Monday, May 31, 2010

52 Variations - Variation Twenty-Two


52 Variations - Variation Twenty-Two - Fore

Continuing a small series of Gustavo playing sports.  This week I submit him playing a new sport, golf.  This one is a recent interest, just beginning it late last summer.  We did some lessons together which I think helped me more than him, but solidified that he truly enjoys playing golf.

The above was taken with my walk-a-bout camera, my faithful G11.  It also exemplifies why I have a walk-a-bout camera, you never know when a you'll come across something worth capturing.

Please enjoy a bit of enthusiasm for a new sport with me.  I don't know if or for how long it will last, but I can't think of a nicer way to spend a day than with my son walking some beautiful greens.  Oh, and cross your fingers that he doesn't get too much better than me too quickly.  The kid seems to be a natural.


As always go to the Flickr set for all project pictures by Clicking Here. You can also find a full explanation of the project along with an index of the shots by Clicking Here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Territory

Soccer Team Shoot

Thank God for wives.  My son's soccer league was not going to have team and individual pictures this year so she volunteered me to take pictures of my son's team, the Blue Sharks.  So off I went, to take sports team pictures, woot, woot.

I have never done team or individual sports portraits.  I have done more game pictures than I care to think about, I've also spent endless hours in event and controlled portrait work, but never done onsite team pictures before.  As always, I learned a ton about how I must adapt as a photographer to this new photographic form.

So if you have some time, not too much needed, lets talk about what I learned and must now integrate into my photographic life.

What did I know going into the shoot.
  • I would be shooting in mid-day sun.  Therefore I would need fill light to prevent harsh shadows.
  • I knew posing would be challenge - kids like to slouch.
  • Corralling 9 year-olds is very, very difficult.  Nine year-olds are fast.  :-)
As you can see, I knew some things that would be challenges, like getting the the kids to cooperate and dealing with the bright mid-day sun.  I felt prepared as I had done my research to address these.  I knew what I could know, but no more.

How did things develop?
  • The consensus was to use a goal as the background.  Not my personal choice, but the right one given the streets and mall surrounding the soccer field.
  • Using the goal caused issue with the sky.  It was a very bright day with no clouds or color, just sun.  No matter what I did, I couldn't get the sun under control.
  • Challenges in posing showed.  Looked at the team picture in the memory mate above.  A few of them were wearing sun glasses.  A rookie mistake.  I did ask them to remove the glasses after a few pictures but every shot taken after that had a bad pose.  Closed eyes, looking at a passing car, etc.  Sadly, the above was the best of the shots.
  • The most valuable thing I brought were weights to prevent my light-stands from blowing over.  I have scientifically proven that winds pick up as soon as an umbrella opens, and calm as soon as the umbrella is closed.
At the end of the day everyone seemed happy as was my wife, my most important customer.  Enough for now, as always, if you have any suggestions let me know.  Lets just say I'm glad I had the opportunity to do this shoot and look forward to doing more team and individual sports portraits in the future.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

52 Variations - Variation Twenty-One


52 Variations - VariationTwenty-One - Futbol

With soccer season drawing to a close I had to make sure and get a picture of Gustavo playing the game he loves so much.  This sport has done a lot for him.  Gustavo, as many of you know, is a very gentle child.  At times this gentleness is manifested in a passiveness, not a bad thing, but a challenge for a soccer player.  Over this season I have seen him become more and more assertive, fighting for the ball, driving hard to contribute.  I couldn't be more proud of the progress he's made.

The above is a slice in time, a slice of the new assertiveness he developed this season.  For those of you with children playing sports I know you can understand the pride I have.  There is nothing like seeing your child grow and excel.  It is really quite wonderful.

So enjoy the above picture with me.  He didn't score a goal, but stole the ball.  All to often that is more important.


As always go to the Flickr set for all project pictures by Clicking Here. You can also find a full explanation of the project along with an index of the shots by Clicking Here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

52 Variations - Variation Twenty


52 Variations - Variation Twenty - Pull...Pull

Late again...what can I say, work has been a killer lately.

Originally planning to do a crafted shoot, I came across the opportunity to take some shots of a Tug of War contest at my son's Cub Scout meeting.  Not only were the Scouts victorious but the event provided great fodder for capturing another side (variation) of Gustavo.

Pulling as hard as possible, giving it his all, he was determined to win.  The title comes from this determination as all I heard him say was "pull...pull", driving himself to keep at it.  This determination paid off with a win, but is impressive for other reasons.  It shows his focus on a goal, the goal of doing his part, of being part of the greater entity which is his Cub Pack.  It is so the essence of my son, always focused on the greater need/good.  I could not be more proud.

Enjoy this moment with me and have a great week everyone.


As always go to the Flickr set for all project pictures by Clicking Here. You can also find a full explanation of the project along with an index of the shots by Clicking Here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Lonely Soccer Player

Quick little post this morning.

I finally got around to importing some pictures from my walk about camera, my G11.  Amongst them was the above which is a picture of a goalie at one of my son's soccer games.  So much of the game was spent at the opposing goal he got board and sat down for the majority of the game.  I like the capture as it shows his boredom and isolation during a very busy game.

I wish I could say this is the goalie for my son's team, unfortunately, his goalie was very busy.  Lets just say we lost and leave it at that.  :-)

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thanks Ernie

Hernan Passport

My brother-in-law called me today asking for a passport photo.  Sure thing I said, I'd be glad to help.  Little did I realize that my over-thinking would get in the way.

I knew what I wanted to do.  I would do a single light setup with a softbox to camera left while using bounce fill on his right.  Looking above you can see that is not what we ended up with.  Let me say first off that Hernan (my brother-in-law), Ernie as we call him is an extremely talented artist.  Understanding what all good artists do, that the art must work for the intended audience, he went to the U.S. Passport office web site for direction on how the photo should look.  Thanks to him I learned that the photo needed to be much simpler than I conceptualized it.

There are all kinds of rules by the way.  Subject position in the print, size of the print, pose and even lighting direction are all on the site for reference.  I was amazed.  Fundamentally, the light needed to be even with little if any shadows.  In the end I had one light on each side, set to provide even (what some would call flat) lighting.

It was perfect in its simplicity, it was everything a passport photo should be.  Better than the P&S passport photo's taken at the local drug store, showing a bit of the character of the subject while being simple and straightforward so any customs agent can easily identify Ernie and the proper passport owner.

So why is this post entitled "Thanks Ernie"?  Because thanks to Ernie I focused on what the picture needed to be and stopped over-thinking what had to be done.  In focusing on what the portrait needed to be I was better able to capture the person my subject is.

Thank you Ernie.  Thanks for the opportunity, thanks for the lesson in not over-thinking.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

52 Variations - Variation Nineteen


52 Variations - Variation Nineteen - Jammin

Gustavo like millions of other children loves to play Rock Band on his Wii.  Seeing how much he loves to jam on the virtual guitar I thought it would be fun to capture some of the essence of jammin on the guitar this week.  Something which has a bit of a Fender Stratocaster advertisement feel.

Above is the outcome of the attempt.  It is a very simple shot, using only one speedlight into a gridded 24" softbox.  But it gave me the light I was after, soft, yet a bit hard thanks to boosting blacks in post processing.

This was not my original plan.  At first I wanted to get a stage lighting affect, but just couldn't get it to come off the way I wanted.  This was plan B, and with the angle, I'm actually quite happy with it.

What do you think?


As always go to the Flickr set for all project pictures by Clicking Here. You can also find a full explanation of the project along with an index of the shots by Clicking Here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

52 Variations - Variation Eighteen


52 Variations - Variation Eighteen - Joyful

Let me start out by saying that this photograph will not win any awards.  It is the result of candid shots I was taking at Gustavo's last Cub Scout meeting.  I'm using this picture because of the joy he exudes in it.  I know I promised a constructed picture this week, but when processing this I couldn't resist and needed to use this picture.  It has too much personality in it not to.

It is a simple shot taken with my G11 at its highest and worst quality ISO.  I did the best I could to remove the noise and sharpen it, but walking the fine balance of detail, the above was the finest balance I could achieve.

I ask you is to remember the power of the snap shot.  As Ansel Adams said, "it captures moments which would otherwise be missed."  I didn't have any of my DSLRs with me, nor was there time to setup a proper shoot, as anyone that has been to a Cub Scout meeting would know.  I was there with the "best camera" as Chase Jarvis would call it.  The camera I had.  A camera that captured Gustavo reveling in a flag swiping across his face...the pure joy of the moment.  The G11 captured the joy, a joy I feel it when looking at the shot, I can ask for nothing more.

So revel in joyfulness with me.  Enjoy the moment, Gustavo sure did.


As always go to the Flickr set for all project pictures by Clicking Here. You can also find a full explanation of the project along with an index of the shots by Clicking Here.