Tag Archives: location

Playing in the basement


A pose with attitude–Lesly was lit by a softbox on the right and a reflector to fill on the left. The hair light directly behind her head had a 20° grid to narrow the beam of the light. The hardest part of was staying in Lesly’s shadow. Any extraneous light from the hair light hitting the lens completely obliterates the image. On her part, Lesly, a very good sport, was kneeling on a bench to help her maintain her balance since this pose was hard to hold.

lesly2I equate photography skills similar to those of a musician’s.

So let’s say I’m classically trained, but I’ve been booked to play Top 40 popular music or Jazz.

Don’t roll those eyes!

Musicians, like artists,  have bills too.

Most classically trained musicians should have no problems doing the gig especially if they have the sheet music.

But it’s the improvisational part that might take a bit of doing because they’re not used to being given such free rein.

Similarly, most newspaper photographers who shot transparency or slide film learned to be technically proficient.

White Background

–We draped a white sheet over the grey to give us a different more airy feel. We also tried the shot with Lesly and her hair down.

Fancy speak for lighting and exposing well because of the unforgiving latitude of slide film.

It’s the so-called edgy look and experimentation, if you will, that I have had very little chance to try.
Continue reading Playing in the basement

Do you need to travel far for pictures?


Luck favors the prepared–While driving in Garner Valley, California, I came across this trio. If you drive a lot, it’s always a good idea to have your camera with you. Keep a notebook handy as you’re driving or walking around to make notes of promising situations. With digital cameras available on your cellphone, you don’t even need to write. A shot of the scene and the street signs should jog your memory when you need to recall where it was. You may not even have to shoot the street signs if you have those smartphones which are GPS enabled and can geo-tag.

Ever since I left the newspaper, I haven’t been driving very much except for picking up the kids, dropping them off and running the usual errands around the city.

I used to be a road warrior, meaning my car was my office. There were days I would drive 2 hours (one-way), hop out of the car to make a quick portrait, hop back in the car and then drive back to the newspaper.
Continue reading Do you need to travel far for pictures?

Happy Birthday Velia

I spent Sunday “playing” for a change.

Just because I’m a photographer, doesn’t mean I can’t still have fun.

It’s actually great not to think about what the client might want.

When I shoot for myself, I get to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.


It was a surprise 89th birthday party for Velia, my wife’s grandmother.

Birthday Girl–Velia with her boyfriend Bill in great spirits. They are a reminder to me to laugh at lot and to laugh often. Life’s too short. 2 light setup. Main light a 800 Watt/sec White Lightning into a silvered umbrella. Full size reflector on the right as fill. Backlight is another White Lightning head with blue gel into a grey muslin backdrop.

Since it’s not often that side of the family gets together, I dragged out my lighting gear.

Continue reading Happy Birthday Velia

Available Light Portraits


Side Lit–Delia lit by strong sidelighting coming off of Lake Evans. The fill light is provided by a gold reflector on the right. Fill flash would have also worked but it would have required a Canon Speedlite capable of high sync speed. Exposure was ISO 100 1/350 sec @ f4 with a 50 mm lens.

Contrast can be friend or foe.

The more adept you are at controlling it, the better your pictures look.

In a portrait, if there’s too little contrast, the colors may look muted. Skin tones look drab.

Too much? You have to decide where in the scene you want to retain the detail.

If this all sounds alien to you, the beginner, it’s actually a real-world lesson on exposure. Continue reading Available Light Portraits