Photography

2016 DFW Golf Show

For the third consecutive year, I was the photographer for the fourth annual DFW Golf Show at the Irving Convention Center, which is just west of Dallas, TX. The three day event brings out the vibrant Dallas - Fort Worth golf community and it's a really fun event packed with products, services and giveaways. 

Although the event is three days, I've only been required to shoot on that Saturday for about 4 hours. Saturday this year was Kid's day, and there were definitely more junior golfers than in years past.  

Every year I receive a shot list, which has been the same all three years. I know precisely what shots are required, therefore, it made this event a breeze to shoot. That precision has decreased my shot count and I have fewer wasted images, which helps speed up the post processing as I have few images to work with. The layout at the Irving Convention Center was almost identical to last year, the only change was they moved the main stage to the opposite end of the hall. 

It was nice seeing some familiar and new faces at the show and I look forward to next year. Below are some of my shots from this years DFW Golf Show or you can check out the DFW Golf Show Facebook fan page for more images. 

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

Game 1: Cowboys v. Vikings (Preseason)

Game Day

Awwwww yeah! It's game day. The Dallas Cowboys first preseason home game against the Vikings. I'm excited because it's my first day as the photographer for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers and Drumline. It's sort of my preseason as well. Here's how the day went.

Gear Check

Here's a run down of my game day gear list:

  • Nikon D750: This will be my main body.
  • Nikon D610: Second/backup body. 
  • Tamron 24-70: For my first day this will be on my D750.
  • Sigma 70-200: This will be on my D610.
    • Since I wasn't sure how things will go, I'll have both camera bodies on me so that I don't waste time switching lenses. 
  • SB-700 Flash: Just in case I need to shoot any indoor photographs
  • Rogue Flash Bender: To use with the SB-700
  • Spider Camera Holster: This thing is expensive, but one of the best investments. I have various shoulder straps, after hours of shooting, my shoulders would be really sore the next day. With the Spider Camera Holster system (think old western gunslinger kinda belt), you have your cameras on your hip, man it makes a difference at the of the day.  Well worth the money.
  • Mono-pod

Performance Schedule

AT&T Stadium has two plazas, the Miller Lite Plaza on the west end and the AT&T Plaza on the east end. The DCRB dancers & drumline perform at both stages starting at the Miller Lite plaza. Then we have a convoy thru the AT&T Stadium main concourse to the AT&T Plaza. After performing there the convoy goes back to Miller Lite Plaza for the final stage performance.  Then we have a Mardi Gras style parade (minus the beads) to the upper concourse. You can see the schedule posted on the DCRB Facebook Fan Page before each home game.

Lessons Learned From Day One

Probably the biggest lesson I learned is that I don't have to carry both camera bodies.  I can shoot with the Tamron 24-70 for my wide angle shots on one stage and switch to the Sigma 70-200 for close ups on the other stage. I have plenty of time between performances to change lenses. I'll try that next time to see how that works. Also, because we are outdoors, there's plenty of light so I don't have to be concerned about maintaining a high shutter speed, but I do have to change my camera settings between stages, because for the late games, the west stage (Miller Lite Plaza) is in direct sunlight and the east stage (AT&T Plaza) is in the shade. I ended up using Shutter Priority at 1/500 of sec. I did take some indoor shots, so the flash came in handy. I never used the mono-pod so I don't know if I'll bring it next time. 

Photographs

Below are some shots from game one. I'm a photographer, so I'm always on the look out for something interesting, so I won't be posting photos of DCRB. It will be a mix of interesting shots including some behind the scenes photos.

InfiniteLUXE Fashion Show | 3.22.14

Last Saturday, I photographed a fashion show hosted by Curvy Fox and Choices Boutique. The fashion event showcased spring and summer collections from local Dallas designers, Curvy Fox, Sade Wooten, Jaggad Hanger, Pink Sorbie, G3 Concepts, and Fly’ish Clothing. The event was held at Gilley's Dallas with sounds provided by DJ Dirty Rae

This is my 5th fashion show and I'm enjoying them more and more. However, It can be challenging shooting a fashion show, because you never know what the lighting will be like. For this event, there was a spotlight that lit up the runway, which made it easier to get the shots exposed and in focus. 

Here are some of the shots from the fashion show. Big thanks to Melanie Arango, Bel Flores and Mario Abad for the press pass to the event. Click here to see the entire gallery.

From Stranger to Client

Back in December (2013), I was at Klyde Warren Park, looking to take some stranger portraits with the huge Christmas Tree in the background. I saw two ladies taking each other's picture in front of the tree and I offered to take a picture of both of them, they said sure.  One of the ladies handed me her camera and I took a few shots for them. I told them I was out taking stranger portraits and would they mind if I take a shot of them with my camera as well, they kindly agreed. I told them if they wanted a copy of the picture I would send it to them and I gave them one of my business cards. 

Nu (right) and friend at Klyde Warren Park

Nu (right) and friend at Klyde Warren Park

A few weeks later I got an email from Nu, requesting a copy of the picture. She also stated she was in real estate and would need a head shot very soon. I sent her the picture taken at Klyde Warren and offered to take her head shot whenever she was ready. In February, Nu contacted me regarding the head shot and we setup an appointment. 

After the shoot, Nu told me this was her first photo shoot and she said something that really blessed me. She said I made her feel very comfortable. That was very encouraging to hear. That's the goal of any photographer, because once you become comfortable in front of the camera, the images become authentic. This is the second time, I've taken a strangers portrait, that later turned into a client. It was a great experience and we had an awesome time at the studio. Below are some of the images from Nu's very first photo shoot.

NuNguyen_Websize_White-3.jpg
NuNguyen_Websize_White-2.jpg
NuNguyen_Websize_White-4.jpg
NuNguyen_websize_White-1.jpg

WIN A FREE PROFESSIONAL HEAD SHOT!!!

This Saturday, January 18th, you have an opportunity to win a FREE in-studio professional head shot photo session. To enter the contest, all you have to do is, "like" by Facebook fan page (if you haven't already), then come by my booth at the Divine Grace Conference Center (DGCC) Winter Opening, between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM and sign my guest book.  That's it! 

DGCC specializes in weddings, birthdays, conferences, business meetings, etc. The open house is from 12PM - 6PM and it's free to attend. There will be other vendors, food and door prizes (see the flyer below). I hope to see you there.

Location: 677 East I-20, Arlington, TX 76018

 

 

shutterstock_112081463.jpg
DivineGrace_Combined_Flyer.jpg

Dallas @ Nite

Early in my photographic journey, I was really into shooting at night. I loved the strong colors at night. I studied night photography for a few weeks, got myself a steady tripod. I then started scouting various locations around Dallas, of course I had to shoot the iconic Dallas Skyline. In this blog post I wanted to share some of  my night photography around the Dallas area. Below each photo is the location and a brief description of the shot. 

This is the infamous Hi 5 interchange in north Dallas. I'm standing on Churchill Way over Central Expressway (I-75) facing north toward the ramps to 635 LBJ Freeway. I love the car light trails in this shot.

I was heading east on 635 one day when I saw this carnival in the Valley View Mall parking lot. The next night I brought my gear to take some shots. This is my favorite from that night.

Entrance to the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park

This was taken at the DFW observation park named "Founder's Plaza." north of the airport. I was there for a photography club meetup to shoot the planes as the landed. After it got dark, it was hard to shoot the planes. I saw these sculptures, so I set my camera to about 20 secs and took a flash light and painted around them. Pretty nice effect. http://www.dfwairport.com/founders/

Plano Balloon Festival

Grand opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. I shot this from Trammell Crow Park. 

West bound I-30. Shot was taken from N. Egdefield Ave bridge.

This shot of the Dallas Skyline, was taken just south of the Trinity Overlook Park. Most of the year the Trinity river is to low to get reflections, after it rained for a few days and the Trinity river filled up, I went out and took this shot.

This was taken on W. Commerce St near the Trinity Overlook Park. I wanted to catch some car light trails with the skyline in the background. I waited for a Dart Bus to pass by and took this shoot. I was very close to the street and could feel the bridge vibrate as the cars drove by. 

Get Social

Iron Man

On of my favorite passages in the Bible is Proverbs 27:17, which says "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" - NIV. This scripture teaches us that like minded people grow when they interact with each other. Take note of the "iron sharpens iron", it didn't say iron sharpens bronze, so only elements that are similar, can sharpen the other. It's clear, we progress faster when working with other people. This growth is maximized when there's a common interest, goal or task. What does this have to do with photography? Keep reading.

He So Shy

Socializing isn't something that comes easy to me. By nature, I'm introverted. I was that kid everybody consonantly called shy. By the time I got to high school, I had gotten sick of being called shy, because I never considered myself to be a shy person. Introverted people aren't necessarily shy. Shy is defined as someone who is nervous or timid in the company of other people. I've never been nervous or timid when I'm around other people, accept for that bully in the second grade, man she was mean. I do however relate to being introverted, which is a term popularized by psychologist Carl Jung. Introversion is characterized by reserved or solitary behavior. Extroverts on the other hand, are characterized by outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior. Our American culture celebrates extroverts. The fact is we area all introverted and extroverted, but one of these orientations feels more comfortable. For me, it's introversion, but make no mistake, I can be extroverted when necessary. If any one what's a better understanding of introverted personality types, there's a really good book called, "Introvert Power, by Laurie Helogoe, PhD.Over the years I've had to make a concentrated effort to be more extroverted or social, because I understand that I grow as a person, when connected with like minded people. 

Dallas Galleria Ice Rink

Meetup.com

In my quest to grow has a photographer, I thought it would be beneficial to connect with other photographers. I decided to join a photography club, but I didn't know of any or how to find them. One day I was listening to a photography podcast called This Week In Photo (TWiP) and the host Fredrick Van Johnson, mentioned a website where you can meet up with other photographers, the website is called Meetup.comMeetup.com is the worlds largest network of local groups and it helps you find groups of people with a shared interest. This website was just what I was looking for. I searched the website and found tons of photography related groups around the DFW area. Every group has a description of what the group is about and there's an organizer. I joined the groups (you can join as many has you like), that were aligned with my particular photography interest. I'll list the groups I belong to at the end of this post. When you join a group you'll see a list of past and current events, that way you can plan ahead. If you see a meetup you want to join, you just RSVP for the event and you get a email confirmation. You can even see the events you've RSVP'd for on the website. Due to overhead, there are some fees for some events, but there are a lot of free ones. This is what I've see from the photography related groups. Sometimes they hire models or there are fees associated with getting into a venue. The website is easy to use, and you can search for groups based on your zip code.

Overall it's been a great experience and I've meet some really nice people. Meetup.com doesn't just have groups for photographers, they have all kind of local groups with a variety of interest. This website has a national database, so you can search for a local group near you. If there is no group, you can start one. So, if you need sharpening, here's one way to do it - Meetup.com.

My Groups: 

  • Dallas Photo Walk
  • DFW Photography Club of Texas
  • The North Texas Photography club
  • Dallas Photography Group
  • North Texas Photography Explorers

Higher Learning


It Ain't the Oven

A few short years ago, I would see a great photo and think, "man, they must have a really good camera." Like a lot of people, I always thought great photography was the result of a good (expensive) equipment. I'm sure many of you think the same way. I know this because, recently I started to hear those same comments about my photography. Although it’s true, a good camera can improve your photography, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine telling a world class chef that their food taste good because of the oven, that would be the same as telling a photographer, that their photos look great because of their camera. In the end the camera (or oven) is just a tool. You can't discount the education, creativity, experience and yes the "talent" of the photographer, to do so is an insult. I spent the money on a good mid-range DSLR and yes, my photography was instantly a little "better" but certainly not great. The main problem is you have a lot of options with a better camera, but you still have to know how and when to use those options. My images were still terrible when compared to professionals, and this bothered me. Because I wanted to produce great images, I started looking at really good photographs and wondered how they took that shot. When I started hearing terms like, exposure, composition, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, white balance, and ISO, I knew then, I needed to LEARN the techniques and the art of photography.  

YouTube is the Bomb!

When I got ready to learn photography I turned to YouTube. I use to think YouTube was just a bunch of videos uploaded by teenagers, doing something stupid, but it much more than that. YouTube has turned into a vast library of tutorials on all kinds of topics. There's a ton of reputable content uploaded on a daily basis. For example, every photographer needs to have a firm understanding of "exposure." If you do a search on YouTube and enter the search terms "photography exposure", you'll get over 200,000 results. This is an example of the wealth of how-to's and tutorials and it's all free. The videos on YouTube are limited to around 15 minutes, unless you have a YouTube Partner account, then you’re allowed a lot more time. There are some videos that are an hour or more. Even though I still use YouTube to learn some aspects of photography, I got to the point where I needed more detailed "classroom/workshop" type of training. That's when I turned to Lynda.com

Let's Go Higher

Lynda.com is one of my favorite online learning websites. It's a great place to learn about software, business, design, video, audio, 3D and various creative disciplines. Lynda.com has a lot of photography related training material and I highly recommend it. Lynda.com however, is not free, it operates on a subscription model. They do have monthly subscription so you can subscribe for a month and then cancel, with no hassle. They even have lab files for some courses (additional cost), so you can download them and follow along. Another option is you can buy DVD's of the training classes that I believe include the lab files. I've subscribed to Lynda.com for the past two years and I highly recommend them, even if it's for a month or two. This is a resource the entire family can benefit from.

Lynda.com has a broad range of topics, there are however, online training websites specifically geared more toward photography. One is Kelbytraining.com. This leaning site consist of other professionals delivering online training for photographers.  Kelby Training is also subscription based, there's monthly and yearly subscription, or you can rent a single course in which you have three days to watch it online. Secondly there's CreativeLive.com, like Kelby Training, it offers online photography courses but they have a different model. CreativeLive training is more like a workshop, and they can last from one to three days. These workshops are broadcast online and they are free to watch "live." After the workshop is over, you can purchase the videos.  CreativeLive currently has a summer sale where workshops are up to 50% off, that's a great deal.

I've listed several sources of training material that will help you grow as a photographer. My recommendation is to always start with the free resources. If you discover you have an insatiable passion to learn more, then I would proceed to the paid services. I subscribe to several YouTube channels and I'll list a few below to get anyone who's interested started. Happy higher learning.

YouTube Channel Recommendations:

Adorama Photography TV

Kelby Media Group

SLRlounge

DigitalRev TV

Gavin Hoey Photo