Picture of the Day: 1/24/15

backstroke swimmer

San Diego State Swimming vs. Pacific at the Aztec Aquaplex.  Clear, sunny day.  Looking through the camera, the image was very fuzzy and dirty.  I thought the viewfinder needed to be cleaned.  Turns out that going from the cold of my apartment to the heat of the sun caused moisture to fog up the inside of my 400.  It took about 30 minutes, but eventually the moisture evaporated away.  Unfortunately all of the images from the early part of the day look as if they were shot in a fogbank.

sdsu womens basketball rebound

San Diego State Women’s Basketball vs. Colorado State at Viejas Arena.  Florescent arena lighting.  Tried something new with a vertical floor remote.  The camera was further back than the post remotes I had set up, so the field of view was looser.  A vertical orientation also seems more appropriate for basketball in comparison to the horizontal floor remotes I had set up.

Picture of the Day: 1/23/15

2015 san diego state softball team

Team photo of the San Diego State Softball Team at Marina Village.  Clear, sunny day.  I was notified that this year’s team photo would take place on a yacht on the ocean.  I didn’t have any other information, so there were a lot of variables I needed to deal with.  I expected to be shooting on a pier or boat while the yacht was in the ocean.  I brought 3 battery powered speedlights which would be versatile enough to use as a main light or fill lights, and use in the water if necessary.  Arriving at the location, the boat was docked at a slip with boats on either side.  There were only a few different angles available, none with the ocean in the background.  From the two angles, I used the longest focal length possible so that the bodies in the background were as large as possible.  Just out of the frame, I used the flashes to add light to the darker areas of the picture.

Picture of the Day: 12/29/14

sunlight bounces off swimmers goggles

San Diego State Swimming and Diving vs. Air Force Academy/UC-San Diego/University of the Incarnate Word at the Aztec Aquaplex.  Mostly clear, sunny day, ending at sunset.  As the sun started setting and the shadows crawled across the pool, I was hoping to capture some mottled faces or bright water splashes against dark backgrounds.  During the 500-yard freestyle, senior Dana Michaels consistently turned her head towards me in one of the pockets of light. As I edited the photos at home, I noticed that one of the frames caught the sun shining on her goggles.  Even though my camera was exposed for direct sunlight, the specular highlight was too bright.  I knocked the overall exposure down by 2 stops which darkened the rest of the photo dramatically.  I also color balanced the golden light at sunset more towards the cooler side.  This turned the rest of the photo dramatically blue.  Always look for and appreciate happy accidents.

Picture of the Day: 12/15/14

santa robber

Portraits with Morgan at Studio C.  Studio lights indoors.  Revisited an old concept from high school.  Dressed Morgan up in a festive Christmas outfit, but added a black mask, black gloves, and a bag full of goodies.  I used one strobe to simulate a police flashlight, and Morgan provided the reactions.

Picture of the Day: 11/29/14

portrait of usa beach volleyball player Derek Olson

Portraits with Derek at Studio C.  Studio strobes indoors.  Had a concept of projecting an American flag onto the reflective lenses of some sunglasses.  As the shoot started, I realized that the flag I had was not large enough to cover the surface of lenses even at a few feet away.  Rather than the original pose I had planned, I turned Derek profile, so only one lens was visible and reflected the flag onto that one lens.  As a happy accident, shooting through the flag altered the color balance of the light towards the red/orange color scale.  By converting the lenses to white, the unlit parts of the picture went blue.

Picture of the Day: 11/16/14

san diego chargers quarterback Philip Rivers

San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium.  Clear, sunny day.  Shadows creeping across the field near sunset.  First NFL game of the year.  A little rusty with finding receivers, but I got into a good rhythm by the 2nd half.

Picture of the Day: 11/14/14

San Diego State Women’s Basketball vs. Sacramento State at Viejas Arena.  Florescent arena lighting.  No problems with the remotes.  Focusing was optimal and the cameras fired every time.  The 24mm is a little tight, so I had to choose one side of the basket to frame.

Picture of the Day: 11/8/14

avp professional beach volleyball player kim dicello

Portraits with Kim at Mission Beach.  Speedlites at sunset.  My generator did not work, so I was forced to use my battery-powered speedlites instead.  The ambient light was dark enough that I didn’t require too much power from the lights.  The small softbox I typically use for my Elinchroms fit nicely over the speedlites.  Luckily there was no wind to blow the softbox around.

san diego state womens soccer team mountain west champions

San Diego State Women’s Soccer Team vs. Wyoming for the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship.  Arena lighting at night.  I concentrated on capturing two moments that I expected would be the key moments of the game:  the winning goal and the celebration/dejection after the game.  In the first overtime, senior Katie Perry scored the winning goal and luckily she was facing me, no one was blocking my view, and she was far enough away that my long lens was framed her entire body.  The celebrations lasted for minutes, so there were plenty of opportunities to capture emotional moments.  My favorite celebration shot was of the team wearing their championship shirts and tossing their hats into the air like a graduation.

Picture of the Day: 11/7/14

westview high school girls volleyball team celebrating match poing

Westview High Varsity Girl’s Volleyball vs. Torrey Pines.  Dark gym with florescent lighting and window light.  Senior Night for #8 Westview against #1 Torrey Pines, packed stands, evenly matched sets, and excitable players…all ingredients for a lot of celebrations and emotion.  The background was great with the full stands, but the gym was so dark that my shutter speed wasn’t as fast as I would have wanted.

Picture of the Day: 11/4/14

sunrise silhouette rowing team

San Diego State Rowing team practice at Mission Bay.  Clear sky at sunrise.  I knew the most variety of shots were going to come before the boats got into the water.  A typically gorgeous San Diego sunrise was a great background for a silhouette of the rowers entering the water.

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Stan Liu Photography

A San Diego portrait and sports photographer