About Me

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Long Beach, California, United States
Welcome to my blog. Looking through my posts you will find that I love and have a passion for photography and although my expertise so to speak is in Sports Action, I have been getting into wildlife and senior portraits. No matter what I'm shooting I want to bring my client the best possible shot I can and give them / you a photograph that you will cherish for a lifetime. If your looking for someone to capture your child in action, to show the intensity and emotion in which your child plays, look no further. Just drop me a line (e-mail) at homerkenpo@aol.com. I cover most areas in Southern Califoria.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

T-Town Shootout

The above heads shots were taken by Wendi Riggens - Thanks so much.

Mpix is a professional photo lab that offers a variety of photography related products. they also have a forum which I've been a member of since April 2005. You can say it's where I honed and developed my photography skills. I have always been one to help others and in time I became the sports guy on the forum assisting those who needed help to improve their sports action photography.

Well during the last few years various members of the forum have been getting together to meet with other, grow as photographers, and share their knowledge. During the early portion of 2010 I started getting requests to teach a sports action photography class during the next meet-up, which was going to be held in Tulsa Oklahoma. At first I resisted, partially due to money as well as my own personal questions as to was I qualified to teach a class to people from all over the states. In time I decided to give it a try and made plans to attend.

All I can say is man was it an experience it was. I met so many people whom I've been a fan of, people I have developed friendships with, and those who I met for the first time. After three days of shooting I left with so much more than what I came with. Friendships were reinforced and made stronger, while new friendships were made. I am so happy that I made the trip and took a chance. The experience of teaching was wonderful and I couldn't have asked for better classes.

So sit back and take a little journey with me as I share my first Mpix Meet-Up. Be ready, this is a long post with a lot of pictures. Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. If you are a photographer, whether a professional or armature, or simply a Mom / Dad with a camera, I highly recommend becoming a member of the Mpix community and join the forum, you will be glad you did - just tell them Homer sent you.

My first full day in Tulsa Oklahoma. I started the day assisting with mapping out the path for the first annual Mpix 5k run, which you'll see below. Once that was finished I met, well in person that is because we have talked back and forth for quite some time on facebook, Paige and after having lunch we drove to Sapulpa Oklahoma to explore the Tee Pee Drive-in, which was rather interesting. Had the opportunity to walk around and take pictures. It was a great afternoon hanging with my bud.

Friday was my only day of taking classes, which meant out of all of the great classes to choose from I could only pick two. This was a rough decision, but I was able to come up with two awesome classes.

The first class was "Finding the Light" by Jennifer Walsh. I'm a huge fan of Jenn's work and her style. Under the direction of Jenn and having access to several models I was able to get the following pictures. Now I must remind you that I am first and foremost a sports action photographer, but I do have to say that I was very pleased with how these shots came out.

This first model as you will see had gorgeous eyes.

I loved this young ladies smile, it simply brightened up the room whenever she would smile.

This last model really knew how to work the camera and did an awesome job.

Here is a shot from the second class I took "Senior Style OCF (Off Camera Flash), which was give by Jodi Young. Once again a great class with a very talented photographer. Senior Photography is something I'd love to get into, but know I have a long way to go, but thanks to photograhers like Jodi and Jenn, I'm a few steps closer. Again thanks to both of you for sharing your knowledge with me.

Saturday morning found me getting up early to cover the very first and hopefully annual Mpix 5K run, which was organized by our own Wendi Riggens, who did an outstanding job. So prior to the 5k start I went to a location I scouted out earlier and set up to cover the runners as they ran past me on their way out. Once all runners ran past my location I then changed my position to cover them as they returned towards the finish line.

Now my passion as most you know is in sports action photography, although I have been getting into wildlife, which I find very soothing and relaxing. Well while waiting for the start of the run I took the first two shots. I loved the color of the sunrise while I waited and when the bird landed on the sign I loved how the blue just stood out over the background. As for the third shot I saw some motion over my shoulder and behind me. As I turned I saw what I thought was a rather large hawk flying along the river and at tree level. I swung my camera around and took several shots as it flew past me. It wasn't until must later in the evening that I discovered it was a Bald Eagle and appeared to still be a juvenile. Needless to say I was very excited to get my first shot of such a majestic bird.

Just a few shots from the 5k that stood out.

So on behalf of Mpix, here I am in Tulsa Oklahoma teaching sports action photography to various people throughout the United States, which if you ask me is pretty freaking cool to say the least.

My first class to teach during this meet-up was a sports class covering a rugby game, or so I thought. As it turned out it was a high school rugby team (19 yrs and younger) who were simply running through some drills for our benefit. This wasn't really an issue, but I would have liked for an actual game so my students would get the full benefit of shooting a game and making setting and positioning adjustments on the go.

With this being somewhat a practice for this team I did run into some problems. The coach would have his athletes run through various drills, but each and everyone one of them would cause the players to run in the opposite direction as my students, who were trying to capture some action. I ended up going onto the field about 4 times asking the coach if he could instruct his athletes to run their drills towards the photographers and each time, after saying he would, they would go back to the same thing - running in the opposite direction. Finally on the last few plays the coach finally understood what I wanted and directed the athletes to run toward the photographers, but it was a bit too late as he only did three more plays and then the team had to leave. Although I had this issue I looked at it as a learning experience for both me and my students. It showed them that sports photography can not be controlled or directed like you would when taking portraits. Action happens when it happens and it can't be controlled.

Even though our class had this obstacle, I have to say that I enjoyed the time out there and feel I had a great connection with my students. There was a lot of interaction and movement on their part, which I truly loved.

For my afternoon class I was scheduled to cover a lacrosse scrimmage game with the local men's (19 yrs and over) team vs Oklahoma State University. Now mind you I've never shot a lacrosse game yet, but I like to go into a sports action assignment with the same thought process. I feel that I can go to pretty much any sporting event and capture the action for my client or for my own personal enjoyment because for me there is really nothing more exciting then covering / shooting a sporting event and having the best seat in the house.

So I started this class as I did the rugby class by going over my settings and gear, but before I could really get to involved the game started. So I directed my students to begin shooting as I walked among them answering their questions and assisting them with their camera settings if needed. It wasn't until after the game in which I was able to talk to them about my thoughts on sports shooting and capturing the shot.

I'm not sure what it was, but with this class I didn't feel the connection I did with the morning class I discussed above. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed being out there with each and everyone of my students and truly enjoyed meeting them, it simply seemed there was something lacking. I can only hope that all of my students were able to take something from this both of my sport classes that will help them with their sports shooting.

I really have to say that this was a great experience. I couldn't have asked to for anything better. Being able to meet and hang out with people whom I admire, both as individuals and as photographers was by far the greatest experience. As for teaching, well I have taught various classes in the past. I have taught classes on behalf of my employer (Los Angeles Police Department) and have taught martial arts for a few years, so being in front of people wasn't bad at all, but the biggest plus here is being able (No - being given the opportunity) teach two classes with people who have a passion for sports action photography as I do and develop friendships that I hope to continue. What more can a person ask for.


Anonymous said...

It's rare that a sports photographer can capture the images you do in other areas. You have a natural eye that not all people have. I have never seen a "not so good" shot from you whether it's a dirt road or a senior. You are a fantastic photographer and an amazing guy. I am so lucky I got to meet you face to face and I look forward to taking your class next year!

Sue (in Portland)

PattyG said...

Jim, I am thrilled beyond belief that you were ready and willing to come to Tulsa and join our Instructor staff. I already knew what an awesome photographer you are and I wanted so much to share that with our T-Town Shootout attendees. Thanks so much for all you did to help make our event even more special. As always I bow to the Sports King!

Jennifer Walsh said...

Oh Jim! I am so honored to be mentioned by the king of sports photography! I am so glad I was finally able to meet you as well! You were exactly how I imagined you would be. You should do portraits more often because my friend you did amazing work!! See ya next year!! ;0)

Steph Allen said...

I LOVED taking your class - the cool morning class at that ;)! I learned alot....THANKS for making the trip and sharing your knowledge...cant wait to see you next year !

Misty said...

Jim, these are all fantastic!