Sunday, June 27, 2010

AON Thunder in the Valley, the portrait photographer who is part action photographer.

The reason behind the AON owners picking me up to do their photographs aside from me being awesome (okay, I had to do that) they knew I had experience where quite a few people don't. Action. Not field sports, not puck, or wheel or ball. Specifically combat sports. Considering I'm the guy that promoters are calling for combat sporting events, I'm guessing that I'm probably one of the more experienced in this field in my area.

I am not saying I'm the most experienced guy out there at everything. I'm specifically saying that regarding the number of combat sporting events I've photographed, save for maybe a newspaper photographer I've probably photographed more of it.

Interestingly enough, I had NEVER photographed professional wrestling before. Some folks call it studio wrestling, because they consider "staged wrestling" to be a slap in the face of Greco/Folkstyle/Freestyle (am I forgetting any?) wrestling. I can understand their grief a little bit, but at the same time I think most people understand that there's a huge difference.

The other difference being is, the professional is expected to get more out of their equipment than someone else. For instance, I liken the precision of good camera technique, to that of shooting a firearm. There's good posture, position of the elbows, support of the equipment et cetera. If you aim incorrectly, the photograph is off. Sometimes just an inch on paper is enough to ruin a composition.

While there will never cease to be luck involved in action sports photography (for instance when the home run record of (brain fart of who) was photographed 3 Canon EOS 1DMark 3 cameras each with I believe a Canon 400 f/2.8L IS lens on them, and a tripod rigged to hold the weight of all of this stuff (we're talking probably 2 grand in rigging alone without camera and lens) there is also a level of skill involved. In the above example, the photographer tried to take luck out of the equation. Pretty much if he shot 100 frames in the 1 second that it was going to happen, he would get a good shot.

So what's the other variable? Skill. A professional being able to take their camera and get what they want out of it. Not luck into it (which still doesn't hurt), but be able to plan into it. That's the mark.

What does this have to do with anything? Well...I'm a photographer. I will photograph anything. Every photographer has an area that they enjoy the most. For me, it is portraiture. One of the reasons I enjoy it so much, is because of the personal connection that I get to make with the client/subject. If I stick a camera in your face, you immediately become a little bit apprehensive. Maybe not a professional model or someone else who just eats it up and is a ham for the camera. Most people though are self conscious about it. So that's where I come in. I have to get you to trust me. Not only do I have to get you to trust me, I have to get you to open up to me. I'm not saying that I need your innermost secrets. I get you to understand that, I, am there to make you look great. That I'm going to give you the best product that I professionally can.

Then we get a connection. Once we connect with each other, we start making great photographs. I'm not saying that we're going out to dinner and we're going to hang out for weeks on end to get this photograph. It may just be a few minutes of conversation during set-up. It may be a few "warm up" photographs, and even me showing you the camera's results. There's a whole world of techniques used by the portrait photographer, and many books written on it. For me, it's an interaction with people. Yeah, I love the photographs. I also love the connection we make, and meeting the people I photograph.

So now I'm guessing you're asking "what does THIS have to do with that?". What does portraiture have to do with combat sports?

To me, it has a lot to do with it. While I don't always get a connection with the fighter/athlete, the two people or however many people in the ring/cage/box have a connection and I'm trusted to show that connection. It also presents an interesting opportunity to me. Some of the best, classic portraits are the ones lit with 1, 2 or 3 lights. Just main/fill/kicker, or even main/kicker, or main/fill or just MAIN! There's also photographs just taken out in the ambient light that do it.

See there's a few schools of thought on what makes a great portrait. In my opinion they are expression, sharpness, pose, lighting. The expression sells the portrait. Period. The best expression can make a poorly lit photograph great. See there's like no "wrong" lighting patterns per se... there's ones that don't look as good as others.

I promise I'm getting to a point.

Well for me, even though I'm photographing people either punching each other in the face, or "pretend" slamming each other or in the instance of "sport" sports photography(ball, wheel, puck)playing a game...I'm also looking for candid moments. These examples I present are not the best photographs in the world, and they may not even be above average. What they are to me is a candid moment. Maybe they were thinking about the fans, or what was going to happen later that night, or maybe even what they were going to buy at the store. I don't know, but that's the connection I'm talking about. The viewer can connect with the subject of the photograph.

Now I wouldn't post about a wrestling event, and not show some of the wrestling that took place...I'm not that cruel to my readers!

Shooting outdoors posing a whole new set of problems for the photographer, than indoors. See, typically the #1 complaint you're going to hear from an action photographer is "I need more light to work with". High ISO is getting much better in cameras in terms of digital noise (grain in the photograph), but the issue then becomes quality control...who the hell is printing the image and on what paper? What constraints do their bosses put on them? What about their equipment? What tolerances do they have to be within? See, I know that I can shoot at X value and push it Y stops in post processing when printing with my lab. I also know that my lab charges much more than a walgreens or costco or anywhere that prints pictures cheaply. There's a few reasons for it, but I can sum it up in one word, quality. The quality of the product is much higher. Anyway, back on topic. Though high ISO has gotten better in cameras, we want MORE light on our subjects.

Alright, so I shot this in daylight...what is the problem now? Ever notice that when you get your picture taken (I don't like to say take pictures, I like to say I make pictures) by a professional that they use lights and modifiers on those lights, like soft boxes or umbrellas? That is to change the QUALITY of the light, and give them CONTROL over it.

Give me control over my light and I create great images every click of the shutter. Give me the Sun moving in and out of cloud cover coming from high above and hard over head...I'll give you photographs of people looking with shadows in their eyes, harsh highlights and dark shadows. That's just the nature of the beast. To get around it, we can use fill flash but if you're shooting in varying conditions adding another variable flash to it, you're getting more of a chance of blowing the exposure.

So we make an executive decision, do we expose for the sky, or do we expose for the subject? One gives us a subject that's too dark to see detail. Another gives us a well lit subject with a sky that is blown to white on paper.

Well, you have to decide what is important to the photograph. In the case of the wrestlers, it's the wrestler. Simple. You blow out the highlights and forget about them and expose for the subject.

Can we keep our camera in manual mode for this? Absolutely not. With the clouds moving in and out of the sun very rapidly, and our exposure going from 1/5000 at ISO 400, to 1/640 at ISO 400, we set the camera to Aperture priority (meaning we tell the camera, listen this is what aperture you're going to shoot at, adjust shutter speed accordingly), and then we dial in a "close" amount of exposure compensation. Something that gets the exposure in the correct ball park. If we have to bring it back .5 stop, that's okay.

Then we can set our camera to spot meter the subject, that way if we grab the sky the camera doesn't give us a bull crap exposure reading. Now, here's where it gets tricky. If we spot meter the camera, and put it on something BLACK it'll try and brighten it too much, and if we put it on something WHITE it'll more than likely underexpose it. The nature of our camera's meter is to make EVERYTHING GRAY! In life, the camera sees everything as middle gray. White? Make it gray! Black? Make it gray! Our camera is inherently stupid. Well not really. It's smart at making things gray, and it does that well. The thing is, sometimes you have to take over for the camera and tell it what to do.

There's a few more factors that are an issue in photography outdoors. You know how lenses have those plastic things on the end? That's a lens hood. It keeps flare from bouncing around the 234874 glass elements in the lens and giving you crazy shapes/colors in an image. There's times that we try and get lens flare, and when done right and NOT OVERDONE (think Zack Wylde's squeals on the guitar...definitely overdone. Yeah Zack, I'm telling you I don't need to hear it 497 times in one song and in every song) it can be cool.

Other times, it just downright ruins a photograph and you don't know it until it's too late to recreate OR it was a once in a life time event that just isn't happening again. For instance, one burst of images I squeezed off had Randy "Ring Master" throwing Black Lightning through a piece of plywood in the bed of a truck. 10 shots in the burst. 9 ruined. Thankfully, there's a good one that was not ruined.

The event was quite great. There was a good bit of butt-kickery going on. I'll post a full gallery shortly. Please follow me on facebook, and let me know your thoughts. I try to post a blog at least 2x a week. Up and coming photographers, I'm not above answering some questions but I'm a professional photographer. I'm not an educator. If you follow my blog, you'll get a lot of tips and tricks. I learn by doing and musing about what I'm going to do. So read, do. Read. Do. Read. Do. Or See...Do!



Please don't mistake the title. I am still your award winning full service photographer. I cover portraits, events, weddings, sports, insurance photographs/inventories and real estate. If you have a photography need, I can take care of it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2 years? and who is Rob Lynn?

I try not to bring up personal life too much on my blog, as it's only partially relevant to my photography. I mean it is relevant to know who I am and what I'm about, true? However, stuff like my wedding anniversary and the like just really could be left out? Well not today! On Monday June 21st, my wife and I will have been married two years! It's been sweet, and she does a lot for me and helping my business grow. For instance the many hours I'm photographing events far away, or editing photographs and I'm away from her, she puts up with all of it and helps me with it too. She's just great.

Well little does she know that right now in the refrigerator there's a dozen roses in there waiting for her to find them! Hah! Take that wife-o-matic, sneak attack roses!

The other thing is, I'm not real fond of photographs of myself. It's not that I do not feel I am photogenic, but it's more a long the lines of how do I see myself? I see myself as serious, fun loving, caring, unique, creative, you see what I mean? I'm all over the map. I'm a husband, a photographer, a student of Ju-Jitsu, I'm a hard worker, I'm a musician, I want to be a father. Can you see fitting all of that into a photograph?

So I don't have really any professional photographs of me, and not even a lot of casual photos. Like there's the wedding and the engagement photographs but not really much else. Heck, I've played music all over the state and I have maybe 10 photographs of me playing out. Most from crappy digital cameras or cell phone cameras, and not really worth posting.

Then there's the snapshots of me with different MMA fighters or ring-card girls. I always end up putting on a stupid face or giving this STUPID thumbs up with my hands.

I was anxious to plan just a weekend of wife and I and we were driving around. Well there's this sign on the Yamato. Basically the best place to get Asian food in town. I seen it and though, wouldn't it be funny to take a photograph of me trying to snatch this sushi out of this picture's hand. So that's what I did. I handed off a camera to the wife and said take a snapshot of this.

It's not a professional portrait, just a picture of me being a goof. What it does though is puts a face behind the brand (for better or worse) of mine. What I think it does is it shows someone acting the way anyone else does. Alive.

At the end of the day, that's what we're capturing in our photographs. Life.

I'm going to go have some lunch with my wife, but now at least there's a face to the name for you :) And somehow, I STILL MANAGED TO PUT ON A STUPID FACE! haha.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Another AON event, and a senior session

I had a great portrait session with Rob. He is a recent graduate and his father just wanted some classic shots of his boy. This is what I love doing is making photographs of people. I admittedly had an advantage as I had photographed Rob's girlfriend for her senior portraits. I didn't have to break down a "barrier' with the client to build trust. He already knew that if I have the camera in hand, he was getting professional results. I made the photos at a local park, and if you're a gear junky (I get a lot of photographers reading this) I shot it with a bunch of f/2.8 zoom lenses and off camera light.I was happy to be a photographer as part of the AON Triple Threat Weekend! It sadly turned into a double threat though, as some malarke happened at Mansion Park. I am not 210% on the semantics of the story, but this much I do know.

AON was to put on a free show Friday at Mansion Park as part of the relay for life. This was a heavily publicized event, with quite a bit of people looking to attend.

Athletic Director on the day of (and if I understand correctly, hours before the event) says no ring to be set up.

Wrestlers who traveled didn't get to wrestle. People who bought advertising were let down. The fans were let down. Trust me though, I don't think anyone was hurting as bad as Jason, Mike and all of the AON crew. I can personally tell you they really felt like crap and were not only irritated by the situation, but upset they didn't get to perform for the fans. These guys put on a great show and really work hard at it.

Okay, so what about the rest of the triple threat weekend? The event at Father Kelly Hall went on without a hiccup, and in so far as I know the event at the Pasquerilla center in Johnstown went down just fine. I was only able to make the Saturday show in Altoona.

A full gallery can be seen on my website, at

I'm still accepting applications for TFCD sessions! Please submit your application! The response has been great!

I had to send 2 cameras to Canon. It's like sending a kid off on a sleep over. Canon service is very fast, but when you send a few bodies and a few lenses it makes you a little uneasy. I sent 4 items in one box, but I'll get 4 boxes back. That's 4 more chances to get smashed into 1000 pieces :( I'm always a nervous wreck waiting for things to get back to me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Go Time Fitness/Genesis MMA Grand Opening Frisbee Todd

Here's a snap of Sam Moore playing frisbee golf. This was taken at the park a few weeks ago.

This is my friend Todd. If we're friends and we're hanging out, you can look forward to me stuffing a camera in your face. Yes, even professional photographers still make photographs for fun. What I like most about taking photographs of my friends for fun is that there's no pressure. There's no sale to make and there's no parent/client to make happy. You know all of those "fun" photographs you take and if they look technically improper, but still look neat they are okay? They are out for us sadly. So we've got to get our friend's picture before they lose interest :( Todd is pretty cool. He's shy and laid back, but at the same time a ton of fun and has a neat personality. I'm very happy that he's let me make his photograph more than once.

I had the chance to catch the grand opening of Go Time Fitness and Genesis MMA's new location last weekend. It's been a busy weekend. Friday I was in Lancaster for CPWC6 (MMA action) and then Saturday to the event. This week, there's senior portraits, and 2 wrestling events!

The Genesis team is headed by Justin Filer and Jeremy Drenning. They have a good camp of people to train with and I suggest them highly. A full fitness facility, also with a full sized cage. Pretty cool stuff. I'm not sure if there's a website yet, but I'll post one as soon as I find it.

Also on site was Charlie Brenneman UFC Veteran, making a guest appearance. Very cool. Let's wish Charlie Brenenman the best of luck in his upcoming UFC bout against Johnny Hendricks!

Monday, June 7, 2010

CPWC 6 MMA Fighting in Lancaster Birthday. TFCD.Genesis MMA!

OKay, quite a bit has been going on here and I've been staying very active. I just recovered from a long working weekend. On Friday I went to Lancaster to represent as a staff photographer photographing the event at the Lancaster convention center. Central Pennsylvania Warrior Challenge 6. It's a long title, and I get tired half way through saying it, BUT it was a great show. Truthfully I'll speak honestly. I didn't think much about a card of 10 amateur bouts and 3 pro bouts, or almost a 4 hour drive or the drive home. Even some initial hiccups with the promoter and I didn't make me happy. Basically he didn't realize I was going to be there. Understandably he was upset. I can't blame him. Fight promoters have a lot of stuff going on, ESPECIALLY before a fight show is going to take place. The last thing they want is surprises.

However, I'm going to say this in a separate sentence so it doesn't get lost being glossed over.

CPWC is a CLASS ACT MMA promotion. The fighters wanted to fight and were entertaining. The promoter puts on an excellent show, and I look forward to photographing more of them. Mark, thank you for having me at your show and I hope that I, and Ted Giantini can get you some added exposure to the show. Excellent show Mark, and I can't say enough good things about it. Also, special mention for your ring lights. A TRUE PROFESSIONAL set up and wow, it made viewing the show so great.


OKay, about the show? 13 fights in one night! Excellent! 10 Am bouts, 3 Pro bouts. 6 ring girls! Can't beat it with a stick! AND! Dan Severn was a special guest! Also, a familiar face in UFC Veteran referee Dan Miragliotta. Awesome night indeed.

Juan Vasquez defeated Collin Sharpe by split decision.

Shea Banks defeated David Garpstas by submission at 1:23 of round three.

William Leibensberger defeated Phil Meck by submission at 1:45 of round three.

Joshua Prall defeated Mike Lishinski by split decision.

John Andel defeated Mike Pape by split decision.

Troy Jensen defeated Jeff Beck by unanimous decision.

Eric Albright defeated Spenser Richard by unanimous decision.

Tom Anderton defeated Darnell Hayes by knockout at 50 seconds in round one.

Jordan Hartman defeated Craig Odeair by majority decision.

Pro Bouts:

Biff Walizer defeated Thomas Adhren by unanimous decision.

Duane Bastress defeated Roger Minton by TKO at 51 seconds of round one.

Justin Scott defeated Denis Hernandez by unanimous decision.

Okay, here is a link to the "photo highlights" used by

The full gallery can be seen on my website, and will be uploaded to shortly

My 28th birthday is today, and this weekend I got to spend some much needed time with friends and my wife. Sometimes, you just need some wife and you time. I am so grateful that Courtney is in my life. I try and keep personal business off of the blog and site, but I just want to say that without her, I wouldn't be the man, and photographer I am today. She is wonderful and I can't say enough good about her (it does help I smell this awesome dinner she is cooking...did I mention she's an awesome cook?).

Go Time Productions and Genesis MMA team opened a new place too! Justin Filer, and Jeremy Drenning have teamed up with a ton of great coaches (can't remember guy with the knee braces name, but he remembers me so I feel like crap for having a brain fart) Castalucci (sorry if I spelled it wrong!) Justin Filer, Jeremy Drenning, and Tommy Wilt.

Great location on Pound Lane (former lamb's way building/ye olde hobby shoppe). Check it out if you get a chance. Look for a gym profile for them on in the near future!


I'm still accepting TFCD applications! The applications are pouring in and there is a lot of competition for the spots! PLEASE e-mail me call me to inquire about applying. I am looking forward to weeding these down and picking the winners for June/July!


Dan Severn is the nicest guy on the planet to meet. I hope to meet him again, and I hope he gets 3 fights he really wants. Royce Gracie, Mark Coleman, and Ken Shamrock. I would pay to see all of them.

I'll have another post up soon about some photographs I have that just won some competitions.

See ya soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The headline of this blog would be translated as such

Time for CD Time for Download What the heck?

What does this mean? Quite simply TFCD/TFDL means that a model will have a session photographed by a photographer. The model pays no outward expense to the photographer. The photographer pays no money to the model. The photographer can do as he wishes with the photographs. Sell, lease, advertise. Anything. Also, the model can do the same thing. Sell, lease, advertise. Neither party needs to consult the other, and given whatever specific contract language the parties have, more often than not all that is needed is a model/photographer credit.

Why am I posting about this? Rob Lynn Photography is now accepting applications for TFCD/DL models!

What, a model? These sessions were typically originated for models looking to grow their portfolio, however You do not need to be a model to apply!

Apply? The application process is simple, and painless. All that is asked is
Name, Address, E-mail Address, Age (This is really important for under 18, just to have a parents consent also) any previous modeling experience and if so a sample photo from the session (a link to the photo or a copy e-mailed will suffice), or a sample photograph that is just a snapshot of yourself, it doesn't have to be a professional portrait! That's what we're here for! To give you professional quality portraits. Any background information is good too, just a little about yourself, your interests and what you intend to use your photographs to do (promote your modeling, maybe promote yourself).

Given the value of this (even a free session costs a photographer money) I'm limiting the number of accepted applicants per month. This may change based upon the volume of the business. At peak it may stay at two, during a less busy time may increase as needed.

If you're interested, please use the contact information on my website E-mail, or Call and I'll get the application to you. No one will be considered without application. Given the value of this session, if you're not serious enough to fill out an application then how can I take you seriously enough?

So why are there pictures of birds on this post?
Well, that's what I recently photographed! :) I have a lot of new photographs to post on the blog, but figured I'd take a different step and post some bird photographs. The expression is millimeters are expensive couldn't be more true! These sparrows and even the starling that is pictured are small birds. They were maybe 20-30 feet away from me in these photographs. I had to bait them in :)

I'll be at CPWC in Lancaster PA cageside on Friday, photographing the action! I will be attending the grand opening of the Go Time/Genesis MMA fitness center on Saturday morning.

2, possibly 3 AON events on the 11th at Mansion Park, 12th at Father Kelly Hall and the 13th in Johnstown!

Be sure to check them out. These shows are incredibly cheap to get into (Friday is freakin' FREEEEEEEEE) and are a good evening of family fun. Besides that, you'll see my website listed on their fliers! can't beat that!