Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recent Photos in Southern Utah

Just thought I would share some photos from a recent photo shoot in the red rock desert near the town of St. George, Utah. I just love photographing in the red rock country of Utah, with it's spectacular scenery and otherworldly rock formations. For the gear heads. Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105 f4 lens. Alien Bee Einstein 640 lights, light modifiers, 32 x 40 softboxes with 40┬║grids, all powered by Vagabond Mini Lithiums....

more to come.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Recent Portraits

Just a quick blog post to put up some recent portraits I have been working on for a project. I will blog about the lighting and how I shot these in an upcoming post and put up a few more photos...so until then enjoy the photos.

more to come...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Utah Jazz Charity Leapn' Leaners

Just had a chance to take photos at the annual Utah Jazz Leapn' Leaners and Low Tops fundraiser for Larry H. Miller Charities. Part of the fundraiser gives fans the chance to get an individual photo taken with their favorite Jazz player and Coach Corbin. It's a fun event and a way for the Utah Jazz and the community to help raise money to help those in need.

It's also a chance for fans to mingle with the players when they aren't "working on the court" and get to see them in a different light as they often attend the event with their families. 

My favorite photo of the night was when one family brought their newborn baby and had a photo taken with their favorite Jazz player C.J. Miles who actually held the baby for the photo. When the kid grows up his parents can show him the photo. I'll post that photo along with a few others from the event.....so enjoy.

Paul Milsap and fans.

Andrei Kirilenko and fans.

C.J. Miles and fans, including one very young fan.

Mehmet Okur his wife Yeliz and their daughter.

more to come........

Monday, March 21, 2011

David Hobby and Joe McNally Flashbus 2011 Tour Salt Lake City Review

Yesterday I got a chance to travel down to attend the Flashbus 2011 Tour stop in Salt Lake City. For those not familiar with the Flashbus Tour, it's the photographic equivalent of Lady Gaga and Madonna going on tour together, but replaced by two middle aged men and a room full of photographer geeks instead of screaming fans.

And no, David Hobby of Strobist fame, didn't arrive inside an DIY egg carried on the shoulders of four photo assistants, and Joe McNally the last full time staff photographer for Life Magazine and National Geographic, Sports Illustrated contract photographer etc. didn't ride in on a white horse in commander mode surrounded by ten assistants holding 40 Nikon SB900 speedlights.

They just walked in the room, with a refreshingly lack of ego, climbed up on the stage and taught with humor, patience, fun and a sense of giving back to the photographic community that has given them so much. And their "show" lasted much longer than a Gaga Madonna concert----all day if fact.

David and Joe,  both of whom are "The" two biggest names in photography education working today, decided last summer with an idea that came from Joe McNally's Studio Assistant, to take on the rock n' roll lifestyle and get on a bus and tour around to 29 cities in 6 weeks and teach as many photographers as they could, how to remove the flash that most stick on top of their cameras and put it on something else and make beautiful photographs.

They enlisted the support of a bunch of amazing sponsors such as Manfrotto,  LumiQuest, Rosco, Spyder, Tethertools, Peachpit Press, NIKsoftware, Lexar, PocketWizard, Thinkthank photo, Frio and Adorama and others who helped pull the tour together and headed out with the first stop on March 11th in Seattle. The sponsors put together a great swag bag of items that was an added bonus to the show. The tour ends on April 18th in St. Louis, Missouri.

We hear that most of the shows are sold out, but here's the link to the Flashbus 2011 Tour site if you want to find our for yourself.

The format for the one day seminar is a morning session with David Hobby followed by lunch, and afternoon session with Joe McNally and then a brief question and answer session with both of them on stage at the end of the show.

The morning session started off with David Hobby teaching in easily understood language, the basic building blocks of off camera flash photography. His approach is to use camera flash in primarily manual mode with the occasional need for TTL (through the lens). Manual mode is where the photographer takes control over the creative lighting process by using their flash in manual mode only. The photographer tells the flash exactly how much light to send out and for how long.  TTL is where the photographer uses the flash in an automatic mode where the camera measures the light that comes in through the lens and relays information to the flash telling it how much light to send out to the subject and for how long.

(A bit of a caveat for TTL. It's not exactly 100% automatic....just point your camera and it will make  your bed, do your dishes, take out the garbage and cook you dinner. No the photographer still needs to give the computer in the camera some basic information to get the TTL mode on the camera headed in the right direction, and that big ball of light in the sky called the sun is still tricky enough that it can fool even the best computer inside of the best cameras made today).

He taught those in attendance to start with the ambient light, add fill light, key light and as he says "season to taste". David is a wonderful teacher who boiled down some very complicated subject matter to the level that was easy to understand for just about anyone with a camera in their hands.

The most enjoyable part for me about David Hobby's part of the show was just how humble and down to earth he is. He seemed to easily make a connection with everyone in the audience. And you could see he was really passionate about helping others and showing them how to be better photographers. The three hours seemed to fly by as he interacted with those in the audience answering a multitude of questions in a humorous and informative fashion.

He has some great DVD's called "Lighting in Layers" that just came out in conjunction with the Flashbus 2011 Tour that I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to make that leap from taking boring snapshots and moving it onto the next level. You can order them from Adorama by clicking here.

The afternoon session with Joe McNally kinda of got off to a rocky start as computer gremlins messed up his tethering system he uses to throw the photos he takes during his live demonstration up onto the screen so he can teach how he solves problems as he lights a photographic situation.

While technicians and his staff worked feverishly to solve the problems. Joe who is also another great fountain of photographic knowledge and down right wonderful teacher, took the situation and made it into a teaching moment for those in attendance by not getting upset or flustered and explaining to all that many times taking photographs is simply about problem solving.

After a couple of false starts and switching out of cameras and computers the show was back in gear. Joe was a whirl wind of information and creative genius. His approach is mostly TTL with some manual flash thrown in to solve problems and situations where TTL just can't get the job done.

He taught the details of TTL to everyone by using live models from his crew and people pulled from the audience. He showed how he use strobes and reflectors to shape the light on his subjects to achieve the results he was trying to get. And as everything was being done live. He let us in on his thinking/problems solving process and everyone got to see how he fixed things when they didn't work and most importantly got to see that its OK to make mistakes as we work towards making a good photograph. In fact the big take away for me was exactly that. Making mistakes IS part of the creative process.

Joe is a legend in the photographic world with many books to his credit that should be on the shelves of every serious photographer working today.  He also released a new set of DVD's in conjunction with the Flashbus 2011 Tour called "The Language of Light" that should be on the must buy list of every photographer out there of if you have an understanding spouse, a great birthday or Father's or Mother's day gift.

In the end I think we all wanted to hold up our lighters and try for an encore, but Joe and David needed to roll onto the next stop of the Flashbus 2011 Tour!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recent Editorial Work

Just wanted to put up a quick post as I have been busy for the last few days with a couple of assignments for editorial clients. The first was to cover Utah Senator Orrin Hatch for a day as he met with constituents from his home state. The second was at the opposite end of the spectrum when I was asked by a client to take photographs of the classical music group the 5 Browns at their first Utah concert after their father had plead guilty to sexually molested the group's three adult sisters -- when they were children.

Both these assignment were challenging due to the fact that they would need to be shot almost exclusively with available light, which is not usually a problem, but in both these situation it was extremely low-light situations. The kind of light that is so dim that it makes you sweat just thinking about it.

It's hold the camera steady, and nail your exposure so that you don't have to lighten it up in photoshop as all this will do is make the digital noise in the files the size of boulders. And while your at it remember that you have almost no depth of field, so focus will have to be tack sharp.

This is where all that running on the treadmill comes in handy. Hold real still, exhale, and squeeze the shutter, just like a marksman shooting at a target. Being in shape, keeps the heart rate lower and when you are shooting in these types of situations you need every bit of help you can get.

Yes I know that today's digital slr cameras have great high ISO capabilities, but sometimes even high ISO doesn't reach quite high enough and the old school techniques can really help you out getting the final shots.

So here are a few images from these two assignments to let you see how they turned out.

more to come......

Friday, January 14, 2011

Intrepid Christmas Card Photo Shoot

I have been waiting for a while now to post this incredibly fun commercial photo shoot I did back in early December. I was asked by the award winning Utah based Intrepid Public Relations and Advertising agency to take photos for their yearly company Christmas card. Every year they do a theme based Christmas card where all the employees pose as characters from one television show or movie and then act out different scenarios which are then photographed for the card. This years theme was the Fox hit TV show "Glee" .  These are uber creative people mind you who do this sort of thing for a living, so I was really excited to see how everything came together. Hat's off to everyone over at Intrepid. They were so professional, fun and enthusiastic and really knocked it out of the park in front of the cameras. So now that the holiday season is over and the Christmas card has been mailed out to all their clients, set back and enjoy a few images of Intrepid's ode to Glee.

more to come......

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Little Off Topic

Normally I use my blog space to talk about my passion for photography. But every once in a while I read something or something happens that causes me to write about something else. Today is one of those days. A couple of things happened today which caused me to think. #1. Elizabeth Smart's abductor and tormentor Brian David Mitchell was found guilty on all counts for his role in the abduction, rape and torture of Elizabeth Smart. The prosecuting attorney's the witnesses at trial, the police officials and the jurors all stated what a remarkable women Elizabeth Smart was. How she had been able to handle herself and testify in such detail and in such a calm and succinct manner about what she had been through was a key to the proper justice being delivered in the verdict that was announced today.

Then I read an article  in the New York Times entitled "The Women's Crusade". written by By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF and SHERYL WuDUNN which was originally published back on August 17, 2009. It made me think about how much better off we would be as a nation and as a world if more was done to empower women. Elizabeth Smart was exploited by an evil man. Many, many women are tortured, abused, mistreated, exploited and pushed down every day by evil men. Yet many women rise above this cesspool of repression and do so with character, humility and strength.

Just to be clear, I am not "man bashing" or "man hating" as I am man myself.  The oldest of eleven children. I have six sisters and four  brothers younger than me and I have a wife and three daughters, so you could say that I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by women my whole life.

So here is the opening couple of paragraphs of The New York Times article which made me deviate from my normal talk of photography.
IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.
Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from theWorld Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism.
Did you get that. Focusing on women and girls is the MOST effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. I want to carry this a bit further. In my belief. In any government, country, religion, theology, corporation, or home that marginalizes women, that doesn't give them an equal voice and equal power then just plain bad decision making happens.  Just for thought, let's think about all the recent chaos and bad decision making that took place on Wall Street that plunged our economy into the worst recession since the great depression. I wonder how many of these decisions were made by women in executive positions? How much input did women get in economic decision making by the Federal Reserve, Banks, Insurance companies and other corporations? What about other areas in our government? How many women set on committees or chair committees  at national or local levels? How many women get a chance to run for political office as Senators or for Congress?  Only 17 of the 100 Senators in the U.S. are women, yet 50.8% of the U.S. population is women. In Congress we have 76 women and 359 men.

And what about the heads of corporations, banks, or military commanders? And religion? How many women are given a voice or a role in the leadership of major religions around the world. Would certain religions be as prone to extremism or  the problems as divisive if women played a more prominent role?
As a father of three daughters at the same time as I worry about their future I am also encouraged by those who have recognized the importance of equality of power for women. I have always encouraged my daughters to take advantage of educational opportunities and to empower themselves with knowledge. My hope is that the world will continue to evolve and that it will be a place where all women, including my daughters will be given an equal voice in politics, economics and in their own homes.