Wednesday, March 26, 2008

For the Love of Love...

Why do I love shooting weddings? Well, it seems obvious to me ... it is For the Love of Love. I just love seeing people in love. Especially the ones that freely express their love for one another, in their words and actions.

I had the opportunity of shooting a couple this past Monday who I thought exemplified this love for each other. It was wonderful watching and working with them. Here are just a few of the images I captured that night:

Monday, March 24, 2008

The life of a photographer...

... it's not all it's cracked up to be! lol

I tallied up the results of my picture taking endeavors from this past Saturday night where I took pictures of 17 Winter Guard (color guard) teams at a competition here in Salt Lake City.

I took over 4400 pictures, using two cameras, in less than three hours! (one of the cameras I operated by remote control using a PocketWizard transmitter in my left hand while I shot the other camera using my right hand)

That averages out to 258 images per team ... with each team being "on the floor" performing for approximately 3-5 minutes each (two of the teams I actually managed to surpass 500 images for the duration of their performance).

I've been processing and uploading pictures since Saturday night and I'm still less than half way through the uploading process as I write this (Monday morning at 5am).

I scripted the processing of the images (in Photoshop) so that it can handle one full team folder worth of images at a time. My computer, while pegged at near 100% utilization, is averaging about 21 seconds per image. At this rate, it will take nearly 26 hours to process all of them (actually, longer than that due to sleep, church and work, etc, since I have to be awake and at home to restart the process for each new folder as it finishes the last one it started). But since uploading takes longer, it's the uploading that will control how long until the final image is posted.

And here's the point I wanted to make:

Ya know... people who buy the pictures never really see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making them. It's one thing to press the shutter button. It's an entirely different story when it comes to producing a saleable product. The time I spent setting up the environment, such as the computers we used at the competition. The time spent processing. The time spent reviewing and handling images that need individual attention. And the time spent backing everything up should anything go wrong. It's hard to explain all of that to them when they see me charging $6 for a 4x6 while knowing that Costco charges them only a fraction of that cost for the image. Such is the life of a photographer...

Anyway... for anyone interested in seeing Saturday's images, they are uploading here:
Utah Winter Guard Association

Friday, March 21, 2008

PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian

I just wanted to relate my brief encounter with fame ... or rather, with someone who has since become famous.

PETA has just recently announced the winner of their contest for the Sexiest Vegetarian. And the girl who won just happens to be from Salt Lake City, UT! How cool is that?!? Well, even cooler (at least for me) was that I had a brief chance encounter with her just a few weeks before she was announced as the winner.

Her name is Shona Barnthouse. And you can watch a video on Fox News interviewing her this morning (Friday, March 21st). Within the video, you'll see a couple of pictures of her... one of them was a picture I took during my brief encounter with her. You can see her in amongst the Model Runway Pictures on my website.

I think she's gorgeous. More pictures of Shona can be seen here and here (these last two links, although not too revealing, may not be safe for work).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Celebrate What's Right With The World

Found on, this 22-minute short film, "Celebrate What's Right With The World", Dewitt Jones (world-class photojournalist for the National Geographic) asks: "Do we choose to see possibilities? Do we really believe they're there?"

He assures us that there is always more than one right answer. Celebrating what's right with the world helps us recognize the possibilities and find solutions for the challenges before us.

This inspirational, best-selling film utilizes stunning photography and powerful dialogue to help viewers approach their lives with celebration, confidence and grace.

“As I celebrated what was right with the world, I began to build a vision of possibility, not scarcity. Possibility... always another right answer.” - Dewitt Jones

Celebrate What's Right With The World

Monday, March 17, 2008


Okay, this is totally geeky of me... but I gotta tell you about a new device called a RadioPopper. If you're a wedding photographer shooting off-camera flash with either the Canon or Nikon flash systems, you're gonna WANT one of these!!!

Do you use an on-camera master to drive your off-camera slave for those perfect eTTL exposures ... that sometimes miss due to line-of-sight problems?!? And yet, you're reluctant to use PocketWizard radio transmitters because, while nearly 100% reliable, you completely lose the magic eTTL exposures, forcing you to have to calculate what the exposure would be and then run back to the flash and dial in the appropriate settings.

So what's the solution? You want the magic of eTTL and the reliability of Radio. Well... here it is, the RadioPopper!

Quoting from their web site:

The RadioPopper was designed to solve specific problems faced by event and wedding photographers. Most of us already own a pair or more of the various pro flash units from our camera manufacturers. These flashes are tied closely to the metering systems of our cameras and offer a very convenient means of wireless control through infrared signaling - the “line of sight” system built into most name brand units.

Anyone who has worked in the fast paced action and rapidly changing environments of these events knows the value of a lighting system that does some of the thinking for you. It’s not always practical to manually adjust the power levels of your lights - that’s where your camera’s ETTL / iTTL system comes in.

Radio flash triggering devices allow a more consistent triggering means - but they lack any ability to dynamically adjust the flash power as the situation changes. Existing radio systems are “manual only”. This isn’t a problem in the world of commercial photography - but on location in photojournalism, the need to physically place your hands on each slave and adjust power between each shot - becomes a significant limiting factor.

Best of Both Worlds

With RadioPopper you’re no longer forced to choose between usability and reliability. Enjoy all the utility and features built into your existing Canon and Nikon flash units while overcoming the single weak link of the wireless system - the “line of sight” infrared communication setup.

  • Attaches externally to your existing flash units
  • No drilling, modifications, electrical contacts, or cords required
  • RadioPopper Transmitter "sees" the infrared light signal and relays it by radio signal
  • RadioPopper Receiver "repeats" the infrared signal for each slave flash
  • Your flashes no longer require a "line of sight" for proper operation
  • Put slave flashes anywhere within 500 ft and shoot - they'll fire every time.
Check out the cool looking units here. And read more about them here.

I gotta say this. I want one. And I want it now! :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something is fishy....

As I go about taking pictures, I have many lenses for many different purposes. One of my favorite lenses for doing something different, is the Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens.

The thing that is really cool about the Fisheye lens is the distortion it brings to the image as it bends a 180 degree horizontal view of the world down onto a flat sensor at the back of the camera. The outside edges of the image are curved around the Center. This is much more pronounced on a Full Frame sensor, such as the Canon 5D. (cropped sensors keep the center portion of the image and thereby throw away the parts of the image that are distorted the most ... usually a good thing, unless you were specifically wanting a "fisheye look")

But sometimes you can overdo it! And that's how I felt about yesterday's photo shoot at the Utah State Capitol Building.

So I turned to DxO Optics Pro (a Raw processor), as an alternative to my normal Raw processor (Adobe Lightroom).

Here is an example image, taken with the Fisheye lens, and processed using Lightroom:

And here is the same image, processed using DxO. I didn't tweak the lighting as much, but I did use it to de-fish and crop the image:

Notice how straight the lines are?

Now, here's another image. This one is actually FOUR images combined together into a single HDR (High Dynamic Range) image using Photomatix Pro by HDR Soft. You can see both the fisheye effect which is still intact, and the dynamic range of this image:

Going back into DxO, I reprocessed just ONE of the images to get rid of the Fisheye effect. And then I used Nik Color Efex Pro to adjust the lighting on this one:

See what you think of the images. Do you prefer them with the fisheye effect, or without?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Utah State Capitol Building

Awhile back, a friend of mine hooked me up with a group called "The Provo Area Digital Photography Meetup Group". The group gets together twice each month, and one of those times is spent as a photographic excursion, visiting different places, doing different kinds of photo shoots.

Well... this month (today), the group got together to visit the Utah State Capitol and I joined them for the chance to see the newly remodeled building. Here are a few of the shots I took during the excursion:

More of my pictures can be seen on my website. Or check out the group's pictures here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Taking time out to play...

Two days ago I took my camera into work with me so that I could have a little bit of "fun" both before and after work. For me, "play time" is "experiment time". It's time to step outside the box and look for new ways of seeing things, or new ways of presenting things.

So I went into this photo shoot with two goals in mind: 1) to see old things (things I have already seen and photographed previously) in a new way, and/or 2) to look for signs of spring (new life, activity, etc).

Here are a few of the images that I captured that day:

The above is just a small selection of Tuesday's images. To see more of my images in and around Temple Square, please click here:

Temple Square Images

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ever wonder how lenses are made?

Here's a short video (about 9 minutes) showing the process for creating a lens.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Digital is a Whole New World

Remember back in the days of film photography, you took your picture, you handed over your film to someone, and you got back your prints ... end of story.

Well, in today's world of Digital Photography, it's a Whole New World.

Today, you are no longer "just" the photographer. Now you're the artist, the editor and possibly even the printer, all rolled into one. The good thing about that is, you now have 100% control of your image. The bad news is ... you have 100% control of your image! It's time to start learning Photoshop!

The goal, of course, is to capture the image as best as you can, right inside the camera. With the best possible exposure and the best possible range of colors. Photoshop can do wonders. But it doesn't make a Happy Meal from a pair of over cooked, dried out buns and a tired thin piece of meat. (no, that's what McDonald's does!)

While I was thinking about the editing process, I thought I'd show you a few of my "before and after" images from today.





In the future, I'll post some additional information on how I go about editing images, but for now, I just wanted to share a few of the end results.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Trash The Dress

So you bought a beautiful wedding dress. The wedding is over. Now what do you do with the dress?

Well, I'm sure that many brides hold onto the dress. Some simply try it on later to see if it still fits. Some have hopes of giving their dress to a future daughter. But what if the daughter of the future wants her own dress? Twenty years of holding onto the dress ... for nothing.

Well, some brides and their photographers have come up with a new idea. One that has been causing some buzz within the industry called "Trash The Dress". The idea is, why waste the dress letting it sit in a closet somewhere for twenty years, when you could instead use it today to get some GORGEOUS pictures doing things that you would never have dared to do before the "big day". For example, having your picture taken in a lake ... with the wedding dress on!

Well, Matt Adcock and Sol Tamargo have put together what I think is a stunning edition of Trash the Dress. Take a look at this video:

Or, head on over to their web site to see a larger version of the video as well as some gorgeous images captured during the photo shoot.

So tell me, what do you think of Trash The Dress? Would YOU do it???

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Now you can be a photographer!

Okay, this is probably more fun for the guys ... but the girls may get a kick out of it too.

This web site lets you be a virtual photographer ... taking pictures of super model Daniella Sarahyba. You pick the scene she is in. And then you direct the camera position and zoom and decide when and where to take pictures. When you are done, you can even download the pictures that you took!

Anyway, check it out. You, too, can be her photographer! Direct Daniella

Have fun!

I have to admit, I was even more ecstatic when she began speaking portuguese, but that's because I love Brazil, brazilians, and the portuguese language!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Here it is...

Okay, so I'm starting a new blog. I've been resisting this for a long time now, but I see everyone around me doing it. Call it peer pressure. Call it self aggrandizement. Call it whatever you wish. My own reasons for starting the blog are to be able to share both pictures and knowledge.

For my first blog post, I want to discuss a web site that I have called "home" for several years now. I have been actively involved in learning and in helping people learn about photography on a digital photography web site called DPChallenge. There are several things that I love about DPChallenge and are my main reasons for recommending the site:
  1. First and foremost are the "challenges". DPChallenge has at least a couple of challenges (aka photo contests) each week with varying topics. Basically, you are given one week to shoot a photo that fits the topic and submit it to the site. And then everyone has a chance to vote and/or comment on the images. This has a couple of benefits: The topic helps you to step outside of your box, to take a fresh look at a subject you may not normally think about photographing. The voting helps give you an overall sense of how well your image "communicates" with your intended audience. And the comments can be a wealth of knowledge as to what you did right or wrong.
  2. Besides images submitted to challenges, as a member on DPChallenge, you can post images to your portfolio and, there again, receive helpful comments on your images.
  3. Then there are the forums and the people. The DPChallenge crowd is overall a very friendly crowd. Perhaps, at times, a bit irreverent. But mostly in good fun. I find that posting a message on just about any topic (even off the topic of photography!) on one of DPChallenge's forums will often result in helpful responses within minutes.
  4. The best way to learn anything is by doing. And to that end, the challenges, portfolios and forums are a great way to learn and grow.
You can see my profile on DPChallenge here. But I welcome you to explore around the rest of DPC and see if you, too, might decide to call it "home".