Friday, May 29, 2009

Can't Spell THUG without "The U"? Think Again

The Hurricanes dramatic rise to national prominence under Howard Schnellenberger in the early 1980's stunned the college football world, but continued success under Jimmy Johnson-led teams with the military fatigues and the phone card fraud made us the target of haters across the nation. In the early 90's, the famous line "God made Notre Dame #1, but Miami made them #2" was a popular one in Coral Gables, but in South Bend, it was "Catholics vs Convicts." In Iowa, we were met with "Farmers vs Felons" t-shirts. Then a Pell Grant scandal and probation in the mid 90's solidified the reputation. The distinctive orange and green "U" adorning our helmets, which lent itself to slogans like "U Gotta Believe" and "U Is Great," became "Thug U" to outsiders.

While most fans ride the ESPN-fueled "Thug U" bandwagon, like the fashionable Yellow Jacket faithful above, others take the extreme route, like the Maryland family below, perfectly timing their fashion statement for the first game after Bryan Pata's murder three years ago. I'll take any of our players chances in life over THAT kid's future, any day of the week.

As we enter the Randy Shannon era, the stigma should be in decline, as the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles have dominated the police blotter of late. In fact, 23 Gators football players under Urban Meyer's tenure have tangled with the law, while one lone 'Cane has under Shannon. That one 'Cane is now an ex-'Cane, transferring after last season. Dave Hyde's column in yesterday's Sun-Sentinel notes the astonishing irony.

Then there are some 'Canes fans who embrace the image, like the clown shown below, but I think the majority of UM Alumni and 'Canes fans, whether or not they've ever been to a game, have a better view of "The U" and the football team and what it has achieved. It's time for everyone, no matter who they cheer for, to get past this stereotype.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From the Vault

Warren Sapp of the Oakland Raiders gives this photographer a look during a game against the Dolphins in 2007.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lauderdale Lou Says Goodbye

Since I'm under the weather today, I'll just direct you to the Sun-Sentinel photo blog, where Lou Toman says goodbye after 53 (yes, fifty three) years at the paper.

Monday, May 18, 2009

From the Vault

Summer is near, and my schedule is slowly crawling to a halt. To fill the "Shot of the Week" slot, I'll dive into the electronic archives (actually nearly 5TB's of hard drives) to pass the time until the football photo days of August arrive.

This week's vault find is from January 15, 2000. Dan Marino stands dejectedly on the sideline after being pulled in the 3rd quarter of the Dolphins 62-7 loss to Jacksonville in the divisional playoffs. It was Marino's last ever game.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fish Out of Water

Last Friday I set up my garage studio in anticipation of shooting my son and his girlfriend before they headed out to their senior prom. Both of them posed enthusiastically in the studio and the backyard, and I promptly did an edit and sent a few to my neighborhood Walgreens to have on hand for any eager relatives.

Upon arriving at the Walgreens lab I was informed they wouldn't print my studio shot, as they "don't print professional photos," according to the robo-clerk manning the counter.

They had no problem printing the back yard shot, but not the one with a background. Seems like someone with a thread of wisdom would have noticed the similarities in the files, but that would have required an employee with active brainwaves. Walgreens has apparently waived this requirement for employment.

While I appreciate they want to protect photographer's copyrights (read: cover their ass) common sense would dictate reviewing the rest of the print order and noticing the same subjects appearing outside the studio as well as in, and the time stamps on the files being mere minutes apart.

Years ago I had a similar problem with Eckerds (now CVS), as I needed a couple of quick 8x10's and they bungled the job. The manager on duty exclaimed "well we're not a professional lab" to which I quickly agreed.

In the end, there were a lot of fish swimming in the wrong pond. The largest was me, for going to an amateur lab like Walgreens.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shot of the Week

Scott Lawson of the Miami Hurricanes dives unsuccessfully for a ground ball during the 'Canes 5-2 loss to Bethune Cookman on Sunday. The 'Canes fell to 32-18 on the season after dropping two of three to the Wildcats. Like the ball in the above photo, the season is getting away from the 'Canes, as the prospects of hosting a regional narrow with every loss.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Dream in Infrared

One result of infrared photography is the effect of what one photographer calls 'tattoo popping' on darker skinned players. Some players have tattoos with colors that blend into their skin. Infrared light interacts differently than visible light with skin and tattoo coloring, giving the ink a much higher contrast in comparison to the skin.

Jack McClinton of the Miami Hurricanes shows off his tatoo during a photo shoot a few years ago.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jimmy Graham

Miami Hurricanes play-by-play announcer Joe Zagacki surprises Jimmy Graham with a football helmet at the Men's Basketball banquet last Thursday. Graham, whose basketball eligibility has expired, is joining the football team this fall.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Red Tide

This is not a false alarm
This is not a test
Nowhere we can fly away
Nowhere we can rest
The party is disrupted by
An uninvited guest

For still photographers, the "uninvited guest" mentioned above by the band Rush in their song "Red Tide" is the RedONE camera.

What kind of camera is the RedONE? Click here to go to the Esquire site for a sneak preview of what it did for them.

Greg Williams, the photographer who shot the images/video footage with the RedONE for Esquire, says using the camcorder to capture Fox added spontaneity to the shoot.

"It allowed her to act," Williams says on "She could run scenes without being reminded by the sound of a shutter every four seconds that I was taking a picture. As in still photography, a lot of it is capturing unexpected moments. This takes that one step further."

However, the significance here is a major magazine has just used a frame grab, instead of a still image, for a cover.

While on the surface it appears this camera would be an amazing tool for still shooters, the reality is it means the death of many of our careers. Capturing the "defining moment," a skill used my many great still photographers over the years, will become automatic. In sports and event photography, HD video resolution will soon be sufficient enough for high quality frame grabs. The networks will become the Getty's and AP's of today.

The Esquire cover next month will be a historic turning point in photography, as frame grabs from video good enough for publication are possible, and soon to be routine.