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Photographing it All

With experience as a newspaper photographer and close to 20 years with Sports Illustrated, George…

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Brian Skerry

Photojournalist Brian Skerry is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Brian Skerry: Below the Surface

An underwater photojournalist's stunning images

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Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

Discover the spirit of place. Capture the soul of a portrait. Refine your personal style.…

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Knowing a Sport Before Shooting

Dave Black on knowing a sport's timing before going to shoot it

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Sports Shooter Academy Workshop

Sports Shooter Academy gives you the opportunity to work with pros in a hands-on…

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Tips for Shooting Sports

Sports shooter Bill Sallaz knows what he wants and where to stand in order to get it

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4.6 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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Dave Black

Sports and commercial photographer Dave Black is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Using Fast Shutter Speeds for Action Photos

Lucas Gilman on action photography settings

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How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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Better Sports Photography

Which settings should you use depending upon which sport you're photographing

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In a New York Minute: Images of a Long Weekend

Lindsay Silverman spends a weekend shooting with only one D-SLR and lens…

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Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

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A Snapshot of Digital Photography in the US

A look at digital photography statistics in the US

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Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

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Rich Clarkson: The Right Place at the Right Time to Get the Shots

Rich Clarkson, an acclaimed photojournalist, who…

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Making Great COOLPIX Videos of Your Kid's Sports

Tips & Tricks from photographer Ann Cutting

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Photographing Commercial Assignments with a Sports Angle

Find out how quick veteran photographer John Huet needed to be…

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In the Moment

Commerical photographer John Huet love to make it up as he goes along.

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Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

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Capturing the Essence of an Athlete in Photographs

Although many photographers look for the perfect moment, what Dave…

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Bill Frakes

Sports and action photographer and multimedia artist Bill Frakes is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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Lucas Gilman

Adventure sports and multimedia storyteller Lucas Gilman is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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iPhone App

Nikon’s new iPhone app gives you anytime, anywhere access to Learn & Explore educational and editorial…

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Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 1 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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Repeating Flash Lighting Technique

Joe McNally uses the technique of repeating flash to capture the grace of balletic…

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3D Focus Tracking

3D focus tracking automatically shifts the focus point to follow the movement of the subject. With the…

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Robin Layton

Fine art/portrait photographer Robin Layton is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

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Benefits of Using the AF-ON Button for Autofocus

Three pros discuss using the AF-ON button for AF control

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Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 2 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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Reaction Time

John Solano says that for him, photographing weddings is a lot like photographing sports.

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Imagine That

Nope, we didn't make a mistake. The photos you see here were not taken by several different photographers;…

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No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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Zoom Lens Maximum Aperture: Fixed and Variable Apertures

Zoom lenses can have either a fixed maximum aperture or a…

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Hands On

Lindsay Silverman discusses autofocusing when using teleconverters

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Wherever the Adventure…

Underwater photos & movies with the COOLPIX AW110

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High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

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Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

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Taking Better Photos of Your Kids at Play

Taking photos of your kids while at play make great images; next time you’re…

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Action Photography: Shooting in Extreme Locations

Photographer Beth Wald doesn't just shoot from the sidelines; she's in…

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Pete Turner: Master of Color Photography

Pete Turner is a master of color, but he's also a master of content and mystery.

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Understanding ISO Sensitivity

Photography is built on the three pillars of exposure: shutter speed, aperture and…

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51-Point Autofocus System

The 51-point AF system positions 51 points of focus within the frame to allow photographers to…

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Using Teleconverters

Teleconverters let you extend your photographic reach

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Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Tips and tricks for taking great Selfies

Beginner

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Live View Shooting Modes

Live View Shooting Mode enables you to view and compose the shot without looking through the…

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Ski Photography 101

Tips and tricks for getting great photos of skiers and snowboarders

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Photographing it All

George Tiedemann is a Nikon legend Behind the Lens.

George Tiedemann's life was shaped by sports long before he began to photograph them. Attracted to the competition, welcoming the responsibility, he played as a youngster, as a young man and as a member of the Marine Corps. "It was one of the reasons I joined the Marines—because it was competitive," he says. "In the Marine Corps, it was always, 'What else can you do for us?' Standards and expectations were there to go after, to live up to."

George joined the Marines in 1964 and did a year-long tour in Vietnam. He carried a camera, but he was "a Marine who liked to take pictures," not a combat photographer. "I point no cameras at people who point guns at me," he says.

It was in the Marines that the interest in photography he'd had as a youngster was revived and the idea of photography as a career was born. "While I was in Vietnam I decided that I didn't want to do something the rest of my life that I didn't like," George says. "I made up my mind to do what I enjoyed."

Out of the service he went to work for the Asbury Park [New Jersey] Press in the circulation department. "I did some freelance work for them while in circulation, and eight months later was offered a staff job." One of his first assignments was a Janis Joplin concert. "It was 1969, and four years in the Marines was like four years in a time capsule. I went to photograph the concert and looked around and thought, what happened while I was away? Being in the Marine Corps, I had time off the base, but I just wasn't involved in the social turmoil that was going on. It did not exist in my mind. Other people's attitudes didn't bother me, I wasn't even aware of them. I did what I was asked to do because that was my responsibility."

George spent seven years on newspapers before moving on to sports photography. "There's the emotional stress and strain that newspaper work puts on you when you get close to the stories or attached to your subjects," he says. He mentions photographing a policeman's grieving widow, then talks about a photo he took of young girl kissing her father just after she'd had exploratory surgery. "She had a brain tumor, and the doctors gave her a thousand to one chance of surviving the operation. I got the assignment. I didn't want to go, didn't want to be there. But I went and took the pictures, and she survived. But suppose she hadn't?" The attraction of sports was obvious: "Sports is a game. Nobody dies. You can be the last out on the losing team in the World Series, and the next morning you get up with your family."

Having done everything under the sun made me more versatile [as a photographer]. If I had a chance, I'd do some research, of course, but if it was something... which I was not familiar with, well then I'd make sure I got there early and asked a lot of questions.

Freelance work for the North American Soccer League eventually led to Sports Illustrated, where he worked for close to 20 years as a contract and staff photographer. He's often described himself as SI's "utility infielder," the man with the camera who was willing and able to cover anything and everything, from outrigger canoe races to the Little League World Series. "My photographic life was like Mission: Impossible," he once said. "The phone would ring and they'd ask, 'Are you willing to tackle this assignment?'" George's work appeared most frequently in the pages of Sports Illustrated, but also in Time, Newsweek, Life and People.

He credits his newspaper background for giving him the moves of a utility infielder. "Having done everything under the sun made me more versatile," he says. "If I had a chance, I'd do some research, of course, but if it was something like cricket, which I was not familiar with, well then I'd make sure I got there early and asked a lot of questions."

Gradually he began to photograph more and more motor sports, especially NASCAR events. His 2001 book, Trading Paint: Dale Earnhardt vs. Jeff Gordon, Classic Photos from a Classic Rivalry, follows the decade-long battle of the two racing champions.

"Being a utility infielder was interesting, but not as financially rewarding as being a specialist in a major sport like baseball, basketball or football. When you're a specialist, as I've become with NASCAR, people know your name and they call you. When you're a utility infielder, you're often called on to work with other photographers at, say, a World Series or Super Bowl, to enhance the publication's coverage. More often than not you don't get the key shooting positions—which is fine, because you wouldn't expect to be shooting the World Series from the first base dugout when you haven't done baseball all year. The specialists get those positions." Which is not to say the secondary positions can't pay off. "I had an auxiliary spot at a World Series games in Atlanta years ago—it was a TV camera position in one the gondola baskets on the second deck, and I got the cover of SI from there."

The emphasis on NASCAR settled his life and his travels a bit. "Until I started covering NASCAR on a regular basis, my life was, well, what's next?" Even though today NASCAR has become a big part of his work as a full-time freelancer, it's not because he deliberately pursued it. "I'm not a goal setter. My mindset is, take care of today; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sometimes I think that people who are focused on where they want to be forget about where they are. For me, the most important job is the job I'm doing right now, not the one coming up."

George doesn't intend to retire anytime soon, but on his mind these days are concerns and pleasures other than photography. "I think you reach a certain point where your interests change," he says, "and I don't necessarily mean photographic interests. When your children's children need attention, that's a good time to change your focus." The career he's had has been enjoyable, he says, and then ticks off the other adjectives: interesting, challenging, motivating, thought-provoking. "But young people today need more help than we needed, and I'm ready to give it within my family." Clearly, it's not a sacrifice.

"At the end of your career," George says, "there's got to be a life."

George Tiedemann has been an NPS member since 1973.

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