Blue and Gold Homecoming Time…

Angelo State University Homecoming - AJL3 Photography

This past week was a thrilling time at Angelo State University. For me personally, there was a lot of work. Four months of work all rolled into one week where we would be hosting alumni from across the states. There were plenty of campus activities going on too, including them wrapping the ram in blue and gold paper. This is a shot I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so the paper treatment on the ram statue really gave me a great opportunity.

The real challenge, was making sure the paper, which was gold, didn’t look orange. As you can see on the bottom the way the light glows from the ambient light, it gives an orange glow. This is what I was trying to avoid for the paper on the ram. The best way I did this, was on my white balance, I used the kelvin settings. White balance has a lot of great settings, but when you really cannot get what you like, think about adding blue or reds in by using the kelvin setting. In this case, I added a lot of blue and lowered the kelvin settings almost as low as you could go. This gave me a natural yellow gold color on the ram, and still allowed the ambient orange light to shine through.

Angelo State University Homecoming - AJL3 PhotographyOf course, I wasn’t able to attend all the events going on during the week. For the most part, I just enjoyed them, and didn’t always bring my camera. On the left is one I took at our Ram Jam, a tailgate party before the game.

It was a nice look at people preparing some tailgate food. There were more than just those few tailgating. In total, there were about 2,300 people at the tailgate party. Many of them arrived early and left late.

The clouds were giving me some great diffusion, and here the tent gave me enough diffusion to shoot at a shutter speed of 160. I alternated my shutter speed from 160 with tents and out in the open, I shot at 320 to 400. The clouds helped a lot and I didn’t have to raise it more than that for this Saturday event.

Angelo State University Homecoming - AJL3 Photography

Of course Ram Jam had a lot of other things going on. Here is a picture of the San Angelo Nature Center showing off one of their many reptiles. They showed off two different snakes to the students and community and were able to touch the snakes.

Angelo State University Homecoming - AJL3 PhotographyEarlier on the Friday before Ram Jam, I shot a few test shots and was able to come up with this gem of a picture. I used a tripod for this one, allowing me to have a natural glow that the flash would not have been able to recreate.

The decorations gave a good contrast with the blue wine glasses and the surrounding background gave everything an orange hue for that more homey field.

I left the exposure open for about 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds. The aperture was set to f8 to give a more sharp look instead of possibly having a bokeh effect on the back wine glasses. This also allowed the front wine glass to be pretty clear. A little sharpening in Photoshop cleaned up the little bit of blur I had from pressing the button as I set the camera to take a long-exposure shot.

There were some interesting shots this week, and many were different. I tried to use different skills I had this week, and I think I succeeded.

I finally have time for some personal photo projects, so look for new posts in the next few weeks.

Angelo State University Homecoming - AJL3 PhotographyAdded Photo: The photo below is a new photo I added. Went back to see what else I had from Ram Jam. Had an excellent picture from the Angelettes, the Angelo State dance team that performs with the ASU Band. I love the colors from this picture. The sun coming towards me always gives me a problem. At this point, it’s about location. You don’t want lens flare unless you like those. If you’re not a fan of them, just position yourself to where you know from any angle the sun will be blocked by something and no lens flare. It was just a good crisp picture of the many events that go on during Ram Jam.

Angelo State in Arlington, Texas!

AT&T Stadium - AJL3 Photography

Enter AT&T Stadium! It has been a while since I posted, mostly because of the busy schedule school and work have kept me under, but I’m back for one post before the end of September. This post is from September 13th and 14th, when we went to Arlington, Texas.

I was there for work, since we had a group going to the Rangers Ballpark and then a university game at AT&T Stadium the next day. The above photograph is looking over the mini river that divides the two venues. From the pathway it was fairly easy to take a shot of AT&T Stadium. I held still for this one, not using a tripod. There is a lot of light out there, allowing me to use a faster shutter speed. Since tripods are frowned upon in the ballpark, I didn’t have it before hand. I didn’t feel like walking all the way back, since it was a good mile from where we parked, so I just handheld it. Came out better than I thought too.

AT&T Stadium - AJL3 PhotographyThe next day, we hauled ourselves to the AT&T Stadium parking lot. We had a tailgate set up with other teams from the Lone Star Conference. Everyone was packed like sardines, and I really don’t think AT&T Stadium was made to be tailgate friendly, but we managed.

I didn’t have much time to photograph the event, as me and my fiance were working the tables and giving out ASU memorabilia.

We had a big turnout for the event, with about 600 people attending. Our area gave out hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks. The picture to the left is part of the line where students and alumni lined up to grab something to eat before the game. Behind here is a Wal-Mart, which was beneficial to us when we ran out of things, but also awkward that it’s so close to the AT&T Stadium and Rangers Ballpark.

AT&T Stadium - AJL3 Photography

This was a fun photograph I captured from one of our alumni and her future Ram in Angelo State colors. This is just natural posing and natural light at its best and my favorite colors blue and gold are in it. For this one, I was already shooting at 125 and had my aperture open at 7.1 for a good medium. These two pictures were shot at the same settings, and had the aid of a tent to help create some natural diffusion from a bright and hot sun.

After the tailgate, we made it into AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Inside, we had access to a lot of the area including the Miller Lite room. It was really dark, and I wasn’t allowed to bring in a lot of stuff including a flash to help me out, so I couldn’t manage as many shots as I would have liked. I did try my best to save a lot of my photos, but it was pretty dark in most places, and everyone was moving, so even at a low shutter speed, I had some good blur going on.

Here is a picture of the famous star that is in the Miller Lite room, where the home team tunnel begins.

AT&T Stadium - AJL3 Photography

Underneath this star the home teams runs through the entrance and onto the field. We had a great view to the field and the whole experience was a lot of fun. I would love to go and do another photo shoot in the AT&T Stadium with all my gear one day. Until that day comes, I will work on perfecting a way to take some better low-exposure photographs without any aid.

And here is the last photograph for this blog. Our team, the Angelo State University Rams faced off against Colorado State-Pueblo in the Lone Star Conference Football Festival. We were the last game for the evening, and while we lost, it was still a thrilling game. There is a lot of promise in our team. Go Rams!

AT&T Stadium - AJL3 Photography

Golfing in San Angelo…

Golf Tournament San Angelo

Last Friday we had our annual Angelo State Alumni Golf Tournament at the San Angelo Country Club. While the weather was great, it eventually rained. Here are some of the pictures from the tournament before the rain hit us. And to my normal subscribers, I have had a slew of photo projects and have been unable to post regularly. I will be getting right back on it, as soon as my head stops spinning.

Golf Tournament San AngeloThe photo on the left is my new favorite photo from this collection. We don’t have clouds in San Angelo very often, so when we do, it is a blessing. The clouds give this picture more drama than if they sky was a full blue. Plus, I was able to catch the guy sending out the last of the golf balls before he flew out the area. This was part of a Ball Drop, where the people purchase a golf ball and it is placed in basket. The basket is then dropped over a tee and the closest golf ball or the one that goes in the tee, wins a cash amount.

This was the first year we did this, and it went well. Plus, I was able to take pictures up close of a helicopter, which I rarely have the chance too. There were two full baskets of golf balls, so we managed to sell a lot of them. It gave me two chances to line up the photograph the way I wanted too.

Golf Tournament San Angelo

The above photograph is what I call my PGA shot. Of course, this was a putting contest and no where near the level of the PGA tournaments. I shot this low to the ground. Looking back, I think I should have gone lower to the ground in order to try a different angle. I am pleased with this shot and they were moving a lot, so I didn’t have much time to compose it. I like the way it turned out though.

And for the final photograph, I did a large scale view of the place. I wanted to put as much scenery in and show how big the San Angelo Country Club course was. So that is it for this blog post. It is short, sweet and you were able to see some golf pictures. Come back for more blog posts soon. At least in two weeks at the latest.

Golf Tournament San Angelo

Chalkboard Preparation!

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

This post is a past blog that I am finally writing. From here, I will tell you how I prepared for a chalkboard photo shoot with the help of my fiance and how easy it is to do this.

This photo shoot had been on my mind for a while. To see the final photo shoot, click here for my other blog post. I first saw the idea when I was watching my favorite show, Community. It’s about a community college group of friends. The show itself is very witty and the stories are some of the best on TV. In the first season, they did a photo shoot to promote the show using chalkboards. They wrote different things on the chalkboard depending on the character. They used at least three chalkboard walls to create this illusion.

I was able to have a budget for this photo shoot. All-in-all, it cost about $80 to setup this type of photo shoot. Originally, I was going to use three walls too, but had to cut back because of expenses, and instead did two large walls and put them together. In Photoshop, I would connect the boards together digitally, eliminating the line down the middle.

First, I had to find an artist who could draw this vision. Since the photo shoot called for a back-to-school theme for the Angelo State store, in which I was shooting students modeling our newest fall shirts, I enlisted my fiance, Teresa Miles. She has done work for me in the past, and because she loves me and all my wacky ideas, I was able to get her to help me. Plus, she can draw, and I cannot. To check out her blog and to see her process, click here for her blog post.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

All of the things we bought, we were able to find at Home Depot rather easy. Just search around or ask someone for help. This is probably the cheapest place you can find, and it’s better than online shopping because we don’t have to worry about shipping. We first started with painting the boards with a primer. After we let them dry, we started to paint some chalkboard paint. We chose to use Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint. Look for it in the painting aisle, it does work great and as smooth as a real chalkboard. For two 4×8 feet pieces of wooden boards, we used about one and a half of the chalkboard paint and one can of primer. We then let it dry for the night.

After that, we brought them inside and Teresa starting chalking the chalkboards with the various color chalks. Of course if you are going to do this, make sure you use the small chalks and not the large and heavy ones. As you can see in the first picture above, it’s better to sketch out some of the designs with white chalk before starting. Also, it helps when you start putting the color chalk, if there is already chalk dust on the board. Since these are technically brand new chalkboards, they only become smoother to write on after the first initial writing. You might want to draw and then spread the chalk around with your hands to make it nice and smooth.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

I had already printed her some designs on how the Community photo shoot looked like. We took our own concept and created one that fit for Angelo State University, the place I work at during the day. As you can also see, I was using two PLM parabolic silver umbrellas surrounded by a white diffuser. I used two of them and put them to about six feet, or as high as they would go without going through the ceiling. From there I angled them, to take out some shadow.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 PhotographyHaving a black chalkboard does help, since a lot of the shadow is absorbed into the blackness. As you can see on the left, Teresa is standing in as a model to help me prepare for the shoot. Since these are two boards placed along side each other, there is a line that goes down. It’s an easy fix in Photoshop if you want to create a single chalkboard look. Just use the Healing Brush tool, and create one complete chalkboard. In my other blog post, you can see how it turned out.

This mural is amazing. So amazing, it’s still up. We planned to erase it and just use them as chalkboards after the photo shoot. It is now November, and they are still up and look great. Sure, some chalk has come down, but they still look great. Of course, I would love to thank Teresa for all her work in doing this. Yes, she can draw, and she can draw very good.

Below is the final image of how it looks put all together. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to setup this shoot. Now, go and make your own chalkboard master piece.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

Senior Shoot in May around San Angelo!

Monique - A J L 3 Photography

As May roles around, so do senior photo shoots. This one particular was with the lovely Monique Lockwood. She will soon be leaving for the Air Force, so we set up this photo shoot quickly to make sure she has her photos before she shipped out. She is a senior at Angelo State University and will be graduating soon.

Monique has helped me throughout the years hone my photography skills by being a stand-in at all times of the day and dressing up a lot! We joke about all the outfits she has, and that there is always something new for me to shoot. So when she asked me to do her senior portraits, I could in no way turn her down.

Like old times, this was a fun shoot with some great pictures. Ironically I think these were some of my best photos. I know how she works and she knows my style and what I look for in taking pictures. Plus, she has helped me create a style that I am glad to use in future photo shoots.

Of course, we did these in San Angelo, where she and I both go to school at Angelo State University. She has been photographed in most places in San Angelo because of me. So we decided to try some locations that are finally open after a lot of restoration. One of those was the historic village. The above photo is part of the small historic village near the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.

Monique - A J L 3 PhotographyWe also went further into Downtown San Angelo to the newly remodeled City Hall. It was nice and no one was around, so we had the whole place to ourselves.

One good thing about Monique, is that she always has ideas, and I’m always open to trying anything new. We tried doing some bubble shots, but those didn’t turn out as well as we would have liked. I did learn some techniques from that, so I may have to try it again in the future. But, I think the harsh sunlight didn’t help us in giving us a good reflection on the bubbles.

The harsh sunlight can be unforgiving, but it wasn’t new to me in photos, but it wasn’t easy either. For most of the day we had been shooting in harsh sunlight. It was actually around noon when we had this photo shoot. Normally I shy away from this time all together, and most photographers I know will not even attempt to shoot during these hours, but our schedules were so scattered that this was the best time for both of us. So we both had to make it work and I like to say we succeeded. These are only a few of my pictures from the photo shoot, but there were a lot I liked from this set.

One of my favorite pictures from the photo shoot is the one to the top left, with Monique in her beautiful blue dress and graduation cap against the giant ASU sign at the university. I used a strobe on this shot angled from the top. The strobe took out most of the sunlight and left an even glow. Also, the tree shading helped immensely too.

While, I won’t be shooting with her for a long time as she will now be fighting for our country, I’m glad to have known her and share with her in my growth as a photographer. I hope all the best in the world to you Monique, and look forward to the day I can one day take your picture again.

Monique - A J L 3 Photography