Archives

Well that was easy, recently noticed that many of my favorite blog posts had been archived and are unavailable. So a quick review of the help section gave me the idea to attempt to add an archives section, which I thought was going to be a major undertaking. However it turned out to be quite easy using a free widget that is provided to the business theme my site uses 🙂 So now if you would like to see posts that have been archived you can easily go to the bottom of my main site page and review them by month and year!

Swimsuit Model

Speaking of archives, while technically this isn’t a blog archive it is definitely one of my favorite mental archives 🙂 One of my first attempts at photographing models and one of my favorite images of all time! This one was of course captured back in the days of film, long before instant feedback on a digital screen and long before there was such a thing as ISO 3200 available to capture images like this in the waning light of dusk and an approaching rainstorm. I shot this one with 100 speed Fuji Reala film and an off camera flash unit with a gold reflector. I hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

Don’t forget to visit my site for recent blog posts with pictures and also my new section at the bottom of the menu pointing to my archives!

Glamorous Job

I am fortunate to have a brother in the field of Canon Photography to talk with at work, and to exchange equipment when the need arises… The plan today was to test out the 1.4x lens extension he had loaned me for the weekend. When I looked out the window at first light as I was pouring my first cup of coffee I noticed what a pretty morning was shaping up in the beautiful light of sunrise. So I swigged down my coffee and grabbed the camera and the 1.4x. Then it was out the door with Big Dog but much to my surprise, in that 15 minutes a heavy bank of fog had rolled in and I could barely see my hand in front of my face! Needless to say a 200mm lens and a 1.4x extension are not much good when your field of view is only 10 feet 😦 But Big Dog was not about to be deterred from his walk by a little fog so into the pea soup we went.

Swimsuit model at sunset

I mentioned my friend at work, well this week we were comparing our experiences with portrait photography back in the day and I ran across this one from a photoshoot from the days of film. I still remember going through the prints the next day after receiving them back from the lab. I was at my favorite coffee shop sorting out my favorites when a guy went by and asked me if I was a photographer which led to a short conversation about the business. He commented what a cool job it must be to take pictures of beautiful girls and how glamorous it must be. Of course the story is long, but I just smiled and agreed.

The next day however was a completely different matter… Earlier in the week I had received a call from a lady in Iowa who was in charge of a jewelry show that was going to be conducted in the convention center in Denver. The assignment was to shoot portraits of each one of the approximately 150 event participants. She informed me that there was going to be a backdrop provided with the name of the show on a sign above that I was supposed to include in each picture. She told me to be sure to bring extra lighting. How much I wondered? She didn’t know, but I was definitely going to need extra lighting.

So I showed up early at the event center to be sure to find a parking place and get set up in time. I had no idea what I was in for, trying to imagine what I could possibly need all the lighting for that I had packed just in case. Well I found a parking place in the parking garage which appeared to be free… Grabbed my three Bogen light stands with umbrellas and soft boxes, three flash heads in their suitcase style carrying cases, two cameras complete with portable flash and battery packs and headed for the stairs.

Well the stairs were not that easy to find, but I made my way down to the lower floor of the parking garage when I noticed a pay kiosk. I had no idea how to run the damn thing, didn’t remember my exact parking stall number, or even if the kiosk on the bottom floor was applicable to the parking place on my floor. I looked around a bit to see if there was someone in charge and saw no one. In fact I saw no one at all, at the convention center on Broadway Avenue in the middle of Denver. It was like a ghost town 😦 I wondered if I even had the right day, what if I had already missed it, maybe the Rapture had occurred and I was the only one “Left Behind?” ????

The exit I took had me out on foot on Broadway Avenue, still not a soul to be found. I had no idea how to get to the room where the show was so I just kept walking, carrying my light stands, two cameras, three flash heads and God only knows what else. I walked and walked and walked looking for some kind of sign, some kind of door to go in, or even a person who might know… and I was getting more and more tired carrying all that gear. Finally I was sweating profusely and I could only go a few feet at a time before having to put all the gear down to rest. I thought I was going to die, I remember thinking to myself, “So this is how it ends, right here on Broadway Avenue…”.

Well, after walking all the way around the entire building I finally found a bunch of people and a door… This has to be it and lucky for me it was and I found the lady in charge with no trouble. After surveying the situation I quickly ascertained that the three light stands, umbrellas and flash heads were completely unnecessary. One camera with an off camera flash would be just fine. I could have made that walk with 10 pounds of gear instead of 75. Grrrrr…

So I completed the shots of all 150 or so people without a hitch. Except one lady who could not smile. I took six shots of her, each time her smile resembling more the look of terror that one might experience while witnessing a train wreck or car accident. Finally I gave up said “next”. Finally the job was complete and I told the lady I was done. She informed me she wanted the pictures the next day and gave me a bunch of Fedex account stuff. Well Fedex was a long and difficult trip for me so I offered to just get them developed in time to return to her before the end of the day. The pictures turned out fabulously and I made it back in time to give them to her before she left. She flipped through every one of them without saying a word… that is right up until the moment when the previously mentioned severely traumatized woman’s image came into view. She said, “Wow, she looks scared!”. Then through the rest of the images and without a word and she handed me my check and said “Thanks.”. That’s it, no more feed back from my day in hell. I remembered the guy from the coffee shop the previous day and thought to myself, “Yeah, some glamorous job 😦 “.

Lol… oh well, I’m sure it was nothing that a green chili burrito and a couple of beers could not cure at the Brewery Bar, my favorite Denver watering hole. Actually about a month later I received an email from the lady with a formal thank you for all the beautiful pictures. Apparently they were a big hit and I have to say it made me feel a lot better about the whole affair 🙂

Life’s a Beach

The nightmare week of snow is finally over with, the sun is shining and it appears spring may be trying to make a comeback. I have to say, it was not a pleasant week, the snow was wet and sticky, horrible for snowshoes or ice trekkers. The colors were too dull and gray for anything but black and white pictures and the fog and snow removed any semblance of contrast from the landscape. I did venture out a couple of times to see if I could find the wildlife and a brief encounter yesterday did yield a not too impressive image of a deer herd that looked a bit curious as to why a human would be out in that mess.

Beach-Walk-2.jpgThe time was not wasted though, I took the bad weather opportunity to scan some prints of models that I had previously produced and uploaded them as prints and Rights Managed Stock on Pixels.com. It was an enjoyable journey through better times as I looked through my portfolio for the best images to scan. Life seemed easier then, summers longer, springs much more pleasant. Each image I reviewed held a story, a moment of fun, joy and a testament to good times. Unfortunately in the chaos of our cancer battle waged over the last few years I have lost track of my model friends that I worked with to create these images. Prior to FAA it was a real struggle to market these images, which is how they wound up in a box in the first place, but I’m sure they would get a kick out of seeing them published now!

So this morning in the pre dawn chill I have uploaded a few more to my FAA and Pixels.com site, but it is warming up quickly outside now and I will need to give some thought to other activities. Don’t think the melting snow and mud will make for very good hiking, but it might be a nice day to go to the gym for an indoor workout as I prepare for a spring and summer assault on higher ground not accessible in the dead of winter! Last year after an entire year of inactivity I was not ready for the higher elevations until fall. This year I am hoping for a much more active summer 🙂

Overdue Project

Cold, cloudy and dreary this morning. Sun is out this afternoon but there is so much mud and water everywhere from the huge pile of snow recently received that I’m not even going to attempt to go out in it. I don’t even know if I can get my truck back up the hill in this mess!

Beach-WalkAnd so I am bored and my wandering thoughts have turned to two boxes of prints. Worked hard many years ago with a few models to get a variety of prints that I tried to sell… It seems I was ahead of my time though, it was before digital, before the internet was big and before all the cool websites you can join to have your work marketed. A new computer job, and a lot of life’s problems and the prints just went into a box. But in all the moving over the last few years I somehow managed to keep track of my prints and negatives and have been keeping a close eye on them this year.

So today I decided to get them out and see if can scan the pre digital prints without having to get expensive film scans. I can put the prints on my Pixels.com site and sell them as prints and as Rights Managed stock imagery. One thing is for sure though… hundreds of prints stuffed in a box are not doing me any good!

Getting kind of tired of going to all the trouble of going out to get pictures and returning empty handed so I might be looking for a way to increase my odds of getting good pictures. Wondering if I can summon the enthusiasm for old ideas with new technology and new applications. Working with models instead of hoping for good luck on a hike or at a festival gives the photographer control over the setting and the lighting which greatly increases the chance of success.

So I’m going to scan and post a few of these images that are still relevant and see what comes of it. If it works out, I may return to my original idea, which was to work with models to create compelling imagery for prints and stock. It was fun then, I’m sure it would still be fun! Well anyway, I’m off and running!

Photoshop

So I’m sitting around a few days ago thinking, “Man, it’s a long way to pay day.”. So the gears started turning and I was wondering what I could do get some regular income flowing in while I sit on pins and needles hoping for stock and prints to sell. That’s when I got the idea to reintroduce the mobile portrait service back into my repertoire. Back in the film days and early digital photography days I used to do pretty well bringing in business doing that.

swimsuit model

Model posing at the beach

So the other day when I was getting my shots of Crystal Reservoir there was a pretty good crowd of people there with their phones snapping away with the little fake sound card generated click of the shutter button to enhance the fun, which later on got me to thinking, people probably don’t hire many photographers anymore. Those little cameras are really good these days and every man woman and child on the planet has one… except for me of course 😦 And this is certainly the age of the selfie. Jim got a great one of us at the top of the Manitou Incline, and why not? Models are taking their own pictures these days for their digital portfolios and I imagine getting a family shot is just as easy.

So as I was fretting about that trying to imagine what else I could do to bring in some cash, it occurred to me that not everyone’s phone pictures turn out perfectly. Even mine with my high end DSLR often have problems that have to be fixed with Photoshop. That’s when another light came on for me, not everyone has Photoshop or knows how to use it. What if someone has the perfect selfie and it is marred by some unsightly object in the background. Or what if someone has a huge zit the day the get the perfect selfie? What if conditions on the day have confused the camera and the color is all wrong or the exposure is off?

So I’m in. I have been Photoshopping away since digital photography meant scanning a print on a flatbed scanner. I am an expert in color and exposure analysis, retouching, special effects and more. Is your favorite picture ruined because you have a tree branch growing out of your ear in the awesome selfie you took? Did a fly land on your nose the instant you got the epic shot of yourself on vacation? Well, I’m your man then. I can fix those things and I’m officially in the Photoshop business now! You are only an email away from the perfect picture 🙂

The picture I have supplied with this post originally had lots of problems. There was a boat and a buoy behind Deia that looked ridiculous. it was getting late so I had to use a flash and it caused a lot of shine straight on from the front that looked terrible. It had been a long photoshoot and some of my Deia’s makeup had smeared and the evening light with the flash had turned the water an ugly greenish blue hue. And I added a bit of soft focus for a more subdued mood. With a little photoshop the picture has made quite a transformation!