Picture of the Day: 3/23/15

silhouette of rower with oars against sunrise sky

San Diego State Rowing Spring practice at Mission Bay.  Partly cloudy sky at sunset. Not much chance for variety for these shoots.  The color of the sky and clouds is always amazing at sunrise.  As I was pulling out onto the water, I caught a rower against the orange sunrise.  The slope and height of the beach allowed me to capture the entire length of her body against the sky.

Picture of the Day: 3/13/15

female water polo player gets finger in eye

San Diego State Water Polo vs. University of Pacific at the Aztec Aquaplex.  Clear, sunny day.  A majority of water polo images are very typical, a player with one hand above the water holding a ball.  In every game, especially with aggressive teams, there will be an opportunity to capture a play with some physical contact.  The speed of the game along with the flailing arms and splashing water make capturing these moments really tough.  It was not until I went through all the pictures at home that I saw a shot of sophomore Caroline Israels getting a finger to the eye while passing the ball.

female lacrosse player picking up ground ball after knocking down opponent

San Diego State Lacrosse vs. Liberty University at the Aztec Lacrosse Field.  Oscillating stadium lights under night sky.  Still riding the learning curve of shooting women’s lacrosse.  The occasional hits and colliding bodies do not always look as dramatic in a still image.  This image of Alex Watson chasing after a loose ball shows the aftermath of her hit on a Liberty player.  The legs in the air, the facial expression, and the goggles being knocked off really tell the story.

Picture of the Day: 3/12/15

sdsu softball player injures knee on ground ball

San Diego State Softball vs. Brigham Young at the SDSU Softball Stadium.  Clear sky near sunset.  Rare moments can make a photo.  I was lucky to catch this moment of Aztec shortstop Monica Downey injuring her knee during a routine ground ball.  Her facial expression tells the whole story.

Picture of the Day: 3/8/15

little girl in white polka dot dress holding parasol

Portraits with the Browns at Fiesta Island.  Ambient light near sunset.  Annual outing to a park where flowers bloom every spring.  Very clean backgrounds, and lots of open areas.  I have typically let the kids run around Little House on the Prairie-style and used wide apertures and long focal lengths to shoot them in action.  The oldest daughter grabbed one of my studio umbrellas and used it like a parasol. It reminds me that props can make a huge difference.

Picture of the Day: 2/27/15

fitness girl in black sportsbra and spandex shorts

Portraits with Sarah at Studio C.  Studio lights and battery powered strobes.  Testing the limits of the studio space.  Controlling the bounce off of the white walls was difficult with 3 light sources.  I intend on using spray-on sunscreen instead of baby oil for the model next time.  The oil was way too messy and got on all the equipment.

Picture of the Day: 2/26/15

full length girl in blue dress on white background

Portraits with Sydney at Studio C.  Studio strobe with either a large softbox or beauty dish.  Used two lighting setups, large softbox from the side and a bare beauty dish above eye-level.  The white walls bounced enough light back onto the subject where I wasn’t able to get the high-contrast ratio I was hoping for.  I will probably get some black flats to control the bounce off the walls.  A white board underneath plexiglass covered the flooring.

Picture of the Day: 2/15/15

lacrosse team worms eye fisheye lens

San Diego State Lacrosse vs. Western Ontario at the Aztec Lacrosse Field.  Clear, sunny day.  First lacrosse game of the year.  I felt much more comfortable this year compared to the last two home openers.  It dawned on me that the fisheye pole remote is the original selfie stick.

Picture of the Day: 2/6/15

outdoor basketball player slam dunk

Portraits with Derek at Mission Bay.  Clear, sunny day.  Generator powered strobes and battery powered speedlights.  Our goal was to get shots that highlight Derek’s athletic ability and appearance.  It took a lot of tries to get the body position, facial expression, and lighting just right.

Picture of the Day: 1/31/15

female volleyball player portrait

Team photos for Beach and Bay Volleyball Club at South Mission Beach.  Clear, sunny day.  Used a generator powered strobe with a medium softbox as the main light, turned the subject so that the sunlight provided the side lighting.  My medium softbox produces a golden light which balanced the setting sunlight.  The darkness in the subjects eyes bother me.  A large white reflector or boosting the levels in post would probably improve that flaw.

Picture of the Day: 1/30/15

male volleyball player portrait

Team photos for East County Volleyball Academy in Lakeside.  Studio lights indoors.  Looking at the possible shooting spots, I first decided to use the net as a background element.  The background wall with the concrete texture was more interesting, but also had some weird water spots that were distracting.  I used my medium softbox as the main light, and a yellow colored gel to light the background.  The graphic elements and colors worked well for the full-length and tighter shots.

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Stan Liu Photography

A San Diego portrait and sports photographer