Kansas City

rites of spring

“I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way. But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture.”  (David Hockney).  My arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture either.  For me, one of the rites of spring has always been the end of winter’s longing for the sports of spring – baseball, tennis, soccer, track (shots to come shortly) and these days some sports to explore such as roller derby (yes roller derby – great fun if not a bit edgy).  Like spring, each signifies a change – a passage like the rites of spring – from indoor basketball, or snow bowl football, or crashed ice skating to the symmetry of baseball diamonds and tennis courts and soccer fields and boys of summer who must first make it through the spring.  Ok, enough of the english major analysis.  I cannot show spring in one picture, so here is an array of some spring sport shots from my recent endeavors.


Don’t hold back.  Happy rites of springtime everyone — let’s get it on!

Thanks for stopping by my blog . . . Mark


sporting kansas city

A Major League Soccer field is about 75 yards x 115 yards, and within the confines, some great action takes place.  Frozen at high speeds it can look like a ballet performed by finely tuned young athletes from all over the world.  Kansas City’s MLS team – Sporting Kansas City – gave me a photographer’s pass to take pictures at a game against the Chicago Fire.  Here are some of the shots.  The shots were taken either at 300mm, 600mm, or with a 70-200mm zoom at high ISO (as high as 3200 ISO), and at speeds around 1/500 second, but never below 1/250 second.  The vantage point is behind the end line (no wandering on the sidelines during the game) and it is fast paced, played on and above the ground, and there is lot’s of ground to cover with the lens.

thanks for stopping by my blog . . . , Mark

at the old ballgame . . .


I spent the day last week living a bit of a dream — taking photographs of a major league baseball game on the field at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in the photographer’s pen.  From that vantage point, the game is like a free form ballet.  High ISO, a borrowed 200-400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter to boot, speeds of no less than 1/500, and the national pastime =  heaven.  Thanks to Bob Rice of the Royals for making this happen for me.  Thanks also to Vicki Smith (the lens), Dan Crabtree (he knew Bob), and David Eulitt of the Star for advice as to how to shoot the shots.  BTW, when Bob brought me to the pen, he said I could leave anytime I wanted; I stayed from 4 pm to 10:45 when the game ended.  Leave?  Are you kidding?  1100 images later, here is some of what I saw and captured.



Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark


I spent part of a morning with some of the firefighters at a local fire department to continue my “workin’ folks” photography project.  The morning started slow, as I talked with them, surveyed the shoot options, set up my lights, and pondered what kinds of shots to take.

Then, in moments, an alarm came in, they said simply “gotta go – fire” and two trucks and an ambulance streaked out of the station and left only me, my camera and my lights.  In the few ticks of the clock after the alarm came in, my heart raced and they were very business-like in readying to leave the station.  Indeed, I was the one that seemed very nervous and they seemed at peace with what they were doing and what came next.  It reminded me “that firefighting is one of the few professions left today that still makes house calls.”

Alone in this large fire station,  I shot some of what was left behind while I waited for them to return.  I felt bad for not having the presence to yell:  “be safe” as they left.

After a bit, the hook and ladder first, followed then by the other trucks, returned with everyone safe. We then finished my short photoshoot.

Here are some of the rest of my shots.  My lighting was simple:  one SB900 light in a 28” Westcott Apollo softbox very high up and camera right, one SB900 light in a Westcott Apollo Strip Box, and depending on the shot, one SB900 for accent.  The accent light was sometimes red gelled and occasionally, I added a CTO gel to the Strip Box light.  On the blue shots, I used Tungsten White Balance and compensated with a CTO gel.  I tried to come up with some shots that were a little different than what I have seen on flickr and tried to use the lighting to create a mood and to reflect a bit of the firefighter grit.


“What is a firefighter?  
He’s the guy next door….
He’s a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.  
He’s a fireman….
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He’s a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
  He’s a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control.
 He’s responsive to a child’s laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again….
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
  He lives it.”

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark

workin’ folks


Over the last month, I have pursued a project to take portraits of a sampling of working people here in the Midwest.  All in the Midwest is not wheat fields and cattle.  So, I focused on the industrial and service side of things.  Most of the folks I have met are either blue collar workers or are in one service industry or another. Some wear ties, some wear uniforms; some wield tools.  It is my cross section — a record of sorts of who is at stake in these times we are enduring.

Some of the folks I met and photographed are bosses,

some are workers,


and all are trained at what they do.

In this Great Recession  all I can think to do is to provide a record of folks as they really are through my lens and my eye.  All shots were taken with a Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens, and one or more SB900 speedlights usually through a Westscott 28″ Apollo softbox or a FourSquare, triggered by PocketWizard TT5s.  With that, here is the rest of my record:


Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark

new galleries

Just a short blog entry to advise that I have added some new galleries:

corporate and environmental shots


and aerials

Please check out the galleries and enjoy!  Thanks for visiting.  Mark