Apr 29, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 55mm micro lens, f/8, 1/60s, ISO 400

Apr 28, 2010

On the Front Seat

That's where you should keep your camera.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm VR lens @ 300mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200.


Firstly, I recommend going to New Castle, Delaware. It's a small township with lots of history. And Prince. It has Prince, too. Prince is a restaurant on the main square, and the food was excellent. Keep an eye on Flower Friday for their florist's work, as well. Mmmm, this honey mustard dressing should be bottled and sold nationwide: it's un-American to keep something this good trapped in Delaware.

Nikon D90, 55mm micro lens, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 200.

Apr 27, 2010

U. Of D.: Sunset, Moonrise

The University of Delaware is really a beautiful campus. It's all red brick, green grass, and chimneys. I went to school in Idaho. We had yellow bricks, red stains on our cuffs, and ice. Hmmm.

Anyway, I was kickin' myself for not getting started a little more swiftly this evening. The sunset was just right, and the colors everywhere were really nice--cool green with warm red brick, and cool blue sky with warm orange wispy little clouds. A very nice composition just sitting around for any Joe with a camera ready. And there I was sipping root beer. Ah, well. Tomorrow's another day. Rats, with the time zones, it is tomorrow! I'm planning an early shoot to complement (ahem) tonight's moonrise pictures.

The campus has all kinds of well planned architecture. Actually, it's all very similar architecture, but it many archetypal elements. The recurring themes of threes was one of my favorites. It's also a very symmetrical campus, with loads of lovely horticultural constructions. I was hugely impressed, and would like to try my hand at it again. We'll see. Delaware is deceptively large, and I'd like to see a little more of it.

Anyway, here're some of my favorites. You may notice some meltorrian influence, most of which is intentional. It's like my pal Jed says: "Good artists copy others' work; Great artists steal it."

Click through for the rest of the images and story.

Not as Good

Famous Dave's of Christiana, Delaware, is not quite as tasty as Smokin' Blues Barbeque of Logan, Utah. The root beer was refreshing, though.

 Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/1.4, I/40s, ISO 200.

Apr 26, 2010

Accepting Clients

H. was recently awarded her pro-card as a fitness model. This means that she has won a series of competitions, each requiring months of preparation and a strict diet and exercise regime. See, one of the difficult parts for her is that she can't become too strong, or the judges won't score her as high. This means that she has an acute knowledge of how to train--no, sculpt--a body to its highest potential.

She's a trainer at Sports Academy in Logan, and she's currently accepting clients.

Click through for more images...

Apr 25, 2010

So There I Was...

...trying to get ready to make this image, and some other points of view. Tripod set, hat tipped back, left eye out of focus from squinting it shut. 

When suddenly I became aware of someone breathing over my shoulder. I turned to find an Asian looking fellow (not the least uncommon in Vancouver) checking my settings on the LCD on top of my camera. I smiled, and said hello; he smiled and grunted. I tried my usual Mandarin check, but he didn't respond. We went on with sign language for several minutes as he retrieved his camera from his bag (a Nikon, fortunately, so we were already speaking mostly the saem language) and set his settings like mine. I finally tried to introduce myself. He responded, "No English--Chinese". This time I persevered with Mandarin, and ended up not speaking a word of English for the next five hours!

Mr. Huang showed me around Stanley Park, taking me to all the great spots. We saw this incredible blossoming tree, overlooked the harbor, and checked out the Lion's Gate Bridge overlook. 

Everywhere we went, Mr. Huang kept telling me these tips he had read in a book translated from a famous American Photographer, and all the tips he said sounded very familiar to me.

Finally, as he reminded me that it's better to get a different perspective on flowers than shooting directly from above, I realized where I had heard all the tips. They were from Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Books. I read Kelby's blog daily and love his witty writing style. His books really do help one to become a better photographer in the fastest, simplest way possible. So, I was pleased to share other favorite tips with Mr. Huang. We continued around the park, had dinner at his favorite Chinese restaurant, and checked out another park, too. It was really fun the way that photography helped us bridge a huge gap.

Wonder who I'll meet in Delaware this week...

Apr 23, 2010

What a Shame...

I hate when you have a shoot and you just can't get a natural expression out of someone.

Nikon D90, 85mm lens, f/2.8, 1/320s.

Apr 22, 2010

Now What?

Ever feel like you've finally got a hold of a problem, only to find that you don't know what to do with it? Like catching a tiger by the tail, I suppose; or a gator by the throat.

Nikon D90, 12-24mm lens @ 24mm, f/4.5, 1/160s, ISO 800, SB-600 through an umbrella with a full CTO gel.

Flower Friday

"If you can't beat 'em, shoot 'em."

Isn't that what they say? About allergies, I mean?

As long as I'm going to be miserable at this time of year, I might as well make some pictures that fool me into thinking I like Spring--that's the way they'll feel come January, anyway. That's when we're wishing for Spring so our allergies to smoggish inversions will go away...

Anyway, I made this image lying on my belly in front of someone's house the other day. I was walking to the Studio on my way to class when I looked down and saw a little patch in the grass full of Daffodils. I immediately started shooting. It's a good thing I shoot digital, too, because the first several images had the driveway as the background; I would have been out film before I opened my other eye and saw the willow about ten feet to the left. This made a much better background, and I still had room on my card for 263 images! That's a lot of daffodil pictures!

Anybody want some daffodil pictures? Oh, and my class didn't comment on the grass stains on my shirt.

Nikon D90, 85mm lens, f/4.0, 1/500s.

Apr 21, 2010

A Quick Portrait

This was the last image we made at the Baby Animal Days festival at the American West Heritage Center a few weeks ago. This was in the Visitors Center, and this gal had been so cheerful and helpful to about a zillion people through the day. I was impressed that she was still smiling, even after five o'clock. COmbine that with her terrific outfit, and you've got a portrait ready to go.

The good thing about Visitors Centers is that they usually have big windows letting in loads of indirect light, and this was no exception. The key to making a quick portrait like this is simply to have your subject face toward the light. See how it lights up her eyes? Point her face so that there is light on both sides, but still a shadow from the nose. The huge window provides plenty of light under the brin of the hat, too, because it is from floor to ceiling and the lower portions of the window bring it in nicely under the brim. Even so, it was pretty dark and my shutter speed was a slower than I might prefer. Set your camera to continuous shooting and fire off several images in a row to be certain that at least of them will be sharp.

Nikon D90, 70-200mm VR lens @ 120mm, f/2.8, 1/30s, ISO 200.

Apr 18, 2010


Here're a few more from our shoot with J. and N. last week. It's great to have people along who make the other person more comfortable, and this brother and sister served that purpose perfectly. I find that parents often have the opposite effect, and the subject just won't behave the way he/she does with other people. Siblings are a great team, though. They can make each other laugh, and relax, and always know something interesting to set both the subject and the photographer laughing naturally. This is especially useful when the photographer is asking her to twirl her dress and say, "Wheeee!"

Click through to see the rest.

Apr 16, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/3.2, 1/250s, ISO 200.

Apr 15, 2010


I've been thinking about this set of images for quite a while--I've been "pre-visulaizing" how some of the images I wanted to make would come together. we had the opportunity tonight to make these with my BATC class and C. You may remember C. from earlier posts. She's always so willing and giving--standing on point for long periods, for example. I'm not sure, yet, whether I got the image I've been imagining, but i got several that I really like. I'll share more soon, but with the Gallery Walk this week time is short. I hope we'll see you at the Studio and the other galleries downtown tomorrow evening.

Nikon D90, 70-200mm VR lens @ 102mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400.

Apr 14, 2010

Gone Adventuring

J. is headed out to try some new things in a new place. I'm jealous. I love new places. However, I also love  getting to know a place well, it's twists and turns. I don't like travelling near as much as moving. Well, not moving, but, you know. Have fun, J.

Nikon D90, 85mm lens, f/3.5, 1/125s, ISO 200.

Apr 13, 2010

Spring Break

We were fortunate enough to have N. attend our class this evening as she finishes up her spring break from college. It was fun shooting with her, and she's welcome back anytime. 

Apr 10, 2010


Patch and his team run the woodwright's shop at the American West Heritage Center. They have an array of period tools and craft some incredible works. Patch is an accomplished sculpter, actor, and interpreter. I highly recommend paying a visit there this summer to see some his work, as well as his apprentices. 

You'll find more of these guys, as well as a load of others from Baby Animal Days at our Facebook Page. 

Apr 8, 2010

Flower Friday, With Julie in Mind

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/2.0, 1/100s, ISO 800. This is simply an arrangement on a friend's counter. The dark backsplash made a fine backdrop, and the window light set behind is just right. I'm actually surprised by the quality of the image, despite the elevated ISO number. No noise reduction has been applied here.

Apr 7, 2010

Vancity II

This is an image I made in Vancouver--it was my first set of long exposure cityscapes I've ever made. It was fun! The best part was seeing the changes various white balance settings made on the image. There is not one single color of light, so balancing for each of them is not reasonable, and also no fun. I like the variety of lights here.

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f22, 25.0s, ISO 200. This is tripod work, of course.

Foggy Snow Geese

Nikon D90, 70-300mm VR lens @ 300mm, f/11, 1/400s, ISO 200, Richmond, British Columbia.

Apr 6, 2010

Model Wife

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/4.0, 1/80s, ISO 200, huge window, cloudy day.

Apr 5, 2010

Couldn't Wait For Flower Friday

I just got too excited after tonight's class when I saw this image full size. I couldn't wait for Friday to share it with you. My favorite effect here is the hairspray bottle applied water droplets. Hair spray bottles are perfect because they emit such a fine mist.

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/5.0, 1/320s. OK, my news 50mm f/1.4 can stay.

Surprises Welcome

I love surprises. I always have. I'm not the kind to become upset just because a there are little changes from the plan. N. here is just such a surprise. He's married to one of my students, and he accompanied her to class this evening. He's welcome back anytime.

Nikon D90, 70-200mm VR lens @ 120mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 400.

Apr 4, 2010

Can't Win 'em All

Sometimes, you just don't get the smiley shot. Fortunately, it wasn't my shoot! I just snuck in a few shots while my students were renting The Studio for shooting their kids' portraits. What a fun bunch they were! I learned a lot about having five kids running amok in The Studio all at once; it can be done! they kept the energy high, anyway, and the smiles were flowing freely. This not-so-smiley one was the last image made that day, and mom already had some good ones.

Click through for a few more.

Apr 3, 2010

About the Author

Gregg Luke is my pharmacist, a father, and an author of hugely popular books. I had the opportunity to make new portraits for his book, Blink of an Eye, that will be released this summer. I must confess that even though this is his fifth book, I haven't read his work, yet. But that's because it's been on hold at the Library for a very long time--like I say, it's hugely popular. Look for his new book this summer, and get caught up on his others in the meantime.


Nikon D90, 70-200mm VR lens, f2.8, f4.0, 1/80s, 1/100s, ISO 320, 400.

With Pops

I'd like to share another snapshot of this guy. Little E. gives his pops a hug when he gets home from work. It's cute, ya know? Plus, I'm still vetting one of my lenses, deciding whether I want to keep it. It's fast, which makes for sharper images at wider apertures. This one was made at f/3.5, and E. has nice crisp eyes, but pops is out of focus. This brings the viewers' eye right to E.'s eyes and smile, right where the focus should be. This shallow depth of field sets this sort of snapshot appart from the kind that has everything in focus--this type feels more composed even though pops just walked in the house. But hey, with kids this cute you can't make a bad exposure.

Nikon D90, 85mm lens, f/3.5, 1/160s, ISO 800, east facing window light in the afternoon (see the square catchlights in the eyes?).

Apr 1, 2010

Also Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/11, 6.0s, ISO 200. This one was so serene, and springy I couldn't not post it when we have a foot of snow on the deck.

Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 50mm lens, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 200.

Not yet...

I promised I wouldn't post K. and A.'s engagement portraits until after they have sent their invitations. It's coming up soon, though, and I can't wait to share these two with you!

Things that Aren't

Vancouver is a port city--that means there're lots of boats; big boats. Ships, even. Ship require tug boats to steer a course at slow speeds. They head out into the Narrows and push a ship around to keep it in line. 

I met Roger at the park and he told me some great places to go shoot, all the while shooting what was in front of us right then. I had my eye on a pair of double crested cormorants, but they just weren't poppin' for me--the sun was high, and they were just a little too far away for my lens' reach. But, right below them, the crews were getting ready to tug some ships. 

I was intrigued by this boat in particular. Evidently, all the harbor craft are painted blue--there were lots of official looking boats in this same blue streak. Makes sense--it's bright and distinguishable. They also all make use of the tires hanging from the gunwale; and I thought that was just in cartoons. What really caught my eye here, though, wasn't the blue the paint or the black tires: it was the grey door. It appeared to me that the blue was maintained rather well for a rough environment like the salty sea. So, a neglected, colorless door really stood out to me. Sometimes it's the thing that isn't that makes the most impact.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm lens @ 300mm, f/11, 1/60s, ISO 200.