Saturday, November 28, 2009

Julia and Jamie...

Since we canceled our trip up my mom's for the holiday (swine flu fears) I setup a photo shoot with Julia and her boyfriend Jamie. It was kind of a target of opportunity but we setup about 4 hours to shoot up at the castle. The first "problem" was the weather turned. It was pretty darn cold and windy BUT it make the skies really cool. One of the main shots I wanted to do was a session with Julia's BMW on a "cross-roads" that leads to the castle. It was a pain to pull out the gear but it really worked well. As you can see in the one strobe above the car I didn't put any modifiers on the lights. With the wind it wasn't really an option.

I think the 4 hour plan turned into 5 hours and we shot our behinds off. We did quite a few shots at the cross-roads, then moved up to the main castle. From there we shot on the front steps for a while before we moved inside.

The hardest part of the day was moving the gear around. Every time we moved physical locations I had to load everything back up to pack it in the bronco (not a lot of room). Once we got into the castle things really picked up and we made some amazing shots by the fireplace and in front of some windows.

The best thing is that both Julia and Jamie were really great subjects. They were really into it and played up well the different sets and emotions we were trying to capture. I gotta say that having really wonderful subjects really makes for a great shoot!

It was a lot of hard work and I am beat from it but I think I have some amazing shots to work with. The count for the day was 719 frames. The images above are just quick selects and process from the shoot. I still have a bunch of images to go through... But that will be tomorrow!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend rolling in...

Well, the weekend is rolling in and today was a pretty lazy day. I had grand plans to do something, but in the end something turned out to be basically nothing. Kind of a drag but it was nice to just veg today. I am not sure about everyone else but I ate WAY too much for Thanksgiving yesterday and that probably didn't help matters.

So today involved watching movies, eating more food, and not much more than that.

Tomorrow I have a shoot scheduled so hopefully everything will go well with that. I have about four hours of time so I hopefully will take a ton of pictures and get some amazing shots. I am really looking forward to it and I think it is going to be pretty darn cool. Hopefully nothing happens to cancel it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgivings!

Today is Thanksgivings and as a precautionary note we decided to stay home this year. It's a bit disappointing because everyone was really looking forward to heading up north. My mom is getting over having N1H1 and we figured it wasn't good risk-management to take the trip up there. She's feeling much better now so we were/are probably safe, but if we went up there it probably wouldn't be the case.

So Denise went to the store on Tuesday and bought all the stuff to make our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It's just going to be the five of us but it will be great!

Desirae was really wanting to help Denise this year and even got up early to help. So it was really cool. So "they" made a turkey, Denise's gammie's butterhorn rolls, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, green beans and a homemade pumpkin and pecan pie! I, think we'll probably explode!

Otherwise it has been a really nice day, even got some time to play guitar a bit (in the garage with an amp no less).

Well, I hope everyone has had a great day and has paused for a moment to think about all the good things in their lives! Again, hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Exotic Feline Breeding Compound...

Today was a pretty busy day. It started off with a trip to the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound where today was a "Kids Day" event. They had a bunch of special things going on like face painting, crafts and a scavenger hunt. As is typical we got out of the house late but we still had a lot of fun there and the kids (because of the scavenger hunt) learned a lot of about the animals there. So the girls got their faces painted and cat ears, the built presents for the animals and they ran their little legs into the ground. The scavenger hunt was designed to keep sending you from one side of the place to the other to find the right animal and then get a special detail about that particular cat. At the end you turned in the paperwork (well you showed them the paperwork) and you got a special ID that showed you were a junior zoo keeper and they got to pick out a stuff animal. It was a really cool event and the place was small enough that it was really neat. After I left they ended up taking a tram ride around the place and I am not sure what all that had the chance to see there.

After that I had a photo shoot scheduled so I left Denise, Devin, Desirae and Deanna and headed into Lancaster. A friend of Julia volunteered for a portrait shoot so we met up at Apollo Park and spent about an hour exploring the different areas there and made a bunch of pictures. We ended the day with about 300 frames so I have a lot of work left to process, edit and post the images.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trying something out...

I picked up a new lighting modifier, primarily for my outside shoots (its large and solid but lite). After I put it together to check it out I figured it would be cool to actually run it through a test. Deanna was a willing model for the shoot and I took a bunch of photographs of her. Actually it was really a lot because I also wanted to test my lights at low power for rapid refresh. I was actually banging away shots to see how fast the lights would recycle. Bottom line, at the lowest power setting I was able to get F/8 at ISO 400 which was pretty darn good.

Deanna was having a lot of fun, at least until I asked Denise to comb her hair (then it wasn't as much fun). But even after that she got back into it and it was neat to have a quick photo shoot.

Anyway I'm really looking forward to putting some of the new equipment through it's paces!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Depths of the castle...

I had the opportunity to return to Shea’s Castle today with my buddies Kris and Todd . I know these images here are a bit unorthodox for what you would consider from a castle shoot, but as we were going through the passages underneath I ran across these two scenes, which just seemed cool to me.

You loose a lot of the creepiness of the top shot because it was absolutely dark in there. We had to use flashlights to navigate. To get this shot I used two Nikon SB-800 flashes in “commander” mode to light this small area. Kris is standing just out of frame on the right bouncing his light and I am using one to control the other and light the left portion of the frame.

The second image was in the boiler room and I thought it was just amazing looking. The colors and contrast was just wonderful. I actually came back after my first couple of shots (and some wondering around) to shoot it correctly. I think it just a cool image and I just might have to make a large print of that one.

As always it’s a blast to get out and make some images. I think Todd got some pretty cool stuff and I am looking forward to see it. He also took some shots of me making my shots so I am sure that is going to be funny to see!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Final soccer game (kinda)...

Desirae had her final regular game today. She played REALLY well today and all the girls were really working hard and playing aggressive. She was so aggressive that she was called for being off-sides a handful of times because she was he going after the ball. It was probably one of their best games to date!

Since they are the only U-10 team in California City they are going to head to the playoffs. I am not sure when that starts and depending on how they do there will determine how much longer the season is going to go for them. All of the girls are also really excited about that.

After the game Denise and Desirae headed to the base for one of the girls birthday parties. They had a bowling party out at the base. Devin, Deanna and I headed home after the game.

Smugmug is having problems this evening and dumped all the photos that I uploaded so I will try again later!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is a shot that I have wanted to make for a while. This was part of the Christmas Tree shoot that we did on Sunday. It was truly a beautiful day and with the cancelation of my other shoot I figured it would be a good time to do this since I had everything prepped for it. Both Devin and Deanna had fun with the shoot and were being pretty silly during the entire thing. I think it's a great shot of the both of them!

This is the shoot were we brought out the trailer so Desirae was hanging out in there while we were shoot this. The trailer idea worked out really well!

As you can see in the photo Devin isn't wearing his braces on his feet/ankles. Earlier in the week they disintegrated on him! Today he had an appointment to see if they could be repaired. They were completely ruined so they went ahead and casted him for a new set. I am not sure when they will come in but in the mean time he is going to be wearing regular shoes.

So tomorrow I head back to work. I have been off since last Friday and it has been great. It was nice to have a break and not having to think about what was going on there. I got a lot of photography related things accomplished

Monday, November 09, 2009

Music & Photography...

As most of you know I took up guitar a bit over a year now. I am glad to say that I can now make noise that sounds similar to what one would consider music! Shortly after the F22 crash earlier in the year I picked up an Epiphone acoustic guitar and I have really enjoyed playing it. I actually "play" every day. The only exception is if we do something that takes us away from the house early and brings us home late (which doesn't happen too often). I kind of use guitar playing and practicing almost as meditation and it really helps me to relax.

So the point of this post is that I have been wanting to create the above picture for a long time. I did something similar a while back by the execution was all wrong. I cleaned everything up setup the lights and made a bunch of shots of this guitar. This by far is my favorite and was the main shot that I was going for.

I tell you, if you have ever wanted to learn guitar I recommend giving it a go. There are a ton of online resources and if you can make it through the first couple of months you will really enjoy it. Like anything, you have to put the time into it to get something out of it, but I think it's worth it. But, at Denise likes to say, "at the end of the day you still don't have a hat!"

Strange desert find...

Last week my brother mentioned something about a jail cell he found a couple years ago in the desert. He said he was out exploring and he came upon this old ruin of a jail cell. He gave me the general direction of the place so I decided to see if I could find it.

It was really wasn't too far out there and wasn't that hard to find although I am not sure if I would have ever come across it had he not told me about it. It was really bizarre and it had a huge concert door on it. I didn't venture inside and it was a bit surreal.

The story behind it, and I am not sure if it is true, is that the guy who lived there was a WWII veteran who had spend a few years in as a German prisoner. He wasn't quite right when he came back and he built the cell so he could spend a few hours a day in there to help calm his nerves. As the story goes being back in a duplicate of his old jail cell made him feel safe, or something along those lines.

I am not sure if that's an accurate story but it wouldn't surprise me.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Merry Christmas from the high desert...

Denise and I have had this crazy idea to do something with in a Christmas desert theme. So since my model shoot was canceled we decided to go ahead and give it a try. Denise's idea was actually to decorate a tumble weed but we decided to bring a tree out in the middle of the desert and set that up. It was kind of a crazy idea but I think it worked. I am not sure if it is something that we could use at stock but its kind of a fun image nonetheless.

With all the time that it would take to set everything up we just brought our travel trailer so the kids would have a place to hang out. To speed things up we loaded all the gear into the utility trailer and pulled that with the Bronco. It was kind of a major production with strobes, generators, softboxes, etc and it was a lot of work. I don't think you can see it but we have a generator behind the tree for the lights and the other generator was running the strobes.

Before we set this shoot up we also took some images of Devin and Deanna walking down a dirt road. I think those images are really cute and once I get a chance to process them I will post a select.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

PLaying around...

I wanted to test out my gear today to include the generator so I pulled everything out and fired it all up... Okay, so all means a single head with a large softbox but I had to open the chances and LOOK at all the gear so it was kind of LIKE firing it all up!

Anyway after I put some gas in the generator and remember HOW to start the darn thing I was in business! The wind was also cooperating so at least my gear didn't some crashing down. I did some quick metering to make sure everything was balanced and off I went.

Well, off I went to make sure Devin was still willing to volunteer. He was so we started banging away changing little things here and there and made a couple of cute images. I thought the one up at the left was the best and it was fun.

The really interesting thing is that someone stopped while we were shooting and asked about portraits. So I gave them my card and asked them to drop me a light to work out the particulars.

I always like shooting so it was cool to make some images!

Speaking of that, I was supposed to have a shoot tomorrow but the model canceled and I wasn't able to book a replacement so I will have to figure something else out tomorrow! :(

Friday, November 06, 2009

Joe McNally...

Today Tom Van Langenhoven and I traveled down to Los Angeles to attended the Kelby Training, Joe McNally Lighting Seminar. I have followed Joe's career for the last few years and I have enjoyed his books and web site so having an opportunity to see him live and in person was something that was hard to pass up. So we planned to go for the last couple of weeks and today was the day.

It was pretty cool and he was just like I expected he would be. In other words his approach was the same as in his books, which is pretty darn funny, informative and entertaining. So the entire day was about shooting people with various lighting techniques with a lot of Q&A throughout the day.

This was a typical huge NAPP/Kelby Training with probably 1000 people there but it was still pretty good.