Some sorrows never die. They leave their echo for all who are sensitive enough to hear them.
At the Alois Hotel, a beautiful, historic and haunted building located in Mt. Joy, PA, the employees and frequent guests swear that there are several kindly, resident ghosts that watch over the property. One is a woman in white.
This image was taken on the upstairs landing by the Mardi Gras room where I slept after photographing a CD release party last year. Just last week I returned and this image is the result. And while I did some cropping and pushed the colors and lighting a bit with my Lightroom software, this photo is basically unaltered from how I shot it.
Vive la Muerte.
Geeky Photo Stuff: Camera: Nikon D800, Lens: Nikon 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0, ƒ/16.0, 22.0 mm, 160 ISO, zero flash.
Sitar John Protopapas – Portraits are often challenging because people living in the mundane world wear so many layers of costume and mythology that enable them to operate in their day-to-day reality.
One must present one face to their employer, another to their spouse, another to their kids and their kids’ school, …you get the idea. But not so much for Sitar John Protopapas, a music professor at York College in York, PA. John is as authentic a person as I have met in a long time, and a lot of that authenticity comes from the fact that he does not compromise much of himself in his daily living. He does what he loves, be it teaching sitar and Indian instruments, teaching Yoga, being a father, or fixing up his home. John is what you see and what you see is a spiritual and kind man. So making this photo required little effort. The challenge was the lighting, and a flared reflector was all that was needed. The venue was the disco room a the Alois Hotel, attached to the historic Bube’s Brewery in Mt. Joy, PA.
And while I was busy photographing ghosts and beautiful young women during this shoot, the serendipity of photographing a beautiful soul came through and made the day.
Techie/Geeky Photo Stuff: I used two Alien Bee’s B800’s to balance this shot, both were reflected through similar light mods. The Paul C. Buff PLM was the primary light and a no-name mod was used for fill. The softness came from some extreme flaring. I hope you enjoy viewing this image as much as I enjoyed making it.
Nikon D800, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ƒ/13.0, 85.0 mm, 1/200, ISO 320, Flash (on, fired), Yongnuo Wireless Triggers to Alien Bees AB800 monolights
This is a photo of a near fully-formed ectoplasmic entity encountered on 18 February, 2015. It is part of my ‘Ghosts Imagined’ series.
Last year, I had the great fortune to do a ghost hunt and photo shoot at Bube’s Brewery in Mt. Joy, PA. This week I returned and tried to capture some entity images at the Alios Hotel, which is restaurant and hotel that is attached to Bube’s Brewery. The place is a maze of catacombs and connections, color and history and a great place to capture ghost images.
The complex is huge. It was built in the 19th century and was a used a brewery throughout most of its very powerful history. It was part of the underground railroad before the Civil War. Employees now report the place to be haunted with a number of entities. According to the employees these are benevolent entities, but sometimes bit mischievous. It was reported to me that they seem to care about the well-being of the business and it’s current owner Samuel Allen.
More Location Stuff: Alois Hotel at Bube’s Brewery, Mt. Joy, PA – a haunted 19th century restaurant, bar with attached catacombs tunnels, and a maze of amazing photo ops around every corner.
Geeky Photo Stuff: This was a long exposure made in order to leverage the color vibrance of the upstairs hallway. The camera was set on a tripod to avoid blur and shake. The ghost was most gracious to appear for the photo. He, along with the other shoot participants and I, all shared food and drink during the shoot. Ghosts models know how to party I recommend putting out a food tray to attract them during any photo shoot.
Every summer, in the small town of Harpursville, New York, magical forces and mythical beings converge to create the New York Faerie Festival. There, the barriers between human and animal, magic and muggle, dissolve. There, these lost boys wander the woods in search of handouts – or a hand – to devour. This is a wonderful, lush streamside family event with plenty of adult entertainment and brilliant photo opportunities around every corner. Plan to camp out for the best experience.
Geeky Photo Stuff: I went wide for this shot because I love how it distorts the subject. I would have been happier if I had a wider lens on the camera at the time, but 28mm was wide enough for this one.
Nikon D800, Tokina ATX Pro 28-70mm f/2.8 Lens at f/2.8 and 28mm. 1/500 sec. Converted to Black and White in Photoshop Lightroom.
Musicians are some of the most photographed people out there and it’s tough to come up with an original shoot concept so, like it or not, every shot is going to be derivative of something that’s already been done. The best that you can do is ad original elements of lighting, color or texture. This shot I did of Faerie singer/songwriter Jessica Star is an example. The pose is reminiscent of early Bruce Springsteen, the color, background and texture screams modern digital. The contrast might suggest film. The subject is a classic beauty, and that never hurts.
Techie Photo Stuff:
This shot was taken after a longish studio session. The studio lighting was adequate, but none of the shots spoke to me. After the formal shoot, we walked around the house and explored the gorgeous, diffuse mid-winter light that was pouring though the windows. Serendipity!
Urban Faeries – Some Fae folk that have adapted to deforestation and acclimated to humans. You’ll find them living in cities and towns, taking advantage of deserted buildings and alley ways. Sometimes they’ll live in attics and cellars of occupied buildings – usually unnoticed. Never to be bothered – at your own peril.
Models: Alex and Julie Abene – The Twin Bees
Designer: Kristin Costa Designs – https://kristincosta.wordpress.com/
Techie Photo Stuff:
This photo was made with the awesome Tokina 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8 for Nikon – a DX format lens that is worth it’s weight in awesome. I call it my Tim Burton lens and it is my go to for so many shots because it is small, compact, inexpensive and light for a solid f/2.8 lens. The light was thrown using Nikons onboard wireless controller – CLS – to a Nikon SB-600 speedlight held above the subject in Vogue ‘high key’ position. Kudos to Bill Gekas and Johannes Vermeer.
“That sense of loss grew within the hearts of the humans who had been left behind, left to live without unicorns. Even the ones who had never seen a unicorn, felt the passing of something sweet and wonderful. It was as if the air had surrendered a bit of its spice, the water a bit of its sparkle, the night a bit of its mystery.”
― Bruce Coville
Techie Stuff: f/2.8 for drama. Natural, diffused light for softness and to leverage the beauty of the subject. A teeny drip of fill. This girl was just too pretty to mess with very much.
Nikon D800 , 28.0-70.0 mm f/2.8, ƒ/2.8, 70.0 mm, 1/80, 100 ISO
Sometimes two people meet one another and you know they are twins. They might not have the same look or the same last name, they might not even look like each other or be close in age, but you know, spiritually, they are twins. Sometimes it’s better to keep them separated, for they trouble they might get into. This is the case here, and it is another reason whey you never mess with Faeries.
In the woods, at a distance, a faerie queen and her attendant consented to pose for a portrait, which is a rare honor and a gracious gesture. While the deep woods are full of Fae folk, most people – especially adults – never see them.
Most importantly, this is an example of why natural light, when nature cooperates, is above and beyond wonderful. This was a partly cloudy day where the harsh noontime sun was diffused by both clouds and tree cover. Thanks nature!!!
I have amazing friends. The one on the right is Ruby Chiex who you will see in a lot of my photos. Brilliant and beautiful, she has been one of my photo muses for a few years running.
This photo shows why it pays to get the big lights and demonstrates the serendipity available in every photo shoot. The modeling light of the my AB800 with PLM modifier (aggressively flared) from above produced such a lovely light that I dropped my Nikon D800 and snapped a quick shot with my Fuji Point-and-shoot.