Trying to Make a Simple Portrait

I love my Granddaughters! I really do! Sometimes though it's a mission to try and make a simple portrait. On our way back from picking them up at Cape Town airport we stopped at Primi Piatti, a restaurant chain that you cannot really go wrong with. The stairs leading up had a beautiful brick wall to use as a backdrop for some nice quick portraits. So I thought. LOL! After many tries struggling with flipping hair and "two fingered puckered posers" and "duck faces". And, "my hair is not right." I finally got one image that I really like. The one you like is up to you so I posted them all.

Shadows are the Soul of your Images

Shadows are the Soul of Your Images as they give shape, mood, and depth to your photography. They must, however, be used creatively, and not left to chance or environment. One of the best ways to do this is with a single off-camera light, whether held in your hand or on a stand. When I use the term light, this can literally be ANY light: a studio light, camera flash, shop light from Home Depot or even a bare hanging bulb. It need not be fancy. There are various ways to trigger the strobes/camera flash, such as a cord connected to your camera or if using the same manufacturer of flash and camera, wirelessly. After you have your light source established, now it's time to shape the light. There are several types of light modifiers on the market that will suit your needs. Bouncing flash off a white ceiling produces much softer light, where a flashlight or "on camera" flash produces harder light. The idea is to experiment with everything. In this image II used a snoot opened up on the end to give the image more of a spotlight effect to emphasize the shadows. I recommend paying a visit to B&H Photo www.bhphotovideo. com, www.strobist.blogspot.com, or even www.YouTube.com. They all have tutorials and an abundance of information on photographic lighting. 20120827-094955.jpg

Art and Bodies: A Celebration of Self Expression

I honestly, did not know what to expect when the call went out to cover the South Florida Tattoo Expo in Coral Springs. I knew though that the color and characters that I would encounter would certainly provide for interesting photographic opportunities. I checked in to get my Media Credentials and the ladies at the registration table were very pleasant and as far as I could see free of bodily markings or anything else. On my way to the main Expo area I passed the Pirate tables. Theses are the Doctors, Lawyers, and various other Professionals that dress like bad asses in all kinds of Harley stuff. I truly did not see anyone there that looked scary and acted the part. On the contrary everyone and I mean everyone was very pleasant and more than eager to get photographed. In a couple of cases this was sans clothing. Ok, so I did not do this assignment just for the pay. Then again a Publix Bagger would not do it for the pay either. I do kiosk after another this because I love photography and interacting with people. After passing the many vendors that mainly consisted of Sex Toys, body implants of various types and Drug paraphernalia, I made it into the main hall. The main area of the Expo was one Tattoo Kiosk after another. I would say probably fifty in all, and they were all doing brisk business usually by appointment only. I definitely had Tattoo envy with my one and only Ironman Tattoo.  On owner stopped me and showed me his latest work of art. Seeing that I had my media tag on, he said I missed all the excitement. About half an hour before I arrived he Tattooed a woman's Anus a Green Blue which he proudly showed me on his Iphone. Really? I would not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. The Expo was not a place for the bashful. If you can imagine where someone can get a Tattoo, they were getting them there and in some very private places. Funny thing, I did not see any of the typical guys, you know who they are with the Tribal Armband.These were hard core Tattoo people. The real story in my opinion and what provided for the most interesting images were not the customers, but the artists. The different looks of concentration showed that they have a genuine dedication to their craft. These are not the slouches that misspell words on peoples knuckles with rudimentary instruments. The Tattoo Artists I saw there were true professionals in their interaction with the public, their adherence to cleanliness and safety, and the works of art they were creating. There was also a tasteful burlesque show, and piercing contest, though I missed the later while watching a young lady receive several piercings on her chest and back that were then laced with leather. I spoke to her afterward and she told me that she was an apprentice at the Tattoo Parlor that was performing the work. I guess that could be a tax deduction. Anyway enjoy the images I posted and follow the link to my Facebook Page to see the rest. Thanks for reading! [nggallery id=11]

How a Concept Becomes an Image.

[caption id="attachment_1375" align="alignleft" width="940"] Vision on the Tracks[/caption] On our second to last day of vacation we were walking through the town of Dillsboro, North Carolina. Normally during my other summertime visits this is a bustling little tourist town with a number of shops, and a station for the Smoky Mountain Railway. On this visit it looked like a Ghost Town. That thought stuck in my head as I passed each closed shop and we found ourselves as the only people on the street. The girls needed to use the restroom, so I took them to the restrooms by the railroad track and waited for them outside. I stared at the tracks thinking of different types of images to make as my eyes followed the tracks toward the overpass where the tracks merge with another section creating an interesting design. The girls finally came out and started walking the track like a balance beam together toward the overpass while I snapped images of them. As they passed me and I was behind them I could imagine them standing on the tracks and the overpass framing them, with the intersecting tracks leading the viewer into the image. I made a bunch of images as they were balancing down the track and then I asked them if I could have some fun now and pose them after I let them walk down the tracks forever. They liked the idea and for the first few images I had them holding hands at the same intersection you see above, but facing away from me. Then I thought that it would make more sense if they were coming out of the tunnel made by the overpass. I made several iterations of that composition with arms down and up at a good distance away. I was happy with what I had and we left on our way back home. When I got home and started editing the remainder of the vacation images I spotted one and decided to tone it as a slightly dark Black & White image. As they image got darker the concept and feel of the image also got darker. I kept adjusting with some other tools until it actually started getting kind of frightening. I started thinking about the Ghost Town thoughts I had and the girls playing on the tracks. The thought came into my head to make them look like spirits from this Ghost Town. Maybe kids that were playing on the track at one time, were hit by a train, and now haunt the tracks. Too weird. Too bad, that's what was in my head. I kept making major and minor adjustments until I was satisfied I'd achieved that look. And here it is. I hope you like the image and the narrative of it's creation.

What's a great place for portraits in Great Smokies?

I've been in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the last few days. I am very familiar with the park as my family has been vacationing here for many, many years. One of the great jewels of the park and a great place for portraiture is Cades Cove, on the Gatlinburg side of the park near Townsend, TN. Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Today Cades Cove is the single most popular destination for visitors to the park, attracting over two million visitors a year, due to its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant display of wildlife.[1] The Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[caption id="attachment_1347" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cades Cove Portrait, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park"][/caption]

My perspectives on Wedding Photography

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I made some wedding images for the daughter of a very good friend last weekend. I love weddings. Better said, I love experiencing the human interaction at weddings from the standpoint of an active participant. The photographer is probably the only person that sees everyone more often, more than once. At their best, and at their worst sometimes. The challenge when shooting for a friend is managing the stress in making sure that the images are perfect and to ensure that you get both families as equally as possible. It's too easy to be drawn to one side if you are friends with many of the same people. In this case I have known the Bride's Mother and Father for many years. I will say though that whatever event I shoot I am always a bit stressed. Why? Because I care. I often tell people that I should stop shooting events the day I stop getting stressed because it means I've stopped caring. Some advice: I would never suggest that a friend photograph another friends wedding unless they have a lot of professional experience photographing weddings. Many friendships have been lost this way.

Tiny Dancer

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I wanted to make images of a Dancer, but I did not want the typical Dance pose. I decided to use a more dramatic pose that matched the personality and grace of the dancer. Additionally I added the film and imperfect paper effect to give it a feeling of being aged. Someone left it in the bottom of a drawer for many years as many of these types of images are found.