Category : Technique

In the dark

This is from a shoot I did that was made possible by few things. 1) A great subject. Vivian is a great gal with a stunning look. She was superb to work with and was perfect for the modern urban look we were going for. 2) PocketWizards. This was done with two strobes but one was very much behind me and there was no easy way to trigger them with my beloved Nikon CLS system. The Wizards make the "you […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

What the art?

As I’ve said before I’m a “news-ie” at heart because I love to tell stories. But there are real stories that I try to tell visually and ones that are only in my head that I try to illustrate with my camera. Portraits are almost always stories in my head. More and more with portraits I want to take on a different approach to the story than a straight “just the facts mam” news-ie would. Mostly because I can and […]

Visual literacy gets the Guillotine

As I have mentioned before I try to find things in the visual world that are as interesting and I perceive them to be – both from an intellectual and emotional level. This is often hard to do as sometimes things are just as boring as you fear. But not always. The problem with trying to see the world in a manner that is not as most passers by would see them is that they may not be able to […]

Jonathans rules of disorder

Over on today Jim Merithew made a posting in his column about, among other things, the need to accept that our photos are not perfect. Imperfection in my work was a big hurdle for me to overcome a while back. I started out as a landscape/nature photographer and really gravitated to classical composition. I wanted my photographs to have a painterly studiousness about them. What I got was a whole lot of images that frustrated me. They weren’t good […]

I have a confession to make

I love things in motion to the point of distraction. I think that it is because of all the years that I spent with my camera permanently attached to a tripod with the lens locked to f/22 and hyperfocal focused trying to get the perfectly sharp "toes to stars" landscapes. Maybe it’s that I see the world and everything in it as being in constant flow that makes me want to show that mysterious swoosh of life. Where I used […]

In a flash

Ok I have a confession to make: "Um … hello everyone, my name is Jonathan and uh … I’m a strobe junkie" I admit it: I never leave the office without a strobe be it one of my SB-800’s, my case of 4 SB-26’s for tricky location lighting or my big azz case with my monolights; I always have a strobe with me. I don’t always use them but they can be such problem solvers that it is just a […]

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