Month: May 2014

Capturing the moment.

PDSC_4022rofessor Adam Smasher and Model Ruby Chiex show off their guns at the Mid-Winter Scottish Irish Festival.  I’m not going to tell you who won, but she didn’t have a beard. I happened to walk up when they were in mid-arm wrestle. Capturing the moment is key when you are working an event and you have to keep your eyes on scan at all times. Tunnel vision is the enemy if you want to capture those special moments.

Techno Geeky stuff:  This was an on-camera flash, (Nikon SB600 on a D800, Tamron 70-200 F/2.8 lens), shot with a Gary Fong light diffuser to reduce the potential harshness of the flash. The buildings new-fangled  ‘sodium cyanide’ lighting systems (I made that up) threw some odd color.  This is the kind of place a gray card would be ideal, given the variable nature of overlapping tungsten, florescent and other exotic lighting.


Classic lighting, modern fashions

Falloff is my friend. Long before me, falloff was also the friend of Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. They inspired me and one day I hope to be compared to them. For now I just beg everyone that I meet to please call me ‘Rembrandt Vermeer’. It’s kind of pathetic. Maybe I’ll just change my name legally, and get it over with.
The model in this shot is Lilith Purple Bear – she can be found on Facebook under that name. The event was Dorian’s Parlor which is wonderful geeky costume-themed event, held irregularly, that is closest to Steampunk in style but really has no defined genre. It’s promoted by Gil Cnaan of Philadelphia.
Technical Geeky Photo Stuff. Nikon D800 Camera wirelessly firing a remote Nikon SB600 speed light with a softbox modifier on an expandable wand. I usually start these shots at 200 ISO and F/8 aperture, 1/125 second exposure and start tweaking the ap closed if I’m getting too much ambient light and not able to isolate my subject from the background.

Prepare to be Dazzled

DSC_4303I wasn’t expecting to shoot a Vogue Movie Starlet at the Wicked Faire, and certainly not in a vendors booth, but in she walked, with those big, innocent eyes, her round, girl-next-door face, and … horns? There she was, the model of my dreams and all I had with me was one Nikon SB600 Speedlight on and expandable light wand and my trusty D800. So I told her I’d make her a movie star, set up my wireless remote and held the single light in high key position, and told her to hold her cheeks like they were about to fall off. Click. Instant movie star.
Wish I had remembered to get her name.

Pirate dog portraits need boceh

Pirate dog portraits need boceh

The simple 50mm prime lens is a wonderful artistic tool on any camera. Here, open wide on a cloudy day at f/1.4 it renders a shallow depth of focus and the dreamy, creamy blur known as ‘boceh’. Boceh rhymes with mocha, Use the word and other photographers nod and smile. Some of them might even know what you are talking about. Those are the photographers you should spend some time with.
Every photographer NEEDS a 50mm lens. F/1.4 if you are daring, and the inexpensive and just as good F/1.8 if you want to keep the price down to around $120. The Nikon D version (used here) performs as well as their more expensive and less capable G version. Your mileage may vary.

Photographing concerts should be like photographing the tango.

DSC_0138But it all depends on your subjects. This is the Jessica Star Band at the Spoutwood May Day Festival. Sometimes it takes 100 photos to get the one that shows chemistry in a performance and Jessica and Joseph Blackfeather have great chemistry.

Geeky Photo Stuff: Nikon D90 (from 2008) with a Nikkor 55-200mmG VR lens which costs barely more than $100. Very nice image on the cheap. Note the bright background.  It’s a challenge to get good definition with this kind of lighting, but waiting for clouds to pass by and using your Adobe highlights and whites slider bars can really help.

Have you seen this Fairy?

DSC_6623This is Twig the Fairy, an incredibly talented performer, mime, musician and author, among other things.  Likely you have seen her before on Social Media shares. For me, she is everything a photographer wants in a model because when she is in character, not only doesn’t she speak, she takes direction incredibly well and adds to your concept with her razor sharp wit.  Twig can be found here:

Technical Photo Geeky Stuff: It doesn’t matter what you photograph Twig with.  She’s stunningly beautiful and knows more about posing than most photographers would be able to direct. This shot was made with a Nikon D800 and a Tamron 70-200 lens at the wider end of the range. Natural light (my favorite), with no fill light required.


Trust Me, I’m a Professional.

DSC_6800You might ask how I am able to get such wonderful cooperation and professionalism from my photo subjects.  It has a lot to do with the  way you present yourself when asking people to pose for you and when directing  your shoots.  Always have a calm and commanding presence without being overbearing. Here, as you can see, I am being taken very seriously by my subjects.  You have to BE the professional, an believe it.  When in doubt and it seems all composure is lost, I just sob pitifully, often that is all I need to bring the photo shoot back under control.


You can’t find a 6’8″ giant wearing a bear head shield just anywhere.


But when you do, you better have your camera ready.  Our subject for today is Eric Pope, here in character as Wotan the Fairy Smasher.  Eric is a giant of a man with a giant personality.  He can intimidate just about anyone – and has been getting a number of movie roles recently as scary bad guy characters – but where he shines most is as Children’s entertainer. Eric works the festival circuits as a paid performer always with a gaggle of happily squealing children chasing him around and taunting him.  His character is like Wile E. Coyote –  always trying to find an innocent  child or fairy to smash with his sponge hammer – and always being thwarted and tortured by the children he is supposedly chasing.

Technical:  I had to shoot Eric in extreme wide angle because, well, he’d overfill any other frame.  This made the bear head he mounts on his forearm look much larger that it is.  I had to tweak a very gray, cloudy sky in Lightroom and bring up the green foliage with the vibrance slider. Vibrance is great because you can amplify ambient colors without changing skin tones.

Le Frenchy et le Punk


20130505-DSC_6200A high energy duo that defies all description, Frenchy and the Punk travel the world performing original camp, cabaret, rock, folk and hypno-trance music.  Their audience consists of shape shifters, elves, goblins, faeries and steampunks.  Don’t be surprised if you see their fans teleporting in and out of the venue at their next show.  Playing all this weekend at the Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival. 

Not in Kansas Anymore…

20130505-DSC_6110Oh no Dorothy, you seem to have missed the rainbow entirely and landed at the Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival, a place where thousands, yes thousands, of faeries, elves, goblins, greenmen, tree creatures, and things that you have probably never contemplated, gather in huge, friendly masses, play music, have drum circles, eat and drink and be merry in an intense, thrumming festival of art and fellowship. All in all, not a bad thing. 

Technical: This photos was shot with a camera (I forget which one and with which lens.) It was a harshly lit, sunny day and luckily I was able to herd this fearsome rabble into the shade of a farm house.  The final effect was some nice, diffused daylight.