Sunday, August 31, 2008

Georgia Football: Why i don't get the paper anymore

Junior Kris Dunham, left, and freshman A.J. Green celebrate Dunham's 61-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter as the #1 Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday, August 30, 2008.

So i started this blog about a year ago for two reasons. One (as Diane from Blue Murder and Woody can attest) is to share Dropkick Murphys photos with the world. Second, and by far much more cathartic, is to share with the world good photos that otherwise never see the light of day thanks to ... well whatever reason why the designer chose not to use any of these.

I went to the store today to get another case of bottled water and looked and the paper and as usual, found myself unhappy with the sports front for football. It was okay but i thought my jube shot was better. All in all, it was a 95 degree game that felt way hotter than Vegas did. Its rather demoralizing to not see your work hit the newspaper after putting in an 11 hour day out in the broiling heat.

Oh yeah, good shout outs to Pouya Diant of the AJC whom i finally got to meet, whom is one hell of a shooter to try and keep up with and a lot of fun to enjoy sharing a photo suite. Also, Woody Marshall of the Macon Telegraph really earned his stripes after getting nailed by a Georgia Southern player, shearing his 400/2.8 lens in half. (He's okay)

Senior wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi jumps to make a catch in the second quarter as the #1 Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday, August 30, 2008.

Freshman receiver A.J. Green catches a 36-yard pass from Matthew Stafford down to the one yard line as the #1 Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday, August 30, 2008.

Head coach Mark Richt yells at Linesman Johnny Crawford over an illegal substitution call in the second quarter as the #1 Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday, August 30, 2008.

Freshman running back Richard Samuel runs as Athens native Chris Rogers, right, tries to make a tackle as the #1 Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday, August 30, 2008.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vegas! Part 1

A dancer laughs while dancing outside the Beatles Revolution Lounge at the Mirage Casino on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

Its my third time in Las Vegas. All for the same event, all at the Mirage casino. Its all work, very little time to actually try and have some fun.

It makes me wonder - what is the "real" Las Vegas? Is it the girls and the gambling?
Is it the sin and debauchery that attracts people much in the same that fairytales and pixiedust attract people to Orlando and Disney World? Is it the idea perpetuated by the Ocean's 11 tales that you can win in Vegas? Is it the "Casino" idea of Vegas where backrooms and disapearing into the desert could have happened?

A backpack worn billboard advertises companionship along Las Vegas Blvd on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

Or is it the oasis effect of the desert southwest, surrounded by a desert and such wonderful spots as Red Rock Canyon, Lake Meade and wonderful scenery?

All I've figured out is that its ridiculously hot there. I suppose thats why everyone comes out at night.

The sun rises over the Las Vegas strip on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.

There is something magistic and pretty about watching Vegas at dawn. Of course, thats when I'm getting up to start the day.

I did find some time to walk around. These are of the decore outside of Cirque de Solie's Beatles Love show. Very pretty.

All in all, it was a good trip (despise the fire alarm on the 18th floor at 1am Wednesday Morning). Crashed a VIP party (I was a VIP at the hotel and that was very nice) at the BLT Burger joint in the casino. It replaced the white tiger exhibit since Sigfried and Roy have long since stopped. (Insert your own Roy Horn joke here) Great burger, good shake.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Georgia Football Preview

Georgia Bulldogs'running back Knowshown Moreno on Tuesday, June 10, 2008.

Well I also had to go out and get some stuff for the Georgia football preview. Here's a peak behind the curtain and a look into the Buttes-Mehre photo studio.

I generally shoot on the racquetball court with 4 White Lightnings. Keep in mind, this is all a one-man show. I'll go for two on full power in the corners aimed at the center of the wall and completely blow the wall out if i want a white background. I'll softbox one side and grid spot the other. The grid spot generally has a 1/2 CTB blue or full CTB blue taped to be able to flip up and down. Also put up an SB-80 for a rimlight behind subjects. When you have a black background, you really need a rimlight behind the subject to keep the subject from blending in to the background, especially when it goes to print, else it will just turn into a gob of black ink and look bad.

For the Knowshown shot, i had a home-brewed beauty dish with a CTO'd SB-28 on full. It wasn't balanced good enough for me, or moreover the sidelight from camera left was too intense.

To be able to do things on the fly, i have two SB-28s sitting next to the white lightnings (either 1/2 or full power) that a gel'd a color (blue in this case, different from the CTB blue) to have a third choice for a background - white, black or blue.

For the Georgia shoot, they wanted everything shot on white and i wanted everything moody. I'd shoot the white and then I'd try and get creative. I'd walk back, turn lights on and off and go from there.

I really like being able to do something interesting and conceptual but most of our photo requests on the topic are very last minute. Being a daily shooter, i do what i can. The one thing i would like to change and need to change is to plan these sportrait concepts out more, both College and Prep. I get about 15 minutes with a player on average and that's always been fine.

With Knowshown, i had an overnight to think on it, but it was for the magazine and they wanted something with a blown out white background. After talking it over with the art director, we decided to go for this if we had five minutes left, and this is what they ended up using as part of a double-truck spread.

Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Kade Weston on Thursday, August 14, 2008.

Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi on Thursday, August 14, 2008.

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Joe Cox on Thursday, August 14, 2008.

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Akeem Hebron on Thursday, August 14, 2008.

High School Football Preview

Madison County senior Aldreakis Allen on Monday, July 28, 2008.

Over the past month, I've had to go out and shoot a few HS preview portraits. Since these have finally hit the street, time to share.

Three of the four were shot with my new D700 and everything was shot "small ball" i.e. and those three were shot with small camera flashes rather than pulling out the "big boy lights." The big boy lights were saved for the water shot, which lead the newspapers Saturday Sports front before the preview went out Sunday, where it ran smaller and in B&W.

A few notes: The water was poured by the "voice activated water delivery system" otherwise known as a sports reporter. I generally went with a warming filter (indoors) or CTO filter (outdoors) on one flash and a 1/2 blue on the other one. Naturally the two outdoor shots were shot in tungsten, to give that nice blue feeling to the sky. (Its a simple trick and i might be milking it too much of late.)

So here's everything in their color and glory.

Athens Academy running back James Colquitt on Wednesday, July 30, 2008.

Clarke Central Gladiators quarterback John Wilson on Friday, August 1, 2008.

Jackson County Panthers linebacker John Holton Thursday, July 31, 2008.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Three Songs and Out

Singer Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway) holds up a tamborine as Gnarls Barkley plays the 40 Watt Club in Athens on Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Okay, first concert since March in Boston. This is Gnarls Barkley, a mix of producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway).

They do a nice cover of the Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone."

So i enjoyed the three songs i was allowed to hear but myself and a couple of other photographers who had passes wondered aloud why we had to adhere to the rules but it looked like anyone with a dSLR could get it in, no problem. The guy with the nikon speedlight was pretty amusing, since we weren't supposed to be using a flash. Also amusing is the sheer number of point and shoot cameras that use a flash and produce high quality images.

So why are we being picked on? Because we follow the rules? Why was i limited to "Three songs and out. Camera must leave the building" if no one else was forced to adhere to it?

Singer Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway) sings as Gnarls Barkley plays the 40 Watt Club in Athens on Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) plays the xylophone during a cover of Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone" as Gnarls Barkley plays the 40 Watt Club in Athens on Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Singer Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway) sings while producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) plays the organ, left, and Heather McIntosh, right, plays the bass as Gnarls Barkley plays the 40 Watt Club in Athens on Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to Work

Defensive end Terrance Bradshaw hits a blocking sled as the Clarke Central Gladiators start practice for the season on Friday, August 1, 2008.

Well, here's some leftover stuff from before i went on vacation. I covered two football practices the night before vacation started. Its football season here in Georgia and the kids are in full swing.

Cody Stacks, left, and Kelly Moates, right, battle for a ball as the Jackson County Panthers practice at Midnight on Friday, August 1, 2008.

Players wait to practice before the Jackson County Panthers start practice at midnight on Friday, August 1, 2008.

Wideout Rodney Carter catches a pass from quarterback John Wilson as the Clarke Central Gladiators start practice for the season on Friday, August 1, 2008.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation Posting Part 2

Super Clamp. Ball Head. Railing. Works for me.

I've had a 24-85 for many years now. Decent, mid-range lens. Pretty much went back on the shelf 4 years ago. Didn't have a good use for it, didn't like the way things looked. Wide wasn't wide enough on a full-framed Nikon and then I'd see all these Canon kids come right out of college with their 5d's and their 24-70's lenses just making some amazing photos. I dug out the lens for a couple of years back for a week after hearing Christopher Morris speak at NPPA's annual meeting. He was expounding on the 24-70/full frame combo.

And you know what? He's right.

I dug out my 24-85 the instant i got my D700. It seems like almost the ideal lens for photojournalism. I like the way the depth of field looks and i actually like some of the vignetting that the lens causes. I seem to be able to frame a photo more effectively.

So i used this Disney trip as a proving ground on how to use my D700 and use this lens properly.

There was a nasty reflection on the window and i was trying to make a photo out of the reflection and the meet'n'greet with Buzz and Woody, but it didn't work the way i wanted it.

Now after a hard day in the parks, we took a nap around 8 before going back out and accidently slept until 4AM. So i photographed the sunrise.

This bunny (or hare) was having breakfast on some ornamental shrubs and for this one i used the 70-300.

Ducks swim in the Wilderness Lodge pool.

I really enjoyed the new parade at the Studios. There was a stroller next to me, so i used it as a framing device.

Tinker Bell is real, and she can fly. Yet another photo I've always wanted to make. (70-300/5.6 with DX crop, 1/80th 12800 ISO and a very handy spotlight)

The picture of Mr. Toad inside of the Winnie the Pooh attraction. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was in its place before being replaced by Pooh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pirates of the High ISO

An animatronic Jack Sparrow looks to steal a key to the city's treasure. (D700, ISO 6400, 1/30th, 85mm/f1.8, spot-metered)

Vacation Post!

So I'm learning how to use my D700. It's ISO rating (like film speed) goes to 6400 and can be pushed to 12,500 or even one stop higher. So after 3 year of living near Disney World, i know there's no other challenging lighting situations I've encountered other than trying to get on-ride photos of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Haunted Mansion.' Me and my friend Dan have spent years documenting those rides and have never quite gotten what we wanted. Everything from a D2x to a 5D, 1.8 and 1.4 lenses, we still haven't gotten what we wanted.

That all has changed. Technology has saved the day. The camera really sees in the dark. Everything here has only been cropped and is right out of the camera otherwise.

A skeleton takes the helm on Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean." (D700, ISO 6400, 1/20th, 85mm/f1.8, spot-metered)

I've been trying to get that shot for years. YEARS. No matter how much i slow down the shutter, pan, or try to save it in post, it's always underexposed or blurry or both.

The infamous redhead scene of "Pirates of the Caribbean." (D700, ISO 6400, 1/100th, 85mm/f1.8, spot-metered)

That's from the stretch room at Haunted Mansion, when the lights go off. (D700, ISO 6400, 1/80th, 85mm/f1.8)

And the ballroom scene. (D700, ISO 12,500, 1/80th, 85mm/f1.8)