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Finally, Some Good Light!

Hey everybody! Happy Wednesday! Thanks for the stopping by!  I hope everyone's week is off to a great start. The past two days I have posted a couple of my favorite images from the Titans vs. 49ers game Sunday, but I thought I'd throw a few more up today on my blog for everyone to check out. 

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It was pretty cool to see Colin Kaepernick and company up close in action. It's not every day you get to be on the field with a Super Bowl team! They didn't disappoint either, really putting it to the Titans 31-17.  

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I'm always excited to shoot an NFL game, but I was really pumped when I found out this one was going to be at 3pm and we were going to have good lighting conditions! My first game a few weeks ago was really overcast and rainy (when the Jets came to town). These conditions were still better than the cruddy nighttime lighting I usually deal with when shooting high school games, but it still wasn't ideal. Sunday, however, was just about perfect. I have seen many action shots over the years where the sun is starting to go down and the stadium casts a shadow over the field. THAT is what you really hope for, when it turns the crowd dark and the players are still lit up. Well, we got just that on Sunday and I did my best to take advantage of it. Not only that, but I also got to ride to the game and shoot with a sports photography legend, Tom Dipace! Tom has been shooting sports for long time and has some outstanding work in his book. He's had Wheaties boxes, SI covers, ESPN the Magazine covers, New Era campaigns, and many more. It was pretty cool to follow him around and get advice throughout the game. Thanks Tom! Check out his site when you have a chance. He's got some great stuff!

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The image above is probably my favorite shot, and honestly probably the best action shot I've taken. It will likely be making it's way to a wall in my office! This was Kaepernick's big TD run in the first quarter when he broke free for a 20 yard TD run. I got lucky and just happened to be set up right in the corner of the end zone where he headed!  I was really happy with this shot, but it actually could have ended up a little better. You see, when he started to get close and I knew he was going to score I put down my big 400mm lens and went to grab my second body with my 50mm that was over my shoulder (most people who shot NFL games have two bodies, one with a long lens and one with a short lens for when they players get close). When I pulled it up I started to fire and nothing happened. What the heck?! Apparently, I had accidentally turned it off with my leg! Ugh! So, by the time I fumbled around and got the darn thing on, Colin had JUST FINISHED "Kaepernicking" and was headed back to the sideline (that's when he kisses his bicep after he scores). I was so mad, but I guess that is going to happen from time to time. I'll just chalk it up as a learning experience. 

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The rest of the game was pretty rough for the Titans, even though they had just gotten their QB back, Jake Locker. They actually had a chance to get back into the game late in the 4th quarter, but they fumbled a punt and the 49ers recovered it in the the end zone for a TD, and at that point the game was pretty much over.  

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It was pretty entertaining to watch such a  great team play, and man is coach Jim Harbaugh intense! They were up by a few score late in the game and he was STILL challenging plays and giving the refs a hard time!  

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I hope everyone has a great rest of the week! I'll be back soon with another post. Until then, check out news stands for my UK and U of L Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview covers, and be sure and drop by View Bug's web site to enter the Flash Photography Contest I am judging for them. There's a chance to win some really cool prizes like a custom SLR M-Plate Pro Portable Photo Storage Hub. Entries have to be in by November 15th! Below is the link so you can check it out. See ya!

Viewbug

Athlon Sports

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Shooting the #1 Team in the Country

I posted photos from my first NFL game a couple of weeks ago, and I had the opportunity to shoot another game this past weekend. This time it was a college game, and I got to see the #1 team in the country, Alabama, play UK. It was pretty exciting to see AJ McCarron and company in action! This was my first UK game to shoot and I was really impressed with all the buzz during the pre game. There were a LOT of other photographers on the side lines, but I still managed to get where I needed to be for most of the game. 

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I was really hoping UK could play with them and give us a good game to shoot, and they did for the first half!  Eventually Alabama wore them down with their depth but hey, that's why they are the #1 team in the country almost every year! There isn't much fall off from their starters to their second unit.

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When I shoot for Athlon Sports I will have a shot list of certain players for every game. Shooting for them isn't like shooting for a wire service or news outlet. They are less concerned about "shooting the game" and more worried about getting shots of the main players for the magazine and website. So, if you are wondering why a lot of my images are vertical (horizontal seems to be the trend), that is why. They want clean shots of players that are as big as possible to cut out. 

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Because I have a "hit list" (which includes coaches), it makes sense to take advantage of the pre game as well. Because you can only go from the end zone to the 25 or 30 yard line on the field, it can be hard to get photos of them (even with a 400mm lens). I got a few of Bama coach Nick Saban, but didn't get a chance to get any shots of UK's coach Mark Stoops. Luckily he looked right at me in the 3rd quarter. It was right after Alabama scored a TD so he didn't appear to be too happy, but I'll take it. :-) 

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The game ended up pretty lop-sided (48-7), but it was still really fun to shoot! UK may not be where they want to be yet, but they are headed in the right direction. I can't wait to see what Stoops and his staff do in the years to come. Hopefully I'll be there for several more games to witness it firsthand. Thanks again to Athlon and their photo editor, Tim, for sending me to Lexington!

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Athlete Retouching/Reducing Lens Flare

Hey everybody! I just uploaded a new video with an exmaple of my retouching process for ahtlete portraits. I chose this photo for the video because there was some unexpected lens flare at the top of the frame that caused my background to wash out slightly and lose some detail. In the video I will show you how to take care of that with some simple masking and a few curves adjustment layers. I hope everyone enjoys it, and has a great rest of the week!