NCAA Cross Country National Championships

Two Years In a Row Covering NCAA Cross Country’s Finest

Last year I had a great time covering the NCAA cross country national championships in Terre Haute. I really thought at the time that it was an event that I would only cover the event when it was held in Terre Haute. This year as luck would have it a few teams that I cover are here in Louisville which is still close enough to be a feasible trip. As this posts I will be running across the fields here at E.P. Sawyer Park covering the event. In the next couple of days I should have a full recap of the fun up here on the blog.

The ‘New’ Canon 24-105mm f/4

On the way down here I stopped at Robert’s Camera for some rain gear that I hopefully won’t need. As I did that of course I browsed the camera section and ended up walking away with the Canon 24-105mm version II. The first 24-105mm was a staple in my bag. I used it at countless events to have a wide range of focal lengths in one lens. I can’t wait to see how this new one works out for me. Incidentally the old one is for sale if you are looking for a great lens.

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Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop

Biking With the Best

You wouldn’t know it to look at me know, but I used to bike a lot. In fact my road bike is probably stuck to the floor in the basement because it has sat there so long. It is always a thrill though to come to Austin and see the bike shop that Lance Armstrong built. He has an amazing story, and was one of the most successful racers in a long time. You can say what you want about PED’s, but at that time in that sport it seems like everyone was doing it. That does not make it right, but I still feel that he was the best at that time. The first picture that I made in Austin during this past visit was this one with my phone. I had just stepped out of the cab, and had this great view in front of me. Who could resist?

Simplifying The Workload

I had a good week last week making pictures everyday. This week though I have really slowed my photography down a bit. With no paying gigs in the middle of the week I stepped away from shooting a couple of events for fun. It is no slight to anyone, but more a mindset of trying to take a break from editing. Last week I pushed a bunch of photos through my computer, and this weekend I will do it again. In between all of that comes a time of cataloging and storing those photos. Today as this should post I will be in the middle of a private shoot. Then at night I have a basketball game in Indy followed by the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville. All of that is data that must be backed up and sorted. Do you ever pull back a bit when you are in a busy spell? It seems to be a trend with me that has carried over to this week. With that in mind that is why you see a shot from the archives today.

A Simple Sunset

Stepping Out To Photograph the Sunset

Last night I was packing a bag to head to a basketball game down the road that I would never attend when I saw a ray of light in the sky. After a rainy day it was a welcome sight, and I knew that there would be a rainbow somewhere. I stepped out of my front door to make the photo that you see above. The clouds were amazing, and they were flying through the sky allowing for many compositions if you just had the patience. I tried a few out before the light faded. I used to always need a large scale sunset photo to share with you. I have come to realize that these little micro shots can be interesting too. I didn’t have the foreground for the epic shot so I took what I was given.

A Failed Drone Attempt

I really have not been flying the drone much lately so I thought the beautiful sky was a great opportunity to take it for a spin. After letting it warm up I took it up in the air. Once it got above our house the wind grabbed a hold of it. On the ground the wind did not look too bad, but in the air it was tough. It really seemed like it was going to take my drone and run off with it. I quickly got it back down in a safe spot in the yard. Before I went up I always go through things to do it the takeoff does not go as planned. I rarely have to act on these things, but this time the extra prep allowed for me to land safely.

First Light Covers Purdue In The Fall

Fall Over the Campus of Purdue University

Last week I took the drone up for a few minutes over the campus of Purdue. I posted my photos of the football and basketball stadiums along with a photo that makes up a piece of this one. Time was not on my side though, and I was not able to fully realize this photo until this week. I liked the idea of one large photo that show just how amazing this campus is during the fall. I have always liked this view of campus looking at it from Cary Quad. A lot of my time as a student was spent in this area so it is cool to make a photo like this many years later. As I write this the color is fading from the trees. Campus will look much different until we are blessed with a blanket of snow to give us something else to look at for a while.

Making Another Large Panoramic

On the same day that I made this photo I also made another large panoramic. You can read about that one here. This is another 12 shot panoramic made with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. In some ways it seems easier to make a pano with a drone than your camera on the ground. Here I just find what I think my edges are, and move out a bit from them. That is to say that I give myself some room on the edges in case the image needs to be cropped. I start off by having my camera just ever so slightly panned down, and I made a few images across. Here I made three images across. Then I moved through the bottom just filling in what I just did. Finally I make three images across the top of the frame. If you put them together then you get the image above. I like the idea of a panoramic more than me just moving the drone further back and up a bit. That would get the same amount of real estate in the frame. The pano gives me many more megapixels, and a lot more detail. My drone claims to be a 20mp drone, but I have always thought that in the digital darkroom it has seemed much less than that. Here I can make a big image while still keeping a lot of the detail in the image.

The Week In Photos

This photo was made too late to be including in my weekly round up of my favorite photos. This past week was a fun week to shoot though, and I am pretty proud of my Exposure page that you can see here. There is a picture from every day of the week represented in the collection which is always a goal. There is also a lot of good emotion which always makes the collection stronger as well. This week there should be some good emotion as well.

Indiana State Football Senior Day Against Western Illinois

Indiana State Closes Their 2017 Home Season

It really does not seem like that long ago that I was in Memorial Stadium as fall camp opened. The enthusiasm was fresh, and the season seemed like a long time away. Saturday I shot my final game of the year for the Sycamores showing just how fast football season can fly by. This season was one that I have been hoping for over the last few years in one way. It was fun being in with the team and getting some access as they progressed through the season. This was not the results we were hoping for, but seeing these players up close helped me gain some great perspective on what they go through.

The Glue That Holds It All Together

One thing that I noticed early on was just how much the players lean on Whitney their equipment manager. I started the season showing Whitney applying helmet decals on gameday. I thought that we might as well end the season with a photo of her as well. The team has so many people behind the scenes that you can’t name them all. It was fun being behind the scenes a bit though to see the impact that they all had.

The Fun Of Senior Day

Senior day is a double edged sword. On one hand you have all of the smiles and emotion of senior day. Photos like the one above are great fun to make. On the other hand you are saying goodbye to some great student athletes. Some of them are tied to personal success that I have had. As I was making the senior day photos I had the thought that I hope that all of these young men find something that they love to do after this. Football is a fun sport to be a part of. That is what makes it so hard to walk away from. That will happen for most of these young men after they play at Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Photographing Warm Ups

I have had a couple of people this week asking me why I shoot warm ups. Do I get paid more to do it? Why do I do it if I don’t get paid to do it? I look at it as a great way to warm up myself. If you put yourself in some impossible positions during warm ups and start to succeed then I feel that I am ready for the game. Warm up are a great way to get some shots of people that do not make it into the game. I never post them as game photos, but they are a great way to get shots of most of the players for the post game gallery.

The Week In Photos

Last week was one that was a lot of fun for me. Great games and familiar locations will do that. I remember thinking on Wednesday night that I already had a good collection of photos, and the best was yet to come. The weekend did not disappoint. Take a look at my favorite images from last week here.

Banner Day For Indiana State At Indiana

Indiana State Goes To Bloomington and Shocks the Hoosiers

Friday was a busy day for me. I got up early and made my way down to Terre Haute to photograph the NCAA Cross Country Great Lakes Regional. I had just enough time to edit after that was over before we were to leave for Bloomington. It was a great way to open up the season with two Indiana teams facing each other. From the very beginning of the game Indiana State took control. In these games where one team is the underdog you always brace yourself for the run by the other team. That run never came. In fact until the game was completely out of hand and the bench players were in the Sycamores kept increasing their lead. It was a game that will be remembered in Terre Haute for a very long time.

Jordan and Scott

As a kid I always loved watching the Bulls teams with Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan on them. Now I get to see Indiana State with Jordan Barnes and Brenton Scott working to get this team to a higher level. Scott is a known commodity. He is a guy who can change a game with his ability. Except for a select few I think a lot of people were sleeping on Jordan Barnes. Last year in the MVC Tournament things did not go according to plan for the Sycamores. One thing that I knew walking away from the Scottrade Center though was how tough Barnes was going to be. You could see the team become his that day. I can’t wait to watch him grow as a player.

Seeing Assembly Hall Again

At one time I really thought that nothing could compare to Assembly Hall as a basketball arena. It has really undergone some changes since then, but it is still a unique place to watch basketball. My allergies kicked in from all of the dusty banners, but other than that the arena is fine. It was interesting how they treat the opposing photographer there, but I made the best out of what I was given. In fact the seat that I made for myself actually helped my make several of my favorite photographs from the game. I don’t shoot here much, but it is always an adventure when I do.

What Does This All Mean?

I have spent some time since the game trying to figure out what I can take from one game. Is Indiana State just that good this year? I have liked this team from the first time I saw them in Mackey Arena. You could see some new pieces that really seem to fit, and more importantly they make the whole better. Can this team make some noise this year in the MVC? I would like to think so. I love St. Louis, and I would like nothing more than to spend several days there in early March. Is Indiana that bad? I can’t imagine a school like IU with all of the resources and history being this bad. It just does not make sense. I think the most that I can take from the game is that it was one game. Indiana State will take on Auburn this week on a neutral floor, and I might start to get a better idea of what the team in made of when that tournament is over. Either way I am excited to see them take the floor in the Hulman Center in just over a week.

The Week In Photos

I am not going to lie. Last week was one of my favorite collections of photos from the end of the week. From the fall color to some great games that I was able to shoot. I love being busy if not slightly swamped, and last week was just that for me. You can take a look back at some of my favorite photos from a fun week here.

2017 NCAA Great Lakes Regional

Back At The LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course

Cross country is a sport that I rarely get to photograph. When you look at what these athletes do it is quite amazing. They push their bodies to the extreme limits to get across the line as fast as they can. Watching them come across the finish line it is amazing to see the exertion they have put in. Lately it seems like I only photograph NCAA events which is fine with me. You get to see the best at what they do going head to head. Here in the Great Lakes Regional it was the best in the Midwest all vying for spots at the Nationals in Louisville next weekend.

Travelling Light

You really have to run across these course so I brought a light kit with me. I had my Canon 7D Mark II with the light 300mm f/4 on one side, and my 24-105mm f/4 on my Canon 5D Mark IV on the other side. I had a 17-40mm lens on my belt in case I needed it, but I really did not bring that out. Not having the bulky old 400mm lens on the monopod really came into play as I was running from vantage point to vantage point.

The Tree Of Shoes

I found this cool tree near the team area on the course, and I knew that it would make for a good photo. I don’t know the story behind the tree, but it looks like a place to deposit your old shoes that you don’t need anymore. I tried to find a good composition to show some of those shoes close up. This one was my favorite.  I chose this angle because of the leg that was thrown up into the tree as well.

The Start To A Busy Weekend

This was an early wake up call for me. It was a fun morning photographing everything around the meet, and it was totally worth it. After the event was over I uploaded my photos and hopped in a car headed to Bloomington to cover the Indiana State team against the Hoosiers. That was a fun game that I will talk about that more tomorrow.

Fall Comes To The Campus Of Purdue University Part III

A Short Walk Around Campus

After a couple of days spending a lot of time on campus I made my third trip a little shorter. I had a lot to do, but I still wanted to get a quick walk in. I had the idea above the day before, but it was just not working. I still don’t think that it worked too well here, but it is a fun experiment. I think that I can make this better at a different time so it will show up again on this blog.

Staying Up At Night With An Idea

The night before I walked campus I had this idea for a photo. Showing off some of the cool aspects of Purdue Sports along with the fall foliage in the background. You can’t make this with one photo so I had the idea for one large panorama. This is actually twelve photos stitched together to get this view. I bracketed with my drone so I actually made 60 photos to get this one, but in the end I did not need to use any HDR techniques to make this work. I like this idea, and it worked fairly well here.

Fall Over Campus

After making the sports complex panorama I turned the drone around to face campus. The backlit trees made for a great photo looking over the campus of Purdue. I ran the photo through Aurora HDR Pro to bring out more of the scene. I don’t use Aurora often, but here I think that it did just what I wanted it to do.

 

Xavier Wins An Amazing Soccer Match To Advance To the Big East Championship

Xavier Wins The Best Soccer Match I Have Ever Seen

Wednesday night I was supposed to be in Champaign, Illinois watching the Foo Fighters. The tickets were bought and plans were made. Then Xavier called and asked if I wanted to photograph their Big East Tournament match in Indy. I love photographing any sort of tournament action. The emotion is amped up which makes for great photos. I thought that my soccer season was over, but I had one more chance to photograph is this year. This game did not disappoint. After a scoreless first half both teams scored two goals each in a short span that was amazing to watch. After neither could score in either overtime it went to penalty kicks. Xavier won there and set off a great celebration. Being out there photographing that action was better than any concert I could attend.

The Sellick Bowl

I have seen the Sellick Bowl many times while visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse. It is hard not to. This was my first time photographing an event there though. This is part of the unique campus where as you go down the hill you find more and more fields. My first ever paid photography gig was for Purdue baseball at the bottom of that hill. As I pulled up to the stadium the light was just right so I made a photo of the sign out front to get started.

Don’t Despair and Stay In The Game

This was a tight game that looked like the first goal would win it. When Xavier scored that goal I was screened so I had no shot at it. Then the celebration which was amazing went on the other side of the goal from me in a spot that I couldn’t photograph. If that was the goal that sent Xavier to the finals I had completely missed it. I used to get really upset about these things. I would dwell on the moment instead of staying in the game. Shortly after that Xavier scored again, and I got the complete celebration. Sports are messy to photograph. You can’t always capture everything. You still want to try, but when you miss something you have to stay in the game. Here I was rewarded for doing so.

My Last Soccer Match Of The Year?

Honestly I already thought my soccer season was over before this match. I really wanted to photograph the Purdue soccer match in Evanston in the Big Ten Tournament, but that was not meant to be. That is a very cool stadium that I have wanted to photograph in for quite some time. When Purdue lost there I thought my season was over. It was a short one for me as I was not able to photograph a lot of soccer this year. This was a great opportunity that if it was the last one was a memorable one.

Fall Comes To The Campus Of Purdue University Part II

Another Beautiful Day On The Campus Of Purdue

Tuesday morning I walked the campus of Purdue for a second day in a row with Trevor Mahlmann. You can read about the first walk in yesterday’s post. On this walk I wanted to get a little further in to see what else I could find on campus. One of my first stops on day two was the unfinished P on campus. Of course the second I set my tripod down a member of the lawn staff parked a gator a couple of feet away from the P. I quickly made this photo while he was unloading his leaf blower out of it. All of the leaves in the background were soon blown away by this man.

Breaking Out The Lee 10 Stop Filter

During our walk I had an idea for a photo when the classes got out. Of course I was nowhere near where I wanted to be when it happened and I missed my chance. I did practice a bit to get the settings at least close for when I had my opportunity. This photo was one that I liked from that practice.

The Little Moments

I like these small glimpses into a day at Purdue. I sat on this bench for a while with my camera pointed right at the bell tower. I wanted a moment similar to this, and as luck would have it the students came through spaced out just enough. These are the little snapshots of life on campus that I have been trying to capture this year.

Mackey Arena Looking Amazing

One thing that I always struggle with at the beginning of basketball season is being confined. In football and to some extent baseball you are free to move around and pick your angle. In basketball you are stuck in one spot. Just thinking about that gives me a little bit of a claustrophobic feeling. Then the season starts and the action is great, and the players have no helmets or hats on to hide their faces. You get all of the emotion up close and personal. By the end of the season I am not ready for it to go. This picture represents a little excitement for this season on my part. I will cover a lot of Indiana State games this year, and I think that they could be good. They will get a test right off of the bat when they face Indiana tomorrow night. For the first time since I have been a fan Purdue comes into a season as the reigning Big Ten champ. You can see the banner in the rafters ready to be unveiled at a later date, and it is exciting. This has the feeling of a really good basketball season.