Photo of the Week, Vol. 7

Over the past two weeks I’ve been getting high school sports assignments from the Lawrence Journal World and it has been AWESOME. After spending the past four years around University athletes and teams I forgot how incredibly gifted high school athletes can be and how much emotion rides on every game and event.

Last weekend I got a call from Mike Yoder, LJW Chief Photographer, asking if I wanted to photograph the Kansas 6A State Swim Championship. Of course I took the great opportunity even though I’d never photographed an entire swim meet before. When I showed up at Topeka Hummer Sports Complex I was mesmerized by how many people were there and the incredible amounts of colors representing each school. My assignment was to photograph six different athletes from two different schools competing in eight different events.

When I got into the media room I grabbed a sheet with all the heats on it and was totally lost at what to do. After a couple minutes of trying to comprehend who was who and what was what I saw a familiar face, Chris Neal, a staff photographer at the Topeka-Capitol Journal and overall hard worker and great guy.

Chris was my savior on this day. He showed me where to shoot from, how to read what heat was when and little things like to stop down when taking a picture of the scoreboard so I had the times after each heat. It really goes ot show how little I really know and how much I cannot wait to learn.

My Photo of Week, Vol. 7 is of a Lawrence High School freshman named Stephen Johnson, one of the six athletes I was to photograph. I was in a spot that allowed me to get reaction from each athlete as they looked at the board. Johnson’s race was the 500 yard freestyle, a grueling event known for its length. The celebrations from the heat before were uneventful but Johnson’s heat was a very close finish, resulting in a jubilant celebration from Johnson (after he got the water out of his eyes). Below is a sequence and the image I picked that ran in the LJ World on Sunday.

A big thanks to Chris Neal and a big congratulations to Stephen Johnson on placing third in the State Championship as a freshman, an impressive feat!

See more of my Photos of the Week here:

1 second (10 frames) sequence:


Photo Specs:
Canon 7D II (1/250’, 2.8, 2500)
Canon 70 - 200 IS

Photo of the Week, Vol. 6

Astrophotography has always been a special interest of mine and luckily for me and other photographers my age we’re not working with film, meaning we get instant results and can play around with different concepts at essentially no cost. I started doing astrophotography a few years back in Northern Michigan or what Michiganians consider “Up North.” I never imagined another sky would be able to compare to those Up North until I visited the Flint Hills of Kansas.

The Flint Hills are incredible – wide open prairie that dips and turns as far as the eye can see. Eagles, hawks, deer, foxes, bobcats and buffalo roam the hills freely, instilling a sense of wilderness and freedom.

The Flint Hills are beautiful during the day but at night they turn magical. The skies are untouched and in many parts not a ounce of light pollution is visible.

This week’s Photo of the Week was taken right outside Cottonwood Falls and was set up around 6:30 p.m. just as the sun’s warm glow faded softly into the night. I wouldn’t take the final image for another 11 hours, waiting patiently for the precise time ( 5:33 a.m. to be exact) when the Milky Way galaxy and moon lined up with the hilly terrain.

Below are two different frames, one without light and one “painted” with light. I want to exhibit how light can change an image and hopefully in this case, make an image more appealing. Three different light sources were working together in this image. One was the moon, the other my headlight in its red “night mode,” and my car’s lights. The image took about 30 minutes to get right but after all was said and done I was happy with what I had as a final image.

See more of my Photos of the Week at

Photo of the Week, Vol. 5

My Photo of the Week, Vol. 5 isn’t exactly a technically or artistically challenging image but it is a look into what I do on a daily basis. For the past two years I’ve been as close to the University of Kansas athletics as you can be, photographing everything from tennis, swimming & diving, to the legendary Kansas basketball team. When I was shooting for newspapers I had a different image I was after but now that I’m doing more for my good friend and mentor Jeff Jacobsen at KU Athletics I’m after a image that shows Kansas sports entirely in a positive light.

Here, assistant head coach Clint Bowen (left) smiles after Dave Beaty made a funny remark to a young KU football fan. Beaty was hired this year after Charlie Wies was fired due to yet another lackluster football season. Bowen was the interim head coach after Wies’ departure, bringing a lot of exciting energy to the sideline but it wasn’t enough to secure the full-time job.

I took this photo at KU Football fanFEST which is part of Football in February, a series of events that are supposed to create excitement about the 2015 campaign. It was good to see Bowen, a coach I photographed several times last year and grew to like very much, laughing with Beaty – it goes to show how good of a guy he really is.

Check out my other Photo(s) of the Week here:

Photo Specs:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 @ 4.0

Using Format