Shooting Guns with Cameras (have another set of eyes helping direct the shot just makes for a better and quicker way to achieve a great image.)

1/125 sec at f/10 ISO 50 125mm Model LaydeeFly

1/125 sec at f/10 ISO 50 125mm Model LaydeeFly

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody, sorry there are no roses & chocolate today. Not even a glass of champagne.  You see here at Reckless Pixel Images it is all about “photography,” because I love photography. So for this Valentine’s Day I wanted to post this image from a shoot I did in the studio a few days ago. It has to be interesting and what could be interesting than guns & tattoos. I have shot with LaydeeFly Reyes in the past. She is interesting and always great to work with. On this particular evening my friend and fellow photographer was on hand to lend his eyes and experience in directing a few of our shots. This image like most is not just a “point & shoot” kind of thing. Lighting had to be just right as did the placement of the hands and the gun in relationship to the tattoo. I should also mention the lips and hair as well as the “Mom” tattoo.  So as a photographer to have another set of eyes helping direct the shot just makes for a better and quicker way to achieve a great image.

Autumn Fun (…the leaves were not at their peak color yet, there was still a great vibe in the air…)

Ryan McNally 1/125 sec at f/3.5 ISO 50 70mm

Ryan McNally 1/125 sec at f/3.5 ISO 50 70mm

Ryan is new, but a fast learner. We had a great outdoor shoot in Stockton, NJ along the Delaware River. It was a beautiful autumn day and while the leaves were not at their peak color yet, there was still a great vibe in the air that added to our mood. The Prallsville Mill adds such a great backdrop to any photo shoot, be it wedding, engagement or model. On a weekday there is always a few people walking or riding bikes and of course they will stop and look and that just adds to the fun. We’ll see more edits from this shoot in the coming days.

Sinister Clown in Renaissance Context (…To be able to work with such a person is a true pleasure.)

Sinister Clown 1/125 sec at f/7.1 ISO 50 88mm Model Nicole Gallagher, Makeup Artist Jade Alexandra Brown, Photographer Richie Smith Jr

Sinister Clown 1/125 sec at f/7.1 ISO 50 88mm
Model Nicole Gallagher, Makeup Artist Jade Alexandra Brown, Photographer Richie Smith Jr

Sinister clown shoot is done! Yay team! Yes it was a team effort as it should be and it was a lot of fun. Our model Nicole Gallagher sat through an intense and extensive 3 hour makeup process. Our makeup artist Jade Alexandra Brown and her assistant Jordan applied a stellar HD look that was nothing short of amazing. The look was exactly what I wanted.

So the look was inspired by the images of the new “Pennywise the dancing clown” that will appear in the remake of the Stephen King novel titled “IT” that will be released in 2017. However in my conversations with Jade I stated that I wanted to make it our own look and not an exact replica. Jade did exactly that and I was awe-struck.

The wardrobe was a renaissance period piece that was rented from OSF Costume Rentals out of Talent, OR. Bruce hooked me up and the personal service was nothing short of amazing. He helped me with shirt choice and shoes. Although I ended up pulling boots from my own model wardrobe stash. The inspiration behind the renaissance  look came from Sacha Goldberger a photographer who had shot all the superheroes and villains in period renaissance attire. I thought it would be nice to bring that little piece of inspiration to this project as well.

The shoot started with portrait lighting and meandered through different creative lighting styles, some as simple as one speedlight placed on the floor. Other styles were more complex using strobes & colored gels, softboxes with grids and more. There was a short outdoor portion that used available light and some fill flash using a hand-held speedlight.

But once back in the studio things kicked into high gear and the really creative shots started to come together. Side lighting achieved with strip boxes & grids and was the most awesome shots of the whole session.

The shoot was not without incident; Jade’s airbrush crapped out half way through her application, although she worked her magic and recovered quite well. I on the other hand dropped a Paul C Buff Einstein 640 strobe while I was removing it from a softbox. I could not catch it, although I did slow the fall enough to dampen the blow. However it loosened the Pyrex dome that covers the flash tube and then the dome fell and shattered. $10 for the dome is not too bad vs $500+ for the strobe. The strobe worked fine just a little brighter lol.

In the end we were all ready to call it a day and we did. Kudos to Nicole for sitting all that time without as much as a whimper and huge props to Jade & Jordan. Jade is a true creative and a talent. To be able to work with such a person is a true pleasure. Thank you Jade and Nicole. Also many big thanks to “Tiny” my assistant who is like having not one, but two right arms. Tiny would always be there when you need him, the perfect assistant.

Please enjoy the image and there will be more and hopefully an image that will have some “pink” for breast cancer awareness. Thanks so much for reading.

Only a Year Late (So being a guitar player in another lifetime I pulled out my trusty Fender Strat…)

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 70mm Nicole Gallagher, makeup by Jasmine Benton

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 70mm
Nicole Gallagher, makeup by Jasmine Benton

It has taken me well over a year to complete this “behind the scenes” video of a shoot I did with model Nicole Gallagher. Why? Because I am stubborn and when I want something to be a certain way… well I want it that way. Childish? Maybe. So the problem was… ok so here is where you can laugh, smack my head and call me crazy. I couldn’t get the music right. I wanted a certain piece of music, I wanted Santana/Everlast “Put Your Lights On” and while I have that version done, it was done two days after the shoot, I could not get it uploaded. And rightfully (pardon the pun) so because Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook all threatened to ban my accounts if I tried to upload it again. What a bitch and I really can’t complain because I know the copyright laws very well when it comes to intellectual property, after all I’m the guy that makes everybody sign a model release to protect my images.

But then I had an idea… ahhh… what if I record the song myself. All I wanted was the music and not the vocals. So being a guitar player in another life time I pulled out my trusty Fender Strat and fires up my GK amp and laid down a fairly decent instrumental version of  “Put Your Lights On” and edited it using Adobe Audition CC (which by the way I love Audition CC). But still no luck, YouTube slammed me with even nastier emails. …oh well I tried.

So then I got discussed and I set the project aside. I revisited the project no less than 8 times since June of 2014 and to no avail. So my last attempt was the other day and like all the other attempts I crashed & burned after an 2 hours of sifting through clip after clip of “royalty free” music. However tonight I hit on a song that I liked and the video has been uploaded. Did I win?.. hell no, but I do like the song “Hey Girl” and it seems to work. Check it out and hit “Like” if you would please, you can also subscribe to the Channel too.

 

Life… A Series of Problems. (But somewhere between the written words of some wise sage and our actual daily existence…)

 

 

 

Shantae Taylor 1/125 sec at f/16 ISO 50 70mm

Shantae Taylor 1/125 sec at f/16 ISO 50 70mm

It started off as a photo shoot to update headshots in a studio and it ended as classic car shoot outdoors. But aside from the strange twist from how it started to how it ended, the really amazing part was being able to work with model Shantae Taylor. I had not worked with Shantae for just over two years and although we stay connected through Instagram I knew the day would come… and it did. Finished with school and carving her way into a broadcasting career it is amazing to follow a person as they make that journey to follow a dream. Sure it sounds easy and fantasy like when you write about it or as you are reading about it. But we all know the true reality is that life is not easy and things never come fast. It has been said that “life is nothing more than just a series of problem and our job is to solve the problems.” That statement when read makes life just seem “so easy,” and the statement could not be any truer, life “is” a series of problems. But somewhere between the written words of some wise sage and our actual daily existence this so-called “series of problems” is really nothing more than a murky abyss. A place where you cannot see through to the other side, a place where some days you can’t see your hand in front of your face, a place where moments of clarity appear and happiness abounds, but never stays. A place where sometimes nothing seems real and yet in the blink of an eye it can all becomes so real it hurts or even kills.

Maybe this blog post seems a little off pace for a photographer who just had an amazing shoot with an amazing person. We talked about all kinds of things, her career path, creativity, jobs, and life and so on… But all the while I’m working with her my mind drifts back to a mere 24 hours earlier where I sat with a wonderful and courageous friend who was recovering from a horrible motorcycle accident that was no fault of his, in which he sustained massive injuries and worst of all he lost his wife. A problem that came into his life with no wrong doing of his own. While my friend is on a long road to getting life back to a somewhat normal state it was a drastic contrast to my conversation with Shantae. She is young and full of energy and focused… As we finished up our shoot and she departed, I just sat there thinking… “Life… just a series of problems… all we have to do is solve the problems.” I wish her the best.

Shantae Taylor posing in a 1957 Chevy 1/25 sec at f/7.1 ISO 200 85mm

Shantae Taylor posing in a 1957 Chevy 1/25 sec at f/7.1 ISO 200 85mm

I Love My Blog (When I first started up with my blog it seemed almost pointless, but as time passed…)

Model Whan Nasert-Corrente 1/125 sec at f/8.0 ISO 50 105mm

Model Whan Nasert-Corrente 1/125 sec at f/8.0 ISO 50 105mm

I miss writing blog posts. Although I did not write them every day I still miss doing it. I have spent so much time the past few weeks working on the new YouTube channel and trying to populate it with content. Trying to get the channel up and moving so to speak so it won’t be so pathetic and boring. However in the past 3 to 4 years that I have been writing periodic blog post I feel I have improved my writing skills somewhat and I have learned to keyword and hashtag and all that other fun stuff that sometime feels like you’re doing nothing. But when I Google a model’s name and my images appear at the top of the list or at least in the ten results I guess whatever I’m doing is working.

When I first started up with my blog it seemed almost pointless, but as time passed I found that writing blog posts did more than promote my images, it helped me think more about my photography and what I wanted to accomplish. It gave me a “focus” (pardon the pun) of sorts. It also gave a platform for people to rip-off my images and “yes” that has happened too, but I think that happens to almost every photographer today who has somewhat interesting images posted to the internet.

So while video is the thing of the future I will still continue to write posts and attach images to them. I like writing because it is a time when I sit down and relax, collect my thoughts and focus on an image. Vlogging is very different because I have to edit the content and render the video and then upload to YouTube or wherever. Either way vlogging is very different. I thought it would be easier because I would not have to type… I type slowly and I am constantly checking my grammar and spelling, however once the post is written and completed and ready for upload all I have to do is proof read and hit “publish.” As opposed to the editing and rendering of video that takes time. So I know my written blog will never go away and meanwhile the YouTube and Vimeo channels will continue as well.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading.

Good But Not What I Wanted (realizing you have written nothing but drivel and ripping the half written page from the typewriter)

Nicole Smoke Dress Final

I would like to talk a little about this image that I recently created… well maybe talk a lot about it and what it really is. Ok so the truth be told it is not at all what I wanted to create. What you see here is the “second draft” so-to-speak, but there were four of five more versions and I tossed them all out of frustration. It was like back in the day when a writer would sit at a typewriter trying to make something happen and half way through the page realizing you have written nothing but drivel and ripping the half written page from the typewriter, crushing and crumpling and tossing it into garbage can in the corner. The garbage can that is overflowing with dozens of other half written pages. I saw something that inspired me and it gave be a vision and an idea for a really cool image… well at least I thought it would be cool. So I headed into my stockpile of images and I knew exactly where to look. But when I found the images I was thinking of, the wardrobe was all wrong. I wanted to create an image of a model with a rather “moonscape” like background, but I wanted her dress to be blowing away in the wind and turning to smoke. Similar to the piece I did back in 2013 called “Shattered” where the motocross racer’s helmet was shattering and blowing away.

I just could not get it to happen and keep it looking like a dress. Why? Because in this particular image the model is not actually wearing a dress, she is wearing a shirt and a skirt. So now after two nights of working I end up going back to the second version that I created in about 30 minutes and I said “done.” Done, but not at all satisfied. While many people love this image and I received good feedback across all platforms of social media, I myself am not satisfied. Not satisfied because I wanted something very different. With all that said… this is a good image. Model Nicole Gallagher is striking a stellar pose as she can so easily do and I have blogged in the past about her eyes and her talent of “posing with her eyes.’ This is a perfect example, I mean all we see here of the model is her arms and her face and her eyes. And for me the eyes say it all in this pose. So to recap, there is nothing wrong with the model or the pose, but the wardrobe is not right to complete my vision. So we know what that means… “project shoot!” If I am going to complete this vision I have in my mind I need to shoot the model correctly with the correct wardrobe. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading.