Sunday, August 29, 2010

Without a creative Eye

This past Friday I finally got to visit the Doutor Coffee farm in Holualoa Hawaii. The farm is a combination of rambling park like grounds with coffee plants and various fruit trees and brushes scattered all over the place.  At the bottom of the walkway the park opens up to a covered room adjacent to a wide open grassy area with this really nice Infinity pool in the middle.  Besides being asked to sample a bit of their coffee I was desperately trying to figure out how to capture the beauty of this setting.

Some times I just get lucky..

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Use the force...

I have a ton of books on photography, from exposure, to composition, to color and posing.  With all of this collective knowledge there is one thing that no book can full teach you and that is creativity.

I am amazed that most of my model portrait shoots are pretty much unscripted.  I often get a chill thinking to myself "what in the heck am I going to do?"  Knowing your location often helps, it makes it easier to place someone into the scene if you've used or visited it in the past.

The one thing that I know is if I don't like the existing lighting situation I will not hesitate to whip out a few speedlights to make everything Mo better.

Sometimes you think you've nailed it and sometimes you miss by a country mile.  Take this image from this week's shoot was a foul tip -

The beautiful thing about shooting RAW is that you have about 4 stops of control (plus or minus) which comes in handy when your creativity is working overtime.  The more shots I take, the more I learn.

Even though there are loads of technical ways to light a subject including using a hand held light meter, measuring the distance from the camera and the subject and dividing that by the guide number or using the fstop and dividing that into the guide number...  I am confused but the one thing that works for me is to try to see the light.  Try to view the scene through your viewfinder, set the fstop and the shutter speed and then pop your lights on full.  In most cases the light from the flash overwhelms the shot.  From that point on it's duck soup to find the right set point that will give you a nice balance between the ambient light, from the setting sun and the fill from your flash.  I'm sure that anyone who really knows flash photography is going to read this and say "he'd better hit the books again".  I will and hopefully I'm not too far off.

Use the force Luke...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You never know what you'll get

A few weeks ago I got a request to shoot photos for a model from the Puna district.  She was planning to be in Waikoloa for a few days and agreed that we should get together to create some ocean side images. We really didn't have much of a plan, all she really wanted was to be on the sand and in the water.  There are times when having a plan makes life so much easier but then there are other times when the thrill of success is defined by the mystery.

We agreed to meet at one of my favorite plans to shoot beach scenes - Beach 69.  She arrived and we trotted down to the waters edge to see what we could see.  After a few test shots for lighting and color we started.  The sun was rapidly moving towards what became a spectacular sunset but more on that in another post.  After several poses and lots of shots we moved her into the water and that's when the magic started.  She is a natural poser and a lovely person to work with. After the sun set we reviewed what I'd been able to capture and we said Aloha.

Sometimes life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just another Tequila Sunset...

Well my new Butcher Block counter tops are installed and I've begun the process of applying smelly Poly U to the surface. After 2 coats and not having a sink it was time for me to leave the house and go for take out for dinner. I decided to pack my camera just in case the sunset was going to be spectacular. As I exited the parking lot of the Pinetree cafe I looked at the sky but just didn't feel it so I headed home fearing no sunset shot after 2 brilliant days of clear air and wonderful golden sunsets. As I made the left on Hina Lani I noticed the sun was heading for a thick patch of dark clouds as it headed for the horizon. The horizon was clear and the sun was sending out the best beams of light I've seen for months. I pulled over and opened the hatch of my SUV, opened my camera bag and sat on the bumper waiting for the right moment. I checked my lenses and realized that I left my long lens at home. That meant that I wasn't going to get a nice close in view of the sunset but I had a few tricks up my sleeve so I wasn't too worried.

Since the sun is now setting pretty close to directly over the Kona airport I was pleased to see a plane take of and pass close to where the sun was going down so I snapped a few shots in preparation for the finial count down. I snapped about 50 shots and loved a bunch of them I just wish I'd listened to myself when I was packing up and had brought my longer lens for those long distant photos.

It's another tequila sunrise, this old world still looks the same, another frame.... (Eagles...)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who invented the Blog?


Just when I thought I'd gained an upper hand in this cyber world I decide to try something new. "let's build a blog" I said to myself, adding "how hard could it be?" "and while you're at it add a few widgets for added giggles." Sheeeesh! This blog space is one of the most convoluted environments I've ever worked in. I must be getting old-er. I just may have to find a blogging for dummies book if I can't figure out how to work the widgets properly.

Westcott 301 Photo Basics 40-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tilt Shift photo


I've been a Photoshop user for years and in fact I use it almost every day. But I am constantly amazed at the things people are able to create using it.  I saw an Allstate Insurance commercial on TV that talked about multiple things that could be in need of insurance. Now everyone knows how much they hate insurance but one thing about the commercial struck me was the way they made the opening scene look like it was a composite of live action and miniature sets. I did a quick search and found a way to recreate that same miniature effect using Photoshop on an image. Here's the a link to the TV commercial - Multiples

Tiltshift picture
It's a pretty tripy effect and the same effect can be created for photos using the techniques in the following tutorial:

"Show us your Lark packs." That's another commercial and maybe the topic for another entry..

Monday, June 14, 2010

My first blog

Well will wonders never cease? I am hoping to use this blog as a way to both communicate and to educate myself and my followers to the world of photography. I have learned quite a bit over the last 2 years but there is still so much I have to learn and together we will explore the tricks and tips that have come to make so many fantastic images possible.