Field notes and late night rambling

More with a little light

My last post where I brought out my handy flashlight to illuminate my subjects face during a long exposure made me remember this shot that I did a while ago. It was for a commercial client of mine Wild Goose Canning who makes canning lines for craft breweries. They needed something cool for advertising but the problem is that the machines are designed for function and not at all for appearance. The problem was: how to make a bunch of […]

A little light work

One of the main reasons that I became a photographer of people and their personal worlds was to go places and learn things. I accepted a long time ago that although I’m a pretty smart dude I didn’t and can’t know everything but that I was gonna try to learn something every day that expands my world in some manner. Thus it’s quite often that I get an assignment and I get excited not just at the opportunity to possibly […]

I’m am fookin’ Rasputin!

Sorry for the delays in posting. The last few months have been a long blur of often fun and occasionally well paying but more technical than artistic jobs. Not a lot of down time which is kinda how I like it. It’s not the sorta life that most would want. Don’t get me wrong, I dig it but it would be hell for most. When people think about becoming any kind of professional creative they think about the fun, maybe […]

Amber waves

It was the kind of phone call that only a few of us get excited about. It went something like this: “We’d like to send you to Nebraska in the middle of winter to to photograph a farmer way the heck after harvest for a story about the harvest. We have no idea if anything his happening but we need the photos in three days and if possible enough coverage to put up a photo gallery on the web. Are […]

It’s not illusion …

… it’s magic! Seriously. Ok to make sense of this it’s confession time: I am a multitasker in a major way. I have two monitors and the secondary one is where I put my tool bars and such when I’m editing photos or video so that I can have my bigger main monitor dedicated to my image workspace. However over on the second screen I often have the news, YouTube videos or when I find something cool a tutorial/webinar going […]

At the edges; an afternoon moment

I was someplace waiting for something to happen. Typical story so far. The other typical aspect was that the time that I was told to be there was wrong by about 45 minutes. I was so early that there was seriously nothing going on. So I did what I always do: go looking for photos – ones that I see and want and the client most likely has absolutely no use for. After wandering about for a while I looked […]

Allison, or the moments between

While on assignment to do portraits of a business student at the University of Northern Colorado who was part of a program focusing on the ethics of business practices I had an interesting situation: an subject that expressed two very different attitudes seamlessly. Wha? Ok here’s what I mean. Allison is a very nice young lady who is quite smart and has an almost effervescent energy. She laughs easily, is very comfortable with herself and when she is talking her […]

Canned spontaneity

Basically when you get an assignment you are given one of two situations. Either are given a sort of carte blanche, go make interesting photos, or you are given a specific layout that you need to work within. Sometimes you get both with the exciting but dreaded words, “cover story”. Most of the time I am in what I call “wind me up and let me go” mode whereby I am left to my artistic methods to visually discover my […]

Why? … Science!

The other day I heard that an artist’s style is what you do all the time as well as what you don’t do often. These are usually the product of how you learned your craft; often due to the slavish following of a teacher/schools method or ones singular devotion to and the intentional imitation of an artistic idol. Some develop style intentionally and others stumble upon it. In my case it’s a product of some influences that you might guess […]

Still life with right angles

As I’ve said before: I try to not imitate any artist that I know of. Ok I in the past I have occasionally tried to summon some mojo from the gods, so to speak, but in the end it is always my voice that comes out of me. But I do admit that I am drawn to certain things that reminds me of other artists work for often unconscious reasons and the results are unexpected. When I first noticed these […]

But is it art?

Was at a gallery showing the other day and saw this: It’s kinda got a bit of cubism going on. I think. It’s funky which I like. Just a passing thought for ya.

Stranger than fiction

Two things came up lately that has prompted me to make this confession. First off I came across an interesting opinion piece on PetaPixel where the photog who wrote it talks about how heavily modern commercial and PR photography relies on digital image manipulation. I won’t call it “retouching” as reconstruction is more like it. The reliance is so great that in many ways the industry depends as much or more on PhotoShop than the photographers who supply the base […]

The birth of an idea

I don’t try to think too much about my work. By that I don’t mean that I don’t care, far from it. Rather I try to not spend too much time in my head. I want a gut feeling. An organic, spontaneous, “where did THAT come from!?”  I used to think too much and that would stifle my ability to be creative. Learning to not think is hard but it helped me be receptive to the quiet inner voice of […]

So you think you can shoot?

I bet you can. In a way. Sort of. Maybe. Uh, … Let’s first define our terms. In the modern era wherein everyone has an image making device loads of people are off making tons of happy snaps. Some are actually pretty good. Most is what you’d expect from a total amateur who is point and shooting: boring representations of objects. And a good lot of it is down right rubbish where the most insipid subject-visual approach combo is supposedly […]

95,000 behind, what’s ahead?

I got a call the other day from someone who after seeing what I shot and how it ran in the publication that I was on assignment for the company wanted to purchase my images for their company’s new marketing campaign. Sweet! I love calls like that. So I go to my archive and pull the images. And that got me thinking, “I wonder how many images I shot last year?” So I did a search in my archive and […]

What’s old is new -ish

As I’ve been doing more and more video work with my dandy, nay amazing, Nikon D800 I’ve been finding that being an old timer is actually quite a benefit. That’s because I know how to manually focus a lens. Wha? Yeah! No kiddin. I fully admit that I use AF alot as, well, it works. I learned a number of years ago that especially in a sports type situation that ever since the Nikon F5 and N90s came out that […]

That not a studio … that’s a closet!

I got a call from the editor of the varsity magazine for the University of Nebraska. It was the kind of assignment that sounds wicked cool: “Need photos of a hall of fame football player Dale Klein who is now an aerospace engineer who works on rockets and satellites”. After chatting with Dale I got pretty hyped as he told me about the huge mockups of rockets in their building that would be great backdrops and props for the portraits. […]

It’s business and it’s personal

I look at a lot of photos every day that aren’t mine. I believe that it’s my job to be aware of what is going on in the world in general and the world of photography specifically. This gives me inspiration, ideas for stories and occasionally I learn something that I can apply to my own work or business to move me ahead. Let me tell you that if you are a fellow photographer and are doing interesting work in […]

Giving thanks: the girl on the merry-go-round

I had an interesting memory tonight and it goes like this. I don’t know her name and I don’t really remember what she looked like but I strongly remember what she means to me: the first and very lasting application of psychology to my photographic work. Up until the point that I met her, I’ll call her Claire, I was a total landscape/fine arty photographer who never really tried to photograph people. I was awkward and shy.  Regardless, I was […]

New rule: the “Oh SH!T” lens

I had a seriously “where have you been all my life!?” moment a while ago and it goes like this: When I go to shoot a sporting event the lens of choice is usually my trusty Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8 which often gets a Nikon TC14BII converter added for the extra reach that you need when you really can’t get close enough to the action. If any of you have shot football, soccer, baseball and whatnot you know the drill. […]

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