"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." John Wooden
The ZOOM Tour is coming to a city near you! This event is the perfect opportunity for photographers of all levels to meet, interact, and learn with the pros from Zenfolio. The ZOOM tour features industry professionals presenting on site design, order fulfillment, marketing, and more. There will also be free gifts for all attendees and a chance to speak directly with the presenters and network with fellow photographers.
Prior attendees have raved about their experiences on the ZOOM Tour. Said one: “I had a great time at ZOOM. I learned a lot. I went in thinking I wasn't going to learn anything, but came out with a task list that will take me days to complete! Thanks for everything!” Visit link...Zenfolio ZOOM Tour!
All newspaper photographers will tell you that they haul all their camera gear and work out of their car trunk. Myself included. I shoot a variety of assignments from sports, portraits and nature so I pack and carry specific lenses according to the lighting situations and needs of the assignment. For that same reason I have an assortment of Lowepro camera bags and backpacks. My assignment starts with the best designed Lowepro bag that will help me do my best work for that particular photo shoot. I love the design, sturdiness and build quality of Lowepro. I know and trust that once my gear is safely in a Lowepro bag it will be protected. "Lowepro is The Trusted Original".
Some of my favorites are the Pro Messenger 200AW, Magnum 200AW and 650AW, Vertex 300AW, Pro Runner 450 AW, S&F Series and my overall favorite...the Pro Roller x300.
Shop Lowepro at link below and use code LP20 at time of purchase for discount.
A tribute to a great friend that I would introduce as my second father. He touched many peoples lives with his words, photography and how he lived. Ron had a huge impact on so MANY people including myself. It is an honor to say he was a friend. Read tribute here.
Why? My First Sports Illustrated Cover
I had lunch with an old friend and we were discussing Sports Illustrated celebrating Michael Jordan's 50th birthday by placing MJ on the cover a record 50th time. It is huge to be on the cover as an athlete as well as being the photographer who took the photograph especially in the days before internet. Sport Magazine and Sports Illustrated were the main source for sports coverage on a national level. Being on the cover brought national attention. They didn't have regional covers as they do now and SI only used their own elite photography and photographers. To get a cover as a photographer is really special. To get a cover as a freelance photographer is huge. I am honored to say that one of my photographs is included in the fifty MJ covers. How it happened...
THE PHONE CALL
Michael Jordan had just announced his retirement for the first time from the Chicago Bulls and I received a call from the basketball photo editor at Sports Illustrated. He was looking for a specific image of Michael walking away. He asked me if I had any shots like that and I immediately said yes. The editor was surprised that I answered so quickly and wanted to know how I knew I had the shot. He asked several times... "Are you sure. "Are you positive?" I said "Yes, I am positive." Then I explained how I knew I had the shot. It was Friday and Sports Illustrated needed the color transparency ASAP so it went federal express for Saturday delivery. The editor said he would call me Monday night if I got the cover.
STORY BEHIND THE PHOTOGRAPH
I was photographing the Bulls against the Cavaliers. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were having a rare off night and Jordan tried to take over the game in the fourth quarter. Jordan was called for traveling as he made a move to the hoop. During the stop in action Jordan held onto the ball so play could not resume. This also gave him a chance to have a one sided conversation with the referee. The other players were down court as Jordan finished speaking with the ref. Michael then started to walk away from me and the referee as he dropped the ball. I noticed that it was a nice clean shot and thought it would be a great photo when he retires and walks away from the game. I actually envisioned the layout as I took the photo. Not a great action shot but one that tells a story. Something that no one actually thinks of shooting. Right after that play Ed Nahra, (aka the "Super Fan") who was sitting court side holds up a Michael Jordan Wheaties box and yells with his big deep opera voice "What's the matter Michael...Didn't eat your Wheaties? Jordan still steamed from the traveling call yells back at him to sit down and be quiet. (Not the actual terminology). This fueled Jordan's competitive nature and Michael being Michael dominated the game in the final minutes. Bulls win again.
True to his word I get a call Monday night from the Sports Illustrated photo editor... "You got the cover!"
I have had numerous photos published in SLAM over the years and enjoy there publication and website. But I never thought I would see the day that I would be a subject of one of their stories. Check out a great article by Peter Walsh HERE!
"SLAM has published 155 issues in its history, and has featured the biggest names in basketball on its cover, in articles, and on its famous SLAMups posters". (Wikipedia)
I have always enjoyed western shows and the history of the old west. The other day I was watching the movie Jeremiah Johnson, (I saw this movie for the first time in theaters in 1972) one of my favorites, a classic western about a mountain man living isolated in the Rocky Mountains during the Mexican War. I can't count how many times I watched this movie, but I got a good laugh when I realized the character 'Bear Claws' reminded me of one of my good friends and mentor, Tony Tomsic.
Both in looks and personality, Tony and Bear Claws are strikingly similar. My relationship with Tony also happens to be very similar to the relationship between the Main Character and Bear Claws.
As I watched the movie I thought of Tony every time I heard Bear Claws call Jeremiah Johnson "Pilgrim" in a sarcastic tone. Tomsic has his own special term of endearment that is infamous among his friends.
The more I worked with Tomsic the more I respected him. He is the ultimate team player. The kind of guy that would always have your back. Similar to Bear Claws, he gives you advice and creative suggestions, but also let you learn from your mistakes. When you receive a compliment from Tony...it means something.
Tony, like Bear Claws, is one of the originals. Tough guy on the outside, great guy on the inside. A pioneer in sports photojournalism from the old days of all manual film cameras.
I had a chance to work with some of the great legends in sports photography, and I am honored to still be one of the Tomsic's "pilgrims".
I still have lunch with Tony every other month, and I called him immediately after watching the movie Jeremiah Johnson. "I have a new nickname for you that's meant with respect and affection..."
"What? The big (expletive)?". He asked jokingly.
"Nope, Bear Claws".
Tony laughed, "the guy from Jeremiah Johnson movie?"
"I love it! I just finished watching that movie!" he exclaimed.
I received a letter from him a few days later with a bumper sticker inside. It said....Have a Nice Day "ELOHSSA"
In 1992 I left my staff photography position with the Sun Newspapers to be a freelance photographer. At this time I was a contract photographer for the Cleveland Cavaliers and also breaking in with Sports Illustrated. I also contacted the photo editors at SPORT Magazine and another monthly sport magazine, at their request I sent them my portfolio.
Photography is one of the few careers where people look at your work first, not your resume. There were several options to present your work. Not like today, where editors just look at your website. Photographers always wondered how many images to send. Should I send slides in pages or in a slide tray so they can just pop it into a slide projector? Or send tear sheets? I opted for approximately thirty images with a variety of work from action to feature. I made my images into slides and put them in a slide tray, then put the tray in the original Kodak box that came with the carousel slide tray. I sent the exact (duplicate) portfolio to both magazines and waited for a response.
The one monthly sport publication was an average magazine but SPORT Magazine was highly respected and did a great job with photos and layouts. The following is a quote from the from The Sport Gallery-History of Sport Magazine website. "SPORT magazine was America’s first significant general interest sports magazine. By the time of its closing, SPORT was an American institution. The formula was simple: combine terrific editorial features with generous presentations of photography, particularly full-page color imagery. It was born as a novel idea and grew into a cultural icon. But it was SPORT‘s groundbreaking use of color photography which captivated sports fans, many of whom wallpapered their bedrooms with the exquisite full-page photos that were the magazine’s signature item. SPORT used many of the nation’s top shooters"
My portfolio was quickly returned from the monthly magazine. I anxiously opened it and unexpectedly read an angry letter from their photo editor. He was very upset and thought I sent him too many slides. He also wrote some other choice comments. I obviously caught this editor at a bad time. Then I noticed the Kodak slide box I shipped the carousel slide tray in said "140 slides" on the outside of the box. I realized that he probably saw 140 slides and assumed I sent him that many, got mad and never even open the box. Now I wondered what was going to happen with SPORT Magazine.
A few weeks later I get a phone call from Ira Gabriel, the Picture Editor at SPORT Magazine. He had just viewed my portfolio and loved it. He told me that after viewing it several times he called in his assistant photo editors and they viewed it several more times!
Sport was working on their next issue about dunking in the NBA and after reviewing my portfolio, Ira asked me if I had any NBA dunk images. Of course I had several. One of my favorites is of Larry Nance of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunking on seven foot six center Manute Bol. The ball went through the net and I captured the moment when it hit Manute square on his face. I had also written on the slide mount..."In Yo Face".
I received my next issue of SPORT magazine. Ira ran the "In Yo Face" dunk photo two full pages in the center spread and also used the title "In Yo Face". SPORT also ran several other full page dunk photos of mine.
The next time Manute and his team came to town, Cavaliers trainer Gary Briggs is on the sideline during warm ups holding that issue of SPORT with my "In Yo Face" dunk photo spread wide open. As Manute trots by him during warm ups, Gary points to the photo spread with a smirk on his face. Manute laughs, he was a good sport.
I have photographed numerous sports assignments over my thirty plus years as a photojournalist and have been slowly going through some of my old images. This photo still seems to get the most attention for one of my unusual feature sports photographs. I was on assignment for Sports Illustrated shooting the NFL Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium in the early nineties. It was a cold but sunny day when I noticed steam coming off the head of Philadelphia Eagles football player Antone Davis after he removed his helmet as he left the playing field. Nothing really uncommon from a heated lineman under the right conditions in Cleveland. The light and positioning at that moment was not conducive to a good photograph so I waited until the next time Davis came off the field and positioned myself so the light would be back lit with the dark shadows of Cleveland Stadium as a clean backdrop. As luck would have it Antone Davis actually walked toward me and looked up at the scoreboard. I photographed this image with my Nikon F3 film camera and manual focus Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 lens wide open at 1/500th shutter speed on Fujichrome Provia 100 pushed one stop. My equipment was four Nikon F3 camera bodies with 50mm, 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 Nikkor lenses. My other gear such as film, light meters and rain gear were safely in my Lowepro fanny pack. Technology has obviously changed over the years. Zoom lenses have replaced the need for numerous lenses and camera bodies and the Lowepro S&F series has replaced the fanny pack. Through all the years of shooting I still trust my Nikon and Lowepro camera gear.
David Liam Kyle
Nike and Cavs congratulate Kyrie on his 2012 Kia Rookie of the Year honor with national ad featuring one of my photos of Irving. A well deserved honor to a nice young man. The Cleveland Plain Dealer also ran the same full page Nike ad on page D8 of today's paper congratulating Irving. Click here to see Nike ad. The Cavs also ran opening page using beautiful graphics with my action photos of Kyrie on Cavs.com.
Sports Illustrated recently released a special addition book "Joe Paterno" that ran a stock image of mine as a double truck for their opening section on the 90's. Photo was original published in Sports Illustrated August 24th, 1994 issue as opener on the Table of Contents page and also ran as a double truck in "Sports Illustrated Presents Penn State - A Celebration of Nittany Lions Football" in 2008. The photo is of Penn State's quarterback Kerry Collins dropping back for a pass in a snowstorm against The Ohio State in 1994. Collins threw for 5,304 yards passing and 39 touchdowns in his college career. Original image was shot with a Nikon FM2 camera and Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 lens on Fuji Film. Love the space payments.
Your Best Shot
Getting down to basics
Spring training isn’t just for athletes. Photographers need to be ready when it is time to shoot baseball games and track meets. Some of the best opportunities for great images may present themselves in the first week of the season, so be prepared. Here are a few basic tips that will help you get better sports photos of your youth league or high school athlete.
Be Prepared: Hey, it’s not just a slogan for Boy Scouts. If you are photographing youth league or high school sports, make sure you have permission from event organizers and know your restrictions in terms of photo positions. That way you will avoid any game time confrontations. You want to document the event, not be part of the event.
The Importance of Positioning: Be smart and considerate in choosing where you shoot. When walking into a sporting event, the first thing I do is check the lighting conditions. Generally, I want to work with the sun, not against it. I prefer nice side or frontal light, and I make sure I have clean, dark backgrounds. Try to avoid signs, trees, parking lots, garbage cans, etc. Darker backgrounds make the athletes’ images pop. It is important that you try to find shooting positions where you will not get blocked by officials and umpires. At the same time, be polite and make sure you do not block the view of spectators.
The dark background with shallow depth field along with side light makes the dirt pop out of the image and his glove. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Always try to shoot “wide open.” That means setting and shooting with your aperture set at f/2.8, f/4 or f/5.6 depending on your lens. The longer the lens the better. Preferably with a 300mm or 400mm telephoto. I usually shoot in Manual or Aperture Priority Mode at the widest setting possible. You may also try the Auto ISO setting if your camera has that capability. In Auto ISO you set the aperture and shutter speed and the ISO automatically changes depending on the lighting situation. In any case the bigger the aperture opening, the less depth of field you will have, isolating your subject from the background. The wide open aperture will also let more light into your camera, creating a faster shutter speed. You usually need to have your shutter speed at least at 1/1000 of a second to stop the action. It is recommended to shoot at 1/2000 or faster to stop super fast action, such as a pitcher’s throwing motion or a swinging bat. Adjust your ISO in your camera to accomplish the correct shutter speed. For the best quality of images, you want to keep your ISO as low as possible. Take a couple of test exposures to double-check this, because the dark background or bright white uniforms can trick your meter and over or under expose your main subject. Know how your camera works and set it accordingly. I also use the Continuous Focus setting and one center focus point in my camera. That way your camera focusing system is not jumping around, and you have more control of what you want in focus.
Play at second base shot with 400mm lens at f5.6 at 1/1600th, 200 ISO. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Be knowledgeable about all the sports you plan on photographing. Pay attention to the game and anticipate what play may happen next. Is the runner on first going to steal second? Is there a chance for a double play? Will there be a play at the plate? Could this be the game winning hit? I have seen photographers miss photos because they were chatting with the person next to them. Anticipate! Once a play happens, you better be ready because it will not happen again. You can't go tell the players to do it over.
The best part about track is that the events are all scheduled, and you know exactly where the athletes are going to be running or jumping. This allows you to plan ahead for some creative angles. The worst part about track is that a lot of events are happening at the same time, and you obviously can’t be in two places at once. So get yourself a schedule and plan what events you will be photographing. Look at different shooting positions. Can you get some interesting angles from the stands? Can you get inside the track? I took this low angle silhouette photo by focusing on the first hurdle and then setting my camera on the ground and composing the image. I employed manual exposure to expose for the sky and used a 17mm lens at f/14 at 1/1000 to stop the action.
Expose for the sky to create interesting silhouette photos. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Try to capture the intensity and emotion of sports as well as peak action.
I captured the jubilation as the pole vaulter realized she just set a new state record. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Don't worry if you can't get on the field. I also like to shoot from different positions from the stands with a 400mm lens. I find that from this position I can get cleaner backgrounds and more artistic sports images.
Shoot from the stands for some interesting shadows and angles. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Look for jubilation at home plate after a home run. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Another artistic way to capture amazing sports action is by panning. When photographing a moving athlete, the panning technique is achieved by keeping your main subject in the frame for the entire time of the exposure. The slower your shutter speed, the more unusual and interesting the effect. Pre-focus on the runner’s lane and start following your subject before you press the shutter release button. I generally tuck my elbows into my chest and turn at my waist, following my main subject as I press the shutter release button. Follow the runner all the way through and do not jerk or stop your camera as you are shooting. Don't be afraid to use your motor drive if you have one. Generally, the faster your subject, the faster your shutter speed. This technique will take some practice and some experimenting with different shutter speeds to get your desired image.
I followed the leader of this event by panning and using a slow shutter speed to create this artistic image. This picture was taken a few frames before the below image. Photo taken at f/29 at 1/40th of a second at 200 ISO. ©David Liam Kyle.com
You can tell she is a smooth runner and that I some how panned perfectly because her face is tack sharp and the rest has motion blur. I usually follow the rule of thirds when positioning the main subject but wanted her to run into the image and also show that she was leading the race. Photo taken at f/29 at 1/40th of a second at 200 ISO. ©David Liam Kyle.com
Practice like an athlete. Be dedicated and determined in your efforts to get great photographs.