Merry Christmas to Me

Christmas started early for me and I am very excited about the possibilities it portends. So far I have received a 7′ octabank; a photogenic powerlight 600 with stand; a microsync wireless set for the light; and a sigma 24-70 f2.8. Hooray shiny new gear!

New gear always makes me want to go out and use it right away. Unfortunately, with the holiday season upon us the timing is a bit off. I don’t see a big push for portraits happening the week before Christmas. I do plan on brining the gear with me on our holiday trip to visit family. All the little cousins will make for great guinea pigs.

The lens I have already put to good use. I left Precision with it in my possession and headed straight for a real estate job. Having the ability to step across the street and zoom to the front elevation of a house – cropping the street, compressing the image, leveling the perspective – is truly essential for quality real estate photography. Also, I’ll be able to get those detail shots in custom homes. Shooting at 24 on a crop sensor worked for most listings, but it just can’t compare to the 50-70mm range from distance.

Last night, I used the lens to photograph the Texas men vs Lipscomb. Felt a bit strange shooting so wide – and the zoom ring is backwards for Nikon (not sure what Sigma was thinking) – but overall things are looking great. I need more experience with it in sports situations to really get a feel for how best to use it. I’ve been shooting with just the 80-200 for so long I’ve forgotten how to see through another lens.

So, new gear means exciting new possibilities on the horizon for me and my photography. But first, probably some more testing with my personal test-monkey.

Test Monkey

My photo assistant in training learning how to do the mid-air test shot.

Posted in Photography, Portrait, Real Estate, Sports

HMS Portraits

This year I have the privilege of being the school photographer for my son’s Montessori school – Hawthorne Montessori School. Today and tomorrow I am working on getting an individual – and some sibling/friend – portrait for each child in the school. Ages range from 6mo. to 6yrs. So far, its been pretty fun. Here are a few preview images – all shot with available light, d7000, 80-200 f2.8.

calvin

declan

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kennedy

Posted in Photography, Portrait

Butter Half

A while back I donated a portrait session for a silent auction at my son’s Montessori school. It was purchased by the Nana of his best friend that he has known since he was a few months old. She requested the two of them in front of a mural in Austin – something that said ‘I Love You’. I settled on ‘You’re My Butter Half’ – located across the street from Bennu on east MLK. The shoot started rough – hot/humid afternoon and no naps for either model – but once they realized they could roll down the grassy slope things improved. Here’s the set-up shot – with both models and my trusty assistant/model wrangler. No lights/reflectors, 17-55 f2.8 (later 80-200 f2.8) on a d7000. I’ll post edits once  have them.

CAM00671

Posted in Photography

The Cover Shot

Today was my first cover photo assignment. USA Today Sports Weekly is running regional covers for their NCAA Basketball preview and Texas is a choice for this region. It was a very low budget shoot so nothing spectacular but still pretty fun for me. I don’t often get a chance to break out my lighting gear so any opportunity is welcome. For this shoot, I used two sb800’s with umbrellas. The d7000 command mode worked very nicely – for once. I learned that the sb strobes don’t put out nearly as much light as larger strobe heads so I’m expecting to do quite a bit of exposure compensation in photoshop. I did like several of the shots as far as pose and facial expression so I am hopeful for the final edits. I’m not going to post those here – don’t want to jump the gun on the issue coming out – but I do have a shot of my simple set up (I ended up moving over to the longhorn at mid-court for the actual shoot). I’ll post a link later to the image used if it runs and is available online.

CAM00666

Posted in Photography, Sports

ODU at Rice FBC 9/20/14

This weekend was my first paid football gig of the season. I travelled to Rice in Houston for Old Dominion’s first football game as a C-USA team – and they got the current C-USA champs at home. Not the most favorable of conditions. ODU certainly rose to the occasion, however, winning 45-42 on a last second field goal. Overall, a great game with plenty of action and nice weather.

I find that my timing improves if I only have to focus on one team – as opposed to working for USA Today Sports, when I am covering the event. That little bit of extra stress feeling like I have to cover both sides of the ball makes all the difference. In all, I am very pleased with the images I made this weekend. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to do the same this season.

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BPM_7456

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Posted in Photography, Sports

Opening Weekend, Day 2

Day 2 of the first weekend of my sports season was a busy one. It started with soccer – Whitworth women at Southwestern. Despite the clouds and humidity it was a great day for soccer and soccer photography.

After soccer, I had time to run home for lunch before heading out to pick up my creds for the weekend at Texas an shoot some real estate. The it was on to San Marcos for more Wichita State volleyball – v North Texas. The game went to 5 sets – a bit longer than I had anticipated, but as with last night I feel pretty good with the pictures.

Tomorrow is football – BYU at Texas – and then more soccer on Sunday – Montana at Texas. A very good start to the sports season so far.

Posted in Photography, Sports

And so it begins…

Remember when I said I am not a sports photographer? And then I said it again? Well, I won’t bother saying it anymore. Tonight I officially began my sports photography season with a volleyball match at Texas State – Wichita State v Baylor. The venue was a bit on the dark side, but with plenty of room to work and the help of some nice gear I think I made some good pictures. Tomorrow, I shoot soccer in the morning and more volleyball in the evening. Then on Saturday it’s football time. Add one more potential soccer match on Sunday and this opening weekend is looking pretty good.

 

Posted in Sports

Sunrise over Austin

Today I made my first attempt at a 15-hour time lapse sequence of downtown Austin. I stationed myself at Lou Neff Point in Zilker Park at 5:45am. I shot the first frame at 6am. The plan was to continue through sunset to full dark – about 9pm – but too many clouds rolled in and I called it off at 8:45am. Still, I captured a fantastic sunrise over downtown Austin and the Colorado River. I plan on trying again tomorrow. Here’s what I did today (click here for YouTube video) –

Posted in Photography, Travel, Video

Mueller Sunset time lapse

I just completed my first time lapse attempt. I’ve tested out the settings before, but never really tried capturing an interesting subject.

Mueller has several nice views of downtown. This one is from the top of the parking garage at the Thinkery. I tried a sunset series to practice for an upcoming job – sunrise to sunset at Lou Neff Point – 15 hours of time lapse for use in the Colorado River Alliance’s traveling display on river use in Central Texas.

This is not the best example of time lapse – but I am fairly happy with it as a first attempt. I need to handle the flicker, but I haven’t found the proper software for that yet. Probably need to invest in some heavier software.

Anyway, hope you enjoy.

Posted in Photography, Travel, Video

The “Adult Area”

One of the agents I work with – Kimberly McLaughlin – www.redinaustin.com – has been writing small features on interesting homes in the Steiner Ranch area for a while now. On some of the more unique properties she invites me out for a photo shoot. Last night was one of the best pools I have ever seen: ‘adult area’ with firepit, huge hot tub and tv; ‘kids area’ with full size pool, in-pool seating and waterfall; outdoor kitchen with grill, fridge and built-in cooler. Here is a sneak peek. I’ll post more when I get them edited.

Posted in Photography, Real Estate