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One festival that I always look forward to each summer is the Jamesville Balloon Fest! As miserable as it may sound, I have always had these fond memories of waking up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to drive out to Jamesville to see these colorful, wondrous balloons float above the horizon. Its remarkable to me that filling those bags with hot air will be able to pick up a few people hundreds of feet into the air.

So this morning, my Dad and I left the house at 5:30 to catch the launch at 6. It was one of the earliest mornings I have had all summer. The morning was so beautiful. There was this thick fog that just engulfed parts of the city and the surrounding hillsides. Above the fog was a beautifully clear sky that was slowly being warmed with the color of the sun. I knew then that it was going to be a perfect morning for a launch and some good pictures! And I wasn’t the only one with that idea. When we got there, just about every other person was running around with DSLR. Apparently they all too had aspirations of catching these beautifully colored shapes floating against the morning blue sky. We had come at a perfect time too as most of the balloonists had just unrolled their prizes and were opening them up by filling them with air from a fan. You can see in some of these shots the scale of these balloons as you see some people keeping that hole open to let the air in. They were massive. Once the balloon was filled with enough air, they were safely able to fit the burner in there which would inject all of the hot air and cause the balloon to become upright. Once it was upright, 4-6 people would pile in the basket and they would float away! The first few times the balloons launched, my dad and I thought they had failed because after only a minute, they would start to sink right beyond the trees. We learned later that they were sinking just to skim the bottom of their basket on the lake. Once we hear of that challenge, we ran over to the lake to try to find a few balloons attempting this. It was cool to see them do this in the early morning because the water was so still that the balloon cast a perfect reflection on the water!

I hope you all enjoy the vibrant colors of these balloons and try to make it out to the last launch tonight at 6!

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These were shot with my Nikon D600 and my 28-75mm f/2.8 lens.


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A few weeks ago during the crazy hectic graduation season, I got a unique photography job opportunity. My job was to follow ESPN’s Josh Gamage for the day and document all of the behind the scenes and big moments of his day as he gave the commencement speech to the Bishop Grimes Class of 2013.  Josh was a great guy to work for and has a really cool job at ESPN setting up a lot of freelance media teams for big sporting events such as the Indy 500.

I had done many events prior to this one as I worked on yearbook staff during college and have shot many concerts and such for fun and experience.  However, this one was unique, in that while I was trying to document the overall event, my main objective was to capture it from the perspective of the key speaker.  I acted as Josh’s right hand man as I followed him into all of his meetings and his interactions and meetings with old friends.  My job was to just be the invisible eye documenting all of these moments. It was a really cool idea and I think as you look through these pictures, you’ll find it is cool having that consistent main character stay in focus in all the photos.  I also think it is cool for Josh to have this collection because now he can look back on the day and remember not only the main part of speaking, but also the small interactions he had with old friends and teachers and the behind the scenes interactions he had with the students.

Again, I loved working with Josh and he did a great job speaking and hopefully Ill get to visit him someday at ESPN. If you are ever having a special day or opportunity and would like that invisible eye to follow you around and capture all of the small moments of the day, feel free to contact me at zmurphy@cedarville.edu.

Josh Gamage-07These were shot using my Nikon D600 with my 28-70mm f/2.8 lens.


lens rental



One of my jobs here at Cedarville is Yearbook Photographer. Its a great job because it often times gives me a good excuse to take a break from homework and go out to some of the great events Cedarville has going on and in some instances, such as chapel, gives me a different perspective on the event than being the typical student.  Similar to my last post about the Michael W. Smith concert, it gives me an excuse to get out of my seat and move around a bit during the service.  It is a little awkward at first and pushes me beyond my comfort zone because at some points, you know a lot of people might be distracted by you walking up and down the aisles.  Therefore it is essential to were clothing that doesn’t stick out and to plan your routes very well.  For instance, in our chapel, moving right along the wall on the lower seating keeps you from getting in the way of peoples view of the service.  Also, when you do need to cut through in front of someone i find it helpful if you crouch a bit and try to just keep your head down.  If you look up, you will maybe see some people you know and that can distract you and others from the service and your goal of being discrete. Also, as part of planning your route and walking around the least amount I try to stake out in the same spot for a while and get a variety of narrow and wide shots there so that I won’t have to walk up and down the aisles as much. In order to stay out of the way as much as possible, it is also pretty important to have a long zoom lens to get in close to the action.  Therefore I mainly walk around with my 70-200mm f/2.8 and in my shoulder bag carry around the 24-75 mm f/2.8 for any wide shots.

ImageThese were shot with my Nikon D600 at 1/160s f/2.8 and ISO 800.




Having just came back from Florida and there being no students at Cedarville, I had no idea that Michael W. Smith, a renowned Christian Music recording artist, was playing in our chapel. In fact, the only reason I found out is because I couldn’t get into any academic buildings on campus to do any work, so I called Campus Safety to figure out if and when any buildings would open up.  He informed me that none of the buildings would be open until Monday morning except for the DMC chapel which was hosting Michael W. Smith’s concert that evening.  Sure enough, I couldn’t find any parking anywhere near the SSC main lot and ended up parking way behind the HSC in the spare lot.  I didn’t plan on going to the concert, but just possibly getting some work done in the SSC.  However, I was looking over some of the projects I had coming up and realized shooting an indoor concert was one of our big projects coming up for Advanced Creative Photography. That was great, now I had a perfect excuse to go to the concert because I would be doing my “homework.” Because I didn’t want to pay the $25 admission fee to the concert, I figured I would wait 45 minutes until I went over to try to get in.  So I went in at 7:45 and got in for free, but the concert hadn’t even started yet! Dayton Christian Academy was celebrating their 50th year and had a ceremony preceding the concert in the DMC.  So I was there for the whole concert for free!  


I was really excited to shoot a concert with my new camera.  I had shot some before in the DMC and enjoyed it, but with my old camera, I struggled balancing shutter speed and ISO. But now I was ready and comfortable bumping my ISO up to whatever I needed to get the shot. I have loved shooting concerts. I love the bright lights and colors that they provide and the cool effects they can have on your images.  My go to lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8.  This lens gets me close into the action and the performers face, even if the staging doesn’t let me.  It also has a very wide aperture allowing a fast shutter speed in the dark settings and a very shallow depth of field isolating my subject from the background.  I also will use a wide lens a few times to get the whole staging and include all of the performers and the lights. Another part I love about shooting concerts is that it gives you an excuse to move around a lot.  I get a bit stiff if I were to just sit in one spot and I would get a little bored of the same angle the whole time.  Photographing the concert gives me an excuse to move around a lot and get many different vantage points of the show.  It usually even gives me an excuse to get right to the front row to get some close ups of the performers.  As long as you have an official looking camera, people will let you get in front of them for a little, probably because they know you will move out of their way again in a few seconds.



These were shot using my Nikon D600 with my 70 – 200mm and 28-75mm f/2.8.  I primarily shot these at ISO 1000 f/2.8 and 1/160s.