17 December 2012

Looking for a new camera?

It might be one version out of date, but it's still an amazing camera.  The Canon 5D Mark II is still the camera I use day to day.  It's an amazing camera and now for this price, I'm thinking of buying a second one.  BH Photo has a fire sale on it for a limited time....Take a peak:

14 December 2012

The USPA Calendar

Did you get your 2013 USPA Calendar yet?  If so check out the Extra Month, January 2014 for a shot of mine from Chicks Rock!  If not, visit the USPA Store and order now!

04 December 2012

Tilt Shift in on Chicago's Architectural Boat Tour

After several years of being in and around Chicago, I finally decided to take the renowned Architectural Boat Tour around Chicago.  What better way to kick back and enjoy the city this summer after completing the amazing 138-Way World Record.  Of course at the same time I figured I'd try out one of Canon's top of the line Tilt Shift Lenses.  This was the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens.

As you can see, the TS lens literally tilts and shifts away from the straight line of site.  For an Architectural Photographer, it's a must have.

Have you ever taken a picture of a big building while standing relatively near it?  The photo you end up with is a building that has a very wide base, but the top is narrow and it just gets skinnier the higher it goes.  Well, a Tilt-Shift lens will take care of that.  Here is a shot of the Chicago Skyline maxing out the Lens in both directions.  It's a good example of what extremes a lens like this can accomplish.

While this example shows you the difference, it also opens your mind to something you might have never even thought was available.  Take a look at the following pictures and really note how different they might be with a standard camera lens.  

While I'm not going to rush out and purchase one of these lenses, if I'm ever hired for any type of architectural shoot, renting one of these lenses would be well worth while.

25 November 2012

The Holidays 2012

It's that time of year again!  The Holidays are just around the corner and it's time to get orders placed for custom art.  Order any size Gallery Wrapped Canvas or Gallery Float Mount by December 5th for delivery by Christmas and save 20% on all custom art ordered between now and December 24th at midnight.  Use Coupon Code "holiday12" at checkout.

If you're overseas and would like art shipped to you, not a problem.  I use DHL Worldwide Express service for international shipments and have sent art all around the globe.  Your art will be crated up, professionally packed and guaranteed to arrive in ready to hang, perfect condition.  For domestic shipments I use FedEx Ground service.

INTERNATIONAL ORDERS: Please contact me via my contact page for shipping quote and timing.

Also, don't forget to take a look at my In Stock Art Page for Gallery Floats, Canvas & Framed Art that is In Stock and can ship right away.  It's already discounted 10% - 20%.  Now you can take an additional 10% off at checkout with code: "instock2012".  Order by December 18th for delivery by Christmas.

05 November 2012

Tent Rocks, Slot Canyons and Aspen Trees

Cat and I headed south for a weekend in and around Santa Fe, NM.  While exploring the city we were looking for some areas around Santa Fe to explore and run around in.  We heard about Tent Rocks National Monument.  Not only were there slot canyons there, but unique rock formations where a solid rock sat above softer soil while all the soil around it eroded over time.  The softer soil underneath the rock was protected from the elements allowing the rock to stand it's ground, thus protecting the soil underneath.  If you are near Santa Fe, it's worth the side trip to explore and take a little hike.

The weekend after we went to Santa Fe, we headed into the Rockies in search of Aspens changing with the season.  We ended up finding ourselves heading over Guanella Pass towards Georgetown, CO.  In the process, we stumbled on some of those gorgeous golden leave that have become tied into the thought you have of Aspens in the Rockies.  Once you've seen them covered in that blanket of color, you can never get the image out of your mind.

To check out more shots from our little get away, please visit my gallery here.

29 October 2012


If you've been skydiving for any amount of time, chances are you've stumbled onto the website dropzone.com.  It's been around since the early 2000's and has been an invaluable resource for jumpers all around the globe.  Whether it's going into the forums to read about the latest incidents or simply to ask questions of the community about different gear or skydiving centers, it's been a resource that brought the online social aspect to the skydiving community long before the current social media did.  Anyone selling gear that can't make it out to their local dropzone posts items there, reviews of different items and of course plenty of references.

One of the area's that dropzone.com has is their Featured Photographer's area.  I have been fortunate enough to take pictures over time that have earned me a spot in this area for all to enjoy some of my work.

Please take a moment and browse some of my pictures and share with your friends.

23 October 2012

Thank you CanPara

I spent a little time up in Montreal, Canada this summer and was able to jump at a few different dropzones.  The second place I visited was Parachute Montreal for the Canadian Headdown Record Attempts.  Andrew and Alain had a lot to deal with and lots of pressure as they hosted the record for the first time.  All in all, not only did they get a new Headdown Record for Canada of a 30-Way, but once that was completed they went back up and built Canada's largest Head Up Record of an 18-Way!

Congrats to everyone involved and looking forward to getting back up there for future events! In the mean time, enjoy the cover of this months CanPara Magazine:

10 October 2012

ParaMag Spread

The French Skydiving Magazine is ParaMag.  It is easily one of the nicest in the industry with it's heavy weight, high gloss pages that make the photos pop off the page.  In their most recent issue I was lucky enough to have the centerfold shot from the most recent Vertical World Record. It shows the built 142-Way that is the current Unofficial World Record.

The cover is a shot of the record from above taken by Rolf Kuratle.  Once I got a closer look at his shot, I appreciated it so much more.  The bonus for me here is that I'm actually in the shot!

UPDATE!!!  The above shots are what ParaMag had posted online a few weeks ago.  Since then things have radically changed.  Kuri's cover shot is not the cover and my shot is not the centerfold.  I just got the actual issue in the mail and instead they swapped it out and took BOTH shots and printed them on a pull out, double fold poster with each of our shots on a side!!!!  I thought I was taking it to the next level getting a pull out poster in Parachutist, now I've got double pull out posters in both Parachutist AND ParaMag.  What an amazing experience.....thank you so much!  Now, how do I follow this one up?!?!?

02 October 2012

Taking it to the next level with Parachutist

Parachutist Magazine has been doing a great job of keeping up to date with not just the sport, but magazine publishing in general.  Not only do they have a new look and feel with a bound magazine, but the type of paper adds to the entire experience.  So when they approached me about doing a special project with my sponsors, I jumped on the opportunity.  Their proposal was to put a removable poster into every magazine for their October issue.  This double sided, double folded poster would open up to about 2 feet wide and would truly give the person looking at it great appreciation of the most recent 138-Way Vertical World Record.  I just got my October issue in the mail and I have to say it was worth all of the work to make it happen!

Thank you everyone at USPA / Parachutist for thinking outside of the box and allowing us to deliver a high quality shot of the new World Record to everyone's door.  And Kudos to Norman Kent for a phenomenal cover shot!

24 September 2012

90 Percent Cover & Centerfold

Being able to film the 138-Way and the 142-Way during Summerfest at Skydive Chicago was an amazing experience.  I honestly had the best seat in the house.  Lots of people have asked how I decided where I should be when I'm capturing something like this world record.  To be honest, it varies from jump to jump, but on both the 138 and the 142, it was late in the day and closing in on that magic hour for photographers.  It wasn't perfect light, but as close as we can get up there.  I start by framing the shot, looking at the light and getting the sun near my back.  Then I take a look at the back drop.  Clouds?  Try and get them in there so we have some contrast.  Is the sun low in the sky and illuminating the formation in that warm light?  I pop up a bit and get everyone from the side.  Sure there is the risk of having a head eclipse a grip, but it's worth it when you see the formation at that angle in that light.

On both formations, the angle, back drop and light worked out great.  So great in fact that 90 Percent decided that it was not only their cover shot, but also their centerfold.  Please enjoy the snap shots below and click this link to download the entire magazine!

17 September 2012

What I sell....Prints, Canvas & Gallery Float Mounts

I have to admit, being a photographer is fun.  I'm able to do what I love doing and share in other people's moments.  Capturing those moments in people's lives that means so much to them is something that I treasure.  Sharing those pictures with everyone is the obvious next step.

My website galleries are for all to see and share, for some this is enough.  But I'd like to take a moment to dive into what it is that I sell and the finished products that I offer.  The pictures are taken, they've been edited and now they're posted online.  As with most photographers, I offer a range of different print sizes.  These prints will be mailed to you directly from my vendor.  You can mount them and frame them as you wish making sure they fit nicely into your home or office.  However if you'd allow me the privileged of creating a work of art for you, take a little closer look at my Gallery Wrapped Canvas Art and my Gallery Float Mounts.

To start, both selections are personally signed, inspected and guaranteed to be free of any damage or defects upon arriving at your location.  On the back, each will have my contact information as well as a description of the image, where it was taken, what camera was used and the camera settings.  The vendors I use only sell to professional photographers.  This is a key point because they know that not only will the actual photographer be scrutinizing their work, but so will the end client.  With that knowledge, they deliver the highest possible quality they can.

Gallery Wrapped Canvas Art

I've been selling the Gallery Wrapped Canvas Art for several years now.  The frames I sell are 1.5" deep and can be almost any size up to 56" x 120".  Using museum quality canvas, they are hand stretched so that the image continues naturally around the sides and are ready to hang on your wall when you receive them.  Not only do they use archival quality inks, but they are sprayed with a UV coating for extra protection and won't fade or discolor for at least 100 years.


Gallery Float Mounts

The Gallery Float Mounts are a glass-free mounting process designed to enhance and protect photographs while providing a glare-free finish. This high quality process provides a distinctive new look that is durable and offers a greater degree of protection from moisture and harmful UV rays.  The Gallery Float sits 3/4 of an inch away from the wall.  Using a French Cleat Mount, it can easily be adjusted with little effort.  Expertly Crafted - Prints are professionally mounted on MDF with a carefully formulated cold-press, UV Protective mounting adhesive and topped with a non-glare, protective crystal laminate. The edges are expertly beveled, sanded and finished with a high quality seal. Touchable and completely washable—grease, dust, dirt and moisture wipe right off with regular household glass cleaner (Ammonia Free Only).

Seeing past the 2D image can be hard.  But just think, you can turn this shot:

Into THIS Gallery Float.  The difference is amazing!

Another Gallery Float so you can see behind the actual art on the wall.

If you're curious how it breaks down, here is a diagram of what a Gallery Float Mount is made of.

To order Prints, Gallery Wrapped Canvas or Gallery Float Mounts directly from my website, just click on the image that you'd like to order and then select the size product that you'd like.  If you're not sure what size to get, please don't hesitate to give me a call or send me a note through my contact page.  There are many times that clients will end up ordering product sizes that I do not have listed on my website.  Depending on how the aspect ratio of an image works out, some sizes may be better than others.  For instance, the 138-Way shot of the recent World Record Skydive fits great in an aspect ratio of 3 : 5.  So many have ordered a 20" x 33" and even a 24" x 40".  I can make almost any size, but most importantly is getting the right size for the shot.

Thanks for taking a minute to learn about my products.  I've always got my eyes on the latest ways to display my work, so the product line will keep expanding with time.  If you have any specific requests, please let me know.

11 September 2012

Vertical World Record Video - Digital Download

Just an update for those interested in the Official Video from the 2012 Vertical World Record 138-Way Skydive.

You can now download an HD version of the video online for only $4.99.  Download now.  We are also shipping the first batch of DVD's.

We wanted to tell a story, a story about making a world record skydive. We interviewed the organizers, the jumpers and the camera men. We filmed on the ground, in the planes and in the air. They talked about the energy, that good energy when people unite together to accomplish a common goal. They talked about the heartache when something you're striving for is so close it's within your graspe only to be denied, then how you pick yourself up and you do it again and again until you get it done. This is the story of the 138-Way through the eyes of the people on it. In this 33 minute documentary film, the curtains have been pulled back and you can see how things work behind the scenes and how skydivers triumph over the obsticles in their paths.

Watch it. If you like what you see, share this post and spread the story of an amazing accomplishment.

Thank you English Jon for doing all the hard work and making this a reality!

To order Prints, Gallery Wrapped Canvas, Gallery Float Mounts, DVD's or to download the digital version of this video, please visit:  http://www.verticalrecord.com

06 September 2012

National Head Up Record

Steve Vogdes and Simon Bones rallied the troops and gathered at Skydive Cross Keys during the last weekend of August.  Their goal was to make the first ever, National Head Up Record.  Earlier on in the year, Steve went to the USPA Board of Director's Meeting.  His proposal to create a new category of a Vertical Head Up Formation was reviewed and accepted.  This would be the first event of it's kind, the birth of Head Up Formation flying.  I was lucky enough to see this happen and be a small part of it.

The weekend started with plane troubles when a jumper inadvertantly dislodged the emergancy exit door in the Twin Otter and it proceeded to leave the aircraft.  With the Otter down, the organizers were scrambling for an aircraft.  Nearly canceling the event, the only plane they currently had access to was a King Air.  At the last minute, a Casa 212 arrived and saved the day.

The formation started out as over 20 people, but ended up getting chopped down to around 16.  Here is the group as well as a 20 Way and the Official 16 Way.  As in any record for the first time, there were issues that came up, things to be figured out, judging angles to question, etc...  As we all said, if it were easy, someone would have done it before.  There is no doubt that things will change in terms of how a Head Up Record is made and most importantly, completed.  But for now, it starts with a 16-Way.  To check out more pictures, please visit my gallery.

29 August 2012

Sling Strap Mount Review

My new favorite toy.  It's the BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap.  But it's not your average camera strap.  You wear the strap like a sash across your chest and the camera hangs, upside down at your side.  When you see a shot and grab your camera, the mount freely slides up the strap allowing the camera to move into position while leaving the strap in place.  This means that you don't have to lose a second or two as traditional camera straps catch on clothing or back packs or other buckles.  This strap allows the camera to slide up the strap while leaving the strap in place.

Here are a few shots of the strap itself as well as a demo video on how to use the product below.  You can get it from B&H for $58.95.

23 August 2012

Lost Prairie Boogie

I have always wanted to go to the Lost Prairie Boogie put on by Skydive Arizona up in the middle of no where Montana.  Back in the day I remember seeing amazing pictures when team Monkey Claw went up there and had their fun.  Lately it's been the crew out of AZ.  This time around Nick, Bill, Ty, Brandon & Amy from AZ came up to organize the kids and see what trouble they could get into!  This was also a stop on the Hittin It Again Summer Boogie tour by SkyVenture Colorado.

Montana is indeed a beautiful place, big sky country for sure.  The DZ is located in the middle of a little valley with literally a huge prairie in the middle where we land.  From freefall you look out and see a couple of massive clear lakes in the distance and the enormous prairie underneath.  I was lucky enough to get in some fun jumps including filming the Montana POPS record!

Take a peak at a few of the shots and CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENTIRE GALLERY.  And next year, come on up and join the fun!  It's worth it!

18 August 2012

Blast from the Past...Project Horizon V

As I update my new website with galleries of events, I'm able to break out the old hard drives and upload events from the past.  Rounding out the 2007 Gallery is an event that we held for 5 years running.  2007 was the last year for Project Horizon.  Dave Donnelly, Dave Brown, Chris Salcone and Storm Dunker hosted this years event at Skydive Chicago.

At the time, Project Horizon was pushing the limits of freeflying as we knew it.  The idea was to get a bunch of the organizers and coaches from all over, some of the better fliers out there, and get them together and see what they could do.

Thank you guys for pushing the sport!  So glad I could be a part of it.  Here are a few teaser shots.  If you'd like to visit the entire gallery, please click here.

08 August 2012

The Vertical World Record 138-Way, or was that a 142-Way?

It's been 3 years since freefliers from around the world gathered together to hold hands and create the 108-Way Vertical World Record back in 2009.  So this year it was time to see what we could do.  With 6 planes, 142 skydivers and a bench FULL of jumpers just itching to get on, we set out on August 1, 2012 at Skydive Chicago to smash the old record. On Day 1 of the event (that was happening during Skydive Chicago's annual Summerfest Boogie) we started off by building formations with over 130 jumpers linked up.  Since we were trying something completely new, we decided to try exits that we had never tried before.  The lead plane (a sherpa) put out a super floater.  When that floater exited, so did the back 3 aircraft.  As the last jumpers were exiting the back 3 planes, the front 3 planes began to exit.  The idea was to have the back 3 planes worth of jumpers Float Up to the formation, while the front 3 planes worth would Dive Down. Day 1 was a good day. We got in some amazing jumps, learned a lot about over floating and blowing past the formation and by the end of that day, most of the kinks were ironed out.

Day 2.  The day started out great.  The clouds rolled in for a few jumps, but were high enough that they only made the camera fliers sad to be shooting into a large white backdrop.  The formations were taking shape and we were getting to the point where everyone on the skydive was docking on the formation, just not at the same time.  That is until the 5th jump of the day.  That's when the magic happened.  We built a beautiful 142-Way formation.  Everyone was on.  It looked good.  We landed, the photographers pulled up the pictures and scrutinized the images.  It still looked good.  Time to submit to the judges.  Within just a few minutes, the judges were calling us over.  They started asking me questions and I simply called over and deferred to Rook.  All the organizers and the judges chatted for what seemed like an eternity and then the news.  There was no 142-Way.

When attempting an official World Record Skydive, the organizers of the jump must declare the exact formation that they are intending to build.  They draw it out on paper and submit it to the judges prior to taking off.  Then, if the formation completes and is judge-able, the judges compare the drawing to the picture or video and declare a record or not.

In the rush that happens at events like this, minor details were over looked and the formation that was submitted had 2 stingers with incorrect grips.  It was a huge blow.  The 142-Way formation that was indeed complete, and might count in the Guinness Books, would not be an FAI official World Record.  The only thing left to do was to keep the energy up and move forward, and that meant more jumps.

Here is Jump 9 from Day 2, an amazing 142-Way formation.  The UnOfficial Vertical World Record:

Day 3.  With all of the paperwork now in order, the entire group was striving to recapture that magic moment of the 142-Way.  Several jumps were going on and the energy was good, but starting to fade.  Many times there was just 1 jumper off and as they got on, break off was happening.  The group was starting to get frustrated, but the jumps were still amazing and nearly everyone was so close to re-creating that record to make it official.

It was getting towards the end of the day and the organizers were going to have to do what they had been avoiding all along.  Cut down the jump from 142 to 138.  One of the pods that was causing issues just had to go.  This was going to be the 15th jump of the attempts and people were getting tired.  It was going to be one of the last jumps of the day and the next day was our last day to go for a record.  It was now or never.  With 138 skydivers (16 of which were women) from 17 nations and 4 cameramen we boarded 6 aircraft and headed to 18,500 feet.  Break off was 7,000 feet.  We went up and did what we had to do.  When that last jumper picked up their grips, everything smoothed out.  You could feel it, see it, sense it.  It was flying as smooth as the organizers had hoped it would.  There were no stragglers on the outside, just cameramen trying to get that nice angle and take as many pictures as possible, since after all, this is what we are here for.  It flew for nearly 4 seconds, but that seems like an eternity at 165 m.p.h.  The end result was this shot of the Official Vertical World Record 138-Way.

Congratulations to all 138 Skydivers on this record!  It was an amazing experience and I can't wait for the next one.

The OFFICIAL VERTICAL WORLD RECORD DVD is now available.  English Jon and Brian Buckland are putting together the DVD and stepping it up a notch this year.  It will be a 25-30 minute long feature with multiple outside angles and inside angles as well as a lot of ground footage, interviews, bonus material, etc...  Please visit verticalrecord.com to place your order.