A Suitable Model

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Yesterday afternoon UPS dropped off a new backdrop to the house. When I got home and found it waiting, I was anxious to give it a try. Usually I have a daughter or two around to assist me by sitting in as a model, but this time it was just me and the two dogs.

My first thought was to use the smarter of the pair, our Border Collie Ziggy. As it turned out though, this intelligence told him that sitting on a chair in front of a camera was not worth a nibble of cheese. That left me with Holly, the Shorthaired Pointer. She was more than willing to plant her furry backside on a chair and allow me to take a few shots in hope of receiving a piece of cheese.

The lighting on this image is very simple. I placed a small softbox just to the right of the camera. Fill lighting was provided by the light reflecting off of white blinds to the camera’s left. I set the light’s power level low enough so that I could shoot wide open at f/4 to minimize the depth of field. I also shot at the lens’ full reach of 105mm to further accentuate the shallow focus. In processing, I opted to go with a sepia tone effect because I felt it worked well in creating a uniform tone to the image (here’s the color version).

At the end of our short photo shoot, Holly was extremely happy for two reasons. The first was being allowed to get off of the chair. And secondly, she finally got the cheese she had been intently watching.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/30 second, f/4, ISO 50

April 30, 2007 at 11:32 pm by | Categories: Post

Posing Pumpkin


Michelle and I shot a wedding on Saturday night. It wasn’t a traditional ceremony, but instead a renewing of vows celebrating the couple’s 10 years of marriage. This means that it included not only the (already married) bride and groom, but their five children as well.

This shot of me was made by Michelle as I was posing the youngest daughter for her portrait. While I was showing how I wanted her to hold the flowers, I asked her name. Her response: “Pumpkin”. It was definitely an “awwww…” moment. She gave me a nice smile for the rest of the evening whenever I called her Pumpkin.

Canon 30D, Canon 50 f/1.8 lens – 1/30 second, f/1.8, ISO 200

April 29, 2007 at 11:16 pm by | Categories: Post


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Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/50 second, f/8, ISO 50

at 6:38 am by | Categories: Post

Night On The Overpass – Take 2

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Here’s another capture from the nighttime shooting I did last week. I was particularly attracted to this composition by the many lines created by the fencing leading to a common vanishing point. Another feature I really like is how the curve of the chain-link fencing follows the vignette on the top of the photo.

Setting the exposure was a bit of a guessing game based upon experience. After some spot metering with the camera’s meter and some quick math, I arrived at a shutter time of 280 seconds (6 minutes, 40 seconds) at f/11. This preserved most of the details and allowed the city-lit sky in the background to come through.

I was honored to have this image featured Thursday on the front page of the New West Network website. It’s always cool when they opt to use one of my shots.

To really see the details, click here for a larger version of this capture on a black background.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 280 seconds, f/11, ISO 50

April 28, 2007 at 12:43 am by | Categories: Post

Happy Friday from Mr. Citrus…


…even though he doesn’t look too happy. This is the result of an odd moment of fruit arrangement. I guess you had to be there :)

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/60 second, f/16, ISO 100

April 26, 2007 at 11:34 pm by | Categories: Post

Night on the Overpass


I have been shooting quite a bit of stock photos lately for addition to my iStock portfolio. While this is mostly an enjoyable exercise, it can get a bit stale after awhile. I mean, there are just so many different angles you can shoot a credit card reader from before it gets a little mundane.

Feeling the need to spend some time outdoors being creative, I headed to a local pedestrian overpass this past Monday night with my gear. There is something therapeutic about sitting in the dark waiting for a time exposure to be captured. The sensation of being alone while literally hundreds of people pass directly below is pretty cool.

This image is one of the captures I made that night. What made this shot a bit more challenging was that the tripod had to be extended to its maximum height of over 7 feet to overcome the safety fence. This forced me to guesstimate the alignment of the shot since I couldn’t look through the viewfinder. Note to self: “Next time bring something to stand on”.

Overall, I give this shot a solid “B”. But the feeling of hanging out in the dark on an overpass earns an “A+”.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 399 seconds, f/16, ISO 50

April 25, 2007 at 11:35 pm by | Categories: Post

Barrel of Fun


Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/800 second, f/4, ISO 50

at 1:35 am by | Categories: Post

I’m Still Photoshopping My Photos


Adobe, the creator of the highly popular image editing software Photoshop (the program I use for editing my captures), has recently stated that the name Photoshop is not to be used as a verb. In fact, they have a whole section on their website detailing the company’s policy on this.

Here is a snippet from Adobe.com:

The Photoshop trademark must never be used as a common verb or as a noun. The Photoshop trademark should always be capitalized and should never be used in possessive form, or as a slang term. It should be used as an adjective to describe the product, and should never be used in abbreviated form. The following examples illustrate these rules:

Trademarks are not verbs.

CORRECT: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software.

INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.

I think it is a bit late to enforce this policy on a large scale. The word photoshop has become synonymous in the photography community and increasingly in mainstream speech with the word edit. Just this past weekend I overheard the following exchange:

person #1: “Check out this picture of a giant dog.”
person #2: “I already saw that. The dog’s not really that big, it’s photoshopped.”

To further illustrate my belief that it is too late for Adobe to prevail in this area, one only has to go as far as Dictionary.com. A quick search on the popular site for the definition of “photoshop” yielded this result:

“…to edit an image using a computer program,” 1992…”

What I suspect is really going on here is that Adobe is required to have a policy in effect to protect their trademark. Without this effort, they run the risk of losing the claim to ownership of the name Photoshop. Google had a similar problem last year since their name was increasingly being used as a generic term for search (i.e. “just google for the answer”).

I can understand why companies like Adobe and Google don’t want their trademarked names to go the way of Xerox & Kleenex and become generic terms. But in the photography community I think it is too late.

As for me, I will continue photoshopping my photos. What about you?

April 24, 2007 at 11:26 pm by | Categories: Post

Making a Photo ‘Stock Ready’

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One of the things that can be time consuming to a photographer that is venturing into the world of Stock Photography is the required genericness of their work. What I mean by this is that most stock photo agencies will not accept photos that have identifiable logos, artwork, names, etc. in them. The photos need to be generic.

Take today’s capture for example. I shot this picture of my daughter exhibiting her best snotty adolescent face with a bass guitar in her lap. In order to add this image to my iStock Portfolio and offer it for sale I needed to remove the stickers from the guitar since they are someone else’s trademarked artwork. To accomplish the removal I used the Clone Tool in Photoshop. Here is the modified image:


Sometimes removing logos is quick & easy and sometimes it is difficult & tedious. For example, last month I created a stock image of a cowboy revolver and holster in a rustic setting. When composing the shot I was careful to not show logos and names – or so I thought. When it came time to edit the photograph I realized that the manufacturer’s name was visible on nearly all of the ammunition in the gunbelt. I then had to painstakingly remove the writing on the numerous rounds of ammo.

The easiest way to remove the infringing name/logo is to simply not have it in the shot in the first place. The more stock work I shoot, the more I attempt to save editing time by avoiding the inclusion of trademarked info. While it is frequently unavoidable, many times a few seconds of rearranging when shooting can save vast amounts of time editing.

April 23, 2007 at 11:00 pm by | Categories: tutorial

Walking to the Deep End


Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens – 1/60 second, f/4.5, ISO 50

April 22, 2007 at 11:15 pm by | Categories: Post