Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two brains better than one

After some putt-putt miniature golf we came back to the condo to relax since I got sun burned earlier today. We started watching a movie with everyone then it happened. It became the Kate photography clinic.

Kate knows little to nothing about photography, but I guess from hanging around long enough she has picked up on some stuff.

It started when she went out to look over the condo balcony at the beach. She came back in and said, "Its lightning out here, we should get some pictures."

Without hesitation I grabbed one of my cameras and went outside to check it out. I guess my mind was sun burned just as bad as my shoulders, which blocked my ability to think clearly. I was so perplexed. I needed a tripod. "Just use the table," Kate said.

Duh, why didn't I think of that? About twenty 20-second frames pass and I need a little better composition as the railing was in the image. "How about the old tripod in the closet," Kate said.

Duh, why didn't I think of that? So I setup the 1970's metal tripod from the closet, but it wasn't high enough. "Set it up on the table," Kate said.

Yep, duh, why didn't I think of that?

From that point on and about 100 frames later I was posting this up. WE made about eight total images which captured the storm, lightning passing by.

Sometimes it's nice to have an extra brain when yours is just not working at 100%.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Eye of the Tiger: Baltimore Boxing Two


Wouldn't that be cool to create something like a song, and every time someone heard it they wouldn't think of you, but of something or somebody else. Much like "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor in Rocky III.

That's really beside the point of this post. But I did watch Rocky III and IV last week. And that song was stuck in my head the other evening.

This past Friday night I shot amateur and pro boxing at Du Burns arena in Baltimore. It was a first for me and I must say it was exciting. I don't think I've ever watched a pro boxing match on television before, so seeing it live ringside was something else. The energy that filled the arena was intense.

I got to the arena around 7PM and made some feature shots of the boxers warming up and preparing for their fights. As 8PM rolled around, I made my way toward the ring to practice shooting. I had three amateur matches to practice on before they brought out the pros.

These guys weren't joking around. In the third amateur bout two super heavy weights went at it. One guy was well over 300lbs, the other a big, fit past Michigan State football player. The football player knocked this big guy out cold. It was something I'll never forget. It wasn't that great of a fight, but actually seeing someone go from full consensus to knocked out in a second is uncanny.

As the bouts rolled on, I kept looking forward to the main event which starred local Baltimore fighter Mike Dietrich. Of course I was shooting in less than ideal lighting conditions and got covered in a splatter of sweat, water, and yes, even blood at one point as I anticipated the last fight.

Before I continue, I must mention and give a plug to Mike Greenhill who was also shooting ringside. Mike answered any and every question I had about boxing and even threw me some pointers. Thanks, Mike.

As the night grew late, Dietrich made his arrival to the ring. He is big and strong. I wouldn't last a single punch against him. Without going into much detail he knocked his opponent out cold and out of the ring. Literally. It was impressive. But I've said that plenty of times in this post. What do you expect? Go watch a live boxing match!

Over and out. I am on vacation for a couple days although I'd rather be shooting. But I am pretty excited that they ran three images in today's Examiner of the boxing. Cover teaser, one four columns, and one two columns.

Check out some more boxing photos on my SportsShooter gallery page and look for a "beachy" update.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

No sports. How about extreme sports?

I am always told to "stop shooting sports" because I shoot them way too much. I agree. Instead of listening I shot the 2007 AST Dew Tour downtown for The Towerlight's summer issue.

The tour is much like the X-Games and features extreme sports such as: freestyle motoX, skateboard vert/park, and BMX vert/park/dirt.

Today (day one of four) was a lot of practice and preliminary events. Unfortunately, everything got pushed back due to high winds and rain. I was really looking forward to shooting motoX. Oh, well. I'll be back for finals on Sunday.

Although I've been to the X-Games before I've never photographed an event like this. Speaking of the X-games, we went years ago when it was in Philadelphia. My uncle Jim, who was at the time president of Haro bikes (he currently co-owns Mirraco with Dave Mirra) got us free all-access passes. It was awesome.

So today I just went for something different. I went with my personal vision. If I saw it. I shot it. I shot the "original" before I shot the "typical." I think they turned out well for only getting to shoot skateboarders and BMXers. Let me know what you think.

I updated my SportsShooter page and you can look for the rest of the images on The Towerlight website and in our summer print issue due out July 9.

Friday, June 15, 2007

US Drift: Baltimore

"Drifter Kiely Mackey slides his 1997 Nissan 240sx in lot O at M&T Bank Stadium to promote Hyper-Fest Friday afternoon. Mackey and eight other drivers raised funds for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center with each passenger they piloted around the course."

Call it a coincidence. Call it whatever you want. But today I shot my old passion of the import automotive world. In this case it was drifting.

I started my day visiting Kate on her last day of her first year teaching second grade. I must say I could never be a teacher. I give her and all teachers a lot more respect after spending only three hours in a class room full of seven year olds.

When I got home I had a piece of mail with two credentials to shoot Hyper-Fest 2007. Hyper-Fest is one of the biggest east coast drifting events/car shows.

I am sorry. I should back up a sentence or two. I used to be a huge gear head in high school; filming illegal street racing, car shows, drifting events, and all other aspects of the underground import car culture. I loved cars, especially Japanese autos. However, I grew up and got out of the scene. I then started pursing journalism. I guess I was already doing some sort of journalism, I just needed to mature and get into something with more of a rewarding outcome in my life. And I think I've found that with photojournalism.

Moving on. I got online to see when Hyper-Fest was since I was interested in shooting it. I had not been since 2005 when I videographed the event for a friend, Matt Martin. (You can find some videos I did here). Matt is apart of my automotive friends who is a talented drifter. I met him through my other friend Brian Wilkerson who owns Mid-Atlantic Motorsports in Baltimore, MD. MA, as we call it, is a performance shop specializing in drift and import autos. (side note: Brian recently finished top 16 in the biggest Drift league, D1GP, which US drifters can compete against some of Japan's finest. That was without totaling his car. Video HERE).

Again, sorry. Sidetracked. Anyways, for the past three or four years US Drift has hosted a charity/promo event a week before Hyper-Fest in Baltimore. Without hesitation I met up with the guys and started shooting. I must say I miss the sound of large spooling turbos, smell of burnt rubber, and sight of cars going sideways at high rates of speed. It is something you should really witness once in your life.

Time for some sleep now though. Check back for updates and more photos. I'll be at Hyper-Fest next weekend if I am not shooting the Dew Tour in Baltimore.

(note: Any drifters from the event are reading please contact me if you wish to use any of the photos in any fashion, whether they have posted or not. They are all available for purchase, too.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Congrats, Newser

I thought I'd take a quick moment and give Brian his last deserving amount of free publicity on my blog. Today Yesterday Brian took a job with the NY Times as a reporter. The Sun article here.

If you are new to my blog or it has slipped your mind, Brian Stelter is a friend and was my "boss" aka our last Editor in Chief at The Towerlight.

I met Brian back in August 2006 when I transfered in to Towson and was welcomed into the paper with open arms. He always stood behind my work and made the paper what it is today. Sure it could have been better if he had not been blogging during production or class (I kid).

He worked hard with his blog gaining national recognition and brought a lot of attention not only to himself, but the paper, and Towson University.

Brian was always getting followed by some media outlet and was never arrogant about it. At least he never showed it to us. I think the NY Times cover story was probably the biggest I remember. Other than that, the one TV reporter was hilarious. "And sometimes when he is blogging, and sometimes when he's not..."

So, congrats Brian. Even though I already told you. I will never promote you or your silly blog on here ever again (unless it's well deserved). I know you'll kick ass. Maybe you can throw my link up on TVnewser before your last day?

In all that I also got the above image I took one day for him (he always wanted a new Facebook photo) used in a New York Observer article online.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Three hour tour

I wouldn't say tour. Tour defined by Google is "a journey or route all the way around a particular place or area." It only took me 45 minutes to get to Annapolis yesterday morning. It took me three hours to get home. I am not embellishing at all.

I went to shoot the change of command ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy. Pictured is the outgoing superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy Rodney P. Rempt, left, and new Vice Admiral Jeffrey L. Fowler. Rempt stated his retirement during the ceremony marking Fowler as the 60th superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

It was a cut and dry assignment, but there was something about today that didn't start off right. It may have been when I parked in town Annapolis only to find out that there was media parking at the gate. Oh, well what is five bucks?

If it wasn't that, it was that media had to be in place by 12:15PM even though the ceremony didn't start until 1PM.

OK, so I am being a little bitter. The assignment rolls by and I am out by 2:30PM. I head to my car in the blistering heat (easily the hottest day of the year thus far) to edit and transmit. Done and done. Going so smooth I think to myself that things are clearing up for having a rough morning.

Wrong. It took me a painstakingly three hours to get home from Annapolis. Mind you I hadn't eaten anything since I left in the AM. I tried every which way to get home and it seemed as if the traffic was everywhere. I never made it to the weekly dinner with my grandmother. I opted for Burger King instead.

On the bright side I got to shoot today and I am now home with a belly full of food.

edit: I realized my title is fitting. Three hour tour, Gilligan's Island, Navy, maybe a hint of getting lost...

Track, traffic, transmit

Yesterday afternoon I shot a freelance assignment for The Baltimore Examiner. It was of Tony Bell (above) who is the Mt. Hebron high school track & field coach. He lead the team to their first regional championship since 1979 and was named the All-Examiner track coach of the year.

The shoot went smooth and I was in and out in ten minutes. However, one problem. No wireless on the school campus. I thought to myself, "that's OK, I'll just drive ten minutes to Towson and use the campus wide wireless." Ten turned into thirty and I was sweating the deadline of "transmit right after shoot." As my bad luck turned worse I couldn't connect to the FTP. Alas I finally got the images through VIA e-mail; thankfully.

Although I can normally find internet anywhere, I've been contemplating buying a wireless card. That was until I found out how much of scam Verizon cards are. I wouldn't mind paying $100 up front for a card and $60 a month for three of four months of the summer, then re-up whenever I needed it again. But I should have known there was a catch to it. You have to sign up for a contract for a year or two, plus if you cancel it costs almost $200. What a rip!

If anyone has any suggestions for where to you can normally find wireless please let me know.

I am running a little late for my assignment for this afternoon down at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. I better run. Thanks to WRNR and Annapolis Wireless I shouldn't have a problem finding free wireless to transmit.