Shooting Basketball at Purcell Pavilion

Shooting One Last Game for the Mocs

Last night I shot my third and final event for the Chattanooga Mocs in four days. This was a tough game for the Mocs as they went down 88-53. They kept it close early, but in the end Notre Dame was too much for them. The light was much better in Purcell Pavilion than it was at the Hinkle Fieldhouse so I was able to try a few extras things on the night. I have yet to go through all of the images, but I feel that in the end I had a much higher keeper rate last night. I was confident enough late in the game that I put the 7dII on the 70-200mm lens to get a little closer. I tried to wait until the ball came up, and then I would make my shot. This gave me a little more intimate look at the players. When you shoot two games in a row for a team you try and give them something a little different to use. I think that I did that last night.

The Floor Remote

I ran a floor camera the entire night at my feet just to get more of the arena in the photo. Most of the shots do not turn out with a floor remote. It is those few that do though that are very cool, and they add a sense of place to the photo story. I don’t use an expensive floor rig, but rather a pack of batteries to hold my camera in place. This keeps me lower to the floor, and it is a lot easier to carry around. I also placed the remote a few feet over from me when I could so that I had a slightly different angle on the action. If the ref or a player was blocking me maybe they were not blocking the remote. This is a way to make sure that I get the shot.

A Very Cool Side Story

One thing that you may not know is that Muffett McGraw got her start coaching under Jim Foster. She then went out on her own to start a Hall of Fame career. The more interesting aspect to me is that Muffett replaced Geno Auriemma on Foster’s staff. What an eye for talent Foster has.

A Record Setting Performance

Last night Jasmine Joyner set a team and building record for blocks in a game with eight. Jasmine gave me some great photos in the two games that I shot her. I was glad that my photo was used for her record setting night.

Bonus Photos

Here are a few extra photos form the game that I liked.


The LaPorte Slicers One Win Away From State!

Two Wins For a State Title

This has really only been true one other time in the history of LaPorte Slicer Football. In 2006 the Slicers were coming off a record setting offensive season. The only problem with that was that a lot of the reasons for the record setting performance had graduated. It seemed as if 2005 would have been the year for the team. 2006 though just had a feel to it the entire season. It seemed as if the entire postseason had a feel of redemption to it. Losses to powers Mishawaka, Penn, and finally Crown Point were avenged as the Slicers moved on. The story ended in Carmel though as the team had just run out of gas. This season has the same feel to it. This Slicer team has no quit in it. After a couple of tough seasons filled with tragedy this team has made history. The team is playing for Jake West, and they will not go down without a fight. I will be waiting for updates all night as the team plays Fort Wayne Snider in Fort Wayne.

One Last Chance to Photograph This Team

This past summer before school even started I was at Kwanis Field to photograph the new turf. I was planning on attending the season opening game which would dedicate the field. Of course I was booked by two teams that night to photograph volleyball here in West Lafayette so I could not attend. The same thing kept happening as the season moved on. I have been booked every time that the Slicers were at home. In fact even on away games that I would attend I would get booked as happened last Friday. In fact I only made it to one high school game this season, and that was a scrimmage. I love high school football so that is a shame. Once again this weekend I will be at Notre Dame on a job while the Slicers are playing. I have however made sure that I have nothing going on the following Saturday just in case the Slicers make it to the finals. I will be there with my camera to document the day.

Shooting for the Mocs Again at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Another Night in the Historic Fieldhouse

After having a visit to Hinkle on my list of things to do for a long time I made my second trip there in two days. It is funny how things work sometimes. This time it was to cover the women’s basketball game for the Chattanooga Mocs. Things were a lot different the second time around. I left at the same time as I did to cover the men’s game giving myself plenty of time in case of traffic. With no mix ups with the parking I pulled right into the lot. In fact there was nobody at the lot to let people in. The stadium was actually locked when I got there about an hour and a half before game time, but of course someone let me in. I used my extra time to make a few photos of the historic fieldhouse. One of those that I posted on Twitter went viral last night during the game. I was just trying to show off this stadium, but it must have hit at the right time as it really was well received.

A Night and Day Difference

Things were amazingly different covering a men’s and women’s game at Hinkle. The media room which had been very nice the night before looked much different. I did not know why until I realized that I was the only member of the media there. There were plenty of people in the room when the pizza came, but when I edited at the half and at the end of the game I was the only one in the room. Another huge difference was the access. I went to pick up my media credential at will call, and was given a ticket with the stub torn off. Apparently that was my ket to court side access. I kept expecting someone to ask where my credential was while I shot the game, but it never happened. The one big difference for me from the night before was the lack of extra chairs on the baseline. For the men’s game I could not shoot by the hoop like I like to do. About half of the baseline is filled with folding chairs for VIP’s. For the women’s game there was no chairs on the line. I set up a camera under the hoop on the floor, and then took a spot that I liked a couple of feet away from the hoop. Being the only person on the baseline is kind of nice as well. Being the only photographer at the game I can say that I made the best image of the night.

On To the Game

This game was really in the hands of Chattanooga from the start. They jumped out to a big lead early, and then kept the pressure on the entire game. This worked for me as I was able to make a lot of photos at the hoop. I also was able to make some photos of a few more of the bench players as the bench cleared late in the game. The 76-47 final score really does tell the story of this game. It will be very interesting to see what happens Friday night as the same Moc team travels to South Bend to play Notre Dame. Notre Dame is ranked #2 in the country and is very good. I will be there photographing the game as well so expect some photos to follow.

Seeing Jim Foster Again

I really did not do my homework on this game apparently. As the first half was going on I made a few shots of the coach of the Mocs. He looked really familiar to me. I kept wondering if it was Jim Foster. A quick look at the website of the Mocs confirmed that it was the former Ohio State coach. I kept thinking as I watched the game that this team looked like one of those Ohio State squads. Looking at the roster most of the players that impacted the game were young, and must have been recruited by Foster. It will be fun to watch this team play again Friday night. Continue reading

Chattanooga Visits Hinkle Fieldhouse

Shooting a Basketball Game at Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse

Last night I was in Indianapolis to shoot at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Chattanooga Mocs. I have wanted to see a game in this historic stadium for quite some time, but it took a job to get me there. It was great to see this historic stadium, but I really did not enjoy it as much as I could have because I was focused on my job. One thing that I feel that I have to talk about is the lighting. The lights themselves look very cool from the stands. They give out a good quality of light when looking straight down. They are not the typical stadium lights though. The nature of the lights makes for a dramatic fall off in light near the edge of the court. This makes for interesting shooting, but has one other great effect. If you set up your camera correctly the player is well lit, and the background goes to nearly completely black. It is a very dramatic light that can make for very cool photos.

Lightroom 5 Now Supports the Canon 7D Mark II

Last night while my files were being uploaded I saw that RAW support for the Canon 7D Mark II was in the newest update for Adobe Lightroom. I would have used the 7D much more during the night had I known that the update was that close. The shadows on the faces required a bit of shadow recovery. I wanted the extra data of the RAW file so I mainly shot with my 5D Mark III last night. Now with Lightroom finally on board I feel like we can truly see what the camera can do. I have some shots from past events saved in RAW format. I may have a post in the next couple of days comparing the images. If you use Adobe Camera Raw that program now supports the new 7D as well.

Bonus Photos

As per usual here are a few bonus photos from the game last night. I have many more posted here on my website. I used a wide variety of camera and lenses to try and use the background to my advantage. For the first time in a long time I used a floor remote to capture the action with some of the iconic portions of the stadium in the background. Continue reading

High School Pride Reworked

Reworking One of My Favorite Photos

When I started this blog I was always on the lookout for a new subject. I had to make a photo a day for an entire year, and of course that meant that I always needed a subject. That year really opened my eyes though, and many of the photos that have followed since are because I still always have an eye out for a new subject. It was on one of those early days that I spotted this barn. I was headed out of town, but I knew that I would end up back there later in the week. I called the photo High School Pride because of the sign on the building. I would later find out that it was the barn of the Anthrop family who I had photographed before. I was only 56 days into my project at the time, but I was already learning that you had to take the great subjects as they came. This was an early success that I still like to this day.

The Reworking Process

Part of the joy or agony of a photographer is the fact that you are constantly learning something new. I really don’t like pull a George Lucas and constantly revisit old photos. This was one though that I knew that I had to do. The sky always bothered me a bit, and I knew that I could fix it with the skills that I now possess. I was still early in the editing process at this time. I was using HDR for everything, and the results were not always good. Here though I knew that I could make a photo look much better so why not? I took my three source files, and ran them through Photomatix again. Instead of using the program to make the final photo I took the 32 bit file that had all of the data of the three files, and sent it to Lightroom. Inside of Lightroom I used the sliders to get the final result that I was looking for. At the end of the day I feel that I made the photo better, and much closer to what I saw on that day. That is what it is all about. The dark forbidding clouds in the first photo just put out a vibe that I was not looking for.

More Sports on the Way

This may be the last post that does not revolve around sports for a while. Over the next week I will be covering a lot of sports for a few different teams. I was lucky enough to get a new client that has three games in the area this week. This coupled with the normal sports for me means that I will shoot sports each of the next six days. I will be traveling a bit as well so my posts may be a bit brief. In the end I will have some photos from some new venues which I really need. A portfolio with images all shot at the same school start to all look the same. I will shoot two games in the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse this week, and one at the newly renovated Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame. It is an exciting time for me as I branch out a bit.

A Quick Look at the Canon 7D Mark II

The Canon 7D Mark II is a Game Changer

I wanted a 7D Mark II from the moment I first heard about the possible specs about a year ago. Everything that I read was at that point speculation, but I figured if it just improved on the 7D, and had some of what was listed as being possible that it would be awesome. Little did I know that most of what I had heard about and even more would end up in the final product. Canon found a way to pack the features of the Canon 1Dx into this much cheaper model. In fact I can buy three 7DII bodies for the price of one 1Dx. Don’t get me wrong the 1Dx is an amazing camera, but for the price the 7D Mark II is a game changer. A lot of people use the term game changer when in fact the thing is not a game changer. It is just altering the game a little. This camera is a game changer. I think that it will end up on par with the digital camera because now everyone has a pro quality camera in their price range. The sidelines are going to start to fill up I think.

What Does the Bad DxOMark Score Really Mean?

A while ago DxOMark came out with their tests of the sensor on the camera. They gave it a horrible score putting it in the same league as some Nikon cameras that came out about five years ago. After looking at the results of the DxOMark test I came away feeling the same way that I felt about the camera before. The results look bad on paper, but when you dig deeper into what they test what matters to me the most scored much higher than the cameras that the final score puts it behind. At the end of the day I have not had any complaints with the cameras performance, and the photos look great even magnified. Sometimes you have to test the camera yourself on what you shoot, and decide for yourself if it is worth it. The bad score may hurt sales a bit for Canon, but I think that in the end the public will see that the camera is a good one.

The Real Test: Roller Derby

The real test for any equipment that I have is shooting in the low light of roller derby. You get to test it in low light which means taking the ISO up as high as you can, and also seeing just how good the auto focus system is. There is not a lot of contrast for the camera to use to grab focus so you really have to help it out. I missed some shots a couple of nights ago, but nothing out of the ordinary. I have been really happy with the results so far. Of course it would do alright in great light, but to excel in the dark was a great surprise. I think that a full frame camera is best for roller derby, but as a test this camera did just fine.

Canon 7D Mark II Sample Images

I covered a wide range of sports with this camera just to see what it could do. The day that I received the camera I went straight to a tennis match on campus to try it out. From that first shoot I also covered soccer, basketball, football, wrestling, and roller derby. Here are a few images made with the camera that I really liked.





Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Price point $1799
  • 10 Frames per second
  • 65 auto focus points that are super fast to pick up your subject
  • 20mp dual pixal CMOS sensor
  • Build quality, built to take a beating
  • Great weather sealing
  • APS-C sensor provides an extra reach of 60%
  • For a crop sensor body the high ISO shooting is incredible
  • Rating button that allows me to tag images quickly. Very important for my workflow on gameday.
  • Dual card slots for SD and CF cards. Great for capturing RAW, but also having a quick jpeg to upload as well.
  • Built in GPS
  • Custom modes make for easy shooting in a familiar location
  • New LP-E6N battery gives longer battery life, but is still compatible with the LP-E6 batteries and cameras. This means that I do not have to go out and buy a bunch of batteries right out of the gate.
  • A built in intervalometer. This is something that seems easy enough to put in a camera, but rarely is put in. It seems crazy to me that Canon finally does it with a sports and wildlife camera.

Cons

  • No RAW support (yet)
  • No tilt on the LCD screen
  • No wi-fi

Final Verdict

This is the camera made for what I do most. I shoot sports so I need something that can capture the fast action on the field. The extra 60% reach is great for field sports such as football and soccer where a lot of the action can be further away. That extra reach means that I can be a little lazy and stay in one spot a little longer. The auto focus is fantastic as well. In most situations I can pick up and keep my subject in focus. This is the camera that I had heard about, and hoped would be coming over a year ago. It is worth every penny of the cost.

Shooting the Final Bout of the Season for the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls

Back to Shooting Derby

It had been a long time since I shot a bout. I was in Chicago at RiotFest when the last home game for the Brawlin’ Dolls occurred in September. There are some things that I can be very stubborn about, and lighting derby is one of them. I can see the benefit, but I like to motor drive it as well. The photo above was taken just as another photographers flash went off to my right. I loved the look of it. It was at that moment when I realized that I would be lighting the next bout. My one objection to most lighting is the weird shadows that it can cause. Here though I saw that a few good shots would be far better than a lot of average shots. Next year the Brawlin’ Dolls start off with some closed bouts. That would be a great chance to dial in the lights so that when they play in front of the crowd later in the year I will have a system down.

The Last Real Test For the Canon 7D Mark II

Last night I was very eager to see what the 7D Mark II would do in a darker venue. I was not upset with the performance of the camera. I played around with a few of the auto focus settings to see if any of them were better than any of the others. I really found that it didn’t matter in the dark environment. Sometimes it would pick up focus right away and hold it. Other times it would not. I have had that with other cameras though so I don’t think that it is a problem with the 7DII. It did very well though, and I would have to say that this is the camera that I will lean on for the next couple of years.

Bonus Photos

Here are a couple of photos from the game that I enjoyed.



Shooting For the Samford Bulldogs

Shooting For The ‘Enemy’

I use the word enemy loosely here as most fans here would consider any team that comes in to be the enemy. For me it is the nice team that paid me to shoot the game. Sometimes these early season games can be hard to shoot for the opposing team as they don’t score much. Luckily for me Samford really kept taking it to Purdue giving me many opportunities to make my shots. They gave me some good looks that luckily I was able to capture. The bonus when I shoot for the opponent is that I pretty much have the baseline to myself. I really did not move around as much as I could. I may do that Tuesday at Butler because it is a new arena to me.

Where Are The Landscapes?

I am sure that many of you who started following this blog you have noticed that it has been all sports for over a week now. Things have really picked up as the weather has gotten colder making the sports shots the current shots for me. I am sure it will slow down a bit, but right now it does not look good for a while. I am booked for three basketball games next week so that means at least three days of sports for you to see. The landscapes will eventually be back I promise. Continue reading

Taking My Portraits to the Next Level

Shooting at Second Level Studios

I have been so busy with other things that I have not gotten a chance to really use the space that I am renting at Second Level Studios yet. I tried to fully use it last night to make a few portraits of my nephew who is a senior here at West Side. We had fun trying things out, and he was very patient while I tried to figure out a couple of glitches. In the end we made some nice portraits, and had some fun doing it. I would like to try to do this again some night when time is not against us, and we can have some fun with a few more players. By the end of the shoot I was getting much to brave for the space that we were in. This was a great starting off point from which to learn from. This will be a busy weekend for me, but I would like to get back in the studio again to build on what I learned here.

Making Portraits

We started off the session with some portraits that are a bit more standard with the letter jacket, and the great brick and wood backdrops in the studio. From there we moved on to some high key portraits up against the white backdrop. We then moved away from the backdrop to take it to gray, and from there it started to get fun. I have been trying to figure out how to get the studio strobes to second curtain synch, and it was while in the studio tonight that I figured out a way to do it. I put my speed light on my camera, and used it to fire the strobes that were in slave mode. This worked great, and gave me a way to try some things that I might not have normally been able to do. When I have a bit more room to work with I will have to try this again. I think a trip to the West Side gym may be in order in the near future.

My Top Ten Favorite Images From the Big Ten Soccer Tournament

Choosing is the Hardest Part

I don’t know my final shot total from the tournament, but it has to be up there. I spent a lot of time out at the Purdue Soccer Complex shooting the seven games of the tournament. On day one I thought that I had ten images worthy of being on this list. It was a day of great games with a lot of emotion. Little did I know that the emotion would just keep building. I think that I have said it before, but I will say it one more time. I had a great time making images during the tournament. As I walked away last Sunday I was a little sad that it was over. There is something to be said about pouring everything that you have into a few games in a row. You also get to see the teams up close, and you see what it means to them. It was very interesting to stand at midfield after each game. You would have one team celebrating that they were moving on, while the other team deals with the fact that their season is over. Some careers ended on the field, and that cannot be easy. A long time ago my athletic career ended, and I still remember that feeling. With all of the upsets Wednesday though you knew that the kids went out with at least one last big win under their belt. The hard part about covering college sports is the fact that I see many careers end. The thing that you can take out of that though is that those athletes now go out into the world to help make it better.

The Top Ten

I will not even try to put these photos in any kind of order. I think that the best way to do it is to just post the chronologically as they were made. It was hard enough weeding the top ten down let alone ranking those. These may not even be the top ten best images that I made, but they are the ten that have stuck with me this week. I tried to get away from them for a bit to see if they still spoke to me. I had twelve in the folder, and a little time away made it easy to eliminate the final two.

Michelle Manning may have made the goal of the tournament. There were eight goals scored in the seven games including a double overtime goal to win the entire thing. The goal by Michelle on day one of the tournament though is the one that sent the top seed Penn State Nittany Lions home, and paved the way for the biggest underdog to move on. I have a photo of the goal, but I loved the embrace after it. In soccer the initial celebration is often the best. The first couple of players to get to the scorer make the best photo for the most part. That was the case here.

Michelle Manning is lifted up by her #8 Northwestern teammates after scoring the winning goal in the upset victory over #1 Penn State

The second photo is from that second game yet again. Actually it is from the post game celebration. I was having some fun making some photos of the girls celebrating the win, and I moved over a bit to get the celebrating parents in the bokeh. That is when the team put Michelle Manning up over them to honor her. It was a brief moment, but I was in a great spot to make this photo. I was very lucky to be standing where I was, and I am happy with how the photo turned out.

The first day of the tournament was full of great light. The first two and a half games were played in a great golden light that you only get this time of the year. The sun never made it very high in the sky to cast the harsh shadows on the players. As it went down the show just got better. For some reason I really have enjoyed this photo of Kinley McNicoll bringing the ball up the field. Her airplane pose that was also mimicked by the Illni defender just struck me for some reason. Kinley would go on to score the championship goal as the second overtime of the title game was almost over.

Big Ten Gen

As the light faded Wednesday of course a brilliant sunset occurred. I wanted to put a player in front of that sunset, and Wisconsin goalie Genevieve Richard was in the right place at the right time. At the time I did not know that she was the Big Ten goalie of the year. That just seems even more fitting now that I know that. Big Ten Gen as her teammates called her never gave up a goal during the three games she was in between the pipes. Not a bad tournament, and she received the defensive player of the tournament award.

Shortly after making the above photo of Genevieve I made this photo of the field as the sun set. The Purdue Soccer Complex is placed in a perfect position to have the sunset in the background of a photo like this one. You get the press box, the field, and the sunset all in front of you. I have made a few sunset photos at the complex, but this is my favorite one. This is a three shot HDR image that I made in Photomatix. I used the program to choose just the one image of the players that I wanted for this photo. This eliminated ghosting, and made the photo for me.

The first game of the second day of the tournament involved Iowa and Northwestern. Both teams won in upset fashion Wednesday, but one of them had to go home Friday. For some reason when I saw this photo I loved it. I think that the Iowa player looks so graceful as she sends a ball downfield. You also have the scoreboard and field in the background.

This photo was from the same game as the photo above. I made many photos of headers during the week, but this was the one that I liked the most. You see the fight that goes on during every header, and I had some good timing here as well. This was also in some great light so I had to include it on this list.

The second game on Friday was between eventual tournament winner Wisconsin and Minnesota. During that game I made many images that I liked in the first half. That allowed me to risk a little more during the second half. I just had to have around twenty images from each match so knowing that I just needed a couple in the second half made me a little braver. I went to midfield, and I shot with the 300mm on the 7D Mark II. That gives me the equivalent of a 480mm lens on the end of my camera. I went there with the idea of getting a great header shot that was very tight. What I got was this shot that might just be my favorite action shot of the tournament.

The final two images were taken during the Wisconsin celebration. As a photographer I live to capture moments. You spend the whole match waiting for moments, and then when it was over I was flooded with those moments. Actually it was worse than that. There was constantly something going on that would make an awesome photo. This was one that I saw and made it just before it was gone. I won’t lie. I missed many moments after the game. I got this one though, and it was great to me. The sheer joy of the players as they went through the championship process was amazing. I wanted to capture as much of that as I could. This championship selfie was one of those moments. I could have had the whole group in the shot, but on the spot I made the decision to get in tight to see the faces of those in the shot. I think that I made the right decision.

The final photo of the countdown was made a few moments later. Wisconsin player Rose Lavelle called her dog onto the field. From what I gathered her dog had never seen her lose. She sat down to pose with the dog when of course the dog stole the show. Yet again this was a fleeting moment that I was very happy to capture.

I hope that you have enjoyed this look at my favorite photos of the tournament. It really is an impossible task to pick ten photos from the seven games.  I made an Exposure page for the tournament for just this reason. It allows me to show many more photos from each game in one large photo story. You can find that page here. The tournament is moving away from this format so I will not be able to have this much fun again.