Sep 28, 2012

Homecoming Queens

Ahhh, Homecoming.  The wonderful high school tradition that is lost on me, but that is OK.  Maybe I will get more sentimental later in life.

I was discussing photog duties during homecoming with another photog and was reminded that this will be my fifth year doing this.  Which is a challenge now to make something that doesn't look like every homecoming shot from the last four.

Of course, the homecoming queen is the primary objective.  Football and all else may be lost, but you really need the queen :).

The real problem is that there isn't much room to take a risk.  You have to get some sort of shot for the newspaper to run.

The first year I shot homecoming was the best reaction moment of all so far. homecoming-137

2009 was less of a reaction, and less of a sharp photo by me. Not what I would call a success. HomecomingHOF-161


2010 was a switch to Terrell, but I didn't get much from the reaction.  A bonus, the queen's face was nicely framed by the previous queen's arm as she was crowned. Sometimes the arm is blocking the face instead.

Last year was a good reaction and a poor job by the photographer capturing it... SS-Homecoming-0245

At least the crowning shot was in focus. Homecoming Football-0262

This year, it will be two homecoming games.  A few weeks ago in North Forney I got an OK reaction shot..
Don C. Johnson: Homecoming vs. Ennis Sept. 14

And an OK crowning/hug.  But just OK.
Don C. Johnson: Homecoming vs. Ennis Sept. 14

Hopefully an early start will mean good light and a good shot tonight.

See y'all in Terrell.

Sep 24, 2012

Monday Photo Roundup - Sept. 24

Rodeo Flash-7015

I attempted some flash work at the rodeo Friday night, with mixed results.  I was using the Canon 580exII on a cord, hand holding it as high as I could reach above the camera.  That meant hand-holding the 1D with the 70-200 in one hand and the flash in the other.  With no hand to adjust the zoom, and really random action, I only had a few shots that were any good.  And, of course, there is still an ugly flash shadow, just a little further separated than if it were on the camera.

Great video... Ibarionex Perello discusses the use of shadow in photos.  Also, with all of the folks in the photo education/discussion/podcasting etc. industry, Perello wins best voice easily.

Another... astronomy photos of the year.  Note that these photos are about much more than stars and space.

Brian Braun posted a great set of inspirational interview vids from Andrew Zuckerman.

If you can't travel to interesting places for landscape photography, how about creating your own.  Very cool.

What are the best value AA batteries (at least in the UK)?  No surprise that the companies' names for the batteries have no indication of performance.

Have a great week out there.

Sep 23, 2012

The fun part

For me a 13-hour stretch this weekend was great example of why it is fun to keep a foot in the world of photojournalism.  Dealing with a lot of varied situations can only make you a better photographer.

Friday night started with volleyball as the two Forney ISD high schools squared off.  I had about 20 minutes to get some useable shots for the Tribune.  Getting there a little early allowed me to get some stock shots of most of the players for North Forney.  Of course, you also get a lot of this in volleyball.

Then it was a short drive over for the first night of Rodeo Terrell. The Tribune had a big hole on the front page that needed a photo, so no pressure there. Second rider out of the chute in Bareback Bronc riding was a keeper..

More photos from Rodeo Terrell can be seen at the Tribune's Facebook page.

After editing into the weee hours, it was a early alarm to head to the lake. High school fishing competitions are apparently a rapidly growing, with lots of prizes and college scholarship money on the line. We will look at that in the next edition of Kaufman County Life magazine. No clouds meant a beautiful morning in the boat with some really cool young men and dedicated volunteers who make Kaufman's program a success. Did I mention the light was great? Fish-9479

You'll have to get the magazine to see the good ones :). Of course, a large part of fishing is waiting for fish. The 70-200 is NOT a birding lens by any stretch, but hey, the birds were there. Bird-7915

I just need to figure out how to tell them to fly on the other side of me to get the good light. Hmmmmm... Have a great rest o' the weekend.

Sep 20, 2012

Another fun Friday

It is a rare Friday night with no football for me, but I am looking forward to volleyball, rodeo and a very interesting portrait concept this weekend...

Volleyball is only as fun as the teams are competitive.  Both teams can be good, or both teams can be bad and that is ok.  Have one team completely dominate and it isn't as fun.

It is usually hard to find good backgrounds for volleyball as well.  Luckily this will be a match at Forney High School, which has a raised walkway at one end of the court for a unique downward angle at the net.  Also, luckily, I have upgraded cameras since this shot and should be able to expose properly with less noise.

Rodeo is a different story.  Lighting doesn't seem to be much of a priority at most small arenas, so you just do your best, or set  up strobes in a very dusty environment.  To see rodeo lit well, check out Todd Brewer's photos on flickr.  He puts in the work to get phenomenal shots.  I will not have the time or equipment to do that tomorrow, but that doesn't mean no pictures...  Here is an example from last year.
Rodeo Terrell ZF-568

Have a great weekend (and make some good photos!)

Sep 17, 2012

Monday Photo Roundup - Sept. 17

ASH In Seagoville-5179
I'm not a fan of LED lights for a number of reasons, but they are increasingly popular for portable stage lighting setups.  On the positive side, you get multi-color lights, easy setup and low power consumption for relatively low prices.  For photogs, it is generally inconsistent light and the colors can be garish.  Once you give up on white balance, you can have fun though.  I'd be curious if anyone has tried these in a studio environment.

ASH In Seagoville-5196
The journalist side of me likes to include environmental details in photos and having stage lighting gear definitely lets any viewer know that this is a concert....

Canon introduces a new full-frame - EOS 6D.  Maybe an alternative to the 5D III that I lust after?

Lots of people ask what kind of camera to buy... here is a helpful chart...

Yet another reminder ... wild animals are wild.  Don't be stupid.

That vid reminded me of this site - iPad is not a camera.  Which is funny and all, but in a discussion with friends yesterday, I was reminded that a growing part of our population is in the older demographic, where a giant screen is very helpful for composition.  What manufacturer will be the first to offer a large-screen touch-control camera targeted at seniors? iPad review on ElderGadget.

Low-light no-tripod photog tips..

Photo Gadgets

Lots of great space news images...  That first shot of the sun is amazing.

Book of the week..

Vincent LaForet talks time-lapse...

Have a great week.

Sep 10, 2012

Monday Photo Roundup - Sept. 10

Jamfest September-9265

I had fun with the folks at the Kaufman Jamfest get-together Saturday.  Brick walls may be cliché, but in "the Corridor" in downtown Kaufman, it is all brick walls.  As the name iplies, the space is basically a long, narrow hallway.  Setup was an Elinchrom strobe in a 2x2 softbox key light directly against the wall to camera right, another 3x4 softbox fill camera left and another light down the hall with a grid for a little rim light.  It also reflected off of the painted brick a little more than I would have liked, but there wasn't much time to mess with it.  Overall, I liked the look.

Shooting at more of an angle to the wall, the main light was more directional for this look..
Jamfest September-9286

And with the back light in the frame...
Jamfest September-9295

With the ease of photo manipulation these days, ever wonder how photo contests deal with it?  Here is National Geographic's take.

In the summer edition of Kaufman County Life, we were asked to obscure a photo of an inmate to protect his identity.  As a journalist, that is a touchy subject.  In some situations though, it can really be a life-threatening situation to have your photo in the news.

Do you like to take pictures of buildings?  Here is a nice article with some tips for good architecture photos.

Here is some more insight on mistakes to avoid if you are out shooting sports this fall.

And some more for tennis in particular.

I like to keep a ladder available for a higher viewpoint.  So how about a tripod that is also a ladder.  (And very expensive)

Lucky maybe, but Not smart.

Light, macro, science and color.  

Barbie and Ken finally tied the knot ... here are the photos.

Men and women see the world differently.  (of course)

Have a great week everyone.

Sep 3, 2012

Monday photo round up - Sept. 3

Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills. Her sister (in photo) said, "Yes, she he'ps me right smart. Not all day but all she can. Yes, she started with me at six this mornin'"... (LOC)
Since it is Labor Day... check out this great collection of child labor images by Lewis Hine from the early 1900s.  Photography with a purpose is more compelling than snapshots with no purpose.

While you are there, grab some coffee and dig around in the Library of Congress flickr photo galleries. If you want to learn photography, learn what a good photo looks like.  And no, it isn't instagram filters, as much fun as they are.

Why bother becoming a better photographer when there are so many greats out there?

I have often mentioned the need for a clear subject in a photo.  Celebrity photog Chris Buck has turned that around entirely.  The photos show everything but the subject.  Interesting.

Here is a nice video with tips to help keep things in focus, literally..

The name of the magazine is "Where."   Just make sure you have other people look at your design work before going to press.  I hope I never goof up a design like this.

Clever..  Slingshot Camera.

Sep 1, 2012

Lens, Baby

Shooting at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco seemed like a perfect opportunity to break out the Lensbaby Composer.  I haven't used it in more than a year, so it was time to play.

It is fun, but very tricky to focus quickly, so it isn't much for action shots.  That would take some serious practice and a lot of luck. Lensbaby-9140

Works for band with a little lens flare..

I think it is just time to find a tilt-shift lens to play with instead..

Have a great and safe holiday weekend, folks.