Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Santa Barbara Film

I’m back from the UK - actually have been for over a week - but still entrenched in a new job and “drinking from the fire hose” so to speak. It’s eating into the photography time and what I had grown accustomed too during my break from employment.

One of the drawbacks of film is the development time needed. Unfortunately, I am at the mercy of labs for the moment. The house is just too small for developing images. I had also committed to using the dr5 process for the images I’ve shot on film the last couple of months. Going forward with the Leica I’m not sure what I’ll do. There is a fine art center in Irvine that has a darkroom and the prices are reasonable. I believe they have a film dryer as well so I can prevent the dust from settling on the film. But after looking at these images in transparency it makes me want to keep shooting everything like that. When you get the exposure correct they are simply a thing of beauty.

These were taken on a Canon AT-1 that I borrowed from Jordan. The film is HP5 rated at ISO 1600 and processed in neutral dr5. On 120mm film there is a lot less grain than on the 35mm but the grain conveys what I wanted to express in the images in the first place. This grain could also be due to the scanning process from the dr5 folks. I really should look at the chromes more closely.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Austin Images

I’m in the UK at present and it’s been a hectic week to say the least. I thought I would get a bit of time to shoot and brought the Yashica Mat 124 with me on the trip. Alas, I didn’t even think about the time of year and how dark it would be here. The United Kingdom is much further north than sunny So Cal and as a result darkness reigns.

Getting up early, my original plan, really didn’t work out because it was as dark then as it was at night returning from the office. So there’ll be no film from this trip unless I find something interesting at Heathrow on my return tomorrow.

On a film note, I should have the chromes back from dr5 by the time I return home. They had a problem with their medium format scanner so I’m not sure how I’ll get these posted. The ability to get my stuff scanned will most likely be accomplished, for the short term anyway, by outsourcing the work. It’s not the most desirable but it’ll have to do for the time being.

These images are from the trip last week. I really didn’t get much and I even hesitate to post these but here is at least one image.

The first image is a light fixture in the Alamo Draft House. It cast a really cool shadow and I couldn’t resist. I should have spent more time trying this out but was pressed for time that particular day. I converted it to B&W in Aperture and tweaked it a bit for tonality in Photoshop. Using levels layers and different types of layers i.e. Overlay, I was able to increase the contrast and get some tonality that I liked. It’s probably not very noticeable on the screen but I think this will make a nice print. We’ll see.

The other two images are of Ashley, the model we worked with. I did the same thing with these images while on the plane coming back from Austin so they aren’t perfect. But I doubt I’ll do much with these images going forward. Who knows?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


This week I’m in Austin listening and learning from some photographers that have it together and don’t take themselves too seriously. They are willing to share their insight into the business end of the portrait and wedding markets. And while it’s unlikely I’ll ever do another wedding, listening to their philosophy on creativity and the approach to showing what you can do creatively has, so far, been very beneficial.

This workshop was a gift from my lovely wife and daughter for my birthday. I had to wait a bit to get the gift but it’s been worth the wait.

One of the points that really stuck with me today was to show what you can do with your photographic work. The point was made that showing a wide range of capability will allow people to go outside their own box of thinking and be much more open doing something that May not actually be in their comfort level. In other words, show what you are capable of and people will come.

Some of the workshop, while intended for wedding shooters, will spill over to the work I actually do. These images are from a short walk around at dusk before heading back to the room to do some catch up work and dinner. I’m not sure they work but I wanted to play and play I did. It goes back to what I wanted to do when I started this blog in the first place.

There were birds everywhere when I started my walk. It was crazy and something I wish I had been better prepared for. I converted this image in DPP to a slight sepia tone and thought it might work better. I went back and forth on the color versus toned black and white. I stuck with the B&W because I’m not sure the photo works at all.

The colors in downtown Austin are pretty phenomenal. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures and sub-cultures, music and art. I’ll try more later.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Father - Daughter Photo Excursion

Jordan and I headed out this morning to spend some time together making images. She shot film but I succumbed to digital since selling off the film stuff of my own.

We headed over to the train station in San Juan Capistrano and then over to the historic San Juan Mission. This is just a quick post as I’m headed out over the next two weeks for travel. I’ll write more later.

This is just a quick conversion in Aperture. You can see more over at my flickr site.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Santa Barbara

I love to experiment and digital allows me to do so. On a recent trip up to Santa Barbara I tried some different stuff. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t.

These images are inspired by Aaron Hueys images from the seat of his VW van while on various trips out west. I’m not sure it worked but it was fun trying and seeing what I could come up with. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while but just hadn’t had the opportunity. Does it work or is it just another set of cliche images populating the net. I still don’t know but for the time being I seem to like them. Together they seem to work but separately probably not.

I did try some other images inspired by Sam Abell’s image of pears in his window sill while on a trip through Russia. They definitely didn’t work. The tuxedo image is inspired by some images from photographers shooting a lot of night images in Japan and Hong Kong. Again, I’m not sure if it worked and it certainly doesn’t measure up but I see some prospects there and some potential.

This image is being put up because I enjoy Prine’s music immensely. We didn’t get to see him that night because of other plans but it was nice to see that he is out and making music. He doesn’t tour much these days but he was in San Francisco, LA and Santa Barbara the last week of October. Bummer.

Click on the flickr badge on the right to see more images.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pasadena Art

No time to post lately and even less time to shoot. I did however; get to shoot three rolls of HP5 while I was in Seattle last week. I didn’t take the digital SLR and opted for the Mamiya 7. Now here is the rub of shooting film. The rolls are still sitting on the cabinet waiting to get processed. I shot them specifically to go to Colorado and the dr5 lab. When there are things that are a pain, paperwork, getting the film to FedEx, etc. I tend to procrastinate and never get around to getting them done. I’d much rather shoot film but if I do I may never have any images to show for the work I do. We’ll see.

In news on the digital front I upgraded to Aperture 1.5 this weekend and spent some time getting my database of images upgraded as well. Apple has added 20 new features and for my work it’ll be the program I use to catalog, edit and publish my images going forward. The new feature I like most right now is the ability to span your collection over multiple drives and media. It’ll replace Portfolio 8 for me which I never became disciplined enough to use. For the more expansive user this may not be the case. The RAW ability is much improved as well and I really like what I’m getting in color and tonal rendition now. I can still get an image to PSCS2 when needed and have it located easily.

For those images where I may need a different color palette, or need a different development style, DPP will still be the program of choice. Canon has upgraded that program as well and while I’m probably in the minority here, I really like how it handles the files.

But this does bring up the issue that I think is probably at the forefront of many photographers and that is storage. My collection is so scattered and disorganized I may never find some images. Backing up the images is another issue. When is it enough and how to you keep them all protected? The next step will to rethink my storage set up which currently consists of 7 external hard drives. I’m currently researching alternatives and how to sit it up in my confined office space.

This image is from the VII Seminar I attended in Pasadena last April. This is one of the images I knew I had but couldn’t find until this weekend when I decided to test out some of the new features in Aperture. During a break I wandered around the facility at the Center for Art in Pasadena where the event was held. There were a lot of easels out in the hall and the light from the window looked amazing. This is processed in Aperture with saturation bumped up a bit. I’m also using the new plug-in that allows me to post to flickr straight from Aperture.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Film Photography

Something is missing in my photography. I’m not sure what it is but as I try to find it I find myself getting back to film, or at least a desire to get back into film, more and more.

I think it’s that my images all look the same. The same feel. The same dimensions. I don’t like anything the same for very long and it’s starting to show in my work.

This isn’t an anti-digital rant. I do still love the digital camera and how fast I get to see the images and work with them. But there is a feel that I just can’t get around with the digital look that is starting to bother me. Everything looks the same. Same tones. Same contrast and color. And this isn’t just my own work. It’s with a lot of the stuff I see.

Film allows for different look. The way it’s exposed and developed makes a difference in the look and feel of the image. In the digital realm, the difference comes from the camera and the particular software used to develop the RAW images. The palette is now determined by the sensor and there aren’t a ton of sensors on the market today.
For 35mm photography you basically have Canon and Nikon. There are others but in my opinion, and remember this is an opinion, the other manufacturers are putting out smaller sensors with less than stellar output. In the medium format world the technology is there but at a steep price for the performance making it largely unattainable to a vast majority of shooters.

Then there is the size of these behemoths, be it 35mm or medium format. My Canon stays at home al lot more these days because of it’s size. Forget taking a medium format system on the road without a support team tagging along.

Which leads me back to my original thought. Here are some images shot on film from the last few years. I expect there will be more as I get images scanned and into the digital darkroom. The park image was shot on the Mamiya 7 and developed with the dr5 process I’ve spoken about before. The contact sheet is from a family project on the Littman with Polaroid Type 79 film. The scans were terrible and I’m going to get them rescanned at some point.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

“Wherever you go … go with all your heart.”

My daughter Jordan provides us with quotes she gathers from a variety of sources. Posted up on the refrigerator, I see them daily as I gather items I need – or in some cases definitely don’t need – from the cold box. As I was getting water for coffee at o’dark thirty this morning, this particular quote jumped right out at me. I mean that literally. It really jumped off the ‘fridge as I opened the door. It’s appropriate for a number of reasons.

It certainly applies to my photography, and the truth is, I struggle with that aspect and my image making on a regular basis. But beyond that, it applies to the changes that are taking place in the household.

Jordan turned 16 over the weekend and she obtained her drivers license this morning. Looking through a group of images over the weekend I saw this image and I realized that the changes in the home would soon be profound and that little jaunts, like this one to the beach, would soon be a thing of the past.

Freedom. Independence. Responsibility. All the things that come with turning 16 and obtaining a license. She’ll no longer need her mother or me to provide transportation to an activity that she would like to participate in. Chains to the “parental units” will no longer exist and the ability to interact with her friends will drastically and immediately increase. The world opens up whether she realizes it or not.

On the one hand it’s satisfying to have brought her up in a way where she is responsible enough to control a 2000 pound vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour. On the other hand, it’s discomforting to watch her grow as a person knowing she will soon leave us behind and make a life of her own.

All this to do over a kid getting a license. There must have been several thousand that did it today in our county alone. But they weren’t my daughter and their license didn’t change my world. Hers did just like she did the day she came into my life.

By the way, I don't know who to attribute the quote too. For that I apologize.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Eddie Ginez

My friend Eddie stopped by this weekend and since he needed a few more headshots we took some time Sunday morning to get them done. These are some of my favorites although I don’t know if they are his since he hasn’t seen them yet.

It’s near impossible to take a bad photo of Eddie and he is finding more interest in the modeling industry for his look. It also gave me a chance to experiment with some basic lighting and keep the look more natural, for lack of a better term.

I actually thought about breaking out the lights but didn’t because of the the hassle. While digital makes things more timely, it doesn’t necessarily keep things easy and lighting in a small space is challenging and a royal PIA. That said, I should have brought out the lights and then the Littman. Laziness, in all honesty, got the better of me. But we did talk about a future shoot that would be much more thought out and involved. We’ll see what happens there and I promise to bring out the Littman for that set of images.

Speaking of the Littman; I was recently asked to comment on a forum about the camera and my experiences with it. By the time I had gotten to the site to post a comment, the topic had generated enough vitriol that I chose not to participate.

I used to spend a ton of time on the forums in the early days of my transition to digital. At first, I was looking for tips on how to scan and print the film I was shooting. Later, I was looking into the forums for ideas on the cameras that I wanted to possibly purchase. Today, the photo “nuts,” and I use that term instead of something more inflammatory, have taken over the forums with opinions that seem to have no room for any other form of thought. Such was the case with the topic about the Littman camera.

It certainly is an expensive camera and there are definitely other options available to folks who wish to get into hand held large format. But the disparaging remarks made about the camera, from people who have never seen one, much less used one, gave me pause on why I even look at the forums today. While there is useful information provided on forums on occasion, I find that sifting through the chafe has become increasingly more and more difficult.

Why the rant? I honestly don’t know. I guess because I can and like the forums, this blog allows me to air out my views and see where they go. Everyone has an opinion, and like a certain part of our anatomy, they all stink. Get off the forums and go out and shoot something. Have a conversation with a real person (I’ll write more about that later) and if you have to offer an opinion on a forum please realize that there is more than one way to do something and it’s unlikely that your way is original or the only way to accomplish the task.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mwangaza Choir

Diane and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a concert this week in Ladera Ranch. The Mwangaza Choir is touring parts of the United States to raise money for schools, orphanages and clinics back in Uganda. They started their journey here in the US arriving in Texas in February of this year. Their travels have taken them to TN, GA, TX and now California. They return home to Uganda at the end of August.

This was organized by a gentleman that has been to Uganda several times and has gotten involved with the African Renewal Ministries who sponsor the choir. It was well attended and very well supported. And while we look at the excess that resides in Orange County and see so many negatives, it was nice to see the other side of Orange County that isn’t portrayed in the media.

The smiles, like the one on this little girl, were genuine and touching. You just couldn’t help but be touched by the expressions of joy on these children's faces. It was a blessing to have been a small part of the evening.

Check out the web site if you want to learn more.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Finally, A Web Site

Well, it’s finally up. After weeks of messing around I finally have a website to talk about. I’m still not sure what I intend to do with it but here it is. If you have any comments I would love to hear from you.

Check it out at It’s an old server that I directed to this domain name. I’ll have it changed later in the year.

This was done in iWeb. I’m not a designer and should really leave this sort of thing to a professional. Once they employment issue is resolved I’ll do so, but until then, I hope you enjoy.

This image was taken last year on a business trip to Seattle. I was experimenting with water images and tried some out of focus shots. It takes some practice to get the correct amount of focus to make it look right and this is the only image that looked right to me. Maybe it was the blur, maybe the lack of sharpeness but I never really felt like I got what I wanted. I just kept trying.

I think I had read something on the trip up that made me experiment more, but I don’t recall what it was. I need to work on the tendency to stop shooting if I don’t think I’m getting what I originally envisioned. This was one of those occasions where I went out and just let my mind go and to see what would come of it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blues Issue

As I’ve said before, the web is full of information and there are times when it’s wonderful. Answers to questions you’ve been pondering, but can’t seem to find an answer for, mysteriously appear in the form of a website that provides information simply because someone wants to share knowledge. When someone does that, the web can be a wonderfully useful place.

I ran across of gem of site today and in all honesty I can’t remember how I got directed to it. I found an answer to an issue with images, especially sky images, that I have been having a serious issue with. The site is run by Ron Bigelow and he provides, what appears to be, wonderful articles on Photoshop and it’s use for photography. I say appears to be because I haven’t read every article but the article on posterization really provided an insight on a solution to my particular issue. Perusing through the articles, there is certainly a level of in depth detail that many would find useful. Check it out for yourself. And if you live in Southern California check out the “Outings” section as well. He provides great information on area trails and areas of interest in the southern and central region of California.

This is an image in question. I love the sky and the colors I see here in Southern California. But with the Canon 1DMkII, blues seem to have a particular problem with posterization despite what I do. You can't really see the issue in this web image but it's certainly a problem when I try to print. I’ll be trying some of his techniques to prevent the problem in future shooting sessions.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I went over 500 visitors to this blog today. To all the visitors from around the world I want to thank you for stopping by and having a look at my images. It took over a year to get over 500 hits but I really appreciate everyone that has stopped by. I have visitors from countries that I’ve never been fortunate to visit but somehow have been able to connect with, even if it is only through their viewing of my images and the reading of my words.

I’m working on a website and hope to have it completed, at least the first version, in the coming week. If you would like to comment please do so when I post the link. I’d welcome constructive comments on improving the site although it might take some time to get it implemented. The new site is largely designed using iWeb and I’m customizing it as much as it will allow. Right now it’s about all I can afford to do and it will have to suffice for the time being.

This image is part of my Alcatraz portfolio and will be featured on the website. It was taken with the Canon ID MkII but I also shot a lot of film and used the previously talked about dr5 process on the chromes. It was actually my first foray into using both cameras to document a trip. Actually it went quite well and I am still using both cameras. But the film doesn’t get developed as rapidly. I think I have several rolls of film, maybe more, that need to get developed. Cost is one issue and as I look for work to fund my habit, it’ll continue to be a factor. It’s been years since I had to worry about the cost of film, or photography for that matter, but I do now and digital is ruling the day when I do get a chance to shoot.

I’m getting time to really organize my images, develop a reliable and standard backup system for the images, and maintain a process by which I categorize the images and put them into some sort of workable order. It’s allowing me to see my vision progress - in most instances my lack of vision - and where I tend to go with my images and how I see the world.

I’m still striving, after more than 30 years of photography, on and off, to develop the vision, the style, the sense of place… and the ability to develop those things.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Martin Fuchs

One of my favorite photoblogs, and a Photobloggie runner up for the Photojournalism category in 2006, has recently been awarded an ad campaign by Canon. You might wonder why this is especially notable considering there are many photographers that have this distinction. That may well be, but Martin Fuchs was a graphics designer just a few short years ago. His passion is photography and he did what many would be simply too afraid to do. He went out and found a way to live his passion!

As a result, he spent 6 months in New York serving an internship with Magnum Photos. He was able to get support and sponsorship from Canon which allowed him to use a Canon 20D while in New York. He recently returned to Vienna after another 3 month stay in New York where he held a paid position by Magnum Photos. He is now sponsored by Lexar, Digital Railroad and Color Vision. He exemplifies a wonderful work ethic and an ability to take the first step and see where it leads.

Congratulations Martin on a job well done.

I’ve posted this photo before but it’s still one of my favorites. Tiana is passing out bumper stickers in Times Square just before the 2004 election. The bumper sticker reads “Lick Bush & Dick in 2004” and we personally thought it was hysterical. It was taken with a Mamiya 7 on HP5 film pushed to 1600 and developed in the dr5 process. If you still shoot film and want black and white images that are stunning you simply owe it to yourself to try the process. A side benefit is that the chromes are easy to scan unlike B&W film in some cases.

Follow the passion, never stop learning all that you can and keep working, exploring, dreaming…

Friday, June 09, 2006


It’s always interesting to hear a photographer talk about their work, at least it is for me. Jeff Curto’s podcast Camera Position, in both quality and content, shines and ranks up there with Brooks Jensen and Lenswork. If you have iTunes, or go to the website, you can see the images he is talking about. As a Professor of Photography at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL he provides valuable insight into what he was thinking as he made the images. He has been documenting the landscape and urban areas of Italy for the last 15 years, and as a listener you get a chance to see what has gone into the process. It’s not technical. It’s a view into the process of creative photography and the way one photographer approaches his image making.

You’ll also see a link in the sidebar to another podcast I find of interest. Ibarionex R. Perello has put together a podcast called The Candid Frame, consisting of interviews he has conducted with photographers he finds of interest. I’ve only gotten a chance to listen to the first two episodes but I will find time for the others and would recommend the podcast despite it’s rough edges. Ibarionex apologizes for the learning curve of podcasting in the first episode and I expect it will get better. The first interview with John Isaac was of great interest to me personally. If the quality of this first interview indicates the quality of the others we have nothing to worry about.

Both of these podcasts offer something different and are very informative. Check them out along with Lenswork which I’ve talked about before. They aren’t technically oriented but I’ve benefited more from listening to the photographers and hearing about how they approach their work, what’s important to them and why it is they do what they do. Technology, and enterprising people such as Jeff, Ibarionex and Brooks, allow us to be inspired and learn much easier today. It’s a mini class in photography and the knowledge gained could be indispensable to your own work.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lighting Test

The nature of the web, and by default, blogs as well, is that information exists in droves. Finding information that is relevant to what you need and then, finding informative material can be daunting. I don’t know that I put much useful stuff on this site for many people and I won’t claim to be an expert on anything. But there is a site that has a lot of relevant information on photography and specifically lighting.

This image is a tribute to Strobist and the information he provides on his site. He does a great job at explaining his use of strobes, providing tips on manufacturing your own equipment, and how to set up a shot. He’s a pro working for the Baltimore Sun and is very generous with his knowledge. He’s one of the good guys, and judging from the number of people that visit his site daily, I’m not the only one that thinks so. There is a lot information there and it can be really useful if you are having difficulty with your lighting and specifically with your strobes. Check it out.

This image is from several years ago, long before I had digital. It’s of my nephew Jake and he graciously helped me test out some lighting techniques I wanted to learn. I shot this with a Mamiya RZ67 and an Acute pack. I metered off the sky to give me that exposure and underexposed it by a stop and a half. I set the flash pack to give me an aperture of f8 and ran with it. It was a lot of fun and I have to thank Doug Merriam for teaching me this technique. He teaches a couple times a year at the Santa Fe Workshops and he’s well worth the price of admission.

So, if you have the ability to teach and you have the knowledge, do the world a favor and pass it on. A lot of people will benefit.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Session with Eddie

Since I’ve been out of work I’ve found myself telling people I’ll do some portraits or candids for them. I’ve taken some photos of the neighborhood kids but won’t post those because of sensitivities I’m not willing to broach on a blog.

But I will post this one from a shoot yesterday with a friend of mine. He’s an accountant by trade but has been given some opportunity to work in the modeling industry. It’s fun for him and will probably allow him to do some things he would otherwise not get to do. When he gets famous I’ll be able to say I helped propel him to stardom with the first headshots of his career.

This is Eddie. The image is lit with natural light from an overhang in my garage that faces north. Just below him is a white reflector about 3 feet from his face. It provides a nice even light that a headshot needs to actually fill the requirement. I’ve never done a headshot before so I had to do some research on what agencies really want to see. I think it works and I’ll be anxious to see what his agency says.

It was a good day with Eddie and Jen filled with good conversation, good rum, good wine, and some image making thrown in for good measure.

For more images go here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cool Site

I’ve recently been in a funk and photography has taken a backseat. Looking for a J-O-B is very tiring and a ton of work. I find that I’m working harder at finding a job then I felt I should have. Anyway, as a result I’ve not gotten much done in the way of photography lately. So there are no images from me today.

But I have had the chance to scope out some interesting sites and in the spirt of this site I want to pass along some of that information. The next few posts will be dedicated to sites I find interesting and that provide some really good content. For the most part they are knowledge based sites and sites that are obviously cared for by the owners. Like me, they are advanced amateurs. They are doing some cool work with the design of their sites and the images they put on them. I’ll link them permanently on the blog roll.

This post is about a site I saw today. It was referenced in a post by a self proclaimed geek and why he bought a Canon 30D. I looked around the site and found a lot of interesting images there but what struck me most was the images he has created from the window seats. Really top notch images and interesting to boot. On top of that, he has interesting content. Give it a look. It’s run by Richard and you can find it here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rusting Bolts

This is an image I took while on a business trip in the Boston area some time ago. As unorganized as I am, I often get into folders full of images that I’ve forgotten or discounted at the time I edited them. As is often the case, I found several in this group of images that I like 8 months later.

I’ve tried this in both black and white and in color. At this point in time in my photography I am finding that I enjoy the black and white images more than the color. (I realize most of the images on this blog are in color). This image just reminds me of the reason I started taking images in the first place. I like it so it gets posted.

On another note, the images on this site are available as prints. Contact me if you want to get information on an image. I plan to make them affordable and in line with the philosophy of Brooks Jensen . Wish me luck and let me know if you want a print.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Focused Wave

As I go through images shot earlier this year, and even some that were shot late in 2005, I’m finding more images that I like. I think I’m also finding themes that seem to show throughout my work. Time will tell if this is actually the case or not, but it does appear to me that there is more consistency than I expected.

This is an image that illustrates my point. The wave image was taken a short drive from our home in Southern California. In my mind I think I could make images that excite me if I lived close to somewhere else. It doesn’t matter where that might be it’s just not here. I’ve been trying to shoot closer to home and really explore areas that I am excited to shoot. It’s not always easy and I don’t always get the juices flowing enough to make it work but I keep trying.

This particular image was shot with a Canon tilt/shift 45mm lens and that is how I got the out of focus affect. The colors are very close to what I saw that early morning in February but it did take some processing of the RAW file. As I gather a better understanding of my own personal workflow I discover new things that work more effectively and within my own vision of the world. This image again underscores that capability.

With a simple adjustment that I had never tried before, I got more depth, more color and an image that reflected what I was actually trying to accomplish that morning. There are several images from that morning that I am currently working with to try and get to print. This one will likely go to black and white as well because of the strong graphic nature of the image.

Friday, April 28, 2006

2004 Kentucky Trip

I've been going through images as I try and learn Aperture and the new workflow associated with the program. In doing so, I've selected some previous images and started working on the process by which I could use the program. I've recently started looking at the images taken in 2004 when we went home to Kentucky. I want to put a book together as well as test out the website features of the program. Since it is now version 1.1 and works much better, I'm feeling more confident with the approach.

At the same time, I'm looking at more and more blogs that are relevant to both photography as well as to the job search that I am now conducting. I'm learning more about technology on the web and it's benefits to the photographic community as well as the business community. I plan on starting another blog in the near future about some of the things I am learning.

Here is a piece of technology that is pretty cool and free. I saw it on Guy Kawasaki's blog and there is now a new version that allows mac users to use the blog feature. Check it out if you get a chance.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Antonin Kratochvil

This was one funny presentation. While Antonin is extremely proficient at image making his technical presentation skills are a little less. Enter Gary Knight.

Gary provided technical assistance to the process and you can see it here in these images. While writing, I can sometimes get the spirit of the moment across but I’m not sure that will be the case here. Suffice it to say, I laughed out loud, along with the rest of the audience and enjoyed the time immensely.

Antonin presented images from his recent trips to Chernobyl to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the disaster. He had been there 10 years previously to document it as well. The premise behind this story was the ability of nature to thrive versus the affects the disaster has had on the human population.

He spoke about the radiation and the need to carry a dosimeter. I could relate to some extent with my time in the Nay and having a dosimeter assigned to me. But that’s another story. As he was explaining the need for the dosimeter and the radiation in the different zones, he told a story relating to the theme of the project. As the dosimeter would chirp indicating detected radiation he would hear matching sounds coming from the birds in the trees. He is as capable at telling a verbal story as he is telling stories with his images.

As with many of the VII photographers, I’ve been a long time admirer of Antonin’s work. Seeing his work on screen, along with the narrative about the images, was a wonderful way to experience the images. They were wonderfully composed, a common trait throughout the weekend, and just resonated with me personally.

He still shoots film and considers himself a black and white photographer. He did mention that he shot digital during the war in Iraq but that he doesn’t own digital. I didn’t get the feeling he would change anytime soon and I hope he doesn’t.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

VII Panel Discussion

Photography, at least for me, is the one consistent passion I have in life. I’m not sure I would change things if I could because as it turned out, my life is pretty good. But photography, and specifically photojournalism, are a life long passions that I continue to enjoy.

Because of that I certainly did not want to miss the chance to go the the VII Seminar held at the Art Center in Pasadena, CA this past weekend. It was a 2 day seminar featuring the photographers at the agency.

The next several posts will be about that seminar, the photographers (at least my impressions) and their images. All in all it was a very enjoyable way to spend the weekend. It did cause me to come away with a thought of “what if...” about following that dream and actually sticking with it as a young man. But as I said, in truth, I’m not sure I would change. My experience does have a valuable lesson that I try to teach to young people. Follow your dream. Learn all you can while you are young and find a way to become the best at what you do. Do this all while you are young and are used to having no money. Once that changes it’s very likely money will be the driving force for whatever you do.

This probably isn’t going to be in any particular order. I made the mistake of not taking photos with the first presenters of the day on Saturday. Boneheaded I know. As a result, I really have no images of (l to r) John Stanmeyer, Joachim Ladefoged or Ron Haviv. This image is from their discussion on the panel the first morning where they accepted questions from the audience. The other gentleman is Jim Seida, Multimedia Producer from MSNBC.

What struck me most was the attitudes of the photographers. While I have no doubt that they all have an ego; who wouldn’t considering what they do, without exception they all came off as humble, gracious, giving and grateful. I was thanked for being there on several occasions by the photographers and staff themselves.

Over the next several days I’ll give my impressions but the job hunt takes precedence and it’s also spring break.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dana Point

In my minds eye I see a lot of images. Unfortunately, I have difficult time getting these images captured.

The storms in Southern California brought a lot of clouds in to the region. I thought it would also bring in bigger swells. As I was driving down to the coast, I saw these images as the sun was going down. The light, contrasting against the dark sky and the green house, was really magical.

Normally I would keep going to my original destination, focused on an image I wanted to make rather than seeing what I could make. After listening to several podcasts by Brooks Jensen, Editor of Lenswork , I stopped and decided to see what was right in front of me. The light was such that I wouldn’t get a second chance. I also wouldn’t get the clouds behind the house either.

So, I stopped and explored the house with the limited time I had available to me with the right light. There really isn’t much post work done on these other than the usual levels and curves adjustments I make to my images. The sky really was that blue and the house really that green. The light helped a lot too!

Friday, March 10, 2006


I love water! I love the ocean and I especially love rivers. My home in Kentucky is located right on one of the widest spots on the Ohio River. I joined the Navy to see the world but secretly I think I joined just to spend time on the seas and experience their power.

It’s not any different now that I’m older. I continually try and make images of the water that I really like. It’s a frustrating experience but I keep trying.

Last night while playing around with some older images, trying out some recently discovered selection and layer techniques, I ran across a few images. These are from a trip to Seattle late last year. Inspired by Clay Enos I made a diptych of the water. It’s not my usual style but I like it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Washington, DC

At the beginning of the year I was in DC for business meetings and took some time to go to the monuments. I always enjoy getting to see them and it’s been far too long since my last visit.

I spent some time at the “Wall” which holds special significance to me. My father was a career Air Force enlisted man and my brother and I followed in his footsteps; me in the Navy (much to Pop’s chagrin) and my brother in the Air Force. As a kid growing up, during that turbulent time, I got to witness first hand the effects war had on families. We were stationed in a variety of places and I had friends whose fathers were POW’s, MIA’s and casualties of the war.

The very first time I went to the “Wall” I was in uniform and with one of my friends from the Semmes. We were in DC to try and convince our detailer to give us something other than a recruiting billet should we decide to reenlist. I wanted to teach and so did Bob. Bob eventually took a recruiting billet and I got out. We both were emotionally moved by being next to the site. I don’t really understand it, and even as I write this, the feeling comes over me. Maybe it was the age we were as the war raged on. Maybe it was the daily coverage we were exposed to on the national news with Walter Cronkite. Maybe it was the comrade in arms emotion everyone speaks about. Whatever it was it was real, it was haunting and it was very, very personal.

I’m older now and less naive. I see things differently than I did back then and while I’m not arrogant enough to say my views are right for everyone they are for me. I know more people affected by wars now. I know people affected by that war in particular even though they didn’t lose a loved one in country. But the effects on a brother that did die as a result of the war have far reaching affects even today.

Times are different today. The military, by and large, is respected and supported in an unpopular war. Veterans are treated differently and appreciated more for what they have done for the country and that’s a good thing. I think that there is a direct correlation to the monument and its impact on the American psyche.

But I think it’s true because of all of the monuments in DC. It’s laid out in such a way that you are allowed, and in some ways compelled, to appreciate the efforts of those that came before us. These are photos to pay tribute to people that made this country what it is today. It’s also a reminder that we have a duty to the fallen to make it what it should be to honor their sacrifice. In todays political climate it’s time that people realize that and make more of an effort towards the principals this country was originally built upon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Silent Fields

Across the country lie fields that are silent a vast majority of the time. Almost every night I pass a sports complex of soccer and softball fields that have the lights on but no kids playing. I keep thinking, as I pass these fields, that there is a great image there if I would only go shoot it. The other night I did.

I went over to the area to see what I could see. As is often the case, what you have envisioned is not what you can actually shoot. That was the case the other night. Unable to cross a 6 foot fence protecting the area around the tollway, I could not reach the height I needed to make the shot. So I walked around on the field level to see what I could come up with.

These are two of my favorites. You’ll see the particulars as you click on the image. I so often have an image that I really want to create but circumstances prevent it. Photographers like Steve McCurry talk about shooting through a situation. That’s what I did here. It worked out even though I didn’t get what I had originally sought.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Three Chairs

This is an image I took while waiting for the tram in Palm Springs. We took this trip a few days after Christmas this year to see what was up on top of Mount San Jauncinto.

The desert has it’s own intrinsic beauty that really requires time spent there to appreciate. living in Southern California certainly gives one the chance to explore the region. Unfortunately I haven't done enough of it.

I did more work than usual in PS for this photo but it does reflect what I intended and actually saw in my minds eye as I made the image. There is a little work saturating the chairs but this isn’t colorized. The walls are just grey and it looks like the image has been colorized. I blew out the highlights on purpose and it’s full frame.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


This is an image of my daughter and one of my personal favorites. It’s taken with a 85m lens at f1.8 with no PS adjustment other than curves for a contrast adjustment. I provide that disclaimer because the people who have seen the print, which is fabulous by the way, want to know if I can show them how to do that in PS. Of course it’s possible but I would argue that it really can’t be duplicated. Maybe it’s just my skills that prevent this in PS but I haven’t seen the effect done realistically. There is always that tale-tell sign that it’s been digitally done. The higher end digital cameras are much closer to film cameras in this regard. It’s much easier to control DOF with them than it is with the consumer digital cameras.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Here we are; 2006 rolls in, another year passes and we see opportunity that might not have existed last week. As someone told me this morning, “It’s always exciting to usher in a new year.”

My new year begins with a photo session with Jordan down at the beach. It’s all that more of a cherished moment to me today as I watched a young boy leave his father as he is headed back to his mother located in another state.

As I waited to board the flight to DC, I watched what appeared to be a father and son traveling together to Denver. They went through the security line just ahead of me and I didn’t particularly pay attention to them. At the gate they were there again and I did take notice this time. The young boy looked sullen and sad. The father had the same look but tried to keep the boy entertained.

I thought they would board with me but the flight attendant escorted the child to the plane because he would be traveling alone. As he started down the jetway the boy looked liked he was losing his best friend. There was a tearful hug, a brief glance back and then he was gone. It was heartbreaking and made me instantly realize the importance Jordan has had in my life.

These images are from a little jaunt we took to the beach over the weekend. A shared interest in photography led to a father and daughter day down at the beach to see what we could see and create. She’s trying out her new camera. I’m just happy to be out and about with her. We both love the ocean and we both love waves. I love photography and she is just getting a feel for it. But most of all I just enjoy being out with her, watching her grow and learn and being a small part of it.

I wanted to experiment with motion, an ongoing theme for me, and knew I would convert these images to B&W. There is definitely more ideas to explore here and I’ll continue to do so. It’s my goal to build up my image base in 2006. To do that I’ll need to to learn to see more of what is actually in my backyard so to speak. So here are the first images of 2006 created with my daughter and in my backyard.