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Football photo day!

I blogged awhile back about having a two day span of shooting that I was excited about. A fashion shoot one day, and two of the top quarterbacks in the nation the next. As you may have seen, the quarterbacks were published on the front of today’s college football preview section. It is always a task thinking up good ideas for sports preview covers and then trying to organize the shoot, and get the people on board who I need to help me. This usually includes Sports Information staff at UK and sometimes other schools.The last few years Louisville has figured into my cover shoots with star quarterback Brian Brohm. I began shooting Brian when he was a senior in high school at Trinity. It was a fairly quick shoot that day and the photos I got from the shoot went over great. Brian loved the shot too and we got to be friends over the next few years. It always helps to have whomever you are shooting working with you, and being a part of the process. Whether it be a certain expression you are working to get, or pulling them to a location that is out of the norm.This may sound fairly simple but getting two of the nations top quarterbacks to get together takes a little planning. No school wants to go too far, or to the other school for example so some neutral ground is sought out. Luckily for me this was not a hard thing this year as the Governor’s Cup luncheon was in Simpsonville, Ky. this year so we all agreed the shoot would take place there.Soon after we were asked if we minded sharing time with the Courier-Journal who wanted to shoot the same thing. THEN we were told that ESPN was doing a shot of Brian Brohm that day too. I was not concerned about the extra photo shoots as long as it did not cut into my shoot time, which is usually limited to under half and hour. I took our intern, Tricia Spaulding, with me to help with the light set up, and transport, and since she was going our photo director, Ron Garrison, thought it would be a good time for her to shoot her first video. Here it is for your enjoyment as a record of a condensed photo shoot featuring photographers from other publications, some golfers who were at the site that day seeking autographs, and even the re-emergence of the old Crown Graphic camera I break out for special assignments!

Some Errors We Can’t Correct

June 12, 2007 by David Perry  
Filed under Behind the Photo, David Perry, Lighting



Note: It has come to the photographer’s attention that the light stand leg intrudes into the extreme right of the photo.  The photographer regrets the error, but won’t use the computer to remove it.

This wide-angle photo above was run in the newspaper June 2.  I was lighting room interiors with an on-camera bounce flash, and added a bounce flash on a light stand in the hallway.  The hallway was through the opening at extreme right.  I wasn’t too pleased when I discovered, back at the office, a light stand leg (top photo enlargement) poking through the opening.  Cropping tightly, I eliminated most of it.  But what I didn’t, and ethically can’t do, was to eliminate the intrusion with our Photoshop software.  The feeling at the Herald-Leader is, once we start with something “innocuous” as this, the public just won’t trust us not to alter photos.
(Canon 5-D, 16-35mm at 19mm;  400 ISO;  1/50th sec. at f3.5;  Strobes:  Canon 430EX at 1/4 power, on camera.  Nikon SB-26, 1/4 power, on stand.)

Battle of Perryville

October 8, 2006 by David Stephenson  
Filed under David Stephenson, Lighting


This is my second time covering the Battle of Perryville reenactment which took place this weekend. It was designated as the National Reenactment this year which meant that there would be thousands more reenactors than usual.

I covered Friday’s happenings so we could get something in the paper on Saturday, letting readers know about the event. I focused on the soldiers from both camps as they prepared for the next day’s battles. I also recorded some audio and put together an audio slideshow that night.

The photo above is of a group of ambrotypes drying on a rack. These photos were shot by Wendell Decker of Vintage Image Studios in Bowling Green (sorry, he doesn’t have a web site). He uses original wet plate technology to shoot photos of the reenactors on site.

Saturday morning I arrived at 6 a.m. to shoot the sunrise battle. It was a beautiful morning, with a setting, full, Harvest Moon. Some fog hung close to the ground. It was so dark, I couldn’t even see anything but I finally heard the cavalry moving across a field about 150 yards from me. Then, the most stunning thing happened. The spectators who had arrived to watch the battle began taking photos with their point and shoots. Flashes started firing along the rope line where the spectators were assembled. I set the camera at a slow shutter speed and took an educated guess at the focus. I had hoped that during the 1/2 second exposure that I might catch someone’s flash.

Canon 1DMkII
Lens (mm): 70-200 2.8
ISO: 1600
Aperture: 2.8
Shutter: 1/2

The battle soon began, and there wasn’t even a hint of sunrise. All I could see was the blaze of fire coming from the end of muskets. I couldn’t find anything to focus on, and the battlefield was soon filled with fog and smoke, making it even more difficult to see. Witnessing it in person was a sight to behold. Thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers, scores of horses, all facing off and shooting at each other in the predawn light. The sound was just as exhilarating as the scene.

I kept shooting as the sky began to lighten. Finally, the sun began to creep up over the trees. But almost as soon as the light hit the battlefield, the fighting stopped. My first frame was shot at 6:41 a.m. The final frame was at 8:14 a.m.

Visit to view a multimedia show from both days of shooting the Battle of Perryville.


Canon 1DMkII
Lens (mm): 24-70 2.8
ISO: 400
Aperture: 4.0
Shutter: 1/13

Experimentation pays off…

July 8, 2006 by admin  
Filed under Lighting


Alright this may not be a new technique, but it was something I wanted to try to do.  On July 7 I received probably the most fun assignment I have been given all summer.  The assignment was to photograph Samantha Mahoney, a Kentucky basketball player, who has spent the last month or so training like a boxer.  Her goal is to be a tougher basketball player by becoming accustomed to getting knocked around.  Anyway I shot the normal assignment stuff (which turned up some nice frames too) while Mahoney trained with her coach.  While I was shooting that stuff I noticed through the view finder that the sun was really strong through the bank of windows on the front wall.  I have seen this technique before but wasn’t sure of how it was done.

Mahoney finished up and I kind of thought I was done, but now it was reporter Jen Smith’s turn to work.  For some reason I decided to hang out.  Jen was done interviewing Mahoney and began interviewing her coach.  I noticed that Mahoney was sitting over by the ring just hanging out as well.  So I wondered if she would let me experiment a little and went over and asked her if she wanted to try something with me.  I wouldn’t say she was exactly eager but she agreed.  I told her I had an idea I wanted to try following Ron Garrison’s lighting class I had taken last semester and she seemed to be a little more interested ( I think she said "There’s a whole class about lighting?").  Anyway, I asked her to sit in front of the large window and started "testing" the digital way.  After a few frames I chimped and made a few adjustments.  So I began overexposing in order to blow out the background detail (which was a really lame parking lot).  Once I got it to where I wanted I then started working on a the composition and liked the feel of this one.

I may not have executed it 100% correctly but the result was close to the picture I had in my head, which is what I want to work on.  I want to try the technique again correcting what I think I did wrong and hopefully my future experiments will work out.

Basketball Hail Mary

January 18, 2006 by admin  
Filed under Behind the Photo, Lighting, Sports


If you have ever had to cover a high school basketball game, you know the obstacles that come into play. On the list is the crowded gym, cheerleaders at both ends of the floor stretching from one sideline to the other, and having to deal with the refs moving in and out of your frame. Most troublesome for photographers is the poor lighting in high school gyms.
On this particular night, one of the officials had concrete for shoes. He stood in one place, and it seemed as if he was always in front of me. After about 3 or 4 minutes of not being able to make an exposure from where I was standing, I decided to move to the other side of the floor to get away from this official.
While action was at the other end of the floor, I weaved my way through the cheerleaders. As luck would have it, the home team stole the ball and was racing to the end of the floor where I was shooting. The player that had stolen the ball lost control and along with him, two players from the other team dove to the floor for the loose ball. Without thinking or looking, I turned the camera behind me and fired from the hip (also known as a Hail Mary among some photo circles).
Was I ever surprised to see the image. This frame ran as the centerpiece art on our sports front in our Saturday morning publication. It pays to be lucky. To capture his frame, I used a Nikon D2H digital camera with a 28mm to 70mm lens. My exposure was 250th at F2.8 with an ISO of 400. I lit one end of the floor with 2 Nikon flashes that I had put in the corners of the gym and fired them by remote control.

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