I’ve missed photographing all the Hoosier basketball emotion around the state over the last year. If you haven’t heard, Indiana is a HUGE basketball state. Yes, more than other states. There’s nowhere else a movie like Hoosiers could have been made.
I scanned 4+ years of my archive of images I shot for the Indiana High School Athletic Association to look for the biggest emotions I could find. This includes players, cheerleaders, fans, and coaches from all over the state, in venues big and small. Although, you won’t find many small venues in Indiana, even in the smallest of towns.
Below are some of my other posts about basketball and sports photography. Also, I have a lot more than just basketball action and emotion. To check out some of my favorite sports images, click here to see the gallery on my website.
Oh man, it’s been snowing so much here in Indiana. It’s a lot more than we get most winters. So, I’ve been out documenting it. I use snow photography as an opportunity to practice all of the classic elements: framing, shadows, contrast, action, texture, and of course, composition.
The featured image at the top of this post is my favorite composition I’ve taken this winter. I love the angels and geometry. It has great lines that draw your eyes across the frame. It has a timeless quality and feels like a classic image to me.
Frozen Creek Play with Falling Snow
Just across the street and down the hill is another world on the golf course in the winter. It’s great having a park-like setting to explore the woods and play in open areas.
The highlight to our kids is playing on the frozen creek. It’s not cold enough in Indiana every year for creeks and lakes to freeze enough to walk on. But a few weeks of below-freezing temperatures has been enough to freeze the water. They definitely made good use of it!
I love the above candid portrait of my daughter. My kids are used to me getting up in their faces while we’re out doing stuff. They never seem to mind, but I try not to stay too close for long because everyone deserves their personal space.
Taking photos of kids at play really shows them at their most free. Add a snowy environment and it makes for something unique because it gives a great sense of time and place. I work to capture eyes in the photo because they add so much to an image.
I don’t photoshop my images in any way. I only do minor color and tone adjustments. Can you tell by that red thread sticking out from her mask? To me, perfection comes from what’s real, not from what I can manufacture in editing software.
The image above is a study in light and shadow. My kids were throwing snow over the edge of the bridge. I knew that the strong sunlight and shade of the bridge would provide for some nice contrast and highlight the powder in the air.
The contrast of the ice and water below lead to some great minimalist images. There are all sorts of natural abstracts that are unique to winter and snow photography.
About 200 yards from our property is a very nice sledding hill. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you definitely see me post photos from this spot every year. It’s a great place for the neighborhood kids to gather, bring their sleds and snowboards, and just let loose.
The above image is a good testament to how I assess the full frame when I’m shooting. In watching the scene unfold through my viewfinder, I noticed the kid on the far left about to take off down the hill. I waited for them to slide directly between the two trees before I took the photo. It’s a small detail that I think makes a big difference in the image.
Snow Photography at Home
Sometimes it’s nice to stay close to home. Especially when you want to play with your 20-month-old little brother. There’s still plenty of chances available to practice my snow photography at home.
Natural Snowy Settings
There are lots of trees and woods around that provide a great opportunity for snow photos both with and without people.
Shooting from a higher angle and excluding the horizon, combined with the white snow provides a nice, simple background. I used that here in addition to the lines of the tree trunks and spacing/directionality of the kids in the frame to form a composition that’s both simple and complex.
The photos above are all examples of natural framing. Look for ways to use elements like trees and patterns in the snow to frame the subjects.
So venture out like the intrepid explorer below and see what elements you can find unique to snow photography to really practice your art!
A good photography practice can be to return to the same scene multiple times to photograph it under different conditions. If you saw my post about photographing night snow, you’ll have seen this first image already. Well, I found myself in the same area the next day, both during the afternoon and again in the evening. I decided to make the exact same image (or as close as possible) at three different times of day to see how the mood changed.
Even though the actual framing of the subject hasn’t changed at all, things like the light and other people in the scene change things significantly.
Here’s a side-by-side view of all three photos just for the hell of it. Try out this photography practice yourself and tag me in the resulting images!
Twenty years into photography, it’s rare to find a subject I haven’t already photographed in some capacity. Enter Night Snow. Whenever possible, I get outside when it’s snowing those big, fat beautiful flakes, but I had never tried it at night.
First, it required me to do something I absolutely hate: take a tripod. I’m about as anti-tripod as anyone can be who still owns one. I find them extremely limiting. I knew with how dark it was that I would need a tripod to shoot at slower shutter speeds if I wanted to have a low(ish) ISO, which increases my image quality.
But, of course, slow shutter speeds mean that the snow streaks across the image, which isn’t really the effect I was going for. And if the speeds are slow enough, you can’t even tell it’s snowing at all.
Comparing Shutter Speeds for Night Snow
Let’s compare the three images below. The image top left is at a shutter speed 0.8 seconds. Is it even snowing? I can’t tell! The top right image is at 1/8 second. Better! The bottom image is 1/100 second and it has more of the type of night snow look I was going for. However, I had to shoot at ISO 12,800 AND underexpose the image quite a bit to shoot at that shutter speed, which means the quality of the image wasn’t great. The color was terrible, but it does look decent in black & white.
The image below is the best compromise between all the factors. It’s 1/50 sec. And even though it’s ISO 12,800, since I didn’t underexpose it as much as the image above, the color didn’t turn out too terribly. Oh, and all of these photos are at f/2.
I can admit that my greatest strength as a photographer isn’t thinking of all possible scenarios in advance. One of my greatest strengths is being very quick to adapt to a situation to make it work in my favor.
So that means I decided to crank the ISO (3200-12,800) and accept the graininess that comes with that in order to get my shutter speed high enough to (somewhat) freeze the flakes in midair and get the type of night snow photos that I wanted.
I was glad to have the tripod, though. It made a nice walking stick.
Pro Tip: Stability Technique
Just because I’m morally opposed to tripods, it doesn’t mean that I don’t do whatever I can to stabilize my camera to get sharp images. For example, for the image below, wedged my lens into the corner of one of those small squares at the top of the fence to add some stability for this night snow shot. I used trees, buildings and all types of furniture to do the same.
What’s a photographer to do in a pandemic? I’m someone who likes to photograph people most of all. I need to avoid people as much as possible right now. And when I’m around others, I can’t photograph them in the close manner I’m accustomed to.
So I spend a lot of time outdoors. And with my family. I’m fortunate to live with 6 other people and I never take that for granted. I look at this as my professional blog, so I try not to focus too much on my family, even though they’re with me for nearly every shoot that isn’t for a client.
This is an unprecedented time in our recent history. I don’t think I need to draw hard lines between “personal” and “professional.” My family is here experiencing this pandemic with me. We go to local parks and playgrounds. These are the things I photograph.
My brain tells me these shoots get repetitive. But my spirit knows that each time I go out with my camera, new things happen – things that will only happen one time in the course of human existence – and I’m there to document and interpret them.
So, here’s my visual journal entry for this week. We spent time in a brand new environment to us: Eagle Creek Park on the NW side of Indianapolis. We walked, climbed, thought, poked at things, broke ice, fell down, wrestled, and took in the rare Indiana winter sun.
It’s been nine months since I started making these quarantine stories. Here are a few of the first ones from last spring.
A funny thing about publishing a magazine is that most of the time you’re working a year in advance. That means for the Thanksgiving 2020 issue of Eating Well magazine, I took photos on Thanksgiving 2019.
Eating Well planned a spread of photos from across the United States to show different ways we celebrate Thanksgiving. My assignment was to document the role small farms play in the process while covering the Midwest section of the story.
Liz and Nate Brownlee own and operate Nightfall Farm in Crothersville, Indiana. Here are some images as I follow them around southern Indiana on their distribution day.
Fun Fact: I took the image they published in the first 30 minutes of a 5 hour shoot. You never know which photos are going to be your best until you go through the entire process.
Eating Well Thanksgiving Issue
Click on the image below to head to the Eating Well website and see the full story celebrating the diversity of our country on one of our favorite holidays.
Today I took a walk through the woods at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers, IN. It’s basically a suburban oasis of forest and natural grassland.
I had five kids with me, but for this post, you can just go alone.
Bringing the Nature to you
Spending so much time at home these days, it can be a bit of an adjustment heading into public, even if it’s a natural and somewhat remote setting. Each time we spend some time in nature, I’m always glad we do!
I hope this brings some peace to anyone who is quarantining or currently without large swaths of nature in which to roam.
Depth vs Expression
For the next two images, I noticed this woman as I walked along a trail and couldn’t resist taking her photo. It was a nice moment. Which of the two images do you like best? They’re very similar but have two subtle differences. Leave a comment and let me know!
The most obvious difference is her facial expression. The top photo is more serene and the second is almost funny. I think she was having her photo taken by her husband off to the side.
The second, more subtle difference is the depth of field. The top photo was taken at f/11 so it has more depth than the second photo, which is f/2.8. Although, at this distance from the subject, it’s not as pronounced.
I prefer the depth of the second photo with the expression in the first. But since I don’t make fake photos by combining images, I’ll choose the first photo as my favorite because of the expression.
For the next two images, I played with depth again to bring out some different abstract qualities in the scenes.
For the image above, I liked how the shape of the leaves and the sunlight combine for some interesting abstract patterns. I used more depth (f/11) to get more of the shapes into focus. Also, in this case I thought the black & white edit better highlighted what I liked about the scene.
The image below is from the same area, but with the shallow depth and focus in the foreground, I ended up liking the color version better.
This next image below had some impressionistic qualities that caught my eye. By using a shallow depth of field, the foreground and background fall quickly out of focus to add to the painterly quality of the photo.
Visitors and Residents
The trails at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve were busy with dog walkers and families having their portraits taken. We also passed some permanent residents who had not-so-recently had some flowers placed at their resting place.
This next section features some images that highlight basic concepts of photography and composition: color, line, texture, shape, pattern and more.
When I saw the bent and gnarled vines below, I thought it looked cool in real life, but I wasn’t confident it would translate well into a photo. I decided to take a shot anyways and it turns out I was wrong!
The black & white edit really highlights the shapes as does the high contrast.
We’re all doing things a bit differently these days. One thing that’s interesting to me is how some of the things we’re doing are CLOSE to what we did before, but not exactly the same.
For example, my family likes to hike and explore nature. But since we’re not going out to parks right now, we spent some time exploring the neighborhood golf course when it closed to golfers. It was an activity that we usually do, but in a new type of place.
What has the Great Pause meant to you and your family? Have you seen or experienced anything you’ve never done before?
What familiar activities are you doing in new environments? I’m interested to hear what you’re up to! Respond to this email or comment on my social media with your own stories.
This short photo story is a small part of a long-format narrative I’m currently developing to capture the look and feel of this quarantine era. New stories coming each week!
Here are more posts related to the quarantine and staying home…
Introducing 18th Street Indy! After much anticipation, one of my favorite brewers has come to town.
I like big, bold beers. IPAs are great, but why not make it a double? I want a stout so dark that it absorbs the light around it. I’ll take a sour beer, too. I don’t mean tart. I mean, full-on SOUR!
That’s why 18th Street beers are for me. They have bold flavor in spades. Have you tried any of their beers yet? If so, let’s talk about it in the comments.
18th Street Brewery is based in Hammond, IN and has been winning major awards since 2013. Just last year they won Best Brewpub in the U.S. in a USA Today reader’s poll.
Last week I stopped in to check out the vibe and take some photos of the new space. A decent crowd for a Thursday afternoon plus a rare sunny day throwing out some good light combined for a nice set of images.
Muckrock the Casbah
As an added bonus, a rad mural by Jules Muck, the Venice Beach artist known as muckrock adds some flash to the side of the building that makes it stand out on the block.
While you’re over on Instagram checking out muckrock, give us a follow as well. We’ll follow you back so we can talk more about beer and art and whatever else is interesting.
…to Ty, Courtney and Bo; three good folks you might see on your visit. Tell them you saw these photos online and you just had to come in for a visit ASAP.
Hey, believe it or not, 18th Street Indy isn’t my first beer-related story. Here are some posts about brewing, an artist who designs labels and some more awesome murals…
Last fall marked my third time documenting the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It’s always a lot of action and emotion with plenty of great photos to take (if you know what you’re doing, that is).
My SEO plugin wants me to type a bunch of words. “F*ck off, plugin,” I say! I’m going to tell this story through photos. Just look at the images and feel like you’re there.
Let’s work together
If you have an event coming up and need a photographer to create meaningful images that serve multiple purposes: advertising, sponsor gifts, collateral or post-event gallery purchases, give email me and we can talk about your project in detail.
If you’re into the sports, check out some stories from both amateur and professional athletics.
One of the many reasons I love my work is that I never know what type of shoots are going to come my way. Documenting the rededication of Bethel Cemetery is definitely a photo story different than any I have done before.
A logistics company called Cardno contacted me in the fall to document the opening of a new/old cemetery. Due to necessary infrastructure improvements, Bethel Cemetery was relocated from its home by the airport to an area within Concordia Cemetery on the south side of Indianapolis. Cardno led the project.
Established in 1827, Bethel Cemetery saw its last known burial in 1935. Among the buried are veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
An initial survey of the site identified over 150 headstones. Throughout the relocation project, 543 individual were discovered. In the process they salvaged, restored and reassembled headstones that had fallen into disrepair.
Bethel Cemetery Families
Descendants of some of the Civil War veterans attended the rededication as well as some historically prominent families from the Indianapolis area. As a part of the rededication, reenactors from from the Civil War and War of 1812 along with an Honor Guard from the IN National Guard gave salutes to the veterans.
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I do documentary photographer for all sorts of commercial clients. Check out these stories below to see some cool stories.
Last week I visited Indiana City Brewing on the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis to check out their brewing process. It was fun to watch. The building they’re housed in is super cool and the morning light definitely heightened the scene.
I’ve been doing documentary photography and drinking beer (not at the same time) for nearly two decades, so it’s crazy I hadn’t shot any stories about brewing. Glad to finally end the drought!
Meet the Brew Crew
The Indiana City Brewing team has the flow down, moving quickly between tasks. Nick Shadle (the man in the mask) is Head Brewer. Ryan Oesch (the guy with the overalls who you can just tell has good taste in music) is Production Manager. And finally the dude with the best title of all, Cellarman, Mike Abrego.
So if you stop by the brewery and see them around, tell them you saw their photo on here and Zach says hello.
Indiana City Brewing Taproom
Now that you’ve seen all the photos, check out their site for more info and stop by the taproom soon!
We are partnering with Indiana City Brewing for a giveaway on our Instagram page now through November 22, 2019.
They are having a ticketed release party on November 23 for the beer brewed in this photo story, Cratchit’s Winter Olde Ale.
Artist Aaron Scamihorn does the label art for Indiana City, so check out these posts where he makes an appearance.
We love to celebrate art and artists, so I was excited to photograph a new event in Indianapolis: Indy Mural Fest. I appreciate their mission to have a festival full of LOCAL artists, so the full talent of our city is on public display.
Another important factor is that all artists are paid for their work. As a working artist myself, I know how much of a reward it is to be hired for your own vision, so it’s great to see others provided that same opportunity.
See it Yourself
A great thing about this mural art is that it’s on display around the clock in public places. Take a look at this map and go see the art for yourself!
If you’re interested in seeing even more images from this event, subscribe to our newsletter for a full gallery. Click here to sign up. After entering your email, you’ll see this past week’s newsletter containing a link to a password-protected gallery.
Our newsletter is the place we give a first-looks and extended galleries of my weekly stories. It also includes extras like free downloads, tips, discounts on prints and more.
Into art, artists and just general creativity? Check out these other posts.
Indianapolis artist Aaron Scamihorn works as a graphic designer and illustrator. Under his company Ronlewhorn Industries, he creates illustrations, concert posters and design for companies like Indiana City Brewing, where he’s lead their overall design and can art since their founding in 2013.
Last weekend, I photographed Aaron at Indiana City brewing where he and some fellow artists created a new mural on the north side of the building. Scamihorn is new to spray paint as a medium (he’s produced 4-5 pieces to date by his count), but you wouldn’t know that by the resulting work.
Craft Brew Doodle Crew
Scamihorn leads a group called Craft Brew Doodle Crew. They meet monthly at Indiana City Brewing to collaborate on pieces that become can art for new beers. Members of the crew collaborate on the mural as well.
Other artists from Craft Brew Doodle Crew collaborating on the mural include (clockwise from top left)…
The NBA season is about to get underway, so I thought it time to finally share this shoot from last season. The Indiana Pacers hired me to document the inaugural game for their partnership with Motorola. I was brought in to capture some pre-game shots in the locker room and game action photos that highlighted the new patch.
It was a fun challenge to highlight a 2.5″ patch within the context of game action. I used a Canon 1DX camera body and 400mm f/2.8 lens. This allowed me to get very close up with the shots I was taking and the patch stood out as a result.
I always like to see what other angles will yield. Getting higher up in the stands and shooting downwards with a super telephoto lens places the court as the background and really isolates the subject. I really like the scoreboard in the shot below as a visual element.
High & Low
The two images below show different angles on a similar play. The image on the left was taken in the stands, the right side from the floor.
I like the cleaner background on the right image, but I also like the perspective of being at eye-level on the left photo.
However, shooting from the stands runs the risk of interlopers getting in your frame. That blur on the left image is a cotton candy vendor who wandered into the frame with less-than-ideal timing.
My style of photography involves getting as close as I can. Typically that means I like to move physically close to the subject.
However, that’s obviously not possible with professional sports, so I enlisted the aid of a Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens. This beast weights about 8.5 pounds and the glass at the widest is about 6.5″ in diameter. Not something I want to use every day, but for getting super-close, sharp images with great background blur, it was perfect.
One of the perks of working for the Indiana Pacers and not a media outlet is the special access.
Getting close to the bench during a timeout allowed me to get some unique angles that aren’t afforded most photographers. Also, shooting some images in the locker room before the game was a unique experience.
Always on the Lookout
Even when I have a very specific task (like getting shots highlighting the sponsor patch), I make sure to get other good shots when I see them. These could have other uses for the client.
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We definitely have lots of sports stuff to peruse. Here are a few more posts…
Flat Fork Creek Park is tucked away in the southeast corner of Fishers, Indiana. During this trip, Zach seeks different ways to capture the feel of this park at this time of year.
A bright sunny noon hour doesn’t often make for great photography, but sometimes you have to make the best of a situation! Giant clouds and blue skies are features of a midday shoot that I can use to my advantage.
Harsh sunlight can make photos boring and flat with washed out colors and dark shadows. During this shoot I took a wider view and utilized the big sky to add perspective and keep the images interesting.
For more photography tips while shooting in midday light, check out my free handy download. It has (more than) 5 helpful tips to make better images in bright sunlight.
Our story this week features Turkey Run State Park in western Indiana.
Carved by glaciers millions of years ago, this park features some of the most unique topography in Indiana. Walk with us through the ravines and sandstone gorges to see what this park has to offer.
Please share this post with a friend who appreciates things like photography, nature and art. When more people see and share our stories, we’re able to produce more stories for you to see and share. Funny how that works!
Have you been to Turkey Run State Park? Leave a comment👇🏼! What’s your favorite trail? Do you like the ladders or do you prefer to steer clear?
If you’re into the great outdoors, be sure to check out these other posts.
Earlier this year I headed up to northern Indiana to visit Angola Wire, a company that makes wire displays for retail use and custom wire parts. Shooting photos of industrial work and heavy machinery is always a fun task. And when sparks are flying, it makes for some cool images.
I spent a half-day wandering the floor on foot or riding in lifts for a high-angle perspective of people and robots working side-by-side. I was happy with the variety of images I was able to capture in a short amount of time. To give some perspective of how much I shot in 5 hours, this post contains only about 20% of the final images I turned over to the client.
Contact me today to find out more about how my documentary approach to would work for your business.
Here’s some more people making, building, cutting, assembling and whatnot.
Carmel Artomobilia is an auto show in the heart of the Arts & Design District. What could be better than world-class cars just a few minutes from home? Here are a few shots from this year’s show.
If you’ve been following this blog or my Instagram page for any amount of time, you’ll see that I post cars from time to time. My car memories go back to when I was a kid: a ride in my dad’s friend IROC T-top; my uncle’s 1975 Corvette; that poster of a white Lamborghini Countach; and a whole host of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.
Some of my favorite cars at the show were the 1969 Lamborghini Miura (below) and the 2019 Ford GT (above). The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado that leads off this post wasn’t too shabby, either.
If you want to know more about Artomobilia, or want to register your super-amazing car, visit their site here.
You have to wait another year for Carmel Artomobilia, so in the meantime, check out these other posts about super cool cars and trucks.