Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dancing with Wolves...

Really if I was let into the same shared space as the wolves I'd have been running from the wolves, but luckily they had enough foresight to not let me run around inside the wolf cage freely. I digress, and I never really got started how's that for a new record? Between 3 and 4pm yesterday I got a call from my friend Shannon whom I know through her husband and Roller Derby. She volunteers at Wolf Park in Lafayette Indiana and had spoken with me previously about possibly taking some time for some photo Tomfoolery. Who am I to say no to some Photo Tomfoolery? Unfortunately it wasn't enough time to run out and rent some long glass which I figured I'd need but either way I would consider this to be (as my friend Tom puts it), a "Target Rich Environment".

(Nikon D700, 4500ISO, Nikon 18-35mm@18mm, 1/40th@F3.5)

That is Wolf Park during mid swing on a wolf event. We went at dusk, and unfortunately it was super overcast that day, but the only thing that did was make it cold and rainy-ish. The videographer and Shannon were upset about the wicked orange argon, or sodium vapor lights that were illuminating the display but as I am out of my mind I got excited. Anybody who has read the blog knows how easily excited I am, but the photo above is my good reason for being excited. As I recently told an interview to be a Spotlight Photographer for Photo Potpourri I love playing with colors in my photography. This was just a case where the D3's Clean High ISO combined with the venue lighting choices gave me photos that I would of otherwise would have had to intentionally create. Not that you can't white balance for these lights either though.

(Nikon D3, 4000ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR@140mm, 1/60th@F2.8)

The wolves were pretty cool, although like I said I wish I'd had some long glas, and I wish it had been a whole lot lighter out. 200mm wasn't really enough from where we were shooting, and when its getting dark the lower shutterspeeds have to be brought up with ISO making grainy pictures. Now I know the lay of the land a bit though, so I can rent something either from Roberts, or Borrow lenses before the next trip out, which I think is going to be a Bison demonstration where the wolves will take down a bison for us. (I think). I will probably try to rent the 200-400F4 for the next trip as that even though it's not a F2.8 all the way through, it'll have the range that I want in only one lens. Either way there were a few shots I was able to get that I liked, although nothing super tight on the wolves which is too bad. Next time though. Next time.

(Nikon D3, 2800ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/80th@F3.5)

That is Shannon where we were shooting from. When we got there the wolves were across the park from us for which 200mm was most certainly not enough. I've also been hankerin to try out the 70-300VR that Nikon has. The nice part is that I'd probably be able to purchase that one, unlike the 200-400 which would take quite a bit of budgeting prowess inside of a profession that my accountant once again referred to as a Hobby. Either way, next time I'll be ready. I'll be ready to get a much closer photo of this guy here, who I'm pretty sure is thinking to himself while being scratched: "I want to eat you camera ate the last donut". More soon.

(Nikon D3, 3600ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@200mm, 1/100th@F2.8)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Your own worst critic...

Ever watch Mystery Science Theatre 3000? Those guys are some tough movie critics if I ever saw any. No movie is safe from their judgmental eyes. I like to tell people that they are their own worst critics when it comes to either photos of themselves, or their photography in general. I am no different, and a good friend of mine made mention to me that it never seemed like I was happy with anything that I shot. EVER. I told him he had a good point, and reminded him of the previous statement. In fact however, last friday I had a shoot that I ended very happy with (except for maybe the travel time to shoot time ratio...)

(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@30mm. Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th power shot through a 42" Umbrella to camera right fired by pocket wizard)

That's John. He is an honorable mention in the IndyStar's Salute to Nurses that I mentioned in the previous post. I drove 45 minutes to Anderson Indiana to take this photo of John, which required my simple go to lighting scheme. A single speedlight with a 42" umbrella. Simple, effective, I like it. The Hospital liked it too, and that's more important than what I think in the end, but I DID take 45 minutes to drive up there, so I wasn't about to be done shooting after 15 minutes. It turns out that this particular hospital in Anderson is on the top of the list for Computers in the rooms at patients bedsides. These computers give the nurses tons of information about about each patient immediately at their fingertips. Plus it lets them update their facebook, or watch movies while at work..... ok well maybe not, but I did actually ask... This is the shot I came up with.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 320ISO, Canon EF70-200mmISF2.8L@70mm. Canon 580EX Speedlight snooted set to 1/16th power shot into the computer monitor fired by pocket wizard, Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th power snooted with a FotoRosa Snoot and zoomed to 105mm set to 1/16th power fired by pocket wizard aimed directly at the patients head.)

This shot took a few more minutes to set up, as we had to find a nurse to volunteer to be the patient. I also used two lights, both with snoots to selectively light parts of the image. At the end of the day, I shot in the hospital for about 1/2 the amount of time as the round trip travel time, but at the same time I was pleased with the two setups that I ended up with.

In the end my buddy Mike was right. There are still things I would change about these photos, and I am a believe that there is no such thing as "good enough". Despite that fact, I do like how these two shots turned out and can only hope that the more I shoot the luckier I get to where I'll like a lot more of them right out of the gate. I can tell you one thing though, my best photo has yet to be taken, but I'm looking for it. More Soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back in Action...

It's been a while since I've made a post, which goes completely against what I was trying to go for. Unfortunately I don't have internet tubes at home currently which makes posting every week (or twice a week was was my recent goal) somewhat difficult. Either way, I still have been shooting, I still have been lighting, I still have been carrying entirely too much equipment around, and I have been mixing Jalapeno Cheetos and peanut butter on occasion just to spice things up a bit. During the slight off time though I have been asked to give a few presentations, I've been asked increasingly more lighting questions, and I've definitely been asking more people where I've parked my car.

(Canon 5D Mark II, 640ISO, Canon EF100MMF2.8Macro, 1/25th@F14. Single Canon 580EX through a 42" umbrella set to full power camera left fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Canon 580EX fired through another 42" umbrella set to half power to camera right fired y pocket wizard. White balance set to Cloudy Day to bring out more of the orange in the sunflower.)

Been asked to go back to the Photo Venture Camera club on April 1st to give a presentation about shooting Macro Photography. Great group, I've spoken there before except last time it was about Sports Photography centering in Roller Derby. Great group of people who are extra eager to learn anything they can about photography, and I look forward to speaking to them again. The shot above was shot on the nicest day of the year thus far, during last week. Unfortunately it was also shot artificially lit inside the garage of a florist...

(Nikon D3, 800ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@175mm, 1/250th@F4. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera abott 70 feet behind camera right bare bulb set to just under full power, Single Dynalight 400JR set to a little above half power about 70 feet behind camera left bare bulb. Both lights fired by Pocket Wizard Plus II's.)

Also been asked to go speak to a new photo group named the Indy MU Photo Club about Sports Photography prior to a club trip to the Roller Derby in April. They are also very interested in some on location lighting that I have done, which ties in nicely with a lot of work that I have done lately with the Salute to Nurses here in the Indiana Area. As I've mentioned before, working in hospitals can be extra tough as you have patient rights and identities to consider, as well as they are not the most expansive of venue's. See the photo below for an indicator on that, and keep your eyes peeled. LOTS more soon.

(Look for more information about this shoot coming up soon)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Judge...

I stumbled across this online and felt compelled to post it. This is an increasing problem anymore with how cheap the Digital Rebel series of camera is. You find people with D3000's and Digital Rebel's that claim to be professionals, expecting professional rates, but not always providing professional quality work.

Normally I would be upset as to how the judge handled this situation, not giving the photographer a chance to explain herself. As a professional though, the terms he is throwing out there are too specific to be random chance. If you ask my opinion he knows his stuff. He specifically asks about the 1D series camera, the 5D series camera, the 7D series camera and then asks again why they are selling "Professional" photography using a Digital Rebel..... He even asks about lens speeds, specifically mentioning fast glass such as the 28-70mm.

As a professional, I can understand if someone is just getting into the game and can't afford a D3 or 1D series body, but these ladies claim that they have shot hundreds of weddings. Check it out and leave your opinion in the comments.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Voices of Haiti

My friend Katie turned me onto this a few days ago with link on her facebook page. Jeremy Cowart of Help-Portrait is at it again, except this time he is shooting photos in Haiti and selling prints to raise money for Haitian earthquake relief. Check it out over at It's always great when someone is able to do what they love for a good cause. Check it out. More soon.

(Photo by Jeremy Cowart for the Voices of Haiti Photo a day print series)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Out and About...

Been kind of missing from the blogsphere lately. Not on purpose, but sometimes things just get in the way. A lot of very eclectic events have been strung together lately, but at the same time it's just that eclectic nature of this profession that I truely enjoy. While as normally I do like going on location to shoot things, I've been doing a lot of on location event stuff. The event stuff can pose a different challenge that takes a shooter back to shooting things in the beginning. You don't have a lot of control, you can't light something, things get in the way, and there's nothing you can do about it but hope that you're fast enough to catch what's happening; and that your camera functions like it's supposed to.

That's a shot from Howl at the Moon in Downtown Indianapolis recently. I love the colors in stage, or performance venues. It's a tough thing to recreate outside of an environment like that. I like using my color gels just like any other photographer, but a lot of times it's just not the same. That all the same not everyone takes the flashy approach to presentation. A good example of that would be this:

That was the Vagina Monologues as performed in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis. Someone associated with Roller Derby was a part of the program, which is how I got involved. They didn't have a lot of flashy lights, but they had a relatively nifty venue. The room wasn't large, there were probably about 50 people in there I would guess, and the ladies really did put on quite a powerful performance. I had no idea what I was getting into when I walked into the room, but luckily having done so much work for a Women's Sports team, I wasn't too surprised by what came next.

I've shot a few other strange things recently as well, including the Jefferson Awards banquet earlier today, right before playing dodgeball with baseball's that were ricocheting off of a brick wall......among other things. When that' video is done I'll be sure to post it. Lets just say some things are more resilient to baseballs than you can imagine. One thing that isn't as hard to predict though, is the fact that no matter what venue I go to for an event, no matter how nice it is I always manage to find the one piece of gum on the floor to sit on, kneel on, or step on in the whole place. More Soon.