Top Ten Indianapolis Indians Photos of 2016

My Ten Favorite Images From the 2016 Indy Indians Season

I you have read this blog this year you know that I started the summer off working with the Indy Indians. The season was supposed to be a great one, but shortly into the season the arrangement changed and I stepped away from the situation. It was a fun start to the year though, and I made some photos that I liked. Below are ten images from the first month of the season that I really enjoyed.

10. I made the picture above on Opening Day. I think that it made the countdown because of the feeling behind it. I was Opening Day, and even batting practice is exciting on Opening Day. Here Dan Gamache hits one towards the Indianapolis skyline.

Alen Hanson

9. One of my favorite players to photograph during my short time with the Indians was Alen Hansen. He has a dirty jersey from sliding into first base earlier in the game. You can view that photo below. Here he runs up on a chopper to field it. He just did everything with such a flair that it made it easy to make good photographs of him. As with most of the guys on this countdown, Alen made a few appearances with the Pirates during the course of the season.

Jared Hughes

8. Jared Hughes made some rehab appearances with the Indy Indians. At the time I was contributing for MiLB as well so this was a good news story. This photo made the photos of the week for that week I think more on the strength of who it was over the type of photo that it was. I do like the eyes over the shoulder though so it makes the countdown.

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Sunrise Over Austin

Watching the Sun Rise Over Austin, Texas

While staying in Austin a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to stay on the 43rd floor of an apartment complex. Photographers might be the only people who like to stay high up in a building. Staying up that high allowed me to have a great view of the city. On one side of the building I could see out towards Ziker Park where the Austin City Limits Festival is held. Looking through some angular glass I had this view here as well. I had to do some creative things to avoid the glare off of the glass here, but in the end I think that it worked out for me. Austin is a beautiful city that I would like to visit a few more times. Being there for the festival I only really got a glimpse of the area near where I was staying. There is a lot more to Austin than that though from what I have seen in other photographers photos.

Using the Canon 5D Mark IV

As I am writing this I have not talked much about the Canon 5D Mark IV on the blog yet. I have had the camera about a month now when this post comes out, and it has delivered so far. It performs in low light like I thought it would, and I have chosen not to buy the battery grip at this point so it is much lighter than my other cameras. I am sure at some point I will wish that I had the extra battery power, but for right now I am enjoying a little lighter camera.

Stan the Man

Visiting Stan Musial in St. Louis

As a child growing up I was taught a lot of things about baseball. One of those was that the White Sox were the team to root for. I also grew up hearing names like Minoso, Williams, Mantle, and Ott. One name that was always brought up as well was Stan Musial. Stan might have just been the perfect ballplayer. He made 3,630 hits during his playing career. When he retired that was the 2nd most in MLB history behind Ty Cobb. What is impressive about that is the way that they are split up. He made 1815 hits at home, and 1815 hits on the road. He was the guy that you could depend on day after day and year after year to perform for you. He was not a flashy player. He did not hit .400 or hit in 56 straight games. All Stan the Man did was play at a very high level for many, many years. He also saved his big moments for the Cubs which is a commendable trait as well.

About the Photo

This photo was made just outside of Busch Stadium last spring. I was in town to cover the MVC Tournament for Indiana State. I purposely picked the hotel next to Busch Stadium so that I could have easy access to it. I really enjoyed my tour of the Cardinal museum. It is a great look back at baseball history. You can read a little about that experience here. On one of my early morning walks around the stadium I had the idea for this silhouette of Stan the Man. You know a man is great when they have not one but two statues for him outside of the stadium. He is forever coiled and ready to strike outside of Busch Stadium.

The Week in Photos

Last week I had a great time making photos again. I shot a concert, some wrestling, soccer, volleyball, and a football game. It is a list that can only occur as the sport seasons start to overlap a bit. You can view my favorite images from last week here.

The Inviting Light of Mackey Arena

The Lights of Mackey Arena Shine at Blue Hour

A couple of weeks ago I was picking up a lens near Mackey Arena, and I had some time to kill. The light looked really good when I left my house so I took my camera with me. The lights on and around Mackey have a very yellowish tint to them. Maybe even gold. When the sky is blue like this I love how those lights play with the sky. I tried to move quickly and hit as many areas as I could before the light changed. The light is not even for long so you have to make the images while you can. One of these days I need to go down there with my tripod at blue hour to try this again. Then again not having my tripod allowed me to work pretty quickly here. This was one of my favorite images from that short photo shoot with Mackey Arena. Soon it will be filled up again with fans cheering on their Boilers. For now though it sits empty waiting for the moments it will see this coming year.

The Canon 5D Mark IV Paired With the Canon 24-105mm f/4

When Canon announced their new 5D camera they also announce a new 24-105mm lens. I don’t know which part of the announcement I was more excited for. I really have been waiting a couple of years for the new 5D to drop. It has been everything that I thought it would be. It is a great camera that has been fantastic shooting in low light situations so far. I am still using the 24-105mm lens until the new one comes out. I bought the lens with travel photography in mind. Since that time I have used it for so much more. It is the perfect walk around lens as the 24mm end is wide enough for most shots, and at 105mm you can really get in tight on things if you want. When I travel I still have an ultra wide lens with me for creative purposes, but for the most part the 24-105mm lens is the lens that is on my 5D Mark IV most of the time.


Photographing the ISS Over West Lafayette

Watching the ISS Pass Over My House

While at my daughter’s dance class Monday night I read a tweet that the International Space Station (ISS) would make a very visible pass directly overhead at a reasonable hour. I went out with my wife and step daughter to see the show. As I was getting ready to set up my camera we saw something looking like the space station go directly over our house. It did not come from the direction that I thought the ISS would, but had I missed it? Did it come early? I decided that it had to be something else so I set up my camera and waited for the space station to fly overhead. As it started to come I went back into the house to get the family to watch it with me. I got a late start on the pass here, but it was worth it to witness it with everyone.

Setting Up Your Camera For An ISS Pass

I really have only shot the space station a couple of times. I have seen it fly over many times, but not with anything set up to capture it. Last week at the Purdue soccer match it flew right over the field. Had we been thinking we could have made a cool exposure of it flying over the stadium. Here I only had a couple of minutes before it started to show so I had to set up the camera quickly. I was setting the camera up like I was going to make star trails. I set my ISO fairly high and shot my Canon 8-15mm lens wide open. I was using my Canon 5D Mark IV so I was not afraid to shoot at ISO 5000. What that gave me was a 2 1/2 second exposure to work with. As the ISS flew over I locked my remote shutter so it would just keep firing. I captured the space station, but with too many breaks in the line for my taste.

Putting Your Images Together

When I am making a start trail image I use StarStaX to stitch my images together. I used the same program here to take the 50+ photos of the pass, and stitch them together. The program takes a minute or two to complete the job, and then you are left with one image with all of the ISS trail in it. The program has a gap filling option, but it really did not work here. I had to open the file in Photoshop and manually fix the gaps. That worked well straight above, but not so well as the ISS quickly was leaving my frame. I think that a longer exposure would help me not have to fix 50+ gaps next time.

What Did I Learn From My Second Attempt?

As I have said a couple of times now I learned that I need to make a longer exposure to avoid having so many gaps in the image. Getting to the scene a little earlier would have helped here. Another thing that I learned here was that this was really fun. I will have to find a way to get out and make these a little more often. My friend Trevor Mahlmann does a great job of capturing the space station, and has even inspired many others (including me) to give it a try. I don’t know if I will ever top his capture while on a plane though.

Testing the iPhone 7 Portrait Mode at the Pumpkin Patch

Making Some Photos at the Pumpkin Patch with the iPhone 7

When I heard about the cameras in the iPhone 7 I was very eager to try them out. I did not watch the keynote until the phone had already come out. I did order one that day though because I really wanted to try it out. I received the phone, but the portrait mode I really wanted to try out had not come out yet. A friend hooked me up with the Beta iOS that included the portrait mode while I was in Austin for Austin City Limits. I had a lot of fun trying it out during the festival. I sent out a tweet during the festival saying that the portrait mode would be a game changer. One thing that always sticks out with photos made with your phone is the infinite depth of field. You see everything in the frame fairly sharp. This makes your iPhone photos look a little more professional without really doing very much. You just have to position yourself in the right position to your subject to make it work. While at the pumpkin patch I decided that it was the perfect place to try some things out with it. Here are a few thoughts from my time at the pumpkin patch.

What a Difference a Little Bokeh Makes

I made the photo above to show just what a difference a little bokeh (the blurred out background) can make in a photo. I found an angle of this scarecrow that had a lot going on in the background. The phone lets you save both versions of the photo so you can see just what was done here. The top photo is what you have always seen from an iPhone. You have everything relatively in focus. The bottom photo allows the scarecrow to stand out a bit by blurring everything out in the background. The distractions do not completely go away, but they do sort of melt into the background. One thing that really amazed me was not that the stuff on the right side of the photo went into bokeh. It was that the flowers and pumpkins that you can see in between the stalks of corn went into bokeh as well. The 3D mapping really seems to be on point even in the Beta stage.

The Limitations of the Portrait Mode

One big limitation that the portrait mode has is the fact that your subject must be within a certain range for the effect to work. The corn above was not in that range, and it did not work for me. I really wanted to see if I could create a more interesting photo by just having a little bit of the scene in focus here. Of course that didn’t work. Your subject has to stay relatively still as well. While trying it out on the kids I found that when I could get them to stay very still it was amazing. A little movement though confuses the algorithm a bit. The portrait mode also does not work in darker situations. You really need some good light for it to work. The average light in a house is on the borderline of being acceptable. The good thing is that you can see what is happening live. It will tell you that you need more light, or that you need to move back or forward. Beyond that you can see how the effect is working in real time. Once again though this is an amazing breakthrough that is still in its infancy. I can only imagine that it will continue to get better before it is released to the public. Continue reading

Purdue Wrestling Practice on the Patio

Purdue Wrestling Holds an Open Practice at Ross Ade Stadium

Saturday morning the Purdue wrestling team practiced on the patio of Ross Ade Stadium. I was excited about this from the moment it was announced. I thought that Ross Ade as a background would look very cool for the wrestlers. I was right. I was not there for very long, but it was very cool to see. Purdue has really stepped it up with their marketing in the last couple of years, and this was one of the best ideas that they have come up with. By the time the Boilers have their first home meet it would be too cold to be outdoors, but this would be a great setting for a meet. A few well placed remote cameras would make it a match to remember. The first match against a single opponent is on Thanksgiving weekend though, and that could be a cold one.

More Photos From the Weekend

I have made a couple of galleries of photos to share. The first you can find here. It is my gallery of images from a busy Saturday. Some pregame festivities, the wrestlers on the patio, and the football game are all included. I also have made a gallery with my favorite photos from the past week which you can also find here. I shot a lot this week, and it shows in the gallery. This week I went out to a couple of events with this gallery in mind. It gives me a little extra push to get out and create some days.

Darrell Hazell in Photos

The End of An Era at Purdue

Today Purdue announced that head football coach Darrell Hazell will no longer be the head coach of the Boilermakers. That really is a sad day because he really seemed like the right guy to get Purdue headed in the right direction. He did things the right way, and never did anything to put Purdue in a bad light. After the previous coach that was very refreshing. That being said things just did not work out. That happens in any job in any field. Sometimes for whatever reason things just don’t go the way that you think that they will. I was hoping that things would turn around for the better. For whatever reason they did not though. I am not one that takes pleasure on a day like this. A man lost his job, and his family will most likely be relocating. That is part of the job though, but no one wants to go through it. I wish him the best in whatever comes next. He seemed to really do things the right way, and judging by the reactions on social media by his players today he was well liked. Darrell is the only coach of Purdue that I have photographed on the field at Purdue. In fact the way that I understand it he had something to do with me getting onto the field. He liked one of my photos and wanted to use it for the team. For that I will always owe him a debt of gratitude. Here are a few photos of Darrell from over the years that I liked.

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Purdue Football Faces Iowa on Homecoming Weekend

Purdue Faces a Tough Test on Homecoming Weekend

Yesterday I was at the Purdue football game against Iowa to make some photos. At one point in time before Rutgers and Maryland were added to the conference Iowa was named our rival by the Big Ten. The Big Ten may have laid off the rival bit here, but I still feel it. This might be the matchup that I have seen the most over my years as a Boiler fan. When I lived in Iowa it was a chance to see my Boilers up close so I would go. With some friends in Iowa I always hope that the Boilers can pull off a win for a little bragging rights. Yesterday it was just not meant to be though as the Boilers lost by two touchdowns.

David Blough Makes His Way Into the Top Ten

One bright spot on the day yesterday was David Blough. His 458 yards passing was the tenth best in Purdue football history. This is at a school known for its Cradle of Quarterbacks. David is a gunslinger. You can see it on the field. This is only year two for him on the field so it will be fun to see what he can do by the end of his run.

Oympians Everywhere!

One thing that is fun about being at Purdue is the fact that you seem to run into olympians everywhere. Yesterday was no exception. Prior to the game I saw olympic diver Steele Johnson and olympic rower Amanda Elmore signing autographs at the Boilermaker Crossing. During the game diver David Boudia joined them on the field to be recognized. The fun thing is that this is just a very small sample of recent olympians that have found success.  Continue reading

Purdue Volleyball Faces Penn State on Homecoming Weekend

Purdue Faces Yet Another Top Ten Team

This season it seems like Purdue volleyball has faced their share of top 10 teams. Playing in the Big Ten will do that to you. Penn State came into the contest ranked 10th, but I think that they will be much higher by the end of the season. Some days it is not your day, and I think that was the case last night for Purdue. They battled hard, but could not get the win. I would think that by the end of the season all of these tests against top ten teams will make this young team that much tougher. In the NCAA Tournament they could be a tough out.

The Boiler Block Gets Loud

Last night the Boiler Block (the Purdue volleyball student section) attempted to break their own decibel record. They did not do it, but they did everything that they could to do so. They really make the volleyball games fun, and it was fun to make a couple of photos of them last night. The one above was one of my favorites. I always want to get a shot like this during a match, but I am not able due to rules like the fact I can’t be on the court. Here though during the contest I was able to get right into the action to make the photo that I wanted to make. It might be my favorite shot of the night.