Monday, December 28, 2009

Hold the Phone...

A lot of people have been talking about how they are ready for 2009 to be over, and I could not agree more. 2009 has been a heckuva year for everyone as far as I can tell. Between Allergies, spider bites, and some other some super wild situations that you couldn't think up no matter how many drugs you'd taken; I'm definitely ready for the greener grass in 2010. To commemorate the leaving of this outstandingly bleak 2009 for the bright new year to come, I've looked to Chase Jarvis for inspiration.

Chase released an iPhone app earlier this year named, "The Best Cam". It's short for the name of the book that goes with it, which is subsequently named; "The Best Camera is the one that you have with you". I don't own an iPhone, but I am a firm believer in this and I take several photos a day with my Palm Cellular phone. I can't edit the photos in my phone so my photos are bound to be not as nifty or stylized as Chase's, but I suppose that these just fall into my mentality where I like to retouch my photos as little as possible to get what I like. Either way, Here are some of my favorite cell phone pics from 2009. The Camera's not the best, but neither are the pictures so it all fits perfectly with 2009. Either way I hope you enjoy seeing little bits of life through the eye of my phone right before the grass gets a little greaner on the other side. More soon.

(Titles are underneith.)

Passing Home.

Keep Chlled

Scaredy Cat









Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a Smashing Holiday...

Whether you are waiting as eagerly for 2009 to end as I am or not, I bid you a Happy Holidays. It's been quite a year, and over the next week I have a few neat ideas for the blog so stay tuned. Until then, enjoy time with your families, uncooked cookie dough, pets, snow, or whatever it is you may be doing during this time. Whatever it may be; I wish you well. Have a Smashing Holiday. More Soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Help-Portrait Success!!

On Saturday December 19th I was asked to be included in a very special group of individuals who would be shooting photos in the Help-Portrait project at the Salvation Army Battered Womens Shelter here in Indianapolis. Great Project, Great Idea, Great people! I made some wonderful new friends, valuable coleagues, and made a whole lot more people's Holiday's just that much brighter. Not like studio strobes brighter, or hot lights brighter; but awesomeness kind of brighter. The kind of brighter that is hard to find, and even harder to find people to give.

(Photo by Josh Hollandsworth)

Back row from left to right: Brian Logan, Jeremiah Laughner, Carl Frye, Joseph Lee, Alan Brockman, Josh Hollandsworth.

Middle(ish): Me, Katie Moon

Front Row: Mitzi Wilson, Stacy Able, Amy Brucker Castillo

I've done my best to hunt out websites here, but didn't get them all. If you know one that I missed leave it in the comments and I'll link it up. There were videos taken, photos taken, behind the scenes stuff, jokes, laughter, bagels and possibly the strict orders to stay in my corner of the photo room because the other photographers didn't want to have to chase me playing in traffic...again. I'll link up the behind the scenes stuff when it makes it to me.

Katie Moon was the one who put all this together, special thanks back to her for taking the time to make this all happen the way it did. It definitely wouldn't have happened without her. Katie really blew me away with how passionate she was for this project. She very obviously lived for what was happening on Saturday, and that's a rare thing to see in people. Also later that night she sat in bar and nerded out on photo stuff with me for some undetermined amount of really long time. That's a super rare thing too. Because of Katie and the work of the rest of the people she found to help her organize this event there are over 100 people that are having a much brighter Holiday this year. Thanks again to Katie and the team for inviting me to help out with this. It was a truely great event, and I can only hope that it is continued for years to come. More soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'd Like to thank...

Milling around on the tubes of the internets earlier today I was looking at some photography blogs and I came across website that ranks photography blogs online. For kicks and giggles I searched the page for mine to see if I'd even made in into the plethora of other blogs they had listed, and to my amazement I not only did make it into one of a the many categories; but I beat out a website that I both read and recommend to people daily. Strobist.

The full list of blogs can be found here. The irony on this is that I can in no way compare myself to most of the websites on this list, and for all I know my blog might have more viewers than the list itself does; but either way it's pretty cool. The numbers that I mention as for readership on this blog may be slightly skewed, but I can tell you for sure that I am nowhere close to the 72,000+ RSS Subscribers that strobist has; much less the photographic content or Grammatical quality. If you look past all of those things though, than apparently I've got more Pages per visit.

I think that means how many pages someone looks at an average when they look at this blog. So really whomever does read this will tend to find something of interest; which is super flattering folks. I already know there are people out there that read this that I don't know, like the ladies up at the Carmel Portrait Innovations for example. I don't know you ladies, but I've been told my an ex employee/friend of yours that you read my blog; and I greatly appreciate it. Honestly I only hope that I can continue to find content of interest to write about in my quest to make something out of this somewhat lucrative profession that I have chosen.

Regardless I'd like to thank the people that do read this, and continue to read it. The readership slowly has been climbing which makes me not only feel good, but want to become a much much better photographer, and even writer. This is an incredibly minor thing to get excited about, and that's not even an insignificant enough way to put it. There are hundreds of blogs listed on the rating page, I was just blessed to be on one small part of it. I guess this just means that I definitely have to keep writing here, because it seems to be confirmed that people DO actually visit my corner of the interents. Thanks again everyone, Happy Holidays, and now more than ever: more soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

TV Superdude...

Every now and then as a photographer it seems you are given the task of making something that seems mundane or uninteresting; out to be interesting. Not that I want to say that there are people out there doing jobs that are flat out uninteresting, however if you'd asked me how exciting a job being a TV repairman would be I'd have told you probably not very. Despite that fact, as a article I was asked to go and shoot photos at a TV repair company to go along with a story about getting things repaired as opposed to buying new, and really I learned a lot more than I had expected to.

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16, 1/20th@F5.6. Single 580EX set to 1/16th power behind Jim the TV superdude fired by pocketwizard. Single 580EX speedlight set to 1/8th power bounced out of a 12" umbrella to camera left.)

Turns out this place known as ITZ Electronics in East Washington street can repair any kind of television ever created. They have parts for televisions from 1 day old to 20 years old, as well as the components to test them out. Have a broken 60"TV that you want fixed? They will send someone to your house, remove what they think is broken and take it to the shop to get it tested. Why do it like that? hOly cOw that's so much easier than trying to carry the TV. What about the picture of the TV? There are mirrors hanging all over this place so that when they work on the back of the TV, they can see the front to know if what they had done actually fixes it or not. It's Wild!

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon 100MMF2.8Macro, 1/60th@F4. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/4th power bounced out of a 12" umbrella to camera right, slightly above shoering down on Jim the TV Sueprdude)

Every station had one of the magnifying scopes as shown in the mirror from above. Most of the TV's that they work on are the newer Plasma and LCD tv's according to what they said. Apparently the older Tube TV's are much more reliable which I suppose made sense in my mind, but I had never considered. With Today's TV's the components are super expensive individually, where as older Tube TV's are like tanks. Break a memory controller out of a New TV and it's a few hundred bucks to replace because the manufacturers buy them in bulk. Ordering just one means you might as well just get a new TV....

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@23mm. 1/40th@F6.3. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/64th power zoomed to 105mm shot bare blub onto the circuit board fired by Pocket Wizard. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/16th power bare bulb to camera right to illuminate Jim's Face)

I never realized how interesting something as simple as TV repair could be quite frankly. This guy might as well be superman in his world, and he deserves it as well. In today's day in age people have trouble living without television. Frankly I get all of 5 channels, and use my television to watch movies or for background noise while I'm photoshopping things to look pretty much like they look in real life before my feeble attempt to photograph them. Either way, this dude does perform an important task in this world that we live in. I'm not only glad I was there to check it out, but to show it to everybody else. More Soon.

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, ISO 250 Cano 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm, 1/30th@F5.6. Single 580EX speedlight zoomed to 24mm set to half power behind Jim fired by pocket wizard. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/4th power bounced in a 12" silver umbrella to Jim's right in a gap between the TV's.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Firefighters: June 2010

SO I suppose if I'm going to talk about a few months out of the Roller Derby Calendar I should start with the very first shoot done right? Ok maybe not,but this one required the least amount of work to be able to display on here with any piece of mind at all.
(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@28mm. 1/80th@F10. The lights in back are Dynalight 400JR's set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizard. Joanie is lit by a single Dynalight 400JR fired by pocket wizard set to 1/8th power through a 24"x24" softbox, and the open garage door on a nice sunny afternoon.)

That's Joanie Gouge and yes she is actually a firefighter. In fact she is the reason we had access to 'The Belle' which I believe was the name for the firetruck. Heck I'm lucky to remember to eat lunch some days, so I guess we'll just have to hope for the best on that one. Either way, people tend to think that you always go into a shoot with something set in your mind as to exactly how you want it. You usually always do, but you don't always get what you want; especially if you haven't seen the location before you get there..... The shot above was an outtake of the 'Firefighter' Shoot for the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar. We shot individuals of the girls at this shoot because at that point we were still pretty ambitious. I'll say one thing though, Joanie there looks like a force to be reckoned with and on the Track; and she is.

(Nikon D3, 250ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-F4.5@24mm. 1/60th@F7.1. Two Dynalight 400JR's at 1/2 power as hair lights at each corner behind the girls, another two dynalight 400JR's set up behind left and right camera set to 1/4th power shot through umbrella's)

We did quite a few things with the truck, and I praise the lord I didn't break it while I was there. I stood on the hood for this shot, and whoa baby talk about nervous. Next thing I know I'd have fallen straight through the engine and would be running for the coast of never to be seen again with several firefighters in pursuit. Luckily, nothing happened. They even let us play with the firehouse actually....

(Photo by Tom Klubens)

Unfortunately the best of my final shots ended up being Vertical which doesn't exactly work with the format of the calendar....

(Nikon D3, 800ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-F4.5@18mm. 1/1000th@F4. Nikon SB-900 Speedlight to camera right to fill the girls at iTTL+1EV, Single SB-800 Speedlight behind the girls as a hair light set to iTTL 0EV, Single SB-800 Speedlight set to iTTL+2EV to the left of the girls in a hallway to give som hilight to the water. Speedlights fired by SU-800 Commander unit attached to hot shoe on camera.)

Really though it was a fun shoot to do, especially when Joanie asked if she thought we should play with the firehose. Yup, I turned back into a 5 year old (visually, I'm mentally 5 all the time). The risk to self and equipment was 127% worth the risk of being hosed for the shot above. I was pleased with the overall outcome of the shoot because these girls looked HOT, which was totally the idea. Oh and I mentioned ideas when going into a shoot? The idea for this one was to have one of the girls dressed like some sort of super pyro, with her hands on fire and such. That didn't exactly work out for us, but here was one of the shots that was to be photoshopped as such. I tried to throw some fire on there, and could never get it to look right......

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@56mm. 1/125th@F8. Single dynalight 400JR to camera right through a 60" umbrella set to 1/2 power fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera left set to 1/4th power shot through a 42" Umbrella fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR shot directly at the concrete behind the truck set to Full Power. Bare Bulb fired by Pocket Wizard)

In the end the final shot chosen was one I was happy with. I'd like to thank Jason Pittman, Tom Klubens, Michelle Pemberton and the entire Pike Fire Department for helping this month come together. Without everyone's time, cooperation and skills this wouldn't have gotten us started on what turned out to be as daunting of a project as it always is. I will be pulling more and more photos aside as I go though. Check for things to be posted on the blog, as well as on my newer facebook page in the soon to be coming Behind the Scenes Gallery. Thanks again folks, and as usual; More Soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Short Attention Spans......

One of the funny parts about photography is that you never know what you will end up having to work on next. Some projects come into play just like David Hasselhoff does; OUT OF FREAKIN NOWHERE!. I've posted here in the past about working with the Bob Rohrman Auto Group on the 'Rollin with Gunner' video series on This weeks Rollin with Gunner deals with wanting to play golf during the winter, for which the only solution is obviously to hit glass Christmas ornaments with golf clubs....

(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 100mmUSMF2.8Macro, 1/250th@F10. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizard to camera left zoomed to 105mm. Club Swung by Gunner)

That was a still photo that I took while shooting the Rollin With Gunner for this week. The problem is that I didn't have an off camera Cable to use with my canon equipment to achieve faster than a 1/250th of a second sync speed with the flash. That's important because that golf club is moving hella fast, which is why even though I have a flash, and I nailed the club in a single shot; The club and shattering are blurry.

On any normal Wednesday night, I stop in to work at Ultrasun USA, for whom I shoot online, and print photos for outside of the newspaper. It's all non, newspaper glossy magazine, web, and brochure type stuff so there's no direct competition there. Anyway, my good friend Brad is the one who is in charge of the work that I do there and I was telling him about what I was doing at work with Gunner. I showed him the Gunner video that I had finished earlier that day and he was not only excited but he wanted to try it. I'm sure anyone who has read this blog before has heard me mention Brad, and how if there is trouble to be had; he's there with me. He's the friend where if I decided I was going to hell; he'd yell shotgun. (For the record I believe he has in fact already called that seat on the bus I'm taking). He wrote up a real nice piece on his blog about working on photoshoots with me not too long ago too, and I am still super flattered by it. Check it out here. Anyway, Brad decided that we didn't need to shoot what we were supposed to shoot tonight, and we went and bought around a hundred glass Christmas ornaments instead....

(photo by Brock Bruner)

I wasn't totally prepared to shoot high speed action like this tonight, and I'll probably be pulling glass out of my hair, arms and jacket for the next week or so; but really it was all worth it as some of the shots are completely priceless. Brad's the kind of guy that can never have enough gadgets either, so we definitely had an HD video camera inside of a plastic box right in the line of fire to make sure that nothing was missed.

(HD Video Grab from a Sanyo VPCHD-1010)

In the end the intention was to get the club smashing the glass ornament all to snot in frame, which is not as easy as you would imagine. If I could redo it I'd have bought about 20 feet worth of USB cables to tether my camera to my notebook to be out of the line of shrapnel, but in the end we both ended up un-injured; save a few minor eye, and artery injuries.... This was also a great opportunity to play with the Nikon High Speed TTL Sync on the Speedlights too.

(Nikon D3, 2500ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro, 1/8000th@F11. SB-900 Speedlight to camera right behind the ball set to 200mm +1EV iTTL, SB-900 Speedlight set to +1 EV iTTL to camera left with the Green Gel supplied with the unit, SB-800 zoomed to 105mm, on a stand above the camera shot through a 42" Translucent Disk for Fill set to +1 iTTL. All Speedlights fired by a SU-800 Unit attached to the camera by an SC-80 Off camera Sync Cord and posted on top of a stand about 5 feet above, and behind the camera. Club Swung by Brad Clampitt)

I have a feeling that'll end up being my Christmas card this year, but we'll see what happens over the next week. You just never know. Speaking of never knowing, I think the best shot of the shoot was the shot that was only taken 1 time. This shot was taken on a whim, as I adjusted 1 speedlight to to punch Brad's face. I told him to swing only fired this one frame. Sometimes the more you do something; the luckier you get. More Soon.

(Nikon D3, 2500ISO, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-F4.5@18mm, 1/8000th@F11. SB-900 Speedlight to camera right behind the ball set to 200mm +1EV iTTL, SB-900 Speedlight set to +1 EV iTTL to camera left with the Green Gel supplied with the unit, SB-800 zoomed to 105mm, on a stand above the camera shot through a 42" Translucent Disk for Fill set to +1 iTTL. All Speedlights fired by a SU-800 Unit attached to the camera by an SC-28 Off camera Sync Cord and posted on top of a stand about 5 feet above, and behind the camera.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Third Time's a Charm"...

Some of the best things in life are the hardest things to do. Asking for a date, making new friends, confronting someone about a problem of some sort or another, chasing your dreams........ect. I give a lot of credit to people that are willing to look things face to face, hold their ground and do what they need to do. For the last several months I've been working on the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar, and more than enough times I remember thinking to myself that it wasn't going to get done, or that I was going to mess it up somehow. Sure enough though, after several nights of lost sleep, coordinating with 45 individual girls, makeup artists, other photographers and delivering products to an art director; it's done, and it looks good.

(Nikon D700, 2000ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F4)

This project did not come without its hardships before, during and after completion. The hardest thing I've had to do in a while was look three of my friends in the eyes and tell them that the shoot they had for the calendar wasn't going to make it in the final product. I've had to deliver bad news before, but when it's your friends it's the hardest; especially seeing how the girls and the fans react to the product that we produce for them.

(Nikon D700, 1100ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F2.8)

Face to face may be the most difficult way to do something, however I believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to be looked in the eye and told the truth. I can't say that I always do that, not by any stretch; but everybody seems to handle things differently. In today's day in age people like to rely on the phone, email, or text messaging to deliver communications to people that they either have a problem with or who may mean the most to them. I was recently stopped to talk by an old friend who appeared to walk out on a business deal we had almost two years ago. At the time I was disappointed that she had disappeared on me and I had considered it a bad business practice; but she stopped and talked with me face to face tonight about it. That alone to me means more than the fact that she wants to make good with me over our original contract from way back when. People don't often do that anymore, and for that I thanked her, and thank her again even now. Everybody reacts to situations differently. Some people disappear completely to never be heard from again. Some people brush things under the carpet in fear for a short timer before dealing with them; sometimes to only make things worse. I've had kind of a lot of those kinds of people in 2009. I can't say I haven't brushed things under the rug, or that I haven't avoided things even. Very few people will stand up and admit fault, or do what is right; and those people are the gems in today's world.

(Nikon D700, 1600ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F4)

These photos show the work that never ends. The calendar is being officially launched on December 10th at the NRG toy Drive at Spencers Tavern in Downtown Indianapolis. Girls will be on hand to sign calendars, and collect toys for 'Toys for Tots' which is our December Charity. Sooner or later there will be prints for sale too, but one step at a time. The photos in this blog are everyone preparing the 200 calendars for our season ticket holders as their packages include a signed calendar for that year. It was a frantic time, trying to get all the girls to go through the rows of calendars, but they all did it.

(Nikon D700, 900ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F2.8. Original photo by Michelle Pemberton)

The calendar is a compilation of concepts and photos from some incredibly talented people. Tom Klubens, Michael Guio, Michelle Pemberton, Megan Gill, Nikki Sutton, Polina Osherov, and Jason Pittman. Everyone did some fantastic work on this project and I have to extend an extra thanks for all the work they put in helping schedule girls, themselves, and make every arrangement necessary to get this Calendar done; it looks outstanding. More Soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shooting 'An American Shootout'.....

So if you've read the blog in the last month or so you should remember this post where I talked at one point about shooting for a band named 'Youthguard'. Well, one of the guys who was there to assist the whole time was a member of another band named, 'An American Shootout'; or AAS for short. I hadn't heard of them at the time, but apparently they have been on National Tours twice; one you may have heard of being named The Warped Tour. He was working on some neat video stuff for the youthguard shoot that I'm still excited about the prospect of seeing very soon. But that's beside the point. He came to me not long after I shot 'Youthguard' and we started negotiations for the shooting of their band. Zach was his name, and he told me he was impressed with how the files I shot looked coming straight out of camera before they were being worked on; which I've got to say is a heckuva compliment and I thank him once again for that. My main goal is always to get a file that is as close to as I want it to start with, so that the post is as easy as I can make it on myself; or in this case someone else. I'm kind of the old school mentality where; if it takes 2 seconds to do it now and 2 hours to do it later............holy cow we are going to do it now. So we came to an agreement, he sent me some samples and away we went.......

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@45mm, 1/60th@F4. Single SB-900 on a 8 foot paint pole with a 42" wescott umbrella hoisted above the band to the left held by my assistant Brad set to iTTL -0.7EV fired by Nikon SU-800 Commander Unit from on camera. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions)

That was one of the first shots that we did. The band was looking for something DARK, moody, gritty and such. The location was in front of the old abandoned hospital here in Downtown Indianapolis at the corners of Fall Creek, and Illinois Streets. Apparently there is a sign posted that says it's a $500,000 fine for trespassing. I want to thank the Police officer who pointed that out once again for informing us of that fact, and letting us finish as quickly as we could. I'd like to think that nitty gritty attidues that we had are what made him decide to allow us to finish, but it was more likely the tears forming in all of our eyes thinking about that $500,000 fine for stepping foot on the wrong piece of pavement that night that really did it. When we were done there, we moved onto Mass Ave downtown.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@30mm, 1/40th@F7.1. Single Nikon SB-900 FLash unit zoomed to 200mm on the ground behind left of the band with the Green Florescent gel set to iTTL Group A -0.3EV aimed at the Left Sculpture. Single SB-800 Above the band from the left with an 8 foot Paint pole by my assistant brad with a 42" Wescott Umbrella set to iTTL Group C. Single SB-900 Speedlight zoomed to 200mm on the ground behind the band camera right with the green Florescent gel attached set to iTTL Group B -2.0EV. All speedlights triggered by an on camera SU-800 Commander Unit. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions)

I was really pleased with how these turned out as these shots look almost straight out of camera, making very little work for Blue Tide Productions who was doing the editing. I'm sure that is what Zach had been looking for, and from my understanding he is very pleased with how they turned out, which makes me very pleased as well. Hopefully Blue Tide and I will be able to hook up on future projects if that was the case.

Despite the 'hardcore' nature of AAS's music, the guys were all super super nice; albeit a little cold at 9pm on a late November Saturday. Not that I expected them not to be nice, but you never know. I'd easily work with them again without much thought on future projects.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@62mm 1/40th@F7.1. Nikon SB-900 Set to iTTL -2EV zoomed to 70mm Aimed directly into the base of the sculpture to camera left. Single SB800 hoised above Zach's right by Brad on a 8 Foot paint pole through a 42" umbrella set to iTTL. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions.)

I enjoy shooting bands like this, it gives them personality and it gives the band a chance to portray whatever image that they want. I dig it. There has also been some hinting about my working on another music video. Would be a Rock Video this time instead of Country, but that's still a long ways from being decided so Stay tuned. Speaking of portraying images though; the 2010 Roller Derby calendar is going to be available as of Saturday at the Bout in the Pepsi Coleseum. Check HERE for more information. After it's launched fully I'll probably have an entry or two talking about a few of the shoots. If there are any derby fans that read my blog regularly that are photo nuts like I am, I'm sure there will be a few questions regarding the lighting on some of those. Until then. More soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Everyone Gives Thanks.....

This time of year people like to talk about what and who they are thankful for, and I suppose I am no different; despite the fact that 2009 has been an exceedingly tough year for me. I've been very lucky thus far in my career as a photographer and I can only pray and hope to God that my luck will continue with the opportunities, and friends that I have had along the way. The Roller Derby has advanced me significantly in my skills, as well as the contacts that I have made along the way. The fact that I work with people at the newspaper who are of an unmatched photographic caliber and am completely honored to be even considered to work in the same building as them has also been very lucky. I am thankful for family and friends who have supported me with my wild ideas as well as being there for a lot of the successes, and numerous failures. Most of all I'm thankful for just being as busy as I have been in the job that I love as it has allowed me opportunity to photograph things I'd never otherwise have opportunity for.

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 1600ISO, Canon 300mmF2.8IS, 1/200th@F2.8)

That's Tony Hoard and his dog Rory from the 2009 Indianapolis Circle of Lights Festival. I shoot that event every year on the date ominously known as "Black Friday". For those of you that don't watch much TV, like myself, that's the guy and dog from "America's Got Talent" last year. The guy from Indiana who lost his job because he was pursuing his dream of being a touring frisbee dog show. I give the guy a lot of credit; he went for his dreams.

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 1600ISO, Canon 300mmF2.8IS, 1/160th@F4)

That's Paige Brown and for a little kid she's a heck of a singer. Supposedly she's also sang in front of other various large crowds as well, but either way here she was in Indy singing in front of the somewheres of 100,000 people like a champ. She too was going after her dreams, and I know she wouldn't have made it there without the help from her friends and family either.

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 1600ISO, Canon 16-36mmF2.8L@16mm, 1/50th@F2.8)

Those two kids have hopes and dreams of a different kind, but they are hopes and dreams that I'm sure their families (or Santa) this season. You can see more shots of the festival from the Editorial side of the newspaper here. Matt Detrich and Alan Petersime were the editorial photographers who shot the event that night. They are both outstanding shooters who I look to for inspiration every day. Them and their small army of D3's went to town on the event that I shoot every year, and as usual came back with some amazing stuff. Highly suggested to take a look at their work.

I shot some promo shots for the band, "An American Shootout" last night at a few Indy Locations. The shots turned out very nice, to the point that I can and will even say I am very happy with them. They aren't ready to be posted yet, but as soon as they are I'll be sure to tell that story. It's a good story too, but what isn't a good story when you mix things together like iTTL and Cops? Seriously? PARTY! I'm also going to leave you with a 3 minute shot from last week that I was pleased with also. It's a shot of the prettiest funeral director I've ever seen, with her father. Got there and had 5 minutes or less to shoot the portrait of the two of them for their Ad. This is what I got. The more I do this, the luckier I get. Thank you everyone who has been there for me this year, and helping me to be where I am today. As well as everyone who continues to offer to be there for me no matter what. I appreciate you all more than you think. More soon.

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon 16-25mmF2.8L@21mm. 1/30th@F3.5. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th power zoomed to 70mm fired into the Taupe colored wall behind camera left fired by pocket wizard.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Tis the season or so I'm told and in said season I have been approached to be a part of the Help-Portrait project here in Indianapolis. If you haven't heard of it I was pretty stoked to have been asked about it. Basically photographers, makeup people, videographers, printers, high fivers, and others all get together and donate their time and skills to a large group of people during the season. On December 19th I'll be at the Battered Womens Shelter here in Indianapolis and as a group we will be photographing the women for the holidays. Makeup people will be on hand, and they will be getting their hair and makeup did; and they will be getting their pictures taken. Each person will recieve the photos as well. This may not seem like much, but it really is a big deal, because some of these people will have never had their photo professionally taken before. For more information check out the grand scheme of the project here: Or watch this video from the Nashville version.(which can also subsequently be found on their website)

Click it to go to the youtube page, I know my blog doesn't do video all that well cutting part of the right side off... I'm still working on that. If you are intersted in helping at all whatsoever with anything you might be able to do please contact me one of several ways, or Katie Moon here in Indianapolis at

Speaking of contact; my buddy Brad apparently got tired of suggesting that I make myself a Facebook Fan page and made one for me himself. You can find that here for if you are actually a fan and are so inclined to publicly proclaim that. He was nice enough to make me an administrator so I can actually edit posts and things on there, but you can imagine my surprise when I got an email telling me to become a fan of my own business. Funny how that works sometimes huh? Anyway, thanks Brad for making sure I finally have one, that had been on the ever growing "to do" list for the longest time along with so many other things.

Made me also think that I should have a list of ways I can be contacted:

Now that that's out of the way, I hope everyone has a wicked awesome Thanksgiving. Related to Wicked awesome I leave you before thanksgiving with this awesome video that my friend Callie posted on her facebook. It's so great, I couldn't not share. Happy Holidays; more soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Busy as a 3 year old...

So been keeping busy lately; which is all one can ask for in this kind of economy right? Been so busy I lost track of the blog even. Been shooting so much I am surprised I don't have a blister on my little shootin finger. A few weeks ago I did the annual family shoot for my friend Shannon. Her little boy Gabe is awesome, I'll never forget him looking at me, his mom, and his dad and yelling, "Come on guys!" while saving his hand in the direction that he ran off right towards the space between never never land and hot dog heaven...

(Nikon D700, 250ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4AFS. 1/640th@F2)

That's him, running away from the scene that I was trying to use as a family portrait. It was awesome, seriously. I laughed hard enough that I had to stop shooting while his mom and dad ran him down. I would have to say that he's only slightly less squirrely than I am, but I think that's a function of the fact that he's probably mentally older than I am. He's a busy boy. Looking at fish, flowers, picking his nose, sucking his thumb. He even took command of my D3 at one point and took the first photos of his life. They were a fun family to shoot and I can only wish that someday I'll have the same.

(Nikon D700, 250ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4AFS, 1/200th@F2)

These family shoots can be a heckuva lota fun because that's what young kids are right? It's a nice change from the hustle and bustle I find myself at the newspaper. Keeps things interesting if you will. Tomorrow I'll deliver these images to the family and I'm sure they will be pleased as I am pleased with them. Busy week ahead otherwise, in fact I've got shoots lined up all of this upcoming week and weekend. Maybe some more ugly Christmas sweaters, possibly some stuff for a band here in Indy, potentially one or two other fun things as well. Like I said before; can't complain about any of that. More soon.

(Nikon D700, 360ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4AFS, 1/640th@F2)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just shoot...

In this profession sometimes you've just got to shoot. Shoot anything, shoot everything, shoot it again and again and again. It helps you learn your camera, it helps you land jobs, and honestly it can be just darn fun.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 1000ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm. 1/30th@f2.8 Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/16th power shot into a silver reflector to camera left leaning against an unsuspecting Saturn Vue. Photo Location is Fountain Square.)

That's Heather. You've seen Heather before if you've read the blog before. She was the Mad Wo-Man out of this post. During the day she works for the University of Indianapolis as some super computer genius nerd, or something along those lines. At night she has a 5D Mark II in hand, and shoots anything she can gets her hands on. It's Heather's Birthday this week (11/17, Happy Birthday Heather!) and she wanted to go out and do some fun stuff over the weekend. So last Friday night she called me up. Her Husband Andy went to bed early because he had to get up at the crack of dawn for something, and she was itching to go out and do something/anything. Somehow we decided to go and shoot some night time portrait style photos as a little practice. She shoots Canon so I Packed up my canon gear, and off we went. Practice makes you luckier right?

(Canon 5D Mark II, 1250ISO, Canon 100mmF2.8 Macro, 1/40th@F2.8. Single 580EX Speedlight attached to the camera via Off Camera cable to camera left set to 1/32nd power Direct flash zoomed to 105mm Photo Location is facing north on Meridian and New oOrk Streets.)

This was a big thing for me and Heather didn't even know it. It was just as much practice for me as it was for her. I rarely shoot at night outside with very little extra light. Being limited to a single speedlight that had to be connected with a cable to the camera was very limiting, but definitely not impossible by any stretch. It's always good to get outside of your comfort zone while shooting as practice. It's like taking a fish-eye lens to a sporting event instead of your Long distance glass. It's tough!

(Canon 5D Mark II, 1600ISO, Canon 16-25mmF2.8L, 1/40th,@F2.8. 580EX Speedlight set to 1/64th attached to the camera using an off camera cable at arms length to above camera left.Location is on Pennsylvania side of the Circle, downtown.)

We had fun; she and I tried a few things, learned a few things, and shot a few photos. Time well spent. I don't often shoot for the sake of shooting, but when I do I usually do enjoy it. There is a little video of me dancing around like a fool waiting for my photo to be taken. If you're really nuts you can see it here. I had no idea she was taking video, we had just gotten done trying to set up the speedlights with pocket wizards on a two light setup to light up the tree behind me an even crazier firey orange than in the video. Not sure if it worked or not, didn't look, but the video is funny. Either way, it was a fun night, and I'm looking at getting a group together to go out and do something similar again soon I think. Will keep anyone interested in the loop. More Soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What a job...

I've always been young when it comes to rolling through life. When I graduated high school I was only 17, didn't turn 21 until my senior year of college, things like that. I always had to make friends with the older kids, or drop down to the even younger ones meaning that I really was always kind of in this strange spot. Being the youngin, I have always been apt to try to fit in no matter what my situation while trying not to grow up too quickly. A lot of the people that I hang out with are older than me; some a little, and some significantly. I have had clients that I'm positive I would have lost if they knew my age. I've never successfully dated anybody younger than me, and have always been apt to asking out/dating older women. Not all of them seem keen to the idea of dating a younger guy, but as long as they aren't mortified by the original suggestion and don't run and hide building a fort out of sofa cushions afterwards; I've got a shot. (Ideally I want to find a girl who wants to build a fort of sofa cushions with me, but one step at a time.)Being young also means that I take a certain entertainment in my job. I'm a photographer for a living. How cool is that?! Seriously. Some things I've done just to do them for myself, but otherwise I take photos and videos of stuff.....for money. Not only that but I've met some cool people, and done some cool things along the way. This week was no different than that by any stretch of the imagination.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 160ISO, 100mmF2.8. 1/60th@F8. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera right fired by Pocket Wizard at half power through a 6'x4' translucent panel. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera left inside of a 36"x36" softbox set to 1/8th power)

I shot that on Tuesday afternoon as advertisement for Metromix's Ugly Christmas Sweater party on December 4th at Britton Tavern. It's almost straight out of camera as you can notice the dirt on the floor under the girls. I just wanted to show you how pretty the two girls were before all the work we put into them, as this post is just about enjoying my job. Both of these lovely ladies are planning on being in attendance, and both of them were super cool. It was a fun shoot, and by far not one of the worst parts of my job. Elaine is on the left and she is an artist/GoGo girl here locally and Sarah on the right is a designer/website entrepreneur. Both obviously model on the side, and required very little instruction during the shoot which for the record; is freakin awesome.

Several weeks ago now, I shot a cover for an album which is going to be released at a party at Birdy's tonight. Cool bunch of guy's all School teachers who decided to combine their free time activity of music in order to create the band "Youthguard". My buddy Adam Yale did the artwork and I think it looks real good. Nice guys and I'm definitely going to check them out. The image above isn't the Exact final CD art, but it's pretty close. Should be carried in major stores supposedly too, which is what I'm going to wait for I think. Not sure if they will have CD's at the party tonight or not. Even though I've been at this for a few years now, and shot lots of various different activities; I never get tired of seeing things in public. The world doesn't know I shot them but I do. It's freakin cool. Also this shoot turned out well enough that one of the people present has hooked me up to shoot one of the bands from the Warpred tour a few years ago. That'll be neat, and I'm sure there will be more on that here soon. Here's another shot of Youthguard, from early in the production process.

(Nikon D3, 400ISO, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/30th@F6.3. Single Dynalight 400JR above camera right 18' off the floor hard light on the band set to 1/4th power fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR about 100' behind the band about 8' off the ground on some stairs set to 1/8th power fired by Pocket Wizard, SB-900 Speedlight suction cupped to the Glass wall camera left using the Delkin Fat Gecko camera mount about 7' up fired by Magic EYE in SU-4 mode set to 1/2 power zoomed out to 17mm. Post Processing by Adam Yale)

I also this week shot another Rollin with Gunner video. This week we went two places: To the Jiffy Lube to determine if the people who change your oil really are cousins of the Travelocity Gnome.....AND we went to the Bob Rohrman Dealership to dispose of one of Don Stuck's 450lb pumpkins.....

Don Stuck and Gunner are hilarious, they are quite the team and I look forward to when this video launches this upcoming Thursday. I of course will have watched it 46 thousand times by then, but I always watch them once they go live just that one more time. The video was shot with several cameras. There was a guy in the back seat with a Canon GL2, I had a Sony HDD HD Cam mounted to the dashboard, this screengrab was from a 5D Mark II with a 200mm Lens, and the little grey box on the pumpkin playing Kamikazi is an old Nikon Coolpix 3100. This video; will be cool.

Where else would I do things like this? I'm doing a video at the Red Room in Broad Ripple tomorrow, and I'm shooting the last and final month of the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar Sunday before the Colts game. All of the tough things about this profession definitely are tough, and thi can be like any other job with the suck from time to time but as my grandmother likes to point out; I do have a job. It's been brought up that maybe I have grown up a little too fast, but maybe I see it a little differently. My mind works the same as it should except maybe now I'm young enough to really get a kick out of some of the things that I do in this profession. Being stuck in the gutter of a Go-Kart track waiting for colts players to come around the turn, standing knee deep in pig poop wearing a hazard suit for the Pork Producers Guide, learning how to build log cabins, carrying Roller Derby girls around a junkyard to not get their skates full of grease...... Weeks like this are the weeks I live for with this job. The weeks where you close your eyes and chuckle while sporting a little smile muttering to myself; how did I get here? More Soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Picking Fav's...

As I mentioned in the last blog post Roller Derby Season is Among us. As part of that the ladies moved into a new venue where a whole new realm of photo taking possibilities are available. You can view their most recent bout in my photos located

On Flickr I belong to a Roller Derby photo group, and one of the forum questions asked users to post their favorite derby shots that they have ever taken. After looking through the other posts people had made, I decided to participate in this post, and these are the shots that I came up with as the top 5 Roller Derby Photos that I have ever taken. (Presented in no particular Order) (this is the original post on flickr)

The shot above was taken in Minneapolis Minnesota during the North Star bout almost 1 year ago now. I took the shot from 90 feet above the track on catwalks inside the dome of the arena. According to the other team nobody had ever gone up there for bout action before, and the hits to the photos proved it. At the time this photoset was taken, it had more hits to it than any other derby bout I had photographed.

This photo is of a skater named Sweet C. I took this photo back when I had the D2x during season 1. Anybody who knows Cameras knows that the D2x was an Awesome camera, and the Mecca of resolution at that time in camera history. Anybody also knows that this camera had more noise than a broken antenna eared TV that used vacuum tubes powered by a hamster in a wheel. My solution to some of this problem was the use of flash pans in up close action. In this photo Sweet C is celebrating victory by giving High 5's to her fans. The motion blur creates a dynamic to the frame that I feel can easily get lost in sports, while keeping her face sharp and identifiable with the flash gives it personality; as well as the intense feeling of the win.

That shot was taken in North Carolina inside of one of the coolest Roller Derby Venue's I've seen to date. It was an ex hockey arena, that had these cool windows all around the outside. During warmup sometimes I like to take the opportunity to try new and slightly more lucrative photos of the Derby Girls which most often end in my butt being nailed by one of them in a turn like this. Nobody ever gets to see the girls this up close and personal during the bouts, and this seemed like a pretty solid way to so up close and personal what exactly these girls do.

This photo is of one of our jammers. Her name is Katya Lookin, and she's a great inspiration to quite a few girls on the team. That is of course when she's not looking angry enough to be in your derby eating your children. Last year I wanted to do HDR style photos for the programs and so I shot a few of these to pitch to the Art Director. In the end we didn't use them for anything, but the girl who is pictured here loves this photo, and so do I. It shows all the hotness, as well as the fierce undertones that derby has to offer.

Last but most certainly not least is this photograph for the 2009 NRG Calendar of Cereal Killer. This shot was done in Red Rocket Michelle's bathroom with 6 2 gallon bags of Fruit Loop equivilent cereal. Nikki Sutton did the style and the makeup, and good ol' CK just laughed it up for us. It was an awesome time, and a helluva cleanup after-wards. Michelle said her bathroom smelled like milk and cereal for at least two days after that. We only used about a quart of milk too, the rest of it was water which was hilighted by the use of the single 400 watt strobe inside of the tiny bathroom.

So there you have it; the 5 derby shots I have taken that are my favorites. There are plenty of other ones that I've taken and there are plenty of others that I have yet to take which I'm sure can top these. These by far are not the best roller derby photos out there either, in fact; If it was the 5 photos that others have takenin question, than this is a whole other ball game because there are tons of talented photographers out there covering roller debry all over the Country. Tom Klubens, Dr. X, Greg the Mayor, Red Rocket, Bob Scheer, Polina Osherov, and many many more just here in Indianapolis, and all are worth checking out. Roller derby has been a valued experience for me thus far, and has taught me a lot about myself and the way I shoot sports. I only hope that everyone who likes to take photos can find something they are as passionate about. More soon.