October 2008

Halloween Party Portraits

Vampire Halloween

Vampire Halloween

Last night I took my simple strobe set up to my church Halloween party to see if anyone wanted some quick photos of costumes. I had no idea how much it would be such a hit. It turned into an assembly line portrait setting. Over 200 frames later I had a fun batch of photos. I have uploaded the photos to an online gallery for everyone to grab their photos, but I thought I’d share a few of the fun ones on flickr.

Strobist info: 3 Delicacy 180 strobes. 1 camera left shoot through umbrella, 1 camera right bounce umbrella, one behind subject right low & with grid.

Oh, and if you haven’t yet voted for my photo in the DPS portrait contest, please click here to vote! Today is the last day!! Read more about it here

Another thing I enjoy about photowalking

another passing

another passing

This particular photo featured above is one that was taken after a portrait themed event in the park.  So why did I capture a leaf?  This was taken after I had packed up my gear and was just about to load into the car and head home.  I looked around one last time to take in the beautiful scenery and it struck me how the leaves were falling all around us.  Duh, I thought.  I haven’t taken a good, simple detail shot of a leaf this fall.  I grabbed the camera, crouched down and snapped a few right on the ground outside my car.

Often when I am taking photos for a particular project, theme or idea, I tend to get those blinders that keep me looking for only specific kinds of photos.  I like to say I’m “focused” but in reality I hate it when I miss opportunities for great photos simply because I am not looking for them.  This is one reason I enjoy the photowalk concept so much.  We go out with a theme, but in the end simply being out looking for great photos frees me up to look for shots of any kind in a new environment.

When I get out with other photographers with the sole purpose of finding and capturing the best photos I can, I start to look outside my typical mindset of a good photo and search for something new.  Of course I still have my style that comes through in everything I shoot, but I am keen to try and expand what my style actually includes.  I enjoy watching the other photographers in their quest for great photos and often emulate (read that as copy, steal, whatever you like) their composition so I have my own photo to remember and learn from.

Photowalking has many aspects to enjoy, including the social and exploration opportunities, but we all take away from a photowalk what we put into it.  I enjoy helping to organize events, meeting new photogs, and pushing my social tendencies to interact with new people.  Other people like the locations we head out to, but choose to wander off alone to capture their own creative findings.  These are all good things.

After an event, the photowalk keeps on giving as photographers share their photos online.  I always have the “wow” moments learning from the perspectives and processing that others do mixed with feelings of inadequacy as I see such amazing talent in the group.  I usually round this off with a renewed feeling of wanting to improve as a photographer, excited to get out on my own and on the next event to feed the need.

Photography for me is a sometimes paying profession, but mostly passionate hobby.  I have come to fill much of my discretionary time with photography, and enjoyed every bit of it.  It is one of those things I have so much room to improve, yet can feel a sense of accomplishment as I progress.  I often compare it to golf, something at which I have much room to improve.  Much of my game is merely adequate, but it is that every-so-often amazing shot you get in that keeps you coming back.  In photography, when you capture those images that you are proud of, it keeps you coming back, searching to get the next great photo.

Holding on to life

Holding on to life

Canon 40D, 24-105L, mixed exposure values available on flickr by clicking each image.

Liberty Park Pond

Liberty Park Pond

Liberty Park Pond

As we were shooting strobist portraits at Liberty Park this last weekend, I looked out at the lake and was astounded by this view.  What a pretty location this is with the variety of colors in the changing trees.  Several of us snapped off some landscape scenes, and this was my favorite of my set.

I found myself having a small “reminder lesson” as I like to call it.  This was taken in the middle of the day, around 1 pm.  As a photographer I am often thinking that good photos are best taken with the early morning or evening light.  We all know that standard thought process of the diffused light.  That being said, this shot was taken in the bright sun without a polarizing filter.  The angle of the light was right to create the reflection and to have most everything evenly lit.  So, as is also often said, rules are made to be broken.  Don’t look past the opportunity right in front of you.

Canon 40D, 24-105L, 1/320 at f/9 and ISO 200

Dancing Fool

Dancing Fool

Dancing Fool

When we were wrapping up shooting in the Gondola at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, a group of people with a radio in hand asked if they could take over. Much like our Utah Strobist group, they were a dancing club that gets together periodically to enjoy their hobby. Before leaving we explained what we were doing and I snapped a few photos of this gentleman what was part of their group. He was happy to pose for us.

Of course I mean no disrespect with this title, rather a compliment to the guy. A “Dancing Fool” was a fun name for an enthusiastic dancer as far as I have heard it referenced.  As I put the camera down and enjoyed some time with my family in the park, I kept an eye on this group as they danced away the afternoon.  They looked to be having a great time, as much as we photo geeks had in our meet up.

This is part of an outing at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City with the Utah Strobist group.

Full set on my SmugMug site

Love on the Tracks

Love on the Tracks

Love on the Tracks

I was asked by some neighbors to take engagement photos for their daughter. I always enjoy engagement shoots for how fun and happy the couple is for the outing. They are always willing to have fun posing, and of course whenever I ask them to kiss they readily comply!

I tend to take a lot of shots at any photo shoot, and engagement shoots are no exception. I like to catch the actual pose and smile that I am trying to set up, but also all the before and after while they are laughing and having fun. I like to put them in some fun situations and just see how they do. Not all the shots end up being perfect for the actual engagement invitation use, but many end up on shelves and scrapbooks later on. This is one that isn’t perfect in terms of having both of them looking at the camera or away, but I think the low and twisted angle and their piggyback pose all work for a fun image.

Courtney and Denton were a lot of fun to work with, and I look forward to photographing their wedding and reception later.

Canon 40D, 70-200L, 1/160 at f/2.8 and 200 ISO
see it larger on flickr

P.S. Not sure if anyone would get the Neil Diamond reference, but I thought it was fun 🙂

Lance Lee from Stage

Lance Lee from Stage

Lance Lee from Stage

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a concert shot. Since I’ve been working on by book (like crazy) from the UK tour tonight, I thought I’d pull one out to upload.

Lance is one of those guys that is just great to be on tour with. He’s so nice to everyone around him and he brings a real energy to the music. I always find guys behind a drum set the most difficult to capture from the pit, so for this I snuck on the back of the stage in all black.

Canon 40D, EFS 17-55, 1/100 at f/2.8 and ISO 500
see it larger on flickr

Real Salt Lake: On the Sidelines

RSL Team Photo

This last week I had the opportunity to photo the Real Salt Lake (RSL) in their inaugural game in the new Rio Tinto stadium. What a cool experience to be a part of this amazing night. The stadium is beautiful and the game is so fun to watch from field level. If you’ve never had the opportunity to be on the sidelines of a college or pro sporting event, it is definitely something to experience.

The night started early with some early instruction by stadium officials of the do’s and don’ts, but otherwise we were free to roam within our designated areas of the field. We were allowed access to the team entering from the tunnel where I was able to photo the anthem vocalist and Utah Governor Huntsman.

Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave

Dignitaries

Dignitaries

As the game got going, I was reminded of a few things I have learned from shooting sports from the sidelines:

  • I get lens/equipment envy really fast.  Those guys shooting with the Canon 400L 2.8 have a clear advantage and get the amazing shots clear across the field.  I buy my own equipment and sports is not what I do most of the time, so it just isn’t going to happen.  One of these days I want to rent that amazing lens and give it a try.
  • The faster the lens the better.  Being able to crank up your shutter speed because you have a fast lens makes all the difference in stopping the action.
  • When shooting sports you shoot a ton of photos you will end up throwing away.  I use the motor drive, so there are duplicates, but also a lot of photos that are ill timed or just don’t turn out.
  • I was out of practice so my timing was often off.  They key is to anticipate where and when a great shot is going to take place, then shoot in advance and throw that moment.  If you wait to hit the shutter at that great moment, you will always be taking a shot just after it happened.
Field Level Panoramic

Field Level Panoramic

Rather than post all the photos here on the blog, click on over to my flickr set from the game where I posted a few of my favorites.  You can also see a shot of me on the sidelines and with my photog buddies Kim Guanzon and Dave Terry.

Thanks to Kim for getting involved with Xango on a corporate photo shoot that led to access to this game. I’m always happy to make creative “payment” exchanges with trades like this.  My son, brother and nephew thank you as well as they enjoyed the game from the stands.

It’s That Family Portrait Time of Year

Its That Family Portrait Time of Year

It's That Family Portrait Time of Year

With fall colors all abound, it is that time of year, isn’t it? Family portraits beckon as we start to think of what we will put in our holiday cards to friends and family.

I find that I end up overusing my new favorite spot each year. Once I take a set of portraits in a given spot, all the new families that request a portrait sitting end up wanting to use the same spot after having seen the previous shots 🙂 That’s ok, the spot is unique to them that year, right?

Whenever I shoot an entire family I typically do the kids as a group and individually as well. Those are the ones the parents end up printing more of anyway. These two are the kids of some neighbors I took photos of last night.

Strobist info: Using my current favorite of 2 580EXii speed lights on stands with Alzo softboxes fired with Pocket Wizards. Located camera left up high pointed down and close camera right at subject eye level. They work so well for simple location lighting.

Please Vote for Me!

Vote for my photo!vote

Ok, this is a blatant, outright self-promoting plea to ask everyone to please vote for my photo in the Digital Photography School/Photrade portrait contest. I am sure there are going to be thousands of incredible entries, so my hope is I just get lucky with some great power of friends and contacts sending votes my way. If I don’t try and ask, it won’t happen, right?

I could have picked a number of past portraits, but I wanted to put this one of Lacey up because it is my favorite taken in the last month of trying to capture portraits. Thanks for your vote!

If the graphic/vote inset doesn’t show right for you above, click here to vote.