Sunday, May 30, 2010

This weekend is Memorial day weekend (way to go Rob, you're the master of all things obvious) (well someone has to be, hah!).

I recently got My 1D3 back from Canon and wanted to test out the auto focus on it, so I was looking for SOMETHING going on. A baseball, football, soccer game, anything. I couldn't find anything going on. So I ended up going to a section of rail track where I know skate-borders go to. Empty. Another swing and a miss. Well, I figured I already had the equipment with me and I wanted to come up with some photographs for the blog...well! Here I am.

There's quite a bit of action going on in the near future. CPWC6 is taking place in Lancaster on June 4th. I am not sure if I will be there or not yet, it's up in the air. Then there's 2 AON events I'll be attending in Altoona on June 11th and 12th. In July VFL MMA is making their return to Central PA, and I'll be cageside with your photographs from that event as well.

The fodder I've posted here is a little bit different from the usual photographs I post on the blog. By nature I'm a portrait photographer and I enjoy action sport photography as well. This isn't to say that I don't do it all, I do, however nearly every photographer has their preferred niche. Mine is people :).

See ya soon! Enjoy the holiday weekend. I'm heading out to find some action to make photographs of!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aon Wrestling 5_22_2010 Part 2

So I'm sitting in front of my computer, posting part two of this blog, and adding some new photographs to the website. the rain has subsided today, and the sun is out. I am going to go around and see about making a few prints of some of the vistas of the area. We will see if that comes to fruition today, since there's quite a bit of work to do from this weekend.

As posted in Part One of the blog, it was a difficult show to photograph. You lose a reasonable amount of detail at ISO 6400 setting on any camera. You can see a lot of tests where a camera company shows a nice nice photograph at their highest ISO setting. What they do NOT tell you is how they arrived at it. A lot of times if you OVEREXPOSE a high ISO file, you mitigate some of the noise artifacts. Okay, so over expose by say 1/3-2/3 f/stops. Alright, so why don't you do that? Well what if you're photographing action? You want as FAST a shutter speed as you can muster, even underexposing the photograph and bringing it back in post *(the reverse of the above, so increasing the noise more).

Okay, so that doesn't explain everything. Most of the times, when you're using a high ISO setting such as 3200 or 6400 or higher, you're starved for quality+quantity of light. So what do these people do? They shoot a portrait of an individual, overexposing maybe 1/3 shot, using a studio strobe to light it, inside of say a softbox (thus dealing with quality and quantity of light) and then have a crew of professional retouchers bringing back detail or creating it.

I'm not saying that high ISO's haven't improved drastically. My old 30D I wouldn't have shot above ISO 800. I considered it an 800 camera. My old 40D, I shot at 1600. Now with the current cameras, except my 5D, I shoot at 3200 or 6400 if needed.

Alright, enough of that. Just shedding some light on how some camera manufacturers make their high ISO performance appear better than it is. Don't show me a portrait in a studio environment illustrating your high ISO performance. Show me a low light action shot at f/2.8 where you're BARELY getting enough shutter speed to freeze medium paced action, and you'll be seeing what I'm showing.

I just want to touch upon the background of these photos from this most recent event. My shooting position put me opposite this white divider cloth that the venue used to divide the floor section. The crowd sat below me, and to each side, so this wasn't a "set up ring with a cute white background". In hind site, I would have liked to have moved and shot with a crowd as my background, as the white really bothers me.

Well, here's a few from the show. I really only got to photograph about half of the show. The first part of the show, locating the venue controller of the lights was hard to do and we needed more of the lights turned on. In the beginning I was metering for 1/125 and that's simply not fast enough to even try to catch someone throwing someone through the air.

Please don't think me saying about the lighting is to say the lighting is bad at the venue. It's not, it's just not good for action photography. Think of highschool gymnasium lighting and you get the idea.

Here's a few photos, and a link to the first blog post

Also I want to say, since someone was confused about this before. My website is WWW.ROBLYNN.ORG

If you go to, it is not me. I have him linked on my site, and I suggest to take a look at his site and story too, however we are not the same guy.

AON Wrestling 5_22_2010 Part 1, Education of fluorescent lighting.

ISO 1600 Film Sample

I am going through the images from the most recent AON Wrestling event that was in State College PA last night. If I didn't know better, I would think that the people who have my photograph the events I shoot at didn't like me.

What do I mean? Shutter speed is everything in action photography. You see in these places, the lighting isn't very good photographically speaking. Firstly, it's contrasty. Secondly it's not in a great enough quantity to allow enough light into the sensor properly exposing the image.

Why is contrasty light bad? I mean, yeah sometimes we want BLACK shadows, and BRIGHT highlights that transition from one another quickly.

Like what the eye sees isn't always what the camera sees. The dynamic range of the human eye is much greater than the dynamic range of a camera sensor.

Simply put, if you put a very contrasty light scene with lots of dark shadows and bright highlights in front of your camera, and in front of your eye. More often than not, the eye sees more than the camera sensor in that situation. Wait, more? What do I mean more? Well in the eye we see a little detail in the black and we see a little detail in the highlights. In the camera, we may see just BLACK instead of shadow with detail. In the camera we may see "blown" highlights (nuked white), but our eye still discerns details. Maybe it's texture of the material, or something like that that WE can see, btu the eye doesn't see.

So these places that have the low light, require you to bump your ISO substantially. OKay, not as big of a deal as before. You should see some of the examples of high ISO film. Just google them. I am actually posting an ISO 1600 film shot exposed for in a controlled environment. You should see how grainy it is compared to one of the ISO 6400 (4 times more sensitive to light and likewise them more likely to show digital noise patterns or "grain) from my 1D3. The difference is staggering.

So yes, I know that bumping ISO isn't as big deal as before but back to the dynamic range thing. When you increase the ISO further, the dynamic range of the scene decreases in the sensor's eyes. So a typical scene may measure 13-15 f/stops of light. The sensor normally can get around 11 in optimal conditions, and then when you increase the ISO you may get 8 f/stops in the high ISO settings. So that means either the highlights go so you have shadow detail or your shadows go so you have highlight detail. You can use flash to bring up the exposure, btu if you use flash and you don't have a gel on your light that matches your main source...guess what? Your colors are going to look all wrong.

The numbers above I"m just making up, but they are similar and indicative of what I'm talking about. They just put a nuumber on the loss of dynamic range. We as people learn a lot more from something when we can put a number on it.

"It costs A LOT of money."
"It costs $246, 624, 677.00"

See what I mean?

The other thing is the cycling of the lights. When your shutter speed is too fast for the cycle of the type of light (which is almost always in action photography BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO HAVE FAST SHUTTER SPEEDS to freeze action), you'll catch the cycle of the light.

I've enclosed 4 photographs taken in sequence (meaning they were one burst). they are 4 that didn't make the cut, but they perfectly illustrate my point.
1D3, ISO 6400, f/2.8 1/400 is the "data" on them. This gives you an idea of the cycling I'm talking about and what makes it a bugger to deal with.

See the difference in the 4? How there's the "band" or "dark" that travels across the frame. That's the cycle of light that I'm talking about. So couple high ISO, rapid cycling lights, and fast moving subjects and you see just three of the reasons why action photography is so difficult.

I'll post more GOOD news from the event, as I process everything. So look for blog part two.

Friday, May 21, 2010


You've got to be thinking "what"? When I type Winter. I've been going through my catalog of photographs and I realize that I didn't post these on here this Winter.

I know that Winter is over, but these are a few photographs of the last Winter. I try to stay out of bad weather, but sometimes this can make for some of the best photographs of the winter you'll see.

What do I mean? Who really goes out and looks at 2 or 3 feet of snow? Most people see it from inside their house and maybe behind their snowblower, but who sits and actually looks at a piece of scenery when they're dealing with 24+ inches of snow? Kids play in it, adults remove it.

This Saturday I'll be in State College photographing AON Wrestling. It will be AON's first outting in State College PA (in-so-far as I know). While I am up there, I hope to make some photographs of the areas of State College. We'll see how it goes.

That said, Senior Season is in FULL swing. PLEASE book your sessions EARLY, that way you do not have to rush into them. What I mean by this is simply, you think you have 8-12 months, but then it's 4-8, and then 4 and 2 months and you're running to find a photographer. Start searching for your choice photographer *hint the answer is me :P* early!

Remember, veterans are always appreciated by Rob Lynn Photography and I offer a veteran's bonus to anyone serving or having served in any branch of the US Armed forces.

Also, if you're in the market for a new hand built guitar, call up Jeff is a class act and has done a lot for me personally over the years. The thing about it is this, he's just the same way to anyone he meets. He treats everyone well and makes a sweeeeeetttttt guitar at a great price.

See ya soon and pictures will follow the event tomorrow night, or Sunday morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just a weekend of what? Yeah, what?

I bet that doesn't make much sense to you, because it doesn't make any sense to me.
What does a photographer do, when he's not being a photographer? They make pictures! Okay, what am I rambling on about?

No client sessions this weekend, and a few beautiful days had me wanting to make some photographs. I wanted to try and find some sporting events and check out the AF on my 1d. I caught the rear end of a little league game, however it was the very end when I got there and I didn't get a chance to make any photographs. So I'm thinking, I'm losing daylight and I want to check the AF out on this camera in AI Servo, so I thought of moving vehicles. I went to a bridge and took a few snaps of a train moving, and some cars. Sure thing the camera is AFing' wonderfully (AF is auto-focus) in servo. I still haven't done great tests yet on it to 100% be certain of this (without going on there was an issue with 1d3 in that it may have erratic focus on a back-lit person coming at the camera on a hot day in AI servo). There were fixes done to it by Canon that corrected the phenomenon, but you still have to be sure of it.

Well I had been wanting to silo-what-now the Cathedral for some time and it was just about sunset. So I waited it out and made that photograph also. In the photograph of the cathedral, you notice a black speck in the clouds. That's a bird. In a large version you can clearly see all outline of the animal. On web-size, it looks just like a black dot but I assure you, it isn't. I also like how our old Glory has some color to the image, and the cathedral is completely black.

So that was Saturday. On nice days when there's nothing going on, I enjoy taking a look at different locations for possible environmental portraits. I drove all around and my travels ended up having me at Chimney Rocks in Holidaysburg. Before I got there, I seen some flags and the US flag means a lot to me, so I liked the light, angle of light and the line so I made that photograph. By the time I got to chimney rocks, the sky was HAZY and no longer nice and blue (how it can all go to crap in NO time flat!). I still hiked to the top and made a quick snapshot. The photograph is nothing more than a snapshot of the incredible view you get from up there.

Also included is my orange cat, tangerine back-lit by the window blinds.

I will be in State College this weekend for AON wrestling, so I'll go up a little early and make a few photos of that area too. The downside to it is, I'll get bright daylight that's right over head (the time of day) and I don't think I'll get any "golden hour" (more like golden 20 minutes) light on my subjects. I also do not know State College that well OR the area surrounding it, so I'm not sure what to shoot. I will however find some new photographs to bring along with the wrestling.

Hopefully this place has more light than the other places I've been. I'm telling you, ISO 4000-6400 with f/2.8 and 1/320 is wayyy too dim for action.

Without further adieu, here are the photographs. Talk to you all next time!

EDIT! I can't believe I hadn't heard, nor did I know the arts festival was this weekend! I would have so been there!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A little of everything

I'm trying to catch up with the last few days of phone calls, e-mails and photographs. I like to stay busy all of the time. I like the sense of urgency rather than being able to procrastinate.

Coming up this month, I'll be photographing AON wrestling in State College, and then in June looking at at least 2 more events of theirs to photograph.

There's a few fights coming up that I'll be photographing, but since everything is verbal right now, rather than in stone I'll wait until I know more to comment on that.

This is the season when the parents of seniors start thinking about having their photos done. I truly suggest getting your quotes and dates in sooner than later. Before you know it, it's the end of the year and you're on crunch time trying to find a photographer last minute with a day open.

I would like to talk about copyright for a few minutes. If you notice on my website that you cannot download an image of mine by right clicking on it, and if you try, you're prompted with a message letting you know that the photograph copyright is owned by me and that if you want it you have to go through me.

On my blogs, you'll notice that there's a water mark and a border on the image. Also the images are resized to an almost unprintable size. This is simply to prevent theft. Wait, theft? People will steal someone's photographs? You betchya. Some folks just want something for nothing, and have no problem devaluing your work. It recently happened to me that I had to go back and forth with someone over an illegally downloaded photograph. Now I'm not confrontational but I won't stand by while someone takes something of mine. It really upset me that I wasn't asked for a download. I wasn't asked if it was okay, it was just taken and used.

Some folks may not realize the problem with downloading images illegally. Do a quick google and see what happens when you take copyrighted products. The guy who downloaded the photograph told me he learned how to do it in of all places SCHOOL! His school told him how to take a product! That's just insane. Rather than educate the kids on stealing, they told them how to. Now the guy who ended up with it, I have 0 problems with. I truly think both people didn't realize how big of a deal it is to do it. They removed the product and that's that. But it's prompted me to go back to watermarking my images that I post online. All photographs on this website are copyright protected and owned by myself. If you would like to use, obtain or purchase them please do the right me.

When you order prints, the watermark will not appear on the photograph, but they will have a watermark on them when you view them online.

Here's a few photos for you to take a look at. I can be commissioned to come to photograph your prom, and your special events. Book those dates early, because my datebook fills up quickly.

The cat photograph is a photograph I made for a photo project. It's my cat window hunting.

The young man photograph is a senior photo I was messing with. I photographed the young ma "traditionally", but ALSO wanted to play with some other lighting patterns. I love this split lighting, and on some subjects it just works great.

Monday, May 3, 2010


So May 2nd I photographed more AON wrestling. This was just the day after photograping the IWFC event at the War Memorial. (Cambria County War Memorial).

The game plan was to go up to any plain wall and just get a few grabs of the wrestlers, so Jason could keep them in stock. In the rooms there was this chair rail, only it was about 4ft off of the ground, so there was really no way to use the walls in the place without some ridiculous looking rail in it. So we chose to use this overhead door, in a hallway where we had not enough room to photograph the people. People were 3 ft from the door, and I was 3 ft from them...simply not good enough.

I was getting some goofy reflection, and a shadow that wasn't casting out of the way as much as I would have liked (I couldn't move the light any further to the choice but to make it work). There was crap in the alcove where the people were too and light was bouncing around like crazy.

I made the hotspot work for me (believe it or not the light wasn't aimed at where the hot spot was shoting) as it looks almost like a spot light lighting up our stars. Now, I like to use more than one light on a shoot...and a few reflectors. No choice here. Just one light from a big light source bouncing around like crazy. I wanted a HARD light too, and a broad source close to our subject makes that difficult to get. See you try and keep the subject in the same f/stop range of light. Inverse square law tells us that as the distance doubles, the light is 1/4 as strong. This just means that if we place someone RIGHT on top of the light, you can almost guarantee a deep shadow on one side of the body and a bright highlight on the other.

The other thing is, in this type of portraiture, you're not looking for a perfect catchlight in the eyes. You're not looking for the perfect pose. These guys were told, go up there, be yourself. 3 quick snaps, next. Seriously, less than 20 seconds a person.

Well, I made that over head door and the hotspot work for me. I think it's "neat" looking. Trust me, I wanted to clean up the poses, I wanted to add more lights and do everything that I would do during a portrait session, but let's face it...there wasn't enough time, or enough room.

Did anyone ever play the Max Payne games? In 2, there's a villain character with a baseball bat in those comic books that are laying around. Doesn't the one wrestler who wanted a "mug shot" look like him?

Check there for the full gallery!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

IWFC 3 quick pictures

In MMA there's more on the line than a W or an L. You've got your pride, your personal safety and money on the line. There's more to it than that, but I'm just getting ready to head out to AON wrestling at the Pasquerilla center in Johnstown PA (one of these days I'll spell it right).

The night of fights last evening played host to injury, controversy and celebrity. An appearance was made by UFC newcomer Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman, a fighter had his elbow broken/dislocation, and another fighter protested he didn't tap out.

A full gallery will be on my website by 10 PM tonight, barring any internet outages. Here's a few quick samples of the events I speak of.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Girls throwing t-shirts?! IWFC 3!

Just got back in from an action packed night at the IWFC 3 event at the Cambria county war memorial. Any photographer that's photographed MMA (and there's less of us than you think) will tell you how much more they like shooting INTO the cage rather than THROUGH the cage. The problem with through the cage is that the fence grabs the focus of the camera a lot. You just learn to deal with it though.

Last time at an IWFC the other photographer and myself both shot INTO the cage, and a few other promoters I've shot for have the same set-up for me. Well this time, it was a mix of over and through. Must say I liked the over better than through.

Well, the throwing t-shirts comes from the girls who were tossing some Spaniard shirts to the crowd. The Spaniard isn't Russel Crowe, it's Charlie Brenneman, the Holidaysburg native that was just signed to the UFC.

I'll post more later, but I've got to get to bed, as tomorrow I'll be photographing AON Wrestling in Johnstown.

See ya there!