Aug 24, 2013


Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Lens, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 400, Nik Color
Efex Pro 4 with Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.

Man, I had a great time this morning with the Portland PAC (find us on Facebook) at Tryon State Park in Lake Oswego. Being new in town, I'm still getting to know areas, so I suggested we get together and go shoot in the woods. Tryon creek is such a beautiful park, and right in the middle of town, too, so it's super convenient. 

My pal Megan found us some willing models (more or less willing, anyway). As the day drew nearer I got thinking that something like Robin Hood would be a fun story to show. Then as we were sorting through clothes, this image came together. I'm reminded of the Jabberwocky, which I memorized in Mrs. Tuggle's class at Air Academy. It's supposed to be a retelling of Beowulf, which is one of the oldest English stories preserved in writing. I think I like Jabberwocky better, however. I really like the picture, and I really appreciate everyone helping me make it come together. I have some other ideas for finishing it, and if I pull it off well, I'll share it with you. 

Let's talk technical stuff, cause this picture is super simple, and it's totally a lucky happenstance that it...happened. See, when working with flashes off the camera, it's best to make the picture look good without the flash, then add the flash in the right amount for the subject. So, while doing my test shots I bumped the tripod, and it made the picture a streak. After I got the final frame of my awesome model, I combined the two with a layer mask in Photoshop. Super simple! I think it makes a dreamy, imaginary effect. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 helped with the finishing touches.

Light is coming from a single speedlight off to the left shooting through a white umbrella, triggered with Nikon's built in CLS. It kinda feels like a beam of light in the woods. Just the thing to make a vorpal blade pop. 

I love making photographs in Lake Oswego!

Aug 21, 2013

"Just Got Home From Illinois..."

The Chicago Skyline from nearby Navy Pier. I love Nightscapes like this.

I've been waiting four years to title a post for this song...

See, I spent last week in Chicago, Illinois, at Skip Cohen University's Sumer Session where I studied with the best photographers in the world to better my craft and make new connections for my business. It was a lot of work, a lot of late nights, a lot new information, and lot of fun. Stick with me a minute, and I'll lead you through some of my favorite pictures I made during the week.

Started it all with a venture downtown with my pals Sherry and Mark. Starting with a deep dish pizza at Gino's East, we spent the whole night shooting downtown. As we were shooting nightscapes, we met a man who's a broker for an international realty firm...and he asked to see our pictures! Needless to say, running into him shaped our evening's pictures and we started focussing more on the buildings in the neighborhood. That image at the top is a panorama I made from the pier looking back at town.

That was late night number one, but the walking and the shooting and the Pizza made it all worthwhile.

Next day we headed downtown again, this time with more people and we planned to wrap it all up by shooting the fireworks over Navy Pier in the evening. We started on the Mag Mile, a huge shopping district. Obviously, we didn't really make it into any of the stores...not with half naked skateboarders walking the streets and enormous panhandlers who wouldn't take 'No' for an answer.

Seriously, I saw some interesting light falling in the reflections from a sky scraper and asked the guy with the board if I could make a quick portrait, and he obliged. Next thing I know, this dude is telling me he can take off his shirt and run down the street and make an awesome picture...and it'll only cost me three bucks! Unfortunately, I didn't have any cash, but he said that's ok, other people will see how awesome it is and want to take his picture too, so my picture would just be the seed for a little street performance boom. Well, unfortunately, I didn't have the right lens for that kind of work. That's ok, says he, I'll just do some pull ups right here, then...and then Sherry walked up and said, "Let's do it! Let's see what you got!" So, there's me, the Reluctant Photographer, and Sherry shooting this dude in the alley. It was fun, to say the least.

What started that whole little exchange was the light I saw on this flower...

Which I thought would look great on a person. So I turned to Bob Coates, who I found to be a fine photo walking companion and incredible instructor at SCU, and asked if I could make a quick picture. See, I tested the settings on Bob before the skateboarder with the hairdo walked by.

We continued down the Mile, found a real Chicago style hotdog, and this guy waiting for custom at the pub next door. When I talked with him about a picture, he gave me the thousand yard stare that all professional tourist handlers have learned to adopt.

Fortunately, this officer hadn't quite perfected the stare, but was obliging anyway as we listed to this other fellow perform on the corner. The Police are important on the street corners of the Mag Mile: people are so often stunned by the sites that they forget to pay attention to traffic.


Also, Carlos Danger was walking with me, but he couldn't seem to hold still for a portrait. After hotdogs we headed back over to the waterfront to make our way toward the fireworks, and of course we stopped at Millennium Park to photograph the Bean. It's quite a thing.

I taught a class on Lightroom myself the next day, and we had another wonderful pizza at Giordano's. Monday kicked off with our class time with the incredible instructors. I chose to learn with Suzette Allen, and she opened my eyes to lots of new tools I'll be using to make my pictures and video really sing. In fact, we photographed a family of singers in her class.

We all spent Monday evening at the hotel, but that doesn't mean we didn't stay up late! We had a great time making friends and making plans. My Tuesday class was with Ryan Schembri, Australia's photographer of the year, and a hugely decorated artist, and I had a wonderful time and learned some things that I have never seen before, and that's not common. I should explain, also, that at this conference I got to choose two instructors to spend the entire day with, and there were fewer than 20 people in each class. That's unheard of! These are people who usually speak to groups numbering in the thousands, and I'm on a first name basis with them now. Skip Cohen has really put together a wonderful program, and it's truly the best education on the planet in the Universe! 

NO photoshop work here--isn't that amazing?!?! I learned so many new things.
I can't wait for the next program. It's going to be amazing, and I'll be sure to let you know about it here. Finally, here's a little time lapse video I made at the Bean...

Aug 19, 2013

Spaceship Chicago

Nikon D7100, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @15mm, f/8, 3 frame HDR, ISO 200, Nik HDR Efex Pro 2. Movie in Millenium Park...can you name that show?

Aug 1, 2013

Ephraim Canyon

Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @78mm, f/9, 1/320s, ISO 400, Nik Silver Efex Pro2.
I'm here in Ephraim, Utah shooting for Utah State University. I do love to make a couple of 'extra' pictures when I get finished making portraits of students, grads, and deans. I think...yes, I'm pretty certain: I love my job.