Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Attack of the...


(Fly on the cutting board. Cross lit by two Nikon SB80DX flashes, D300 w/60mm macro.
Photo by Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith)

I'm on my way to the Texas Chili Parlor to grab some chili and one of the strongest/cheapest/not bad tasting margaritas in Austin.

I bought some Nikon extension tubes off of Ebay for some more macro work that I've got planned! I'm pretty excited. They should be here tomorrow or Thursday. Barton Springs tomorrow?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Went to 9th street and then to the pump track. Things are crazy with ACL in town. I'm glad all these people will be going home soon. I can actually go out to eat without waiting in line for 30 minutes everywhere :)

Sunday @ the pump track - Photo by Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com

I used three flashes for this quick shot. Camera right up high, camera left low and straight ahead on the ground. All around 1/4 - 1/2. mmmmmmmmmmm......

A good day...

It is already 1p.m....
And today is going to get better.

Started off with the dog park this morning, 2 grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and now I'm off to get some exercise on the bicycle jumping some mounds of dirt out in the woods.

I had a minor emergency with my WIFI card not working on deadline at last nights football game, but I found a way around it. Here are a couple shots from Stony Point's win over Westwood in Round Rock on Friday. I haven't had the chance to see the paper yet, but a few of these ran in todays (9/27) Austin American Statesman.

Nykolas Mckissic completes a pass. -All photos with D300 + Nikon 300mm 2.8 - Photos by Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com

High school mascots can be amusing and provide decent photos.

Stony Point fans

Glasco Martin leaps over Westwood's Sherwal Foulstone - Photos by Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith

Bike riding time.....


Friday, September 26, 2008

One new photo...

So I'm not shooting ACL, the Texas Longhorns football game or anything else that is happening in Austin this weekend. I've got one football game lined up for tonight and that is it. I'm pretty bummed right now and the weight of everything is starting to come down on me. I've been reaching out to different markets (both close to home and far away), but I have yet to hear anything. I've been knocking on doors for some time now and not getting a peep. Yikes. But I started a personal project a couple weeks ago that I'm hoping will turn out rewarding. We'll see...

So on my day off yesterday I took a photo I kind of like. I'm going to try it again and try to get it perfect on Saturday.

Strawberry splash - photo by Austin photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com

I'm off to fight traffic just to get to the store. I can't believe how many people are in town right now....Absolutely crazy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Mikey was nice enough to call me late yesterday to let me know him and some friends were going up to Liberty Hill to ride some bikes at Ramp Ranch Skatepark. So Mitch and I jumped in my truck and made the 8 hour drive north and watched some pretty crazy riding go down. Watched being the main word in that sentence. Mitch hurt himself at the pump track and I just did 180s.

I pulled out my camera and took a few shots. So funny...

BMX triples, the newest Olympic sport



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh boy...

Let the fun begin! My partner in crime left for Colorado this morning and won't be back until my birthday on Sunday night...What to do what to do........I'm going to concentrate on not starving to death first.
Speaking of starving to death, here is one of those cheeseburger photos I was talking about the other day....mmmmmmmm

Hill-Bert's is pretty awesome.

I also got a new frame yesterday. I'm pretty stoked. Here are some quick photos. It has a custom paint job from one of the bike company owners and I'm going to leave it on there for the time being.... And man, I know how to make a bike look ugly...

Because I know you care -
  • Frame: The Take - Ivy
  • Wheels - (r)Odyssey lite Cassette 48h (f) stock Odyssey Lite 36h
  • Cranks - Profile
  • Sprocket - Tree 30t
  • Forks - Odyssey Race
  • Seat - (ugly) Shadow
  • Brakes - Hombre!
  • Bars - Liquor Bikes
  • Stem - Super Rat (prototype?)
  • Pedals - Odyssey plastic
  • Grips - ODI Longnecks (forever)
  • Tires - (r) Animal GLH (f) Odyssey Dirt Path (plite!)
  • Pegs - T1

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

CB and Smith to hard 180s

So I took a few photos of a double bacon cheeseburger for the paper today...Then I had one.

And now an oldie of Dusty at Ramp Ranch in Liberty Hill.

Dusty - Smith to hard 180 at Ramp Ranch - Photo by Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith

I've gotten lots of compliments on this photo via my flickr account asking how I did it. It was pretty simple really. This was all done in camera with one flash. I mounted a Nikon SB80dx on my D300, strapped on a 10.5mm fisheye and set my camera to capture 5 exposures on one frame. I set my flash on TTL mode and found the correct exposure for the scene. ( I can't remember what it was now) I then dialed in the aperture to throw my background dark and fired away when he was jumping, grinding in the smith, and the 180 and rollback. I wanted to focus on him doing the 180 to fakie, so I fired the last few frames as he was doing it. I set the camera up to single frame mode so I wouldn't accidently fire two frames and ruining the shot.
Easy as pie. Now if I could just figure out how to shoot trails.....


(click for a larger view - Photo by: Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com)

I've wanted to take a panoramic photograph with the dogs in it for a long time. I finally remembered to do it this morning while we were at the dog park this morning. This is 7 photos stitched together using CS3. You can tell I was using a wide angle lens from the distortion in the image. The boat dock, for one, is a dead give away.
I've wanted a panoramic camera for a really long time, but have never pulled the trigger on it.


I'm out. I have to go take a photo of some cheeseburgers...and eat them when I'm done. Taking photos for a living is sometimes pretty awesome. :p

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pump track

I'm giving up trying to take photos....

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This is seriously one of the coolest/stupidest bikes I have ever seen. I'm really stoked/not stoked on this bike. Ok, I'm pretty stoked on this. I got to ride a tandem bike while on assignment shooting a portrait of a father/son combo that were raising money for the MS150 a while ago...I can't imagine riding a 20" version...
Now if only we could slam those seats and put in some ti spindles.....


Oh yea. Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com I'll explain that one later......!!!!!!!!!!!

And I'll throw this one in there for good measure. A few weeks ago I did a small shoot with a couple of cars inside a plane hanger here in Austin. I used 4 speedlights and tried to light the cars using one exposure. I'm going to post some more after I finish sending them out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where babies come from

Thank goodness there is a football game for me to cover tonight. This is what I'm reduced to with time on my hands.
Went for a bike ride this morning to a meeting that was apparently canceled. Just I didn't get the memo. Hank and Brazos chewed up more stuff than ever these past two days. Oh well. At least I get to eat some Smokey Mo's BBQ tonight!

Where babies come fromAlign Center

Thursday, September 18, 2008

hey now

Pflugerville's Valentino Bishop pulls in a pass for a 76 yard touchdown completion over Leander's Daniel Ruiz during a game last Friday. D300, Nikon 300mm 2.8

So high school football is in full swing and things are going ok. I've managed to get a couple photos that I'm not embarrassed to have my name under. I've nailed a couple of good spots in the local paper and made a few photog friends along the way. The photo above is one of the ones that didn't get printed. :0 Can't win 'em all I guess.

It is really amazing to me that schools don't put more lights on their fields. But I guess nothing is worse than the Granger field up in Williamson County. People literally pull their cars up to the fence with the lights on to help light up the field. I am shooting a game tomorrow night up in Liberty Hill. LH has won the last 2 straight state titles. I had the privledge to follow them all last year...but their field is dark as all hell. I HAVE to use a flash. I'm talking ISO 6400 @ 1/250th at the 50 yard line.

Anyhow, I took a little walk down SoCo the other day and made a stop at one big building in downtown Austin.

Bet you've never seen a photo like this. I wonder if the security guards get tired of people coming in and pointing their cameras straight up? D300, 10.5mm fisheye

Hey Cupcake! SoCo cupcake stand that I really enjoy. Nothing like a streamline trailer serving up red velvet cupcakes by the side of the road. Austin is pretty rad sometimes. And yes, some people still say RAD! D300, Nikon 85mm

I've also started to mess around with different photoshop techniques (as you can see above)....I wish 120 film wasn't so expensive to buy/develop/print...I would love to just shoot with my holga.

mmmmm....new stuff!

I also bought some new photo equipment the other day. Namely a new background stand. I can't wait until I get the chance to shoot some athletes in the future. I've got some things planned and I can't wait to get it done. I just have to buy some backgrounds! I'm thinking I'm going to grab a couple rolls of white and red paper. Anyone have any whitelightnings or alienbees they want to get rid of? :p

I've started a new project and I'm really looking forward to it progressing.

more to come

Saturday, September 13, 2008

D2H still produces

Brazos and Hank fight over a stick. D2H, Nikon 300mm 2.8

----pointless and rambling post----

It is very easy to dismiss old technology as being worthless. For the most part, my old d2h doesn't see a lot of use. I carry it as a second body on every shoot and put a wide or mid-zoom on it while I shoot with another lens on my primary body. While the noise in higher ISOs is unacceptable for printing (but works 'ok' in newsprint), the camera is still producing great images at lower ISOs without killing memory space on my computer...Not to mention the AF spins my non AFS lenses much faster than my D300 does.

I've read posts on SS.com about a couple of billboards that were printed using RAW files from a D2H (I believe it was a photo of Lebron James actually)...but the biggest printing I have done from a d2h file was roughly 16x15...almost a big square. It looked very good at the time...I was coming from a D1H (and a D1 before that).
Blogger: Paperless - Create Post
Anyhow, I'm seeing these things go for less than $600 on some websites (used) and it kind of blows me away. I remember I paid almost $3,000 for my D1H years ago..and it was used! I remember eating ramen noodles for well over a year saving up for that camera. The D1X, however, was a dream that no noodles could match. I remember drooling over that X body...

All this being said, I sold one of my older D2H about 2 years ago and my D2Hs (s model that is) about a year ago today to grab my current camera. I kept my nicer D2H to do my dirty work...On the beach, at the dog park and bouncing around when I'm out riding bikes.

Sure it is 'obsolete' but it still takes good photos.....just like when it was introduced in early 2003. I never could get the wireless transmitter to work worth a damn though...

The neighbors dog in his pool splashing around. D2H, Nikon 300mm 2.8

Friday, September 12, 2008

University of Texas football...

A few weeks ago I had the chance to shoot the Texas Longhorns as they opened their season against Florida Atlantic in Austin at the newly renovated stadium. A record 98,053 people packed into the stands to watch the game.

A sea of orange....

I shot the game alongside two staff photographers of the AAS so it gave me the opportunity to see the pregame activities more differently than I normally would have.
I climbed up what seemed to be 5,000 stairs with all my photo gear on (with one of those silly white vests photogs have to wear) and talked my way into letting the overzealous security people to let me stand in the handicap section where no one was sitting to take a photo.
For the photo above, I wanted to capture the sheer amount of people at the game. I put on a Nikon 10.5mm fisheye and snapped a couple of frames. I wanted to go to the next level (the part of the stadium you can see from I-35), but one of the main events of the night was about to happen.

Vince Young was on hand to retire his #10 jersey before kickoff. The other two AAS photographers and I had talked about what kind of photos we were thinking about getting. They told me they were going to be in the scrum (of sorts) getting some close/wide shots Vince as he held up the horns or did something photo worthy. (From what I was told, VY is very calm and doesn't show a lot of emotion)

With that in mind, I scrambled back up the stairs to find a position that might offer a different view. Normally I wouldn't have done this as I wasn't sure if it would yeild a shot or not. I knew the other two photogs would get something from down there, so I took a chance. I wanted to get a few people in the crowd in the shot, along with the media pack surrounding him. Once he was led onto the field and into position I pulled on my Nikon 300mm 2.8 and shot a couple frames of him talking and one of him holding up the horns. At such a long distance, you couldn't really tell what was going on.

I sprung out of my photo position and literally ran up another flight of stairs and another 15 yards to get a higher elevation and a different angle. Right as I raised my camera to my eye, Vince raised up the jersey for everyone in the crowd to see. I fired off two frames and it was over, just like that.

Former University of Texas football player Vince Young holds up his retired jersey before the kickoff of the Texas Longhorn's season opener against Flordia Atlantic.

I think it turned out alright and it ran 1A above the fold on the Sunday edition of the Statesman. I was pretty happy about that. (shameless plug!)

Since the longest lens I have is a 300, and the two photogs I was shooting with were using 400's, I was assigned the task of staying close the team and to follow them up and down the field. We tried to stay away from each other as much as we could and that led to some interesting results. I put myself in positions I normally wouldn't shoot from and came away with some ok shots, but nothing portfolio worthy. I nabbed an interception in the endzone and a defender hanging off of Colt McCoy in the backfield...But my favorite "no ball" shot came a little bit later in the night.

Earl Thomas (12) breaks up a pass intended for Lester Jean during the Texas Longhorns season opener agaist Flordia in Austin.

I'm pretty sure one of the other guys got the same exact shot from the other side of the field as well, but I still like the shot. I don't know how these guys get up and walk away from some of these hits.

It was very awesome and a big eye opener to shoot a big event like this. I just tried to take what I do at every football game and apply it here. Close my eyes, point the camera and hope for the best...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I miss....

There were those days when I would wake up and I didn't want to get out of bed...Then there were those days when I had a feeling something good was going to happen....It was fairly simple. I would drive to work, check my emails, do photo requests, and finally in the afternoon when I had a moment to breath, I would go scouting for feature photos. I would talk to everyone I came across about what was going on. Who they were, what they were up to that day, what was going on in their neighborhood...anything to get some ideas flowing. Most of the time it didn't do a heap of good photo wise, but I found a few hidden gems in there. The elderly lady doing the triathlon, the lady rescuing injured animals at her home, the person scribbling stick figures having sex in all the local parks (that one never made it to print! :p ), the kids playing in the giant sprinkler systems on campus, kids doing drugs in the woods near a park (never made it to print either), the 4am swimmers in the local creek, the 5th grader who had signed with a college to be a kicker on the football team and even the spotting of bald eagles nesting at the lake down the road from the office. The list could go on and on.

Me taking a break from eagle hunting....

The tips didn't always lead to the greatest of photos and some of them didn't even make it to print...but that is all beside the point. I miss doing that. I miss being on staff somewhere, wishing I was at home instead of taking pictures all day. :) I wish I was hitting the road again, talking to strangers just for the hell of it. Trying to find a slice of life and capture it as it happens in front of me. As stupid as it may sound, I need to get back on that horse again. This bug won't stop itching.

I miss hitting the streets, taking photographs of ordinary things...People collecting money for Children's Miracle Network, for instance. This girl, along with a small handful of other volunteers, raised several thousand dollars for CMN in a few days by simply having people "fill the boot"

more to come...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bored today...

So today I didn't feel like trying to beat the heat outside on a bicycle....So I took the dogs to the dog park nice and early and let them run around for a while. After meeting up with Amelia for lunch, I decided I needed to take a couple photos before I went crazy.

This is the only one I came up with...A lime dropped into a glass of water. Pretty original.

Lime Drop

So there you have it.

I lit the photo using 4 Nikon SB strobes. Again, this lighting is very easy.

I had one left and right of the subject pointing at the wall @ 1/2, one below and behind the glass, pointing up into the glass @ 1/8th, and one subject right wayyyyy up high pointed straight down at the glass at 1/2.

I pointed the two flashes at the wall at such high power to wash out the background (which was a white cloth tacked to the wall). I had one aimed at the wall at about stem height and one aimed at the wall at about the top of the cup to provide a somewhat even distribution of the blown out background. Unfortunately, I had to use the dodge tool in Photoshop to correct a couple spots, but nothing major (more on that in a second).

The main light (pointed at the subject) was positioned up high (and shot through an umbrella) to try to avoid hot spots and reflections on the glass. If I would have put the umbrella parallel with the subject, you would have seen a giant reflection with my flash in it. Not so pretty.
Keeping reflections off of reflective stuff is somewhat difficult (:p)...I shot something very similar to this a while ago and it was much easier as I covered everything in the room with something black to help keep reflections down...It didn't entirely work, but every photo is a learning experience.

Orange drop

(back to the first image) I set the glass up on top of a thin sheet of glass that I stole from a picture frame. The glass was held up by 4 water glasses and those were held up by a small table. I put my camera on a tripod and fired it with a shutter release cord. (can't remember their official name right now)

After I shot the photo, tore down the set-up and downloaded the photos, I realized that I hadn't quite blown out the background. There were still some spots that were not-quite-white so I used a little trick I read about in another blog (I can't think of it at the moment, dang it)...

I'm not a photoshop guy so this is really basic, but it came in really handy on this photo.
A simple click of the dodge tool, set to highlights and at a lower percentage (13% is what I used), I went over the dark spots in the photograph until they were white. The 13% makes it possible to go over small specks of water near the edge of the frame and not burn them out, but still lighten up the background.

So about 45 seconds of postprocessing and you have this photo!

I'm terrible at Photoshop (I can crop, resize, do some levels and basic color adjustments and that's about it) so I try to get it right in the camera instead of relying on the computer to help me become a better photographer.

I'm shooting some more football and I have the chance (depending on this damn hurricane) to shoot some more University of Texas football on Saturday. I learned a lot from the other photographers coverage and (if I get the chance) I plan on doing a 100% better job. The game starts at 2:30 p.m. (can you say ISO 200???) and I have some plans for some interesting images.....Please hurricane Ike, Ivan, Ingrad or whatever the hell your name is....

Monday, September 8, 2008

9th Street Trails

Couple of photos from 9th street this afternoon....

In all of these photos I used 3 Nikon SB speedlights to light up the riders. A Nikon D300 and a Nikon 80-200mm AFS lens were used in the first two photos...The lighting diagram is pretty simple and very straightforward.
Take the photo below, for example. It was shot as the sun was just starting to cool off around 6:30p.m. Light at 9th Street can be pretty tricky. The canopy provides nice shade, but giant spots are open leaving the sun to shine straight through. Using no flash provides a very dull and boring picture in this kind of light, not to mention that the ugly road in the background becomes even more pronounced when you just meter the ambient light in and shoot that way...
My camera maxes out with a sync speed of 1/250th so I set my shutter for 1/250th and my ISO @ 200. I let my Fstop float (more on that in a second)
Now that you know that I've used 3 speedlights, lets do a little reverse engineering.
The tree leaves and the landing on the left side of the frame instantly tell you where one of the lights is sitting. Another clue is to look at the rider (click for a bigger view) and you can see that another light is lighting up his jeans on his left leg and the back tire, so that tells you where the other light might be. The third flash, which is set to a very low power, is pointed at a space just above the landing to make it pop out a little bit from the next jump (in the foreground).
So with this photo I had one flash directly to the left of the frame (@ 1/4th) and one directly to the right (@ 1/4th +7) and slightly behind the rider and one flash in front of the landing (in the foreground @ 1/8th) illuminating the jump.

I had the exact same lighting scheme for the photo below, but you might not guess that. I didn't change a single flash angle or power. The difference between the two photos is big, but very easy to do. When I first started out using strobes I went about and changed the power of each one to achieve a different look. D'oh!

The difference from the shot above and the very first shot is pretty simple. A turn of the aperture dial opens up a lot of light to hit the film. For the first shot, I was shooting at ISO 200 and roughly F5.6. For the second (and brighter) shot, I was shooting ISO 200 and roughly F3.3. The difference a couple of stops makes is pretty huge. I personally like to let my strobes do the talking and go with example #1.
For the photo below, I got as humanly close as possible with a Nikon 10.5mm mounted on the D300 and stood on the landing and waiting for Steven to hit the jump.
Three flashes and some powerful sunlight gave me what I needed for this shot.
Since I was using a fisheye, I had to be careful not to include any of my lights in my shot, which is sometimes hard to do.
You can see the key light is on the right side of the photo from the spillage onto the top of the chilli bowl...but what you can't see are the two flashes almost directly in front of the landing pointing up at the rider at 1/2 power.
I had to use a lot of power to overcome the harsh shadows formed under his hat / everywhere from the sun that was shining directly down onto us.

These photos aren't ones that I would send out for publication, but I thought I would take the time to explain what went into them from the *gasp* two emails I got asking me how to take them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some interesting work...

Phil Toledano has been been producing some very interesting work for some time now. You may or may not remember a post of mine some time ago about the photo story Days With My Father....I just stumbled across another book that is coming out a bit later this year, Phone Sex. Very interesting. He traveled to phone sex operators homes and photographed them in their natural environment and they wrote a couple paragraphs about what the do, who they are and etc. etc. Worth taking a look....

In case you don't read A Photo Editor, I found these links there. You can find a link to APE on my blogroll list on the right side of the page...


Cory Branan @ the Cactus Cafe

I barely made it in time to watch Cory Branan play his first show here in town since moving here about 3 months ago....I really wish more people could have made it out...God knows they should have.
Amelia was at work until 11p.m.....So she missed the entire set. I had to leave early so I could let the dogs out and feed them...Stupid spoiled dogs...
Once again, CB did not disappoint. The opening act was very good as well. I can't remember the guys name for the life of me now...Maybe someone could fill me in?

I also realized that the Cactus Cafe is one of the darkest venues I've been to...But it isn't all bad I guess. I like how the flood light on the upper left lights up the red background...But a red light shines from the upper right...You can't win them all. I used the D300 with a Nikon 85mm 1.8. Shot mostly at f2 @ ISO 2000.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some more dogs..

I went outside and sat in the front yard with the dogs for about an hour this afternoon. I thought it would be nice to snap a couple quick photos before we went back inside so I grabbed my camera and sat down for another 20 minutes....This is what I came back in with.

Hank, eying up one of the neighbors....

Brazos is a ham

Hank's butt

There were a few squirrels running around and Brazos was eying them up the entire time...

And Hank trespassing in the neighbors pool...He weighs 50 pounds...