Friday, October 31, 2008

The Road Ahead

I have been spending a lot of time pondering what lies ahead as of late.
Several things are coming up that I'm pretty excited about. First of which is a completely updated website. I just finished it a few minutes ago and I'm pretty happy with the way it looks.
No major layout changes, but I did do away with two galleries and replaced them with brand new ones. I also updated a lot of the corporate images to reflect more recent work I have done. I'm still waiting on a few images to come in for the final updates. Hopefully soon.

The second thing is the "photo of the month" mailer.
It is a marketing campaign I'm launching the first week of November (hopefully).
Every month I will send out a watermarked 4x6 print of one of my images to a limited mailing list.
This will hopefully get my name out there more, and keep it under people's noses (assuming they don't just toss the photo, which I'm sure most will).
In addition to the freebie photo will be an order form should anyone want a larger, non-watermarked version of the photo.

So those are the major things brewing.

The deadline for the North American Motoring 2009 Calendar contest is drawing near and I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get a nomination for one of the pages of the calendar. Would be pretty cool.

Stay tuned for more on the craziness that is my life.
And as always - thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

High Speed

This is how my life has felt for the last few days. Things are just flying.
From one thing on to the next with what seems like no time in between.
My sister just left after a 4 1/2 day visit, which was lots of fun. Shockingly I didn't take a single photograph of her! Oh well, there will be plenty of other opportunities.

The very next day found me up in Denton helping out on a shoot for an art student from UNT. His assignment was to come up with a series of ads for "Zeke's" bbq sauce. I must say he did an outstanding job of putting the whole thing together. He organized about 4 or 5 different sets of props, all the food, the bbq sauce, and the location. I am really looking forward to seeing the final product.

This afternoon I am scheduled to do headshots, and towards the beginning of November I am kicking off a personal project that is stemming out of the NICU reunion job I worked for Arlington Memorial Hospital. Stay tuned for more of that!

On to other things...

Here is an image I took a few weeks ago as part of a project to be submitted for a photo contest.
Of all the entries, 12 will be selected for a calendar.

The image was taken with a Mini Convertible, downtown in Dallas, Texas.
If you have never seen a big city with tall buildings from the inside of a convertible I highly recommend it.


Can anybody fly this thing?
Before my head explodes
Or my head starts to ring

We've been living life inside a bubble
We've been living life inside a bubble

Confidence in you
Is confidence in me
Is confidence in high speed

Can anybody stop this thing?
Before my head explodes
Or my head starts to ring

We've been living life inside a bubble
We've been living life inside a bubble

Confidence in you
Is confidence in me
Is confidence in high speed

In high speed
High speed

High speed you on
High speed you on
High speed you on
High speed you on

- Coldplay

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bridal Portrait Day

I was asked by a friend a long time ago to shoot her bridal portraits. The day finally came this past weekend and we met up for the shoot.

Now I haven't done very many bridals (this was my 2nd) but I figured they are pretty close to regular portraits so that is how I approached the job.

The location was a covered bridge in Richardson. Despite being a great location, I had some lighting issues that really worried me at first. It was later in the day (around 4:45) and the sun was pouring down through trees creating that horrible splotchy light that tree leafs make. Fortunately on the far side of the bridge I was able to find some shade where I could pose the bride-to-be and light her independently.

I started out with just a flash hitting her directly and decided that a softbox would be a better choice after seeing how one whole side of her face was full of shaddows.
I put the softbox to the right, just out of frame and as close to the bride-to-be as I could get it.

The second light was up high, and left with a snoot and a 1/2 cto gel to try to simulate some sunlight. I probably should have gone full cto but I was too busy worrying about the wind (which was blowing pretty hard the entire time) to go over and readjust. I pointed the snoot at her hair and got to shooting.

You can see the wind's effect on the vail and dress - but I almost like it.
The next setup was mid bridge, with her looking back at me.

I put the softbox camera right again, a bit farther away this time and just hit her from about waist up with it. The 2nd light was gelled and snooted still and on the left side, hitting her right in the face. Finally I put a third light on the railing of the bridge to hit her in the back creating a rim light effect on her arm and back.

This one is my favorite.

Finally we moved to a location a bit farther up north - still on the same little creek.
I put her on a water fall (normally water would be going across it but the stream was low) and then worked on lights again.
First I had a bare flash camera right, up on the ledge pointing directly at her.
The 2nd light was up high behind her to the left hitting her in the back of the head and shoulder. I did this to try to create separation between her and the background.
Finally a 3rd light was snooted and gelled and shot at the trees behind her to try to create a different plane of light.

The orange-looking light section was from the sun setting. It worked out really nicely and added an extra point of light in the image to make the background a bit more interesting.

Those are probably the 3 best from the shoot. It was only about an hour and 15 minutes or so. We had to call it becaue she was feeling faint from the dress being too tight.

Comments and critiques are welcome.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Beginnings

As I was cleaning out my garage today trying to make room for a vehicle (imagine that! A car in a garage!) I ran across something that took me back to my beginnings in photography. It was a brochure from an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. The date: September 19 - December 5, 2004.

The Exhibit was called "Carbon", by the German Lothar Baumgarten.
The artist dedicated 4 months to following America's railroad tracks across the land with a camera, tripod, dictating recorder, pen and notebook.

These are some of the images from the exhibit:

From the brochure: "Carbon as a project may be understood as an elegy, an epic and sometimes melancholic poem about the impact of the railroad on the geography, people, and history of America."

Upon seeing these and many other images I was struck with the thought - "I can certainly take photos better than that!!"
I picked up the Canon point and shoot camera I had just purchased and went about taking photos of anything and everything. If it would stay still long enough for me to photograph it, chances are I did.

I spent hours online and in magazines and books reading and researching techniques, manuals, photographers, and looking through images. I kept a binder full of "inspirational images" and how-to articles. I go back and look through the images every now and then just to be reminded of what got me started and to refresh my memory.

Eventually I upgraded to a dSLR and then I added lighting to the bag of tricks. Finally, the last nudge came in January and I plunged into photography full time. It has been a wild and crazy ride since then but one that has taught me a lot about life, myself, my friends, and this passion I call photography.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hot Pursuit (Setup Shot)

As promised I thought I'd show the setup shot for the "Hot Pursuit" photo I posted.

The Camera is held on the window with the main suction cup. There are two back ups to that, in case it should fail. The first is just a simple bungee cord with the window closed on it. The second is a 2nd suction cup bungee'd to the first. That way if any of the cups fail I hopefully would not lose the camera.

The shutter is fired using the Pocket Wizard on the camera's hot shoe. The cable coming out of it goes into the remote shutter plug on the camera. When I press the "Test" button on another Pocket Wizard it trips the shutter.

I set the camera's Pocket Wizard in a relay so that when the shutter opened it would tell the Pocket Wizard to fire a flash which was in the vehicle behind me.
How Pocket Wizards work and what relay mode is can be seen here:

Hope you enjoyed the little behind the scenes post.
More to come!
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