Archive for October, 2011

2011 USA Ultimate Club Championships

Friday, October 28th, 2011

USA Ultimate Club Championships 2011

I’m an official photographer for USA Ultimate Club Championships 2011 shooting both for USA Ultimate and Ultiphotos. Club Championships is the annual national (well, North American, as there are U.S. and Canadian teams) championship tournament in Sarasota, Florida for the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, and this year’s installment runs from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday, October 30, featuring 60 teams in four divisions – men’s, women’s, mixed (coed) and masters (old folks).

This photo depicts action between mixed teams Amp (Philadelphia) and Bucket (Atlanta), playing a pre-quarterfinal matchup today. The Amp player (in white) caught this pass to set up the game-winning score. I shot this with my 300/2.8 AF-I on a rented D300s, which I’ve been using alongside my D300 and 80-200/2.8. I also brought my D700 and 24-70/2.8, but I’ve found that it’s more trouble than it’s worth to carry it around as a third body. I missed the focus on this one a bit – the focus is on the Bucket player’s cleats rather than the Amp player’s face, where I’d like it to be. That’s what makes it a web photo instead of one that I’m reserving for possible use in the USA Ultimate magazine. My absolute best shots from the weekend won’t see the light of day for a while, until USA Ultimate decides what to buy for the magazine.

Those top-notch shots aside, photo highlights are being published multiple times per day on the USA Ultimate website, in various galleries here. Much larger galleries are available at Ultiphotos; I am posting galleries at the end of each day and hundreds more photos will be uploaded in the weeks to come after the tournament.

(Sorry for the enormous watermark in the photo above. Not sure what happened there.)

OccupyMN

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

OccupyMN, Day 9

I have not had as much a chance as I would have liked to cover Minneapolis’ version of Occupy Wall Street, OccupyMN, at Hennepin County Government Plaza downtown. But I’ve made it out several times, and just wanted to share a few shots I’ve captured at the ongoing event. Here’s the full set. The highlights here are in no particular order, and were taken on a range of dates from October 7 up through today.

For the photo geeks: I recently sent a solid chunk of my equipment in for repair: D700, 14-24/2.8, 80-200/2.8, and 300/2.8, which is why I haven’t shot any concerts lately. There’s nothing hugely wrong with any of them – it’s all just kind of getting old and not working quite as well as before, particularly with regards to autofocus performance. The D700 passed 150,000 actuations this month, the two telephoto lenses are probably about as old as I am, and the 14-24 takes the brunt of the the abuse my gear gets exposed to at close-quarters shows. So at OccupyMN I’ve been shooting with my D300, some primes, and my old Tokina 12-24/4 wide-angle zoom. I’ve been spoiled by the D700 and 14-24 combo in low light; the D300 just isn’t cutting it for photojournalism in near-darkness. Still, I think I got some decent shots, pumping the ISO to the max and applying noise reduction liberally.

OccupyMN, Day 1

OccupyMN, Day 1

OccupyMN, Day 1

OccupyMN, Day 1

OccupyMN, Day 8

OccupyMN, Day 8

OccupyMN, Day 5

OccupyMN, Day 1

Below the (dim) Lights: Enslaved at Station 4

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Enslaved

I’ve seen the Norwegian progressive black metal band Enslaved several times, but last night was my first time seeing them as a headliner. It was nice to see them dig a bit deeper into their discography as compared to their opening gigs; there was only one pre-Below the Lights track played (from Frost), but every album from there forward was represented. Hearing the new material compared to the older stuff really highlighted how much spacier the band has gotten over the years, with a certain psychedelic element replacing the overt black metal influence in their sound.

Station 4 is Station 4, which is to say, the lighting sucks, so I shot at ISO 6400 exclusively and used my 50/1.4 a lot. Unfortunately, only Grutle Kjellson and Ice Dale were reliably lit to any extent, so almost all of my photos are of the two of them. Here are some highlights; check Flickr for the full set.

Regular reminder: please like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to keep tabs on my work.

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

St. Vincent’s crazy light show

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

St. Vincent

Annie Clark and her band St. Vincent kicked off their fall 2011 tour at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis last night – an interesting venue choice given that they were playing 1,000+ capacity clubs on their last tour. (The small capacity of the Walker’s 400ish seat McGuire Theatre was made up for by the fact that the band played two back-to-back shows last night; I covered the early show.)

Playing material that drew a lot from their just-released Strange Mercy, we got to hear lots of trademark St. Vincent stuff: catchy songs with odd lyrics and brief guitar freakout interludes. Clark had, as far as I could tell, a completely new backing band, with just two keyboardists and a drummer. The loss of the bassist didn’t seem to affect the fullness of the band’s sound, particularly as Clark often used a huge fuzz tone that completely and effectively filled the theater. While I don’t actually like anything St. Vincent has done as much as I like their debut, Marry Me – and they only played one track from that album, the encore-closing “Your Lips Are Red” – it was still a satisfying show and seemed like a pretty great tour kick-off.

The McGuire Theatre has a huge, expansive stage and a gorgeous lighting rig, which was put to good use for opener Cate Le Bon. Unfortunately, Clark set up six or seven feet behind the front of the stage, and the beautiful house lights gave way to a schizophrenic custom light show that often saw Clark lit incredibly brightly from below – hardly a great lighting design for photos. I was actually shooting at ISO 400 quite a bit, but unfortunately nothing aside from Clark was lit anywhere near as brightly. Wide-angle shots were hopeless because of the difference in light levels across the stage, so I just focused on getting some good tight shots of Clark herself.

This is my fifth time shooting St. Vincent; the best lighting was last time I shot them, at the 9:30 Club in DC. That also happened to be my favorite show musically, although the first time in DC’s tiny Rock & Roll Hotel definitely had a particular charm. (The other two times: Virgin Mobile FreeFest and at the Black Cat in DC, both in 2009.) But while this concert wasn’t my favorite of theirs, Annie Clark and company are still reliably putting on great shows.

A few more favorites below; the full set – just a dozen photos – is at Flickr. Also be sure to like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for more!

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

St. Vincent