Sunday, May 3, 2009

Official Website with blog up!

My official website, is up and running. It contains a blog page so i will no longer be using this account to blog. Please continue to follow me on my new homepage, and leave comments in the blog if you have any suggestions or just want to share your thoughts. Thanks for following me here, and I hope that you will continue to check in on me and my journey to make it as a professional photographer!

Thanks again!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Highly recommended book

I finally went out and bought the brand new book called The Hot Shoe Diaries, by Joe McNally. I heard about it on a recent TWiP podcast. The book is amazing, what i have read so far. It is entirely devoted to getting the most out of a single flash, and later with multiple flashes.

I have always been a little weird about using flash at all. I hate the look of flash pictures, but if you know how to really use one they can be great. This book, in the first 50 pages or so, has taught me more about flash work than i have ever know.

So, if you would like to learn how to use flash more creatively, or even just in general, definitely check out this book. It is by far the best i've read about the topic.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sports and Birds

Entry #1: Softball

Today I shot for the first time with the youth sports company that hired me. When i showed up I was all geared up, ready to take some nice action shots. Well, it turned out that we ended up doing team and individual shots first. I was a little terrified, just because i had never done that before, and wasnt sure that i could pull it off without any practice. There were 3 other photogs there, and i somehow managed to get put in charge of the individual shots. I was the only photog there that thought to bring a tripod, and im guessing that influenced the decision to put me in charge.

It actually went really well. It was fun having the kids go up and pose. After a few girls were out of the way, i got into a rhythm and went with it. We starting losing sunlight so i pulled out my trusty 580EX II flash, put an off-shoe cable on it and kept going. The flash shots looked even better than the natural light shots! Wow, i was really getting the hang of this! So, 4 teams later, i gave them my card to download all of my images, got my card back and was ready to shoot some action! I only had a little bit of time left at this point because it was already around 7:00pm and they wanted to be done by 7:30. The action shots i got were pretty good though, in my opinion, and they said the individual shots looked great.

Now that day 1 of this new venture is over, i no longer have my jitters. Tomorrow is more team pics for a couple of hours, then again on thursday. Pretty cool! Unfortunately, they keep all of the pics. I'm not allowed to use them for personal stuff, so i cant post any. But thats fine. They will probably be up on their website soon, and if they are ill post the link to them.

So that was part of my day.

This really should have been two posts, but whatever.

Entry #2: Birds

So lately, ive been really into bird photography. More specifically, large birds. I see hawks and vultures all the time when im not looking for them. I had Sunday off so Jill and I drove around to a few places where i knew i had seen some before. We ended up at River Legacy Park in North Arlington. I immediately saw the masses of vultures that common the area, and figured id try to get a few shots of them, even though they are ugly as all hell. What i was really on the lookout for were hawks. We drove through the parking lots, checking the sky for anything flying overhead. Then, just as we were about to leave i catch this guy flying over, very briefly.

I only managed a couple of shots of him before he was gone. Then i was left with the nasty turkey vultures. What the heck, might as well take some shots while they were flying low and close.

Boy, they are ugly.

I came home last night and posted on the Texas Photo Forum asking if anyone knew of any good birding spots around the DFW area. I got a few solid responses and had planned on going to one, the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, early this morning to shoot. I figured since i had to be back in Mansfield for the softball games by 5:00ish, it might be a better idea to wait until i could go out there and spend as much time as i wanted, and not have to be checking the time constantly to see if i needed to go.

So insted I went back to River Legacy to see if i could find the Hawk that briefly showed his face yesterday before flying off. No such luck at all! Only the stupid Turkey Vultures. So we went back into the woods down the walking trails and i found this guy.

I think he's a Heron of some kind. Still waiting on an ID from some fellow photogs though.

It was about 3:00 so we headed back and down to mansfield to get some lunch and head to the fields. I wanted to get there early so i could just make sure i was prepared for the softball shoot. For some reason i was still a little nervous about the whole thing.

We ended up getting to the softball fields about an hour and a half before i needed to be there, and it just so happened they had a walking trail through some woods that were located where the fields were. I figured i'd walk around and see if i could get some robins or cardinals in the huge trees overhead.

I found a few robins and that was about it. We walked back through a smaller unpaved path and i kept hearing a sound that i couldnt identify. It sounded like it was around eye level so i figured whatever kind of bird it was i may be able to get a nice shot. I followed the sound until i came across this beauty!

I was stunned! He was sitting there about 30 feet away, just looking around. I thought it was fake for a good couple of minutes, maybe to scare other birds away. Then he moved his head around, and finally flew off.

I followed him all through the woods trying to get close again, but he stayed up higher. This is another good one i got of him.

Maybe i shouldnt go looking for birds anymore, and just come across them! It was really cool seeing him sitting right in front of me. He couldnt have cared less that i was walking around him and snapping away.

So, all together i'd say it was a pretty successful day. Im going to try to get to the fields early again tomorrow to see if i can find the hawk again before i shoot more softball.

As always, click the images for the full web-sized version.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Update on the youth sports deal

As i blogged about a little while back, i had an interview to shoot for a well known youth sports company here in the DFW metroplex. It went very well, and i signed my paperwork that night.

They asked me to work recently shooting action shots for a girls softball league. Then they wrote back a few days later and said I may be doing team and individual photos as well! Wow, talk about jumping in head first! I was to be there at 7:45am that morning, and shoot until about 4pm.

I got up at 6:30am (after working 12hrs the night before) and the weather was horrible, completely out of nowhere! It has been absolutely beautiful here in DFW the last month or so, minus all of the crazy wind we've been having the last few months. Well, this particular morning mother nature decided she would throw a screwball into the mix. It was 33* outside, with 25-30mph winds, making it insanely cold. But, this was my big day and i wasnt going to let a little weather spoil it.

I put on my fleece PJ pants, then layered my jeans over those. Put on a tanktop, a longsleeved under-armor type shirt, a longsleeved thermal and a hoodie. Socks, Shoes, and a beanie and im ready to walk out the door.

I get a call just as im walking downstairs to head to the car informing me that the shoot was off. Too many people werent going to show up and all of the girls that were there were layered in clothes, and lets face it, who wants an individual posed photo of their child dressed to go to Antarctica?

Needless to say i was a little bummed, but relieved that i didnt have to stand there for 8+ hours in that frigid weather. If any of you out there know me personally, you probably know how much i HATE being cold. I seriously cant stand it.

So fast forward a few days. I've now been asked to work this Sunday, April 5th, shooting softball again. Im really excited about it! As of this post, here is how the weather reads:

Sunday, April 5th: Sunny. High of 77*. 0% chance of rain.

Lets hope that holds up!

Okay, so that day is set.

Today, i got an email asking my availability for two different assignments.

Assignment #1: April 6-9. Definitely available that monday and tuesday, weds is a no-go, and thursday is good too. So that might be quite a bit of work coming in that week.

Assignment #2: April 18-19. Available there too!

So excited that i've actually got some steady flow of photography related income that will be coming in. Its definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully i can parlay this into bigger sports/venues and eventually up to the pro level. I'll definitely be needing a pro series camera body if i plan to step it up to that level. My current body (Canon 40D) is excellent for pretty much everything that will take me up to the pro level. I definitely plan to make that jump to pro-body in somewhat near future, hopefully by the time the next Hockey/Basketball season rolls around. The good thing about camera bodies is that you can actually get them used for decent prices. Lenses are where the money is at. Granted, there are some $8,000 camera bodies out there, but i dont need that one! The one im planning to buy (Canon 1D Mark II, or 1D Mark IIn),the last generation model, you can pick up used for anywhere from $1000-1700. Sure, it doesnt have all the newest bells and whistles, but it didnt have them 2 years ago when thats what all of the top sports photographers were using either. Basically meaning that even if the camera is a few years old, its still going to produce great images.

Well, i need to go spend some time with Jill. I feel like i've seen here all of about 10 minutes in the last 3 or 4 days. The last thing i need to be doing is coming straight home from work and sitting on the computer blogging all night.

Hopefully i keep this updated more frequently than i have been recently.


Work Work Work!!

Man, i've been working my butt off the last week or so. I finally have tomorrow off to get some much needed rest. I'd stay in bed all day long if i could, but ive got some post processing to do on some product shots. I really need a laptop to bring to bed with me!

This has been my past week and a half work schedule (with half hours taken out for lunch):

Mar. 24th - Stars Game. 11a-10:30p (11hrs)
Mar. 25th - Mavs Game. Daytime only. 10a-5p (6.5hrs.... yeah not horrible that day)
Mar. 26th - Off from day job, but drove to Austin to take some product shots, so still technically worked. That drive is exhausting going there and back in a day.
Mar. 27th - Mavs Game. 11a-10:30p (11hrs)
Mar. 28th - Stars Game. 12p-10p (9.5hrs)
Mar. 29th - OFF!!! YAY!!! Drove to Grapevine for a Photography Seminar.
Mar. 30th - WWE Wrestling. 11a-2a (15hrs)
Mar. 31st - Britney Spears. 11a-3a (16hrs)

That has been the last little bit, with a short burst left starting again on Friday.

April 1st - Mavs Game. 11a-10:30p (11hrs)
April 2nd - OFF tomorrow! Whew!
April 3rd - Jeremy Camp. 12p-Guessing midnight or so (12hrs)
April 4th - Stars Game. 10a-10:30p (12hr)
April 5th - Youth sports action photos all day
April 6th - Youth sports action photos all day (pending confirmation)
April 7th - Dayshift at the regular job, then possibly more youth action photos at night
April 8th - Mavs Game. 10a-10:30p (12hrs)

WOW. Thats a LOT of stuff going on. After the 8th I go back to mostly daytime until the Mavs Playoffs start up.

I've got a buddy who is starting his own fashion line, and at some point in the next week or so wants me to take some pics for him for ads. It will consist of mostly urban/street stuff, but im going to take him into the studio also and see what we can get done in there. Looking forward to that for sure.

I know most of this wasnt photography related, but i realized while talking to my mom recently that i havent updated this in quite some time. Making a new post after this about some actual photography related news.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sports Photography Interview/Training

This friday i have an "interview/training" set up with a youth sports photography company. I will be taking action shots of various sporting events all around DFW. Then, the pics get downloaded on-site to one of the "salesperson's" computers and sold to parents on a CD/DVD. They aren't really salespeople, because the company has already been asked to be there, so its not like we go take photos, then try to sale them to unsuspecting parents. They just specialize in the business side of the deal.

This is a paid deal too, so thats a start! Its not a ton of money, but if im making any money at all through my photography then i definitely cant complain. Im really, really excited about this. If i could choose one area of photography to specialize in, it would be sports. Any kind of sports. I just like the action and the challenge of getting the shot and freezing that moment in time.

So it starts with Basketball. I'm not sure if its a high-school tournament, or just younger kids, but it should be fun either way!

Also, i just ordered 1000 business cards to get started. I found a really sweet deal right now where you get 1000 cards, double sided (which i forgot to put a back side on mine... doh!) full color, and all you pay is shipping. So, that worked out to $8.02, shipped to my door! Cant beat that, at least just to have something to hand out. I even got to design them myself. Jill will be making some for her salon move as well.

This is the picture i used for the background. I took it last November at a nature workshop.

I thought it was perfect because the image left a nice spot on the side for text. I included my name, that im a photographer, email, phone number and website.

Hope those work out for me. I think they will be here next week or so.

Well, thats all i got for now. Im sure i'll be writing with all the juicy details from my interview and training on friday. check back soon!


Monday, March 16, 2009

New Website!! Come check it out. Let me know what you think!

Created a new website tonight. Spent way too much time doing it. I finally got it looking acceptable. Please stop by and let me know what you think. A ton more pics to come soon, hopefully.

As usual when I'm posting blogs, its now bedtime. Please stop by my website and let me know if you think its client worthy, if nothing else just so they have a feel of my work.

Thanks for checking it out.