Thursday, March 29, 2012


I was recently going through some photos taken last fall and came across this one -- shot in September at the Stanaland barn as sort of a warm up to some portraits I did of Kacey and Lauren and their horses. This is Kacey in the barn ... lit with at SB900 in a Lastolite EZYbox from high camera left. 85mm, 1/80 sec at f/3.5. Sepia conversion done with Nik Silver Efex. I learned one thing about horses that day. Evidently it is very desirable to photograph a horse with their ears turned forward (like above). Seems like when the ears turn backward it has a negative connotation in the horse world. Who knew.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Red-Tailed Hawk

This is a photo of a red-tailed hawk taken several weeks ago at a Sierra Club gathering on the Nassau Bay Peninsula. I'm still amazed by the quality and versatility of the Nikon 28-300. Great for situations like these when you never know what you'll find and want to travel light but still have some reach for those unexpected opportunities. This was cropped about 40%, and is still pretty sharp. Nikon 28-300 at 300mm, 1/1000 sec at f/5.6, handheld.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Here's another photo from our shoot at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. This is Jordan -- shot standing in the gold sphere sculpture in front of the Bayou Building. Larry Patrick has a good environmental shot of this location here on his blog. He and I were the first ones there that day, and we both were very drawn to this spot -- great warm tones, interesting shapes. I'm honestly surprised we didn't have more difficulty with reflections once in that spot but luckily we had very few issues. Again, this is shot with an SB900 in a Cowboy Studio 16" beauty dish boomed above from camera right. 85mm, 1/100 sec at f/4.5.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Emili #2

Another photo of Emili inside the golden sphere at UH-Clear Lake on Sunday. Besides trying out the new lighting gear that day I really focused on balancing subject/background elements. Here, I didn't burn in or vignette the upper right corner. This was a natural shadow created by the curve of the sphere behind Emili. So after I saw a shot or two with that in the background, I had Emili pose in ways with her arms and shoulders mimicking the angle and flow. In post I was playing with some Nik Color Efex cross processing filters ... really liked how it brought out the warmth of her skin tones, so blended two layers -- one for the natural warm gold tones in the background and another layer for the more vibrant skin tones. SB900 in high speed sync in a Cowboy Studio 16" beauty dish from camera right feathered in to keep the shadow in the upper right. 85mm, 1/500 sec at f/2.2.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I got together with a group of photographers on Sunday from the Bay Area Photo Club. We took photos of a couple of willing models on the campus of the University of Houston-Clear Lake. This is Emili, above, who is a senior at LaPorte High School. It was definitely a learning experience for me, as I was trying out a couple of new light modifiers. This shot was taken with a Nikon SB900 in a Cowboy Studio 16" beauty dish at about 1/16 power. 85mm, 1/160 sec at f/4.5. I struggled with the crop here. My first thought was to crop the strip of sky and greenery on the far lefthand side. The more I looked at it, though, the more I liked the small square of blue sky in the upper left and how that played off Emili's ring with the blue stone. Lots of interesting convergences here -- arms into the face, the out of focus rib of the building into Emili's eye, the tilt of the head. Subtle stuff, but I think it all works pretty well.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Different Kind of Portrait

Another photo from our shoot with Eric and Crystal on their Harley last weekend -- this one cropped tight on them. Interesting effect from shooting at such tight apertures were the great sunburst effects on their helmets. This shot taken from inside the truck that you can see reflected in Crystal's helmet; 86mm, f/18 at 1/50 sec.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Different Kind of Portrait

On Sunday I met up with a couple of fellow members of the Bay Area Photo Club for a portrait shoot. We were planning on photographing Neal Kelsoe's nephew Eric, his girlfriend, and his new Harley Davidson. Sounded fun. But then Neal said he wanted to try something in motion first. Now that sounded really interesting. I've seen great photos of cars and motorcycles in motion on the road in advertising campaigns -- very commercial, very high production value. However, I have a new appreciation for how difficult this type of photography is. All of us wanted a blurred motion background, showing speed. Some went with flash, others dropped the shutter speed. Since we were in the back of a moving truck I decided to go with the slow shutter speed / no flash approach and shot bursts of frames. I tried shutter speeds from 1/40 sec to 1/125 sec in shutter priority mode. Shot about 600 images, and following the Larry Patrick school of photo editing rules about 550 of those have now been deleted. Photo above was shot at 30mm, 1/40 sec at f/20, ISO 100. In Photoshop I took out a few distracting background elements and used Nik Color Efex Detail Extractor and Tonal Contrast to bring out some details in the bike and riders.