(This is my second year of documenting Friday Night Lights with the Tesoro H.S. Titans. Last year’s project resulted in a book and movie and I plan to do the same with this year’s team. As a former news photographer this is right up my alley and a project that I have wanted to do ever since Buzz Bissinger’s book “Friday Night Lights” was published in 1990. A huge thanks to Matt Poston, the coaches, players and families from this year’s team for allowing me to photograph this year’s games).
Friday Night Lights recap:
At halftime, it sure seemed dire for Tesoro.
They were down 21-0, seemed to be like a fighter on their heals and without their starting QB Devon Modster, who injured his shoulder during the previous week’s game. Not to mention El Toro was almost flawless in that first half.
But back-up QB Carter Jaenichen has what corner backs coach Sam Reed would call: “Moxie”.
Carter and the team showed incredible resiliency and fight as they came back to win 31-28 in one of the wildest comeback games that I have witnessed.
Next week will surely demand Tesoro’s best as they face nearby rival Mission Viejo on Friday.
Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced the release of two new product line extensions as well as a new “free gift” offer.
The first are the Retrospective® 5 Leather, Retrospective® 7 Leather, and Retrospective® 30 Leather. These upscale, rugged shoulder bags maintain the Retrospective’s casual, form-fitting design. A new Dual Cross buckle on the front flap provides an extra measure of security. The new shoulder bags are designed to hold tablets and laptops in dedicated zipper pockets.
The new Mirrorless® Mover 25i fits one medium to large mirrorless body, plus two to four lenses, an 8” tablet, and additional accessories. It features metal hardware, high quality fabrics, YKK® zippers and a magnetic closure.
And, through the end of September, whenever you buy an eligible backpack from Think Tank you will receive Camera Support Straps V2.0 along with a Camera Strap V2.0 free! Think Tank offers a wide variety of innovative, high quality transportation and field photography backpacks. Order one and you will get to experience something really unique, which is having the weight of your camera shifted from your neck to your backpack harness system. With the Camera Support Strap V2. no more sore shoulders or neck aches!
Please use these affiliate codes if you do chose to purchase:
I’m very proud to share the news that Sony Electronics has just launched their newly designed website for all things Sony Alpha Cameras called Alpha Universe!
Here’s a look at the main home page:
Included are profiles on the 40+ members of the ever-expanding Sony Artisans of Imagery Program (of which I am proud to be a member!). You’ll find photographs, information and inspiration from the photographers in this group and you can see what this looks like here:
The new Social section includes photographs from around the web by photographers that use the #sonyalpha on their social media. It’s a great way to showcase what you’re doing using Sony Alpha Cameras!
The Calendar section allows you to connect with members of the Sony Artisan Program that are doing meet-ups, seminars and talks about the Sony Alpha Cameras! See if there’s an upcoming event soon in your area!
Finally, in the Discover section of the site, you’ll find a variety of tips and techniques that you might find helpful as you learn more about the ever-expanding Sony Alpha line of cameras.
I hope you find the work a good source of information and inspiration in your photography!
As a photojournalist I always wanted to be the proverbial “fly on the wall”.
It was always a bit tricky to be that invisible especially when a camera with motor drive would make a very loud and distinctive sound.
In sporting events and other loud events like NASCAR or a Metallica concert it never mattered.
But in other situations — on the set of a television show, shooting pro golf (you can’t shoot during the backswing if you want to stay on the course, or during a putt), a funeral or other religious ceremony, in a high-powered private meeting — being invisible is imperative.
All of those situations are very tricky with DSLR cameras. I’ve even tried (over the course of my career) using cameras such as a Leica, with it’s quiet shutter, but even that could be heard and there were a lot of limitations for lenses (in a courtroom you would often need a longer lens such as the ubiquitous 70-200 to adequately tell the story). Then there is the Jacobson Blimp — a staple on the soundstages of the movie business — proof that shooting quietly was not a perfect enterprise. Yes the box deadened the sound, but it was big, awkward to work with and pricey.
Soft blimps — that is fabric types of blimps — did just an okay job but were never as quiet as they needed to be and would not be considered quiet enough for work on television.
Thankfully with the advances in camera technology, there’s now a way to shoot silently with the Sony a7rII (though the Sony a7s was the first Sony mirrorless camera to incorporate this feature).
And this morning, I got to see the benefit of this technology first hand.
At the local Tesoro H.S. where I photograph the Tesoro Titans football team, they had their first day of camp and it started with a meeting. Head Coach Matt Poston addressed a packed classroom and I shot a combination of stills and video.
These three photographs were made with the camera, the 35mm f1.4 lens and the camera in Silent Shooting Mode.
Finally you can truly be that “fly on the wall” (when it comes to shutter sound) while shooting still photographs!!
ETA: You can now set the Silent Shooting Mode to a custom button! I now have the C3 button set to Silent Shooting.
The Sony a7rii Launch Event on Saturday, August 22nd at Samys Camera in Los Angelesis going to be fantastic!
Here’s an update:
· First two sessions are SOLD OUT
· Sony is giving away over $2000 in ZEISS glass ( 1 Sony Zeiss lens per session) MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN
· Think Tank Photo will be giving away 1 bag per session
· Session #3 opened due to overwhelming demand of the class
Want to see the new Sony a7rii? (and have an opportunity to win 1 of 2 Full Frame Sony lenses??
Join Samy’s and Sony for an in-depth class on the camera by Sony Senior Tech Rep Rob Shelley and live model shoot with the camera (by me), please mark your calendar for an event on Saturday, August 22nd at Samy’s Camera at 431 S. Fairfax Avenue in LA.
Yesterday I had a family portrait session down in Carlsbad and *thought* I had everything ready to go.
About twenty miles from home and passing San Onofre, I realized that I had neglected to pack my usual 5 in 1 reflector(s) that I typically bring for portraits.
That could have been trouble for me on many days but I was lucky and dodged the proverbial bullet in this particular case.
Normally I bring two or sometimes three reflectors with me. The reason is that one is set for silver, one set for white and the other set for translucent.
On a bright sunny day I can go through all of them quickly. Having only one reflector with me and then having to change out from silver to white to translucent would be a huge pain and slow down the session…it’s simply easier to use 3 at one time all set up and ready to go.
Seeing that’s how I tend to use reflectors on a portrait shoot, you can see why I was a bit frustrated.
Luckily though the day was overcast and so I would not have to battle bright sun or even sun popping in and out of the clouds. Reflectors on this day would not even be an option — especially for the big groups.
For that, the Dyna-lite Baja 400 JR with a small softbox turned out to be the perfect light and I used it for virtually everything (save for the full speed running sequences of the little kids on the beach).
It made me realize that with all the stuff I might bring (and now with audio shoots and studio lighting shoots requiring vastly different tools) it became clear I have to create a list that covers the broad range of gear — from cameras to lenses to audio to reflectors to support (tripods, lightstands, etc.).
It can get tricky to control. And thanks to my friend Jon Streeter for pointing it out.
I created this checklist at the end of this post for the variety of gear I use and wanted to share it with you (so YOU don’t have happen what happened to me yesterday!). You’re welcome to use it as a starting point perhaps for your own equipment checklist. I hope this helps (BTW, I used Evernote to create this — love the checkboxes in that program!)
Have a great week ahead.
p.s. Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday’s portrait session at the beach — a large extended family portrait session of Fritz and Ellie from Phoenix with their kids, grand kids and GREAT grandkids!! Fritz is a WWII veteran and they have been married for 68 years!!!!
The timing could not have been more perfect making the announcement on the Fourth of July, the American Independence Day holiday because privately I considered that announcement
my own Independence (from DSLR) Day!
At that time I was very new into the system and in fact had only a small kit combined with some supplemental rental gear.
In the subsequent year it has been an amazing experience.
Sony continues to evolve their technology at a pace that is breathless in it’s speed.
With an industry that is used to updating pro grade cameras in 2,3 or more years, Sony is upgrading their cameras in 12-18 month cycles.
For example, they upgraded their original a7 with the a7ii in a year’s time; the recent announcement of the Sony a7rii is about 18 months from
the original a7r was launched.
These cameras have allowed me to push beyond what I have normally done — using wi-fi technology to share photographs with the world in mere moments, and
growing in my use of video and loving the whole process.
To say that using Sony mirrorless cameras has changed our world would be an understatement. With the new technology, the smaller size and weight of the glass,
the ability to do full HD video at 60P (and soon a camera that does full frame, 4k video internally!) has been a total change — and ALL for the better.
It’s been exciting times and I am also grateful to the fine folks at Sony that invited me to be a part of their Artisans of Imagery program and helps support
the work of me and other Artisans in the program.
With the latest announcement of the a7rii, Sony has shown that they are a serious force to be reckoned with and are starting to get folks that were long established
in the Nikon and Canon camps to not just turn their head, but stop and take a really serious look.
This is the most exciting time that I can remember in photography because this Sony technology is pushing what was once thought impossible. To create a camera that
in one small form factor allows a photographer to take beautiful high quality still frames and immediately switch a button to capture amazing quality of video. (Not that it’s
the tools that make one a better still photographer or make someone an award-winning cinematographer — it is just that in capable hands, these are incredible tools).
This technology and especially a camera like the a7rii allows someone like me to be a Complete Storyteller — with the ability to use stills, motion and audio to tell a story in
a way that may have been done in the past but with far more effort and far more technical requirements.
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Happy Fourth of July (for my American friends) and Happy Independence (from DSLR) Day!
Some of my favorite images that have been made with Sony Mirrorless cameras and lenses since that first announcement:
Marlen and Nathan pose for a portrait at the beach this past Saturday. They are planning a wedding for this coming fall in Temecula.