November 2014 favorites

I am continuing to add more content to this website with expanded galleries on the top header and updated portfolio.  More tweaks to come.
I also plan to get back into the habit of regularly posting my favorite images from each month, starting up again with November 2014.

Changes to the website

I have been working hard this last week to revise my website.  I have added more galleries and updated some of the existing galleries to reflect more recent work. Some of the new galleries include my images produced overseas as well as a gallery just for the commercial and magazine work I have been doing out here in West Texas. I am still adding images to fill out the galleries, click around and check them out.

More good stuff to come!

2/5 Strobing high school basketball

1/4 HS GIRLS BBALL: MHS-ABILENE

I had the opportunity to put some of my strobes to use today for the Midland High boys and girls basketball games. I don’t usually get to use my strobes for basketball because the majority of the games are held at a different well-lit location but due to scheduling conflicts these games were not.
In 2012 I permanently mounted two Dynalite units in the Midland High gym and I don’t get to use them much so I jumped at the opportunity tonight.
(Note: the term ‘permanently mounted’ does not mean the lights can never come down again, it just means the lights are mounted and wired in a manner where they are left up year-round and I do not have to physically access them to trigger them.)

The photo nerds will enjoy this part:
This gym is actually quite dark and I usually have to shoot at ISO 4000 with an aperture value of f/2.8 to get a shutter speed of 1/500th to 1/800th of a second.
I have two 500 watt/second monolights mounted in the rafters but I have them set to their absolute lowest power setting (about 1/8th of their full power capability). Most people I ask say the strobes are totally unnoticeable unless they are specifically looking for them.
With the added light from the two strobes I was able to shoot at ISO 800 with a shutter speed of 1/320th and an aperture value of f/3.5. Thats a big, big difference.

Added notes:
Some cameras will not allow you to shoot with a flash faster than 1/250th. I was using Pocketwizard radio triggers to fire the strobes so I was able to regulate my shutter speed as if there was no flash on the camera. If I shoot any faster than 1/400th with these lights I will begin to outsync the flash and there will be a dark line across the bottom of the frame. I can get away with 1/320th with this particular setup. Your mileage may vary based on your equipment and triggering method.
I decided to shoot at f/3.5 for a couple reasons. Remember from basic flash lessons that when shooting with strobe you use your shutter speed to control how much ambient light is exposed on the final image and you use your aperture value to control how much strobe light is exposed on the final image. ISO controls the overall ‘lightness or darkness’ of an image. So I was shooting a f/3.5 because by not shooting ‘wide open’ at f/2.8 I could effectively ‘turn down’ the brightness of the strobe. Also, it had the secondary effect of giving me a few more inches of focus depth in the frame so that in the example of two players fighting for the ball who have maybe a foot or so of separation from each other both players will be sharp, while still keeping the background blurred out. Remember, just because your lens will go all the way to f/2.8 does not mean you have to always shoot there.

Thanks for viewing. I will be posting my best images of January soon. If you missed my Best of 2013, you can find it under the blog tab in the header or shortcut to it here.

Click on an image to open it bigger and view it in slideshow format.

Best of 2013

These are 40 of my favorite images that I produced in 2013. I haven’t been blogging much this past year, I hope to change that this year at least by doing a monthly recap of what I’ve been up to. Any feedback on these images is appreciated as I am narrowing this list down and will submit a select few to competitions. Thanks for looking.

Click any of the images to enlarge into a slideshow that will include caption information.

Parents Wedding Anniversary in Florida

I took a vacation to Florida last week and was able to celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary with family and friends at a beach-side party.

NPPA Clip Contest Entry – Oct 2012

I decided I’ll start posting my NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) monthly clip contest entries so people can keep up with some of my work on a monthly basis. Here are the nine images I’ve submitted for the October clip contest.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500

Some images from the NASCAR race today. Eli Young band performed during the Salute Our Troops Pre-Race Show. Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, won the race. Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Light Dodge, finished second.

College Photographer of the Year Submissions

I submitted nine images to the 2012 CPOY Competition in the Single Images category. This is the last time I will be able to compete in CPOY now that I am no longer a student, but because I was enrolled up until December 2011 I still qualify. The images must have been shot between Sept. 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012, which includes my last semester of college and my time in Ghana but unfortunately excludes the recent work I have been doing as a staff photographer at the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Click on an image to open a gallery. Scroll down to read the caption.

Farewell to Ghana and on to the next adventure

I spent my last few days in Ghana touring some of the beaches and castles along the southern coast of the country. They were all places I had been before during my travels across the country but they felt more special to me knowing that I would be leaving very soon.
I am very glad to be back in the USA but my time spent in Ghana was very meaningful to me. I learned a very valuable lesson while there; a person doesn’t need much food, money, or possessions to live and be really happy.
My last two weeks in the country I left my big suitcase full of clothes in storage at a hotel and packed a small duffel with just a few clothes and items I needed. I realized that even the one bag I had been living out of while in Ghana was way more than I needed. I learned that I don’t need large portions of food to satisfy my hunger, small portions are more than enough. I became aware of how little we as Americans actually interact with each other. Standing on an elevator or walking on a crowded street without saying hi to a stranger is a common practice here, but it is absolutely unheard of in Ghana, and quite rude.
Overall I am glad to be back, but I think a little bit of Ghana will always be with me. I think I’m a better person and a smarter traveler as a result of my experience there. I would love to keep traveling but I am looking forward to my next adventure; full-time employment. I will post more about that later, but in the meantime, enjoy a picture gallery from my final days in Ghana.

Safari animals and Kumasi street children

I am almost done with my final program of the summer. I went on one last safari in Mole National Park and saw some monkeys, elephants and deer. Mole is one of my favorites places I have had the chance to visit and I would love to come back and spend more time there.
Leaving Mole, I took the students to Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana, where we did service work with the Street Children Project once again. See my August 4 blog post for more information about the Street Children Project.
From Kumasi, we traveled back to the coast, where we spent the last few days at a beach paradise resort called the Green Turtle, a place I’d also like to come back and visit. Located far away from any city lights, I was able to get some clear pictures of the stars in the sky.