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.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Not Long Now......

(Nikon D3, 250ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@130mm. 1/30th@F7.1. Dynalight 400JR to camera right fired by pocket wizard at 1/4th power though a 60" umbrella. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera left shot through a 24"x24" softbox at 1/8 power fired by pocket wizard.)

Anybody who knows me knows how involved that I am with the Roller Derby team, the Naptown Roller Girls, or the Naptown Tornado sirens if you will. I love roller derby, and quite thankfully it was what helped me make my transition to living in Indianapolis. When I first moved here, I knew not a soul except for maybe a friend or two from college. My then, work acquaintance Michelle Pemberton (Red Rocket to some of you) found out that I used to shoot sports at Purdue and asked me to come check out her roller derby team. Sure enough, I did and I'm now the stain on the back of the bad penny that nobody accepts as current but nobody is evil enough to throw away.

Now 4 seasons later, I have helped produce almost 3 calendars for the team, as well as had photos from bout action published in numerous magazines, books, and other various media outlets. The Roller Derby has afforded me many travels, many friends, and many late nights working on photos for what has ended up to be not for the girls on the team; but for me. I have a lot of portfolio work from the team and for that I am forever grateful. A lot of it comes from the calendar that we put out every year, which will be ready for the Bout in December. While I can't show you the shots from the calendar yet, I think it's only fitting to give you a little something to amp you up before the first bout of Season for tomorrow evening. So what kinds of things might you find in Roller Derby Season 4?

(Nikon D3, 400ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4AF-S. 1/80th@F1.4)

I made a deal with the devil and can't tell you what you'll find. Yea so I suck. I've been called worse by better so I'm not worried. What I can tell you is that I'm pleased with how things shaped up. Like putting play doh through one of the little spaghetti machines and getting that perfect pasta. Dig it, but don't get all bloodied up over it.

(Nikon D3x, 100ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-F4.5@28mm. 1/50th@F10. 750w lights set to 1/4 each to each side of the camera shot through 42" umbrellas. 6 400 watt lights around the perimiter of the scene set to 1/2th power hard light.)

Don't expect to see Hellvua like this in the final product. You can dream though, because she got a lot more bloodied up before the end of that day. Little did anyone know, but blood isn't easy to wash off......

(Photo by Tom Klubens)
(Nikon D700, ISO 800, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@70mm. 1/640th@F4.5)

Eventually after a while the rumor is that all the blood came clean without too much of a disaster. Dr. X still has his bloody socks from the even though as he showed me last week at a shoot. For those of you that don't know who Dr. X is, I've got a photo of him right here....

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@26mm. 1/50th@F14. Dynalight 400JR set to full power to camera right hard light fired by pocket wizard, Dynalight 400JR set to half power to camera left both fired by pocket wizards. This shot was during a light test to fire two SB-800 speedlights with orange gels underneith the awning. They didn't fire on this shot.)

Take from these shots what you will. Every single one of them was from a shoot featured in the 2010 Naptown Tornado Sirens Calendar. Some have more information in them than others, and some I'm not sure will tell you much at all. I just like causing trouble I suppose which seems to be the theme of the week for me. One thing I can tell you for sure; and that is the fact that we were sponsored again this year. Good luck tomorrow ladies, you know I'll be there as usual hoping that maybe I'll be able to get lucky, and fire that shutter at the right moment just a few more times....More soon.

(Nikon D3, 800ISO, Nikon 50mm F1.4AF-S. 1/30th@F1.4)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lions, Tigers, Zombies, and Video oh my!

So wow time has flown, as I realized today when my good friend Dr. X mentioned that it had been over a week since my last blog entry. Normally I'm on top of things like that, but I've been doing a lot of work lately which is good as it's kept me out of trouble I'd most likely get in if I wasn't busy. I'm not saying that me being in trouble is as predictable as hearing the phrase, "just across the state line" at the end of a radio or television ad for fireworks; I'm just squirrely and tend to find myself in strange spots from time to time. Speaking of strange spots, a friend of mine sent me this:

I can't take credit for this, and neither can my friend except for the fact that he sent it to me. All I have is a link to the original file on blogger, it doesn't even say what blog it's on, or where it's at. Whomever created this, is a Genius though, and it's exactly what I needed to see giving me a good laugh.

I've been shooting a lot of video lately as I think I mentioned previously. When I say a lot, I mean in the last 3 days I have shot and edited 4 videos, while shooting another that I have yet to edit. Shooting video on that 5D Mark II is phenomenal; albeit a phenomenal challenge. This video was shot at the Simply Wow event for women Entrapeneurs. The Audio works well, and the video looks good despite the fact that the entire thing was shot in Manual Focus.

I also shot a video last weekend at the Metromix Halloween Party. I was once told that Genius is created by mixing a little initiative, with a slight amount of insanity. I shot this event using the 5D Mark II for video as well, and boy talk about tough. I pushed the camera to the maximum of its range and quite honestly am I not only impressed with the camera, but I'm pleased with myself. Good party, the next one will be in the Red Room on November 14th in Broad Ripple. Hope the video makes you want to go...

SO that's what I've been up to, and the video isn't stopping. The first home bout of the 2009-2010 Roller Derby season is on Saturday the 7th as well. I shot a Rollin with Gunner video Today, and things are continuing as busy as usual. Shot some jewelry already this week for the first time in a while, but more on that soon as well as a few other projects I've been working on. LIfe has been exciting and sleepless lately. More Soon.