Gabe & Hanna

I have been photographing these kids for many years. I have enjoyed the work, but I know the family well and always have a good time when they are around! Even though they are quite a distance away I hope to get the opportunity to photograph them again sometime.


Batson-Cook Development, LLC

Screen grab of web design example.
The color is during rollovers on the final page.
I really had a great time with the people at Batson-Cook Development. The people were really willing to try posing and working with us in a new and different way and I think that we were able to see more of the individual personalities in the photos. This is the brainchild of the web designer Stefanie Calkins-Wolfe in Atlanta. The site is still under construction and I will try to link it here when it is done. I also tried out a new assistant, Laura Deas. She was outstanding in her preparedness and was able to work with us to achieve our desired results.


Ice Forest

Canon Powershot A1000IS
This shot was taken after the snowfall the night before when we had 3 inches of snow. During the day the snow began to melt and there were icicles forming on everything. My first thought was quite typical and the shots were just as much so. Now that we are in New Hampshire the sunset is at 4:15pm it was dusk and there was a full moon which you see in the image at the top left. I put the camera right up on the icicle and a few shots into the series I composed this shot. I really enjoyed the process and I think that the final image is worth the effort. There was very little done to the image in post-processing and to be honest, I don't think it needed anything more done to it! Do you?

Now, go shoot something!


My Chevy Van

iPhone photo retouched in Photoshop
I know it has been awhile since I made a post, but there has been a lot of stuff going on! We did move to New Hampshire. We did not move to the house over Mascoma Lake. But, as you can see from the photo, we do have a lake near our house!

It is winter, and we have had one snowfall ourselves about 10 inches deep. Boy was that something to dig out of for my wife to go to work! At least we now have an exercise plan. Anyway, I still have to get back to the southeast for some work and to get some of our things. One of those is my camera, which I left for the job I must do.

About the photo... Well, without my camera I am feeling a little out of place and stuck. I want to take so many shots now that I have time, but cannot do the quality I would hope for yet. I guess I just needed to get something done so I could feel like myself again. After the snow our van looked, should I say, ridiculous? I don't think it has ever been sooo dirty in it's entire existence! I took it to get washed and on the way home I was admiring the wonderful view. All of the snow has melted and the air is clean. I stopped by the lake and took a couple of iPhone shots with the van wearing it's new shoes (you know, the snow tires). Makes it look a little more masculine... Sort of...

Once the shot was in "camera" I needed to do some retouching. A little due to the condition of our van and more because the scene needed to be pumped up. I retouched the street, the sky ( since the camera cannot capture the full dynamic range), the saturation was enhanced and details were brought out on the van itself.

I think for a photo taken with a small device it has turned out well. Maybe you will agree and maybe this shot is not your cup-of-tea. But it makes me feel better to do a little work to practice my skills and to share a view we see when we come back home every day.



Bass Pro Shops | East Peoria, IL

For those of you who like the great outdoor stores, these are a few select images of the 68 images I made while working for Bass Pro on this shoot. They are certain to enter this store into the ACT contest for best store fixture design. I was apart of their winning entries from 2004 through 2007 and hope to add another to my list of awards I helped win!



Mascoma Lake, Enfield, NH
We have been in New Hampshire for 3 days. The sun visited us on and off for a few minutes during the day today, but for the most part we have had rain and overcast skies. Although we are here on a mission to find a home, I have been looking forward to seeing all of the colorful leaves I have heard about for most of  my adult life. The colors are there, muted as they are!

I have seen many inspirational scenes while here, yet we have been preoccupied with our quest. This evening we saw a wonderful house located on the far side of the lake from where this photo was taken. On the way from this house we visited the Shaker Museum just down the road. This was a beautiful place that I would recommend anyone visit.

While driving from there I saw the lake and the sky and how the light worked them into a seamless panorama. Unfortunately, with my point-and-shoot camera I had to work it out manually with three images, Photoshop and some retouching. I think God does a better job! I can only do my best to show His images through my lenses and the immediate perception I am granted. I hope to see this view more often from the other side in a beautiful house. I'll let you know how it goes, but I will certainly share some of my more interesting images with you once we move in to the area. Until then I will be reflecting on my life and the choices before me in hopes of finding that my path is as wonderful as the images I have seen coming off the waters of the lake I seem to love in New Hampshire!

God Bless,


Blown Away

Click Here to view 360º Panoramic

During my visit to Missouri to work with Bass Pro Shops I was able to make a 3-day Labor Day excursion to visit friends in Kansas City. En Route I decided I would drive through the area hit by the F5 tornado in Joplin, MO. All we had seen on television was the hospital, yet we knew the path of devastation was about a mile wide and 13 miles long. I felt that I needed to not only see the results of such a powerful storm, but to also pay my respects to those who lost so much on that day not so long ago.

When I arrived on the outskirts of the tornado's path I was shocked by the damage. However, as I traveled onward toward the center of the hell it must have been I was blown away by what I did not see. There were so few structures left standing where there had been street after street of homes! Homes that were missing. Homes that were forever swept from existence. Lives destroyed if not all together lost! I had to hold back tears that day and still do when I think about it.

I noticed people still cleaning up debris from lots. Working together to make something a little better for someone. There was a small group huddled together praying in the valley to my right and a church's cross standing tall on my left, no building, just a hole where one had been. A high school that had been all but demolished with the sign up front reading "HOPE High School" where the name had once resided.

There was hope in the air. Amidst the vacancy which I hear was a thousand times better than it had been initially, the people were beginning to rebuild. That is the strength of human nature!

I may add photos from the day sometime soon, and if I do I will link them here. Until then, remember those who need love, guidance, food, housing, clothing, money or whatever you can contribute. 

God bless you all!


Warped Reality

Apple iPhone, auto, while driving

I knew that I would be away for the first part of today, and I really didn't want a repeat of last night looking for a project when I really wanted to sleep. On my drive through the beautiful city of Atlanta, I made a decision  to take a few shots from my car. First I was in traffic that was moving at such a speed that a turtle could have blown by me. However I didn't see a turtle, so my shots consisted of break lights and the rear-ends of large trucks. Try to contain your excitement...

I'm not sure, but the feeling I get when in such situations is not something I want viewers to have while looking at my photos. I kept shooting, but even overpasses seemed blasé.

When looking at the median, which under normal circumstances should be blurry even to drivers ass they make their commutes, I noticed an entire story etched in stone. Each one a different chapter, with characters changing from one story to the next. I thought "Maybe I can catch one of these stories and retell it for the world!"

One thing to notice about shooting with a scanning-type system like the one in the typical hand-held device is it's tendency to do so in time. This differs from a camera that has a shutter that can achieve high speeds and practically stop action and time. The scanning may only take a portion of a second, but when traveling at a high rate of speed it will actually bend perspective. At first this can be viewed as a problem or lack of ability for the device, but once understood it can actually provide a look that tells someone that something is happening here!

I know that you can do this with Photoshop, but there is something nice about knowing the abilities and limitations of your equipment and how to use it to your advantage.

This image was not tweaked too much in post-production. A little sharpening, contrast and saturation, and NO Retouching of artifacts! I like the edgy nature of the image as it stands. It completes the story it is trying to tell. And ironically, the number on the sign is the name of the highway I was driving! I didn't notice this until later, and these signs changed to a different number every few meters.

Go Create!


Leggo my Ego

Canon PowerShot A 1000 IS 1.0 sec at f/5.6, 24.8mm, ISA 400

Today I felt like I missed my opportunity by waiting until really late to take today's photo. I searched around to see what there was around the house and remembered that my kids were playing with their LEGOs earlier. The little blocks, figures and parts were still strewn about so I wanted to grab a "found object" photo for my entry. To tell the truth, those little toys have been in  the floor for over a week, but who needs to know that?

As I searched the settlement for the best angle, I changed my mind about leaving the items stricktly as I found them. It could be my propensity to want to control everything about my photographs or the fact that it was closing in on the end of the day, but I broke down and found a little figure with a head and arranged it against my son's spaceship as I began to envision it. I also had gotten the little point-and-shoot camera for ease. Yeah, a little tired!

The first shots were a bit dark so I bumped up the exposure. Surprisingly, this had little effect on the image. I had to up the ISO of the camera to 400 ISO since the limited ability of this model was to change the exposure with up to +/-2-stops, which was too little for the auto-exposure presets. I had the camera propped on the floor for two reasons: first, to steady the camera at long exposures, and second, to give the perspective that the viewer was on the same level as the LEGO "pilot". He was actually a "Harry Potter" figure, but it works for me.

Once downloaded, I made basic adjustments in Lightroom and imported the result into Photoshop. I retouched it and felt like I needed to work it a little more to satisfy me. I thought that this situation would need to have occurred somewhere other than earth. The light would need to reflect that! I added a new layer and put lighting to it with  the filter Lighting Effects. One spot was all I needed. Something to look like a light he had for working from on this terribly ill-lit environment in the Omega quadrant. I added a Hue/Saturation layer to create the blue hue and made a copy of the lighting layer to place over the blue one. At that point I masked out everything except the man's face, top of his head and tire.

I enjoyed the result even though it was not well planned. I take pride in coming to the table with a goal in mind, so this was a little out of place from my usual work. I also prefer my 1Ds over the PowerShot, but made this work. All-in-all I guess I had to Leggo my Ego.



Canon EOS D30 1/15 sec at f/5.6, 300mm (1.6x Focal Length Multiplier), ISO 800

I shot a wedding today and figured I could use one of those images for my photo-a-day. I hope you don't feel this is being lazy, but after over 5 hours of wedding in addition to pre and post work, I hope you can allow this to count. I didn't set out to shoot the wedding secondary to my daily post, but rather looked closely at the images I obtained in order to see something in the images I may have caught without knowing I had done so. I guess I can say I am happy with what I found, because the image I chose was this modestly cropped shot of the bride and groom almost exactly as shot!

I'll tell you, when I looked through my lens and saw the couple holding hands in the midst of marriage, I was touched! What else could symbolize this union greater? I got all the traditional shots and tried to get the best images I could for the bride and groom. Even through the complexities of doing this one on my own without an assistant and having my strobes expectantly stop firing, I came out with photographs that will be cherished for many years to come.

What  happened with your lighting, you ask? Oh the joy! I was using two Norman 800ws packs, one with a Quantum Radio Slave 4 and the other with an Speedotron Optical Slave. When I initially set it up it worked fine. I took the setup down during the service as there are few people who can appreciate umbrella lighting in the front of the church during the wedding.  Just imagine...

MAN: Hey, WOW! Did you see the cool lights and stands on either side of us! I wish WE could have had those when WE were married
WOMAN: Get a grip!

See what I mean! Poor fella'

So when I put the lights back they worked for a few frames. It was at the point of getting the large group shot–of course–when  for unknown reasons the radio slave went on strike! When I manually set of the test button it woke and said with a load pop, "WHAT!?" So I would try another and it was still on strike. After a few attempts I traded out the radio slave for another optical one, still with no success since my on camera strobe, my Canon Speedlight 580EX II, was needed at a lower power to fill in the faces. I was able to get my power back by hard wiring the camera to the Norman on the left and simply warned the people around me to be careful. Not ideal, but ALWAYS HAVE BACK-UP!

The rest of the day went well as it was mainly the reception. The only other option I had for my favorite choice of photo-a-day would be the seed throwing shot. My wife looked at it and said fine. This was not reassuring. That was when I looked harder at the image I posted. I believe we made the right choice.


Dodging, Burning and the Cat!

Canon EOS-1Ds 1/100 sec at f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 250

Setting out again to create a photo for this day, I had no idea what my subject would be. I did decide beforehand that I wanted to use a limited depth of field with a telephoto lens. I went to my front yard, where I have done some of my photos already, looking for something that would be expressly different than other shots I had made so  far.

I took photos of developing acorns, large ones at that! I photographed a squirrel, too. But my cat, Sabastian, kept following me about. So inevitably I used him as my subject. I found him to be quite a challenge at first. I would walk away from him and sit down, which for Sabastian meant I was wanting company. He would run up to me so I could have the honor of petting him. In the process I would try to get a few shots, but he was really quick. After a couple of attempts, he finally got exhausted of his efforts and laid down to keep an eye on me from his chosen position.

During the shooting he would notice the squirrels, bugs and I added some noises, as well, for good measure. I think he must have thought there was a small rodent behind me at one point. He does love a good hunt! We find offerings somewhat often somewhere around the house. Outside, that is. So he crouched down to investigate unnoticed and this is the shot I have here.

I took it into Lightroom for the initial processing, but felt Photoshop would still be necessary in order to get the effect I was looking for. Even though Lightroom can be used for the effects I wanted, I am much more comfortable, somewhat quicker, working in Photoshop.

Once there I did some basic retouching and then headed for the modifications. I started out with making a copy of the layer (⌘J) and set the mode to screen. I filled the mask layer with black (option + click on mask in layers palette) and used the brush tool set to white to show more highlights and the eyes. I duplicated that layer (⌘J) once again to reinforce the effect. I the went back to the original layer and once again duped it (⌘J) and moved it above the other layers and set this one to multiply. Filled the mask with black again and used this one to darken some areas around the edges and where I needed depth in the shadows or details in highlights that were somewhat lacking in detail. These two processes are effectively dodging and burning with more control and loss-less. Photoshop CS5 should have improved on the dodging and burning tools and this process may become less necessary.

Finally I used smart sharpen for a merged version of the image (⌘+option+shift+E) which placed all selected layers on top of them all. Saved and exported the image from Lightroom where my web settings are easily available.

I know this is just a photo of a cat, but I did look for something beyond what is typical. Patience with this subject was needed and manipulating the situation was helpful. If your a photojournalist you can't affect your subjects in the way I did without expressing that in your tag-line, but I think a cat photo wouldn't really qualify as breaking ethics too much! Putting more emphasis on the subject through dodging and burning is something to always consider. It helps with both providing a point of interest, but also in contrast and color saturation.

Happy shooting!


Revisit your Image

Canon PowerShot A1000 IS, 1/125 sec at f/5, 20.2mm, ISO 100

The kids wanted me to take them to the pool after school. It was already close to 4pm and I knew we had a school function at 6:00. Instead of telling them we had no time, I decided I wanted to join them. It was in the mid 90's so to take a dip in would feel great!

We headed down, but before we left I decided I should take the camera with me. What scared me was the fact that if something happened to my 1Ds, I would be in a world of hurt, especially if I were to blame for, well, whatever. So, not wanting to take that chance, I grabbed my point-and-shoot. This is the camera we purchased in order to take on vacations where the destinations seemed unaccommodating to carrying an entire bag full of camera equipment. This is the camera I use for these and many other purposes. It still gives me great wide, adequate zoom, worthy macro and still quite flexible when it comes to making manual adjustments. Of course not to the degree of my pro-camera, but still, why take a chance!

We were having a great time, and it almost completely slipped my mind that I wanted to take a few shots while I was there. Fortunately, I remembered within a reasonable time frame. I shot a few around the pool and of leaves and things, but what I really needed was something using the water. I knew this up front, but still, water, kids, whatever!

I braved up and warned the kids of the camera and to my surprise they were wonderfully helpful. I started out with some shots of my son and worked over to the pool itself. I thought that I had some good stuff of the "No Diving" warning refracting through the water. But when I viewed the images when I returned home, the one that stuck out in my mind was one of the ones of my son!  In fact, he had blinked. At the pool I had noticed this, but he said he had not. I just let it ride. This one is great!

The original shot was something, but I felt enhancing this image could improve it. In  Lightroom, I began making changes. Practically experimenting, but that a good start. I ended up with settings that were similar to the effects achieved when using Lucis Art plug-in. This plug-in is no longer developed for Macintosh which is my preferred platform, so I use settings that I have researched that mock the look, also known as the Dave Hill style. It's not this style specifically, though. Just interpretation.

At this point I took it into Photoshop and started retouching spots, doing some selective color changes, sharpening, contrast and saturation using masks. When I finished I was delighted with my image. Not having any idea of where I would take this once I started, I was certainly pleased with the results. I had to take a break to pick up my kids, so I came back to it when I returned.

After returning with my childern, I proudly showed my son his photo. The wonderful thing about a child is that even though they can be brutally honest, you can trust that they will be honestly happy with the photo you did of them. As he looked upon this he was impressed. Well, as much as a child would be. I looked once again at the set of images and found that I missed having the tonality of the original. However, I liked many of the facets of the new image. I opened the original and placed it above the layers that had enhanced the photos contrast, but below the detail giving layers created. With a little toying around with it and masking in the goggles and getting that skin tone back I was much more pleased with the results.

What I realized with this phots, not that it is totally new to me, is that sometimes when you feel you have reached the point where your image is the best it can be, it is possible you may change you mind in time. Instead of working an image too much, or even too little, take a step back and take a break from it. Let your mind refresh and revisit the image. You may find out something completely different than you thought you had in the beginning.

Go out and shoot and take some chances with your subject matter. Happy shooting!


"Lucky Peach" and "Lunch!"

Canon EOS-1Ds 1/320 sec at f/8, 40mm, ISO 125

Trying to find subjects for this photo-a-day project can sometimes be very challenging. Some days I just happen on something, while other days I have to consider many things before I can find something I would like to include in this series.

I was getting kind of hungry and I needed to eat some lunch. No need in passing out in the middle of the day. I should wait for the evening to come before I do that! So I began searching for something to eat rather than something to photograph. Well it so happened that on this particular occasion, these two things became one-in-the-same! The problem became, Should I eat then shoot? Um, if I do, what will I shoot? Darn! Gotta' wait to eat until I finish the project – at least the shooting part.

So I took the peach I was soooo ready to devour and we headed outside. I didn't want to spend time setting up the studio, the sun was out, and I wanted...FOOD! Then I had to figure out what I wanted to show the peach around. The mushroom from before, No. The dead mole, Ew! Come on, i'm hungry! Oh, alright! Just in the grass. YES! The grass would provide nice color contrast. It was close! And there is clover!

I put the peach down and "styled" the grass and clover as much as I could. And once again, through the lens that peach looked wonderful, and not just because of my appetite. The shaded sunlight coming from the left was just enough to wrap around that little fruit providing it the shape that is so, well, peachy! The even-smaller fuzz that peaches are well known for became visible at the point-of-focus in the center of where the stem had been. One nice surprise for me was how the clover's shadow fell so elegantly on the side of our subject. This seemed like a "Lucky Peach" to me! It really came out well and helped me to reconsider outdoor lighting and how I can use and emulate it when necessary in the studio. Darn right I learned something. But then I was hungry and the peach was NOT so lucky!

Canon EOS-1Ds 1/2 sec at f/6.3 and F/11, 38mm ISO 160

I went inside and finished off my appetizer and started in on fixing lunch. I grabbed my hero, the tomato, and proceeded to gather the other items I desired for my mid-day meal. I retrieved a knife and cutting board and fashioned it all together on the table to enjoy my well-earned feast. And it then occurred to me, I could take a quick shot of this, too. And my brain said "Sure" while my stomach said"Damn You!"

I arranged it all and decided hand holding this would prove to be just too much. I grabbed my tripod and finalized the composition and camera settings. Giving myself enough time I probably would have used an even greater depth-of-field for this shot as the tomato, the hero I mentioned before, was not a sharp as I would have liked. Altough he would soon get the point! (Ha Ha Ha! Get it! with the knife!)
I did shoot one at f/11 for this purpose and blended it in layers, but, alas, it would not be enough!

I finally did eat my lunch. And I believe my stomach has forgiven me for the delay. But whenever I grab my camera when he is hungry it just eats him up! (Ha Ha Ha.) Yeah, get over it, already!


iPhone and Photoshop
When I took my two younger children to the optometrist, I knew I had not done my photo of the day. This was weighing on me pretty heavy. This is one project I don't want to take too lightly. It is a promise to someone very important who doesn't like to know you have let something slide if not necessary. This is a promise I made to myself! So, I think I would know if I am trying to fool myself, at least some of the time.

Using the iPhone at first didn't feel right for this project. But with the help of my supporting wife, she helped me to realize that the equipment used is not as important as the experience gained from trying different things. That which I am not used to doing so that I may concentrate more on what I can gain from the ordinary. I have gotten some darn good images from my iPhone, and there has even been a trend that lends itself to the equipment for art! I saw an ad created for a windows phone, on a windows phone! I mean really, look what we can achieve here!

Anyway, I took numerous shots, most of which were quite blurred without the assistance of my tripod in low light. I did choose to work with this photograph and to see what I could obtain by using it. I brought it into Photoshop and created the light that seemingly comes out of the equipment lighting the eyes of my daughter's face. I decided to reduce the luminosity of the rest of her face in order to focus attention on her eyes (seemed like the thing to do). I desaturated the color, colored her eye, and softened the image using the Portraiture plug-in for Photoshop. I find this filter to be quite useful for smoothing skin-tones, but you have to be careful not to abuse this look, especially on males, as you don't want to get pigeonholed into one look. I finally sharpened the final image, but only slightly and warmed it up a bit to make it less green from the florescent lighting of the office.

I'll tell you, that is one of my pet peeves, using florescent lights! I know that it's greener for the environment, but it's also greener on the images I shoot! And having to photograph architecture for so many years, I have really lost some of the enjoyment good incandescent lights have. The warm, inviting mood and the ability to direct light where it is needed. Not just in photographs, but in the interior design as well. Everything is flat nowadays! It drives me besonkers! I digress...

Well, enough of the sermon. I hope this image at least opens you up to working within the scope of the equipment you either own or can obtain easily. Don't let that be something that stops you from taking on a challenge in photography. Work with what you have an d build from there. I'll yap a little soon, but enjoy you day!


"Just a Little Room"

Canon EOS-1Ds 1/100sec at f/11, 17mm

Before I set out to make this blog, I added this image to my portfolio. On the second day of my quest to learn something and expand my image examples I saw this mushroom in our front lawn. Now to give you a little perspective, I was simply walking to the mailbox and this little guy was just sitting there with his cap stuck out of the grass waiting on any passers by to take notice of him. Well I did and I said to myself "Man I really have got to get my son to mow this lawn!" Yeah, not the inspiration you thought, huh? Well, as I returned toward the house I then thought "I should take a picture of that mushroom sometime." (DUH!) That's when it hit me! Hey, Dodo! THIS IS SOMETIME!!!

Wow! Inspirational, eh?

In a matter of speaking, it was a bit inspiring. At the moment Mr. Subconscious spoke up, I decided it was high-time that I listened. So I immediately went inside and got my camera. My lens choice was obvious to me. I went for the 17mm-40mm wide lens. You know, the one I am used to for architecture. Seriously, though, I knew that the grass needed to be cut and trying to get a shot from any distance would prove fruitless. OK, mushroom-less (quietly laugh if you want).

So I went outside and laid down beside my little friend, and many drivers-by thought I was either seriously injured or as strange as you may think after the onset of this sentence. I pointed my camera at the the mushroom, and needed to get in very close. Amazingly, I was about 2 inches from the subject in order to keep it in focus! And with that wide lens, I was shooting vertically and still cropped to horizontal. The view was beautiful! I thought of the  movie "A Bugs Life" by Pixar. This was a new world right there under my feet! Yeah, "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" came to mind, as well, and it's not a new idea, but to be in control and to experience it for yourself makes all the difference.

In retouching the image I used a bracket of exposures and an High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) layer. With masks and adjustment layers including Hue/Saturation, Levels and selective sharpening I was able to finalize the image as it is shown here.

Now, since this particular specimen was about 5 in high and 4 in across I was thrilled that I was able to get so low to the ground in relation to the mushrooms cap. The details that were available to me at that angle were truly impressive! I am thrilled that I listened to my inner voice and took the time to investigate the possibilities of photographing this mushroom in all it's minute glory. It was with this image my wife proclaimed that I should produce a photo a day and present it to the web.

This project becomes addictive once begun, so I hope to inspire you to create a project for yourself. Find an area of your life you would like to improve and step outside your box, get a little uncomfortable with your routine and challenge yourself to take a different perspective!
 Not just in a visual sense, but carry it over to the way you live and view the world around you.

Good Luck!


Welcome Home!

iPhone Photo
It really is splendid when a child affects your life. There is still question if I should say "infect", but either way it is a good thing.

This image has resided on the outside of our garage door windows for over a quarter of a year. That may mean to you that I haven't washed the outside of our garage door in quite awhile (ever) or at least in the five years we have lived here. But to me, this presented the opportunity to see this youths illustration and revisit some fond memories of how it came to be.

When we went out of town for our 10-day beach vacation in the first part of summer we had asked our neighbor to keep a watchful eye on our home and to feed our animals. Upon our return, we had this image drawn on our garage with the adolescent-styled faces smiling at us and welcoming my family home. This was a nice gesture that she had made for us and whether it was genuine delight that we would be returning or the relief she gained from knowing she would be free of the responsibility of caring for the animals we may never want to know. No matter what the purpose intended was, it still remains that I smile every time I see it – Yes, it is still there.

See, I was working on my laptop from the kitchen counter/bar, the children had started school recently after staying at home all summer with me, and the morning light was beautiful. I had a clear view from where I sat of the pane in the garage door in which the illustration was drawn. It is the east side of our home and the morning light was just skimming over the trees on the other side of our driveway creating the most remarkable light penetrating through the glass and directly toward me. I just happened to look up at it at this point of the morning and it was stunningly back lit! 

Now I can think of many reasons I may not have seen this earlier in the season: the sun's angle would have been coming in differently, the foliage was fuller, maybe I sat a little to the right of where I was at that time. But, in fact, I believe all of these to be less likely than the simple fact that I had at least 3 children under foot most of the summer, and sometimes more! Yeah, I was a little distracted.

I really enjoy my children, and all of their friends. I must say that I miss them now that I sit here in a house that is so very quiet, lest that of snoring dogs. But it gives me time to reflect, engage and pursue. I don't know when I may get around to washing off the window, and it may very well be there for quite some time. At least until the next owner of this house decides to let it go. But it helps me to center myself in ways I will not try to explain here and now. Suffice to say, the image is only one of many representations of my life and how children are a big part of how I enjoy this world!

Words about my project...

Canon EOS-1Ds 1/60sec at f/5, 120mm
A few days ago I decided to start shooting photos that would help me to improve my skills and to see things in a different way than that of which I am familiar. I started to feel like I was in a bit of a rut and that it had been some time since my creative spirit took control of my camera outside of work. With this I set out to make a few photos of people since that was an area of my portfolio that was in need of improvement.

After doing a little research on fashion photography tips and gaining some valuable information from successful sources in the field, I decided that the best place to start would be with a self-portrait. Not only did this put forth the obvious challenges of the process, such as trying to position myself and change lighting without the benefit of seeing the changes while they were being made, but one thing I have never enjoyed is being the subject of my own photo! Most of us are built to feel somewhat more critical of ourselves, and I am no exception. I always tell people who are uncomfortable with being photographed, "That's why I wanted to become the photographer!"

In thinking the process through, I wanted to stay away from the overused, typical photographer shot where he sits with his hand just touching his chin and contemplating whatever it is he supposed to be thinking about, emulating a version of Auguste Rodin's, "The Thinker". Trust me, there are many examples of this of some fashion or another. Now, while contemplating the viewers needs while sitting there in inanimate suspension may appeal to the viewers desire to be noticed, I really wanted to achieve something different from the typical (for some reason). I wanted to have a camera in the shot with me, but once again, this is nothing new. My revelation was to hang a mirror up in from=nt of the camera and to take the shots of my reflection!

Fine, not such a big revelation, but the benefits were enormous. First, it enabled my to shoot tethered to my computer, which is something I do quite regularly. Second, I could use the camera in the shot to take the shot (which I think is really cool!) Third, I could make all the adjustments I needed by looking at the computer (also in the shot) and not have to move too much from where I was sitting. Great! The only issue that kept haunting me was using a limited depth-of-field for the lens to keep my eyes in focus and throwing the camera out of focus. You know, auto focus can be helpful, but for this I needed to know for sure where the lens should be set and where my eyes would be in focus without looking through the lens. I finally had success presetting the focal plane with use of an unused light stand and replacing that with my face.

The final retouched, and flipped, photo is the one I am using for this blog. Lighting inspired in some way by fashion, I feel I was able to pull off a self-portrait that I  can be proud of posting.

So over the next couple of days I wanted to keep adding photos that I may be able to use for a portfolio. With those images and what I had been doing, my wife came up with the idea to have a Photo-A-Day and post it somewhere. Hence, I am writing this blog for those who are interested, but also to use as a tool for looking out at my world and from that point-of-view, creating images that will help me to see the places I live and visit with a new vision, one I may have not considered before. I plan to learn to use the basics of composition, lighting, camera function, computer skills, and creativity to improve myself in new ways to explore and share the visualization I obtain throughout this project.

I hope you enjoy viewing my images, even if my writing style leaves something to be desired. I will certainly do my best to make your visit inspiring, educational and visually entertaining. If you have any comments or suggestions for me I certainly welcome them.

Thank you.