Sometimes it’s fun to go back; To take a picture of a person or place that you’ve snapped in the past. The annual “Light up Downtown” is a good chance for me to do just that. It happens every year around the same, in the same place and it always combines two of my favorite things. Winter and Fireworks!
I love Autumn. I think all photographers do. Part of it is the early evenings that spawn gorgeous sunsets, and of course, let’s not forget those trees that take on an aura of fire as their leaves change color. So it’s always a little bitter-sweet when the fall rains (and snow!) force all the foliage to the ground, leaving the trees to resemble skeletons. Fortunately, most photographers, including myself, also love the snow and ready or not, it’s right around the corner!
In the past, I’ve had the pleasure to work both in front of, and behind the camera. This time around, however, it was my brother-in-law’s time to be in front of the lens. He (a local Veterinarian) was given a chance to play on the new Skype-based game show, Let’s A$K America! I got to hang out in his office and take pictures of his experience while the show was being taped. It’s nice to see the Hollywood timeline hasn’t changed much – taking well over 3 hours to record a 15 minute segment.
And while he didn’t win the mega-bucks, he did use his time on camera to promote some worthy animal causes such as cat adoption and dog rescue.
I had the amazing pleasure to work with Andrew Hackett this past weekend. Andrew is half of a power couple (The other half being Carol Briney) who have started a new organization that helps at-risk children and their families. An amazing and personable person with an equally awe-inspiring history, Andrew has a lot of personal-life experience that he uses to reach kids and adults who would be otherwise unreachable.
Some people love the control they get in their studio, others love the freedom they have by shooting outdoors. Personally, I think they both have just about the same amount of pros and cons in each of their respective columns. That’s why I like to bring a little bit one into the other. When I am shooting in my studio, I’ll use windows or reflectors to hardness natural light, and when I am shooting outdoors I’ll bring a flash (or two, or seven) along to shape the light into a perfect fit for the scene. This was the case recently when we were asked to shoot an outdoor golfing event.
We started the job by scouting out the location twice. Once soon after we took on the task, and once more a few days before the event just to make sure our expectations and gear checklist were all in line.
We settled on hole #14 which has several advantages. One, it had some shade throughout most of the day. Since I knew I was bringing a large strobe, I knew I could light the players in the foreground as I wished while still using the ambient light to take care of the background. Our chosen hole also had a Pro Teebox that was raised some 4 feet above the amateur Teebox. That let me get my camera about 4 feet extra above the player’s heads which let me capture players and the rolling course behind them.
The light I chose was an Alienbees 800 with a Phototek 5′ Phototek Softlighter II. I then exposed for the background (which changed a lot throughout the day) and then set the light levels accordingly. Because of the huge size of the umbrella, I was able to have the light on the hill with me and still light up the entire area around the players in a very soft manner.
My time taking photos during the Hall of Fame Enshrinement week was wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about the Hall of Famers themselves, which I ended up spending a lot of time with. If you’re a fan of American Football, then you should be proud of it’s HoF recognized players — they are all class acts.
I love doing product and advertising shots – especially when the product is something we actually use! Such is the case here with Macadamia.
This is a composite shot taken in our studio. The items (wonderful hair care products by Macadamia) were set up on a sheet of black acrylic so we could capture sharp and saturated reflections. The smokey clouds in the background are actually drops of milk dripped into a fish tank (a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind). We then composited the milk & products, and tweaked the color of the milk in Photoshop.
I take my cameras everywhere, as I am sure many of you do too. Zoos are no exception. The Akron Zoo is a small-ish zoo, a boutique zoo, you could call it. The animals are mostly separated from the public by large glass panes – perfect for taking photos without a lot of structures getting in your way.