Shooting Football At Yale

This was my second time photographing football and like my first time it was very frustrating.

I will admit from time-to-time I take advantage of my position. For instance today I ‘borrowed’ a photographer’s field pass from the Sports Department and headed to the Yale Bowl for the Yale-Cornell football game.

This was my second time photographing football and like my first time it was very frustrating. A 300mm lens (which on my camera shoots like a 480mm lens) provides an extremely narrow view. There are probably people who pan to the action and click. It didn’t come easy to me.

On top of that there were a boatload of marginally soft shots or shots where the autofocus point wasn’t where I wanted it! This may be a camera adjustment I’ve missed. It’s back to the manual to make sure.

Finally, my lenses are slow. That limits my finished photos in a variety of ways with the most problematic today being depth-of-field. Often the background was in focus, making it very difficult to separate it from the action. Fast lenses have produce a shallow depth-of-field and blurry backgrounds.

Did I have a good time? Absolutely. I enjoyed the game which was played under ideal conditions. There were also a bunch of photographers I know and it’s good to see and learn from them.

I’ll be back to try again.

Sleeping Giant–The Leaves Are Leaving

I would never take a photo that might compromise anyone’s safety. This was just about the increasingly hostile atmosphere toward photographers.

Helaine and I spent an hour or so going up and down Sleeping Giant early this afternoon. There are still plenty of leaves on the trees, but the brushy growth along the trail has really begun to die back and it’s changed the entire look of our walk. The dropoff at the edge of some trail sections is now a lot scarier looking. It’s as if the mountain is balding–rapidly.

Up on the top this afternoon we ran into students from a middle school in the Bronx. the boys from that school were there a few weeks ago. Now the girls. The girls were louder and more physically active–at least when we saw them.

I was taking photos when one of the chaperones told me to stop. The truth is when you’re in public, no matter what your age, you have no expectation of privacy and photos are fine and unrestricted by law. Of course that doesn’t comport with what this guy wanted, so he made up a rule. I’m going to have to start carry my “photographer’s rights” in my wallet.

This isn’t about taking pictures of the kids. I would never take a photo that might compromise anyone’s safety. This was just about the increasingly hostile atmosphere toward photographers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to stop for no apparent reason.

It is great that these kids get the opportunity to spend some time in the country. It’s got to be the other end of the Earth for them.

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Financial Humor From PBS

It’s part of the changes we’re all going to have to make to embrace and compete with the Internet.

My friend Wendie asked me to take a look at the attached video a few days ago. She is Managing Editor of Nightly Business Report, the long running daily financial show on PBS. Like everyone else in broadcasting they’re trying their best to think outside the box.

This video was put together by a photographer/editor–an old school team member. It’s part of the changes we’re all going to have to make to embrace and compete with the Internet.

HDR Photography At Lake Watrous

There are a few other little tweaks I did which I’d mention, but Helaine gets upset when I fool with Mother Nature.

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Over the weekend Ann Nyberg, who I work with, sent me an email with a link to a Hartford Courant column by Rinker Buck. I’ve written about Rinker’s famous telling-off-the-boss column in the Courant.

This time Rinker wrote about a photographer in Litchfield County who is fooling with HDR (high dynamic range) photography. It’s all the rage, though often it turns out overdone and unrealistic.

lake-watrous-components.gifI had a few shots I took at Lake Watrous and bracketed for HDR, but never processed. Tonight I found a tutorial by Bert Monroy and tried my luck. The result is the photo at the top of this entry. The sequence on the left is made from three of the images used to create the HDR.

Without HDR you can see the trees/lake or the sky, just not both together. There are a few other little tweaks I did which I’d mention, but Helaine gets upset when I fool with Mother Nature.

This is a lot closer to what I saw than “Clicky” can provide on his own.

Photographer’s Friend

Drop in a series of photos (from your hard drive or Flickr/Picasa) and a few minutes later, out comes a video. It’s very cool.

I stumbled across this a few minutes ago, Animoto

Drop in a series of photos (from your hard drive or Flickr/Picasa) and a few minutes later, out comes a video. It’s very cool.

The process takes a little longer than I expected, but a whole lot less time than if I did it manually.

I’m curious what you think, so you’ll find the video and a link to the original photos below.

How To Do Customer Service The Gorillapod Way

There doesn’t seem to be a reason. It looks fine. I haven’t mistreated it. I can pop it back in, but it’s not very sturdy.

joby.jpgAs you probably know, I am a photographer. I love taking pictures and I have all sorts of accessories for my camera. Among the best things I have is a gift from my daughter Stefanie (possibly the nicest, most thoughtful gift she’s ever given me), a Gorillapod.

A Gorillapod is a small, extremely flexible tripod. You can use it on a desktop or put it on the ground like a regular tripod. Where it differs is when you bend its legs. For instance, you can bend its legs around a light pool or the railing on a deck.

The Gorillapod turns nearly anything into a camera brace. It scratches a photographer’s major itch.

Recently, while playing with mine, one of the Gorillapod’s legs popped from its socket. I can push it back in, can no longer safely trust the pod to hold when its legs are wrapped around something.

I fired off an email:

My daughter gave me a Gorillapod SLR-ZOOM for my birthday last year. It’s quite a nice present for a photographer. I’ve only used it a dozen or so times, but when I went to use it a few days ago, one of the legs popped out of its socket. It did so at the very top where it connects to the ‘camera platform.’

There doesn’t seem to be a reason. It looks fine. I haven’t mistreated it. I can pop it back in, but it’s not very sturdy.

I’m not sure what to do. It will be fine as a ‘standard’ small tripod, but I can no longer trust it to hold my SLR by wrapping the legs… which, of course, is its advantage.

Is there something I can do, or a warranty under which it can be repaired?

The next day I got an email from Helga at Gorillapod’s parent company, Joby.

Hi Geoff,

I’m so sorry this happened to your SLR-ZOOM.

Could you please send me a photo of the damaged Gorillapod w/ the Joby logo showing and the type of camera you were using?

Do you know where it was purchased?

Please send me your address and phone number as well.

Thank you!

~Helga

I did and promptly got another email.

Hi Geoff,

We will send you a new one that will ship out today.

Again, I’m so sorry that this is happening.

Thanks and hope you’re having a great day!

~Helga

And today, in a plain yellow padded envelope, my new Gorillapod.

I am astounded. This is too easy. It’s as if good customer service matters to them! What a concept.

This is a really good product – very useful. Just as important, it’s a product the manufacturer is proud of and stands behind. There’s something in short supply today.

Why can’t every service story end this way?