Saturday, December 27, 2014

Posing Children

Shooting costumes for a local church pageant would be a boring session if all that was needed was this: a beautiful child/actor standing still waiting for me to click the shutter.  The catalog, requested by the youth director, would also be really boring!  

I decided to try for some personality and character by asking the models who they were.  When I did ask I realized my mistake: “I’m Sue.  That’s my brother Billy over there.” 

I changed my question to “Who do you play?” or “What is your character?” and the results were much better. 

It was easy to ask the angels “And what does an angel do….?”.   That question revealed interesting triangles when this angel showed me how she would fly. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hand Tinting in Photo Restoration

This photograph, produced in the 1940’s, is in a very good state of preservation because it was hidden for decades in a metal frame behind glass and behind a more recent picture.  Time and exposure to light and air have given it a noticeable yellow cast.  Another color complication is the image is a black and white print that was hand tinted.  As a result it impossible to know exactly what the original colors were.    

Sunday, November 9, 2014


The subject of a recent senior portrait is Alex, a musician. From the start I was enthusiastic about this job because there was a good chance we would shoot a performance. When I found out he was also one of three drum majors in the marching band I knew we had a great story to tell.

His family wanted picture choices, and we began with Alex in orchestra mode, posed alone on campus with his main instrument.  Later in that session he changed into his drum major get-up and we used the football stadium as a backdrop.  It was October and this is where he “lives” in the fall.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

the Western Minnesota Threshers Reunion

For three days every year the town of Rolag, MN, hosts a popular gathering of serious steam wonks called the Threshers Reunion.
Anyone interested in how technology has changed society would be drawn to this collection of working agricultural equipment from around 1840 to 1950.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Recently I had the good fortune to sit near a busy Hummingbird feeder that attracted up to 5 individuals at a time.  I took an hour away from chatting with relatives to make the pictures you see here (all are Ruby Throats). This guy probably was recently fledged, and his type constantly blusters and chirps to take a sip.  Females are usually less aggressive, have no markings or color on their cheeks or throat, and their tails are rounded instead of notched.

Lots of hungry birds gave me an opportunity to practice making bird portraits.  One note of disclosure:  the real birders would not dream of hanging out at a plastic feeder.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Creadon Woods Gallery of Art

Dennis Creadon (blue shirt and shorts on the left) and Brad Woods (White shirt and shorts center) are the two artists of Creadon Woods Gallery of Art.  Their first gallery space opened two years ago in Naples, FL.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is located in Pemberton Place, a park adjacent to Centennial Park in Atlanta, GA.  It is hard to miss the center’s unique exterior design.

The entrance lobby is a popular stop for memorable pictures beside the large collage.  You can also see the second floor mezzanine in this view.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Washington DC Monuments

I have been collecting images of Washington DC monuments for three years with the goal of adding to my portfolio.  For me, that type of picture needs impact and storytelling (in addition to other qualities).  Monuments are designed with those ideas in mind, and a simple clear illustration is always a starting point .  I chose to use the image below as a possible introduction to the FDR Memorial.  However the weathered metal statue of President Roosevelt in the “Third Term room” was way too green for my taste. 
 I prefer a B&W treatment in a tighter crop.  The web site link has a nice color detail picture with muted weathering.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Audrey’s Baby Doll

After many years of hard play time, neglect, and storage, Mary unpacked her mother’s old doll and decided to have it restored.  It was originally a gift to Audrey on her 4th birthday in 1924.  What you see here is the new version after Judith Dommergue, aka Doll Doctor On Call, worked her healing magic. 

When I took her into the studio for a few pictures I was immediately struck by the way her expression changed as I changed her pose.  I used to play with dolls (GI JOE, of course!) but I don’t remember this flexibility.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baby Jackson

I met Nikki and Baby Jackson when he was around 5months old.  Nikki and her husband Eric take a lot ofpictures of this beautiful child, and they wanted to supplement their collection with an occasional formal picture session.  I was hooked after our first outing, when I was able to see the reflections in his eyes.  

If you explore either iris in this enlargement, you can detect the red bricks and tan garage door of his house (right side), the broken white lines of the sidewalks (just under the pupil), and blue sky and green foliage (above the pupil).  This fuzzy blowup won’t sell, but it still intrigues me today.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Photographing Performance Art

A performance could be anything from Kathy Fincher creating her art in the middle of a fundraiser to bareback riders at the Circus.  

What I like about shooting a performance is the theme is instantly recognizable and it informs us about an interesting part of the subject’s life.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Kayaks in the mist

Early last Saturday morning I met three friends at Rogers Bridge boat landing for a sports/adventure picture session.

John, Annette, Jeff, and little Russell are experienced Kayakers.  They put in around 7am to take advantage of the mist before the sun burned it off the Chattahoochee.  I put on waders and carefully walked my camera and tripod to mid stream (inset).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Carolina Horse Park picture sessions

In April my friend Minh Duan and I traveled to Pinehurst, NC to visit my high school chum Eileen Gilbert and explore her world of horses.  Eileen is a trainer and judge in Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation competitions.  King and Eileen live in Ontario, Canada, with her husband Larry, but they winter near the Carolina Horse Park.  King is too old for competition now.  Fortunately for us he still can enjoy a light workout.  

If you think his head is way too big in this picture, I agree.  I wanted him to be the subject here because of their long relationship.  We also thought his lower eyelashes were cool.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Family Picture Book

 Printed albums or photo books are one good way to display images from the family archives. A book only needs daylight to “operate”, and prints age very slowly in a closed book. 

Last year Mary and I began scanning vintage family photos.  Soon we realized we had enough beautiful examples for a 
picture book covering 4 generations.  We decided to design a double spread page for each family in a generation (a total of 17 families).  Pages 9 & 10 are above.

We began each spread with a custom background from the family archive. (Vendors offer a wide variety of design themes with easy “drop-in” file features that can save time).  The background for 9 & 10 , left, is a  backscreen (washed-out) treatment to a picture from the family archive. 

Counting the background, there are 7 pictures here.  If we added any more it would resemble a product catalog more than a family album.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scout and Plan picture locations

Many people recognize attractive settings for a photo but it takes effort (for me anyway) to remember exactly where and then to conceive of a way to use it.  For example, this lake front scene could be perfect for a Bride or high school senior desiring a uniquely stylish backdrop. However, pulling the subject(s) together on a pontoon boat at the right time of day and weather is challenging.  The slanting sun rays don’t last long.

I love to see the tree trunks and their reflections lit in the morning sun this way. That means it is about 7:30 in the spring time. Some subjects just aren't up yet, but if this composition speaks to a lifestyle it might be worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Special Events

Special Events is a big portion of the photography jobs I work, and I had two recently: daughter Sara’s graduation from George Washington in DC (above) and a fund raiser for the Pink Ribbon Story Foundation in Crabapple, GA (below).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ascension the sculpture

Artist Michael Dillon, based in Crabapple, Georgia, is known for architectural ironworks and distinctive sculptures.  He created “Ascension” for the Duluth Gateway Art Project  with the financial support of AGCO, an agriculture industry conglomerate.

The best pictures I saw of “Ascension” were in a gallery by Violet Key, a photographer in Suwanee, GA.  She has some very creative frames taken a few moments before the official presentation of “Ascension” on 4/19/2014.

My idea was to think up new settings or ways to display this piece such as inserting humans into the frame, and twilight and strobist treatments.  This blog is about my first attempts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Quadcopter aka DRONE flight

The last time I collaborated with Peter we went to a rodeo.  This time I assisted as he made a short flight in a Quadcopter to survey a house from 0’ to 200’ above the street.

There are many un-resolved issues around the topic of remotely controlled flying vehicles (drones, quads, R/C vehicles, nanobots, other classes), and I will not be addressing privacy and legal concerns here.  I will post briefly on one way to capture the bird’s eye view that is so characteristic of this camera position. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Second Visit with RJ

R J was waking up when we arrived.  For a short time he was groggy and then he woke up completely for the three of us.  

Soon I realized I wasn’t at all ready to work with an 8 week old, and so I decided to watch   R J and make mental notes for an upcoming workshop led by Sandy Puc’ (say Puck), see and

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


We saw four events in the rodeo billed as the Georgia National Rodeo, a production of Barnes PRCA Rodeos:

aka Saddle or Bareback w/flank strap

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Fortunately for all of us, Robert James woke up near the end of our session and showed us his deep blue eyes.

I can't always guarantee a smile in a new born session.   

R J performed beautifully for Grandmother Laura.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


My collection of local birds is about 25 species so far.  They are fun to watch because they display interesting behaviors and sometimes seem to have personalities like this grumpy YELLOW RUMP WARBLER (left).  The names can be pretty funny too.  

This immature is also called the MYRTLE WARBLER.  Or it may be a BAY BREASTED or a BLACKPOLE - these guys are tricky.  If you see a glaring error please make a comment.

On the right is an immature

Professional bird watchers will enjoy learning the fine details of confusing Warblers at

Fortunately, for the rest of us, many song birds have very distinctive features as seen in the next 6 images.

Monday, February 17, 2014

GWU Women’s Gymnastics: Homecoming - Brownie & Girl Scout Meet

GWU's fifth Gymnastics meet of 2014 took place on Sunday afternoon, February 9th. Sara was a competitor in Vault and I got to shoot from the floor again.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


What you see above is the first step in my restoration of the Castle Wine and Berec Battery calendars.  Below are the finished prints.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

GWU Women’s Gymnastics: Pictures from the Lindsey Ferris meet

The perspective from the floor is probably the most popular sports photography view,  for both stills (left) and motion/pan blur (below).  

An alternative setup is across the floor, from an elevation, to catch the judges’ reactions at the Balance Beam, below. Modern sports arenas, such as GW’s Smith Center, usually offer many good viewing options. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Holiday Portrait Themes

Whether you send Christmas Cards or an annual letter update, family pictures help you tell your story to friends and relatives.  Here are two different approaches I helped produce this year. 

Eric, Linda and daughter Sydney wanted to send a printed picture card greeting that told friends and relatives “this is what we look like and how we are doing today”.  We met in nearby McDaniel Farm Park for a photo session.