Jan 31, 2011

Guest Blogger: Andy Warhol

Just kidding. this is more than a little nod to the master of graphic layouts. His, however, usually had multiple colors printed in each frame, and these are one color only. Still, I think it's pretty fun to show, and I can't wait to see it hanging on N's walls at her home.

Jan 29, 2011

What a Week...

It's been a busy, busy week, culminating in some terrific photographs today. I can't even wrap my mind around how fortunate I was to work with two great families this afternoon, in addition to some other projects that are wrapping up. 

These are a few quick picks from J and S's little family, with C as the newest addition. 

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @110mm, f/6.3, 1/100s, ISO 400.
Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @110mm, f/64.5, 1/250s, ISO 400.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @120mm, f/6.3, 1/100s, ISO 400.

Jan 27, 2011

Scrap Arts, #1

This group was terrific to see. Here's the first of a ton of fun pictures I made with them today. They're heading to New York, so look for them if your are in the neighborhood.

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

Jan 25, 2011

A Real Treat

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 400.

G. is a member of the Cache Valley Photographers, and she's become quite active, lately--which is easy with all kinds of free activities happening all the time.

Anyway, last Thursday during Open Lab night at the Studio she brought E. and E. along with her, and these sisters were so good as to let us make pictures of them for quite a while, and it was very fun. These girls were adorable, and very full of personality. They were also very helpful, holding reflectors and adjusting poses for each other.

These are some of my favorites from the night. Hope to see these gals again!
Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 400.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 82mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 400.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 400.

Jan 24, 2011

Class tonight? You betcha!

I'll be at BATC tonight, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Street Sweeping: Panama

Posting that flower from Panama the other day got me looking through some of the the other pictures I made there, and got me all excited about finishing another one. If you came by the Mansion the other day for our Grand Opening (thanks everyone, it was wonderful), then you may have seen this one playing on the slideshow.

This is Riceldo's Uncle. Riceldo was our canoe guide on the river to his village in Panama. They are the Embera Indians, originally from Equador and now transplanted to this national park in Panama where they live a pretty traditional lifestyle. THey live on the river that provides the primary source of water for the Panama Canal. In flow, it was like the Green River that runs through Utah. It was the dry season while we were there (only rained every other day) and it was about as shallow as the Green in the dry times here, too. In fact, once or twice our guides had to jump out and pull the boat over shoals of river cobbles. They travel this river daily, as they take their kids to landing for the school bus, and bring back certain groceries. Looks like a nice lifestyle, to me.

Part of that lifestyle includes using a certain fruit juice to paint patterns on the skin--like a hanna tattoo, but much less hassle. I made this picture as Tio was just finishing painting a pattern on my upper arm. It was squares inside one another, and it stayed for about three weeks, then the pattern stuck around in my tan for a little longer still. Kinda fun. And the $2 it cost me to do it is enough to provide a few meals for them. Sometimes a tourist trap isn't so bad.

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 500.

Jan 21, 2011

Flower Friday

This is a little something I brought home from Panama last Spring. One has to stock up to make it through the long winter.

Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/3.5, 1/640s, ISO 400.

Jan 20, 2011

A Fine Future

The is M.A.--she's a well known business woman in Logan, running a high-end fashionable clothing store, Maya's Corner. She is so fun to talk with, and you just feel...cultured in her presence.

Be sure to come by and meet her on Saturday during our open house at the Mansion, and talk with her about her future in the space.

Nikon D7000, 55mm f/3.5 micro lens, f/8, 1/800s, ISO 400.

Jan 19, 2011

Grand Opening (again...)

Saturday from 2pm-9pm we will be holding our grand opening at the Mansion (as opposed to our opening at the Studio last year...). We'll have magic, music, and art galore. Come on down and see everything we have to offer.

Including the Serendipity String Quartet, for which A. is the cellist.

Nikon D700, 28-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 70mm, f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 400.

Jan 17, 2011

Q&A: Indoor Sports Shooting

Nikon D90, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 70mm, f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 2500
I received this question from a friend of mine, and I thought I might as well share the answer with everyone:

"my camera is acting weird and not sure what is going on. i was at the logan rec center yesterday to   take some pics of the kids playing jr jazz my camera acted like it wasn't a fast enough speed for the action shots. i had to have it up to a 1600 iso and it was on a f5.6 and i had it on the continuous shots so it would do 3 shots at a time but my shutter speed i think was so slow i am not sure what has happened. when i put it on a 400 iso and take a pic it takes about 30 sec or 1 min for the picture to actually be seen in the little viewer.

Click through for my answer and a few example photos inside...

Jan 15, 2011

How To: Torturing Kids with Results

Couldn't decide on the title for this post. Imagine the guys voice from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show..."Will Dudley make it in time? Will Natasha get away with the gold? Join us next time for 'How to get the worst expression in pictures', or 'Out with a bang!'" Anyway...

C, C, and M stopped by the Studio after a class at the Bullen Center on Friday morning, which is when this warming trend began melting the snow around here, by the way. Well, C and C were having a good time running amok through the Mansion, and I was having a good time chasing them with my camera. However, we ran into a problem when Mom asked the two of them to smile, and this problem pops up almost every time we make pictures with kids. These first two pictures illustrate the issue perfectly.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2, 1/2000s, ISO 400.
Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4, 1/320s, ISO 200.
In the first one, C is honestly distraught! She has just been asked to make a 'real' smile, and she just doesn't know what that means! The second is just as common, but usually not this comical. C's brother, C, has just been told to smile, and this was his first attempt. Love it. 

Back to sister, C thought hard about it, but just didn't know what it means to make a 'real' smile.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2, 1/1600s, ISO 400.
Frequently, when kids are told to smile I get looks like they have been tortured and threatened on pain of death to expose their teeth to the camera--like chimpanzees in captivity that have been trained to smile by showing their teeth (I think I read that in the wild it's a deadly threat for chimps to show their teeth, and you'd better not do it in their presence).

Still, C relaxed again, and we were able to coax a few more natural smiles out of her.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2, 1/250s, ISO 400.
And that's really what I think mom's want from their kids when they tell to make a real smile: they want a natural smile. However, 98.2% of the time, when I turn the camera on Mom, she pops out her toothiest, eyes bulgingest, most prepared expression on the face of the planet. And it looks nothing like the woman who was laughing and relating stories about her kids moments before.

See, what I think happend is that sometime in the past (probably when Mom was about fourteen years old) someone told her that her eyes looked small in pictures, or grandma complained that she always squints in pictures, or (heaven forbid) some unthinking photog said something with "beady" in the sentence. So, Mom went home and practiced her photo smile in the mirror until she could paint it on with hardly a moment's notice (which moments have become more and more frequent in our digital camera age). Thus, Mom's smile has become exactly what she doesn't want to see on her kids' faces. Unfortunately, C's brain is already churning on how to make a real smile next time she's commanded (let's hope I never see the results!)

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/4, 1/200s, ISO 200.
How to get the natural smile, then? First, don't say, "Smile". It doesn't work on you, and it won't work on the kids. Instead, do what you usually do when you want someone to smile: something that makes them smile!

Tell a joke, do something silly, ask them a silly question, ask them to tell you a story. Doing something that is natural evokes natural expressions. There's a relationship between a person in front of the lens, and a photographer behind it ('cause, you know, photogs aren't really people;). The photog is trying his best to build a natural relationship and portray himself as a normal-person-who-just-happens-to-have-a-large-glassy-device-glued-to-his-face. But, the photog becomes an oddity when Mom asks a kid to act unnaturally in his presence, and now the kid can't possibly treat the photog normally. This pretty much undermines everything the photog is about. And sometimes it's so bad that I have to ask Mom to step outside for a few minutes. This Studio is a big house; don't make me send you to your room.

Fortunately, C and C know me well enough to know that 1) I am an oddity, but that's normal...for me; and 2) I always have a camera on my face every time they see me anyway, so it's nothing new! My abnormality is pretty well summed up in this sympathetic look from brother C:

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2, 1/125s, ISO 400.
I was sure happy to have M bring the little crew by, and I hope she stops by again...heck--after this post-- I hope she speaks to me again...

Jan 14, 2011

Flower Friday

When I was 10.95 years old, my family moved from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Colorado Springs, Colorado. When we arrived there, the first outing we took was to Cheyenne Mountain, just around the corner from NORAD. There, we drove up North Cheyenne Canyon to Helen Hunt Falls, a city park of noteworthy beauty. The water falls are very nice, and you can get right into the nature of the area, learning from rangers about the ecology and picking up stories about mice and douglas fir cones.

Later, when i was 21 years old, I went to work as a ranger there myself, teaching other 11 year olds about rocks and flowers and carpenter ants.

Last Labor Day, a few other Cache Valley Photographers and I took a trip there to make pictures. That's where I found this little star.

Nikon D700, 55mm f/3.5 micro lens, f/3.5, 1/40s, ISO 640.

Jan 13, 2011

Senior Moment

Here're those I promised to share from J's senior shoot. It's funny talking about seniors, and not meaning my grandmother. I could be a senior photographer, and it's totally ambiguous what is meant by that statement. Like the signs at Joe's Crab Shack...

Again, a special thanks Sarah Workman and Chelsea Babbitt for their help making the lighting happen in these pictures. Each one was shot using an SB-600 in a Cheetah Stand 16" softbox.

Jan 9, 2011

Burberry, Here I Come

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 200mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 800, SB-600  through zumbrella.
I've visited a few different countries this last year, and I make it a point to get out and make pictures in every city I visit. This is usually a given, and I've only had trouble one time (but I think I should get credit for Edmonton, anyway, because when it's minus forty degrees outside my batteries won't even work, let alone my fingers on the camera controls!).

Well, I usually visit major cities in these other countries, and I have noticed one thing in common: Burberry. Apparently it's a fashion brand (could I have a few more buttons on my trenchcoat, please?). However, I guess Logan, Utah doesn't count as a major city because I don't see their ads on bus stops and billboards like I do elsewhere in the world (well, Ryadh is another exception). It seems that everywhere I go the streets are filled with Burberry ads: lots of unhappy looking people in chic clothing doing nothing. Looks like fun.

These ads are generally big, but do not show the entire person, just a portion of the torso and head. They are also usually lit rather harshly and often with an on axis light source--which I usually abhor.

But then I got thinking...I bet their photogs make bank! Maybe I could get on as a contractor and license my harshly lit images to them for their fashion catalogues and advertisements!

But that would mean that I would have to make harshly lit images of unhappy people in starchy clothes. I don't think I have it me. Which is too bad, really, because I think I've got a model capable of performing such feats.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @155mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 800, SB-600 through zumbrella.
See, K is an artist and actor. He's got the vision and control required to be a super model, I think. The concentration...

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 135mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 800, SB-600 through zumbrella.
Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 102mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 800.

Then again, maybe he's not cut out for it, after all. Just can't keep a sad face for that long.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 155mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 800, SB-600 through zumbrella.
Seriously, though, K is a talented fellow in many areas. He's a graphic design artist, a sculptor, and an actor and model. He's always a blast to work with (if you can keep up with his wit and movie quotes), and he makes a good picture, even when it's freezin' cold outside.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 155mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 800, SB-600 through zumbrella.

Jan 7, 2011

Flower Friday

It's different than my usual Flower Fridays, meant to bring a little warmth in the winter months. The cool out of doors is apparent here, with snow covering the lawn outside, and the cool colors in general show a winter scene. However, who isn't warmed by a little guy smelling flowers? Especially when you ask a kid to smell the flowers, and he puckers up like he's kissing them; a little touch of Spring on the window sill.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 800.

Jan 6, 2011

Mother and Child

There's nothing better than capturing feelings in a photograph. This is the holy grail for photographers--to create an image showing emotion and moment and, most importantly, have it be natural looking. 

In this picture, K is nuzzling on little S who is just a handful of days old. K has been toting her around for the last forty weeks, of course, but it's awesome to watch them develop a relationship together that involves more than rough pokes in the tummy at all hours of the night.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens @ 125mm, f/8.0, 1/200s, ISO 400, SB-600 through Zumbrella.
When making this portrait I knew I wanted to show mother bundling daughter in close, both protectively and tenderly. K had brought along her beautiful pashmina and it's tones and texture really complimented the feel of this image. Next, the focus had to be clearly on the forms of the two of them wrapped up together, so I used my favorite red filtered monochrome settings in the camera to eliminate distractions from K's beautiful blond hair, the periwinkle blue pashmina, and, fortunately, the veins in little S's skin. Still, to further focus attention on their faces, I positioned my strobe high and slightly to to the right, fired through an umbrella to soften and sculpt the light (I use a Zumbrella, however, the exact same one is a much better value directly from Westcott--let me know if you want one 'cause I think I'll order another this week). I chose an umbrella in this case because it allows the light to fall off the edges of the pictures so nicely, giving a natural vignette. In post production, I gently increased the falloff of light with a little more vignette, softened the pashmina, brightened a little stripe of hair, and removed creases from the pashmina that were slightly distracting from the faces. It turned out just as I envisioned, and I hope K likes it.

Jan 2, 2011

"Life Well Lived"

"Here's what I've learned so far. First, risk is an inherent part of a life well lived. If you stick your neck out, whether by climbing mountains or speaking up for something you believe in, your odds of winning are at least fifty-fifty. If you take risks with preparation and care, you can increase those odds significantly in your favor. On the other hand, if you never stick your neck out, your odds of losing--as in losing out on life's joys--are pretty close to 100 percent. This all seems obvious as I write it, except that we forget it for long periods of time--and feel unsatisfied with our lives as a result.

"...Learning is, in a sense, the flip side of risk. Learning is what happens when you risk a journey beyond what you know and are comfortable with. Some people my age act like they've seen it all and have nothing much else to learn. But I'm still a learner."
                                                                        --Jim Whittaker, A Life On The Edge, pp. 264-265

Whittaker was 70 when he wrote this, from his sailboat with his wife and kids, sailing around the world. He is also the first American to summit Mt. Everest, and the original CEO of REI.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.0, 1/1000s, ISO 800.
Seems like a worthwhile sentiment at the New Year; encouragement to learn and grow this year--to be curious and act on it. Stick your neck out a little, 'cause all you really have to lose is the chance for joy and greatness. So, while you're curious about something, like Little E. here, go find out about it. Do something--anything!--just get up and do it, and you'll be on the right track to finding joy. 

Or at least you'll find a little contentment and probably some info you can use while playing Cranium next New Years Eve.

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.0, 1/1000s, ISO 800.

Jan 1, 2011

Fall Sunset

It's like Boxing Day for my hard drives. As I was cleaning stuff up, I happened upon this firey sunset I witnessed in Cedar City last year.

Nikon D90, 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 300mm, f/11, 1/13s, ISO 200.