February 26, 2013

Using Flash Creatively—No. 1

On March 21st, I am teaching a class at Bay Area Photo Club on “Using Flash Creatively” so I thought I might try to learn something about it before I try to teach the class!
Meet Christine.  Steve and I had the pleasure of photographing her on Sunday.  She was a real joy to work with.
In today’s photo, I wanted to simulate a sunset photo at an old barn.  The sky was overcast with very little color in it.  I set my white balance in the camera to 8,600K which made the ambient light turn more golden.  I then sent light from a Nikon SB800 (with an orange gel) through an old gate with slates.  I wanted the Nikon SB800 to light-up the background and also provide some shadows on the wall behind Christine.
Christine is totally lighted by the defused light of the overcast sky.
I believe that the shadows more interest into the wall and increased the feeling of depth to the image.

Camera settings:  Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 at 43mm, ISO 100, f/3.3 at 1/125th of a second.
Post Processing:
Lightroom 4—applied Nikon Portrait preset during import, set white and black points, decreased shadows and increased highlights and added vibrance and clarity.
Photoshop CS5—applied nik Color Efex Pro glamour glow and pro contrast to image.

February 19, 2013

Houston Marathon #1—Being Totally Unprepared

I have taken photos at the Houston Marathon five or six times before this last one.  Yet, for this one, I was totally unprepared.
Mainly because my purpose was different from the others and I took no action to ensure that I would be successful!
Monte (my son) and Ana (my daughter-in-law, or as I say, my special daughter) ran in this year's half marathon for the first time.  My intention was to get some really nice shots of them on the course.  Before the race, I knew that I wanted to get an early-race shot so I decided to go to the Taylor Street overpass to get and I also wanted a photo near the finish line, so I preselected Dallas street where I would have some nice building backgrounds.
Now, how was I not prepared.  Well, think about standing in the rain on the Taylor street overpass and seeing a wall of runners pass under you without knowing what your subject is wearing.  Makes it more than kinda hard to pick your subject out; it made it impossible to find either Monte or Ana.
Result:  no photo of Monte or Ana near the beginning of the race.
Camera settings:  Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 at 135mm, ISO 2200, f/4 at 1/250th of a second.
Post Processing:
Lightroom 4—applied Nikon Standard preset during import, set white and black points, increased shadows and decreased highlights and added vibrance and clarity.

February 8, 2013

My Uncle Bill


I have not been posting to my blog because of the death of my Uncle Bill.   Without a doubt, he was one of the most influential people in my life.  He was the second member of my family to hold me after I was born and he was always there when I needed something—whether it was a voice of encouragement or a kick in the butt.
Uncle Bill was a member of the America’s greatest generation.  A generation that grew-up seeing long soup lines; a generation that went into a war that saw 60 million people killed (20 million military and 40 million civilians); and a generation that built America into the world’s greatest super-power—militarily, economically and morally.
This generation did not judge themselves on how fat their wallets were, what titles they held, or the number of tweeter followers or Facebook friends that had.  They judged themselves based upon their service to country, community and family and their devotion to their religion.  If you try to judge Uncle Bill by today’s criteria, he was a total, abject failure, but if you judge him by his generation’s values, he was one of the most successful men I have ever know.
I will miss Uncle Bill a great deal, but in his absence, I promise to do a much better job of showing his generation the respect that they truly deserve.