Football Tips

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here are a few tips to help you get better football pictures this fall.

First, arrive early and set up your gear for shooting sports. I recommend using the AUTO ISO setting the shutter speed to 1/2000, and having the range of the ISO from the lowest to the highest that your camera recommends.

The Nikon D4 recommends ISO 100 – 12800, and if you need to for a specific situation, you can push this ISO as high as 204800, but anything above 12800, you will notice significant noise levels. But sometimes, that is all you can do on some High School football fields.

I didn’t have the newest Nikon Z9 when I took these photos, but the Z9 native sensitivity of ISO 64-25,600, with expansion to ISO 32-102,400, makes it even easier today to get those moments.

I would also use Custom White Balance using the ExpoDisc. I recommend setting the white balance with your shutter speed below 1/100 to get a more accurate reading. Then select your shutter speed to 1/2000. The Sodium Vapor lights used at many venues have the same problem as fluorescent lights–they are pulsing rather than a constant light source.

Nikon D4: Sports Camera Setting

Nikon D5: Sports Camera Settings

My Nikon Z9 Sports Settings

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

With the cameras all set, you next need to pick a team to feature for the moment. It isn’t easy to cover both teams at the same time. When you choose a group, try to stay in front of the direction they are facing when they line up.

I love to use longer lenses like the 600mm and shoot from an end zone.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1600

I have captured the Titan’s defense pursuing the quarterback in this photo. So the caption works well for this photo.

St. Pius X Golden Lions #18 QB Reed Egan looks for an open man downfield while Blessed Trinity Titans #74 Matthew Castner and #16 JD Bertrand pursue him Friday night, August 28, 2015, in Roswell, GA.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Blessed Trinity Titans #16 JD Bertrand outruns St. Pius X Golden Lions #8 Cameron Fannon for the first touchdown Friday night, August 28, 2015, in Roswell, GA.

I got this break-away play because I was in front of where they were going and not where they had been.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250

The other thing about being downfield is the background, for the most part is a lot cleaner than the sidelines.

For this last photo: Blessed Trinity Titans #13 Conor Davis looks for some running room while being pursued by St. Pius X Golden Lions #2 Winston O’Striker Friday night August 28, 2015, in Roswell, GA.

Position yourself where you see the faces of your team rather than the backs of their helmets.

Best Advice for Football

Learn all you can about the game, the team, and the plays they like to run. It would help if you were as prepared as the visiting team coaches are for the game to anticipate the plays so you can be in a position to capture the play as it unfolds. You cannot get consistently good photos from constantly reacting to what is happening. You get great results from anticipating.

One more tip from my friend Billy Calzada, Photo/Multimedia Journalist at San Antonio Express-News, “Do a little homework. My meat and potatoes in football are third down and long passing situations. So, before each game, I find out who the leading receiver is on each team, and on third and long, I anticipate a pass to that player. Also, I Sharpie those players’ numbers on my arm for quick reference.”

How to add HSS Sync to the latest cameras using PocketWizard Flex system

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

Getting this type of photo of the hummingbird, I used the PocketWizard Flex system to help trigger my Nikon SB-900 and SB-800 flashes using TTL HSS.

I started to shoot this with my Nikon D750, but it wasn’t working. I quickly realized the PocketWizard system wasn’t working with the Nikon D750. That was easy to fix.

I fired up the Macbook Pro, plugged my PocketWizard TT5 and later the mini TT1, and updated the firmware to the latest version.

If you wonder what is up with the green tape, I use it to help me know which channel on the PocketWizard.

I have the small Mini TT1 on the camera with the AC-3. I have A Channel marked Orange, and C Channel marked Green.

The first thing I had to do was update the PocketWizard Utility to the latest 1.58 version.

The website for updating the utility lists all the hardware and the latest firmware. In addition, you can click on the release notes to see what they improved.

Once I downloaded the software, I then had to install it.

Then the PocketWizard Utility alerted me to download the latest firmware. I had the PocketWizard TT5 plugged in, so it knew which firmware I needed.

After the update, the utility shows you a picture of the device you have plugged in with the serial number and gives you all the specs, including the firmware version.

Now I can easily use the system with my Nikon D750, which was newer than the PocketWizards, thus the reason for the need for a firmware upgrade.

PocketWizard’s newest firmware platform taps into the camera’s digital communications to enable a new remote flash capability through our proven radio system. ControlTL allows remote i-TTL for Nikon CLS / i-TTL systems and Manual Power Control. In addition, ControlTL firmware is configurable and upgradeable for “future-proof” continuous improvement.


Go to all the websites of your camera gear and be sure all your equipment has the latest firmware. If you are unsure how to do this, use Google to search for your camera gear and add the word firmware.

Photographing Hummingbirds with Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S & a High-Speed Sync Flash

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

The hummingbird bird feeder we have is close to the house. I have a door with many window panes where I put the two hot shoe flashes using TTL to control their output.

I kept the camera on a tripod, so I had very little to do except shoot when the hummingbirds came.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
The color is so much better than just available light.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
For comparison, this is the photo I posted yesterday with the Fuji X-E2 and the 55-200mm.
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000
You can’t shoot high-speed sync flash with the Fuji system I know how to use. Maybe later.

Capturing Hummingbirds with Fuji X-E2 with 55-200mm

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000

I may have accidentally gotten a photo of a hummingbird in the past, but now with a feeder on our back porch, I think I will make a better attempt for the first time.

I realize the feeder placement may need to change, and I may need strobes to make these fast birds pop.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500

So to take these photos, I had my Fujifilm X-E2 camera on a tripod, and I used the Android Fuji app to fire the camera.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500

I did this because as I stood there with the camera, the birds would come flying in and quickly see me behind the glass and take off. So either I build a blind, which I might do to hide from the birds, or I can use the remote and go and sit down and wait till I see the pop into view on my phone screen.


The only thing is there is a delay with the shutter.


Here are the screen grabs from the app:



The APP will disconnect you from your present Wi-Fi connection and look for the Fuji X-E2.
Once connected, you can touch the screen where you want the camera to focus as long as you are in AF mode. You can control all the functions of the camera that I could test.
Now that I have captured a few photos of the hummingbird, I will now try to get a better picture in the future and, hopefully, a few different breeds.

Are you stuck in Ground Hog Day like Bill Murray’s character Phil was in the 1993 movie?

Back in 1993, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell starred in Groundhog Day. It was a story where a weatherman repeatedly found himself living the same day.

He is learning from his mistakes and even intentionally makes terrible choices due to his bad attitude.

While I would love to wake up each day looking like I did in college, that just isn’t happening.

Here I am with my Nikon FM2 and the Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/4. The ƒ/2.8 would come later.

The lesson of Groundhog Day was elementary; you don’t get 2nd chance, so do your best to make your actions positive. You reap what you sow, as the saying goes.

“Moore’s law” is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. The observation is named after Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit,[note 1] and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975, looking forward to the next decade, he revised the forecast to doubling every two years. – Wikipedia

From 1975 until a couple of years, this still holds pretty true. Moore’s law had an incredible impact on the rest of society and particularly on photography.

In the last 14 months, Sony has introduced 11+ top-end mirrorless cameras. A few years ago, we were talking about short-duration flash to stop objects, and now we are talking about High-Speed Sync as a way to stop action using strobes.

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson


How much have you spent on gear the last few years, and then how much have you spent on education? Most of us would benefit by spending more on education than on equipment.

Here are some great educational opportunities I recommend, for example:

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson

I believe the best way to learn is by doing and having someone with you teaching you as you are doing. The workshops I lead are about hands-on experience and the instructors speaking about your project as you work on it. Bill Murray’s character Phil in the movie Groundhog Day used the repeat of a day as a workshop where he learned from his mistakes. Since Groundhog Day movie is fictional, we have to look for other ways to learn how to make the best choices so we can stop the insanity of not growing but just feeling miserable. I would love to work with you and help you develop some new skills to help you be better prepared and anticipate what clients need. Give me a call or write to me so I can save a spot for you this January in Chiapas, Mexico.

President Jimmy Carter and my fellow Photojournalists have something in common.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500

I was blessed today to see former President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School at his hometown, Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/3.5, 1/15

To get this opportunity, I realized last week when he announced his diagnosis with cancer that I had put off hearing him teach for too long. So I immediately went to the church’s website to see when he was teaching. Here is where you go to see when he is teaching

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

I was there when every network was there covering the lesson. Here are some of the sound bites from today’s lesson.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/250

 After the service, my wife and I took photos with the Carters.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 10000, ƒ/8, 1/500

The Atlanta Journal & Constitution sent Ben Gray to cover the event. I enjoyed watching my colleagues work while taking it easy as a spectator.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500

Here is the Associated Press photographer David Goldman acknowledging he is on the other side of the lens for once.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1100, ƒ/8, 1/500

Here, Ben Gray is taking a photo of the caption information and ensuring it is with the image for later when he sends this back to the office for publication. In the background is David Goldman talking about a subject he just finished interviewing.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/500

I ran into Ben Gray later downtown, where he was filing photos from outside the store while his family was inside shopping. He brought his family to enjoy the historical moment with him.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500

You could see the media taking places where they could find them. For example, another photographer is editing and filing under a tree in front of Maranatha Baptist Church.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160

The day before, I hosted the Christians in Photojournalism group at my church in Roswell. So here is Patrick Murphy-Racey, a Sony Artisan, giving us the inside scoop on Sony’s latest cameras.

In the past, Ben Gray has been the keynote speaker. Other times we have had other journalists speak. Photojournalists need to know their colleagues. We try to help each other when and where we can, but we still must also work hard to get the angle others are missing.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/140

David Stembridge shares some of his work with the group during our 5-minute shows. This time is where anyone can show their work to the group in just 5-minutes.

You see, photojournalists care deeply. They care for their subjects, and they care for the public. We care that we are informed about our fellow man.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160

Just like President Jimmy Carter was a statesman, he was also a Sunday School Teacher. Today was lesson 698 in Plains, GA. Here is photojournalist Patrick Murphy-Racey, a Catholic Deacon who is blending the technical aspects of photography with his faith.

Patrick said, “They say you can never step into the same stream of water because the water is constantly moving. I must stay abreast of technology because when I step on the floor each morning from my bed just like the stream, I cannot expect it to be the same as yesterday.”

Today President Carter boiled down the responsibilities of the Christian as simply as “loving the Lord your God with all your heart and to also love the person in front of you, no matter friend or enemy.”

He talked today about dealing with conflict. For example, he said, “Real estate is all about location, location, location. Conflict resolution is all about communication, communication, communication.”

While President Jimmy Carter saw his calling as through public service by holding public office, photojournalists see our calling as the role of the communicator. We are helping make our world a better place to live by helping us see our conflicts and helping us see the solutions as well.

President Jimmy Carter and photojournalists believe in serving, and our ability to communicate is key to our effectiveness.

Shooting HS Football Look for Competition

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here are four photos from the same play. Which one would you choose to use if you were the editor for a publication?

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

The runner is now further down the field. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

I think the first two are better than the last one because you can see the other team is just missing tackles. This photo gives you a sense of competition. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Now, this last photo is the runner scoring. Is this as important as creating the tension of the actual play? You can say in the caption he scored. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here the defensive player is reaching for the ball, making you wonder if he will go down. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250

Now, in this photo, you know the guy is going down. So not as much tension. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/800

Here this runner is going out of bounds. Not even the team is all that concerned in this photo because there is not much tension. 

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

The offensive player may get by but watch the sidelines. Now you can’t make this happen, but you can position yourself to get more possibilities. I like to shoot from the endzone to capture more expressions and people running towards the goal, which is where I am. The players look like they are running in the direction of the audience.

Throw Back Thursday tips for copying old photographs


Throwback Thursday

If you are on social media, you know that today people post old photos and remember loved ones. This is a photo of my little sister with our great grandmother “Mama Benfield, and me.”

Our family had a print of this, which is how I made a copy of the photo.

I put the photo on a table and, using a tripod, set the camera parallel to the table. I put two hot shoe flashes off to the sides at 45º to the table. I got good exposure and custom white balance.

The custom white balance is to counteract any color bounce from the room.

Then I took a stack of photos and copied away shooting in RAW.

My grandfather R. Knolan Benfield
My grandmother Emma Hartsell Benfield
My mother, Bonita Benfield Leary
My sister Emma and my Dad David Leary with me
My sister Emma, my grandfather “Daddy B,” and grandmother “Nana B.”

I brought all the photos into Lightroom. I kept them in color and made adjustments using the sliders. Here is the first photo.

After I made all the adjustments using Temp and Tint, even for contrast control, I switched the photo to Black and White before exporting.

The good news with all this copy work is now they are digitized and searchable.

After I exported the images as JPEGs, I opened them with PhotoMechanic, which I prefer over Lightroom when working in metadata, and identified each photo in the caption. So now, for the first time, we know when for example, my mother had this photo taken of her.

Now on PC or Mac, when you search for “Bonita Leary 3rd Grade,” this photo will pop up in the search even if you don’t have the software to see the embedded text.

As you scan old slides and negatives and then make copies of your prints, be sure to add the text so they are searchable, and in the future, your family will know the who, what, where, why, and when for the photos. Identification will make them even more valuable to the generations after us.

Why Photography/Photojournalism is an Awesome Career

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

This simple photo of Claudio Cesar Aguirre, who is helping run a Chicken Coop in San Esteban, Olancho, Honduras, helped to get funds for micro-loans to help the community change. As a result, people are now living longer, healthier lives and gaining access to better education.

Yes, there are countless examples of where photos have changed the course of history from the civil rights movement, helped to change public opinion on the Vietnam War, helped to end the apartheid in South Africa, and recently has the public upset about ISIS.

Do you want to make the world a better place to live? If you are a person that sees injustice happening to people and feel people need to do something, then this might be the best job you could ever have.

People become doctors, lawyers, social workers, nurses, and many other professions to make a difference in people’s lives.

What if instead of being a doctor taking care of patients, you were the pharmacist researcher and came up with a cure for a disease? Think about how your discovery would help more people than you could have ever seen in your lifetime.

What if, instead of being a defense attorney, you became an elected official and changed policy? You could impact far more than one person at a time.

Being a photographer has that kind of compounded interest impact. You can’t go worldwide and share the story one-on-one, but your photos can. So many of my photos have impacted millions of people. Not all the images have the impact I wish, but many have and will.

John Howard Griffin having lunch with shoe shine man in New Orleans for his research for the book Black Like Me. photo by Don Rutledge 1959

Over fifty years ago, John Howard Griffin published a slim volume about his travels as a “black man.” He expected it to be “an obscure work of interest primarily to sociologists,” but Black Like Me, which told white Americans what they had long refused to believe, sold ten million copies and became a modern classic. Read more … 

The book Black Like Me had a great deal of impact due to Don Rutledge’s photos of Griffin traveling the South. The images helped to make his claims accurate. That work had a profound effect on the Civil Rights Movement.

photo by Dorothea Lang February 1936

Another photo still impacts how we see poverty and depression.

The photograph that has become known as “Migrant Mother” is one of a series that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month’s trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

Spinner in Vivian Cotton Mills, Cherryville, NC photo by Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine’s photographs of children working as slave labor in plants were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States.


“Eugene Richards’s wrenching photographic study of the culture of cocaine in three inner-city neighborhoods gives faces to some of the victims of addiction. It provides a shocking and heartrending picture of the damage inflicted by the drug.”
–Charles Hagen, The New York Times  

“Eugene Richards’s seventh book, Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, reaffirms his position as the premier chronicler of the dark side of American life he is the true heir to the mantle of the legendary W. Eugene Smith.”
–American Photo

Early in his career, Eugene Richards was a social activist who realized the camera’s power to influence change more than he could do alone.
Check out his website to see more compelling stories about our culture. 
Sebastião Salgado is another photographer using photos to make the public pay attention to the crisis. One of his books, Workers, uses compelling imagery that makes you wonder about the progress we have made with technology. Salgado is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. 
He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he started taking photographs seriously. He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, but in 1979, he joined the international cooperative of photographers, Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and, with his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado, formed his agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris to represent his work. He is known for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations.
Cornell Capa, founding director of the International Center of Photography, introduced the idea of the “concerned photographer” in the mid-20th century and maintained that cameras could catalyze necessary change rather than just preserving an image of the situation that needed it. 
I believe most photojournalists are social advocates in their hearts. They care for those they photograph and share those stories with the world, hoping that change takes place.
Gear needed
One could do a great deal with a smartphone today. For example, you could take photos and then write text to go along with the pictures and post them to a blog on the internet and reach the world. But, of course, many will choose a better camera and a computer to do this even more effectively to tell stories.
Training Needed
It isn’t enough to have the equipment. You need to know how to use the gear and get the most out of your bag.
Besides technical knowledge of how to use your gear to capture and write your stories, you need more profound knowledge. You need to know the subject like an expert in that field so that you understand the story enough to see the essence of the story.
You need to understand the techniques of storytelling. The storytelling skills take a great deal of time to master from a mentor and coach.
It would help if you had a good understanding of your audience. You need to know how to pique a person’s interest and move the audience beyond the emotions of laughter and tears to action. 
“Revolution” by the Beetles
You say you want a revolution.
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
Do you want to change the world? Then it takes commitment and genuine passion. So your first step should be to find a workshop or, even better, a college where you can learn photography skills and take courses on the subjects you want to impact the most.
Don Rutledge had an undergraduate degree in psychology and started work on his master’s as well. Dorothea Lang studied art at Columbia University. Hine studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. 
Eugene Richards received a BA in English from Northeastern University, plus photographer Minor White supervised graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Salgado initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil.


Picking up a camera, shooting away, and posting to social media will not get the results. You need strong images with a storyline to engage your audience. This blog post’s moral is to enroll in workshops or a college program and plan on your first attempts as part of the learning. To become a master, you must put in the time.

All the examples went on for college degrees which helped them prepare to change the world. Go and do likewise.

Window Light shooting with Fujifilm X-E2 & Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 2500, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Window light is not all the same when it comes to shooting portraits. Having your subject face directly towards the window gives you a very flat light, similar to your on-camera flash. In the second photo, the subject is looking straight at the window.

In the first photo, the subject is about 45º from the window.

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 5000, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Notice how the face has more shape from the light coming from the side rather than straight onto the front?

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 5000, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Here the window is directly behind the subject. The room is kicking the light back to help fill in the shadows. You are very close to creating a silhouette like the one below.

Just because the subject has window light doesn’t mean it is excellent. It is the direction of that window light that makes a HUGE difference.

I suggest doing some test shots where you shoot, moving the subject and you. Then before you do the actual photos, pull them up on your computer and examine them. Then pick the few angles you liked the most, recreate those lighting conditions, and shoot away now looking for great expressions.

Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S shooting Friday Night High School Football

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

My daughter’s high school had its first football pre-season game tonight. Roswell High School played cross-town rival Johns Creek high school.

In the first photo, Roswell High School’s #1 full back Sheldon Evans runs for a touchdown while being pursued by John’s Creek #3 defensive back Jack Somers and #36 defensive back Bryce McCain.

At 8:03 pm or about 20 minutes before sunset, I took the photo at the top. The Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S with the Sigma TC-2001 2x attached was locking in on focus quickly and holding steady with the Nikon D4.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

The coach on the sidelines was shot at 7:43 pm with the sun dipping behind trees, so indirect sunlight was hitting the players from the open sky.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

As you can see, having the Sigma TC-2001 2X converter was helping me reach downfield. The converter gave me a 600mm, which worked well for the high school game. You can get much closer to the sidelines than in college or pro games.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here I am in the end zone, where the player crosses the 50-yard line. Again, I am shooting at 410mm on the zoom range.

I love shooting from the end zones because, as you see in the photos, I am more likely to see the players’ faces. After all, this is the direction the offense is going. If I cover the defense, I would be in the opposite end zone and getting the defensive players’ faces.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

You can see the expressions on the faces of the players and show the ball and the defense simultaneously. Here I captured a moment that I am sure the coaches will be talking to the offense about protecting that ball more than they are doing here.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

I love these photos where you see the defense doing all they can to stop the offense and also showing the players’ athleticism.

One of the photographers showed up tonight with the new Sigma 150-600mm contemporary lens. I would love to see what she got and even more, which I could have tested. But, I think shooting Friday Night Lights on small community football fields is possible with today’s cameras and high ISOs.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S and Sigma TC-2001 2x combination. I also used the new 1.4X converter but preferred the 2X to get downfield.

Photographer’s self-sufficiency is another word for poverty

Nikon D2X, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/1600

Self-sufficiency is another word for poverty.

I read that and immediately bristled, but as I listened more to Matt Ridley’s comment, I realized he was right.

Listen to Matt here:

The more we work for each other, the better off we are.

The key to how much work you get depends on how much networking you have done. What you learn from networking are two things that are extremely important to your being able to pursue your passion for photography.

What you do must benefit others.

No one cares, no matter how nice you are and how much you care. What matters is how those things inside you move you to action. You are measured by what you do and not by what you think.

I remember the story where Jesus cursed the fig tree for not producing fruit [Mark 11:12-25]. But, of course, that was the purpose of the tree.

People will not buy what you produce unless it benefits them.

David Wong wrote:

Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving, and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

Does that seem mean, or crass, or materialistic? What about love and kindness — don’t those things matter? Of course. As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can’t get elsewhere.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/400

Sell the Dream

No matter how passionate you are about something, nobody cares about it simply because you do.

I love to watch Shark Tank, the TV show. However, after you listen to them, I hear many who have ideas that are not marketable each week.

If you want clients or customers, you need to be concerned with why they should care about what you’re doing, even when you’re doing what you love. Don’t be so in love with your passion and busy doing it that you forget to look up and show others why they should care as much as you do.

Your challenge is communicating the gift of your passion, mission, and unique value.

Nothing succeeds like success.

One of the best ways to get people excited about your offer is to show them your success. Showing your successes is how many NGOs get their support. Here is the problem and a success story where we have made a difference. They then will show how there are many more to help and need your support.

Here is a great example that I helped Honduras Outreach produce this past year.

Summary: Don’t focus on being self-sufficient. Focus on being a service to your fellow man. The key to your success is not just to find your passion but to find out how this benefits other people. Once you have this nugget, you are well prepared to promote what you can do for others.