I had such a great time yesterday shooting with the Falcons (such a great crew to work with). The game was in Tampa, and it was hot! You’d think by nearly January it would be at least in the low 70s, but it was hot as blazes, especially in the first quarter, but even so, it was still so much fun.
I was definitely rusty not having shot all year, but my knee held up nicely (I babied it), and I just had a ball. I got to see and spend some time with my dear friend Rob Foldy (who now leads the photography team at the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United & Mercedes-Benz Stadium).
I also got to shoot once again alongside the Falcon’s own Kara Durrett and sports photographer Mark Brown (both real pros, great shooters, and really awesome people), along with Adler Garfield (just met him — seems like a cool dude). Also, I met Jordan and Max who were part of the Falcon’s crew working the game (very cool, super helpful guys).
I’m just going to share a few shots and then head off to bed. I’m pretty whipped (that Tampa heat takes it out of you. So do all those interceptions).
It case you were wondering if I got that shot where the ref walks right in front of my field of view and draws my camera’s focus point….well, you would not be disappointed (see below). I wish I only had this one.
Referees: Friend to players and the photographers alike
Shooting In Pick County!
It was so great to be back out there shooting football again. Thanks to Rob, Kara, and the Falcons for asking me to shoot with them — I really loved the opportunity and congrats to the Falcons on the win.
I took two camera bodies (as always); both Canon 1Dx’s. On my main body I used my 200-400mm f/4 (which is currently for sale by the way) with a built-in 1.4x tele-extender; supported with a Gitzo monopod. On the 2nd body, I had my 70-200mm f/2.8. I also had my Hoodman Loupe, which is worth its weight in gold during day games like this.
I shot at f/4 all day on the long lens (except for times when I kicked in the tele-extender, then it automatically jumps to f/5.6), and I left my 70-200mm at f/2.8 all day. I shot in Aperture Priority mode with Auto ISO turned on and set to a minimum shutter speed to 1/1000 of a second. I used focus case 1 and shot in RAW (I usually shoot in JPEG for football, but the Falcons requested RAW so RAW it is).
Next stop — Orlando for the Alabama vs Michigan bowl game on New Year’s Day. Not shooting — just watching — for Christmas the wifey bought my son and me great seats for the game (#rolltide!), and we’re both super psyched.
Have a great week everybody — I’m chillin’ till after the first of the year, and then I’m back hitting it hard for 2020!
I think a lot of photographers these days are taking the old adage about “Shooting at Sunrise” too literally, and because of it, they’re missing out on a lot of great shots.
Here’s what I mean: The best light, and amazing skies, and empty streets, and tourist-free areas — the dream of travel photographers everywhere, all happen well before sunrise. The sunrise itself is silently signaling “Here comes the end of your shoot — time for breakfast!” But unfortunately, that seems to be when all the photographers start showing up — right after all the good stuff just ended.
Erik Kuna (Rocket-photographers and my co-host on ‘The Grid’) and I were in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago leading a local photo walk as part of my annual Worldwide Photo Walk. During the walk, we went through Millennium Park, and its most famous feature, the giant chrome-covered “Bean” sculpture (it’s actually named the ‘Cloud Gate sculpture,’ but I’ve yet to hear anyone call it anything other than “The Bean”). Anyway, around 70,000 people visit The Bean each day — it’s absolutely packed with people from morning to night. But Erik decided to get up really early to shoot it. Ya know how many people Erik found when he went to The Bean well before sunrise? Just one.
Not only were there no tourists. There were no photographers. All this beautiful light. Great clouds. No tourists, and not a single photographer in sight. As soon as the great light is gone, and the harsh sun is coming up, here come the photographers, streaming into the park right along with the first groups of tourists. What they wind up getting is kind of crappy light and a bunch of tourists milling around. They missed the great light and tourist-free scene by about 20 to 30 minutes.
The same thing happened this week in New York
Erik experienced this same phenomenon this past week in New York City (we were up there for the Photo Plus Expo). He got up early and walked over to “Vessel” in Hudson Yard (it’s part public modern art piece, part spiral staircase [with its 150+ interconnected staircases], and part observatory. It’s free to enter [you get tickets online] and you can walk-up inside it when it’s open). When Erik got there — sure enough, lots of beautiful light, no tourists, and most notably — no photographers, even though there is a major photography tradeshow being held right across the street at the Javitz Center.
He also got up early on the 2nd day; went out to that famous shooting location in the Dumbo park area of Brooklyn (you know the one), and ya know what? Same thing — great light; no tourists, and still no photographers. Once the sun came up, with it came the photographers, the tourists, and the Instagrammers with selfie sticks.
This is an easy mistake to avoid
All the good stuff happens well before sunrise. In that 30 minutes before the sun comes up — you need to be out there, in place, on a tripod, ready to capture the tourist-free scenes in beautiful light. Once the sun comes up, you have just a few more minutes where the light is still good — the color is warm, and the sun is touching the edges of things as it rises, but 15 or so minutes after that, the light generally turns pretty bad, and that’s the way it stays, getting worse and worse all day until about an hour or so before sunset.
Just get up a little bit earlier. Don’t time your morning to get there at sunrise. Get there at least 30 minutes early, and the difference in your images will be amazing, you’ll have your choice of spots, no tourists, and you’ll see for yourself why it pays big time to set your alarm clock a bit earlier.
Here’s wishing you a tourist-free, great light week of shooting wherever you are. :)
P.S. I’m off to San Francisco next week for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar out there on November 6th. Hope you can join me — you’ll super dig it. Tickets and info here.
Mornin’, gang, and happy Friday! I finally got some of my favorite shots together from my recent workshop trip to rural China, and I shared the final images, with lots of behind-the-scenes shots and videos, and the stories behind it all.
TIP: At the end of the post, I shared how I set up my three Custom Modes on my camera. Most cameras these days have the ability to set up your own custom modes, and man do they make your life easier! Hope you find those helpful.
Heads up: if you participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk last week, Monday is the deadline to enter the photo contest
The contest prizes this year are pretty amazing (including a Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera with a 24-105mm lens, and the Adobe Creative Suite, and a B&H Gift Card, a whole bunch more!). Even the finalist prizes are crazy good, so make sure you enter your best shot from the walk. Hey, ya never know, right?
Here’s wishing you all a great Friday, a rockin’ weekend (#rolltide), and hopefully you’ll stop back by on Monday to see what’s going on. :)
P.S. I shared a technique today over at LightroomKillerTips.com on how to edit in Lightroom Classic on your laptop when you’re traveling, and then how to merge all that you did; the images, sorting, editing — the works, with your main computer back home. Here’s the link if that sounds like something that might interest you.
I’ve got the images, stories, behind-the-scenes shots, and even some short videos from my trip out the USS Harry S. Truman last week. Lots of fun stuff to share, and I laid out the images using Adobe Spark Page (about the best way to share your photography work online):
OK, I’m back to work this week — I’ve got a tour to get ready for (My “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar, kicking off next month in Indianapolis and then Minneapolis. Come on out and spend the day with me.
I am so excited — this is the first thing I’ve ever invented (with lots of help from my friends at Westcott) — it’s a lighting tool for educators and students, and its sole purpose is to teach people lighting before they go and buy lighting. Check out the video below to see what it’s all about (and how the idea came about).
So, now that you’ve seen the video, you know — it’s about experimenting, learning, and seeing “the light.” That way, when you do buy a flash or a studio strobe or continuous light, the frustration, the futzing, and the whole guessing game is over because you’ll have a plan — you’ll know what you’re trying to achieve, what light does, when to use hard light, diffused light, what gobos do, what fresnels do, the color differences between tungsten and daylight. You’ll know all this because the light comes with a full training class on light, and how to use The Learning Light, in your classroom, or with other students, or for just you as you’re learning.
We released a full training class on it to KelbyOne members this week, but if you buy the light, you get full access to the class as part of the lighting package.
It’s available today
The light, with the gobos and the training class, is just $89.90 and you can get it direct from the folks at Westcott (here’s the link), and B&H Photo will be carrying them any day now, too.
As an educator myself, you can probably imagine how exciting it is to have a tool like this for other educators and students, and I’m so grateful to my friends at Westcott: Eric Eggley (who came up with so many great ideas for The Learning Light, and took my initial idea and took it much farther than I’d ever hoped), and to Brandon Heiss, whose vision and commitment to helping teachers is why there is a Learning Light today at all.
I’m super-psyched! (can ya tell)? ;-)
One last thing, and it’s something I think is really important (and you’ll hear me talk about this aspect a lot). This is not lighting. It’s a learning tool. It’s the light you buy before you buy real lighting. It’s for experimenting with shadows, and light, and for learning lighting before you fully invest it in. I truly hope you’ll find it helpful (and I think you’ll find it’s a lot of fun), and thanks for taking the time to let me share this all with you (and tell your teacher friends about it, if you would). :)
Have a great weekend, everybody!
P.S. Did I mention I invented a light for educators? Whoo hoo!!! I’m super-psyched!