Field notes and late night rambling

More from the Ferret cam

Just a quick snap from the Ferret Cam (Panasonic LX-3). Was out with some friends and as we walked into the restaurant I saw the patio chairs lit by their sign.

Blue dream

Having my camera with me keeps me out of trouble far more than it get me into it. Usually it's just because rather than being bored and getting fussy like the short attention span dude that I am I can just make photos. While at my nephews birthday party my wife was playing with some balloons, yeah she's a big kid too!, and I made this photo through one of the balloons. It's kind of how I see her anyway.

11 hours, 1755 frames but I got more than just soggy shoes

So my friend LuLu tells me that she and her long time sweetie Chris were finally getting married. Since their little mountain town throws a huge party on 4th of July they thought "why not join in?"  She is a chef and he is the drummer in the popular Phish tribute band Phix so you know that it was going to be a good time. How's the day going to start?, I ask. "Well", she says, "we are riding the […]

An architect, a Rabbi and a ferret walk into a bar …

Ok there was no Rabbi but it does make for a good beginning, yes?  A bit ago I was at a studio opening with my good friend who is a pretty hot-shot shooter. While we were mingling about he said something to me as I kept jumping in and out of the conversation. He noticed that some photographers are married to their cameras, always have them with them and are making photos whether they are "working" or not.  At the […]

What’s it worth

I got a call the other day from the PR rep of a company that just won an award related to their sales growth. They do something very well and as a result have grown a very impressive amount over the last few years. The guy wanted to be able to use the photo that I made of their CEO recently to go along with their PR blitz about said award. I asked what their intended usage is because that's […]

Junk it up

When people ask me how to make their photographs better I often tell them to simplify their images. I tell them to clearly show their subjects and get distracting elements out of the frame. This is mostly because beginners compositions tend to be too loose and have lots of stuff in the frame that has nothing to do with the subject. This is what I call the "brown dot" photo. You know what I mean. You friend/family member comes back […]

You can tone a piano but can you tone a …

Some may have heard about a certain news photographer from Denmark whos photos from Haiti were disqualified from the final round of a major photo competition because he worked the be-jebus out of his entries in Photoshop. He didn't add/remove stuff like some other guys lately who have come under the watchful eye of journalistic ethics. Nope. Here he took rather boring images and cranked the color, contrast and burn/dodge tools into the relm of "that's nothing like what the […]

Please don’t yell at me but …

I don't get it. Photography, and being an artist in general, is about trying to see beyond the obvious. We are to try and explore the external and internal world in an attempt to reveal some kind of truth and encourage the audience to engage in a dialog about our subject and point of view upon it. Right? Yet every few years there is a resurgence of portraits that seems to me to be taken by photographers who are using […]

Playing with fairies

I was given an assignment to photograph Betsy who publishes a magazine called Famazon for and about gamers, fantasy, sci-fi, horror and tv/literature from the female perspective. So after a phone call to her it was obvious that she's the kind of sweet and goofy person who makes photography easy. "Do you want me and my daughters to put on our fairy wings and run around the house?" I mean how can you say no to that? Oh no mam, we […]

When in doubt – use the wrong lens

Photographer Dave Black has been a huge inspiration to me from the moment that I met him. I was at a photo conference and had some time to kill and saw that this guy who works for Sports Illustrated and Newsweek was going to talk about freelancing. About 35 of us showed up to the hour long talk and in walks this tall thin dude who walks up the the podium and promptly does a hand stand. "Now that I […]

Behind a scene

Did a little spring fashion-y shoot the other day and thought that ya might want to take a gander. I did it a little backwards as is my usual method. First I didn't want, if possible, to to use typical 19 year old gal who is a size 2 or 4 as the piece was aimed at women in their 30's. We got lucky and found two ladies who are gorgeous but exotic looking in their own right so I […]

Five minutes, two lights and a mood

I was walking back from doing a shoot with my friend Aimee when we walked past this alley. It was a cool and lightly overcast day but I saw something other than the boring scene before me. I saw something rather film noir-ish. I didn't have any lightstands with be but hey – that doesn't stop us now does it? There was a light near the doorway that I spotted that was hanging flopily by a wire and found that […]

But is it true?

We are visual creatures and tend to believe things that we see more than what we hear.  In our visually flooded world we take for granted still, to a large extent, the accuracy or honesty of the things that we see. Take a read from some of the numerous articles and studies that show how manipulated those visuals are especially in the commercial world but also in the editorial one too. Watch this excellent look by the New York Times […]

Hang around

I'm not sure who first said it but it's totally true. "If you hang around one spot long enough, something interesting will happen". I was at the local home and garden show a while back and knew that something a bit odd was going to happen at the flower sale area. Oh yeah don't 'cha know it – it's just the most bizarre thing in the world (not). So I was just sitting there surrounded by all these potted flowers […]

A bit of mystery

Kenneth Jarecke made a nice post talking about the differences between newspaper and magazine photography here. I think that he made the distinctions very well by saying that newspaper photography because its deadlines are so tight tends to be literal/straight visually and based on answering questions while magazine photography tends to be more conceptual/complex and likes to ask questions. This got me thinking. If you were to read the caption on 3 photos, one a classic newspaper photo, another a […]

My right knee

If I'm out working you can tell that I'm a photographer even if I don't have a camera in my hand. Just look at my pants. You will usually see that the knees are abnormally worn; especially the right one. Even if my jeans are only a week old you will see a noticeable wear pattern on the knees from all my kneeling while making photos. A pair of jeans really only last me a few weeks before they are […]

Things we can do now

I fully admit that I an a gearhead, technology junky or in other words: a nerd. I love the tools and arcana of my work. However I don't get emotionally wrapped up in them as it's just a waste of time. I don't care who made this neat-o tool/toy so long as it works and gives me options that other things don't. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have more gear than I may need but not as […]

Making sausage

Being a "foodie" I get a big kick out of photographing the people who grow and craft our food. Cooking is the only art form where all 5 senses are taken into account so in lots of ways I'm jealous of chefs but don't tell them that, ok? They say that the test of a chef is to have them make you soup. It's something where most of the fancy techniques a chef learns, especially those for presentation, can't really […]

Don’t leave home without one

No not the American Express card, though they are pretty cool. I'm talking about a speedlight. I don't care if it's one of the modern and amazingly cool/powerful Nikon SB800/900 or Canon EX580II or an old flash like an SB-24 or even a Vivitar 285. Even when I'm heading out with my case of monolights I always take two of my SB-800's "just in case". I rarely pull them from the bag but when I do they make neat-o things […]

Can I contain myself?

I get to photograph a lot of people – all of whom mean something to some one. Some are locally famous, some are widely famous and some deserve to be famous but aren't. It comes with the job, is one of the grand perks and you quickly learn to deal with being around these kind of folks in a professional way. You treat them like, well, people but respect their needs like time pressures and such. You treat it like […]

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