Friday, December 16, 2011

Epic Christmas Is Coming...

According to this video from the Weather Channel, Epic Christmas will begin airing episodes on Monday December 19th. I haven't found the exact date that the Joplin episode I worked on will air, but I assume it will be the last one of the three to air, since it was the last to be shot. It's always nice to see the end results of the shows you work on, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

You can also see profiles on the Epic Christmas finalists and previews of the first episode on the Weather Channel website.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Photo Sessions: The Hutchisons and the McMasters

It's been a little crazy the last two weeks. Somehow I was able to finish up three projects in that amount of time and mix in some Christmas shopping as well. The first task was to finish the rest of Jake's session after the initial rush to get a picture to the school. After wrapping up his pics and slideshow it was on to my last two clients (presumably for the year).

The first was the Hutchison family. Unfortunately, we encountered one of the major predators of the "Natural Light/ Outdoor Photographer," wind... and lots of it. We did our best to find a place that might be shielded from the gusts, but it was next to impossible. Still, I think we ended up with enough good shots to make a decent session. Most likely we'll revisit this session in the spring... they are family after all. :)

The McMasters were the second family. They decided to brave the cold for their session. Thankfully for them, but to my disliking, the clouds parted for the last half of their shoot and warmed things up, but made lighting a bit tricky. They came ready with a lot of ideas and wanted a good amount of individual and couple/paired photos to go with their family pics, so it was a lot of fun and a nice challenge to come up with enough variety to keep the images interesting.

Like I said, these will most likely be my last photography jobs of the year. This first year has definitely been a learning process and I know I am starting to pick out what areas I am lacking in and need to improve on. I'm just hopeful that I will get more opportunities next year to do so. I've already got some equipment upgrades planned, so it should definitely be interesting to see what the future holds.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1zero8 MMA - Danger Zone

Looks like another round of 1zero8 MMA videos have landed on YouTube. Be sure to check out the Ring Girl interviews this time around as well. I'm not sure if they'll turn into a regular part of those gigs, but I've got my fingers crossed they do... My wife, not so much. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flip The Switch...

Another crazy extended weekend is in the books. Jake's senior pic was sent in to the school for his yearbook, and day three of 'Epic Christmas' wrapped on Tuesday. I even slipped in an impromptu family session for my Sister-In-Law. It seems like it has been non-stop since Friday, so finally having a day off on Wednesday really helped get me back up and going for the fights coming up on Saturday.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gettin' Busy...

Whoa! Looks like I missed my once-every-two-weeks deadline for updates. Oh well, I'm sure the number of people who'll read this can fit into a minivan anyway. Anyway, that doesn't change the fact that things are getting busy again. Let's take a look at what's coming up over the next 9 days.

This... is obviously not Jake.
This Firday I'll be shooting some senior pics for Jake. He's already had a senior session with another pair of photogs, but says he didn't want them to shoot the "guy stuff." So, we'll be loading up his hunting gear and heading out to the pastures. His dog is also very important to him, so we should get some great shots of both of them together. Definitely looking forward to it.

Then, after a break to take my son BMX racing on Saturday, I'll start a 3 day production job with a show called Epic Christmas in Joplin, MO. I plan on doing a full post once it's finished or maybe daily updates, so I won't give away to many of the details now. If the title is any indication it should be a good time. Besides, who can say no to Xmas a month early? I know I can't, and since it's for a good cause, it makes it that much better.

Last, but not least, it's one of my favorite nights. FIGHT NIGHT! A week from this Saturday I'll be shooting MMA action in KC again. Working for 1zero8 is really turning into one of my favorite regular gigs. Is it a huge production, broadcast to thousands of people? No. But I'm always treated well and I get to see some great fights at every event. I also work solo, so I'm "The Show." If I screw up, it effects the final product because there's no safety net, no backup camera to cut to. I love the responsibility and the pressure to do a good job.

Well, that's what I got coming up over the next week or so. Like I mentioned, keep an eye out for updates on Epic Christmas. I also plan on updating my photography portfolio before the end of the year, so watch for that as well.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Day (And Night) With the HPT...

Well, now that I have retrieved yet another left-behind piece of camera equipment, I can tell you about my great weekend working with the Heartland Poker Tour. Yes, that's right, I let a HPT crew member take production pics with my camera and I didn't check that the SD card was still in it. I'm an idiot, I know. Anyway, that still didn't take away from another great work experience.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Akins Family...

Wow! It's been a busy month already and the busiest part of it is still around the corner. One of the things contributing to the extra busyness has been the small surge in photo work I have been doing. My latest session was with the Akins Family of Pittsburg. Football is a big part of their life, so getting some family shots and individual pics of the boys on the field was a must. Hopefully they enjoy their pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. You can check out their slideshow below.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 7, 2011

The Clothier Family...

After teasing Stephanie for almost two weeks, her family photos have finally reached the finish line. Some changes around the Howard household brought on delays, but she's been a real trooper and I'm sure she is excited to see them. She'll get them all, but the rest of you will have to settle for what's in the video below and the select few that make it onto the Facebook page over the next couple days...



Monday, October 3, 2011

MMA Videos Are Up...

A fresh batch of my MMA video work hit YouTube yesterday. You can check them out below. Also, if you're looking for some great live MMA action in the KC area, their next show is coming up on November 19th. You can also keep an eye out for future events at

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Slaughter Pen Jam Video...

I decided I've been letting the video I shot at my first XC Mountain Bike race sit around for too long. So, I decided to finally turn it into something. In hindsight, I wish I had GoPro or Contour camera footage of my own ride to add to the mix and break up the third person perspective, but there's no point crying about what you don't have.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Braggin' On the HPT...

On this blog, I usually get to brag about some of the cool production jobs I do from time to time, so it's probably a nice change of pace for my readers (yes, plural. My mom and my wife both follow it... sometimes) to hear me brag about someone else instead. One of my regular employers, The Heartland Poker Tour, have teamed up with actor and comedian Brad Garrett to raise money to benefit victims of the Joplin Tornado. The HPT will be making one of their regular stops at the Downstream Casino in October and Garrett will be traveling with them to perform in a benefit show with all proceeds being donated to Tornado relief efforts. You can see the promo video below.


The, "Over $50,000" that is mentioned came from an earlier Epic Poker League event held in Las Vegas in early August. The HPT, EPL, Operation USA, and Garrett all teamed up to put on a charity poker tournament.

With all the negatives that people sometimes associate with gambling and casinos, it's nice to see people in that community putting together a great fundraising effort for a community that has gone through so much. Props to HPT and Mr. Garrett! Be sure to keep an eye on the Downstream website for ticket information.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Month Ahead...

Well, it seems September has finally arrived. It's a month I have been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to. Three out of the four weekends are already booked, two with business and one with pleasure (which sounds really bad now that I've typed it out). Let's start with the pleasure first, shall we? (too much?)


Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Wedding Weekend...

Surprises aren't always nice, so when I come across a pleasant one, I always like to share. Once you've shot weddings for a couple years, you become able to notice when a couple has actually put their own personal touches on their wedding day and not just whipped out the 'Church-Reception Hall-90s Top 40 Music' cookie cutter wedding. So, when I got to the address for this weekend's wedding ceremony and I stepped out of the car and into some grungy Power and Light District back alley with no church in sight, I knew the day showed a bit of promise. Then, as I walked past the graffiti sprayed walls, stepping over cigarette butts and streams of water coming from who-knows-where, I rounded the corner to find this...

The reception area upstairs wasn't too shabby either. A mix of modern flair and rustic charm that really showed off the couples burlap, wood, and springtime flowers theme.

Wedding critiquing aside, it was nice to find myself behind the camera at a wedding again, even if it was just a short 5-6 hour shoot. It's been a slow wedding season this year and with a few more bookings to go, one of which is a double wedding and MMA shoot day, it felt good to get back in the groove of that type of shooting. Hopefully I can keep the momentum and good vibes going into the next gig and finish the year out strong.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Down On The Farm...

Wow! Another huge gap in between posts. What happened? Did Zack Die? Was he committed to an asylum? Did he move down South to pursue a new-found dream of becoming a radish farmer? Well, to answer your questions; No, No, and Why would you even ask that? Actually, I do have to blame part of the delay on what I am now referring to as The Great Camera Scare of 2011. I don't want to waste time with details, but let's just say it involves the last job I worked on, a hotel, FedEx, and me being separated from my camera gear for two weeks.

Speaking of my last job, the last week of July I spent a day working as a PA/Grip for a Paper Meat Productions while they were shooting on location in Sedan, KS. The program we were shooting for was a food show tracing certain dishes back to their origins. Thus, we were on a farm looking at grass-fed cattle. It was your standard PA work, making runs, grabbing drinks for the crew, and setting up lunch. The Grip work was light, mostly C-stands, sand bags, and reflectors/diffusion. I even got to take some set stills when their camera's battery ran out. However, this time around there was one small twist. It was my first time working on a 3D shoot.

Quite the setup...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Richard and Judy's 50th Anniversary...

Awhile back I mentioned that Howard Photography was booked for it's first official portrait session. Now that the finished disks are in the mail, I figured I would share the results. Richard, Judy, and the entire family were great clients. They had ideas of what they wanted but were still open to my ideas and they were very patient considering how hot the weather was. It still amazes me that the entire session took less than 2 hours to complete, but like I said, this family was really helpful and organized.

Here are their photos:


Monday, June 27, 2011

On The Cheap: Bower Pro SLR Backpack Review

I've been kicking around the idea of writing equipment reviews for a long time now. However, I didn't want to be the millionth person to write a review for things like my T2i, especially since their are plenty of people who get those items before they are public. So, if big-ticket items are out, what's left? In all honesty... cheap, scary stuff. That's right, I'm talking 'you-get-what-you-pay-for' territory here. The reason I finally decided to write a review is simply because I was so frustrated trying to find one somewhere else and coming up empty. I just hope that these will help someone either save some money, or know when to turn and run. So... Here we go.                           


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Noodling Releases Trailer...

It's amazing what one job can do for your résumé. Sometimes, whether it makes sense or not, one job just sticks out to people and becomes the center point of interviews with future employers. For me (so far) that job has been working on the G&E crew (Grip & Electric) for a short film titled Noodling.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Quick Holiday, Some Volunteering, And It's Back To Work...

I suppose it's been too long since my last post. However, in my defense, there was a holiday weekend mixed in there somewhere, so I feel little remorse. I decided to leave my Memorial Day weekend open to spend some quality time with the family and work in a bit of volunteering. Then it was back to work.

That's right. I said volunteering. After all, I'm not completely heartless. I'm sure by now everyone has heard of the complete devastation that occurred when an EF5 tornado cut through the center of Joplin, Mo. It was, and still is, a tragedy that will be felt for years to come in Southwest Missouri. Living less than 30 minutes away, I felt I had to make an effort to help in some fashion, so I took a day to participate in debris removal. It was an experience that words can't describe. Seeing it first hand is not comparable to pictures or videos that have been shown. Sadly, I can't give as much time as I would like, but I do plan to return in the near future and I would encourage anyone sitting on the fence about helping to stop thinking about it and just go.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Best View Isn't Always From The Top...

I knew it would happen... and by 'it' I mean karma would not turn a deaf ear to my talk about the great changes in store for my recent MMA shoot. Oh no, she was listening alright, and she decided to pay me a visit.

Actually, the view is pretty good up here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quick Update...

Just wanted to do a small update about past and future happenings since I haven't posted in a while.

Wedding Season Has Begun!

Bride of Frankenstein for those who don't get the reference.
Scary words, but it's true. A couple weekends ago we shot the first wedding of the season. It was one of our larger packages, so it required staying overnight in KC. Other than falsely being accused of making too much noise in our room (which we somehow did in the first 30 seconds of being there) things went off without a hitch. It's always nice to start the wedding season off smooth as it helps set the tone for the rest of the year. I just hope this year I don't have any more run-ins with selfish photographers that lack event shooting etiquette. Last time it almost got confrontational.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Announcment: Now Booking Photo Sessions!

Photography has always been one of my passions. I love everything about it, from the technical to the abstract. However, somewhere along the way I guess I decided that I had to choose between video and photography, and video won. I never gave it up, never walked away or anything (over)dramatic like that. It just wasn't how I labeled myself. I was a professional Videographer, Cameraman, or Production Specialist. Photography just subconsciously took a backseat and I'm not sure why.

Well, as of today, I don't have to wonder anymore. I've decided to make this the year that I start adding more professional photography work to my schedule.

Now, some of you may be looking at this and (laughing, shame on you!) thinking, "$50! Are you insane?" Well, yes, but that's not the point. The truth is that I would consider this like participating in beta testing or getting in on the ground floor of something. I may have almost ten years of photography experience, but there is still going to be a feeling-out period as I try to take things to the next level. Prices will eventually go up though, so take advantage of a great deal while it lasts!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Non-Fist-Pump Weekend...

I've been doing wedding and event videography for a few years now and one thing that I've had to get used to is the sometimes forgotten fact that videography jobs are fluid by nature, especially when problems surface. The contract may have times, stipulations, and a myriad of other agreements, but both parties involved know (or should know) that nothing ever works out the way it appears on paper. When it works out in your favor, you do a fist pump, hop in the car, and cruise on home. Unfortunately, this was not a fist pump weekend.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"This Lens Will Change Your Life!..."

Well, at least that is what I read on some of the online forums I frequent. I'm talking, of course, about the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ii lens I recently purchased.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Update: February MMA...

Just thought I would post a small update on one of my past jobs. I was digging on YouTube yesterday for stuff to put on the portfolio page and noticed that fights from my last MMA job have been posted. So, I took the liberty of posting them below for your viewing pleasure.

Also, a quick reminder that I'll be shooting their next event, Shine At The Shrine 2 on May 14th. You can get more info from their website.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Madness (On A Slightly Smaller Scale)...

Have you ever had one those weeks where you have something big coming up and small things start to happen that make you think the entire week is going to be a disaster? Well, that was last week for me as I left to shoot the NJCAA Men's National Championship Tournament. I had to leave the wife and kids for a week so I was stressed about them, I had to work another job until late in the evening on the same day I was to leave on a 4 hour drive, and I ruined my travel air compressor and burned myself in the process. Needless to say, my week seemed destined for disaster.

Hutchinson Sports Arena

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's With All This Design Work Lately?

Well, despite the efforts of UPS, another business card shipment came in today. However, this time around they weren't meant for me. My brother-in-law runs an auto detailing shop in my hometown and after taking a look at the Vistaprint template he was using and the blank back on them, I knew he deserved better.

Since I had already designed a logo for him in the past it made it fairly simple for him and I to work out a quick concept. With the card already visualized in my head, I set to work trying to make it a reality... Only to realize I had a problem. About 95% of the card design was dragging, dropping, resizing, and typing. Easy money, as they say. The last 5% was an emblem that he wanted me to put to the side of his contact info. I figured this would be simple as well since I had done the same thing as part of the previous logo, but the original logo emblem was too small to use so I needed to make another from scratch. Again, no trouble I thought, until I realized that I had made the original in my bootleg version of Photoshop (Judge not lest ye be judged!) and I was now using the much stripped down (but legit) Photoshop Elements. I won't bore you with the gritty details, but let's just say I learned that sometimes 5% of the project can be 95% of the work.

Here are the end results:


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Business Cards Arrived Today...

A while back I decided it was time to break down, give in, and bite the bullet. It was time to make some business cards. I know they are something that I have needed for a long time, but being in a creative business, using a generic Vistaprint template just didn't seem like a smart move. So, this meant I would have to design my own. For a long time it seemed more practical to just punch myself in the face until I forgot about it rather than getting it done and over with. After all, I didn't get asked for my info in person that often, it was mostly through emails to people who were already considering me for a job anyway. Then I realized that maybe this was my problem. Perhaps adopting the 'preemptive strike' method and having cards to whip out in the middle of a conversation could be a good thing.

So, about two weeks ago, I finally designed and ordered my own cards. I decided to go with Vistaprint based solely on the fact that I was familiar with them and their prices seemed on the lower end of the spectrum. When it was all said and done, I ended up paying around $9.00 for 250 cards with front and back custom designs, which doesn't seem too bad to me. Here are the designs:



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Busy Weekend...

Living in the middle of nowhere (as far as production environments go) you take anything and everything that comes your way. That means as long as job dates don't overlap, I'm going to keep adding them to the calendar. So when two jobs that were originally weeks apart got shoved together into one weekend because of a schedule change, that meant covering 322 miles of highway and working over 16 hours. Luckily both jobs are with regular clients that I always look forward to working for, so I knew roughly what to expect outside of some random surprises.
Hey! That's me, over there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rigged Out And Ready To Roll...

I think I've mentioned in a previous post that I would be trying out some DIY projects over the next few months. Well, project number one has finally made it to the finish line... For now.

All it needs now is paint.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow-pocalypse Update...

So, for anyone who remotely cares, (which won't be many, I'm sure) you may have noticed that the blog has had another dead patch without any updates. This has been mostly by design as I have been waiting to hear from a full time job I interviewed for. However, the recent blizzard has both delayed their decision and is starting to give me cabin fever, so I felt like I needed to post a small update and maybe a few winter pics I have shot.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Strap in...

For the last couple months I've been trying to catch up with the current DIY camera accessory community. I've mostly been looking for shoulder mounts, steadycams, and sliders, but I've also been picking up other small tips along the way. One such tip I got from the Cheesycam website. Here is the original video they posted:

DIY Quick Camera Strap from emmagination on Vimeo.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Play time...

I'm starting to learn a lot about these tricky little DSLRs. They lure you in with their full HD and their great depth of field, then punch you in the face in post.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Feeling things out...

Well, after spending all of Saturday putting in a new hot water tank and Sunday doing other chores, I didn't have much time to get out and test my T2i. However, I did sneak outside for a few minutes to capture some video. I'm starting to get more and more used to shooting with my Canon, but I'm still not at any kind of a comfort level yet. My biggest complaint about Canon's control setup is their use of only one wheel to control exposure settings and having to holding down buttons while using that wheel to change different aspects of the exposure. Nikon typically has two wheels, one for shutter and one for iris, so I find myself fumbling around trying to remember which button I need to be holding to get what I want. Once I got my settings the way I wanted, things actually started to go a bit smoother. The T2i automatically goes to live view when you switch over to video and recording is only a button press away from that.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Well, today is the day. After what has to have been the longest drive to Louisburg that I have ever taken, I finally got my Canon Rebel T2i. I still have a few accessories to order, but the hardest part is over. I found a great deal and I'm pumped to get out and start taking some shots with it soon. If I can get my wife to let me out of indentured servitude for a few hours, I will try and get some test shots posted later this weekend.

Just handling it for a few minutes, I can already tell there is a lot that I need to acclimate myself to. Even though I've used a DSLR for years, I am switching brands and controls. Not only that, but I am used to shooting video on HDV cams, so making this switch is going to be fun... and by fun I mean interesting... and by interesting....... I think you get my drift.

However, for every beginning there is an end, and I would be remiss if I did not devote a portion of this post to my previous camera. She has been faithful to me over the years and I know that hasn't always been easy. My Nikon D70 was there for a minor in photography, pictures of both the kids over the years, and a hundred side projects along the way. It was my first and only DSLR until today and I will miss it dearly. Don't think that it's picture taking days are over, though. It will be moving into the trusted care of a family member that is interested in learning photography and I hope that it will serve him as well as it has me. as of today, however, our journey ends. Thanks old girl, I'll never forget you.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Camera Hunt Begins...

HA! I bet you thought my blog was dead already didn't you? Well, I told you I would be back at the first of the year, so thanks for the lack of faith.