Kokomo Jackrabbits vs. Hannibal Cavemen Part 1

Kokomo Loses a Heartbreaker to Hannibal

A couple of nights ago I was back in Kokomo to photograph the Kokomo Jackrabbits again. With my blue moon post yesterday it put me a bit behind here so I will have already photographed the second game of this series by the time this post comes out. With the playoffs on the line every game is important, and losing 2-1 is hard to take. That itself makes it hard, but if you had seen all of the hard hit balls right at someone in crucial times last night you would know why I wrote heartbreaking loss. With men on the Jackrabbits would smoke the ball only to have it be right at a fielder. Some nights the ball falls your way, and some nights what happened to Kokomo will happen.

Watching Kokomo Municipal Stadium Come Alive

I have been shooting at Kokomo Municipal Stadium for just over a month now. Every time I go back to the park there is something new. Thursday night they premiered a couple of new features. They now have a full bar in left field that does not have a cut off time. In fact the bar was still open for about an hour and a half after the game was over. They also have a very cool new BBQ stand in left field as well. Thursday when the light was not so great on the field I moved around to make some photos of the stadium. It really is a great stadium that will only get better with time.

Bonus Photos

Here are a couple of other photos from the game that I liked. You can find a full gallery of images from the game on my website here.

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That’s No Moon…That’s a Blue Moon

The Blue Moon over Central Indiana in July of 2015

Stopping to Photograph the Blue Moon

Last night on my way home from photographing the Kokomo Jackrabbits game I kept looking at the blue moon. I saw the moon rise through the trees at the stadium, and I kept thinking that I needed to get a shot of it. It would be nice to be sitting somewhere to have a little perspective in the shot, but by the time my game was over it was too high for that. It is still fun to photograph the moon. It seems like a simple task when you are starting out as a photographer, but it can really trick you. You just need to remember that you are photographing the moon and nothing else. Your cameras meter will not read the scene correctly so it is up to you to find out where you need to be.

Photographing the Moon

As I said above photographing the moon can really fool your camera. You have to set your camera up so that you control the exposure. I usually crank my ISO down to 100 and set my f-stop to f/8 to start. I made this photo at 1/200th of a second. It was actually part of a bracket of three exposures set 1 stop apart as I guessed the reading I would need. I like to do this as I guess sometimes so that I get some coverage on each side of my guess. This was the shot that was one stop overexposed. It turned out just fine, and I was able to make a couple of more very quickly. I have written a short post giving some more tips on photographing the moon a while back. You can find that post here. It is not comprehensive, but it will help you make better photos of the moon. The good news about learning to photograph the moon is that you see it nearly every night. Sometimes the shadows of the craters make a less than full moon more interesting than a full moon.

Tomorrow The Sports Continue

As I said above I was at the Kokomo Jackrabbits game last night. I will be back there tonight as well to photograph that game. That means you have some baseball coming your way. Saturday night I will be in Indy photographing the Charlotte Knights as they come to town to face the Indianapolis Indians. I will have more landscapes to show you, but the sports will come first. Yesterday was actually a very good day for me as I booked a few fall dates for athletics. I am much farther ahead than I was last year, and I am pleased with where I am. This should be a fun school year. I may have a couple of surprises up my sleeve in the next couple of weeks to share with you.

The Ever Changing Face of the Magic Kingdom

Photographing Cinderella’s Castle

I have said in previous posts about my trip to Disney World that I went in thinking that I would not make that many images of the princess castle at the Magic Kingdom. I did not want to focus on the thing that most people think of when they think of Disney World. I wanted to focus on the little things that make the park so great. Of course when I made it to the park I could not listen to my own advice. I made many pictures of the castle from many different angles. On the first day at the park I made some images from my balcony thinking that I wouldn’t need anymore from there. The ever changing weather that week in Florida made sure that I would keep shooting the castle. It seemed to always look different, and that made it fun to photograph. I was not going to miss a shot just because I went in thinking that I wouldn’t shoot the castle much. When we go back to Disney World I will not make such crazy proclamations prior to the trip. I didn’t want to get stuck on just the one thing, but by doing that I jeopardized making the images that presented themselves to me.

A Rainbow of Colors at the Engineering Fountain

When the Backup Plan Pans Out

At the beginning of this month I went to the Purdue campus with a plan. I knew that the fireworks for Lafayette/West Lafayette were going to be shot off down the road, and I had a hunch that I would be able to see them at the fountain. I had a clear cut idea for my shot, and I used everything that I had to pre visualize it. I knew that the firework idea was an extreme longshot. I didn’t want to waste a trip so I decided to head up to campus early to make a photo of the sunset over the fountain as well. I really liked how the fountain looking in the great light, but for some reason the rainbow of colors looked the best to me. I think it just matched the colors all around it. When I made this photo I knew that I had not wasted a trip, and anything else that night would be a bonus. I made a photo that I liked during the fireworks as well that you can see here.

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

During the time frame that this photo was made the sunsets were absolutely great. A golden light lasted much longer than normal as the sun appeared to be filtered as it went down. The beauty came at a cost though as the filter was actually smoke from the Canadian wildfires. The look to the sky was one that I loved, but that doesn’t mean that I liked why it was that way. I think that it is the unique look to the sky that makes this photo. I hope that I don’t have skies like this for a while though.

Catching the Sunrise in Ocean City, Maryland

Watching the Sun Rise Over the Ocean

When you are on vacation the last thing that you want to do is to set your alarm for 4 o’clock in the morning. That early wake up hurts especially if you went to bed that same day. The weary eyes are instantly opened though when the sun rises over the ocean. It is a beautiful sight that I get out and do at least once every trip to Ocean City. Our house is a fair drive from the ocean so it is not a quick trip in the morning. A beach front condo would allow for a lot more freedom early in the morning. I think that I go back to the pier every year because it is something interesting in the foreground of my photos. The sunrise is great, but you need something of interest in front of it. This pier gives me just that. The lines are great as they fade off into the ocean.

Using OnOne Software to Finish the Photo

I am not a big plug-in user. I really stay inside of Lightroom for 95% of my edits. I used to go out of Lightroom to use Photomatix Pro, but the addition of 32 bit HDR merging this past year eliminated that. For this photo though I wanted to try something. I opened up Perfect Effects 9 which is part of the OnOne Suite. They have some golden sunshine filters that I quite like. I found one that gave me a beautiful look that I was looking for. As I said I don’t leave Lightroom often, but when I do I usually have something in mind. Here Perfect Effects 9 gave me just what I was looking for.

Visiting the Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana

Taking in the Pierogi Fest for the First Time

Yesterday we made the trip to Whiting, Indiana to see what Pierogi Fest is all about. I feel kind of bad for never attending one before. As a Polish male who loves pierogi’s it seems like a  natural fit. For some reason though it never happened. After visiting yesterday though we will be back soon. The city of Whiting really goes all out for the festival. They provide transportation (for only $1) to and from the event. My daughter loved the bus ride in as she was free of her 5 point car seat harness. Once inside of the free festival grounds you have many choices for your entertainment. We had fun watching a polka band as well as some folk dancers.

Watching the Folk Dancers at Pierogi Fest

I think that my daughters favorite part of Pierogi Fest was watching the folk dancers. She was dancing along with them from the edge of the dance area. I know very little about the dance customs of my ancestors, but it was fun to watch them act out some of the dances. The kids that put on the show were into what they were doing, and they made it very interesting. They made one huge fan along the way as well.

Lanie Meets Lanie

We were not at the festival very long when we met a few ladies wearing babushkas walking around. I asked the buscias if I could make a photo of them with my daughter. I called Lanie over to be in the photo, and one of the ladies perked up. She asked if her name was Lanie. I replied that it was. She said L-A-N-I-E? I said yes. Just like that Lanie met the first person that shared her name. This would have been a cool photo no matter what, but the fact that there are two Lanie’s in it make it that much cooler to me. Speaking of cool, my Lanie was too cool to look at the camera while I was shooting. She was very interested in the dancing happening off to the side from here.

Using the Canon 24-105mm f/4 at Pierogi Fest

I took only one camera and one lens into the festival with me yesterday. With a small child I already had a bag for her, and she was usually in my arms. I wanted a simple setup that would allow me to capture many things. The Canon 24-105mm lens does just that. When I wanted a wide shot I would zoom out to 24mm which is fairly wide. For the above shot of the pierogis being cooked I could zoom in to 105mm to get in nice and tight. I am really liking this lens as a one stop shop for a lot of ideas that I have.

Bonus Photos

Here are a few extra shots from the day. I really did not make many shots during the course of our time there as it is hard to eat pierogi’s and make photos. I did end up with a few that I liked though. Next year I would like to go again with more of a photo story in mind. I think that you could come away with a great story from this small festival in Northwest Indiana. If you want to know more about the festival you can click here to go to their site. It is worth a look even if you are not Polish, and even if you do not like Pierogi’s.

Ocean City Pier Sunrise Timelapse

Making a Time Lapse with the GoPro Hero 3+

When I arrived on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean to make a couple of sunrise photos I had two ideas in mind. The first was simple. I would use my camera and tripod to capture the sunrise over the ocean and the Ocean City Pier. I would also make a time lapse of the event. I love the way that these videos look, and I don’t do it as often as I should anymore. I used my Joby Gorillapod to place my GoPro Hero 3+ near the ground just out of reach of the tide…or so I thought. By the end of this video the tide had some up a bit so that my tripod legs got a little wet. The waves did not move the tripod much though so the video was not altered at all. Sometimes while you are shooting a great sunrise you don’t always experience it like you should. Making this video allows me to do that after the fact. This was a slow developing sunrise so I was able to stand back and appreciate what I was doing quite a bit. With the GoPro you can record video and stills at the same time so I actually have the event in real time as well. This winter when I am getting stir crazy I can sit back and watch the sunrise over the ocean.

The 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame Class

John Smoltz pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals on August 28, 2009 at Busch Stadium

Looking Back at the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015

This is the second year in a row when I have really watched the entire careers of the whole class. I remember collecting the baseball cards of these guys as they started their careers. I have seen three of the four play in person. Randy Johnson was the one player that I never saw play, but I do remember watching his games on TV. As a lefty myself I always take an interest in a lefty that is doing well. Randy is also a photographer which is something that he has always talked about, but I did not know about it until the last year or so. Pedro Martinez was a fun pitcher to watch. He was a force back in the day for the Red Sox. For some reason when I saw him play the White Sox though he would look very human. I remember Joe Crede seemed to have his number. I have the above photo of John Smoltz from a game I saw him pitch on my birthday in 2009. He was a member of the Cardinals to close out his career, and a rain day at work allowed me to make the trip a day early to see the Cardinals play the Nationals. I knew that I would be watching a special player. Six years later we know that he was special enough to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. As a photographer I am not supposed to have favorites. As a kid I did not have that problem. From the moment I first saw him play I liked Craig Biggio. He was just that guy that would do anything to get the win. He was a player that was not afraid to get dirty, and it didn’t hurt that he played catcher. Of course since that time he moved around the field a little. It is a shame that his only chance at a World Series title happened the same year that my White Sox were in the series. If it had comes against any other team I would have been rooting for him to get the title. This past season I was very fortunate to be able to photograph both of his kids while they were playing for Notre Dame. I really have a problem with the Hall of Fame committee at times. I don’t know why a guy like Craig was not a first ballot guy. The politics and games that the voters play can be irritating sometimes. No matter though as he is now part of a very good Hall of Fame class. Although he would have been part of a pretty good class last year as well.

Looking Back at Your Older Photos

As I said above I made this photo in 2009. This was a period of time when I knew that I enjoyed making photos, but I was lacking some key knowledge that would have made them better. I would shoot in TV mode which is shutter priority mode. Sometimes my photos would come out okay, and sometimes they would not. I could freeze the moment, but my settings would sometimes fail me. I shot this with my camera that I used for five years. I had the Canon Rebel XT. My lens of choice for action at the time was my 75-300mm lens that would lose a couple of stops as I zoomed in. Night games were always a problem, but that is what makes a photo like the one above that worked so special. It is at times like this when I look back that I realize how far I have come in a short period of time. I found photography later in life. I wish that I had found it earlier for moments like the one above. Although had I found it earlier I would not have been there at that time.

GoPro Video: Flying From Philadelphia to Ocean City, Maryland

Creating a Time Lapse of Your Flight

I normally do not get a window seat on an airplane, but on my flight to Ocean City from Philly I found myself in that window seat.  Before I left town I decided to take my window mount for my GoPro after watching some cool videos by another photographer Trevor Mahlmann. He has some amazing photos so go and check his new website out. I thought the flight would be short enough for a cool time-lapse so I put my GoPro in the window of the plane. After I made the photos I realized that I had my camera shooting a new photo every ten seconds. That was probably too much time in between frames. On a short flight like this I should have made more images. You learn with each shoot though so I now know that I need to shorten that length. It still is a great way to condense a flight into 16 seconds.

Being Clear About Your Intentions

As I was placing my GoPro on the window the elderly woman next to me started to look a little alarmed. I explained to her what I was doing, and I even showed her my camera. I missed some of the footage at the gate, and I did not check my settings to see that I was at ten seconds because of this. I did however put her at ease, and that was important to me. I never want my photography to  make someone uneasy.

Watching the World Spin

Star Trails over Ocean Pines, Maryland near Ocean City, Maryland

Having Some Fun With Star Trails

While I was in Ocean City, Maryland I spent a few nights out on the back deck of our house watching the sky. Two of those nights I brought my camera out to have some fun with star trails. I made this image on the first night. I found the spot in the sky that I wanted, and I let the stars do the rest of the work. This was the result of five exposures of around eight minutes each. I wanted some sort of foreground interest in the photo. I could have chosen a pontoon boat, but I went with this beautiful flowering tree instead. My main idea was the star trails, but I wanted a bit of Maryland in the photo as well. The tree provided me with that. I really love this type of photography, but I have not gotten out much to do it since my daughter was born. This trip provided me with a few opportunities to experiment with it a little. I need to spend a couple of sleepless nights out making more photos like this.

Thinking Ahead When Taking a Vacation

While I was packing my ThinkTank Airport Roller Derby bag before leaving I had a couple of spots left inside of it. I needed to make some tough choices with my lenses. One lens that made it into the bag was my Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens. I have the Canon 17-40mm f/4 lens, but I had a thought of making a photo of the Milky Way. When you do that you need every stop of light that you can get, and at 17mm the Tamron gave me a full stop extra. With two lenses that basically cover the same focal length I nearly sold the Tamron last year, but that extra stop has kept it around. Here after trying some shots of the Milky Way I decided to try the star trails. The lens performed great, and made the choice to place it in the bag a good one.

Using Music to Inspire Me

I have mentioned on this blog before my love for sweeping scores. Sometimes to drown out unwanted noise I will slip on my headphones to listen to some sweeping instrumental music to help me create. It is usually something by James Newton Howard or Hans Zimmer. One score that I have loved since my childhood is the score from the movie “The Right Stuff.” This movie really fueled my love for space, and was one of the early scores that I loved. The story behind the score is an interesting one. John Barry who would later write the score for another favorite movie of mine “The Razor’s Edge” was originally tabbed to write the score. The filmmakers and the studio were feuding over how the movie should be scored, and Barry was in the middle of it. He quit very late in the process leaving a huge void. Bill Conti who is famous for his Rocky score came in to the picture with four weeks to score the movie. The filmmakers already had music in the movie for editing, and they wanted to stick with something close to what they had. Most of what was in that version of the movie was selections from the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst. With little time to work with you can really hear a lot of that suite in the finished score. I love the Planets Suite, and that is what I was listening to while making this photo.