Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Photographing Fireworks in Tippecanoe County

As the 4th of July holiday approaches many people will go out to watch fireworks. I of course go out with the intent of photographing them. Last year on the 4th we made a trek down to the Wabash to watch the fireworks over the river. We braved the mud and the bugs to see them up close and personal. I was having some fun trying out some techniques to make the smooth lines that I love to see in firework photos. The photo above was one of my favorites from the night. Photographing fireworks is a lot about camera and settings, but luck also plays a part. The right firework needs to be shot without smoke and other fireworks to disrupt your view of it. I love the challenge of photographing fireworks, and tomorrow night I will try and find a spot to make an interesting photo from.

10 Tips For Better Firework Photos

Last year I posted ten tips for making better firework photos. These are not the only ten things that you need to do, but they are a good start. You can find that post here. I will also post the tips below again since they may come in handy tomorrow.  Continue reading

The Kokomo Jackrabbits vs. the Quincy Gems

Shooting for the Kokomo Jackrabbits

After about a month off of shooting baseball I was back where I love to be at a ball diamond. The summer is my off season, but I still like to get out and shoot my favorite sport. An opportunity came up for me to shoot a few games for the Kokomo Jackrabbits. The job requires more away from the diamond than sports action, but I did make a few photos that I liked from the first game. The main shooting positions are very good for shooting the pitcher as well as a batter facing you. I tried to move around a bit to get a few different angles of the action though during the game.

A Nostalgic Trip

One reason that I really wanted to shoot the Jackrabbits was the uniforms that they wear. They remind me of the early 1980’s San Diego Padres uniforms. If you have followed my blog(s) for a while then you know that I am a sucker for the retro uniforms. It is fun to photograph teams that resemble the ones that you grew up watching. I for one am all for the retro uniforms coming back. Continue reading

10 Tips For Photographing Fireworks

Pinola Photo:

Here is a post from a year ago that might come in handy over the next couple of days.

Originally posted on Pinola Photography:

Here are Ten Tips for Photographing Fireworks

  1. Use a tripod – This is probably the most important tip on this list. You can get good results without a tripod, but it is very hard to do so. A tripod lets you keep your shutter open longer, and therefore get the long trails of the fireworks. A couple of quick tripod tips here. Always keep your tripod as low as possible. Remember when the fireworks start it will be dark where you are. Keeping your tripod low reduces the fall if it is tripped over. If you are in a crowded area make sure that you are not putting someone in danger with your tripod. Your eyes will be in the sky so get some help here.
  2. If your camera has one set it to bulb mode – Setting your camera to bulb mode allows you to control the length of your…

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Catching a Kokomo Jackrabbits Game

Seeing a Game at Kokomo Municipal Stadium

Last night I shot a game for the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Prospect League. This is a new team playing in a new stadium. How new is the stadium? It actually is still under construction. The minor construction around the park does nothing to take away from the baseball though. The current situation reminds me of seeing games at Coveleski Stadium in 2011. Every time I made it back to the park they had just completed something else. Each trip showed me a new part of the stadium. I have not seen the final product in South Bend yet, but I hear that it is well worth a little dust. This is a great new field that has the looks of a great park. This is on par with many minor league fields.

Shooting for the Jackrabbits

Last night was not my typical baseball night. I spent the first two innings in the camera well, but then spent the rest of the game capturing some scenes from inside the park. I was there to get baseball action, but also to get atmosphere. The shot above was sort of a lucky one. I sat behind this group because they all had the same jerseys on. Just after I took my seat the opposing team made a pitching change, and the group took a selfie. I was in the right place at the right time, and I made a photo that I liked. I will post some of my action shots tomorrow as I sort through them. This was the first of a few trips to the ballpark in Kokomo, and I can’t wait to get back to shoot the boys in July.

Photographing a Jimmy Buffett Concert with the Canon Powershot G16

Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015

Seeing Jimmy Buffett Live Again

Each year we see Jimmy Buffett live. The usual show in Indianapolis did not happen this year so we made our way to Tinley Park to see Jimmy Buffett at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. Had we seen Jimmy in Indy we would have had to rush there during the week as usual, and we would not have been able to see the Stanley Cup in person. You can read more about seeing the Stanley Cup in yesterdays post by clicking here. When you go and see Jimmy live you pretty much know what you are going to get. With some acts that can be a bad thing. With the classics that you here at Jimmy’s show though you are just there to experience it with everyone else. Three years ago I went to my first Jimmy Buffett concert. Last year we took my step-daughter to her first Buffett show. This year my one year old enjoyed her first show. The songs have a beat that she could dance to, and she had a great time. These are great shows for the entire family. I hope that Jimmy will come near us next year. It would not seem like summer without seeing Jimmy Buffett.

Using the Canon Powershot G16 To Photograph the Jimmy Buffett Concert

For the second year in a row I took my Canon Powershot G16 to the Jimmy Buffett show. Last year it was my big test for the camera. I wanted a smaller camera for family reasons, but it also is acceptable to take into concerts. That post which you can see here has been one of the more successful posts in the past year. I put the camera to the test on that day, and it passed with flying colors. It does have some noise issues, but that is easily fixed inside of Lightroom. This little camera really is great for a point and shoot. You have a full manual mode that puts you in complete control. When I was looking for a smaller camera this was very important to me. This has been a purchase that I have been very happy with for the past year.

Bonus Photos From Jimmy Buffett in Chicago

Here are a few bonus photos from the Jimmy Buffett concert Saturday night in Chicago

Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015
Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015
Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015 Continue reading

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup at a Jimmy Buffett Concert

Patrick Kane shows off the Stanley Cup as Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015

Seeing the Stanley Cup in Person

Just before the start of the Jimmy Buffett concert Saturday night I heard that the Stanley Cup was in the building. The cup has been hitting the concert circuit in Chicago lately so I had wondered if I would see it at this show. As the band started playing the song ‘Volcano’ Patrick Kane walked out onto the stage with Lord Stanley’s Cup above his head. The crowd which was already loud cranked it up to an insane level. The electricity in the building was amazing. I was not in the building when the cup was clinched, but I have some idea of the noise now. I could not hear most of the song because of the noise. Chicago really loves their hockey, and they love it when the Cup comes to see them.

Using the Canon G16 at the Concert

In a perfect world I would be able to shoot the concert with some of my normal tools. I guess they don’t want me to show up with the 400mm lens though so any ‘professional’ cameras that have detachable lenses are not allowed in. I laugh at the term professional every time I see it like this. Give Walter Iooss Jr a point and shoot, and it becomes a professional camera. The good news though is that Canon has a great little point and shoot called the Canon Powershot G16. This camera is a professional camera disguised as a point and shoot. All of the images in this post were made with the Canon G16. This camera has become my go to for everyday family events as well as concerts like this one.

Bonus Photos of The Stanley Cup With Jimmy Buffett

Here are a few extra photos from the short time the Stanley Cup was on stage at the Jimmy Buffett show.

Patrick Kane shows off the Stanley Cup as Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015
Patrick Kane shows off the Stanley Cup as Jimmy Buffett performs at the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre on June 27, 2015

Continue reading

It’s A Small World

The (In)Famous It’s a Small World Ride at the Magic Kingdom

One ride that at first I was not too excited about was the It’s A Small World ride. I figured that the way I am with music that the song would be in my head throughout the day. I ended up having a blast during the ride. It is not often that a photographer can shoot in that many countries during a lifetime let alone over the course of a few minutes. The ride was still cool as an adult. We went on our first day with plans to go again on the trip. I think that we did that a lot as we never repeated a ride, but we had more on the list to do. There really is a lot to do at the Magic Kingdom.

Tired of Disney Photos?

This blog started off as a landscape blog. Over the course of the last couple of years it has changed as I have to more sports photography. Ever since my trip to the Magic Kingdom it has become sort of a Disney blog. This will be the last Disney post for a couple of weeks. I have some other projects coming up, and I really want to get back out to photograph some landscapes again. I am sure that I will get back to the Disney photos though. I still have a few left that I want to post. It really is a photogenic place.

Bonus Photos

I normally only do this with my sports photos, but here are a few bonus photos from the ride.

Continue reading

A Tangled Princess Castle

The Princess Castle is Lit Up at the Magic Kingdom

Part of the fun of night at the Magic Kingdom was watching the transformation of the princess castle. As the sun goes down they really make it look great. They use just the right colors during the blue hour to make it look nice. On the night this photo was made they had the fireworks show, and then this light show on the castle itself. This particular photo was made as the story of Tangled was being told on the castle. It really is a sight to see for the whole family. If you want to see this show you have to get there early. Even though the show happens at the same time every night people are rushing to get to a spot to see it every night. We never really stayed to see the show in one spot. On this night we had a date with Anna and Elsa. It is pretty cool how they basically have a mini movie on the side of the castle. Disney does a great job of making the fun for everyone. This was our first night at the Magic Kingdom, and we were already all hooked.

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom

The Entrance to Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Over the course of the trip there never was a great time to photograph this scene. It seemed as if I would always happen to be in front of it when the train was, but something always got in the way. I wanted a blue sky somewhere in the photo with a couple of interesting clouds. I also wanted a time when I could get a people free shot. In reality this was the perfect time to use the Lee Big Stopper on my tripod. The big stopper would allow for a ultra long exposure which would have made the clouds very interesting. It also would have gotten rid of most of the people who were moving through the frame. I didn’t want to carry gear all day though so that stayed at the hotel. I just had to wait for a good moment. As luck would have it I had a great opportunity our second to last day at the Magic Kingdom where I was able to make this photo. Sometimes a little patience pays off.

Using the HDR Feature in Lightroom 6 (CC)

Since Lightroom 6 came out I have really just used the HDR function in it for all of my needs. For about four years I used a version of Photomatix Pro for my HDR images. This really is a part of my photography that has evolved the most over the years. I used to make very bad HDR images that looked like you needed to be on a substance to appreciate. The HDR process is not really meant for that though. It is meant to help you show what your eye can see. The camera does not have the dynamic range that your eye does. In a scene like this one there is far too much dynamic range for the camera to handle. You have to help it out by using the tools at your disposal. A very subtle HDR like the one above is the answer. Now that Lightroom can handle the 32 bit files that I like to edit it has become a one stop shop for me.

A Rainy Day in Chicago

Making the Most Out of the Rain

About a month ago I was in Champaign covering the NCAA baseball tournament. When the Saturday slate of games was rained out I drove up to Chicago to see my family. The weather was not the greatest, but I enjoyed a great night with the kids. I thought that I should make a photo that showed just how dreary the day was. The weather turned to give us a pretty decent sunset though shortly after I made this photo. Although it isn’t raining now today reminds me of this day a little. You just have the feeling that it could rain all day.