I love situations where there is every reason you shouldn’t get a photo. I actually love situations where you should lose and are expected to lose. I love them because there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In this case this was the second group to come up and sings carols. I knew I was at least covered with the first group. This group came up and stood in front of the Christmas tree, the previous group stood behind it. Where this created a problem was that there was virtually no other light except for the Christmas tree. Any street lights that were around this park were a long ways off and pretty dim to start with. For the photographers out there this exposure was made at 1/50th of second, f1.2, at 3200iso, for the non-photographers, pushing everything to the max. I really liked how the lighting turned out, has a nice ethereal quality to it, and for a situation where I probably should have got nothing, it gives me a smile that I got something. Now to see if it runs, it is a bit noisy so it’ll have a tough time going big, but should hold up fine small.
Well I’m not a generally extroverted person, I do enjoy the company of good people and meeting good people for work. Most of the time when I meet people for work it’s a quick association and I’m off again, sometimes I have the time and interest or the need to spend more time on a shoot. So currently I’m working a piece for parenting magazine about the softer side of the Bears. We’re showing the good family man side of some of the players. Alright, nice enough little feature piece.
So I spent a few hours with the Maynard family on Tuesday (for those who don’t know Brad Maynard is the Bears punter and very good at it). Obviously Brad is very into football, but he’s two sons were also very into football. Football games were a common theme throughout the day. Near the end of my time with them they started playing Madden. It’s always the little things that give stories life, and that make the world a brighter place in my world. In this case it was watching the Bears punter being forced by his 7-year-old son to play as the Packers against the Bears. It’s probably the only time you’ll hear a Bears player in Bears vs. Packers game complaining the Brett Favre can’t complete a pass and is throwing too many interceptions.
The part that I always enjoy about these longer shots is that you get to see a little bit more into the quirky side of people, the unexpected parts. Those are the parts I always enjoy, and to me, the part of them that makes people interesting. I always wonder why people don’t show their quirks a little more and the face they try to put on to fit in and be like everyone else and the ideal a little less. The ideal is so dull if you ask me, the quirks are so fun. Oh well.
So I wanted to try something a bit different for the wrestling preview I needed to shot. It’s better than a straight action shot, but it leaves room for improvement. Need to do better prep on site and remember that atheletes don’t always make for cooperative models (my first idea rather fell apart because the subject had trouble doing anything but laughing his ass off, which is personally the kind of attitude I love, just not great for the particular photo), but the ideas are a move in the direction I’d like to go.
The problem and blessing of journalism is the time frame. Every story you report has a time frame and it has to be done come hell or high water. This royally sucks because you don’t have the time you want to work on a project, and you don’t have any time to get any distance from a project before it needs to be done. The blessing is that it gets done, there is no putting a project on the back burner.
So a few months back I took a “vacation” to see a friend of mine at a theater company he works with, Tent. Basically I spent 4 doors, 16 hours a day taking photos. It was the break I needed. Seriously, it was, it helped make my flame for photography burn brighter, plus I met some cool people. Over time I’ve thrown up a couple of web pages for the particapants to look at the images, but I’ve never really been close to done. I had some time this weekend, so I decided to work on this and I think I’m much closer to a finished product. Anyhow, you can see the audio-slide show in a large version here. Also, I should mention, the part of the show I used for audio was a wee bit on the disturbed side, on the other hand, half the show was on the disturbed side.
It may be a little tough to tell in this case, but this is from a dance performance a few weeks back. In this case The Strange Tree Theater Group at Aloft Aerial Dance. Think experimental dance mixed with trapeze. Right up my alley.
Over the past few years I’ve come to discover that I love watching dance performances. My favorites though are the more experimental dance groups. I don’t quite know what it is about dance, but story telling through dance just appeals to me. I guess in a way it makes sense, dance being visual, me being a visual artist. Regardless of that being the source of my interest or not, I enjoy a good dance performance.
So far I’ve found these groups through work assignments and I want to find more, alas this means I’m going to have to start searching. I’d love to get to the point where I can go to one good dance performance every month. That may be a bit optimistic, but worth a good try. So if anyone should know a good dance group in the Chicago area, feel free to live a comment with some info about them, I’d love to know. Also, I tend to enjoy helping these groups out by taking photos of their performances for some sort of trade, so you might be able to help them and me.
And if you’re looking for a good show, another company worth a good, long, and enjoyable look is Chicago Tap Theater.
Apparently I’m in a mood to complain of late. More on that later. On Monday I was contact by my designers and editors all in somewhat of a panic because they had no page 1 image. So Monday night I hunt up a page 1 feature, a dance class, spend about 3 hours getting it shot and edited, only to find out Tuesday it wasn’t needed. Rather annoying.
On the good side though, the dance company I was photographing were very nice people. In fact one of the reasons I choose to contact them was because they’ve always been nice to me in the past and I knew on short notice they’d work with me. The class itself was filled with kind people, who knew how to dance pretty darn well, and they were a joy to talk to. One photo did run, so I was glad I could help them even if just a little. This one didn’t run, but that’s for another day.
And I really do know I have nothing that I should complain about, but somedays it feels good.
Tis the time of year for winter sports previews. We have recently decided to try and switch from practice images to portrait images. I’m all down for this, assuming we can plan for it. Suffice it to say, when you’re given the photo request mid-day Friday, with times for the Friday afternoon practice and Friday night scrimmage, there is a limited amount you can do. When in doubt, work what you can, and don’t sweat the rest. On the other hand next week’s image hopefully will be what I’m looking for, and more than my editors expect.
Usually I’m a pretty sound sleeper, sometimes though I just get too caught up in ideas, usually new ideas. Lately it has been QuickTime Virtual Reality Movies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about they are set of image which are merged together to create a 360 degree image. Usually you click on them and then move your mouse around to view the whole image. If you want to check some out head over to http://www.panoramas.dk/ (I’ll turn it into a link a when I learn how). Very neat stuff. I’m hoping to incorporate it into some of my journalism work in the near future, the question has been how?
Over the past several week I’ve been fairly obsessive compulsive about figuring how to shot these, and how shot them right. So far I’ve figured out that small problems when you take the pictures turn in huge problems when you process the pictures to deal with the problems up front. The main problem I’ve seen so far is getting all my shots level. After much reading I’ve found that it seems to be easiest to use a panoramic head on top of my tripod head. I’m close to done with my home made version of this. Hopefully that will help out in the more scenic and interior shots, but tripods just aren’t friendly for most photojournalism.
To that end for some reason tonight it unlocked in my head that well I may not have a fisheye lens, a common solution to getting 360 degree panoramic, I could at least try my 14mm. I’ll give it a run tomorrow, hand held, see how badly it goes, and work from there. I wish I could understand why certain ways of doing things get locked in peoples heads, mainly mine, and why obvious, if not potentially problem wrought solutions, take so long to come to mind. I guess I should be happy that the different ideas pop into my head at all, whether they be little things or big things. We all need to have a little late night, and somewhat ridiculous inspiration on occasion.
And at some point during this whole process I’ll start spelling panoramic correctly without a spell checker instead of my “panaromic”. Guess there was a reason I wasn’t a writer.
I’ve always been a fan of a challenge. They’re the main thing that keeps life interesting. Now, a challenge is one thing, taking a photograph of a moving person, sometimes pretty quickly moving, in a pitch black room, that’s just brutal. One of my assignments today was to shot firefighters doing night training. Basically the firefighters would wear something over their visors to reduce visibility then enter a room that was pitch black. This was all to simulate a smoke filled house or building. This left me hand holding 2 second exposures that I couldn’t even see well enough to vaguely focus. It was actually kind of fun. I love a situation wear failure is expected and all you can do is take the chances and see what you can get. And well I wouldn’t call it a great success, I’ll take it considering.
So I think I’m finally ready to start publishing actual words and pics on a, hopefully, regular basis. In the spirit of still test, this is an image from a break dancing demonstration I attended last weekend. Many a year ago I would have mocked break dancing. Now I’d have to say it’s a pretty darn impressive art form. If you ever get a chance to watch skilled breakdancers perform take advantage of it. Well worth the hour or two of time.
As usual, click here or on the pano to view it how it’s meant to be seen.
This is from a church restoration project back in 2005, I think, at Ascension Church in Oak Park, IL.