Category Archives: Photography

Terms of Service

These are the basic terms of my photographic services:

  1. I retain copyright to all photographs that I produce.
  2. I assign rights of use for photographs I produce to the client for editorial, informational and marketing purposes.
  3. Client agrees to destroy all copies of the photographs when the agreed upon period of use terminates.
Also posted in Portrait, Real Estate, Sports, Video

The End of the Season

(Note: I started this post several weeks ago. It was already late at that time. Since then I have procrastinated and dealt with a server-wide virus. The virus and resulting fix crashed my site. I am mostly up and running now, so here’s the latest update on things that happened a couple months ago.)

Well, my sports season is at an end. San Antonio lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Texas baseball and softball are out, the closest baseball Super Regional is at TCU – against Texas A&M, so both ‘local’ – and all other sports are finished, elsewhere or not likely.

All in all, Spring 2015 was a crazy sports season for me. I think I covered more NCAA championships this spring then I have in the past year or two combined: basketball in March, gymnastics in April, tennis and track & field in May. All of that on top of a greater than average number of regular sports assignments and a resurgent real estate photography market.

I had a good run this Spring – best that I can remember – and I think that bodes well for the coming Autumn season. Schools are starting to remember me and contact me directly. That is exciting and will be more so if it continues across other sports/seasons. So, here’s to looking forward. I hope I survive a summer without sports…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Sports

Busy April

My March madness extended into April this year. Texas Relays, OU softball and baseball, and NCAA gymnastics – seems like I haven’t had a free weekend for a while now. Which I guess is a good thing, but it sure makes me tired.

The gymnastics was something new and fun. I was nervous going into it – I’ve only ever shot gymnastics once, a few years ago at a men’s tournament in Houston. This time around it was the women’s NCAA Championships in Ft. Worth. 12 teams and various individuals competed during prelims on Friday the 17th for spots in the finals – teams on Saturday and individuals on Sunday. Three teams hired me – one tracking me down on site shortly before their prelim appearance.

The teams took turns at 4 different apparatus (apparently the plural is the same as the singular – go figure) – beam, uneven bars, floor, and vault. I had never shot any of these and so I was not quite sure what to expect. As it turns out, shooting women’s gymnastics was much like the proverbial ‘fish in a barrel’ – at this stage, they are all so good that so long as you have the basic sports timing down you are going to get a good shot. Several good shots, in fact. I posted over 65 images for each team on the first day – my usual for any sport event is 15-30.

One team and 5 individuals advanced to the finals, so my expected one-day trip turned into a three-day weekend in Ft. Worth. Totally worth it – women’s gymnastics is now one of my favorite sports to shoot. And I have a long list of challenges for myself the next time I get the chance.

Here’s a link to a gallery on my Google+ account. Enjoy!

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Also posted in Sports

March Madness 2015

Every year around this time, life gets a little bit crazy. For me, its not just the basketball – though that is a nice perk. Real estate picks up, SXSW comes to town, random jobs fall from the sky – things get crazy in a very good way.

But back to basketball. This year I had the pleasure of being able to follow the Northwestern State Lady Demons through their participation in the first round of the championships at Baylor. They drew the short straw and faced Baylor in their first game – an almost certain early exit – and they wanted to make sure they had every moment captured. They brought me up for practice on Thursday, let me into the locker room, and pulled me aside at random moments for a quick posed shot – including one in the final minutes of the game while they were sitting on the bench. And I must say – while they were definitely prepared to lose to an overwhelming Baylor team – and did so by 41 points – they certainly didn’t play like it. They kept the pressure up for the full 40 minutes and had they been able to shoot better than 24% the game would have been much closer. Still probably a loss.

One other note – Northwestern State is a repeat client and a great group of people to work with. I’ve covered their men’s basketball at the NCAA tournament in 2013, their  women’s volleyball at the NCAA tournament in 2014 and now this. I’m hoping this trend continues.

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Also posted in Sports

Thanks Alot, SXSW 2015

 

 

I’ve never been that into SXSW. No real reason – its just not my scene. Even with the interactive aspect and all the cool tech I still find it hard to get past the crowds and hype and media overload. That being said, I have no problem accepting a job that takes me into the heart of the fray. This year, as with last, it was WWE that brought me in. The upside was that I got to follow Hulk Hogan – yes, THAT Hulk Hogan – around for half a day and it turns out he is a very entertaining person. He knows how to talk and work a crowd. He’s not all muscles and jock-brain; he’s actually an intelligent, well spoken and personable dude. With very large muscles.

Hulk and Mini-Hulk

Hulk and Mini-Hulk

The downside to my experience – aside from simply having to be involved with SXSW – was a massive allergy attack, a potential client (a PR firm) that waited too long to hire me so their client (XPRIZE) hired someone directly and this:

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I took the train home – Mindy and Declan picked me up at the MLK station – and on my way off the train, in my allergy wasted half-asleep state, I failed to notice in time that my camera strap was not securely around my neck. Nor was my sluggish hand fast enough to both meet and grasp the camera as it fell. The body of the lens sheared off the mount, ripping some screws out and tearing a piece from the circuit board. This just one month after I cancelled my insurance because it was too expensive (knowing full well when I did that something like this was bound to happen).

Honestly, I don’t blame SXSW or Hulk Hogan (seriously, the guy is so much cooler than I ever gave him credit for and I loved him as a kid) for any of this. I would work a job downtown tomorrow if offered. But I still prefer to avoid the hoopla and spend my Spring Break elsewhere. And I am running out of lenses.

Also posted in I Am Dumb

Mopac Bridge

Today, I did this:

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Then I drove across the Mopac Bridge, hopefully filming the view of downtown Austin across the Colorado River. The raw footage is processing right now. We shall see…

 

UPDATE:

Looks like I need better stabilization for my camera rig. Much better. If you care to watch, I am attaching the video. It’s about 20 secs long. I applied some YouTube stabilization on top of that in iMovie so the quality took a big hit.

Other than fixing the shake I need more control on the angle. I’ll probably end up having a driver while I control the camera. Promising results, though.

Also posted in Video

Last minute video

dude

Last week I was hired by HR Block to photograph their town hall convention here in Austin. The job came to me last minute as they scrambled to find an available photographer. The job was straight forward enough and I was open so no problem with the short notice. But when the client called the day before the convention to ask if I could shoot video as well, that seemed a bit iffy.

After making sure that they knew I couldn’t promise anything spectacular I decided to bring what gear I had – a Nikon D7000 and an ME-1 mic – and shoot what I could. After a few hours of your typical convention shots the attendees broke into small groups for some marketing strategizing. While they were doing this, I was to have a helper pull random individuals for testimonial video. Nothing went quite as planned – I got myself set up but no helper was to be found. With no one even wandering the halls, I ended up twiddling my thumbs for a while. On the plus side, I had plenty of time to get my meager gear set. While I wouldn’t recommend this set up to anyone, it ended up doing the job well enough.

When my helper finally arrived and began wrangling people I was ready to go. Instead of testimonials, though, I got ‘This is what I learned/taught today’. And since everyone learned/taught the same thing, I got 8 people telling me the same thing in slightly different ways. Still, if this was what they wanted, who was I to argue?

Only no one seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Apparently the video had been requested by someone other than the person responsible for hiring and directing me. That person had failed to pass along anything other than a general concept of ‘Testimonials’. And since that person ended up being my helper and asking people to answer a question that was not quite testimonial, I didn’t bother questioning the change in tactic.

So I ended up with a few minutes of video with 8 different people answering the question of what they taught/learned that day at the convention – all of which was pretty much the same. After editing and transmitting the pictures, I found out that my contact had no idea what I was supposed to do with these video files. He asked me to go ahead and edit them into a short video – with no direction other than a bare concept that had changed at the last second. Wonderful.

Turns out I really enjoy editing video. Even poor quality video with little to no direction from the client. I spent a few hours playing with iMovie and YouTube audio files and eventually ended up with something passable. I sent it on to the my contact and he approved. I admit, I was surprised. I expected at least a few edits. I guess since no one really knew what the finished product should be that what I sent was as good as anything. And, really, it’s  not that bad.

Well, at least I had fun producing it. And despite this little video snafu, these people were pretty fun to work with.

Also posted in Video

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.

Also posted in 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.

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Also posted in 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.

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