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Thursday, December 27, 2007

John & Leanne {slideshow}

Here's a quick slideshow from a recent session with John & Leanne. These two were one of my last sessions of the year, and they made it a good one. So relaxed and fun to work with. Thanks you, too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ho Ho Holy Smokes This Thing Rocks!

I'm convinced Steve Jobs could run for president and make a respectable showing. Seriously.

Ahh... jolly old St Nick made one last stop straight from the Apple store this afternoon and dropped off a long-awaited iPhone. It's been a difficult stretch and a test of will power since June when this magic box was first made available to the GP. I've left a lot of nose prints on Apple store windows since then as I looked on longingly as others smuggly purchased their shiny new phones inside. Today Santa redeemed me.

And in typical Apple fashion, set-up and activation was a breeze and took only a couple minutes from the comfort of my own chair at home using iTunes. Flawless. In fact, I was even a bit shocked when after only a couple minutes my iPhone debuted it's first ring when I received my inaugural call from my friend, Kandis. Too cool.

In un-typical fashion, actually buying the iPhone at the Apple store was a bit of a hassle. Maybe more on that in a later post, but for now a quick word of advice to anyone out their with aspirations of purchasing an iPhone at the store, too: Don't bother trying to pay cash. You can't. Credit card only. All things considered, though, it was worth the small inconvenience.

Here's cool iPhone use #1 - taking pictures of long forgotten 2 month old chili in the fridge. Kinda looks like a coral reef or something, doesn't it? I've called the local Haz-Mat office... they're coming tomorrow to remove this toxic growth.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Blessings Abound

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It's 3:36 in the morning, and it is now officially Christmas Eve day - my favorite day of the year. Early in this morning I am thankful for all the opportunities and blessings God has poured out on me this year. It has been a time of new friendships, wonderful clients and unprecedented growth and awareness in my life. I am truly grateful for what He as given me this year, and I want to take this time to wish you all the merriest of Christmas celebrations.

While society in general seems to continually try to downplay the reason for this holiday, watering it down to where it's little more than a couple days off work and time to buy and receive presents from friends and family, it's my hope that you'll take some time on this day and tomorrow to reflect on the true Christmas story and the reason it is celebrated.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

12 Days... Hoosier Style

Some of you may have heard this version on the radio the last couple days, but if you haven't, stay with it... it's the 12 Days of Christmas like you've never heard it before.

And if you're fans of the 80's and more specifically the band, Toto - well, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ahh... what could be sweeter...

... than the first dance? This lovely couple knows how to make it memorable.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Natural Light... Camera... Action!

I admit - I'm a voyeur of sorts. Before you jump to any conclusions and suggest I be put on a national registry list, hear me out for a second. The kind of spying I like to practice is of the public variety. I always enjoy watching how other photographers work and how they capture their breath-taking images. I'm always looking for new ways to challenge my thinking and 'seeing', and observing other photographers in action is sometimes a great source of inspiration.

In that spirit, the following is a short series of images showing first how I like to move around to see different perspectives and secondly the resulting images. It should be noted that I no longer like being photographed which may be partly why I decided I wanted to be the photographer... that way I'm always on the safe side of the lens at parties, events and even family get-togethers where the likelihood of ending up in unflattering or - worse yet - blackmail-worthy images is high. It wasn't always that way; I used to have a smile I was proud of, but somehow over the years it's turned into something that no matter how hard I try ends up looking like somebody asked me to smile a half second after eating a habanero pepper. Painful stuff... in both cases. But in this case, my friend, Tina, was assisting me for this session where we were photographing her friend and co-worker, Leanne, and Leanne's husband John, and Tina captured these images of me while I was photographing this fun couple. BTW, Leanne is another creative, and she graciously offered her amazing talent in writing a lot of the copy in my first brochure earlier this year that Tina designed.

In general, I love details - the things that we often overlook everyday that are so distinctive. I think that's why I like hand photographs so much. Hands are so distinctive and have so much character. You can often identify someone just by looking at their hands. I think that's what makes the resulting photograph such a strong image to me. It's a memorable image now, but just imagine how much more meaning this image will have for Leanne and John 20 years from now in their walk together.

For this kind of image, I used a 60mm micro (macro) f/2.8 lens to get great detail in the rings with a shallow depth of field to blur out everything else.

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Although I will occasionally step in to do some light directing, I generally don't like to do a lot of hard posing. It's easy for people to start looking unnatural when you do, so I like to simply suggest for people to do something that's second nature to them. In this case, I think I just asked Leanne and John to walk over and have a seat on the brick ledge by the water and just talk to each other for a little bit. And then I just waited for that moment to happen between them.

Here I used a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR (Vibration Reduction) lens. This is probably my favorite lens because it allows me to capture those real images without having to get too close. Plus, I love the soft backgrounds with the shallow depth of field you can get with this lens.

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Leanne wanted a few close-ups during the session and with the amazing fall colors all around us in this beautiful park near downtown and the sun already just below the tree line to the left of Leanne & John creating perfect light, this was a pretty easy one. As I mentioned, sometimes I will step in and direct just enough to get the image I'm looking for. In this case, they may not normally stand like this, but it's still simple and believable. I just asked Leanne to lean into John and try not to smile. BTW, sometimes asking people not to smile is the best way to get them to smile naturally!

Again, I used the 70-200mm for this close-up so I could photograph it from a distance without Leanne and John feeling like a camera was in their face. I opened the lens all the way to f/2.8 to get the soft background again, so it it was important to have the two of them pretty much on the same plane with such a shallow depth of field or else one of them would've been a tad out of focus. The result:

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Well, if you're still reading this, I'm impressed. Kudos to you for your perseverance, and hopefully it was mildly insightful regarding how I like to approach photography. At the very least, hopefully you've decided I'm not the voyeur freak you might have been thinking after that first sentence.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Suzanne and Ryan {slideshow!}

I've gotten so many great comments about Suzanne and Ryan and their images that I wanted ot share their slide show. Suzanne's mom picked out the timeless music by Mary Chapin Carpenter, and it's perfect for these two. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Princess Trinity

Most of you long-time readers of the blog already know little Trinity by now as she's made several starring appearances over the last several months. Last Saturday we set out to find this little Princess' magic castle, and we photographed our journey along the way.

The weather was a bit windy, maybe even borderline monsoonish at times, but when a 2-and-a-half-year-old little girl makes up her mind to get dressed up and go exploring, there's no stopping her.

Here's a couple of my favorites from our adventure.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Larsen Family

In my experience, there's basically 3 possible outcomes from any photo session. The first, and fortunately least typical, is the session where you know the best part about the session is that it's over. Sometimes kids just aren't in the mood to be photographed no matter how badly you - and oftentimes the parent(s) - inflict self-humiliation in an attempt to crack an elusive smile from said kiddos. You're already checking your calendar availability on the way home to see when you schedule a re-do session.
The 2nd outcome is one of uncertainty. You think the session went okay, but you won't really know until you get back to the studio and cross your fingers as you download the images, all the while making a deal with the photography gods that you'll promise never to shoot hand-held at less than 1/30th of a second again without flash if they just give you a couple good images this time.

Then there's the 3rd type of session, the one photographers pray for every time they walk out the door. This is the type of session where you can't wait to download the images because you know you've got great images. That's the kind of session we had on Sunday afternoon with the Larsens. Jana and Scott have a beautiful and wonderfully friendly & playful little girl named Jordan, and we had lots of fun exploring the neighboring woods and fields by their house. Poor mom, though- I felt bad for her by the end of the session. I think the temperature dropped 40 degrees (well, at least 15) while we were outside... and she was wearing a sleeveless dress. Sorry, Jana!

Here's a few sneak peeks of a couple images from our session.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gas-Guzzling Princess Chasing

Here's a couple funny images from a session this Saturday. We spent a couple hours chasing Princess Trinity around this field, and I was worn out by the end of the afternoon. Keeping up with Her Highness is a lot of work, and I was glad we brought this chair so I could catch my breath. We had a ton of fun, though, in this field we serendipitously found along the George Bush Freeway.

One other funny [read: dumb] story from this outing... when we pulled over the curb along the highway and up into the field, I simply jumped outta the car, grabbed my gear and started photographing. Cut to 2 hours later... we finish the session, I get back in my car, reach in my pocket for the keys... uh-oh - where are my keys? It took a couple seconds of panic before I realized - yep, you guessed it - the car was already running. Genius, I know. I had a third of a tank of gas when we pulled up, but now my gas light was on and it was about 95 degrees inside even though the AC was on. A few more minutes and I'm guessing it would've completely overheated, so I guess I'm blessed. Well, as evidenced by the second image, at the very least I'm blessed by a princess.

Look for images from this session later this week.