The Sun Sets Behind the John Hancock Building

Last night I was at Porter Beach in northern Indiana to watch the sun set behind the city of Chicago. In 2014 I was in Chicago when I saw a post on Google+ showing the sun setting behind the city. I made a stop on the way home to photograph the show. I only had my 70-200mm and my 1.4x converter that day. Thanks to my friend Trevor Mahlmann I knew that the sun was going to set behind the city again this week and some of next week. We had a meet up of some online friends to try and capture this moment. The fun was had before the sun even set. It was nice getting to meet some people in person that I had only talked to online before. When the sun started dipping though it was all business. Above is one of my shots of the sun setting behind the Hancock building. If you want to see what it looks like through a 500mm lens stacked with two 2x teleconverters head over to Instagram and take a look at the photo that Tom Jones made. Another great shot from the night was made by Ryan Bale. He captured the sun behind the Hancock Building, but with a plane bursting out of the sun. We are going back out again tonight if the weather is right to have some fun again. If you want to join us all of the info that you need is here.

Making Photos While I Wait

When something like this is happening I usually feel like I have to make photos before the event. A little nervous energy can be let out that way. Here I waited for what seemed like forever for this trio of swimmers to move over into the light. I have photos of them not in the spotlight, but the photo was always going to be this one of them in the spotlight of the sun. A little patience and a little luck, and everything lined up.

After The Sun Is Gone

Once the sun is gone you could pack up and go home. If you wait about an hour after the sun goes down though the lights of Chicago really start to show up. This was fun to watch how everyone tackled this amazing shot. People were focusing on many different things which was pretty cool. I loved how the water looked during a long exposure. The photo above was made during an eight second exposure. That allowed the water to really smooth out and make something amazing. At this point the light from the city provided a nice orange glow to the sky which contrasted nicely with the blue water. This might be my favorite shot from the night.

Breaking Out The 11-24

Of course I had to break out the 11-24 during the night. At one moment when the sun went behind a cloud it seemed like the perfect time to run down to Lake Michigan to get a close up shot. The night was all about using the big glass, but with the new toy I just had to find a reason to try it out.


My Favorite Sixteen Sports Photos of 2016

This year was a year where I had quite a few firsts. I shot my first final four and my first MLB game. The thought of going through all of my photos to find my favorite sixteen sports photos from the year made my head spin. I usually just end up with a few action shots with a lot of emotion anyway so I decided to just stick to the emotion on this list. It is really hard to boil down many favorite images to sixteen. I have shot a lot of events this past year, and there have been some cool moments during those. The good news is that every year I get to include one more photo on this countdown. Next year I will have one less cut to worry about. The bad news is that I will probably have more images to worry about cutting.

16. The countdown starts off with from what I have seen is a rare display of emotion in wrestling. The guys just go about their business, and rarely even have their heads up when their hand is raised as the winner. Luke Welch had just scored a huge upset though, and he let everyone know about it. It is one of my favorite wrestling pictures that I have made, and it keeps me going back to the mat to try and do it again.

15. Fun is what keeps me coming back to roller derby. I do not get paid to shoot the sport, but I shoot every game that I can. Here is one of those fun moments just after a game is over. As they pick the stars on offense and defense they usually have cool awards to give out. Here is one such award with a cool moment when it is put on.

14. During the cross country National Championships Michigan senior Erin Finn did not get the win that she thought she would. Her teammates knew that she would be upset so they decided to surround her with love when she came out of the chute. It picked her up, and also displayed what being a good teammate is.

13. This year I covered the Purdue baseball team for the first time since 2014. During the three game stretch that I shot I saw them win a 15 inning game on a walk off bunt. It was a great moment when the team went out to pile on Alec Olund who laid down the bunt that won the game. These are the moments that you live for when shooting baseball, and it was well worth staying to capture this moment. Continue reading “Top 16 Sports Photos of 2016”

Taking the Canon 100-400mm Lens For a Test Drive

Thanks to the folks at I was able to take the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II lens out for a test drive this past weekend. I had a couple of ideas when I rented it for things that I wanted to shoot with it. I was going to photograph the bald eagles that are spending their winter in our city. I also had thought about shooting a little basketball with it as Purdue had two home games over the weekend. What I didn’t count on was the large amount of swimming that I shot pretty much at the last minute. I kind of threw the lens to the coals to see what it could do.

Testing the Lens Out at Swimming

My first test was at the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. I took it the first day thinking that I would not use it very much. I had my 400mm f/2.8 lens with me to use when the 100-400mm failed. I never took the 400mm f/2.8 out of my bag. The 100-400mm really worked very well for me. During a four day championship that would have me poolside for hours it was the perfect lens. In a perfect world I could have used a little more light getting to my sensor. I shot most of the championship at 1/350th or 1/500th of a second. At times I would have liked to have been faster, but that was the price that I had to pay for the portability of the lens. I did some panning with the swimmers, and this lens was perfect for that. I could easily pan this light lens and move with them. With my bulky 400mm lens that would have been much harder. Switching from landscape to portrait mode was a bit easier as well. Maybe my 400mm is old, but the grooves that click and let me know that I am level have eroded a little. I think there was just enough light in the pool to make this lens work for me. If you have enough light at your pool to shoot at f/5.6 then why not buy this lens?

Testing the Lens Out at a Basketball Game

I took the lens to the Purdue women’s basketball game Sunday afternoon to see what it would do. I was on the far end of the baseline away from the basket so I had my 70-200mm lens for the action on my side of the court, and the 100-400mm lens for the action on the other end of the court. For some reason I was not comfortable switching between these two lenses. The slight difference in the zoom ring was just enough to throw me off a bit at the other end. I did use it for the tip, and I made a few photos at the other end, but I had to be at 1/500th of a second because of the lighting in the gym. I was not really happy with how it performed during the basketball game. It did allow me to get right in on the action as the band performed prior to the game. I got some great close ups with it. I think had a scramble occurred at the other end it would have been great as well. That did not happen though, and I only put four of the images that I made with the lens in my gallery after the game. In fact as I prepared for the second half I chose not to use the lens when I went back out. Continue reading “Quick Review: Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II”

Ashley Morrissette Leads The Way For Purdue

After the game yesterday I sent out a few photos via different social media outlets of the senior trio at various points during the game. On senior day the seniors rightfully get to take center stage. What was lost in all of that was the performance by Ashley Morissette. She put the Boilermakers on her back in the first half, and paved the way for this win. At one point in the game you could count the bucket as soon as the ball left her hands. She was a huge part of the day, and she will be a huge part of the postseason success that the Boilers have coming up.

Time To Honor the Seniors

This is a special group of seniors that played their last home game yesterday. They stepped in and filled roles that needed to be filled. April was pressed into service early in her career, and she did not disappoint. These three were all great ambassadors for Purdue, and will be missed. The senior celebration after the game is always great to photograph as it is filled with lots of emotion. As you photograph a team for a while that emotion can carry over to the person behind the camera. Hopefully we get a few more games to see these girls where the Purdue uniform.

More Photos From the Game

Usually I wait to put up an Exposure page from a game. Yesterday I had so much fun shooting the game that I put one up right after the game. You can find that page here. The page is a bit longer than a normal page for a game, but senior night is not like any other night. It is a little more work, but it does not seem like work when you are doing it. I was trying to capture the feel of the day, and you can judge for yourself if I accomplished that task. Every year senior night is important to me as well as I never know if I will be back for the next season. I love shooting in Mackey Arena so I always treat these games like they will be my last, because they very well could be. With that said I hope that I will be back in Mackey next November photographing this Boiler team.

My Favorite Photos of the Week

This past week was one filled with personal and professional success. I will talk about the personal success at a later date, but the photography during the week was amazing. I should say that I was put in position to make some images that I really like. The week started off with headshot with the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls, and ended with a great weekend of shooting. Four days of swimming with two basketball games thrown in for good measure. I put together another Exposure page with my favorite images of the week. With a lot of shooting during the week this one is quite large. You can’t beat raw emotion, and there was that all around the campus of Purdue this past weekend. You can view my week in photos here.

The Final Day of the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships

Yesterday I was back in the pool to photograph the final day of the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. I did not realize how much fun it would be to photograph a multi day championship like this. I really gained a new appreciation for swimming, and I can’t wait to photograph it again. The more you are around these amazing athletes the more you want to be around them more. Maybe next year I can make it to the championships wherever they are being held at.

Purdue Basketball Beats Maryland

In between swimming sessions I walked over to Mackey Arena to see the #20 Boilermakers face off against the #10 Terrapins of Maryland. Purdue won, and the crowd was absolutely electric. I will have more on that game in a couple of days, but for now you can enjoy my Exposure page from the game here.

Bonus Photos

I have been thinking about putting together an Exposure page for the entire championship. I think that I may do that including some of my favorite images from the tournament. I may wait a few days to let the photos sit a while before looking at them again. It was a fun four days though, and I can’t wait to put the page together. Before I do that though let’s look back at some of my favorite photos from the last day of the tournament.

Continue reading “Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships Day Four”

Day Three in the Pool in West Lafayette

Over the course of the last three days I have really gained an appreciation for what these swimmers are doing. I have never really been into swimming. That is no knock on the sport. It is what you were exposed to in your life. I grew up in a house where baseball was king, and football was around there somewhere. In shooting sports though I have come into contact with sports that I have not really seen before. Most of the time those are quick one off shoots where you kind of fly by the seat of your pants. Shooting swimming for three straight days has allowed me to let some of it sink in, and it really is amazing what these men are doing out there. When you look at how violently the water is moving in front of them you realize just how much force they are exerting. On a college campus usually basketball and football rule the scene. They are the big sports that draw the biggest crowds. Often though some of the best individual performances occur away from those large crowds. I wish that everyone that fills Ross Ade Stadium could see what I have seen over the last few days. This really is an awesome sport.

Finding a Different View

After shooting for a couple of days I started to feel like I was heading to the same places to make my photos. I decided to try and change things up a little. Everyone wants to see the butterfly head on. I think that getting up close on the side you can really see the violent water churning up around the athlete. I tried a few new things just to change things up a bit. I only shot the morning session so the emotional shots were not quite there. A couple of times something big happened, and I was there to capture it, but it was a quiet morning there.

Shooting the First Full Day of the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships

Yesterday I shot a lot of swimming. Swimming is a sport that I normally do not get to shoot very often. As it turned out this year I did not make a regular season swim meet for Purdue. I think that I was shooting something else every time that they were home. I have really dove head first into this meet though as it is full of emotion, and very fun to shoot. With a lot of medals on the line, and conference bragging rights the teams are really bringing it. Every time I shoot a Big Ten event like this I say that I will travel to do it the following year. One of these times I will follow through on that threat. I love the pure emotion involved here, and I look forward to the next couple of days shooting the event.

Bonus Photos

I put together some of my favorite Purdue photos from the day on their Exposure page here. I did not only shoot Purdue during the event though so here are a couple of other photos that I liked from the day.

Continue reading “Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships Day Two”

Photographing the Big Ten Championships

Since I have really started photographing around Purdue they have had a few Big Ten events on campus. I have been lucky enough to photograph them all so far. One thing that I talk about a lot on this blog is emotion. When I covered my first swim meet at Purdue I was ready to capture the emotion of the winners after a race. Of course a normal meet during the season really did not elicit much emotion. In just the two events that I saw last night the stakes were high, and the crowd and teams were really into it. This event goes until Saturday, and I think that the emotion will just keep increasing as the days go on. This will be a really fun weekend.

Slowing Things Down a Little

When the freestyle event comes around I usually head to the side to capture it. When it is a long distance freestyle event I have a little fun. You have a few opportunities to have the swimmers pass you, and you can try and really to slow things down as much as possible. I made the photo above at 1/60th of a second. It gives a sense of motion that I really like, and takes what is normally a boring freestyle photo up a notch. It is not always something that I recommend during a meet, but it is a way to have some fun and test yourself. When the really long distance races occur I may try and slow it down even more. You come away with very few keepers, but the ones that you do get can be interesting.

Using the Canon 100-400mm f/3.5-5.6 II

This weekend I am test driving a new lens. I love my 400mm prime, and I would not trade it for anything. There are times though when I need to be a little more mobile when covering an event. This summer I will be making photos for the Indianapolis Indians, and I will need to move around quite a bit. I have been thinking about using a lens like this one on the days when I will have enough light to shoot. Losing a couple of stops of light at 400mm is a big deal, and would be brutal during a night game. From my first test yesterday I can say that I think this lens has a lot of potential. I plan on using it a little during the rest of the Big Ten meet as well as a couple of basketball games this weekend. These are not environments with a lot of extra light so I will know real quick what I can do with it. It did alright on the first day. I was fun to walk around with one lens that would get a lot of what I needed done. Continue reading “Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships Day One”