Archive for the Photography Category

New Blog Layout

Posted in Blog, Bob Shank, Photography, WordPress with tags , , , on October 4, 2013 by bobshank

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 2.55.57 PM

My photography blog moved to:

http://bobshankphotography.com/blog/

Check out my new blog post by clicking on the link or screenshot above! Then update your bookmark.

Thanks!

 

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These Old Photos Bring Back Some Strong Memories!

Posted in Fire, Passion, Photography, Photojournalism, Pittsburgh, Temple University, Textbook with tags , , , , , , on May 12, 2013 by bobshank

I went to college at Temple University and graduated with a degree in Journalism. This education has helped me literally every week of my professional life. I went off to graduate school the same year I graduated from Temple.  One night, while I was in my dorm room in Pittsburgh and thinking about the required papers and class load of school, I heard some sirens. It wasn’t the usual, city siren passing by from an ambulance or single fire truck. No, this was a full-blown 5-alarm fire and I could see the flames from my dorm room window! So, I grabbed my camera and ran the seven city blocks to photograph the fire and firefighters who were working feverishly to put it out.

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-002 Matte

My mind raced back in time to my first photography class at Temple University. Our professor instructed us to always have our camera with us. On this night, I was very happy to have my camera with me. I started taking a few shots as I got closer to the fire. It was a cold December night and it was dark.

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-003 Matte

The flames were already completely out of hand and engulfing the row house. Firefighters were laying down hoses and keeping steady streams of gallons of water flowing onto the structure. Fortunately, no one was inside the home that night. I kept taking photographs as I changed angles every now and then to get different perspectives.

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-004 Matte

I did not mind the cold air one bit. Besides, the flames from this fire were heating up the whole block! So I persistently and patiently photographed the flames behind the firetrucks, which were parked in the middle of the street. I never saw such a large fire in my lifetime. This was big!

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-005 Matte

Not every shot worked and since this was back in the slide-film days, I wasn’t sure I actually was getting anything usable. My training and education from Temple, however, prepared me better than I could have imagined. The thrill of being the only photographer on location was exhilarating for me. Then, my eyes noticed something special. I saw a firefighter on top of a fire truck aiming a water cannon toward the fire. This alone was nothing unusual, but he was situated just beyond a beautifully backlit  instrument panel. Here is the photograph I captured:

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-007 Matte

I think it works pretty well to show the tireless work of these firefighters and the equipment they use to fight the fires. I did not realize the power of this image until I had the film developed and opened the box of slides. As I looked carefully at each slide, this one just popped out at me. It was my favorite one of the entire shoot.

The next day I went back to photograph the charred remains of the row house, as you can see here in this photograph.

Pittsburgh Fire 1987-009 Matte

The damage was devastating but at least no lives were lost. I got to bed much later that cold, December night and it was well worth it! I captured the consuming flames, the lights of the firetrucks, the efforts of the firefighters, and even the aftermath of this incredible fire.

I actually pretty much forgot this event until earlier this week when I dusted off my Photojournalism textbook for another photo project I am working on now. The textbook is entitled, “Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach,” by Kenneth Kobre. I started re-reading this textbook and came across an early chapter in the book about how to photograph fires. Incredibly, it was like these words were in my head and my actions that night. It was textbook! (Please pardon the pun.) Today, as I was scanning these slide images into my computer, I relived that night again after reading that specific chapter in my old textbook. I somehow took the words to heart and did just about everything mentioned in this section of the book.

That was the good news. Unfortunately, there was some rather sad news, as well. I did not even try to market my photos to the local newspaper that day. I suppose I was too busy with my classes in graduate school, but it certainly was an opportunity missed!

Lessons learned include:
1. Always have my camera with me
2. Learn to use existing light
3. Rely on my education; it was very good
4. Do not undervalue my photos or keep them to myself
5. Keep learning the craft & keep shooting!
6. Be a photojournalist!

I am a freelance photographer who is like wine–I am getting better with age! I now have many years of sports and wildlife photography under my belt, which I continue to enjoy. I also am branching out in new ways to some of the approaches I learned while attending Temple University. I am blessed. I see an event and I desperately desire to communicate that event in a visual way! I cannot wait for the next event to unfold!

A Better Way to Create PayPal Galleries with Lightroom

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, PayPal, Photo Products, Photography, Web Galleries with tags , , , , on October 28, 2012 by bobshank

Over the past few years I’ve posted photo galleries to my website from Lightroom that allows viewers to purchase photographs from me directly. The order is placed online using PayPal from a photo gallery on my website. Once I receive the order, I submit the order to my printer and complete the order. I posted a blog entry on this procedure back in August of 2010. This worked well for me and actually helped increase my print sales. The process was pretty easy once the code was inserted.

However, one problem was that the location of my copyright watermark was locked into the very lower-left portion of the print. I felt that some people were simply saving my images to their computer and easily editing or cropping out my watermark. Ideally, I wanted my watermark to be in the middle of the print at about 50% opacity. I am not a code expert, so this was not easy for me to figure out. So I kept using what worked even with the limitations. You can view one of these old galleries here.

Fortunately, I was doing a search on the internet one day and discovered a new and better way to post a Lightroom Gallery to my website compete with PayPal options. The bonus was that it allowed me to put my watermark exactly where I desired, all within the Lightroom output settings! It was an excellent option, so I read and re-read the article and decided to give it a try. I am extremely satisfied with the results and I use this feature for all the photo galleries I post now. It’s sweet!

The web link I found in my search is: http://www.imat.co.uk/ligtroom_paypal.html and includes the code required to make this process work. Thanks John Burton for sharing this productive and efficient way to utilize PayPal with Lightroom Galleries!

This process does involve one additional step but it’s a free signup! It involves using Mal’s ecommerce, which creates the cart when a visitor to your gallery wants to purchase a photo. When you go to this website you have to join by creating a new account. Then you need to set up your cart. But all this is a one-time process. After you do it once, it’s done. And it works beautifully!

In Lightroom you need to add some instructional code in the Web Module in the Caption box. It is only entered here instead of in each photograph’s meta data, so it is much more efficient than my older method. This code is found at the bottom of the link I mentioned above from John Burton’s website. This is where you include your products for sale and their prices. You can see one of my newer galleries utilizing this feature here.

I really like the look of this option for posting photo galleries to the web. And it makes it easy for visitors to order products from my website directly. The great thing is this web gallery is easily repeatable for any new photo gallery I want to post to my website. It is really effortless once it was all set up. The setup process didn’t take very long either. Give this method a try. You will like the way it looks and you will be easily able to sell more of your photo products!

Sports Photography Products Available

Posted in Buttons, Calendar, Collage, Gift Idea, Magnet, Photo Book, Photo Products, Photography, Sports Photography, Trading Cards with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by bobshank

Sports photography is a passion for me!

There is nothing that quite beats the challenge of capturing the action on the field with my camera. As play after play unwinds, the story of the game is told. My job as a sports photographer is to capture and tell this unique story through photographs.

A single photograph, or even a photo album of photographs is one traditional way to tell the story and remember a game.

But today there are better and different ways to recapture a special moment on the field or re-live a game.

One popular way to capture a game or a complete season is to create a photo book, which includes photographs compiled nicely in a photo book. There are many alternatives to this method including soft-covers and hard-covers, one photo per page or several photos per page, and much more. You can see a sample of photo book here.

A custom photo collage of a play or a game is another option that can highlight a great play on the field or a victory. I create these custom collages in Photoshop by including several different photographs and soften their edges to help them blend together in an attractive way. You can see one sample here and some more here.

Photo collages can come in all sizes, shapes, and varieties. I like to include several different options.

The 4-Photo Collage is a simple, straightforward design. It highlights four equally-sized photographs in the four quadrants of the collage and highlights the player name and number in the middle.

The 3×1 Photo Collage is the perfect way to capture great plays or a hitting sequence like a triple. The one side of the collage features a vertical photo while the other side features three smaller photos. A triple could be documented in this way: the player hitting the ball on the vertical side with each of the three smaller photos featuring the player running around the bases. A defensive play could be displayed in a similar fashion on one of these custom collages.

The 3-Photo Collage is a nicely laid out presentation including one large photo in the middle and two supporting photographs overlaid to create a more artistic display. This can also highlight a great defensive or offensive play, or any combination of desired photos.

One of my favorite options is what I call the Teamsake Collage. The idea behind this collage is to include several teammates on the collage to remember a special season. Players bond together during a season and this collage provides a way to remember your teammates in a great way for many years to come. This layout includes 9 equally-sized photographs so the starting lineup of the team can be included, or just a variety of favorite teammates can be featured. It’s all up to you!

Collages are just one one example of the great options available today. Photo buttons, trading cards, calendars, greeting cards, mouse pads, magnets, and Stick Pix, which are like FatHeads that stick to the wall, are also available from any photograph in my galleries. You can view some of the options here. These options make perfect gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and graduation!

Over the years of creating my photography website, I tried to find better ways to make these products available for purchase. I currently  offer many of them directly in the photo galleries when you click on and enlarge a photograph. Prints, buttons, magnets, and trading cards are easily selected in this way. I will be including the other options soon, but some are not so easily available in this manner. For example, the photo colleges need to include more than one photo obviously. Finding an easy to follow method to choose and include the exact photos presents a dilemma. I am experimenting now with some new ideas and hope to have this available as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you want to purchase a collage, just email me and I will get it together.

Photographs make special and unique gifts. There are a variety of ways to take a photograph and turn it into a creative keepsake. I feel my job is to “capture the moment” and make a memory for a lifetime. These sports photography products help to deliver this goal!

Photo Walk Announced!

Posted in Photo Walk, Photography, Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk, Social Event, Stroudsburg on September 21, 2012 by bobshank

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk is scheduled for October 13. You can join us in Stoudsburg for an evening of night photography as we walk around Stoudsburg trying to get that perfect shot with our cameras.

You do not need a fancy camera, but if you have one that’s cool. Some creative photos can be captured even with cell phones these days! So bring your favorite camera and join us for a fun night of photography! Bring a friend and enjoy the time together.

We will meet in Ann Street Park, which is located at 550 Ann Street, Stoudsburg, PA 18360. The Photo Walk will begin promptly at 7pm and conclude at 9pm. Those who want to hang around and share our photos and experiences will be invited to a restaurant to be announced closer to the date.

Click here for more details and to sign up for the Photo Walk.

Being Efficient When You are Busy, Busy, Busy!

Posted in Editing Photos, Efficiency, Keyword, Photography, Workflow with tags , , , , on April 28, 2012 by bobshank

Just the other day I asked Siri, “Why am I so busy?” She quickly responded, “I don’t know. Frankly, I was wondering that myself!”

I am currently in the middle of a lot of photo shoots. Four days in a row with five photo shoots altogether! I’m not complaining; not in the least. I’m just busy, but good busy. During these stretches I sometimes find it hard to keep up with shooting, uploading the photos to my computer, editing them, creating galleries, charging batters, cleaning lenses, connecting with potential photo clients, and everything else. Busy, busy, busy!

Streamlining routine tasks is essential in busy times. I like to use the Energizer rechargeable NIMH batteries in the quick charger because they are charged in about 15 minutes or less! This saves a lot of time from the days when I had to charge batteries overnight. Now I can charge all 14 batteries while I am uploading photos from my compact flash cards to my Drobo.

Staying on top of these tasks is critical especially when photo shoots are so close together. Forget to empty a card and there will be no room for more photos during the next photo shoot that day. This is definitely not a time to be forgetful or fly by the seat of your pants! Good habits, predictable patterns, and a logical strategy all help to stay on top of everything in busy times.

Keywording is best done right away. Why wait to do it later when it might be forgotten? Some keywords can be entered automatically as we import them. Other more specific keywords have to be entered manually. Doing this right away makes it easier to remember the details of this shoot rather than relying on a spotty memory later on down the week or month. Stay on top of key wording and the rewards will be more than obvious down the road.

Editing photos is another key area in which to aim for efficiency. This, for me, includes locating the keepers, confirming or changing the proper white balance, and making any necessary minor edits to the photograph if needed or desired. The absolute best way to be efficient here is to get everything right in the camera. With some photo editors this is required, so it is a great goal to aim for from the beginning. It saves time, too.

What ways are you finding to be efficient in your photography?

Photo Tip Tuesday – Camera Repairs

Posted in Camera, Perfect Image, Photography, Repair with tags , , , on April 3, 2012 by bobshank

 

Last week my Nikon D300 camera body went down. The shutter release would flip the mirror out of the way but it wouldn’t always drop back into its proper position. To say it was frustrating is the understatement of the day! I tried shooing one baseball game but it was a disaster and I spent more time trying to figure out what was going on than shooting the game. Total bummer!

I took the camera body to my local camera shop and they said it would have to be sent into Nikon, which would take 4-6 weeks minimum. Since this is pretty much an every-day camera, I did not like this option. Fortunately, my brother who is in the photography business, too, recommended a camera repair shop. He said he had good experiences with them and their turnaround on repairs was quick. This seemed to be just what I was looking for!

I quick email to Perfect Image and they sent back a repair quote almost immediately. Nice. I took the camera to Perfect Image last Friday, which for me was a two-hour drive. Perfect Image is in Lancaster and they do ship, but I wanted my camera back quickly and didn’t want to wait for shipping. Wes, at Perfect Image, told me knew exactly what the problem was with my camera body and that he would get the repair done within the week. Nice again!

Well, in the early afternoon on Monday my cell phone rang. I saw the 717 area code and thought, “No way.” But sure enough, it was Wes and he said my repair was completed. I paused and then said, “Wait! Is today April 1st?” thinking this might be an April Fool’s joke! Wes assured me that no, it was April 2nd and that the repair was indeed completed. Unbelievable!

I drove down today to pick up my camera body and then visited my mom who lives nearby.

If you ever need any camera or lens repairs, do yourself a favor and consider Perfect Image. They are fast and very friendly. I highly recommend them and will be taking all my repair work to them in the future. And tell them you heard about them from my blog. I won’t get any kickbacks, but it is nice to know where their referrals are coming from. Check out their website and get free repair estimates at: http://www.perfectimagerepair.com/

Think about it: 4-6 weeks minimum verses a little over 24 business hours. There’s no comparison in my opinion!  And that’s today’s photo tip.