Category Archives: Blog
Finding that inner peace.
The best part about being a wedding photographer is watching the story unfold. You sit by and watch all the interactions between the bride and groom with everyone else before they get to meet each other. And when they finally see each other for the first time all of the nervousness; that worry, it all goes away. They get to be themselves, they find their inner peace.
This is what happened with Holger. After he and Debbie had their first look all of his tension went away. You can see it in the photos and I just loved his sly smiles that he would show when he thought no one was looking. It seemed that after that he saw his bride for the first time things were easy for him and the nervousness subsided. Our bride Debbie was glowing, the location was beautiful, and the sun set softly in the afternoon. It was a joy to photograph such a lovely couple that were surrounded by some pretty wonderful people. Thank you Debbie and Holger for such a great time and also to our hosts while we were there, Chris and Rainey Webb.
This week I went to pick up the newest addition to our family, a German Shepard puppy and while I was there I spent some time shooting dog portraits. I have never really shot “dog portraits” other than the few photos of our first dog. Photographing pets is something that I really love and found that if you follow them around for a while you can really capture some beautiful moments. There is an element of surprise that comes with every frame especially with dogs. They will run from invisible chasers, they will lick you, and occasionally you end up on the wrong side of a dog pile. After a while they usually treat you like a pack member and just go about their business… This is when the magic happens.
This group of dogs were no different. Gladius is a pure breed GSD that whelped her first litter of 6 puppies on February 24th. It wasn’t without difficulty, one of the puppies was born with out a birthing sack and had to be stimulated for over an hour to survive. Another puppy lost a toe in the early chaos. The breeder (my uncle) poured his heart into these dogs and because of this everyone of them survived. Nine weeks later I was able to photograph all of the dogs including mother and grandfather. Here are my dog portraits.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
I know I am a bit late updating my blog. I had a lot around the house I had to do and put this on the back-burner for a few days. I am excited to update though because I finally got it; My Portrait lens. It is the Nikon Nikkor 85 f/1.4D. I had put in an order for the 85 f/1.8G but I grew impatient. I am so glad I purchased this lens though. Here is just a few images from this week (received it on Wednesday, so these have all been shot in the past 2 days!). I know I will be using this lens more and more throughout my work. It just has a distinct look that is hard to create using any other len. I also decided to try something a little different, I am used a few Nik filters on some of the images. They are plug-ins that are used in Lightroom to create highly stylized photos or to mimic film. Let me know what you think.
My first image taken with my new to me 85 f/1.4D
Lila on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Lila on the Blue Ridge Parkway edited with the Nik plug-in.
A quick snap shot of Melody and Lila with my new 85 f/1.4D portrait lens.
Another snap shot of Melody but processed with the Nik plug-in.
This week the YogaSlackers Sam and Kathryn made a stop in Asheville and gave me the chance to do some out of the ordinary portraits. The YogaSlackers are a group of my friends that have found balance in slacking. They travel the world doing expedition style adventure races, teaching yoga slack lining and acro-yoga, as well as just doing good.
Initially I had big plans for portraits in the yoga studio with high ceilings and hardwood floors. When I found out they decided to move the workshop they were doing outside it was time to get creative. After spending a few hours watching them set up and start teaching I knew what photos I wanted to capture and just where to photograph them. My house sits quite literally on the side of a mountain and we have a HUGE window that faces east. Every afternoon when the sun sets I watch as the mountain to the east is basked in this beautiful enveloping warm light. Every afternoon I think to myself how can I use that in a photograph. The only problem is the light is available for about 10 minutes before its gone and the mountain is lit with only the afterglow of the sky. After dinner I quickly set up my lights and got to work. It was no easy task, I had one light mounted 10 feet up in a tree, another on a tripod behind my subject and the last was nearly tipping over due to the rental breeze we had. In the end the photos came out great (although I wish I used a little less fill) and pretty unique.
I also got a fun photo of my dog enjoying the early afternoon sun.
I wasn’t planning on doing back to back blog posts on Street Portraits but after last week I wanted to show you some of the street portraits that I had got back from the lab. These were also shot with my Mamiya RB67 with Kodak new Portra 400. This is my absolute favorite color negative film.
Street Portraits: Barcode
Barcode is living in a little trailer near Commercial Street in Springfield, MO. His landlord, High Priest, introduced him to me. I asked about the names and he told me “If you live on Commercial Street long enough you get a street name. Barcode is his street name.”
Street Portraits: High Priest
High Priest has a storied background who has been living near Commercial Street in Springfield, MO for over 26 years. He moved there because he has a tool and die company behind his house and it was too noisy for a residential area. He also owned a parcel of land where he rents a small trailer to Barcode. The land, not far from his front door, has everything on it from scrap metal, to stray cats, to old moving trucks.
Street Portraits: Underpass
A man stops for a beer and a smoke on a hot day at an underpass in Springfield, MO.
Street Portraits: Chris
Chris was walking around downtown Detroit when I ran into him. I asked him what he did before he retired and he told me he wrote schedules for trains and busses for the City of Detroit. This morning he was out for a cup of coffee and stopped to let me take his photo.
Another busy week, this time working my real job. I love my real job because I get to travel to places around the south east. Since the winter I have been working on a project to help me take better street portraits. Walking around these mid size cities I photograph people that are the salt of the earth, people that are full of character. Typically I only shoot film. I love film; maybe I am nostalgic, maybe there really something there that cannot be recreated with a digital camera. Thats up to you to decided, but I — I love film.
There is just so much dimension between the grain structure, the retention os highlights and shadows, and the feel of the cellulose in your hand. If you’re a digital photographer and have not really spent some time with film you really need to give it a go. There are many great labs that will process and scan for you if you don’t have a scanner. These guys are one that I would recommend. The other benefit of shooting film is it generates questions making it easier for me photograph people in these cities that I visit. Usually I am walking around with a Mamiya RB67 which is a LARGE camera. It shoots negatives that are about 2.2 inches(!) x 2.7 inches.
I like to shoot color film and when I do its generally the new Kodak Portra 400 but most of the time I am shooting black and white. Lately I have been on an Ilford Delta 100 kick but my favorite flavor of film differs with when or what I am shooting. Coming from Digital Delta 100 gives you that smooth look with just a peppering of grain. It makes the transition easier. If you really want that gritty film look though you should look at some of the more traditional films like Kodak Tri-X. It is worth noting that all films will obtain different looks depending on what they are developed in but that would make for a lengthy blog. If you have questions contact me and I will do my best to answer them for you.
Back to my street portraits.
Shooting street portraits are interesting to me because not only are they difficult but you never know who you might run into. I have met the very angry “don’t photograph me” type, to the gentle “I could be your friend” type. Generally I look for people that are waiting around, maybe for a meal or some money or maybe just waiting around for the bus. Everyone of them has a story too, you can see it in their weathered skin, their deep eyes, or in the way they wear there clothes. This is an on-going project that I will probably be working on for many years. I will be putting up a gallery to showcase some of the different people I have met along the way in the near future.
Its hard to believe that a week has past since I launched my website and posted my first blog entry. A lot has happened in that short time. I have set up all of my social media profiles across the inter-web and am branching out. If your interested in following me here are the sites that I subscribe to: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flikr. I have also started following other bloggers and came across one that I had forgotten about. This Blog is published by David Hobby and great for anyone that wants to learn how to become a budget strobist.
I started my budget strobist career while in college when I wanted to learn how to create some dramatically lit photos. Since then there has been an ebb and flow with me when it comes wanting to light my subjects. I love natural light and you can do wonders with it once you learn how to “see the light.” But I also love setting up “complex” lighting scenario’s and trying to duplicate other lighting technics I have seen. Since finding David Hobby’s website my desire has been relit and I have been trying to find ways to shoot at least one photo that is light with my small strobist kit.
My kit includes everything from light modifiers to stands to optical slaves to colored gels. The meat and potatoes behind it though is this; One Vivitar 285HV that was handed down to me, one Yongnuo YN460 that I recently purchased (pretty good value), and when I need something REALLY bright one Alien Bee B800. I have a few other lights but these three make up the bulk of my kit. For syncing I recently switched over from optical slaves to radio slaves and I have to say, going cordless is the way to go. Even with my optical slaves I had to have one light connected to my camera either by sync cord or mounted on the hot shoe.
This weeks engagement shoot was with Debbie and Holger Wentzel. They were great! I was forewarned that Holger is a bit camera shy and by the end of the day you would never have guessed. This image was lit with my budget strobist kit. I had two lights shot through a translucent umbrella to camera right and in the background I had another light splash behind them. My goal was to drop ambient exposure a few stops but still have separation with the background. It was surprisingly bright and thats what facilitated using two lights through the umbrella. I really could have used my mono light but there was no power near by. It also kept the refresh rate of the lights pretty short. The image was shot with my Nikon D700 and 80-200 at 200mm. Exposure was ISO 200 1/200th at f/5.6.
I think there will be more strobist style photos in the future!
Hello world is right! I finally got the gusto to launch a website and blog. If some of you can’t tell I used WordPress to help me design my site. Their first post for everyone’s site that is “Hello World!” and I thought to myself, ‘finally, I am reaching out, hello world is right.’ Anyway here is a little info for you about the website and blog. I set this up so YOU the reader could see what I am up to photographically. My goal is to update the blog about once a week, hopefully. I know what your thinking, only 52 entries a year, no problem man… If you notice I am slacking be sure to drop me a note (you can reach me on the contact/info page). I will try to feature a photo that I have taken and give a little note about it.
The galleries page will be online and displaying some of my work soon. I plan on making a few different galleries to showcase various subjects including travel, sports, weddings and much more. If you have any suggestions for me feel free to send them via the “comments” section below.
With out further adieu my first post!
As some of you know I moonlight as an airline pilot during the week. I decided to re-create an image the other night I had taken following a conversation with a friend who liked it. He even suggested I put it in my portfolio. (Just-in-kase you are curious as to who made me re-shoot this image you can click here.) Well the light made the original image hard to recreate and I decided to start experimenting. I will not go into the details of how it was actually captured but I will say this: Nikon D700 24mm lens ISO 1600 @f/2.8 for 1 second with only moonlight. I actually got a few awesome ones from this set of photos and was quite surprised when I finally opened them up on the computer. It sure was fun!