Watching the Last Sunset of My Thirties

Last night I finished editing my volleyball photos, grabbed a bite to eat, and started to head back to West Lafayette from Champaign. As I was leaving Huff Hall I noticed a storm was moving in. At the time it was obscuring the sun so I thought that we would not get a good sunset last night. As I was driving down 74 I noticed the sun was back, and making the cloud pink. I got off at the next exit and tried to find something to in the foreground. The large cloud was actually a storm cloud, and lightning would periodically move across the sky. I knew that this was something special so I wanted something interesting in the foreground. I was ready to give up when I saw this road. I thought that it was a perfect way to draw you into the sunset, and with the light fading it was my only hope for a photo. At first I had my car headlights off, but I turned them back on to throw a little light on the road. I think that it really added to the photo. What a great time it was driving down some country roads that I didn’t know with a little Metallica playing a little too loud looking for a subject for my photo. It is not the barn I had in mind, but at the end of the day this might be a better photo than the barn was. I like the idea of wondering what is down this road.

Taking On a New Decade

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a doomsday guy when it comes to age. When the clock struck midnight last night I was officially forty years old. Some people freak out about that, but I don’t. I didn’t feel any different this morning than I did yesterday morning. Actually I was pretty sore, but that was due to standing most of the day and according to my phone climbing 44 flights of stairs at Huff Hall yesterday. I don’t care how old you are that takes a toll on you with all the gear that I carry. I care more about the nice shiny round number of 40. It is something to look at for a couple of days, and then move on. I liked the idea of making one last photo in my thirties. At one point it was going to be a celebration photo of the Xavier volleyball team. This was a cool way to end one decade. It was even better as I have not made many landscape photos this year. I have really gotten away from that. It was great to be back out on a country road finding something that catches my eye. Alright enough about birthdays.

A Familiar Tool

As I was thinking about how to process this photo on the way home I knew that I would go a little old school on this photo. On the scene I made three exposures at +2, 0, and -2 thinking that I might use HDR to bring out some of what my eye saw on the scene. As I drove I thought about running the photos through Photomatix Pro. This is a program that every photo that I used to make went through. I would HDR pizza, dogs, and anything else that I saw. I used to be the king of bad HDR photography, and if you dig back far enough on this blog you can see some of those terrible photos. I have gotten a little better with my HDR by cheating the system a bit. I run the photos through Photomatix Pro to combine the three exposures. I then save the 32 bit file, and open it in Lightroom to use the sliders there to tweak the photo. I think that it is a much better way to make an HDR photo, and it looks much more realistic. I have been using Photomatix Pro for nearly five years now. I think at some point I will use it in some capacity for as long as it runs on my current computer.

One Last Thing

Some people are blessed to find their calling early in life. They go to college with that in mind. I was not so lucky. I found photography late in life. I was 37 years old when I started thinking about making a career in photography. I wish that I had come up with this plan back in college. Think of it. Drew Brees was the quarterback of the Purdue Boilermakers when I was attending school here. How cool would it be to learn photography while photographing Drew? I tell anyone who has even a little interest in photography that is currently a student to take advantage of every opportunity that you have a student in school. You have ways to get access to the things that you want to photograph through a few outlets now. I thought I was crazy switching careers so late in life, but then I read the following list of people who switched gears late in life. I am in no way comparing myself to any of these people. I am just saying that they all set a good example that it is never too late to do what you love. At 40 years old:

  • Samuel L. Jackson had not yet appeared in a movie
  • Lucille Ball had not yet made an episode of I Love Lucy
  • Julia Child was still working in advertising
  • Stan Lee had just published his first comic book
  • Henry Ford had not designed a car yet
  • Rodney Dangerfield was getting no respect for real
  • Bram Stoker was ten year away from publishing Dracula
  • George Eliot had not yet published a novel
  • Vera Wang was not yet a designer
  • Sam Walton was four years away from opening the first Wal-Mart
  • Betty White would not get her big break for eleven more years

Thankfully I found photography because I don’t know who would shop at Weg-Mart.

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A Look Down the Chicago River Back Into Chicago

This week has been full of rain outs and shoots that I do not blog about. With that in mind I have not had a lot of new content to post this week. For the second straight day I have pulled a shot out of the archives from 2012 to post. At the time I was posting a new photo everyday so I was making a lot of photos. Not all of them made the blog so I had a lot of shots that just sat in my archive with no real purpose. I will occasionally go back and find a folder and mine a few good shots out of it to use in the future on the blog. At times like this it is a good thing that I have a few photos ready to go. Hopefully I will have a baseball photo to post for you tomorrow, but right now that is not looking good.

The Canon 60D

This photo was made with my Canon 60D. In the fall of 2011 I bought the camera as I was getting more into photography. It was far better than anything that I had used before, and I was thrilled with it. This camera would make some of my early successful pictures so it always has a special place for me. I am sure that I am way over the shutter count that it is rated for, but it still performs well. I still get it out from time to time when I am putting up a remote camera. This camera does not have the FPS that my current cameras do, but it taught me to anticipate the action. That has helped me over the course of the last few years. The FPS is nice, and I use it all the time. I still like to time my shots though. The FPS can help me with the aftermath of the play.

The Tamron 10-24mm Lens

This was the also the first weekend that I was able to make photos with my new Tamron 10-24mm lens. That Tamron lens would get a lot of use over the next couple of years mostly paired with the Canon 60D. It was with that pairing that I made my first successful sports photo. A wide angle shot of Ross-Ade Stadium that I still see is being used for the promotion of Purdue Football. That photo is nearly three years old, but I still see it pop up from time to time. At some point this summer I need to get this combo back out to make some photos just to prove that it is not the camera and lens all of the time. The right camera is the one that you have with you.

The MiLB Photos of the Week

For the second time this season I have some photos in the MiLB photos of the week. Last year I was lucky enough to win the MiLB Photo of the Year, and my challenge to myself this year was to make it into the Photos of the Week each week. This week I have three photos in the gallery. You can view that gallery here.  It is a huge honor to have my images in the gallery with some great baseball photographers. Over the last couple of weeks my status for the season may have changed a bit. I will have a lot more free time to go out and visit other MiLB parks this summer. This could  be a great year to see some baseball all over the Midwest.

Walking Around Campus in the Fall

Sunday morning I was on the campus of Purdue for a photo shoot, and after the shoot was over I spent some time walking around the campus. It is funny how when I visit another school I spend time walking their campus, but I don’t just walk around at Purdue very often. It really is a beautiful campus, but I think I don’t walk around Purdue much because it is always there. It is one of those things that you can do tomorrow. Sometimes though you have to make tomorrow today and just do it. I really need to make more time to explore the campus that is right in my backyard.

One Last Soccer Match

Tonight I will be in Bloomington to watch Purdue battle Indiana for the Golden Boot. If the weather cooperates I may walk the campus a little before the match. One of my Twitter friends who photographs for IU has been posting some great fall photos from the campus. Hopefully tomorrow I have a photo with Purdue holding the boot, and then some photos of another campus in the fall following that.

Photographing the Beautiful Fall

This year it seems as if the leaves have finally turned at once. On my way to and from Indiana State Saturday I was treated to a show of colors. I pulled off the highway a few times to try and capture some of that. Of course I have become quite a bit of a snob lately so just a group of trees will not do. I need something in front of that group. Here this interesting textured barn does the trick for me. I made a few pictures on the way home, but I think I may wait to edit some of them. They might be just the thing that I need to see this winter when it is cold and colorless outside. A few fall photos to edit will be a nice way to brighten my day.

Indianapolis Indians catcher Elias Diaz dumps ice on Josh Bell after Bell won a 13 inning game with a walkoff. It was the first Triple A game of Bell's career. Dave Wegiel/Pinola Photography

2015 MiLB Photo of the Year

Today is the last day to vote for the photo above of Josh Bell getting an ice bath on MiLB.com. I made many baseball photos that I liked this season, but this was the one selected by MiLB.com for their contest. I have not had an update since Saturday, but I was neck and neck with another photo for first place. You can vote as many times as you wish, but any votes you could give the photo here would be appreciated. Thanks again for all of the votes that you have given me over the course of this contest.

The Hidden Gems of the Intercontinental Hotel

Last weekend many things stood out to me about the Intercontinental Hotel. One of them was this great way to showcase the wine selection above the Michael Jordan restaurant. Right away I knew that I had a photo here. You have most of the lines of the photo leading you right to the wine at the end of the ‘bridge.’ It was a truly amazing sight that made me want to try one or two of the bottles at the end. Of course it was nine in the morning so I just decided to make a photo. One thing about the older hotels is that everywhere you look there seems to be something amazing around the corner.

Changing Gears

This weekend will be an interesting one. Today as this posts I will be on my way to Terre Haute to cover the football game between the #18 Indiana State Sycamores and #8 North Dakota State. This should be a great game, and I have assignments to cover aspects of the game for both teams. I am sure that you will see photos from that tomorrow. I also plan on doing a little sight seeing on the way there and back. This time of year is beautiful so why not use the drive to make some photos? I am sure that some of those will make their way onto the blog as well over the course of the next week.

2015 MiLB Photo of the Year

I know that I have been spamming my posts each day with a plea to vote for my Josh Bell photo in the MiLB awards, but it really is something that I feel strongly about. Voting continues over the course of the next week, and the result could have a bearing on what I do next summer. I am not one who cares much about awards, but this one could lead to much more. If you have a minute please vote for my celebration photo here. I promise that I will stop spamming my own posts in a couple of days when the voting finishes.

The Sun Sets Over Chicago

Earlier this summer I had the good fortune to spend a night with some great photographers in the city of Chicago. The clouds that had followed me into the city that day disappeared before the sun set. As a photographer you are a fickle sort of person. You want clouds at certain times of the day, and then you want them to leave at others. You always want some sort of clouds at sunset. They are the canvas on which the light will paint. Sometimes you don’t get what you want so you have to make the best of it. Here I used an HDR technique to shoot directly into the sun and get a cool result. You don’t need the detail of the buildings to know that this is Chicago. That is the beauty of shooting the skyline. I think that this shot was one that I liked, but would never have seen the light of day had it not been for the people walking in the sunlight. They bring a little perspective into the scene that really makes it for me.

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.

“Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda”

A few days ago I posted a little bit about this statue at the entrance to Millennium Park. The statue is called “Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda,” and was created by Juame Plensa. You may know some of his other work in the park like the Crown Fountain that is right next to this. Juame has a way to capture the human face, and this is certainly a striking way to enter the park.

Looking For Colors That Play Well Together

I like this photo for a couple of reasons. The first is that I like the way that the statue looks in its location. I don’t know that the photo would have made the blog though if not for the way that the yellows and blue play off of each other here. The sun had not risen yet so the sky was very blue yet. It played very well with the yellow lights of the park.

Waiting At The Entrance Of Millennium Park

My last morning in Chicago I walked around making photos. I wanted to get into Millennium Park to photograph the sunrise at the Bean, but I was met with a security guard on a segway who said that the park didn’t open until six a.m. A line started to form, but instead of just standing there I went out to make a couple of photos. I don’t get much time in Chicago so I didn’t want to waste any of the early morning light. I kind of liked this photo of the large head at the entrance of the park looking out towards the city. The yellows and blues play very nice here.

 The Dividing Line of Chicago

One thing that I like about this photo is the fact that you see the North/South dividing line of Chicago. On a weekend with the Crosstown Cup being decided I thought that it was cool to see where the city is divided along those lines. To the left you have the South Side of Chicago, and obviously to the right you have the North Side. The sculpture “Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda” looks down the gap in between the two. I will have a little bit more about the sculpture in a future post.

Seeing the Best of Walter Iooss Jr. and Michael Jordan

Just before going on the photo walk last Monday I went on a little side trip that I have been meaning to take. In front of the field museum they have set up an exhibit of the works of Walter Iooss Jr. He covered Michael Jordan like nobody else did during the career of the greatest basketball player ever. He published a book of his works called “Rare Air” a while back, and this exhibit is called “Open Air.” These are some of the images that I consider iconic. I was very excited to see the exhibit, but I had not had the time to visit it yet. With less than a month to go I finally made it, and it was worth it. If you have some time to kill in the Windy City you should make your way to see this exhibit. Heck make it a reason to head to the Windy City.