Photo of The Day (model & makeup artist Ambré Baxter)

Ambré Baxter

Ambré Baxter

A throwback to October 2014 with the extremely gorgeous Ambré Baxter. Ambré is so peaceful and a joy to work with. She is also a talented makeup artist and we have worked together on many shoots. Always a joy to work with this lady.

Photo of The Day (Just choose your steps wisely.)

Watch your step.

Watch your step.

Live your life day by day and step by step. Believe in yourself and have confidence in every step you take. You control your feet, you have the power to decide where to place your foot for each step. Following a road well-traveled is very safe, venturing off the road is where adventure begins… Just choose your steps wisely.

Graveyard Photoshoot. (The Bethlehem Church was a perfect choice… )

1/160 sec at f/10 ISO 50 70mm

1/160 sec at f/10 ISO 50 70mm Model Kendall Strampel

It is not often I shoot with the same model two weeks in a row, but that is what happened this weekend. Last week’s shoot was very nice and the images of Kendall in a field on a mountain gave me a light beauty feel so the edits were exactly that; bright & light with lots of back lit sunlight.

So for this week’s shoot it was just the opposite. We were shooting in a church graveyard, ironically located just 1/2 mile from the field we shot in last week. So the concept for this shoot was Kendall’s idea and she presented it to me and when I heard it I knew the exact location. The Bethlehem Church was a perfect choice because the actual church building is burned out from a lightning strike that occurred many years ago, leaving an abandoned stone shell. Now the building is off limits but their is a graveyard with a wrought iron fence and all the graves date back to the early 1800s. Because it is abandoned there are no people, well other than the occasional passer-by and we had a just a two people walk through the background of the shoot.

I shot both natural light and studio flash. Natural light is a true love of mine, but having the Paul C Buff Einsteins on location really does open up the ability to be more creative and give different feeling to a shoot.  Before the photoshoot started I already knew I would go for higher contrast images, I knew I would be shooting around f/8 to f/16 and I also knew I would be “shooting for Photoshop.” While my Photoshop skills are very good I, like most people do not want to spend a lot of time in Photoshop fixing things, but I love to use Photoshop to create images. Difference is fixings an image in PS is something that is done to save an image or help it out a little… or sometimes a lot. However when I open PS to create something that is a different story because I am doing something that most times could never be replicated in camera. So when I “shoot for Photoshop” I am actually creating a RAW image with a camera and using it as an ingredient or a seed that will be grow something from PS. With all that said I still want to create my image and be done, so I have many actions recorded in PS that move the process along a little quicker. Two things I recommend to anyone working with Adobe Photoshop and they are “learn keyboard shortcuts and learn how to create actions and use them.” Same goes for Adobe Lightroom “learn the keyboard shortcuts” they really do make life a lot easier.

I’m not a big fan of light meters however they do make life very easy when working with studio strobes. For today’s shoot I used only one light and that was a PCB Einstein 640 with either a beauty dish or a 8 inch reflector and a 30 degree grid. In the end I can say we came away with some nice images, both natural light and studio light.

Autumn Horsemen (Just how I feel today)

Autumn Horsemen

Autumn Horsemen

Just how I feel today. It is in a rainy autumn morning here where I live.

This is a piece I created a few years back.

Photo of The Day (30 stories up with Danny Sturdivant)

Model Dany Sturdivant, makeup by Ambre Baxter.

Model Dany Sturdivant, makeup by Ambre Baxter.

Today’s image finds model Danny 30 stories high in midtown Manhattan as the night descends on New York City.

Enchanting Autumn Day (on a mountain top and doing what I love to do… photograph a human face.)

1/125 sec at f/7.1 ISO 100 75mm Model Kendall Strampel

1/125 sec at f/7.1 ISO 100 75mm Model Kendall Strampel

Today was an amazingly beautiful Autumn day here in the Northeast. The weather was 10+ I truly feel for anyone who was not able to get out and enjoy this beautiful day. I spent the day at a wonderful location out in the countryside photographing model Kendall Strampel. As always Kendall was a joy beyond words to work with. She looked amazing posing barefoot in the chair out in the field.

For me personally this was so much fun, I got to spend the day outdoors up on a mountain top and doing what I love to do… photograph a human face. The shoot went very well all equipment worked as it should, we didn’t break anything or lose anything and all involved had a great time.

Our view from the top of the mountain.

Our view from the top of the mountain.

Moving to the next location.

Moving to the next location.

 

Studio Lighting Outdoors ( I fired 174 shots and it worked flawlessly. )

1/100 sec at f/7.1 ISO 160 70mm with flash from PCB Einstein.

1/100 sec at f/7.1 ISO 160 70mm with flash from PCB Einstein.

I just wrapped up an outdoor shoot with male model and motocross racer Greg Sampson. I really had a chance to put the Paul C Buff Einstein strobes and the Vagabond Lithium Extreme battery pack through some testing. Although I used one of the PCB’s yesterday for an outdoor shoot, it was very minimal. But today I fired 174 shots and it worked flawlessly. I didn’t even once think about recharge time. I am not a fast shooter any way so it was not a problem at all. I used one Einstein strobe in a 7 foot Westcott umbrella with no diffusion. The shoot started very late in the day and light was fading as cloud cover came in. I started with some available light shots and they looked good, but I wanted to stay “clean” with the ISO so I brought out the newly acquired PCB system. Because it was late in the day there was no wind at all, zero. So I was able to use a 7 foot umbrella and that too was amazing. Most times it would be virtually impossible to use a large umbrella outside. In fact, I don’t think I have ever used a large umbrella anywhere but in the studio.

I really can’t say enough at this point about the PCB system. I really need to use the lights more before I could give a full review. However I can tell you the one thing I have noticed is that I had no white balance issues. I use an X-Rite Passport color checker for all my shoots, because I make a camera profile/s for each location and I use the X-Rite for setting white balance. Moving up & down through the power range of the PCB I still had very close white balance readings.

The Vagabond Lithium Extreme battery is amazingly light in weight and so easy to work with. Just clamp to a light stand, plug in and turn it on, that’s it.

Mostly I have used Speedlites when shooting on location and I loved my Speedlites, but to be able to take studio lighting on location… It was incredible!

Greg was amazing; he is a great model and so easy to work with. He takes direction so well. Today was a relaxed shoot and we were going for a rather natural look. I wanted to capture Greg in normal clothing as if he were just hanging out with friends. In fact to make the shoot very relaxed Greg chose a location that was very peaceful and it is a place he is very comfortable with. It was the location where he very first learned to ride a dirt bike as a young boy, so not only was it peaceful the location had meaning and a sense of value. In the past I have found that when capturing a person as they truly are, doing it in a place they love really makes it easier.

Motocross is just one side of Greg’s life so we have a shoot planned that will expose another side of Greg. You’ll have to wait and see.

 

Autumn 2015 (Sure the colors are beautiful, but there is also a magic in the air.)

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 50 100mm

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 50 100mm

Welcoming the first day of the 2015 Autumn season with an image from last year with model Kendall Strampel standing in the buttery yellow sunlight at Lockridge Park.

Autumn is such a magical time for outdoor photo shoots. Sure the colors are beautiful, but there is also a magic in the air. The weather is cooler and we can dress in layers… and with layers comes style. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month and it gives us a reason to break away from the fall colors and do a shoot with pink as a theme… then of course we go back to the fiery colors of fall again. With pumpkins, cornfields, fall wildflowers… there are so many choices of themes and photo props. For sure we will see images of Kendall again this year and Danny Sturdivant will be stepping up and out for some autumn shoots. Hopefully others will join in the Autumn fun.