A few weeks ago, Puck Junk got some internet buzz with our Best of the Worst article about this year’s Upper Deck Series Two. That caught the busy eyes of our cardboard muses at Upper Deck, who enjoyed the light-hearted ribbing we gave them. We asked if we could interview one of their photo editors, because we want to know what goes into the production of hockey cards. What are some of the challenges that Upper Deck employees face to make cards that they’d be proud of?
Fortunately, Upper Deck photo editor Austin Castillo was kind enough to play Twenty(ish) Questions with us via email, and provided some pretty insightful and provocative things about the world of cardboard sports icons. Where do their new product ideas come from? What kind of guidelines do they follow for selecting card photos? Let’s find out!
Jim Howard: What is your job and what are your duties with Upper Deck?
Austin Castillo: My job title is Photo Editor. I maintain a huge archive of digital and film assets (slides and negatives) and pick the photos that go on cards, as well as some Photoshop work (CMYK conversion, color correction, etc.).
JH: How did you find your way into this field?
AC: I studied photography in college and then found the job via Indeed.
JH: To what extent do you edit the pictures? Obviously color, contrast and brightness are tweaked as needed, but I’ve seen older cards where the ads on the boards were removed or altered.
Hey, who out there likes to gamble? Maybe take a little trip to Vegas, or just a friendly card game between buddies? I don’t mind it from time to time, and now I’ve found a way to mix my love of inked cardboard and the thrill of laying it all on the line: case breaks!
Remember when you were in elementary school and you saw your first grade teacher at the grocery store for the first time, and exclaimed, “Mrs. Dethnoll, what are you doing here?”
“I’m shopping for groceries, just like you!”
“You are? I thought you just lived at the school!”
Even though we’re all grown-ass adults hacking away at our 9-to-5 jobs and drinking kale smoothies (ugh, seriously this stuff is gross!), we sometimes forget that those of us on this earth living the dream of playing hockey for a living exist outside of the rink as well. Pro athletes have lives, likes and dislikes, clothes they enjoy wearing that don’t have an itchy fight strap, pets that need walking or scooping after, and, most importantly, food they love eating!
Upper Deck Series One Hockey came out earlier this month, so it’s time once again to see which of these hot dogs come off looking like weenies — thanks to some intrepid hockey photographers and Upper Deck’s editors!
You know what grinds my gears in the card collecting world? Absolute laziness fortified with an attitude that no one will notice. On Friday evening, I’m sitting back in my dapper, leather high-back Georgian wing chair, enjoying a freshly poured adult beverage consisting of Scotch old enough legally buy itself and nothing more, when my phone pinged with a message.
It was an email from an online sport card retailer that I frequent, directing my attention to a sale. I adjusted my pashmina afghan, tipped my yachting cap back on my brow, and dove in to see what wares awaited my eyes.
We all have regrets in life. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault but our own; sometimes fate just has a funny sense of humor. It could be a job we took that quickly turned sour; it could be that person you woke up next to the morning after a night on the town, celebrating your team winning the Stanley Cup. Or it could be great hit in a pack of cards that lights up your face…until you read the name. Continue reading “The one you wish you could throw back”
Hello Sports Fans and welcome to another installment of, “Why God, Why Would You Give Me THIS Pack of Cards?” A few months ago I celebrated my birthday by buying too many hobby boxes of hockey cards because…
A) it’s fun, and
B) it’s my birthday and my wife can’t say anything. (Love you, honey!)
Plus that gives me plenty of fodder to write blog posts about!
One of the boxes I got was Panini’s 2012-13 Rookie Anthology, and when I buy hobby boxes, I play the numbers: what’s the price versus how many (and how good) are the hits!
It’s simple math but I’ll spell it out in different terms. You could throw down $20 for that CD of Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits! And you know it’s packed with awesome tunes like Mandy, and Copacabana, and that song about writing songs…it’s pretty much gold! But $20, that’s a lot of clams for 15 songs (Hey, he’s gotta save something for Greatest Hits 4, right?) So you look in the dust bin and find a cassette of Wang Chung’s Greatest Hits for 99 cents! Wang Chung had TWO good songs — that’s less than 50 cents per awesome song! Your mom’s Cavalier still has its tape deck after all; it’s hipster-relevant! So, that’s why I buy those Wang Chung Hobby Boxes.
Where were we…Oh right, Panini’s Rookie Anthology ’12-13. According to the box, you get “One Rookie Treasure Autograph Jersey Per Box.” And my draw from this box was THIS card of a hot up and comer named (drum roll, please)… Continue reading “The Ballad of Shawn Hunwick”
Upper Deck, unarguably, hands down, without a doubt, has the BEST picture for their Series 1 and 2 sets over any other card company. I always look forward to buying a hobby box or two when they come out just for the photograph and candid shots they somehow get. Seriously, I marvel at the angles and wonder how many pictures are shot and how many must end up on the cutting room floor/recycling bin of the computer.
JERSEY CARDS! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em, you’re bound to come across them if you spend any appreciable time (and money) opening packs. Sometimes you luck out and score the star player of your favorite team! YAY! And sometimes you pull some dude you don’t know on a team you dislike. BOO! But hang on to him anyways, because you never know when Nathan Gerbe will get picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Then there are the jersey cards that make you scratch you head when the swatch of jersey does not match the picture on the card. Like, not even close. Continue reading “Franken-Cards”