Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maybe just a shot or two...

Not too much to say...

...but a photo from this weekend will speak enough.

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The absurdly brilliant need to be shared...

"Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here."

I don't know if many of you have ever noticed the long list of links on the side of the page. They are all blogs or links to photographer sites I feel are significant...

...hence the heading "Significant Links".

Well, if you haven't been following any of them or checking them recently, they're quite brilliant sometimes.

Today there were a couple exceptional ones.

Top-shelf professional photographer Joe McNally: he's written a couple books now and has a National Geographic cover and everything... but today he deviated from his usual wit and posted this gem: >>HERE<<

The last section is exceptional. I mean extraordinary. Usually you see quotes from the great photographers like Robert Capa saying things like "if your photographs aren't good enough you're not close enough" and such like that, but Joe McNally struck a chord with his readers today. Here's the quote:

"Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here."

That one's gonna stick around.

Secondly, PixSylated has a series of "Lessons I Didn't Learn in Photo School". Things that nobody tells anybody else but you just have to learn by doing... and making mistakes... and seeing what actually works.

"Ultimately your career as a photographer, amateur or professional, will be defined by the lives you touch through the images you make."

Yeah, its a little more touchy-feely than the McNally quote, but I kinda see how its true just for the little stuff as I, the Fledgling Photographer that I am, seek to emerge in the world of photojournalism.

I co-taught a class today on photography. It was quite an experience, for as relaxed as a thing that it was... few people, no expectations, no requirements...

But in teaching it, I learned that I still have so much to learn. I'm sitting here looking at thousands and thousands of photographs a week from the likes of a host of Joe McNally's, Burn Magazine, VEWD, MJR, a bunch of wedding photojournalist, The Frame, The Big Picture, and I have accounts with a few of the major wire services just to look at photos that pop up each morning on the wire.

In an attempt to train my mind to "see" photographs I consume myself with images ranging from everything to everything else.

And so this is what I've been doing for almost two full years now... but I learn more each day. I've been shooting for myself more these days. Taking advantage of the press access even when its not required.

Practice is invaluable.

I still dwell on that quote:

"Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here."

Oh, and by the way, I'm going through some photos for my parents from their trip to Italy. My mum took the shot of me above. Good Facebook shot, right?

Well, she also took this:

Go mom.

What else these days? Baseball season. Gets a bit repetitive at times... but it is a terrific chance to practice nano-second decisive moments...

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going back to donkeys...

"Maybe we need a little bit of time where we're walking around with a donkey with pots clanging on the sides..."

(More about that later.)

Exactly one year ago (and even within an hour of this blog post) I took this photo:

Forty grown college kids reverting back to the simple pleasures from childhood - playing in mud. Was it significant that this mud was from the Dead Sea and we were up to our waist in it? I dare say it could have been in the local pond - it was simple fun with absolutely NO technology.

I heard somebody talking about phrases they hate these days. They made references to all the fun little cliches imaginable...

...but to me there is one these days that sticks out above the rest:

"...in these tough economic times..."

Well boy howdy, people... did you drive to school today? Did you have running hot water in your shower? Did you go buy $170 instead of $200 of groceries yesterday because you're "on a budget"?

Maybe we need a little time when things are a bit more difficult. Hey, I don't want to give up my air conditioning and internet on my cell phone any more than the next guy, but would it really be that bad?

Go live in some parts of Europe for a little while. Do without a cell phone and have to take the train or public transit - or perish the thought: WALK - everywhere you go.

I took this photo in Greece a year ago last week. This woman fascinated me because she sat there for hours because she had nothing else to do... so she watched traffic pass.

Oh, wait. I'm pretty sure our parents and grandparents did that quite a bit... and some still do.

Check out this video for a little more comedic spin on things... as well as the quote I referenced in opening this blog:

Take a little time and enjoy something simple today. Nothing lasts forever.

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

There was warm spot on the way home...

I hate to say it, but there isn't much more dramatic than a fire...

...but lucky for this occasion, it was intentionally set and being used as training for the local volunteer fire departments.

It was 11:30 at night and I was driving through east of Decatur, Ala., and kinda passed by this thing starting up...

After a quick talk to the chief and firefighters, I found this was just a training fire for a building that was going to be demolished to make room for a church expansion...

Sometimes silhouettes are cliche... but... they're quite dramatic, wouldn't you say?

Half of spot news is luck, I am convinced. And it is why I always have a camera with me.

I think I'm caught up with all my photos... I think. Just a few days left for Spring Break...

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the way home, I stopped by the NCAA GSC Semi-Finals...

Well, I was on my way home for Spring Break and I figured I'd stop by the NCAA Gulf South Conference where I had a press pass waiting for me...

...to shoot the semi-finals where my college was playing Arkansas Tech.

It was just a quick stop on the way home.

A few hundred photos later... and I continued on the way home.

There was more fun on the way home, but that'll be for a future blog...

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Everyone has a need...

Everyone has a need.

Someone may need to pay his or her rent. Some man may need a red necktie. Some college student may need an internship or job after graduation.

What if it was a 17 year-old kid on a baseball team in a tiny town in central Arkansas? What would he need?

Would he and his team need new shoes and uniforms because the ones they had didn't match?

Would they need new baseballs because the old ones were held together with duct tape?

What if his father had just died after a long bout with cancer?

If it happened to you, would you still have a self-less enough attitude to think of your teammates first and say what WE need instead of 'I'?

Will Staggs, a pitcher for the Pangburn Tiger's high school varsity baseball team...

...did just this.

Yep, he's a real person.

Since his dad got sick, his mother took care of his dad... at a pretty substantial cost in today's time: her job. Last season he had to work to provide for the family. This season his mother made him play baseball instead of working because he loved it so much... and it would be his last season to play.

People should learn from those who tackle great adversity. People who overcome great pain and sorrow in their personal lives but live for the big picture.

Its quite an honorable thing...

...so here are a few photos.

Let them tell the story.

Announcers in Arkansas start a little earlier than the rest of the country.

And a friend of mine was writing the article for the paper that these photos were ordered for.

Sometimes I really enjoy working in Arkansas. Sure you gotta take a thousand menial group photos to get to the jobs like this, but its so worth the wait.

And plus, you never know what you're going to see in Arkansas:

Stay tuned, my friends.
-Noah D.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A three minute shoot for a busy man...

For almost the past month I have been working on a project.

Each spring, my University hosts a contest between the social clubs (read: fraternities/sororities or Greek organizations). They are given a general theme and they have to come up with a song and dance number using real, pop music with their own lyrics.

Well, I'm simplifying it quite a bit, but its a pretty big deal to all the members of the clubs. Seriously.

These guys and girls are given the better half of a semester to work on their 10 minutes or so of allotted time to be performed 3 times. How hardcore? Like, hours of practicing multiple times a week for months.

On top of that is the main cast of four song and dance performers and their back-up extras. So... its a big deal here.

Anyways, I got the job of photographing for the program. I'll have some tearsheets of the program closer to the actual performance (which I think is still almost a month away), but...

The director/producer's name is Dr. Steve Frye. I tell you: he's a super busy but super cool guy. To rescue him from having to use a 5-year-old PR photo, I set up a quickie in the recital hall. Literally... 3 minutes quickie.

This is the outcome:

Very basic setup.

The ambient light was reading around 1/15th @ f/5.6 @ ISO400 and I wanted to kill it, so I spun it up to about 1/100th.

I knew I wanted the shot to be tight, but I also wanted to make the light fall-off fast enough to make it look like a spotlight (director/producer... spotlight... auditorium seats... get it?). So I choked up on the umbrellas a bit (especially the main light to my right) and zoomed the heads to their farthest and got things tight.

The first few shots, Dr. Frye was sitting back very relaxed, but looked a little uncomfortable. And the composition just didn't work very well. It could have been anywhere because his head was too far above the level of the seats and the light fall-off was too great.

All he had to do was lean forward and the photo worked. The lights stayed as they were (main: 1/4 - fill: 1/16) and his hands low balanced the composition nicely.

Well, that's that. I enjoy quick shoots like this. Things that aren't extraordinarily taxing on the mind and body but have good photo outcomes and satisfied clients. Smiles around.

Stay tuned,
-Noah D.

No more basketball... I think...

Not too much to say about photos of the last home basketball game.

I mean, how profound could I really get.

I mean, I guess I could talk about the luck I had catching flashes. But there's nothing really excessively deep about that...

Just really really lucky.

I used the ceiling-mounted strobes for the girl's game...

...but the regular mounted flash for the men's.

But its kinda fun to get creative when the flashy basketball shots and demon red-eyes get a little old.

Trying to tell the story of a basketball game... less basketball... more atmosphere...

Oh, and did I mention this was the first major shoot where I was able to use the newest addition to the family: the venerable AF Nikkor 17-55/2.8. It is a beast.

It was great to get up and close with the crowd.

It was a rowdy crowd.

A photogenic crowd.

And it was fun to have such a range. I didn't change a lens the entire night. And for a little side-job I had to shoot our radio announcers.

I'm kinda sad to see basketball end for the season. I may be shooting the Gulf South Conference finals on Saturday if our guys win tomorrow night. We'll see...

But that remains to be seen.

Care to stay tuned?
-Noah D.