Thursday, August 27, 2009

Artistic Photo Canvas - The unboxing!

So I won a twitter contest from Artistic Photo Canvas (APCPro on Twitter) and today my prints arrived via Fedex. APC is a professional printer specializing in canvas prints. They offer a multitude of options included unmounted canvas prints, gallery and image wraps, and different finishes in all types of sizes. Judging by the two 6x9 gallery wraps I received today, I will certainly be using them in the future for some large projects I'm working on.

Now, for the unboxing! Fedex of course decided to leave the package by the front door for anyone to steal, but at least this time it was prints and not a camera body. The 2 prints were packaged perfectly in my opinion, with each gallery wrap being covered in a plastic protective layer and the corners being seated into large custom cut foam corners. There was plenty of space in the box, although the styrofoam fit snuggly, and I'm sure the packaging would survive any of the usual wear and tear you're going to see when shipping and then some. As you can see, these were expertly packaged to survive the rigors of cross country shipping.

As far as the prints themselves I couldn't be happier. Following the simple directions on their website I had already prepared and color corrected my images for gallery wrapping, but if you'd rather leave it to them they'll be happy to take care of it, they're the pros afterall! The images themselves are just wonderful and are spot on compared to my (color corrected) editing monitor.

If you're in the market for canvas prints from small to very, very large, remember that you get what you pay for and give Artistic Photo Canvas a call, fax, or email.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost Time for College Sports

Sarah McNult (white) prepares for the opening tipoff against Christine Sancinito (blue)

It's almost Labor Day which means kids and young adults all across the country are preparing to head back to school. It means rental prices on the Cape will soon begin to fall much like the temperatures in the New England nights. It also means the return of collegiate sports.

As the athletics photographer for Regis College, a small DIII school outside of Boston, I get to photograph some great, young athletes throughout the year. Being a DIII school means they aren't likely to turn pro, and they probably won't make it into Sports Illustrated or onto ESPN, but they play for the reason we all played for as kids: the thrill of the game. Our student athletes give their all for the love of sport. They play hurt, they play sick, they play under tremendous academic pressure, but still they play. You really have to respect these young men & women for their devotion.

(LEFT) Jesse Vega (white) commits to go hard to the basket while being tightly checked by a Curry College defender

(RIGHT) Sarah McNult sinks a technical foul shot in a 74-60 win over Curry College

Regis College recently went coed which means all of our men's teams are in their infancy. I feel lucky to be a part of the beginning of what I think will be a long and proud tradition of men's athletics at Regis, building on top of an already successful and strong base of women's sports. There will be trials and tribulations along the way but I believe the spirit of our student athletes will carry them through.

The Regis men's soccer team suffers a 4-1 defeat in their first ever homecoming game

This is also a time for change within our athletics department as we undergo some renovations and work to enhance the student experience. Our gym is like a cavern and I'm forced to shoot at ISO3200 indoors, but I think that the relationships I've built with our coaches will pay off as we work together to get the gym a strobe setup which should yield some really terrific shots starting with fall volleyball. In addition we've built new athletics fields with a new track, allowing our teams to play their home games here at Regis for the first time in a couple of years. These improvements will certainly make for a better experience both for our athletes, and our spectators.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Il Mostro comes home

Il Mostro is Puma's first entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, a 37,000 nautical mile race around the globe. It is one of the fastest single hulled sailing ships in the world, capable of achieving speeds in excess of 40 knots. (46.1 mph)

I had a great opportunity to work with Puma to shoot the Volvo Ocean Race Pro-Am here in Boston back on May 10th. New England native and Il Mostro skipper Ken Reed had high expectations for his crew after a disastrous homecoming on leg 6 in which they were forced to sit offshore in sight of Boston for over an hour waiting on the wind.

My day started by joining fellow photographer Jeff Tamagini and heading down to Puma city, a large 11,000 square foot store and office space designed out of cargo containers. We met up with Heather & Kristina from Puma to sign paperwork, go through a safety briefing, and all the other fundamentals that you would expect from a large event.

After that we were escorted down to the docks to meet up with our rib boat crew. A rib boat is a small (16' in our case) inflatable boat with a hard fiberglass floor. Puma had arranged for Jeff and I to be out on the course during the warm up period, and then shoot from alongside the course during the actual races.

Skipper Ken Reed (far left) warms up his crew in Boston Harbor before the first race of the day.

Due to wind conditions, the races were head to head instead of a 7 team fleet with the course being laid out across the harbor instead of a traditional windward/leeward arrangement. With the winds gusting in the 20s the boats would have simply been too fast to be safe during a run downwind. Fortunately the change in course layout didn't affect the hometown team as Puma won their first race of the day to lift the spirits of the Boston crowd.

The amateur sailors quickly learn the truth in the sailing adage "One hand for you, one hand for the boat" as Il Mostro leans heavily to starboard during the first race.

While most of the races were close, Puma left the competition in their wake and when it was all said and done, Puma had won both of their races and took home the day's bragging rights. The momentum from the day carried forward as Puma ended up in 2nd place overall at the end of the 2009 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, an unbelievable feat for a team in their inaugural race.

Puma's Il Mostro crosses the finish line during their 2nd Pro-Am race to finish 1st in the day's racing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

1st Monthly Bostonist Photo Walk

This past Sunday, August 16th, I led the first Bostonist Photo Walk. The photo walk was my idea to help bring together the Bostonist contributors and readers, and to foster a community of photography knowledge and sharing. The inaugural walk had about 12 people all with varying skill levels and perspectives on photography. We started in Boston Common, walked through the Boston Public Gardens, up Newbury Street& and finished in Copley Square. The walk route was about a mile and took us about 2 hours, just what I was looking for.

People are still culling and processing photos so I've only seen a few, but I think the results will be solid. The more experienced shooters were gladly answering questions of the newer ones, and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time. I hope to see this group grow as times moves forward and as long as we get through the harsh New England winter unscathed, we should have a solid foundation come Spring.

As for myself, I only took two pictures that I liked, as I spent much of the time talking with the group, and surprising enough they weren't architecture or geometric shapes, but a few beautiful flowers in bloom.

I'm looking forward to the September 20th for our next outing and can't wait to see what Boston has in store for us.

If you would like to join our walks, everyone is welcome. The walks are free to anyone who has an interest in photography and a good attitude. The walks will vary in time but will always be on the 3rd Sunday of the month, rain or shine. In case of bad weather we'll take it indoors and do more of a Q&A or learning session of some kind. In addition, if you have a suggestion on where to go or what to see on a walk, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Marblehead Sunrise Shoot

Saturday morning I awoke at 3:30am and my first thought was "What the hell am I doing up?" before I remembered that I was heading to Marblehead, MA for another photo shoot with Jeff & John. After an hour in the car I was relieved to get to Marblehead about 20 minutes before sunrise to catch some gorgeous colors over the harbor.

There were some beautiful blues and pinks both in the sky and in the water. Those colors gave way to some beautiful oranges and yellows as the sun began to make it's way over Marblehead Neck. In addition we were there at low tide, revealing to us many interesting subjects we may not have otherwise seen.

With the sun rising quickly through the sky we decided to head to the nearby beach which lead us to a plethora of options. We each walked the same 200 meters of beach, but came away with vastly different shots. My favorite of the beach was of something I had never seen in the south, a handicapped beach access way. I loved the colors of the sign and the shallow depth of field I was able to obtain.

ISO 100, 24mm, f1.4

By 8am we were all tired and ready to head home with a hours of shooting already completed. But I wanted to take a few minutes to get a nice panorama of Marblehead Harbor from Chandler Hovey Park on Marblehead Neck.

This wasn't the first time I've shot sunrises over Marblehead and it certainly won't be the last. There is a wonderful tranquility to the area at first light, and there are plenty of gorgeous views around every corner.

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