Archive for June, 2011

The Moment

Posted in Baseball, Sports Photography on June 27, 2011 by bobshank

Today I had the privilege of shooting a baseball game at East Stroudsburg University. It was not a college game but a baseball camp game run by the Warrior’s head baseball coach — Coach Kochmansky. Coach K runs excellent baseball camps to teach young boys the fundamentals of baseball. He teaches the proper swing, how to field a baseball, and all the basic ingredients that helps develop a boy into a solid baseball player. I know this firsthand, because our son, James, attended quite a few of Coach K’s baseball camps and learned a whole lot and developed into a solid hitter and fielder.

These photographs today focus on “The Moment.” The rest of the photographs can be seen on my website.

Most of them focus on the moment of a swing at the plate. It is that precious moment when a batter decides to swing at the pitch or not. He can see the ball and believes he can make solid contact and drive the baseball. A hitter only has a fraction of a second to make this decision and begin his swing. Capturing “The Moment” with my camera is one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges for a sports photographer. Everything has to be just right–proper focus, right composition, correct depth of field, etc.

Do you think I caught “The Moment” in these photos?


The Value of Twitter for Photographers

Posted in Colleagues, Elk County Visitor Center, Fast Lenses, Social Media, Twitter, Wildlife Photography on June 24, 2011 by bobshank

Do you Twitter?

I confess that I really enjoy social media. I enjoy blogging, keeping up to date with Facebook, and Twittering. Admittedly, I am probably slowest to realize the true value of Twitter but I am getting there!

Just today I connected to these great stories entirely thanks to Twitter:

The first link above is a must read article. Read it and I am sure you will see why. The second link has some very good tips for building your photography portfolio.

I also had the opportunity to hear some news, gather some photo tips, and make a few more photo friends all thanks to Twitter!

Twitter can be confusing or even pointless to some people. After all, how much can you actually communicate in 140 characters? Quite a lot, actually! You can share photo tips, links to interesting photo articles, mention favorite blog posts, share tweets you like, and so much more!

Today I was blessed to see my photography colleague, Willard Hill, post a blog entry discussing an equipment issue I brought up in my photo book. The issue was whether fast lenses are necessary for wildlife photography. I obviously enjoyed Willard’s blog entry and his discussion about fast lenses. So, I Tweeted sharing Willard’s blog with everyone who follows me on Twitter. How can you not like that?

Twitter is sometimes chided by those who only think it is used for people to share the tiny, mundane, and boring events of their daily life with others. I believe Twitter has much to offer. You can choose who you follow, so pick the people whose Tweets most interest you. Follow someone for a while. If you don’t enjoy their Tweets, just unfollow them. Twitter is awesome, in my humble opinion.

My Twitter handle is BobShankPhoto. You can follow me but you won’t hear what I had for breakfast. Rather, you will be connected to other interesting photo blogs, hear great photo tips, and see other photographers I enjoy following. Give it a try!

Twitter is fun and valuable for photographers!

Adobe Lightroom Plug-ins

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Computer, Galleries, PayPal, Photography, Plug-ins, Programming, Web Galleries on June 23, 2011 by bobshank

Yeah, I like Lightroom. One way I use it often is to create web galleries to post on my website for players and parents to view photos after a baseball game or musical. This is a quick method for me to get my photos out in front of others quickly and without a lot of messing around. The current plug-in I use allows me to create the gallery in a format that even accepts PayPal payments if someone wants to purchase one of my photos. Plug-ins are great!

Plug-ins abound but I still haven’t found that I am 100% satisfied with or that completely meets all my needs. Customization and tweaking are just in my blood I guess. In my defense, I strongly believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. I am fussy and I do have high expectations. I just want things to look a certain way. After all I am a photographer!

So today I am venturing into unknown territory–creating Lightroom plug-ins of my very own.

I do have some very basic programming skills thanks to one college class I had at Temple University in Fortan language. Over the years I also have acquired a few more programming skills and do design my own web pages. Still, this is going to be a monumental task for me. Wish me luck. And if you have any advice, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get!


Pennsylvania Elk Photo Experience – Fall Rut 2011

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Digital Photography, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Photo Lesson, Photo Tips, Photo Trip, Photographers, Slideshows, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill on June 22, 2011 by bobshank

There is absolutely no place I would rather be in the fall than in Benezette, Pennsylvania photographing the beautiful and majestic elk of Pennsylvania. The fall colors, the active bugling bull elk, and the excitement of the fall rut bring sounds and sights that are just out of this world! Photographing these amazing sights is high on my list of must-do experiences every year.

My good friend and photography colleague, Dick McCreight, and I enjoy leading photo trips on the elk range each fall. We particularly enjoy sharing how we photograph the elk with those interested in learning helpful photo skills to do the same. We take viewing etiquette very seriously, so our numbers are small so we can both teach outdoor photo skills to you while keeping our impact on the elk range to a minimum.

This fall photo trip will be our 6th trip and we cannot wait to be out with our cameras photographing the elk!

If you enjoy wildlife photography and want to learn how to take better photographs, then this is the perfect trip for you. Our photo trip features three in-depth workshops where we discuss camera set-up & use, wildlife photography, history of the PA elk, and editing photographs in Adobe Lightroom. You will definitely learn new photo skills in these workshops! Then we take what we learn from each other and put it all into use as we take a minimum of six excursions on the elk range to capture the excitement with our cameras. Each evening we share our photographs of the day and enjoy constructive critiques on our five best photos of the day.

Digital photography has come a long way in recent years. The problem is learning how to use this new technology to capture the photos of your dreams. This trip will not only help you learn how to do this, but will put you in a position to capture the magnificent elk of Pennsylvania with your camera!

Click here to find out more info about these photo trips. Click here to see some photos of previous photo trips and click here to view a slideshow of what our trips offer. Feel free to email any questions you may have about these trips. We are confident that you will not only find our photo trip to be educational but also entertaining and filled with loads of photo fun! Try it out this year by attending our PA Photo Elk Experience–it will be an experience of a lifetime!

Bob Shank & Dick McCreight

Wild Collages

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Collage, Digital Photography, Pennsylvania Elk, Portfolio, Wildlife Photography on June 21, 2011 by bobshank

Today I am piggybacking on yesterday’s post about photo collages. This time, though, the subject is a little more wild–wildlife, that is.

Pennsylvania elk are my most favorite subjects to photograph. There is no denying this. Sure, I enjoy photographing other subjects like sports photography, musicals, and just about anything else I can point my camera at on any given day. Pennsylvania elk are amazing creatures. They are both somewhat predictable and yet sometimes do the most unexpected thing you could ever imagine. A day spent on the elk range with these incredible animals will change your life forever!

My growing portfolio of PA elk subjects should make at least somewhat interesting collages. So I figured I would give it a try. The following five collages are exactly like yesterday’s, except the subjects. Today’s collages feature the beautiful elk that often take my breath away.

See what you think. These collages were all made inside of Lightroom. Do any of these collages attract your photographic or creative eye?

Lightroom Photo Collages

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Collage, Editing Photos, Sports Photography on June 20, 2011 by bobshank

Adobe Lightroom is my most favorite photo-editing software. I can quickly go through an entire photo shoot, pick the keepers, do some quick touch-up edits of some photos, and post them as a gallery on my website. It is awesome!

I still do use Photoshop for some more advanced editing and creating some collages, like the ones I do for the high school baseball seniors. Photoshop certainly has its place and I do keep it within arm’s length, but more and more I find additional features in Lightroom. A recent example is creating collages right in Lightroom.

A photo collage is a great way to share the highlights of a vacation, a baseball game, a musical, or any other subject captured with your camera. Here are five samples that I was playing with the other night. (You can click on each image to see a larger photo of the collage.) I think they make great photo keepsakes. What do you think? Which one do you like best?

Keeping Up

Posted in Busy, Checklist, Flash Cards, Photography, Preparation on June 17, 2011 by bobshank

I remember when I was a little boy. My dad and I would go on long walks behind our house in the fields and woods. It was difficult for me to keep up with dad. His legs were longer and he was stronger. My little legs worked okay but just couldn’t keep up. My lagging behind might also have been attributed to any number of distractions that sidetracked me, too!

Keeping up with one photo shoot after another is not always easy. Good intentions are not enough. Part of the problem is time. You get back from a photo shoot and are tired and hungry. You need a break, so you put your equipment in its place, kick up your feet, and relax. Or you get a bite to eat, start talking with your family, and completely forget about the flash cards that need uploaded.

Two days ago I had to upload several flash cards that were well overdue for attention. It turned out that I did upload about half the batch, but it was a pain to take the time to go through them to double-check and upload the previously forgotten cards.

Getting into a routine is the best approach. It is similar to how we actually approach a photo shoot. Before we leave the house we go through a checklist to make sure we have everything. Then, on a photo shoot, we again step through a well-planned routine to help us capture the right moments. So why do we get so lax at the back-end of a shoot?

Prudence is the key for a successful photographer. Don’t be lazy. Do it now or you going to have to do it later, and it will be more difficult and take more time.

Keeping up isn’t always easy, but it is important! Just ask my dad!