I took a break from my blog for a while, which always seems to be the case during the cold dark months of the year. Now that Spring is in full bloom here in Auburn things look so full of life and so colorful it just brings new inspiration to everything. Even though I took a few months off from my blog I still kept writing throughout the winter, but for some reason it always seems to be a little different. I wish I could find a way to better merge my offline writing with my writing here, but it would probably change how I write offline. Anyway, hope everyone is enjoying their springtime colors as much as we are down here in the south.
It’s been a lonely season of empty seats and shattered basketball hopes at this point. Deb and I love going to the basketball games, but it would be nice if just one season we could actually improve. This year is no different, they seem to have no chemistry, no cohesion, and few wins, though I love our players non-the-less. Year after year after year we keep coming to the games, and now we sit in a gorgeous new $92 million facility, which now seems to prove the point that you can’t just build it and they (players and fans) will come. Maybe I’m expecting a little too much out of a football town, but we sure have seen a lot of…
pressing into the paint… by the other team
shots made beyond the arc… by the other team…
but hey, maybe we haven’t been paying close enough attention as fans, maybe they said something, but we had our Beats on because the game was sooooo exciting…
or maybe we just need one of those giant megaphones to yell with… since there aren’t many fans at the games, we could just do that as the next promo instead of a cheesy Verizon draw string bag nobody wants anyway…
or, maybe the halftime show guys will let our team use their trampoline so they too can fly through the air and slam the ball with style…
…finally giving our excited little fans that do show up something to cheer about.
There are of course advantages to having no fans show up to a game and a team that has lost 17 games before the end of February. Nobody cares about the “prohibited items list” (except they still search my wife’s purse for FOOD), and I can actually take photos at the game without being ejected or my equipment confiscated.
My biggest pet peeve of all Auburn sporting events, the camera part of the “prohibited items list,” made to protect the capturing of media by non-paid photographer peoples, is one policy created without thinking about the world we live in and only thinking about the dollars and cents. This brilliant policy, violated at every single Auburn event, says you can’t bring “cameras with detachable lenses and lenses over 4 inches long” or use “flash photography” all so Auburn has no competition with the paid photographers and the built in flashes in the ceiling of Auburn Arena triggered by the photographer on the floor (if I’m wrong please give me a better understanding of this policy rule).
[Parenthetically my problem with the "no flash photography" policy at Auburn Arena has nothing to do with photography, it has to do with a complete false pretense given to fans that it disturbs the players. If it does, they shouldn't allow the can light flashes remotely triggered by the official photographer on the floor). No semi-competent photographer from the stands is going to purposely use a flash anyway, but, the built in can light flashes on the ceiling actually are annoying, at least to fans, and as far as I can tell, only available for use by Auburn photographers.]
But, like I said, at least they don’t care at the basketball games if I bring in my camera (I still don’t think they understand there are cameras on those telephones we all carry but that’s another story), so I get unharassed shots…
from the tip off…
to our beloved Aubie cheering in the stands with students…
We really do love our Auburn basketball, it would just be nice to see something positive come out of the season to create momentum for next year? March Madness is right around the corner though, can’t wait.
Last night our church came together to celebrate what God has done in the life of our church over the previous year along with putting out the vision for what Cornerstone looks like in the year 2020. It was a great night, but it was a launching point for 2013. We still have one more night to go tonight, so if anyone happens to be reading this in Auburn and wants to come join the celebration there are still a few seats left. I didn’t get to take too many shots last night, but here are a few.
Last night Auburn started their SEC conference play. This is always a favorite sports season of the year for us, so I started off with a little iPhoneography art of Auburn Arena. Something I love about my iPhone is how it gives me the ability to move beyond formal photography and put my own artistic flare in the image. Some don’t like it, but over the years I have grown to love the freedom in living outside the rules of photography.
This image results from a technique I use called stacking, which is just something I made up, but comes from stacking the image in different apps where the end result is something you can’t just get from one single post processing app. You can certainly overdue it, and the garbage in garbage out rule of photography always applies. Now with the iOS Panorama you can get some really cool results, like this, and with all the great apps like Camera+ and others the artistic results are almost limitless. Some day I will have to list all the photography apps I use and how they work but that’s not for today.
It’s not like anyone ever wants to remember a 63-21 total blowout like what happened on Saturday, but there is more to life than football, even in the south. I’m not just saying that because we have only one single win against a ULM team we probably should have lost to, I said that in 2010 when we won the National Championship as well. That doesn’t mean people, media, fans, and the like can’t be brutal when Auburn doesn’t win every single game, or a single game, just look at the cover of the OANews below, but it’s still not the end of the world as we know it (just ask the 1952 fans).
There have been a few things this football year that have been interesting and fun. I did finally get a decent shot of Nova, Auburn’s Golden Eagle from the Raptor Center (below), and last Saturday we have 4 F-16′s do a flyover at the game for military appreciation week. The flyover was rare for Jordan-Hare Stadium lately (see my iPhone video of the flyover here), I can’t remember the last one we had, and they actually didn’t really even fly that low and loud either. I didn’t stick around for the parachuting team that jumped at halftime in the dark blustering cold, but all the military appreciation fanfare was outstanding. This may have been a day to forget the score and the game forever, true, but it’s fall in the south. We were blessed with being able to see with our eyes and hear with our ears yet another day the Lord had made.
There is nothing quite like a stadium full of 87,451 fans creating a sea of orange and blue. It actually doesn’t happen all that often, and it’s even harder to capture all 87,000 people in one single photo. My expectations for the rest of the season are very low at this point, but that’s ok, Auburn is still Auburn, and while there are many reasons why I love this town, football is one. Ever since the iPhone 5 came out this shot above is the very shot I had in my mind for the new panorama feature, and I finally got to take it during the Auburn vs Arkansas game. The result is something that can only be seen with a very wide angle lens, or in a stitched panorama shot of the stadium, from the south end zone. I loaded a full size high-res version here if you want to take a look at the shot at full size.
It does take a little practice to get a decent panorama shot using the new iOS 6 camera feature, but with some practice you can really get some great shots that you can’t get without a lot of work and specialized skills otherwise. My first real professional attempt was done at this scenic vista in Colorado called Lake City back in 2008. That setup required an elaborate (but well worth it) set of tripods, panorama ball heads by Markins (an outstanding ball head), levels, and some good knowledge of Photoshop to be able to stitch together the final panorama product. Today, a mere 4 years later, it’s a much different landscape with the iOS 6 option where the software allows you to take the shot above, automatically stitching together a series of shots taken simultaneously.
If you have your own iOS 6 panorama example leave it in the comments below. I’m going to offer a how-to on the iOS option down the road, but for now, stadiums make a great subject.
I love photos of Auburn’s gameday. Since Auburn is off this week with a bye, and they really couldn’t have a better Saturday than today, I thought I would just post a few pics from last week’s game against LSU. This game I decided to not fight the gate entrance camera police by trying to take my camera into the stadium (Jordan-Hare Stadium no longer allows Digital SLR’s taken in by the fans sitting in the seats, technically it’s “cameras with detachable lenses or cameras with lenses longer than 4 inches“, a policy vary randomly enforced, unlike the food policy). Instead I opted for my new iPhone 5. These are my very first images taken with the iPhone 5, and so far it has done quite well. From a camera perspective it didn’t make big leaps but there are a few nice updates, including the panorama feature I will post about some other day.
I have posted images using this camera phone since the very first one came out years ago, but each time the technology gets better, and the images allow for even greater creativity for the photographer. For a camera phone, these lighting conditions were near impossible to capture a few years ago (at least capture well), now, even low light shots are starting to be possible with just your phone. The first shot, the one at the top was taken from my seat in the end-zone, and the last shot was taken from a parking deck as the game ended. That shot has been one of my favorites over the years ever since I took this shot of the night we lost to LSU back in 2008 when Auburn lost 21 to 26 in a heartbreaker. Still, LSU never disappoints as far as quality football goes, and I got some of my favorite ESPN Gameday photos during a game at the LSU game that year.
So this week while we get to watch everyone else fret about their team losing here are a few gameday photos from Auburn last week via my iPhone. War Eagle!
It came a little later this year than in the past few seasons, but Saturday was finally gameday in Auburn. As part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge they asked people to post about “everyday life” where you live. This may not be everyday life in other parts of the country, or the world, but it is down here in the south. There are those times during the year when people are waiting for SEC football, and then there is the fall when all plans are thrown out the window and people are at the mercy of the SEC schedule and the networks timetable.
This year it just feels a little different. ULM best Arkansas the week before, and Auburn had lost their previous two “away” games, so sitting out in the blasting heat and sun to watch Auburn barely come away with an overtime win against ULM wasn’t the greatest afternoon ever, but it was Auburn football. Auburn’s eagle still flew, and the band still played, but people were dropping left and right because of the heat, prompting my question as to why in the world do they agree to play a football game in the south during the day anymore? I know the answer is the dollar, but still, people were literally being carried out on stretchers. But that’s football devotion in the south, and part of every day life down here.
This coming Saturday could be a very hard game to overcome with LSU already smelling blood in the water. The shots here were taken with my Nikon, sneaked into the stadium since Auburn will no longer allow DSLR’s inside the gates anymore. I probably will not every hassle with it from this point forward this season and just use my iPhone instead, which just gives me another chance to improve as an iPhotographer. I always love the intensity of the Auburn Marching Band, and they are always so accessible during the game, though I’m not sure how they don’t pass out in those wool uniforms in 100*F weather.
One of my favorite shots of the day is one reason why I love football in the Bible belt. The circle of Auburn football players praying before the game puts some perspective on the fact that this is just a football game. But even more, we still live in a part of the country where football players can pray with their coaches, and the team has it’s own Team Chaplain in Rev. Chette Williams. Something rare in this pluralistic world we live in today. War Eagle.
I’m not sure there are any new and unique ways to shoot Samford Hall on Auburn University, but I keep looking for them just the same. This was a new shot for me, sitting in my car stopped on College (very briefly), I took this shot out the window of my car. It’s such an iconic shot to me, and it has been photographed for so many decades that you almost get nostalgic walking across the lawn thinking about how many have stood here before. As Deborah and I walked across the lawn for lunch yesterday, I realized I love it now not because it represents football, or tradition, but because represents where I’m from, it’s where I live and work. In a southern college town in Alabama.
Tomorrow of course starts the insanity that is NCAA College Football, and somehow, I will be there in Atlanta when Auburn kicks off against #14 ranked Clemson. It starts off my 41st season as an Auburn football fan (see my 40th and photo outtakes), and each one has been unique, and memorable to some extent. This year, my favorite off-season football day had to be the unveiling of Auburn’s Heisman Trophy Winner Statues for Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson, and Cam Newton, or Chizik and Trooper talking to the players along with the other shots of the players coming out of the tunnel for Aday 2012. I didn’t take my camera into too many games last year so I wouldn’t be hassled by the camera mafia as I walked into Jordan-Hare, but I did still get some shots representative of each home game last year, and that’s probably going to be plan this year. As Auburn makes it harder and harder to bring in cameras I’m left with take iPhone cell phone camera shots, but that’s ok, I tend to enjoy the games better anyway, plus I’ve found the iPhone to be one of the best point-n-shoot cameras around.
War Eagle everyone. I’m looking forward to a fun and exciting football season as always, see you on Twitter tomorrow from Atlanta (@scottfillmer), I’ll be sure to send out a few Instagram shots from inside the Georgia Dome.
Any of you who know me well know I don’t post too often about kids stuff, but today was a banner day for the future of our kids at Cornerstone Church. I have been to a lot of churches over the last 40 years, and I have visited churches who have very little evidence of kids in the building. While I’m not a “kids person” per se, this is a sure sign of a church with a hard future ahead of it, and the Church body itself needs it’s kids.
Over the last 3-4 weeks our kids staff, shown above, along with a host of other people, implemented a plan they had worked on tirelessly over the summer months. Meeting after meeting to go over every painstaking detail transformed the hallways, classrooms, and worship space for every little soul from new borns to our youth, and for kids who haven’t even been born yet. Think about the transformation in terms of a franchise. We love franchises all over the country because they are consistent, stable, and we know what we are going to get when we go into the building. We want our kids at every site to have the same worship experience no matter where they are, to have a consistent, stable, feeding on the word of God, while being surrounded by a community of believers.
In a very fragile time in history for the Church in our culture, this makes me excited for the future of the Church body. Investing in our kids is investing in the future of God’s Church. I’m thankful for these five ladies, and all the other people who worked so hard to make today happen, especially for the kids who have never walked into one of our children’s areas at Cornerstone Church. The future of Cornerstone Church, and the Church body as a whole, is in the hands of these woman above, but it’s also in the hands of every single individual who follows the teachings of Jesus. When you give to a child, you have given it to Christ himself.