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.

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Six Years Of This Blog

Six years ago today I had a crazy idea. I would make a photo a day and post it for all to see. I thought that the photo 365 project would help me grow as a photographer. I was right. Constantly looking for a subject for an entire year trained me to always be on the lookout for a photo. Five years after the project ended I still find myself constantly looking for subjects. This blog was made in the hopes that by having to post a photo from the project everyday that I would actually go through with the project. Basically it was to use peer pressure to make sure that I went through with it. It is hard to believe how far I have come in the six years that this blog has been around. I started with a Canon 60D and the 18-135mm lens that came with it. Now I still have the Canon 60D, but I also have a few more Canon cameras as well. The 18-135mm lens has also been joined by a few others lenses as well. If you had told me that I would have done what I have done since I started this in six years I would have thought that you were crazy. This blog has opened up adventures for me, and that is a great thing. For a while it was only my wife and parents reading the thing, and now I have people that read it every day. Thank you all for what you do, and let’s move on to lucky year seven!

The Role Of The Anthrop Family On The Blog

By pure chance the first photo on this blog was of Central Catholic running back Danny Anthrop running a punt back for a touchdown. You can see that photo above. When I made the photo with my Canon 60D and Canon 75-300mm lens I thought that it was ready to be published in Sports Illustrated. I had a long way to go at the time. I chose the picture of Danny for the first post because it was my best photo from the night, and it was an amazing punt return. When the photo 365 project was coming to a close I realized that it would end on a football Saturday. With Danny Anthrop on the Purdue team I knew that I had the chance for a perfect bookend. I didn’t know if the blog would continue so when I came up with the idea to use Danny as a bookend I thought that it would be the first and last post on this blog. What I realized is that I enjoyed writing as much as I enjoyed making the photos so the blog moved on. The photo that ended the photo 365 project was taken from my spot in the stands as I had no field access. By October of 2013 I was on the field at Purdue so the opportunities to put an Anthrop on the blog again was much easier. From that point on it has just become a tradition to have an Anthrop on the blog on the anniversary of it. Luckily Danny’s younger brother Jackson plays for Purdue now so I can make that happen. Danny is now a member of the Lafayette Police force so maybe I can make a portrait of him when his brother graduates. This was never an elaborate plan, but rather a very cool coincidence that then turned into a tradition.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Last year I honestly had thought about ending the blog at five years. Writing a post a day can be hard at times. Right now I am actually away from home and the blog is not a priority for me. I have posts scheduled for my absence, but that takes time as well. As I said above though I love writing these posts. In the past year I have thought more about the blog than I have since the first year. I have tried to tell more stories on it instead of just showing a photo or two. In all I have been blogging in some form for 11 years now, and it is always interesting to see what people like and what they don’t like. Over the course of the next year the focus of what I shoot will change somewhat. I am starting to pull away from sports photography a bit. The money really just isn’t there like you would think it would be. I find that most people just want you to shoot for free for ‘exposure’. I have already started to focus more on what actually makes money. This blog may go back to looking more like it did at the beginning with less and less sports on it. No matter what I will still be here posting at least a photo a day for a while. It is just too much fun to do.

Looking Back at a Great Game to Watch

I don’t look back like this too often on this blog. Last December I took a look back at the 2006 Grand Valley State Championship game ten years later. You can see that post here. Today I want to look back at a great baseball game played ten years ago today in South Bend, Indiana. At the time I was both a Purdue and Notre Dame baseball season ticket holder. I just loved baseball, and Notre Dame was much closer to me. When Purdue came to South Bend it was a can’t miss game. The game in 2007 was nearly a historic game. Both pitchers carried no-hitters into the 8th inning. In the 8th Purdue finally got their first hit. Despite not getting a hit earlier they had some chances to score thanks to walks. Going into the bottom of the ninth inning Matt Bischoff took his no-hitter into the ninth inning. The first batter of the 9th singled to cancel the post game show. In the end Notre Dame walked it off in tenth inning to win a great game.

How Time Has Flown

It is hard to believe that the great pitchers duel was ten years ago. I drove home from the game listening to Mark Buehrle throwing his no-hitter, and I got home in time to see the end of that game. What a day it was to watch some great pitching. Ten years later I will see Purdue play again tonight as they take on another in-state rival in Ball State. My equipment and knowledge has changed slightly in the last ten years. I was using my Canon Rebel XT and my kit 75-300mm lens back then. I always shot in TV mode even though I didn’t know what that meant. It was just a mode that produced good pictures when the light was right. When it got dark I could never figure out why it didn’t work as well for me. It was still a few years away from me figuring out how the camera worked. Looking back at some of these great moments I wish that I had taken the time to learn back then. I wanted one photo of someone batting to add to this post, but I could not find one that I was happy with sharing. If you see the quality of the two photos that I did share then you get a sense of just how bad the batting photos were.

 

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”

Five Years of Posting a Photo a Day

It is hard to believe, but five years ago I had this bright idea to start a photo 365 project. I was thinking of a way to jump start my creativity, and the photo 365 project seemed like a good way to do that. I needed a way to show off my photos so I started this blog as a way to do that. By posting my photos each day I created a little accountability for myself. I would have to post my photo or show that I failed to everyone. Of course at the time this thing was started my parents might have been the only people looking at it. In a way I don’t blame them. As I experimented with new ideas I posted great photos such as my pizza. Who can forget the photo of leaves on a tree? For me it is painful to look back at the early archives of this site. Part of my growth as a photographer though is the small things that I learned during that photo 365 project. Sitting back and thinking about what has happened to me in the last five years is kind of crazy. How did I get here?

The Photo That Started it All

The photo that made me want to post them all to the public was the photo above of Danny Anthrop returning a punt for a touchdown for Central Catholic. The play started going away from me, but seeing a hole Danny came around the corner towards me. I liked the gesture here, and at the time I thought that I nailed the photo. With the equipment that I had I think that I did alright here. This was with my old Canon 60D and my Canon 75-300mm lens. The 60D was my new camera at the time, and I was thrilled with it. The 75-300mm lens was one that has an f-stop of f/5.6 when used at 300mm. That is not ideal for shooting high school football, but I made it work. As that season moved on I shot a lot more football. The game moves differently when you are down on the field, and here I was learning how to make my photos interesting. I saw quite a few games at CC that year, but I have not been back since. You can read that first blog post here. Tonight I will be shooting a football game back home in northern Indiana so in a way it is cool that I can celebrate five years with another high school game. Continue reading “This Blog Turns Five!”

Four Years Ago I Started This Blog

It is hard to believe but it was just four years ago that I started this blog. I was starting a photo a day project, and I went to the Central Catholic game to make some photos. For someone who loved sports that seemed like a great way to start the long project off. When I started the project I never thought that this blog would still be around four years later. I honestly did not know if I would finish the project. Many who start it do not. Somehow I made it through though, and in the process I started seeing the world a little differently. The goal of the photo 365 project was to improve my photography. I think that over the course of that year I really did improve my photography. I also learned a little more of what makes a good photo. It is amazing to look back at that first photo, and seeing just how far I have come.

The First Photo on This Blog

The photo above is the first photo that appeared on this site. Danny Anthrop had just reversed direction on a punt return, and ran right at me. He would weave in and out of traffic to take the punt to the house. When he was close enough for my equipment to really be effective though he was back on the other side of the field. At the time I saw this photo as the shot of the night. Looking back at it I can see some things that would make me say that. He has a good gesture at the time with both feet off of the ground. Something in the photo just spoke to me so I made it the post of the day. Now I have chosen to usually include a few photos from a game such as this one, but back then the site was simply called “csd’s photo of the day.” Looking back at the photo I can see some things to improve on, but most of that was due to the limitations of my equipment. I was shooting my Canon 60D at the time. This was my brand new camera that I thought could shoot in the dark. Of course over time I came to realize that it really could not. Shooting that camera at ISO 6400 as I did above was just asking for noise. Add in the fact that I had my 75-300mm lens on the camera, and light quickly became an issue at a high school stadium. At 300mm the fastest aperture I could be at was f/5.6. That is not ideal for shooting sports. Next year I will have a dilemma to face as Danny will no longer be playing for Purdue. It seems as if he shows up on this blog every October. It will be very awkward going to an office to make a photo of him, but it has become a tradition around here. Maybe his brother will be at Purdue, and I can make a photo of him.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Last year I was not having a good summer as far as impressions with the site, and I was just going to get to the three year anniversary before shutting it down. I thought that it had served its purpose, and I would have been okay with walking away. At some point though things really took off, and I have seen unparalleled success since then. In fact by the end of this month I should pass my view total record for a year. I still will have two months to go. By the time this post becomes public I should be very near last years total views. Things have really picked up, and that makes writing fun. As long as it is still fun, and people are still reading I will keep doing this. It is hard to come up with a photo that I think I should show the public every day of the year. That does keep me creating though which is a good thing. Looking back at what I wrote on that first post four years ago it really makes me realize just what I have accomplished in four years. I went from having no access to anything to photographing things that I never thought I would get access to. Every time that I think the next level is out of reach I somehow end up there. Next year I may do something really cool for the fifth anniversary of the blog, and it will be very interesting to me what I am doing in a year. At the rate that things are moving even I do not have a clue right now. It is not lost on me just how far I have come. When I started this course I knew that I would have to be patient as it would not be easy. For some reason the early stretch came fairly easy with just a few bumps in the road. Every time that a door closed though something better came available to me. This would be a great place to share some news about next year, but I will sit on that for a while longer.Stay tuned to the blog.

Thanks for reading this little blog. It means the world to me that people actually care what I have to say.

 

Nine Years Ago Today I Started My First Blog

It is hard to believe it, but nine years ago today I started my first blog. I was super excited about some photos I was getting with my dSLR, and I wanted to come up with a way to show some of them off. Looking back on the photos that I was proud of is kind of hard. They are not very good compared to what I can make now. I got a lot of support though so it took me a long time to figure out that the photos were not very good. You can see the very first post that I made on that blog here. I have not really actively posted on it for a while now, but I can’t bring myself to delete it. I think I will just leave it up as a way to show just how far you can come in a short period of time. I basically spent the first few years of the blog doing the same thing with my camera not understanding why my shots would be good at times, and terrible other times. I shot in TV mode which at the time I did not understand was shutter priority mode. I was letting the camera make some of the decisions for me, and that was why my shots could be hit or miss. In 2011 that all changed and I took up photography as a serious hobby. Sometimes I still can’t believe that it turned into even more than that. This weekend is a busy one for me so I won’t have much time to think about that. It will be all about making the best images that I can for the teams that have hired me.

Making the Photo Above

The shot above was one of my favorite shots for a long time. Kory Sheets was in the midst of stretching for a touchdown against Ball State. He would score, and my photo would be one that I would look to as something that I could do from the stands. When I opened the issue of Gold and Black Illustrated the following week I would see a photo of the exact same moment that Tom Campbell had made. That was all I needed to see to know that I made a good picture. Of course Tom was on the field where the photos are a little harder to get. You have more things going against you on the field to making a good picture. In the stands you just have to worry about the over zealous fan jumping up a bit too early and getting in your frame. That actually happened here so I had to crop part of the right side out. In the end though I had minimal gear making photos that I liked at the time. As I think about it now that is the perfect way to be. I was perfectly happy with what I was doing not knowing just how addicting shooting from the sidelines could be.

A Little Throwback Data

This photo was made with my Canon Rebel XT camera with the 75-300mm lens on it. Fully zoomed out I was shooting at f/5.6. It is amazing how far cameras have come in a short time. The Rebel had a whopping 8mp. Even with that said the file does not look too bad even cropped down here. That 75-300mm lens is one that I rarely use now. I think that I have picked it up once in the last four years. With that said though it got the job done that I needed it to when I used it. I think that I may attend an event for fun this year and bring this old equipment to see what I can get with it. It would be the ultimate experiment. Of course I would probably not like the 3 frames per second and the small LCD screen. Maybe I will just wonder what I could do with it instead.

John Smoltz pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals on August 28, 2009 at Busch Stadium

Looking Back at the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015

This is the second year in a row when I have really watched the entire careers of the whole class. I remember collecting the baseball cards of these guys as they started their careers. I have seen three of the four play in person. Randy Johnson was the one player that I never saw play, but I do remember watching his games on TV. As a lefty myself I always take an interest in a lefty that is doing well. Randy is also a photographer which is something that he has always talked about, but I did not know about it until the last year or so. Pedro Martinez was a fun pitcher to watch. He was a force back in the day for the Red Sox. For some reason when I saw him play the White Sox though he would look very human. I remember Joe Crede seemed to have his number. I have the above photo of John Smoltz from a game I saw him pitch on my birthday in 2009. He was a member of the Cardinals to close out his career, and a rain day at work allowed me to make the trip a day early to see the Cardinals play the Nationals. I knew that I would be watching a special player. Six years later we know that he was special enough to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. As a photographer I am not supposed to have favorites. As a kid I did not have that problem. From the moment I first saw him play I liked Craig Biggio. He was just that guy that would do anything to get the win. He was a player that was not afraid to get dirty, and it didn’t hurt that he played catcher. Of course since that time he moved around the field a little. It is a shame that his only chance at a World Series title happened the same year that my White Sox were in the series. If it had comes against any other team I would have been rooting for him to get the title. This past season I was very fortunate to be able to photograph both of his kids while they were playing for Notre Dame. I really have a problem with the Hall of Fame committee at times. I don’t know why a guy like Craig was not a first ballot guy. The politics and games that the voters play can be irritating sometimes. No matter though as he is now part of a very good Hall of Fame class. Although he would have been part of a pretty good class last year as well.

Looking Back at Your Older Photos

As I said above I made this photo in 2009. This was a period of time when I knew that I enjoyed making photos, but I was lacking some key knowledge that would have made them better. I would shoot in TV mode which is shutter priority mode. Sometimes my photos would come out okay, and sometimes they would not. I could freeze the moment, but my settings would sometimes fail me. I shot this with my camera that I used for five years. I had the Canon Rebel XT. My lens of choice for action at the time was my 75-300mm lens that would lose a couple of stops as I zoomed in. Night games were always a problem, but that is what makes a photo like the one above that worked so special. It is at times like this when I look back that I realize how far I have come in a short period of time. I found photography later in life. I wish that I had found it earlier for moments like the one above. Although had I found it earlier I would not have been there at that time.

Meeting Queen Elsa

Of course with a six year old on our trip the highlight was meeting Queen Elsa and her sister Anna. If you have tried to do this than you know that it is the hottest ticket around right now. The FastPass opportunities go faster than the hottest concert ticket. We lucked out, and found a good time to meet them without spending hours in line. On the last day of our trip we even were able to see Elsa sing her song ‘Let It Go’, and it was a singalong! Disney really does do a great job of making the kids dreams come true. Meeting Elsa and signing with her was a dream come true. I think our six year old enjoyed it as well.

Using the Canon 75-300mm Lens

I took along the Canon 75-300mm lens thinking that it would have one use. I would use it to get up close during the Indiana Jones stunt show. I had not used the lens in almost three years after getting better glass. A small scratch on the front element also made it one to put aside. For this though it would be perfect. I would not need one of my long lenses, and on the Canon 7D Mark II it would work out perfect. As it turned out the only time I used it on the trip was to make this photo of Elsa from the crowd. It is funny how things work out. Using it though made me think that it still has a place in my lens lineup. I may give it another try this weekend. The very first post on this blog was a photo of Danny Anthrop playing for Central Catholic, and it was made with this lens. It served a great purpose for me for many years, but I felt that I had outgrown it. I wanted the depth of field of something faster. When you don’t need that though I think that it can still work. It is also easier to sneak into venues.