Tag Archives: sports

Photography Philosophy

It’s been my observation that photographers are an extremely varied bunch and that it’s difficult for any potential customer to know exactly what they’re getting when they look at partnering up with an artist.  Most people who go in search of photography services seem to think of the standard school pictures photographer who tells you to tilt your head in such and such a way and smile just -so- and only takes a picture once you’re positioned just how they want you.  I am not that sort of photographer.  In fact I might be more properly called a hunter than a photographer if that’s your standard of service.

Stoop Kids at Square Cat Records

As example I give you the shot to the right.  This photo of Stoop Kids in their Square Cat Vinyl show last November represents my hunter philosophy when it comes to shooting.  The entire show and their interaction with each other is summed up very neatly in this one photograph.  They are one of the most dynamic bands I’ve seen on stage and I was giddy to capture their souls.  Lead singer and bass player practically nose to nose while the saxophonist peaks out under the mic stand.

Philosophically, I truly believe that posed photography represents more of the photographer than of the subject.  When I shoot I want to capture the reality of what’s going on in a spontaneous and creative way.  Not cast my own thoughts and opinions on what should be onto the situation.  Your photos should be about you and who you are, not some aesthetic that some photographer prearranges for you.

Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band-Album Release Show at the HiFi 3-17-2Next we have Breezy Peyton of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band from the HiFi in March of this year.  For this show we were packed in like sardines and couldn’t move without getting in the way of a lot of other people so we dutifully stood our ground just to the left of center stage for the whole show.  When I’m shooting, my absolute #1 priority is to make sure I’m not disturbing anyone else at the show or distracting from the entertainment.  If you’re lucky enough to get into a show then you’re a guest and you should act like one.  I refuse to use flash or supplemental lighting of any kind because frankly, flashes are annoying as hell.  If I can’t get a shot without getting in someone’s way then I don’t get the shot.  Simple as that.

I’m also not a fan of fancy post-processing.  There are some amazing tools out there that will let you make your photos look like just about anything.  But that is, frankly, a fraud.  The world is more than nice enough just as it is without a lot of augmentation.  Get the shot that’s there and if the light’s blue then bloody well make the picture blue.  It’s the photographer’s job to capture the moment, not create it out of whole cloth.

2016 Indiana State Fair Parkour DemoThe last point I’ll make is about capturing pivotal moments.  As example I give you this shot from last year’s Parkour demonstrations at the State Fair.  I love the expression of the guy who’s not literally walking up a wall.  This whole show was filled with amazing moments and you almost couldn’t click your shutter fast enough.  For me, this is the essence of “hunter photography”. Grabbing that perfect moment out of the air at exactly the right time and bottling it up for all to see is, in my mind, the whole point.

So that hopefully gives you a bit of a sense of my own personal philosophy on photography.  If you’d like to see more of my work please visit my site at RobSlaven.com or on Facebook (IndyLivePhotography | Rob Slaven Photography).

Contact me for photo ops in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas at IndyLivePhoto@gmail.com or in the comments section.

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Filed under Indiana, photography, Uncategorized

Miscellaneous Photographic Rot From June

As is typical, I’ve been rather remiss in my posting. Sure, I can take hundreds of photos and spray them around the Interwebs but I’m apparently not nearly manly enough to bother to comment on them with anything approaching timeliness. Ah well.

After returning from St. Louis, I felt myself bitten again by the macro bug (no pun intended). I chased this little green critter around the yard for a while before he conveniently alighted on a day lily. I’m endlessly amused by the fact that these guys have hair if you look close enough.

From 6-15-2013 Misc

Over the years, it seems that the once-common caterpillar is increasingly hard to find. Luckily, this one sat still for quite a while.

From 6-15-2013 Misc

A week later on the 20th, Zionsville was graced with an exceptionally beautiful and fiery sunset. Some things cannot be ignored.

From 6-23-2013 Misc

On the 24th, I was asked to photograph a local youth baseball game. Despite the fact that I will happily photograph anything for anyone for free and try to promote this offer fairly widely, I only get about two requests a year So when they come, I give them my utmost attention.

It’s my hope that when the kids see their photos that they feel like they’ve really gotten the ‘big league’ treatment.

From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball

And I’m always amused when the ball appears to hover in mid-air.

From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball
From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball
From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball
From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball

And the emotions on display are priceless.

From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball

And sometimes you capture that instant of decision. Ball in glove, foot on base, that would be… out at first.

From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball

And for some, you don’t really need the ground, you can just hover above it.

From 6-24-2013 Westfield Youth Baseball

The next day, in search of … well, anything to photograph, I made off for a local outdoor concert. As always, there is an ocean of things to point a camera at.

Joy abounds among young and old…

From Fisher’s Concerts 6-25-2013

when not-quite-Jimmy-Buffett is singing.

From Fisher’s Concerts 6-25-2013

uh oh. I think he’s seen me.

From Fisher’s Concerts 6-25-2013

An apt image for July 4th, I’d say.

From Fisher’s Concerts 6-25-2013

And nobody ever pays nearly enough attention to the drummer.

From Fisher’s Concerts 6-25-2013

Finally, on the 30th, it was time to visit the IMA. Relatively speaking the stop was brief, but not uninteresting. It never ceases to amaze me, however, how little the exhibits change in the main galleries from one year to the next. I was there for the Ai Weiwei exhibit, but as always, the insects in the garden steal the show.

From IMA 6-30-2013

And that pretty well sums up the last two weeks in photography.

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Swimstock 2012

Last month when Amanda had an outdoor swim meet I took it as the perfect opportunity to do some sports photography. This is the sort of thing I’m always pestering people to let me photograph for them.

The expressions at these things are always priceless. Some true determination reflected here.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

And it never hurts to catch someone in mid-dive either.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

And… well, not ALL the expressions are all that flattering. Some of the adults seem rather disinterested.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

The sheepish ‘why are you taking my picture, dad’ look if ever I saw it.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

One thing about swim meets… they’re LONG affairs punctuated by very brief periods of activity that the spectators may specifically care about. Izzy is unimpressed.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

In fact some of the onlookers are bored absolutely stiff.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

But, making the best of a rather dull time, there’s always the macro lens to play with. Is it obvious what this is?

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

These little things are all over the place this time of year in Indiana. Let me just stress again the importance of exfoliation lest YOU have to shed your skin.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

Izzy doesn’t know whether to eat it or be scared of it. Apparently the average of those two emotions is ‘bored’

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

Claw detail. Note the carapace of some other creature on the left.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

Izzy also managed to sit on a mosquito without damaging it. Miraculous.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

Wonderfully complicated little creatures.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

So after two more hours, bored has turned to patently annoyed.

From 7-14 15-2012 Swimstock Swim Meet

And so eventually ended a day at the swim meet. In retrospect…. it didn’t really seem to have much to do with swimming at all.

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Indy Insanity on Super Bowl Eve

Last we night we made our way downtown yet again. This was my fourth trip down and at the end of it all a bit of quick math reveals that I’ve spent 18 hours downtown photographing the city in the past week or so. I often kick myself for not getting off my butt and trying to involve myself in local events. I can’t really berate myself for that in this case.

Yesterday’s focus was on people just doing what they do. The theme was set within 30 seconds of walking out of the parking garage as I found this lonely figure somehow by herself when only a few hundred feet away the crowds were packed shoulder to shoulder.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is an incredibly complicated thing to put on. The city goes to a huge amount of trouble to entertain the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come downtown. Yet in the middle of all it, this young woman enjoys the simple pleasure of tromping through the puddles in her waterproof boots. While the photo doesn’t mean much without the story, it was an amusing counterpoint to the vastness of the situation.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

Not everybody was happy to see the crowds.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

And it was good that we got to see some of the archetypal figures from our visiting fans. This guy just SCREAMS “New Yawker” to me.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

I’ve seen these things advertised but this is the first proof that anyone actually buys them…

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

This series is by far my favorite. A news crew had found themselves a story in the form of this football-headed guy who needed tickets.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

This is the guy who was doing the interview. I love his expression.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

And the cameraman seemed really glad to have someone taking HIS picture for a change.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

I couldn’t help but notice the prevalence of these bottle-cans of beer. Is this a successful attempt at last to overcome the stigma of beer in cans? Anyway, these two enjoyed their photo op with Mr. Football.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

We spoke with this young gentleman briefly. He says he’s going to be in the NFL some day. For some reason I tend to believe him.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

After about a 40 minute wait, we managed to take some photos from the top of the downtown monument.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

By the time we got done, the crowds had reached fever pitch.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

Considering the sheer numbers of people downtown, the place was still miraculously clean. Sure there were some full trashcans but the place was far from as trashed as you might expect. The work crews did an incredible job picking up after everyone.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

It’s at this point that I have to tell you that Laura leads a bit of a charmed life. I give her 100% credit that we were able to just walk in to a restaurant and have a nice meal.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

When we returned to the circle after dinner, we found some rather small-minded people in evidence. They needed police protection to keep from getting mobbed by the crowd.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl
From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl
From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl
From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

But it was very encouraging to see another person of religious bent telling a more forgiving story.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

Many people refine the art of self-portraiture on this day.

From Insane Indy – Night before the Super Bowl

And with that, we close the day and we close the Super Bowl. It was a grand time to be in Indy but I’ll be glad to get on to some other topic for a while. Also, a few have asked about downloading higher res versions of these photos. You can do so on my Picasa page. Click on one of the albums to see the photos in it and when you select one image to view you can choose an option to either download a copy or order prints. Picasa’s navigation isn’t particularly intuitive. Also, I don’t make any money from this so download, share and enjoy but don’t YOU make any money from it lest the giant wheel of karma crush you like a bug.

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Filed under Indianapolis, Oddities, portraiture

Super Bowl Indy by Night

Today’s photo set is very nearly a carbon copy of yesterday’s except it’s been flipped 36 hours into the future and thus the dark. Like most cities, Indy looks considerably better by night. Here we are looking over the city to Lucas Oil Stadium in the distance. Oh, and you can see the whole Super Bowl set here.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

Note that they’re changing the signage. In yesterday’s photos, Peyton was still up to the left of the central window. More on that later.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

And of course, as usual, I was distracted by the Citizen’s Gas Thermal plant. I promise that someday I’ll drag home a set of photos that doesn’t include a huge factory.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

This was a heck of a party.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

Portraiture is tough in the dark, but this rather plain-looking gentleman stood still for quite a while so everyone could take his picture.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

The Marriott really stands out much more in the dark…

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

…thanks to a massive bank of spotlights.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

Getting a bit closer to Lucas Oil, I found Brady stinking up the place.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

The circle was home to a light show of rather epic proportions.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

And the night closed with some fireworks. After three hours traipsing around for the second day in a row, I was more than a bit ready to sit down.

From Indy 2012-01-30 – Superbowl Week – Night

And that was the night that was.

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Filed under Indianapolis, night photography, Urban Photography

Storyboard – 9/4/2011 – Lake Michigan Lakeshore

In observance of the three-day weekend, Laura and Eric and I took ourselves northward unto the not-currently-frozen shoreline of Lake Michigan. The plan was to see… something and something we did see. It’s endlessly amusing to me that no matter where you go, there’s stuff to see.

It was a windy day which whipped the waves into quite a frenzy. Luckily, however, it seems that the wind and the water are married quite happily and those that wanted time on the water didn’t mind the presence of the wind.

From 2011-09-04

It has also been a weekend for photographers. This was the first of many I saw perched and peeping on the crowds.

From 2011-09-04

And even the kitesurfers can use an assistant in such wind.

From 2011-09-04

Oh, and let’s not forget that the Junior World Beach Speed-Walking finals were in town.

From 2011-09-04

OK, that’s just cool.

From 2011-09-04

Lest you be fooled, these … “surfkites”? Are pretty big…

From 2011-09-04

And the gulls were prolific and relaxed in the gusty gales of September.

From 2011-09-04

They had up these warning signs (which everyone ignored) and then more warning signs for other areas and then even more warning signs for other areas. With this many levels of warning, who can say which ones can safely be ignored? The crowd-think at the time seemed to indicate we should just ignore them ALL.

From 2011-09-04

I love a good lighthouse and the sky was definitely the photographer’s friend on this day.

From 2011-09-04

These guys are cute but they’d as soon peck your eyes out as look at you.

From 2011-09-04

See? Every possible level of warning signage totally ignored. It’s no wonder people get arrested in this country! How can you tell the phony laws from the unbreakable ones?

From 2011-09-04

Ah, perhaps THAT’s the rule. The signs to pay attention to are the ones that don’t actually require reading at all.

From 2011-09-04

This is one of those pictures that you really WANT to take but you’re afraid to. So in the interest of total dishonesty, I just play it cool with the camera at hip level and casually and “unintentionally” click the shutter a few dozen times. Sometimes they come out.

From 2011-09-04

This is a man who has suffered the agony of listening to his own Polka music.

From 2011-09-04

What a wonderful industrial backdrop.

From 2011-09-04

This makes me think mega shot of the century. Evening, sunset behind the Chicago skyline, someone doing something interesting in the foreground. Really need to arrange my sunset activities with more care.

From 2011-09-04

And that’s the day that was.

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Filed under Landscape photography, Michigan, nature Photography, portraiture, sports photography

Storyboard – 9/10/2011 – Lebanon and Zionsville, Indiana, USA

The tenth of September was an unusual day in that I found myself in several places at once.  In the morning we sallied forth unto the Zionsville fall festival and in the afternoon I simply awaited what randomness fate bestowed upon me in Lebanon.  As it turns out, fate was kind.

The Zionsville fall festival always features a panoply of pets in need of adoption and this toothsome beasty was among them. If this look doesn’t say “adopt me and take me home”… well, it doesn’t. But he is what he is.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

Ferrets were also in evidence at the festival. The man said that they had almost 80 ferrets at their shelter awaiting adoption. That seems like a ton. I had no idea the underground market for ferrets was so large.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

The trip to Lebanon started out pretty standard… “Oh, there’s the courthouse… *yawn*”…

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

Boy. That is boring. The plastic owl has hung himself.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

One thing I realized on this trip is that in many cases people WANT to be photographed. The antique shop owner seemed really glad to have me and even showed me her Mortimer Snerd ventriloquist dummy. Unfortunately, when I saw him he was indisposed… I wonder if there would be a market for toilet pillows?

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

In many ways, I’m glad that this sign is forgotten and faded.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

It was about this time that I spotted the urban blight between the old Boone County jail and the neighboring building.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

Um…. really? Sexy phone home, I guess.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

This was simple but I liked it. The empty socket, the contrast of not only color but material… Also the shadows played well in my mind…

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

And there was even more blight in the building behind the jail.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana
From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

So after the blight, I happened upon a music store tucked away in the corner of the square. After a brief discussion with the proprietor (which is quite against my natural tendencies; I don’t talk to strangers) I got to photograph his wares.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

Lighting was really tough, but I felt like I got a few shots that really set an interesting mood.

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

After an hour in the music store, I made myself back into the daylight. I’m still surprised that they have to actually SAY this…

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

Not long after I went on my way north and happened upon a park full of sporting activity…

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana
From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

This guy was really giving it up to save the point…

From Misc 09/10/2011 – Zionsville and Lebanon, Indiana

And thus the day ended. Like what you see? Head to Facebook and like Rob Slaven Photography!

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Filed under Art photography, Indianapolis, Lebanon, sports photography, Urban Photography