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Photo Essay: Sports Photo Workshop


I was fortunate enough to attend a Sports Photography Workshop in Santa Clara California. The workshop was hosted by Canon U.S.A and conducted by former Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller. The workshop was limited to sixteen photographers. Most participants were sports photographers or had their own photography business. We gathered the first evening to get the agenda and what to expect at each location. There were three planned events we were going to photograph – an International swim meet, an Oakland A’s / Boston Red Socks baseball game, and a high school field hockey game. The first evening we had the opportunity to sign out for whatever Canon gear we wanted to use over the next two days. The equipment consisted of Canon’s top of the line camera, lenses, and teleconverters. They had lenses from fisheye to 800mm super telephoto lenses.

Photo - Dave Peaks
Photo – Dave Peaks

The first event was the International swim meet at the Santa Clara outdoor pool. Swimmers attending were from Europe, Mexico, and the United States. There were 19 U.S. Olympic swimmers at the meet. Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Elisabeth Bissel, and more. I’ve attended many swim meets in my day with two kids that swam on a local club team. The atmosphere was pretty charged and there was a lot of activity around the pool. Our group was given permission to photograph the meet by the Colorado offices. We were allowed access to all parts of the pool and the only rules we had to follow were not to get in the officials way and to allow the press photographers to have access to locations they wanted to shoot from.
This was my first swim meet as a photographer. Some strokes were more difficult to get good shots than others but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would love to be able to photograph at more meets.

The first session we shot photos at were the qualifying events Friday morning. We were to return Saturday evening to shoot some of the finals. We were there for the freestyle, butterfly, and 400 I.M’s. Attached are some of the photos I took during this meet.

Photo Essay: And The Rockets Red Glare


The last segment of the 4th of July party out at Dexter Lake State Park brought us one more band, my favorite rendition of the Gettysburg address, and what is now my favorite rendering of the National Anthem. That’s since we all heard Whitney Houston add that dramatic note that popped into the stratosphere (and we all collectively prefer never to hear again now) for the first time.  All this followed by the Fireworks.


An interesting thing happens out at Dexter Lake Park during the 4th of July, it always starts out sparse, slowly building till around 5pm you start wondering where all the people came from.  By 7pm the sun is starting to hide behind the trees and the crowd size has gone up by another third.


Come 9pm when the last band kicks off, the park population has swollen to more than double the 5pm count.  As the last band takes the stage, it’s starting to get dark and the glow necklaces and the dancers come out like local firefly’s.  Everyone has emerged from under trees and pop-up covers and umbrellas and campers to find their spot on the grounds for the coming pyrotechnics.

The Procrastinators

The Procrastinators | photo by Billie-Jo Miller
The Procrastinators: Kelly Asay, Don Poole, Jeff Tunnell, Sarah Tunnell, Jordan Schmidt | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

Everyone is having a very good time.  Even with the Steel Pail / Bigfoot Distributing beer garden, there were no fights, no hassles, no illegal fireworks – believe it or not.  Guardian Event Services brought in a team to provide overwatch. They spent most of their time trying to keep the musicians out of the fireworks safety area. In fact the number one sound you hear when The Procrastinators end a song is cheering, clapping and laughter; little kid boisterous laughter, grown up chuckles, teen guffaws.

Kelly Asay (left) and Tim Chuey (right). Tim is EDN's secret weapon.
Kelly Asay (left) and Tim Chuey (right). Tim is EDN’s secret weapon.

Tim Chuey takes the stage as the last song ends and delivers one of the most memorable speeches given by a U.S. President:

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln – November 19, 1863

As the applause began to die down, Tim introduced TR Kelley for the National Anthem.  We had scrambled while Tim was preparing to the The Gettysburg address to find someone to do it; we had forgotten to arrange it.  Steel Wool drummer Randy Hamme mentioned that their bassist, TR Kelley, loved to do the national anthem, but she had gone to their campsite to change.  Randy grabbed a bicycle and set out, 3 of us started doing warm-ups and trying to find a safe range to sing the vocally challenging song (yes, I was ready to give it a go).

T.R. Kelly Singing 2
Close-up T.R. Kelly singing the “National Anthem”

As Tim was finishing, in came Ms. Kelley.  Without missing a beat Tim introduced her, the firetrucks bracketing the stage like sentinels lit their parking lights, and magic happened.  This was no common attempt at the song, no bombastic delivery or self-aggrandizing vocal theatrics, this was love.

As the first notes left the speakers it was evident what a clear and distinctive voice she has.  As the second phrase began to flow from her you found yourself on your feet, your hand moving self-consciously to cover your heart. As she rose to the rockets red glare, sung so simply and carefully almost as a question, I could see the crowd from the stage being caught up in her voice.  As she entered the closing stanzas she somehow sang it as both a question and an affirmation; a Mona Lisa like rendering of the most mishandled part of the anthem.  She had us all, every one.

The word “brave” began at her microphone and ended with the blast of sirens from the Firetrucks and the sounds of the first fireworks climbing skyward.  If you missed it, you really missed it.

Fireworks Display | Photo by Tim Chuey
Fireworks Display | Photo by Tim Chuey

Thank you everyone who helped make this 4th of July a spectacular success. Photos by Billie-Jo Miller & Tim Chuey.

Celtic Women Concert – Hult Center


I spent an enjoyable evening photographing and listening to the Celtic Women in concert at the Hult Center for Performing Arts. It was a last minute request for me to be the photographer for Sandy Harris. I am glad I accepted because it was quite an experience for me. I have never photographed a concert and I was a bit nervous especially since Sandy was relying on my photographs for her article. Shooting the concert is a bit different than shooting a sporting event which is where I’ve grown comfortable.

I wasn’t sure what camera settings I would need and what kind of lighting there would be on stage. One must get the settings in a hurry as photographers have a limited number of songs to shoot before you’re done for the evening. While photographing a concert like this one, I focus on what I’m shooting and not so much the performance itself.

The stage settings were very nice and the lighting really added to the overall presentation. The musicians are all very talented. There were two drum setups – one on each side of the stage. The equipment they had in each drum setup was totally impressive. The drummers were very busy all night and did an excellent job.

I hope I was successful in capturing the essence of the concert and that you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

Here’s the full story from Sandy Harris

Photo Essay: Portland Trail Blazers defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 120-115 in Portland March 18th, 2014


The Portland Trail Blazers took on the Milwaukee Bucks at the Moda Center in Portland on Tuesday, March 18th 2013. Eugene Daily News was there in person for the first time with writer Ryan Beltram and Photographer Craig Strobeck. This Photo Essay was captured by Craig from his court side shooting position. Many thanks to the Portland Trail Blazer media representative for the first class accommodations and assistance.

Photo Essay: Yellowstone in the Wintertime – Wildlife


This time I’m making the essay about Yellowstone in the winter – it’s about the wildlife we saw during our week in the park.

We started each day at 6:45 a.m. driving towards that day’s adventure. On the first morning out, the first wildlife we came upon was a small herd of Elk standing in the middle of the Madison river. We were told the Elk will do this when danger is close by. Our guide figured there were wolves in the area. We scouted around a bit but did not see any.

We then came upon a few Bison who were still bedded down for the night. They had a small amount of rime ice on them which made photographing them more interesting. As the days went on, we saw several Coyotes, a Bobcat, Bald Eagles, Blue Herons, Trumpeter Swans, Elk, Big Horn Sheep, Ducks, small birds, and a brief glimpse of a wolf.

Our group was hoping for sightings of Wolves, but I got just a three second sight of one. The Wolf had just taken down an Elk and was trying to drag the Elk out of the river. He got spooked and took off. We would have been safe with the river between us and the Wolf. The park requires a 100 yard distance we must keep between Wolves and Bears, 25 yards for other animals. Our coach driver was constantly watching the animals for signs of discomfort with us being in the area. We did not have any close calls, thank goodness.

The group was constantly on the lookout for signs of wildlife, which helped pass the time between activities. I definitely want to go back in the wintertime to view the beauty of the park with snow on the ground. It’s amazing scenery.

PHOTOS: Oregon Women’s Basketball vs. Colorado


It was disappointing to see the Duck Women lose to Colorado. The team played well in spurts but failed to close at the end of the game. Colorado has a good front line and they played well for most of the game. Fact is, Oregon came out a little flat, fell behind in the first half, and never put any momentum together. They did forge a brief lead late in the game but couldn’t hold on to it.

Drea airborne during the drive Photo - Dave Peaks
Drea airborne during the drive
Photo – Dave Peaks

Even more disappointing was the presence of only three Pit Crew at the game. The three that did show supported the team as best they could, but it’s still only three of them.

Shooting the game: It had been a couple of weeks for me since I shot a basketball game and I could tell I hadn’t been kneeling on the floor for awhile; I was a bit sore after the game. I enjoy shooting basketball, it’s interesting to watch the girls go about their business. They play hard, go fearlessly after loose balls, and aren’t afraid to mix it up. I find Drea to be an exciting player. She is a pretty good ball handler and will improve her shooting in time.

I will miss the game on Valentines Day but will see you back here after next Monday’s game against UCLA. That should be an exciting game.

PHOTOS: Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball vs. Stanford Cardinal


Photographing the Oregon Ducks vs. Stanford Cardinal basketball game was fun from several aspects.  First, the pre-game warm up of the Oregon team is always fun to watch.  A couple of players were out on the court nearly two hours prior to the start of the game.  Besides watching them shoot, I get to make sure my camera settings are where they need to be while shooting a player in action.  While I was watching them warm up, another photographer pointed out a scout from the Atlanta Hawks basketball franchise.

The pit crew is just in the process of getting settled in.  Crew members were looking over their array of signs that would be used during the game.  They commented on the process of making the signs and the cost associated with making them.  They go to a decent amount of time thinking up what to make and then actually producing the physical sign.  I always enjoy their enthusiasm.

The half time show was quite entertaining.  Two guys performing using pogo sticks.  When I saw them warming up prior to half time, I thought hmmm, what are we in for.  But, once they started to perform, it was like wow!  They were good.  They attained great height and performed tricks like I’ve seen BMX riders perform on their bikes.  There was lots of feet off the pegs, side-to-side action, flips…the whole nine yards.  The crowd was into it and really appreciated their performance.  See photos below.  And, I have additional photos.

I will be out of action the week of January 20.  I will be in Yellowstone Park photographing winter landscapes and wildlife.  I will be meeting up with other photographers from various places in the U.S.  The trip was set up by Nature Photography Adventures and led by Bob Harvey and Diane Kelsay-Harvey.  We will be based in the town of West Yellowstone and travel into the park daily by snow cats.  They are in the park right now leading another group.  I heard yesterday that coyotes and bald eagles have been spotted circling a fresh elk kill by a pack of wolves.  This is going to be fun.  I will post photos when I get back.  I should have some photos ready the week of the 27th.  I will be back in action photographing the UCLA game on the 30th.  GO DUCKS!!!

Photos: Oregon Duck Women’s Basketball vs. Oregon State Beavers


It was a fun shoot at tonights game, too bad the Ducks lost to the Beavers.  I have enjoyed shooting the women’s games this year, there is a lot of energy in the arena on game day; the band, the cheerleaders, and of course the basketball.

Jillian hit the floor hard.  this wasn't the first time Photo - Dave Peaks
Jillian hit the floor hard. this wasn’t the first time
Photo – Dave Peaks

The Pit Crew are always entertaining.  The student section is energetic, loud, and fun.  There is usually interesting posters as well as costumes on some of the crew members.  This was the largest number of Pit Crew members to attend a women’s basketball game this year.  There was also a good sized crowd at the game tonight, likely helped by the fact it was the Civil War.  Oregon State won round number 1 but, the Ducks will put up a good fight come Monday night.

More Pit Crew fun | Photo - Dave Peaks
More Pit Crew fun | Photo – Dave Peaks

My impression on the game…the refs were inconsistent on what they called, Oregon struggled all night guarding number 44, Ruth Hamblin.  They allowed too many layups, and Ruth altered Oregon’s shots or blocked.  The girls played hard the entire game.  You have to admire them for that.  They had some success with full court pressure and caused some turnovers.

Coach Westhead questioning the call or no call Photo - Dave Peaks
Coach Westhead questioning the call or no call | Photo – Dave Peaks

Photos: Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball vs. Cal Bears

Cheerleaders celebrating a free throw Photo - Dave Peaks
Cheerleaders celebrating a free throw | Photo – Dave Peaks

I was impressed with the athleticism of the players.  They can flat out move and jump.  I was at the game early and watched the team warm up.  They were having a mini dunking contest and I saw one 360 dunk.  It was also nice to see football player Arik Armstead warming up with the team  His 280 pound frame should come in handy down the road a bit.

Justin Cobbs looking to score Photo - Dave Peaks
Justin Cobbs looking to score
Photo – Dave Peaks

It was disheartening to see the team lose this game.  In the end, there were too many turnovers and too many missed shots under the basket.  They lost numerous balls due to poor handling under the basket.  If the team can improve their defense, they should be able to improve their record.  There were several sloppy passes that were intercepted by the Cal players.  In spite of the problems, Oregon stayed with Cal through most of the game.  In fact, Oregon took the lead momentarily in the second half.  But, Cal then took over the game and won going away.

Mike Moser putting up some defense Photo - Dave Peaks
Mike Moser putting up some defense
Photo – Dave Peaks

It was nice to see the Pit Crew out in force and they were vocal as usual.  They are entertaining to watch.  I hope that many of these same Pit Crew members will come out to support the women’s team.

Richard Solomon with a dunk Photo - Dave Peaks
Richard Solomon with a dunk
Photo – Dave Peaks

This was my first basketball game in Matt Knight arena.  I was a big fan during their tenure while at the Pit.  It was good to get back to seeing the Oregon men’s team.  They have some good talent on the team and just need to gel.

Oregon Ducks Women vs. Cal State Northridge Basketball


Oregon Ducks vs. Cal State Northridge – the Oregon girls came out a little rusty after the break for the Christmas Holidays.  Put that on top of a Matadors team that had some good ball handlers.  The press by Oregon wasn’t as effective as it has been in previous games.  But in spite of turnovers by Oregon and numerous layup opportunities by Cal State, Oregon managed to have comfortable lead from the onset of the game.  Coach Westhead gave hand signals for the players to slow it down a bit.  The girls can try to play so fast, they get out of control and make a negative play.

Cal State player going in for a layup Photo - Dave Peaks
Cal State player going in for a layup
Photo – Dave Peaks

Chrishae Rowe had a hot hand from the start of the game as did Jillian Alleyne.  Jillian is a force in the paint – both in scoring as well as rebounding.  Cal State played hard but does not have the talent of Oregon.  Like I mentioned, Cal State has some excellent ball handlers.  They made quite a few layups during the first half especially.  In the second half, the Cal State guards drive the lane and kicked the ball out to their three point shooters.  This plan started working good and they were able to basically stay with Oregon.  The only problem was, Oregon had built a 20 to 30 point lead so it was too little too late.

Rough play under the basket Photo - Dave Peaks
Rough play under the basket
Photo – Dave Peaks

Looking forward to watching Oregon open the Pac 12 season down at Stanford and Cal.  Hopefully, the girls continue to play hard, fast, mostly controlled basketball.  The team will turn a few heads this year and finish in the upper bracket.

Alleyne grabbing one of her many rebounds Photo - Dave Peaks
Alleyne grabbing one of her many rebounds
Photo – Dave Peaks