Archive for March, 2010

Batter Up!

Posted in Baseball, Sports Photography with tags , on March 31, 2010 by bobshank

The high school baseball season has begun and I shot my first game of the season this afternoon. It was refreshing and exhilarating to be behind the camera at a baseball game. This time I used my 70-200mm lens attached to  my D300 mounted on a monopod and I had my D70 around my neck with the 24-70mm lens. This combination worked pretty well and allowed me to capture most of the action.

It also didn’t hurt to have my MB-D10 Battery Grip attached to my camera, which gives me 8 frames per second! This really helps me when a runner is stealing second base or when an infielder is fielding a ground ball. This fast frame rate allows me to capture more of the action, which is critical in a baseball game.

The other critical thing is to constantly pay attention and anticipate where the action is next going to take place. This takes concentration and some luck. But having coached baseball for nine years certainly helps me anticipate where the action might take place next. Having two cameras on hand is helpful, too.

Batter up! The baseball season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier!

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Keepers

Posted in Backups, Keepers, Photography with tags , , on March 30, 2010 by bobshank

Here’s a question: Do you keep just your keepers from each photo shoot or do you keep all of your photos?

Photographers have all sorts of strategies in keeping, distributing, and storing photographs. Some only keep their keepers and delete everything else from a shoot. Others, like me, tend to be more like pack rats and keep everything. What is your method?

Here’s the thing, in my opinion. Software seems to get better each and every year. So what might seem like a rather mundane photo today might be editable in the foreseeable future. Besides, I believe that even my non-keepers and really bad photos allow me to learn from them. Seeing them beside my keepers also has a way of keeping me humble!

I do not think there is a right or wrong way in this discussion, but we photographers certainly have opinions. So what is your opinion? Keep just the keepers or keep them all?

Old Fashioned Drawing Diagrams Can Help

Posted in Camera, Equipment, Flash, Light, Photography, Planning, Portrait Lighting with tags , on March 27, 2010 by bobshank

I am a computer geek and prefer using the computer for just about everything possible. In fact, I’m not sure what I would do without a computer!

However, I still know the value of good old pen and paper. Drawing diagrams can help in planning a photo shoot. Where is the main light? Should you add a fill light and where should it be placed? How about your subject–where is it in relation to everything else? What about the camera–should it be at a low angle?

Admittedly, this is quite difficult when photographing wildlife, but just about every photo subject can be better photographed with advanced planning. I certainly am no artist, but diagrams definitely help me in the planning stages of a shoot. These diagrams allow me to think ahead and do some planning before I even get to the location.

I find these diagrams very useful. Give it a try. Before you go to you next photo shoot take some time to draw up a diagram or two and see if they help.

Gone Fishing!

Posted in Camera, James, Photography with tags , on March 26, 2010 by bobshank

I took some time off this afternoon to go fishing. My son wanted me to take his friend and him fishing. It was cold and very windy–not ideal fishing conditions to be sure! But we had a good time anyway! James, my son, had a very nice bass on his hook and had reeled it all the way in to the shore. He was just about to land the bass, but it shook its head one more time, flopped a few times, and swam successfully away. I also had a pickerel on my line and was reeling it in when it also got away.

Okay. Now I’m back in the warmth of our house and thinking about photography. By the way, if you go fishing, take your camera along. You never know when you might catch a lunker! And these days where it’s common to catch and release, photos can be taken home to show your family and friends. However, the danger of this method is that it keeps those fish stories honest!

What do you do to relax? Hobbies and recreational activities make great photographic opportunities. The next time you engage in a hobby be sure to take your camera along with you!

Success is in the Planning

Posted in Baseball, Checklist, Photography, Planning with tags , on March 24, 2010 by bobshank

When you go on a photo shoot do you just grab your gear and go or do you make extensive plans ahead of time?

I actually enjoying the planning stage. Researching subjects and locations is lots of fun to me. I read magazine articles, books, search the internet, look at other photographer’s galleries, and watch television programs that are pertinent. I also se a spreadsheet to help make sure I don’t forget anything important. I use the spreadsheet to track my checklists and compile my research notes. It works for me!

I am currently preparing to get ready for the baseball season. The local high school has asked me to shoot some of their games and assemble a presentation for their end-of-the-year banquet. So I just sat down with the baseball schedule and marked the games I am free to attend and photograph. Then I entered these games into my PDA calendar. This is just one step in the planning. Previously, I emailed the contact person in the Booster Club and created a “plan of attack” for the season. I also will have more planning to do, and this is important. Closer to the game days, I will follow more detailed checklists for charging batteries, reformatting flash cards, and taking all the gear I need to each game.

Some people look at all this planning as a big chore and a big bore! I do not. I actually enjoy the planning stages because in my mind’s eye I can envision myself at the photo shoot and I know I will have a much better chance of getting the shots I am after thanks to all this planning.

After all, success is found in the planning!

Digital Photograph and Folder Naming

Posted in Backups, Photography with tags , on March 23, 2010 by bobshank

Do you have a plan in mind when naming photos and folders?

A person with no plan is going to pay sooner or later. And a person who changes file naming schemes often is also in for deep trouble. I am experiencing some of this pain right now. I am nearly finished moving all my photos over to my new Drobo, but it’s been a real chore. It was difficult only because I changed how I named my folders. Now, I wanted everything to be consistent so I had to rename quite a few folder names. It took much more time than if I had just maintained the same naming scheme all along.

Here’s what I do now. When I import a photo shoot into Lightroom, I rename each photo by assigning the date first and then a sequential number starting with 1. The file name looks like this: 20100323-23  This way I will never have a file name with the same name as another one.

I also name the folder with the date of the photo shoot and a descriptive name. Something like: 2010-03-28 Middle School Musical. This makes it easy to find a folder by date or name.

There is no real right or wrong way to name files or folders, but find something that works for you and stick with it!

Update on My Drobo

Posted in Backups, Drobo, Photography with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by bobshank

My new Drobo has been in active use for over a week now and I am very happy with it. I first heard about the Drobo on TWIP–This Week in Photography, a weekly photo podcast. These guys were raving over the Drobo and I was slowly but surely running out of backup room on my external hard drives. So I saved my money and just purchased my own Drobo.

I spent the past week moving my photographs from the external drives to the Drobo. This would have been an easier chore if I had maintained a consistent folder-naming scheme all along. But alas the end is now clearly in sight and I expect to have the transfers down in a few short hours.

I only have two 1TB hard drives installed in my Drobo and it is already 67% full! I will have to install a third drive into my Drobo in the near future. One nice feature on the DataRobotics website is what they call the Drobulator, which is a virtual calculator which allows you to see how much storage space you will gain with different hard drives. I used this to determine my next cost-effective and best storage space-addition drive will be another 1TB drive.

The Drobo was very easy to set up and install. I just installed the two hard drives into the unit, attached the power cord and the USB cable, and then installed the software. Now the Drobo Dashboard gives me a constant status of space available and other important information from the Drobo. I just watch the lights on the unit, which will turn yellow when it is time to add additional storage. I also receive email messages from Drobo whenever the unit has a message for me. Pretty neat!

I have not always been faithful at backing up my photos so I find the Drobo to be extremely helpful and even vital in my workflow. To maintain proper backups I strongly recommend the Drobo. It works well and is easy to use.