Favorite Basketball Photos From the 2010/2011 Season

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

Basketball season has come to an end. All of the teams we cover have been eliminated from the playoffs. It was a long season. I must have shot 30 games this year. Out of those 30 games only a couple of them were not lit. My light kit (blogged about here) worked great for most assignments. Every year my timing gets better and I enjoy the challenge of lighting different gyms more and more. I have selected a few of my favorite pictures from this season. You can see a few more over at my sportsshooter.com member page here. Thanks for looking.

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2011 CHSAA State Hockey Semi Finals

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

State hockey playoffs began last weekend. Out of the 8 schools I consistently cover, we have 3 with hockey teams, Columbine, Dakota Ridge and Chatfield. This year Chatfield made it to the second to last round of playoffs which took place at the Pepsi Center last Friday, February 25. I always enjoy shooting at the Pepsi Center. The security staff doesn’t get in my way, the WIFI is generally fast (and free) and the lighting is very good. To go on top of that there are “cutouts” in the glass at various locations throughout the rink that allow you to shoot through the glass with little to no affect on image quality. I wish our local rinks had these. It would make my job a lot easier (that and 50 lights instead of 10). I always like the overhead shots but for hockey I feel like being at ice level produces the best opportunities. I was somewhat inspired to post these after seeing this post on the FM forums which actually include some of the same plays from a different angle. To make a long story short, Chatfield was shutout, 3-0, by Lewis Palmer ending their playoff run. Even as one sided as the scoring was, it definitely made for a few great pictures. Enjoy.

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UPDATED: Wednesday Web Links 2/16/11

This is a new feature of smalltownphotojournalism.com that I am working on. Starting today and continuing every Wednesday, I will post a list of links to photojournalism related stories.

  • The New York Times has a a great blog called Lens. If you are not reading it you probably should. This week they have a post titled “Through My Eye, Not Hipstamatics” about the controversy surrounding Damon Winters winning POYi entry.
  • As a counter point to the above link (or maybe you should read this one first), Chip Litherland’s blog has a post titled “There’s an App for Photojournalism” also about Damon Winter’s POYi entry. There is a lot to think about here.
  • This is not really a story but it should be of interest to all the Backpack, multi-platform, one-man-band, jack-of-all-trades, visual story teller, journalists out there. I am going to do everything in my power to make it to the NPPA 2011 Multimedia Immersion workshop this year. It has a great faculty lined up including Wes Pope, formerly of the Rocky Mountain News.
  • I stumbled onto the blog of David Stephenson, a freelance multimedia photojournalist who has had stories run on Time.com. Stephenson’s projects are primarily shot on the venerable Canon 5D Mark II and he does it well.
  • The Boston Globe’s photo blog the Big Picture and features a gallery on the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Kids and dogs. Kids and Dogs. It’s what sells newspapers.

That’s it for this week. Post a comment if there is something I should be reading and it might make it onto next weeks web links.

A List of 5 Things I Wanted to See in 2010

As I look back over 2010, there were a lot of things I wanted to see that just didn’t happen. The list is short but these are the things that I think about while I am working as a photographer.

  1. Canon failed to update the firmware on the EOS 7D to allow disabling the Automatic Gain Control. I am finally starting to enjoy using my 7D for work. I shot an entire football season without using a flash this year. But when it comes to video, I am still better off using a dedicated video camera because it takes an additional $500+ worth of gear to capture decent audio with the 7D. Canon’s low end (under $400) High Definition camcorders feature a mic and headphone jack and allow you to set the levels. Even the consumer oriented 60D allows you to disable the AGC.
  2. Paul C. Buff can’t seem to meet demand with many of their products. I had planned on purchasing a lot of Alien Bees monolights and light modifiers this year. Specifically I wanted to buy a couple of Parabolic Light Modifiers and a bunch of Einstein 640 units. Both have been on back-order or have had manufacturing issues for several months. Needless to say I don’t own either and will probably buy monolights from another manufacturer.
  3. Speedlight makers are still using a prehistoric PC sync port on modern hardware. I use both Nikon and Canon speedlights for off-camera work. I have to constantly bend and tweak the PC sync cables I use to get them to fire consistently. Why can’t they use the 1/8inch mini jack like Pocket Wizards have? It’s stronger, fits tighter and is widely available. 2010 is in the past. In 2011 the PC sync port must die.
  4. I really wanted to see the price of lenses decrease. Instead, most of the line of Canon lenses and camera bodies actually saw about a %10 increase. The weak dollar really screwed the US on that one. Canon announced version 2 of many lenses including the 300 f2.8, 400 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8. The lowest price for the 70-200 f2.8L IS II is a little over $2K. I won’t even mention the prices of the other 2 lenses.
  5. The standard sized hot shoe disappeared from many non-pro camcorders instead of being included. Canon only makes 1 camcorder that includes a standard width hot shoe and it’s on the endangered species list. Sony no longer makes any. Most of the non-pro camcorders now have a smaller, proprietary hot shoe that somehow bares the name “advanced mini accessory shoe”. How advanced can it be when 99% of mics, lights and accessories no longer work without an adapter?

Should anything else make the list?

Locking Mode Dial Upgrade for EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D

© Matthew Jonas 2010

Last week, Canon announced the locking mode dial modification for the EOS 5D Mark II and the EOS 7D. I immediately jumped at the chance to have this upgrade performed. I needed to send my 7D in for a yearly checkup anyway so the announcement came at an opportune time. One of my biggest complaints about the xxD and xD series of camera bodies has always been the flimsy mode dial. I have owned a 40D and used a 30D briefly when some of my equipment was in the shop. I always had issues with the mode dial switching to another setting while I was carrying it. Why canon chose to put a locking dial on the 60D but left it off of the 7D and 5D Mark II will always be a mystery. In my opinion this is a design flaw with both of those camera bodies. The forums are pretty divided about whether or not this is necessary modification. As a former Nikon shooter its nice to have this feature again. Nikon uses a locking mode dial on almost all of their cameras-Canon take note. There isn’t much else to say about the modification. It functions as advertised and prevents the dial from being turned inadvertently. The modification isn’t cheap (at $100) but the cost of missing a picture because the mode dial was accidentally switched to another setting is a much greater cost to me. Overall I recommend it.