Category Archives Photography

Hail! Magazine, is a new online magazine for Washington Redskins fans, and even if you’re not a Redskins fan (like my assistant Kathy Siler, who redefines what it means to be a Redskins fanatic), you still need to check out this magazine for two reasons:

(1) It’s so incredibly well done, that it looks like an online edition of a full printed magazine. Really great layouts, with a clean, tight design.
(2) The photography is just fantastic. Very “SI” like, with big feature photo spreads that really draw you in to the articles.

If you’ve got two minutes, check out the current edition of Hail! right here.

Congrats to Hail! editor Brian Murphy and the whole team at Hail! magazine. Now, can you do an edition for the Bears and the Bucs? ;-)

Hi gang: I’m at the airport and I just this minute starting looking at my images from last night’s game, and found this one of Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tossing a pass in mid-air after being flushed from the pocket by the Bears defense (Julius Peppers was awesome, by the way). Click on the image for a larger view.

This was shot at 1,600 ISO, at f/2.8 at 1/1000 of a second on a Nikon D3s.

They’re boarding my flight, but I wanted to at least get one shot up there. Have a great Tuesday!

Hi Gang: It’s 2:00 AM Chicago time (so 3:00 am for me, whose internal clock is on East Coast time), and I just got back to my hotel room after a sideline shoot of the BIG Chicago Bears win over the Green Bay Packers.

RC sent me the screen cap above of the ESPN TV broadcast last night as I wound up on the air a couple of times. My cell phone kept going off with texts from friends saying “I just saw you on TV.’ I just saw you again!” I was cracking up!

The highlight of the game was getting to shoot the 2nd half with my buddy, and Chicago Bears Chairman Mike McCaskey. He’s a terrific photographer, and he’s shot both college and pro sports but he rarely gets to shoot his own team, but last night he hung out with me shooting on the sidelines and we had a ball (Mike was shooting a 200-400mm f/4, and I was using my 300 f/2.8).

It’s really late, and I’ve got a very early flight (I’m meeting with Adobe’s Lightroom engineering team all day tomorrow, and I’m carrying all your wish list stuff, fix it stuff, and lots of special requests with me to the team, so you guys will be well represented).

Well, I’ve gotta hit the sack. Sorry I don’t have any photos for you guys, but even I haven’t had a chance to look at them myself. Maybe later in the week, but in the meantime, I’ll just have to revel in the fact that the Bears are 3-0, they beat a really tough team, and they’re now the only undefeated team in the NFC.

Thanks to Mike and Nancy for a Monday I won’t soon forget (and a special thanks to Nancy for letting Mike and I have a Lightroom party after the game). Man, what a way to spend a Monday!!!! :-) GO BEARS!!!!

Saturday night I got a chance to shoot the USF Bulls vs. Western Kentucky football game from the sidelines with my buddy sports photographer Andy Gregory. Here are a few of shots from the game. (I got the image above just as the team had gathered in the tunnel to enter the field through an air curtain of C02)

Lens Length vs. ISO & Noise Issues
When I shot the LSU – North Carolina game a few weeks ago, I took my new 300mm f/2.8 lens, and absolutely totally loved it, but you do have to hustle a little more up and down the sidelines to stay close enough to the action. Saturday night, I used my 200-400mm f/4, which worked out pretty darn well because of the extra 100mm reach, but I’m not sure it’s quite as magical as the 300mm f/2.8, with its super-shallow depth of field and the ability to shoot at a lower ISO (plus, losing that one extra stop at f/4 means I have to shoot at least 3,200 ISO the whole night).

(Photo above of yours truly in the tunnel, decked out in knee pads, by Andy Gregory. This was the only in-focus shot Andy took all night. Sorry Andy—I couldn’t help myself)

So, it’s a trade off. I can shoot a 400mm, and get in nice and tight, but it’ll be a little noisier (though I borrowed RC’s D3s to help keep the noise at a minimum). Or I can shoot at 300mm, where I get less noise and sharper photos (because I can shoot at a much lower ISO), but then I’m not in as tight. So, what’s the ideal lens for football? Probably the one I tried to rent from, the 400mm f/2.8 but I was too late—it was already out on rental.

The Lens bottomline
Now that I’ve recently shot with both lenses, if I was shooting another game, like say…tonight’s Bears/Packers Monday Night Football game (Go Bears!), I’d probably take my 300mm f/2.8, for the better depth of field, lower ISO capabilities, and sharper images with probably better color rendition (thanks to the lower ISO as well).

Interesting Side Note
I haven’t shot a college football or NFL night game where there wasn’t a photo credentialed photographer on the sidelines shooting a Canon Rebel, or a Nikon D90 (or equivalent) with a kit zoom lens no longer than 105mm at f/5.6. The noise has got to be brutal for night games or games held in dome stadiums.

Camera Stats:
I used two bodies and two lenses. On the D3s, I used the 200-400mm f/4, at ISO 3,200 at f/4 all night. The second body was D3 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which I shot at 2,000 ISO at f/2.8 all night. Since it’s a sports shoot (and my buddy Paul Abell wasn’t there to shame me into shooting in Raw), I shot in JPEG Fine mode on both cameras.

(Above: I caught a few of the players heading to the USF locker room right after the game. Where I was positioned, there was about a 20 ft. area that was lit by the stadium lights, and then past that it went into shadows. I caught this shot just as the player was moving into the shadow area. I had to brighten his face just a little, and I converted it to black and white to add more drama).

Post Processing
Very little done to these (except the photo below)—no color correction (all shot using Auto White Balance), and just added some contrast here and there and just regular Unsharp Mask sharpening. You have to be careful sharpening images at high ISO, because any noise that’s already in the photos gets amplified. I didn’t use any noise reduction in post either.

Click on it
To really appreciate the shot above, where the bench is calling for the ref to throw a flag for a personal foul, you have to click on it to see the larger contrast enhanced version.

Above: probably my favorite shot from the night—just after USF’s win, #12 high-fives fans as the team leaves the field.

My thanks to the USF Bulls Football organization for having me shoot the game, and to Andy Gregory for putting up with my constant harassment throughout the night (he’s a friend of Matt’s, so he’s used to it).

My good friend Moose Peterson wrote just a fantastic post on his blog last week called “Dreams can take flight”, and while it is about an experience he had in aviation photography where he captured some of those truly once-in-a-lifetime images, his story that led to the photos is about much more than that.

If you want to start off your Monday right, click right here. The images range from fascinating (the ones leading up to the shoot), to just “Wow—I’d have given anything to be there…” type of shots, but take the few minutes to read the whole story. Very powerful stuff, surrounded by very powerful images. You’ll be glad you checked this out.

A few weeks back, I did an interview with Sophia Betz from the blog “The Photoletariat” and one of the questions she asked me “Which photographers inspire you?”

Besides the ones I mention here on the blog (like Moose Peterson, Jay Maisel, Dave Black, and Jeremy Cowart, among others), I listed a number of other photogs whose work I go to when I want to be inspired. People whose work makes me want to grab my camera and start shooting.

The list wound up being so long that Sophia asked if she could run it as a separate post, and last week she did. Here’s the link to the list of photographers that inspire me—some very well known (like Joe McNally) and some you may not have heard of, but I find myself going back to their work again and again. Hope you find some there that inspire you as well.