Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Competitive Image Blog has Moved

I am once again writing and as such, I have moved my blog.

Come and visit if you get a chance.

There will be lots to share as I get ready to shoot the 2012 London Olympics.



Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 is Going to be Great!

It is almost hard to believe that we are at the start of a new year, so filled with opportunity and fun.

Although I am working on several blog entries that you will start to see in the next days, I am curious if any of our blog readers have any specific sports photography questions or issues you would like to see us try and address. Let me know what you think and we will do our best to get you an answer!

Blogs in process include a photo recap of 2009, the Rules of Sports Photography and a Film Producer’s view of DSLR videos.

Here is our first published shot for the new year, which subscribers to Triathlete Magazine will see in the mail this week.

More soon!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pocket Wizard Blog about Competitive Image

We are thrilled to be featured in the recent Pocket Wizard Blog entry.

Thanks to our friends at Pocket Wizard and for making such great products!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Ironman is on NBC on Saturday December 19th

Ok, I wasn't there this year, but I will be there in 2010!

I have always said that I could never go to the Ironman in Kona, it is just too soon after the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon (1 week). This year, Jonathan (my key moto partner and big event image editor), said - 'it's simple, we shoot on Sunday, rest on Monday, on Tuesday you go to Kona, and I start the edit!'

This year I was in Clearwater for the Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship, if I hadn't been convinced to go to Kona before that, I was at the race.

Even without the amazing Kona scenery look at the finish line set up - a great visual! (watch for the cover of the upcoming Road to Kona / Road to Clearwater supplement to Triathlete Magazine.)

Watch it this Saturday (12/19), DVR it for later, a great race, great stories and amazing visuals!

While you maybe dreaming of training and qualifying, I will be working on my shot list and my travel schedule.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What do we do in the winter? Head to the pool!

As Minnesota-based sports photographers who spend much of the warm months shooting for Triathlete Magazine and the ITU (International Triathlon Union), people always ask what we do in the winter! In part, we put on all of the clothes that we own and go out and shoot Alpine and Nordic Skiing. But during the winter, we also sit around and talk about how to get the coolest race shots for the next year.

We always start with the premise that you don’t just take a great shot, you have to make a great shot. It is not enough just to be at an event, a truly great shot takes planning – lots of planning. In addition to planning a great shot often requires special equipment and practice. Even with all of this – you still have to get lucky! But to paraphrase Louis Pasteur – Luck favors the prepared mind.

We first started using Pocket Wizard™ for the Medtronic Twin Cities 1 Mile race in May 2008 (see our July 13, 2008 post). While we got the shot, as sports photographers our primary issue was that the maximum sync speed (1/250) was not sufficient stop the action (keeping in mind that for a 1 mile race at a 4:00 pace, the runners are going at 22 feet / second.) Even with a 4 flash set up; we had trouble getting a clean shot.

In October 2008 as the Official Photographer for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, we were again challenged with difficult lighting conditions – the finish of the Women’s US National Championship 10 Mile race was before 8:00 AM and even if it were a nice day, there would be very strong side lighting. As it turned out, it wasn’t a nice day at all and we really needed the light. Again we mounted our Pocket Wizards and got the shot (see our November 29, 2008 post)

When the Radio Poppers Remotes were announced we had great hope of finally being about to get a high-speed sync, however the Radio Poppers had a confirmation signal that would prevent shooting at a high frame rate (that would be more than 1 frame at a time.)

This spring Pocket Wizard announced the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 for Canon and we were eager to try it! As the race season went on and travel and other commitments took over, we never got a chance to test the new gear in a race situation.

With the 2009 Triathlon race season now in the books, we went to the pool to try the new Pocket Wizards, as well as our new Ewa-Marine housing.

Our goal was two-fold; to develop a new technique for getting some creative triathlon swim images for the 2010 season, and to present some concepts to wetsuit and apparel manufacturers for photos.

With the help of our friend Coach Kris Swarthout of SCS Multisport, we arranged to use their pool. Arriving at 5:00 AM to set up, the athletes arriving at 6:00 ready to shoot. We had to be out of the pool by 7:30.

We used three Canon 580 EX II strobes, two on light stands and one, which was hand-held and used a Honl grid. Although we tried using shoot through umbrellas that were masked to avoid throwing too much light to the front, we found this to be much too soft for what we wanted and ultimately used the strobe with a flag.

As we were balancing the lighting I took a couple shots of Julie at 1/8000; f 5.6. The high shutter speed killed the ambient lighting and created an amazing portrait of a pensive athlete getting ready to race.

Next we wanted to simulate a powerful swim exit shot. Minneapolis Elite Triathlete Curt, was happy to oblige with physical power to spare. We show at 1/6400, f7.1 and had each of the side 580’s at +2 stops, while the hand-held unit was at -1 stop.

Still using the remote lighting, we had the athletes swim past us. We still had three lights set up, although moved in much closer. This was the most complicated shot, not just from the lighting standpoint, but the timing of the position of the swimmer’s arm. Here is our favorite shot of Kim.

For our final series of shots, I took off the Pocket Wizard and mounted the 580 EX II directly on the camera. The good news is that the EWA Marine U-BXP 100 is an easy fit with my Canon 1D Mark III and the 580 flash. There is even enough room for the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1, if I am shooting above water. Even underwater we went with the high-speed sync and shot David at 1/3200 at f7.1.

We can't use the Pocket Wizards here due to the inability to transmit radio signals underwater.

Thanks to our good friend Kerry Yndestad of YndeCam who was on hand shoot some production photos and video, you can get a better idea of what we did. Take a look his really cool video!

In all we shot two separate mornings, had a great time and tested our skills in a new environment. You will just have to wait to see what we get next race season, but with the new high-speed sync of the Mini TT1 and the Flex TT5, my bet is that we will be using Pocket Wizards even more in 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Looking Back and Looking Forward

Of the many great things that happened in 2009, keeping up with our blog was not one of them. As we are winding down 2009, I am taking a few minutes to share a few things about the fun, the events and the people we have been able to work with in 2009, as well as a commitment to have more frequent posts in 2010.

The short version of our 2009 highlights, in a nominal chronological order included:
•Alpine Ski Racing;
• Nordic Ski Racing;
• A Wheaties Box (Hunter Kemper);
• Wheaties reception with Peyton Manning;
• A grandson (Nolan – a very big highlight)
• The US 1 Mile Road Championship;
• 3 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Races, including the ITU Duathlon World Championship (Double truck – First Wave Photo – Triathlete);
• 3 Toyota Cup Series Triathlon Races (Minneapolis, Chicago [Double truck – First Wave Photo – Triathlete] and Dallas);
• 2 Ironman Triathlons (Lake Placid and Wisconsin);
• Twin Cities Marathon Weekend of Events (Double truck opening spread for Runner’s World 2010 Marathon Guide);
• Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championships (Cover – Road to Clearwater – Supplement to Triathlete Magazine)
• Shooting 2010 cover for Triathlete Magazine.

There was also some more fun stuff, with pocket wizards and remote lights, remote mounted cameras and more.
Clearly the best part of 2009 was the great people that I get to work with! We have an amazing group of smart, passionate, talented photographers who all enjoy working together and making a great photo! Contributing to our 2009 successes were:

• Kevin Coloton;
• Mike Bradshaw;
• Jacob Gibb;
• Bob Kupbens; and
• Jonathan Phillips.

Over the next few days and weeks I will be updating our blog with some details around the highlights, but it just wouldn't be right to have a post and not include a photo or two!

Here is Bob (you don't have to be from M.I.T. to get this to work, but it helps) Kupbens, making sure our remote camera is firing prior to the start of the 2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Here is our shot, just as the gun has gone off! Runners starting their watches and the sun rising in the background. Check out our limited edition print.

Finally, here is how Runner's World magazine used the image for the opening of their 2010 Marathon Guide, appearing in the January 2010 issue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More about the Billie Award Nomination - Portrait of Passion

Ok, I admit it, the nomination has gone to my head a bit! It is really very satisfying to have the recognition of even the nomination. From the outset of the project our goal was to create an inspirational book for teenage girls by showing them these great role models and as such it to have this recognition from the Women's Sports Foundation is amazing.

When I was shooting the book and spending so much time with the team, I often told them that while I may be the publisher and the photographer, Portrait of Passion is really their book! Just in case you haven't see our website, below is a brief slide show of these amazing women.

Take a Picture of Me Smiling was composed by our Creative Director - Carl Franzen.