Rio 2016: Antique Eye

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Aug 17, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; A BMX demonstration group performs prior to competition at Olympics BMX Centre during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

One of the most challenging aspects of covering a major sporting event for a professional photographer is coming away with images that are unique to you. Back in August, during my coverage of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, things were no different. I often found myself in photo positions shoulder to shoulder with 20 or more photographers, most of them shooting on the same digital camera bodies and using the exact same lenses as myself. The result? Everyone walks away with essentially the same photo. For tightly-cropped finish line jubilation or dejection, sometimes being in “the pack” is a necessary evil at the games. To walk away from the experience with something unique, however – something that made me feel that I really tried – being in the pack simply wouldn’t suffice.

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A New Understanding: 2015 Retrospective

01_guypoy2015_122915Mammatus clouds in the sky over St. Nicholas Church in East Chicago, Ind., following a thunderstorm, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Mammatus clouds are formed by cool air sinking rapidly from the upper atmosphere.

For the past several years, whenever I’ve sat down to begin selecting my favorite images for this year-end blog, I’ve gotten an overwhelming feeling of worry. I’ve always second-guessed whether I’ve shot enough things throughout the year that stand out enough to be featured together in a best-of collection. Typically, my worries go unfounded, and I’m left struggling to narrow down 50 or more of my favorite images to a palatable selection.

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Lighting Linus

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Snow blows through the air above St. Nicholas Church in East Chicago, Ind., early Monday, February 2, 2015. The image was created by back-lighting the church with a 600 w/s strobe, fired remotely via a PocketWizard unit.

I’m not sure what it is about major snow emergencies that gets my creative juices pumping, but during the bad winter storms we’ve had over the past few years, I’ve repeatedly gotten the urge to gear up and make some unique visuals amidst Mother Nature’s chaos. Some of you might remember my Vapor Chill video from last year, where I lit clouds that formed from tossing boiling water into the frigid air. There was also my Snowpocalypse Voicemail Remix from 2011, where I juxtaposed my friend Jeff Grafton’s message about his power going out with doomsday footage of the blizzard from around my neighborhood.

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Posted in Experimental, Photography on February 2nd, 2015. 2 Comments.

Wet Plate Journey

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Bronwyn Coffeen and John David Mercer pose for a wet plate collodion portrait on their wedding day in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, July 19, 2014. The 8×10 tintype image was produced using a vintage 1896 view camera with an 1880 brass petzval lens.

The technical journey photography has taken me on over the past twenty years has been nothing short of remarkable. I’ve gone from shooting 35mm film on a Canon AE-1 for the Block Jr. High yearbook, to shooting on my first digital camera in high school that had a whopping 1/3 megapixel (yes, one-third of one megapixel) resolution, to clacking away at ten frames-per-second on the latest Canon 1-series digital bodies. While digital technology has allowed me to obtain images that would have been impossible to capture as cleanly on any other format, there’s something about the digital workflow that lacks soul. I can’t hold 1’s and 0’s in my hand. I can’t accidentally drop and scratch a .jpeg file. I can’t smell a histogram.

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