Over the River

Taking the Quadcopter Down the River

I took my daughter to school yesterday, and then set out to make an image with my new quadcopter. I had no intention on heading to the river when I started driving north. As I drove though I noticed a slight fog still around. That made me want to head down to the river to see what it was like down there. Yesterday was my first full day with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro so I did not want to lose it in the river before I had it 24 hours. Common sense was overruled though and I put the drone over the river. It was remarkably peaceful as I flew over the river. The river was high at the time so it should have been a little rougher, but it was very calm as it slowly flowed south. As I write this the day before I have a strange feeling that I will be back down at the river tomorrow morning depending on the weather. I have always enjoyed photographing and being near the river, and this just gives me a chance to photograph it from some angles that I couldn’t get to before.

Watching Boring Quadcopter Footage

I decided that whenever I am not making a photo with the quadcopter and it is in the air that I will be making a video. That way if something crazy happens I will have video of it if I can recover the drone. So as I flew out over the river I was not thinking about making a video of it. I was flying to a spot to make a photo with a few jerky starts and stops. Even with that in mind the video of heading out and heading back was amazing to watch. Maybe because I am taking off from a known point to me and soaring into the sky. I have never really thought of making a lot of video. Suddenly with this quadcopter I am thinking about making more and more. I am hoping that this is a fad as I really don’t want to get too deep into color grading and everything that goes with it. For now it is a fun way for me to see a little video on the way to and from a photo opportunity.

At The Park With The DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Testing Out the DJI Phantom 4 Pro

After what seemed like an eternity my DJI Phantom 4 Pro arrived yesterday. This has been a process that has been a long time coming. I have been watching quadcopter since they first started becoming popular. They did not have screens to watch early on. They seemed easy to crash, and early on that would have been the end of my quadcopter as well as a GoPro. Early in 2016 during Peace Day at my daughter’s school I was making images on the ground while a quadcopter flew above us. I was very interested in it, but really tried not to look into it too much. At Thanksgiving we saw a quadcopter up close, and both my brother and I knew that we would have one. I bought him one for Christmas, and flew it quite a bit before I gave it to him. That included one epic crash. If you see me in person ask me about that crash video. A few weeks ago I decided to finally bite the bullet and buy a drone. Of course it was on backorder so I have been waiting for a while for this thing to show up. When it did I immediately plugged everything in so I would have a fully charged drone as soon as possible. We went to the park to give it a go. After flying a drone already I was familiar with the controls. That made it a bit easier when firing the Phantom 4 up for the first time. With a front with rain clearly coming at me I quickly made a flight, and then we made our way back home. I have a couple of projects lined up with the Phantom 4 already, but I am eager to see what I can do with this thing.

Changing It Up A Little

This year I made a deal with myself to get out and shoot more landscapes. Last year was pathetic as far as that was concerned for me. I was working more, and still shooting a lot of sports for fun as well. This year I made the decision to skip some of the for fun sporting events to concentrate on being at home, and also get some time in photographing the outdoors again. This drone automatically makes things a little more interesting by giving you a completely different perspective. You get a view on things that you do not normally see. It will be fun heading out to see what I can make with this thing.

Quadcopter Footage!

Above you can see a quick video that I pieced together from that first flight. It is far from perfect, but it was fun to make. As you can see my daughter is just as excited about the drone as I am. She gives a little dance as the quadcopter takes off to the sky. She wanted to fly it too, but I know that the drones days are numbered in my hands anyway. Putting it in her hands would just accelerate the drones demise.

The Week In Photos

There are no drone shots in this weeks edition of The Week in Photos, but next week you know that there will be. You can find my weekly collection of my favorite images here on my Exposure page.

Rankin Hall at Indiana State

Finding the Familiar

While getting a tour of the Indiana State campus last Friday I stumbled upon a familiar name. For the past few years I have shot at the Rankin Track and Field complex at Purdue. Seeing the name Rankin on a building at Indiana State intrigued me. The look of the building also got my attention. This building was named however for Alan Rankin who was the President of ISU during a time of great growth for the university. I loved the look of this building, and I can only imagine how the light would play off of it at different times of the day. It is not too far from the Hulman Center so I may have to visit it a bit more. I have been spending more and more time on the campus of Indiana State lately so it was good to see a little more of it, and hear some of the stories behind the buildings.

The Week in Photos

Last week was another fun week for me. I think that when you are doing what you love they all are pretty good. As per usual I have put together some of my favorite photos from the week into one Exposure post. You can find that post here. We are coming up on a year since I started this project. It has been a great motivator to get out and shoot at times. It has also been a great way to show off some work that I am proud of each week.

Visiting the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum in Boston

I love to visit the various Presidential museums around the country. It is really interesting to see where our Presidents have come from, and just how they made their way into office. For many men the Presidency is just a dream, but for some it can become a reality. John F. Kennedy was one of those who probably never thought that he would be President. A Kennedy was supposed to be President, but it was his brother Joe. When Joe was killed in the war suddenly Kennedy found himself running for office even when his body was still healing from his own war injuries. When his time came though John was an amazing figure that captivated a nation. His idea of Camelot was one that many Americans aspired to. At least one future President looked at Kennedy as an example of how to get into the office. I have wanted to visit this museum for quite some time, and I was finally able to do so. This was the only thing that I visited in Boston that I could not walk to. In other words I went out of my way to see the museum.

The Layout of the Museum

The museum itself does not spend much time on John before the Presidential run. You watch a video that deals with that time period, but that is it. Some Presidential museums spend time on how they got there, but the Kennedy Museum just deals with his time in office. It is still a great museum with a lot to look at. When you think about it that was not a large portion of time that Kennedy spent in office. In that time though he managed to inspire millions. You get to see bits of what the Kennedy White House looked like. You also get to see his brother Bobby’s office as well.

Beautiful To Look At

This museum was built to both inform and impress. You can learn a lot just by walking around it. You can also go to it if you do not want to learn anything just to observe the beauty. It was designed by I.M. Pei, and it a work of art. I knew that it was beautiful from some of the photos on the museums website, but you have to actually be in some of the places to really soak in the building. As you exit the exhibits you walk into this grand room filled with windows and a large American flag. I don’t know what this room was intended to be about, but I had visions of the space program that Kennedy championed when I looked up. It looked like it could have been a part of the vehicle assembly building at Cape Kennedy.

Worth Waiting For

It is hard to believe that it took over 16 years after his death before the museum and library would open. About a month before his death Kennedy toured a site at Harvard for the library. He had a vision of a place that was more than an archive. Somewhere that would let everyone come and see what being the President was all about. At first Harvard was on board with the project, but then backed out. The library would end up on the campus of UMass. It was finally opened in 1979, eight years after Kennedy’s successor opened his library and museum in Austin. I had to wait for it a while as well. A planned trip to Boston was cancelled in 2003 when I took a new job out in Iowa. I suddenly did not have the time, and the trip was put on hold. It is hard to believe that it took me thirteen years to finally follow through on that trip. In the end it was worth it though. I took the time to soak in the city, and the library.

Indiana State Swimming Defeats Butler

Indiana State Cruises to a Big Win Over Butler

This is the first season of Indiana State swimming. They have started a program from scratch, and they are moving forward to try and build something great. At this point all wins are historic because they are the first ones. I was lucky enough to be there as they won Saturday against Butler. There were two events on campus that day, and both of them of course were at the same time. I shot the beginning of the basketball game, and then drove over to photograph the swim meet. It was a fast meet so I didn’t get as much photographed as I had hoped. I did however make some photos that I liked. It will be interesting to see how this swim team progresses.


The Week In Photos

Last week was full of unexpected events. I shot two events Saturday that I did not plan to as it looked like the weather would keep me in Terre Haute. I was glad for the chance to photograph them though. Sunday I was fully prepared to head to Mackey to see the Purdue women’s team take on Ohio State. I love the blackout game because it is my one chance a year to photograph the team in their away uniforms. I like the different look, and I don’t get a chance to follow the team on the road. A bug of some sort hit in the morning though pretty much ending my day then. I didn’t make it to the game, but I did have a couple of bonus games Saturday to make up for it. You can see my gallery of my favorite photos from last week here.

Indiana State Comes Out Hot to Defeat Bradley

Indiana State Rides a Hot Start to Get Their First MVC Win

When the weekend started I did not think that I would be in Terre Haute on Saturday. An ice storm that never happened kept me in town after the track meet so I was there to be able to cover some of the basketball game as well as the swim meet. My plan was to cover half of the basketball game, and then head to the swimming complex to cover that. The way that the half was going I did not want to leave the basketball game. The Bradley coach was on his players for leaving the Sycamore players open. You could hear the yells of “He is a shooter!” for miles I would guess. The ISU team that I saw in the first half was one that was not going to lose. When this team plays where they are capable of playing they are tough to beat.

Looking For New Angles

Before the game I am always looking for a new way to cover the intros and team huddles. There are great emotions there so I want to shoot them, but I don’t want to keep making the same photo all of the time. I have tried the between the players photo before, and it has worked out well so I found a gap, and tried it again. I wanted the last seconds before tip to look a little different. During the intros I put my camera on the ground to get a different view of that moment. I think I have only one last angle in mind for the intros, and that involves a long walk up to the catwalk. That was not an option yesterday as I wanted to keep it simple so I could quickly get to the next job.

Indiana State Wins the Coughlan-Malloy Cup

An Emotional Meet

Last night was the first meet for the Indiana State track and Field team since they lost their head coach John McNichols a few weeks ago. I did not know what to expect from the team as they still have to be going through the grieving process. I say it all the time, but these athletes that we pin our hopes and dreams on are still just kids. To be expected to perform at peak capacity after what they went through can be tough. They pulled through and kept the Coughlan-Malloy Cup after a tense finish. It came down to the relays, and luckily things went the way of Indiana State. After the meet was over the team took the cup over to John’s wife Linda. After posing for some photos the team stacked it up with Linda in the middle. I was lucky enough to get the shot above of Linda enjoying the win with the team. I picked my spot with that in mind, but for the sea to part for her to be visible was a great stroke of luck.

Back at the Track

The meet was held on the campus of Rose-Hulman. They have a great indoor facility that really makes it much easier to cover multiple events at one time. That layout allowed me to be able to be in two places at one time which if you have ever covered a track meet is much needed. I have not covered an indoor meet in about a year, but it is pretty cut and dry what you need to do. Just keep moving to where you see your team competing.

Getting In Tight

As you may know if you follow this blog, my Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens is stuck at 2.8. Something has happened to keep it stuck wide open. If it is going to get stuck somewhere, then that is the place that it should be. It is far too old for Canon to work on it so I just use it wide open all of the time. I threw my 1.4x extender on it last night to get me to f/4. I also put my Canon 7D Mark II on it to gain a little depth of field as well. That gave me the depth of field that I wanted, but it also made it into a long piece of glass. I was backing way up to use it. That comes in handy though as it allowed me to cover multiple events with two cameras. Continue reading

If I Had a Hammer

The Boilermaker Statue on the Campus of Purdue University

I walk by this Boilermaker statue quite a bit. I rarely stop although I want to a lot. I am usually heading somewhere so I don’t do it. When the light is right though I always seem to stop and check out the statue. Here one night during the blue hour I thought that the statue looked pretty cool. The orange light on the statue seemed to help it pop off of the blue background. This campus changes quickly, and I think if I took this shot today the new football complex would be in the background. That is why you should make photos when you can as everything changes quickly.

Stopping to Make the Shot

The shot above is one that I stopped to make about a week ago. I was leaving the men’s game early to have dinner with my family. I was leaving the stadium quickly, but I saw the moon over the Boilermaker statue. I pulled my camera out and quickly switched lenses. I liked the idea of the photo. Like many that I take I don’t know if it would every make the blog, but you never know. A lot of what I do is just playing to see what works for me. You have to have little experiments to find things that you like. The photo above would never probably have had its own post, but is nice to have show up here as a second photo of this post.

Getting Plowed Out of the Suburbs

Going Above and Beyond the Snowplow

Just before Christmas I had a few days with the DJI Phantom 3 Pro. I somehow managed not to destroy the drone even after giving it one very good try. If you see me in person ask about the crash video. The drone was a present for my brother, and I think he liked it. He was flying it all around at my parents house, and I saw this scene unfolding and asked if I could make the photo. I love how the drone takes the ordinary and makes it a little more interesting. I would never make a photo of a snowplow unless it was in amazing conditions. From the air though it makes it a little cooler. That is our job as photographers after all. We are here to show people what they cannot see. Find the angles that make things interesting.

The Phantom 4 Pro Is On Its Way

On Thanksgiving as I watched someone at our party flying a drone I knew that I would have one soon. I really thought that I would last much longer than I did, but I really had fun flying the drone. It is the kind of toy that I always wanted as a kid. Of course by the time that I got around to ordering the thing it was on backorder so I have been patiently waiting for it to appear on my doorstep. I have a couple of projects at Indiana State that I would like to use it on this weekend, but it had better hurry if that is going to happen. I am sure that I will go crazy with it when it does come though. I will make a separate folder on my SmugMug site for the photos that come from it. I have a feeling it will be like the early days of HDR for me. A lot of photos that I regret sharing, but seemed cool at the time. It is a big toy, but it does have a practical use. At least that is what I told myself when I ordered it.

A Lost Tower

An Interesting Tower in Boston

For some reason when I saw this tower from my hotel room in Boston it looked out of place to me. It looked like something that should be in Europe. With that in mind I gave this photo a little different edit. It was shots like this that I had in mind when I packed my Canon 300 f/4 with me for the trip. It did not come in handy much, but it made a shot of a unique building possible. It is light enough that i didn’t notice it in my bag for most of the trip either. I normally like to know a little bit more about my subjects, but I never did quite get over to this tower to see what it was. Maybe that adds a little more to the mystery of this photo for me. I can fill in the mystery myself to create something that is probably much more interesting than what I would have found there.

Music to Blog By

Do you listen to music as you blog? I have different music that serves different purposes on the photographic journey. Certain music can take me to certain places. On the way to shoot a sporting event I usually have something very heavy on. Lately the new Metallica album Hardwired has been my choice on the way to a game. When I am looking for a location to shoot or when I am editing though I usually go much softer. I like selections from movie scores most of the time. As I am writing this Harvey Two-Face from the Dark Knight soundtrack is playing. It is one of my favorite Hans Zimmer pieces. There is so much there in one song, and it is just relaxing to listen to. Sometimes on a photo like the one above you can see what I am listening to by the way I have edited it. Some songs just inspire me to do something a little different. This is one of those times.