Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keeper of the Outtakes....

That should be the title of the profession that I keep as opposed to Photographer. Every Photographer has outtakes, it's a fact of life. Pictures of people with their eyes closed, their fingers up their nose, a goofy face, and there's always the good photo that is immediately followed by the ubiquitous phrase; "That better not go anywhere!".

As soon as she stepped onto the black paper her phone rang, thus causing this immediate reaction. We all had a good laugh about it, right as she said exactly what you'd guess: "That better not go anywhere!". Oops. Turns out I don't listen very well, as so many of the people I've photographed have mentioned in the past. But what's the fun in having some of these if nobody sees them? That's where things get really tough because there are lots of GOOD photos that people don't ever see either and for a photographer that's especially frustrating.

I shot that photo for the latest issue of the Indiana Nursing Quarterly Magazine. Unfortunately this shot wasn't chosen to be in the magazine. My assignment was to show these two administrators furthering their careers through teaching. The problem that I faced in this shoot was that there were no students.....

The shot was taken at the Sim Center in the Fairbanks hall at Methodist in Downtown Indianapolis. The Sim center is a full entire nursing floor in a hospital completely fake and replicated for students to learn in. They have dummies that they can give pulses, or even simulate having cardiac arrest. It's really a pretty cool place if you're a nurse; or learning to be a nurse. Speaking of nurses AND outtakes, here's a video that probably could have stayed in the land of outtakes. Either way what other jobs can you name where you have to pay a Stripper $20 to wear the head of a lion and dance around for a minute, and go sledding all in the same week? More Soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Indy Warehouse Photo Group...

A few weeks ago my buddy Joe Lee asked if I'd be interested in doing a shoot in a building he knew of that was covered in professional grade griffiti. What? do I look like someone that says no to something like that? At least I'm not as scary as this dude:

That's my buddy James, who showed up for about 10 minutes in the middle of all the commotion. He may look like the back alley guy that's looking for trouble but he really is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He saw the event happening on facebook, and I told him if he showed up he'd probably end up with at least one cool photo of himself. He seemed to like this one when he saw it, and I can't complain about it either. It was a quick 5 minute shoot, which is my favorite kind. Got him in front of the wall, bing, bang and done. Easy as pie. That's what the workshop part of this was for though. Joe wanted to get some Pro's together with people that wanted to become better photographers so there would be kind of this learning collective thing going on. Personally I think it could have used a little better planning over all, but either way I met some people that got some shots they were pleased with, and the very little I did actually shoot; I was pleased too.

That lovely lady is Joe Lee's mom. Back when he first spoke to me about this event he asked if I would mind taking a minute to take a photo of her for him, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. She was a lovely lady, who was incredibly excited to be a part of this event, and I was thrilled the opportunity to take her photo. I wanted to do something a little different for her, and so I had the lovely Brittany stand in front of a light, as though she was spray-painting the graffiti. Originally i wanted it to appear as though Mrs. Lee was one of the graffiti artists, but now that I see what I came up with it appears as though Mrs. Lee is the supervisor. Either way you want to take it is fine. You could also think she was catching the artist in the act although I prefer to think of her as the rebel...

Speaking of Rebels, this lovely lady is Brittany. Pretty girl who wanted to do nothing that night but go outside. So outside is where we went alright; outside through the window onto the roof of the warehouse. She wanted the same thing that I wanted originally, which was something to do with the Skyline. I was more than up to the challenge of this, except that the one and major recognizable building in downtown Indianapolis wasn't lit up. That one building was the Chase Bank Tower in the center of the downtown. This is the shot that I really liked out of the set we shot though This could have been shot down on the ground, I realize this; but now I have the story about how I climbed through a window, used a work light to weigh down my umbrella and strobe, and then stood with wet shoes on a vinyl bar stool that was already unbalanced. It immediately reminds me of when I introduced myself to some of the people at the warehouse. One of the guy's responded with, "Yea I met you before, you like to climb on stuff don't you?" Busted... If I didn't climb on stuff though; I wouldn't have been able to get above the snow to catch that wicked green tint from the Mercury Vapor street light on the snow behind Brittany. Was it worth risking life and limb for? I think so, but then again I also think that if I spin in circles nobody can see me so you should probably decide for yourself.

The last shot that I did that night was of Jamaar. I saw him standing there, and another shooter brought a guitar with him. It just seemed appropriate, I won't even lie. I guess I thought he had that Lenny Kravitz thing going for him or something because this is what I saw. Quick 5 minute shoot to end the night.

Everybody seemed to have a good time there, some people shot really well, others weren't as happy with their performance as they would have liked but in the end it was a learning experience for everyone. There is already talk about doing another one, and I'm going to try to have more of a part in the organizational standpoint in that because like I said earlier; there were a few logistical things we could have done better. Otherwise I think everybody had a good time, and I guess next time I look forward to doing even better. More Soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The running joke in life is that weathermen have the greatest jobs in the world. "Wouldn't you love to have a job where you could be wrong 60% of the time, and still be employed?". That's one of my favorites right there, but quite frankly I've learned that weathermen are usually pretty accurate as long as you're looking within a 24 hour window of the forecast. This guy's job however, was long term weather predictions and forecast for the planet.

That's Dr. Brian Soden from Miami. He's a global warming specialist and a few weeks ago I was asked to photograph his presentation by the Hoosier Environmental Council. One of the things I find greatest about being a photographer is that in an occasion like this I am learning something new while doing something I enjoy. It doesn't matter what the topic is as I'm one of those people that falls asleep some nights with the History or Discovery channel on the television; but I love hearing what experts in different fields have to say regardless of what that field may be. Dr. Soden was no different as his visual aids, as well as his stories about the compilation of weather data in the United States since the 1970's held true with the weather jokes that we've all come to use and love.

A lot of people don't believe in global warming because of the 20" of snow we received last week here in Indianapolis, and I can understand their doubt. I don't like the snow as much as anyone else, as I have yet to do anything with it photographically which I consider to be a personal failure. I've got a few ideas, but I just haven't done any of them. Dr. Soden did pull a full house crowd though. Old, young, students, anybody and everybody seemed to be there, which is good as he has quite a few interesting things to say.

As usual, I am working on a few other things too though. I have been throwing around a few short film ideas, similar to the video posted below:

That short film was shot entirely with the Pentax K7 and various lenses. Very cool video, very cool idea. I've been shooting a lot more video lately with the 5D Mark II and I've been loving every minute of it. It's annoying carrying two camera systems around though to the point where there may be a D3s in my future before the end of the year if I can get all my ducks in a row. (Dang that's a lot of ducks...) Lots of neat stuff coming up soon though. Going to be at an uber secret location Warehouse Indy photo workshop on Tuesday night. Have some neat new light modifiers that I'll be trying out that night; going to be doing some neat stuff there guaranteed so check back for that. Speaking of light modifiers, I've also had some equipment questions come though, and am working on an equipment page for the blog. Will keep you posted as to how that goes. More soon.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Scary Hot Stuff.....

Scary hot can be a term used to describe so many things. The Sun for example can be considered scary hot. After all it probably is the hottest thing us as humans know to exist; other than of course another star someplace else.... either way it's the closest hottest thing we know of. Personally right now I'd describe the amount of work I've had to do as Scary Hot. I can't complain whatsoever, however it's detracted from certain things that I should be doing as a typical 25 year old, like having boatloads of fun (sometimes even on a boat...), Blogging..., sleeping, eating glue, accepting candy from strangers, and did I say sleeping?

I've been doing a lot of side shooting from the newspaper lately on top of what was already a wicked busy time at the newspaper; and that's been excellent. I can not complain at all as a lot of the stuff I've done recently has really worked out for me in the end. The amount of hours and time I've spent awake and shooting the last few weeks. That can definitely be considered being Scary Hot right now. Honestly though I love what I do and despite the fact that I may not make it out to a bar on some weekends or do some of the things that a typical 25 year old does; I'm cool with it. It's a little bit of prospecting mixed with a dash of already found, along with a pinch of slightly off my rocker that makes for a good combination of photography; at least in my world anyway. Especially when you have to do some things exceedingly quickly in some cases.

That was a 5 minute portrait that I shot at the Fight with Flight last weekend. Some people who read this will have seen it already, and some won't. I wanted to shoot a portrait of a Redbull girl while at the RedBull Fight with Flight event because I was there for myself; and that's what I wanted to do. In the Newspaper Biz a 5 minute portrait is usually 4:30 longer than whomever you are shooting figures it needs to be. Either way, it turned out pretty solid for very little planning and a little faith in the Nikon iTTL system. I was pleased with the result, and so was the lovely Emily. Most of what I do is on such a tight deadline, you need to be setup and ready to go before you even go and get the talent into the room. After all, their time is worth more than yours (whether that's true or not, if you think that way you'll never be in trouble). You can get in trouble though, because Emily is a Senior in High School. Does she fit into the Scary Hot category? HECK YEA. I'm pretty sure she's got to be 18 to work for RedBull, but just goes to show you never know....

With other events in mind I'm sure everybody noticed all the advertisements around for the, "Big Game." I won't even lie that since the term "Big Game", is somewhat ambiguous I'm going to agree with my friend Grand Ref Otto (Grand Theft Otto to the drunks). We are pretty sure everybody who mentioned "The Big Game" was referring to the roller derby bout last weekend. The Naptown Tornado Sirens beat Memphis last weekend and it was an awesome bout to see. You can check out the photos from that event here.

Speaking of the Roller Derby, and 5 minute portraits; that's the lovely miss "Kickabroad Crane". Rumor is that she's so touch she broke her foot while kickin a$$ and she kept on kickin. Literally, she was wearing one of those plastic boot things you get from the doctor after breaking your foot, so she was easy to commandeer to be a light test subject for something I wanted to see. Simple 2 light setup, not much photoshop required except to put the two shots together which was easy enough that I managed to figure it all out in just a few minute. I need to come up with a derby name that is somewhat mormon related so that way I can have many derby wives, becuase lots of these ladies would definitely fit into that description of Scary Hot that I mentioned earlier in the blog. That photo was taken tonight at the Practice Base after I got done taking the photos of the Freshest Fresh Meat for the programs at an upcoming away bout. Simple. Easy. I like it. I could definitely use more of the simple easy. More Soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fight with Flight....

Last weekend I had the great experience of being invited out to accompany my friend Joseph Lee to shoot at the Red Bull 'Fight with Flight' event. That's right, the name of this post has no significance to me other than the fact that it was the name of the event that I shot. What a great event it was too. More than enough sugar and caffeine in all of the Red Bull that I drank to ensure that most of the photos that I shot were fuzzy due to shaky hands. I was there in no official capacity but was there just to shoot something new, different and on my own. I figured I'd either have the images for portfolio use, convince the newspaper to run a story about the event, or sell the images to someone. None of which has happened to this point, but I had a hell of a time for sure as it was an opportunity to do a few things that I haven't really done since I owned my D2x. Despite that I wasn't initially credentialed after a quick review of my photos I was granted a media credential for the day of competition. I'd like to once again thank Brittany, James, and Joe for helping make it all happen for me that day.

(Nikon D3, 320ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/100th@F5. Nikon SB-900 Set to iTTL +1EV zoomed to 200mm aimed with my left hand about arms length out fired by an SU-800 Speedlight commander unit on camera.)

The event was about flatlanding. It's basically flat land stunts on BMX bikes. Standing on the back of the bike using your foot to propel yourself, jumping onto the front handle bars and standing on it while the bike is moving, riding the bike backwards with one wheel up in the air eating Cheetos with peanut butter while yodeling...... Ok maybe not the last one, but it was definitely a pretty cool thing to see much less photograph. The guy in the photo above is Tyler Gilliard and whether you want to believe it or not that is not a photo of him falling. That's one of the tricks that the guys would do on the Bikes, is standing on the back and leaning far over while rotating in circles. Wild, Wild stuff.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/40th@3.5. Nikon SB-900 Set to iTTL +0.7EV zoomed to 200mm with a warming gel aimed with my left hand about arms length out fired by an SU-800 Speedlight commander unit on camera. White balance set to 3050Kelvin)

In this photo of Jean-William Prevost, you can actually use the same effect as in the first photo with a bit slower shutter speed and a little color trickery. It's much more exciting and dynamic in my opinion than just seeing a guy frozen in time on a bicycle. For all you know the guy could be riding backwards when he's frozen in time. Subsequently I also have quite a few photos just as I describe here, but you do have to get the safety shots. Saftey shots being shots that you know people look for. You can get the artistic shots, the crazy shots, the wild idea shots; but only after you know you have something you can turn in at the end of the day to complete your assignment. You definitely can go after your wild idea shots ahead of time, and lord knows I do my fair share of last minute safety shooting, but overall you want to get your safety shots first.

(Nikon D3, 1600ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR. 1/250th@F3.2. Nikon SB-900 Set to 1/16th power zoomed to 105mm fired by pocket wizard superclamped to a railing on the second level of the airplane hangar.)

That would be one of those shots actually. Like I said earlier, it was amazing what these guys can do on these bikes. I'd have killed myself at least 3 times had I been the one on the bike, but then again I'd probably have attempted the Cheetos yodeling thing I mentioned earlier because; why go unless you go all the way right? Most of the stuff that I shot during competition was like that, but Practice was really when I got to play around and thus earn my credential at the event.

(Nikon D3, 320ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@35mm. 1/250th@F7.1. Nikon SB-900 Set to 1/4th power zoomed to 200mm fired by pocket wizard aimed by Jeremiah underneath the plane wing to my right)

That's definitely not what the venue looked like, but sometimes you'll try anything to get a low ISO in awful lighting conditions. That's where my Experience with my old D2x came in; and that's where the idea for the shot above came from. The easiest way to get out of the rut of ISO is to make available light unavailable, which is exactly what I did above. Yea that's Tyler Gilliard again, he was the only one that seemed to accommodate my request to get closer to the airplane wing that I was laying on. Yea, I was laying on the wing of a 737 for this shot. I was far enough down that I was face over one side with the camera, and feet off the other side. I'm pretty sure it wasn't recommended but it's not recommended to accept candy from strangers either, and yet I do that quite a bit.

It was definitely something fun to attend, and even shoot even without the normal press credentials that I usually enjoy at these kinds of events. Despite my lack of any authority at all, I still managed to pull people aside and shoot a few out of the ordinary things. I find that not having a piece of equipment, or having certain permissions will just help spawn creativity. I have a great photo of Terry Adams that I can't post just yet. I had no idea who he was a the time, but I asked the Red Bull man in charge of the event (James) to help me find someone I could take 3 minutes to make a wicked photo with. He liked the idea, and introduced me to Mr. Terry Adams. I've got a nice portrait of one of the lovely Red Bull ladies in attendance, as well as some shots of two guys that helped make this event happen here in Indianapolis. Ironically out of all the sports images that I shot, it's the few 3 minute portraits that I did that I like the best. Lord the Irony. I'll be sure to alert everyone when the rest are up online as soon as I'm cleared to post them. More Soon.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/60th@F4. Nikon SB-900 with the warming gel set to 1/2 power shot through a 20" square softbox to above camera left fired by pocket wizard. Single SB-900 Speedlight set to 1/8th power fired by pocket wizard superclamped to the Flight attendant station in the back of the airplane cabin. The camera's white balance was set to 3050kelvin to give the rear strobe that cool blue glow.)