Mar 30, 2012


Doppelgänger means someone who looks like you. Historically, it usually meant some kind of imp who had your form and did bad things and made people think it was you doing it. For this post, we're going with the first definition.

This is Tyler and Rachel, of TAustin Photography, based in Seattle. Yep, I met them while I was there for that creativeLive workshop I attended a couple of weeks ago. Tyler and Rachel attended as models for Bambi Cantrell to demonstrate posing and lighting techniques on, and we all had a great time learning together.

So, why the doppelgängers? Cause they're just like my wife and me! (Except, I don't have that "I'm-also-a-rugged-fireman-when-I'm-not-making-pictures" look that Tyler does...)

They were married just a few years ago, but they don't really have many pictures from the day, and neither do we. For our part, we hired a guy without any vetting or shopping, thinking, perhaps, that "Pictures are pictures." When he showed up at our reception with a print of of us from earlier in the day made on typing paper and showing the two of in a closeup with my eyes closed, we realized that not all pictures are created equal.

So, Tessa and I stuck around and made more pictures for them. Tessa is a terrific ball of photographic spunk from Texas who was also attending the workshop. Click on this link to see her take on our time with Rachel and Tyler.

I really enjoyed Seattle. the weather was wonderful, and I'm told I must be a leprechaun for how lucky I was with weather--each evening when I took people out to make pictures, it was gorgeous with great sunsets every time. I'm excited to be heading back there on May 7th to present to the Seattle SMUG. If you're in town, I hope to see you then!

Mar 29, 2012

Raining, Frosting, Fogging

When I went to bed last night it was raining. When I woke up there was frost on the roofs of the houses, and the tops of the cars. When I starting walking to the Mansion, there was fog rolling up the slopes across my feet. What a gorgeous morning.

iPhone 3Gs, 3.85mm f/2.8 lens, f/2.8, 1/3900s, ISO 64. Finished in Lightroom4, Nik Viveza and Color Efex4.

Mar 27, 2012

The Emerald City

A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle for a photography workshop with the incredible Bambi Cantrell. I learned loads with her about working with people and making more flattering portraits of all kinds of people. It was really cool.

But I've got to say that the best part of the four days was doing photo walks and meetups with other photogs from Seattle, including the Seattle SMUG. I made lots of new friends, and met up with previous acquaintances. One of the nights we headed up the hill to the base of what I swear was Wayne Manor and made this picture.

They call Seattle "The Emerald City" (that's from the Wizard of Oz, people), hence this first image. And sticking with the Wizard of Oz theme, let's see it in color as well (seriously, go watch the movie; bring Pink Floyd along if you have to...).

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @28mm, f/18, 30s, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @28mm, f/18, 30s, ISO 200.

Mar 26, 2012

A Few More, and Hanging Out

You saw a sample of A. and J. the other day here, and these are some more fav's from working with them. Can you see how much fun this job is? Sorry, there aren't any openings, right now, so if you'd like to be a photographer you'd better get another job and try again later.

Doesn't that sound ridiculous? As if all the pictures have been made, and there're none left for you! I'm absolutely against this type of thought, and I do my best to keep myself from getting down into that sort of thinking. It's hard, though, sometimes: I see someone else working with a talented model or a great looking family, and I get jealous, I get thinking, "They ought to let me make those pictures."

So, I do things to keep myself from having a pity party. Like asking A. and J. to come along for a class as I mentioned below. Like teaching at BATC, and the Bullen Center. Like hosting 363 club members at my studio twice a week. Like hosting a hangout on Google Plus to show how I finished the following images using Lightroom4.

That was an interesting thing, the hangout. I made it public, and bunch of strangers dropped in for a few minutes, watched me edit, then left myself and a couple of other photogs to ourselves. I'll have to try that again, and I'll let you know when I do it, too.

It's late, and I'm hurrying to get to bed, so I'm not putting all my exposure data with the pictures. Instead, I'll share a website I like to use to see what settings other photogs used when making a picture. First, click on the image to make it full size. Then, right click on the image and choose to "copy image address"or "copy image URL". Next go to this web page and paste the address in the first empty field and click "View image at URL". Voila! Enjoy peeping on other photogs' settings...unless they truncated them, which is always disappointing.

Still Crazy After All These Years

Photographer unknown. This was R. and I.'s original Wedding photo, and the only copy; I photographed it to preserve it for the future.
R. has been my student this last term, and he's been enthusiastic about learning photography; it's always a pleasure to have him in class. A couple of weeks ago he mentioned that he'd like to rent the studio to make some pictures for his 50th wedding anniversary. Ladies and gentlemen, I've only been married eight years, but one thing I've learned is that there is a time for self portraits, and a time for hiring the right person for the job. I suggested to Robert that perhaps I could make pictures for he and his wife; I may well have saved this marriage for one more year.

Anyway, they were wonderful. I. brought their original wedding picture from when they were married in Holland in 1962. She said that she has always loved this pose, and wanted me to recreate it if possible. Then, as we were making pictures, she mentioned that R. has a photo in his wallet that he has had there since 1963. This I had to see! Needless to say, it has probably seen better days. So, I recorded this one for them, too. 

Photographer unknown. It's been in R.'s wallet for 49 years.
Actually, I'm not really recording it for them--they've seen them, they've had them hanging in their home (or squished in his wallet) for fifty years. I'm interested in photographing their photographs so that their great-grandkids will know what they looked like!

I. told me that they have not had a professional photograph made since that day in 1962, and I'm so glad that they allowed me to  make these new images for them. I really think it's important to have the history, to have the images that show who you were--both for yourself as well as your posterity. 

Have a look at this little slideshow, and a few of my favorite images below.


Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 82mm, f/13, 1/160s, ISO 200.
Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 100mm, f/13, 1/160s, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 78mm, f/10, 1/160s, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 190mm, f/10, 1/160s, ISO 200.

Mar 21, 2012

Friend of a Friend

M. is a friend of T., who's picture I posted a few days ago below. T. brought M. to a shoot once, and now M. is coming on her own. I love these kinds of connections. The friend of my friend is my friend. Heck, not only is the enemy of my enemy my friend, but I bet my enemy will be my friend before long, too!

So, we made some pictures together during one of my classes last night. This was a favorite I grabbed right off. So many to choose from, that I've only gotten this far!

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.8 lens, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400. This one was shot with continuous lights.

Mar 14, 2012

Good Things Come To Those Who Ask

This morning I met A. and J. briefly--they were helping one of the club members make pictures while she rented the studio. Those pictures will no doubt become some wonderful works of digital art and compilation--the gal shooting is an incredible photoshop artist. Well, when they were leaving I  asked if they would care to come back and model for a class sometime. They're a cute couple, and that could be handy for helping teach students how to work with two people together. SInce they're married, much of the awkwardness is also eliminated and chances are good that they will still be married the next time I'm looking for a couple, so I won't feel uncomfortable asking for them and finding out they broke up last month, and could you please destroy the cute pictures you made of last time we modeled for you?

So, I told them I teach classes and we're always looking for people to work with, for instance we have a class tonight, and they said they'd be happy to come sometime. Then they called me back a few minutes after they left to ask if they could come for tonight's class. I'm glad that they came! The whole class loved working with them and we made some good pictures together. Sometimes, you just need to open your mouth and ask that question even when you think the answer will be no. Didn't you learn it's rude to finish other people's sentences for them? Ask and let them reject you. The fact is, they are at least as scared to hurt your feelings, and they rarely turn you down. Go ahead: ask.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 200mm, f/3.5, 1/1250s, ISO 400.

Messing Around

T. was in the studio a little while ago and we were messing around with hair and makeup and outfits... estrogen was flowing out of the place, and I was hanging onto the shutter release for dear life. It's always fun to have T. in to practice new skills and techniques. Can't wait for warmer weather when her cowgirlishness will really shine...

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @86mm, f/3.5, 1/200s, ISO 200.

Mar 13, 2012

Costa Maya

The colors in the ports in Mexico are so lively. I recommend making the trip...

Nikon D7000, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @90mm, f/8, 1/800s, ISO 1600.

My Latest Ad

Here's the thing: I like making ads. I think it's fun. So, when the Home Town Values Magazine asks me to make pictures for their cover art, I jump to and make it happen. I love meeting the business owners and getting to know their business through them. We have some really terrific businesses here in Cache Valley--like Anderson's Garden. They will be on the cover of the Magazine this month, and I highly recommend them to you for any kind of garden/lawn/plant/obscure-arboreal-knowledge you might be in need of. See, Mark knows just about everything about all kinds plants-- you've probably heard him on KVNU on Saturday morning. Go in there and ask him anything and I bet he's got the right answer.

Well, for their cover image and inside image this month, we actually made pictures last fall in their bounteous garden. With their help, your garden can look as good this year. In fact, you need to go to the store at 50 West Center Street just to see the refacing they've done! They are restoring the facade to a historic look, and it's really nice. Go check it out. Tell 'em I sent ya.

Part of the deal with the magazine is that I also get an ad, so here it is...

Mar 12, 2012

Flower Friday on Monday

It's been a while since I did a Flower Friday post. The biggest reason is probably that I haven't been posting  frequently enough anyway. I miss it, posting, and I miss Flower Friday a little bit, too. The thing is, my flowers lately are more abstract looking that sometimes in the past, and I'm enjoying photographing them this way. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @200mm, f/9.0, 1/5s, ISO 400.
The Cache Valley Photographers and I headed up to the USU greenhouse affixed to the geology building on Saturday. A few years ago, Gary Bird and I were walking by and struck up a conversation with one of the staff members there, which lead to me bringing the club back to make pictures. This happened again last year, and now we're on our third year. It's been a blast. If you're into this sort of thing yourself, I hope you'll join the club and come along next time. 

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @125mm with 36mm extension tube, f/11, 1/1.6s, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @112mm with 12mm extension tube, f/9, 1/12s, ISO 400.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @140mm, f/4, HDR, ISO 200.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @200mm, f/4, 1/1250s, ISO 200.

Mar 3, 2012

Something New, Something Old

I heard Vincent Versace say something in The Candid Frame podcast (highly recommended) the other day that I really liked. I forget who he was quoting, but he asked, "What's the fastest thing in the universe?" Of course the answer is, "Light." He replied, "It's funny then, that darkness always gets there first."

I think about this all the time, and now I have some language for it.

Nikon D7000, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @ 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 400.
In this image I got to try something new--a positioning of the lights that I've never tried before. I know other people have used this method, but It was new to me, and it was fun. At least, it was fun for me, and I think A. didn't mind staying after class a few minutes to experiment with me. I'm always trying to get students in front of the camera. I think it's only fair that photographers be in front of the lens--kind of an application of the Golden Rule, I guess.

Light position was the new thing. Lens choice was the old thing. See, I got a new lens a while ago, the latest version of the dreamy 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens. It's pretty sweet. But, shortly after I got it I had to send it in to Nikon for some tweaking. In the interim I started using my 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens in it's place, and it's a great lens. Very sharp, and it focuses as close as 1.5 feet, so that's nice, too. However, it's an f/5.6 lens, which means it doesn't yield as shallow a depth of field in a portrait. That means more of the picture is in focus, whereas that 70-200mm gives a very thin slice of the world in focus, and that's pretty fun to do. So, I've been using lots of strobes and high powered lights and making family pictures with plenty of depth of field. For this portrait I got back to the wide open aperture, shallow DOF, dimmer light method that I started with a few years ago.

It's good to try new things, and it's refreshing to realize that the old things still work, too.

Give me a call--I'd like to try some new things with you.