phone out in front of us both, shooting video. And no—unfortunately I’m not allowed to clone his arm out when covering an event like this.

(Above: My brother Jeff was at the race with me—I stayed at his condo the night before which was right near the start point for the race, and since it started at 6:45 am, and I live an hour away, it worked out great. He’s the one that spotted this shot for me. While I was shooting the previous shot, after the runner’s had come through the shower, he was at the other end, and said I should check out the view from the other end because the sun was beaming through the water. I headed down there, got inside the photographer’s area, got down on my knees, and thanks to Jeff got the shot you see above).

(Above: Last year’s winner, Michael Raelert from Germany, was favored to win again this year, except for the fact that not one previous winner had ever repeated, but all the buzz was about him, so I wanted to make sure I got a number of photos of him just in case. As it turned out, he won, and that’s him above, and in the very last image of this post).

(Above: Another panning shot taken on the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge, and key part of the course, and one that connects downtown Clearwater with the beaches. This one’s taken a 1/60 of a second. The sun is fully up at this point so I’m having to shoot at f/22 to keep everything from being way overexposed and totally blowing out).

(Above: I got this shot of the runner getting splashed with Gatorade as he goes through a water station. The thing I like best about this shot, is the reflection of the downtown buildings in his sunglasses, but I also like the way at first you don’t notice the cup, and it looks like he’s got an invisible bottle of water).

(Above: I took a number of shots at the water station, positioned behind the runners heading into the sun, so the water they’re splashing to cool down would be back-lit. Plus, I thought it was cool that he was representing the U.S. Army).

(Above: Here’s Michael Raelert, the two-time race winner during the third and final leg, just minutes before his big win).

The Wrap Up
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect shooting an Ironman event like this, and while I didn’t go in knowing exactly what to shoot, exactly where to be and when, and how to expose for it all, I sure learned a lot this time, and know better what to do next time. I feel pretty lucky to get the shots that I did get (and that Southcreek not only picked those two for their Hot Shots gallery, but picked one for rotation on their home page all week).

Thanks to Kathy and the gang at Southcreek Global for having the confidence in me to send me out to shoot something totally new for me, and thanks to you guys for letting me share my first triathlon shoot with you here on the blog.

Hi gang: I had really hoped to have something really meaty for today, but instead we have some shots from a college football sideline shoot I did last week: USF Bulls vs. Rutgers (the mid-air shuttle pass shot above is one of my favorites from the game).

Here’s Why:
OK, it may be partially my fault (OK, more than partially), but Matt, Brad Moore, and RC must share the blame because we all started playing the just-released Call of Duty: Black Ops (on XBox LIVE) at around 9:00 pm, and it is now 1:42 am, and we just this minute signed off, and I haven’t written one word yet of today’s blog post (well, except for the few sentences you just read, of course), and I’m pretty beat, so this is mostly going to be just shots from the game.

The Good News
The good news is: I’m already at Level 20, I’ve unlocked the Famas Assault Rifle (which is an automatic rifle in Black Ops, versus the three-round burst model in Modern Warfare 2), and I’m a pretty decent shot with the Red Dot sight attached (though Matt is the undisputed Call of Duty pro out of all of us guys). Anyway, great game, lots of fun playing online and trash-talkin’ with the guys, but of course it totally wrecked my night and any hope of getting a good night’s sleep. Now, onto the shoot before I nod off.

(Above: At one point in the middle of the game, I’m moving along the sidelines and I hear “Scott Kelby!!! Scott Kelby!!!!, and I turn around and look in the stands and the guy you see above is yelling to me, “I’m a NAPP member!” I thought that was so cool!!!! He yelled “Take my picture” and of course, I obliged. I love his smile and the fact that I heard his voice out of the 30,000+ screaming fans).

The Specs
It’s the same rig I normally use for a night game (here’s the link), but for the first half I tried something different. On my second body I usually have my 70-200mm f/2.8, but I decided to try the 24-70mm f/2.8 to capture more of a wide view when a team scores, but I wasn’t happy with it at all and changed back to the 70-200mm at halftime. The reason was: there was just no separation, even at 70mm at f/2.8 because nothing was close enough to camera to create a shallow depth of field, so everything was in focus, the shots looked pretty “snap-shotty” so I switched back.

I know a lot of guys still go this route, with a wide on their second (or third) body, especially if they’re hoping to capture an image that might run double truck (a two-page spread), and in which case I would go to the wide angle 24mm look, and hope the play happened right in front of you, like a fade to the corner, but again, you’d have to get lucky. Other than that, the rest was the same (but I have to tell you—-I am so loving that 400mm f/2.8 (and that new lens smell).

It was a great game that night. Wonderful weather, and my buddy Andy Gregory was there (SAMSAU), and we had a lot of fun just hanging out (shooting football is a lot more fun with a buddy, even if it has to be Andy, but I recommend you shoot with someone much more fun). Totally kidding (sorry Andy, I couldn’t help myself).

(Above: This is another of my favorites. Last time I shot the team coming out onto the field from behind, but this time I thought I’d get out there as they came through the CO2 smoke curtain. I like the way #51 is looking right at the camera).

(Above: Here’s the team celebrating with the fans after the big win. I usually don’t do much post production to my sports shots, outside of contrast and sharpening (especially if I’m shooting on assignment), but in this case, I threw the book at it—it looks much better larger, so click on it for a larger view).

Here’s what I did:
I added an extreme contrast special effect to the entire image, then a dark edge vignette all the way around using the Lens Correction filter, and I even added the Lens Flare you see in the lights in the top right corner in Photoshop by adding a new layer; filling it with black; running Photoshop’s Lens Flare filter [using the default settings] then I changed the layer blend mode to Screen so it blends in with the rest of the image, then dragged the Lens Flare up in that corner. It’s a bit over-the-top, but for some reason, I still like it).

Well, that’s it for this Friday, late night post, folks. I have a fun post for Monday, so I hope you’ll join me then (by then I should be a level 25 or so), and I hope you all have a great weekend! :-)

Hey gang, it’s still Brad :)

Scott was recently featured on Nik Radio for their Pro Talk segment.  It’s around a 55-minute interview with Scott Sheppard that you can stream here or download from iTunes.  Other episodes of Nik Radio include interviews with Vincent Versace, Moose Peterson, Rick Sammon, Jim DiVitale, and lots of other great photographers, so be sure to check them out.

Alright, that’s all the pimpy for today!