Reflections in Armstrong Hall

The sun flows through Armstrong Hall on the campus of Purdue University

The Sun Flows Through Armstrong Hall

This was supposed to be part of a three shot HDR of the atrium on the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering on the campus of Purdue University. I loved how the reflection gives a perfect mirror on the wall. At the time this photo was made I thought that HDR was the way to go here. That way I could capture all of the light that my camera cannot. I remember liking this photo at the time that it was made, but it didn’t fit my HDR everything mode that I was in at the time. Now with some time behind me I can again appreciate the way that the light streams through the hall without having to see every bit of shadow detail in the shot.

I Swear I Am Not George Lucas

I haven’t been getting out to make many photos lately. That means to keep this photo a day thing going I have to go back into the archives. Lately I have been re-working some of my old HDR work that I butchered back in the day. During my photo 365 project I found HDR. In a way it was bad timing as everything that I was learning went right onto the blog. This blog got off to a great start with my HDR images of pizza, dogs, and even better broccoli. Don’t worry at the moment I don’t have any plans to go back and re-work those photos. I think that they are just fine the way that they are. Sometimes though going back through my old work allows me to find things that had gotten lost in the shuffle. This photo that I made nearly three years ago is one of those.

A Busch Stadium Panoramic with Lightroom 6

Using Lightroom 6 To Make a Panoramic of Busch Stadium

When Lightroom 6 was announced a couple of days ago I was excited to see a couple of features built into the program. I am all about making my workflow smoother and faster so having tools inside of one program can accomplish that. I don’t do panoramic photos very often, but exporting the files to Photoshop while faster than it ever has been is still a long process. I wanted to see how fast making a pano in Lightroom 6 could be. I went back into the archives to find a series of photos that I took to make into a pano from my birthday in 2009. I went to visit the new Busch Stadium for the first time that season. I have spent a couple of birthdays in St. Louis watching the Cardinals. They really hit it out of the park with the new stadium, and I wanted to show the beauty of everything. Of course there was a slight drizzle as I was making the photos so everything came out very grey. In fact I never cared enough about the photos to stitch them together. I knew that they were there though so I decided to give it a try with the new feature in Lightroom. It did a great job of putting the eight photos together into one photo. I can see one place where it had some trouble, but other than that it did a great job.

An Update on the Lightroom 6 HDR Function

After a couple of initial successes with the new HDR function in Lightroom 6 I found a couple of issues with it. The program does a great job for the most part, but one thing that I found was that when using the deghost option it can leave some crazy arcs throughout your photo. With a wide range of light in the photo it really sticks out when a dark portion of the photo is directly stitched into the normal photo. This is something that I will have to play with to see if I can work around that. This is the first Lightroom product that has not come out in Beta form first. This may be something that is fixed in an update shortly.

Shooting Notre Dame Baseball at Victory Field

Using Adobe Lightroom 6 (Lightroom CC) to Edit My Photos

I will start today’s post off with a non sports related element. Yesterday Lightroom released their update for the cloud, and a standalone program titled Lightroom 6. I payed nothing extra for the update as it was automatically updated for me with the cloud service. They promised much faster speeds in the develop module. While I edited my take from the game I did not really notice any difference. With that said though I thought the speed has been quick since upgrading Macs this past fall. In the heat of the moment editing my files I may not have noticed it as well. The one new feature that I absolutely love is the HDR merge function. I used to have to send my file out to Photomatix Pro to merge. The file would then have to be imported back into Lightroom as a 32 bit file so that I could use the sliders to make my adjustments to it. With the new version of Lightroom all of that is done for you in program. I made a photo last night during the blue hour with the intention of using the new HDR function. I made three exposures two stops apart on the scene. Once I was editing I just selected the three files to merge and used the merge function in the program. I made the photos during the action so I used the high deghost option. I also used auto align because I was handholding the camera, and auto tone for speed. The result of the merge was amazing. With auto tone selected I was already in the ballpark so to speak with my adjustments so it just took a little fine tuning to get the result you see above. I think that my days using Photo Mechanic are over unless it is required for a job.

Anticipating the Moment

In the fifth inning of the game Irish sophomore Kyle Fiala hit a ball to the wall in the gap. I knew that I had the hit so I panned over to get Kyle rounding second. I was hoping that he would try and stretch it into a triple. As I saw him coming around second I knew that I would have my chance. I made some photos of him chugging around second, and then I pre focused on a spot just in front of third base. I was hoping for a head first slide into the bag. With my 400mm lens on my Canon 7D Mark II I was tight, but I knew that if he came in head first it would be amazing. Thankfully he came in the way that I hoped he would, and I made a photograph that I loved from the game last night. Sometimes things just fall together for you as a photographer. Here I had made the right decision to stay in the third base camera well one more inning. The play has to come to you to make the photo. This was one time where everything worked in my favor to make a nice photograph.

Shooting For The Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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Using Lightroom CC (Lightroom 6) to Merge HDR Files

Trying Out the New Version of Lightroom CC

Today Adobe released the newest version of Lightroom. I have been a Lightroom user since Lightroom 3, and the program has steadily become a bigger portion of my workflow. I was excited when I saw that you could merge files into a 32 bit HDR file within the program. Before I ever used Lightroom I used Photomatix Pro to make my HDR images. By the time that Photomatix Pro 5 came out I was just using the program to merge the files, and then I would edit the 32 bit file inside of Lightroom. I like Photomatix, but anytime that I can simplify my workflow I want to do that. I decided to try out this new feature in Lightroom, and while I was at it I made a video of it. I don’t know that these files were the best test so tonight at the baseball game I will try again. As the game is played a little later I should get a shot with some nice color in the sky I hope.

Merging Three Files From the Purdue Softball Game

I saw a scene while shooting the Purdue softball games Saturday that I thought looked great. There was just one problem. The dynamic range of light was way too far apart for my camera to make an exposure that was anywhere near what I saw on the scene. I made one photo in aperture priority mode that was what the camera thought the scene should be. That was the dark photo in the above video. I then compensated for the bright light to expose for the shadows. I used these files for my test of this new option in Lightroom. I took the sliders up and down a bit to see if I indeed had the information in the file that I thought I should have. I think that this new addition to Lightroom is a welcome one that will be amazing for me. I will have more on some of the new features in Lightroom as I get to use the program more and more.

Initial Impressions

I think that this feature inside of Lightroom will save me some time for sure. The deghosting options seemed great so I didn’t have to even select an area. I like how you can let the program tone on its own or deselect the option to do the work yourself. I think that in the future I will edit the file on my own, but I like the option to do a quick edit. It might be an idea generator for a good starting point. So far Lightroom 6 looks great, and compared to where I started with Lightroom 3 it is a huge leap ahead. I expect a few minor updates to this version that will make it even better.

A New Look at the Chicago River

A Familiar Photo Gets a New Look

This was one of my first successful photos from this blog. It was a simple look down the Chicago River. Recently I received a request to make this black and white so that it could be printed. While I was doing that I decided to run it through Perfect Photo Suite 9’s Perfect B&W to see what I could do there. I made one for the client, but now it was time to make one for myself. I really liked this version using the Palladium preset that I found under the 19th century processes tab. I think that I liked it because it is so different from anything that I do. I normally like everything neat and tidy in my photos, but I like the way that this looked. I don’t go back often to edit older photos. I feel like I had a vision at the time, and I don’t want to ruin that. When I made this photo though I did not really have the tools that I needed to do it right. I know that I sound a bit like George Lucas here, but I never really achieved what I wanted with this photo. I had Lightroom 3 at the time I think, but I did not know how to use it properly. Now I have a handle on Lightroom 5, and how to make my photos pop a bit more.

Lightroom 6 To Be Released Today?

Of course right after I say that I have a handle on the latest version of Lightroom they are set to release the next one. A lot of rumors are swirling around the internet that Adobe will release Lightroom 6 today. I know that I am excited to see what they have put into the program. Lightroom is basically my one and only stop during the editing process. For my landscape work I will sometimes head to Photoshop, but that is a rare occasion. I use some plug ins along the way, but everything is done through Lightroom. I am very interested to see what new tools I will have to use. For my sports editing I still use Lightroom all the way. I have Photo Mechanic, and I have used it before. On a fast computer though Lightroom 5 really was fast enough for me. I don’t need to caption for what I currently do so the advanced help that Photo Mechanic can give me makes not sense. It is just another step. I have a shoot tonight in Indy for Notre Dame baseball so I will have to see what Lightroom 6 will do to my computer before I install it. I want to see what it can do, but not without slowing myself down. I am sure that in the next couple of days I will have a post with some of my thoughts on the newest version of Lightroom if it indeed does come out.

Purdue Soccer Alumni Game | Sports Photography

Seeing Some Familiar Faces Again

Saturday before heading over to the softball complex for a doubleheader I walked over to the Purdue Soccer Field to see part of the alumni game. I did not see anything about it posted this year, but heard that it was happening. I got there just in time to see the very end of the game, but it was nice to see some familiar faces with Purdue Soccer gear on again. One of my favorites to photograph was Hadley Stuart. As a photographer you don’t have any favorite players, but some just lend themselves to making good photos. Akeem Hunt was like that on the football field. You had to try to make a bad photo of him playing the game. Hadley was like that in soccer. She just had a way of playing that made for great photos. It was fun to photograph here one more time. This was a small group of alumni, and I was not around when some of them played, but I am starting to recognize them from these alumni games. This is a cool tradition that Purdue has to help show the current team a little of the history of Purdue soccer.

Head Coach Drew Roff

This was my first time seeing the new Purdue Soccer Coach Drew Roff in person. He gave a speech thanking the alumni for coming out after the game. Having that as my only thing to go off of he seems like a good guy who has a plan for Purdue soccer. It would be nice to see him guide the team back to the Big Ten Tournament and beyond. Continue reading

Purdue Softball Senior Day | Sports Photography

Purdue Softball Senior Day

One of my favorite shoots for Purdue last season was the softball senior day. It is such a unique send off for the players with a lot of emotion involved. You can really tell how much being a Boilermaker means to them. Shooting seniors days can be hard because you are saying goodbye to someone that you have seen play for four years as it is. The softball senior day seems to ratchet that up a couple of notches. Yesterday Purdue honored seniors Ashley Burkhardt, Lexi Moore, Alex Whittemore, and Alyssa Koorsen. The ceremony involving the parents came between games one and two of a doubleheader. That one seems like every other ceremony. After the second game the bases ceremony was held, and that one is a little tougher to watch. The seniors stand at home plate with the rest of the team on the bases. The senior then get a victory lap around the bases to say goodbye to their teammates. The freshman are at first, the sophomores at second, and the juniors are at third. The emotion seems to build as the players round the bases leading up to greeting their fellow seniors once again at home plate. It is a ceremony that I never get tired of seeing, and I hope that I can cover it again next season.

Purdue Splits the Doubleheader

On a beautiful day in West Lafayette the Boilermakers split a doubleheader with Iowa. Purdue took game one after Iowa took an early lead on a home run. When Iowa took the lead in game two the same way I thought that maybe we would see a carbon copy of game one. It was not meant to be though for the Boilers.  Continue reading

St. Luke’s Church

The Interior of St. Luke’s Church in Indianapolis, Indiana

A few weeks ago I was in Indy for a wedding workshop. I liked the idea of picking up some new ideas, and also to have a couple of models for a few hours. This was a beautiful portion of the church that I would have loved to have tried a few things with. I made this picture during the class though because I could not stop looking at it. The beautiful decorations along with the stained glass were pretty nice. A little late day light coming in to light the scene made it all pop a little more. This is more of a snapshot than anything, but it still looks great to me.

Slicer Baseball at Schreiber Field

Shooting Baseball at Historic Schreiber Field

Last night while back in my hometown I decided to photograph my former high school baseball team. I had not set foot inside of Schreiber Field in about 21 years, but it was still cool to go back home so to speak for baseball. As a kid growing up LaPorte Baseball was on par with the Major Leagues for me. In middle school my friend Ryan helped me get a job putting the numbers on the manual scoreboard in center field. That scoreboard is gone, but the memories of the days watching the Slicer teams win state remain. I remember sitting in my driveway pitching up against the garage door listening to Bub Gale pitch LaPorte to a state championship. When I think of baseball I think of Ken Schreiber and the Slicers so it was nice to go back to shoot a game there. The bonus was that it is set up really well to make some great pictures at. The dugouts are dug out into the ground allowing you to walk up right behind them to shoot over. That helped me during my guessing game of where the ball is going to go late in the game. I think in the near future I would like to do a photo story on a gameday at Schreiber Field. There is a lot that goes into the game, and with a little access I think that I could do some pretty cool things.

The LaPorte Slicers Defeat the Merrillville Pirates 10-0 in Five Innings

This game was really all LaPorte from the very beginning. They had their bats going from the first inning, and kept them going into the fifth where the game was called due to the ten run rule. There were a lot of cool moments during the game, but watching Travis Upp who had been in a bit of a slump hit a home run to get the scoring going was pretty cool. Even better was watching his dad Scott who coaches the team and third base congratulate him as he came around the bases. That is what baseball is all about. As I said above it has been 21 years since I last saw a game at Schreiber Field, but it will not be that long until I see another one there. These kids have fun playing the game, and it shows on the field. I found myself having more fun just listening to their banter as the game went on. I don’t know much about the team, but from what I saw today they look like a close group that could do some of the things LaPorte expects out of their baseball team. I will keep an eye out on them for sure to see just how far they can go.  Continue reading

West Side Baseball vs. Central Catholic | Sports Photography

Back at Bob Friend Field for More West Side Baseball

Last night I went back down to Bob Friend Field to catch a little more West Lafayette Baseball. This was the second night in a row that West Side took on Central Catholic, and the result was pretty much the same both nights. Baseball is a funny sport though, and you never know what the next meeting between the two teams could bring. This was my second West Side game in three days. With the next week getting busy I am not sure when I will get back to the field just down the street from me. I have fun photographing the boys though so I will make sure to catch at least a couple of more games before the season is over.

Another Anthrop to Photograph

One thing with seeing Central Catholic play was seeing Jackson Anthrop play baseball. I have photographed his brother Dru playing basketball for Purdue, his brother Danny as a CC star as well as a star at Purdue in Football, and now Jackson as a baseball player. This is an amazing sports family, and part of the early success of this blog was due to them. Continue reading