Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fun Speaker

Usually the photogs I know fight to AVOID shooting speakers.
Yesterday, I got a call from my editor who couldn't make (another) one of his shoots. I accepted and it turned out the speaker was none other than Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters fame.
Somewhere around ISO 2000. The exposure was far from perfect, so you can see the grain fairly obviously... Oh well.

I sat right in front of him for the majority of his presentation, snapping away. He was a fairly amusing speaker, with a bunch of funny stories about his work with Jamie and Adam and the things that blow up when they work together. The topic of his speech was engineering's role in the entertainment industry. I found that fairly dull, but I still enjoyed the experience.
I stuck around afterwards to talk with the reporter and see if Grant would be doing anything afterward. I wanted to get a decent portrait of him. No such luck, but I did wrangle a ticket to an exclusive reception where he signed some autographs and chatted it up with kids from the local robot club and their ridiculous parents, most of whom were just as excited as their kids.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Remembering why

Sometimes in the daily grind of life, I think we forget why we do what we do.
Take photojournalism, for example. There are a lot of crappy stories, events with horrible light, days where you just don't want to be shooting. I would say most of my experiences working for The Lumberjack are less than awesome. They are mediocre, or rather I see them as mediocre and my images reflect that. Every once in a while though, something happens that reminds us that whatever we are doing is worth it. I get maybe one story per month where I show up and say "I am so glad I do this." That ratio isn't great, mind you. I have shot 18 stories in the months of February and March, and during that time I have had ONE that really rocked. That story went down yesterday, in the middle of the day in downtown Flagstaff.

This image is one of my favorites out of more than 300 that I shot in the 20 minutes this event was taking place. Once it started, feathers hit the fan. I'd guess that 35 people from 3 years old to 40 showed up and had a seriously epic pillow fight in the middle the day, in the middle of Heritage Square in downtown Flagstaff.
The goal of the event was to protest war and cruelty. I noticed several of the participants wearing Anarchy symbols and part of the speech given at the end of the pillowfight included "we don't need politicians, or police, or the government!"

I heard about the story from the News section at the paper. They apparently got a tip off from one of the planners. I showed up an hour early and walked around, got to know a few of the people enjoying the good weather in the square, and popped off a few personal shots to get warmed up.
3:00 came, and went. The only sign of any promise to this story was one girl, sitting alone on a bench holding a pillow.

I stuck around, randomly shooting pictures of whatever I saw to keep me on my feet. Slowly, over about 30 minutes, another 15 or 20 people trickled into the square holding pillows. I knew then that something was eventually going to happen. Sure enough, around 3:35 a big group rolled up with a sound system on a cart and a bunch of pillows. The (really loud) music started and the pillowfight commenced.
It came in several waves, the group randomly quieting down and starting back up again. Several pillows burst, strewing their contents all over the square. The Flagstaff Police received a complaint and showed up (more than 5 uniformed officers + 2 plainclothes).

Nobody was arrested and as far as I know, no tickets were given. The group was told to clean everything up and go on their way. The plainclothes officers stuck around just to make sure.

This story was the most fun I've had since shooting the Slightly Stoopid concert. It served as a reminder of why I do photojournalism. As long as I have these pictures around, I'll have that reminder.

Do you know why you do what you do?
What can you do to remind yourself?
Think on it.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I just finished reading a fantastic piece on "How to be creative" by Hugh MacLeod.
I think everyone should read this. It is 49 pages long and each page is filled with fantastic quotes and advice.

You can download it HERE

I know I'll be taking his advice, and will definitely keep the whole thing on my hard drive for later review.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, again!

Well, it is thursday again! The paper will roll out today and I won't have a single shot in it.
-I stand corrected. An old band-profile shot ran in the A&E section-
Since I stopped getting paid the $10 per picture (in favor of a $500 tuition waiver for being an editor) I have not been nearly as motivated to shoot. Sure, it's only $10, but it is still incentive to shoot, and shoot good stuff. I would prefer the $10 per picture AND the tuition waiver... but I don't think that's gonna happen.
On the bright side, I'm going to shoot a huge pillow fight on Saturday somewhere in Flagstaff. That should be quite interesting. There are also a bunch of diversity events coming up in the next two weeks that should be entertaining, if not photographically dynamic.

Here's a fun shot I did yesterday. Got the concept down on digital, shot it again on BW film.
The assignment was to use a mirror or mirrors to shoot a portrait of someone. I stole this idea from Joe McNally's cover of The Moment it Clicks, though his is undeniably better.
I dropped the ambient exposure 1.3 stops and had the model hold my awesome flashlight (with a paper diffuser) with her other hand. Cha Ching!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Advertising: ME

Below is an ad I made yesterday while I was spending so much time in photoshop and Aperture for my book. It's main use will be advertising on craigslist. All I have to do is write an HTML "img src" tag and point it to where I uploaded the image. Takes me 5 seconds to put up on craigslist and I think it looks good as well. The alternative on craigslist is actually writing your ad every time (once a month at least) that you want to post it. I dislike writing and don't often find myself with the time to do that. This is fast and simple, just the way I like it :-)

Comments? Questions?
I do love feedback!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I figured I would hop on the bandwagon and make a book.
Ok, so technically I am required to do it for my photo class, but I like it just the same.
The only real requirement is to use Blurb.com to make the book. I enjoyed using it much more than Aperture, which I am more and more fed up with as time goes on. If I could switch all the stars and organization stuff from Aperture over to Bridge, I would do it. Oh well.

Here is the cover, as a screenshot from the software.

On the far left you'll notice a glorious photo of my D300.

The extra white space is for the photo's use in the book.
I used the lasso tool and was pleasantly surprised. I only had to zoom in to 300% to get the difference between the bottom of the camera and the tripod mount.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Adding to the wish list...

I just saw a post from an ex-teacher of mine, Jay Stott, talking a bit about his new wireless flash triggers.
Adding to the wish list I mentioned the other day, I definitely want a set of "Poverty Wizards". I now know a few people who use them and I have heard nothing but praise from those people.

Sector9 Longboards

As promised, I did a commercial/ad shoot of my board.

I took all the photos with my D300 + 28mm prime lens. Pulled them into photoshop and spent about an hour cutting out and arranging the photos. I really like the way it came out, except for the cutout of the graphics part. I did that using "quickmask", as opposed to the magic wand, which I used for the top view of the deck. I still haven't discovered a great way to cut things out. I loathe the lasso tool, so I usually end up using quickmask, which takes forever and needs a lot of attention after the initial cutout. Perhaps I'll give the lasso another go one of these days.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I spent yesterday on, near, or shopping for a longboard.
My bud Sean and I went out and hit the streets, took some photos, bombed some hills, and generally had an awesome day. I am really sore, but it was worth it.

The shot of the day:
Took me forever to get a good pan shot... Shutter at 1/50 or so and he was moving at a pretty good clip.

One of these days I'll do a commercial-lookin photo of the board that I got. Hopefully before it gets all scratched up because the graphics are gorgeous!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wish List

For those of you that don't know, Joe McNally and David DuChemin both have books in print or will soon. McNally's is already out (and selling fast), it is called The Hot Shoe Diaries.
DuChemin's isn't out yet, but is called Within The Frame.
Both books are on my wish list.
My birthday is late April.

Oh, and my last post marked 150!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

non-dodge-neon cars

Specifically, Jeeps!

I spent yesterday evening doing a shoot that I've wanted to do for at least 3 months.
My bud Case Frick has a BIG jeep and Flagstaff is surrounded by the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. That means there are bunches of places for us to get out off some dirt road in the middle of nowhere. We drove 15 minutes out of downtown and found ourselves a nice secluded spot. Took off all the light covers, turned on the huge-ass lights and voila!

Low angle, 18mm ISO 2000 at 1/20 sec or so. SB600 is camera right, easily 20 feet from the jeep, 10 feet behind the camera, zoomed to 70mm and aimed right at Case's big head. The flash was at 1/128 power because of my astronomical ISO. I Had an issue for maybe 10 seconds with the SB600 not firing, but using my hand as a reflector for my pop-up/trigger, I got it to work quite well.

I moved the camera up a few feet, dropped the exposure to 1/50 sec or so. This took out some of the super-saturation and blown out highlights that make up the right side of Case's face in the first image.
I really can't pick between the two. Either way, ISO 2000 looks GREAT!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dodge Neon

The following is an OLD post from the days when my blog was hosted on my own website. It can still be found there: at www.mattbeaty.net/vblog and actually contains a bunch of fun stuff, including all my bloggage from my trip to Germany last summer.

The second scariest experience of my life: i spent the day with a bunch of girls. we went to see the new Sex and the City movie. You think that's scary (it was)? After the movie we're all getting out of the car (because its Boulder and we carpooled to save the environment), and i put my camera and my water bottle on the back of the car so i can roll up the window (manual windows? on a Dodge Neon?) i successfully roll up the window and shut the door. Without waiting a second, she goes driving off! My D300, battery pack, and 100mm F2.8 are SWINGING off the spoiler (spoiler? on a Dodge NEON?!). I grabbed on and was forced to let go as she accelerated down the parking lot. s.h.i.t.
i am whistling and yelling and screaming as i run after my camera which is getting farther and farther away, swinging wildly from the spoiler on a dodge neon. there were a couple things going through my head at this point.

  1. How can she possibly not hear me?! I have the loudest mouth-only (no hands) whistle in Boulder.
  2. Can my camera survive a fall from a car at 35 mph?
  3. is there anyone in downtown Boulder who can NOT see my balls?
  4. running in a kilt is possible the most freeing experience I have ever had.

Finally, when she stops at a stop sign to turn onto the real road i think i might have her. nope. not. even. close. she zooms out onto the road, makes a sharp left turn and i am in the middle of the median finally getting to my senses. I call my girlfriend (because i do not have the driver's number) and say something to the effect of, "tell her to stop! She has my F***ing $5,000 camera!" she says "oh shit" and calls the driver, who is 3 blocks away and stops. My camera is still in one piece and managed to hold on despite all the crazy driving and swinging. The lesson?:

  1. Dodge neon's have no reason to even think about having a spoiler, but they can easily outrun an 18 year-old out of shape photographer.
  2. NEVER put your camera/profession/life on someone's car without getting their phone number
  3. Wear underwear when running kilted.
  4. The rubber on the bottom side of your "Nikon" strap has some serious grip to it.


I don't know about you, but I have misplaced cameras in the past. Never really lost them, just forgotten one somewhere (in a classroom, usually).
That is a terrifying feeling. I start freaking out and hyperventilating, wondering where I could have left it, and if someone might have taken it.

Ken Rockwell always says that with most cameras, the photographer uses them for a couple years, heck, even a couple decades, and then sells the camera. Because of the strong possibility of selling a camera eventually, I don't want to engrave my information on it, but I also don't want to leave it unmarked.

Enter the Dog Tag.
I had four of these made up from a company called DogTagsOnline.com. The tags, ball-chains, and black rubber silencers cost me $17 total, shipped to my place First Class Priority Mail.

I tossed one on my camera bag, one on the D300's ring, one on my neck, and I've still got one to spare.

Now if I misplace a camera, or have it disappear on the spoiler of a Dodge Neon, I am confident that if a decent person finds it, it can be returned to me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday: Short 'n' Sweet

Hello there,

Got a decent shot published today in The Lumberjack, from the last women's basketball home game.

I really hope there are more sports coming up... because both basketball seasons have ended and I had to shoot both of them entirely D100. It'd be nice to get back in the game with my big-boy camera. Since I got it back, I've shot about 1gb worth of photos. Now I remember why I was contemplating putting a 1tb drive in my macbook pro...

Spent some time in the darkroom yesterday, developing some older negatives. Got a couple good prints before the chemicals melted my mind I decided to leave for some fresh air.

Also, I will officially be shooting sports full time for the NAU sports department next year! Sweet!

That's all for now, folks!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I get my awesome camera back, and the first few images I make are black and white.
Did this shot this morning, walking to my business law midterm. Usually I curse being up before 9am, but today getting the sun through the trees was quite nice :-)

Did this shot yesterday. I do love self portraits.

I'll get some stuff in color sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



I just spent a half hour going over every inch of my D300, then going through the menus and setting it to work the way I like. It appears to be in perfect health!

I'll be shooting a fair amount the rest of this week, so I'll post some stuff when I get a chance.

Monday, March 9, 2009

College runs on Caffeine

AMP energy drink.

I got the idea from the movie Eurotrip, where the main characters drink the super-green hallucinogenic and alcoholic beverage known as absinthe. AMP energy drink looks a lot like it, so I put it in a shot glass and took this picture.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dark Stuff

Shooting film is cool.... but digital is still my thing.
I shot the following images on C41 film, got a CD done, and then spent an hour in photoshop getting the images where I wanted them.

These two are part of a series that is still in progress. When it is all said and done, I'll make a web gallery and post a link here.

If the world is a good place, I will get my camera back tomorrow. I have several fun photo ideas that I will put into production immediately.

Friday, March 6, 2009


To keep myself interested in the stuff I shoot for the paper, I make sure to take some time off the event and focus on whatever I see that looks like it could make a decent photo. These shots never get submitted to the paper and are never published, but they are the only halfway decent photos I have from the month of February, as I didn't shoot any personal work.
An ROTC dude holds the AZ flag at the final Men's Basketball game of the season.

The NAU Cheers pose for the NAU-TV crew shooting a Women's Basketball game.

I found this very amusing. Everyone sees the people my age blasting away at their cell phones all the time. People in their 50's though, are rarely seen texting. These two were super-intent on whatever they were doing. I think they were texting each other....

I shot this yesterday on my walk back to my dorm. I love how the steel and windows of the building reflect the blues and whites in the sky.

I'll be shooting film today, will post those images when I get time, and a scanner.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Camera repaired

Got another call from Mike's today. They received my D300 this morning and let me know around 4pm that I could come pick it up. HA! I let them know (for the fourth time) that I live in AZ and that they would have to ship it to me. The person on the phone seemed surprised at this, and opted to add another $20 shipping charge to my bill. That came to $396.95 with tax.
I said no thanks, I would like to speak to your manager. The guy came on and offered me his only option: 10% off + free shipping to AZ. That brought my order to just below the original estimate of $352, so I accepted and my glorious D300 is finally on the way home.

When it comes in I will do an extensive review to make sure everything works, then I'll be out on the shutter again!

I know at least one of my concert shots will run in this week's issue of The Lumberjack, so keep your eyes peeled. The shot is sweet!

Monday, March 2, 2009

D300 Update


I got a call from the Mike's Camera people. My camera has been repaired and will be shipped out tomorrow. From there I expect 5 days to Mike's and 3 days or less to me. This means the total time I will have had the camera out of my hands will be 2 months + a couple days.

This, as I am finally getting used to shooting with the D100. Out of habit now whenever I walk into a room (all the shoots I do are inside), the first thing I do is check what kind of lights are around so I can manually set my WB (something I never have to do with the D300).

Usually at the end of every month I do a post to mattbeaty.net with the good shots from that month. This month, I used digital excusively for newspaper work, and haven't had time to develop my film yet... so I have no personal work. Thus, there will be no update for February on mattbeaty.net
Feel free to browse the site though. If you've extra time, go through my old stuff. Some of it is fairly amusing, especially if you know me/my friends.