612.616.3296brad@rempeldesign.com
Super Bowl LII

I was really excited when I heard I got to cover my first Super Bowl. I knew I was covering it for awhile but I didn’t want to get too excited or tell anyone in case things changed and I was pulled off the assignment. USA Today sent 12 photographers to cover the game, as well as a few tech people, card runners and 3-4 editors. I found out my shooting position was going to be in a first row seat USA Today purchased for the event. They had seats in each corner of the stadium that would be hard wired into our cameras and images sent directly to the editors in real time as we photographed the game. They also had two stationary people on the field, two field roamers, two people shooting elevated, two stadium roamers getting scenic shots, as well as a number of remote cameras from the rafters. Even though I was shooting from my home town stadium and I covered every game this season, everything about today was different including my shooting position, entry into the stadium, shooting tethered and our workroom. All of this was unfamiliar.

I wasn’t sure what to expect the week leading up to the Super Bowl so I left my calendar pretty wide open just in case. It turned out I was only assigned a handful of things including team arrivals, opening day media event, the Kitten Bowl, and the Super Bowl. I was actually glad I didn’t have too much so I didn’t feel overwhelmed the entire week and I wasn’t stressed at all.

Here is the rundown of Super Bowl Sunday:

  • 8-9am: Team meeting. Covering logistics, assignments, what to shoot, transportation, and security. Our COO covered it extremely well and really got you prepared for the long day ahead. It was very helpful being a first timer.
  • 10am: Arrive at the stadium and get through security which is never fun at US Bank Stadium.
  • 10:30am: Go to our shooting position and test out our hard lines.
  • 11-1pm. Sync cameras, eat, kill time.
  • 1pm: Go outside and photograph the cold (3°F), people arriving, and anything else.
  • 3pm: Go to our seats and photograph warm ups. It was actually a little tough because I was surrounded by Eagles fans for 2 hours with cell phones trying to take pictures the entire time.
  • 5:30pm: Game time and start photographing the game. Once the game started it felt like every other game I did all year. You’re just photographing another game.
  • 9pm: Post game celebration. It turned out I had a terrible spot to get a lot of post game celebration. I was behind the stage and there wasn’t a lot to photograph but you work with what you got and shoot what you can.

Arrivals, Opening Day, Kitten Bowl

 

National Anthem by Pink and halftime with Justin Timberlake

 

Game Action

 

Post Game Celebration

 

Swag, Souvenirs, and Work Crew


My final thoughts. Overall it was a really incredible experience going to my first and hopefully not last Super Bowl.  Shooting elevated in the stands was great for getting clean shots without players in the way but it lacks the cool field level angle. I regret not having a stadium wide angle shot with a remote for my own personal use and I felt like I should have taken more photos and videos of myself to document everything at the game. Pretty minor hindsight regrets.

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Sony A7R3 Initial Thoughts

So I recently jumped on the Sony bandwagon and purchased the new Sony a7r iii. I was in the market to replace my aging Canon 1D Mark IV with the 5D Mark IV. I own two Canon 1DX’s and I wanted a smaller travel landscape camera that I could still use for sports and remote shots if needed. Sony then released the a7r3 and it looked so amazing on paper I had to try it out. So after a lot of reading, educating myself and asking questions, I took the leap and made the purchase. I figured the worst case scenario is if I really hated the camera, I could sell it and still purchase the Canon 5D IV and not lose any money.

The Good, Bad, and Neutral:

Menus: The first adjustment to get used to is the menus. You’ve probably heard they are bad, cumbersome etc. I actually found it similar to the Canon and it just takes getting used to. Part of the issue is translating menu items from Canon to Sony and figuring out what things even mean. I’m so used to the Canon vocabulary that it was an adjustment figuring out what was what. One example on the Sony is “Swt. V/H AF Area”. I immediately have no idea what this even refers to until I read the manual and it’s the same as the Canon “Orientation Linked AF” (switches focus point when you move the camera from horizontal to vertical).  Once I figure out what the menu items mean, I think it’ll be easier to use.

Lightroom: I have to process images slightly different in Lightroom. Part of my sports workflow is to import images into Lightroom where I apply a general preset to all the images that’s specific to the venue I’m photographing at. For example I have a preset called “MN Wild 1250/3200/4.0”. I’ve found that the colors Canon produces are similar no matter what lens I’m using. I’ll use the 8-15 fisheye, 16-35 f/4, 70-200 f/2.8 and the 200-400/f4 and the preset gives me the desired output I’m looking for. When I applied the same preset to the Sony images, the images looked much warmer and “orange”. It’s not that the Sony images are wrong, I just have to make an additional preset for the Sony body. In my “Canon preset” I have my camera calibration set to “camera standard” and switching it to “adobe standard” seems to fix most of it with the Sony to match the output of the Canon. I also have to change the White Balance down from 5500k to 5250k and since I shoot RAW it’s an easy switch.


Focus: I felt like it missed getting the focus right on some simple shots but I feel it was my fault and I’m still trying to figure out how I want the camera to focus. I tried face focus, then I tried using the focus dot, and now I just figured out how to do pupil focus (which I haven’t tried yet). So again I’ll chalk up the “misses” to user error before I can blame the camera. I think it’ll perform great when I use it more and when it was on, images were really sharp. For my purposes I didn’t really pixel peep and compare it between the Canon lenses but all three seemed great for my use (Canon 16-35, 200-400 and Sony 24-70), see the last images for a comparison.


The Adapter: So along with the camera I also purchased the Metabones Canon to Sony e-mount adapter (5th generation). The hope was I could use my existing wide angle Canon 16-35 f/4 for landscape shots but it turns out it didn’t work with that lens. Extremely disappointing! The odd thing is that the lens works with the Sony a7r ii and the 4th generation adapter. It also didn’t work with my Canon 200-400 f/4 but worked with my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 ver. II. I tried to update the firmware but it looked like it was up to date so I ended up returning it. Since that was a bust I ended up buying the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM. FYI, Sony lenses aren’t cheap and probably more expensive then the Canon L series. So before I go on my next trip I’ll probably have to sell the Canon 16-35 f/4 (which I love!) and end up buying something similar from the Sony line up.

The Battery: I also found out that if I want to use it as a remote camera I’ll have to end up buying a battery grip because one battery wouldn’t last an entire game. Part of the reason I bought the camera was because it was small, tiny, and light, so buying the battery grip kind of defeats the purpose. It’ll be close to a wash when I return the adapter so it’s not a big deal. I’m not sure I’d travel with the grip just so I can save space when packing.

Pocket Wizards. So I tested it with the Pocket Wizard Plus III and IV’s and it works! I only tested it at my house but everything seemed to work perfectly. I was a little worried because a friend of mine said it didn’t work properly. What he/we discovered that it doesn’t work with the old versions of the MultiMax but it does with the Plus III. No idea if it works with the newer versions of the MultiMax. I’ve yet to use it at as a remote at a sporting event yet so I can’t give an opinion on how it worked.

The Verdict: Unknown so far. I haven’t used it enough to give it a grade and decide if I’m keeping it. My hunch is that it’ll perform great once I get used to it and eliminate the user errors. I’m not sure when I can take it out for some series landscape shots and I assume it’ll be amazing (I hope). It would be an expensive investment to completely jump ship. The cost of the Sony lenses are slightly higher compared to Canon and they just don’t offer the long lenses I’d need for sports. I’m sure they will down the road and the adapter is too much of an unknown for me to rely on.

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Top 20 Travel Photos – 2017

2017 was an amazing travel year for me. I was able to travel to Canada, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Arizona. My wife had encouraged me to take a photo trip with a friend of mine (Brace Hemmelgarn) for a year or two so we both decided to take the leap and go traveling together. We’re both sports photographers but we appreciate great landscapes and seem to like similar destinations. We get along, and we get a chance to shoot along side each other a lot, so it made sense. My 2017 trips were:

  • Lofoten Islands, Norway – February (with Brace)
  • Arizona – April (family trip)
  • Manitoba – August (family trip)
  • Iceland & the Faroe Islands – November (with Brace)

The photo trips are a lot of planning. Deciding where to go for the day, where to take sunrises, daytime exploring, sunsets, and northern lights. Go home edit, post, repeat. At the end of the trips we both enjoy putting the cameras down and exploring the city and culture for a couple days. We spent a couple of days in both Oslo and Reykjavik at the end of each photo trip, walking through downtown, eating, and exploring.

I doubt my 2018 travel destinations will top this so I hope you enjoy the photos (click to see full size). All images are for sale at: photoreflect.com

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Twitter: @brad_rempel
Facebook: RempelDesignandPhoto

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Antelope Canyon Pics

A gallery of images from my trip to Northern Arizona where I visited Upper Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. These are bucket list images for a lot of photographers and when I knew we were planning a spring break trip to Phoenix and Sedona, I had to travel a couple hours north and photograph these amazing landmarks. The images look peaceful, isolated, and almost in a place where people rarely set foot in, but the reality is quite the opposite. There’s a video in another one of my blogs of what it’s really like photographing these landmarks and the crowds of people that are there. Regardless, I felt I was able to capture some pretty amazing images.

All these images are for sale at: PhotoReflect under Arizona.

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Instagram: @brad_rempel
Twitter: @brad_rempel
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Norway Northern Lights

A photographer friend and myself decided to go on a photo trip to Northern Norway and explore the Lofoten Islands. We planned a 10 day adventure staying in Leknes and Reine exploring the area and taking pictures throughout the day and evenings. We had unbelievable luck and caught a Northern Lights show the first 5 days we were there. The islands are simply amazing and there is a scenic photo everywhere you turn. These were my favorite Northern Light images from the trip. All these images can be purchased through PhotoReflect. Enjoy!

Please follow and share at:
Instagram: @brad_rempel
Twitter: @brad_rempel
Facebook: RempelDesignandPhoto

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