Jul 29, 2010

I Love Teaching

I have a few good opportunities to teach each week. On Mondays I have my Bridgerland Applied Technology College classes from 5-7, then again from 7-9. This week I also taught a portrait lighting class at the Studio on Tuesday (mostly for club members, but all are welcome) and I think that went pretty well. Wednesday I was helping a Student with a shoot--helping her set things up to make the images she wants for her client, and that was very fun, too. Thursdays are always Open Lab Night at the Studio when anyone can come and use the lights and backdrops to learn, or just hang out and find some community answers to questions related to anything photographic, and it's also a good time to use our large format printer to make prints. Some weeks we'll have a workshop on a Friday or Saturday, too. I love it! I love teaching myself, but I love most the shared answers from other photogs talking and working together. It's really a great group of people who surround me.

So, this Monday we had E. along as our model. She's an engaging and proactive young woman, earning her own way for many things, including her pictures, so we were happy to aim a jillion cameras at her during class.

We did the outdoors thing, and I had planned a terrific sunset with sweeping landscapes and wheat fields. I had researched my area and my timing so that when we arrived during class it would be perfect. I had even ordered up some clouds to add drama to the sky. However, someone else must have had a similar order in because we got double clouds and rain to boot. Some times you win, and sometimes you just get by. Still, we fun in the fields and came away with some good images of E., and also one of the students, B.

While in the city, the clouds were treating us pretty good. The light was even, if a bit boring, but that doesn't matter with someone with as much color as E. She brought a guitar along, and that was a good idea because often just holding something can make a client more comfortable in front of the camera.

Then while we were shooting this set up with E., I saw this picture coming down the street and I simply had to go make it happen.

With the cloudy sky, the red of the Coke bottle and the green of the vines was really screaming to be recorded. Juxtaposed with S.'s white shirt, I rather liked the composition. 

Now, you've already met S., and you will probably be seeing more of him, too. I introduced myself, showed him my license, and he agreed to let me fire off a couple of frames. Come to find out, he's a violinist and an actor--a model subject! (hem hem). Anyway, he agreed to make time for us during next Monday's class, and I hope we're able to make the schedule work out so that he can join us for a few more frames. I'm looking forward to it.

'Til then, I hope you enjoy and go make some good pictures fo your own.

Flower Friday

A little leftover from Wintertime. 

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.8 lens, f/3.2, 1/250s, ISO 200

Jul 27, 2010

Was it something I said?

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens @ 116mm, f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Jul 25, 2010

The 24th

The rest of the country must be jealous. I don't know of anywhere else that gets two fantastic fireworks holidays each year. I'll probably get emails pointing to several others, and then next year I won't be able to say I don't know of any others...but this year, I'm pretty sure we're the envy of the nation.

And within Utah, Mendon must be the most sought after display: no where else do they allow you to sit right under the display and a stone's throw from the launchers. It was really an incredible show. I work hard at practicing the grip of my camera and my stance so that I can make steady pictures in low light situations, but no amount of practice readies one for the continuous concussion from explosions twenty feet overhead! What fun.

Nikon D700, 12-24mm f/4 DX lens @ 13mm, f/5.6, 5.0s, ISO 400.

Jul 24, 2010


Nikon D700, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens @98mm, f/4.5, 1/100s, ISO 1600.

Firemen have to be Ready. There's no time to waste getting your gear together when there is an emergency. Everything is prepared for rapidity--even the hoses are meticulously piled to uncoil swiftly, and they have retracting exhaust systems that let them power up the trucks inside the building without fuming themselves out. 

I think the pole really started the idea of getting out the door quickly. Guys hear the bell and jump out of bed, or run out of the Kitchen, like in this Logan, UT firehouse,  and slide down the pole to the garage where their individual gear is laid out and ready to jump into. Their over suits and boots are climbed into right there--they bend over twice and then it's into the truck. They practice this sort of thing, and it allows them to respond expeditiously to emergencies. Basically, leaving their clothes out saves lives.

I told that to my wife. I still have to clean up after myself. Some guys have all the fun.

Scott Kebly's World Wide Photo Walk

These are a few of my preliminary favorites from today's Photo Walk.

Jul 23, 2010

2.5 Minutes of Fame

I was on the Radio this morning--a couple of stations interviewed me about Scott Kelby's World Wide Photo Walk happening this Saturday. Yours truly was On The Air to try to get more people to sign up. Not only is the walk a blast to participate in, but proceeds from T-shirt sales go directly to the Springs of Hope Orphanage, which we built last year with the earnings. Hope to see you Saturday.

Anyhow, it was fun being on the radio for the first time (besides one time when I called in to KSL a few years ago). They had a bunch of vintage equipment in the lobby and while I was waiting I made good use of their stuff. 

Nikon D700, 50mm f1.4 lens, f/1.8, 1/500s, ISO 1250.

Jul 22, 2010

Flower Friday

Made this image rose during my Intro to Digital Photography Class for BATC on Monday. Being our first day shooting for this block, I don't get to shoot much because I'm helping everyone get used to their cameras, and set up their shots, which is great: it's fun to see people get aha! moments with their cameras, like E. here. So, while I was helping E. get her shots, I looked down and saw this image sitting there and had to make it for myself real quick. I started shooting at f/5.6, but changed that upward to f/8.0 in order to get a little more sharpness on that foremost sepal. A little curves adjustment in Lightroom drops the darkest parts of the picture to create a very natural vignette. I like this image. But I must say that I'm impressed with the one E. made, too.

As much as I enjoy my students' aha!'s, I'm still very excited about my own--especially when I'm sharing them with my students. I feel like the creative atmosphere is penetrating everyone in the room at those times, and it's a feeling like discovering something new inside yourself that you hoped was there, and realizing that it is there is liberating.

 I've got two wonderful classes this block, and I'm so looking forward to shooting with them for the next several weeks. Next week we have an industrious young woman coming for Senior Portraits. I wonder what we'll discover together.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro f/3.5 lens, f/8.0, 1/80s, ISO 800. Ideally, a tripod would have really set this one apart and guaranteed sharpness, but I had one hand on the shutter, and the other holding a flower for someone else! The high ISO saved this image by allowing me to have a fast shutter speed, and I'm so happy with the performance of this new camera. As it is, I'm happy, but I'll explore this setup again and see if I can't make something really stunning...

Jul 18, 2010

Mendon and Logan

After attending the Mendon Photo Guild's meeting the other evening, I found an access to a beautiful overlook and made this picture before heading back to the Metropolis of Logan.

Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4.0, 1/80s, ISO 400, and 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens @70mm, f/17, 1/400s, ISO 800.

Jane Sorensen

You know I love Smokin' Blues Barbeque. I love the food. I love the atmosphere. Heck, I love the substantial wooden tables. Then they throw in musicians that are simply talented and a pleasure to listen to. They're usually blues or folk or acoustic rock, and everyone enjoys the tunes. They play their own songs and cover other artists work with their own flare as well. It's nice. It's like a free concert with your sweet potato fries.

Last night's artist was a real treat, though. Like she jumped off the pages of a Japanese comic book. Seriously. Let's look at the evidence:
  1. Huge, incredibly clear eyes
  2. Raven black hair--so black the light shines blue off of it
  3. A tiny mouth that mysteriously grows to fill the entire stage with a terrific timbre that terrifies bad guys
  4. Rings of power that imbue super human strumming qualities
  5. When she gets into trouble, her sidekick takes the stage
See below for corroborating photographs in order of the points made here.

Yep. I'm pretty sure she's an anime super hero. You'll know it, too, when you see her later this year on American Idol (try-outs next month in San Francisco--wish her luck!)

Click here for a few more...

Jul 16, 2010


Have you been to a rugby match? When you get the opportunity, take it.

Nikon D90, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 250.

Flower Friday

One of the things I like about this image is the warmer browns and yellows juxtaposed with the cool purple of the thistle head.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro lens, f4.0, 1/2500s, ISO 800.

Flower Friday II

I like this cause it looks like when Krypton blew up and Superman was sent zooming through space in a pod.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro, f/4.0, 1/2500, ISO 800.

Munching on a Flower Friday

I know, I know, s/he's not eating the flower, but s/he is munching (aphids) on a flower.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro lens, f/3.5, 1/3200s, ISO 800.

Jul 12, 2010

For Sale: O.B.O.

Nikon D700, 300mm f/4 lens, f/4.0, 1/640s, ISO 200.

Jul 11, 2010

Au Natural

J. is a member of the Cache Valley Photographers. At activities he's quiet, but quick to smile, and always observing. His images are stunning, and are made with a compact digital camera, not a huge fancy DSLR. Makes us all very jealous. 

This is J. caught unawares during the Gallery Walk last Friday evening at The Studio. I like it.
Nikon D700, 50mm f/1/4 lens, f/4.0, 1/200s, ISO 1600.

A Little Help

B. was good enough to model for us during a class on Saturday. Patient fellow, and fun to work with. He did get an italian ice out of the deal, so he had good reason to cooperate. Obviously, he was waning a little toward the end, but swapping sides of the camera helped bring a little pep back, plus he didn't do too badly handling a three pound camera.

I saw this opening in the wall which was also reflecting light back onto B.'s face. I feel like the brightness of the opening itself offers an interesting balance to B. on the far side of the frame. This playful expression called for something that breaks the rules a little, that's why the rule of thirds isn't.

Here's when he he was fading, but still keeping up the natural faces very well. Our main light is the Sun high and to the right reflecting off the sidewalk low and to the left. This provides a bit of contrast on his face, and the sunlit parking lot behind us brings that nice catchlight into his eyes.

Me, same position, different perspective--about a foot lower.

Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/5.6, various speeds, ISO 800.

Happy Day

The G-Man's birthday was today--SLURPEE day (did you get your free Slurpee at 7-11?). Funny how these birthdays can sneak up and surprise you, eh?

Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 lens, f/4.0, 1/100s, ISO 800.

Jul 9, 2010

Flower Friday

I was thinking it might be kind of a soothing desktop image. What do you think?

Nikon D700, 55mm micro lens, f/16, 1/400s, ISO 800.

Jul 6, 2010

Beauty in Blue

Gary and I are always saying that we need Sherpas who are also models: Sherpa Models. You know, that race of people who live high in the mountains of Tibet? They carry packs up mount everest for the climbers (they're probably the ones taking pictures of the guys as they climb up to the top of the peaks!). I mean, I've climbed lots of peaks over 14,000 feet tall, and I've done pretty well at the high altitude and have not gotten sick. In fact, I once worked at the gift shop on top of Pikes Peak at 14,110 feet; stocking the shelves could leave one a little light headed, but it felt great to return to 7,000 feet each night. Sherpas are pretty much born at 14,000 feet. They would probably drown at 7,000; in fact, I met a famous Sherpa once, and he did seem a little heavily oxygenated...

Anyway, Sherpa Models. They could carry loads of gear, and then look good in pictures, too. It's a dream combination! Imagine hiking through Zion's National Park, toting your pack and tripod when you come upon a the perfect scene with the light about to be playing perfectly upon the canyon walls. You set up your 'pod, and frame the picture...and realize it would just look a lot better with a well lit person in there. So, your sherpa model unpacks the lights, you aim them and adjust the power perfectly, pose the Sherpa-become-Model and fire away! you've just created the perfect Landscape portrait upon which you are now touring the country lecturing and instructing people on the proper recruitment techniques for East Asians. The perfect combination.

Well, I have the model part covered, anyway; I guess I'll keep slogging my own gear for a while.

Nikon D700, 55mm micro lens, f/3.5, 1/1000s, ISO 200.

Jul 1, 2010

Almost Ready

A. is about ready to be a mother. We had the pleasure of shooting she and her husband for some early family pictures. What an exciting time. 

Nikon D90, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400. Light is our Studio lighting high and to the right, with a silver reflector on the left.

Flower Friday

Nikon D700, 70-300mm VR lens @ 300mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400.

Right there on the Mall, just a little East from the Smithsonian Castle, and I think right next to that art Museum (what's it called?) is this terrific little flower garden. Like the trees around the capitol building, they come from all over the world and are each labeled so that you know what you're looking at; I forgot to look at this one, though. Anyway, what a fun place to spend lunch hours, or evenings. It's cozy and laid out quite comfortably. I recommend making it a part of your tour of the National Monuments.

Oh, yeah, and you may have noticed that I got a new camera. The Nikon D700. It's incredible. It is completely worth the weight of it to carry it around with me to make better quality images. Take this one above for instance: this camera picked out the exact spot I wanted it to focus, even though there were loads of other things surrounding it which made it very difficult for my previous camera to choose the correct subject from this distance--oh, I'm like ten feet away, too. The focus is fast and accurate, even when I'm shooting runners on the side of a dark at night (images to come!). Pretty incredible. Combined with the image quality in low light, and I'm in love. One more, just for Fourth of July Friday Fun. 

Nikon D700, 70-300mm VR lens @ 300mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 400.