Monday, April 27, 2009


This is a photo of Claudius in the play Hamlet, performed by actors from Lee College in Baytown over the weekend. Cindi Barker and I got there a little early on Saturday and took some photos of the characters before the play. It was a learning experience in many ways --- trying to work with strobes off camera in a dark theater in a limited timeframe isn't a real confidence builder. There were lots of fumbles, lots of mysteries, and not a lot of time to recover from any of them. But in the end, I liked this image --- lit with a single SB800 shot through a small softbox; 1/100 of a sec at f/3.2, shot with the Nikon 70-200 VR (which is amazing in sharpness and focusing in such adverse conditions). Now, to be honest there was a fair amount of tweaking of the raw file to get to this point. I had qualms about highlighting the ring as much as I did. I'd like to hear comments: would it be a stronger image (more about the face and eyes) if the red ring was knocked down a little in postprocessing? Like I said, sometimes you can learn from adversity, and Saturday night that sure happened.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

before the toning layers

There seemed to be some interest in my last post about how the Lucis and sepia layers affected the skin in this portrait. So, above is the default image right out of Adobe Camera Raw.

Friday, April 24, 2009

digital days revisited

This is another photo from the Digital Days model shoot in Houston. I did a little something different with this image - I used the dreaded Lucis Art filter on a layer with a blending mode and dialed it back. I think it was the first time I've ever applied a blending mode with a Lucis layer. Anyway, I think it made for an interesting (not overwhelming) level of shadow detail. I also used a Nik Silver Efex sepia layer, again in a blending mode, then painted back a little color in the face. Funny how when you start using blending modes with textures like I've been doing a lot lately, that concept makes you start working with traditional layers the same way. It definitely opens up some new levels of tonality.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

purple tulip

This is another photo from the ongoing floral macro series. Tulips are such a natural spring subject...taken from the front or back, they always seem to produce good results. This photo was a little different in the series - it was taken with a standard 85mm macro lens (no extension tubes), so it has a little more in focus. It was lit from a single umbrella flash from the upper right.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

three shades of purple

...part of the ongoing selective focus macro floral project. This photo of tulips was taken last week over the Easter weekend. This project started out over the winter as a means for me to learn how to light with strobes, umbrellas, and a small softbox. It seems to be continuing into the spring.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the future's so bright...

A couple of weeks ago when the Bay Area Photo Club made a field trip to the Jamail Skate Park in Houston, young girls were featured skaters. One young girl who I posted a photo of a few days ago was fearless dropping in to the bowl and ultimately turned out to be a great subject for many of the photographers there. Later in the morning I met the woman above, who it turned out was the mother of that young girl. Small world. But here's the really crazy thing. As I was working on this image I noticed my reflection in her sunglasses, and I swear to God this is true (you probably won't be able to see this onscreen) --- but if you look close enough you can see Larry J. Patrick laying on his belly shooting skaters flying inches from his wide angle lens, and here I am getting the shot of the pretty woman. Now, that has to be a first.

Monday, April 6, 2009

opening day

In honor of opening day today for Major League Baseball, here's a photo I took at Busch Stadium in St. Louis about two years ago, which is a great stadium -- even if it's not the original "donut" design of the 1970s and 80s stadium. It's great because you get a nice view of the downtown skyline from just about any part of the stadium.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Elissa captain

The photo above was taken on the Elissa day sail last week. This is captain Kip Files from Maine, who comes down to Galveston every year to skipper the tall ship Elissa on her annual day sails out of Galveston. This shot was taken as Elissa was coming in to dock. If you're in the area, the Spanish Navy tall ship Juan Sebastián Elcano will be in Galveston with free tours until Monday. For the image here, textures and edges were added in Photoshop.