360º

If you were at the last home game vs. FSU and were in your seat between the 1st and 2nd quarters, you may be able to find yourself in the 360º panorama we shot.

You can view and interact with the image at this link.

Is it a GigaPan, the iconic panoramas made popular in part from Major League Baseball’s “TagOramic” and the famous image of the Obama Inauguration?

No. Despite being hosted on GigaPan’s server, it is technically not a GigaPan. In order to capture the image, our own Eric Espada had only about 45 seconds to capture the images needed by going to midfield between quarters and handholding the camera. After a test pass of a portion of the stadium, he has just enough time to make adjustments and shoot 26 images, starting and ending with the 50 yard line on the FSU side of the field. Typical GigaPans can take upwards of 10 minutes to capture.

Late last week I used GigaPan’s software and server to assemble and upload the image, after tweaking the images in Photoshop.

Classic Canestagrams

Classic Canestagrams - Series 1 Composite



With the recent popularity of smartphone app “Instagram,” I have experimented with re-creating the look of the iconic square images using images from my Miami Hurricanes Archive.

I started by making “Canestagrams” out of studio poses of our Volleyball team.

Recently I started working on making “Canestagrams” from my ‘Canes football action archive.

I hope you enjoy the first series of 49. You can view them all individually on the mother site. A square composite print (shown above) is also available.

The Volleyball Photo Day Portraits Are Not Instagrams

For the past six months I have downloaded and tested over 20 photography apps for the iPhone. While many of them were excellent, there were two main issues that I had with using them. One was image quality and the other was the time needed to include shooting a few images during my shooting workflow. Early on with my iPhone photo app experimentation I stumbled upon an app named Pixlr-o-matic. Six months later it’s still my favorite app. The geniuses at Pixlr also created a Mac version of the app. It’s the same app I used with those ‘Canes Baseball Portraits back in May. The portraits I shot during yesterday’s volleyball photo day at UM were taken by a Nikon and cropped into high-res square images in Photoshop to resemble the 1:1 ratio of Instagram images. I then ran those images through Pixlr-o-matic to easily add a filter, vignette and border to get the results you see here. The images are also 4000 pixels wide, so larger prints can be made than with a regular Instagram image. So what to call these Instagram-like images? How about Canestagrams? Or more specifically, #Canestagrams (gotta keep things social media savvy!) Above are the “Canestagram” images of the 15 members of the 2012 Hurricanes Volleyball team. The entire edit is available at caneshooter.com.

Yes, I Said iPhone

Recently I spent two weeks traveling the West Coast visiting many national and state parks, monuments and recreational areas. Those of you who follow me on Facebook saw my daily updates accompanied by a photograph.

Along with my conventional Nikon gear I took a seemingly unconventional photographic tool: my iPhone.

Every photograph I posted during the trip was shot and processed with my iPhone.

I was on the receiving end of many odd looks from fellow tourists as I continually pulled my iPhone from my pocket as my Nikon sat on a tripod nearby.

While my intention was to edit my takes daily, the sheer volume of material I shot coupled with the travel prevented nightly editing. The simplistic approach to photography the iPhone and its various applications made updating possible in seconds.

As I have experimented with various apps over the past few months I have settled on two apps: Pano and Pixlr-O-Matic. Pano allows an iPhone shooter to effortlessly shoot and stitch together multiple frames to make a panoramic photograph. Pixlr-O-Matic offers several filters, vignettes and frame edges. I often use both apps in my iPhone images.

Use of the iPhone camera has crept into the professional mainstream of late. New York based photographer Nick Laham shot portraits of Yankees players with an iPhone and Instagram on the team’s photo day this past spring. San Francisco based photographer Brad Mangin has used the same combination during Spring Training in Arizona earlier this year.

Will the iPhone replace DSLR’s with higher resolution, frame rates and professional lenses? Not for some applications. But millions of people now have a capable camera in their pocket for those “Kodak Moments” they would have otherwise missed with the old technology. The rest of us have a new toy in our tool box of creativity.

Who’s to say the next Henri Cartier-Bresson, who nearly exclusively used cameras with a simple fixed 50mm lens his entire career, won’t be using an iPhone?

NSD = National Signing Drama

I’ve witnessed plenty of National Signing Day drama through the years, shooting exclusively for Canesport every year since 1996. What has changed in those 16 years is kids are learning to take advantage of their initial 15 minutes of fame and play to the media with dramatics better suited for acting school. For some, it’ll be the only 15 minutes they’ll ever get.

Therefore, don’t sweat the ones that get away, because more often than not, we don’t hear much about them afterwards. I present these three examples I’ve witnessed firsthand:

Kayvon Webster, DB, Pace HS, 2009 NSD.

Pace Monsignor High School defensive back Kayvon Webster stuffs his Miami Hurricanes tie underneath his South Florida Bulls hoodie before signing his National Letter of Intent with USF on February 4, 2009 at Pace Monsignor High School in Miami, Florida.

Dressed with a USF hoodie and a Miami tie on the outside, Webster sat down with two of his classmates and placed a Miami and USF hat in front of him on the table. Webster then flipped the Miami hat behind him, put on the USF hat and then tucked in his Miami tie under the USF hoodie.

In three years at USF he has a grand total of two interceptions, although he does have a 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown on his resume.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Glades Central HS, 2007 NSD.

Glades Central High School wide receiver Deonte Thompson makes a phone call with family members behind him after signing his National Letter of Intent with the University of Florida on February 7, 2007 at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida.

Thompson also chose to dramatize his moment for the cameras. He had been wearing Miami gear and downplaying Florida before he appeared for the media with offers from UM, UF, USC & Ohio State on the table in front of him. No one, except his family, saw what was coming, the shocking reveal of Gator hats for he and his girlfriend.

Thompson had only one 100 yard receiving game in four years at UF, and even that was against a Division 1-AA opponent.


Jonathan Colon, OL, Miami Central HS, 2000 NSD.

Jonathan Colon signs with someone during National Letter of Intent Day at Miami Central High School, February 2, 2000.

Colon’s story is in a league of its own, and might be one of the all-time bizarre NSD stories.

Torn and conflicted, Colon was near tears as he signed with Florida on NSD in front of the media and his very unhappy father, who wanted him to go to Miami. But a signed Letter Of Intent also showed up on Miami’s fax machine that day. Colon had signed with both schools.

While UF and UM haggled over where Colon belonged, the NCAA spent a week sorting through the mess before finally making the ruling Colon belonged to the Gators, as he had signed his Miami LOI the night before signing day – making it invalid.

Ironically, Colon ended up at Bridgton Academy in Maine in the fall of 2000 and re-signed with the Gators on NSD in 2001.

Colon started only 22 of 43 games during his career with the Gators.

Zooming Through Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes visit the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on 9/17/11

See a larger version of this image with expanded web tools here.

The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.  ~W. Eugene Smith

Last Saturday I took those words to heart when I climbed up to the overhead camera position just before the start of our game against Ohio State.

While I took a standard fisheye shot of the stadium with a modern digital equivalent of a 35mm camera, I had something else in mind and in hand.

I had a GigaPan Epic robotic unit holding a Canon G12 camera, which shot 66 individual pictures across a grid from that same overhead camera position at the top of Sun Life Stadium early in the 1st quarter. Those images were then downloaded to a personal computer where software stitched, rendered, and projected the image together into a single image. The massive image was then uploaded to the free user community site gigapan.org, which allows high-resolution images to be stored, shared, annotated, commented, linked, geolocated, and embedded on any website.

The GigaPan process is far from perfect at public gatherings, such as a football stadium. It’s impossible to keep people from moving for a second, let alone the seven and a half minutes it took to complete this image. You’re going to find duplicate people who appear in more than one frame, or parts of people who were at the edge of a frame. Items that move during the process also can oddly appear. There were also a few spots where frames did not align correctly.

There is also new technology which allows users to tag themselves and/or their friends to post on Facebook. Licensing of that technology is still a bit pricey for us.

Photographer and UM alum (and my old college roommate) David Bergman embraced the technology early, creating this famous GigaPan image of President Obama’s inauguration, and these GigaPans for Major League Baseball. Ironically, Bergman was at the game Saturday, shooting conventional images for Sports Illustrated, and can be seen in my GigaPan image.

You can access all of GigaPan.org’s tools to explore this photo here. We are also making a print of this image available for purchase at Caneshooter.com.

GigaPan Statistics for this image:

Date Taken: September 17, 2011
Size: 0.58 gigapixels
Field of View: 144.7 degrees wide, 59.1 degrees high
Panorama size: 581 megapixels (37720 x 15404 pixels)
Input images: 66 (11 columns by 6 rows)
Field of view: 144.7 degrees wide by 59.1 degrees high (top=24.0, bottom=-35.1)
Camera model: Canon PowerShot G12
Single image size: 3648×2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2011-09-17 19:41:53 – 2011-09-17 19:46:50
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure time: 0.004
ISO: 800
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 142.3 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Automatic
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 7.4 to 20.6 percent
Vertical overlap: 6.6 to 8.4 percent
Computer stats: 4096 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 7:33 (6.9 seconds per picture)
Alignment: 1:06, Projection: 28 seconds, Blending: 5:59

Shooting the ‘Canes: Then and Now

Kenny Kadji poses earlier today during our basketball freshmen/transfer studio shoot at the School of Communication.

Today was the start of my 17th season as the Hurricanes’ Team Photographer, and my 21st overall including my student years. Things have changed over that period of time, going from processing and printing film in my closet to digital processing and Photoshop work on a Mac. Photos that were distributed to primary clients via FedEx back then are done so via FTP today. Outside sales to editorial clients have been nearly entirely eliminated by agencies such as Getty Images, who have largely commodified the market for stock photography, resulting in use fees at a fraction of what was realized in the past. In its place some photographers have moved to promoting themselves via websites and social media sites including Twitter and Facebook.

“Caneshooter” has become my identity and my brand online and in social media after just being a nickname hurled at me by another photographer back in the late 1990’s. I spend more time promoting my brand than I do shooting photographs. I have nearly 100,000 photos online, of just Hurricanes Athletics. I hope to post interesting stuff, and that you’ll look at my website, my blog, fan my page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or buy a print from my print store.

FSU’s Wide, Wide World

2002 Miami Hurricanes Football vs Florida State

“This is the one game I came here for, the one game every UM football player came here for, to beat the hell out of Florida State,” – Miami LB Jordan Futch, 2010.

The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles meet once a year, and despite what the haters say, the match-up is often the most anticipated game in all of college football each season.
Last season’s battle between the two in-state rivals drew a stellar 5.1 U.S. rating and 8.4 million viewers on ESPN. The 2006 game was the most viewed college football game in ESPN history, averaging  6.3 million households for a 6.9 rating.

“At the start of the fourth quarter, we knew we were the better team. But they knew they were going to win.” – FSU LB Kirk Carruthers, 1991.

One reason for those ratings might be the five games in a 12-season span in which the game came down to 18 feet 10 inches, the distance between those two metal poles in the back of the end zone called uprights on a goal post.

“I think the curse is they’re on our schedule. They’re going to chisel on my tombstone, ‘At least he played Miami.'” – FSU Head Coach Bobby Bowden, 1991.

Below is a brief history of those five games.

Wide Right I – 1991
In a rare in-season #1 vs #2 matchup, ‘Canes running back Larry Jones gave Miami a 17-16 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run with three minutes to play.  FSU kicker Gerry Thomas missed a 34-yard field goal to the right with less than a minute remaining, and a legend was born.

Wide Right II – 1992
FSU kicker Dan Mowrey missed a 39-yard field goal to the right, and the Seminoles lost to the defending National Champion Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami, 19-16, in a four hour marathon. This game is also notable among the Hurricane Nation for Micheal Barrow’s brutal hit on FSU’s Tamarick Vanover.

Wide Right III – 2000
In Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium, the ‘Canes took a 27-24 lead after Ken Dorsey threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey with 46 seconds to play, then FSU quarterback and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke promptly moved the ‘Noles into field goal range during the final seconds. FSU kicker Matt Munyon missed a 49-yard field goal attempt to the right, knocking the defending National Champions’ from the #1 spot in the polls.

Wide Left I – 2002
In Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium, the defending champion Hurricanes took a 28-27 lead with only minutes remaining in the game on a 11-yard touchdown run by Jason Geathers with a little over five minutes remaining. Once again, the ‘Noles drove down the field to give kicker Xavier Beitia a chance to win the game with a last second field goal. Beitia missed the 43-yard attempt to the left, giving the ‘Canes the victory.

Wide Right IV – 2003
In the 2004 Orange Bowl Classic, played in Pro Player Stadium, FSU kicker Xavier Beitia missed a 39-yard field goal that would have given the Seminoles the lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game, and the ‘Canes prevailed 16-14 in the second meeting of the two teams that season.

Miami Arena? Yeah, I Miss It

Miami Arena? Yeah, I miss it.

With its small capacity and lack of suites a bean counter’s nightmare, they did get one thing right.

The catwalks. Rafters. Whatever you want to call them. Most of you never looked up there, let alone walked on them. But with their placement, they were perfect for us photographers. For basketball, they crossed right above the rim on both ends. Another pair even lined up perfectly over goal for the Florida Panthers’ first five seasons.

I often mounted a remote over the basket in those days, as evidenced by the shot of James Jones against Providence College in 2000. This image is one of 290 images from the 2000 season I recently uploaded to the Caneshooter Archive. The ‘Canes won the Big East regular season championship that year and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the tournament.

When the ‘Canes moved to the BankUnited Center on campus, our perfect overhead remotes were history. The new building’s catwalks span the outside perimeter of the floor, and only one crosses the court, right above the scoreboard. There is one location for an off-center view of the hoop, and I may try it out this upcoming season.

So despite the inch thick layer of dust, chalk marks of how many bolts were loose and occasional rat, I kind of liked the “old” place. I’m likely the only one.