College football is a blast

Be true to your school


I recently started shooting photos for – a sports-news outlet that features stories on the athletic teams at California State University, Sacramento – better know as the “Sac State Hornets.”

The energy at these games is incredible. The home field seats were pretty well filled, and amazingly, the visitor’s side had a respectable attendance, especially considering the visiting team was from Montana.

One of the things I really like about college sports is how hard the athletes play. They will give it their all on the field. They aren’t playing for a salary, but for the enjoyment, the ambition and the potential. And when they do well, their teammates get excited, too. Of course, the crowd is very loyal and loud. At this game, the Sac State Hornets beat the Montana Grizzlies, 42-28. It was the first Hornets’ victory over Montana in 17 games, so the student crowd was especially rowdy.

Serious football happens here.

Funny thing, I took some crowd shots of the grandstands and it wasn’t until I edited the images after the game that I noticed a strange spectator in the crowd…

Looks like a normal crowd shot…
…until you look closer – what the….?

I have no idea what the “Green Man” was about…and nobody around him seemed to care much about it. I guess they were used to it.

Diving for yardage.

Point after touchdown

Wear your team on your cheek.

For the record, #35 has the ball.

I look forward to shooting more sports for Sacstatesports – after all, Sac State is my alma mater.

For you gear heads, I shoot with two Canon 7D’s, one with a wide zoom (17-40mm, f/4) for close action and the other with a tele zoom (70- 200mm, f/2.8). At night games, I need to set the ISO  around 3200 so I can get a decent shutter speed (around 1/500 second).

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The Decisive MOMA

A young patron takes a break at the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the SFMOMA.


The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is hosting an exhibition of the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). The exhibition is very large – it fills the entire third floor of the museum. Yesterday was free admission day, so it was well-attended.

Cartier-Bresson is known as one of the early pioneers of modern photo-journalism. He would carry a small Leica camera with him on the streets and make candid photographs of everyday life. In order to be less obtrusive, he covered the shiny silver parts of the camera with black paint.  One of his books was titled, “The Decisive Moment,” a nod toward his commentary that the photographer must know intuitively when to click the camera.

I really enjoyed the exhibition – his early works are amazing when you consider that his images were made as early as the 1930’s. He captured common people doing common tasks and most images had a sense of activity. Many of the photographs were low contrast, with some blur, either from the subject movement or camera movement. Keep in mind he had to set everything manually and he did not have a little LCD screen to peek at to see how his photos looked. Think: “Pioneer”.

Coincidentally, the SFMOMA also had an exhibit called “Exposed” which illustrated the arena of surveillance, voyeuristic and street photography. The photo below is not meant to be voyeuristic, but it is an interesting perspective on human movement.

Looking up at the 5th floor catwalk over the atrium at the SFMOMA.


SFMOMA’s exhibition of Cartier-Bresson’s works runs through January.

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No whine before its time


Last week I watched and photographed part of the full lunar eclipse. The eclipse started around 11:30 PM and lasted about 3 1/2 hours. The photo above was taken during the “totality” phase, when the moon is completely in the Earth’s shadow. The sun’s rays bend a little as they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, slightly illuminating the moon with a reddish tint. While a normal moon exposure is the same as midday sun (remember the “Sunny 16 Rule?”) this exposure was much lower, about 12 stops lower than daylight.

Occasionally a cloud bank would pass overhead, blocking out the view and giving no indication about how long it would obscure the eclipse. It was cold. And yet, I noticed an unusual “calm” as I watched and waited.

It was unusual that I felt so patient. In other situations, like stop-and-go traffic or standing in a long line at Costco, I would find myself getting antsy and gripe about the long wait. I would scan other lanes to see if they were moving faster and even take a chance and move over, usually to learn that there is no gain to be made. (“Price check on Register 4.”) But during the eclipse I noticed that I was content to wait patiently. This is kind of funny because there was nothing I could have done to make it move along faster! It was going to take as long as an eclipse takes. Period.

I was calm because I had no expectation that it could be different.

I need to apply this to other situations…like traffic, and grocery lines, and life in general. Some things will take as long as they take. No amount of griping or whining or lane-jumping will make a significant difference. And there is some research that suggests that lane-jumping actually slows down the traffic for everyone. I think I need to change my expectations about how long things (should) take.

My photo business will grow when it grows. My golf game will improve at its own pace…if at all. I will finish projects at the exact time they need to be finished.

Or as I used to say often to others….”let it go and let it grow.”

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Another fair day in paradise



I spent the afternoon at the California State Fair the other day – it has been several years since I’ve attended the state fair. It seemed a lot cleaner than I remembered it in the past. It was a great day to be there, and since it was a weekday it was a little less crowded. Several of the midway rides were not moving much, there were not a lot of riders.

One of the craziest attractions was the freestyle motocross jumping – these guys are insane.



There were three riders, one of them is 19 years old, and they did the most amazing stunts while flying from one ramp to the other. In a number of stunts, there was a point in time when they were not holding onto the motorcycle at all…they would just reach out, grab the seat and pull themselves back onto it before landing.

On a much calmer note, the midway games were pretty quiet.


This is Bert, he has been working for Butler Amusements for about 10 years and this was his first visit to CalExpo. He said that he had heard it would be really busy, but it was not busy at all. He was a very pleasant person to chat with, certainly not the stereotypical carnie.

All in all, it was a better than fair, it was a great day in paradise.


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Independence Day – 2009


July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

After the Sacramento Rivercats game ended on Friday night, they had a pretty nice fireworks display at Raley Field. This was taken from across the Sacramento River along the promenade. I included one of the towers of the Tower Bridge because I wanted a stationary and recognizable object in the image in order to provide some scale to the fireworks.

Fireworks photos are pretty easy, if you can control the shutter speed of your camera. For a time exposure, a sturdy tripod is essential to keep the camera from moving during the exposure. I used a 10 second time exposure for this shot – I also set the lens at f/22 (ISO 200). This gave me a good base exposure for the bridge. I just locked the shutter open while a few fireworks bursts went off. It’s hit or miss, sometimes you’ll get a lot of bursts (and sometimes more is not better), other times, there won’t be very many bursts.

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Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival Photos


The Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival is a celebration of world cultures, ethnic dance and musical performances. The Saturday performances were at the Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, September 20. The above group, Fishtank Ensemble, presented an incredible array of Romanian folk and gypsy music. Each of the performances brought out a rich experience of ethnic and cultural brilliance. Performers showcased the native dances of Africa, China, Egypt, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Scotland, Spain and Ukraine.

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