Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Blog!

I have decided to start a new blog! Please take a look at

All of my new blog post will be posted there, so please take a look and subcribe!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The first one is always the toughest...

It is no secret that if you are a professional photographer, especially a professional sports photographer, your gear over time is going to take a fair amount of... abuse. You know this. it is inevitable. Running down a sideline or trekking across a golf course with 2 or 3 camera-lens combos tends to lead to a fair amount of gear bumping around. Things get dropped, rained on, hit by balls or even pucks. The high end cameras are designed to take this abuse and still function perfectly even if they accumulate a few battle scars along the way.

Now I know that some wire services, Like AP (Associated Press) buy the equipment that their photographers use and assign gear to them, but most freelancers like myself buy all of our own gear. Over the years I have seen other photographer take pretty good care of their gear, and some treat it like a carpenter would a hammer or a saw. Its a tool. period. And they will use their tools in whatever way they feel they need to in order to get the job done. Me on the other hand... I am not ashamed to admit that I baby the hell out of my gear! I buy whatever protection they have available (not much), and try to be as careful as possible with it at all times. But at the end of the day, I do have a job to do.

So last night, I covered the San Jose Sharks vs. the Phoenix Coyotes. Of all the sports, I find that hockey is usually fairly easy on the gear. To be sure, when you are lucky enough to get an ice level hole to shot from, you do need to be careful of pucks! I lost a UV filter to a puck a couple of years back so I know it can happen, but other than that, hockey is pretty tame. so imagine my surprise and heartbreak when after the game I was uploading some pictures and one of the other photographers points to my camera and says, "You must have cried when that happened." I am thinking to myself, when WHAT happened! I take a look and sure enough...

Instantly my mind flashes back to the end of the second period when I was climbing out of the TV well and banged against a wall. I didn't even look down because I was sure my lens took the hit and 1. its a brick 2. it has so many dings, one more wont matter. But I guess it wasn't the lens that took the hit.

So now Wheezy has her first battle scar. It made me think back to my (major) camera purchases, and when those bodies took their first battle damage. When I dropped my 1D MarkII outside of Spartan stadium while opening my camera bag for the useless security search, I felt literally like someone kicked me in the balls. When my uncapped 300mm lens swung around and scratched my 1D Mark III I felt like I had been slapped hard in the face. Last night when I was alerted to the damage to Wheezy, I felt like I imagine a marine liuetenant would feel at the start of a major battle upon hearing of his first casualty. Sad for sure, but knowing that there will be more casualties before the battle is won. And the battle will be long...

The first one is always the toughest one to take, and even though I still baby my gear as much as I can, I guess I have finally learned that no matter how many battle scars they take on the outside, like a good friend, its what's on the inside that really matters. I still love you Wheezy! lol.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pappa's got a brand new bag!

I am writing this post today to help out those who are looking for a new roller bag for their camera gear.
Well, its no secret among sports shooters that if you want the best roller bag available, you have to go with ThinkTank! When I took a look at which bag I wanted though, I quickly narrowed my choices down to two. The Airport Security, and the Airport International. From the pictures they looked the same, and after speaking with a thinkTank rep who assured me that my 400 lens would fit in either bag, I decided to go with the International. I have some vague plans to travel in europe in the next few years, so I thought I would cover myself and get the International.
BIG MISTAKE! lol. I love the bag, don't get me wrong, but I didn't realize the International is quite a bit smaller than the Security. And considering I will take 100 domestic trips to every International one, I really wound up screwing myself.
I played and played with the configuration and finally this is what I came up with.

My 400 does fit in the bag, but in order to get all my other gear to fit, I have to leave the hood out. So now I have to carry the hood, and that is a big pain in the butt. When shooting football, I normally carry 3 bodies, my 400 2.8, 70-200 2.8, and either my 24-70 2.8 or 24-105 f/4. Also my 1.4 extender. There is also some room for a flash if I chose. My buddy who has the Security gets his 400 into the bag WITH the hood, plus all the same lenses AND a flash. Oh well, now I know, and you do too!

To be clear, the bag is excellent! VERY well constructed, easy to customize, and rolls like a dream. The best roller on the market. But if you are not doing a lot of international travel, I would go with the Airport Security for sure!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Shoot Baby!

Well, no disrespect to the late Al Davis, but he has a point. "Just win baby" may be his legacy, but the message is one we call all benefit from. As it just so happens, the last Raiders game that I covered, I was cruising the sidelines pregame complaining to myself how much I HATE shooting pregame. I was just telling myself I should go sit down until the game started when I saw Cleveland Browns runningback Payton Hillis stretching in front of me. I will freely admit I didn't know much about him, but I did remember he was on the cover of the Madden video game this year. He wasn't really doing anything, and I figured I would get some killer action shots of him during the game, so I was about to walk on by. Then I told myself to "Just Shoot Baby!", so I quickly raised my camera and had just enough time to fire off two frames.

It turns out Hillis was recovering from an injury, and after about one series re-injured himself and was out of the game. So much for my killer action shots. Later as I was going through the pictures, cursing his injury, I was about to delete the two shots of him I did take as they were pretty lame shots by my eye, but remembering my older post about uploading everything, I went ahead and uploaded the shots.

Well, It seems Hillis hasn't played since that game. And one of the "lame" shots I took of him seems to keep popping up all over the place. It has been used many times on and a couple of other sites. Mostly on a fantasy football injury report, but hey, it still pays. So in addition to telling myself to upload EVERYTHING, I now remind myself that pre,during, and post game, to just shoot baby!

Payton Hillis in his last game vs. Oakland prior to re-injuring himself

Monday, November 14, 2011

SF 49ers vs. NY Giants

So This weekend I covered Stanford-Oregon (post to come) on Saturday night, then followed that up with 49ers-Giants on Sunday. I felt like I did a good job last week with the Raiders game, and was really looking forward to this weekend. Long story short, a difficult Stanford game left me tired and out of sorts for Sundays game and I really feel like I blew it.

I think this shot pretty much sums up my weekend, Close, but just milliseconds away from a decent shot! Mario Manningham hauls in a touchdown pass.Meanwhile I get a great shot of the ball...

The game itself turned into a good one with an exciting finish. The Giants converted 2 fourth downs and came literally this close to tying the game!

Alex Smith continues to impress and played a largely mistake free game. 

Runningback Frank Gore sustained an injury and left the game pretty early. 

Gores counterpart Brandon Jacobs is quite a physical specimen, but was largely held in check by the 49er defense. 

Eli Manning looked pretty good, but a costly interception that led to a 49er touchdown proved to be the difference in the game. 

All in all, it was a good game, and I hope to rebound my next assignment and get some shots I really feel good about.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So I managed to cover the Raiders-Broncos game without getting sick. The rain never materialized and it turned out to be a pretty nice day to shoot. The story going into the game was the quarterbacks. Carson Palmer vs. Tim tebow. I know Tebow gets a lot of crap, but I like the kid. Palmer looked like the same average QB that he was in Cincy. I am not sure that the Raiders didn't over pay for him, we will see. I was quite happy with some of the pictures I got, but I seemed to be the only one!

Receiver Eric Decker makes a diving touchdown catch.

Lamarr Houston celebrates a sac.

Jacoby ford gets the ball knocked loose after a big catch.

Tim Tebow during warmups.

Carson Palmer in action.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sharks vs. Penguins

I have decided to start sharing my recent event photos on my blog, then post a link from Facebook. I want to get better SEO for my name and my website, and I am told this is one way to do it! So here goes my latest event, the San Jose Sharks took on the Pittsburgh Penguins at HP.

Before the game, the Sharks honored "Jumbo" Joe Thornton for playing in 1,000 games and scoring 1,000 points. His Mom, Dad, Brother, Wife, and Daughter were in attendance.

The Sharks were in need of a home win, and things started out poorly for the Sharks! Neimi gave up two goals in just over two minutes! But Greiss came in and saved the day.

 Clowe was sporting a black eye after this one, but it seemed to fire him up!

 The Penguins Evgeni Malkin seemed unstoppable early, but Douglas Murray found a way to slow him down.

 The real story of this game though was Greiss. He was great in goal tonight.