four more months

do :: or :: diso is officially 8 months old. I am very proud of the reception the online magazine has gotten from photographers and others and the subscription rate has remained constant. True, Sports Illustrated has not yet called to inquire about an acquisition of my publication, but maybe,  I am not selling just yet!  In any case, here are the most recent four covers of do :: or :: diso. Visit, read the articles, catch up on the archives, and subscribe at:


jSept 2014 Flex cover-450

oct 2014 muscle cover-450


read the magazine, and thanks for visiting my blog — Mark

Jose Canseco and the T-Bones

August 3, the Kansas City T-Bones sponsored a home run derby featuring Jose Canseco, formerly one of the two bash brothers of the Oakland A’s, author of Juiced (a tell all book about steroids in baseball and his personal use).  The T-Bones are Kansas City’s independent minor league baseball team playing out of Kansas City, Kansas, with a slogan – “Fun … Well Done,” apt for the land of beef.  Jose appeared just after a celebrity softball game and just before the T-Bones game began.

He strolled onto the field, bigger than life and almost as buff as when he played big league ball



He talked to the media,


warmed up a bit,


and then got serious – hitting a softball some 450 feet over the left field wall and into the nearby parking lot.  Are you serious – a 450 foot softball blast?


He mingled with some dignitaries:

Former major league pitcher Diego Segui, who, like Jose, is of Cuban descent, and Frank White, former Kansas City Royal and currently the first base coach for the T-Bones:



Then, after the T-Bones game ended, Jose came back for his home run derby for charity – Harvesters.  He took his swings as well as a group of guys who volunteered to take their shots as it got dark.






Afterward, he checked the scoreboard.


For me, a great chance to sit 7 feet from Jose with my D4 and a 70-200mm lens and capture some of the man.  After all, he was a 40 home run, 40 stolen bases champ, a slugger for the A’s, who loved and still loves baseball and still sounds like a kid playing stick ball in the street when he talks about the game; a guy who can still hit the ball, hard or soft, a mile, a guy who is still a physical specimen and as a result, fields legitimate questions about continued juicing; a grown up big kid who is funny, warm, engaging, and who also did things and promoted a lifestyle that came to dominate baseball for more than a decade in ways that still challenge the veracity and propriety of our national past time.

And then, he strolled off into the night, and off to the next barnstorming stop on the minor league circuit.  The dichotomy that is Jose.


Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark


do : : or : : diso — the first 4 months

do : : or : : diso, my monthly sports photography ezine is now 4 months old.  It has been a labor of love . . . mostly love.  Thanks to Jason Lillie for all the help in making the ezine so simple to create each month that even I can do it without too many hitches.  True, I had to re-learn some basic html code and master ftp for the covers each month, but it is live, and hopefully interesting.  Next month, I will cover the process of shooting the 2 Rs of summer – Rugby and Roller Derby.  In the meantime, here are the covers for the first 4 months:

Diso Cover Template final

May 2014 cover

June 2014 cover

july 2014 baseball cover-450

Visit the site at, subscribe for free, enjoy, and get out and shoot some sports shots.


do :: or :: diso, a monthly sports photography magazine, is now live

My latest project a monthly sports internet magazine called do :: or :: diso is now live.  Visit it and subscribe for free at

My goal is to offer a monthly, short, to the point, on-line magazine of sports photography, post processing techniques for sports photos, insight, and the occasional interview.  Each month, if you subscribe, you will get an email to your inbox of the magazine cover advising that the new issue is out.  Just click on the cover and you are transported to the article.  This month’s article is about three post processing techniques to add light back to the image to better reflect what your eye really saw at the match, game, or event.

Many thanks to Jason Lillie for helping make the design idea in my head a reality on the web and to Tom Bol, Cindy Akehurst, and Lisa Thompson for their critiques.

As it turns out, there are so many moving parts to launch this kind of project:  (a) how to make it look less like a blog; (b) how to keep it relevant and informative; (c) who is the target audience: (d) how to send out a mailing ( I settled on Mail Chimp ) ; and my favorite (e) how to pick a logo.  Here is the evolution of the logo:

cool, but too dark:

Do or Diso.metallic

creative, but a little bulky


getting closer



loved it, but  . . .


. . . here was the winner, by my buddy Alex Peak

do or diso 3D copy

The first post is up and after all the planning, the copy was easy.  Now for the hard part – creating content every month!  I am taking guest author pieces ( :

thanks for stopping by my blog. . . Mark


sports photography and the human spirit

The time fast approaches when we remind ourselves each year of our desire to achieve the long shot of peace on earth and goodwill toward each other.  I am just a lowly  sports photographer in Kansas City and have come to believe I can affect this long shot goal in only minimal ways.  So, I choose to use my camera as a reminder that sports can be a forum to compete without politics, where victors and vanquished can coexist without loss of life,


and where differences can be resolved by finite measurements of skill,








and a little luck.


My camera offers no insights into mayhem and insanity and filibusters and politics, but rather just glimpses into the human spirit.


Somewhere, mayhem and insanity and politics each purport to intersect with something as fundamental as the human spirit in ways that make no sense.  But in sports, understanding and appreciating that spirit is so much less confusing and images of the spirit are so much more sincere and genuine than the evening news images, and at least in the moment of competition, it all makes sense.


For me, sports is the plan; roll out and throw the pass into the flat; trust your teammates; follow the plan.  Make it so.


If you follow the plan, just maybe, they (who are also we) will too.


Ok — enough of my deep thoughts.  The tree has now arrived at Rockefeller Center,


and from a distance the world below seems so peaceful . . .


So, thanks for visiting my blog today and this year.  Hopefully you have enjoyed my images.  Have a very satisfying December.  Look for new things from this blog in 2014…  something that I hope to call “Do or DISO”


Be safe.  Mark

making sports images, all summer long

As Labor Day winds to a conclusion, my blog looks back over a busy summer of photographic exploration.  My goal this summer was to add different sports to the portfolio, and add I did:  along with the stalwarts of soccer and softball, I added roller derby, boxing, skateboarding, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, triathlon, and a little dance fantasy.  Here is a sampling:

Colorado state championship tournament in Colorado Springs:


swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs:


Product shoot for Combat Brands, LLC, owner of Ringside Boxing brand boxing, MMA, and fitness gear:


 Roller Derby, Kansas City:

kc roller 4613 D4-142-2

Rugby 7s (an Olympic Sport at the next summer games):


The Kansas Relays Track and Field Invitational at the University of Kansas in Lawrence:



ks relays 42013D4-277

The Kansas City Triathlon just before the rain and lightning started:


University of Missouri – Kansas City Ladies’ Softball (Bobby Knight calls it the most exciting game in college sports):

umkcwiu 41313 D4-299-2

A little dance magic courtesy of Taylor Barber:


The Ringside 13th Annual Amateur Boxing Tournament in Independence, Missouri (1200 boxers from all over North America descend on the Kansas City metro and compete for 4 days) thanks to John Brown, founder of Ringside Boxing:


A little late night practice for one of Kansas City’s budding gymnasts:


and, soccer, soccer, soccer:





. . . and some of the loyal fans at Sporting Park  here in Kansas City:





take care, have a good fall, and thanks for stopping by my blog  . . .  Mark

shoot rugby

Rugby has not been featured at the Olympics since the 1924 summers games.  But, the seven-a-side version will be played in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. “7s” (as it is called) is played with 7 players per side instead of 15 and features shorter matches.  7s tournaments are traditionally summertime events (sometimes called festivals) and are known for having more of a relaxed atmosphere than fifteen-a-side games.


Here in Kansas City, the Kansas City Blues (and of late, the University of Missouri- Kansas City club team) – sponsor 7s tournaments.   The Blues are an interesting example of Rugby in the states.  The team is made up of men from all walks of life. The active roster boasts a range in player’s ages from 19 – 41, consisting of students, doctors, lawyers, sales professionals, corporate executives, teachers, and more. The Blues lead a very demanding lifestyle, adding 2 practices a week and outside training to their busy work schedules and families.


The 7s competition is spirited with teams ranging from organized (like the Blues or UMKC) to college rugby clubs, to employer-, or bar-, sponsored teams.  Several photography challenges are presented in shooting summertime rugby.


The field is large so it is hard to cover all the action from one end zone or the other, even with my 500mm f / 4 lens.  That lens is great to cover half the field, is very fast and the focus is sharp and precise.


That lens, however, is too big when the action gets close so I usually have a second body with my 70-200mm (either the f / 4 or the 2.8 should be wonderful).  The 70-200mm is also good to roam the sidelines and shoot across the width of the field into the action rather than navigate length of field shots.  The Rugby action is fast enough at times that it warrants shutter speeds of at least 1/1000th second and the glare is substantial enough, that care should be taken to shoot with the sun behind and consider use of a polarizer filter, or adjust for glare in post processing (I like the polarization filter in Nik Color Efex Pro).  I usually shoot shutter priority, no slower than 1/1000th second, and ISO 400 to 640 depending on the light to achieve f stops in the 6.3 to 9.0 range.


Like most sports, for me, shooting the action is great, but capturing the emotion is better.  For emphasis, I love the new radial filter in Lightroom 5 to provide a highlight on the primary subject in the shot and a slight vignette to the rest of the framed shot.


Google Rugby in your town and go out and give it (photographing a tournament) a try!

Thanks for reading my blog . . . . Mark

the relays

The 2013 Kansas Relays are history now but if you have never seen the event, mark your calendar for 2014.  Maurice Greene, a past competitor at the Relays said:  “In America, we have three major sports – baseball, football and basketball. They get the most coverage. Then there’s things like golf which mop up most of what is left. But track and field? We are way at the bottom of the totem pole.”  Sad but true, but in no way does that dampen the spirits of the competitors or the excitement of the event.  Jackie Joyner Kersee said:  “It’s all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.”   And perform they do.  The goals are simple:  be the fastest, jump the highest or the farthest, throw something the furthest.  The true beauty of track and field is that these three simple goals are the same as they were centuries ago.  To be sure, the athletes compete against each other and sometimes push human reality,and in doing so they compete against a clock and measurements, chase a finish line, a record, a distance, or a period of time flying in the air, and for a brief time, they fly and challenge the wind.

Changes are coming to my website and this blog with the help of the folks at Cremalab.  Stop back shortly and see the changes as they unfold.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. . . . Mark


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



I made it to Northwest Montana again this March and I set up a freestyle skiing shoot with a couple of the guys for a morning at Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana.  Packing for the shoot took a bit of thought.  Stay light, but bring the lights.  I brought my D4, 4 SB900 Speedlights, 4 PocketWizard Flex TT5s to trigger the lights and a fifth to sit on the camera with a PocketWizard AC3 to allow me to adjust output from the camera.  I mounted everything on a Four Square bracket and jammed the bracket in the snow / ice with the lights trained up to where the skiers would jump.  All of this fit in my Gura Gear bag along with two lenses – a 24-70mm and a 14-24mm lens.  The shutter speed was well above the sync speed of 1/250 second but with Flex TT5 hyper sync, it was no problem.  The speedlights really made it possible to light the skiers while they were airborne and get a good exposure at a high enough speed to make it all work.  Oh, and I don’t ski — a little bit of an obstacle and it certainly added some unnecessary drama as I walked (perhaps trudged or slogged is a better way of describing it) through snow and ice to arrive at the jump site where the guys were getting ready.  I fell only once on the walk out, and fell into a snow bank / drift only twice on the hike back to civilization.  I must admit that I had thoughts on the walk back of heart attack, death, insanity slipping in, but the images made it all worth while.  And, here are some of the images:





enjoy the end of winter, everyone.  Thanks for stopping by my blog . . . Mark