Friday, February 27, 2009


Hey all!

In response to David DuChemin's post on "Fill the bucket" I am going to write about how I keep my ideas fresh for later use.

I got a sketch book (Skizzenbuch in German) from friend (and architect) Michael Warren, who uses the things religiously.

The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place is because I cannot draw to save my life. Just like anything, the more you draw, the better you get. So, for the last couple months whenever I have a photo idea that I want to keep around for later use, I put it in my awesome sketch book. My sketches are getting better at communicating my idea, and sketching allows me to see if the composition (the most important part of an image) will hold up in a photograph.

I got a new assignment yesterday: we are to make a photo-book.
I am using the opportunity to do a very dark series. I'll show y'all when I'm done with it :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday again

Amazing, that Thursday happens every week.

Couple things going on today:

I watched the new D-Town that everyone is ranting and raving about, and it is worth the 10:26 of your life. I learned more in the first 4 minutes of this video than I will in my hour-and-fifteen-minute-photo-class today. That WB trick is sweet. Heck, even the ad for Joe McNally is good stuff.
Since today is Thursday, I know I was published at least once.
BUT, these days I can never tell until I get the paper in my hands exactly how many times I was published, because the online version no longer accurately reflects what happens in print. This is both good and bad, I think. The web site allows us to publish more pictures (even though we don't get paid for them), which enhances the readers' experience. Unfortunately, we still don't have any way to make money on the website, so we're giving away the extra content totally free.
I guess every morning as to how many times I was published in print, and today my guess is 3. I know the chalk piece ran, I know the Pluto shot ran, and I am guessing my track shot ran. Overall a pretty good issue for me.

(Turns out my count came to 4. I forgot the profile shot on a one-armed drummer girl.)

This evening I will be listening to Lewis Kemper (one of the Canon "explorers of light") speak about photography and light. I expect it to be a good time, and will likely have something to blog about it later.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


My Muse:

I have been horribly uninspired recently. Shooting black and white is cool, but I REALLY like color. Shooting on a D100 is alright, but I REALLY like my D300.
I know, I spent my last post saying how it doesn't matter which camera you use... and it doesn't. I have used the D100 to make some good photos. But it isn't as easy.
Using the D300 is easy. It almost always gets the WB right, the ISO looks great at 1600 (sadly my default ISO when shooting sports at the venues on campus) and the colors are fantastic. I also get 8 frames/second with an unlimited buffer the way I shoot. AND, if I miss a shot I am not afraid to crop in, 'cause I've got 12.3 glorious megapixels.
On the D100, I get 2.5 frames a second, with a 6 frame buffer, and I can't crop much due to the 5.6 megapixel sensor.

Moral of the story: I have been spoiled by my D300. When I am spoiled, I don't think about the limitations of my gear, because for me there are no limitations. I get to focus entirely on the picture I am trying to make, because I have faith the camera can make it.
When my camera can't keep up with me, I spend more of my time worrying about the gear than about making the right picture.

Still no word on the status of my D300. I fully expect it to be repaired by now, so with luck it is on its way to Mike's Camera Boulder.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Last night at our weekly Lumberjack Photo Staff Meeting, our editor suggested that everyone bring all their gear so we could all know who had which brand (there are really only 2 brands) and who had fast glass.

It turns out that the entire staff, with the exception of myself and our editor shoots Canon!
That blew my mind.
Honestly, these days there isn't much of a practical difference between the two brands. If you know how to work your gear, you will get good pictures. But pretty much all the older photogs, and most of the people I know shoot Nikon gear. Lucky for me and my editor, we own good glass and don't have to borrow. Most of the canon people though, own 1 or 2 (variable aperture) lenses and a few of them didn't know how to change things like color modes, contrast, and even ISO.
Most of them are shooting the 40D, while one has the brand new 5D mark II. That camera is a monster, and works like a charm.
I essentially sat there and watched as most of the staff talked canon. Each brand has their advantages and disadvantages (I could really go for a huge scroll wheel on the D300). It doesn't matter to me what you shoot with, as long as you can get good pictures.

Speaking of gear, still no news on my D300.

The track shot below will run in this week's paper, as will at least one other shot of mine.
Still have to shoot a Swim and Dive practice. Haven't done that yet, so it should be fun.

Peace out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I have shot all but one of the track meets this season, and I am signed up to shoot all the upcoming meets too.

My favorite track shot so far I got yesterday evening:
This kid (Alex Bishop) was one of the best vaulters at the meet, and it turns out he goes to highschool in Phoenix! Not even a college student!

That's all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Life, the universe, and death metal

Haven't been shooting much, but I have gone through a roll of black and white film. I'll probably develop that sometime tomorrow just to see if I can actually do it.
My photo class finished our first assignment last week, and got our second and third assignments this week. All of them so far I have been able to do from stock images, though I always make sure to shoot more. Having stock just takes the pressure off.

My interview yesterday with the sports people went well. I showed up early, talked with the guy, gave him a link to my portfolios, and talked about my experience shooting sports and working with deadlines. I am fairly sure I'll get the job... but if I don't I can be the photo editor for the lumberjack for the same wonderful compensation that is a full tuition waiver.


Death metal = the genre of the week, especially after learning that my camera had not yet been repaired. Rawr.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


It appears (from payroll) that I was published this week, though I can't find the image (or story) on the website. I only shot one story last week, and I was fairly certain it wouldn't run. I'll look through the paper version of the paper and update later.

Fun story: I shot the basketball profile below 2 weeks ago or so. Profiles are always a sure-thing, because sports always wants one good portrait. Easy money. Show up at practice, wait around for ten minutes, then grab the athlete before they hit the showers. All was well, I got the shot, wrote the caption and submitted it.
Not a fantastic picture (the guy is kinda funny lookin'), but good enough for a profile.

Just my luck, the damn basketball player gets booted off the team at the away game that very night along with a two of his fellow players, so the photo never runs. Sometimes I could swear it is a conspiracy.
I'm still fuming about my camera, but shooting more film until it arrives.

Also, have an interview today about a job shooting for NAU athletics full time next year. That job = full tuition waiver, which would really be nice. I'll let you know tomorrow how that goes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Camera update/ hating on Mike's Camera

Holy Cow.

It has now been 41 days since I dropped off my D300 at Mike's Camera in Boulder.

I still do not know where it is or if it has been repaired. I definitely do not have it in my hot little hands as was advertised to me by the Repairs guy at Mike's. I expected to have it back by Feb. 16th.

UPDATE: turns out the repair place in El Segundo (or something like that) misplaced the order for the repair, so the Mike's Camera guy had to call and re-order the repair with the rush. It is "an extensive repair" and will still take "a while." Dammit.

I will never send my gear through a shop again, let alone Mike's Camera. Nikon Repairs advertises a 7 - 10 day turnaround, so I would expect 2 weeks.

2 months is absolutely unacceptable, and I will be letting Mike's know this upon receipt of my camera.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Continual advertising hate

It turns out I am not the only one who dislikes the way the journalism system is working these days. TIME magazine put out a couple articles recently about the "Crisis in journalism."

I'm going to talk to the ad people and the website people on The Lumberjack sometime and see if we can't throw some advertising on our website... make some money off the website, rather than giving our work away for free.

I haven't been on the shutter much recently, but here's a photo anyway.

Shot for The Lumberjack (though it never ran). This is my favorite shot from the concert. I was in the pit for the first 4 songs and it was great! Unfortunately, the smoke-emitting object in his hand is a marijuana joint... so the paper wouldn't use it.

The shot they wanted to use was:
But alas, it was not to be. Regardless, it was a great concert and definitely produced my best concert shots yet!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Advertising screws me again!

I shot six, count them six assignments for this week's issue of The Lumberjack. That is half of the stories. I was everywhere, all week long busting my ass to get photos. This week, in an 18 or so page paper, we ran FIVE photos total! What the hell?! I know at least ten stories made it in, so where are the extra five photos? Screwed, by need for advertising space. Apparently we are SO desperate for money that we can't even run pictures.
I am pissed. Why bother, wasting eight hours of my life if I only get paid for one or two?
Last night at 11:00, I got a call from my editor saying he wants a new cutline for one of my images from the Slightly Stoopid concert. I sent it to him 20 minutes after we talked, and they didn't even put the image on the website (we run much more stuff on the website than in print).

If I got paid based on what I shot, rather than what ran, I wouldn't care. Of course, then we'd need even more space for advertising and there would be even fewer shots in the paper!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Darkroom fun

I developed my first roll of film today, start to end.
It did not turn out.
I believe I botched mixing the film developer, because the whole roll turned out much too thin to print from.
In high school, the chemicals were mixed for us and the only way to mess up was to use the wrong chemical or not pay attention to developing times. It turns out playing with chemicals and doing the simple very complicated math to dilute the various concentrates is too much for me. Ah well. Luckily, I had film from previous shoots and was able to complete the assignment without further hiccups. Of course, I then left my photo-paper and chemicals in the dark room and did not realise it until the lab closed. I guess it was just one of those days.
I officially prefer digital to film though.
It is cheaper, faster, and easier. What is not to love?

Speaking of love, I am expecting a call from Mike's Camera any minute to tell me that I owe them $372.95, and that my camera secret lover will be on its way shortly.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Website changes


I finally got around to updating my portfolios again, and also updating the slideshow that plays when is first opened. Got rid of a couple pictures, added a couple newer ones.
I seem to recall every serious photographer I have ever known telling me that portfolios MUST be up to date all the time. I update them every 4 months or so and I always have fairly big changes to make when I do.

I am curious: how does the website display? Do you have problems viewing, loading, or navigating it? Please drop a comment below and let me know how I could improve my site. I always use the most up to date version of Firefox, and I use it on a mac. I never see the site from any other perspective.

All the snow here has finally paid off; we have been granted a snow day! We aren't expecting much more snow until Saturday, so I am guessing I will be back in classes tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Storm that came through last night. This shot of the radar was about 1:30 or 2:00am, right as the storm was really getting started. We got snow. Lots of it. I'll take a few pictures today and likely load them as the snow accumulates. We are also supposed to get another storm between now and Tuesday, so i expect i'll be in boots for this whole week, though the snow removal program on campus is very good, even if the claim to heated sidewalks is bogus.

Photo 1: 11:15am. Just a couple inches so far.
Pretty much the only difference a day and a few hours later is visibility. It is still snowing like crazy, and now the wind has kicked in! The University is closing at 3:00pm due to "severe weather conditions."
Photo 2: 2:00pm, total around 6" and climbing

In the end, we received just over two feet of snow from Saturday the 7th, to Tuesday morning.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Arizona education budget cuts

The focus on campus for the last couple weeks has been on the AZ governor's choice to cut education budgets statewide significantly. NAU's share of the cut ends up being 40% of our budget. Ouch.
In continuing my series on chalk writing on campus, I got this shot on my last roll of film.
There have also been several protests on campus as well as some down in Phoenix. The Lumberjack loves to cover protests, so here's a link. I didn't cover either of the two recent ones, but the shots are good nonetheless.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Down with the Sickness

Again, off my last roll of black and white film. I've always wanted to get a good shot of snow as it is falling, so when it really started coming down I grabbed a camera and a tele lens and rushed out into the cold. This one turned out pretty well, I think.

I've got the cold that is going around campus, so rather than taking pictures, I've spent yesterday and today sleeping. Hopefully I'll be up and about tomorrow.

An awesome slideshow, link jacked off somebody else's blog (I forget which one)

That's all for now, I'm off to bed!