State Press


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I haven’t shot volleyball since high school! I forgot how challenging it can be, in comparison to shooting other sports. There are two main difficulties: 1. finding an angle that will provide more faces and clear action and 2. following the action and getting what you want in focus.

I spent some time moving around the court, and I found the best way to deal with issue 1. is shooting level with the net, with your shoulders perpendicular to the net. This required me to be in the stands, I am not tall and shooting from the floor obscured a lot of potential shots with appendages.

Number 2. is a little trickier and the best way to address it is knowing the sport or simply practicing enough to reveal patterns. Keeping both eyes open is a great way to track action without having to throw your camera everywhere. Use the other eye to locate where your next shot might be, then use the eye in the view finder to frame the shot. Keeping both eyes open also protects you and your equipment from players or balls. And lastly, separating the shutter release and auto focus button can be quite essential to getting the in focus shot.

Here are some other shots the game against Pepperdine that I thought were more successful than the ones published.

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State Press

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For this shot I was using a Nikon 70-200 VR II with a 1.7x teleconverter on my Nikon D300s, the body is DX and has a crop factor of 1.522. I own all of my equipment (besides the 1.7 which I rented), I can’t justify spending a few thousand on 300 or 400mm lens to get the extra length for sports since I’m not exactly getting paid by the State Press for it. I figured a simple and cost effective solution is one of Nikon’s 3 different teleconverters, that multiplies focal length by 1.4, 1.7, and 2, for about 500USD a piece.

I don’t recommend anything but the TC-1.4, I found that sharpness, clarity, and bokeh are affected far too much in the 1.7x and 2x models. Most reviews advise photographers to neglect the 2x all together due to image degradation, but I think the 1.7x can be added to this category as well. Certainly it’s preference, maybe for nature photography it wouldn’t be as big a deal since AF isn’t as accurate in the 1.7x and 2x, and one could stop up to an f/8 or higher if you’re not shooting fast moving action.

Nikon’s 70-200 f/2.8 is a staple for professionals, with good reason, it is the best lens I have ever used, across the board. Unfortunately, this lens becomes something entirely different when using a 1.7x or 2x TC, which is to be expected, but I had hoped it would retain some of it’s favorable features. In addition to over-all loss of clarity, contrast, and sharpness (all expected), I noted that highlights seemed to be muddy or lost. And one of my favorite features, the 70-200’s gorgeous bokeh, was entirely different and ugly at that.

The image above gives a pretty good example of the unsavory qualities, loss of clarity in highlights, overall loss in sharpness, and the strange, and rather prominent amoeba shapes found in the foliage due to the difference in bokeh.



Throw back Thursday

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Made this back in ’08, I cut out my favorite poem by Charles Bukowski to create a photogram of it in the dark room. I stuck a few negatives that reminded me of Bukowski below the light source, that casted the light through the pages to the light sensitive paper. I love working in the darkroom, light is quite the medium, you can do a lot more than print photographs. I uploaded a larger than normal copy so you can still read the text. ‘How Is Your Heart?’  by Charles Bukowski

during my worst times
on the park benches
in the jails
or living with
I always had this certain
I wouldn’t call it
it was more of an inner
that settled for
whatever was occuring
and it helped in the
and when relationships
went wrong
with the
it helped
through the
wars and the
the backalley fights
to awaken in a cheap room
in a strange city and
pull up the shade-
this was the craziest kind of

and to walk across the floor
to an old dresser with a
cracked mirror-
see myself, ugly,
grinning at it all.
what matters most is
how well you
walk through the