Sports Action Photos and Portraits

Welcome to this blog with info on sports photography. I have 10 years experience shooting sports and look forward to coming to your game and getting great shots to share with you. This process is simple, all you need to do is fill out the form on the site so I know where the game is and what time. I will typically only shoot one team during the game so let me know what team you are (color uniform and logos if any). The process is outlined below. Schedules are first come first serve, if 2 people schedule at the same time for a game, the first submission is picked. I will inform conflicted parties and try to schedule another game.

  1. Fill out the request form ( I need at least 3 days for scheduling)

  2. I will be in touch with confirmation

  3. The photos will be edited and live within 24-48 hours on my site

  4. I’ll hand out a card at the game with the page and website

  5. Images will be .99 per download. No fee for shooting the game

  6. Pay through the website

Sports are not limited to teams, I can shoot tennis, golf, hockey, football, et al. I just need to ensure I can get access to the game and have accurate information for the team, start time, and location. (Local North Austin area only for now)

Portraits - $149

Portraits can be scheduled ad-hoc and are done either outside with full uniform or in studio with green screen and lighting. With outdoors we’ll go to an area of your choosing, field, court, wherever. For indoor the studio is in my home right now.

Sessions will usually take only 15 minutes. Full edited images will be delivered within 1 week.

I accept paypal, CC, or cash.

Review: Westcott 24" beauty dish for Elinchrom

I'm excited to test out this product. I don't see many reviews online but the ones I do seem very positive.  I have a beauty dish for studio from Elinchrom but it's an absolute pain to set up.  I'm hoping to acheive nice results with an easy to set up product in the field.

I love this product because it has a built in speedring and it unfolds in seconds like an umbrella.  Seems sturdy enough for shooting outdoors consistently, or using in studio in a pinch.  

Enjoy the video.

Multiple Instagram Accounts

One of the missing things from Instagram was multiple accounts in the app.  As you may know, adding photos from the web is not allowed, but you could sign into a different account.  On the phone, you could sign into a different account, but you could not swap them on the fly such as Twitter or Facebook.  The wait is finally over, IG users with multiple accounts, rejoice!

If you are a photographer and you're not on Instagram, you may want to try it.  Lots of engagement from folks all over the world, and the feed is your entire feed, not curated by some algorithm.  

The search function is great too.  If you want to search hash tags, accounts, or people then you just type it in and hit search.  However, you also have a trending bar up top that lets you see trending tags or topics.  

I can find images that are liked by people I follow as well so if you follow like minded people or businesses, this can act as an alternate feed for you.  I enjoy finding new work and it seems others can find me as well by using helpful tags.  

If you don't have IG, go ahead and take a look at it.  It's  a great resource and a place to discover or be discovered.  It's been my #1 app for a while and I've seen little changes to it that would make me move anywhere else. 

Source: Mashable Link

Looking for new things to photograph

Morning everyone.  My posts are a little scattered lately.  We have a lot going on here personally and it distracts away from my time on the computer, the blog, and sadly, the camera.  I picked up the camera last week for *gasp*, the first time in 2 weeks.  I had no interest in anything really.  Most of the time when I'm bored or need something to shoot I'll just bum around the house and find something like a macro shot, or just test settings on the camera to see what happens.

I couldn't even do that.  I tried to just keep my mind on other things.  Keep on working, playing some xbox, Destiny mainly.  (I'm Dragonfire7 if you need a buddy for raids).  Anyways, it was depressing.  I found out that I truly miss the passion of making images.  It's what puts my mind at ease, relaxes me, and keeps me sane.  Photography is not just one of those hobbies I pick up and can put down at will.  It's come to my attention that I must make images.  It's therapeutic.  

In the long run this should net out as ?  I spend all my money on gear, the gear lets me shoot, and I am happy.  No need for a shrink :).  

My therapy session last week was just around the corner.  We have a great little mini lake in the neighborhood and there's some wildlife all around.  The pond has a trail, it's full of reeds and plant life, a true ecosystem in it's own.   I shot manual during this session.  It sounds silly that I turned in all full auto Nikon gear only to shoot manual on my Sony a7rII but I love it.  The minolta Rokkor lenses are so much fun to shoot with.  Sony has a focus peaking feature which allows you to see an outline of subjects that are in focus through the viewfinder or the back display in live view.  I do have some auto glass that I use for paid gigs with fast moving targets, but for personal work it's fun to take out the manual lenses.  

Here are some shots that I got from that day.  The images are all shot as shallow as the lenses would allow.  the highest f stop I used was 2.8.  Depending on how far from the background your subject is, you can get some really cool bokeh.  

Hope you enjoy the gallery.  I posted a couple on Instagram as well so you may have seen 1 or 2.  Follow me there for updated work.  Take it easy, have a great weekend.  


Breaking up with Mylio

It's been a good ride but I fear that the Mylio train is dropping me off right here.  I haven't opened the app on any device, including my computer, in over 2 months.  There is nothing wrong with it technically, but functionally it overlaps with what Lightroom Mobile does for me.  

Let me talk about a few points that are driving me away from it.  

Compatibility

It's compatible with every device I own.  No problems there, but what gets me is when I put an image from Lightroom in there, or edit in Mylio and try and pull the metadata, it never works.  Refreshing the meta in LR does not bring in the data either.  This is not good for me in managing my catalog

Backup

It does a great job of backing up photos.  If I import a folder from LR or my computer it's instantly propagated to any of my devices for me to look at later.  But, I have something else that does that too, Flickr.  I can keep a terabyte on Flickr, and it lets me set a watch folder. 

Flickr pop up hub on my PC

Flickr pop up hub on my PC

The watched folder is basically any photos that I want in the  cloud and Flickr will look for new versions or remove photos that I have deleted.  I can have them in nested albums but what I found is that I just need to use this service as a backup for images.  I don't need to be super organized, as long as I can find an image in there for a shoot, then I'm good with it.  I keep the folders nested on my hard drives that I backup to.  

Portability

My images are with me everywhere when I have them with Mylio.  Well, the images that I work on in LR Mobile are there too.  From LR, I can send images to Instagram to post, and then replicate them to my other social media accounts with tags, all in one post.  With Mylio I have to download the image from the folder after it replicates, then go to the Instagram app and import.  It's a small niggle, but a time suck on my end.  

LR images are in collections, so when I import images, I work on the RAW images and make my selects on the PC, ipad, iphone, etc, and then move them to the collection and keep the RAW files in a separate folder.  Raw files are important to keep, and so on my PC when I import them, I always make a backup copy to a second HD just in case I lose my primary.

Mylio does this as well, but I don't edit in Mylio, so this is adding a second step to my workflow.  Not productive for me.  

Cost

I already pay $10 per month for LR and PS CC and I get the updates each time they patch the program.  This is a no-brainer payment plan so I always get updates to both applications.  I always have my photos that I want with me on my devices.  I can edit the raw photos on either device and they sync back in forth in real time.  (Edits from an i-device are jpegs as RAW files are not supported on apple devices...yet).  

What will I miss?

Folder Structure
I will miss a couple things.  The folder structure when looking through files on Mylio is great.  It's just like if you had it on the desktop.  You can nest folders and go through them without having to clutter the app with so many folders.  
Layout
The view and layout of the app is great.  It's got albums and folders, of which I never understood the difference so I only used albums.  I did enjoy using the app on devices, and that's a big plus.
Tagging

Tagging people was one thing that I did often.  You can look them up by using the people tab in Mylio and this was great.  But...it had some hangups.  You could really only do this efficiently on the desktop.  Searching a name using the text box filtered results down, but did not allow selection with the keyboard.  What this meant was you left the keyboard when tagging to click on the name that was in the photo.  You could copy and paste names from a photo to another photo, or group of photos, but again, only on desktop.  Tags did not import into Lightroom either, so basically I was stuck using Mylio just to look at folders of a certain person if I needed to quickly reference someone.  I mitigate this by just making a collection folder in my Flickr watch folder and I can see all pictures of my kids, family, wife, etc.  

The end of an era

It's been a good run with Mylio.  At first when it came out, I didn't get it.  It was featured as saying that you could replicate all your photos to all your devices any time, any where.  I thought at first, well, so does iphoto/icloud, flickr, dropbox, basically any cloud sharing.  But where I found it was feature rich was the fact that once I put an image on any device, it moved it into my main catalog and replicated to all my devices in the same organized fashion.  So I bought in.  As time goes on, I found myself just not using it as much.  I go to my camera roll or Flickr to look at people or photos.  I import my images from LR Mobile to put on instagram, or I import images from my camera to LR mobile to do edits, or image selections when i'm on the go.  I think I have all my needs met at this time.  So i'll be putting $8/month back in the old wallet for something else. 

No hard feelings, it's not you, it's me.  :)

- Stay Focused -  

Said goodbye to an old friend

The first camera you really sink your teeth into is the hardest to let go.  Some readers may know I've been testing the Sony E mount series for a few months now.  I immediately fell in love with the size and weight of the camera, yet keeping the 35mm sensor.  So I kept looking for those projects where I'd go "Oh, I need the Nikon for that job"...days went by.  Weeks, now months.

The lucky young man on craigslist who inquired about it over the weekend walked away with it and 2 of the best lenses I had. 

Nikon D610 full frame 35mm sensor with 24.3 megapixels

The two lenses were the 85mm 1.8D and the 50mm 1.4G.  I bought the 85 first and the first picture I put on facebook got so much attention.  I hadn't shot at wide apertures with any camera before.  The picture was very silly, my wife holding our hairless dog with a toy in his mouth.  But it was so sharp and the falloff and bokeh were amazing.  I hope this kid loves it like I did.  The 50mm was a solid contender as well.  Sitting 1/3 stop faster at 1.4, I felt it was not very sharp until around f2 or 2.2.  That being said, you lose a little when you have to stop down a lens to effectively make it sharp, losing the edge of buying a faster lens.  (faster i.e. lower f stop or more light hitting the sensor)

Now on to the exciting news, I'm getting a new camera!!  The a7r II is out and I've had it on order for a couple months anxiously awaiting the ship date.  I've been watching the shipments follow the sun and with great excitement the US finally has dates!  Like..yesterday.  So...I may get batch #2 or 3 from B&H but it's going to ship soon.  Some Best Buy stores have them already and are selling out quick.  I may end up going to get it so I can use for my beach trip next week.

Sony a7R ii


Brian Smith has been posting some great images and new features on his blog.  He's one of the best sources when it comes to all things Sony.  Brian Matiash has been testing it out as well as the new highly acclaimed Batis lenses. He took the 25/2 to Iceland recently. 

Below are the product highlights: (Courtesy of B&H Photo)

Product Highlights

  • 42 MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Internal UHD 4K Video & S-Log2 Gamma
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
  • 0.5" 2.36M-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
  • 3.0" 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • ISO 102,400 and Silent Shutter Mode
  • Durable Reduced-Vibration Shutter Design
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

The speed of the autofocus has been significantly increased.  5 axis stabilization in body means that you can use manual lenses or non optical stabilized ones and get up to 4.5 stops of shake correction.  That's incredible as I've used some old Minolta lenses down to 1/20 of a sec and not had shake. 

For landscape shooters like me, shooting bracketed is something we love to do and combine exposures to get the most out of the dynamic range of a scene.  The a7r II supports 9 brackets up to 1 stop in difference.  This will make for some amazing HDR. 

I've already come to realize that Wi-Fi is not a big feature to tout on a camera these days, but it's still standard as is NFC.  I like this because I can send an image to my phone for backup or to my ipad for larger viewing. 

Internal 4K recording is something I'm looking forward to.  I'm excited to work with video and without an external recorder, most cannot produce 4K to the card.  Sony has made this a feature in the new body so you can scale it directly to your SD card.  As monitors, content, and TV's all move to 4K, 8K, 16K and beyond, it's nice that Sony is keeping up and making a stills camera capable of shooting UHD formats. 

The sample images I've seen so far look amazing.  Very sharp, crisp, and detailed.  We are bordering on medium format in a compact package with a  35mm price tag.  With all the features and hype, the early release has indicated this camera will be one to beat this year. 

That's it for now.  Inspiration Tuesday resumes next week and then I'm off to vacation for a few days.  A little beach R&R.  And maybe an R ii :)

- Stay Focused -

Oklahoma: Where the sonic has no drive-in

Recently went on a business trip for 3 days to OKC.  It's about a 6 hour drive from Austin and passes thru a whole lot of nothin'.  I don't mind going into Oklahoma, despise everything about it, but I don't mind it.  Reminds me of why Texas is so awesome.  

The minute you cross the border you start seeing tornado shelter banners and billboards, not a place I want to be running to :).  However, the storm chaser in me wants to go visit and check out some of these cyclones and thunderstorms.  We had a spell of rain while I was there and the lightning over the plains can be pretty intense.  

This image was taken the first night after a storm. 

Enjoyed taking the Sony on this trip.  The a7 is such a light camera and when paired with the 35mm 2.8 Zeiss it's still under 650 grams.  I packed it around town for a few shots of the night life and some skyline.  Hand held it did pretty well on the streets when using low shutter speeds.  When I say low i'm talking 1/10 or 1/30.  Not ideal for shooting architecture.  Street shots were taken at around 1/125 or higher so they were very sharp.  

We stayed near the ballpark there and didn't get a chance to see a game but I snuck around the stadium and snapped a few pics.  It's in a region called "Bricktown", and it's easy to figure out why.  The whole area around here and the river walk has nothing but red brick buildings.  The ballpark is home of the OKC Dodgers, farm team to LA.  Seems when they are away then most people are as well.  Downtown was not very busy, even if it was a Tuesday - Thursday.  

The night scene was pretty slow.  Around the river walk area you can take a boat cruise and see the city.  Many passengers would enter and exit the yellow boats from the entrance to Mickey Mantle's steak house.  Above Mickey's is where I snagged the following shot.  

Oklahoma city at dusk - Devon Energy building

This was shot from the third story above Mickey's steakhouse.  There is a cigar bar and we took a night off to soak in a sunset and enjoy some of the finer things.  This is about as high as I could get so the perspective is still "up the nose" in terms of cityscapes, however, I loved that the American flag was flying proudly and the building lights had just turned on.  

Overall it's a sleepy city at night and we are glad to be back home.  I will say the craft beer scene is bustling with COOP and Black Mesa topping the list.  Not far behind were Roughtail and Prairie.  For a full list check this wiki page

The Tapwerks alehouse was by far the leader in craft beer.  Hundreds of beers, tavern decor and comfort, and an interesting duo of singer/songwriters in there Tuesday.  I leave you with this video i shot on my phone.  It's called "Hotel baby one more time"

- Stay Focused - 


Inspiration Tuesday - Faces

I want to dive into portraits today.  Portraits offer a connection that's easy to make, but hard to create.  I'll explain.  It's easy to make a portrait, but it's hard to create one that has depth, emotion, and a connection.  It needs to tell a story, or it will get labeled as a snapshot very quickly.  With that, let's dive in.  

Our first portrait I discovered yesterday while browsing and I was blown away.  I love the styling of her clothes and hair and her look is very piercing.  She gets me talking about the image.  It was shot with equipment anyone can get, no fancy lighting or techniques, just shallow depth of field and an outdoor cloudy sunset/sunrise.  I like the cool tones in the image counterbalanced by the warmth of her clothes and skin tone.  Her face tells the whole story, she's trying to figure me out, or scoff me as I walk by.  

The second image today comes from Lisa Holloway.  She's an incredible photographer and retoucher.  Her images are very consistent in theme, color, and emotion.  She uses her kids (10 I think) as models for the most part.  This image is a striking portrait of her daughter with a sparkler on the 4th.  Here in the U.S. we like to celebrate independence by lighting things on fire. :) The look on her face is mischievous to me.  Another take I get is solace, or solitude. She's got a lone sparkler and she'll do what she wants with it.  It's a great composition either way, dark, intimate, relevant to the theme of 4th of July.  Great work. 

This final image is from a newly discovered artist to me.  She has a huge following on Instagram and it's easy to see why.  Great portrait/lifestyle artist and this image right here is simply stunning.  The deep glare from the model is intriguing while the styling of the hood and hair are amazing.  I love the colors of the background here blending into the hood as the backlit sun radiates her hair with a kiss of light.  The model has a doll face already but is complimented by the hood shaping her face and adding a red tinge to the cheeks.  This natural light shot has all the right elements: lighting, mood, emotion, and theme.  Amazing job.  

- Stay Focused - 

Meet Roger Dodger!

Shooting personal projects has a real impact on your future work with clients as well.  You have to be energized to shoot your next project or else you risk doing a less than amazing job for your client.

Personal projects can amp that enthusiasm for the craft and keep the creative juices flowing.  I have taken up shooting dog portraits for our local dog rescue Austin Dog Rescue.  If you have some time please check them out.  They are an amazing group of people that have a devout passion for saving the lives of pooches all around Austin.  

I was approached to do a shoot with them and I get to reveal that image some time this year but the net of that meeting was a great bunch of friends who we collaborate on projects together.  One friend has asked me to shoot some images of dogs she fosters and she just so happens to live a hop and a skip from me so it works out well.  

My latest project was with Roger Dodger.  He's a cute little cattle dog with light brown spots and blue/grey coloring up around the neck and back.  He immediately latched on to my heart strings and we hit it off.  He had a very playful attitude and he'd run around the yard and then pose before running away again.  Very well mannered for a 10 week old.  

The portrait shots were just so cute because his little ears would stand straight up.   I told the foster it reminded me of a hyena.  I am sure he will not last long on the adoption site.  I have almost convinced myself just to take him in but alas, i have 2 dogs already.  3 would be too many along with our 3 cats and 2 kids.

If you'd like to check him out he'll be on the ADR page soon and I can connect you with his foster.  Poor guy fell out of a truck and was picked up and brought to a vet to be checked out.  Soon after he was in our foster's good care and is perfectly healthy.  He managed to dodge some traffic so hence the name, "Roger Dodger" 

 

-Stay Focused-

Inspiration Tuesday

Back again this week with another 3 amazing shots from my favorite curation spot, 500px

This week we have 3 stunning photographs yet again, so let's dive in.

Our first entry is from Roland Shainidze.  We have a breathtaking vertical landscape of Toronto's city hall.  Looking at the clouds it was shot on a tripod using long exposure to get the whispy texture.  Although this is a black and white conversion, we see some excellent mid-tones in this image.  The leading lines of the windows draw us straight up while the rills of the column on the left are ominous and looming.  Very well done.  You can see more of Rolands work by clicking on the link here.

Our second image comes from Kaylee Greer.  She's a dog photographer...not kidding...how cool is that?  She was a guest blogger on Scott Kelby's blog recently and you can read about her work here.  

Dog photography is a sport.  You need special skills beyond the camera and Kaylee has this for sure.  Her lighting is on spot (get it?), her posing is incredible, and she employees water in her photography like no one I've seen.  On top of this, it's very apparent the love she has for her subjects and the rapport she builds with them.  I'd say wrangling kids and dogs are the hardest subjects I have photographed.  Dogs respond to toys and treats very well, but they get hyper very quick, so employing these tricks and treats tactfully is very difficult.  

Ok, enough gush, she's amazing.  What drew this shot to my eye was the use of flash on top of the setting sun to backlight the pooch.  It's her latest edition to 500px and a good one.  I'm unsure what the dog is looking at but it's a stoic pose, regal, admirable.  I love this image, very happy to host it on the blog.  

s soon as I saw this image, I just thought of Jurassic World coming up.  I laughed so hard as I hit the homepage of wedding images.  I shoot weddings from time to time and it's hard to get something that is interesting at times when it comes to group shots.  If the bride and groom are into fun shots, you can play and get something like this.  

This shot is awesome for a few reasons.  The first is the foresight of the photographer to imagine this first, then plan and shoot it.  This was not a gag reel image.  The people rehearsed this a few times I bet and the photographer did a great job with the toning and post processing.  It looks like a some haze or fog was added for atmosphere here and the overall tone was shaped into a brown/sepia tone.

The use of perspective was brilliant here.  The outside folks are looking back at a 45 degree toward where the T-rex is.   Bride and groom are front and center and I love how the groom is outrunning the bride.  She has those shoes, the dress, the bouquet, and she's gonna save it all.  The groom is like "I'm outta here!"  

Great job on this, this would be the front page of my wedding album.  

-Stay focused-

A Season of giving

Many of us are celebrating our holidays and it's a great time of year to be giving back.  I have had the fortune of selling print work on Fine Art America and I thought it would be great to give back this year with a discount.

Right now through Jan 31, 2015 you can get 20% off any of my prints by using code GBENSS.

See my work at Fine Art America

You can get prints up to 30x40 of most of my images.

If prints are not your thing you can also license the images at any time on 500px Prime for 20% off using my name cody_ash (must be that exactly)

See my work at 500px Prime

Thank you for supporting artists like myself and have a wonderful 2015!