Oct.16,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
I had a great opprotunity to photograph Marilyn in a Kennewick Washington orchard. We originally had the idea of putting the chair in a field using the golden rolling hills of Kennewick as a backdrop. So we drove around the area looking for a hill and came upon an old man’s orchard. We asked permission to shoot in the orchard and after 10 minutes of coaxing the old fella we got our thumbs up. I stuck the chair in the orchard and viewed scene through my viewfinder and found this more interesting than our original plan. I liked how the trees led the background away from the subject up front. I went with my beauty dish front and center, with stripbox on the ground for fill light. The tricky part of this shot was to get the ratios between the two lights just right so it looked more like natural light. A slight gust of wind blew Marilyn’s hair just enough to give the photo some feel of motion. Thanks to Danny for driving this crazy chair around town for us.
Sep.21,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
Less is more... that was my initial thought when I first met Ree and her unique style. I pictured in my head a simple shot with a clean background, simple but elegant wardrobe to show off her physique, and muted tones for post processing. These images are a result of the pictures I had envisioned in my head. One thing for sure is that very short hair makes shooting in the wind a breeze. I found a cliff on Diamond Head that gave me a clean background of sky as well as the Pacific Ocean. I find that hair can be used to give shape to a face and an added dimension. So what do you do when you have no hair? My initial shots seemed empty around Ree’s head, then quickly learned that I had to create poses and framing in-camera to get interesting compositions. I found a scarf at a Portland women’s boutique store that worked for a revealing top. One tip that I learned from the shoot is when you do location shoots bring something the model can rest her knees on. Ree was kneeling on a concrete wall for nearly two hours, luckly we were in Hawaii and I had my flip-flops she could put under her knees.
Sep.03,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
Give a Model a roll of gaffer tape and you never know what could happen... It was an awesome night collaborating with some photographer buddies of mine and two models this evening in the studio. The goal of the night was to experiment with different lighting schemes and the shot above was my favorite of the night. I had never used my Bowens monolights without any modifier on it, in other words bare bulb not even the standard reflector. That was the idea Metakephoto (photographer buddy) suggested to try with my monolights that I had already setup pointing to the white seamless. This effect threw light both on the background and provided a nice rim light on the Model. The front of the Model was a little dark so Pipography (another photographer buddy) and I boomed a Bowens monolight with a 2’x3’ softbox front and center of the Model. The black Westcott muslin backdrops on the ground was intentionally laid there to make sure no light from the floor bounce back up from the floor onto the Model. Metering the scene was tricky because light of coming from everywhere. I got f9 from the key light up front, and the shoulders metered about f8 with the Sekonic L358. The subtle blur was done in post.
Aug.16,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
I had the wonderful opprotunity to work with Model Mayhem model Alexis and makeup artist/hairstylist Annie Simmons owner of Oasis Day Spa. Annie had done an awesome job with styling Alexis with Jane Iredale’s makeup line. Then we were off to shoot on a wall that is a front wall of Sparrow Bakery. Both Alexis and Annie are very professional and great at what they do, I recommend you looking up next time you are in Bend Oregon. My favorite beauty lighting scheme these days is my Bowens clamshell setup shown above. One lesson learned is to always have some kind of portable non-reflective gobo/cutter to block wind.
Aug.06,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
My best friends Kelvin and Carey are having a baby any minute now. Carey knows that I don’t normally shoot maternity type shots so we decided it would be best to leave that up to a REAL professional. However at the very last minute I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a creative portrait of Carey while she has little Evie in the womb. So I packed up the lights and headed for their house. I purchased an outfit for Carey that would be very inappropriate for a pregnant woman to wear, and we settled on hair rollers with big makeup. Everything came together once we had the idea of shooting in their backyard near the chicken coop. The shot above really describes my friend Carey to the “T”, wacky, fun, loving, and smart. As I was testing my lights around 6:00pm or so I saw sunbeams in my viewfinder. I knew just then that I had only a few minutes to capture the sunbeams in a shot. I positioned Carey against the sun for rim lighting her and getting the sunbeams in the frame. I positioned one monolight camera right with a deep reflector for the key light. I then positioned another monolight with a 1’x3’ softbox behind and to Carey’s right for fill. The last part was to figure out how to light the chickens on the ground. My attempt to light the chickens was to use their water feeder as a light source by sticking a bare Speedlight in the feeder, it kinda worked. Total shoot time 15 minutes.
Jul.10,2011 Filed in: Business-and-Pleasure
Yup, this is not a portrait of some beautiful model. For the last few years I’ve been shooting exclusively people portraits. A photographer who I look up to Zach Arias says when you’re in a funk go study some other type of photography you normally don’t shoot. So I signed up for Allan Mandell’s Zen Bootcamp at Sharon O’keefe’s Northwest Center for Photography. Allan’s approach to composition is extraordinary complex but simple in design is the best I can describe it. The whole workshop is about composition, and the most profound insight that I came away with from the weekend was “simplicity of line”. The two above photos are images I captured to exhibit my understanding of Allan’s teachings during the workshop. The image on top was a wall from a fruit distributor I believe. The wall is yellow in real life with a tungsten bulb in the lamp holder. I adjusted my white balance in-camera and the wall shifted to purple. The second picture was captured in color but I found the simplicity of the scene looked more dramatic in black and white. After Allan’s workshop it got my juices flowing again, I hope you enjoy these images.
Jul.03,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
I like playing with fireworks, what man doesn’t, it’s in our blood. I wanted to figure out how to surround my model with fireworks without getting sued. I came up with the idea of wrapping my golf umbrella with black aluminum foil and taping Morning Glory fireworks to the umbrella. Those fireworks were a pain in the arse to light up but once it got going they done their job. I had the opportunity to photograph the lead guitar artist from the Portland band Toxic Zombie. The first shot above shows the covered umbrella and taped on fireworks, the second image is version of a final edit. I poped a studio strobe on Sam’s face from camera right, then left the shutter open for about four seconds to capture the firework’s affect. Thanks Sam for braving the fire!
May.06,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
Military surplus stores are the bomb. I went browsing through Andy and Bax in Portland to find an interesting prop. I walked out with an interesting Russian officer cap and a Swedish officer coat, or at least that’s what the salesman told me. I put the two together, and I’m sure I’ll hear an earful that that is a no-no but oh well it makes for a cool looking outfit. What’s funny about this shot is that you can’t see the 10 or so clamps on Stephanie’s back because the coat was so big we had to tailor it in. The behind the scene shot shows a deep reflector above and to the left of Stephanie, and also a softbox at her feet pointing up for fill light.
Apr.24,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
No matter how much you prepare for shooting in the snow something will surprise you. One tip I learned from the trip to SkiBowl is to save the bacon grease from breakfast because it makes the best Caveman/Cavewoman torch fuel. That sucker burned bright for at least 20 minutes and minus a smelly gas odor. The concept was a Cavewoman and to make it complete my photography buddies and I spent an hour digging a snow cave.
Now how to light it. Although it was still daylight outside in my head I wanted a night looking scene. I setup my Bowens monolight camera left with a tight grid and barn doors to control the light on the snow bank. The Bowens monolight was about 15 feet away from the model. The second light as you can see is a gelled speedlight probably at 1/4 power or so illuminating the snow cave interior. That was it. And the nice surprise was it started snowing again when I capture the series.
Mar.26,2011 Filed in: Behind-the-Scenes
I had the opportunity to shoot at a truck museum in Keizer Oregon. I found this interesting huge hunk of metal in the middle of the museum grounds. I think it is an old aperture for a power generator of some sort. I try to find interesting backgrounds and this machinery worked perfect since the concept was a Steampunk type genre.
I started to work the lighting on the machine first by lighting the front with one gelled speed light, then another gelled speed light behind the machine. I ended up using a second gelled speedlight behind the machine to get more coverage between the cracks of the aperture. I used a total of three speedlights on the background alone. Probably the hardest part of making this image was getting the speedlights positioned just right to give it an interesting look and good coverage. The setup pictures show the building of the background without light on the model. The light on the model was made by crossing two moonlights with straight reflectors, one light camera right and one light camera left but behind the model. The other effect I wanted to try was to add motion by dragging the shutter and zooming the lens during the 1/25th exposure. Oh and it started pouring rain when the series of exposures started and that was again a nice added effect.