Just A Small Rant About Gear

Really tired of people saying they can't take good photos because "their gear isn't good enough" and/or "new/better gear is too expensive".

Yes, the latest and greatest gear on the market is expensive but there is tons of older/ used gear on the market that is absolutely fantastic at a fraction of the cost.

For example I bought my 400 f2.8 AF-S (circa 2000) and 200-400 f4 VR (circa 2004) for $2500 each and they are both absolute tanks and function flawlessly.

Sorry to the Canon shooters out there because I can't help you out. For the Nikon shooters that are looking for longer lenses, if you have a body with a built in AF motor, you can pick up an old school 300 f4D AF lens for under $500 used.

Its a fantastic piece of glass that, despite being an AF lens, does a good job keeping up tracking subjects, is tack sharp, and has great color. You can check out a video I did about it HERE.

Here's one I took the other night with my 10 year old D3 and circa 1999 300 f4D.

Impromptu Couples Shoot

I was sitting in my office the other day when it was raining and looked out the door and saw this "couple" walking around in my back yard. I grabbed my D500 and 200-400 f4 and decided to take a few photos of them. Hope you enjoy.

Holding Things Down

So for a while I've been thinking about a way to weigh down my lights when Im shooting on location (specifically on the beach) since I dont ever bring an assistant and there's no guarantee someone is going to be coming with the model.

I thought about buying actual sand bags but didn't I like to travel light and fast (camera and lighting bag only) and didn't want to literally be weighed down by adding a whole bunch of heavy sandbags to carry around.

The solution I came up with was a 5 gallon bucket, trunk tie down, and a utility shovel.

I took apart one of my light stands and attached the trunk tie down to the light stand. When I get to the beach I carry the bucket and shovel down along with my other gear then fill the bucket with sand, attached the trunk tie down and tighten the strap.

Once the sand is added to the bucket I get about 50lbs worth of weight attached directly to the stand.

The added bonus to the trunk tie down is it has an additional metal loop that comes in pretty handy for hanging my lighting bag from the stand which keeps it out of the sand and adds about another 15lbs of weight to the stand.

Picked up everything from home depot for under $20
Keeper 1 in. x 3 ft. x 100 lbs. Trunk Tie Down - $4.57
The Home Depot 5-gal. Homer Bucket - $2.97
HDX 10.75 in. D-Handle Utility Shovel - $9.97

For extra windy days you can buy a second bucket and trunk tie down for $8 and put it on the other side of the light stand.

Here's a picture of the setup. Hope this helps someone out or gives you some ideas.

Fort Monroe Sunset

Drove up to Fort Monroe in Hampton a few days ago in the hopes of getting a time lapse of the sunset over the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Despite leaving a lot earlier than I needed to I got stuck in traffic and got there about 10 minutes before sunset. Due to this I dropped the time lapse idea and went for just getting a still photo of the sun setting. Here's what I ended up with. Hope you enjoy.

Sports Update

Had a nice break away from the hectic sports schedule due to schools being on spring break. Here are a few of the recent photos I've taken. Enjoy.

Modeling Update

Just a few of the recent modeling shoots I've done recently. Its starting to warm up so I've been trying to get outside and shoot more which has also given me the opportunity to put the Profoto B2 through its paces. Enjoy.

Back to Lacrosse

Finally been able to shoot some lacrosse lately. Unfortunately lacrosse isn't a huge sport here and its only played as an intramural sport for high school. Here are a few of the recent lacrosse games I've shot recently. Enjoy

High School Soccer

Been keeping pretty busy so far this season and wanted to share a few more photos that I've taken this week.

Spring Sports Are Here

Spring sports have officially started and its been great to be back outdoors for sports. Done a couple soccer games so far and here are some of the shots I got.

Think Tank Photo Signature Series Bags

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Outdoor Shoot with Joanna

One of the problems with Virginia is it can never make up its mind if its going to be warm or cold outside. For weeks now the weather has been going from 70 degrees one day to 40 degrees the next. Well this doesn't work out too well when you're trying to plan outdoor shoots.

This past weekend was supposed to be pretty warm but ended up being about 40 degrees with 10mph winds. Despite all that Joanna braved the cold to do a shoot at Mt Trashmore. Here are a few of the photos.

MEAC Basketball Tournament

I covered the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament at the Scope Arena in Norfolk last week. The games were pretty good and it was nice to shoot something at the Scope that wasn't ice hockey. One of the interesting things I learned was with the ice covered the scope arena is about 1 stop darker than with the ice out. Here are a few photos from the tournament.

White Balance and Color For Sports

I see a lot of comments and questions about white balance and colors in photos for sports. A lot of gyms and arenas have terrible lighting that causes a ton of color shift and problems in photos.

The easiest way I have found to "fix" this issue is by using a XRite Color Checker Passport. It has a grey card on one side and a color pallet on the other. I know I've talked about the colorchecker before but its hands down the best piece of gear I've ever purchased. 

When I get to a venue Im going to shoot at, before the game Ill walk out and set the color checker down and take a picture of both the grey card and the color pallet.

This way I can create a color profile in lightroom based on the lighting in the venue so all the colors and white balance look how it should. I honestly havent found a situation where the colorchecker hasn't helped out.

Here's a screen shot from a photo I took last night at the VHSL basketball tournament as well as the screen shot of the color checker passport.

The photo on the left is the straight out of camera photo. The photo on the right has been color and white balance matched using the color checker.

Ill also post one of the videos I've done before on how the colorchecker works. 

D500 w/ 70-200 f2.8, 1/1000, f3.2, ISO 6400

VHSL Wrestling State Championship

Went out and covered the Virginia High School League 5A/6A Wrestling Championship a few weeks ago. Wrestling has always been challenging to me because of how fast and random the movements are. Here are a few of the photos I took. Enjoy.

Studio Shoot with Emmy

Back in the studio with Emmy for some white seamless photos. Most were black and what but did a few color photos as well.  Enjoy.

Shoot with Keira

Just wanted to share a few of the photos I took at a recent shoot with Keira. Hope you enjoy.