Thursday, April 29, 2010
I think one of the things that makes me desirable to work with is my honesty. I won't try and sell you something I wouldn't buy, and I won't lie to you.
There are some folks who would misrepresent their products by saying they have done something that they have not done, and they may possibly steal a photograph, or mislead you about how they got them.
If I have never done anything like I'm being asked, I always come right out and say it. If I don't think I could deliver, I wouldn't do it.
So my brother is a gear-head. He likes to tune up cars and drive them on the strip. He called me up and asked if I could gather him a photograph of his car racing. I told him that I had never photographed a car race before but would be glad to give it the ol' college try. Well we get to the track and I decide that I'm going to do a few NEW things.
Firstly, using my 70-200 2.8IS in IS mode 2, which is meant for PANNING...Secondly, I would do just that "PAN" all of my photographs (this is using a slightly slower shutter speed, and following the direction of travel of the intended target), and I would attempt to photograph racing.
Since I have owned the lens (a few years now), I have never had it in mode 2, and I've never panned a photograph before. The line of photography I do just never called for it. There's not really too many reasons to pan the photograph of a senior portrait, and no reason I can think of that I want to do it.
Now I talk tech talk sometimes on these blogs, and typically the nicest racing or cars in motion photographs I've ever seen have come from reasonably bright daylight. We get there and I'm shooting ISO 3200 (which is quite high). See photographers are always speaking about the quantity, and quality of light.
I would have loved for more light, as a hard light on the car isn't really a big deal, and a dark black shadow isn't a big deal either.
So I practiced until Steven's car was ready to go, and then photographed his. We stayed because Steven was going to run a few more times, however it rained, then by the time they got back out, his tire was flat (damn slicks) and when he got it ready, it was already too late. Good thing someone spotted his tire being low, because he could have been hurt driving 130MPH in a 1/4 mile.
I will be at the Iron Will Fighting Championship 3 at the Cambria County War Memorial on Saturday, and at the Pasquerella center for AON wrestling on Sunday. Come say hi!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
A recent snap from my wife's tulip garden. It's in the early works, and we're hoping to grow it a bit more for next season. The day I made this photograph, there was very high winds, and that makes flower photography quite difficult, as the area you focus on moves back and forth, while you're focus points doesn't.
The weekend is winding down, and as my wife is watching Brothers and Sisters, I'm following up on some upcoming events, and watching some television. They keep playing this Trident Layers gum commercial and I think it's funnier every time.
WEC 48 took place Saturday night, and I had Jose Aldo winning. I didn't get to see the event, but I figured it would end in TKO in RD 3 or 4. Urijah was game though and hung in till the end. I seen the photographs he posted on his twitter page...that leg looks bad!
Iron Will Fighting Championship 3 will take place May 1st at the Cambria County War Memorial. I will be cage side photographing the event. If you're interested in going, get your tickets soon before they sell out. I think this show is going to be great!
There is a possibility that I'm at a VFL MMA event in D.C. on Friday, but that's in the air yet.
Also, I will be at the AON wrestling event at the Pasquerella center in Johnstown PA on May 2nd. It's going to be a BUSY weekend!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Today I had the usual plans of working out at Snap, but there was an assignment to do also. Photograph Lisa, and Matt, both trainers at Snap in Altoona, for the website and their in store, for lack of a better word or words "Get to know your trainer paper".
This is the kind of assignment that photographs both love, and at the same time not love so much. Let's cover both ideas behind it.
See every job has goals. Every job is to get photographs the client will enjoy. However there's a "beyond" that, like the intricacies of the job. For instance, a Dr. may just want a file that he/she can use on a business card or their website. Another Dr. may want to be on a website, or billboard. Some business clients want ONE photograph of each person. When you photograph a senior, you've got several photographs you're making and promoting.
The downside to most corp. photo sessions is, you don't get a lot of time and you don't get to do a lot creatively. Whereas on a senior portrait session you get to let the cat out of the bag.
The reason we love these types of sessions is, I can get in, set up, meter my lights, and get the task completed quickly. Most of these types of clients are VERY busy and can only spare 10 minutes or less! This means you've got to be able to get the client posed, and build that "relationship" as quickly as possible.
I think of taking a person's photograph more than clicking the shutter button or setting up my lights. It's the complete package, and that includes me getting to know my client and doing a good job of getting a personal relationship with them. Basically, they have to be more than a client. You make a friend out of them. Other than me being a friendly person, why would one do this? Because if I'm going to stick a camera, a lens, and a bunch of lights in front of you, it's intimidating! What better way to face something that's intimidating than with a friend?
I usually take the Zack Arias approach and "warm-up" like a pitcher in the bull-pen, but on these sessions, you really can't. You've got to be set up, metered and ready to go so you do not disrupt these professionals for too long. Because the bottom line is, if you can't do it, they will get someone who will.
You will find that you don't get to flex your creative muscles on these types of sessions, but you'll also find that if you can't turn out a technically solid photograph on a whim, that making as a portrait photographer isn't going to work out.
I'll post back soon!
Check out Snap Fitness, Iron Will Fighting Championships, Charlie Brenneman (UFC fighter), and AON Wrestling! I'll be at IWFC 3 at the Johnstown War Memorial on May 1st, and AON at the Pasquerella center May 2nd!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I'm sitting down at the computer for a few minutes, after I finished up at the gym. Had a great session with Matt Caputo. If you need a personal trainer, I personally (no pun, haha) suggest that you give Matt Caputo at the Altoona, Snap Fitness a call. I really like that gym. It's clean, the 24 hours a day thing is sweet AND the rates are really reasonable.
Not to try and bore people with different photographic technique and the "behind the scenes" of it, but a lot of people don't realize what goes into being a photographer. It's funny, people think that now that digital is the new wave, that everything is point, click, print... It couldn't be further from the truth.
Now in the case of photojournalism, you shoot and crop...that's about it. You can't change reality, as it's not accepted. To my PJ work, the ONLY adjustments made to them are typically a cropping, or possibly pushing the exposure a stop. The reason we do this is, sometimes the light isn't good enough to get an acceptable shutter speed to stop motion blur or camera shake. We deliberately underexpose the image by an f/stop or 2, then bring it back in post processing. This does have a slightly negative effect on the photograph's final quality, but with professional equipment, you've got a lot more latitude than you do with just the amateur gear. This would get really boring if I got into how it affects dynamic range, and there's people who specifically shoot these cameras, just to see how they do in different crazy situations, but me, I use the tool the way it takes me to get the best possible photograph for myself or the client.
Okay, enough of that. I guess I do go off on "teaching" sprees sometimes. If I had the academic credentials to teach, I probably would teach photography too.
If you check out my galleries, all of the most recent AON photographs are uploaded, and the 2010 circus photos are now uploaded. Please take a moment to look them over.
Until next time!
From now on, all AON Wrestling Galleries reflect lower prices, with a discount. No need to contact me before ordering, just order from the site and you'll receive your prints in the mail quickly.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Some shots from tonights AON Wrestling, at the YPCC in Ebensburg. A great little center to have an event. I'll tell you what, I said this before and I'll say it again. While I'm not a fan of Pro. Wrestling, maybe it's because I've fallen out of touch with it as a child, or maybe because my interests have changed. I do not know, but regardless this is what I'm going to say,
Crap! They take some HITS, and HARD hits. Anyone who thinks that what they do is easy is out of their freakin' mind. I have trained Judo and JuJitsu for the past however many years, and I'll tell you for CERTAIN that what they do is just as hard, if not harder.
Justin Filer, of Drenning/Filer MMA, an MMA fighter, BJJ practitioner and the like was there. He and I were looking at each other and going WOW! WE were shocked and impressed at the beatings that these guys give and take.
Jason Davis has a good show there, and the wrestlers are a great group of people. I hope the guys bear with me while I learn their names!
I'll post a few more pictures later, and I'll have them on my website tonight or tomorrow, then back to the circus photos!
Don't be thrown off by all of the MMA, events and the like I photograph, I am still indeed a portrait photographer. If you're interested in booking a session, get a hold of me, I've got great specials going on.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I will be posting some photos from the Jaffa Shrine Circus tomorrow, in Altoona PA.
From what I hear, this show is going to be the best they've had yet, and the white tigers are something to behold!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I've decided that blogspot has quite a bit of a good reputation, that I will use them.
My last blog post I spoke briefly about photographing Professional Wrestling. I figure since it's important information that sheds some insight onto sports photography, that I will go over it again. Here's a copy/paste from the last blog.
By the way, if you’re considering a website, new or old for yourself PLEASE, you OWE it to yourself to check out Sandy @ outworld arts stuff. She does top notch work and has a quick turn-around.
So what’s been going on? Just been pounding the pavement about my photography, and making photographs for competition and the portfolio.
I’ve been looking into keyboards that are much more comfortable for typing long items on, and looking into a wacom tablet for editing photographs. They are so much more intuitive than a mouse…think of drawing with a brick! Ouch!
Recently I “partnered” up with matcombatsports.com I will be representing them at some combat sport related events as a photographer or writer or even both! I’ve done a few articles, and a gym profile for them with more on the horizon. If you go and sign up for an account, add me on there as a friend.
There are two MMA promoters that I do a lot of photography for. VFLmma and Iron Will Fighting Championships. Check out both if you are looking into MMA events.
Now I want to talk about photographing action and some of the “technical” aspects of it for a little bit and what makes it hard for just mom to pick up her pocket camera and get some photographs of her son playing indoor ball.
Ask any professional photographer, shooting indoor sports is one of the hardest things to do. It’s demanding on the equipment, demanding on the photographer and hard on the body (depending on the event). At this moment I have not shot a wedding yet, but it’s coming soon and I would say that weddings are the hardest to do.
Anyway, the reason indoor sports is so hard is because of the lighting. In photography you have 3 factors in exposure. Aperture of the lens, ISO setting of the camera, and shutter speed.
While f/4 and 1/500 of a second will produce the same exposure as f/8 1/120, it will be different creatively speaking. f/8 allowing more depth of field, but 1/120 not freezing any action.
In shooting sports, you want the absolute fastest shutter speed you can get. The faster the better. If you can shoot at 1/1600, you’ll kiss the ground before your feet.
All of these settings, ISO (the sensor’s sensitivity to light), aperture (the diameter of the lens opening) and shutter speed (this is pretty much easy to figure out) make the exposure. While any combination of equal exposure (f/4 gathers 2x the light as f/5.6 but if we give f/5.6 2x as long a shutter speed it’s equal exposure), what is the best to portray the scene?
Now with more expensive, and newer cameras coming out the ISO sensitivity of the camera’s sensors are improving, but still ISO 3200 and 6400 (very high ISO) are still “noisy”…
What is noise in a picture? It’s random specks of color and loss of detail.
Now we’re going to quickly talk about color temperature…this is measured in Kelvins.
Just speaking quickly, different light sources have different color temps. This really means nothing if all lights are the same. Usually a custom white balance or even auto in a lot of cases will figure it out…however things get REALLY ugly when you start mixing them.
Mix a flash with fluorescent lighting, and it gets ugly. You can gel the flash to change the color of the light…but what happens when there are multiple lights that have been changed with different brands of lighting, colors of lighting and no gel or combo of gels you have matches what ugly color is coming out of the ceiling? You kill the ambient light…that is overpower it with flash.
But what if you’re photographing an event where you’re not able to blast a full power flash in a competitor’s face? You can’t kill ambient lighting. You grin, bear it and take the photos. You deal with the color temperature and present the best you can do.
So you crank the ISO of your camera, set the shutter speed to whatever lets in some ambient (to light your background and areas where the stupid ettl (through the lens metering) doesn’t meter for) and go.
Now you’ve got to deal with refresh time of your camera’s flash…
When I shoot MMA I consider ISO 3200 f/2.8 1/800 to be acceptable but LOW lighting. Ideally I’d want 1/1600 as my shutter speed.
When I arrived at the Pasquerella center in Johnstown PA, with the lights cranked….I metered ISO 3200, f/2.8 and 1/200!!! If we count in f/stops 1600/800/400/200, you get the idea on light difference. With each stop the amount of light is either doubled or cut in half.
To say the pasq center has low lighting, is about the biggest understatement in the history of understatements.
Sometimes the ONLY way to remove a color cast is the desaturate the image (black and white conversion) and sometimes the only way to get photos in those dungeons is to underexpose the image by 2-3 f/stops, and bring it back in post…which brings MORE noise into the photo! Rough all of the way around.
It was the first time I shot professional wrestling, but definitely not the last. Check out AON Wrestling. A pretty neat production, and even though I personally am not a fan of pro wrestling, these guys are entertainers, athletes and really good at what they do. I really hope you check them out. Especially considering tickets are only 10 bucks or so. That’s a great night for mom or dad to take the kids out and see some neat entertainment.
Check out the photos on my site to be uploaded over the next few days.