Aug 30, 2010

Family Bond

A little preview of a shoot we did yesterday for a very happy family. Seriously, they were all giggles; it was all I could do to get them to tone it down for a few frames. More smiles to come.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, ISO 400, various focal lengths and aperture settings yield various shutter speeds.

Aug 29, 2010

A Trip South

Nephew is starting first grade. My first grade teacher was Mrs. McCabe, and our team name for field day was McCabe's Monkey's. It was a real field day, with genuine gunny sacks to race in, three legged races, hundred yard dashes, and jump roping contests. And you only got a ribbon if you won, not just for participating. It was a good thing, I think. It was a whole different world at Mary Esther Elementary. That was in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Famous (sort of) for white sandy beaches. I mean, white, like snow, literally.

Not like the beaches in Ft. Lauderdale, where I was last week. The beach there was made all of diatoms and shell fragments, and the grains were very soft and comfortable to walk in. Kind of nice. Not a bad view to wake up to in the morning, either.

I stayed at the Sheraton on the beach, and they have a restaurant in the hotel, called The Wreck (kind of a sunken ship theme) that has windows that look into the pool from below. Pretty creepy. Billy Crystal did some movie with a scene in there. Fish and Chips were okay.

My work was in Miami, however, and i did get a little time there in the afternoon one day to walk the beach front and see the beach. Very colorful place, Miami; very caribbean. 

Unfortunately, that visit was cut short when these storm clouds rolled in. It can really come down down there! So, I was left to my usual routine of shooting at night.

Tried this one on the beach. That couple was gracious enough to hold still for me, and the sea was calm under that oil tanker, too. It was a fifteen second exposure, and then some additional work in LightRoom to finish it off.

Similarly, shooting was restricted to nighttime earlier last week in Atlanta. It's a pretty nice city for night work, though, and this one turned out okay. Hot nights in the south. It was a good visit, with some good results and good people to work with. Still, I wasn't dry for nearly a week, and it's good to be home.

Shot all of these with my Canon 7D, and a 35mm f/1.4 USM L series lens. I like this lens for it's sharp renditions and super fast aperture. However, the camera is a little disappointing. I'm still working with it, but my first impression is that the Nikon D90 makes better quality images, especially at higher ISO's and/or longer exposures. I'm not giving up on it, yet, but I'm also not selling my Nikon gear (nor do I foresee that happening!). I don't mind if you love your Canon, but I've worked with both. I'm still giving it a chance, though, so don't hate me, yet.

Aug 27, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D700, 300mm f/4 lens, f/4.0, 1/2500s.

Aug 20, 2010

Flower Friday, found with a Frenchman named Philippe, and food from Fred's

We'll start with the Flower. 

We found these Dalias around the corner from Fred's Coffee Shop...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself! First, meet Philippe; I did.

Except, when I met him...

Aug 18, 2010

The not-so-Golden Gate

Get it? Cause of the fence? Gate? Right?

Anyway, there's a fence keeping people from tumbling down the hill onto the highway. Some considerate photog was good enough to cut a telephoto lens sized hole in the fence to shoot through, and my buddy Philipe made good use of that. I opted to climb up on a timber post, Daniel-san style, and shoot over the fence. I rather like the look here. The wide angle emphasizes the lines and distances, really drawing the eye to the center and farthest portion of the bridge, then back tracking and examining details. I also like the triangles.

Nikon D700, 12-24mm f/4.0 lens @ 17mm, f/8.0, 1/800s, ISO 400. I shot this in Black and White. Your camera does a better job of it than Photoshop, and if you have a Nikon D80, 90, 300, 300s, 700, 3, 3s, or a Canon D40, 50, 7D, 5DMkII, 1DMkIII, IV, or 1DsMkIII, then your camera has the capability to make phenomenal black and whites by applying an affect perfectly similar to shooting black and white film with  a colored filter on the lens. If you haven't tried it, you should. You'll love it. Sometimes it saves the day when the sky is grey. Also, a few other cameras may have the ability to shoot with the filters, but all of them can shoot in Black and White--it's called Monochrome in your camera. Good luck.

Aug 16, 2010

Oldie, but a Goodie

This one is from a shoot a while back, and I just happened across it. I love the action and the playful look. This gal was a ham, and loved to be in front of the camera. It's really great when people are like that because there will be pictures of them forever. One of my students was just lamenting to me the other day that she has a friend who recently passed away, and the only pictures her grown children could produce to show at her funeral were her wedding pictures thirty years before. That's not gonna happen for this gal. This is a memory that will not pass with time--it's locked up forever here on the web, and in their home, as well. Be in pictures: you're doing yourself and your family a favor.

Nikon D90, 80-200mm f/2.8 AF lens @ 145mm, f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO 320.

Aug 13, 2010

Description of a Flower Friday

This iPad thing is pretty handy--especially as a photographer. It's fulfilling my purpose quite well. For instance, I'm in California, and just showed one of my favorite pictures (Mavericks Surfer) to a surfer I ran into. He loved it, and I loved that. Showing pictures on demand in high resolution with a beautifully lit screen really makes an impression. Like I say, pretty handy.

Although it allows users to devour things like pictures and web pages, it does not create certain things very well. Like blog posts with pictures. For some reason, I cannot insert a picture from my files into this post. That's too bad; for you. Now you'll just have to read about the flowers I would have posted.

The thing is, the San Francisco area has been socked in for weeks. Nothing but fog for days on end. It's great for me--I can handle a respite from the hot summer in Logan. However, it's bad news for camera equipment, and it also makes for very dark sunsets. So, the huge patch of white daisies I was going to post here did not get shot. 

They were gorgeous, though! Little white bunches bursting from the cloudy heather surrounding them, with mist visibly swirling around them. Actually, it's better that the picture can't be posted...I wouldn't have done it justice. Anyhow, the cold, wet evening yielded almost no pictures, and the couple I did make appear to be victims of a dirty sensor (more on that another day).

So, here I sit at Mezza Luna--a totally Italian place from my server (Giovanni) to the Ferrari's in the parking lot. I tried to make pictures of my calamari salad with prawns, but those little squid legs just don't look that great under the mood lighting in here. 

And it's a very good thing that the pictures of the cioccolati cheesecake and ice-cream dessert won't turn out: I'll not be held responsible for you buying plane tickets to eat here this weekend. 

Aug 9, 2010

A Boring Evening

Had a shoot with my class from BATC this evening--mother and son. We had a good location, with lots of variety, decent light, as well. The sun was behind a building and partly cloudy skies made a large out of the sky so we get nice even light, which is great for this application; I love a nice directional light, with good shadows on the face, but when kids are running around (and swinging from bull whips wrapped around sculptures Indy style) a nice big light that is always decent is a real boon. 

Yep, good location, good light. Too bad the subjects didn't have any fun; as you can see, they were pretty bored the whole time. Yep, nothing worth keeping from this shoot.

Canon EOS 7D, 35mm f/1.4 L II lens, f/1.4, 1/8000s, ISO 800. Yep, that's right: it's a Canon. We'll see how it goes, but don't think for a moment that I don't still have my Nikon!

Aug 8, 2010

An Evening with Mel

I was visiting and working with my friend, Mel Torrie, at his house when these views played out before us.  We grabbed our cameras and went to work. Trouble was, one side of the house had the rainbow, while the other had the sunset--we were running back and forth, tripods over our heads, trying not to trip on the ground. Needless to say, we didn't get much done.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 110, f/5.6, 1/8000s, ISO 1600.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/8000s,  ISO 400.

Aug 5, 2010

Flower Friday

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.8 lens, f/4.0, 1/50s, ISO 200.

Aug 4, 2010


Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 130mm, f/3.5, 1/100s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 200mm, f/10.0, 1/5s, ISO 200.
Preparing to perform is not only about practicing the movements. A large part is simply thinking about the performance itself, preparing things mentally before creating them physically/ audibly/visibly. This is an age-old piece of wisdom which I am trying to incorporate regularly in my workflow. Oh, not my violin playing (fortunately for you!) like S. here, but in my photographic performances which actually begin the moment I consider inviting you to be my client or responding to your invitation to shoot for you. The first thing I do is to think what words will help to ensure a good fit between us in a working relationship (often I ask if a prospective client has seen my work) because I want 
to make sure there are no misconceptions about what the resulting pieces of artwork will be like. I try to vet those who are after a style I don't do and point them to a photographer I know who might be a better fit. Like the gal who called the other day asking if I could shoot her pottery for her. I was certainly intrigued by her descriptions, and she said she liked my work, so we got together to make it work. The result is that I met a fascinating woman who makes some truly beautiful ceramic creations. I don't want to spoil them, though, so you may have to find them next time you're in Jackson. Anyway, I was thinking for a week about how to light and showcase her work without ever having seen it! In the end, I had to remember that these images were really just the same as my portrait work: they are about capturing her spirit in the clay, not showing off my skill. Still, I bet S. is more skilled at the meditative preparation than I...

A little sneak peek

This is just one of several images I liked of S. from our shoot on Monday during my photography class. What a pleasure he was to work with!

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @98mm, f/3.5, 1/80s, ISO 320.

Aug 1, 2010

Monkeying Around

This is the essence of childhood summertimes for middle class boys: trying to stay entertained as long as possible while Mom is shopping. It may be hiding in the clothing racks, hunting for food samples, looking for change in vending machines, or hanging out on the stairs at the mall. Yep, I was pretty valiant at this. Had to be. Had to stick it out as long as possible so that Mom could have some time finding deals. She knew time was up when I stopped hanging on railings and started hanging on her arm: "Are you dooooone, yet?"

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 200mm, f/2.8, 1/640s, ISO 1600.