Monday, April 23, 2007


Sebastien Bourdais in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Houston. The yellow and black sponsor banner in the background provided the perfect backdrop for this car in particular. It was just a matter of actually catching the car in the right spot, in focus, with the right blur, etc.

These cars go really, really fast. Watching them on TV just doesn't give you a clue. This was the fastest point on the track, too, which helped because it was impossible to capture the car in focus and not blur the background.

Having said that, there was a little technique here... I was shooting in aperture priority (I usually shoot in manual, but here you don't want to have to manage exposure, the camera can do a fine job), with a small aperture (like f/11 or greater), to force the shutter speed low enough to get the blur (e.g. 1/200th or so). At a wide aperture, the shutter speed would have been much too fast to get a good blur in the background. I shot in aperture priority (instead of shutter priority) so that I could quickly switch modes and capture a person or other slow-moving subject with shallow depth of field.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Sometimes you make an image and you know there's something there, something you want out of it, but you don't actually know what that something is yet. This was one of those. I kept working it until it was radiantly bright, and then I had it.

The lighting was keyed with a 48" octobox... I had a silver reflector for fill, a grid on the backround and two more for accents on her hair.

Initial processing done in Aperture, as always, but turning this totally high key and B&W was all Photoshop CS3 (the original is fairly bright, but nothing like this). The border is done with a layer style... it just added more of a sense of radiant brightness.

Monday, April 09, 2007


This is all about tone. Creamy skin and warm brown tones, gradients, and rich shadows without extreme contrast.

I think it's very tempting to push images to the limits of contrast, saturation, etc., but the images that keep drawing me back in are the ones that are smooth and beautiful and have sweet tone, like the tone of a simple tube amplifier.

This image engages me, I'm interested in it photographically but I'm also interested in the person, it isn't just an image nor is it just a portrait, it's something in between. There's a mix of mystery and beauty and light and shadow.