Basketball…Already?

Posted in Shooting Sports, sports photography on October 15, 2009 by rhanashiro

October should be for football and the Fall Classic, now we also have the start of the NBA season. Life is getting shorter and so is the off-season…

Golden State's Monta Ellis collides with the Clippers Blake Griffin.

Golden State's Monta Ellis collides with the Clippers Blake Griffin.

My first assignment for the 2009-10 basketball season last Sunday was to get photographs of the two of the top rookies in the league, the LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Golden State guard Stephen Curry for future features.

The preseason is a time for teams to play their rookies and borderline players, with the starters often making just token appearances. But anytime you have a Don Nelson team on the floor, the game should be entertaining or at least fairly high-scoring with a lot of running. 

Golden State rookie guard Stephen Curry collides with the Clippers Baron Davis.

Golden State rookie guard Stephen Curry collides with the Clippers Baron Davis.

The Clips scored a come-from-behind 124-117 win with Griffin, despite picking up three early fouls after entering the game in the 2nd, scoring 15 and grabbing 9 rebounds.

Curry showed off a lot of speed and talent for penetrating to the hoop, but was just 3 of 10 from floor, but was lots of fun to shot. He showed no hesitation taking on veterans, like Baron Davis, driving around and through him when he had the chance.

The first basketball game of the year is always challenging, the speed takes a game or two to catch up with. At least for me, with just a few baseball games for sports shooting the past couple of weeks. I found myself over-shooting a bit and out of sync with the peak action. 

 

Griffin looks for a teammate to pass off to over the Warriors Monta Ellis and Mikki Moore.

Griffin looks for a teammate to pass off to over the Warriors Monta Ellis and Mikki Moore.

So the preseason is not only the time for the players to get into game shape, it’s also a time for photographers to do the same. It’s why I try to get in at least a game or two of exhibition NFL games and love shooting back-to-back-to-back-to-back baseball games during sprig training.

It’s a long season … and apparently getting longer and longer every year.

TECH NOTES:

Cameras: Nikon D3

Lenses: 24-70mm; 70-200mm, 300mm

Settings: ISO 3200 (front court); 400 (down court); 1/640 @ f/2.8

John McDonough and Jordan Murph during pre-game warmups.

John McDonough and Jordan Murph during pre-game warmups.

 

(No NBA game would be complete without SI’s John McDonough and his trusty sidekick Jordan Murph. The highlight of the game was sitting next to Jordan the 2nd half, talking about … everything but basketball.)

First Round Baseball Playoffs: Two Games; Two DIFFERENT Positions

Posted in Camera Gear, Shooting Sports, sports photography, Sports Shooter, Sports Shooter Academy on October 11, 2009 by rhanashiro

Because of the limited number of field level photo positions at Dodger Stadium, most covering post-season games there will be working overhead.

Because of the limited number of field level photo positions at Dodger Stadium, most covering post-season games there will be working overhead.

A Freeway Series? Southern Californians are certainly hopeful.

But what about the photographers covering a possible All-LA(/Anaheim) World Series?

Having covered the first round of the Major League Playoffs in LA, I can say that there couldn’t be two more different stadiums for working photographers: Dodger Stadium — rich in tradition, old school, but not a a lot of field level shooting spots; Angel Stadium — more modern (after a major remodel a few years ago), younger/hipper and with plenty of field level shooting spots.

At Angel Stadium, there are plenty of field level photo positions, especially during the playoffs. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis tags out Boston's Kevin Youkilis after a swinging third strike during game 1 of the ALDS.

At Angel Stadium, there are plenty of field level photo positions, especially during the playoffs. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis tags out Boston's Kevin Youkilis after a swinging third strike during game 1 of the ALDS.

A bit of history: Growing up a lifelong Giants fan, when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1989 I was not looking forward to working regularly at Dodger Stadium. Guess that Giants – Dodgers Thing had something to do with that…

But over the years, I grew to appreciate the place, though most baseball fans would tell you that a Giants fan who hung out at Candlestick Park might think working in a Tijuana garbage dump would be a more pleasant experience.

Working overhead, photographers can see more of the field and anticipate the action.  Rafael Furcal leaps over a sliding Ryan Ludwick making a double play relay to first base game 1 of the National League Divisional Series.

Working overhead, photographers can see more of the field and anticipate the action. Rafael Furcal leaps over a sliding Ryan Ludwick making a double play relay to first base game 1 of the National League Divisional Series.

Dodger Stadium though had two HUGE photo wells on each side of the field. They had two levels and you could fit 14 or more on each side. The operative word is HAD. Two remodel jobs over the past few years basically just added seats … at the expense of the two large photo wells. So now, there is room for less photographers, maybe 5 or 6 in the photo wells on each side.

Angel Stadium has two smaller photo wells on each side of the infield that holds 8 or more, depending on whether there is a large TV camera positioned there. But during the playoffs, the Angels would add  auxiliary photo boxes up the foul lines on each side of the field, adding another 24 or so field level shooting spots.

The Angels Kendry Morales scores as he beats the throw to the plate.

The Angels Kendry Morales scores as he beats the throw to the plate.

There is no way for the Dodgers to do this, so a majority of photographers covering playoff games will be relegated to shooting from the elevated shooting positions situated on platforms behind the last row of box seats on each side of the field.

During the last off-season, the Angels added another row of field level box seats, but promised that during the post-season, these  would be used for photographers. The Angels kept that promise and during the ALDS, there were more than enough field level shooting spots.

Shooting overhead (the elevated spots) for game 1 of the National League Divisional Series at Dodger Stadium was not too bad, with some decent action in the first couple of innings. Shooting overhead requires a 600mm and when shooting pitcher tighter, I used a 1.4 tee-converter.

Dodger fist baseman James Loney leas over the Cardinals Mark DeRosa trying to double him up.

Dodger fist baseman James Loney leas over the Cardinals Mark DeRosa trying to double him up.

There are several advantages to shooting overhead. You basically are using one lens and camera covering the action (meaning no juggling between long lens and short lens), elevated over the field allows you to see the action better and react maybe quicker, often cleaner because the field becomes your background versus an ad on a wall and best of all…you’re closer to the concession stand and the restroom!

Field level gives you a more immediate/in your face action. Unlike shooting from overhead, the photos don’t have a sameness-look to them.

s Matt Kemp gets high-fives after hitting a 2-run homer against the Cardinals.

Matt Kemp gets high-fives after hitting a 2-run homer against the Cardinals.

Depending on where the overhead spot is, if you’re lined up with the front part of the dugout, the jube after players score and head back to the bench, you can get a cleaner look and often a better face.

Field level, you often can get a look into the dugout for jube and dejection, which isn’t the case when shooting overhead.

A Dodgers – Angels World Series? For photographers, the stadiums will be as differet as up and down.

TECH NOTES:

Cameras: Nikon D3

Lenses: 600mm (sometimes w/TC-14)

Settings: Angel Stadium ISO 3200 1/1250 @ f/4

Dodger Stadium ISO 2000 1/1000 @ f/4

Sidelines: All Fans, No Photographers?

Posted in P.W.s, Shooting Sports, sports photography, Sports Shooter on September 27, 2009 by rhanashiro

So tell me, what is wrong with this photograph by the LA Times’ Wally Skalij from last night’s USC – Washington State football game?

USC SidelineNeedless to say we all make photos like this, but usually there is at LEAST a photographer or two in the frame.

I often wonder when I see the sidelines of football games crammed with boosters/fans/celebs/hangers-on what the sports writers would say if their work place — the pressbox — was overrun like this?

Plaschke get out of my way, I want to take a photo with my cellphone!”

“Hey T.J.! Hated your column today…oh yeah, you gonna eat that hotdog?”

The cheering, the pointing a finger into a TV camera and the obligatory screaming You Suck! on the sidelines is more the norm than the exception these days. Obviously the sidelines are no longer the work place for players, coaches, trainers and working  photographers…it seems teams consider it perk for the big-time booster, flavor-of-the-month celeb and monied elite?

Must-See Friday

Posted in Fun Stuff, Stupid Stuff, Worth a listen, Worth a read on September 25, 2009 by rhanashiro

A few recommended reading suggestions on Must-See Friday:

Baggage

“Checked-bag fees are the most lucrative source of extra money. Revenue from them was $669 million in April, May and June…”

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-09-24-airlines-fees-revenue_N.htm

Hooper gallery

“Before he hit the road in Easy Rider, the actor spent years photographing Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Paul Newman…”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-09-24/dennis-hoppers-sixties/?cid=bs:archive6

“Questions for EBay after sale of crypt near Marilyn Monroe’s fails…”

Crypt

“Questions for EBay after sale of crypt near Marilyn Monroe’s fails…”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-marilyn24-2009sep24,0,6525986.story

Lasorda

With the “enshrinement” of former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda into the National Portrait Gallery…a link to the (in)famous f-bomb laced audio clip that many of us think of with a chuckle when we hear the expression “bleeding Dodger Blue”:

http://tommykingman.ytmnd.com/

Yoko

With all of the hoopla over the remastered Beatles LPs, Yoko Ono has quietly resurrected the Plastic Ono Band, releasing a new album.  A review of “Between My Head and the Sky”:
Paranormal

An interesting movie that I can’t wait to check out when it finally goes into wide release in a month or so… “Paranormal Activity”:
col
University of Colorado: “Credentials are a privilege, not a right, which a lot of people don’t realize”…
Rifleman
“Flashback Friday” — a favorite television series from my youth — I recommend an often overlooked western, The Rifleman. Chuck Connors starred as a former gunfighter who retires to a farm to raise his young son, played by Johnny Crawford , the series ran for 5 years on ABC in the late 50s through the early 60’s on ABC. With “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “Wagon Train” and “Bonanza” dominating the ratings, this little 30-minute drama brought a tenderness and subtle tone to the screen. Check it out here. (Trivia Quiz: Chuck Connors has a sports connection…what is it?)

Are You ready For Some…Football?

Posted in Camera Gear, photography workshop, Shooting Sports, sports photography, Sports Shooter, Sports Shooter Academy on September 13, 2009 by rhanashiro

With the start of the NFL season, I received several emails the past week asking for shooting tips for covering football.

FootballMy good buddy Myung J. Chun from the Los Angeles Times shot and produced a really nice video from the Sports Shooter Last Luau of my football breakout class. While it is a few years old, the topics and tips that this 8 – part series are still pretty valid today.

A recap:

  • Shoot tight
  • Clean up cluttered backgrounds
  • Shoot through the play
  • Be aware of what is around you on and off the field
  • Look for storytelling angles and details
  • Don’t just lean on the motordrive (9 fps is not a substitute for timing and peak action)

(Hey Myung! We gotta do an update for the new SportsShooterAcademy.com website!)

http://www.sportsshooter.com/special_feature/2004_luau_video/shooting_football/index.html

Does anyone out there miss the old Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau?

(Also Note: All photos were taken on assignment and credentials obtained through the teams and/or leagues … and not through winning a goofy P.W. contest.)

And check out Rod Mar’s cool new blog he is writing for the Seattle Seahawks and check out the work of the LA Times’ Wally Skalij from USC wins over San Jose State and Ohio State

‘Nuff Said!

Carry-On Rules: An Act of Congress?

Posted in Camera Gear, Lighting Gear, Shooting Sports, Sports Shooter, Travel with tags , , on September 9, 2009 by rhanashiro
The economy, unemployment, health care, two wars, uncontrollable violence at the U.S. – Mexico border and overstuffed overhead compartments on airlines…what doesn’t fit in that list?
As most people have reacted, it seems congress doesn’t have enough on it’s plate but recently Congressman San Lipinski (D-Ill) is proposing legislation intended to force the airlines into setting a  federal standard for carry-on bags. Currently it is left to each air carrier to set its own limits but they really only vary by a couple of inches, with the most common measurements being 9-inches x 14-inches x 24-inches (or 45 linear inches – length x width x height).
I have been traveling more than the average person for the past 20 years I have been on staff of a national newspaper. I could tell you all sorts of stories about the things passengers bring aboard flights … which includes a certain photographer traveling with a roller stuffed to 55-pounds, along with his “personal item” of a computer bag jammed with an Apple 15-inch laptop, accessories pouch (with 2  card readers, cables, firewire hub, wireless data card and optical mouse), AC power supply, reading material (usually a book and a newspaper), iPhone with charging cable, ear buds and a point & shoot camera.
(The Think Tank Photo Airport Security fits easily overhead, wheels first and the TTP computer bag fits easily under the seat.)
I look at what my fellow travelers are bring aboard a flight and I always have a bemused smile when I see a woman dragging an oversized roller, large purse and two “designer” shopping bags. I am always nice and offer to help lift the overstuffed roller in the overhead — which never fits wheels first and has to go in lengthwise, taking up two spots — because they cannot do it themselves.
(If the congressman wants to write a new legislation about carry-on bags, maybe it should be law that says if you can’t lift the bag, you can’t bring it aboard!)
Lipinski says the reason behind his proposed federal standard is large bags are a safety hazard and that since most airlines began charging for checking bags, passengers are bringing more on board with them.
I don’t know if there is a scientific survey to backup that claim, but just by observation over the last 20 years, I wouldn’t say there is a significant number of bags coming on board … and when you think about it, how could there? I can’t think of a flight I’ve been on in the past few years with more than a handful of empty seats at most and I have never seen an empty overhead compartment.The economy, unemployment, health care, two wars, uncontrollable violence at the U.S. – Mexico border and overstuffed overhead compartments on airlines…what doesn’t fit in that list?

As most people have reacted, it seems congress doesn’t have enough on it’s plate but recently Congressman San Lipinski (D-Ill) is proposing legislation intended to force the airlines into setting a  federal standard for carry-on bags. Currently it is left to each air carrier to set its own limits but they really only vary by a couple of inches, with the most common measurements being 9-inches x 14-inches x 24-inches (or 45 linear inches – length x width x height).

I usually travel with the Think Tank Airport Security roller and Airport Check In laptop bag. The bags are loaded in the back of the SUV getting ready to head to Burbank Airport.

I usually travel with the Think Tank Airport Security roller and Airport Check In laptop bag. The bags are loaded in the back of the SUV getting ready to head to Burbank Airport.

I have been traveling more than the average person for the past 20 years I have been on staff of a national newspaper. I could tell you all sorts of stories about the things passengers bring aboard flights … which includes a certain photographer traveling with a roller stuffed to 55-pounds, along with his “personal item” of a computer bag jammed with an Apple 15-inch laptop, accessories pouch (with 2  card readers, cables, firewire hub, wireless data card and optical mouse), AC power supply, reading material (usually a book and a newspaper), iPhone with charging cable, ear buds and a point & shoot camera.

(The Think Tank Photo Airport Security fits easily overhead, wheels first and the TTP computer bag fits easily under the seat.)

I look at what my fellow travelers are bring aboard a flight and I always have a bemused smile when I see a woman dragging an oversized roller, large purse and two “designer” shopping bags. I am always nice and offer to help lift the overstuffed roller in the overhead — which never fits wheels first and has to go in lengthwise, taking up two spots — because they cannot do it themselves.

(If the congressman wants to write a new legislation about carry-on bags, maybe it should be law that says if you can’t lift the bag, you can’t bring it aboard!)

Lipinski says the reason behind his proposed federal standard is large bags are a safety hazard and that since most airlines began charging for checking bags, passengers are bringing more on board with them.

I don’t know if there is a scientific survey to backup that claim, but just by observation over the last 20 years, I wouldn’t say there is a significant number of bags coming on board … and when you think about it, how could there? I can’t think of a flight I’ve been on in the past few years with more than a handful of empty seats at most and I have never seen an empty overhead compartment.

Airlines have tried in the past to enforce their carry-on limits. The most effective was the steel template that covered the opening to the x-ray screening at the security check point heading to the gates. United started this and if you’re bag was just a 1/4 of an inch too wide or deep, it would not roll through the opening in the template. But after a deluge of complaints, they got rid of the template and it’s been a free-for-all ever since.

I have seen some gate agents police the carry-ons, but it’s random and most of the time because of time, it’s just a visual “measurement”.

I am all for standards — like I wrote above I have not had any problems getting my carry-on and personal item aboard a flight in 20 years — but make it a law?

Photographers could be very vulnerable to increased scrutiny at the boarding gate. We tend to over-pack our bags so it fudges on the dimensions and we certainly go overweight most of the time.

 My TTP Airport Security roller packed for a trip to Chicago to shoot 20 portraits of Olympic athletes in two days. (Packed in the bag are: 3 - Nikon camera bodies, 14-24, 24-70, 50mm f/1.4, 70-200, 3-SB 800 speedlights, LightwareDirect FourSquare and a prototype of the 50-foot version of the Cullen Off-Camera TTL cord.

My TTP Airport Security roller packed for a trip to Chicago to shoot 20 portraits of Olympic athletes in two days. (Packed in the bag are: 3 - Nikon camera bodies, 14-24, 24-70, 50mm f/1.4, 70-200, 3-SB 800 speedlights, LightwareDirect FourSquare and a prototype of the 50-foot version of the Cullen Off-Camera TTL cord.

The most popular carry-on rolling equipment cases are within the common 9 x 14 x 24-inch limits — EXCEPT the new Lowepro Pro Roller x-series rollers and the Tamrac  Rolling StrongBox LP4 — so it’s just a matter of being more conscientious in packing our bags.

Below I have collected the listed carry-on limits for the major airlines, along with links to their websites. Also is a list of dimensions for the most popular rolling equipment bads from Think Tank Photo, Tamrac and Lowpro.

Airline Baggage Rules

Alaska Airlines

“You’re allowed one carry-on bag, which can measure up to 10″ H x 17″ W x 24″ L (25 x 43 x 61 cm) including wheels and handles..”

http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/Help/Faqs/CarryOnBaggage.asp

Checked Bag Fees: 1st – $15; 2nd – $25; Additional – $50 each

American Airlines

” You can carry on one bag plus one personal item per passenger as long as:

* They weigh no more than 40 lbs/18 kgs

* The bag is no more than 45 inches and the personal item is no more than 36 inches when you add the length + width + height so that it fits in an overhead bin or under the seat”

http://www.aa.com/aa/i18nForward.do?p=/travelInformation/baggage/carryOnAllowance.jsp

Checked Bag Fees: 1st – $20; 2nd – $30; 3-5 $100 each; 6 or more $200 each

Delta Airlines

“* Weigh less than 40 pounds (18 kg).

* Not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height), or 115 cm.

* Fit easily in our SizeCheck® unit (approximately 22″x14″x 9″, or 56x36x23 cm)”

http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/baggage/baggage_allowance/index.jsp

Checked Bag Fees: 1st $15 – ; 2nd -$25; Additional – $75 non-stop/ $100 connecting

Continental Airlines

“The maximum combined linear measurement (L + W + H) of the carry-on bag is 45 inches (115 cm) up to 14 in x 9 in x 22 in. The maximum weight of the carry-on bag is 40 pounds (18 kg).”

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/carry-on.aspx

Checked Bag Fees: 1st $15 – ; 2nd -$25; Additional – $75 non-stop/ $100 connecting

JetBlue

“Your personal item must not exceed 18″l (45.72 cm) x 15″w (38.1 cm) x 8″h 20.32 cm) in order to fit under the seat in front of you.

To fit in the overhead bin, your item must not exceed:

* for our Airbus A320: 26 inches (66 centimeters) length x 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) width x 12 inches (30.48 centimeters) height

* for our EMBRAER 190: 24 inches (60.96 centimeters) length x 16 inches (40.64 centimeters) width x 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) height”

http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll?New,Kb=askBlue,case=obj(633)

Checked Bag Fees: 1st – $0; 2nd – $20; 3 – 9  – $100 each

Northwest Airlines

“Carry-on Allowance Dimensions:

•Cannot exceed 45 linear inches (9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches)

http://www.nwa.com/travel/luggage/carryon.html

Checked Bag Fees: 1st $15 – ; 2nd -$25; Additional – $75 non-stop/ $100 connecting

Southwest Airlines

“Southwest Airlines limits carryon bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.”

http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/baggage.html

Checked Bag Fees: 1st two free; 3 – 9 $50 each

United Airlines

“should not be more than 9 x 14 x 22 in. (23 x 35 x 56 cm) (length x width x height) or 45 linear inches* (114 linear cm)”

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,1032,00.html

Checked Bag Fees: 1st – $20; 2nd – $30; 3-4 $150 each;  5 or more: $125 each

USAir

“You’re allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item. Personal items include a purse, briefcase or laptop bag.

Size requirements

*Up to 45 in/115 cm (14 x 9 x 22 in or 36 x 23 x 56 cm)

*Up to 40 lbs/18 kg”

http://www.usairways.com/awa/content/traveltools/baggage/baggagepolicies.aspx

Checked Bag Fees: 1st – $20; 2nd -$30;  3 – 9 – $100 each

Roller Sizes

Think Tank Photo

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/

Airport Security: 14” W x 9” D x 22” H

International: 14” W x 8” D x 21” H

Lowepro

http://www.lowepro.com/

Pro Roller 1: 14W X 9.1D X 21.3H in.

Pro Roller x300: 18.5 x 11.4 x 26.3″ (WxDxH)

Pro Roller x200: 15.7 x 11.2 x 24.2″ (WxDxH)

Pro Roller x100: 14 x 11.2 x 20″ (WxDxH)

Tamrac

http://www.tamrac.com/

Big Wheels Rolling StrongBox – LP2:

Big Wheels Rolling StrongBox – LP4

FourSquare Back In Stock

Posted in Camera Gear, Lighting Gear, Sports Shooter with tags , , , on September 8, 2009 by rhanashiro
Matt Brown and beach volleyball player Michelle Moriarty during a portrait shoot using the LightwareDirect FourSquare.

Matt Brown and beach volleyball player Michelle Moriarty during a portrait shoot using the LightwareDirect FourSquare.

I have received a lot of emails and comments from photographers (especially students) wanting to know more about the FourSquare, a new speedlight softbox/speedring from Lightware Direct.

Unfortunately when my initial review in the Sports Shooter Newsletter was published, the first run of the FourSquare was completely sold out.

But according to LightwareDirect’s website, the FourSquare is back in stock! Hurrah!

($249 includes the speedring that can mount up to 4 speedlights, a well-designed softbox and carrying bag.)

This cool lighting control system is something anyone that has a couple of speedlights should considering investing in. While the large 30 x 30-inch softbox produces an even soft light for portraits, the glory of this system is the ability to fully use your speedlight’s built-in features … namely full TTL and high shutter-speed sync.

Contact LightwareDirect — yes this is Paul Peregrin’s company, the same guy who makes the wonderful Lightware cases and bags — and order yours soonest.

Before they are sold out. Again!

(Tell ’em The Kahuna sent you!)

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