Saturday, December 28, 2013

#502 -- Brown Pelican

I had to make a quick trip to Galveston a few weeks ago on a weekend and spent a little time shooting birds along the ship channel. Pelicans in flight seem to be what I gravitate to when I'm doing these kinds of things. 1/1000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200, 300mm.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#501 -- Sabrina at Sunset

As most portrait photo shoots go in the late afternoon, I usually look for a nice ambient/flash mix at sunset. During the shoot with Sabrina, it was mostly cloudy. The sun would come out for a few minutes here and there, and I'd try to make the most of it. So as it got close to 5:00 pm I honestly didn't hold much hope of any kind of sunset color. It was pretty overcast and gray. She decided to change into her Clear Springs Silverados uniform, and I changed to a zoom lens and put a half cut CTO gel on my flash -- thinking we'd see what came our way. To my surprise, some really nice light and color came through at sunset. The photo above was taken on the boat launch at Bay Area Park in the last moments of what was a very dramatic sky at sunset. Goes to show you to never write off a sunset. 1/60 sec at f/4.8, ISO200, 62mm, light from an SB800 with 1/2 cut CTO gel in a Westcott Rapid Box with deflector plate from camera right.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


In October 2008 I started this blog with a photo of a hummingbird taken in my back yard in the post-Ike days. Now, five years later -- here's image #500. Lots of things have happened since then. Have slowly made the transition into portraits during that time and have finally, I think, got a good handle on the technical -- lighting, exposure, gear and general technique. Still working on gesture and creating light that has both a purpose and a voice all to itself -- those elusive things that somehow separate a good image from something that transcends. With all the great tools available to photographers and training out there on the web, it's hard not to absorb and put these things into useful practice. Working with fellow photographers in the area, and watching and learning from the greats in the industry like Joe McNally and David Hobby, who so generously share thier knowledge and technique via their blogs have undoubtedly helped many a photographer out there, me included. Anyway, the photo above was taken Sunday at Bay Area Park. This is Sabrina, daughter of our good friends Pep and Patricia who we've known for 20+ years. She's a senior at Clear Springs -- so senior photos were a must. Two things I've been doing lately, and I think both have been working pretty well ... instead of shooting my 85mm lens at shallow depth of fields for subject isolation and nice out-of-focus backgrounds, I've been using my 28-300 lens (that I got more for a travel lens) and shooting it at the long end -- often from 150-300mm for portraits. I've found that even at f/5.6 and f/6.3 the background is still nice and soft and has a nice bokeh, and the f/5.6 gives you a fighting chance at getting a sharp eye. Also been using the Westcott 26" Rapid Box Octa since August and love the light it produces. Probably the most versatile and prettiest light from a speedlight I've seen. I use it with the deflector plate in; and the wrapping of the light is truly stunning. I'll post more from this shoot soon that really show this. But the Rapid Box has become my go-to light modifier, replacing the wonderful Lastolight EXY box. Specs for the image above: 1/60 sec at f/6.3, 150mm, ISO 200, light from an SB800 in the Rapid Box from camera right. Split tone conversion done with Nik Silver Efex 2.