When a subject’s spirit shines through the portrait.


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

Model Link: Sitar John Protopapas

Location Link: Alois Hotel at Bube’s Brewery.


Always Explore Your Natural Light


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

Band Shots, Music Photos, CD Covers, Promotional Stuff-a-roo!

Music Photos: Yeah, I do them, too.  #MartineKraft #Band #Photography #Faerieworlds

This is Martine Kraft, and awesome violinist from Norway at a Faerieworlds concert in Eugene, OR. Shot with the Fuji X100s with a fixed 23mm lens, it was a challenge to get close enough for a decent shot, but once in position, the camera performed perfectly in the low light.

Martine was awesome.  She even mugged a bit  for the camera (below):DSCF1911

Thanks Martine for a great show!


Music is Magic at the New York Faerie Fest





















By Artis Defiance [writographer@gmail.com]

The New York Faerie Festival is a world of visual delights for any photographer. I love it for the diversity of subjects, quality of costumes, vendors and the and creativeness of the performance artists.

Here, the music is king.  There are plenty of bands that I haven’t and also the performers who I have had the pleasure to work with as photo subjects:

Gandalf Murphy and the the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, pictured above, is a powerhouse of eclectic music.  Here’s a band I’d love to do a formal shoot with, rather than just catching the on stage.  www.slambovia.com

Jessica Star – Mythic and Spirit inspired rock. – Ive done CD covers, inside shots and poster work for Jessica, who is as beautiful as she is brilliant, Along with her bass player Joseph Blackfeather, they make for great sounds and striking visuals.  This woman is a rocker in the strongest sense of the word but her music is wonderfully spiritual. Their new album moves me every time I hear it. http://www.jessicastar.com/

Frenchy and the Punk – “An energetic hybrid of European Folk roots, Punk attitude, World Beat eclecticism and traveling player theatricality.” We’ve done a ton of shoots over the years. Frenchy and the Punk are always up for great visuals.  http://www.frenchyandthepunk.com/about.html

Sofeya and the Puffins, trippy hippy goodness. Sofeya is a hippy goddess with incredible looks and a great voice. Her new album is coming out right about now. I’ve done some great shoots with her that will be the subject for a lot of discussion on photo technique, but for now, check the post called ‘Dude, you’re creeping me out.  (Photos to come.)

Cu Dubh – The sounds of ancient thundering war drums and skirling dual bagpipes like you’ve never heard before. – http://www.cudubh.com/Cu_Dubh/Cu_Dubh.html

Woodland – Beautiful Celtic inspired music with stunning vocals – http://woodlandmusic.net/

The formal acts are not the whole story, however.  Impromptu jams break out all over the place at NYFF. Drum circles can happen at a moment’s notice.  The talent that heads out to this event is breathtaking.

Check the NYFF web page for the other acts.

http://www.nyfaeriefest.com/ Gotta go!



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.