Thursday, July 31, 2008


Yeah, it took a little photoshop. Sue me ;-)
Even at f2.8 I was not getting the background blur I wanted.... so my buddy Photoshop came in handy once again. I still think it would look poster-size.
Tech: D300 with the 80-200mm f2.8. 1/2000 sec at ISO 400. PC set contrast +2 and saturation at 0.

This shot, taken not long after the first, is sean in an epic fall. Right before he let go of the rope.
You can see his hands on the rope, his arms, and you can almost see his face behind the wall of water. Ouch!

Tech: D300 80-200mm f2.8. ISO 100, 1/200 sec (I had just been using my flash). Contrast set +2, saturation at 0. 

The 80-200mm is a BEAST! Hand-holding it while shooting these shots was not a big deal in terms of blur, since my shutter speed was really high, but it was actually hard to aim! Holding the lens and aiming it at my subject was actually diffucult while sitting in the boat, steadied against the side because the rig is just so humongous. I suppose it is good for me, build up those arm and core muscles ;-)

More later, maybe even some pictures from Boulder :-)


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missing Shots

I was driving home yesterday after moving furniture for my mom for 4 hours, and saw the most spectacular sunset I have seen all summer. Without my camera, I was forced to watch as amazing picture after amazing picture slid by me while I was unable to capture them. Man I was mad.

Oh well. 

Here are a couple pictures from my Indiana trip, since I didnt get any yesterday >:-|

Even with my PC set to vivid and contrast +3, I couldn't get the colors to look like I wanted.... so I boosted it in Aperture. :-)
Cheating is way fun.

I just closed Aperture, so no tech data. (yes, im extremely lazy and about to go swimming)

This one took me forever to get right. The sticks surrounding the live flower are its dead comrades, and the next day this flower too was dead.

The pictures tomorrow are watersports action!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If only I had a macro lens....

This first image I shot with my stand-in mirco lens, the 28mm f2.8. It is the closest focusing len s I own, and with a little cropping in post, it works out pretty well.
The light is coming from an sb600 camera right, probably 6 feet back. It is reflecting through a window which is how it lit the front of the spider so well.

This is right before the beatle was attacked and I can imagine it thinking "Oh, crap."

Tech: D300 PC set to vivid saturation and contrast +2, f2.6, 1/60 sec, ISO 500 Sb600 off camera.

Having finished shooting bugs, I started wandering around the cottage and noticed my friend (a budding musician LINK) reading in his room. I snapped a few pictures which really freaked him out. I guess I will not be working as paparazzi ever.... 
This is the kind of light that I work to achieve with my off-camera flash. Notice how it appears to be directional on his back, but its soft enough to wrap around him and define his shape so that you do, indeed, know he is a person.

tech: D300, vivid PC (as usual, boosted+2). 28mm F2.8. ISO 2000 (because I didn't bring a tripod, shame on me).

More tomorow

Monday, July 28, 2008

More pictures

I think I have enough decent pictures from my trip to post two at a time.

This shot, of the underside of the canoe is appealing to me for the pattern, the colors (notice the reflection of the sunset in the bottom right corner) and the very abstract feeling. A lot of the pictures I take involve people, so taking pictures of inanimate objects is something of a fun  challenge for me.
Tech: D300 with vivid PC contrast and saturation both boosted +2. Nikon 28mm f2.8. 1/6 sec handheld at ISO 400

Picture number two:

My little brother sitting on the end of the dock watching the sun set. I really enjoyed including this dock in my pictures because I don't have one at home! It appears to me that my focus was a little off (again), but I was manually focusing my 80-200 without my glasses which is really asking for trouble. I really should have brought a tripod on this trip... somehow none made it into the truck.

On a totally unrelated note, I am contemplating buying a light stand and shoot-through umbrella... my only concern is: precisely how much spending money do I really need in college? Sadly I don't think I can guess this one. I'm probably going to have to put all purchases of $50 or more on hold until I have been in school for a couple of weeks.

More pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back in Boulder

I am back!
I had a fantastic vacation in Indiana with my family. There was much wakeboarding, jetskiing, swimming, tubing and all around merrymaking.

The next couple of day's posts are going to have pictures from the trip, I got a few good ones.

This picture definitely makes my top 3.

The first couple of days were fairly overcast and not-sunny, so I walked around with my camera and took a few (hundred) pictures. This took a while to get right, and the focus is still not where I want it, but what can ya do? 

Stay tuned for more pictures :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Planning and Packing

I am searching for inspiration.
Specifically, I am looking for a topic for a new photo project... something I haven't done before would be nice... hopefully something of a challenge.
If it is such a challenge to think of an idea for the project I assume the project itself will be quite challenging.

While I aimlessly search my mind and the websites that I frequent, I am also packing for my annual trip to LaGrange, Indiana, where my family owns property on a lake. I will be out there from the 18th to the 28th (ish), and while there I will likely not be updating the blog much, as our internet is primitive (read: dialup), and I would rather be in the water than updating this blog (no offense to you, my faithful readers).

I usually take a couple hundred pictures and I am sure this trip will be no exception. Upon my return I will definitely post some pictures (maybe even some good ones). This is my first trip to Indiana with the D300 and my nice lenses, so I expect some decent pictures.

I might get one more update in before the trip, but if not, I'll see you again the 28th (ish)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Teaching and Learning.

First off, Dave Cross posted a guest blog post on Scott Kelby's blog talking about the whole "photoshop vs. in-camera" thing and it describes precisely how I feel (although I am probably a little more biased towards in-camera).

Second. In a mad rush to organize my thoughts last night so I can perhaps teach a friend of mine something about photography, I wrote myself some notes. 2 text files that I will use in conjunction with my brain and last year's "On Our Way" Yearbook to teach (and likely learn) a little bit about photography.
I have made these available at Just know that they really do make much more sense when I can explain them, and that they showcase the way that I shoot. Not necessarily the way everyone should shoot, but the way that I was able to make the best pictures working for a madhouse like my highschool yearbook.

While writing these notes, I used my yearbook (numbers like 4-5 are page references) and Ken Rockwell's D40 Users Guide (as the person I am teaching shoots with a Nikon D40)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Project Finished

It is done. I got 2/3 done today while with my friends at various times.

I like it. Link: HERE
Note that Aperture seems to be on the fritz, and exported the pages with a.... different format than intended. I re-exported them several times to no avail. The web gallery is thus less than perfect. I recommend clicking on the first picture and going through them in the bigger versions. There are only 10

Have a sample:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Not much to say...

I do not really have anything new, except I have officially started my new project and it is coming along precisely the way I had hoped. It will likely be a 10 image series.
 The picture above was available light from a wall of windows, probably 6 feet away. D300 on vivid PC, saturation and contrast at +1. ISO 400, with my 100mm F2.8.

I am still curious as to why some of these pictures do not link to bigger versions when clicked on.... am I just crazy, or should all of them have links?


Saturday, July 12, 2008


As determined as I was not to get a decent picture today, my friend noticed this large spider hanging between a the two sides of his double screen doors. I popped on my 28mm F2.8 (the closest thing I have to a macro, because it focuses so close), and snapped a few pictures. Dropped it into black and white in Aperture and here you go :-)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Keeping promises

Back in Germany, if you read my blog then, I promised to work on my flower pictures.
This is still ongoing, and the other day I took the opportunity to shoot some more.
In addition to shooting flowers, I've been curious about doing more unusual cropping jobs, so this is what you could call a "non-standard" crop job.


Tech: D300 and 80-200mm F2.8 at F4. ISO 100. Vivid PC with contrast +2 and saturation. Cropped in Apurture. 

I am going to start my new project today, so I probably will not be posting too many pictures until it is finished.

Also, does anyone know why only some of the pictures on this blog link to bigger versions when you click on them?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

On a dark and stormy midafternoon...

I was feeling a little uninspired yesterday, so I took a trip down to Sports Authority and purchased a couple boxes of CO2 cartridges and a big cardboard target. I then spent 35 minutes with my CO2 powered BB gun destroying said target. Man, is that fun!
On facebook after my little shootout I was telling my friend Jade Davies (LINK) about it and a picture possibility popped into my head. I love talking to other photographers, because they make me think how I can show them exactly what I am talking about. In this case, I wanted to show Jade precisely how much damage I had done to this poor target. Jade is going to be the Chief Yearbook Photographer for Fairview High School next year, and she has a lot to live up to, so I have taken her under my wing, in order to teach her the stuff that I learned last year through trial and error.
Here's the picture I shot:


Tech: Shot on D300 at ISO 100, vivid PC with contrast and saturation both at +1. SB600 is camera left, firing 1/16th power approx 3 feet from the board. On camera flash is firing 1/20 power to fill in the shadow from the gun.

I still haven't had the opportunity to start my new project... but I really am thinking about it, honest! I should have something up by this time next week... although I also have a few paid jobs to shoot, so they take precedence.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Every photographer, artist, painter, writer, comedian, singer.
Every person has their own style that is unique to them. If you hear Phil Collins on the radio, you do not need to wait for the radio personality to tell you it is Phil Collins, you know just like if you see an Ansel Adams print in a gallery. You do not need to read his name underneath it, you just know.
I have had several remarks on my photographic style recently. So I took a moment to think about what my style is. Recently? It has been dark, and dramatic. Case in Point:


I shot this last night after the model and I had finished our fifth or sixth game of pool. I rarely meet a girl who is good at pool (although I'm not great myself), so when she beat me 3 out of 5 games, I decided it was time for a picture that could do her skills some justice.
But holy cow, that picture is dark. Surprisingly it is very close to the picture I had in my head, but only after taking it and retouching it a bit in photoshop did I realize how very dark and indeed, dramatic the picture (and my style) is.

Tech: D300 ISO 1000 (oops!) Vivid PC with saturation and contrast both at +1. 18-55mm at 22mm. F16 at 1/10th sec. I am handholding the SB600 (1/6.4 power, 24mm zoom) camera right about 6 feet away from her.
I really will be starting a new project sometime soon, and it will be decidedly less dark, although likely very contrasty.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

late night...

I have not been to bed before midnight in a week. I feel like such a teenager.

A couple of things that could not wait until tomorrow's post.
  1. I am LUSTING after the new Nikon SB900. Unfortunately there is absolutely no way I can afford it, so I will likely be purchasing another SB600 in the near future for my lighting needs and wants.
  2. I recalibrated my monitor today and it made a huge difference. I suggest that all of you reading this blog do the same. It takes maybe 5 minutes and when it is calibrated you see things the way they are intended to be seen (more or less). I am on 2.2 Gamma, because it is Windows standard (and most people are sadly still using Windows machines), and because you get more contrast that way. Apple is lazy and their Gamma default is 1.8. I find that amusing because Macs are what most artists/image professionals use.
  3. Photomerging with Photoshop is a lot of fun. I did the image below this evening and the result is surpisingly good. Much better than I could have done on my own (with my very limited photoshop knowledge). 

Tech: 7 images (the Hoover dam is big!) taken at 18mm on the D300, stitched together using Photoshop CS's Photomerge option. I chose to keep the hard corners because they're fun. If I do these often I will likely crop the image or erase the hard corners where the pictures overlap. I did this in about 5 minutes.


Picture of the day

Comtemplation: Life

I shot this on the 6th, same day as the Kawasaki, but I couldn't justify posting it first. Even though this picture took no photoshop, I like it a little bit less.
Still, pretty cool. I was going for a lot more light falloff than I got, but it worked out ok. Using my SB600 zoomed to 85mm (which is full zoom) I stuck on my homemade snoot and aimed it above and left of the model's head. The effect was almost what I was going for, and reminds me of Joe McNally's bicyclist shot on front of a waterfall, so I think I will keep it.

Tech: D300 with 18-55mm lens at 18mm. Vivid PC with contrast and saturation boosted +2 ISO 100, F6.3 and a shutter of 1/320th. I'm essentially exposing for the sky, maybe a third of a stop below and using the flash to bring up the subject to match the background exposure. SB5600 flash is on manual, 1/8 power or so, probably 5 feet from the model on a tripod.

I'm starting a new project. It's going to be black and white, so stick around 'cause it just might be cool.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Picture of the week

The Ride:

I shot this image yesterday evening while doing a shoot with a friend's dad. "I spent 5 hours cleaning and polishing this bike," he told me. It is clearly something he is very proud of, so I spent the first 10 minutes of my shoot on the bike. 

Tech details: D300 at Vivid PC. contrast and saturation both at +2. ISO 400, F5. My SB600 is camera left about 6 feet from the bike, zoomed to 50mm. I should have dropped my ISO and stopped up a little in order to get a narrower depth of field. As it is I had to use photoshop (normally a sin for me) to give the background a 7 or 9 pixel gaussien blur to get rid of the detail in building and trees in the background.

I am really (maybe too) proud of this picture... and I'm contemplating sending it out to Kawasaki. 

Oh, another new feature of this blog: you can post comments! If you have something to say  feel free :-) (but know that I do have the power to delete it)

Blog Moved

So. Here we are at the fantastic
I have been debating moving my blog here since, well since june 19th apparently.

Some of the features here should include:
  • RSS and Atom subscription capabilities
  • smaller file sizes (which means faster loading)
  • easier archiving (for me anyway)
  • and much easier posting... for me.
So I am mainly doing this for me.... But with any luck you can live with that :-)