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    Houston Rockets center Yao Ming against the Houston skyline - Photo by Robert Seale

    Robert Seale will be one of our featured speakers for the 50th Anniversary Symposium. Robert is based in Houston and specializes in editorial, corporate and advertising portraiture.

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    After majoring in both journalism and art, Seale began his photography career as a photojournalist, where he worked as a staffer at several major newspapers. He eventually landed at the Sporting News, where he spent nearly 11 years shooting Super Bowls and World Series games as well as cover portraits for the popular magazine.

    His love of portrait work led him to a Houston-based freelance career specializing in shooting people for magazines, prestigious design firms, corporations and advertising agencies. Seale is known for his lighting skills and his unique ability to coax a variety of creative concepts from a single location in a limited timeframe.

    During his workshop on Thursday morning, Robert will walk us through his creative process and demonstrate how he lights his portraits on location. That afternoon we will drive down to Bryce Canyon, where Robert will do a live portrait shoot in the canyon during sunset.

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    We are pleased to announce that Eye-Fi has decided to become a day sponsor for the 2011 UPAA Symposium. As part of their sponsorship they have provided their wireless sd cards for us to use during Robert Seale's live shoots on Thursday June 23rd. We plan to use the Pro X2 card to transmit images from Robert's Camera to our projector screen during the demo shoot in Provo. That evening in Bryce Canyon we will demonstrate how to transmit the photos directly to an iPhone or an iPad with the Eye-Fi cards.

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    What it really exciting is that they have donated 4 of their 8gb Pro X2 cards that will be given away to our members as door prizes during the day on Thursday. I can't say enough about how much we love direct mode on their cards, they allow us to transmit images from our camera directly to the iPad without the need for a existing wireless network. They have become indispensable to us during our photo shoots. We have several Eye-Fi cards and use them to provide a live feed of the photos we shoot to our clients and graphic designers. To learn more about how you can use the Eye-Fi cards, check out our recent review of the Pro X2 Card and Shuttersnitch.

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    By Jaren Wilkey and Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo

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    Caschjen Davis-Atagi for the BYU Softball Poster - Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU 

    Here at BYU we are always trying to come up with creative ideas for marketing our athletic teams. Dave Broberg, who is the lead graphic designer for the BYU Athletic Department, came up with the crazy idea of having exploding water as part of this year’s softball team poster and schedule cards. He really wanted to see how we could create explosions of water on the bat when the batters hit the ball. Of Course there really is only one answer, water balloons. The plan was to hit the water balloons with a bat to create the water explosion, and then we would add the softball to the photo in post.

    They wanted a black background so that the water would stand out, so we decided that it would work best schedule the shoot on the softball field at night. We asked the grounds crew to turn off all the lights in the stadium so that we could have total control over the setup. Initially I wanted to bring in our Elincrhom 600RX monolights so that we could freeze the water with its superfast duration, but when you shoot with strobes you only get one shot for each water balloon which makes timing really touchy.

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    By John Eisele, Colorado State University

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    The Nikon D7000 - Photo by John Eisele/Colorado State University

    I am going to date myself here. I had the same reaction to the D7000 that I had to Nikon’s N2000 when it came out in the mid 1980s: “You’ve got to be kidding me; this light- weight piece of plastic is nothing but a toy... Wait a minute, this is one helluva toy!”
    Nikon’s new D7000 occupies a unique niche in their line of cameras. At first glance, it is a consumer camera, sharing the slightly smaller body size, lighter weight and crop sensor of the lower end models. On the other hand, it has high ISO performance rivaling the D700 and D3, a 16 mp sensor and includes HD video, making it a very powerful tool in the bag.

    I always find it useful to define why I buy any particular camera. My immediate need here was as a backup to the D700. I keep watching folks doing DSLR video and decided that it may be time to figure out how or if it makes sense for us, so getting the video capabilities in the body seemed like a good educational opportunity. So after a few months of use, here are my impressions.

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    By Glenn Carpenter, Moraine Valley Community College

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    The Elinchrom RX 600 - Photo by Glenn Carpenter/Moraine Valley Community College

    Shooting sports is a specialty. Anticipation, knowledge of the game, and quick reflexes are all necessary to make a great photograph. Add poor lighting conditions, and your chances of a usable image decrease dramatically. Even the best shooter with all of the skills needs light –good light –to make the shot.

    When I started at the college, the gym was a dark cave, maybe 1/60 second at f/2.8 with ISO 1600 film. As you all know, these conditions are unacceptable for sports photography. After several years, the gym was renovated, and new lighting was installed. These new lights were bright! They installed 32 800-watt metal halide lamps. These were a great improvement over the banks of 40- watt fluorescent tubes that had been in the gym.

    I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The only problem was the lights cycled different colors to achieve the full color spectrum. At fast shutter speeds, the results were different colors on different frames. Shooting RAW helps, but not enough, because all colors of the spectrum are needed to obtain proper exposure. Even the mighty D3 could not tame this beast. The new exposure was 1/640 second at f/2.8 with ISO 800. The 3 1/3-stop increase in shutter speed was not fast enough to stop action, especially in volleyball.

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    People focus on the creativity involved in our profession, and justifiably so. The great thing about being a professional photographer is that not only are we encouraged to think outside the box, but also we pretty much live outside the box. But what many people forget is that creativity isn’t worth much if your location gets axed or your model fails to show up. When it comes down to it, poor logistics will destroy a shoot far quicker than anything else. Preparation and planning are the keys to pulling off any big photoshoot. Even when everything goes wrong, if you have a plan, things will work out.

    In December the BYU Alumni Magazine approached us and wanted to collaborate on a feature of Jimmer Fredette, BYU’s senior guard who was shaping up to have a great season. The article would focus more on Jimmer’s past, so they wanted to get some portraits of him on blacktop court in a little more relaxed environment. The article was planned for the spring issue of the Magazine, so we had plenty of time to wait for the weather to improve. Nobody wants to see a Jimmersicle.

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    By Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi

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    Photo by Robert Jordan, University of Mississippi

    Back when I shot film I carried many optical filters to correct and enhance light. I had one each of: red, yellow, sepia, cc30r, 81A, two square gradient filters and three polarizing filters. Digital photography, with the ability to change white balance with the flick of a dial, has made all of my color correction and contrast enhancing filters obsolete. Bracketing exposures and postproduction techniques have made my square gradient filters equally redundant. But I still carry one circular polarizing filter (CPF) for every lens in my bag so I can mount a CPF to each lens and do not have to swap one filter back and forth when I change lenses.

    Polarizing the light passing through the lens reduces reflections from non-metallic surfaces, reduces glare and intensifies color in a way not possible in post-production. Under the right conditions, a polarizer can intensify a blue sky, punch up colors and help reduce shiny highlights, even on skin. The only catch is that all this magic comes at a cost of about 1.5-stops of light for a standard CPF.

    There are many types of polarizing filters available, linear or circular (use circular for auto focus cameras), standard or low light (-1.5 stop standard, -1 stop for low light), neutral or color enhancing, standard or slim mount (slim mount is less likely to vignette). For the purposes of this article I’m going to restrict my discussion to neutral color, circular polarizing filters (CPF).

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    We're excited to announce that Ron McMillan will be one of our presenters at the UPAA Symposium this Summer. Ron is the expert on training people how to communicate better in stressful situations with stressed out co-workers. If anybody could use some help in this area, university photographers could. Ron will speak in the Tuesday morning session. Check out the release below for more info:

    Crucial conversations (conversations where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong) happen every day and impact all of our results, yet few people invest in the skills for holding them well.

    Studies show that the inability to discuss a problem can be more destructive than the problem itself. Issues like poor productivity, declining quality, lack of teamwork, or strained relationships are often the effects of crucial conversations that aren’t being held or aren’t being held well.

    Learn to step up to high stakes conversations skillfully and respectfully and begin to resolve the problems by.

    • Surfacing the best ideas

    • Making important decisions

    • Act on decisions with unity and commitment

    Based on the New York Times bestselling book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High, with over one million copies sold, this presentation reflects over thirty years of research in the trenches of real organizations. Let Crucial Conversations skills help you achieve greater alignment, agreement, and productivity.