DPP Home Profiles Dave Black - The Art Of Sport

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dave Black - The Art Of Sport

When Dave Black sees photographers collecting at a spot on the field, he runs—the other way. His images capture a different ­­­kind of decisive moment.

“I run the D2x on Average settings,” says Black. “I take off the Unsharp Mask and I don't use increased saturation or contrast in the camera. By keeping things middle of the road, I have complete freedom down the line to create the look I want.”

Although he keeps image enhancement out of the camera's hands, postprocessing is a very different story.

“After I shoot, I often increase saturation more than many people would,” Black explains. “I've heard other professionals say that you can only go so far with saturation before the image starts to break up, but I've done well going beyond the usual limits.”

Like all top-tier professionals, Black is exacting in his shooting technique. He shoots RAW plus JPEG exclusively because he values the image quality of the raw NEF files, but he doesn't use the NEF files as a crutch for poor exposure.

“To repair in Photoshop because you're a stop and a half under isn't the way to go,” says Black. “I try everything possible to get the perfect exposure. I want to do it right when I'm shooting, then not mess with it. Really, who wants to spend the time correcting for poor exposure in Photoshop?”

For Black, the latest camera technology is more than a refinement of previous generations.

“The D2x is a life-changing camera for me,” he says. “It's the sort of camera that will help me expand my career because of the combination of quality and resolution in a 35mm-style body. It will help me move deeper into the commercial marketplace. Recently, I've been doing a lot of light painting in landscape photography. It's into the fine-art realm, and the D2x gives me images that will work in the gallery marketplace. I can make 3x4-foot prints easily and the prints compete with medium-format film images. I'm finding that it's also helping me on assignments because the image files give my editors sufficient resolution to crop a photograph as they see fit. Horizontals can be cropped to verticals without pushing beyond what the magazines might need for resolution.”

As an early adopter of digital technology, Black didn't have the experiences of others to guide him. Instead, he has been forced to figure things out for himself. But his enthusiasm for photography and learning new techniques is so great that he likes to pass along his experiences to anyone wanting to learn them as well. His website is full of tips and techniques, and it's available for anyone to look at. He isn't concerned that he'll be revealing some sort of secret that others will emulate, taking business away from him.

Says Black, “I'm a competitor. If someone beats me, I feel that I better figure out a way to beat them. Besides, I find it gratifying when someone takes a technique from my website or my workshops and makes a really special image. Sharing the knowledge makes everyone better in the end.”

To see more of Dave Black's photography, visit www.daveblackphotography.com.



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