Archive for August, 2010

New Baseball Photographs Posted

Posted in Baseball, Little League, Sports Magazines, Sports Magazines, Sports Photography, Web Galleries on August 31, 2010 by bobshank

Sports photography is one my photo passions. I do not shoot for Sports Illustrated or ESPN the Magazine yet, but I do try to celebrate the talents of the young players who play at the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy. Think about this. The Little League World Series is now over. We watched the games for the past three weeks on television. Local Little Leagues need to end their season in the beginning of June in order to pick their All-Star teams and have enough time to play the tournaments. This means that most of the Little League players complete their baseball season in the beginning of June. Only a small number of players get onto All-Star teams and once you lose; you’re season is done, too. Very few players play all summer in Little League. What happened to the days when summers were for baseball?

For better or worse, things have changed. Now the baseball craze is travel and tournament baseball. Players who play on a tournament team often play 2 to 3 games on Saturday and anywhere from 2 to 4 or even 5 games on Sunday! Tournament baseball is very different from Little League baseball. The positive part for me is that I can shoot a lot of games in a weekend–mostly Saturdays for me. This past Saturday I photographed three back-to-back games. I averaged a little over 100 good photographs for each game. I am very particular about what I think is good enough and what I post on my website to share with players, coaches, and parents. I might not be submitting photos to the big sports magazines yet, but I still demand a lot of myself and have high standards.

I pick the best photos to display on my website and then share them with the teams and families. I use a simple protection protocol with a user name and password , which I mentioned in detail a few posts ago. It is just an effort to protect the photos of the young players, while still trying to share the photos with all those who might be interested in viewing or purchasing them. I find great joy in photographing the baseball games and trying to capture the exciting action on the field. Baseball is still our great American pastime and is worthy of being preserved in photographs. Besides, who knows when one of these young ball players will make it into the Bigs!

You can view my LVBA page and if you would like to receive the user name and password to view the photos, please send me an email message. Here are just a few sample photos.


Wildlife Shows Up Unexpectedly

Posted in Whitetail Deer, Wildlife Photography on August 30, 2010 by bobshank

You just never know. Last evening I was sitting in the living room when I saw a deer trying to eat the bird seed in our feeder. I went over to the window and started talking to this doe when I realized there were three young fawns eating the birdseed in the grass under the feeder. I was shocked that my talking did not completely scare the deer away–especially a protective mother. But food is an important priority at this time of year.

So I quickly escaped to grab my camera and was able to take a few photos before the deer wandered off. You just never know with wildlife subjects. Sometimes you can search for them all day and never see a thing. Then, all of a sudden, wildlife can show up unexpectedly.

Fall Baseball

Posted in Action Photography, Baseball, Sports Photography on August 28, 2010 by bobshank

The LVBA Fall Baseball Season started today. Several teams were active in the ECTB 5th Annual Hardball Challenge. I had the opportunity to photograph three of the games today and the action was amazing. These boys can flat-out play baseball! I was at the 9u, 11u, & 14u games.

I believe that a unique story unfolds in each game and my job is to capture the moments and turn them into memories. I will be posting photos from all three games on my website once they are edited, but I thought putting three photos up here on my blog would be a good representative of the forthcoming photos. I think you can tell from viewing these photographs that these boys mean business on the baseball diamond!


Rounded Corners with Lightroom

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Blog, Editing Photos, Pennsylvania Elk, Photography, Software, Wildlife Photography on August 27, 2010 by bobshank

This tip came from Matt Kloskowski on his Killer Lightroom Tips blog.

I’ve mentioned previously that Lightroom is powerful. It really is. And this tip is just one more example behind some of the unexpected power in this interesting software package. One of the main selling points of Lightroom to me was that it manages my photos, allows me to edit them, and provides ways to export the photos for use on web galleries, in email messages, or as physical prints. This all-in-one software even has me reaching for Photoshop less and less. The latest upgrade to 3.0 includes some really nice features and I am still learning some of the many features found in Lightroom.

The rounded corners tip makes for some interesting prints or photos to display on the web. You can learn the steps to make your own rounded corners by checking out Matt Kloskowski’s blog.

Here is my example of Matt’s tip. Pretty cool, huh? And all done in Lightroom.

I Like Lightroom 3.0

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Digital Photography, Editing Photos, Software, Wildlife Photography on August 26, 2010 by bobshank

Two years ago, my good friend Dick McCreight, convinced me to download the trial version of Lightroom 2.0. I was hesitant because I had just starting using another software to manage my photos and I was not eager to shell out more money for another program. But after installing and trying the trail version of Lightroom I was absolutely sold. It also didn’t hurt that Dick is a guru with this software! Just watching him move around the computer screen and edit his photos was breathtaking for me. I still remember that day sitting in his office and watching in total disbelief at what this powerful software can do.

Now, two years later, I upgraded to version 3.0 and I couldn’t be happier. This software still rocks and has improved in some amazing ways over the previous version. The photo you see below was completely edited in Lightroom 3.0. I love the photo management that this software provides and I am slowly learning more and more about all the powerful editing features as well. Did I say Lightroom rocks? Well, it does!

It’s Easy to Create PayPal Galleries in Lightroom

Posted in PayPal, Photography, Web Galleries, Website, Workflow on August 25, 2010 by bobshank

Lightroom makes it very easy to create web galleries. It is pretty much as easy as selecting the photos you want to include, modifying the gallery to your liking in the Web module, and then exporting this information and uploading it on your server. It actually sounds more complicated than it is to do. In the previous two blog posts I talked about how to do this in detail and even protect web galleries with a password.

Today I want to share with you how easy it is to create a PayPal gallery in Lightroom. I use these PayPal galleries all the time because they allow visitors to my website the ability to easily order prints using PayPal or any credit card. This feature alone has contributed to an increase in prints sales, particularly from parents of baseball players. You hear of many online services that do this for you. They take care of designing the code behind the galleries and then  you just upload your photos to their service, of course in addition to paying their monthly fees. I wasn’t sure I would have enough sales to warrant this expense, so I decided to do it by myself. Lightroom made it possible in a huge way for me!

The key is a template called “LRG One with PayPal Shopping Cart.” The link to this awesome template can be found here. Basically all you do is download the template, read the instructions on how to install and use it, add a few bits of information in your metadata, customize the gallery, and upload it to your server. Again, this all sounds much more complicated than it actually is to implement.

I use this template for all of my sports photography shoots. I select the photos to include in the web gallery. Then I include the metadata information for the size prints I offer, which is easy to do using the Sync feature. This copies the metadata to each photo that is included in the gallery. Then I export using the LRG One with PayPal Shopping Cart template. I even add the password protection I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry.

Now when someone visits my web gallery they can view the photos and purchase prints of varying sizes using PayPal or their preferred credit card. Of course, you have to set up a PayPal account and they take a small percentage of each sale, but it is much less expensive than using one of the other online services.

Once I receive an order from PayPal via email, I simply prepare the order and send it off to my photo lab. They print the prints and send them off to my client. It is that simple and I love it! The PayPal template is definitely one I find invaluable and highly helpful!

Secure Web Galleries

Posted in Blog, Software, Sports Photography, Web Galleries, Website, Workflow on August 24, 2010 by bobshank

I do a lot of sports photography but most of it is with young players whose parents may not be thrilled with faces of their children all over the internet. So, by using Lightroom to create a web gallery and then working in Dreamweaver, I can create password protected galleries that attempt to keep the photos more secure. For me it has worked beautifully and the parents of the players I work with seem to appreciate this extra effort.

Here is what I do.

I create a web gallery in Lightroom, which I described in yesterday’s blog entry. Then I open up the newly created index file of this gallery in Dreamweaver. I edit the file by adding some code that directs the web page viewer to a login screen. You can see an example of this login screen by going here. This additional code is not complicated and once I created it the first time I can just copy and paste the code into a new gallery without having to retype it.

The logon code is contained in a different file in the same folder or directory. This requires the webpage viewer to enter a username and password that I assign for the gallery. This information is passed on to the players, coaches, and parents. They are encouraged to share this info with their friends and family, but it prevents anyone who stumbles across my site from gaining access to the photos of minors. It works well and is not difficult to set up.

I then create a link on my website that allows the team to view the photos after they enter the username and password.

If you are interested in the details and code of how this is done feel free to email me. I am more than happy to share with others what works for me. After all, I learn something new every day about photography. It is a great time to be a photographer!