Monday, April 28, 2008

Dr. Hawking's speach to NASA

Last week Dr. Hawking's spoke to NASA on their 50th anniversary. I am always interested to hear what this man has to say. I hope you enjoy it.

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday Soccer

Hey soccer fans...we had two great game this weekend, unfortunaly I was off my game and did not get the images that I wanted. Here are few though:






Friday, April 25, 2008

Stobist shoot in Australia

Saw this and thought you might enjoy it!

Top 100 Iconic Photo Locations of the World


Canon and Microsoft, have teamed up with Outdoor Photographer, and have put together a contest, and it's based on the Top 100 Icon Locations in The World (Think of it as "100 amazing Places to Shoot landscape photography"). If you're an outdoor photographer, you're going to just love it! Check it out.

Happenstance or good planning

Photography is about being in the right place at the right time and having the right settings to capture the right image. That might seem on the surface that it is just happenstance that makes a good picture. While that may occur, and has occurred before, it is really a lot of work to make good pictures on a regular basis. It takes a great deal of planning to make a great image. Let us take a closer look at my list of rights from above.

Right Place – Finding the right place to take a picture requires a good deal of research and exploration. I mostly shoot sports and events, in order for me to find the best place to shoot the action I have to know my sport. That's right, even though I never played any sports I have to understand how they are played so I can get close enough to the good action to get good shots while staying out of the way of the officials and the teams. If I am shooting portraits I have to do some exploration, find a place that looks good, I have to give thought to the background as well as the foreground. This all translates into a lot of work and time spent analyzing the areas around me.

Right Time – In sport and action photography you have to know the game in order to time the shot, the better you understand the player's individual playing styles the more like you are to capture a great image. This translates to spending time at the practice field with the team. If you notice over on UKVphotos.com I have more than few galleries labeled practice. You have another issue with both action and portrait types of photography, light. You have to understand the limitations of your gear and as such you have to understand light and how to work with it not against it.

Right Settings – This one seems a no brainer for a pro or a serious amateur but in reality it take the whole brain, you have to look at the scene you are attempting to capture and adjust as you need to. Sure you can go over to the green rectangle (Full Auto) but where is the artistry in that. Adjusting your settings to make use of the light and deciding to blur or not to blur the action. To make the waterfall stop in time or catch the football just as the quarter back passes. You as the photographer have to make that decision. Personally a little blur in the right cases is a good thing, a lot can be even better, all depending on what you are trying to capture. Remember you are capturing images that will make your viewers react in some way.

Right Image – If you do not get the first three 'rights' this one won't happen. No matter how hard you work to capture that perfect image, the one that you feel is the essence of the model or subject; it is still your concept of what you shot. It is still your opinion. You may love it but the client may take one look and pass it by. Don't let that discourage you keep at it, keep perfecting your methods behind the lens and they will pay off.

Getting that perfect shot is hard sometimes. Play to your strengths and you will do well. Last year not long after I opened up UKVphotos.com I was asked by an old friend to shoot the christening of her daughter. I was honored. I showed up at the church that morning, a location I was already familiar with, and when the ceremony started I did what I always did. I followed the action I once shot a whole group of photos for a client and on a whim I threw my 70-300mm telephoto zoom on the camera and shot an extreme close-up. What I was after was trying to capture the drops of water as they fell from the minister's hand onto the little girls face. I was used to shooting action and freezing it, that is what I do a lot of in sports photography. So I found the right angle, framed it in and waited for my chance. I was happy when I shot the frames and afterwards I was even more thrilled. The part that really made me smile was when the family ordered they loved it. In fact it was the most popular image from the whole set.

Good planning will make for a far more profitable photo shoot than happenstance. Enjoy your weekend folks!




Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dave's interview for USA Today

Dave Hobby of Strobist.com was recently interviewd by USA Today. It was a great peice but the best part was that they recorded Dave lighting his own shot. Take a look and if you want to learn more about off camera lighting check out Strobist. I stop in every day, one day soon I'll get the gear and start the shooting. In this style.


How to take Strobist style photos | Talking Tech 2 from Jefferson Graham on Vimeo.

The interview:

Strobist on USA TODAY's Talking Tech | Jefferson Graham interviews David Hobby from Jefferson Graham on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wade Davis: Cultures at the far edge of the world

Over the last few days I have been mulling over the idea of taking my photography more into a social activist type of direction. I might have something to do with all of these TED videos or just the fact that I care about the world around me. I haven't made any decisions yet and I still want to do action and event photography. Wouldn't it be great though to shoot a wedding in some small village somewhere.


From TED:

With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, now disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. He argues passionately that we should be concerned not only for preserving the biosphere, but also the "ethnosphere" -- "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jim Talkington- Episode 5, camera meters and histograms

Jim over at prophotolife.com has just released a great clip on how to work with the histogram of your camera. This is something that is so import to photographers and something that many new digital photographers struggle with. I have read a lot of good explanations on how a histogram works but Jim hits the nail home with a series of good examples and a quick do it yourself demonstration. Check it out.

Photography on a Budget - Flash Diffusers

Here is a tip for you. Another photography blog I read is Julie Lawson. Julie is like me a serious amateur who is working on becoming a pro and perfecting her craft. She typically does portraits and landscapes and has recently started dabbling in studio light. In one of her weekend post she talked about shooting pictures of her daughter and using a diffuser. No big deal there a diffuser is a common piece of photographic equipment. Not one I currently own, but one I have looked into buying. Just never have taken the time to order it as I don't use flash that much this time of year as I tend to be shooting sports.

While on an outing with her daughter Julie needed/wanted to diffuse the flash so as not to blow out the highlights. Since she had either left her diffuser at the studio or did not own one she improvised. She used a piece of toilet paper to cover her flash and soften the light. No I did not mistype it she used toilet paper to diffuse her flash. How ingenious!

Great idea Julie...you should really tell the folks on Strobist about that one.

Here are the links to the posts where Julie talks about her TP diffuser.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Aquaman by Nick Wheeleroz

This amazing shot was taken by Nick Wheeleroz. If you like it and want to learn more about how it was shot click the post title to jump to his place over on Flickr. Great job Nick!

Riverside Flash vs West Side Red Pythons

Welcome back sports fan, yesterday was another exciting day of action photography. UKV Photos was participating in the dgrin forums event - A day int he Life of Dgrin and had two photo events lined up. We were to shoot the Riverside Flash and Avalanche games. However mother nature had other plans. A series of heavy storms moved in to force the evening Avalanche game to be rescheduled. The Flash played early enough to miss the rain and what a game!
The West Side Red Pythons call Cato Park in Charleston, WV their home field. Its a great facility and has some nice backdrops to shoot against. All four sides of the field had trees or wooded hills leaving only the fans as a distraction behind the players. I was pleasantly surprised to run into an old friend at the game. His little boy played on the Pythons and we had not seen each other since our work careers took very different paths.
I captured a number of great shots and as always a selection of them is below:






Saturday, April 19, 2008

McTeacher Night

The local McDonalds, Smithers, in conjunction with Fayette County's Valley Elementary School held a McTeacher’s night to raise funds for a new playground at the school. UKV Photos was on hand to catch a few of the kids playing with their favorite McDonald's characters. The event was able to raise over $400.00 that evening. The Local School Improvement Council has a long way to go to reach their goal of $75,000.00. If you would like to contribute to this great project contact Valley Elementary School in Smithers or contact me via e-mail for additional information. Every little bit helps!

A day in the life of Dgrin

One of the forums that I regular read and post to is dgrin.com. Today many of the members have agreed to shoot their days. These will then be posted to a response thread and everyone will be able to take a look at a sampling of what the folks of dgrin was taking pictures of on a certain day. I plan to post a few of the soccer images I take today, both A and M have soccer games. Sorry for the lack of post the last few days, life has been hectic. I will have a post for everyone this evening.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Edward Burtynsky: TED Prize wish: Share the story of Earth's manufactured landscapes

Accepting his 2005 TED Prize, photographer Edward Burtynsky makes a wish: that his images -- stunning landscapes that document humanity's impact on the world -- help persuade millions to join a global conversation on sustainability. Burtynsky presents a riveting slideshow of his photographs, which show vividly how industrial development is altering the Earth's natural landscape. From mountains of tires to rivers of bright orange waste from a nickel mine, his images are simultaneously beautiful and horrifying.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lament of the lost light

I have to lament on the loss of a great evening to be out shooting sunsets. Here in the Kanawha Valley we are no stranger to great sunsets and great evening light. Tonight was an extraordinary one! I think? Tonight I was setting in a graduate class watching the light that was creeping in around the closed shades color the walls an exquisite shades of red and gold. I knew I was missing it and I knew it would be to late to shoot when the professor finished. I am jealous of those of you who were able to enjoy the sunset in the Kanawha Valley tonight.

Catch the action!


ISO 1600 - f6.3 - 108mm - 1/500 Aperture Priority

The image above is just one of the captures I made last night at A's makeup soccer game. It was a late evening shoot on a scattered cloudy day. When I saw the shot and clicked the shutter it was more on instinct than thought, guess I should listen to my instinct a bit more often. I love the feeling the shot gives me, of the leading lines take you down to the ball that is being stolen away from the other player.

On the technical side of the house it was shot at a high ISO. I've shot quite a-bit at this ISO, mainly because I do not have a fast enough lens. This shot was taken hand held with a Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro lens. I love the lens and prefer it for the U5-U6 soccer matches. The problem with higher ISO's is the noise they produce, while it can be acceptable sometimes a close crop turns out nasty if you are shooting at a high ISO. 1600 though allowed me to freeze the action at a shutter speed of 1/500 and an aperture of 6.3.

My tactic for this type of shot is simple, get down on the level of the players, shoot the action and anticipate the event. I will normally shoot in a burst mode and take two or three shots total. Of course at the age of the players in this shot I have to be on my knees in order to get a good level shot. Shoot with a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. Make sure you adjust the aperture to suit your shot. When I am shooting individual players I try to shoot the aperture low for a narrow depth of field. For teams charging down the field at me I open up into the mid range or higher. In the back of my mind a chant is playing..."...shoot close...crop closer...shoot close...crop closer..."

When I get home and sit down at the computer I take a look at what I have. If I did my job right I should have a list of hopefuls to look at. From this group of shots I will get rid of all the ones I do not like then I will begin making any adjustments. Adjustments can be anything from color or white balance changes to cropping the image to a different aspect ratio. When this is done I am ready to post the resutls over on ukvphots.com.

Remember...keep clicking!

prophotolife: battle of the bulbs

Jim Talkington, who has provided me with a wealth of great ideas on how to setup a small studio lighting kit, is at it again. In his most recent post he has compared four different light sources and shot the difference for your viewing pleasure. After reviewing his results I think I will use a set of GE Soft White and a set of n:vision daylight spiral bulbs in the setup I hope to build in the next few weeks. You cna find his post by clicking the link here or the title of this post.

http://prophotolife.com/2008/04/15/tech-battle-of-the-bulbs-shootout/

Monday, April 14, 2008

David Ziser: Shoot the Flash but Don't Kill the Photographer

Copy of a post by David Ziser and used with his permission:

It's easy, it's easy, it's really easy - adding a nice soft directional light to the scene or the subject. In many of my daily image posts, I'm often asked how I am getting the light on the subject. Well, this lighting tutorial solves the riddle once and for all.

In this tutorial I discuss my easy to use umbrella shoot through flash technique. I'll show the exact flash/umbrella set up and why this gives me the best results. I'll also show what the assistant needs to see from his position and what the camera sees. Enjoy!




If you like the info you can find more tips like this over on Davids blog: Digital Pro Talk

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cheap professional lighting.

I've grabbed Jim Talktington's latest DIY video from prophotolife's instructional videos: another DIY lighting video - the mother of all stick in a can lighting vidsfrom pro photo life by Jim Talkington

Here is what Jim says:
Let’s take the DIY lighting videos a step farther than in part 1: it’s time for a bigger setup and what I like to call “the mother of all stick-in-a-can videos”. You’ll know why once you watch it. I’ve realized there’s more to these pieces than setting a wooden stick in concrete and attaching diffusion material to a wooden frame, so in a few days I’ll post either a video or text on how to best make them and where to get the right materials.

I love what he has done and hope to set up a studio using his ideas in the near future.

Action Photography --- Soccer

One of my favorite types of photography is action. I have spent the last year shooting various youth sports associations. sports have lots of action and lost of energy even when you are shooting the younger kids. Out two kids play on U5 and U7 soccer teams. Here are a few of the shots I took this weekend.
















How to Photograph a Model: Photo Studio Tips : Using Reflector to Light Photo Shoot

Rob Mitchell's photography series from 'Expert Village' contains a lot of good sound advice. I personally think he over exposes his subject in the videos but his technique and information is useful.




Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lighting on a budget.

Unfortunately for me I do not have a studio...well not yet anyway. Lighting is always an issue and I am always looking for a way to light something quickly and easily. I have looked into strobes and studio lighting but hate to spend the money until I need them, yet I find myself ready to start lighting my work and moving to the next level of my photography. To that point I follow the Strobist site and many others. On Strobist the other day was an entry by Jim Talkington. a native West Virginia, of ProPhotoLife.com. In his post he showed how to use sticks, cans and a few other items from local hardware and craft stored to creat a great lighting setup. The video is linked below.



Friday, April 11, 2008

Portrait Photography

Corporate photographer David Tejada photographs 9 executive head shots and environmental portraits


Wired Photography Contest

For those of you who are so disposed....check out the photo contests that wired is running. This months is a macro contest. I'm not that great at macro but I think I may give it a whirl and you should too!

Wired Photography Contest: Macro

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Photosynth

I recently learned about an amazing technology. Imagine a system that can collect millions of photographs from around the world and compile them into a three-dimensional model. Sound like Sci-fi, its not. The product is under development by Microsoft. Most of the info I could gather on it was from late 2007 and I wanted to give you a better idea of how it worked so I went over to wikipedia and pulled out this description.

From Wikipedia:
Photosynth is a software technology from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that analyzes digital photographs to build a three-dimensional point cloud of a photographed object. Pattern recognition components compare portions of images to create points, which are then compared to convert the image into a model. Currently, users can view models built by Microsoft or the BBC, but not create their own models.

The program works by analysing multiple photographs taken of the same area. Each photograph is processed by noting specific features, like the corner of a window frame or a door handle. Photos that share features are then linked together in a web. When the same feature is found in multiple images, its 3D position can be calculated. Photosynth's 3D model is a cloud of points showing where these features are in space. This model enables the program to show a particular area from various angles, based on the different angles found in the photos. While the process works when only two photographs are used, it is better with more.

Here is a TED talk video from one of the guys working on this project, during the video he demos the software.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How to Photograph a Model: Photo Studio Tips : Using Tungsten Light to Photograph Model

Found this series over on YouTube, thought it might interest you folks. I can't take credit for the work but I can provided it through the site and let you guys check it out.

Product lighting tutorial from prophotolight

I recently learned about the DIY video series that prophotolife.com has placed up. I will be linking these post and helping share the word. I am learning tons from these guys and I hope you are too! This one is on lighting products.


Past versions of me...

For those folks who know you are well aware that I have been into technology and computers over the years. I have worked in computer training, Boys & Girls Clubs and most recently in Education. Along the way I worked for a man by the name of Raubach. Jim was a one time Air Force Investigator who in his well earned retirement opened a firm called Forensic-Computers.com. When I worked for him he was just growing the business up to a critical mass and I was able to provided input on the early versions of the Forensic Air Lite. I was only there 9 months but I learned a lot from Jim and his way of doing business. One of the things I learned was how to salvage data on drives that had failed. Today I ran across a blog post that reminded me of my days there at the Forensic-Computers shops. Peter Carey posted an article over on the digital Photography School blog entitled How to Recover Lost Images. It relates to recovering data on corrupted cards. Give it a read by following the link.

If you are in need of some high end data recovery machines or services check out Jim Raubach over at www.forensic-computers.com. If you do let him know I sent you.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Return to Soccer

Yesterday was a damp cool day, felt more like fall than spring, that held the first match of the Spring 2008 soccer season for the Riverside Youth Soccer League. I hope this year bring more and better pictures than last. I made a few bumbles when I was shooting. The first was that I shot the entire first quarter at ISO 3200. I surely did not need it, I just forgot that my camera had been used in low light last time out and did not reset it. I quickly rectified that and moved to an ISO of 800. That was really to high too, I could have shot at ISO 100 or 200 with no problem but I wanted to freeze the action this time out and shooting higher helped me get the exposure right. I stopped the aperture way down for my lens. Which means I was shooting at 5.6 for the most part, some are higher some are lower. In retrospect that was a bad idea too, my depth of field was to shallow, often times the point of focus is on the one player but not on the real good action. Had I shot at a higher f stop I would have been able to tease some of that background out in post processing. Oh well...live and learn.

It was a wet field, in fact I was surprised we played. My surprise was in part due to the fact that we were using a local middle school field to play on. Play we did though. I tried to get a few shots of the kids when the hit the mud holes. I have tons of shots over in the gallery on ukvphotos.com. I hope you enjoy these and check out the rest.

With out any more blab blab blab here is a selection of shots from the Riverside Flash (purple) and the South Hills Sharks (maroon).


1)


2)



3)


4)


5)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dr. Hawking at TED

For those of you who know me personally you know that I am an avid enthusiast of both aviation and astronomy as well as good Science Fiction. It was my interest of computers that drove my in school and eventually lead to my current career. The other one, the one that does not include a camera. I follow TED. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. In the last few years they have begun posting some of their talks. I recently watched the one by Dr. Stephen Hawkins. I am a firm believer that we need to expand tot he stars and if we don't do it for the adventure of it then we must do it for the survival of our race. It appears that Dr. Hawkins shares my belief. I have included the video, I hope you enjoy it. I promise back to photography for the next post and no more videos for a while.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Remote Triggers

Dave James posted the two videos below and listed them on Strobist. As I am exploring the idea of lighting and off camera flash I thought my readers might enjoy these.

Part 1


Part 2


Dave is using a simple and light setup here, though you cna see a larger studio strobe in the background of the first video. If you want to look into getting your own lighting kit and you are like me and on a budget check out the link below.

http://www.mpex.com/page.htm?PG=Strobist%20Kits

Another option to using the Gadget Infinity remotes is the Pocket Wizards or the Radio Poppers. I have blogged on radio Poppers int he past. Here is a qucik video on Pocket Wizards.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Martin Prihoda

I've had not seen Martins work until this video but what he said at the end really hit home to me. He has some great lighting tips in the video and it gives you a good feel for what it is like to do, what I would consider, a big shoot. I hope one day to get to the level he is at. Enjoy the clip and check out his work. http://martinprihoda.com/

If you follow the title link you will see the article i read over on Strobist where they explain how to pull of a similar look and feel with hand strobes.