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Vive la Muerte

Vive la Muerte - Ghosty Series 2015

Vive la Muerte – Ghosty Series 2015

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.

Alois Hotel Haunting

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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.

Ink is Defiance

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Anyone who knows my work, knows that I love tattoos. So many of my models sport incredible ink, but the average tattoo shot is like looking at a slab of meat.  The technique and style leaves a lot to be desired. My photos are more about subtlety and suggestion than that. This weekend, thanks to the powers that be at the PHILADELPHIA TATTOO ARTS CONVENTION – Which will be held February 13th-15th 2015, I will have the opportunity to tweak the boundaries once again with photo subjects that are as defiant about their body art as I am about my photography.  I think it will be a good mix. 

Link: PHILADELPHIA TATTOO ARTS CONVENTION

Techy Photo Stuff:

Model:  Ruby Chiex, Nikon D800, Nikon 60mm f/2.8, 1/250, Nikon SB-800 fired remote using Nikon CLS, ISO 160

This was a strobist-style shot using a hand held speedlight.

Other Tattooed Eye Candy below:

Beleive

Snuzzles

Snuzzles

Always Explore Your Natural Light

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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!

  • Nikon D800
  • ƒ/1.8
  • 85.0 mm
  • 1/200
  • 200
  • Flash (off, did not fire

Urban Faerie

UrbanFae

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.
  • Nikon D90
  • ƒ/4.0
  • 12.0 mm
  • 1/60 sec
  • 200 iso
  • Flash (on, fired) (Wireless remote)

Believe

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“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

What haunts you?

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Personal Ghost
“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.” –
Charles Dickens

Photo Techie Stuff (or how to shoot a ghost):

1. Wait until there is a ghost.

2. Grab camera and shoot.

3. Run like hell.

The Secret Life of Faeries

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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.

Techie Stuff:

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!!!

  • ƒ/2.8
  • 35.0 mm
  • 1/40
  • 140
  • Flash (off, did not fire)

Snuzzles

Snuzzles

Snuzzles

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.

Camera: Fuji X100s
ISO: 2000
Lens: 23mm fixed
1/100 sec at f/2.0

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.