West Lafayette Wins Big on Senior Night

West Lafayette Honors Five Outstanding Senior Players

Last night I made my final trip to the West Lafayette Gym for the season. I have covered many games there this year, and as much as I want spring to come I wouldn’t mind a few more basketball games here. Over the last few years I have been to many senior nights in many different sports. I cover them in a kind of cold way, because you can’t get caught up in the emotion of the night. You have to make your photos. Last night was probably the hardest senior night that I have covered. West Side had five players honored for their contributions. One of them was my nephew, but they are all good young men. It will be hard to watch a West Side game and not see them on the court. That is really all that I know there. I have seen them play since they played JV together. The season is not over, but no matter how things shake out in the tournament you know that the end is near. I hope that I can photograph these men for a few extra games this season. Their games will probably be the last basketball that I photograph until next season.

Bonus Photos

I have included a few photos from the night below. The night was less about capturing the action shots, and more about capturing the emotion of the night. It was a bittersweet night, but it made for some beautiful photos. My gallery on my website is over 250 images. Many of those were of the ceremonies before and after the game. I usually have the galleries locked, but you can right click on the photos to save them if you wish. You can view the gallery here.

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Shooting Purdue Hockey Portraits

Shooting Portraits of the Purdue Hockey Team at Second Level Studios

After the first session of the Joel Grimes lecture Monday I started sending out messages to see if I could get anyone in the studio for some portraits. The past couple of years I have really focused my efforts on learning the ins and outs of shooting the action portion of sports. This year I want to spend more time in the studio learning to craft the light a little. The Joel Grimes lecture was the kick that I needed to get out and shoot some. If you sit through a Joel Grimes lecture without getting inspired you are not cut out for photography. I came into the studio with the intent of copying Joel’s three light approach. I had every intention on doing that until it came time to set up the lights. Right away I made an adjustment that I liked a little better. It may not have been better, but since it was to my taste I was the one making the decisions. I think that coming into a shoot with the mindset that you can do whatever you want is kind of freeing. I think that wanting the freedom is the first step you need to take with lighting. I look forward to seeing what the next year holds for my portrait work.

Taking a Chance

I made some shots that I liked, and then the front light did not fire for a photo. I liked the look, but something was not right. I turned off the light, and adjusted my lights a little to compensate. For the shot above I rotated the lights a bit to make up for the stick and gloves being so high. The end result you see above. It may just be the lack of sleep on my part, but I think that the light thrown on the wall looked a bit like a goalie mask. The photo above of goalie Sam Martinez might have been my favorite of the portraits that I made last night. I still have not gone through them all, but when I do I may make another post showing some of the shots from the night.

A.J. Hammons Joins the 1,000 Point Club

A.J. Hammons dunks during the first half against Indiana. Purdue won 83-67.

A.J. Hammons Gets a Milestone Point Tonight Against Rutgers

A.J. Hammond made them wait for it tonight, but he joined the 1,000 point club against Rutgers. A.J. has been fun to watch during his career, and it was nice to see him join an elite Boilermaker club. The photo above is of A.J. getting ready to flush one against Indiana earlier this season. Hammons is already putting up some great numbers at Purdue, but just imagine if he stays for his senior year. The sky would be the limit for this Boiler team. Congratulations big man, and keep adding to that total this season.

The Historic Buildings of Boswell, Indiana

A Historic Hotel in Boswell, Indiana

Yesterday my daughter fell asleep on the way to go shopping so I went for a little drive to let her sleep. I ended up visiting the small towns of Oxford and Boswell on the western edge of Indiana. Both towns were full of these historic buildings that are a photographers dream. I didn’t have much time so I took some scouting photos along with some like this one that I wanted to post. This former hotel looks like it was last a printing company, but it did have many ads on the side as well. I thought that it was a cool building that I hoped to do justice with a HDR treatment to it. I will have more of the buildings of both of these towns in the near future. I may take a day to walk both towns as I think that they are gold for photography.

Creating a Subtle HDR Image

For the last year or so I have been trying to tone down my HDR images a bit. I use a technique that I learned from Matt Kloskowski that really has helped me out a lot. I send my files to Photomatix to process into a 32 bit file. When that is complete instead of using the sliders in Photomatix I send the file back to Lightroom. From there I have a nice large file to work with. I know the sliders much better in Lightroom, and I think that has translated into HDR images that look much more realistic. Sometimes your techniques change, but I think that this one will stick around for a while. It is a great way to capture all of the detail in a scene in a realistic way.

A Hit in Old Shea Stadium

Daniel Murphy gets a hit at Shea Stadium in 2008

Being a Part of the Last Season of Shea Stadium in 2008

In 2008 we made a trip to New York to cross a couple of stadiums off of our lists. It was the last season of both Yankee Stadium as well as Shea Stadium. We started our adventure at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. That night we were eating in New York City watching some baseball on TV. The Mets and Braves were not playing yet because of rain. I kept hoping they would call the game which they did. That set us up for some free baseball the next day. My only trip inside of Shea Stadium allowed me to see 18 innings of baseball. It was a great day for sure for a baseball fan. I had Purdue Football season tickets at the time, and I kept getting updates about a possible upset of Oregon at home. Not even a historic football win could make me wish I was somewhere else.

The 2015 Baseball Season

As the weather stays cold I find myself thinking about baseball. The basketball that I will cover is coming to an end so I am already thinking ahead to the spring sports. Baseball is probably my favorite sport to watch and to shoot. Most of the sports that I cover I would not pay to go and see live. Baseball is one that I will pay to watch over and over. April is getting nearer which means the start of baseball season for me. I have a few games lined up to shoot already this spring with some that I will pay to get in mixed in. I have a few stadiums on my list already. In April I will be at Victory Field to shoot for Notre Dame during their game against Indiana. I am sure that I will make a trip to U.S. Cellular Field early this year as well. I have Alexander Field in my backyard as well to shoot at. I am excited to shoot this season as I have an almost entirely different kit than I did last year. I can finally make the images that I wanted to make the last few seasons, but could not. I plan to shoot a lot of games this year no matter what the level. This summer I have a great opportunity to shoot a lot of Midwest League baseball as well. This promises to be a great year to shoot baseball, and I can’t wait for it to start. I know that March is the next month on the calendar, but I want to just flip it to April.

Book Review: Wolves by Shaun Ellis and Monty Sloan

wolves by shaun ellis

A Little Reading Before Going To Wolf Park

A few weeks ago I was in Barnes and Noble to pick up a book about birds. Before I check out I always look through the bargain books to see if there is anything interesting there. I have found many great photography books here for a fraction of their cost. It is a good way to build your photography library without breaking the bank. On this occasion I saw this book about wolves. It is not a photography book per se, but it does feature the photography work of Monty Sloan. Monty is the resident photographer at Wolf Park just outside of town here. I found Wolf Park in 2011, and I have made sure to visit as much as I can since. This coming weekend I will be going inside of the enclosure to photograph the wolves up close so I decided to do a little research before going in. I want to know the animals a little better so that my photos can be even better. This book is written by Shaun Ellis who is famous for actually living with the wolves, and becoming accepted by them. The photographs by Monty just accentuate the points of the book. Both men have spent their lives very close to wolves. What better way to get ready to meet a wolf for the first time than to learn from two men who have spent their lives with them?

Sometimes A Photo Book is Disguised As Something Else

This book really does read like a photo book even though it is not billed that way. The photographs by Monty Sloan really are made prominent with many double page photos. Whenever I have visited the park I always have looked for a photo book by Monty. I know that after all of these years that he has to have enough photos for many books. I was excited to see this book though because it basically is what I have been looking for. Having the access that he has he can photograph these animals in the best light, and in the best circumstances. The photos in this book are a direct result of that, and they are beautiful. This is a book that is worth having if you love wolves, or just want to see some interesting photos of wolves. To learn more about the photography of Monty Sloan you can check him out at his website here.

Joel Grimes and the Creative Revolution Tour

Joel Grimes speaks at the KelbyOne seminar in Indianapolis

Joel Grimes Touring with KelbyOne

Yesterday I spent my day in Indianapolis at the convention center listening to Joel Grimes. To those who are not photographers they might have balked at the chance to listen to a very good photographer speak for an entire day. I have been looking forward to this since the tour was announced on an episode of The Grid a few weeks ago. They announced that it was happening, and then that Indy would be a stop. I might have pestered the people running the KelbyOne account for a few days until the tour was finally up for sale. I bought a ticket as soon as I found out. Joel is a phenomenal photographer (although he may say differently) who has a very unique style. Sometimes you just need days like today when you can listen to someone that you admire to get a little inspiration. As soon as the first session of the day was over I booked a couple of models for this week to try a few things out. I spent most of the session listening to Joel, but for a minute or so I picked up my iPhone to make a couple of pictures of him. I liked the fact that he was right in front of me with his work in the background. I was tempted to run out to my car to grab my dSLR with the 70-200mm on it to try a shot of him up against the dark background, but I knew that my attention should be on the stage.

Why You Should Go

This was the very first stop on this Creative Revolution Tour. Joel is a great speaker with a lot to say. If you go be prepared for Joel to go over the times that are on the schedule. The bad news is that he goes off on tangents. The good news is that those tangents usually are filled with these great little tidbits of information that make the tour worth your time. If you have seen Joel on KelbyOne or Creative Live you have probably heard a lot of what he will say. It is the little tidbits though that make it well worth the price of admission. One tidbit that will help you get your work seen by Joel is an easy one. He talks about posting his work online. He will get many likes and kudos. One person will come in and say something bad about it. That is the person that he will look into. It is something that we all do, and it is refreshing to hear that he really is just like most of us. He has an easy going personality that makes the day fly by. Click here to learn a little more about the tour, and then see if Joel is coming to a city near you.

A Good Year For Big Names to Drop By

This past year has seen a few of my favorite photographers come to the area. Last November Joel Sartore came to Purdue. I found out about the event the day of it, but I still made my way down to the Union to hear him speak. That same week I was supposed to see Dave Black speak at Robert’s Camera in Indy. Dave is one of my favorites as well, but I came down with something so I didn’t make it. I really wanted to try, but I was in the middle of photographing the Big Ten Soccer Tournament so I figured that I should save up any energy that I had for that. Joel is another photographer that I like. Like the two mentioned above he is a very humble photographer, and I like that. Something about his personality reminds me of a part of myself. That may be why I have been drawn to these three. Whenever I can catch them on a podcast or video I will. To see them speak in person is also a treat. After spending the day with Joel it really makes me want to take part in one of his workshops. That may be in the near future. If you have a chance to catch this tour, or to see Joel speak live I suggest you do it. You can view Joel’s work here. If it doesn’t inspire you to create I don’t know what will.

My Backyard Birds: The House Sparrow 2

The Many Poses of the House Sparrow

The bird that seems to have gotten used to my presence the most of the house sparrow. They like to perch on the hedges outside of my back window while they wait to get some seed. That gives me a perfect opportunity to get in tight on them. I have already made one post of some of the behavior of this bird. I have had some fun photographing this bird. Lately though I have passed because I have a wide range of photos of it. The amazing thing is that I am shooting with the equivalent of a 960mm lens from not that far away, and this is the view that I get. If I was shooting an athlete at 960mm I would be complaining about the fact that it was too tight. For birds though I could use a little more lens. I think that remote cameras will have to play a part in future bird photos.


Stephanie White Returns to Purdue

Stephanie White addresses the Mackey Arena crowd

Another Legend Returns to Mackey Arena

Yesterday I was in Mackey Arena again forĀ one last Purdue women’s basketball game this season. The game was against Illinois, and the Boilers were honoring Stephanie White who is one of the legends of the arena. She was one of my favorite players to watch, and she led the team to the National Title at the turn of the century. It was good to see her back, and to hear the way the crowd appreciated her.

Alumni Day

One of my favorite days of the season is alumni day when we get to see some of our favorite players again. The crowd that gathers on the court to be recognized is usually a small portion of those who come back for the weekend. It is fun to see Boilers of vastly different eras having fun together. It just shows you what a family women’s basketball really is. That is what makes it so fun to watch. Continue reading

West Lafayette Basketball at Central Catholic

Gearing Up For One Shot

Just before I left for the basketball game last night I saw a tweet from the West Lafayette student section saying that they would be out in force and wearing neon. I grabbed my Canon 60D, my 8mm fisheye lens, and my monopod. I would have a rig that I would use for one shot that night. It really would not be good for much else, but I had an idea for a picture. Before the game started I went to the student section, and asked them to give me a cheer. I have a method for doing this type of photo that is a little different than most. I set my timer to 2 seconds and bracket three shots. That means that overtime that I put my camera up I get three shots. To me this is better than having a pocket wizard and firing because I get a quick break, and I can recompose my photo. I have had some success this way. This might be my favorite shot of the night.

Changing Things Up a Bit

Last night I shot mostly with my Canon 5D Mark III. Last season it was my go to camera for basketball, but I have fallen in love with the Canon 7D Mark II. Last night I changed up my kit a bit to get a different look. I was starting to really make the same photos over and over. I think that on senior night next week I will use the 24-70mm lens on the Canon 5D Mark III again. I liked my results tonight with it. The 70-200mm lens on the 7DII is a great combo to get in a little tighter when that is necessary.

Back at Central Catholic

This blog started with a game at Central Catholic. The very first post was of current Purdue receiver Danny Anthrop running back a punt. Last night I saw his younger brother Jackson Anthrop play for CC. He is the third Anthrop brother that I have photographed. They all have the same hard nosed style that is fun to watch. Last night against my team though it was not so fun to watch. Continue reading