When a visiting professional comes to your college class …

Jackie Reedy, Mercedes Bleth, Brenna Chamblis & Mark Johnson

For the past nine to ten years I have made a journey to Mark Johnson’s Advanced Photojournalism class at the Grady School of Journalism on the campus of the University of Georgia. Each time I present on the topic of how to make a living as a photographer.

This last visit three of Mark’s former students that I work with on my Chick-fil-A account came to the class as well. They had all been in the class when I spoke in the past.

Mark Johnson

Earlier in the morning Brenna Chambliss and I were doing a video shoot in town with a Chick-fil-A operator. She was my client and directing the project. Just a few years ago she was one of Mark’s students.

After we finished that morning Brenna took me around campus for a tour. I got to ring the bell on campus. I had never done that before. That was a cool experience.

Brenna told me that she learned more about life lessons from Mark Johnson than from any other classes at UGA. He was the person that helped her understand that it is all about relationships.

Mark Johnson’s Advanced Photojournalism Class

The program has grown in the past few years. They now have 80 students taking the introductory photojournalism class and in his advanced class has 20 students where in the past that was limited to 16.

Click here to download PowerPoint presentation http://stanleylearystoryteller.com/marketing.pdf

My presentation you can download from the link above.

The best part about having Jackie, Brenna and Mercedes is that they were the evidence that there are jobs in the industry for the students.

Brenna Chambliss talks with student

During the class and afterwards the students asked a lot of questions and took time to talk with all of us that came.

Mercedes Bleth talks with student

Mark got a lot of hugs from Jackie, Brenna and Mercedes. Now that they have been working for a few years they knew even more how much Mark prepared them for the jobs they have today.

Jackie Reedy listening to a student

During the presentation I realized I could just ask the three who were with me some of the points I wanted to make. I asked Jackie when she meets with a client what does she talk to them about for a project. She wasn’t expecting this and we hadn’t rehearsed, but she listed how she would ask questions about why they needed something. She would then talk to them in a way that all the ideas were addressing that need. She also gives them options.

I then put up the PowerPoint slide and it said exactly what I had prepared. The reason I knew Jackie would know what to say is professional communicators who do a great job start with asking those questions of clients to help the client meet those objectives that sometimes they haven’t thought about.

For more than nine years I have gone to the class met people and then helped some of them find jobs with Chick-fil-A or even steered them to other employers. I have helped some of them with internships in the summer with WinShape Camps that is non-profit run by the family that owns Chick-fil-A.

When I was first asked if it was OK if the three ladies came along they were thinking more about how wonderful it would be to visit and see Mark Johnson. How could they justify going up to the class away from their jobs was their question. I suggested they make it a recruiting trip.

Ken Willis their agencies boss understood exactly what I was suggesting and made it a recruiting time for them.

When I asked Jackie how she think it went for possible people she had a wonderful response, “We will see who follows up.”

Not all 20 students met with one of the three that came to recruit. Some had to go to other classes and took their cards. Some talked to them.

My suggestion anytime a possible employer comes to your class do your best to meet them. Show interest in them and try to learn as much as you can about their work environment and what they do. There is no job to turn down until they offer one.

If you take their card then write to them a letter thanking them for coming. Why? The reason is quite simple. You need to network and build your contact database and build relationships. While you may not work for the person you meet they are often a great resource with their network to put you in touch with someone else that might be a better fit. You can’t find this out unless you make an attempt at building those relationships which will become your network for the rest of your life.

Shooting sports inside with bad lighting

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/200–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
I am often asked to go to places and photograph that the lighting is just not that great. One of the worst places to go is to gyms.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 400, ƒ/7.1, 1/200–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
The reason is that they choose to use often Fluorescent or Silver Halide lights that if you are trying to freeze action require you to shoot above 1/60 shutter speed. This can introduce banding into your photos. It also can just change the color frame to frame as you can see here.

I thought at first there was enough natural light coming in the room from the windows, but the lights hanging from the ceiling were impacting the walls and the people.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
The easiest thing to do was just to light the whole room up with 4 strobes pointing to the ceiling and you fix a few things. One the color will look a lot better. You can shoot at a lower ISO and reduce noise in the process. Most importantly there is a consistency that without the strobes you would get color banding due to the lights flickering.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/6.3, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
I just had to drag the gear from room to room and setup the lights. This is why I hire photo assistants to help me out.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/80–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
Here I overpowered the room lights but still picked up some of the natural light as well.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4.5, 1/1250]
Even outside the strobes can really improve a situation. Here without the strobes and then I added it.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/10, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
My suggestion when trying this for the first time is always first shoot test shots without strobes. Then add them and see if they make it look better. Sometimes adding strobes can kill a great lighting situation. Always test and don’t assume anything.

The Compassionate Photographer Understands Eye Contact

Psalm 119:18

Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things …

If you are in the service industry most likely you have been trained and understand the importance of eye contact.

Eye Contact is an important part of using effective communication skills.
People are more likely to comply when more eye contact is used.
Eye Contact establish a connection between the person.
Eye contact also tells us that whether the other person is paying attention or not.
Maintaining eye contact during communication will make your presentation much more effective.

Now when I started to encounter other cultures I couldn’t understand why some people didn’t give me eye contact. Come to find out as a man having eye contact with a single woman means you intend to marry them. In many cultures it is shown as sign of respect not to look you in the eye.

I mention the culture differences because like everything you have to understand your context. You don’t want to do something that you think is the correct way to behave only to find out you were offending people or now must marry someone.

When your listeners see your eyes scanning their faces, they feel invited to engage with you. They feel encouraged to signal to you how they feel about what you’re saying–with nods, frowns, or skeptical raise of their eyebrows.

San Benito, Nicaragua

As a result, your listeners are transformed from passive receivers to active participants. Your monologue takes the form of a dialogue, albeit one in which you speak words while they speak with gestures and facial expressions. Your speech or presentation is suddenly a conversation.

When I am in a culture and don’t speak the language all I have is my body language and most important eye contact and facial expressions to communicate. I use this to ask for permission to photograph.

Hello there little guy. I am sure he is wondering who is the big white dude with a camera in my face doing in my church today in Adeti-Kope, Togo, West Africa

Now depending on your perspective you change the conversation. When you look down on the little boy like here you put the camera in the position that is most associated with an adult over a child. The adult is responsible for that child. This is a great way to create empathy for a subject.

This graphic demonstrates the parent to child relationship. This next one show the child to a parent relationship.

Don Rutledge enjoys telling a story at the first gathering of the SBC photographers at Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

Now here I am slightly lower than the eyes of Don Rutledge as he is talking which gives him the position of authority.

His expression can make him look like a warm or cold leader, but because I am looking up at him I have designated him as an authority.

Nicaragua

When you are eye to eye with another adult we call this being on their level like a good friend.

Now the interesting thing to me is if you are an adult and get on eye level with kids it does something else. It makes those who are viewing the photograph equal to a child, which makes them tap into those remembrances of being a child.

Vili Village just outside of Koudougou, Burkina Faso.

The child’s head while looking down shows modesty or lack of self confidence, guilt etc. In other words her body posture adds another layer of meaning to the photograph beyond me trying to be on her same level by being at eye level with her.

Matthew 6:22

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

Looking back to 2004 with the Nikon D100

Learning to make bricks are Anna Roberts (left age 7), Brandon Roberts (2nd left age 10), Shaquaja Washington (3rd age 8) and Caleb Edge (age 10) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/180]
Thirteen years ago I had been shooting with my new Nikon D100 for just a couple of years. This was my first digital capture DSLR camera.

My daughter and I drove down to Americus, Georgia to photograph the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center for Disney’s Family Magazine.

For the past few days I have been going through my old CDs and DVDs looking through my work. In good light everyone of my digital cameras was pretty outstanding as compared to my days of shooting film.

Enjoying the Tanzania House are Brandon Roberts (left age 10) Anna Roberts (age 7), Shaquaja Washington (right age 8) and Caleb Edge (right age 10), at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4.8, 1/80]
In doors with that first Nikon D100 I was using flash more than I would have to do today. But the results were just great.

Learning to make bricks are Anna Roberts (left age 7), Shaquaja Washington (2nd age 8), Caleb Edge (3rd age 10) and Brandon Roberts (age 10) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/180]
The lens I used on this camera was the Sigma 18-125mm, which wasn’t super sharp but did great with that camera. I loved not having to carry a lot of lenses.

Tatiana Suarez, tour guide shows how to make bricks like they do in many third world countries to Anna Roberts (blue shirt age 7), Brandon Roberts (solid dark blue age 10) Caleb Edge (checkered shirt age 10), and Shaquaja Washington (pink shirt age 8) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/2500]
I was shooting pretty wide with the 18mm on a DX cropped sensor. So I was only shooting about 27mm if it was an FX sensor. It would be a few years before Nikon introduced the full sensor.

Tatiana Suarez, tour guide shows the Sri Lanka house to Brandon Roberts (front age 10), Anna Roberts (middle age 7) and Caleb Edge (back age 10) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/250]
For those of you wanting to do a great day trip I cannot say enough about the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center. You can see how people live all over the world and how Habitat builds different houses depending on the country.

David Bottomley, tour guide shows how they are building an example of the homes built by Habitat International in Mexico using a new light weight brick made of aluminum and concrete to Anna Roberts (blue shirt age 7), Brandon Roberts (solid dark blue age 10) Caleb Edge (checkered shirt age 10), and Shaquaja Washington (pink shirt age 8) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4.8, 1/1600]
Here the kids are seeing brick made of aluminum and concrete, which is what they have used in Mexico.

Caleb Edge (left age 10) and Brandon Roberts (right age 10) run by the Malawi House on the left and the Kenya House behind them at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/6.7, 1/640]
I think this is one of the great day trips for families to see how the rest of the world lives.

Caleb Edge (front left age 10), Brandon Roberts (back left age 10), Anna Roberts (front Right age 7), and Shaquaja Washington (back right age 8) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/6.7, 1/400]
Kids and adults get to see actual streets scenes, homes and other things like school rooms in different countries.

David Bottomley, tour guide shows the African Schoolhouse is a new experience for Anna Roberts (blue shirt age 7), Brandon Roberts (solid dark blue age 10) Caleb Edge (checkered shirt age 10), and Shaquaja Washington (pink shirt age 8) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/6.7, 1/180]
When I was shooting fill flash outside with that Nikon D100 I had to shoot at 1/180 to not see the shutter curtain.

While the cameras today are much better I believe that no matter the camera if you know what you are doing you can get some great photos.

David Bottomley, tour guide shows the Global Village to Anna Roberts (blue shirt age 7), Brandon Roberts (solid dark blue age 10) Caleb Edge (checkered shirt age 10), and Shaquaja Washington (pink shirt age 8) at the Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4.8, 1/1250]

Can you look at my website and give me feedback?

Ring Weekend for the seniors at The Citadel [Nikon D3S, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/60]
It is actually quite common for me to get an email that says, “I have been working on a website. I would like your feedback.”

I go to their websites and find over and over that there is no rhyme or reason to their website. The only people who will go to your website will be those you sent a link to and those who happen to find you because of a search they did with Google.

So for example what type of search engine words would a person put into Google that might be looking for a photographer who took the first picture on this page?

The Citadel
Charleston
Ring Day
Photographer
South Carolina

You see most people will most likely not find you based on your website address. They will find you based on the search terms they put into the search window.

[Nikon D100, 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, 2X, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/160]
If you need a photographer to take pictures of your basketball team playing then you might use these search terms:

Sports Photographer
Atlanta
Georgia
Basketball
College Sports
Photojournalist

[Nikon Coolpix P7000, ISO 100, ƒ/7.1, 1/1000]
If you were looking for a photographer to make this photo of the car then you might use these search terms:

Automobile
Car
Photographer
Still Life
Advertising
Corporate
Studio
Racecar
Atlanta
Georgia

The point I think you are seeing is that you are creating a website that each photo has some words that are embedded into the photo that the search engines can see and will take people to your photo. It is a little more complex than what I am saying here, but you must have these elements or they cannot find you.

Kalyn Wood [Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 800, ƒ/1.4, 1/160]
For this photo you may have the person’s name in the caption information but then have in the keywords: Portrait, Headshot, Fashion, Model, Actress.

In PhotoShop you can go to the FileInfo and fill in these fields and that will be embedded within the photo on your website.

You should also use these keywords also on the webpage in the metadata there for the page. So it you do headshots then in the keywords on the page showing all your headshots you might have these keywords: Portraits, Headshots, Senior Photos, Bridal Portraits, Actor Headshots, Actress Headshots, Model Portfolios, Model Headshots, Model Portraits, Women Headshots, Men headshots.


You need to setup your website to solve a problem for a person staring at the Google Search field. What keywords would they put into those fields for which I have work that demonstrates I am what they are looking to hire to give them what they want.

Maybe you are an event photographer who covers meetings for clients. Whatever you do to solve clients problems using photos is what you need in categories on your website.

You need a few images in a category to show off the variety of creativity you bring to the table.

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome.

Once people have found your photos on your website and like what they see then they may click on those other galleries that they wouldn’t have been searching. You may have a Personal Favorites gallery or Personal Project that you want to showcase. They might see those if there was something that they searched for to get them to your website.


Two more tips!

  1. Write your bio so that it explains what you do for your clients.
  2. Have your Contact Information viewable on every page that they can click on it to find your Phone number and a way to email you.

Monday Devotional: Celebrating the life of Anacleto Rapping

Anacleto Rapping
Treat your neighbors like celebrities and celebrities like your neighbors.
-Anacleto Rapping

This Sunday I lost a good friend Anacleto Rapping to colon cancer. Because of my faith in Jesus I believe in the after life and heaven. I believe one day we will be reunited.

Revelation 21:4

4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

While I will miss Anacleto I didn’t want us to hold onto him and have him suffer in pain. Today Anacleto is no longer suffering, but I believe in the presence of God.

I met Anacleto at Southwestern Photojournalism Conference many years ago. Here was the bio we had posted in 2015 when he was one of the speakers.


Anacleto Rapping
Los Angeles, California 

Anacleto Rapping has placed his passion for storytelling at the heart of every picture he has taken over a more than three-decade professional career.

As a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times for two decades, Rapping brought us four Presidential campaigns, five Olympic Games, three World Cup Soccer tournaments, three Academy Award shows and countless breaking news stories and sporting events. His gift for visually capturing historic moments broadened his understanding of world and national events and afforded him the chance to chronicle news events as they unfolded throughout the United States as well as in foreign locales such as South Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Singapore, Guatemala, Mexico and Canada.

While at the Los Angeles Times, Rapping shared three Pulitzer Prizes for team coverage in news, and individually he received a Pulitzer nomination for his photography at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Rapping has taught and developed classes across the Brooks Institute Visual Journalism curriculum including International Documentary, Portraiture, Sports Photography, Picture Story and Advanced Lighting. He currently teaches photography and shoots freelance for editorial and commercial clients. Rapping continues to tell life’s stories, using his camera to portray the profound relationships between people and their environments.

Visit his website at www.arapping.com


One year we were both in Nashville for a college media workshop. I was covering the event and Anacleto was helping teach.

While Anacleto was teaching I walked up on the stage behind him, Gary Fong, and Jim Veneman to get a nice photo of the students listening to him. Well in seconds of me coming on stage the entire room started to laugh and look at me.

Only as Anacleto could do it he used his soft voice to explain how he had told everyone that he had been watching me cover the event. He said at some point Stanley is going on the stage to get some photos from behind the speakers–so just watch and see when it happens.

Then just a minute after he said this I had come from another room and walked in and up on the stage.

This is a great insight into how Anacleto taught. He didn’t just tell the students here is a shot list and you do it. He taught them not just what they needed to do to cover an event, but he also was teaching the students the power of observation.

Anacleto also was teaching the ability to anticipate.

When I teach a long week workshop I like to Skype in a few of my friends and this helps break up the teaching and reminds the students to develop friendships with other photographers.

Anacleto was one I always loved to Skype in with the classes.

One of the topics that Anacleto liked to talk about was access. To get great photos you need access. Now he often talked about how credentials didn’t always work all that well. He talked about how being kind and courteous to everyone you meet will give you great access.

He talked about being back stage at the Oscars and how during the practices he talked to the guards and all the people backstage. Because he had developed those friendships those people not only let him through because they recognized him, but also alerted him to things going on that made for great photos.

Anacleto Rapping on far left and Joanna Pinneo on far right review a student’s portfolio at the Southwester Photojournalism Conference.

Anacleto loved to help others grow. I often watched Anacleto search out students at the workshops and ask to see their work. He knew they were probably too scared to ask and he wanted to break that ice.

Now Anacleto wasn’t so kind to make everyone feel like they were awesome photographers. Anacleto gave constructive criticism and also asked lots of questions during those portfolio reviews.

Anacleto also wasn’t one of those that only showed up at workshops if he was paid to be there. I saw Anacleto come to the Southwestern Photojournalism workshop almost every year, except this past year when the cancer returned.

Those students who showed Anacleto their work the previous year would go and find him to show him their progress. He was their mentor.

Anacleto loved watching others enjoying life.

Whenever I would meet up with Anacleto he always would take a moment and change his demeanor and ask in the most caring way I know–”How are you doing?”

I once had the privilege of hiring Anacleto to shoot the Rose Bowl for Chick-fil-A. This was the first time I saw how he worked for a client. I felt so comfortable with Anacleto throughout the process and he delivered wonderful images.

I came across this poem which Anacleto seemed to have lived by.

Life is an echo.
What you send out,
comes back.
What you sow,
you reap.
What you give,
you get.
What you see in others,
exists in you.

 

Nikon D5 + Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S – A Winning Combination

Georgia Tech’s last ditch effort at a 2-point conversion that failed. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 4000, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
Between the photographer and the subject the camera and lens combination will give the photographer the ability to capture what they desire or fail.

When I started shooting football in 1983 at East Carolina University as part of the student newspaper and yearbook staff I could not have gotten most of these photos due to the camera gear. I was shooting with a Nikon FM-2 with either a Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/4 or the Nikon 500mm ƒ/8 mirror lens.

This photo of Georgia Tech playing Florida state I shot with that Nikkor 500mm ƒ/8 mirror lens. If you look in the highlights you can see those signature round halos. This was probably the best shot ever with that lens. But this was bright sunlight. I was shooting inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

This is one of those images from 1983 when ECU played the University of Richmond. Now just compare those images to these from the Mercedes-Benz Dome of Alabama vs Florida State and Georgia Tech vs Tennessee.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
First of all these images are far superior in so many ways. They are sharper, better dynamic range and less noise [grain].

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 3200, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000]
Back with film I was never shooting above 1/500. This actually made my images less sharp. Shooting at 1/2000 or 1/4000 will make your images much sharper.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 14400, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Here I got a series of image and these are just two of that series of the blocked punt that I have pulled for you here.

Alabama lnebacker (8) Dylan Moses recovers blocked punt. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 16000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
While I always say it is the photographer that makes the photo and not the camera, there are times that the camera will limit your abilities. For one just getting the fast action in focus is quite difficult. The Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S is so quick that I almost never have an out of focus photo during the game.

One of the greatest inventions was to separate the focus tracking from the shutter release. I push the back button to focus and use the shutter to fire the camera. Here is how that is setup.

In the menu Pencil selections pick AF Activation under the Autofocus settings.
Then choose the AF-ON only. This will mean when you push the shutter release it will not focus, but just fire the shutter to take a photo.
By changing these settings you will notice the camera will stay in focus and shoot faster frame rate. Great for following a baseball player sliding into a plate and another player trying to tag them or maybe a football player running towards you to score. You will find more photos tack sharp in a series.
I generally put my focus point dead center and lock it so I don’t bump it. I am trying to get photos of moving subjects and off center is too difficult for me. I may crop later for a better composition, but I want the subject in focus first.
Alabama’s #2 QB Jalen Hurts passes against Florida State during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 28800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
This action is happening quite a distance from me. I started tracking the quarterback and followed him in the play. Then when I thought I had the moments I started pressing the shutter release.
Florida State’s QB #12 hands off to RB #3 Cam Akers during their match up at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff against Alabama. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Here is the Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 lens:

Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport

I also use teleconverters for the lens. I have the 1.4X and 2X converters.

Sigma 2x

Sigma 1.4x

The biggest difference that the Nikon D5 and Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S make with my images is in the quality. Usually the Nikon FM-2 with the Nikkor 80-200mm or the 500mm I was able to fire and get the first shot. I wasn’t able to get now 12 fps action after that. But the photos are now more in focus, better dynamic range, more accurate color, and lower noise at even ISO 102,400 than I was getting with ISO 1600 on film.

If you shoot sports for a living then I recommend the Nikon D5. If this is more of a hobby or $6,500 is a little much, then get the Nikon D500.

Monday Devotional: Finding Peace in the Storm

ARCADIA, Fla. — Homes destroyed in Fort Myers, Fl., which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/4000]

James 1:2-5

Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

While you may not have been impacted by Hurricane Charlie or Irma you will face your own trials. Each and everyone of us will have a time where some sort of trial of your faith will be challenged.

I think seeing these disasters these past few weeks and watching the news the thing that gives everyone hope is when you see people helping each other. That is what is lifting everyone’s spirits.

Hebrews 13:16

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

It is amazing that when you help others attain their goals and aspirations you will often find that you met your own desires. However if you concentrate on meeting your own goals and not helping others you seldom will achiever those goals.

Thirteen years ago I covered both Hurricane’s Charley and Ivan. Both went through Florida. Hurricane Irma had me remembering my coverage.

ARCADIA, Fla. — The winds of Hurricane Charley blew over this tractor trailer.  Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/800]
Seeing up close trucks and trains blown over gave me a first hand look at the power of the winds from these hurricanes.

ARCADIA, Fla. — Blown off the tracks near Fort Myers, Fl., which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. This was when I learned that all the freight cars just sit on the wheels so that if there is a derailment they can easily pick them back up and put them on the tracks with a crane. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/640]
The other thing I was seeing first hand was the destruction of the tornadoes which are often part of the hurricane.

Atmore, Al.–First Baptist Atmore, Al., steeple lays beside the sanctuary after being blown off by hurricane Ivan and in the background are Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers preparing meals for the community. They are part of an estimated 800 Southern Baptist volunteers assisting Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan with services that include mass feeding, cleanup and recovery, shower trailers, child care, laundry, and communication. This effort comes on the heels of Southern Baptists having prepared more than one million meals in Florida following Hurricanes Charley and Frances.  Photograph by Stanley Leary. 9/19/04 [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/4000]
My job was to capture all the volunteers during the aftermath of the storms serving meals, cleaning up and providing support to the people who were affected by the hurricanes.

ARCADIA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from First Baptist Church of Wetumpka, Al., clear the trees which had fallen on a home in Arcadia, Fl. which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. They are part of an estimated 500 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]
I would go with the volunteers who had chain saws to help people clear the debris around their homes and driveways.

WACHULA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Georgia volunteers setup a feeding station at 1st Baptist Wachula, Fl., to help with the damage left by Hurricane Charley. They are three of an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9.5, 1/400]
One of the biggest things that the Baptist do after the storms is setup feeding stations where the Red Cross would then pick up those meals and deliver them to the victims, the law enforcement working and t0 other volunteers.

WACHULA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Georgia volunteers setup a feeding station, showers and water purification at 1st Baptist Wachula, Fl., to help with the damage left by Hurricane Charley. They are three of an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9.5, 1/640]
I have covered so many hurricanes and tornadoes through the years and each time the volunteers show up and help each other in cleaning up and getting back to the new normal.

People going through finding what they can after the Moore Oklahoma tornado disaster. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“With my iPhone we need to face the sun,” said the golfer

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/640]
I was contracted to cover a golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the guys actually said to me that we needed to turn everyone around and have them face the sun to get the photo.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/400]
The executive director who was taking me by golf cart around the course stepped in to explain that I was the professional they hired.

You see the guy was thinking about what he has to do with his iPhone. You cannot get the photo I took above with your iPhone.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1000]
One of the main reasons people were hats is to create shadows on their faces. This is how they create the shade for their eyes. Well good for them and bad for photos.

Now using Adobe Lightroom I was able to open up the shadows a little more on the photo, with the guy with a baseball cap, than you can typically do with your iPhone.

By having the group face opposite the sun they are all backlit. I then used my flash on camera to fill in the shadows. This is one of the rare moments I will use a flash on camera.

I didn’t have an assistant and I had to move quickly.

Using the Godox V860IIN flash on i-TTL I could shoot at any ƒ-stop because the flash works with High Speed Sync. So the picture above I was shooting at 1/640 shutter speed.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250]
While the golfers were warming up on the practice putting green I used the same flash setup to fill in under those hats. With the golfer looking to the ground towards the ball their faces are more often in the shadow.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250]
While this is a huge improvement over no flash at all, had I been shooting this for a company to use in their advertising I would get that flash off the camera.

The two photos below demonstrate how getting the flash off the camera gives even better looking light.

[Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/2000]
[Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1600]
Just know that if you need professional quality photos of golfers you will have them squinting with your iPhone or you can use flash and have them face away from the sun.

Shooting the Chick-fil-A Kickoff with Nikon D5: ISO 5600 to ISO 40000

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
What did I learn from my first game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium?

If I had taken the time before the game and pulled up the last game in the Georgia Dome in Adobe Lightroom I would have had the exposures to compare.

My last game in the Georgia Dome I shot the Nikon D5 at 1/4000 shutter speed. I thought the lighting was darker in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and shot at 1/2000 in the first game.

So this second game I shot all the action at 1/4000. This would give me sharper images due to the athletes constant motion.

In this series of the tight end trying to catch the pass I was able to get a great series of images all sharp due to the 1/4000 shutter speed.

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Every photo I took was razor sharp. There were some where the auto focus was not where I wanted it due to a player coming between me and the play, but those were sharp, just not the right spot.

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
When you increase the shutter speed you sacrifice the ISO. The reason I didn’t sacrifice aperture is it was already wide open. This sacrifice did introduce a little more noise, but I felt like for the way the photos are used it was an acceptable amount of noise.

Georgia Tech’s quarterback (16) TaQuon Marshall dives for touch down during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 5600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
The photos that I liked technically the least were when the football player’s face was pointed toward the ground. This basically meant there face was like the shadow side of the moon. There is little or no detail in those faces. Now if it were a full moon where the light was hitting the face then it was just perfect.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

Occasionally there was enough light bouncing off the field or another player to help brighten up those faces.

Tennessee’s running back (4) John Kelly dives for touch down against Georgia Tech during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
If the team was in the red zone I would take the 2x converter off and shoot the action at ƒ/2.8. The red zone is the area of the field between the 20-yard line and the goal line.

Now the only time I would take it off is if the play started in the red zone. If they had a break away play I didn’t have time to take it off.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
I think this photo of the Georgia Tech player going for a catch that is shot at ISO 25,600 is great example of what my Nikon D5 is capable of producing. The advantage here is of course that the player is looking up towards the lights.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 32000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
This photo here is shot at ISO 32000 of the Tennessee players celebrating after a touchdown.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 40000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
This was the highest ISO I shot of the action during the game. ISO 40,000 was more than usable for me.

Why different ISO settings? Well I am shooting in AUTO ISO.

I go to the Nikon D5 Shooting Menu and the pick the ISO sensitivity settings.

I turn on the Auto ISO. Then as you see in the photo of the screen above I set the LOW ISO to 100 and the HIGH ISO to 102400. I then set the minimum shutter speed to 1/4000. At no time during the game did I shoot above ISO 40000 for action shots on the field.

Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Josh Palmer (5) is interfered with by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Step Durham (8) during the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Tennessee Volunteers college football game. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 5600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
While on this play there was interference on another play it was a touchdown for Tennessee.

Tennessee’s wide receiver (1) Marquez Callaway catches pass over Georgia Tech’s defensive back (6) Lamont Simmons for a touchdown during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on September 4, 2017. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm Ä/2.8, ISO 5600, Ä/2.8, 1/4000]
Just compare the photos above. They go from an ISO 5600 to ISO 40000. The way you see them here is pretty much the way most people will see photos from the game–on their computers or smartphones.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Here is one photo of the fans in the stands shot at ISO 51200.

I loved the Nikon D5 for the performance it gave me to capture these images from the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.