Ranking Some of My Favorite Photos From the Past School Year

This was a very interesting year for me. When the year started I thought that I would be doing one thing. I had to quickly come up with another plan. The plan was easy, but getting people to trust in me was another thing. Once the ball got rolling though I started to build up enough credit that by the second semester I was working large events for schools. For the better part of the last ten years my photography has focused on Purdue. With the change came a new role, and that was shooting for other schools often against Purdue. It was interesting to say the least, but at the end of the day you are making photos of a game. It is amazing what I have accomplished in a short period of time. This year has been amazing building relationships that I hope to keep going strong for many years to come. Being a free agent has allowed me to shoot many post season games that I would not normally have shot. What was once a huge negative has now become a big positive. While I was initially against photographing very often off campus I found out that I like the challenge of shooting in new venues. I was able to cross a few items off of my photography bucket list, and I would like to cross a few more off next year. The off season is short. August comes quickly, and with that comes a lot of new opportunities. I am blessed to already have some dates booked for the coming year. Here are my favorite photos from last season.

15. One of the best moments of the year for me was being in Indy to see the Purdue Hockey team win the season ending tournament. They are a great bunch of guys that I loved photographing. Seeing them win their last two games of the year to win it all was pretty cool. I had a wide shot of the whole team with the trophy, but I zoomed in here to get a tight shot around the trophy. I think that it is a bit more powerful.

Lilly Fecho delivers the final pitch of her no-hitter on April 29, 2015

14. This past school year I saw something for the first time. I have never seen no-hitter in person before. I have seen a lot of baseball and softball without ever seeing one. I have been close before, but never saw the pitcher seal the deal. Lilly Fecho did just that to close out the season. It was a great last game for the Boilers. The senior leader hit the home run that was the difference in the game. This was my favorite shot of the day because it tells the whole story.

Matt Hoy with the ball during the NCAA Lacrosse First Round game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Towson Tigers at Arlotta Stadium on May 9, 2015

13. This was the year that I found lacrosse. I had never even seen the sport played before attending my first Purdue lacrosse game. Fast forward a month and I am covering an NCAA Tournament game to Towson. During that game I made this photo of Notre Dame forward Matt Hoy with the ball. I love the details of the photo. I am still learning the sport, but it is a blast to photograph. Continue reading “Top 15 Photos of the 2014-2015 School Year (College)”


A Familiar Arm Pitching For a Familiar Team

For a couple of seasons Jordan Minch was one of my favorite pitchers to photograph. His motion looked good from many angles allowing me to change things up during the season. I was sad to see him leave Purdue early, but he had a pro career waiting for him. He signed with the Cubs, and I hoped that he would end up playing for the South Bend Cubs. Yesterday with their roster announcement I found out that he would be. I will be covering a couple of their games in Fort Wayne coming up, and it would be great to see him back on the mound again.

Going to See the South Bend Cubs

I started going to the minor league games in South Bend in the late 80’s when they came to town as the South Bend White Sox. A few players from those teams made it to the big league club. For some reason the White Sox left town, and the Diamondbacks purchased the club. They renamed the team the Silverhawks, and that is what they stayed for many years. I saw many games at Coveleski Stadium, and I even would go to see the Diamondbacks play just to see some of the young men who I saw in low A ball play in the majors. Now the Cubs have a contract with the South Bend club, and that makes a little more sense. The big league club is just down the road, and fans can relate to the Cubs name. From what I have been told the change has brought increased interest to the club. I have not been to Coveleski Stadium (now Four Winds Field) since I left the area in 2011. This might be the year to head back and see a familiar face pitching. I might want to get up there early though before he moves up a level.

The Many Poses of the House Sparrow

The bird that seems to have gotten used to my presence the most of the house sparrow. They like to perch on the hedges outside of my back window while they wait to get some seed. That gives me a perfect opportunity to get in tight on them. I have already made one post of some of the behavior of this bird. I have had some fun photographing this bird. Lately though I have passed because I have a wide range of photos of it. The amazing thing is that I am shooting with the equivalent of a 960mm lens from not that far away, and this is the view that I get. If I was shooting an athlete at 960mm I would be complaining about the fact that it was too tight. For birds though I could use a little more lens. I think that remote cameras will have to play a part in future bird photos.


The House Finch Visits My Backyard

What a turnaround this week has been on the blog. After a couple of days of hard hitting hockey action we return to the birds of the backyard. I really think that shooting these little birds in my backyard has helped me shooting the large athletes. I made this photo a couple of weeks ago when the weather was not so good. The birds came to me so I had something to photograph when I normally would not have. I saw a couple of house finch’s early in the winter, but it was a while before they came back. I tried a couple of bad angles out of my back window to capture them, but the optics just don’t work very well at an extreme angle. Luckily with a little patience the birds flew to an area where I could photograph them. With wildlife photography patience is the key. I have learned to wait until the shot presents itself instead of forcing the action.

The House Sparrow in Winter

The most frequent visitor to my backyard studio is the house sparrow. They are also the birds that will come the closest to me. They have realized that the man holding the large camera will not hurt them. They just let me photograph them from about ten feet away without worrying too much. The good thing about that is that it allows me to throw on a teleconverter to get in tight on these little birds. The photo above was made with a 2x converter on my 300mm lens. That is combined with the shots being made with my Canon 7D Mark II which has a 1.6x crop factor to it. That means that I am basically using a 960mm lens to photograph the bird from up close. As you can see they barely fill the frame. The good news is that they do come close enough for me to capture this way.

Bonus House Sparrow Photos

Below are a few extra shots of the house sparrow. As I said above this bird is the one that I see the most in my backyard. That means that I probably have more shots of it than anything else. Here are a few that I made at the same time as the photo above.

Continue reading “My Backyard Birds: The House Sparrow”

Photographing From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Part of the fun of this project is the fact that I can do it from my house. The success rate is not very high so it would not be fun if I had to drive a long way to make the photos. As it is I can take a break from editing to make some photos out of my window. It is a welcome break, and a way to make the most out of the winter. After spending some time photographing birds a basketball player seems pretty big, and easy to shoot. This may be the best practice that could have thought of.

Bonus Photos

Here are a couple of other photos that I made yesterday of this bird.


More Fun on the Wabash River

Yesterday I went back to the Wabash a couple of times. The first was at first light in the morning. With no signs of life I decided to try again in the afternoon. I did see a couple of eagles in the afternoon, but they were out of camera range. I did have some fun photographing some herons as well as some sea gulls that were fishing in the river. An unexpected development was a squirrel that ran in front of me. It hid behind a tree, and I guessed where it might pop out. I guess right, and I made the photo. It was a nice keeper from a day that did not have many.

Using the Sigma 2x Teleconverter

I shot everything yesterday with the Sigma 2x teleconverter on my Sigma 300mm lens. There had been a point where I quit using it thinking that it made my images a little soft. This was not for pay though so I did not mind a little test. I found that on the LCD screen that the photos looked alright for the most part. When I pulled them up in Lightroom I noticed that they did look a little soft. I think that for now the 2x tele will be retired. It does get me much closer to the action. It does get me about 288mm farther than the 300mm with the 1.4x converter on it coupled with the 1.6x crop factor on the Canon 7D II. That is quite a bit. If the images are not sharp though it is not worth it. Tomorrow I will try again with the 1.4x converter on the lens.

Sometimes There Just Isn’t a Category For Photos

I have a folder that I throw all of the photos that I don’t think fit the other categories that I have for my blog. It has been called posts, but maybe it should be called the potpourri category. I guess I could stretch things to fit the photos into the other categories, but they probably would get lost in the shuffle. Here are the fourteen photos that I liked the best from the other category this year.

14. 2014 was a year that saw me cover many Purdue baseball games. It was a very rewarding year for sure. Just like any young boy I collected baseball cards as a kid. I was very pleased that many of the baseball cards that Purdue gave out as part of a promotion had my photos on them. When the first set came out I made the photo that is at the top here. The bottom photo was one that I made as part of a photo essay for a weekend series. I know that it is an overused concept, but I like the photo. I wanted something for the page cover, and this worked out perfect.

13. Whenever we visit Ocean City, Maryland we visit Hooper’s Crab Shack. It is a very unique building that has seen me make a few pictures in and around it over the years. This small scene was just over our table, and I made the photo with my G16.

12. This year I covered the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls scrimmage at OutFest. As we were leaving the light was beautiful so I stepped behind the band playing to make this photo. It was just about at that time when all of the light evens out so things really can look great. I am glad that I walk back a bit to make this photo.

11. The LaPorte County Museum has a lot of classic cars as well as memorabilia from LaPorte’s past. I have photographed the cars before so this past January I decided to focus on parts of the cars. This classic Tucker was one of my favorites.

10. This year I was lucky enough to get to visit the old Purdue power plant before it was torn down. I went in with a Purdue photographer to make some backgrounds for future projects. This was one of my favorite photos from the day. Continue reading “Top 14 Potpourri Photos of 2014”

My Top Ten Favorite Softball Photos of 2014

I did not shoot much softball this past year. I basically shot the season ending series for Purdue against Minnesota, and one of the fall games this year. That is a shame because I really enjoy softball. It was one of those years where it seemed as if every baseball home game coincided with a softball game. Softball is a fast, fun sport to cover. It is much like volleyball where every pitch can have emotional moments as the teams will give some sort of yell. I did not cover much softball this season, but I had a great time when I did. I don’t know how much softball I will cover in the coming year. Hopefully it is more than I did this past season. There is a softball diamond just down the road from my house. I have no real excuse for not shooting more this season.

10. This may be my favorite fielding photo of the season. Softball is much different than baseball when it comes to approaching getting this kind of a shot. When I shoot a baseball game I rely on the coaches to see where they think the ball is going to go. In softball that does not happen as much. The ball gets there much quicker too so you have to react to what the player that you are sitting on does at the crack of the bat. Of course while you are doing all of this you are not watching the batter so the ball may be coming right at you.

9. I put this photo into the countdown because of what it took to get it. Next season the Purdue softball team will play in a new stadium. That may be a good thing because to get this angle in the old stadium I had to squeeze into a spot in between the bleachers and the Purdue dugout. There is barely enough room to hold the camera up to get the shot. In the new stadium I assume that I will have no trouble getting to this new spot as it should be seating. The location did give me a great shot of the first baseman making the play.

8. Purdue was an interesting team to shoot. Their top two pitchers threw with opposite hands. Sometimes I would want to move across the diamond quickly after a pitching change. When I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be I would have to stop to make the photo that I could. This was from the little niche on the first base side of the stadium. It was not quite as tough to get into as the one that I talked about above. I had a few more inches of room which made all the difference here. For some reason this is the part of Lilly Fecho’s motion that I liked the best.  Continue reading “Top Ten Softball Photos of 2014”