Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Job?

I just got a reply to an email I sent to a company advertising on Craigslist.
Jolesch Photography shoots high school marching band competitions nationwide.
I have been invited to shoot the events "in my area." Pay is $10 per band photographed. With big competitions this can be 24-40 bands, which means a decent amount of money.
I will naturally accept the offer, especially if I don't have to find a way down to Phoenix whenever these events come up. Shooting in Flagstaff would be perfect... otherwise I am going to have to find a cheap and easy way to Phoenix.

That's my mini-update for today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Done Slacking Off

I Finally got off my butt and took some pictures.
Some of them are even decent.
I spent last night with a group of my friends smoking hookah and shooting ISO 6400. Oh so much fun. The hookah was fun but shooting was way more fun. The D300 amazes me every time by doing exactly what I want it to. I had two polar-opposite lights. One was the uber-orange lights that NAU and the city of Flagstaff use for public lighting. The other is a little 8-LED flashlight that I picked up at Checker Auto for $8. Bright blue and hellish orange. The best way I could think to combine the two is to emphasize something that was either orange or blue to begin with. I settled on Liz's bright blue eye. Using my left hand as a snoot for the light, I pushed my 50mm down to f1.8, composed the shot, selected one of my very many focus points and fired off a few frames. The result:

No photoshop, just a little crop in aperture to get rid of some of her forehead.

I'm getting back in my groove!
Also, the Lumberjack has started competitions between photographers. We are now allowed to double-shoot events. Two people shoot an event and the person who gets published (the winner) gets to pick an assignment on the next issue for the loser. I plan on doing a lot of these. Even if I lose I get the opportunity to shoot more and learn!

That's all for now!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finally published!

Finally! My editor came through for me and published the picture of the football player that I posted so long ago. It printed in black and white, in the middle of the sports section. Not quite optimal, but at least it ran!
I will be doing a shoot for the jewelry company "You and I design" in the near future. It will be a simple 2 model job. My goal is to perk the company's interest and have them hire me to do more.

I've been struggling recently to give myself time to go out and shoot. I don't have an established model-base to draw from and school has been getting steadily crazier of late as mid-terms approach. Excuses excuses. Shame on me, I know. I printed off some flyers that I will post on bulletin boards around campus to try and attract some models. After that all I need to do is find the time.

That's all for now folks,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The dying breed

Here I am, just getting into photojournalism, as the game is changing rapidly. Nikon and Canon now both have DSLRs that shoot HD video as well as fantastic stills. This is exactly that the newspaper and magazine industries have been praying (and probably paying and pushing) for.
Now when the Nikon D2x's and D2h's wear out, they will be replaced with D90's. The D90 can do just about everything the D300 can do, plus shoot amazing HD video. The downside? Photojournalists are going to have to learn how to be careful with their cameras. Everybody knows photojournalists beat on their equipment. The Nikon D90 and the Canon 5D are both plasticy and less-durable than either company's respective "tank" cameras.
The other downside? Photojournalists are responsible for shooting video.
Of course, still photographers have been responsible for video since newspapers and magazines started doubling their content online.
The upside? Photojournalists are responsible for shooting video, NOT videojournalists.

My biggest fear for this industry has been that these publications would hire videographers to shoot things, and then they would pull stills from the video. This would eliminate the need for still photographers. That would be bad.
Now the videographers are the ones pissed off because the still photogs are shooting video.

Vince Laforet shot a fantastic video on a prototype Canon 5D mk II. This was his first video production ever. Canon liked it and published it on their website (link above).

That's it for now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As Promised

As promised, I am in COM 101 and I am posting to my blog.
I do enjoy being a rebel.

In the middle of shooting the beautiful fall colors yesterday, I remembered about Active-D Lighting. Ken Rockwell calls it ADR, or Adaptive Dynamic Range because that is what it is.

The result:


That really makes me want to shoot more film... Which naturally makes me want to buy another film camera... One that is built a little more like the D300 and that has some of the same power. The Nikon F5 is what I settled on... but I won't be buying it anytime soon. Instead, I'm going to buy some film, shoot it on my N80 and get it developed. Maybe if I decide to shoot a lot more film, maybe then I can justify the F5.... but probably not.

More later

Coming soon to a blog near you!

I will get at least one shot published this week. The sports profile I shot forever ago will print, according to my editor. He didn't like my re-shoot of the alcohol story (figures), and the writer for the symphony never wrote the damn thing, so that won't go. Grrrr.

I do have some pictures for you, I went out yesterday and (finally) turned on my Active D-Lighting to mess around with. Holy cow. Some amazing colors. I really ought to use it more often.

I will likely load those pictures today during my COM101 class, because I cannot stand to pay attention. There's always one class....

Joe McNally has a great post up today.

Thats all for now!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally, something I like.

Whilst shooting the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra yesterday I made 167 images.
I like maybe 3 of them.
My favorite by far is not even what I would consider a good picture.

These two little girls were absolutely spellbound by the music. I don't think either of them blinked during the entire piece, they just soaked it all in.
A fountain of youth surrounded by a sea of older people. It was very refreshing to see that old people are not the only ones who can appreciate orchestral music.

As to the picture.. It is out of focus and blurry (handheld 1/15 sec at 200mm). I got a bunch of shots of the orchestra, the director and the visiting soloist performing like mad. Those were in focus, sharp and well lit (1/160 sec at 200mm) but this shot captures the mood of the performance and its effect on the audience. That is what is important to me.

Paper came out yesterday. I am still unpublished. It turns out that all the stories I shot that I thought were for the last issue have been moved to this one (we are on issue 5 now). So I could have as many as 3 or 4 shots run this week.

Keep it real!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boredom = Photoshop

It happens every once in a while, I get bored.
I won't deny it. Even the best fall victim to boredom.
Recently when I got bored, rather than playing video games or watching a movie, I opened photoshop and just started experimenting with random filters, gradients, text effects.... things like that.
The result?

We spent 30 minutes in my Writing for Communication Channels class going over how verbs are the powerhouses of writing. The instructor had each person write their 5 favorite verbs on the board. I wrote down a random sampling of those and stuck them in my photoshop experiment.
I enjoyed it, even learned a few things :-)
I need to get out and shoot something fun soon or I'm going to go crazy....er.
I am sure inspiration will come to me eventually.

Thats all for now. Paper comes out again tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Been a while

It has been a while since I posted a picture... so here you go:

The lights up here are designed for minimal light pollution. We're already at 7,000 feet so even with light pollution we can see more stars than Boulder. With these "zero light pollution" systems, less light is reflected into the atmosphere and we can see WAY more stars. I'll make sure to do a long-exposure star shot to prove my point. This shot is one of those lights in the rain.  These lights are really red. My WB here was at 2500K, the lowest/coolest it will go, and everything is still orange. 

Path to Publication

So, I was sadly NOT published last week. Such a shame but not unexpected. 
I looked through the paper last night and we ran 36 stories... with 13 photos and several series of full and half-page ads. That's 1 picture for every 2.76 stories and the ads are taking up all the photo space. NO bueno, but that's journalism for ya.

I have been in contact with a jewelry company (that my friend's family runs) called You and I Design that sells Australian jewelry. I will be doing a shoot for them to show off their products sometime in the next two weeks, whenever I receive the bling that is being mailed to me. I am excited to do this shoot, mainly because I have never had the opportunity to do fashion/jewelry.

Blogs of note: I spent a little time yesterday reading some of the "Blogs of Note" on blogspot.com and as you would expect, most of them are pretty good. I really enjoyed reading them and suggest you check them out.

Video: Go to YouTube and search for "Did you know 3" and watch it. It is nine minutes, 30 seconds long and it will blow your mind! 

That's all for now folks!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Case of the Mondays.

Nothing much new here, I survived Thursday to start another week. 
The alcohol shoot I did last week was a no-go, so I re-shot it yesterday and I do not expect that to run either. I do expect my football shoot from early last week to run (mini update: my sb600 is working again after a few changes of batteries). Thursday I am shooting the Flagstaff Symphony, and I expect that to run as well.

I dropped an email on NAU's PLAID magazine to see if they are looking for a photographer. If they want me and can pay, there is a distinct possibility of me switching or working for both publications.

I am running a little massage business up here, charging 33 cents per minute for massages and doing pretty well so far. $3 for 9-10 minutes is cheap enough that even broke college students crumble and pay it, especially for my fantastic massages :-)

Not a lot going on this week, I will let you know when something interesting goes down.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crazy Bus

My day is going to be crazy.
Classes this morning, a few business phone calls, more classes, lunch, another class, a shoot in downtown flagstaff, a meeting to see if I can write, meeting with my RA, dinner, HW.

Hopefully my shoot will go well and I can post a picture for you tomorrow!
Also, the paper came out today! (The Lumberjack is a weekly) Hopefully I got published. We shall see.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Famous Football

The image below is one I shot last night while doing a sports profile on the player. I am beginning to like  doing these sports profiles because they provide me with an opportunity to work on my action and portraiture in the same shoot. I spend the game or practice shooting action. Then after the event I approach the player, tell him or her that I am doing a quick piece and ask for 5 minutes of their time. I bust out a few portraits and we call it quits. I have yet to get even close to the 5 minutes. This was maybe the fourth shot I did, I got off the ground, shook hands with him and we were done.

SB600 is in my left hand, I am lying on the ground, focusing my 28mm manual focus lens with my pinkie finger while trying to keep my face from pushing the popup flash down.
Oddly, my SB600 seems to have quit doing a few things that I liked. For example, the ready light no longer lights up but I get a great flash every time. It no longer beeps when it is charged from the last pop. It seems to me that the flash does not realize it is ready, although it clearly is every time. Unfortunately I think it might be time for a new one... and I have only had this for 18 months.

More later,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lots to learn

Yesterday the photographers on The Lumberjack had a meeting. Actually we have one every Monday. I learned a lot of what my editor called "the basics."

The biggest thing: On every assignment you should be going for 4 shots. 
1) Wide overview (the whole team), 
2) Mid-range (the 4 guys nearest the ball), 
3) Closeup (one guy with the ball) and 
4) Extreme closup (one guy's face)
If you nail those 4 shots, you have your finals and they all tell the same story from totally different angles.

I have always tried to get variety in my shoots regardless of what I am shooting, but knowing that I have 4 specific shots to get makes it much easier.

I also learned that half the photographers on the staff shoot RAW. My first thought was,
 "Are you kidding me?!" Then I remembered that my RAW files are gargantuan, and nobody else on staff has a 12.1 mp camera. I also remembered that nobody else on staff can shoot at ISO 3200 or 4000, let alone get something printable that high. Their solution is to shoot it 2-3 stops underexposed and just bring in the light later in Bridge.
Not my style. And that is just fine.

Then there came the issue of filenaming. This was not something I was prepared for at all. My Editor is having all of us change our filenaming conventions completely. Right now all our files look different depending on the camera and software we use.
 Now they must look like: Lastname_YYYYMMDD_####.jpg

On the bright side, this will force me to use Bridge (for batch renaming) and I just might learn something new. On the other hand, I do not like messing with my system.

All that in 45 minutes of a meeting with 10 other photogs. WOW. This is not even the big leagues yet, we're just getting started. This is why I came to college. I LOVE IT!


Monday, September 8, 2008


The common cold.
It seems like everyone on campus is sneezing and sniffling. No fun at all.

On the bright side, I found a few pictures on my spare CF card that I forgot about.
A sunset in Boulder: 

Thats it for now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Good Challenge

I was right.
The game was difficult, but not impossible. Of course, shooting this on a D2x or D200 would have been impossible. The D300 REALLY helped me out on this one. 
I showed up at 6:45, pulled out my gear and figured out that my lighting was exactly where I thought it would be.
1/125-1/160 sec. F2.8. ISO 3200-High 0.3.
I was shooting the 80-200mm from the sidelines. My victim for the evening played defense. mid-field. If she had been a little closer to me I would have been great, but 200mm simply does not reach to mid field! To top it off, she only had possession of the ball 12 or 13 times during the game. It was a challenge.
and I LOVED it!
I ended up getting some printable shots, certainly nothing going in the portfolio though. The best action shot I managed is this:

Miraculously, she ended up with the ball and she ran in my direction. I fired 8 frames a second for the entire time she had the ball. This one isn't too bad, but I'm going to leave any cropping up to the photo editor.

After the game (we won, 1-0) I caught her and very politely asked if I could shoot some portrait style pictures. I pulled the whole "If I don't load something good tonight my editor is really going to chew me out," which I didn't even need to do. Kayla was extremely helpful and on top of that she said "I am really photogenic." She was.
I popped off a quick 5 or 6 pictures with the SB600 off camera and thanked her for her time. I definitely could have gotten away with a few more. Ah well.
I should have done a few more, because the white balance between my flash and the sodium vapor lights is.... well its icky. That is a word I have used a lot recently. Icky.

Still, it is way better than not having any portrait at all.

That is all for now. I'm going to be taking a little 4 mile bike ride today through the MUD!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 5, 2008


Soccer games.
Oh my.
Tonight I will be shooting a women's soccer game here on campus... and I am expecting it to be painful. The game starts at 7. Sunset is at 6:45. My longest fast glass is my 80-200.
Let me tell you, an 80-200 is NOT long enough to be shooting soccer.
Usually this wouldn't worry me, since usually (in daylight) I would not be worried about cropping into the image later. As it turns out, my ISO wants to be 2500-3200 to get a shutter speed of about 1/125. 
Cropping into an image with ISO that high gets a little.... icky. Fortunately, I am the only photog that I know on the staff who has a camera that can even go that high, let alone think about printing that high. The other day my photo editor said something like "Fast glass up here is really important. If you try shooting at the Lumberjack Stadium with a 5.6 lens, even ISO 1600 won't help you. Of course, I won't print anything you shoot that is that grainy."
To which I gleefully responded "Bryan, YOU might not be able to shoot ISO that high and get anything, but I guarantee I can comfortably shoot ISO 4000 on the D300. When we are printing on the toilet paper that is newspaper, nobody will be able to tell."
Of course, I didn't know I'd be shooting soccer at night with a lens that is half the length I want... Ah well.
I'll shoot it tonight and let you know how it worked out with a post sometime this weekend.

Here's a picture from my walk around campus last week, since I promised I'd be getting these out eventually.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

All's quiet...

Nothing much new to report here.
I popped on my old tamron 70-300mm f4-5.6 the other day just to remember what it could do.

Not bad.
The background is my desk, lighting from one of those weird three-pronged snake lamps that you can adjust to point any which way.

I just signed up for my first assignment for the Lumberjack. It is a profile pic shoot for one of our soccer players. I do not really know what the editors are looking for, but I am sure I will find out soon enough and I am confident I can handle it :-)

Ta ta for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mental Image

This image is one that I have had in my head to shoot basically ever since I saw the bars at the top of the staircase in my dorm.
After lunch today I asked my lovely model Amanda if she would care to do a quick shoot with me. I had no idea how quick it would be. This was the 4th or 5th shot I fired. Right on the money. We took another ten minutes and messed around with a few different poses, but this is the picture I like the most. Uncharacteristically, I shot it on standard PC rather than super-color-and-contrast-blowing mode.

Flash is stuck on the top bar with a cheapo clamp that came in a Nikon Flash Kit that I got at Mikes Camera in Boulder for $12.00 on clearance. (MSRP $89.99).

I am content. 
Happy labor day to all you working people!