Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Babies

My Canon 40D arrived this week, as did our new baby boy!

I love the 40D, it's a huge upgrade from the 10D (about time). I now have the capacity to shoot far too many frames a second (6.5) for far too long (75 JPEGs). Of course I barely ever use the "motor drive" at all now, I probably won't suddenly have occasion to. But, it will make studio work much less frustrating. I won't be waiting for the camera anymore, I don't think.

For the birth, I put one of my monolights in the bedroom (we birthed at home), with a shoot through umbrella, aimed at about 45 degrees up. Thus most subjects had feathered direct light from the edge of the umbrella and bounced light off the ceiling. It worked pretty well as an unobtrusive, light-everything solution.

Monday, September 17, 2007


We had a Houston Flickr meetup yesterday and we went shooting downtown, along Main Street. This is the Montagu Hotel, an old hotel one block off Main which is scheduled for demolition (along with everything on its block) very soon.

I got to play with my 17-40 f/4 L and it was ideal for shooting this fire escape. I applied a tritone to this in Photoshop CS3 and then added the border effect, which parallels the ladder portion of the fire escape at the bottom. I also like the effect on the top border of the image... the border effect enhances the "into infinity" feel IMO.

I think this is one of my favorite images in a while.

Monday, September 10, 2007


This is one of those images where I was happy with the original but it wasn't saying anything in particular. It would/will make a great stock image, but it wasn't particularly compelling as art.

Then I cropped it and that was an improvement, a simplification, focusing the clear attention on the model, but it was still not what I wanted. Then I made a high contrast tritone, and I was really grabbed by the highlights and contrast in her hair, and decided to mask out everything else.

Finally, I put the image on Flickr and didn't like the lack of any framing, so I added a border (I'm into border effects these days, can you tell?).

This was shot with five lights, arranged in sortof an arch around the front of her... the outer two lit the background and filled her sides, the inner two provided accents and shaping on her face, and the middle one was my (new!) ringflash at very low power, for some final fill.

Tower Triptych

For whatever reason, I'm really digging diptychs and triptychs (and series for that matter) these days. There's something interesting to me about multiple views of something, or even the same image, repeated in different ways, as seen here.

This is made up of three different processing approaches to one image, with some interesting border effects. I expect to print this one big and stick it on a wall somewhere.

The left is a saturated color processing, the middle black and white, and the right is a cyan, brown, and black tritone. The three together with the asymetrical border add up to more than any of the individual images, IMO.

The building is the Williams (formerly Transco) tower in Houston.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I really like this shot... it was fun to do something different... I shot this using my strobes as hotlights... i.e. with the modeling lamps only, no strobing. Since the modeling lights can track the strobe's power setting, I can adjust its output (though of the three, two were at full power).

The lamps are 150W quartz bulbs... to camera left, just out of the frame, one lamp is in a medium softbox (full power) and another, at half power, has a 20-degree grid on. To camera right, a silver umbrella with a full power lamp. The lights behind him are the way out-of-focus lights from my dining room chandelier.

The coolest thing here was the exposure... this was shot at f/2.8 on my 70-200 f/2.8 lens at 1/20th of a second, handheld. It's in focus, but not crispy sharp, I think that's a beautiful look.

This was loosely inspired by the recent Lightsource interview with Mark Robert Halper.