Game 7: Cowboys v. Eagles

Change Is Gonna Come

This was the first Cowboy home game after the Daylight Savings Time (DST) change. Why do we continue to observe DST? Anyway, now that the sunset's at 5:25 PM, I was concerned about the lighting on the stage. In this blog I'm going to write about how I  handled the changing lighting situation. Be warned, I'll get a little technical in this blog. 

The first set of performances on the Miller Lite stage, which is on the west end of AT&T Stadium, started at 4:50 PM, no issues here as the stage was lit by the sun. It's actually my favorite time to shoot as the low horizon of the sun creates beautiful light. In photography circles is called the Golden Hour, and it's a great time to take photos outdoors because the intensity of the sunlight is reduced and it's more indirect sunlight. 

Shot at 4:50 PM on the Miller Lite Plaza Stage

The second set of performances began at 5:21 PM on the AT&T Plaza stage, on the east side of AT&T Stadium, although we were in the shadow of the stadium, there was still plenty of light. By this time the stage lights were on causing some uneven lighting, but not enough to cause a big problem. But you can see that the middle of the stage is where the lights are directed. I like shooting on this side of the stadium because the shade creates soft even lighting.  But most of the time the sky is blown out because I have to expose for the shade and using flash doesn't make sense for a variety of reasons. So far so good.

Shot at 5:21 PM on the AT&T Plaza Stage

The next performance on the AT&T Plaza stage was at 5:45 PM, now the sun has set and we are on the shaded side of the stadium. To my chagrin, the stage was not evenly lit. The spot lights were focused on the middle of the stage, so the dancers would be in the spot light and the shaded areas of the stage at that the same time. Now, what do I set my exposure to? 

Shot at 5:45. You can see how uneven the stage lighting is configured

I know I want to shoot at 1/500th of second. So I set my camera to Manual mode. I set my shutter speed to 1/500 and took a series of shots, adjusting my Aperture and ISO, until I got to an acceptable exposure. I ended up at f/5.6 at ISO 6400. ISO 6400 is to high for my liking, but it's something I had to live with. Freezing the action is top priority. I chose f/5.6 because I like a little wiggle room to get the shot in focus. There were a ton of images that were under exposed, I had to up the shadow slider in Adobe Lightroom quite a bit. I didn't do any noise adjustment because the D750 does really well at high ISO's. 

That's my tale on how I dealt with the changing lighting patterns due the DST change. Veteran's and those who are serving in our military, where also being honored on this day. I'm a military brat and my father served 30 years in the Army, including two tours to Vietnam, I can certainly appreciate Veteran's Day.  Here are a few more shots and some video of my day AT&T Stadium.

Game 3: Cowboys vs Giants

Ahhhh, I love the smell of the first regular season home game and what an exciting game. The Cowboys win against the Giants on a late 11 yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to TE Jason Whitten with only 7 secs left.  It was great start to the season. Here are some of my photographs from my day at AT&T Stadium. 

Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Drumline before the Dallas Cowboys vs NY Giants on September 13, 2015

Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Photographer

For the 2015 NFL season, I'm the photographer for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers and Drumline (DCRB). The DCRB dancers are the ONLY coed hip-hop professional dance team in the NFL! They perform at all of the Dallas Cowboys home games and make special appearances around the country. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, this is a super dope opportunity. How did I get this photography gig? Glad you asked. For real, I've gotten that question several times.

Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers

I love the hip-hop dance genre, so back in 2014, on my own initiative, I started photographing local hip-hop dance events as a personal project. I started searching for hip-hop dance events around Dallas, when I came across the World of Dance tour.  I blogged about that event, which you can read here. To date, I've actually photographed 3 WOD events, 2 in Dallas and 1 in Houston. From there I went on to photograph the Dallas Hip Hop Dance FestMonsters of Hip Hop Dance and other dance events around the Dallas area. The dance community in Dallas is a small world, I started seeing the same people at each event, and I developed a reputation for my photographic work. As a result, I started getting calls to photograph hip-hop dance events and classes. There's one person in particular I want to point out, Paul Gosling. Paul was one of the parents for a dancer on the Hooligans Dance Krew. He hooked me up with several opportunities and referrals from dance classes by some industry leading choreographers such as Laurieann "Harlee" Gibson and Will "WilldaBeast Adams, to a Monsters Headphones product test shoot. Thank you Paul for every opportunity you brought my way.

Monsters of Hip Hop

Along my journey as a hip-hop dance photographer, I met Jenny Durbin Smith. The first time I saw her, she was a co-host at the Dallas Hip Hop Dance Fest. Soon after we started following each other on Instagram and we eventually met in person at the Monsters of Hip Hop event back in January of this year (2015).  I didn't know it at the time, but she was the director and choreographer for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers. If fact, she has an impressive body of work in the dance industry. Back in June (2015), Jenny offered me the job as the DCRB photographer for the 2015 season. I didn't even ask what it paid before YESSSS leaped outta my month (not a good negotiating practice btw). Money didn't matter to me, it was the experience of shooting a professional hip-hip dance crew AND it's for America's Team the Dallas Cowboys. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!  Thanks Jenny!!!

As the seasons goes on I hope to be blogging more about my experiences and sharing some interesting shots as well.  We're already 3 games in (including the preseason), so I plan on getting caught up this week. Enjoy the ride er'body, cause I am.

World of Dance Dallas 2015

World of Dance Dallas 2015

For the second year in a row, I was a volunteer photographer at the World of Dance tour that hit Dallas on May 9, 2015 at the South Side Ballroom. I was excited about this event because one of my favorite dancers, Fik-Shun would be performing. I watched So You Think You Can Dance season 10, where Fik-Shun was the male winner that season, he quickly became a crowd favorite. 

Last year I shot pretty much want I wanted, this year I had an assignment to shoot the vendors and attendees. Once the dance competition started, there wasn't much to shot as everyone was watching the dancers, so I shot the dancers from the audio booth, right behind the judges. I'm glad I brought my Sigma 70-200 2.8 and my mono-pod as they came in handy shooting from that distance.  There was one dance crew I knew so I did shoot them from the front of the stage using a 17-35 i rented from Competitive Cameras. I prefer the shots from the audio booth because I didn't have to be on my knees for 4 hours, I could shoot standing up. 

Although I wasn't prepared to shoot video, I ended up shooting over a hours worth. Short clips of each crew. With a 70-200MM lens and a monopod, the video came out very shaky. It's hard to shoot stills and video when you have a few seconds to switch between them. I wanted to shoot some video just for the practice and wasn't to concerned about the quality. Below are some shots from the event, you can check out my full gallery of images HERE.



Hooligan Dance Krew

Hooligan Dance Krew



Fall for the Arts 2014

This past Saturday in Dallas, TX marked the annual Fall for the Arts, a celebration of all the arts in the North Texas/Dallas area. I photographed this free event last year and really enjoyed it. (Click here to see that blog post). If you're a photographer that enjoys photographing people, this is a great opportunity as there are people from various locations around DFW in one place. Based on last year, I figured it would be crowded so I took the Dart Rail to the Arts District station and proceeded to walk toward Klyde Warren Park (KWP). Last year I missed the Dallas Black Dance Theatre production that was held on the stage outside the Winspear Opera House. I decided to go there first, but when I arrived, there was no one there. So, I headed toward the Nasher Sculpture center because last year that's where the had the Asian culture performances and vendors along Flora St, but there was no one there either. I proceeded up Harwood St to KWP to where the main festivities were being held. I found a schedule and all the performances where only and KWP and not spread out like last year. This year's event was scaled back quite a bit. Previously there were four stages, this year there was only two, both located at KWP. I thought at first maybe the other stages are located somewhere else, but from the schedule, there are right here at KWP. I hung around for a few hours, walked around, took some shots and went home. Here are some of the photographs I took.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Dallas Black Dance Theatre