Roberts Raw!

PhotoWalk Returns TOMORROW!

Guess what? Tomorrow is a photo waaaaaaalk!



Again, the plan is to meet at the northeast corner of South and Meridian St in Indianapolis at 6:00pm. We’ll walk for… some time, then there will be retiring to Ram if anyone wants to tag along. There’s no specific plan, which is good because, we won’t lie, it’s not looking pretty out there:



Mmm-mm cold and rainy! We sure can pick’em. But, that won’t phase Nick and I. This ain’t our first wet and wild rodeo (ew). We’ll pick up some Optech Camera Cond… Rain Sleeves same as we’ve done in the past and trot out there regardless. If you too are unphased by the rain yourself, but, you know, it’s the camera you’re worried about really, then just bring $4 cash and we’ll trade you for your very own “rain sleeve” that’ll keep you safe in normal amounts of Indiana blah.

So, yeah! Tomorrow, 6pm. Bring your fortitude, a towel, a dry shirt, a waterproof camera (or sleeve for your not-waterproof one, or $4). Meet us at South and Meridian. If you are prone to getting lost, email me at and I’ll get you some contact info. Or be prepared to tweet us at @robertscamera. See you tomorrow, oh ye brave souls.

Marc Lebryk

The New Nikon D4s…

Originally posted on

For a photographer, getting a new camera can be a tough yet exciting thing. Really it only happens once every so often, kind of like buying a Car. (At the Nikon D4s Price tag of $6500, it’s eerily like buying a car actually…). I don’t remember who said it to me first, but it has still held true through all the years, that you Date your cameras but you Marry your lenses. When it’s time to upgrade your camera you can’t be too attached to the old one, because the newer ones are always better than the older ones and if you’re going to stay relevant in this world of photography; sometimes you need to spend the money to upgrade. I personally leapfrog bodies. Until I got my D4s I was using a Nikon D3 and D4 for my photography. When I decided to buy the D4s, the D3 is the camera that was sold. Selling old gear is an easy way to help afford new gear and unless you’re super attached to something for some reason, you should be ready to dump the old for the new when it’s time. You can do this to save yourself money and to keep your gear up to date at the same time! I like to take my gear to Roberts Camera where I buy about 95% of my gear where they put my gear into the Used Photo Pro stuff. When I buy used gear I buy it from them because it comes with a 6 month Warranty. I digress though. When using a camera everybody is different but one thing that lots of people have asked since I bought the D4s is this: “Is it worth it?”. What a great question, and there are going to be a lot of points in this blog to answer it, so keep reading.


Before I get into anything I should mention I’m not paid for this review (which I have already agreed to be re-posted on Robert’s Camera’s blog). I have been paid by Roberts Camera in the past, but I host workshops with their Education program. This is not part of that in any way. Simple as that. There will be positives and negatives about the Nikon D4s camera in this review but it is all my OPINION. If you don’t like my opinion that’s fine, I probably still like you. That’s how opinions work. There will probably also be quite a few grammatical errors and misspellings as well. Just fore-warning anybody reading it now. Now that the disclaimer part is out of the way, lets do this.


(Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Taken the old Fashioned way… With a Tripod.
(Nikon D4s, 100ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@34mm. 13 Seconds @F14. Manfrotto Tripod and head)

As I said in my Nikon D4 review two years ago I’ve owned lots of Nikon flagship Camera bodies. I shot Canon (which I was provided) when I worked for the Indianapolis Star, so I’m very familiar with their lineup but yet I still bought Nikon for myself. Not to say Canon is bad, because that’s blatantly not true. I’ve always just preferred Nikon the way that I shoot. With that, I’ve never thought anything was wrong with any Nikon Camera that I’ve owned until the next one has come out. When I had my D2x I couldn’t figure how they would have improved the Autofocus with the D3. But they did. When the D4 replaced the D3s, it was the same as it is now with the D4s replacing the D4. I didn’t think my D4 did anything poorly or wrong until I got the D4s in my hands. Not to say that the D4 does things poorly or wrong, it just does them differently. A good way to describe this would be to say that the D4s is a very optimized version of the D4. All of the technology has been fully realized inside of the D4 and now is operating at it’s full potential. It’s kind of like when the Original Xbox came out all those years ago and the games looked good, but 5 years later the games looked 1000 times better even though it was the same console using the same hardware. Things get refined as time goes, and technology’s true potential is unlocked as new technologies are developed. This is absolutely the case with the Nikon D4s in that while it’s still very much a D4; this one has been washed, waxed, and has a brand new Corvette engine under the hood.


(Nikon D4s, 320ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@122mm. 1/250th@F5.6. Two Paul C Buff Einsteins with Sport Reflectors set up to light the track set to 1/4 power. Lights triggered via Pocket Wizard Plus X Transceivers from on the camera Hot shoe)

If you look at the straight nerd numbers the Nikon D4 and D4s have the same hardware running the Autofocus. The Multicam 3500FX platform. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I know my D2x had the Multicam 2000 in it, so I’m guessing that bigger numbers are better. Nikon says that the D4s’s autofocus is faster than the D4, and I wondered how that could be. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t exactly have lots of problems with my D4 the way that it is. The real difference is the Expeed 4 processor in the D4s which is supposedly 30% faster than the Expeed 3 in the D4. Essentially Nikon is making the most out of what they already had, which is smart. That means that the D4s does not acquire focus any faster than the D4 did, nor does its initial accuracy in low light situations increase. It does however do more thinking every second, which means that while things are moving and the camera grabs focus IT STAYS THERE.


(Nikon D4s, 1250ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR with TC20eIII Extender for a total of 800mm. 1/1600th@F8)

I really love the new Group Area AF. It basically takes 5 points and uses them to grab and track whatever you’re shooting. I never felt as though my D4 was deficient in tracking using the 9 Point AF-C by any stretch. I am only accustomed to assuming that all cameras miss a frame from time to time while shooting a 8-12 fps sequence. I’ve seen it with any Nikon or Canon body that I’ve ever used, including the 1Dx. I’m sure that the D4s is capable of missing focus from time to time, but it’s a lot more rare now. It used to be that right in the middle of a sequence you would have a frame or two that would be just slightly out of focus (or in Canon’s case wildly out of focus) and then it would snap back into sharp for the rest of the sequence. This is no longer the case with the D4s, especially not with the New Group AF. (For clarification; I was using my Go To settings for team sports on my D4s, which you can read more about in this blog post from last year.) So I said that the D4s is essentially the same hardware, so you may be wondering why this works better? It’s the Expeed 4. It’s gotta be. It’s a lot faster, so it’s doing a lot more Autofocusing every second than the Expeed 3 could. In computers, two years is more than a lifetime. Nikon knows this, and that’s why they do a refresh of their flagship with the ‘s’ moniker every two years.


(Nikon D4s, 1800A-ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@70mm. 1/320th@F22)

So now anybody reading this is wondering when I’m going to get to High ISO and Image quality. (Assuming you didn’t Command+F when you got to this page to jump right to it). Nikon Touts that there is a 1 stop advantage in High ISO to the D4s over the D4. They are right, and they aren’t. Years and Years ago, as I recall the story, Kodak hired some scientists someplace (they probably all looked like Doc Brown) to determine the best resolution for a Digital camera sensor. To that recollection Kodak decided that 11-12 Megapixels was the Sweet spot in terms of resolution for the size of the pixels in the sensor to best absorb light and digitally record a scene in in almost any light. When the D4 came out people were upset because it was supposedly only “As Good” as the D3s in terms of High Iso when viewed at 100%. Yes, it was “As Good”, but it was also at 33% higher resolution than that 12 megapixel maximum that Kodak projected years ago. That means in reality if you sized the D4 images down from 16 to 12 megapixels, you easily got another stop of High ISO out of it. I’ve never hesitated when I’ve needed to push my D4 up to 12k ISO, and have even, on occasion, pushed it up to 25,600 with very acceptable results. The shot below is of Roofus the stray cat that I made while shooting birds in our back yard. We call him Roofus because he likes to sit on our roof and look in the window at us, but I digress. To get started, this is a full resolution frame at 25,800ISO in good healthy light outside. I wouldn’t be a halfway decent photographer if I didn’t have a cat photo in this review. (Duh). Secondly, I would normally crop into this image a little bit on the top, but then it wouldn’t be a full resolution image now would it?

Roofus25k(click to ultra biggify to 100%) Roofus at 25k.
(Nikon D4s, 25,600ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR with TC20eIII making 800mm. 1/2000th@F6.3)

With the Nikon D4s, I feel as though there is some good AND bad news when it comes to High ISO. The good news is that the D4s does indeed provide 1 stop better High ISO than the Nikon D4, but maybe not in the way that you expect. When you’re shooting at 25,600ISO you have to assume that the camera is going to make up some information and there WILL be grain. I mean, come on, in the image of the street below I was shooting hand held in the dark. Grain is in fact the sensor making up information, which is why detail is lost and ect. If you are looking to buy a Nikon D4s and assume that 12,800ISO is equal to the D4 at 6400 you might be a bit disappointed. Nikon D4s’s images are 1 stop better actual quality throughout the range but the actual grain still remains at about the same level between the cameras. You may be saying; wait, the grain is the same but the pictures are better? How? Well, the Expeed 4 processor has done quite a bit to wrangle noise, and in quite a few cases there is a noise improvement, but where the Expeed 4 really stands out is in what it does for color depth, tonal range, and the kind of grain you will find in your images. Where the D4 favored less grain over detail, the D4s maintains the level of grain, but increases the level of detail.


(Nikon D4s, 25,800ISO, 1/20th@F2.8. Nikon 24-70F2.8N@55mm shot hand held with only minor editing in Photoshop CC)

I shot the frame above coming home from shooting a video at the NCAA Tournament of a reporter from the Detroit Free Press (more on video in a bit). It was a hand held snap. While there is still grain in the image at 100% crop; look a all the color that’s still there! That frame would have equaled somewhere between 400 and 800ISO on my Nikon D2x back in 2005 (assuming the D2x was having a good day and the frame was lit really well). Plus look at the fact that you can still read the “St Joseph St” on the street sign even at this lower resolution saved at a level 9 in photoshop! That’s what the Expeed 4 is doing, and that’s what’s giving he D4s it’s claim to a 1 stop better High ISO. Lets jump a few stops….. below is a photo of my Friend Tom at 102,400ISO with a 100% crop view. You can see that at normal web viewing size, the noise is acceptable, but at 100% you lose a lot of detail. Regardless, I’d have NEVER taken my D3s or D4 out to 102,400ISO. The D4s though, makes me think that there may be life that far out into space.

_M4S0791(Tom with detail at 100k ISO….Click to biggify)

The Nikon D4s is capable of an expanded range of ISO’s up to 409,600+ ISO. This is in the expanded range, which means once you pass 25,600, it reads H1, H2, H3, and H4. Honestly Nikon should have had the back LCD read WTF instead of H4 when it got to that point. In my opinion 409,600 ISO is completely unusable under any circumstance. This is a shot of Tom at that setting.

_M4S0785 H4, or 409,600ISO is Nikon just going for Bragging rights over the 1Dx. Click this for the full size image because you obviously have trouble seeing the grain in this smaller one….

(If you’re wondering it was shot with the Nikon D4s, 409,600ISo, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@24mm. 1/8000th@F10)

Lets face it; this is a golden age for photography. If you would have told someone 15 years ago that Nikon would produce a camera with a useable 25,600ISO, that would let you shoot handheld in the dark they would have laughed and said they hope they live to see the day. That day is here. I did have a theory, that the Noise Reduction would be better on Jpeg images with the Expeed 4 than on RAW images. That remains somewhat inconclusive because while the jpeg images seemed slightly cleaner out of the camera, but they had more color related noise as well as had quite a bit less latitude to work with in post.


(Another (slightly cropped) full res image at 51,200ISO under crummy Florescent lights)

(Nikon D4s, 51,200ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@200mm. 1/5000th@F3.5)

While you can see in the shot above, when the light is crummy the noise can be crummy as well. The noise is very useable, but at 100% you’re missing details. Someplace that doesn’t really matter as much is with Video. Not all photographers do video, but I can tell you when it comes to video this camera is equally a video camera as it is a still camera. I am personally a big fan of Corey Rich’s photography and he is doing a launch video for this camera for Nikon. He followed around Dave Black, Robert Beck, and George Karbus and did video of them doing what they do best. Shooting action sports. Those guys are good, check out their work. My video experience wasn’t to that level of setup and intensity; however mine was as any news shooter’s would be. Last minute, and working with what I had.

That video was shot using nothing but street lights on my Nikon D4s set to 1/30th, F4 at 16,000ISO. Audio was recorded with Sennheiser G3 lav mic, which fed directly into the Stereo jack on the D4s (which is also why the sound only comes out of one channel. The file is straight out of the camera). If you shoot a lot of video. This thing is a game changer. While it doesn’t shoot at 4k, most devices can still only display at 1080P anyway. I haven’t pushed it, but I would imagine that even 51,600ISO (Maybe even 102,400) is very useable at HD video size. This is certainly going to take film making to a whole new level.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 10.07.42 PM(If you can’t make that youtube link large enough, try clicking on the screencap)

So wow. That’s been a lot of info, in not a lot of time. Well, not a lot of time for you, at the time that I’m to this part of the review my wordpress has informed me I’m on 44 revisions. I suppose the conclusion from my initial question above is YES. Is the D4s worth it? YES. Yes it is. To each their own, but I find the added features of the D4s camera to be worth the money to get it. The video aspect of it, as well as the extra speed and processing inside the body will go greatly over the next few years where it is my primary camera shooting everything from landscapes, portraits, and product, to sports of all kinds. The Extra dynamic range and detail inside the High ISO does indeed stand up to Nikon’s claim of 1 stop better High ISO, and I look forward to how that is going to impact my photography. I had my NPS allotment sent to Roberts Camera here in Indy where I buy most of my gear, and you should too; because they are great people. They are always ready and willing to help me solve a problem and on one occasion I had someone on their staff bring me things on location in a bind; without asking them to do it. It’s that kind of extra mile that makes me shop there, over and over again. They are good Great people, and I always try to push great people. Get your links below. Mores Soon.

Nikon D4s Preorder


Nikon Expands 1 System: New V3 Body, 2 New Lenses

Nikon 1 V3 With 10-30mm and Viewfinder


Check it. The Nikon 1 system (you know, the weird Nikon mirrorless line with the so-called “CX” mount built around a weird 1″ sensor with a 2.7x crop factor) has grown by three today with a new V3 enthusiast body and 2 less enthusiastic lenses.

The V3, while still suffering from a little bit of an identity complex (at the end of the day, there are still only two CX lenses with apertures you can pretend are enthusiast-oriented, and the price still pits it against the incredibly well-reviewed D3300 and D5300 DSLRs), the V3 does offer some interesting bullet points. Finally the V series has picked up dual command dials (although, as DPReview is quick to point out, you still have to use the 4-way for EV comp), and boy, it’s kinda fast. In addition to even snappier AF, the V3 will trundle along at 20 frames per second with continuous AF. Yeah. That. Sure, it’s not quite as high as the Casio, so, maybe less appealing for analyzing that golf swing, but probably pretty helpful for pray-and-spray approaches to amateur sports. At a full 18MP resolution, to boot. And, since we do Nikon USA, you get the electronic viewfinder and additional optional camera grip in the box. So, hey, there’s that?


And, there’re two new lenses to go with it: a new 10-30mm (yes, another one), and a 70-300. The 10-30mm is still a 3.5-5.6 VR, just like the last one, but this one is a “PD” model with power zoom. With that CX crop factor you get an effective 27-81mm lens with smooth power zoom for video use. But no filter thread. Sure. But, it’s pretty tiny, at only 1.1″ as shown there.


The 70-300 model is a bit slower still, coming in at f4.5-5.6. It’s also a VR model, which you would probably expect by now out of something that’s an 189-810mm monster of a telephoto. And by “monster” I mean a whole 4″ long closed, and under 20 ounces. Hey, there are advantages to a 1″ sensor, right? A 4″ 800mm f5.6 is one of them.

Also, it has filter rings like a proper god-fearing lens, and takes a 62mm one specifically. So, make that A 4″ 800MM F5.6 with filters you can even afford. Neato.

Preorders for all three below. Availability says April for the V3, but doesn’t actually say that’s the case for the lenses too, so, er, maybe?

Nikon 1 V3 with 10-30mm

1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM

1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 


Want More Eyeballs on Your Pictures?

As of this past fall we have a newly minted motto here at Roberts: Your Vision. Your Camera Store. And part of our reasoning behind choosing that is we don’t want to just be guys who sell camera gear and that’s that. It’s easy to be about gear. Gear is shiny, gear is cool, and, let’s be honest, gear has a tangible price (and that keeps the bean counter happy). But, truth be told, all the gear in the world actually exists for one purpose: to make pictures. To capture those fleeting moments of life and capture them as photographs, as videos.

Gear’s great, but it’s what you do with it we care about. Your vision. What you see, what you do, and what you capture. We love it. We love seeing it, we love making it happen, and, we love helping you show it to the world.


That’s why we have a Flickr group, The Friends of Roberts, and why we show recent photos from that group on our homepage at all times. We may not be those big guys out in New York, but we’re still talking more than a thousand pairs o’ eyeballs a day sort of exposure here, if you’re wondering.



So, if you ever want some extra exposure for yourself, don’t be shy. Getting on the Roberts homepage is easy. You just need a Flickr account (they’re still free, after all), and then you just have to share some photos with our group here. You can submit up to 7 photos a week to it, and as you can see we show the newest 16 on the homepage at any given time. It’s just another way we’re showing our commitment to what you are about, and what your vision is. Gear is great, but what we really love is seeing where you take it, what you do with it, and what it’s like to see what you see. Care to show us your vision?


Nick and Derek’s Photo Walk: March 27th, 6:00PM



Woo! It’s finally not absolutely miserable here in Indy, and that means it’s time for Nick and I to break out those cameras and get back to actually taking photos outside. Where they keep all the fresh air. And, as always, we’d like to invite you to come along.

For those of you who’ve joined us before, skip to the next paragraph for time and date. For those of you new to the notion of our photo walks, here’s the skinny: periodically through the spring/summer/fall Nick and I will arrange for a couple hours in the evening or morning to just go somewhere and take pictures. It’s nothing serious, and we pretty much never really have plans or expectations. It’s just some time out on foot with camera in hand and an excuse to try and burn a few frames. And we love it when interested people come out and do the same. Then, it’s a social thing. We talk, we chat. If you have questions, we’ll help you. If we can’t, often times there’s someone out there who can. You get to meet other local photographers, or aspiring photographers, or students, or just generally cool people. There’s never a cost to show up (though, sometimes you’ll have to pay for parking.) Sometimes we’ll bring a model out, and if we do we’ll warn you in advance. Even if we do, Nick and I make sure they get some money for their time out of our own pockets, you don’t have to bring a dime to shoot with them. But, we’ll also pass a hat around in case people want to tip them more for coming out. It’s worked well in the past, and we think it’ll keep working well in the future. Occasionally, we’ll hang around afterwards at the slightly more adult-oriented but still all ages brew pubs like Ram or Rock Bottom and have something fried and a drink, and everyone’s welcome to come to that too if we do so. We’re not actually getting paid or on the clock to do these, it’s less about selling you things and more about getting out there and, you know, just shooting. And meeting people. And having fun.

So, we’re bring the photo walk back for its fifth anniversary, on March 27th (which happens to be the exact day we started making them public originally). It’ll be at 6pm in the evening. Interested parties should meet us at the north-east corner of South and Meridian St here in Indianapolis (there’s a big lot there we Roberts employees park at, it’s pretty cheap). We’ll be there a few minutes before 6 ourselves, and we always wait around until 6:15 for stragglers before walking off. This’ll just be a classic photo walk: no models, just wandering and still life / street photography. Bring whatever gear you like–smartphone, point-and-shoot, DSLR with off-camera lighting, large format glass plates, whatevs. We aren’t judging. It’s about pictures, after all, not gear. We’ll walk for an hour or two, then Nick and I will retire up the street to Ram for a bit if anyone wants to hang around and socialize. If not, cool too. Just want you to feel welcome.

So, that’s the plan? We good? Excellent! Any questions before then, or leading up to then, hit us up in the comments, on Facebook, at my email (, or on Twitter. If you feel better having a contact for that day in case you miss us or get lost along the way, email me and I’ll give you my cell. If you call the store with questions, be sure and ask for Nick or Derek, otherwise you might get some mixed information, and we want to keep you on the straight-and-narrow.

Also, hey, a link to add this event to whatever e-calendar you use (for you pen-and-paper types, well, you know what to do):


Tamron’s New 70-200 and Tele-Converters: What’s the scoop?



So, while there’s no doubt that the Tamron 70-200mm VC is a mighty lens (heck, I just rented one from our rentals department to shoot the IRT‘s charity fundraising event and found it to perform without a hitch in demanding theatre stage lighting conditions), there has been some confusion floating around about using it with tele-converters. Traditionally, 70-200′s have been popular to try and combine with tele-converters, since it gives you the flexibility of having a fast standard tele and then a longer, if softer, tele in a pinch without needing a second lens. I was told (and have confirmed) that the Tamron 70-200mm doesn’t work with either of Tamron’s tele-converter lines (the standard or the premium SP ones). It’ll mount safely, but no auto-focus will work. But, I’ve seen people claim that AF does work for Canon bodies with it (see here).

So, confused, I reached out to our Tamron rep to see if I could get some clarification. What I got back was more interesting still. I won’t name names or post the response verbatim, but what we got back from Tamron’s tech department is that neither of the tele lines are intended for use with digital bodies, and they won’t guarantee the functionality of them on digital bodies. Further, Tamron does not recommend the use of any of their VC lenses with a tele, as the calibration of the VC system does not anticipate the extra glass added by a tele and results can’t be guaranteed. So, there you have it peeps. The Tamron 70-200 VC is a stellar lens with fast AF performance and killer optics, at a price way easier to reach than the big guys’ own offerings. But, if you’re the sort who wants to be able to slap a 2x tele-conv in the pipeline it’s probably not the lens for you. Just a heads up.


Corey Rich Shoots Other Nikon Ambassadors Shooting D4s’s

So, when you’re claiming to have upped the chops of your flagship HD-SLR, just how do you do it? if you’re Nikon, you hire outdoorsy madman Corey Rich to use a D4s to make a video about three other shooters (Dave Black, Robert Beck, and George Karbus) using D4s’s. It all makes perfect sense. And even if it didn’t, the trailer for the upcoming piece itself should show that in the right hands the D4s has serious chops. Me, though? If you gave one to me even YouTube would laugh the result off the internet. So, I’ll just go and hit play on Corey’s trailer again. Watch the video below, or go hit up Corey’s blog (via the External Link button below) for more of the inside scoop.


Nick and Derek’s Photo Walk Is Back!


Quick, you. Yes you. Grab a calendar. A calendar? Paper thing, lots of boxes on it with numbers in them? Probably a picture of a dog or a cat or a sports car or a bikini girl at the top? Or a horse, yes. That’s it. Oh fine, use your phone if you like (I do). Just, find March 27th. Circle it, highlight it, draw a crown on it, or just otherwise make note to keep yourself available that evening. Because we’re back. That’s right, Nick and I are officially announcing the return of our long-missed photo walks, just in time to celebrate the 5th anniversary of our first one so many years ago. Where “so many” equals “five,” because I said that.

For those of you who are new, here’s how it works: Nick and Derek’s Photo Walks are loosely endorsed by Roberts, but in fact Nick and I are off the clock for them. Every so often we just decide to get together before or after our shifts and, well, take photos. And we invite you all to come out and join us as pals, or just generally curious people wanting to learn more. Like a club, except less organized. We’ll name a place, and a time. If you’re there, you walk around with us and take pictures of… well, whatever. We don’t judge, you don’t need lots of experience or a fancy camera. Cameraphone? Great. DSLR? Love’em. Heck, once we had a guy bring out large format film. Anything goes, everything’s cool. We try and keep them free. We’re not paid to be there, you don’t pay us to come. You might be out whatever parking costs these days, but that’s it. If we end up going some place that charges money, we’ll warn you in advance. We want everyone to be able to come out, you see.

Sometimes we’ll bring a model out, too. Nick and I will cover a small donation for their time, but we’ll also pass a hat around at the end if you want to tip them more. You don’t have to, and if you’re a student especially it can be a great way to get some experience on the cheap. We understand, we’ve been there. But if you want to chip in, cool. Again, we’ll warn you in advance if a model will be out, so you can plan.

For this first time back in the saddle, we’re keeping it retro. We’re going to do downtown Indy, no model. Just like the original photo walk. Old skoooool. We’re still hashing out details, so, expect to see more of this maybe next week. This’ll be rain or shine, so, we have to think a bit. We’ve had some bad luck in the past, but it’s always been a lot of fun. We suspect it will be again.

So, did you highlight, circle, or otherwise mark the 27th of March on that calendar yet?

Good job.

While you wait on deets, why not look through some of my photos taken during previous ones over the past five years?

Also, look, a poll! How excited does the return of our photo walks make you? We want to know, spill.

Are you excited photo walks are back?

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Marc Lebryk

Sports Photography Workshop!

Originally posted at

Over the years, whether for the Indianapolis Star Newspaper or for other organizations I have had the opportunity to shoot quite a few different sporting events. What most people wanting to get into shooting sports get hung up on is that they don’t realize how similar of a mentality shooting any individual sport can be. The hardest part (aside from having the gear required) is simply deciding what you need to do to shoot said sport. Knowing your camera, and having the correct auto focus setting also helps; but lots of people can’t get past that. That’s why when I was approached by Roberts Camera here in Indianapolis about teaching a Sports Photography workshop where we would have a class portion to get through the nitty gritty tech stuff, and then go and shoot an actual sporting event I couldn’t’ say no! That’s exactly what we did too. We had a group of people sign up via the Roberts Education website, we had a class portion to discuss things like back button auto focus, and especially all of the auto focus settings that I use for sports. (Which for the record you can also find at this blog post from a while back). Then we all went over to the Pan Am Plaza here in Indianapolis to shoot the Junior Team USA vs the Indiana Ice. As a couple of bonuses Robert’s had a one day rental special for the day where the students could rent gear and keep it for the whole weekend for a days rental. Some of the guys did this to try things out too, which is great because it’s hard to know what will work best for you when spending the kind of money required to buy the good stuff when it comes to camera gear. The other bonus, I set up my lights and each person got 10 minutes of game time to shoot on Sports lights. This is great because as a few of them said; it might be the only time they ever have that opportunity.


(My shot from a previous Indiana Ice game to test the lighting setup. Nikon D4, 800ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2 @200mm .1/250th@F5. Paul C Buff Einstein Set to 1/8th power hooked up to a Vagabond 2 Battery pack on each side of the rink with 11″ Sport Reflectors triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus X Transceivers).

To get started all the guys were really amped about being there. The class was a nice and intimate size of 6 students. It was really great because it gave me a chance to work a lot one on one with each of them to get their cameras set up the way that we deemed best for shooting action sports. While many cameras are similar, they are very rarely identical and so some settings had to be slightly adapted, or translated into something that worked for their particular camera. The guys were troopers. We spent almost 4 hours in the classroom ahead of time talking about light, filling the frame, and autofocus. It was admittedly a little long, but that’s something that can be adjusted for next time. The guys took it in stride though, as you can tell by some of the work they produced.


(Photo by Nathan Rich. with a Nikon D800E and Nikon 70-200VR2.)

There’s no puck in that frame, but the goal doesn’t look where the puck isn’t…… All of the guys were different in what they shoot, the style they shoot, and the kind of photography that they like. Some shoot events at the track, others just enjoy shooting, one was a parent looking to get tips on how to better shoot his kids hockey games. What made it all really great was that when we got to the Pan Am Plaza one of the Indiana Ice Team photographers (John from White Shark Photography), said a few inspiring words of wisdom to get them started.


(Photo by Rob Baker, More photos here, with a Canon 7D and a Canon 70-200F2.8 lens)

John and his wife Kelly have been shooting the Indiana Ice as their official team photographers for the last 10 years, and it showed when John gave the guys a couple of tips. The tips he gave were much more game and situation related than I could have given in regards to if you are having trouble following the action. Ironically one part that stood out in his advice was the part that was similar to if you were shooting football with a 70-200 in that you should just wait for the action to come to you as opposed to chase it. This was especially true for the lights we set up, which only lit up a third to half of the rink.


(Photo by Mike Dempsey with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 70-200F2.8 Lens)

The class went well, and as you can see from the couple of shots above the guys learned quite a bit. I wish I could post something from all the guys as there were lots of good frames from the workshop but there is only so much time in the afternoon and some of the guys sent several shots to go through. If any of you guys are reading this, I’ll be sure to send each of you feedback on them in the next day or two so watch out for that. I said a few times on Saturday as well as I’ll say it again here that hockey is a very tough, and very fast sport to photograph. There is even another level of difficulty added by the fact that at this particular hockey venue you have to shoot through the Lexan wall to protect the crowd. It tends to make sharpness a never ending quest since if you’re shooting at a funny angle you tend to miss the shot completely. Thanks again to the guys who attended the workshop for a great day, and thanks again to Roberts Camera for putting on such a great event. Look in the future to a few more really cool things that Roberts Education is going to be doing. I can’t let the cat out of the bag so to speak, but I know of a few of the things in the works and they are worth keeping tabs on. In fact there is a class they are working on coming up that I’ll probably even sign up to take. Until then though. More Soon.