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Comerica Park and a life-long love of baseball

When I add more words and more words to this blog, as I have shown so far, I will mostly be chatting about photography.

And, for good reason.

I love taking photos! I love talking about it, studying it, giving advice to other photographers and getting advice in return. Therefore, I enjoy blogging all things camera, lens and shooting.

However, as we all do, I also have other interests in my life and from time to time I will take up this space to talk about those interests with a few photos added to the mix as well.

One of those interests is baseball.

Like many a young boy growing up in small-town America, I loved playing baseball.

I still remember as a kid on my family farm in Montana, I would impatiently wait all evening staring out the window hoping for my father to come home early enough to beat the encroaching darkness just to play catch and hit around baseballs.

When he made it home in time, I was exhilarated and when he didn’t, I was crushed.

I’ve been hooked on baseball ever since.

Growing up in Montana, I lived nowhere near a Major League Baseball team and therefore I didn’t attend my first Major League baseball game until I was a sophomore in high school when I visited the old Yankee Stadium in New York.

I didn’t attend my second MLB game for another 10 years when I moved to Milwaukee and visited Miller Park, home of the Brewers.

Now, I make it to games as often as I can and with the increased proximity to a variety of MLB stadiums, this year I decided to commit to the audacious life bucket list goal of visiting all 30 MLB stadiums in my lifetime.

Over Labor Day Weekend, I notched my fifth stadium when I visited my cousin, Nick, and his wife, Michelle, and newborn baby girl, Aurora, in Detroit.

I hadn’t been to Detroit since I was young, before the recession, so I was very curious about the city and barely thought of the game until I walked into the gates.

Large Tiger statue at the front gates.

Large Tiger statue at the front gates.

The outside of the stadium wasn’t all that impressive as there were just a few small parking lots leading up to the stadium and we took an angle that took us through construction, so the surrounding neighborhood left something to be desired as far as fan gatherings or Tiger-themed party areas.

However, the stadium itself was fantastic and it gave the visitors a fan-friendly experience made for the fan and not for money or just an assembly-line production of moving thousands of people from the gates to the seats and then out the gates.

Me posing quite well, in front of Comerica Park.

Me posing quite well, in front of Comerica Park.

I took my picture in front of the giant Tiger at the main gates and in front of the Ty Cobb statue copying his sliding into base pose, as I made my way around the entire stadium.

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The causeways leading around the seats were all fantastic. You barely felt like you started walking away from your seats before you reached multiple vendors for food and drink. They also had a great open-air food court with a baseball-themed ferris wheel. And, it all was made in an old-timer baseball approach that a baseball lover like me thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated.

The entrance to the fun outdoor hangout spot inside the park.

The entrance to the fun outdoor hangout spot inside the park.

As for the view from the seats, the field was closer to average than spectacular, but we did really feel like we were on top of the action.

The in-game atmosphere was uninspiring with the crowd being less than enthused. But, this may have been more to do with the 85 degree heat in humidity than anything else, so I have to give the crowd a pass.

As for the game itself, the Tigers won after surviving a bases-loaded jam in the 9th inning and ended on a force out, which was challenged by replay. You don’t have a better ending to a baseball game, so that happy coincidence was also an exciting plus.

Panoramic photo with my cousin Nick.

Panoramic photo with my cousin Nick.

In totality, I almost enjoyed everything as much as Wrigley Field as my favorite stadium, but for completely opposite reasons. Wrigley had the best atmosphere and in-game experience, but weaker facilities and attractions, while the Tigers stadium was perfectly opposite in it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Comerica Park

Stadium: 10/10
Food/Drink: 7/10
Seats/Game Atmosphere: 5/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

(All photos were taken with my Iphone, so please forgive the quality)

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Building a Ring Light for Portrait Photography

Here is a full-blown confession of mine. Photography isn’t just what I do when I strap a camera around my neck and snap away at fascinating people and awe-inspiring scenes.

Yes I do that in plenty as I work as a wedding photographer, portrait photographer and senior photographer for Milwaukee and all of southeastern Wisconsin.

However, I do also find myself from time to time being just a plain nerd about photography. When I’m not shooting or editing photos I also like just reading up on photography, what’s new in the industry, new gear I haven’t heard of or used and different photography techniques and methods to get better or just more interesting shots.

I love it and therefore I watch plenty of videos on YouTube.

As such I see my fair share of Do It Yourself photography projects, ways to save money but making devices that can give you a lot of interesting and intriguing effects popping out of your photos.

The latest project was a ring light.

Basically the principal of a ring light is that it creates a main light source which illuminates and shines in a square pattern. Portrait Photographers use this to create a beautiful circle of light in a model’s eyes, reflecting in the pupil and back at the camera.

I have never heard of this technique before and hadn’t paid attention to certain portraits to catch the fact that this circle kept showing up, but once I saw the tutorial I was intrigued enough to try the method.

As far as DIY projects go, this was relatively quick and cheap.

Other than the normal items you have around the house all I needed was four sheets of foam board, binder clips and a plastic table cloth.

For the items around the house, I needed a knife, tin foil, duct tape a yardstick or ruler or just something straight and scissors.

Now, for the building.

First you take the foam board and score it into three long sections and bend it so it forms a u-shape. Repeat this with all four foam boards and then duct tape them into a square with the hole in the u-shape pointing in the same direction. Cut out a squared section in the ends of the boards so the u-shape has a continuous opening or as I thought of it so a mouse could complete the maze if the boards were laying down.

Once done, fill the u-shape with tin foil you first crumpled then smoothed out again (this makes it more shiny and therefore more reflective for light).

I duct-taped some of the ends down, so it would stay more flat.

The final part of the project was making the diffuser.

Lay the plastic table cloth over top the foam boards and cut out a model of the ring light leaving a 1-inch extra layer around the outside of the plastic.

Then stand up the foam boards and put a flash on the bottom corner and then another atop the opposite corner.

I use remote triggers on my flashes, but others may have different methods.

Once I set my flashes I clip the plastic table cloth using the binder clips in place over the ring light to act as a diffuser.

I then stand on the non-hole side and shoot through the hole in the middle of the flash at my subject on the other side, using the remote atop my camera to fire the flashes.

It then creates a perfect square in the eyes of my model. It’s easy and it’s a cool effect. As a bonus it casts even light on my subject giving them a flattering look, which works great for portraits.

For those of you, that want to see the source of where I found the instructions. Here it is on petapixel. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed making.

Here are a couple portraits I got using this at my home in Milwaukee.

Mina dutifully posing for the ring light effect.

Mina dutifully posing for the ring light effect.

Mina enjoying the model life.

Mina enjoying the model life.

A close up of Mina's eyes, which shows the reflection of a square beam of light.

A close up of Mina’s eyes, which shows the reflection of a square beam of light.

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Humboldt River



Here is the Humboldt River in Elko during sunset. We have a footbridge next to our house. Normally, the Humboldt doesn’t offer much of a sight since it barely has running water most of the year, but in the early spring it had enough water to give off a nice blue sheen. I’m usually not much of a landscape and scenery photographer. Those people usually have to be incredibly patient. Here I didn’t spend too much time, just snapped it while I walked past, but I think it definitely turned out well.

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Up close and personal

I took this photo last fall when I got an incredible opportunity to hike up the Goshute Mountain south of West Wendover, Nevada. I met up with some people involved with a Migration Project. Although it looks like this sharp-shinned hawk was out by itself in the wilderness it was actually captured and held by a member of the project. This was all about using a telephoto lens and making sure the angle left out any human hands.

Here’s the original story.<br />

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