Best of 2010: Best Portraits

A new category in my best of series this year is my best portraits. While I rarely shoot portraits I have been doing my best to make an effort to start doing more so I can get better at them. While the photos in this post are not on the level of my sports action stuff I will share them anyways.

First up was a frame from a commercial shoot I did in northern Michigan back in January of rally racer Ken Block, below. While it was extremely cold and a huge travel hassle it ended up being a fun shoot. If you are not familiar with Ken Block click here to check out his skills behind the wheel of a car.

Nikon D700, 85mm, 100iso, f1.8, 1/200th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

In March I got an assignment from ESPN the Magazine to shoot Chicago Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo for a feature story, below. The shot came out ok but had my second strobe fired from the rear right it would have came out much better. Thanks to my buddy Kevin Sutton for helping out on the shoot.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

A few weeks later I found myself on another ESPN the Magazine assignment, this time a story about athletes who performed in bands. Below is a available light portrait of Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy warming up backstage with his guitar. Click here to read the story for the mag.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/80th, Manual

In September I found myself in Indianapolis, IN to shoot the biggest race of the NHRA season, the US Nationals. In the mood to produce something different from the norm I packed an Alien Bee 1600 watt strobe, a softbox and a portable battery pack and did some candid driver portraits with the help of my good buddy Justin Tooley.

Below, NHRA pro stock driver Mike Edwards waits to run during qualifying for the U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Funny car driver Robert Hight sits strapped into his 320mph car, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f4.5, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Legendary funny car driver John Force.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 160iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Top fuel dragster driver Shawn Langdon leans against his tow vehicle as he kills time before making a qualifying run.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 160iso, f5.6, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Top fuel dragster driver Lary Dixon waits to run.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f8, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Funny car driver Ashley Force Hood poses for a portrait with her trophy after winning the US Nationals.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

To see more portraits and images from the US Nationals check out the blog post.

A few weeks later I found myself in Charlotte, NC for an ESPN the Magazine assignment on funny car driver John Force, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Below, funny car teammates Robert Hight (left), John Force (center) and Ashley Force Hood pose for a portrait.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Ashley Force Hood poses for a shot.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f13, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Special thanks to my buddy Steve Limentani for helping me out with the shoot. Click here to read the story.

A few weeks after the NHRA shoot I was back home to shoot the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in Surprise, AZ.

Below, pro two unlimited driver Todd LeDuc stands alongside his truck waiting for practice to begin.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f13, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

The below two portraits are of some of the racers in the kids kart categories.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Special thanks to my friend Robert Butterfield for helping out on the shoot.

At the end of September I got to shoot my first professional sports photo day with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA.

Below, Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash poses for a portrait during media day at the US Airways Center.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f14, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

As soon as I saw the glorious afro of Phoenix Suns guard Josh Childress I envisioned a shot of a basketball near the afro , the below shot is the result.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f14, 1/160th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

With athletes and portraits I am quickly learning that with some of the more charismatic players if you just tell them to have fun you can get some funny results such as in the below photo of Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f16, 1/160th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Special thanks to my buddy Jon Willey for helping me teaching me some new lighting techniques.

In October I found myself in Dallas, TX shooting the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) for Drag Illustrated magazine.

Below, technician Brandon Switzer poses for a portrait in the cockpit of a car.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobe

Special thanks to Wes Buck and Jason Sharp for helping out on the shoot.

The next day I was in Las Vegas shooting some portraits and lifestyle photos of my buddy Robby Woods who races off road truck in the LOORRS.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f13, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f5.6, 1/250th, Manual with Alien Bee 1600watt Strobes

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual with gold reflector

Special thanks to my good friend Justin Kase Conder who assisted me on the fun assignment.

This last shot was actually a non posed available light photo but it looks so cool that I had to include it.

Below, Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Samson Szakacsy is bathed in a small light pocket as he warms up prior to the second half against the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

Next up in my Best of 2010 blogs is might best Drag Racing shots!

3 Responses to “Best of 2010: Best Portraits”

  1. Koen Miseur says:

    I like the Lary Dixon the most, i don’t know most of these people but he’s portrait is the best!

  2. Pille says:

    I agree, love the shot of Lary Dixon.

  3. Jong says:

    Larry Dixon’s photo is amazing. Personally I like the photo of the first kid cart racer. Amazing with the sun left on the picture. The semi-dark sky is also very cool! Nice colors!

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