Heading to Florence, Alabama For the Division II National Title Game

Ten years ago today I was in Florence, Alabama to watch the National Title game between Grand Valley State and Northwest Missouri State. That season was a fun one in which I saw many GVSU games. It started during the regular season when they played at home, and Purdue was away. It then lead to a run of seeing every playoff game at Lubbers Stadium. A crazy declaration as the team celebrated going to the title game on their own field led to a trip to Florence to see the National Title game. Ten years later I thought that it would be fun to go back and look at some of my images from that day. I don’t do things like this often, but for something like this I thought that it would be fun to do. I can see a few other games in the future that this would be fun to try.

Capturing the Action From the Stands

Before 2013 I shot all of my sports from the stands for the most part. My seat locations were based on where I thought the action would be. For something like this though we were in the section designated to the school so I had a good view of midfield. I was shooting with my Canon Rebel with the two kit lenses with me. I had a 18-55 and a 75-300mm lens. None of that is ideal to shoot football, but at the time I was setting the groundwork for what I would use when I made it down to the field. I was following the action making the transition to the field a little easier. At times I still shoot from the stands today for things like Major League Baseball games, but it is hard not to be on the playing field. Looking through these photos though reminds me of how much fun I used to have in the stands.

Capturing the Emotion of the Moment

That day ten years ago I made a lot of okay images. Looking back through my take of that day I realized that I really had no idea what I was doing back then. I was using auto modes to make my photos. Sometimes it would get the job done, and sometimes it would not. A key interception in the end zone was full of motion blur because I was letting the camera do the work for me. One photo from that day that I still love is this photo of two of the GVSU linemen holding the National Championship trophy. The emotion here is real, and I love it. In fact it is still in my portfolio today. Continue reading “Friday Flashback: Grand Valley State Claims the National Championship Over Northwest Missouri State”


Capturing True Emotion

It was five years ago today that I stumbled onto something that would change my life. I took a one day photography class in Chicago called ‘Capturing True Emotion.’ The two photographers who lead the seminar had great chemistry and later were married to each other. I always think that these type of classes are kind of a cheap trick. It is a way to get money from beginners who don’t know any better. For me I think what I got out of the class was the fire to be a better photographer. Shortly after the class I bought a new camera and really started down the path that led me to where I am today. It is hard to believe that it was only five years ago. Since that class I have really put my nose to the grindstone to become a better photographer. That day opened my eyes to the fact that photography could be fun. It also could be something that I do the rest of my life.

Plains High School In Plains, Georgia

Part of the fun of my single life was combining two loves while on the road. I would go off and see a sporting event, but also combine some sort of Presidential history into the trip. On this trip for example the main focus was seeing Purdue play in a bowl game in Orlando. On the way down there I stopped at the Martin Luther King historical site as well as a couple of historical sites for Jimmy Carter. His library was interesting, but I loved the sites in Plains, Georgia the best. You can see some of my past posts from Plains by clicking here. Plains is an interesting town now because the have a whole new source of revenue with the tourists looking at the home of former President Jimmy Carter. His old high school for example has now been turned into a Presidential learning center. One room is made up though to appear as it did in 1937 when Jimmy was under the tutelage of Miss Julia Coleman. As I said a few days ago it always amazes me how some people come from so little to reach the highest office in the country. It really is amazing to see the humble roots that produce such powerful men. This trip was nearly ten years ago now. I really need to get back out and see some of the country again.

Back When the Old Stuff Was New

A few days ago I talked about using my Canon 60D and Tamron 10-24mm combination in Chicago. The photo above was made nearly ten years ago with my first dSLR, and the kit lens that came with it. I had the Canon Rebel XT that I bought on Ebay with the Canon 18-55mm lens that came with it. For years this was what I used. I didn’t think that I needed anything else for a long time. Now I have had a few cameras since that Rebel I realize that I still made some interesting photos despite my limitations. I do not wish that I had better equipment then, but I do wish that I had taken the time to learn my equipment. It is a real testament to the camera that I was able to come away with some interesting shots back then. Now I do a lot of the work to ensure that I have interesting photos. Back then I leaned heavily on the camera to do the work.

The Week In Photos

This week I have compiled some of my favorite shots into one Exposure post again. This summer I have taken on a little more work than usual, and the galleries should keep getting better just by the shear volume of events that I will be shooting. You can see that post here. This week at one point I had the post above scheduled for Sunday thinking that I would be rained out yet again with no images from a game that was not happening. As it turns out I shot an extra game this weekend giving me a few more images to use. This coming week if the weather holds out I have an ambitious schedule to follow. I have a few player assignments that I have to complete along with a fun shoot Saturday night. As the weather warms up so does my schedule.


Looking Back Through Your Work

This is a photo that I have liked for a while now, but something was always missing. I always thought that it had a feel of an older photograph. Everything just has that well worn feel to it. It was not until I took the jpeg (I did not shoot RAW until 2012 can you believe it?) into Lightroom yesterday though until I really liked this photo. I really made a more inky black and white image out of this turning it into one that I really like. The Statue of Liberty in the background with the man on the sailboat pointing really makes this image for me. This is far from the best technical photo that I made on the trip, but it is one that just has a look that I like to it. With my camera in full automatic mode it made an exposure of 1/25th of a second at f/36. I can say that f/36 was not the best here as it took about ten minutes to clean up all of the dust everywhere on this photo. It is that 1/25th of a second from a moving boat though that makes this shot for me. That subtle motion blur gives it that old time feel that I like. I have been back and forth about posting this image in various forms for a while now. It finally has made the blog though nearly eight years after I made the picture.

Different Views of Well Known Monuments

Back when I made this photo in 2008 I was onto something that I would not fully realize until quite a few years later. I wanted the up close photo of the Statue of Liberty that I have seen hundreds of times. Back then I was more concerned about collecting photos I think than making them. I would see a photo, and decide that I wanted to take one just like it. As time has gone by I still make the more common image of landmarks. When you visit someplace that is what the family and friends expect to see when you get back. Shots like this one though of a different view of the landmark I think end up being my favorites over time.

The Week In Photos

Once again it is Monday morning, and I invite you to take a look back at the past week with me. I have created another Exposure page with my favorite photos from the past week that you can find here. This is one of my favorite parts of the week as I look back at the past week. I have been on a roll with some great events every since I started putting the post together so the posts have been getting better and better.

Indianapolis Looking Great For the Super Bowl in 2012

Every year as the Super Bowl draws closer I think back to 2012 when Indiana was buzzing over hosting the Super Bowl. I thought that Indy did a great job hosting the event. I am pretty sure that the committee did as well so hopefully we see the Super Bowl back in Indiana sooner rather then later. I went down to Indy the Saturday before the big game to see all of the things that were in place for the big game. I made one of my first big successful photos down there during that time. You can read about that photo here. I was still in the early stages of my photo 365 project so I was looking for anything to help me get through that winter.  A photo rich environment in Indy that day helped out a lot. I thought that I would post one of my images that I have not posted before today with the Super Bowl so close again.

Re-Visiting Old Photos

I don’t like to re-do photos that I have already posted and processed. Sometimes it has to be done as my early HDR attempts were terrible. This photo though was really never touched by me. At the time the HDR process I was doing left too much of a halo for my taste so I left it sitting in a folder on my Drobo. I decided to give it a go again processing to see what I could come up with. I ran three photos through Aurora HDR Pro to see what they would do, and then I processed a single RAW file in Lightroom. The single photo from Lightroom looked much better to meet without as much noise in it. The HDR software seemed to really amp up the noise in a weird way. I liked the look of the photo so you get to see it today.

Today is the Day That We Have Been Waiting For Since Back to the Future II

When Doc Brown took Marty into the future after the events of Back to the Future they went way ahead to October 21st, 2015. Of course that future was amazing. We had flying cars and hover boards. The downside was that the Cubs had just won the World Series. Of course here we are on that exact day in 2015, and we do not have flying cars or hover boards. Of course the one thing that could be possible is the Cubs winning the World Series. It is interesting to watch that movie now to see just how close things are to what they imagined, yet how far we are from that day. For the most part that town square would not look much different then it did in 1985. It is funny looking back on that movie now. Back then 2015 seemed so far away. I assumed at the time that I would be finishing up my Hall of Fame baseball career. In my eyes then I would be old. Now for some reason I don’t think that this age is old. This is two straight days of posts about movies, but these were both big movies of my childhood. Tomorrow I will actually post a landscape photo. It has been a while since I was able to do that.

Going Back to the Past to Post About the Future

I made the photo above in 2011 as I was touring the LaPorte County Museum. In addition to the many artifacts and exhibits showcasing the history of LaPorte County they also have a great museum. You can visit the website here to learn more about the museum, but better yet just go there and see it for yourself. It is worth your time if you live in the area.

2015 MiLBY’s Photo of the Year

This year I covered only four games for the Indianapolis Indians, but I was blessed with some great action to photograph. My image of Josh Bell getting an ice bath after a 13th inning walk off hit in his first triple A game was nominated for the photo of the year by Minor League Baseball. I don’t ask for a lot, but if you could vote for it here that would be great. I am up against some great photos so I will need all the votes that I can get.


Having Fun In Hahn’s Peak, Colorado

I made this photo five years ago while in Colorado for my brother’s wedding. It was a truly special time in which I did not make many photos. One of the days though I went for a walk in the country to see what I could see. This scene kind of unfolded in front of me. I love the way that the path leads you into the photo. The scenery of Colorado kind of does the rest.

A Special Day

I remember the day very well in second grade when my grandfather appeared at the door of my classroom to take me home early. It turns out I had a new baby brother. It was an exciting day for sure that does not really seem like that long ago. That day changed my life forever in a very good way. The photo above was made on one of those days that was a special one.

A panoramic view of Miller Park in MIlwaukee, Wisconsin

Time To Head Back to Miller Park

For some reason there are a couple of ball parks that I seem to visit every six years. Miller Park is one of those. I was looking for a post for today last night while watching the replay of the Dodgers and Brewers game from earlier in the day. Seeing Clayton Kershaw pitching in Miller Park reminded me of the last stop on our ballpark tour in 2009. For a couple of years a group of us would head out to visit some ballparks on a whirlwind weekend tour. This was part of a fun trip that had us see games in Beloit, St. Paul, Minnesota, and finally Miller Park on the way home. We saw some great ball games along the way. This was the first time that I had been inside of Miller Park with the roof open. I liked the look although the blazing midday sun made photos of the ballplayers interesting. Before we left I went up to the upper deck to make my stadium shot that I seem to do at every park that I visit.

Making a Panorama in Lightroom 6

I have posted part of this photo on the blog before. The middle section of just the field was part of a series of six images that I made in the hopes of making a panorama out of them. The program that I used at the time would not merge the photos though as it could not find common elements. I thought the idea was lost forever until Lightroom 6 came out. I know that you can merge photos into panoramic pictures in Photoshop CC, but I rarely make my way into Photoshop. I wanted to play around with the new element of Lightroom so I found some older photos to use. Lightroom had no problem merging the photos, and in fact did it fairly quickly. I am glad that six years later my idea for the photo could be realized. Now if I had just shot in RAW on the day this could have been a great photo.

Using Lightroom 6 To Make a Panoramic of Busch Stadium

When Lightroom 6 was announced a couple of days ago I was excited to see a couple of features built into the program. I am all about making my workflow smoother and faster so having tools inside of one program can accomplish that. I don’t do panoramic photos very often, but exporting the files to Photoshop while faster than it ever has been is still a long process. I wanted to see how fast making a pano in Lightroom 6 could be. I went back into the archives to find a series of photos that I took to make into a pano from my birthday in 2009. I went to visit the new Busch Stadium for the first time that season. I have spent a couple of birthdays in St. Louis watching the Cardinals. They really hit it out of the park with the new stadium, and I wanted to show the beauty of everything. Of course there was a slight drizzle as I was making the photos so everything came out very grey. In fact I never cared enough about the photos to stitch them together. I knew that they were there though so I decided to give it a try with the new feature in Lightroom. It did a great job of putting the eight photos together into one photo. I can see one place where it had some trouble, but other than that it did a great job.

An Update on the Lightroom 6 HDR Function

After a couple of initial successes with the new HDR function in Lightroom 6 I found a couple of issues with it. The program does a great job for the most part, but one thing that I found was that when using the deghost option it can leave some crazy arcs throughout your photo. With a wide range of light in the photo it really sticks out when a dark portion of the photo is directly stitched into the normal photo. This is something that I will have to play with to see if I can work around that. This is the first Lightroom product that has not come out in Beta form first. This may be something that is fixed in an update shortly.