Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Social Media

Lately I’ve run across a few articles (in the AJC Living) and blogs that discuss the state of “digital literacy” in the USA.  They mostly focus on two types of people: “digital natives” (anyone under 10 years old) and how they handle old fashioned social skills such as learning and playing in real groups, and everyone else.  Everyone else is getting digital education via self teaching (often problematic and inefficient) or structured courses such as Multi-media I & II.

Achieving true digital literacy is a big order, as I found out over the Thanksgiving holiday.  While my daughter was home we talked about the new availability of Beatles music, and she was glad I knew it was provided by Apple.  Then she got mad at me when I asked her to drive me to the nearest Apple Store.  "It's at the iTunes Music Store" she said as she stalked out of the house.

Bu-da-bing, bu-da-boom.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Friday after Thanksgiving we went to the SE Train Museum in Duluth to shoot the Fashion/Fantasy assignment. 

It turned out to be a training session: good thing there is some time to shoot again this week. 

The two speed lights worked well, when I wasn’t blocking the IR signal, and the fog machine worked well when it wanted to, and the model did a good job as along as I was alert
enough to shoot her…..there are a lot of balls in the air on location, mostly as a result of making something simple difficult and over thought. 


This post avoids issues of legality, taste and privacy in photojournalism, and instead examines two aspects of the ethics discussion that directly impact the credibility of photojournalists:
1.         manipulating the scene (before or after a picture is taken)
2.         manipulating the photograph
Both of these situations have probably affected “real” pictures since photography was invented.

Manipulating the scene

Politicians have a big incentive to appear their best in pictures, and that may be a legitimate price for photojournalists to pay for access.  However, most neutral observers agree that President George Bush crossed the line into manipulation when he staged a speech on the
aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a huge sign declaring “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” on May 1, 2003.

At the time, no one took responsibility for the banner, and the White House ambiguously left completely open the interpretation of what mission was accomplished by whom.  In cases like these, photojournalists and editors are usually aware of the manipulation and make judgment calls about their pictures.  This was a TIME cover.

On a more clownish note, Arthur Fellig (AKA Weegee) enjoyed a reputation as a famous New York photographer noted for his willingness do anything to “get the picture”.  In a famous photo that ran in LIFE magazine, December 6, 1943, he contrived a social commentary. 

He hired and dressed an alcoholic woman, placed her near the entrance to an opera house, and asked her to gawk at socialites.  In one picture he managed to lie about content to his editors and combined payment, heartless exploitation, re-creation and staging, all considered serious ethics violations today.  Out of context it is a hilarious picture, and it sold lots magazines. (Disclosure! I cropped and annotated this famous work of art.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tumblr #5

Photographic Attempts is another anonymous site, but it has a nice layout: medium gray background with soft gradients (or else my screen is dying) and soft shadows beneath the white bordered posts.  The only picture navigation is “Previous   Next” at the page footer.  There is a nice fly-out window on the left, “see more”, but the small font and dark color make it impossible to read.  I wonder what this person is trying to say?  It looks like an amateur with a point & shoot, and if you dig around the old posts that is confirmed  Some of the frames are very nice compositions.  Like Harkins used to say, a lot of nice pictures were taken with very simple cameras.  I like the pics but the begging for followers, recommendations, and advise is tedious.  Semi-serious Photog.

Tumblr #4

I make photos daily” is another unique Tumblr site (is that redundant?) that features large single pictures on every page. There is not much in the way of context here, just simple titles and/or captions.  There are two picture categories at the top, random and monthly prints, but no index or archive.  The other top buttons are info, follow and recommend, and the type font is random.  At the bottom of each page there is a “Beforehand/Afterward” navigator.  The photographs are interesting.  If you like wandering via serendipity this is the site for you.  The site is run by Douglas Dollars, an Edmonton, England, portrait photographer whose studio is named RAD GRANDPA.  This site is used to display “pictures not posted  elsewhere”.  Serious Photog

Tumblr #3

Sean Ocean” is a completely different design layout compared to the first two Tumblr sites.  Sean, or who ever this is, describes himself as a fashion photographer.  There is some evidence of this but the blog is mostly writing.  He has two very nice pictures of himself, facing left and right, as a backdrop to a sliding central column of posts.  There are no navigation buttons except for older and newer at the bottom of the page.  There is no about or contact.  You engage Sean by commenting or noting.  Serious photog.

Tumblr #2

I am RJ” is a site with a similar design as Tumblr #1 and is run by Ronald John.  Ronald give us a lot of information on himself: he is a web designer, photographer, blogger and gadget geek.  A “more” button tells us some of his interests, and the “about” button goes into greater detail.  Ronald doesn’t have his pictures organized into subject categories.  Ronald claims he likes to write, but judging by the number of grammatical errors I found (not just the commas: he wrote snickers for sneakers) he doesn’t like to re-write or check his work. Semi-serious Photog.

Tumblr #1

This site is called “dk photographyblog” and is maintained by an anonymous photographer who lives in Calgary, Canada.  The site has a clean design with a white background and has three columns: categories on the left, pictures in the center, and notes & comment links on the right.  There are ten subject categories (the Built environment, details, secret places, sky, water, etc.) and additional buttons for Home, Archive, and Ask Me Anything.  The pictures are all the same width (both horizontal and vertical).  The right column is a bit redundant because in addition to notes & comments it also has buttons for sub categories (you can find the same picture in Built environment, Snow, Winter).  Over all it is an appealing and easy to navigate site.  This person is serious and deliberate about displaying their work.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

YouTube video #1

Tether Time is a short promotional video for Duluth High Swim/Dive team.  I used clips from the last season to give students a flavor of what team life is like.  In this case it is swim practice using an elastic tether to force swimmers to pull hard against an increasing force.  Sound screwy?  Watch the vid and you will get it.  I taped with an underwater housing, a "bag" from EWA-Marine, and that allowed me to show the talent above and below the surface.

Holiday Portraits

That little assignment is done, at least as far as the shooting goes.  There are the small matters of Studio B clean up and printing an 8x10.  I feel like most of my poor clients were tortured in that red sleigh, but I have a great kids’ pose with Santa.  I retrieved my tree this morning.  That snow is difficult to shake off.

YouTube Channel

Uploading is taking forever this morning, but there is a new channel for you to view: BWHalliburton Photo, at http://www.youtube.com/user/BWHalliburtonPhoto.  I will have 3 movies up some time today……I remember now the slowest time of day to upload is right now, with lots of folks home from school and work.

Much has changed in channels since last year and mostly for the better.  There always seems to be a particular quirk in each platform we join, and at YouTube it is the profile picture.  In stead of simply using a picture file they want a short video file (5 sec.) of your picture. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today I worked on the mood boards, basically cut & paste paper pictures from magazines and digital images from the net that suggest some features I want to portray.  I cut out a lot of fashion ads to get a feel for where to place hands for example.  Not plagiarism but more a reminder to consider a mood or pose when we shoot.  Nearby is a page with images and room to sketch a few thumb-nails.  I am leaning towards two possible themes to shoot at the Duluth Train Museum on Friday mroning: A SAD FAREWELL, and HELLO FANS, I’M YOUR FAVORITE  MOVIE STAR.

The crew also met at my house this evening to discuss job duties and themes.  Hope is on the left (continuity), daughter Sara (the model, makeup & hair), Emily (light technician)  and Erica (gofer and possibly dog handler).  Mary, below, tries to make train steam out of hot water and dry ice.  She will handle the wardrobe.

Monday, November 22, 2010



Many newspaper publishers in the 1890’s did not recognize or accept the power of photography in story telling [3 – p420].  By the 1920’s newspaper technology advanced to the point that printing quality photographs was relatively cheap and they became commonplace.[3 - 419]  Quality pictures helped increase circulation, but startling and salacious pictures helped even more.  Decisions about suitable content was usually a local matter, and editors published everything from accurate depictions to enhancements to outright recreations of newsworthy events. Sometimes governments imposed total censorship, such as federal bans on combat pictures in World War I & II, and judicial bans on court room proceedings.

In 1945 the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) was formed, initially with the goals of increasing the professionalism of photojournalists and protecting them from physical and legal attacks.  Over the next decade it was recognized that a code of ethical practices would help these efforts, and the NPPA began publishing rules and guidelines for professional behavior with intermittent updates.

The NPPA also features a space on their website devoted to interpretation, Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography. The thrust of this discussion is that news pictures should be documents of life as it is, and they should not be life a we wish it to be.  The NPPA makes harsh but clear judgments: set-ups and enhancements directly reduce creditability, a quality that is easily damaged in our digital age.  The crummy color balance, the cluttered frame, the blurry subject, the extreme enlargement are the photographer’s problems.  If the event is news-worthy then use the real picture, as was the case in “Soldier going ashore on D-Day”, by Robert Capa.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Maybe something to do with trains?  Artificial and sky lights make this place hard to shoot.  Many of the doorways are restricted or 5 feet off the ground.  A step ladder is an option if you don’t mind climbing.  There is lots of detail in this old equipment and that is attractive, and some pieces are just too rusty .  This place is accessible only 3 days a week.  On to the next bright idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Environmental Portrait

Today we had two critiques in photojo, fill flash and the environmental portrait.  My big take-away was with the environmental, below.  I wanted to show Molly in a position of power (on the right) and now I see I got a bit carried away with that idea.  She looks like she is taking an oath, or maybe ready to pull a gun on some Medicare cheat: way overboard and presumptuous.  I have to say she is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. 

The majority verdict in class was “Put some files in her hand!”, and so there they are on the left. That pose is sort of the equivalent of the policeman’s arms folded across his chest.  I thought that was a cliché, but dang if it isn’t the better looking of the two.  (Mary said the smile was the obvious choice....duhh.)  Poor Molly, I’ll apologize to her.  My big take-away: I’m so glad I shot both frames.


While working on the fill flash assignment I realized I could use a second speedlight.  I shoot Nikon, and I have been using a SB-600 with Ni-MH batteries for about 2 years.  I am probably going make the SB-900 my next purchase along with a 9’ coiled extension cable.  Both units have similar features and operations, such as auto TTL exposure, FP or high speed sync, remote trigger via IR beam, and use in multi-unit lighting.  As you would expect the SB-900 is more powerful than the 600.  The guide number comparison is below for ISO 200 and 35mm zoom position.

SB-900           48m/157ft

SB-600           42m/138ft

Guide numbers indicate power and are also used in manually calculating exposure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I dug out some pictures from last summer and these reminded me of a background.  This sign usually has a fashion side, and the cows are certainly a fantasy.  It probably won’t work as a background because you would need a lift to get close to it.  Perhaps a very long lens would make it big enough to cover a model.  Oh well, on to the next big idea.


Posting pictures to my Face Book page made me get down to sorting the Europe file in Lightroom.  We were lucky to have clear weather for the entire trip, so there was not a lack of opportunities.  I’m going to start with an album titled “Travel”.  I want to develop into a less bland category such as “Street photography” of “Features”.  These pictures are from the Italian Mediterranean, Cinque de Terre.


Talk about your tough assignments….this is going to take some thought.  Since we ended early today I spent some time scouting around the next county.  I like the small Greek temple and columns, it’s accessible, and it could be a fantasy setting.  The other pictures are twisty country roads that could lead the viewer to something interesting or a stupid disaster.

Holiday Portraits

Monday night started  leisurely at the Holiday portrait Studio.  Lower Quarter students Romina, Gabe, and Tara sold raffle tickets, but the Upper Quarter shooters had a slow shift. 

Trent, Lee, and Chris take a break from the heavy lifting required to transition in the second shift.

Second shifters Christine and Kristiana were busy processing four families through 6 poses.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photo Essay

On Friday I used fill flash to shoot for the photo essay assignment.  The task was to pick up the kids when their school was over.  I rode the bus to Norcross HS, Stripling Middle, and New Life at River Green.

It was a bright sunny day so there was a large difference in light value between the street and the inside of the bus.  I set exposure for the street using my largest aperture (f/3.5) and shutter speed at 1/2,000 second.  That made for a normal exposure out the windows.  The camera body was set to flash in FP mode and the speed light was initially set at full manual power.  The flash was mounted in the camera body hot shoe, aimed up and behind me. The bus interior was glossy white paint (a large and harsh reflector).  The ride was an hour, and I shot about 100 frames at power settings from full down to 1/8.  I couldn't really view the results in this bright light so I relied on histograms.

I wanted the inside of the bus to come close to the exposure level of the street, and I think this picture achieves that.  The rear facing flash actually brightened the bottom too much and I pulled a  -1 stop gradient in Lightroom to make the light direction seem more normal. 

The problem is the composition.  I thought a student studing on a bus ride was a cool idea, but it's not working.  The frame is cramped and it's hard to tell exactly what we are looking at.  The bus windshield is visible in the upper left.  Unfortunately a mess of shadows and shapes makes it confusing, and the red seats are just plain big distractions.  I can hear the critique already, "Why are you making us look at a seat back and a dash board?"  So, yeah, bus insides are hard to shoot.  If I get another chance I'll try for more of the window/street view, maybe a horizontal crop.

Fill Flash – Auto FP mode

Auto FP is a hand-held flash technique that enables compatible speed lights and DSLR bodies to fire flash at shutter speeds far above the “normal” sync speed.  Auto FP, AKA High Speed Sync, is useful in brightly lit scenes that need fill flash and small f stops (wide apertures).  Outdoor wedding and sports assignments are perfect examples:  the photographer can use a narrow depth of field to isolate a back-lit subject while balancing the different light values of foreground and back ground. In the example below a beautiful model, me, is illuminated by fill flash while standing against a very bright sky.  I used a Nikon SB600 speed light set at manual full power, a D90 programmed for FP (custom menu e5), exposed at f/5.6 and 1/2,500 second.  Normally the highest sync speed is 1/200 second.   

If you want to try this at home, I suggest finding a scene with a downward slope, a clear view of mostly sky, and a cute model.  Mary was busy....

Sunday, November 14, 2010



Photojournalists, news editors, and many consumers of their work are engaged in a great debate over the principals and standards that should rightly be applied to the use of photographs in all forms of news reporting and publication. 

That statement was valid in the mid to late 19th century when photographs first began to appear in newspapers, books, and magazines.  This debate is perhaps even more valid today, in 2010, when it is possible for experts in digital imaging to contrive realistic visualizations that imply almost any type of emotion or action in totally unreal settings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fill Flash - cheatin' the sync

There are two basic ways to shoot with flash above the sync speed: cheat the sync speed, and program the camera for FP mode (AKA continuous flash).   Let’s look at the first option (FP is coming in a later post).  You must be able to manually set the shutter above (faster than) the sync speed or you can’t cheat the sync.

Cheating the sync means manipulating the view angle and shutter in a DSLR to take advantage of fill flash.  These cameras have curtain shutters that travel across the sensor chip from top to bottom (or vice-versa).  If you shoot a flash 1-3 f stops above the sync speed the result will display a more or less dark area along the edge of the frame.  This is where the curtain blocked the flash output.  If you shoot faster the result is a dark bar near the middle of the frame.

However, if you compose the frame with the blocked area in bright ambient light (such as the sky in a horizontal or side light in a vertical) the result is a more controlled gradient of changing brightness.  You may have to hold the camera up-side-down to get the blocked area “in the right place”. 

Another alternative is to shoot wide and crop the blocked area.  This will take some experimentation, and a handy reference is the MAGIC LANTERN GUIDE for your camera.   

This video shows you how to do it without much explanation, quick and dirty. 

Holiday Portraits

So, yeah, I “borrowed” this frame from Trent to see the sleigh in a relatively empty set.  It was bigger and fatter in his wide angle view so I attempted a perspective correction to make it look a little more normal.  I was concerned about the big fat sleigh ever since Lee and I first saw it.  How was this red thing going to fit into the set?  Studio B is large, 24’ x 36’, but this focal point is just plain overgrown.  From the start Ms. Finch said it would be fine, and it is.  Just look at all the recent posts: we filled or surrounded it with 26 people in some poses.  It’s nice to work with that level of confidence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo Essay

Friday, Monday, and today I spent a few hours collecting material for the Photo Essay assignment.  I feel like I have some good ideas, some good quotes on audio, and about 2 good pictures.  There are some more locations yet to do on my shot list. 
My picture budget calls for 75-100 stills, considering the viewing time is 3-4 seconds/picture over 3-4 minutes.  I was planning all stills with two narrators for voice-overs.  It will take some time to process all this into an interesting short movie.

Environmental Portrait

I finally settled on this for my submission, “Molly Dongieux”, the office manager of my dentist. Molly always dresses in a suit and has a friendly but commanding air about her.  I don’t spend a lot of time here, in her office, but I feel like we are friends.  I asked her to pose this way in the hope it would suggest the serious attitude she projects in her domain.  Molly is also the mother of Dr. Matthew Dongieux, DDS.  I am looking forward to the critique.

Holiday Portraits

How many photo students does it take to fill a large Santa Sleigh?  Lots, apparently.  It was unfortunate 3 classmates were absent because we certainly had room for them.  This setting took about an hour to compose because we started first with a “Mom and Dad”, then added siblings, then cousins, aunts, foster children, disowned relatives, illegitimate children, debtors, a congressperson and a pizza delivery guy.  We need to cut down some light from the left side faces and trees.

High Key

Nicole was a big help to me in completing this assignment.  My initial effort at high key was a complete mistake and a total bust, and Nicole was nice enough to volunteer as a model in the last available time slot. We used three Photogenics with two large soft boxes on the seamless background and an umbrella reflector for the subject.  I was surprised how well her lacey sleeves printed.  These were my first experiences in high key.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fill Flash-2

Another good demonstration of fill flash is offered by Gavin Hoey, a photographer and writer who lives in Copthorne, West Sussex, England.   Copthorne is about 33 miles south east of London 

This guy’s video camera was listing about 10 degrees to starboard for his entire presentation, an annoying perspective.  However this twisted view was mostly overcome by Gavin’s snappy delivery and logical step by step explanation of how to use a flash in bright sunlight.  He further showed how helpful a remote trigger can be in this situation.

Fill Flash-1

This video post is linked to a demonstration of fill flash.  It was produced by a photographer named Imre (Em-rey) and he does a great job explaining this basic skill.  This movie is one of 17 that cover various aspects of using flash on a DSLRHe starts off with a very fast joke that reminds me of Mr. Jones’s alter ego, the pun-master Ninja Dave of the eponymous webcast. 

Unlike about 80% of YouTube material, Imre's productions (79 and counting) are clear and concise.  Imre is short for Stephen J. Imre of Warminster, PA, a small town near Philadelphia.  His blog is binarygraphite.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I shot this on my second visit to Café Efendi, a little bit before they were open for dinner.  On weekends they feature Belly Dancing, and Maria, the talent, is standing behind the bar while Suheyl, the owner, puffs on a makeshift hookah.  Believe it or not, he is smoking dried fruit (apples, grape, and pear), not some sort of contraband.  I can’t decide if this is an environmental portrait or a feature.

Environmental Portrait

My last environmental was at the physical therapist’s office, where I shot Dianne Wright.  She had lots of exercise gear, but including those bikes and tables would have made it look like a very small gym.  Instead I tried to show how she and her patients use their hands in exercises to counteract tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other condition that cause pain and disability. 
That said, I was facing a situation that would display the subject with a prop that amounted to a disembodied hand and arm.  How to show that without distraction? 

Including a shirt sleeve seemed to help, and perhaps this frame would work by cropping out the patient to that point.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Environmental Portrait

I went out on another environmental portrait, this time to shoot the owner and head Chef of Café Efendi, Suheyl Buran.  The location is old town Alpharetta and the menu features Mediterranean cuisine.  My friend Suheyl is a Turkish immigrant. 

As you probably expected, restaurant kitchens are incredibly cluttered.  We looked at a few different areas inside the restaurant hoping for a ready-made scene.  I thought this was the best shot, and if it is accepted I will probably darken the background.  Unfortunately the subject is gesturing.  Some alternative frames are on the read more page.


Muybridge 5
Muybridge  began 12 years of work at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1884.  The most significant product of this period was the lengthy 11 volume collection titled Animal Locomotion: an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movement (1887).   This is the work for which Muybridge is most famous. 

It contains humans and many animals moving in almost any manner imaginable.  Some viewers detect a whiff of voyeurism in this allegedly scientific research that sometimes recorded nude men and women, usually solo, that were working, playing, boxing, walking down stairs and running across sets, elaborately filled with banks of cameras, at 12 frames per plate.

And this brings the discussion back to the current retrospective of Muybridge’s work.  The celebrated issue is not the disputed provenance or the utility of the science, but the importance of the art of motion.  Typically this collection would be staged at the Smithsonian or MIT in the USA, or at the Science Museum or the National Media Museum in England.  Instead, it is touring some of the most prestigious art museums in the western world because the organizers are asking us to consider Muybridge as an artist. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Holiday Portraits - LET THERE BE LIGHTS

Some of us have been helping John rig lights in Studio B and it is a really good exercise.  He is using blue gels against the backdrop, one on each side (eventually), to counteract the main lights.  As you can see on the left side, they tend to make the sky brownish.  It's all coming together and we aren't far off schedule.

Social Media

If I had a choice, I would stick with Blogger and ditch WordPress.  I realize the value of being amphibious in the blogasphere: it increases our exposure on the interweb.  However, there isn't an easy way to change a simple setting such as type font or size without teaching code writing.  Pictures are a big feature in a photography blog, and WP doesn't handle them very well.  There are work-arounds for just about any situation in WP, such as paste from WORD or paste plain text.  Most people are used to simply sitting down and writing in English and finding a few pictures to go with it.  Instead, we translate all those words and images into a format that we hope will display properly in WP.  Usually it doesn't.  The kitchen sink button helps a bit.  Part of that failure is is because WP is new, at least to me, and I haven't written any code since that fortran class in the distany part of the last century.  It's difficult to get a coherent flow when each post requires translation and major correcting time.  The links in this (WP) post are different colors, I have no clue why, and little desire to dig out the problem.  At the samer time, that color shift is distracting to the reader and should be fixed.  I'll have to get with Erick.

DO 200 I = 1, 100
      DO 100 J = 1, 100
      WRITE(*,*) I, J

Bounce Flash

This example is really bounce flash and photojournalism.  It comes from an attempted environmental portrait, a chef in a restaurant kitchen, where almost everything was working against me: multiple source lighting, very small space, windowless, busy background, rickety out of shape shelves, heavy rain outdoors, and hot ranges at my back.  The beer and Lamb kebab helped a bit.  This image was only a test but the owner and his manager wanted a copy.  I was relatively sure I could fix the lighting in Photoshop or Lightroom and not violate any journalism rules.  Punch read more to see the how it turned out.

Photo Essay

I started work on my Photo Essay Wednesday by visiting the Rainbow Village (RBV) after school site.  There are 12 children here, but the story will probably be told/narrated by one or two children because the time is short (3-4 minutes) and there is a lot to tell.  I don’t see how I can fully introduce more than two personalities or family stories in this time.  I met with one talkative fourth grader, a “graduate”.  That term means his family has developed their resources enough to move into a house and live more independently.  The child continues in the after school program because both parents work.  A contrast to this situation would be a family that recently entered transitional housing at RBV.

I shot some test pictures of the kids with bounce flash and I can get good exposures with some planning.  I’m not posting any of those images because I don’t have permission.  Yeah, I should have thought about that and at least shot a few exteriors.  The more I think about it the more I realize I'll skip the whole permission issue for the blogs: no names or faces.  The images here will be strictly design elements......now where are those moldy notes from year 1......


Apparently the place to be for fun photojournalism was last Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, staged on the Mall in Washington DC by Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.  Washingtonians did there best to cover all political beliefs.  Check out the fig reference in read more, it is for real.  Click the link to see the best of signs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holiday Portraits

In addition to decorating the portrait studio set, GTC students are working hard on the customer waiting room.  These pictures are from Monday when Katie, Lee, Chris, Melissa & etc. etc. ect. were just starting. It is very different today, check it out.  This space just gets more and more inviting.   It will be a great place for customers to hang and get ready for their portraits.  If you haven’t seen the shooting schedule, punch here and look for the blue poster.  If you haven’t seen the shooting schedule, punch here and look for the blue poster.

Environmental Portrait

I have been out to thee appointments for environmental portraits and so far I haven’t managed to set up a good frame in any of them: car mechanic, Boy Scout Leader, and swim coach.  I got some good feedback from the contact sheets (shooting way too low), but the exposure was decent (bouncing a Nikon SB600) and usually I was clear about the story.  Well, the mechanic was probably more about his oversize gut than the engine hoist.  I have three more new appointments this week, but before that I took time to look at two photographers I admire: Platon and Max Vadukul.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holiday Portraits

The Holiday Portrait assignment has been a great learning experience, and the thing I learned about set design (I think) is fairly simple: pick a background, pick a focal point, and hang everything else on it.  We hoisted the background mural over a week ago.  Lately we have been working on the sleigh.  It is huge: 4’ wide, 6’ long, and over 4’ high.  The big bug-a-boo has been the color of red. 

We painted a large sample of Candy Cane Red (sounded good) and it tested out as a nice Fire Engine Red under some Photogenics.  That was OK and we painted two coats of it on this big prop.  That was OK too, except that under the studio Fluorescents it appeared to be a strong magenta.  The overwhelming reaction (100% I think) was UGHHHHH! 

On my way back to the paint store I noticed the sample appeared Fire Engine Red in direct sunlight, and while that made sense it pleased no one.  My instructor reasoned that it was nice to demonstrate an understanding of physics but that did not justify making our customers vomit as they entered Studio B. 


By late 1870 Muybridge was appointed director of photographic surveys for the US Government and he conducted many expeditions in the American west. In 1872 he became involved in a project to determine if all the hooves of a galloping horse ever leave the ground at the same time.  This was his first foray into high speed photography and his equipment was not fast enough to produce a conclusive answer.  He continued to experiment with faster wet plate chemistry, faster shutters, and an innovative 13 lens camera (1 for viewing) that could record 12 sharp consecutive images on a single plate in the space of ½ a second. In 1877 he produced a definitive print that clearly demonstrated a racing horse completely off the ground.