Field notes and late night rambling

Snow is my blanket – death the lulabye

One of the reasons that I quickly decided not to pursue becoming a conflict zone photographer was the same reason that  I couldn't let myself become a psychotherapist: I feel too much. I can't be fully objective, clinical or detached. I'm pretty good at putting on my professional mindset and being fair to a subject that on my own time I wouldn't want to be around. I've had to photograph people who I don't at all care for but I […]


Hey everyone, meet Annabel Lukins. I had to do photography of her for a profile piece that was going on the cover. She is an organizer of major music festivals around the country and her energy is contagious. I got to read the story about her before I called her to set up the photos which is always a good thing. The story focuses on her tenacity and positive attitude. She had a hard time being in the music industry […]

What’s my motivation?

In the editorial world there is a pretty tight ethics boundary that just about every publication that has a reputation for being a news source adheres to. Basically, you don’t mess with reality. That often makes your job as a photographer easy because if it doesn’t happen you can’t be blamed for not photographing it. However it is also a tough thing when nothing is happening, the light is awful, the environment is worse and time is short. That’s when […]

My two eyes

It was quite shocking when, may years ago, I realized that my eyes didn't come properly calibrated from the factory. You all know the yakk-yakk about the demise of quality control during the late 60's and early 70's. So, I was worried that I didn't see things "properly" I had them checked out. I was run through a whole battery of tests and after a seemingly endless stream of "Better or worse?" the opthamologist sat down and started just talking […]

Today I’m thankful

Well for us "Yanks" it's Thanksgiving and as the executive chef of the house that means getting up @ 4AM to start my 22 pound turkey. The bugger takes 8 hours to cook and 1/2 day prior to prep but man alive is it worth it. Oh yeah, just like that Rockwell painting. The bird is all glossy and mahogany, moist and tender with deep layers of flavor. When the familial horde takes their first bite their eyes roll back […]

Got me on the line

Ok being a Gemini I'm constantly dealing with my need to be free wheeling and being open to serendipity while having the control that I want to produce produce that which is in my head. However there are some ways to yes have it kinda both ways. Long ago I essentially kept my cameras welded to my tripod then when I got into journalism I kept said tripod in a closet because all my subjects were moving and delightfully uncontrolled. […]

It proceeds me

I just finished a quick shoot which means one hour to load in, figure it out and set it up while only needing 5 minutes to make the pictures I needed of 4 consultants. As I was loading out one of them confided in me that they were worried about the shoot. He said "when we saw what you did with him" pointing to a cover shot that recently hit the shelves, "we thought that we aren't nearly that cool. […]

Party pix

I was sent to cover the hub-bub at the Colorado State Republican Victory Party on the 4th. Anyone who has done this knows that it's usually boring as all get-out. A bunch of candidates, their families and policy wonks milling about drinking heavily – you hope! – and watching tv. Oh yeah!  THAT'S going to make for good photos. Even if yer candidate looses he's not going to openly weep into his scotch so that you can get an good […]

Something new, something old.

Just a few days apart came my two new cameras and man-o-man are they different from each other.     First, since I do a lot of photography of people who are not used to being photographed the smaller my gear is the less intimidating the gear is to my subjects. The D200 was the first small Nikon DSLR to be pro quality so I’ve been happily using them for the last 2 years. But I must say that I’m […]

Rising before the chickens

No doubt about it, I'm not a morning person. Dragging my carcass out of a nice warm bed when all is dark and quiet is just not my idea of a good time. However if I can figure out a way to get the photos that I want, sleep is optional. When I got the assignment to do a portrait of triathlete Colleen Cooke, I immediately saw her at dawn. Mostly because those kind of events start at or near […]

Stop, drop and shoot

Man o man! Every so often when I'm just doing something mundane my visual antenna go up and I have to drop everything and search out the stimulus. Some times it's just something interesting but not photographic. I used to feel the need to photograph every sunset I witnessed but quickly realized that not that many are spectacular enough by themselves to warrant bringing out the camera. Some you just need to look at, enjoy for a minute and then […]

No looky

I was setting up up my lights to do this portrait of an inventor with these round windows behind him and just took a shot to see if I was getting a reflection in the glass. I really hadn't even set my exposure yet – just a quick test and thus I didn't bother framing. Huh … it looks like a page from a graphic novel. Schweet!

Talent vs Gear vs Money

This topic often comes up when I'm talking to amateursor beginning pros. I does get my hackles up when anyone says "gee if I had your gear/funding I'd make better/greatphotos". Ok, let’s face it: all three Talent, gear and money are important, But one is singularly critical to getting good images.  Talent enables you to find, think up and control the intended image, so that you can produce whatyou or your client wants.  Gear enables you to provide a certain […]

Sweetness and light

As I've mentioned before I tend to be a strobe junky. If I can find a way to light my subject, especially a portrait, I tend to do so. This morning I met Nicole DeBoom, professional triathlete, owner of the SportSkirt clothing company and super-duper nice lady for a photo session for a profile of her. I arrived as I always do: with a trunk full of lights and lighting do-dads. What did I end up using? Nothing at all! […]

You had me at sparklers

I’m cruising over the Mississippi river on the way back from my D.C. trip. I went to document the wedding of a really great couple, Jill and Chaz. Although I’m not keen on the wedding photography industry I do really enjoy the making photos part. I’ve edited the selects down for the online slide show that I will put up for them and thought that I’d share some of my favorites with y’all.   Oh and when was the last […]

If it fits

For the same mag I mentioned the other day I had to do their monthly fashion article. This time it’s based on a cool shoe boutique. A few years ago I started to learn a lot about fashion from my wife and although I am no expert I do know my way around. A-line to empire waist, Von Furstenberg and Nina Garcia  … Not bad for a guy who normally wears jeans and hiking boots, huh? Anyhoo, neat-o shoes are […]

More than just a handshake

So here I am in D.C. making the rounds with some editors. In some cases they are new faces, in others it’s putting a face to someone I’ve had prior contact/work with. I could just send them the usual: e-mail, post card, promo thing-y, printed portfolio, blah, blah, blah. But quite often it’s not that I/you can make good photographs that gets you the assignment but the little things that have nothing to do with cameras and lights and such. […]

Hit the lights!

I’ve become the primary photographer of a local magazine aimed at women in their 30-40’s with, how do we say?, disposable income.  This is going to be a good gig.  Last month I did a few assignments for them but as of the upcoming issue it’s essentially my baby. The cover story is about local women who each has a personal vision of success. During the editorial planning meeting we looked at which of the 4 women in the story […]

Assignment insight part 2: make something happen

Ok then! Picking up from where we left off in Part 1; I got my head wrapped around the assignment, did my homework on the subject, looked at the location and realized that getting my gear there was going to take some work. Oh! And I didn't have much time to get what I needed. Just another day at the office ya know? Well my assistant Kim and I met Wendy our mountain climber gal/subject at her home and found […]

Starry, starry night …

So the wife and were at a big fundraiser dinner thing for a museum the other evening. Not the kind where you wear a tux. Nah, that wouldn't be my style. Rather it was a fun event with a bunch of local restaurants serving little dishes of nosh to go with a slew of superb craft breweries who were our real interest anyway. We went with some new dear beer friends and well we all had a splendid time. While […]

Copyrighted Image