My First Shoot!

The recent weekend was a very exciting experience for me! I shot the Freezefest 5K race, basketball/hockey game, and now I was able to take charge of my own photo shoot at my apartment. This was a nerve-wracking yet an entertaining experience!

On February 3, a Sunday, the Freezefest 5K was happening, my friends and I had to take care of off-campus errands before 2, when the photo shoot was supposed to happen. I decided to buy a black queen-sized flat sheet to act as the background in my photos. I did not account for the time it took the sheet to de-wrinkle in the dryer! The photo shoot ended up being postponed until 3 PM and my models were anxious to go somewhere by 4 PM. I did not even do a test shoot!¬† While the sheet was drying, I took advantage of the down time I had to set up the light stand for the softbox in a loop light pattern on the subject’s right side. I went to get the sheet from the dryer, and on the way I met my subjects, which made me embarrassed because even though I am a novice photographer, I still do not like wasting people’s time by not being prepared before they showed up.

I still grabbed the sheet and chatted with the models on the way back to my apartment. I set up the black backdrop with a tall friend (thanks mate) and did a very quick test shoot. I used Dylan’s Canon 7D body paired with the 70-200mm f/2.8L lens. The 580EX II flash worked wonderfully, the chair had to be pushed closer to the camera so that the background wouldn’t be so obvious, and the rest of the subjects arrived. Three men and one women. I had them do a series of shoots, but I found that the straight-on approach offered the best results in a single light situation. I learned later that for less harsh shadows, the softbox should be closer to the subject’s face.

In a single lighting situation:

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Test Subject 1

Andy

Test Subject 2

It was then realized the pictures seemed dull and the subject’s hair was embedded into the background. Dylan Heuer suggested the use of a rim light. The rest is history because the subjects now stood out and looked great in the process!

Dylan

Dylan Heuer

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Test Subject 3 Rim Light

Joe

Test Subject 1 Rim Light

I found that even though the shoot got off to a rocky start, things started to pick up because the subjects were comfortable with me and I was able to entertain and keep them smiling throughout the shoot. It showed through the pictures, I think. They actually want to come back for some more Facebook pictures, which I more than welcomed them to. For my first ever shoot, I would have to call it a smashing success.

Blink with meaning,

Ceasar Jones

Freezefest 5K

The last time I wrote, I chatted about my experiences at the women’s basketball game and the hockey game for men as a photographer. For this blog, I’m going to chat about my interesting experiences as a photojournalist. A roommate was supposed to participate in the annual 5K run known as the Freezefest 5K. It is when students, faculty and staff get together to run during the bitter cold winter in Henrietta, NY. Turns out, my roommate overslept. Oh well. Dylan and I still went out to shoot. This was the first time he actually allowed me to shoot the whole thing because he wasn’t getting paid to shoot the race.

I went out there with the Canon 7D paired with a 70-200mm f/2.8L lens. I shot everyone (not literally… well, wait…)! I began with the start of the race, as can be seen below:

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US Air Force cadets Running in Unison

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One of the Top Participants

Reindeer in Camo!

Reindeer in Camo!

Some of the things I struggled with were the auto focus and perception. I kept thinking I could press the AF button once and then shoot  as the runners were running past me. I realized that the AF worked only at the fixed distance from the lens and that it does not change magically when the runner goes further away or closer to you. Oof, the pains of a growing photographer. I also shot the end of the race, where everyone was either prancing, limping, or vomiting their way to a personal victory.

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The Tip-Toer

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US Army Gentlemen

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The Mysterious Prancer

I had a very good time shooting all the different subjects while their bodies endured the very cold day. The variety in facial expressions, body language, and uhh, masks kept me shooting.

Blink with meaning,

Ceasar Jones

An Attempt

Hello all! It’s been a while since I have written anything, but it is because I have been up to some fun stuff. I asked my friend, Dylan Heuer, a professional sports photographer if I could borrow his photography equipment so I could gain some insight into the hobby I intend to become involved with after graduation. He did me one better. He took me to an annual 5K run on campus called the Freezefest 5K run, a basketball/hockey game, and allowed me to use his own equipment for my own photo shoot. These experiences will be split into three different blog posts, so let us begin with the basketball/hockey game on February 1, 2013.

When I parked my bike and went up to the doors that led to the Clark Gymnasium at RIT, I was momentarily overwhelmed with strobe lights going off during the women’s basketball game versus the Skidmore thoroughbreds. I went through the memory banks and realized that I had never seen the permanently installed strobe lights inside the gym. I looked for and found Heuer, who was busy taking shots of the heated game between the two teams. He was excited about the 6 overhead strobes because prior to his knowledge of the lighting system inside the gym, his photos always had a noticeable amount of noise, and to any photographer, unless intended, that is frustrating. We then shot the entire game with a Canon 7D body paired with either a 70-200mm f/2.8L or 16-35mm f/2.8L lens. I do not have any photos shot by me that I can show, but I do have a few of Dylan’s, as can be seen below:

Kara Wheeler

#22, Kara Wheeler

Leslie Havens

#5 Leslie Havens Driving to the net

Wide

#22 Kara Wheeler Attempting a Layup

The strobes can be seen going off in sync with the camera. There were two obvious challenges, though. The strobes, once they go off, need to be given time to recover the power lost by flashing. When this happens and there are multiple photographers covering the event, the strobes will not go off immediately after someone who has access, uses it. For instance, if a photographer takes her shot and then Heuer attempts to take one of his own right after, his photo will be dark while the girl will have a perfectly lit photo. This caused Dylan to miss some decent shots.

Another issue with strobes was that Dylan could not spam the shutter button because that would just cause the strobes to become an unnecessary distraction to the players. He had to be selective with what shots he took. This took the level of mastery of sports photography to a whole new level. This is when he gained even more respect from me because he took some decent shots.

I actually put whatever photographic skills I had to use at this game. The things I found difficult were controlling the zoom and auto-focusing when the field was either running away or towards me. I had to spam the button repeatedly to get a shot that was actually in focus. That game was when I also realized I did not have the manly forearms required to hold up the heavy 70-200 lens. I nearly drowned in shame as my manhood was weighed down.

When the game wrapped up, the men’s hockey game was starting. It was RIT vs. Connecticut. Already tired from the basketball game, I was not prepared for the extremely FAST pace of a division I game… I have been to more than a few hockey games myself, but I have never once been at eye level with the players with a camera in hand. It was actually difficult for me to keep track of the puck since a lot of things were happening at once: the rowdy crowd, my lack of skill with the camera, and the fast paced game.

It was an excellent weekend of sports photography. I think I’m going to stick with portraiture photography, ha ha.

Blink with meaning,

Ceasar Jones