- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
10 Old Mill Road
New Hope, PA 18938
Phone (215) 862 4828
Fax (215) 862 4831
Monthly Archives: February 2010
I’m heading off to San Francisco, blizzard gods willing (update: they’re not, I’m holed up in an airport hotel watching it snow after a two hour battle up here because my flight showed “ON TIME” until I pulled into the airport!), to teach a seminar for National Geographic Traveler with my buddy Ralph Lee Hopkins. I’m going to hang a few extra days and shoot some stock.
Okay, stop laughing. Travel stock of San Francisco? Good luck selling it. Yeah, yeah, I know. But I’ve never really shot there, so I’m doing it for the therapy value. Peggy and I lived in the Bay Area when we were first married and I was in acting school (at the American Conservatory Theater), and I hardly ever get back and I always wanted to shoot it. So who cares if it never sells? At least that’s what my therapist says….
So the blog will be a little quiet and I thought I’d share a couple more shots from the New Hope portrait project. Like the one above of Dan and Katie, proprietors of New Hope Fitness. Now that’s what I call strength training. This shot was a lot easier for me to pull off than it was for Dan. All I did was use the regular big softlight I wrote about in the previous post.
A more difficult challenge came lighting Adele, the Ghost Lady of New Hope. Adele gives ghost tours of town, and you really need a scorecard in this town because it’s full of them, from as far back as the Revolutionary War and beyond.
To get the basic “ghoul” lighting, we took the big lightbox off the stand and aimed it up from the floor. That was a cool effect, but the lantern candle wasn’t quite cutting it, and we had a shadow of her arm across her face.
We bypassed the candles (truth is, I knew they’d never be bright enough) and instead put in a little Morris mini flash slave in the lantern to simulate the lantern light. Then all we had to do was balance the light from the box hitting all the black of her outfit with the light from the slave hitting her face—-piece of cake.
Only took twenty minutes until we had enough ND material in the lantern to provide a good balance. Then we had to work out a position where the highlights in Adele’s glasses weren’t too distracting (couldn’t get rid of them altogether—-the studio space we’re shooting in is said to be haunted too, and the ghost just wouldn’t let me have an easy time of it!).
But, thanks to Adele’s patience and good relationship with the spirit side, we got off a fun shot.
Every time I spend some time around New Hope, PA, where I live, I’m always blown away by the great array of talented and interesting folks we have living in town. It’s a little art community on the banks of the Delaware River, and it’s home to great music clubs, art galleries, restaurants, funky shops, artists, sculptors, actors, musicians, cabaret artists, female impersonators, brewers, screenwriters….well, you get the picture.
I’ve always wanted to document my neighbors, and I have some studio space this month (courtesy of the New Hope Arts Center) to work on a project I’m calling “New Hope: In Character.” I just started shooting this week and thought I’d share a couple with you. Right up top is Andre who runs a great restaurant called Zoubi. Andre is from France and is the quintessential restauranteur—friendly, charming, and sophisticated.
Below are Sam and Stasia, the girls from Love Saves The Day, a funky shop (the original was in Greenwich Village) where you can find vintage clothing, toys from the 50’s and 60’s, and, um, all kinds of other stuff. There’s always a wacky mannequin outside the shop, and so we just had to include her.
And finally, Brendan the master brewer (so young, and so accomplished) and his associate, Dan, from the Triumph Brewery, where I often rush the growler to bring home some fresh, delicious suds that really make it hard for me to even pretend I’m leading a low-carb lifestyle!
As part of this project, I also spent last weekend offering pro bono portraits for area families with a member serving in the military. We photographed 45 families in two days!
It was an incredibly busy and rewarding weekend. We met some amazing folks who have put a lot on the line for us all, and it was a real pleasure to give a little something back.
My friend, Rich Kennedy, photo editor of the Doylestown Intelligencer, volunteered two days of his time and did all the computer work (plus some excellent art direction when I started to melt down on occasion…like when 13 people from one family showed up)!
We also had help from photographer Arun Paul and Rose Gutekunst, not to mention Peggy (aka SWMBO).
For a look at the studio space and a quick discussion of my basic light setup, hit the jump. Continue reading
I had the very great privilege of being interviewed by Jason Odell and Rick Walker, the well-known Image Doctors over on the Nikonians site last Sunday. After we three agreed that it was a fitting reward for old married guys to be able to spend Valentines Day discussing the latest camera gear and talking tech, rather than composing love poems and taking our better halves to a Nancy Meyers movie (hey, I already went to see It’s Complicated….and I loved it!), we got onto the meat of the interview.
We talked a lot about shooting travel and the two new lenses I got to shoot for Nikon recently. The Docs are great interviewers and have been doing this popular podcast for a number of years now.
Of course, choosing to start my Valentines Day hanging out with my new friends probably did nothing to further my cause in persuading “she who must be obeyed” into actually letting me buy the new glass I tested (and an FX body or two).
So I don’t know how smart a move that was….every time I start talking FX (which really only started since I shot that recent gig in Miami—-damn 24mm f/1.4, I wish I knew how to quit you), she brings out the chiropractor bills and the receipts for my Aleve usage to date….not to mention the dismal state of the business.
And speaking of seeing the light, my good friend Brenda Tharp is running a tour to one of my favorite places, Iceland, this summer. I’ve spent a lot of time up there over the years for National Geographic and other pubs, and it is a spectacular location. And you couldn’t find a better leader to show you around than Brenda. It’d be a great place to shoot that new wide FX glass I’m craving….Check it out…
I posted an audio slide show about Tango in Buenos Aires….I think NG Traveler will have it up on their site too, but not sure where. This was originally going to have an interview narration with a Tango anthropologist and was going to be more educational, but then my editor said just do it a lot of dance pictures and snappy music, and I thought, why not?
Ordinarily, I HATE going out and shooting nightlife. First of all, it all starts too late (don’t you people have something to do during the daylight hours????). Secondly, everybody’s having fun, and you’re the nerd with the camera and the lightpole and no life and everybody would just prefer that you go away….
But…I loved documenting tango. I actually looked forward to getting up in the middle of the night to go out. It’s such a beautiful, passionate dance, and the Portenos were so warm and welcoming to my presence. I was blown away by the artistry of the dancers, whether the pros on stage during a show, or folks at a neighborhood milonga. It’s the real deal, it’s a lifestyle.
And I was privileged to have been a close witness to it. That’s why, despite all the bullsh… about our business lately, it’s just so cool that this camera gives you entree into so many different worlds.
If you’ve ever tried to shoot people by candlelight, you know that you really need a lot of candles to cast light more than a few inches and your subject has to be really close to those candles to pick up that light.
When I was working on the shoot for Nikon Japan with the 24mm f/1.4 lens, we had a nice setup with the lovely Rose, a family friend, in period clothes at the piano of the Parry Mansion lit with several candelabras.
But the candles weren’t casting a clean, usable light.
So, how to keep the feel of candlelight, but boost the volume? Hit the jump to find out how some video technology came into play. Continue reading