Nature In Your Own Backyard

A Welcome Break From Mowing the Grass

Lately I have been lucky enough to see a couple of cool critters while mowing the grass. Earlier this week I came upon the one above while out in the yard. Of course I immediately shut off the lawn mower and ran inside to put a kit together real quick to photograph the praying mantis. I grabbed my Canon 5D Mark IV and my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I ran back outside, and sure enough it was still there waiting for me to photograph it. At first the mantis did not know what to do about me so it would not look my way. Once I sat there a while though it started to become familiar with me, and I was able to work the scene a little. In the end I came up with the photo above which I liked very much.

Bringing A Little Extra Gear

Sometimes a nature shoot can occur when you least expect it. Mondays are usually slow days for me as far as making publishable photos. I was in the middle of a shoot where I was photographing interiors for a client. Earlier I had noticed that there were many butterflies in their flower garden. The shoot was one where I just needed my Canon 11-24mm lens for the job. I brought my bag though so I would have my Canon 100-400mm lens with me to photograph the butterflies while I was there. The client liked the extra photos, and I was able to make some photos early in the day on a Monday.

Xavier Men’s Soccer At Indiana

Xavier Soccer Takes On IU at Bill Armstrong Stadium

How about that post title? I stayed up all night thinking of that one. When I post a nice landscape or other scene I usually try and come up with a witty title. Of course when it comes to sports the titles just seem a little boring. Maybe I can work on that tomorrow. For now I will talk about having a fun night photographing the Xavier men’s soccer team at Indiana. This year seems to be the year of soccer for me. The way things work out I usually can only photograph one or the other as they are almost always played at the same time. From what I have seen in bookings so far this year it looks like it is going to be a soccer year. It is a fun sport to photograph though as you really never know when that exciting moment is going to materialize.

Photographing at Bill Armstrong Stadium

This is my second time photographing at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The first was a great match a couple of years ago when the Purdue women’s team came in and reclaimed the Golden Boot. Last night ┬áthe game did not have quite the kick as a Purdue vs. IU rivalry. It was an exhibition match that was just to get prepared for the coming season. As the second half was starting though one thing that was serious was the sky. I basically sat ready with my 11-24mm lens for any action to come near me. Of course it never does when you want it to. With the lens at 11mm the action has to get pretty close to me to make an impact in the photo. This was as close as it got, but you can still see some of the great light that I had to work with. It was an amazing sunset, and I hope that I get many more of these this season.

Just Drive Two Hours and Stop

Lately it seems like all of my sports work is about two hours away. So far this fall season my work has been in South Bend, Terre Haute, and Bloomington. With the exception of one soccer game here in town that still seems to be the case for much of the year. Longer road trips to Knoxville and Lynchburg seem to be the exception. I would kind of like the exception to be in my town instead of many more miles away. I love photographing sports though, and two hours is not too far to travel to do so. On Friday night I have another two hour drive ahead of me to photograph the Indiana State soccer team as they open their season up at home under the lights. This year I already have a couple of more trips to Bloomington planned. I will photograph the Indiana State volleyball team in a tournament there at the end of the month, and in November I will finally get back to Assembly Hall to photograph the season opener as the Sycamores take on the Hoosiers. Hopefully somewhere in between I will get the chance to photograph something in my hometown. Although looking at the schedule through September I am only shooting an event at home one weekend in that time. That is a Purdue football game which is just for fun so that could even change. Speaking of that I had better start packing my bags.

Sunrise At Memorial Stadium

A Beautiful Morning at Memorial Stadium

Last Saturday I really was having a blast early in the morning with the beautiful light that morning. When I arrived at Memorial Stadium to see the Indiana State football scrimmage the light was still really good. With nothing much happening on the field I ran up to the press box with a shot similar to this in mind. As I was up there I realized that the golden sunlight was really working its magic on the field. I knew when I pressed the shutter that I had a picture. With all of the excitement with the new coach and new lights at Indiana State a great dawn photo is always good to have.

A Great Year For Stadium Photos

This year has already been a great year for stadium photos. One of my favorite year end countdowns is the one where I post my favorite stadium shots of the year. This year it will be difficult to get the list down to seventeen. I already have a lot that I like, and there is still over a quarter of the year to go. I have some cool trips planned in that time as well. That should be a fun list, but a hard one to put together. I would like to think that this photo will show up there when that time comes. If it does not then it will be a great list to see.

A Foggy Morning Somewhere In Indiana

A Foggy Sunrise

Saturday morning on the way down to Indiana State I knew I would see the sun rise. In fact I left a little early to hopefully find a spot to photograph the sunrise on my way down. There was a nice low fog around, and I knew that the sun rays would look great through it. I tried a couple of compositions on some country roads, but nothing was really clicking for me. I kept going though hoping to find something interesting before the sun was too high in the sky. It was then that I stumbled onto this scene. A deer was near the road staring at me as I was driving by. I grabbed by camera and fired a couple of frames out of the window. The deer started to run away, but for the most part I just had the hind quarters to look at. It then veered right, and right back into the nice light. It was a great moment, and a great way to start my day.

The Week In Photos

Each week I try and put together some of my favorite images from the past week into one Exposure post. You can see that post here. It has become a fun way to give me something to shoot for when I am not on assignment. It is also a way to make me get up a little early to make some photos on the way to a job. This week I have a mix of various types of photos which is what I like. It is dominated by soccer and football though. As the college season ramps up so does the amount of sports in the week in photos.

First Scrimmage Of Fall Camp For The Indiana State Sycamores

The Indiana State Sycamores Scrimmage For The First Time This Fall

I was back in Terre Haute to photograph the first scrimmage of the fall for the Indiana State Sycamores yesterday. I have been having fun at the practices so I knew that the scrimmage would be fun as well. It was great to be around the team again. This is a fun bunch to be around as the energy is always high all of the time. The scrimmage format is not great for making photos though. With no real flow it is hard to predict what is coming at times. I like the practices much better as I am able to get right in there at times and make some photos that you normally can’t make during a game. This was a great practice for me though to get used to roaming the sidelines again. For a while I just spent my time moving with the team and choosing when to go to the back of the end zone. Photographers need practice too.

The Canon 11-24mm f/4 Lens For the Win

There are a few lenses that I think changed the game for me. One such moment was when I picked up my Canon 400mm f/2.8. It really allowed me to make some of the photos that I had only previously dreamt of making. When I picked up the Canon 11.24mm lens at the end of June I thought it was more of a novelty lens. I didn’t know how often I would be able to use it in my sports work. So far I have used it a lot in my sports work. I know that I am over using it, but during camp it works just fine. I think that when the season starts I will have it on me, but it won’t be part of my game kit. For pre and post game though it will work just fine.

Becoming Just Another Face

Later this season when the games start I will be doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff with the team. Part of being around during camp is to help the players get used to a photographer around so that when I show up in the locker room I won’t be a distraction. Right now this looks like it will be a fun and historic season. With a new coach and a new attitude it will be fun to document how this team responds.

What Is Next For Me?

Right now I don’t think that I will see the Sycamores football team again before their home opener under the lights on August 31st. This coming week will have a lot of soccer in it. I will photograph the Xavier men’s soccer team at Indiana on Monday, and then the Sycamore women’s home opener under the lights Friday night.

Sunset Over Purdue

Flying My DJI Phantom 4 Pro Over The Campus Of Purdue

Here is a photo I made shortly after I got my drone. It was my first time flying around campus, and I had a very short flight. In that short timespan though I was able to make some photos that I really like. Several of those have already appeared on this blog. This was one that I liked, but it kind of just got lost in the shuffle when looking at the rest of the photos. I love the way that by going up just a little bit you can really get a sense of the campus. I need to get out and photograph campus more often then I already do.

I May Need To Hurry

As I talked about last week the city of West Lafayette wants to ban drones. I don’t have a lot to go on, but from the language that was used by officials in the article that I read this seems to be a decision made in fear. They don’t understand the technology so it is just easier to ban drones. They had a council meeting to vote on the resolution last Monday, but tabled it which I think is the right idea. Right now almost every square inch of the city is technically a no fly zone unless you inform the tower. I think that some regulations do need to be made on drones. I don’t think that knee jerk reactions need to happen though. There is a way for everyone to be happy and more importantly safe when it comes to the use of drones.

The Chicago Skyline Sunset

Revisiting A Fun Day Photographing The Chicago Skyline

Last month I spent a couple of days up north for one purpose. My friend the world renowned photographer Trevor Mahlmann set up a cool photoshoot where he made the sun set behind the Chicago skyline. It was a fun shoot where I was able to meet some great people. This shot was from the second night when things didn’t exactly go according to plan. We never did get to see the sun set behind the skyline, but as this scene was unfolding in front of us I knew that if this was the only shot I got that night it would be worth it. Photography is a fun hobby that is normally enjoyed alone. It is much more fun when you are with others though. This was one of those times.

Keeping It Aside For A Reason

When I made this photo I liked it, and I knew that I liked it, but I knew that I did not like one part of the photo. The water in front of the skyline was very choppy and of course frozen with a high shutter speed. I was shooting at 1/250th of a second to freeze the bird, but I froze the water as well. I wanted a smoother look that a slow shutter speed would have given me. Luckily there is a blur tool in Photoshop that does just that. That little change was all that it needed for me so now it can be published. I need to get back up there to photograph this more often even when Trevor doesn’t have the sun pass behind the city.

Purdue Soccer Defeats #18 Notre Dame

Back The Saddle Again

Yesterday I drove over to South Bend to see the Purdue soccer team take on Notre Dame. This was the first game that I have picked up my 400mm f/2.8 since Louisville knocked Xavier out of the NCAA baseball tournament in early June. It was great to get back out and use the long glass again. With fall sports really starting to kick up I will be back to using it all of the time. This was a crazy summer though so it was great to get back to using the lens. It was also great to see the Purdue soccer team play again. Usually at this time I have already seen the team play in the alumni game. This year I was booked at a track meet so I could not attend the game. It was great to see the team in action again.

Purdue Takes Down #18 Notre Dame

Going into this game I was not sure what to think. To be honest I started the game on the Purdue end of the field, but I fully expected to move towards the other end as I thought the game would be played down there. Early on that was the case. I didn’t make a photo for the first part of the game. Then Purdue started getting through the Notre Dame defense. They had some good chances in the first half as did Notre Dame, but neither team could score. With two goals in the second half Purdue took the exhibition win. These games are hard to judge though as you don’t know who was playing where for each team. It is a good win though, and Purdue looked good doing it.

Capturing the Jube

I don’t know when exactly I first heard the word jube. It is a shortened version of jubilation, and it is what I like to capture. During the game there were a couple of great times to capture the emotion of the game. When freshman Sarah Griffin scored we had a great moment with senior Maddy Williams jumping into her arms. Then Maddy scored a goal of her own, and it was a great celebration. As the game ended I thought I was done shooting. Then I saw some of the players having one last go around. That is when I made one of my favorite photos of the day. You really always have to be looking. With this team there is always some emotion to photograph.

The First of Many?

Last year it seemed like I was booked for many of the Purdue soccer games. I love photographing soccer, and I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to do so. This year I have a couple of matches away from Purdue planned, and my next planned Purdue game is when Indiana State comes to town at the end of the month. Next week I will head to Indiana to photograph the Xavier soccer team as they start their season. Soccer can be incredibly fun to photograph so I will make the most out of what I get to photograph this year. I already have more games booked this year than all of last year so that is a very good thing.

More Photos From the Game

You can view my full gallery from the game here. It was a fun day, and I hope that it showed in my photos.

Here Comes The Moon

Photographing the Moon Over the Campus Of Purdue University

Yesterday started with an easy idea. I wanted to photograph something at night. It then turned into an idea to photograph something with world renowned photographer Trevor Mahlmann. He had this idea to photograph the moon behind the bell tower, and it was a great one. It reminded me a bit of an Indiana Jones movie. If you stand in a certain place at a certain time something will happen. Happen it did. The moon came up and gave us a tremendous show. It was really something just to stand on the hill and watch the moon come up. A few times it looked so great and we realized that it was going to work for us so I decided to jump around a bit. It really is great to be a part of something that works so well. I will admit that I really had no part in the planning. It was all Trevor. He told me where to stand, and I just had to press my shutter button. Photographing something bright along with the bell tower can be tricky. I still don’t think that I got it perfect, but it was fun trying. Someday when the kids are old enough I will give them some lights so that they can light paint the tower while we photograph it.

Sometimes the Song Works Out Perfectly

When thinking about this post while setting up I knew I wanted to use a song title again. Yesterday I used a Beatles title so what could I use today? When I saw this title of a George Harrison song I knew that it was perfect. In the early days of the blog I used a lot of song titles for my posts. After a few weeks of writing I started coming up empty on post titles. I love music so it was the perfect way to go. Now nearly 2,500 posts into this venture it has become a real challenge to come up with titles. Some are very literal, and some can be fun. This was another fun one. Tomorrows post will have a very literal title I am sure.

The End Of An Era

This was probably the last shoot that I will make with my original tripod. I have had the same crappy tripod that I bought at Best Buy in 2011 for all of these years. It was a badge of honor just how bad the tripod was. I was not afraid of ruining it because it was such a piece of crap. Two different episodes with careless TSA agents have made it nearly unusable. I finally pulled the trigger on a new tripod which will arrive tomorrow. This was a pretty cool last shoot to go out on though for the old thing.

The Long And Winding Road

Spending Some Time Back In LaPorte

I have travelled on this lane many times. It is the lane to the house my grandparents bought on a lake in LaPorte in the early 80’s. Time has passed and my parents now call the lake house their home. Sometimes the light is right, and the lane looks amazing. On the left is a lake, and on the right is a swamp. Down the middle takes you to your destination. The saying keep it between the lines never had so much meaning as it does on this lane.

The Best Camera You Have…

Here on this day I did not have my dSLR with me. I did however have my iPhone 7 Plus. The old saying that the best camera is the one you have on you applied here. I wanted to make a photo of the old lane, and the iPhone worked just fine in the good light. Someday I will come back when the leaves are in good color and the light is right with my dSLR to do this right. For now this works just fine.