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An Excuse For A Portrait Shoot

Recently I was in Arizona to cover the College Football Playoff National Championship. As a big fan of the desert southwest and with a little wiggle room in my schedule, I opted to head out west a couple days early of my ESPN duties, meet up with a friend and went looking for an excuse to make a picture and in this case, a portrait.

I have long been inspired by the majesty of the Arizona mountains and the presence of the saguaro cactus in a landscape. In consideration of that, I turned to my friend Brad Rogers to help pull things together, enjoy some photo fellowship and see what we could find and create.


We kept the kit very light. He supplied a couple Manfrotto Nano stands and we each brought our Profoto B2 kits.

However, our time to spend setting up and doing full recon of a location was significantly abbreviated as Brad’s vehicle was rendered inaccessible for a couple hours which is a story for another day. As a result, we opted to go light and fast. One 3ft Profoto RFI Octa with grid, two B2 packs, the Profoto Air transmitter (Nikon version of course) and the Nikon D810 lensed with a 24-70mm. I also had the thought that the location might photograph well with a tilt shift lens so I brought along the Nikkor 45mm PC lens.

For those that dont know Brad, he is a fitness fanatic. This year he will compete in an Ironman. In pulling this together on short notice, he reached out to some friends to see who would be up for the challenge of giving us a few runs through a desert trail to see what could be created.

The whole shoot took maybe 45 minutes, and that included the hike in to the location and back to the vehicle. By traveling light we were able to move quickly and freely to adjust to the rapidly moving light as the sun set.

My favorite images of the 20 or so we took ended up coming at the very end and were taken with the 45mm PC. Despite not being a regular runner Danielle, a crossfit athlete, put in great work for us and her husband also ended up lending a hand with holding a spare fill light to illuminate part of the foreground while Brad lit Danielle with the octa.

All in all it made for a great day and I certainly plan on coming back to this spot sometime in the spring with a full outfit of strobes and see how much fun we can have in a full day or even a night as well! With enough interest, perhaps we can even have a little mini workshop…maybe something like a 24hour bootcamp!

Until then, here are my favorite images!
Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Nikkor 45mm PC
Shutter Speed: 1/200
Aperture: f4.2
ISO: 200

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: 45mm PC
Shutter Speed: 1/200
Aperture: f2.8
ISO: 64

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The new Nikon D5 is here!!!

True is the statement that the camera does not make the photographer. What the camera does make (at least for me)…is more creative. The features and technology that Nikon is putting into the cameras with each release further raises the bar and affords me the ability to push myself and my creativity to the maximum. The advance of technology and Nikon’s commitment to listening to photographers and anticipating our storytelling needs is unrivaled. For, me that makes working with Nikon gear the best and easiest of decisions. This has been the case ever since I switched over in 2010 and began using the D3 and D3s bodies.

With the announcement of the flagship D5 today at CES in Las Vegas, Nikon set the bar higher yet again.

An expanded ISO range of THREE MILLION. I can’t begin to wrap my head around this one. I do a ton of low light shooting so this will impact me greatly. 20MP, 14FPS, 4K video. All features that will contribute this camera to being an absolute workhorse for me. What features am I most excited about (aside from the ISO capabilities)?! The new AF system and a little feature that allows for adjustments in multiple exposure photography. There really is way too many things for me to elaborate on in this post so we will save that for another time.


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How about the doozy of an announcement that nobody saw coming. The D500. Essentially the D5 packed into a DX body – essentially creating the first pro DX body. This will allow photographers to make pictures like never before. The integration of the camera into your phone will be a game changer on many levels whether you are a pro, a hobbyist, or a parent who just likes to photograph their kids. The sharing will be faster than anything that you can imagine.

There are also two other exciting products. The new SB-5000 flash which brings Nikon into radio triggered flashes for the first time and the new Nikon KeyMission 360 – a 4K 360 degree wearable action camera. Both of these products I can not wait to get my hands on.

The game is changing my friends. New tools are here at our disposal. Come March, lets get to work and see what you can create!!!

If you are looking to purchase, do yourself a favor and get in touch with the folks at Roberts Camera…when it comes to taking care of pros and amateurs alike, you wont find better service anywhere. They are absolutely my go to store for what I need. They have a wait list for all the new products so get in touch with them today.

Do yourself a favor and check out these new products. For those of you who know me well, know how much of a role music plays with me and how I work. If I were to suggest an album to listen to while you check out these new tools, I would suggest “What a time to be alive” by Drake/Future. If hip hop isnt your scene, let me know and I will dig something else up for you!