Editing the Derby by SARA TANNER

There was a certain magic to opening a box of exposed transparencies... an almost childlike wonder of the exploration of your own work. In years long past, Sports Illustrated would return a few hundred rolls of my out takes from the Kentucky Derby, and I would diligently sort through them, cataloging and filing the best of them. Making notes on what worked and what didn't.  How much film I shot, what they kept in the magazine's files, and what I needed to do the next time.  That process usually happened a month or two after the event. Now, two days after returning home from Lousiville, I am finishing going through the more than 15,000 files I burned through with the 25 Nikon bodies I used last weekend at Churchill Downs. The images are all sorted, captioned, and stored on raids using Aperture.

I can find any image through metadata tagging in less than a second.

In days gone by, it would have taken me a few seconds just to get out of my chair to head to the file cabinets to start a search.

I suppose it's in my German DNA, but I love the efficiency.

I enjoyed the magic, but I don't miss film.

A few images of Derby fashion for this week's digital version of Sports Illustrated.

Kelby Training Course: "Photographing the Making of an Athlete" by SARA TANNER

Bill’s latest course, “Photographing the Making of an Athlete”, is now live on KelbyTraining.com. In the course, Bill heads to the legendary Kona Skatepark to photograph one of the best young skateboarder in the country, Cason Kirk. For more than five years, Bill has documented Cason’s progress in the sport.

The course covers how to keep a fresh look on long-term documentary projects, using new techniques and equipment to perfect your vision.

Check out the official trailer now and sign up today at KelbyTraining.com

Eugene by Bill Frakes


Eugene is one of my favorite towns. It is easily the best place to watch Track and Field in the United States. Large, enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowds for every event. Wonderful.

On years when the Olympics are held, there's a special excitement and tension at the track.

For our SI coverage this year, we wanted to give audiences a behind the scenes experience as well. Everyone wants to see the finish line photos of course, and we have those, but the stories behind the races and at the stadium are part of what make this event so special. Our coverage of this year’s events is featured in stories online, in the magazine and on the iPad edition, with galleries and in the leading offs.

When Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied in the 100 meter race, we created a video of Roger Jennings, head photo finish evaluator, describing what he looks for in the photos and how he makes the call.

Outside the track, the legacy and career of Steve Prefontaine continues to impact new generations of runners and track enthusiasts. With the beautiful words of our friend and SI writer Tim Layden, Laura and I created a short video "An Hour at Pre's Rock." The video was shot as stills using the iPhone and put together with the new Aperture 3.3 to show the emotional pilgrimage people make to his memorial.

Best thing about the Olympic Trials, is undoubtedly the people. We always celebrate Laura’s birthday in Eugene, and I relish the time catching up with friends like Mark Kettenhoffen, Brien Aho, Chris Pietch, Brian Davies, Thomas Boyd, and so many others.
Before leaving Portland for seven hours of flying diagonally across the USA, the last person I spoke to before taking off was SI senior writer Tim Layden.  When Laura and I landed we headed up the jet bridge, I heard Tim's voice and there on the television monitor right above the gate was Tim talking on CNN's air about the story we worked with him on the past few days. Then not 30 seconds later, we ran into a couple in the airport concourse we photographed for another story that we worked on with Tim last week. Surreal.

Icelandic Adventures by Laura Heald


Driving through the countryside of Iceland is a time warp to a land before time. The landscape is rough and barren. Its moss covered lava fields and tall sloping mountains have an almost lunar appearance.

This is 66 degrees north.  The home of seals and poets.

A few years ago, we produced a multimedia piece on Australia for the launch of the Nikon D3s and rolling through the southwest Iceland felt so much like our time in Tasmania.

Bill and I were lucky to be escorted through the Snæfellsnes peninsula of Iceland on Sunday by our new friend Raymond Hoffmann.

He works with Dionys Moser, a Swiss photographer who is famous for his landscape work.

We will be joining them on some tours in the near future -- a diverse selection of locations from the north of Norway for the Northern Lights to the White Desert of Egypt to the Blues country of the Mississippi Delta.  We will have dates and descriptions posted on our blog and their Web sites soon. Raymond was born in Germany, but moved to Iceland after meeting his wife - a native Icelander - on a trip to the island 10 years ago. He took us to spots the guide books never mention. A black rock beach, a cozy ocean front hotel for a gourmet lunch -- lost on Bill, but much appreciated by me -- and small waterfalls overlooking a breathtaking backdrop of Church Mountain.

We started the day with coffee and croissants with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.  Along with spending hours talking with photographers at a lunch graciously arranged by Baldvin Einarsson, this was easily the highlight of our trip.  As much as we love taking pictures, spending time with people and making new friends is the best part of our existence.

Baldvin runs a professional camera store in Reykajavik.  A really professional camera store.  It was a another step back in time for us. Along with our friends at the Camera Store in Calgary, and Light and Byte in Zurich, Becco is a wonderful throwback to when service mattered most.  It’s just a different way to shop, and learn.

We’re lucky because we have Jeff Snyder and Annie Cahill at Adorama in NYC who are long time friends and colleagues. We can’t drop in often and hang out with them -- it’s a bit of a commute --but they give great small town service with huge national resources.

The weather Sunday was perhaps less than desirable for most tourists but, as Raymond pointed out, typically Icelandic. The temperature wavered between 0 and -2 degrees Celsius, and the wind was a blustery 30 meters per second, which translates to just over 60 miles per hour. We spent the day driving along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, unable to see the famous Snæfellsjökull volcanic glacier due to clouds, but enjoying the scenery nonetheless.  We stopped to watch a family of Icelandic ponies graze in a rocky field. We made pictures of a small church in the center of a lava field. Raymond took us to the famous beach at Búðir where we watched snow fall on its one-of-a-kind round, black rocks, a jarring yet phenomenal scene.

We ended the tour in a small fishing town where we warmed up with a bowl of homemade vegetable cream soup before driving back to Reykjavik. As the sun set behind a wall of clouds, rays of light escaped, allowing us to make the last of our Icelandic photos.

Maybe we’ll make it back there someday.  There is still so much more to see and do.

This is one place I’d like to get back to on a sunny day.  It’s called Gullfols, or Golden Falls, and pictures from there are spectacular when the weather is nice.  I shot this using the 8mm app on my iPhone just for fun, trying to make light of a dark day.

But there is a lot of work to be done this weekend at the Preakness Stakes so after a quick stop in Norway, home we go.

Nikon Solutions Expo by Bill Frakes

This week, Laura and I are traveling to Germany for Nikon Deutschland's Nikon Solutions Expo. The Expo, April 27-28, brings together professional photographers, hobby photographers, and photo enthusiasts to showcase some of the latest technology and hold educational workshops and seminars.
Nearly all of my ancestors came to the USA from Germany, and it's always a treat to be back "home." My great great great great grandfather Wilhem came to the States on a boat by himself when he was five years old, with a small suitcase and a note pinned to his chest.  His parents sent him during the European potato famine as they could not take care of him.  This is a guy I would like to have met.  Talk about tough.

We're honored to be a part of such an inspiring group of presenters including Joe McNally, Serge Romanov, Jens Brüggemann, Mayk Azzato, Robin Preston, Florian Schulz, Ralph Man, Sebastian Wiegärtner, and Maike Jarsetz.

We will be presenting three times a day at 10:45, 12:45 and 17:15 on D-SLR Video, Sports Photography and the Simple Love of Photography -- if I am not on the stage you'll be able to find me trying to absorb some of the wealth of information being offered.
Wir würden uns freuen Sie dort zu sehen.