Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rockabilly Rumble at Blind Willy's in Atlanta, GA

Last Sunday I went to Blind Willy's in the Virginia Highland neighborhood in Atlanta to watch four rockabilly bands. It was more like a trip back to the days when rock was young and Greasers were too cool for school. Here is the bassist from Junior, Dolan and Cash... the best haircut of the night!!

I took my Canon 7D to try to capture some of the show not knowing what I would encounter. I figured this would be a good test for this new camera to see how it performs in extreme low-light situations. When I say low light, I mean a few strands of Christmas lights and some Home Depot sourced stage lights.

My friend Scott Dorman who invited me works with photographer named David Stuart who also happens to be a gifted guitarist in band, The Stumblers. Here they are jammin'.

David was playing in guitar in metal bands long before he ever picked up a camera.

Here are the Stumblers ripping through their set. They sounded fantastic!

The light came from gelled Home Depot style lights.

The results are admittedly gritty, but still worlds above other cameras that I have owned in this class. My Canon 5D Mark II may have handled the low light better, but it was fun to see what I could get by pushing the sensitivity of this camera to the max. For you tech heads that ISO6400 shot at f/4 for anywhere from 1/10th to 1/40th of a second. I kinda like the low-fi quality of these which reminds me of the high-speed film I used back in my college days. See the full gallery here...

Portrait of a Two-Legged Dog

When my friend, Collin, asked me if I wanted to help him take photos of his mom, Ginger, and her Chiauau, Roo, little did I know that this dog would more resemble several other animals combined. Roo is unique because she was born without fully developed front legs. She has the stance of a kangaroo, the small wings of a chicken and the huge ears of a cave bat.

She has never known what it is like to walk on 4 legs and she considers hopping, sliding and dive bombing from the top of the couch totally natural for a dog. To get around she stands on her back legs and uses her tail to balance... just like a kangaroo.

When it was my turn to take photos, I used every stupid dog trick in the book from fake "barks" to cat "meows" to get her ears to stick straight up or her head cocked to one side. A little bribery with cheese did wonders too. See the full gallery here.

Here is Roo with his mom, Ginger. You will not find a bigger animal lover!

Roo is living proof that a strong spirit will find a way to adapt! 

Product Photography for the Extreme Gourmet

Talk about a hot job... My mouth was watering while I was clicking the shutter.

The Extreme Gourmet make some of the best hot sauce made with home grown peppers. Whenever the owner creates a new recipe in the kitchen, I get to photograph the product that results from his culinary creativity. This BBQ sauce has a little kick with fresh chipotle that you can see in the sauce. The small bottle contains jolokia peppers... the hottest peppers in the world. One drop will light you up!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Newborn Photos of Baby Alessandra

The name Alessandra could have at least 5 nicknames that can be derived from it: Alli, Sandra, Allison, Liz, Lisa... It is important to think of these things when naming your child. I am just glad that my parents did not name me Art, because nothing good would have come of that in elementary school.

Little Alessandra was just a few weeks old when she got her first studio portraits. She was fascinated by the large softbox and would not take her eyes off of it...  She never fell asleep either so I never was able to take any of the peaceful sleeping baby photos that I had planned. We'll get those next time. See the full newborn baby gallery of Alessandra here.

Little Alessandra has red peachfuzz for hair. She will probably be blonde like her mom.

Hello world!

So tiny... just a handful.

Pretty in pink...

Hangin' with mom!

Daddy's girl...

Grandma and Alessandra.

Weekly Photography Tests With Collin

The advantage to taking photos of the same person week after week is that one can see how their face reacts to the different light scenarios. Last week's test consisted lighting inspired by faces that I have seen on television. You can see this sort of lighting on almost any tv show to establish mood or setting.

In this case I am using warm and cool hard flash lighting to create dimension.

The great thing about this setup is that you can leave the lighting the same and simply have the client change their body direction for different looks.

Sometimes I try to turn accidents into keepers with a little experimentation, like in the photo below where the side flash was too strong. Not every photo has to be success if you learn something from it.

The next test was to light an interior room subtly while maintaining detail in the sunny outdoor scene.

The final test was to use window light as the 2nd light in a 2 light set up. Daylight is free and it adds extra dimension on the shadow side of the subject.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baby Tyler Newborn Photos

What can I say. Newborn babies are cute and little Tyler was as adorable as they come. I was actually one of the first people outside of the immediate family who got to meet him. We set up a makeshift studio in a very tiny playroom and started shooting in between feedings. Big sister, Lia, was a perfect little helper holding baby brother just right. It was not too long ago when she was just as tiny.

Big sister loves her brother.

The whole family.

So tiny...

Three generations...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Celebrating a Birthday in a Unique Way

My next door neighbor was mowing letters into his front yard so I was compelled to ask him what was going on. He told me that he was not crazy, just happy that his second grandson, Pax, was just born. He was mowing the child's name into the grass as to make a memento. The size of the letters could probably be seen from satellite. Of course, I had to run an get my camera to record a cool event like this.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Protective Glove Photography in a Factory

Graphic Works was asked to photograph a set of industrial cut-resistant gloves for a catalog. This product is made with kevlar to resist cuts and has abrasion-resistant rubber palms to provide great dexterity. These gloves will take lots of abuse and protect the wearer's hands. I made these photos on location at another client's factory where there was a lot of sharp blades and oily equipment. The 2 photos below will be the ones to be used in company literature.

My Chance Meeting with a Classic 1959 Corvette

While filling up gas at a gas station, I noticed that I was parked right in front of a classic 1959 Corvette. Truthfully, I parked as close as I could to the car since I have always been a fan. I could look at classic cars all day.

The owners told me that they were from Florida and were driving cross-country. I had just a minute to grab a few shots before they drove off. I am glad to see such cool cars still driven on the highways.

Here is the original photo before I messed with it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

120 Head Shots for an Atlanta Corporation

I am currently in the process of taking 120 head shot portraits for a very large corporate insurance company in Atlanta. I have the luxury of 15 minutes with each person which is great because I get to learn a little bit about each one. The portraits are slightly informal so they all do not have to match exactly, but definitely NO TIES. Here are the first 31 without final cropping. Only 89 left to go!

Bobby McAlpine Book Signing Party at Macrae Showroom

I was recently hired to photograph an interesting event. World famous architect and interior designer,  Bobby McAlpine was on hand at MacRae Designs Showroom at The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center to sign copies of his new book, The Home Within Us. There was quite a crowd on hand and everyone seemed to have a great time. 

Mr. McAlpine tirelessly signed stacked of books and talked with everyone who approached him. He was an incredibly warm and genuine fellow with a good sense of humor.

To learn more about McAlpine, Booth and Ferrier Interiors, please visit their web site at

This is a photo of members of Bobby McAlpine and other members of McAlpine, Booth and Ferrier Interiors.

This is some of the crowd that showed up for the event.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting Strange

Sometimes you just have to try something to see what happens. This week in our continuing photo tests, Collin and I made a few experimental shots using zoom and flash techniques. Some of the results turned out looking like the psychedelic 60's. Far out!

Shooting Stars

Today I took a photo of a star... well, actually a strangely iridescent starfish made of glass. My wife and I picked this up on one of our many trips together. This item literally seems to glow in even the softest of light. Shot with a portable speedlite and a snoot.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Goodbye to My Trusty Honda VFR Motorcycle

Eleven years and 30,000 miles together was how long our love affair lasted. To be honest, I still love her to this day. I still remember when I met her, looking like a shiny red rock star, with a bark like a pit bull. Of course I am talking about my 1998 Honda VFR Interceptor. Through the years we had many adventures together and I met some of my best friends on long Sunday rides with her.

Some of the highlights included:
  1. Fighting the Dragon at Deals Gap
  2. Wolf Pen Gap's tight, twisty and narrow roads
  3. Highway 60 through gorgeous North Georgia farmlands
  4. Richard Russell Scenic Highway... our own personal racetrack
  5. A stupid top speed warp to 160 mph (a scary 234.67 feet per second)
  6. Picking up friends who ran out of gas and laughing all the way to the gas station
  7. Watching daring feats of skill in front of me by talented/crazy riders
  8. Racing another VFR until he crashed
  9. Being covered from head to toe in flies because I rode through a mile long night swarm. This was disgusting and made me wonder why Harley Davidson riders wear open face helmets.
  10. And, number one on the list... almost getting bitten by a huge rattlesnake sunning itself in the middle of the road. Eyewitnesses behind me said it coiled up and sprang at me, missing me by inches. And I thought it was just a big stick in the road. Geez!
My good buddy Justinas from Wow Motorcycles picked up my bike, and now I hope she will go to a good home where she will have even more adventures. Thanks for the memories.

Portrait Tests with Collin VanDyck

Collin and I share an interest in all things photography so it was just a matter of time before we got together to start testing and learning different lighting techniques for portraits. This is great because both of us are technical and can work through problems that may pop up.

Our main emphasis is to use small portable flashes instead of hauling the big studio lights. We plan on pushing forward in the months to come so it will be interesting to see how things progress.

Below is the black and white version. I am working to get strong contrast in the dynamic range of each photo so that each could work as a color or monotone photo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rosenberg Family Photos

I  had a chance to reconnect with an old acquaintance, Marc, from my childhood neighborhood. Back in the day, I used to do yard work for his father, Mr. Rosenberg. He was a cool guy to work for because he would give me a choice to get paid $10 in cash or $50 in stamps to help me build up my stamp collection. We would just go through my book and add the missing stamps that I needed.

I think my love of old stamps led me to becoming a graphic designer. As a child I would examine stamp engravings with a magnifying glass for hours on end absolutely amazed by the level of microscopic detail that the artists put into their work.

Anyway, the photo session was supposed to be a fun get together for Mother's Day. For the most part, it was enjoyable, but there was a strange incident that happened. We were photographing in a public park under a beautiful old tree when an overly aggressive rock climbing weirdo showed up. First of all, this guy drives out of the parking lot and parks his car right in background. He says he will move the car, but ends up camping out. He then proceeds to take a rope with a heavy lead weight and starts tossing it over the branches of the tree to establish climbing lines.

Let's just say this was dangerous with a 2 year old running around. Literally that lead weight landed a few feet from us before some choice words were exchanged. Some people like this granola warrior think the world revolves around them. That was his tree and nobody was going to delay him from climbing it. What a loser. Maybe he got hit in the head with his lead weight one too many times. ha ha

The full gallery can be seen here.