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    The Monthly Image Competition has posted the winners for February. Check out all the winning images at the UPAA MIC.

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    Photo by Kelly Gorham/Montana State University

    By Kelly Gorham, Montana State University

    The first camera I ever got to play with was my father’s Regula Werk King that he purchased while serving in the Army in Germany. It now sits on a shelf in my living room and over the past several years I glanced at it and longingly wished I could have a digital version of a camera like that. Yes, of course there are the Leica’s but…well, we’ll discuss my bank account another time.

    Along comes the Fuji X100. On the surface it was exactly what I’d dreamed of, classic styling and high-resolution images. However, it wasn’t perfect, and if I’m going to spend over $1,000 I want what I want. I waited patiently until the arrival last fall of the Fuji X10. Compact, retro, and cheap, this is what I’ve been dreaming of. I put my name on a list and received my X10 in a glossy, black box one day this winter.

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    Our own Donald Page, staff shooter for the University of Tennessee Athletic Department, wrote a guest post on Scott Kelby's Blog. He shared his insight on how to overcome the fear of failure in our photography. He also shared this video created by his university to showcase his work:

    Donald Page - University of Tennessee Sports Photographer from Donald Page on Vimeo.

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    By Glenn Carpenter/Moraine Valley Community College

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      The Nikon Wireless Transmitter WT-5a, Photo by Andrew Daddio/ Colgate University

    “This changes everything.” This was my first thought as I watched the behind the scenes video of Brigham Young University photographers using an iPad at a photo shoot. I watched as the art director held the iPad and the images appeared, I was amazed. This is the future of photography.

    I quickly put together a list of what I needed to make this magic in Illinois. Along with the link to the BYU video I submitted the request to be just like BYU! The iPad and Eye-fi card arrived a few weeks later. The only problem is that I use Nikon. You see a Nikon D3 only uses CF memory and the Eye-fi card is SD memory. With the help of an adapter, I eventually got it to work but it was not perfect. I was not like BYU.

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    Photos and Text by Andrew M. Daddio/Colgate University

    Full Disclosure: for the past twelve years all of my personal photo gear has been Canon bodies and lenses. I used to diss on Nikon, quite heavily I may add, until the introduction of the Nikon D3, which really leveled the playing field, if not taking a quantum leap forward. I shoot with Nikon for work, and I still retain and shoot with my Canon gear, but I do on occasion consider jumping ship to Nikon...

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    A great portrait session where you are able to break through your subjects’ apprehension and genuinely capture the personality of the individual you are photographing... Gaining access to environments and situations that many people will never see... Solving a technical challenge or exploring an untried technique that produces a new body of work... The rush of excitement you receive after seeing the image in the viewfinder as you click the shutter, or when it pops up on the back of the camera, and realizing that you have just captured a great and iconic portfolio shot...

    These are some of the high points that are the rewards and pleasures of our professions as professional photographers. One of the other high points that is also central to our experience, since almost all photographers are serious gadget freaks and techno geeks, is that great feeling we get from opening the packaging and taking a brand-new camera out of the box for the very first time. Ah, so factory fresh and clean.

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    By Mark A. Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

    A few months back we were approached by our dance department to create a poster for their upcoming concert. One of the featured numbers involved students dancing in the rain so we thought that would make the perfect poster, as long as we provided the rain. In case you were wondering, we kind of have an affinity for water shoots as of late (Softball - Gymnastics).

    We secured a local outdoor stage for the shoot that had access to water for the shoot. Mark wanted to create a dry area the dancers could stay in and then we had walls of water sandwiched in front of and behind them. We borrowed a Rain Tower that is used for creating rain on film sets for the back wall of water, and it created a really nice pattern. You could easily make something similar out of PVC and sprinkler heads. For the front wall we bought a simple fan hose attachment that actually worked quite well.

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    Our own Kurt Stepnitz just started a 7 week marathon trip around the world working on a multimedia project for Michigan State University. This is the first in a series of posts chronicling his journey:

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    Michigan State University producer Kevin Epling is thinking if there's any way this is all going to fit. We still photographers have it easy I must admit. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz/ Michigan State University

    To my colleagues and friends of the UPAA,

    After months of planning and about a 30-person support crew behind us, there are 7 weeks of travel and story gathering ahead. Tonight begins a journey for a crew of 10, certainly like nothing I've ever experienced.

  • By Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

    This year we tried to create a really unique image for the annual "Christmas Around the World" Concert with the BYU Folk Dancers Company. We wanted to shoot directly down on a group of dancers with some fog and lots of different colored lights. The best way to do this was to attach our camera to a lighting bar directly above the stage and take it up 20 feet above the dancers.

    The lighting setup - click for larger

    Mark triggered the camera with a Pocket Wizard Remote and the camera was connected to our iPad's Shuttersnitch app with Canon's WFT wireless transmitter. The transmitter is set up to send jpgs to the iPad after each shot it taken. This way we could see the images as they were being shot and make adjustments to the dancers and the lighting scheme.

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    Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

    This year's Monthly Image Competition has been full of amazing images from the members of the UPAA. If you haven't seen them yet, check out the winners from November. The Best of Show prize went to Robert Jordan for his images called "Doorknob to the Universe" I asked Robert to share how he created the image:

    Mary Stanton, Broadcast Communications Specialist, came to me with project she needed help with. She wants to put together a series of short video clips, each representing “10 Things Every Ole Miss Student Should Experience”. Her idea is to make a very short clip for each item using a still image with a brief narrative. Many of the images are readily available, but she did not have an image of “The Doorknob to the Universe”.

    The ‘Doorknob’ was a big deal in the pre-internet, cellphone, DVR, DVD days when I attended Ole Miss. Frankly, I’m surprised people still do this. To introduce a newbie to the Doorknob, you blindfold the subject, drive them around town (bonus points for taking some bumpy backroads along the way) and walk them to the water tower. You then have them lean their back up against the base of the tower and lean their head back till the top of their head is touching the water tower. Then the blindfold is removed and the Doorknob revealed.

    A pair of students on a date came up while I was shooting this sequence. A car pulled up and I could see that the girl was blindfolded with her date’s necktie. She was wearing a fancy sequined dress and he was dressed up in slacks and a blazer, he opened her door and led her up to the tower, positioned her and removed the blindfold and told her to open her eyes and behold the Doorknob to the Universe. She looked up and didn't seem too impressed and she walked back to the car.

  • I wanted to share this great behind the scenes video of Mike Ekern shooting the 2012 Football poster for the University of St. Thomas:

    To see more photos from the shoot and to gain some insight into how he created these images, check out  his blog post at The University of St. Thomas

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    A crazy finish in the October MIC competition with a 3-way tie for best of show and great collection of dynamic photos. Check out the results at

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    By Peter Frey, The University of Georgia

    The assignment was to make a portrait of Psychology Department Head Keith Campbell for a back page feature in our alumni magazine. The back page feature contains a unique, conceptual image that portrays the research or work that the professor studies…in this case narcissism.  We had photographed this particular faculty member for another publication a year prior using mirrors and reflections to represent the narcissism factor, but the magazine wanted a fresh concept, and here are the results…

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    Photo by Peter Frey, The University of Georgia
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    By Mike Ekern, University of St. Thomas

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    There’s something about being a photographer at St. Thomas that feels just a bit like cheating. You work at an institution that is comprised entirely of beautiful architecture surrounding what is essentially an arboretum.

    And every few years the place rents you a helicopter.

    Read more at The University of St. Thomas