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    by Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University

    One of the most frustrating aspects of shooting a big event has always been trying to download many gigabytes of photos to my laptop, especially on deadline. I had several USB-3 card readers, and individually they were pretty fast, but using more than one would slow down the entire system. For our last commencement ceremony, it took more than thirty minutes to get all the photos onto my computer before I could begin editing. 

    When we placed the order for a new Macbook Pro, I decided to look into speeding up the download process with a faster card reader system as well as faster cards. 

    The Reader: The Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 Hub holds four individual card readers and uses either a USB-3 or Thunderbolt 2 to connect to the computer. USB-3 is fine for an individual reader, at about 5 gigabits per second theoretical throughput. But the Thunderbolt 2 connection allows 20 gigabits per second through one port, so each individual card reader can operate at maximum speed without the whole system slowing. 

    Lexar makes individual card readers for Compact Flash, SD, CFast, Micro SD, XQD, and small external SSD modules, all of which fit in the hub, four at a time, mix and match. I have four SD and one CF reader and use whichever I need at the time. In use, the four readers all chug along at their full speed, downloading all four cards simultaneously and very quickly. 

    Attaching the HR2 Hub to the new Macbook Pro was no problem, a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 dongle worked perfectly and provided the necessary speed. 

    The Cards: I’ve been using the Sandisk Extreme Pro 95 mb/sec cards for several years. They are fast enough for use in my Fuji cameras for still photography and easily keep up with bursts. I don’t shoot video, so I’ve not had any need for faster cards. 

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    Photo by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame

    There are certain things which trouble me more than they probably should.  Among these: Mayonnaise…the intentional grounding rule…pop-up flashes on DSLRs. I prefer full-frame, so the announcement of a new DX-format DSLR from Nikon would normally fly under my radar.  But when I saw the D500 was pop-up flash-less, it had my attention.

    This past spring and summer I did quite a bit of traveling which involved shooting video.  I was feeling the need for a compact, lightweight video-capable DSLR.  The advantages of a tilting LCD screen were obvious.  So why not the D750?  Full-frame and good reviews, but a slower flash sync speed (1/200) and that (grrrr!) pop-up flash always gave me pause.

    The D500 beckoned with it’s nice solid prism, professional round eyepiece, and 1/250 sync.  Specs on AF and low-light performance looked good.  Could I live with DX format? Maybe...  Nikon's $500 rebate for the D500 with the well-reviewed 16-80 zoom pushed me off the ledge.  I impulse-bought one.

    Initial impressions were positive:
    Camera felt great.  More solid and professional than any other small-body Nikon DSLR I had ever used.  The 16-80mm lens seemed like a solid performer and covered pretty much everything I needed to do with video in a single lens.  

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    Photo by Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi

    I’ve always carried a few of the suspended celling mounting clips in my light kit bag with cold shoes which are Nikon/Canon locking pin compatible for hanging battery powered strobes from the celling. Using the clips, you can hang a flash from the celling without worrying about a light stand in the shot. The clips are inexpensive and work well, but they only work on suspended celling grids and you have to get both hands all the way up to the ceiling grid to attach/remove them to the grid.

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    Photo by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame

    Matt Cashore, a Notre Dame graduate and university photographer there since 2007, is the first recipient of the newly renamed Mark A. Philbrick Photographer of the Year Award for 2016. The name change honors eight time POY winner Mark Philbrick , who is retiring this year after a distinguished 40 year career as university photographer at Brigham Young University. Matt was presented with the award at the Austin Peay State University Symposium Awards Banquet on Friday evening, June 17th.

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    Photo by Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi

    Past experiences with lowest-bid AA alkaline batteries and poor performance from rechargeable AA batteries has made me a devout Duracell Alkaline user for years. But battery technology has improved greatly in recent years and I was eager to test some of the new AA battery and battery charger technologies. Armed with three brands of popular single-use batteries, two brands of Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, two different AA chargers and a strobe that closely matches the features of the Nikon SB600 I started my testing. My battery testing methodology was quite simple, four identical batteries were tested using a Nissin Mark II Di622 strobe. The Di622 is comparable to the Nikon SB600 with a guide number of 44 and many of the same modes and features. For this test, the strobe was used exclusively in manual mode at full power.

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    First Place Posters, by Michelle Hutchins & Jeff Reinking, University of Louisville

    The 2016 Annual Publications Competition was again a success with 47 entries from schools through out our UPAA membership. The most popular category was General Publications category with Publication Covers being the second most popular. All categories are judged based on the best usage of imagery in university publications and print media. Each year we select a different group of judges who do not have entries in any of the categories. These are often new Symposium Attendees who are in many cases new to the UPAA, thus giving our newer members a chance to be involved with our organization and to get a feel for the competition. As the Publications Competition Coordinator I would strongly encourage all of our members to enter next year's competition.

    Full list of winners can be found here 2016 Publications Competition

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    2016 Best of Show UPAA. Photo by Nathaniel Ray Edwards, Utah Valley University

    Congratulations to Nate on Winning Best of Show in the 2016 UPAA Annual Print Competition. I asked Nate if he would submit a post about how he made this image. Below is the back story. 
    Behind the scenes photos by Jay Drowns all others by Nathaniel Ray Edwards

    Our office was contacted by one of the associate professors in Emergency Services and wanted to have a group photo taken of the students in the Recruit Candidate Academy with the university president. He had seen a photo I had taken of President Holland with students on top of Mount Timpanogos from a hike earlier that year, and wanted something “similar”. 

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    Photo by Jaren Wilkey, Brigham Young University.

    The 2016 Multimedia Competition featured 22 entries a a wide variety of subjects. As in all UPAA competitions the winners were separated by a small margin, in this case less than .70 of a point. Familiar names again claimed the top spots but newcomers to UPAA are climbing closer to the top spots.

    Members of UPAA voted throughout the month of May and awards were presented at the 55th Annual Symposium held at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. 

    The Winners

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    Photo by Jaren Wilkey, Brigham Young University

    Eight times Photographer of the Year, 40 years a university photographer, five times a symposium host, five years president of UPAA, and one job interview. It should come at no surprise that the Board of Directors decided to name The Photographer of the Year Award after Mark Philbrick, photographer at Brigham Young University.

    Because of his service to UPAA, a willingness to share in the work, and to share his knowledge, and eight times POY (more than any other member) the discussion was short as to Mark’s worthiness of such an honor at the 2015 Mid Year Board meeting. Starting in 2016 the annual award will be called The Mark A. Philbrick Photographer of the Year.

    Recently I chatted with Mark about the his time with UPAA and the POY name change.

    What is the biggest change you have seen in the 35 years you have been a member of UPAA?
    Of course the biggest change to the photo industry was the affordable digital camera and then the demise of film, as we knew it.  The best change in UPAA has been electing the president for more than one year at a time. From 1961 to 1987 most only served for a year with a couple doing up to 3 years. The organization really grew under Jim Dusen and his 12 years of service and you have even advanced and solidified us even more during your 8 years of service so far. 

    Social media has added a great level of communication to our organization.  Before we would just meet once a year and discuss our situations at the schools, then make a few phone calls during the year until we met again.  Now we can communicate with each other on a daily base and share not only words but images as well. This is a great opportunity for our members to continue their quest to be the best photographer their schools have ever know.

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     Best of Show, by Nathaniel Ray Edwards, Utah Valley University

    UPAA members entered 256 prints in ten categories in the 2016 Annual Print Competition, held last week at the annual symposium in Clarksville, TN. Members attending the symposium judged the competition, giving awards to 49 prints. Nathaniel Ray Edwards, of Utah Valley University, won Best in Show for his portrait of a firefighter (above), and Mark Philbrick was the overall APC winner, placing five of his six entries. 

    All the winning images may be viewed in a Photoshelter gallery at this link

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    Photo by Derek Eckenroth, Bob Jones University

    This year's UPAA Nikon Shootout winner is Derek Eckenroth, from Bob Jones University. Here is what he had to say about the challenges of the contest. For his efforts and excellent photograph Derek received a Nikon D750 and a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 lens. 

    "I started my photography career not too long ago. I was hired full-time right out of college January 2014, by my alma mater Bob Jones University, a small, private Christian school in Greenville, SC. I worked as a student photographer for BJU and apparently they still liked me enough to hire me full-time. What a privilege! It was exciting to be hired full time, and I was (and still am) quite hungry to learn and grow as a professional and serve my school, and more importantly serve God, to the best of my ability. And to help further my abilities, joining up with the UPAA was way more than I could have expected, these guys are so talented and great people to learn from. I truly felt like I was stepping into the major leagues.

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    Photo by Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University

    The Fuji booth was very popular at the 2016 UPAA Symposium in Clarksville, TN, and many members were able to borrow a camera and some lenses to test. For those of you who shot raw files and plan to process them in Lightroom, there are a couple of things to know in advance:

    1. The Lightroom default color profile is Adobe Standard, which I don't find particularly good. The first thing to do is go to the Calibration tab and choose one of the Fuji color profiles, the so-called "film simulations". Note that these are not presets that just move sliders around, they are actual profiles that interpret the data from the sensor before it comes into Lightroom. I like the Astia profile, but there are plenty of them to play around with. 

    If you settle on one profile that you want to use all the time for a starting point, the next step is to open a new raw file in the Develop module, set that profile in the Calibration tab, then choose Develop > Set Default Settings. Lightroom will now use that color profile for every raw file from a camera of that type. (This is a useful thing in general if you want to use your own default sharpening and noise reduction settings for each camera, something that requires its own blog post.)

    2. Sharpening. The Fuji X-Trans sensor doesn't use the Bayer array pattern, so sharpening is not the same, especially in Lightroom. Rather than rewrite what I've learned, I'll just send you directly to the sources:

    Peter Bridgewood posted his sharpening technique last year on his own blog, and variations of this work very well. 

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    Photo by Matt Forer, Baylor University

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    Our very generous sponsors made this amazing opportunity available to us. With their help UPAA was able to offer portrait sessions to military families, veterans, and active duty members. For a full list of participating sponsors visit the sponsors' page.

    The movie above was created using Canon C100 cameras and edited on Apple Macbook Pro.


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    Photos by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame
    A macro lens is always a great go-to for lab photos.  Nothing says "research" like a nice tight closeup of a pipet tip, right?  Many zoom lenses do what I call "mild macro" and I have a couple manual focus Nikkor macros with extension tubes for when I get really serious.
    I knew reversing rings could turn normal lenses into macro lenses but since I had the macro world covered with my existing arsenal I didn't give much thought to the idea.  
    One day I stumbled on a photo blog post about reversing wide angle lenses.  According to the author, wide angle lenses reversed turned into magnifying lenses.  Made intuitive sense and sparked my curiosity in trying it for myself.  I called my local camera store and sure enough, they had a reversing ring in stock.  52mm filter thread-to-Nikon mount.  Well...  Just so happens I have a few old manual focus Nikkor lenses sitting around from my film days which all have 52mm filter threads.  $15 later...time to experiment!
    The first lens I tried was a 24mm f2.8 AIS.  I learned a few things immediately:
    1. Focus was going to happen entirely by moving the camera. Focus ring is more or less irrelevant at this point.
    2. It was a PITA to use the traditional viewfinder.  Live view was going to be my friend in this effort.
    I first turned my camera on a tiny grape hyacinth in my yard.  "Click." "Whoa!"
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    Photos by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame

    The tried-and-true method of shooting football is supertelephoto on a monopod and medium focal length lens around the neck for the quick-grab when the play lands in our lap.  Often times we'll have a third body with a wide angle lens--but no third hand to hold it with. One solution I tried years ago was to make the third body a remote attached to my monopod, using my second handheld body as the trigger for the remote via a radio transmitter.  However this setup proved to be far too heavy and awkward to be of much practical use, so I abandoned the idea. A year or so ago I reviewed the Nikon Df and even with its shortcomings I said it would be very useful as a remote because of its compactness and light weight: When football season rolled around again I decided the Df might make the "remote on a monopod" idea workable and I've been much happier with the setup this time around. Here's my setup in action: