Photographing Twins at Three Months | Child Portraits

Documenting the First Few Months of Life For Two Children

If you remember about three months ago I made some photographs in the studio of two adorable twins. They were a blessing to their parents, and it was amazing to see them again to see just how much they had grown. It took a little while for the little ones to warm up to the strange man with the strange contraption up against his face. Once they did they gave me some images that I loved. When you work a situation to get a certain look and it pays off it is a great feeling. Over the course of the next couple of days I will be back to shooting basketball, but it was nice to step out and capture some moments that really matter. I cannot wait until the six month session.

Setting Up In The Home Studio

One reason I liked this session was that I moved out of the studio, and into the parent’s home. During the first session the twins were out of their house for the first time, and they were not sure of the new place. I scheduled this session at their house so that they would be a little more comfortable from the start. The move paid off as they warmed to me fairly quickly in a familiar environment. I created my own light with a couple of speed lights bouncing around the living room. This allowed me to move locations a little quicker as I just had to pick up the speed light and redirect it. I used to always say that I used natural light all the time. Now I love the challenge of making my own light in a new situation. Sometimes like in the photo above you just need a little fill light when window can give you most of what you need.


A Sparrow Looks For Spring | Bird Photography

A Sparrow Caught in a Snowstorm

Friday I was chomping at the bit to use my new lens. I had just bought a Canon 400mm f/2.8, and I had not used it yet. I looked out my back window and noticed that the birds were really feeding with a few flurries coming down. Then the flurries developed into more, and I had a photo. I put the 400 on my Canon 7D Mark II, and made a couple of pictures quickly while the snow was coming down hard. This house sparrow did not seem too pleased about the situation. It just sat there very still for me as it tried to figure out why it was snowing. It made for an interesting photo, and gave me a chance to use my new lens.

Using a Long Lens to Compress the Scene

This shot is really made because of the long lens. It compresses the scene to give this look that I think is quite nice. The snowflakes closer to the camera become beautiful bokeh snowflakes, and they help add depth to the scene in an interesting way. Had I shot this with something smaller and cropped in I would not have had the same effect. I put the 1.4x converter on the lens to give me an effective focal length of 896mm. A nearly 900mm lens helps me get close to this small bird. That sounds like a lot of lens, but for a little bird it really is not. This was a good first test of the lens, and it gave me an indication that I was in for a treat while using it.

Testing Out the Canon 400mm f/2.8 at Purdue Softball and Baseball | Sports Photography

Butler Takes on Purdue at Alexander Field

After waiting a couple of days to really test out the 400mm lens that I bought at Robert’s on Thursday I made the most of my Saturday. After shooting a bit at the kick scrimmage I made my way over to Alexander Field to shoot a little of the Purdue baseball doubleheader against Butler. I have shot a lot of baseball at Alexander so it is a great place to test something new out. I know the sweet spots for photos. Well with the 400 that all changed a bit. On my Canon 7D Mark II the lens is really about a 640mm lens. That sounds good unless you are used to shooting with a 200mm or 300mm lens at the stadium. I really had to change my locations to get some of the shots that I wanted. I could have put my Canon 5D Mark III on the lens, but why not play around a little? I had some fun getting in tight on the action. With that kind of lens you can get a lot closer than I could with anything else that I have had. I had brought along my 1.4x teleconverter to try out on it, but I decided shooting at almost 900mm would just be crazy. I think that I have a kit now for baseball with this lens. The 400mm on a monopod with my 70-200mm lens and a wide angle on my dual black rapid straps. This gives me a wide focal range to capture the action with. I may test this out next week at the West Side game before the season starts to pick up for me. I have been working on a few things heading into the season that I think I need to work on. It is time to put it all together before I start shooting for real.

Rutgers Visits the New Purdue Softball Complex

During the baseball game I made my way over to the softball complex to catch a couple of innings there. I saw the last two innings of the first game of a doubleheader there. It was my first time in the new stadium, and it is a huge step up from where they came from. It is basically a scaled down version of the baseball stadium with one new feature that I love. The outfield berm is a great place to catch a game, but it is also a great place to get a cool shot back into the batter. I used to jump up on the TV stand directly in line with the plate at the old stadium, but some pitchers would get in the way. At the new stadium up on the berm you can move to get a clean picture. I like the different views that you can get this way, and it just adds to the many possibilities of photos that can be made at the new stadium. I really did not bring anything to shoot much of the game except from the berm. I was testing out the big lens, and it was way too much to shoot an intimate sport like softball. I will have to make it back sometime to shoot a game there to see what I can come up with. There are some new angles that were not possible in the old stadium.

Bonus Photos

Here are a few extra photos from the day that I liked. Once again I was not really during any game coverage, but rather looking for interesting things to shoot with my new setup.

Butler third baseman Mike Kseniak makes a diving stop against Purdue Continue reading

Purdue Football Kick Scrimmage | Sports Photography

Trying Out the Canon 400mm f/2.8

Last week I bought the Canon 400mm f/2.8 II lens from Robert’s Camera while I was in Indy. I was busy that night, and with all sports at Purdue cancelled on Friday I was chomping at the bit to try it out. I normally would never go out and intentionally photograph a practice. I don’t work for the school so the photos really have no purpose. I have seen a lot of practice coverage over the last few days coming out of universities that have a photo department though. Through my friends at the University of Tennessee and Florida I have seen some really cool practice images. I really did not take equipment to cover the practice completely. I had a wide angle in case something came up, but I wanted to focus on playing with my new toy the Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens. I loved my Sigma 300mm lens, but it had some limitations. It did the job for me though, but next year I would not be able to use it. Most credible wire services will not let you use any third party lenses. I had a blast throughout the day using the lens in different ways. The bokeh is really amazing with this lens. The background just fades away into a creamy batch of colors. I will have more on how the lens performed at the softball and baseball games tomorrow.

The Kick Scrimmage

I did not stay too long at the kick scrimmage yesterday. Maybe an hour and a half or so. I mainly wanted to get the feel for how the lens would work during an actual game. Since the practice was not like a game at all it took some time for me to accomplish all that I wanted to do. By the end though I realized that I cannot wait until football season to try this out more. Football season can never come quick enough, but now I want to see it even more. I think that this year will be an interesting year for Coach Hazell’s boys. The quarterback battle alone would be fun to watch in person. This team has a lot to prove, and they seem poised to make a move. Below are a few photos that I liked from the practice session.

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Top 10 Photos From the 2014-2015 Purdue Men’s Basketball Season | Sports Photography

Top 10 Photos From This Past Season

I saw the first and last game of the Purdue Basketball season this year, but not as many in between as in years past. This year it seemed like other jobs kept getting in the way of attending the games. I worked for a couple of the opponents as well, but sometimes you still make a good photo of your alma mater even when you are contracted out to the other team. Ten seasons ago I picked up my first season ticket for the Boilers. It was the start of the Matt Painter era, and I did not know what to expect. The tough play of that team had me hooked. This year’s team reminded me of that tough team that laid the foundation for some good things the next couple of seasons. This is a great core group of players that could really do some big things. They will be fun to watch as they mature over the next couple of years. So here is my list of my ten favorite shots from the season. As with most of my lists this one lists my ten favorite shots, not the ten most technically pleasing.

10. This is the moment when I knew just how big Isaac Haas really was. I had seen the photo made by Paul Sadler of Isaac holding the basketball. He made it look like a mini-ball. Some of that could have been the distance of the ball to the camera in comparison to Isaac. When I saw him block a shot without leaving his feet like this I realized that I was in for something special. He did not disappoint during his freshman year either. I was shooting the game for Samford, but this was a shot that I threw in my Purdue folder.

9. I love these scene setter photos. They are a great way to start a photo story. During the Purdue game against Ohio State I knew that I would not have a spot on the baseline during the first half. I spent some of that time walking around in the crowd making photos. It was not too long ago that all of my photos came from up here so I decided to play around a bit. I never know when I will be back in the crowd making photos so I always get some practice in up here.

8. During the first exhibition game of the season you could see that the late acquisition of Jon Octeus was a great one for Purdue. He was just the player that the team needed at just the right time. He would be a big difference maker during the season. During the exhibition game he was playing the hard nosed basketball that we have come to expect at Purdue. He only played one season here, but he left a mark for sure.

7. Early in my first Purdue NCAA Tournament game Rapheal Davis gave me a great photo. He had great form headed to the basket, and all I had to do was press the shutter button. During the course of the season Rapheal became one of my favorite players to shoot. I could usually count on him for a couple of great photos during a game. This is not the last time he will show up on this countdown.

6. After A.J. Hammons slammed a couple home in the first half of Purdue’s NCAA Tournament game against Cincinnati he committed his first foul sending him to the bench. True freshman Isaac Haas came into the game, and delivered one of his own. After a season of dunks facing the wrong way I was pleased with what I captured during the final game of the season.

Nick Zeisloft, Vince Edwards, and Emmitt Holt fight for a rebound

5. The Purdue game against Indiana was a rough one where Purdue imposed their will on their instate rivals. As you know if you read this blog I love the shots at the free throw line. These battles can be very good. I made one of my favorites of the season here. The anticipation makes the photo.

4. This season I did not do very good as far as the dunks were concerned. It seemed like I was on the wrong end of the court when they happened, or on the wrong side of the baseline. I have a lot of photos of players dunking with their back to me. Those are not the best as far as I am concerned. When A.J. Hammons sent his first dunk home in the NCAA Tournament he was facing the wrong way. I was sitting on the opposite side of the baseline than I do at Purdue, but I still had the same result. I probably mumbled “figures” under my breath as I looked into my viewfinder. That seemed like the last play where the players faced the wrong way during the half. I love shooting on this side of the baseline because the play faces you most of the time. I had to make the most of my opportunity when I had it, and this dunk that occurred a couple of minutes after the first one I thought I captured well.

3. Rapheal Davis was named the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten this year. He was a force all year long, and I think that this photo shows a lot of that in one frame. You see the block on Iowa Hawkeyes star Aaron White. The defense sign in the upper left hand corner could be viewed as a distraction, but I think that it adds to this photo.

2. Earlier in the week I posted this as my favorite photo of the NCAA Tournament that I covered in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a very candid moment, and the only real thing that we might have seen at the podium that day. A.J. Hammons had one of those moments that we all have had. He was trying not to laugh, but it just was not working. After a couple of laughs came out he lost it. I was happy to capture that moment.

Rapheal Davis celebrates with the Paint Crew after the Boilers 83-67 win over the Hoosiers.

1. Number one on the countdown is this photo of Rapheal Davis celebrating the win over Indiana with the Paint Crew. I think that it was the third straight home win over a top 25 team for Purdue. After a rocky December it was the time when the fans started thinking about the NCAA Tournament. Ray is an emotional guy that makes great images just by pointing the camera on him. This is just another example of that.

Learning Wedding Photography with Rich Miller and Robert’s Camera

Learning a Little More About Wedding Photography at Robert’s Camera

Yesterday was a good day for my relationship with Robert’s Camera. When they had their old store downtown I never could seem to get what I needed. Things were never easy for me. When they moved locations I decided to give them another chance. I bought a 17-40mm lens about a month ago, and yesterday I bought a 400mm f/2.8 lens from them. The purpose of my trip to Indy was to attend a wedding class put on by Robert’s and photographer Rich Miller. I have shot a couple of weddings in the past, but with one coming up this fall I knew that I wanted to get better. If you know me you know that I always over prepare for a job. When I shot the NCAA Tournament last week I had two teams that I had not seen before. I watched as much game film as I could for both teams to get to know how they play. That helped me a lot when the time came to shoot them. When it comes to weddings I know that I have the skills to shoot them, but I just wanted a few tips. The $36 price tag for the class told me that I would get just that, a couple of tips. By the time the three hour session was over I was in awe. We had a great photographer and two great models at our disposal to help us make great photos. I think that could have charged far more for this class, and it still would have been worth it.

Learning with Rich Miller

While we were waiting for the class to start Rich set up a slideshow of his images. Right from the start I knew that we were in good hands. He is a great photographer that you can see has a passion for what he does. You can’t help but get excited about photographing weddings while listening to him. I found myself looking for moments between the bride and the groom like it was actually a real wedding. It was a great class that I highly recommend. I cannot wait to get out and photograph a wedding now.

More on the Canon 400mm f/2.8 Lens

As I said above I have a new toy to play with. This weekend is full of sporting events so I will have a chance to really test it out. I am sure that you will see a few posts with my reaction to my new lens in the coming days.

Bonus Photos

I had a great time at the class, and I made many photos. After the jump you can see a few of the other photos that I liked from the night. We really had great models who were patient enough for everyone to get a chance to get a shot. Continue reading

Tyler Davidson Fountain | Travel Photography

Finding the Details in a Large City

While in Cincinnati a couple of weekends ago I found myself in the aptly named Fountain Square a couple of times. The centerpiece of Fountain Square is of course a fountain. Both times I was there something big was happening in the vicinity. On Saturday the St. Patrick’s Day parade was going on, and on Sunday a mini-marathon was happening just a block away. The square was always crowded so my normal angle of getting the entire fountain in would not work so well. I did make a couple of photos of the entire fountain, but I liked this small detail a little better.

The Boy With the Fish

The small spot that I chose to focus on was this out portion that depicts a boy with a fish. All around the fountain they show the many things that make water great. I like the idea of a boy fishing in downtown Cincinnati. I didn’t have much time to make photos while in Cincinnati. It really is a great city that deserves more than I gave it on this trip. That just means that I will have to visit it again sometime.

Top 10 Photos From the NCAA Tournament | Sports Photography

Looking Back at the NCAA Tournament Games in Louisville

Last weekend I had an amazing opportunity to shoot for two teams at the NCAA Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. I had shot the NCAA Women’s Tournament last season along with the Big Ten Tournament, but this was a much bigger deal. I was at the same pod as Purdue, but I was not shooting for them. I had two new clients in a very high pressure situation. I love the pressure of those moments so I was in Heaven for a couple of days. The first day was a nice way to get your feet wet. I got to the stadium early to get the lay of the land. The next day I would have to be very quick with my edits and uploads so I wanted to know my way around the stadium very well. I also made some general photos of the venue. These are the things that the teams could use for their preview coverage of the coming days. From there I met with Iowa State to discuss what they were looking for, and what I could do for them. I really enjoyed working with Iowa State over the course of those two days. The loss robbed me of a chance to shoot a second game for them, but in the grand scheme of the team I was not the important part that day. A lot of kids had their season come to a shocking end. On the other end of the spectrum was the Hampton Pirates. They were riding in to the tournament on an amazing run playing the ultimate Goliath. The arrived so late to the tournament site I never did get to meet with my contact face to face. They got to the YUM Center just in time to have a press conference and practice. They were loose from square one, but I think that comes with everyone thinking that you would lose. You truly have nothing to lose in that situation. Beyond shooting for both teams that contracted me I also shot a bit of the exciting UCLA game against SMU. I did not shoot the finish as I had to get ready for the night games. I made sure that I had everything ready to shoot the Hampton game against Kentucky, and then I went out to shoot the Purdue game against Cincinnati. This was one game that I really wanted to shoot as five years before I saw the Boilers play in the Big Dance for the first time. The result was not one that I wanted to see, but I really did not have time to dwell on it as Hampton was starting to warm up. If your team suffers a hard loss having some work to take your mind off of it right away works really well. This was a great couple of days for me, and I made some interesting photos. Below are ten that I liked the best for one reason or another. As with all of my lists they may not be the ten best that I made, but the ten that I liked the best for one reason or another.

10. Before Iowa State took the court for their practice I spent some time in their locker room. Fred Hoiberg has two young sons that travel with the team. One of them was riding the exercise bike, and the other was just chilling out on the training table. I really liked the nature of this photo. It is a simple calm before the storm picture, and something that the general public cannot see. The banner behind him helps to complete the story for me.

Reginald Johnson of Hampton dribbles against Marcus Lee of the Kentucky Wildcats

9. As I said above the Hampton game against Kentucky was a true David vs. Goliath moment. It was a team that was barely in the tournament against a team trying to make history. I wanted a photo that showed the nature of this matchup, and I lucked out here. Reginald Johnson was being guarded by Marcus Lee who has about seven inches on him. Factor in the distance from the camera, and you have the shot that I was looking for. Continue reading

Marge Schott Stadium | Stadium Photography

Marge Schott Stadium on the Campus of the University of Cincinnati

Just over a week ago I shot my first game of the season at Marge Schott Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since I am a free agent this spring I have decided to try and shoot as many places as I can. I like the idea of having new teams and new backgrounds in my portfolio. This season started out during a trip to Cincinnati for the Music Now Festival, but I did manage to work in a shoot at this stadium. I think that the name first intrigued me, and some photos that I saw that were made there made me appreciate it even more. I love the backgrounds that you have here due to the fact the stadium is built into the ground a bit. Over the course of the next three weeks or so I will have added a couple more stadiums to my list this season. I will be shooting at Victory Field for Notre Dame, and at IU’s stadium for Cincinnati. Coming up I will also have shoots at Parkview Field for the Tincaps and a little action for the South Bend Cubs. This promises to be a great baseball season, but the teams just have to start coming North for that to happen.  Continue reading

Purdue Baseball vs. Rutgers | Sports Photography

Purdue third baseman Brandon Krieg attempts to field a ball against Rutgers at Alexander Field

The Symmetry of Baseball

The shot above shows a little bit of why I love baseball so much. Even on a  split second play both the third baseman and the left fielder are in a similar pose. There is something about the symmetry here that made it my favorite shot of the day. Baseball is a beautiful sport full of things that were made for the camera. Part of the fun of photographing baseball is to show people who don’t understand the sport just how beautiful it can be. Yesterday I just took one camera, one lens, and one memory card to the game. I planned on shooting the defense, and I would leave if I ran out of card space. I actually shot very few photos on the day as I was sitting on certain plays. After a pressure packed day on Thursday shooting basketball it was kind of nice to just sit back and have some fun today.
Purdue starter Matt Frawley pitches against Rutgers at Alexander Field

Shooting Baseball at Alexander Field Again

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