Monthly Archives: August 2009

Culver Indiana Photography: CCHS Girl’s Soccer

It was a beautiful day for Culver’s High School Girls Soccer team. Today, we had to shoot into the sun, but it was nice that the sun was out, as it’s starting to get cold in Culver. The Lady Cavs didn’t win their first home game, but they gave the game heart. For more pictures of the game, go to


Culver Academy Football Photos: CMA JV Football Vs. Nappanee

Ginny and I headed to Culver Academy’s campus to shoot the first JV football game of the year for the Culver Military Academy’s Eagles. There was a lot of action on the field for this game, and the sun decided to show up for some of the shots, making it easier to catch some of the action. They ended the first half with an interception, which seemed to inspire them in the second half at which time they scored their first goal. Had the game lasted another two quarters, I think they would have won, as they seemed to gel more and more as a team as time clicked away. Unfortunately, they didn’t win, but we thought they did a great job for their first game. Some people don’t realize that these kids haven’t been playing together for years, through little league. They came from all over the country and world and started playing as a JV team just a short while ago. We thought they did a great job and have a lot of potential. These pictures are a selection of our favorites. There are more CMA football pictures at


Culver Academy Football Photos: CMA Varsity Football vs. Nappanee

The CMA Eagles came out strong against the Nappanee Panthers in their second game of the season. Ginny and I drove up to Nappanee early in the day, as we were going to shoot the tennis match before the football game, but tennis had been canceled because of earlier rain. The evening turned out to be cloudy, but we managed to get a handful of shots before it got dark.

Shooting evening games is a real challenge because not only are you dealing with a lack of light, but you are also dealing with action shots that require higher ISO settings, a lens that can handle the speed, and the ability to see what is going on with the ball. Football coaches talk about protecting the ball at all times. Ginny and I were just trying to see it to anticipate the action. That’s a challenge when you are standing in the dark shooting into a stadium that is lit up with articial light.  The problem is that if you set your ISO setting too high, you start to get grainy shots. We tend to shoot in Aperture Priority mode for these events because the camera does the work when it comes to the action; it knows how quickly to get the shutter speed and what to do about other settings. However, when you lose the sun, you have to switch to Manual mode, which means adjusting your settings continuously as you gauge what you are getting with each shot. Attempting to get these atheletes in action is worth it, however, as these kids play with heart and class. Ginny and I were impressed with the coaches and the kids, as they work well as a team. The Eagles never gave up and they gave their best efforts at all times. Though they weren’t successful in winning, they did prove to give the Panthers a challenge right up to the last minute.


Indiana Photography: South Bend Urban Decay

Ginny and nature photographer Corey Hilz were talking at dinner the day before Corey and I went to explore in South Bend. Corey was talking about how he likes to shoot nature, but how he also likes to see the grittier side of life and looks for more urban shots that reflect a different way of life than what you see in nature. So, Ginny suggested we look around South Bend or head toward Chicago and go through Gary. We decided to go to South Bend, as we were also hoping to get time for some other areas in Northern Indiana.

We took some photographs of the River Walk in South Bend, and then we explored other parts of the city. We came across a building that appeared to be abandoned. It was filled with photo opportunities of “urban decay.” I can’t quite describe the building, as it was unlike anything I had ever seen. It proved to be filled with interesting objects, including several cars that appeared to be stripped out.

I’ve posted a few of my favorite shots. I think this building was probably the size of a few WalMarts combined. It was overwhelming in size, and some of the gritty detail of it was a bit overwhelming as well. You can find more photos at:


Indiana Photography: St. Joseph, Michigan Sunset

While nature photographer Corey Hilz was here, we (Grant and Corey) decided to drive north to St. Joseph, Michigan. We weren’t sure what we are going to see, but we thought it would be nice if we could catch a sunset. We did get some  sunsets and other scenes, such as guys fishing, a beautiful light house, and some boats that seemed to play on the water the entire time we were there. In addition to what is included here, there are more of these photos posted at Ginny’s favorite are the ones with a pink sky. I like the lonely fishing pole. There didn’t appear to be a lot of fish coming in on those poles, but I thought they made for a good shot. I didn’t shoot them, but we also saw a lot of couples who came out to the pier just to see the sunset. I can honestly say that I know now why they do and I hope to take Ginny the next time I make that trip with a camera.


Indiana Photography: Indiana Dunes

Today, we (Grant and Corey Hilz) explored some of the many state parks located at the Indiana Dune’s waterfront. It was hot with a lot of hiking involved, but once the sun started to set, the shots were worth the sore feet I had when I got home. In several of the sunset shots, the skyline of Chicago can be seen on the right side of the photo. I couldn’t believe you could see that skyline from where we were. I was grateful to capture some of it.

I had to play around with a lot of settings, as it’s easier to blow out the sky on sunsets than it is to capture some color. I also find it more difficult than it would seem to capture foregrounds, such as the shoreline, while trying not to completely blow out a shot. You have to work rather quickly once the sun gets low in the horizon, as you lose the light quickly, but I enjoyed trying to get a few shots while there was enough light to adjust the settings until I found a shot I liked. Though we got home really late (after midnight), I enjoyed making that trip and hope to make it again next summer.


Culver Indiana Wedding Photographer: Practice, Practice, Practice

This week, we had a well-known nature photographer (Corey Hilz) in town who spent some time shooting areas in and around Culver with us. While we had him here, we decided to take some pictures at Culver Academy’s Memorial Chapel. We thought it would be great to shoot with Corey because it became obvious to us after a few days that Corey was an expert scene photographer. We thought it would be fun to look at the ”potential scene shots” we could take at the Chapel.

We were fortunate that Minister Joanna Wagner gave us permission to go to the chapel and take some pictures. We also decided to hire a model for the shoot. With the help of Ashley Ellinger, a bride whose wedding we shot earlier this summer, we set out to see what scenes we could get at the chapel. We also decided to take our off-camera lighting equipment to set up some portrait shots that would show off Ashley’s beauty and enhace the lighting in the chapel, which isn’t ideal for shooting portraits or scenes.

We struggled with scenes inside the chapel and outside, as we had to shoot around long shadows and fading sunlight. We managed to get some great shots that we’ve posted here. Ginny kept saying, “I think the model bride is so beautiful that it will be hard to take a bad shot of her.” We tried to use lighting to highlight our model in the scene shots, to give her warm lighting when the lighting seemed to demand it in portraits, and to capture the sky that finally decided to warm to us as the day came to a close.

We thank Corey and Ashley for providing us a great learning experience. And thanks to Joanna Wagner for allowing us some time at the chapel.




Indiana Photography: Bridges and Barns

While nature photographer Corey Hilz was here, he wanted to shoot some country scenes, so I took him out to do what Ginny and I like to do–roam around the country roads until we see something interesting. On this trip, we found some bridges and barns. Corey spends several minutes (up to an hour) setting up a scene shot. He uses his tripod and waits for all the right elements to fall into place. He’ll wait half an hour for the clouds to line up as he wants them. Those who know me know I tend to show signs of ADHD, so I’m not as patient as Corey; however, I did try to pay more attention to my lines, the sky, and composition. Here are a few shots of our day of shooting bridges and barns.




Culver Academy Football Photos: CMA Varsity Football Game

It’s a great day to be an Eagle! Culver Military Academy’s Eagles had its first 2009 football game today. Unfortunately, it was raining and I didn’t want to damage my camera, so I got off only a handful of shots. One of my favorite things to do as a photographer is shoot sporting events at both Culver Academies and Culver Community schools. Parents are rightfully wrapped up in watching the game and seeing their child play that they are often without a camera or the patience to shoot the game. I love shooting just about any sporting event and have met some great coaches and parents in the process.

Recently, I started shooting the sporting events with Nikon’s 70-200 mm F2.8 lens. It’s built for action, and I’m absolutely addicted to using it. Ginny and I will be shooting a lot of sporting events this school year. Catch up on any games you miss at In this set, I did catch Zach Deery as he scored a touchdown after an amazing return kick. He went the full length of the field and had some great blocks from teammates to make the score. It was impressive, even in the rain.



Culver Academy Soccer Photos: CGA Soccer vs. Warsaw

I really was looking forward to this game as it was the first game that I covered for the 2009-2010 school year. It may have only beeen a scrimage, but the girls played as though it were a championship game. The game didn’t start until 7:00 p.m., so I was faced with a setting sun that made more warm photos. In the beginning, I was able to get fast shutter speeds with my 70-200 mm f2.8 with a 2x duplexer, but as the game progressed, I was fighting the lack of light. For this game, I had a difficult time choosing my favorites. I ended up with a lot of photos that showed great action. If you’d like to see more after viewing what I have posted here, please visit There, I’ve posted 187 photos from the game under the Culver Academy, Sports section.