So I didn’t shoot a HUGE amount this week…in fact, I feel like this week has been rather unproductive by my standards.

Monday I didn’t touch the camera – I wrote a HUGE blog post instead…and then Tuesday, I decided to try and pick up a quick profile portrait job of some FSU Baseball players to help out the FSView & Florida Flambeau (because, I still “work” for them, even if I don’t shoot for them much anymore. I ended up only sending in like three pictures, and only one of them got used, since two of the players I was supposed to be shooting ended up being unavailable. (Also, this post is going to have an “I shoot RAW (and why you should too)” theme to it).

Before and after some post-processing…

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I was honestly surprised when I picked up the week’s paper Thursday morning to see my image, as a giant cutout on a two-fold spread!

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But come Tuesday evening, I was really starting to feel a little under the weather…My throat was really sore, and that’s never a good omen, and I’d been coughing and struggling with my breathing during my swim workout that day.

[Insert, that doesn’t follow the story line here, but I liked the iPhone image that I took while coaching…]

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And sure enough, when I woke up early wednesday morning to go study  prior to my 8:00 class…ugh, my sinuses were simultaneously so stopped up I couldn’t breathe through my nose, BUT my nose was still able to run…GROSS. And so after my 8:00 calculus class was over, I texted a couple buddies asking for notes from my later classes that day, and went home to rest and study for my exam the next day.

While home, I lucked up and was able to turn on the TV and watch Megan Campbell (an Irish National soccer player, and a former FSU player) play in here [first?] professional soccer match, which I thought was super neat.

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And I have never been one to sit still for extended periods of time, even when I’m feeling poorly, and I really wanted to take a study break, and find a way to “sort of” work out, and so I figured that an anaerobic exercise like a plank would be a an easy quick thing to do. But the weather was beautiful, and I hadn’t done anything creative or artsy with my camera in a while, so I thought I’d take a self-portrait of me doing a plank!

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Yes. I’m wearing plaid PJs. Yes, I sort of did that intentionally, since I thought it would make a cool picture. And for those that are curious, I went for a personal record: 6:04.

That night, I wend back to campus, for some extra studying, even though I did still feel poorly…but I brought my camera, and thought this shot was cool, since it’s a slightly different field of view than anyone really sees, and since I hardly ever walk that way…

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Thursday, I was up very early to study, and then take a calc exam. Didn’t touch the camera until late that evening…after I finished coaching, I stopped by Publix to get dinner for my brother and I, and although I was still feeling pretty BLECK I decided “what the heck!” I’ll peruse the liquor store next door. Ended up buying a bottle of Fireball, sort of as a good luck token to a local triathlete I knew racing the Ultraman Florida Triathlon Friday-Sunday. The bottle was kind of cool looking in my opinion, and I didn’t have a HUGE amount of school work to accomplish, so I figured I’d try and make a product shot out of it.

This is going to be a semi-technical description for the photo-nerds out there, mostly since I was really proud of engineering it up, for the rest of you, feel free to skip down to the picture, and then continue reading or skimming.

I started with the bottle in our dark garage, lit from behind with my iPhone flashlight. After exposing for the backlit bottle, I added a remote triggered flash in, mounted on a monopod, zoomed in to 120mm so the flash spread was as narrow as possible, set on 1/128 power (the lowest), and had my brother hold it about 16-24″ directly above the top of the bottle. I then toyed around with the exposure until it was just right, and added a large piece of black cardstock I had from a previous photo escapade as the background.

Dropped it into Adobe Lightroom, pushed up the colors and sharpness in the label, lowered clarity and sharpness in the top of the bottle to reduce the dusty look, smoothed out the white/black transition, and then desaturated the blue channels so the concrete in the bottom of the image wasn’t tinted, and appeared spotlight-white.

Boom.

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And then one just for comparison, without the overhead flash:

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You can actually see my iPhone in this one, in the top of the bottle…

Friday, I felt worse than I did Thursday: I sounded like a troll, and was having an especially hard time breathing. Time to skip class and visit the doctor! After spending the majority of the day at the doctors office, and then working on some homework, I still needed to coach, but showed up early, just to play with my crop sensor camera, the teleconverter, and the zoom lens in good light, since I still haven’t nailed down all of my focus settings there…

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Saturday, I felt significantly better, but still not 100% well, but wanted to go support two of the kids that I coach outside of the pool, and shoot some pictures of them at their respective soccer matches.

Peewee soccer…well, that was just funny and cute. The kids really emote, and I was quite easily able to fill the frame and keep up with the ball…but I had a good time, and the parents and the little boy were quite pleased.

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Then I went a few fields over, and shot some club soccer a couple years older…

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Also insert random picture of the opposing team’s coach, because I liked her tattoo and BOKEH!

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Went home after that, edited, exported, shared, backed up…did some homework…then got into the meat of my weekend!

Softball…!(?)! A sport (like baseball) that I know precious little about. But the sports information director is the same as the one for soccer, and had asked if I would be interested in shooting it this season, and I said “sure, for the games that don’t conflict with coaching!”

Enter, my first two games shooting softball. Note, some of these are edited (very few of them), and most are straight out of camera JPGs (with some cropping).

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This one’s edited…and another good reason to shoot RAW! I thought auto-ISO was turned on…not turned on…

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^That one’s edited. I sent in a cropped JPG of it, but wanted to see if I could eliminate some of the noise/grain that resulted from the poor lighting, and either cropping at relatively high ISOs, or shooting with the teleconverter on at night, at even higher ISOs.

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What it currently looks like when I cull, tag, edit, and upload images on site…iPad for the win! Don’t care if it looks unprofessional and [currently] lacks the ability to caption, but it gets people pictures faster!

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And then two iPhone panoramas…24534491793_b01cdedada_k25042919262_f741b2e686_k

And that summed up Saturday evening…(I think. If I happen to accidentally throw in an image from yesterday into the mix of images from today…well, my apologies)

And only one game today! In good light…because the night lighting in the softball stadium, is, well, fairly atrocious.

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I was initially pretty bored with the image above…but after looking at it for a bit, and editing the RAW file, I have decided that I’m actually quite enamored. I got the idea after seeing a softball girl’s Instagram page, and a phone panorama she’d posted…so today I grabbed the fisheye in between games (there was a tournament – but FSU only played once today), and snapped this. Just all of the STUFF that’s going on, well, I think it makes it interesting.25084813951_c438e350bf_k25059036662_7240b8704f_k25177282055_f6c2be9157_k24550438833_8697b0c541_k24809566159_3cd0fc58f0_k25151554826_37ee28aeab_k

^This one’s edited: I submitted a cropped JPG, and then went home and played with the shadows so you can see her face a bit more.

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Love seeing athletes from other sports out supporting the school!

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And – final image, of the blog post, and of the day!

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So, if you stuck with me through the post:

A) I’m sorry the narrative was how I was sick/not feeling awesome for most of the week, but the prednisone helped out a TON yesterday and today, and that was really the only cohesive means I had to write a blog post about the whole week, since to me, the week has felt scattered and been a rather poor one for me…

B) I hope I got all the pictures in the post I wanted to…sometimes I accidentally skip them, but oh well.

C) Shoot RAW

D) Thanks for reading, and know that I’m not pleased with my softball pictures yet – there is much work to be done there, both with understanding the game, and then subsequently shooting it.

[Also, random edit: I love my Joby GorillaPod, it’s ever so useful for mounting my camera in unique places, and taking videos of me being bad at soccer juggling…]

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As always, thanks for your time,
Best regards,
-Colin

 

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