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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

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    Salt Lake Community College Basketball shot on Kodak T-Max 3200 Black and White Film. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU

    Kodak just announced that they will stop production on T-Max 3200 Black and White film. As a freshman student at Salt Lake Community College in 1997, I first used 3200 to shoot the colleges basketball games in a very dark gym. I still remember how amazing it was to be able to shoot action in such unfavorable conditions. T-Max 3200 was a crazy emulsion that you could push and pull like crazy and it had a really cool grain structure. Yet one more relic of a forgotten age that will be sorely missed.

    And here is another one from Dot Paul at the University of Georgia:

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    After a long and busy summer, it is nice to have the students come back to start off another year. Here is a roundup of photos and videos welcoming students to the start of the 2012-13 academic year:

    (click on photos to jump to photo galleries or videos)

    University of Ottowa - Orientation Week - Matthew Hicks

    Baylor University - Robbie Rogers and Matthew Minnard - Traditions Rally

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    Brigham Young University - Jaren Wilkey - Freshman Time Lapse

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    University of Portland - Jeff Kennel - Gallery of fashion from the first week of school

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    SUNY Geneseo - Keith Michael - Freshman Time Lapse

    Western Illinois University - Larry Dean - Freshman Time Lapse

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    Chicago 2013 Preview

    The 2013 UPAA Symposium will be held at Elgin Community College on June 17-21. Elgin is located about 40 miles northwest from downtown Chicago. The schedule is far from complete but I am happy to announce that Chicago based photographers Sandro Miller ( and Paul Natkin ( will be part of the line up. Please check out their websites and read their bios. I am still working on more speakers will let everyone know as things develop. (pun intended)

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    The Nikon Shootout will be held in downtown Chicago. We will bus everyone downtown for the shootout. You will be able to explore the city as you wish as you search for your winning photo.

    FOOD! Deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago style hot dogs will be on the menu during the week as with lot of other great food. I will also make sure that vegetarian options will be available at every meal.

    The cost of the symposium will be under $400. The main hotel is all suites and will run $80-$90 a night. A few other options will also be available.

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    Best of Show - Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU

    It is hard to believe the week is already over! Below is a list of all of the winners for the Print and Publication Competitions…

    Click here to see the winning photos from the 2012 Print Competition.

    Click here to see the winning entries in the 2012 Publications Competition.

    The 2012 Photographer of the Year is Mark Philbrick from BYU.

    Best of Show comes out of the Sports Features category this year and also goes to Mark Philbrick.

    The winner of the Nikon Shootout is Bruce Fox, Buffalo State College

    2012 Print Competition

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    Things must be busy in Ohio as the 2012 Symposium comes to an end, because we haven't seen many new photos from the group. Here are a few that made their way to the UPAA Facebook page:

    [caption id="attachment_3210" align="aligncenter" width="625" caption="David Tejada Lighting Workshop - Photo by Cydney Scott"]

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    David Tejada Lighting Workshop - Photo by Andrew Daddio

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    Scott Galvin's Remote Camera Workshop - Photo by Andrew Daddio