Tool Shed Glam

Tool Shed Glam

This was shot in my tool shed with a friend, Janette, who I’ve photographed off and on over 4 years. Until now there was very little production on our shoots, but this time I really wanted to make memorable images of the level I do with full time models, LA studios with hair and makeup and bodypaint and wardrobe. The assistant here was my good friend Percolate, who did hair, makeup and wardrobe for this (and another shoot this week with model Aurora O’brien and her horse).

For a long time there was a separation between what I would call “casual shooting,” “family shooting”, and “pro model shooting,” but nowadays I want everything the same high quality level.

Scream Queens View-Master Custom Reel Set

custom reel of my Scream Queens images featuring Mosh, Anastasia Arteyeva, Glass Olive, Victoria Elle and Briana Robertson

custom reel of my Scream Queens images featuring Mosh, Anastasia Arteyeva, Glass Olive, Victoria Elle and Briana Robertson

It’s been a while since I editioned a new custom View-master set, so I made a new Scream Queens reel with Mosh, Anastasia Arteyeva, Glass Olive, Victoria Elle and Briana Robertson.  It’s one of my favorite ways to present work – this “Scream Queens” one has 6 copies in existence and comes with a custom black viewer.  For sale on Etsy.

The Great Gear Transition

Whenever a known photographer transitions from a brand of gear they are associated with to something new, there’s an audible gasp from the photo community.  Scott Kelby released a lengthy explanation of his jump from Nikon to Canon, just as I read some harumphing and murmurs regarding Sebastio Salgado’s transition to Canon digital cameras from his old view camera style.  I’m not a known photographer by any means, but I do blog about this stuff, and my personal change has been a positive kick in the pants.

I lived with Nikon gear for 14 years.  The first film SLR camera I bought was an N70, and I still have a M90 on a shelf with other useless antique cameras.  The first digital camera I got was a kind of Coolpix, and I bought one for my wife later on even as I graduated to the DSLRs in the form of a D200 and a D700.

I can think of two main reasons why people stick with a certain brand:

1. Brand Loyalty

2. “I already have a lot of this kind of stuff so it’d cost too much to start over”

Not much to say on #1, except companies are rarely as loyal to their consumer as consumers are to their companies, so it’s a goofy argument.  Service and new products aren’t any cheaper because you’ve been with the company for a decade or longer.

I stuck around for a long time because of #2, but a pair of products- the overpriced D800 and the problematic D600- shook me quite a bit.  Then I looked back at my list of cameras- each SLR, DSLR, etc.- and figured out I had to buy new gear with each new camera.  Nothing had a straight transition of lens systems, for example, my old film lenses weren’t good enough to take advantage of the D700′s capabilities and the D200 lenses were for a crop sensor.  Plus, some of my existing gear still had a good trade-in value at Amazon, offsetting the cost of switching over to something new- the Fuji X series of mirrorless cameras.

I held on to the Nikon stuff for approximately 3 weeks from buying the Fuji system before I realized “I’ll never use this again.”

So yes, it does sound like a bunch of tech talk, but it’s a larger issue of how some things stop working for us in our lives, and how it’s okay to change the way we make art, or live a particular lifestyle.

How to use Tone Mapping in Model Photography

This video explores judicious use of HDR and Tone Mapping in model photography. I share my preferred method of tone mapping with an image I shot of model Aurora O’brien, and how to avoid exaggerated textures on human skin.

I teach workshops in photography and visual art at several Phoenix-area recreation and art center programs, and I love teaching photography so freakin’ much I’m recording tutorials of some of my techniques.  The goal is one tutorial a week so feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel or this blog for more virtual lessons!

Aurora + Faye

Aurora + Faye

Model Aurora O’brien and her horse Faye, styling by Percolate. This was an interesting challenge for the X-E1- animals don’t act on command, and a horse that has a lot of energy isn’t going to stay still for more than a second. Some images, like this one, involved my bright strobe hand held by Percolate, which seemed to be spooking the animal even more. The model Aurora was controlling Faye even as she was modelling but in the end we got some great stuff.

Fuji Neo Classic Instax Mini + the design of a Camera

One of my new toys is a Fuji Instax Mini camera.  It’s the Neo Classic, designed in a similar casing as my X-E1, retro with silver trim.  The other Instax series cameras are rounded and kind of goofy in appearance.  It’s important to me to take my camera seriously, which sounds somewhat shallow, but it’s the truth;  with a good looking camera I strive to make pictures worthy of the device.  I couldn’t ever take my lomo cameras, and the photography I did with them, seriously because they looked like/ felt like plastic junk.

The Neo Classic has a cool feature that allows background brightness (“L+”) and also includes Bulb and Double Exposure settings, justifying the $100 markup vs. other instax mini cameras.  Image

Instax Mini are 1/2 Polaroid size and that makes them easy for someone like me who is used to composing in a long rectangle aspect ration.  There’s no “hide it from the light for 30 minutes” like the overpriced Impossible Project films, and of course instant film is a lot of fun for the kids.

With upcoming trips throughout Spring and Summer, I had a strong desire to shoot hundreds of these little babies and get instant memorabilia to either give away or assemble collage style or do mixed media on immediately.  The Neo Classic is as stylish and creative a photographic tool as you’re likely to find.