My Eighteen Favorite Photos From the 2017-2018 Xavier Men’s Basketball Season

This was the first year that I was able to photograph the Xavier men’s basketball season for the team. It started with their Musketeer Madness pre season event, and then ended in the NCAA Tournament. This was a fun team to photograph, and I was lucky enough to be at a couple of very cool moments. Here are my eighteen favorite images from a fun season.

18. We will start the countdown where the season did. Musketeer Madness was a fun event where the team got to meet the fans, and then play an exhibition. It was here where I first learned just how much of a personality Tyrike Jones. had. Here his aviators give me a glimpse at the young man getting his autograph. This was a fun picture from a fun day.

17. During March Madness I was able to photograph Bill Murray. What a cool bucket list item to check off. I had some closer shots of him from pregame, but I liked this one because is just illustrates the fact that he always seems to stand out from the crowd.

16. At the end of 2017 I travelled up to Milwaukee to see Xavier open their Big East season against Marquette. They got the first of what would be many Big East wins on the season on their way to the Big East title. Here was one of the punctuation marks of that game.

15. One player that I wish that I could have photographed more was J.P. Macura. He plays the game hard, but that translates to amazing photographs. He was the kind of guy that would will his team to the win.

14. This is the tip off of the final game of the season. I liked the idea of getting the tip with the logo on the court. Being the second shooter allowed me the freedom to break away to make the picture.  Continue reading “Top 18 Photos From the 2017-2018 Xavier Basketball Season”

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My Ten Favorite Images From the 2017-18 Xavier Women’s Basketball Season

This year I started shooting basketball much earlier than ever before in early October. It was fun being there during the Xavier Musketeer Madness. I have not seen a lot of midnight madness events as none of the other schools I am involved in have them. I was worried that I would be bored with basketball season even sooner with the early start, but for some reason this year I have had a blast making basketball images. From the start it has been fun. I saw this team the first time that they took the court this year, and I followed them until the last time that they left the court. Here are ten of my favorite images from this past season.

10. The countdown starts where the season started. That is in Cincinnati with Musketeer Madness. I loved the way that the teams were introduced to the crowd. Here Jada Byrd is introduced to the crowd at the Cintas Center. Those lights in the background were fun to photograph in different ways the entire night.

9. For the second straight year I have photographed the Xavier women’s team at Butler. For the second straight year the team won in Hinkle Fieldhouse. I loved this moment during the game as you can see just how hard fought that win was.

8. Here A’Riana Gray battles for a rebound during the Big East Tournament in Chicago. On the surface it does not look like too much of a battle, but the grabbing hands and flexed muscles really shows you just how much these two were straining.

7. This is the year of the anthem shot. It is hard to constantly get excited about photographing the anthem as I see so many during the year. When you are somewhere as cool as Hinkle Fieldhouse though you work the building into any shot that you can.  Continue reading “Top 10 Photos From the 2017-2018 Xavier Women’s Basketball Season”

What to Do When You Have Some Extra Time

This past weekend I shot part of two tournaments. I shot the Friday events at the MVC Tournament in St. Louis, and the opening day of the Big East women’s tournament. When you are at a tournament you end up with some downtime to fill. I will usually fill that downtime shooting if there are spots on the baseline available. Why not? Tournament time is full of action and emotion so why not soak all of it in while you can? During the MVC Tournament I saw almost an entire baseline open for the Bradley and Drake game so I walked out of the media room to shoot a little of it. It allowed me to make sure that my settings were dialed in, and also get warmed up a little. The great finish was also very fun to photograph.

The Week In Photos

Last week was a fun week to make some photos. I had the four main jobs that I was assigned to do along with some of the fun shots like you see in this post. You can view some of my favorite pictures from last week here on my Exposure page.

Downtime At The Big East Tournament

While in Chicago I had some time in between my men’s game and my women’s game. Butler and Providence were playing a heck of a game at the time, and there were only two photographers on the court. One on each baseline. How can that be? I made my way out onto the floor and started playing a bit. With no outlet for my images I decided to play the how low can I go game. I started lowering my shutter speed until I could not make a usable image. The image above was made at 1/20th of a second, and involved a lot of luck. Everything was moving but the ball here, and the Big East logo was facing me. These are the fun little accidents that you can only get by trying.

The Xavier Women’s Basketball Season Concludes in the Big East Tournament

Saturday night my stretch of four games in three days in three cities came to a close with the Xavier women’s basketball game against Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament. Earlier in the season my first on court basketball action was the Xavier women’s scrimmage at Musketeer Madness. My last shoot of 2017 was the Xavier women’s game at Butler. As I have said before if my basketball season ended in Chicago on Saturday it would be a good bookend to the season. The two teams I started with for 2017-2018 were the two teams that I ended it with.

4 Games, 3 Days, 2 States, 1 Great Time

As I said above this game was part of the conclusion of a crazy weekend for me. It started Thursday with the Indiana State women’s game at Southern Illinois. After that game I drove into St. Louis to get prepared for Arch Madness. That day I shot my game for Indiana State along with parts of a couple of other games for fun. When Indiana State lost the game it meant that I would have to drive to Chicago to cover a Xavier doubleheader. That was a fun day first covering the Musketeer men clinching the outright Big East title. Then at the same venue preparations began for the start of the Big East Women’s basketball tournament. I shot part of the very exciting Butler comeback, overtime win over Providence. Then the final game of the weekend came around with this last game of the year for Xavier. As I walked out of the stadium I realized that I really had no clue where I was at the time. The entire weekend seemed like a huge blur. It was a fun blur though that resulted in some images that I really liked.

The Week In Photos

As I said above last week was very rewarding for me. I usually don’t get too much into basketball season. I think that I feel that way because I used to shoot a lot just to shoot. This year I did that far less, and it felt great. Since the start of 2018 I only shot one game for fun, and that was a Purdue men’s game. They were super fun to watch this year so that is just a very cool privilege to do that. When I shoot those games though my images don’t really mean anything. They don’t get looked at, and at the end of the day I feel a little weird even being there if I am not shooting for anyone. With teams that enjoy my images though it really gets the creative juices flowing, and it is far more fun for me. Last week was an absolute blast, and I hope that my weekly collection of my favorite images shows that. You can view my favorite images from last week by clicking here.

Xavier Finishes the Regular Season at the Top of the Big East

Saturday I was in Chicago to photograph Xavier as they tried to claim the outright Big East conference title. I had not seen the Musketeers in person since they played at Marquette at the end of the year. That was a great trip and a great game. This is a fun team to watch play basketball. After the game I thought that something might happen in the locker room, but I was not prepared for the water that ended up in the air. The TV interview for Coach Mack gave the team enough time to come up with the water plan. I knew that I (and my equipment) would get drenched so I ditched one camera and rolled the dice with the other one. It was well worth it as I made one of my favorite pictures from a fun weekend in the locker room.

Going Wide Again

I really liked the photo that I made with my 11-24mm lens the night before during the anthem, but I didn’t feel that I nailed it. The cool scoreboard of Wintrust Arena gave me a chance to redeem myself a few short hours later. I really like the way that this one came out. Maybe I will get a chance to do this again during the big dance.

Breaking Records

Saturday Trevon Bluiett set the Xavier record for career three pointers. He really is a fun player to watch, and I was glad to get the chance to photograph him playing again. He really is a dynamic player that is not done doing big things.

A Quick Turnaround

When I got back to my hotel Friday night in St. Louis I knew that I had only a short time before I had to be in Chicago. An 11 am start comes quickly. I was a little tired, but the photos that I made were completely worth it. I never dreamt that Indiana State would lose, and I would have to make that road trip up north. Every story has a bright side though, and even though I was bummed for Indiana State I was happy to have a fun day with Xavier ahead of me.

A Season Bookend

My basketball season really started early with shooting Musketeer Madness for Xavier in October. With no more basketball on the books this could have been the last time that I make images for the season. With tournaments coming up that could all change, but if it does not this was a cool way to bookend the season. I started it photographing the men’s and women’s teams for Xavier in Cincinnati, and it may have ended with both teams in Chicago. That is pretty cool if you ask me.

The Week In Photos

Last week was another fun and rewarding week making images. This is a weird time of the year because I am at the end of basketball season and baseball is starting. I want baseball season to get here so bad, but this is the best time of year to photograph basketball. The emotion really comes out naturally as more is on the line. This was the most fun that I have ever had during a season photographing basketball. This week is part of the that reason why. Take a look at my favorite photos from last week here.

Ten Tips To Help Improve Your Drone Photography

One of the coolest purchases that I have made for my photography is my drone. It really allowed me to see things in a new way. Sometimes you need a change in perspective to jump start you for a while. The drone certainly did that. Below I have listed ten quick tips to help you get off the ground with your drone. They are things that I found useful early on, and I still use today.

10. Stay safe and obey the laws – While drones are fun they are also potentially dangerous. Your first instinct may be to take your drone out and fly it without thinking about where you are. The first tip is to first stop and look at where you are flying. Can you even fly your drone there? I have come across places that I thought were in the middle of nowhere that actually are very near a small airport that I didn’t even know about. The laws are in place for a reason so make sure you know what they are, and obey them. The first bad drone crash will be the last one as they will probably all be banned.

9. Prepare your drone pre and post flight – This tip kind of goes hand in hand with the tip above. I put them at the top because I feel that they are the most important. Before flying somewhere new make sure that you props are in good shape and secure. Another important tip is to calibrate your drone. Not getting a proper calibration in can result in a flyaway or a crash. Before you have even left your house make sure that your batteries are all fully charged, and if possible you have a few backup batteries for the drone. One battery can give you a long flight, but multiple batteries can mean a fun day of flying. One quick post flight tip is that I always swap cards out. I take out the card that I used to make my images, and I immediately place a new card in the drone. This prevents you from getting out a ways with your drone and then realizing that you have forgotten a card. It also prevents the same scenario without having one on you. I have done both and it is not a fun feeling.

The Sun Sets Over the Purdue Bell Tower

8. Shoot in RAW – I always shoot in RAW, but with the drone I feel that it is even more important. The megapixels of your drone vary from model to model, but they are not fantastic in any model. You want the most data that you can get for your images in post. Shooting in RAW makes that happen.

7. Think of all of your post-processing tools while in flight – You have a lot of tools at your disposal in the digital darkroom now. Early on in my flying days I was not using everything available to me. One way to increase the quality of your image is to get a little closer to your subject and make a panoramic. With the steady nature of the DJI crafts it is very easy to do. A slightly more advanced move is to make what I call a vertirama. This is where you stitch a photo made from vertical pans. Combining these two styles can make for an interesting photo. Continue reading “10 Tips For Better Drone Photos”

Flying The DJI Phantom 4 Pro In Chicago

On April Fool’s Day of all days I took the Phantom 4 Pro up for a quick photo. I followed the guidelines to make sure that it was a safe and a quick flight. I was not too sure about flying the drone in the downtown area. I don’t know that even though it was allowed that it should have been done. I basically went up to make this photo, and then right back down. There are too many people around for my taste.

Seeing More Of The Scene

When I first came up to this scene I knew that I couldn’t get everything that I wanted in this shot. I had the idea for a vertirama. I made one photo for the top of the picture, and then panned down to add more into the photo. Had I known what I know now I would have done the same by panning to the right and the left of this scene as well. I have been able to make some pretty epic panoramas this way. I don’t think I will try this photo again so that is too bad.

Jim Thome Is Elected To The Hall of Fame

Today was supposed to be a travel post. I had a post all lined up for the day. What I didn’t count on was the joy that I felt when I saw that Jim Thome was elected to the Hall of Fame. From the tracking numbers that I saw it was an inevitability, but it was still cool to see his name called. Jim only played for a few seasons in Chicago, but during that time you really could see what a great man he was. He could hit the heck out of the ball as well. There are a lot of great Jim Thome memories from his time in Chicago. The best has to be his home run in gam 163 against the Twins in 2008. It was one of the best games that I have ever been to, and his solo shot to straightaway center was the difference in a 1-0 game. It was not only a home run, but it was a monster shot. If you go to Sox Park today you will see a plaque up against the concession stand in center field where the ball hit. Man he was fun to watch. For the first time since Carlton Fisk was elected to the Hall I am thinking about making the trip to Cooperstown.

Digging Into The Archives

I went to find a couple of photos of Thome in my archives. This was a wild wild west era in photography for me when I was not too organized. I had a Canon Rebel and a slow lens, but I had fun making pictures at the ball game. I loved it so much that I wrote a post on making pictures from your seat at the ball game. You can read that here. I cringe at most of those photos today, but it was fun while I was doing it. It also gives me some great memories to go through on days like today.

My 17 Favorite Photos of 2017

It is really hard to narrow down all of the thousands of photos that I made in 2017 to just 17. The number is arbitrary because of the year. The good news is that with each year that passes I get to add another photo to my year end countdowns. This list is not a list of my best technical achievements. I would rather pick seventeen moments that I really liked from the year. Even doing that it is a hard list to put together.

17. Oh boy he is going to talk about his kids again! Of course this countdown starts with my little one. She is probably the person that is most photographed in my life. Here she has a great time trick or treating in downtown Lafayette. I love the smile and the sense of place of this photo. It is probably my favorite photo of her from last year.

16. On August 21st everyone turned their eyes to the sky. The sun would be eclipsed by the moon. With the sky looking cloudy in our area I made the quick decision to head north to where I saw clear skies. We found a country road that we could park on, and we watched the eclipse. Here my step daughter enjoys the moment. I could have set up gear and shot the actual eclipse, but this seemed more important to me at the time.

15. On our way home from Ocean City, Maryland this year my wife budgeted some time into our schedule to spend in Philadelphia near the Liberty Bell. If you know me then you know that I love American History. This is basically where American history started if you think about it. That is what I love about my wife. She knew I would love this, and she made sure that it happened.

14. The night before our Ocean City, Maryland trip I headed in the other direction to see Metallica play at Soldier Field. I love Metallica, and I had not seen them play live in quite some time. This was a great night listening to my favorite band. This photo also shows just how fluid these top 17 lists have been. This photo wasn’t even included in the Top 17 concert photos post, but it appears here. As I was making this post I realized how much I loved the colors. When viewed larger I think that it looks much better than it did in the thumbnail that I used to choose the concert posts.

13. This photo was made on the way to Indiana State. Here I saw a familiar barn that would allow me to create a starburst through. It was a no-brainer to pull off of the road to make this photo. When you can make colorful photos in the winter you do it.

12. Here is another photo made on the way to Indiana State. This was an early morning drive to cover one of the first football practices of the year. I left a little early on purpose so that I could make a sunrise photo somewhere along the way. I looked fruitlessly for a while. The mist in the air would have made for a good photo, but I couldn’t find anything interesting to put around it. Here I found a scene that looked okay, and then the deer showed up. It ran through the frame and made the photo. This is another photo that looks best larger. Click on the image to see it that way.  Continue reading “Top 17 Photos of 2017”