2011 Auburn Football Starts My 40th Season :: 5 Photo Outtakes

Well I know we all know down here in the south that the 2011 football season is only a few days away, but after seeing so much posted on the internet about Auburn’s upcoming season I had to go back and look at the last 5 years or so and revisit what I shot through all those games. Every football season is so completely different from the year before, and last year for Auburn was the dream season for those of us who have followed Auburn football for 40 years (like me).

This season will actually be the start of the 40th year of my involvement in Auburn football as a fan. I don’t even know why that is significant in the scheme of things but it just occurred to me as I started looking through all the years of Auburn football images I have now compiled as a photographer and a fan. I was born the day after the Auburn vs Alabama football game in 1970, the last game of the season. Auburn won that game 33-28 at Legion Field in Birmingham. Apparently the only photographer at the game that day was Tod Papageorge, this was about the only image I could find from 1970 but if I can find one of my family from that game I’ll post it tomorrow for Throwback Thursday. Over the next 15 YEARS Auburn would go on to lose the Iron Bowl 12 times going into the mid-80’s when Bo Jackson would then step on the scene. The one historical event coming in 1972 with the “Punt Bama Punt” game where Auburn won 17-16.

Below are outtakes from the last five years. One shot from each season, starting with Gene Chizik going through Tiger Walk from 2010 down to 2006 when we were on the field for pre-game warmup. These are shots that never made it to my blog or use anywhere else, just a few random shots I found from the last five years. Can’t wait for the start of the 2011 season, it’s always a fun time of year down in the south.

Photographic Look at Lake Victoria from Kampala Uganda

One of my favorite parts of this particular trip was getting to go across Lake Victoria to the Bethany Village Orphanage (see this post on the orphanage). Of course to get to Bethany Village, we had to cross the lake. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world (by surface area), the largest lake in Africa, and is the source to feed the Nile River. Obviously being the largest lake and bordering three different countries we only put eyes on a tiny little sliver of Lake Victoria on this crossing. We were also able to see the shoreline from the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe, Uganda on the way to the airport but I’ll save that for another post. The Lake Victoria we crossed was an amazingly peaceful place. Almost all traffic on the lake was from local fisherman, many who mainly paddled across different parts of the lake while they fished. There were no high-speed motor boats, no large commercial fishing vessels, just us and a few fishing farmers.

One aspect of crossing the lake that was unmistakable was the view we had of the air quality in and around the lake and outward towards Kampala. Not just in the air above us but the water beneath us as well, which was covered in a thick mix of green algae. The photos below were basically right out of the camera but they highlight the water and air quality in that particular area on that particular day. Historically the areas surrounding the lake from Kenya to Tanzania to Uganda have had to deal with pollution on different levels and “is mainly due to discharge of raw sewage into the lake, dumping of domestic and industrial waste, and fertiliser and chemicals from farms” and from factories who dump their waste directly into the lake untreated. [1] I am certainly no water or air expert (and there actually are water experts going on our next trip) but I know what pollution does for photography. It’s great for incredible colors at sunset and sunrise, and nearly colorless at midday like most of what was shot below. It does make for an interesting surreal mix of beauty and a 1970’s Los Angeles feel.

The crossing for us took about 30-45 minutes. As we traveled parallel to the banks we could see small villages all along the way, each having their own routine and way of life. On the second trip over to Bethany Village we took a shorter crossing and landed among the local fishing boats of the area shown in the last two shots below (notice the water in the closeup of the motorboat). As usual the most incredible part that day were the people we met on the lake and at the orphanage.

Understanding Exposure is More than Just Point and Shoot

I thought I would do a little photography 101 slash book review for this Saturday’s post. Only one more week before Auburn opens the 2011 football season so today is sort of the last “free” day before the fall goes into full swing, so to speak. The changes in photography over the last 10-15 years has been amazing to watch, and I’m glad I started shooting when film was the only option. Just about anyone can pick up a digital SLR today that is capable of taking photos that weren’t even possible a few years ago. Thankfully, it still takes more than just a finger pushing a button to take shots that look like more than just vacation photos. It’s quite possible to take great shots with a point-n-shoot and lousy shots with a professional camera (my nephew who is 12 takes amazing shots with his $150 Canon PowerShot SD1300).

One of the aspects of photography that attracted me to the art years and years ago was how easy it was to take a photo, and how hard it was to master the art. Just like anything worth doing, it takes a lot of time, study, experience, and a determination to get beyond the basics. One of the very basics of photography, and also one of the most difficult to master, is exposure. There are three basic elements to exposure in photography that make an image possible. These have never changed since the very first piece of film was exposed to light. For a “proper” exposure you need a combination of aperture (lens opening), shutter speed, and ISO value (film or sensitivity speed). Today’s cameras all have what is called a “P” or “program” mode that automatically calculates all three of these in an instant and creates what it thinks is the proper exposure. The only problem with that is the meter always exposes for a “middle grey”, or average, which attempts to take every lighting situation in the frame, average it out for medium, and that’s the “proper” exposure. That not necessarily bad, or wrong, and it’s probably how about 90% of all images shot are taken, but it also doesn’t always make the most exciting photograph either.

The two examples above I shot in the fading sun over the Atlantic, and both are considered to be improperly exposed according to the camera meter at the time. One is significantly “over exposed” (too light or bright) and one “under exposed” (too dark). I took several shots back to back and the “properly exposed” shot was quite boring. I love how both of these shots show a different mood and many different details. What often determines a “proper” exposure is what you are trying to create when you take the shot. What story are you trying to tell often determines what exposure best portrays your vision when you pull the trigger.

If you are interested in learning more about exposure and how light is used in creating an image I recommend the updated edition of Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson. I have no affiliation with Peterson but I did read his first edition that came out many years ago and recently finished the updated version published last year. Peterson goes through an easy to understand explanation of how to best use exposure in your photography beyond just pulling the trigger. Anyone who is interested in improving their photography should start off with Peterson’s book and move out from there, it’s a great place to start.