High School Football Portraits

© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I’ll admit it. I used to hate my speedlights. The first one I bought sat in my camera bag for 6 months before I even turned it on for the first time. I didn’t understand how to use it, when I should use it or what it was capable of. I got over my hatred but only after a lot of experimentation and studying the work of other news and editorial photographers. Once I understood what could be accomplished using speedlights, modifiers and a solid knowledge of lighting, I never approached a portrait the same way again.

Click through for to learn about how the picture above was made.

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Wednesday Web Links 3/30/11

The weeks just keep flying by. There is lots of gear this week after being a little picture heavy lately. Here are your Wednesday Web Links.

  • Vimeo announced its very own iOS app on Tuesday, March 29th. The app is very similar to Apple’s iMovie app which allows you to edit video shot on the iPhone. As you can imagine it is tightly integrated with vimeo.com and also with various social networking sites allowing you to share video on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Email or SMS. The app is free and available in the app store.
  • The Parabolic Light Modification System V.2 umbrellas are once again in stock from Alienbees. According to accounts from users on various forums, they are shipping daily and are no longer on an endless back order. Now if they could get the Einstein, Vagabond Mini Lithium and the new Pocket Wizard Power MC2 in stock too, they just might make a customer out of me.
  • Expo Imaging released the Rogue 3 in 1 Honeycomb Grid to go along with their line of Rogue Flashbenders. I haven’t been able to use one yet but it seems like a really good idea. I currently use the Speed Grids from the Honl Professional Lighting System. They work well but the way the attach to a flash is crap. I end up using 2 Speed Straps to get enough tension to hold them securely. Maybe the Rogue Grid will replace these for me.
  • Canon U.S.A. has issued a press release regarding the possible import delays of products due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It also appears that the The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be extra cautious with any import from Japan due to radiation concerns. As far as I am concerned they can take as much time as necessary. More than 10,000 people were wiped from the face of the earth in a matter of minutes during the tsunami. Worrying about how greedy Americans will get cameras should not be a concern for the people of Japan at the moment. My thoughts are with Japan as they rebuild their shattered lives.

The Next Big Thing?

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

With more than 325,000 views on his YouTube video for Jonah, 18-year-old Graham Stookey might get his wish to play Red Rocks. I had the pleasure to make a few pictures of him for an upcoming story in the Columbine Courier (which is still a free online publication).

When I first started to light portraits, I used to overpower everything. I cranked up the power on my lights and totally blew away the ambient light. Lately I have been taking a much simpler approach to lighting environmental portraits. I add to what is available. With the portrait above, I was looking for a certain mood. Stookey shot the video I linked to in his basement. His theme has been to make a living playing music to get out of the basement and onto the stage. While not that creative, I chose to shoot the portrait of him “where it all began”.

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