The Start of a Game In The McLeod Center

Last year I had a cool opportunity. During a break in the MVC Track and Field Championships I walked down a hallway from the stadium I was in, and into the McLeod Center. This is a really cool basketball arena that had not yet been built the last time that I was on the campus of Northern Iowa. The Northern Iowa Panthers have some very cool facilities, and this is one of them.

Creating The Tilt Shift Look

In the past you had to buy extra software to make the tilt shift look in your photos. Either that or actually buy or rent a tilt shift lens. I don’t know how I missed it, but Photoshop now has some cool tools to re-create the tilt-shift look. This was my attempt to use the software for the first time and play around a bit. I would like to mess around with this a little more.

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My 17 Favorite Stadium Shots of 2017

2017 was a fun year for me traveling around making sports photos in different venues. I travelled to nine states this year to make sports pictures. Many of those trips make their way into this list as they were memorable venues. This list has moments of action in it, but a lot of it represents my first few moments in a new stadium. I like to get there early and then find a way to show the venue that I am shooting in.

17. This year the Purdue softball stadium finally received a name. It was christened Bittinger Stadium. That seemed to coincide with me getting some time to fly my drone around. I went out to the stadium one day to make a photo of the stadium at sunset. I liked how this turned out. I was really looking forward to making many pictures in this stadium this year, but it just didn’t work out that way. Maybe the new year will bring a few more games here.

16. For the second straight year I helped cover the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. This time it was the women who made their way to West Lafayette. At the start of a race I had an idea to show off the aquatic center. I used my 8-15mm to get ultra wide to show off quite a bit of the venue.

15. I had a similar thought during the 2017 MVC Track and Field Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Thirteen years prior I saw a spring football game in this venue when I lived in Iowa. It was cool to come back and shoot there for Indiana State. I wanted to show just how cool this building was so I broke out the 8-15mm lens again. It was a long distance race so I had plenty of time to change lenses and find my composition.

14. I like this photo for what it means in many ways. It is a blue hour photo of an Indiana State pitcher throwing to a Purdue batter. The top of the photo is blue and the bottom has the yellowish tint from the lights. I used to shoot for the gold team (Purdue), but now I shoot much more for the blue team (Indiana State). My past and my present all in one very cool looking picture.

13. Speaking of the past Purdue did a fantastic job of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mackey Arena last year. They took the traditional opening and amped it up quite a bit. When the floor came to life and dropped away I was immediately blown away. Without any knowledge prior to the event I was caught off guard. I raced up to a higher position to make a few photos of the show. This one just at the end of introductions was my favorite. The basketball experience at Purdue has grown by leaps and bounds since I last sat in the stands. It is amazing just how far things have come in such a short time. Mackey will show up again on this countdown. Continue reading “Top 17 Stadium Shots of 2017”

My 17 Favorite Sports Photos of 2017

Today I shoot my first sporting event of 2018. After shooting 106 sporting events last year I have a lot to live up to this year. Last year I shot practices, regular season games, conference championships, NCAA Regional events, and NCAA Championships. It was an amazing year, and I don’t list those things off to brag. I list them off because a part of me still cannot believe that I am doing this for a living. This year I was paid to travel to nine states to make sports photos. Being paid to travel is cool, but when you are being paid to shoot a sporting event somewhere new it is even cooler. I love being on the road with the team. You get to know everyone much better, and you get to meet some great photographers along the way. Over the last two years I have met some great people who have helped me out a lot on these road trips. The is a hard list to put together. As I said before I shot 106 sporting events last year. Even making a top 106 would be tough as there would be multiple photos from one event that I would like. To boil that down to a top 17 is nearly impossible. I tried to go with the 17 moments or places that stuck out to me. I know that I am missing some for sure. The ISU track meet that they won after coach had just passed is one that seems like a glaring omission. Covering the Purdue baseball team on their return to the Big Ten Tournament is another. It is just hard to whittle it all down to seventeen moments. Here is my attempt at my favorite seventeen photos from last season.

17. I can’t think of many ways that a National Anthem shot would make this countdown. I see so many of them in a year that they start to all blend together for me. While photographing the Indiana State women’s basketball team at Illinois I noticed that the light was amazing. I went from the boring anthem shot that I had planned to this shot. It was not only an anthem shot that I liked, but it was one of my favorite sports shots of the year. This will be hard to top this year. I will scour every anthem during the year though to try and do just that.

16. I really did not cover much softball this season. During one game I knew that I was not shooting for anyone and the photos were just for me. It was then that I started playing around a little. I switched my camera to double exposure mode and started playing. Here I made the first exposure of the dark background and the Purdue P. I then would place a Boilermaker in the empty part of the frame. Maya Hughes seemed to know what I was doing and lean into the photo a bit for me here.

15. This year I covered two teams for Purdue that I had not since 2014. The first was Purdue baseball during a home game in April. I had not shot for the Boilers at home for a long time. I was glad that they won that night, and my gallery could include this shot of two of the players celebrating. This was an amazing year for the team as they exceeded expectations and made it to the Big Ten Tournament. Luckily it was close in Bloomington although I would have driven much farther than that to cover it. On these dark, cold winter days you can’t help but wish for a warm night shooting baseball. This season cannot get here fast enough.

14. Another year has gone by as the photographer for the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls. This is truly the thing that is the most fun to photograph. I was only able to make three of their four games this year as I had other events get in the way. The players are great to me, and you can’t beat the photos. Here two former teammates hug during warmups while skating around the track. What other sport can you make this shot in? Continue reading “Top 17 Sports Photographs of 2017”

My Favorite 17 Indiana State Basketball Photos of the 2016-2017

This past season with the Indiana State basketball team was the first one where I was there from start to finish. There were some very big highs and some lows. It was not the season I thought I was going to see in early December. Sometimes things just don’t work out. This was a fun season to photograph though. This was a hard list to put together not because of a lack of content, but because I had too many moments to show from the year. In the end I just picked some of my favorite photos from the year to share.

17. The countdown starts where the season ended, in St. Louis. I followed the team out onto the floor of the Scottrade Center for their MVC Tournament game against Evansville. I liked this view of Brenton Scott taking the floor. It is the kind of hero shot that I try and make for the players during the season.

16. Head coach Greg Lansing is fun to watch on the sidelines. Here he was perfectly framed for me with the flag in the background. I made this during the first game of the season. During the course of the season I realized that I would have some other good pictures of coach, but this was one that stood out to me.

15. The Butler game was full of great moments. I could probably have filled this countdown up with just shots from that game. I tried to limit that though to spread out some love for the entire season. Here Brenton Scott makes an acrobatic shot when ISU really needed it. I also like how the Hulman Center is shown in the background as well. A good size crowd made me want to shoot a bit wider that game.

14. A nice surprise on the season was the play of freshman Jordan Barnes. This past year the team lost a good point guard in Everett Clemons, but the future at that spot looks great with Jordan leading the team. As a true freshman he really showed the ability to lead this team.  Continue reading “Top 17 Indiana State Basketball Photos of 2016-2017”

Heading to Cedar Falls, Iowa

One draw to shoot these championships besides the obvious action was a return to Iowa for me. A little over ten years ago I moved away from Iowa looking for what I wanted to do with my life. Being a manager in a factory was not for me. That road away from Iowa directly led to the road back there a few years later. I was about an hour from where I used to live in a familiar place. Our driver Bill made sure that we got there safely on our charter.

Slowing Things Down Again

Early on during day one there was only the Heptathlon in progress. With warm ups under way for the long jump I really had nothing to photograph. I decided to play around with some slow shutter speeds from across the arena to see what I could come up with. I really liked the way that the background blurs into a series of colors here. This was a fun idea, and a great way to kick things off for the tournament. I wanted to get the usual shots during the weekend, but I also wanted to create some special images. It was a way to show the special nature of the conference tournament. This was a great way to start off making those images.

Getting Inside the Cage

I knew that I wanted to put a remote inside the throw cage during the tournament. After some negotiations by my SID I was allowed to place a remote in the cage in a specific place. The camera is not the safest in the cage so I put a couple of old, but trusty pieces of equipment inside. I placed my 5D Mark III and my Tamron 10-24mm lens on my Joby Gorrilapod in such a way that I could get the field in the background with the large scoreboard as well. I like the way that the remote provides a clean background when often the straight on shot does not. The unique nature of the building also helps the shot out. Continue reading “The 2017 MVC Track and Field Championships Day One”

Michigan Wins the Day and the 2017 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships

Going into the final day of the Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships I would say that both Michigan and Indiana were the two favorites to win the title. On Saturday night Michigan was the better team, and they cruised to the title. This is my second year covering the Big Ten Swimming Championships as I covered the men’s last year. This is a great event to cover as you have high emotion for four straight days. You can’t beat that. I am sure that this time next year I will be wondering why I am not going to wherever they are holding the Big Tens. It is a great way to spend a few days.

Getting Up Close and Personal

I made a point to take my 8-15mm lens to the final day to allow me to get a little closer to the action. When the final scrum happened last year I was right up against the athletes, and I wanted something that would help me capture the scene. As the final races were ready to start I had my two full frame cameras on my body with the 24-105 on one, and the 8-15 on the other. This would allow me to capture a wide range of scenes. The 8-15mm gave me another different look after four days of shooting. In those four days I don’t think that I ever used the same combination of cameras and lenses twice. I was trying to change up my look as well as how I had to shoot from day to day. I didn’t want to keep sending in photos that looked the same.

What to Do Next?

For the last few weeks I have had a very light sports schedule. This championship allowed me to really get my feet wet again both literally and figuratively. The next couple of weeks will be busy as well with two more conference championships to cover. For some reason people shy away from these events, but I love them. When I played sports way back when I would always play better after I got going a bit. Getting immersed in a tournament like this is a great way to keep going and challenging yourself. I usually get very busy in March, but this year that was moved up by a couple of weeks. This could be an interesting month or so for me. There are a lot of great shots ahead, and I have to keep moving to improve myself. I also have to get out and fly the quadcopter a bit as I only flew it once last week.

The Week in Photos

After not having a lot of sports in my weekly collection of photos I have a majority of the collection as sports photos here. This was a week full of celebrations as well as the sports moments. I shot two Valentine’s Day parties as well as the events surrounding the 8th birthday of my step-daughter. I love being swamped, and I was that for sure this week. You can view some of my favorite photos from the past week here on my Exposure page.

Thinking Back to Ocean City on a Winter Day

Each year I try and hold back a few photos from out time in Ocean City to edit in the winter. As the weather gets bad I want to have some nice warm photos to edit. This photo from a warm morning sunrise at the Ocean City pier is one of those. I just kind of left it in a folder to process when I felt that I needed a warm morning to do so. I love spending my mornings with the surf coming up to greet me. There is something about being there in pitch black, and leaving with the warm sun kissing you. I cannot wait to spend some time down there again this coming summer. I can feel the sand in my toes now just thinking about it.

Stretching Out the Waves

As I was photographing the pier that morning I wanted to show just how great the surf looked at my feet. I put my 8-15mm lens on my full frame camera to get an extreme wide angle look at the situation. With the pier in the distance I was probably at 14-15mm to limit the warping of the pier. Lightroom can help me fix that in post to a degree anyway. I took the camera off of the tripod and brought it down closer to the surf to get the look that you see above. That 8-15mm lens helped me stretch out the surf right in front of me a little bit. It gave me the look that I wanted for this photo. I wanted you to be able to feel the surf just as I did that morning. I love the ocean, and I cannot wait to get back.

My Favorite Photos From 2016

I went through the editing process on this photo in order to use it in my year end best of posts. I have had it in mind to edit, but I wanted to wait until a cold day to do so as I said above. I just like working on warm weather photos when it is cold outside. It is a little tip to get through winter. If you have not seen my best of 2016 Exposure page yet you can find that here. You can also check out the Best of 2016 category on the side bar for all of my blog posts going through my favorite images from this past year.

Mackey Looks Great For the Annual T-Shirt Game

Yesterday was a great day to make photos of Mackey Arena. The yearly t-shirt game is one that I always make a point to attend. Thankfully it was on a day that I could this year. I had a dinner lined up with my family at night, but I could still photograph the opening moments of the game to get the great look of Mackey with a cool design. Purdue Athletics if you have not noticed has really stepped things up that last few years. They have great promotions, and some great ideas to come out of them. The t-shirt game is one of those things that has been a tradition for me to photograph every since this blog was about my photo 365 project. That first design which I called the bumblebee is still my favorite. This one worked very well too. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for next season. With that said we can still look at a few photos from the game today.

The Boilermaker Light Show

This year another great idea was the light show that the fans put on before each game. I have not really taken the time to properly photograph it yet. The last few times I was in the arena I was shooting for the other team. I decided that with the great pattern as my background that it would be a great day to photograph it. I came up with a few photos that I liked from the light show, but the one above might be my favorite. It does not show off the lights as well as it could, but it does make this arena look spectacular. I love shooting in Mackey Arena, and I really need to do it more often. I had someone tell me that I didn’t care about Purdue basketball because I left when the game started yesterday. I think it is quite the opposite. I had something going on, but I made an effort to come down to just shoot the pregame. The baselines were so packed yesterday that I feel that so many images were made of the game that mine really were not needed. The pregame show was worth the long walk up and down the hill for.

The Boiler Brass Lights It Up

Last night the Boiler Brass came to the game wearing their neon. They looked great with the lights on, but when the lights went off they stole the show. The band really does make the college atmosphere the best atmosphere, and the Boiler Brass helps make Mackey the tough place that it is to play in.

Change of Plans

Prior to the game I went up scouting a location to shoot the anthem and the start of player introductions. I always end up picking the section that I used to sit in when I had season tickets. I started up the section to my spot when I saw Purdue designer and photographer Paul Sadler up there. If you don’t know Paul he is the one who designs a bunch of the great things that you see come out of Purdue including I would guess the pattern I was there to photograph. I was still going to shoot from that section, but then I realized that we would basically have the same photo. No reason for that so I moved over about a quarter of the arena to start things off. The photo above as well as the photo leading off the post were made from that new position. There is nothing wrong with getting a different view of things.

The Week in Photos

This week was a fun week. After a long layoff I was finally able to shoot swimming again. This past year or so has been fun getting to know some of the people at Xavier. I was also able to shoot my first Purdue women’s game on the right side of the court in over a month. Of course up above you can see that I had fun shooting the pregame portion of the Purdue basketball game yesterday too. When the weather was still good I also was having some fun making photos of our new dog Thor. This coming week will be a good one too. A lot of emotion on tap for Friday. This weekly project of mine is nearly a year old now. You can view my favorite photos from the past week here.

My Favorite Sixteen Photos From 2016

Each year I get another year older, but I get to add a photo to my year end countdowns. It is hard enough to cut photos down to sixteen for my break out categories. To get a list of the sixteen photos that I like the most from 2016 overall is nearly impossible. I decided to go with the photos that I remembered the most, and had a special meaning for me. You can view more of my favorites from the year by clicking here to see my Exposure page. Below are sixteen photos that I believe tell a story about what a fun year this past year was.

16. The countdown starts with a photo before the LaPorte Slicers took on Michigan City for the Duneland Athletic Conference title. Many years ago I played for the Slicers, and it was fun to get back and photograph one of their games. It was even more fun to see them win the conference up close and personal.

Fireworks over Lafayette

15. This year on the Fourth of July I tried to get as high as I could over Lafayette to shoot the fireworks over the city. I set up my camera and listened to some good music as I waited for the fireworks to start. One thing that I like about this photo is the large amount of fireworks from other towns and people in the background. Next year I would like to take my drone up to see what I can do on the 4th.

14. One city that I have seen many pictures of is Austin, Texas. This year I was able to visit the city, but I spent most of my time at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. I did not have time to do the normal sightseeing. One photo that I was able to make that I think sums up the city right now is the one above. The city is growing rapidly. There are new buildings going up everywhere. Here was a view from the building I was staying in downtown.

13. Our trip to Boston this fall was one that let me cross a couple of items off of my long standing travel list. I have been wanting to visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum for quite some time. I know that by reading this blog you know that I am obsessed with sports and photography. I also love learning about the Presidents of the United States. They all have a unique story, and they all end up holding the highest office in the land. Kennedy was one President that I heard a lot about growing up, and it was great to get to visit his library.

12. Speaking of crossing some items off of the bucket list this was a great moment for me. After photographing my first NASCAR race at the track where I watched my first race I was getting in position to photograph victory lane. I looked up and saw my two favorite drivers running side by side coming right at me. Both racers were competing in their last race at the Brickyard, and I was very lucky to get a chance to see them race. It is not the most technically brilliant photo that I made last year, but it was one of those moments that you are thankful for.

11. Each year I make portraits of the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls for their program. My job is very simple that day. I point the camera at them, and let their personalities come out. It is a highlight of the year for me as I can make some great photos. This was one of those moments that you would consider an outtake, but it becomes one of my favorites.  Continue reading “My 16 Top Photos of 2016”