Saturday, September 26, 2009

Grain Belt- Minneapolis MN

I am, normally, not one to take the initiative to photograph nature and landscape images. However, I was asked by a friend from Colorado to take some photographs of the Grain Belt sign as a gift for his sister. Now to the adventurous part:

He had asked me this just after I moved to Ft. Meade, Maryland on Military duty. Thus making it difficult for me to make it to MN to take these images. Well, I have a break between September 18-29th so I made a trip back to MN to visit friends and family and to take the Grain Belt images he had asked for. Seeing as how I flew there I was dependent on everyone around me to take me places. So, Guess What? Everyone works, haha. Anyway, I ended up finding someone to drop me off somewhere near South Minneapolis and I ended up Rollerblading 15 miles to Northwest Minneapolis. I did ninja moves and maneuvered through lots of road construction. Cuz, what is MN without a season of road construction. Of course, the day I find a ride it is a cloudy and misty day. Not what I was hoping for seeing as how I, already, was not able to choose my time of day. Once, I got there I tried to add framing and different positioning to the sign since it was cloudy and their was hardly any gradation in the clouds.

FYI, my last 4 block of my 30 miles total were all uphill and I was absolutely parched! But, I made it, uffda!

A couple days later a friend of mine just so happened to need to go to Minneapolis so I had asked him if I could go with him. He dropped me off for about 10-15 minutes and drove around so I could get some more blue sky sunny photographs.

For not being a nature and landscape photographer I am pleased with my images. a couple I am not sure if maybe they look better in Black and White or not. I guess, it just depends on what and where it would be used for.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Army Soldier Portrait

Talk about fun and adventures.....this photo shoot was one of those.

During this shoot I had my model, one assistant, two 580 EX II speedlights and a large reflector. However, during the photo shoot one of my female hot shoes connecting my speedlight to the transceiver decided to crash and my flash decided it didn't want to work on slave



This image was taken with ONE speedlight and my assistant right above me reflecting the light down onto her. This took many shots and was the only way we could get enough light on her, this late in the evening, with making it look like multiple light sources. It was exciting and an adventure in the short time period I was given to work with this model.

It, also, reminded me how to be creative and useful and how to adapt and overcome and still produce a good image!

Specular Shaped Highlights-Eyes

I had not researched anything about creating specular highlights with shapes in the eyes. I had just seen an image and decided I would try to troubleshoot and see what I can come up with since troubleshooting and being hands on is the way I learn best so this is how I did it:

Let me begin by saying, this is a difficult task. There was no purpose other than experimentation when I photographed this image. I had a bunch of designs from eagles to doves to stars all cut out and different sizes.

Being on a military post I was limited at the time with how much black construction paper I had. I went ahead and drew in pencil my designs then took an exacto-knife and cut them out. Once cut out I tried the smaller shapes first.

I would take the shape and place them in the middle of a beauty dish with everything around it blocked with black as well. Then I adjusted the light by bringing it closer and further away to change the size and clarity of the specular highlights. Now, with the smaller designs I was having difficulty getting the design to come into focus and after quite a few frustrating moments I decided to try the larger cut outs.

As soon as I got the larger cut out up and in the beauty dish and took my first image I knew things were getting better from here.

NOTE: Use a larger cutout for better and more crisp results.

I had the beauty dish about six inches from her face and was using a 50mm lens. The GoBo/Beauty dish was the only light I used in this experiment of mine.

I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions please ask, I'd be glad to answer.

Monday, September 14, 2009


These images are a recreation of other images. My instructors at the Defense Information School in Ft. Meade chose images they would like us to re-create. When given the images I was told I was not able to use cigarette smoke.

The original smoke image had smoke coming out of the ladies mouth and wrapping around so I was slightly discouraged. I tried thinking of everything that could slightly mimmick the idea and ended up choosing incense. I had an incense burning and an assistant moving it. The entire shoot was done in my Army barracks room with 2 580 EX II Speedlights for the side highlights and 2 Modeling lights with a cyan gel over the front of them that creates a little bit of a glow on her front side.

The Pre-Production is what had taken the longest. Once the Makeup, lighting set up and pose was all set adding the smoke was a flash and the images came like candy. It was such a fun and interesting shoot. I would love to try to recreate it even better one day.

The second image is set at a shutter speed of 1/20th of a second and a small aperture. I wanted her to be in as much focus as possible and for the manly stalkers to be somewhat blurred. I had a single 580 EX II Speedlight on them to help stop the action and just asked my model to stay as still as possible, which was difficult due to the wind, but the wind added with some beautiful hair blowin makeing the image more complete!