Victoria and Isabella…models on the run!

It was a number of years ago that I took a shot of Victoria on her wedding day that helped push me into taking on photography as a hobby and then a business. My post of that shot can be found HERE! So when Victoria was in town with her daughter Bella, we got in touch and I followed them around the Botanical Gardens to snap a few shots. Bella was a little shy for about the first two minutes but then became very comfortable having me around and was all about striking the poses! You can see all of their images here: http://public.fotki.com/biggy/victoria-and-isabella/ or their SLIDESHOW.


Lena’s Modeling Session

Lena was looking to both build her portfolio a little along with simply getting some personal shots, so this gave me a little bit of freedom from simply doing full studio style shots to get some semi-creative ones (hopefully). Having done some modeling before, she was very easy to work with. She not only was able to pose well, but also had no shortage of her own ideas to incorporate into the shoot. Having worked with some more novice models in the past, it was a nice change to work with someone a bit more expressive and creative. We were shooting in the early afternoon, so the overcast skies were somewhat welcomed because her hair and eyes popped a bit more, it seemed to make an interesting combination. The rest of the time we were indoors and shooting with studio lights.

There was one interesting photo which I took that was based off of an accident initially which was the first one you’ll see below. With the strobes, the shutter speed is typically 1/60th of a second and I normally shoot at around aperture f/5.6 or f/8 which works fine when you have a nice big flash going off. However when no flash goes off, the shutter speed will become much longer in a more or less dark room. With my camera in aperture priority mode at f/8 I forgot to turn on my control unit for the strobes and the camera automatically slowed down the shutter speed causing a sort of ghost like image (images made like this are often referred to as ‘shutter drag’). So after mumbling a swear or two I reached down to turn on the controller so that next time the strobes would fire…as I did, I noticed a neat looking image with a ghost like effect. So I quickly raised the camera back up and did the shot one more time, this time intentionally…and came up with the below image. Let me know what you think, feel free to leave comments!

You can see all of Lena’s shots HERE!!!


The Darkroom

My friend Shannon somehow uprooted herself from the wonderful city of San Francisco and graced us lowly folks in Chicago! 🙂 While in town, I met up with her at The Darkroom where her friend Kathy was performing with her band…The Diplomats of Solid Sound.

So I grabbed my camera, my lenses, and of course…Snezhana and set off to take some photos in a dark dark environment.

I had never really shot a band before with the intention of coming up with quality images. Usually when I go out for an evening and there’s a local band playing I don’t bring a camera, and when I do go to a concert with a more popular band, I’ll often take a casual shot of the band or performer from far away as a memory and call it a day. Here was a chance to get nice and close to the band and snap away!

Now the band didn’t have the best lighting. Lot of red light which meant that in my post processing I had to be a bit more creative to not let it dominate the shots. Combine it with it being more on the dark-side and that made for a tough shoot! Some shots of other friends…

You can see the rest of the shots here: http://public.fotki.com/biggy/the-dark-room/


Gabby’s Bat Mitzvah

This was a first for me…not that I haven’t attended Bar or Bat Mitzvahs before, but this was my first time attending as a photographer. This was a two day shoot. Friday we would meet up to get some outdoor family shots along with the Bat Mitzvah service and then the party on Sunday. When I first met Gabby she seemed just a bit nervous and shy, but seeing as how she’d been preparing for this day for quite some time, it was quite understandable. And now the pressure was on. I had one hour to get all of my outdoor shots before we headed off to the service, so I had to work quickly. Before the shoot I decided to go with a more casual attire of cargo shorts and a t-shirt, which ended up being the right choice instead of slacks and a dress shirt since after getting down low on the ground I came up nice and muddy. “Shabbat shalom everyone, don’t mind me, I decided to take my mud bath in my clothes today!”

On Sunday I found out that, yes, I can keep up with a bunch of preteens on the dance floor! 🙂 Overall it was a great and challenging experience and a lot of fun as well. There were some technical issues to battle such as two different light sources. The natural light through the ceiling and the incandescent bulbs which conflict with each other in the cameras white balance settings. But aside from that all else went very smoothly. Congrats to Gabby, Stan, Liliya, and the rest of the family!

Want to see more? Do ya? Huh? Do ya? Well then you can see all of Gabby’s images here!
http://public.fotki.com/biggy/gabbys-bat-mitzvah/


Savannah Georgia Part 2

Day 1 was a busy day. Well perhaps not as busy as it was a late night. We were up and in class at 7am the next day. Top this off with having to edit photos at 2am so they are ready to be presented the next day and that leaves you a wee bit tired. So the next day we worked with gear that helps you change the available light and best make use of it. Reflectors, diffusers, bounce cards, etc…anything that helped modify the natural available light. We had a brief classroom session and headed out for the day to do some test shots.

Reflector

Sun Bounce

Diffuser

After a brief morning walk, we were off to our first modeling assignment with Aaron. The shoot was at the Telfair Museum of Art. A very interesting building with lot’s of lines, white, and open space. My partner for the shoot was Steve and we had about 30 minutes to get some initial shots with Aaron. A quick handshake with Aaron and the first words out of my mouth were “Can you please lay down on the lobby floor right here, I have some shots in mind.” He didn’t seem to mind at all and we were off and running!

Aaron 1

Aaron 2

Aaron 3

Aaron 4

Aaron 5

Working in the museum was a very unique experience. Once we wrapped up, we snagged a quick lunch and continued shooting outdoors. While waiting for the other photographers as they worked with Aaron, that didn’t stop me from working with other people we saw walking through the park.

Treena

Aaron 6

Treena 2

Gekko

So now we’ve had a full day of shooting, it’s nearing dinner time and we head back to the classroom for a debriefing. I figure it’s time to relax, find a nice spot for dinner, and simply carry the camera for any opportunity shots that might come up. Not so fast…there’s another assignment. We are handed a piece of paper with a scavenger hunt assignment to complete on that way to dinner. We need to capture roughly 30 different types of shots of people, in approximately 1 hour as we walk to dinner. No pressure at all. We had to have the persons permission to take the shot, which meant that we had to approach them…no candid distance shots. Some of the things we had to find included…

Red, Green, Blue
Red Green Blue

How many fingers?
HowManyFingers

Pick a number
PickANumber

A sad situation
SadSituation

Baby needs new shoes
Baby needs shoes


Savannah Georgia Part 1

I’ve always thought that my photography was better than simply a snapshot, but it lacked a little something that I couldn’t put my finger on.  So to help my progress as well as just get out of town for some R&R I signed up for a photography workshop through The Mindful Eye (http://tmelive.com).  The workshop was 5 days and taught by Bryan Allen (http://bryanallenphoto.com), a skilled photographer out of Knoxville, TN.

Bryan Allen

Bryan Allen

Once we sat through the initial classroom session, we headed out for a casual walk on our way to dinner.  During this walk we were paired up and told to capture images of our partner.  We could shoot however and wherever we liked.  I was paired with Usha.  She has a unique look so I thought for a while about how to capture her…

Usha Hidden

Usha Stairs

Grabbing The Light

After a great dinner and getting to know the other 6 people in the workshop, we split up…some went home to the hotel, and a few of us headed out to check out the local night life.  First stop was a local tavern with a funky Irish singer, Gabriel.  He was surprisngly quite good and entertaining for being a one man band!  After the show we continued to several other bars, each time clicking and snapping away at anyone and everyone who would we could get our lenses on.

Gabriel

Gabriel

Close and Personal

Lead Singer

Rack'em


Nicole’s First Shoot

Nicole was kind to at least call about once for each hour she was running late (3) and when she arrived we were working under somewhat of a tight schedule.  So after a quick hello it we were off taking some test shots.  It wasn’t long before Nicole was comfortable enough to start suggesting poses of her own and also off and changing to a dress she bought down in China Town.  This was her first time in a modeling type of shoot but working with her was as smooth as could be…aside from my cat, Sushi trying to take center stage by working his way in front of the camera constantly.  Towards the end of the shoot Nicole felt comfy enough to let loose and take some more funky shots…


How it all started…

Back in 2003 I attended a wedding in Europe of a family friend with my mom.  It was one of those party weeks/fun weddings that made me realize there was no longer any need for me to ever strive to have a cool wedding of my own, and just think of that one if/when I ever got hitched myself.  I’m pretty sure that a drive-thru quickie wedding in Vegas is more up my alley anyway.

Great, now what does that have to do with photography?  Well, for this trip my mom had purchased a camera for us to document the trip.  This was the first digital camera that I had ever had.  It was a good old Sony 3 megapixel pocket camera.  Actually did a nice job and still does.  Now for the most part, my photos were what I would call ‘snapshots’.  They captured a moment where you look back and smile, but there was no story being told and very little to keep a viewer gazing at one of my shots for longer than a second (including myself).  But when I got this shot and loaded it on my computer…I was somewhat pleased with myself.  Not the best image in the world, but certainly not bad for a guy standing in a tux during a heat wave in Europe with a pocket camera on auto mode.  Not quite sure it matches Victorias beauty, but it was the best I could do 🙂

So before I knew what aperture was, or what shutter speed to use, or  how to better frame a shot, or that this image looked even better because it happened to be taken during the ‘golden hour’…there was me and my pocket cam in auto mode.  It was only a couple years later when I began paying closer attention to photos that I would see and start asking “how did they do that and how can I do that”.  And eventually that lead me to where I am today which I would describe as being a ‘goal-oriented’ photographer.  Which basically means that while I’m not the best or a pro, I certainly would like to get closer to that higher platform.