Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cincinnati Cyclones

Over the past few months, I have been in contact with some ECHL and USHL hockey teams about photographing for them.  A handful of teams have gotten back to me; each one saying that they’re not able to pay much/anything, but also said that if I’m ever in the area for a game, to let them know and they’ll set me up with a media pass so I can shoot a game there.  I have decided to make it a point to take each team up on their offer, and go show them what I can do for them specifically.

US Bank Arena panorama

US Bank Arena panorama
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

Saturday, October 13th was the first of these trips, and it was a 476 mile journey to Cincinnati, Ohio, to photograph the Cincinnati Cyclones hosting the Wheeling Nailers at US Bank Arena.  The above image was my first panorama inside a hockey arena, so please be kind.  It’s a culmination of 20+ RAW images.

Cincinnati Cyclones forward Mattias Lindstrom.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

It was a long drive, that is for certain!  An hour or so in the hotel room, and we were off to the game via trolley.  Okay, so, we missed our first stop, but we ended up getting to the rink in time.  I met up with my contact there, and he showed me the places I’m allowed to shoot.  It was opening night for the Cyclones, so there was a lot of people, and it ended up being a great time.

Cincinnati Cyclones forward David Pacan crashing the net.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

After the game, we walked back to the hotel, slept, got up, and drove another 476 miles back.  It’s always a great weekend when there’s hockey involved!

Cincinnati Cyclones forward Garrett Wilson celebrating after putting a backhand in the back of the net.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

Cincinnati Cyclones forward and Captain Mathieu Aubin celebrating after his shootout goal.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

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The Creativity of Tim MacPherson

An outstanding series of photos brought to us by British photographer Tim MacPherson.  Full article is here, courtesy of PetaPixel.  To me, all of these images depict the straight-up fantasy of kids, and how their imaginations just run wild.  A very inspiring set.

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 2

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 3

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Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 5

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 6

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 7

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 8

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 9

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 10

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 11

Creative Photos of Kids Enjoying Make Believe Activities at Home timmacpherson 12
Read more at http://www.petapixel.com/2012/10/25/creative-photos-of-kids-enjoying-make-believe-activities-at-home/#ZFkrK5dhgyzSZQ4M.99

Before/After

Really short post here.  I’ve been photographing so much hockey lately it’s becoming a blur, but I wanted to share a quick before and after shot that I just came up with in Lightroom.  Taken at a Dubuque Fighting Saints game, during warmups.

Dubuque Fighting Saints’ Mike Downing.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

Dubuque Fighting Saints’ Mike Downing.
(You must contact http://www.aepoc.com in order to use this image for any reason)

Scott Kelby’s “The Challenge of Shooting Hockey”.

While searching google today, I found an article written by Scott Kelby about his findings on photographing hockey.  Scott is an outstanding pro photographer, and trainer of all things Photoshop.  Check out his images here, and his Photoshop training here.

Below is the article he wrote.  Please also view the article on his site here.

_______________________

Welcome to my world (well, as of late).

This is the small hole in the glass you get to shoot through when you’re shooting hockey (The NHL made the holes smaller recently to protect the photographers and players). The one here is from Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (the arena where the Tampa Bay Lightning play their home games).

I’ve talked with other photographers shooting hockey, and they tell me they would kill to have any hole in the glass, because they have to shoot through the glass, which is often 1-inch thick and almost guarantees their shots won’t be nice and sharp, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Here’ the view if you angle  your camera in that hole as far as you possibly can and shoot blindly down the rink (I say blindly, because it would be kinda hard to fit your head in a position that would actually let you look through the viewfinder, but I thought I’d at least show that not matter what, you’re not getting a shot of the other goal, so you’re only going to get the goal you’re positioned right in front of).

The Challenge (Warning: football metaphor coming):
Shooting from the position I was assigned (the shooting positions are assigned before game time by the team photographer, and you stay in that position the entire game), it lets you basically shoot from the back of the goal you’re in front of to the blue line (before you reach center ice). In football terms, that would be like having to shoot from the 5-yard line all game, and you can only shoot from the back of the goal to the 15 yard line. But, you can’t shoot all the end zone, because there’s a big net covering part of the end zone. Because you can only shoot when their action in front of you, it always seems like all the action is at the other goal (which you can’t shoot at all from your position, so you just sit quietly and watch the game).

Dave Black to the rescue
I had really been struggling through the last couple of games, and while I made some progress in game two, I wanted to continue improving (which I knew would eventually come the more games I shot), butDave Black (the magical wizard of sports photography) was down here at our studio taping some classes for Kelby Training Online, so I tracked him down to get some advice for shooting Saturday night’s Lightning game against the Washington Capitals, and of course, he was a huge help.

Football messed me up
Well, not just football, but for most sports we shoot wide open; usually at f/stops like f/2.8 or f/4, but Dave suggested that I try shooting at f/8, which kind of freaked me out, until he pointed out that in Hockey the fans are right at the glass, and unless I was zoomed in really tight, they were going to be in focus anyway (and I wasn’t going to get those super soft totally out-of-focus backgrounds with the crowd just 2 feet from the players on the boards, which totally made sense. He mentioned that I might have to crank the ISO and I might only get up to f/5.6 but that would help my focus issues, and boy did it ever. Huge difference!

(Above: An iPhone shot taken by the usher of me hand-holding my 200-400mm f/4 from the Mezzanine level shooting position. I had to bump the fill light massively as the original shot had me as a silhouette). 

Take the 400mm! (I don’t need it! Yes you do!)
Besides shooting from ice level, we also have the option of shooting overhead (just over the glass) from the Mezzanine level, and I was going to take my 300mm, but Dave thought it might be too short and recommended that I take the 200-400mm instead. Of course, I briefly (and stupidly) argued with Dave, telling him low to the rink the mezzanine level actually was, but once I got there and started shooting (hand held no less—no monopod), I realized (as expected) that Dave was right. I shot out at 400mm the entire time.

It’s like cheating!
I will say this—shooting from above the glass, unobstructed, with a clear view of both goals and pretty much the entire rink was a blast. It was also pretty much like cheating, because you can see everything so darn well. You can follow the play pretty easily and you’re probably not going to miss a goal, so if reporting the news is your goal, it’s perfect. The only problem is; your shots look like you took them from the stands. The just don’t have the impact and feel the ones at ice level do, which explains why I was the only guy shooting from the mezzanine. So, while it great for catching everything, you’re not going to come back with shots that have the impact you want. I only stayed up there one period, and then I went back down to my tiny hole in the glass.

(Above: Lecavalier scores [note the puck behind the goalie] to help the Bolts win 2-1).

Progress Report
Dave’s tips (all of them, not just the two I mentioned here), really helped a lot, and I turned in my best shots yet (but of course, I’m still nowhere near happy with them, but at least things are going in the right direction). My timing is getting better and I’m getting just much more comfortable with my setting and surroundings.

Note to Self: Don’t look at their screens
In the photo room at the end of the night, I made the mistake at looking at Lightning Team Photographer Scott Audette’s shots as they were being uploaded (he is just sick at shooting hockey, and gets incredible shots despite the fact that he can’t shoot high speed because he’s firing strobes overhead. His timing and composition are astounding), and I saw some of Mike Carlson’s shots (he shoots for AP) and although he’s not firing strobes, his shots totally kick butt. He has the perfect shooting position on the ice — he’s behind the goal and to one side, and from there he can shoot end to end no sweat (with a 300mm lens pressed against the hole—he crops out the edges of the hole in post).

Looking at their shots can really bum you out, because I’m not getting shots anything like theirs, so I’ve got a long, long way to go, but hey, at least I made some progress (thanks to Dave and more practice), and that’s all I can hope for at this point in my hockey-shooting journey.

 

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Believe in yourself.

PhotoFocus recently posted an article on their blog titled “Trying To Get A Job As A Photographer? Believe In Yourself”.  I re-blogged the article below, but the original is here, and there’s MUCH MORE goodness on their site.  You should definitely check them out.

If you’re trying to get a job as a photographer, you need to be confident. You need to make your prospective clients feel at ease with their choice of you as a photographer. You simply can’t do this if you cave into advice of your fears, the trolls or the haters.

I’ve written about this many times. It’s okay if not everyone likes you. If you are yourself, and you shoot from the heart you will absolutely find clients who WANT to believe in you. Your decision to believe in yourself and to be confident is the basic starting point. Sure – your style may not be for everyone, but find the people who DO like it and you’ll have all the clients you need. Those who do enjoy what you do and who can count on you to deliver more of the same will come back for more.

Don’t bend with the wind. That shows a lack of confidence. You simply cannot please everyone. In fact, in today’s self-entitled, everyone gets a plaque culture, it’s often hard to please anyone. So don’t worry about it. Just be authentic. Don’t listen to the pedants and the complainers. They’ll just bring you down. They failed and want you to as well. It makes their own failure easier to deal with. But you shouldn’t listen to anything but your own heart. If you want to help people keep, protect and share their memories, and deep down it’s something you love doing, you will succeed. Period.

You have to go for it. You have to be bold, brave, proud and confident. You have to try. Stop looking for excuses. Let the chips fall where they may. There will be people who claim you are “arrogant.” That’s because they themselves don’t have the courage to stand up for what they really believe. Ignore them. Doing what you think is right and what you believe in isn’t arrogant. It’s authentic. Be you. Share from your heart. That’s always the right thing to do in any arena.

I’ll close from a quote by funny man Bill Cosby. “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

Move forward and move beyond those who would chip away at your confidence. Stick to your own vision. Stick to your guns. Stand up and be counted. Hold your mud. Your work will improve, you’ll attract better clients and you’ll be happier.

 

(again, please see the original post here)

Pitch your creative vision.

Okay, so, Chase Jarvis knocked another one out of the park with a recent CJ Live episode.  He hosted Oren Klaff, the “master of framing and getting the deal”.  Please take a look at the video.  Yes, I know it’s long, but it’s SO worth it.  And take notes!!!

What if money was no object?

“What would you like to do if money were no object?”

“How would you enjoy spending your life?”

My buddy Gordy posted this video on his Facebook, and boy did it get the wheels turning.  How could it not?  Watch the video, and tell me what YOU would enjoy doing, if money were no object.  Don’t just say “sit on the couch and watch the History Channel” either!  :)

So if I were to answer that question, I would simply say “photograph”.  Well, photograph what?  Hockey, bands, people, life, and all things that make you stop and go “whoa”.  Yes.  That.  That is what I want to photograph.  The lives we lead are incredibly complex, nobody can deny that.  I like to capture things that are simple… and show them in the light that they deserve.

Here are a few pictures that make me want to drop everything and go shoot for the rest of the day.

Easton Hockey_4987


John_5512

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Calvin_Scorpion_2602

Vetter's Smile
Fives

Another Goal

Now… go watch the video again, and write down anything that comes to mind that you want to do.  And then go do it.  It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, in fact it’s better to start out with something simple.  It’s time to start doing what YOU want to do.