personal work

finding that photo opportunity

November 24, 2011

finding that photo opportunity

We stumbled upon this opportunity for this portrait of Jessica, my infamous assistant with an attitude. The reception room for a wedding we were photographing had several large boxes of lights against the walls as a kind of light mural, with baubles inside that were lit up. And the back of each of these displays was a mirror …

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personal work – Manhattan cityscapes

It’s been a long cold winter without much chance to roam around and explore with a camera. The past weekend it seemed like the weather was finally relenting and becoming warmer. Taking to the streets to shoot for myself a bit with no purpose in mind, I ended up with three images that I liked – all deserted New York city scenes. Or in the case of the image above, nearly deserted.

It felt good to let my thoughts roam for a while, getting some exercise and listening to music … looking for anything that visually appealed to me in the camera’s viewfinder.

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portrait: Janine vN

November 15, 2010

portrait using a gridded softbox

It’s been about a year since I last took a more formal portrait of my daughter Janine. Last year it was her with the steam-punk goggles, when I used a beauty dish (with a sock) as lighting. During a restaurant dinner last night I noticed Janine had ‘LOVE’ scribbled on both her forearms with a felt marker. I asked her about it, and she explained the idea behind ‘To Write Love On Her Arms‘. So I decided to include this tonight in the portrait of her.

Lighting her and the words on her arms was a slight challenge. I wanted a moody portrait, instead of just flooding it with even light from something like bounced flash …

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fire performer at PDF

October 8, 2010

After I was so thrilled with watching and photographing the fire performers at their wedding, Katie and Nathan managed to get me a ticket to the PDF event this weekend. Due to work commitments this weekend, I was only able to visit tonight (Friday), and take in the activities and spirit of the event, and chat to random people. Magical.

Of the fire performers (and other participants) I photographed, I really liked the few images I got of Nichole .. and thought I’d show them here as a small glimpse of the event.

Shot with the Nikon D3, using the Nikon 85mm f1.4D lens
1/125 @ f1.4 @ 3200 ISO


dynamic composition – changing your viewpoint (model – Carrie)

Near the end of the recent photo session with Carrie, I walked across the street to find another angle. Walking back, I noticed the sun just dipping behind the roof of this old train station. I thought it might flare interestingly if I caught the sun just on the edge there.

The problem was that I had to step into the street a few times when there was a lull in the traffic. The angle was a tough one since I had to, or rather, wanted to keep my camera at ground level to shoot up. I wanted the flare, and I wanted this angle to accentuate Carrie’s legs.

I resorted to stepping into the road, crouching down, pre-focusing, and then holding my camera away from my eye at ground level. There was no way I was going to lay down in a busy street! It took three tries, each with a series of images, until I “blindly” got the composition the way I wanted it .. with the right amount of flare.

Playing around with the controls in ACR (similar to Lightroom), got me to a retro- faded look I liked. The processing hopefully complements the sun-kissed image and add to the overall feel of the photo.

Settings:  1/250 @ f5.6 @ 200 ISO  //  no additional lighting
Equipment used:  Nikon D3;  Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S  … at 24mm


I took this photo of the Hotel du Louvre during a trip to Paris in 1993.  I carefully propped  my camera against a hand-railing  to steady it during the slow exposure of 1/4 second.  As I took my first frame, a bus drove past. I cursed my luck and took the photograph again. (This was pre-digital, and I was poor enough that every frame of transparency film that I shot was expensive.)  Anyway, I cursed my luck, thinking the bus would spoil the image I was after. However, when I saw the results, the ‘accident’ looked far better than the intended shot.

This favorite photo of mine, is this week’s entry for the Alive for 365 project.

[ Pentax Z-1; Pentax-FA 28-80mm f3.5-4.7 / Fujichrome RD 100 ]
[ Paris, France / April ’93 ]


Cork Ireland – travel photography

I visited Cork for a few days to present two workshops on flash photography, and immediately fell in love with the historic city.  It was a simultaneous pleasure just exploring the place, and taking a short break from a hectic schedule. 

On the first evening, we walked around the city to soak in the look and atmosphere of the place. It had just rained, so the colors really stood out .. and I was drawn to the boldness of the colors, especially of the shopfronts. Since it was after hours, all the traffic had left that area, leaving a clear view of the closed shopfronts.

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personal photos from the archives – South Africa

Digging deep into the archives, here are some of my favorite images from way back.  These were all shot on transparency film – Fuji Provia RDP being my choice of film at the time.  And as usual with personal photography, there are memories and stories attached to these images.

To get this photograph above of the DC3 flying over Johannesburg, I had to wind down the window of the WW2 vintage Junkers I was flying in. Because there was no window glass in the way, I could get a crisp photo of this DC3 following us.  The golden glow to the photograph is actually the way it looked.  The air pollution is more pronounced in winter due to the fires that burn on the Highveld of South Africa.  And here we have the setting sun back-lighting the dust and air pollution particles.  Combining all of that with the way that the late afternoon light flared on my lens, is where this photo got that beautiful warm look.

[ Pentax Z-1; Pentax-FA 28-105mm f4-5.6 // Johannesburg, South Africa // June ’94 ]

And no, I don’t miss film. Really.  I wish I had all my slide film captures as original digital captures.  But that’s another discussion entirely.

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tuesday night

May 14, 2008

a club in Manhattan on Tuesday, past midnight

Canon 1D mk3, Canon 50mm f1.2 // 1/25th @ f1.2 @ 32oo ISO