Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday night lights, 100 and counting

As you read last month, I've started photographing high school football for the first time this season.  The Lincoln Christian Crusaders are having perhaps their best season ever, and that happily coincided with my own piqued interest in shooting sports.  My inaugural outing went OK.  I learned a lot, and wanted to correct some mistakes at my next outing.  The next home game was the final regular season game, which is traditionally when the team's seniors are honored.  This also happened to be head coach Matt Farup's 100th game coaching the Crusaders.  LCS won the game, finishing the regular season at 7-1 and earning a #2 seed in the playoffs.  In short, it was a special occasion for several reasons.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Friday Night Lights

I've enjoyed photographing active people for a while now. Usually, it's just my kids at play or in their youth sports leagues.  This year, I wanted to step it up a notch and shoot some athletes that are a little faster, more organized, and more predictable, so I approached the football coach of our kids' high school (also my alma mater) about roaming the sidelines during a game.  I'd get some fun experience, and the school would get free photos that were hopefully good enough to use for something.  He loved the idea.  This past weekend, my availability finally coincided with one of the home games, so I got my first taste of shooting Friday night lights.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thoughts on my new Canon SX280 HS camera

Nearly four months after dropping my old Canon SD870IS camera onto a hard gym floor and breaking the lens mechanism, I finally ordered a new point & shoot camera in the form of a Canon SX280 HS.  The SX280 is slightly larger than the SD870, but is still very pocketable.  The big win comes with quite a number of feature improvements that have worked their way into pocket cameras during the five years since the SD870 was made.  Below, you'll find my initial thoughts after playing with the new toy for a little while.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How big should my home studio be?

I frequently see people who are remodeling their house and want to create a proper photo studio as part of that space.  Since space is almost always at a premium during a home remodel, these folks want to know how small a space they can get away with allocating to their studio without making it so small that it's not really usable.  Of course, the answer depends on what type of subjects you're photographing:  automobiles require more space than jewelry.  However, by breaking it down and adding up the space required for each individual component, it's not hard to come up with a number that serves your needs.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shooting Sandhill Cranes with my daughter

My 11-year-old daughter loves animals.  She also loves art work, including photography.  Consequently, every year, she and I make a 24-hour pilgrimage to Nebraska's Central Flyway to photography Sandhill Cranes together.  It's a fun trip, and one that we've made for four years now.  My previous blog post explained the basics of the great Sandhill Crane migration and gave tips on how best to enjoy their annual, spring stop-over in central Nebraska.  This time, I wanted to share a play by play of our most recent trip.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska's Central Flyway

I'm blessed to live just a couple hours away from one of the great spectacles of nature:  the migration of half a million Sandhill Cranes from their winter homes in Texas to their summer homes in Canada & Siberia.  En route, these 4-foot-tall birds stop over along central Nebraska's Platte River for 5-6 weeks each spring to bulk up for the journey ahead.  It's quite a sight, and one that people travel from all over the world to see.  My family has been driving out to see it every year for a while now.  Enjoying a profitable trip can be pretty hit & miss if you don't know what you're doing, so I wanted to give some pointers on getting the most from the experience.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kenko 1.4x PRO 300 teleconverter DGX

Ever since I upgraded my Canon 70-300/4-5.6IS lens to the shorter, but faster, 70-200/2.8IS, I've missed the extra reach that the 300mm lens had.  A teleconverter has been on my wish list ever since.  With the Sandhill Crane and Bald Eagle photographing season approaching, I decided it was time to bite the bullet.  Despite the impending birding outings, a 1.4x teleconverter seemed to be a more useful multiplier than 2x, so I bought a Kenko 1.4x PRO 300 from Amazon.  I took a few test shots immediately after unboxing it, and wanted to share what I found.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Documenting 3D wall art

My dad is a pretty good artist.  His current medium of choice is acrylic-painted 3D wall art, and he's been amassing a healthy portfolio of work in preparation for a gallery show.  He had been taking photos of the pieces to display on his web site,, but his point & shoot camera was giving him lackluster results, so I volunteered to come photograph all of his recent work before he hauled it to the gallery for the show.  Photographing--or more specifically, lighting--large, semi-gloss objects of varying sizes can present some challenges, so I figured I'd share the process I used.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Disassembling a Canon point-and-shoot camera

I've had several Canon point & shoot cameras since we first made the digital leap in late 2001.  Because these tiny cameras were made to be carried around everywhere in your pocket, then tend to have a hard life in our family.  They inevitably end up with some physical defect that prompts me to completely tear them apart in an attempt to fix the problem.  Sometimes I'm successful, other times not.  The process has been very similar every time for 11 years, and I expect that it won't change a whole lot going forward, so I wanted to document it here for you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A day in the life of an LBC concert

8:54pm - Performance
Several times each year, our church hosts concerts for A-list contemporary Christian musicians.  My wife heads up hospitality (food & green room) for these events, and I usually help her.  It takes scores of volunteers an entire day of work to put on a show that provides the attendees with 2-3 hours of entertainment, but most people have no clue what really happens behind the scenes to make a show like this happen.  After several years of watching this, I proposed to our head concert organizer that I shoot a personal project documenting a day in the life of one of our concerts.  He loved the idea, and thus began one of the busiest single days of photography that I'd done to date.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Organic patterns in window frost

Living in a 100+ year old house has some drawbacks.  One of them is that the original, single-pane windows leak heat like a sieve.  The silver lining is that when the warm, moist, indoor air leaks through the window and freezes on the outer storm window during really cold weather, the resulting frost forms the most amazing patterns.  Sometimes they resemble miniature forest scenes.  Other times, they look like vines, leaves, or feathers.  Combined with the right back light, this simple window frost can provide some beautiful images.