Monday, December 03, 2007

Made the switch

No, not from Canon to Nikon, even if the D3 and D300 are very interesting looking.  I made the switch, or I guess I am in the middle of the switch from PC to Mac.  Right before the Great Alaska Shootout I picked up a MacBook Pro and next year (early I hope) I plan on replacing my desktop with a iMac.  Anyway, for those of you who have been anxiously awaiting my archive of Eagle River High School Photos to land on my website, they arecoming.  I was almost ready to start posting them when I made the switch, and making the switch has backlogged me slightly, but by January 1st the entire hoops archive for Eagle River, along with the first football year should be online for viewing and ordering.  I know it is taking a while, but when it comes on line, from the main page at in the Photoshelter search box you will be able to type in "Eagle River Wolves Boys Basketball Varsity 23" and all the varsity photos with #23 will pop up and allow you to order directly from there.  Pretty cool huh?  Keep watching.
Once again I spent my Thanksgiving at the Great Alaska Shootout and this year was a lot of fun.  I have to admit, there was only one team I was looking forward to shooting, and it was not for the team at all.  I was looking forward to Bobby Knight being here with Texas Tech.  I lived in Seattle for so long, if it is not purple and gold dawgs on the court, I could care less, so Gonzaga and Eastern Washington really did not interest me at all.  However, one of the most spectacular dunks from the tournament did come from a Gonzaga player, and it was impressive.  

And unfortunately, Bobby did not throw a chair, but he did throw some good poses for the camera.
Anyway, Butler went on to win even though I was pulling for the Virginia Tech Hokies.  No word yet who will be on tap next year yet, but announcements are sure to be coming soon.

That is all for now......

Monday, November 19, 2007

Been a long gap

I have been so busy as of late, between high school football, baseball, hockey and more that I just have not had time to sit down and make any meaningful type of post here.  But, I am making time now.  Last night, while reading the news online, I saw that a friend of mine from the late 80's early 90's was found dead.  Not just dead, but murdered.  Tony Harris, who was a Garfield Bulldog in Seattle, and later a WSU Cougar taking Washington State to the NCAA Tournament in 1994, was found dead outside the capital of Brazil on Sunday.  It has not been confirmed as of yet, but it looks like he was murdered.

Tony was one of the nicest guys you could meet and a great hoops player.  I lost touch with him over 15 years ago as we both went our separate ways, but for a couple summers, if I was on a basketball court during the summer in Seattle, there was a good chance I was playing with or against Tony.

He will be missed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Camera Strobes/Flashes

First of all, let me say, I will call flashes strobes.  Strobes are a way of adding light to a scene.  You can either have a strobe on camera, or off.   Have it light part of a scene or all of a scene.  Use one or multiple strobes.  It is up to you and what you want to do.  You can purchase very cheap strobes and do a lot with them or spend thousands of dollars on top of the line strobes and be limited to what you can do with them.

First thing you should do, before buying any type of strobe, is check out the Strobist website.  A lot of great information can be found there.  Infact, just about anything you want to know about shooting with strobes can be found there along with contests and assignments.  A great resource.

Since I shoot sports a lot, I thought I would just scratch the surface of using strobes for sports.  We would all love to have that perfect light outdoors, but there are times we need a little extra.  A good example is night time football.  You can only get away with using flash with football in high school and bellow, but thankfully, most college and pro venues have enough light that you do not need a to add any light.

With football, one thing you want to avoid is on camera strobes.  With long lenses, having your strobe on camera will give you very bad red eye.  There are ways around this though.  A flash bracket for your camera, or one that mounts on your lens tripod ring is a great way to do it.  When I shoot with a 300mm lens, I am always using a monopod and I mount two, Vivitar 283 strobes about 16 inches bellow the camera on the monopod and fire them wirelessly.  By having the strobes set to 1/4 power using a Vivitar VP-1 power adapter for the 283's, I get good recycle times and a lot of light being thrown onto the football field.  I have talked to another photographer who uses Vivitar 285's in the same way but he has one of the strobes set to around 50mm (on the head of the strobe) and the other set to a telephoto setting (I believe 100mm +/-).  This gives him one flash that is illuminating a wide view and one giving him a throw of light further away.  I have also seen photographers set up a light stand on the sideline with a studio strobe or two or three and even seen strobes mounted up in the bad high school stadium lights.  Another fun way to shoot with a off camera strobe is a strobe on a stick.  Mount your strobe and pocket wizard on a monopod and have an assistant stand about 10 yards from you, following the action with the strobe and when you fire, bam, nice 45 degree side lighting.  It does not work perfectly, but it is pretty fun when it does.

The above set up will work with just about any field sport.  LAX, football, soccer.  But do not, I repeat, do NOT use this with baseball.  Umps, coaches and players do not want a strobe going off that could distract someone as a ball is flying at them at 60mph or faster, and you do not want your strobe going off at the instant a play is made that blinds the umpire so he can not make a call.

Now for indoor sports like basketball, the set up is different.  Some high school's do not allow strobes or on camera flash.  Check first to see if it is ok.  And do not use on camera strobes on the baseline.  Basically, you want your strobes out of a direct line of site for the players.  I mount my strobes about 20 feet in the air at the corners of the court.  I have the strobes set to a wide angle covering from the baseline to about mid court.  You want a strobe that recycles fast and puts out at least a guide number of 200.  The Vivitar's are fine for this, but you may find that studio strobes will be a better option.  There are a lot of discussions on various forums online about what strobes to use and how to use them.  Bounce, direct, sports reflectors, ISO's, etc.  Best thing to do for you is practice practice practice.

Now.  After going over this, you are more than likely thinking, "That's great, but I need fast shutter speeds to freeze the action, and my flash will only sync at 1/200th of a second."  That is all you need if your strobe is powerfull enough and has a fast duration.  Over powering the ambient light is key here.  If you over power the ambient enough, your strobe is the main light source.  And if you have a strobe with a duration of 1/2500th, then even though your shutter is only set at 1/200th, you are capturing the action at 1/2500th of a second.  Think of it as your strobe is now your shutter.  Take an exposure reading for the strobe, set it to your camera and you are good.  If ambient light is 1/125th at 2.8 and your strobe gives you a exposure of 1/200th at 5.6, then set your camera to 1/200th at 5.6 and you are good to go.  Images will be captured at 1/200th but because your strobe is doing the actual work of the shutter, it will freeze the action and make it apear that you used a super fast shutter speed.  So, using a hand held light meter is important.  With my Minolta Flashmeter V, I set the camera shutter speed flash sync, which for my 1D is 1/500th and 1/250th for my 1D Mark II, and I start with an ISO setting of 400.  I then take a reading from the basketball court of with the strobe.  For basketball, I shoot for around a F4-f5.6 reading.  If I get that, I am good to go, but if I get an F8, I will drop my ISO or if I hang around F2.8 I will increase the ISO to 800.  Set your camera to what your light meter says and you are good to go.

So, when buying a strobe (flash), decide what you need it to do, what you want it to do, and research what will work with your camera and what will fit in your budget.  Canon makes speedlights that scratch $400 - $500 and Vivitar makes flashes around $100.  Canon's will be fully compatible with their cameras and have all sorts of features, where Vivitars will be a basic full manual strobe.  

My final advice was aready touched on.  Read

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lens selection.

Lens selection.

We all know, or should know, that you need a lens or set of lenses in order to take photos with any SLR camera.  What you shoot and your level of experience should dictate what lens or lenses that you get.  Do not get a lens just because you have enough money to get the very best and it is the same lens that your favorite photographer uses.  Just because you might have the same gear as that top Sports Illustrated photographer, does not mean you will get the same quality photos that they do.  Experience, knowing your gear and what it is capable of and what it is not, and how to use it to it’s fullest extent is key to great photos.

So, speaking to you with the thought that you are a new photographer, learning the craft, what I am saying is, if you need a 300mm lens, do not run out and spend $4000 on a Canon 300 2.8 IS L lens.  This is a heavy lens, expensive, and one that beginning photographers would not likely use to its fullest extent.  There is a special learning curve for large lenses, in fact, there is a learning curve for most lenses, but lenses that way 5 to 20 pounds are much different to use than a lens that ways 2 or 3 pounds.  Canon makes a variety of lenses in the 300mm range from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand.  If you want to try a 300mm lens, go with a zoom, like a 70-300 to start with.  Typically these are slower lenses, but they will get you a feel for the focal length and you may find that you do not need 300 as much as you thought.

For anyone starting out in photography, learning about apertures, depth of field, shutter speeds and such, a inexpensive kit can be built that can be used in various shooting styles and allow you to grow as you need to.

Most digital cameras that consumers buy like the Digital Rebel Xti or 30D, have a kit lens that come with them.  For Canon, that is the 18-55 3.5-5.6 lens.  On the 1.6x APS-C sensor these cameras have, this is similar to a 24-70 lens.  While it is a cheap, plastic lens, it is actually a very nice little lens.  Light weight, and a great lens to build around, and when you are ready, a good lens that has good alternatives.  To go along with this lens, Canon makes another inexpensive lens, the 55-200.  Not too big, again, plastic, and a little slow, but a good focal length and lightweight.  A good lens to learn with as you start out.  Another lens to add to this set is one for low light.  When you start shooting in low light situations like parties, museums, and the like, the kit lens and the 55-200 will not give you shutter speeds fast enough to stop the action.  Adding a 50mm 1.8 lens, which runs around $100 is a great choice.  It also is a cheap plastic lens, but for the price, you can not buy a better lens.

As you get more experience, you will notice what lenses are holding you back and what focal lengths you use more.  Before selling that 55-200 for a $1600 70-200 2.8 IS L, you can look at alternative choices.  Like third party lenses, F4 versions, and the like.  As you start looking for lenses to replace the ones you have, you will get an idea.  One suggestion I have for you is, other than the kit lens, stay away from the EF-S mount lenses.  While their focal lengths might be very desireable, like the 10-22 or 17-55 2.8, if you get to the point that you want to shoot a different Canon camera like a 1D, 1Ds, or 5D series, these lenses are useless.  They are designed for the APS-C sensor and can not be mounted on any other body.  An 18-55 can be replaced with a 17-40, 16-35 or a 24-70 2.8.  Also, Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron makes some very good lenses at a fraction of the cost.  A Canon 24-70 2.8 lens might cost $1200, and a Sigma version will run under $400.  While the Sigma will not be as good as the Canon, it is still a great lens and another great lens to learn with.

If you are looking into a all in one lens, one that will be small and lightweight for hiking, or camping, where weight is an issue, there are some lenses from Sigma and Tamron that may work for you.   28-200 and 300mm that are small work great for giving you a lot of focal lengths in one lens, but it comes with a drawback.  Lenses like this are not the sharpest, and are typically not for low light shooting.  Also, lenses that are more than 10X zoom, like the 28-300 should be avoided.  They just are not a lens that produce good images.

When you start shooting sports, especially youth sports which may be played in the evening, or indoors, you are kind of stuck.  Fast lenses are they way to go.  Fast shutter speeds to stop the action and large apertures, like 2.8 or faster are needed to throw your backgrounds out of focus and separate your subject from the background.  But, when you can spend $200 on a 55-200 or $1600 on a 70-200, it starts turning into a major investment.  Again, Sigma should be looked at as an alternative.  A 24-70 and 70-200 from Canon could run over $3K, where the same lenses from Sigma are around $1300-$1400.  A full $1600-$1700 you could spend on other lenses, or flashes, or memory.  Not a bad idea if you are on a budget, and they perform very nicely.  In fact I have had numerous photos published in major newspapers and magazines like ESPN the Magazine taken with a Sigma 70-200 2.8.  

Now, the last thing I want to touch on is IS.  IS, or image stabilization, is honestly a luxury, and should not be over used.  In fact, not one of my lenses have IS.  On long lenses, like the 400 2.8 or 600 f4, IS is great, because of the length of the lens, the weight, and possible vibrations or lens shake, it helps, but at 300 or less, as long as you can keep your shutter speed above the focal length (If you are shooting at 200mm keeping your lens at 1/250th or higher), you do not need IS.  However, if you are in a low light situation, that you just can not use a support like a monopod or tripod, IS can be a life saver.  Otherwise, in my opinion, all it does is suck your battery down quicker.

In closing, do not buy the best of everything if you can, but focus on learning how to take the photo, develop your eye, and upgrade your gear as you need to, you will become a much better photographer over time.

Find reviews of lenses, and other gear at

Next tip..Flashes….on camera and off….

Monday, July 02, 2007

Photo Tips

I have to say, I get more questions from people than to seems like I sell photos some times.  So, I got to thinking, since I do hold workshops from time to time, maybe I should start a little tip section.  I will start out things pretty basic and move on to more advance things as weeks go by.  I will cover things from equipment to lighting to how to shot specific things.

To start off, lets be real basic.  To take a photograph, you need two things.  A camera and someone behind the camera.    That person who is behind the camera, you, needs to understand how the camera works in order to capture photographs.  So my tip, as basic as it may sound, is one that many photographers, or people with a new camera for the first time do not do.  Read your manual.  Beyond reading the manual, look at maybe picking up a special guide just for your camera.  A company out there produces books called the Magic Lantern Guide which is esentially your camera manual on steroids.  It should give you a better understanding of what your camera is capable of doing and what it is not.  Familerize yourself with each of the functions of the camera, and either keep your manual in your camera bag, or make a little cheat sheet of things you may need to know when you are out taking photos.  This could be basic settings to custom functions.

My next tip will be on lens selection.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Photographer Gets Injured

There have been a couple injuries as of late that I want to touch on.


Alexandra Boulat of Agency VII suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while on assignment in Israel.  She is currently in a induced coma but, had a successful 5 hour surgery, according to doctors.  For more information, check for updates on the VII website and to see some of Alexandra's work, take a look at


Also, at the AST Dew Tour this weekend, BMX Vert champ, Chad Kagy went down hard while trying a triple tailwhip.  Chad, while being one of the best BMXer's out there, is also a talented photographer and member of the Fred Miranda Digital Photography Forums. Chad is not new to injuries, but at each contest he is in, I am cheering him on, and when he goes down hard, I worry for his health and his family.


I am heading into my last week of Little League Baseball for 2007.  No All-Stars this year, but it will give me a chance to focus more on helping my mother in her recovery from heart surgery a little more.  Maybe get her back on her feet quicker.  It will also give me the chance to photograph some other things I have been putting off.  For the last two years I have really missed the Eagle River  Bear Paw celebration in July, and have not really had a chance to shoot any Alaska Baseball League stuff.  So this summer you should find me out and about at some Buc's and Pilot games, as well as the Alaska Wild's last three games, Bear Paw, the Eagle River 3rd of July party, and some Eagle River and Chugiak American Legion games.  While Little League is one of my favorite things to shoot, having a short season this year will be nice with everything else going on.



Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Is This?

A self portrait? No, not really. I have been toying with using remotes for a while. Last year when the Globetrotters were in Anchorage I tried one with my Rebel Xt and got ok results, but this year, I have gone all out. As you can see with the above image, I have a high tech remote stand. A wheel barrow wheel from Wal-Mart, a Bogen ball head, my original 1D, and my 70-200 2.8.I am triggering it with a remote I got off of ebay. It is not the little remotes we use for strobes, but one that is really a cable release that comes with a little key chain FOB that will trigger it from about 100 feet away. Typically, I will set it up looking up at third base from behind home plate and prefocus on the area around home with a large DOF to get plays at the plate. In the above picture, I set it up to get batters at a coach pitch game so I could focus on the field action for some sportraits. It is not the best for getting hits, because, unlike Pocket Wizards, there is a major shutter release delay, but for action at the plate, when I see someone rounding third, I start mashing the shutter around the time they get half way to home. Seems to work pretty good for that. As you can see in the image below, the low angle really adds to the image.

Yes, that is me in the lower left of the image. I moved over to third base to photograph the pitcher, and did not realize I was in frame.

So, why a remote for little league? A remote is like having a second shooter with you at each game. While I am only shooting one game, and my real life second shooter is covering another game, this remote gives me the ability to capture images that just are not safe or practical for me to try to grab during the game. It also offers parents and players something that other photographers just are not least yet...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Another Season Begins

Today was the official kick off for Little League Baseball in Eagle River with Knik Little League having their Opening Ceremonies followed by a lot of games. Every field had at least one game going on today, but more on that later.

The Opening Ceremonies were very well done. A sad moment came when I found out that Jeff, a Knik board member, coach, and umpire instructor will be moving mid season. He will be impossible to replace. The coolest thing from the Opening Ceremonies was the announcement that the Anchorage Glacier Pilots are teaming up with Anchorage area Little Leagues with fund raisers and free baseball camps. Growing up in Seattle, I got spoiled with the Seattle Mariners sponsoring both Little Leagues and Boy's and Girl's clubs, the Sonics setting up outdoor courts for the community, and so on. Coming up to Alaska, with the ABL, the ECHL and UAA, I was disappointed to see very little community outreach to the youth leagues beyond the Glacier Pilots Little League Day at the ball park. Hopefully this will push the Aces into a more active roll and when the Alaska Wild get their issues all sorted out, hopefully they will be a supporter of Pop Warner and high school football.

While I have a second shooter this year, she will only be helping me Monday through Thursday, so I was left to cover as much as I could by myself today. That was fine. The first games are usually a time for the players, managers/coaches and umpires to shake off the winter cobwebs, and it gave me a chance to get my baseball grove on. Starting next week, we will be working a specific shooting schedule that will ensure that we get each team at least twice during the season. We fully expect to photograph each team more than twice, but there are times that we may not be at the ball park. We will be floating with the T-Ballers and Coach Pitch, basically covering them off and on through out the season, but with Minors, Majors, Juniors, both baseball and softball, we will typically shoot at the minimum, 1/2 the game when we are there, unless there is not another game on another field. So, if the lower softball field has a game at the same time as the upper softball field, we will shoot 1/2 of both games. This will be the same for both baseball and softball. So, if you do not see a photographer at your game, do not worry, we will be there this season.

We also have something new this season. We can take most any action photo from this seasons games and turn it into a cut out photo on a heavy duty material that can be safely stuck to almost any wall, and moved or repositioned as many times as you want. See the main site at under the Knik LL tab for more information and ordering instructions for this awesome new product that will be a great memento for your 2007 Little League Season.

I look forward to seeing you all at the ball park this season.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gearing Up

Being in Alaska, we tend to be slower on some things than the rest of the US. On May 5th we start our Little League Baseball season. So I am starting to gear up for it. Not with camera gear though. Shooting for a league can really wear you out and getting yourself prepared for the upcoming games is important. Clothes, shoes, food, water, etc. They are almost as important, and in some cases more important than any camera gear.

Shoes. You want to be comfortable, but have shoes that will allow you to take off running to the next field if you have too. I like light weight shoes, and the best I have found, and have been wearing them for years (not the same pare), are of all things, soccer shoes. I really, really like the Adidas Samba Classic shoes. They are light, breath well, and while an indoor soccer shoe, give me the reliability on all but rain soaked grass.

Clothes. It is summer time. Shorts, tank tops, beach...of I will wear shorts to about 95% of the baseball games I shoot, but weather dictates what kind of shorts. Cool days with a breeze, I will probably go with a pair of cargo pants with the zip off legs. warmer days, any number of cargo shorts. Only cargo shorts. Those extra pockets are a necessity. Shirt wise, again, weather dictates what it will be. Normally just a tshirt, but on windy days, we might go for a long sleeve tshirt, and most definitely have a wind breaker with you just in case. And lastly, a hat. something lightweight that will protect your dome from the sun. Sitting out on a baseball field for 2 or 4 or 6 games can really burn you, so protecting your head and neck is important.

Speaking of sun... Suntan lotion or sun block. You will need it. Period.

Bugs. Do not want them at all. A good, deet free, bug spray. Deet will eat into the plastics of your camera, so steer clear of them. There are also some sun blocks with bug repellent added in. So you can kill to bugs with one lotion....

Food. Long days at the ball park can make you crave snack shack dogs, or something worse for you... I will usually have a small cooler in the trunk of my car with 3 or 4 power bars and maybe a sandwich to hold me over between games. Stay away from junk food. It will just bog you down.

Water. Lots of it. Especially on hot days. When it is hot, and you are sitting in that boiling hot sunlight, you are sweating a lot. You need to replenish the water you are loosing or you really risk your health. If you are shooting with a belt pack, like a Think Tank Speed Belt, have water in one of the pouches. It will be your best friend.

Besides this type of gear, taking care of your body in other ways is a good idea. Do not sit in the same place all day long. Move around. Stretch your legs. Take a 5 or 10 minute break. Also, something that is good for the body, or at least the butt, is a bleacher seat. Nicer than sitting on dirt for 5 hours straight, and keeps your pants relatively clean...

4 days and counting til my opening day.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photojournalism on a budget

Someone recently asked me what kind of gear they need to start out in photojournalism, covering breaking news and feature work.

This is a pretty good question. And in reality, you can do it pretty cheaply, to start with. Any digital SLR camera will do. Even a cheap Digital Rebel Xt or Nikon D50 will do. The kit lenses, even though they get a bad rep at times, will work fine, and you can pick up a cheap longer zoom, like a 70-300 or 70-200. A basic flash, like a new Vivitar 285 and a lot of memory and batteries will complete the camera gear. With this set up, you can cover quite a bit. And this gear should be well under $1000. If you want to do it right though, from the start, Canon 1 series bodies, and at least a 16-35, 24-70, 70-200 and 300mm set of lenses, all in 2.8 versions, along with a fast prime or two like a 50 1.2, 85 1.2, or 135 2.0, and this can run you more than 10X what the basic kit will, maybe closer to 15 or 20X.

But it is much more than just the camera gear. A laptop that you can transmit your images quickly on, meaning either you need a wifi or internet location to hook up to or a cellular phone card to connect to the internet to transfer files, software to quickly edit the images and caption them and a ftp program. And to find the news, you need to be connected with press releases, keep a police scanner near you, and create relationships with newspaper editors in your area. You could get away with spending as little as a couple thousand dollars to close to $100K on "tools of the trade".

But whether you have the Rebel or a 1D Mk III, and all the computer gear and software you need, you still have to be able to capture the news, and that means knowing your gear and understanding what makes a news photograph newsworthy. College classes on journalism and photojournalism, as will as journalism workshops help greatly here. Very few people can make a career out of photojournalism with out having some schooling in it. Starting out with a local weekly paper can give you some experience, but the knowledge is not as great as you will get with actual higher education. So, look at spending another $50K on tuition to Brooks Institute or another credible photojournalism school.

It is a very tough business, and you can make it if you work hard at it. Good luck.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Snow is gone...almost

It is still a little chilly out, snow that was piled up over the winter is still melting, but at last check, the fields in Eagle River are clear. Clear, but not ready for baseball....not yet at least. This Saturday, the 28th of April, will be the Knik Little League clean up. Finally we are starting to get ready for the short, but extremely fun little league baseball season.

I started shooting Knik in 2004. Mainly because my nephew was on a majors team and I went to just about every game. I followed him through majors and juniors, and in 2005 and 2006, I photographed the entire Knik Little League season (almost all of 2006) and all of the All-Stars and State Tournaments that Knik hosted for 2006. I even umpired in 2005 for All-Stars and had a blast doing it. I am so looking forward to getting out of the high school gyms and the Sullivan Arena for some great baseball action.

Once again, I am going to be shooting the Action Photos for Knik Little League, and this year, the coverage will be even bigger. I have added some great new gear to my camera bag, longer, faster lenses and two super fast cameras. On top of that, I will be playing around with some remote cameras and a brand new technique for Knik, the Pole Cam. The pole cam will debut at the opening ceremonies, and will make appearances throughout the season. Also for 2007, I will be bringing a new photographer in to help me cover all the teams. It is a tough job trying to be at 5 fields at the same time. During the 2006/7 high school basketball season, I started mentoring a high school junior at Eagle River High School and she will be assisting me during the Little League season. She will mainly be covering the softball games, but you will see her at a few of the minors and majors baseball games and she will definitely be shooting some of the T-Ballers and Coach Pitch games. She is a very talented young photographer that will go on to very big things. We are very lucky to have her on board for this season.

We are also proud to announce a new product. Well, actually a few new products this season. We will debut some new magazine covers, and special trading cards as well as Photo Tickets throughout the season. These items will all be special order, so contact me for ordering information. But the biggest addition is really exciting. I am sure that many of you have seen the commercials for FatHeads, the life size photos of professional athletes that are cut out and stick to your wall, and can be moved and re-stuck over and over again? Well, we have that this season. They are very cool and start out at under $90, not including shipping. We can take any photo from our 2007 archives for Knik Little League and make it into one of these wall cut outs. These are great for your kids rooms, or for decorating your game room or media room. And they can be moved very easily. See for more information.

I look forward to seeing all of you in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Alaska Goes Wild

Alaska welcomed professional football to the state for the first time on April 12th 2007. The Intense Football League, or IFL, kicked off the seasons for the new pro team in Alaska, the Alaska Wild, facing the Frisco Thunder. The IFL is mainly based in the Texas area, and Frisco is located around the Dallas area, although, a lot of the Wild fans at the Sullivan arena for the game thought it was San Fransisco, CA, not Frisco, Texas. Here we see Delvin Myles of the Wild trying to pump up the Alaska crowd but it was not enough as the Wild could only score 33 points against the 46 points by the Frisco Thunder in both teams first game ever. Originally, the Wild were to play in the AF2, a development league for the AFL, or Arena Football League, but due to lack of funds, and a lack of a team at the time, the owners pulled the plug and decided not to have a season until 2008. Then after loosing their first coach (why coach if the games and team are not there), the IFL invited the Wild into their league and once again football was on for the 2007 season. A new head coach was hired and a team was quickly put together. A couple hours after the Wild lost to the Thunder, the ownership of the team announced that the 2nd head coach had been let go for various reasons, one of which was trying to bypass the IFL salary cap to get more money for at least one player. So, heading out on the road, for only their second game ever, the Wild are on their third coach.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Hogs are Back

The snow is hardly off the pavement and the rumble of two wheeled beasts are already filling the spring air of South Central Alaska. Even with the shorter than normal motorcycle season in Alaska, there are die hard riders that will brave the gravel covered roads and the risk of freezing rain or hail, to feel the wind in their hair for as long as they can. Here we see a biker heading up Eagle River Road to the Eagle River VFW on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It Happens Every Spring

Every Spring in South Central Alaska when the snow melts the clean up begins. Here we see Ben, an employee of the Eagle River Holiday Gas Station sweeps up the gravel that once covered the icy parking lot. South Central streets and parking lots are now covered with dust and gravel and the next few weeks will be a massive cleanup from individual businesses, homes, and the Municipality of Anchorage. In order to keep the air quality high, the only thing people can do is sweep by hand or use street cleaners, hosing the gravel down first to keep the dust from getting airborne. Leaf blowers and air compressors are illegal for cleaning the gravel and Anchorage Police are out in force writing tickets for people who do not follow the rules during cleanup time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Thaw

Keith Oistad, a member of Joy Lutheran Church in Eagle River, Alaska, uses a shovel to cut through the ice in his church parking lot. Each Spring, as the warmer temperatures come, the back parking lot does not drain correctly and floods the church. Members chip away at the ice, trying to force the water to drain away from the building. The Men of Joy, at work group that meets once a month to do fix it projects around the church plan on digging up around the foundation to see where the water is coming in, and attempt to seal the leak, but currently, the church is very low on funds and is relying on weekly contributions from members just to try to pay the normal operating costs to stay open. Ideally, regrading the parking lot and adding better drainage would be the answer, but besides the leak, parts of the roof need replacing, furnaces need replacing, the building needs new carpet in a majority of the building, and the front parking lot needs to be sealed. But none of this can be completed until many bills are caught up and a reserve fund is built up. The church, a member of the ELCA and the Alaska Synod, is trying to bring in new members every week, but is finding it difficult as many new residents to the Eagle River area are either military and here for a limited time, or buying houses further and further away from Anchorage and Eagle River and going to churches closer to them.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Well, here it is, the last couple hours of St. Patricks Day, and I finally have found some time to update the blog. It has been a busy time between shooting and taking care of my mom after her heart surgery. At 82 years old, and having major surgery like two valves replaced, she just has not recovered as quickly as we hoped. She is getting better, but just slow. About a month ago she took a fall, not bad, but something that caused complications and ended up sending her to the hospital in an ambulance. But she is improving, although, we are visiting the hospital about once a week and she can not be left alone for too long because she can not move around the house without someone here. So, my shooting has taken a back seat. I finished up high school basketball, missing a bunch of the girls games, but I made it to all but one boys varsity game. Thanks to a great member of Fred Miranda, I also have added a Canon 1D Mark II to my arsenal and it is most welcome. I was able to shoot the starts of the 2007 Iditarod, but unfortunatly had to give up my plans shooting along the trail since mom needed a caregiver. Now I sit here watching March Madness wishing I was sitting courtside shooting away. I get to cover a UAA gymnastics meet this Sunday against Ball State, and at the end of March I will be shooting 4 days of the US Ski Team Alpine Championships at Girdwood and Alyeska Resort. I also have some Alaska Aces games coming up and I am also counting down the days until the Alaska Wild start playing indoor football. My biggest job will take up most of the summer though. I have once again been signed to do the action photos for Knik Little League which, honestly, is a blast to do.

As you all know by now, Canon has announced the Mark III version of the 1D... I encourage you to take a look at the Canon USA website for more info. It will be a great camera for any sports photographer. In my opinion, PMA was a letdown, except for the Mark III. Well, Sigma did announce a 200-500 2.8 zoom lens, which tops 35lbs and while cool, is not going to impact our business too much. I was really hoping Canon would release some new lenses like a 200 1.8 IS and a 100 - 400 f4 IS and a couple other things....but guess we will have to wait a little longer.

One of my next projects will be a total website redesign, which I hope to launch in time for football season (high school this fall).

Anyway, I will do my best to keep things coming here...expect more reviews and tips and tricks.....


Friday, January 05, 2007

Welcome to 2007

Well, first off, let me say to everyone, Happy New Year. I hope all has been good for you so far. While there have been lots of events going on locally, like the Alaska Aces, UAA Seawolves sports, my time and priorities have changed a little, well, a lot.

On January 3rd, my mom went in to have 2 valves replaced in her heart. Surgery went very well, and she is recovering nicely so far, but needless to say, instead of hanging out at the sports arenas, my time has been mostly spent at the hospital. I may be able to swing a college basketball game in this weekend, but I am not counting on it at all. I will be shooting my second high school game come Monday, and then will have some time off to visit mom before she comes home and then again I will be quite occupied while she is on the mend. Thankfully, everything is good right now.

I am, during this off time from shooting for me, scheduling a very big shoot that will more than likely have national exposure. I will not tell you exactly what it is, but it is something that was shown on local news up here not to long ago and after viewing it, I decided this needed national coverage, and off went an email to my agency who is now shopping the idea around to some of the top publications. Once we have the details all lined up, I will share the info with you in more detail, but this could be a very big deal.

My best wishes to all of you for 2007.