Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is a test

This is a test to see if I am smart enough to figure out how to embed video clips from Vimeo into the blog. I've uploaded videos directly to Blogger before, but I am experimenting with using a video hosting service such as Vimeo to do the heavy lifting for me.

In any case this movie is just a short highlight clip from last Saturday's Komets game in Kalamazoo Mich. If all goes well, I plan to produce highlight clips from every game in the Turner Cup finals starting tomorrow night then I will upload them both to Blake Sebring's blog, Tailing the Komets, and here.

So anyway, here goes. I'll see you on the other side as long as nothing blows up.

Komets Test Movie from Chad Ryan on Vimeo.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ballpark christened

Parkview Field. Fort Wayne, Ind. Home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Class Low-A affiliate of the MLB San Diego Padres.

Photo by Chad Ryan
PickChad dot com

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Video tour of new ballpark

If you get the time and you have the interest, check out the short video tour of the brand, spanking new Parkview Field home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps in downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., that I produced for I enlisted News-Sentinel sports columnist Reggie Hayes and his great sense of humor to help me pull this off.

The funny thing about the soundtrack is that on the day Reggie and I filmed the voice clips, the stadium was testing out the speaker system so there is quite a mix of different songs and audio clips throughout. Initially it was a bit frustrating, but we decided to roll with it, and everything worked out ok. We especially liked the timing of the "Phantom of the Opera" clip as we filmed the section from behind home plate.

In any case, check out the video, but more importantly, check out the ballpark. I cannot wait to shoot baseball in that place - just little more than 24 hours from now. The TinCaps, Class Low-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, are selling standing room only ticket for Thursday's home opener that will feature an F-16 flyover, and fireworks after the game.

Check it out here: Video by Chad Ryan

Friday, April 10, 2009

Portrait shoot with Deshaun Thomas

After a series of three days of scheduling and location availability falling apart, I managed to get in a portrait shoot with high school basketball player Deshaun Thomas for The News-Sentinel's Prep Sports Player of the Year. Everything that could have gone wrong did - until we finally started shooting when it all came together.

Thomas is one of the top high school players in the country and has often been compared to LeBron James. The Ohio State recruit even has a photo hanging in the living room of his house of himself together with the Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar. Thomas has pictures from games played all around the country as he regularly travels to play in AAU tournaments. Next to all those pics is the edition of ESPN Rise magazine that features him on the cover. (I was a little disappointed I didn't get that portrait assignment, but that's the way it goes.)

In any case, the 6'-7" junior is immensely talented on the court. He has an strong inside game, can nail the three all day long and helped lead his high school team, Bishop Luers, to back-to-back Class 2A Indiana state championships, the first two titles in school history. Thomas averages more than 30 points a game and if he can push that number to 33 ppg next season he will be on track to break the all-time Indiana state scoring record set by Damon Bailey in 1990.

Our location, the third in three days, had unforeseen scheduling conflicts that took all of my set-up and light test time, but Thomas was a good sport about it. He started dunking and letting some of the kids at the location take pictures of him then he posed with the young players so the parents could grab a quick photo.

After I got the set all ready to go we started shooting but I decided quickly to go a different direction. So, I got reset and things starting going smooth. I had some good pictures in, and tried a few others that presented some new thoughts. Finally I was ready to wrap, but Deshaun was worked up now and he wanted to try a few other things. Next thing you know, he was showing me action poses he liked then I would throw in other suggestions that I liked and we were rolling again. I finally had to cut it off after an hour and a half so I could strike the set, grab him some dinner and get him back home.

Despite my frustrations with uncontrollable circumstances, doing nearly the entire project on my own time and dealing with others around me who don't understand why I do what I do, we made some pictures that both Deshaun and I like. There are things I would have done a bit differently if I'd had time to test, but we made it happen under tough conditions.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Can't we fast forward to next week

April 7, 2009 - Fort Wayne TinCaps short stop Drew Cumberland takes a cut during batting practice at the newly-constructed Parkview Field on Tuesday. The players and coaches arrived at the new downtown stadium to get their uniforms and clubhouse locker assignments, tour the new facility and have a practice. The TinCaps begin the 2009 season on Thursday on the road before playing their first home game at Parkview Field on Thursday, April 16, against the Dayton Dragons.
Photo by Chad Ryan.

Baseball season is here ... finally. The last few weeks I've been working on coverage of the brand new Parkview Field and the Midwest League Fort Wayne TinCaps, formerly the Fort Wayne Wizards, Class low-A minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres. All I can say is the new downtown ballpark that is part of the Harison Square project is nothing short of awesome - for fans and photographers alike.

There are a ton of fresh sight lines, and just wait until the catcher charges behind the plate to catch a fly ball. Without a backstop other than a net, a hard-charging catcher could end up almost in a fan's lap before the net spings him back into play. If you're sitting directly behind home plate, take something to wipe your face because if someone has to slide before going into the net you're going to take a face full or dirt. How's that for experiencing the game?

Aside from the new amenities, food options and interesting new photographs that will come from Parkview Field the fact is it's baseball time again and how can that not be excitement enough?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Back from Spring Break

Vacation is good - even if you spend it at Disney World. My family and I spent the last week in Orlando, visiting Mickey and his friends. While Disney isn't my cup of tea, the boys had a great time. I managed to have some fun too, but my wife and I agree that for us, Disney is likely a one-time deal.

It was a treat to watch my youngest son take everything in. We found out that even at 22 months old he's a thrill seeker. He absolutely loved the rides, especially the safari ride at Animal Kingdom. The little guy had all the people around him laughing the whole time. On the plane home, we flew into some pretty nasty thunderstorms and the turbulence was bad enough that it knocked a flight attendant to the floor. Luke thought it was another ride and he was laughing his little head off.

My older son had a pretty good time, but I think he suffered from us having to take more care of his little brother. Sam is turning 13 this week, and he's on his way out of the Disney scene but he got to ride plenty of rides and go swimming quite a bit. He especially liked our day-trip to Cocoa Beach where he rode the waves on his body board.

I intended to take him out on a fishing trip, but it didn't work out. So I guess Sam and I have a reason to go back to central Florida.

My wife and I were thankful to be able to take the boys on a trip and get away from work for a week, but our style is more laid back as we've aged. I think we'll be in our element when we go to Michigan in the summer to a cabin on the lake.

One part of the vacation that I did enjoy was that I forced myself to leave my gear at home. All I took with me for photos was a Canon G7 with a 550ex flash and a "modified" nikon SC-17 flash cable. The cable was set to disable ttl and therefore allow me to experiment with high-speed sync. I have to say, it worked like a charm. I was able to sync my 550ex up to 1/2500th of a second when the flash was set to 1/4 power on manual mode. I got some crazy looks from people, including the Disney photo staff, as I strolled around with the G7 around my neck tethered by the cord to a full-size flash that I kept in my side pocket. The Gx series of cameras does have its issues, but the high-speed sync and video capabilities make these a decent vacation camera.

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