02.17.11 - PROOF OF LIFE

This is for everyone who was concerned that I was off to meet some random woman I met on FaceBook with a Clumber, this is proof that I have made it home unscathed. Brody and I had a wonderful evening meeting Christy, her husband Allen and their dogs Bella, Cooper and Jimmy.

Christy is actually the person who first "friended" me on FB after I fanned one of the Clumber pages. She put me in touch with Laura who ended up fostering Brody, and meeting me in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Elizabethtown, KY to do the hand-off.

More about this all later. I am pooped. But here are a couple pics of Jimmy to tide you over!

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01.28.11 - HAPPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

Forty years ago today my parents brought me into the world, induced two weeks early because of a impending snow storm and my eagerness to go some place new. This year I got the snow storm a day early, and am still eager to see new places. But the only child in my life is my nephew who I am very bad about getting to DC to see. So let's go back and revisit his first few hours on the outside. His first year has flown by, and I bet my mom feels the same about the 40 since she first saw me.

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10.12.09Tobya

01.16.11 - CATCHING UP

While the list of things I have accomplished this weekend is not very long in number, a number of them have taken quite a bit of time. I have recently transferred the management of my web domain from a hosting service to my own control, which has meant a crash course in many things techie. It has taken about a week, but I finally have my e-mail set correctly! Now I have to play catch up on returning messages!

As I waited for the changes to propagate across the web, I have played catch up on a number of things. I caught up for brunch with the girls (photos to come), I continued with the process of putting my office back together after building the desk, I made some design changes to my website, and I finally got around to putting together some of the images from my whirlwind visit to Bethesda, MD to see my family.

My nephew is 14-months-old, and I have seen him only a few times. And he is only a couple hours away. Oops, bad Auntie Amy. It was also Toby's first experience with a dog face-to-face, and I will admit I was a bit nervous about Brody. He was a superstar. He left Toby to come to him, he was a little stiff when Toby first reached to pet him, but he relaxed and they accepted each other. Brody was so good, my mom let him on the couch, a big No No for all the past dogs!

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12.15.10 - Fall Sports Portraits

Three times a year I take on the scheduling, production and shooting of the players and coaches our sports writers at The Daily Local News deem the top of their sport in our county. Fall is always a bit more of a challenge because of the number of sports, nine, and that the schedule usually has me trying to find these people during the holiday break.

This year I decided to stretch the boundaries and do multiple image layouts. Kids can be a bit self conscience, and there are usually a flock of other students in the vicinity making fun of them. This year's group was the most mature and personable group I have ever had. All the outside shots were done on sub-freezing days, and I had to balance my desire to have them relax around the camera with the fear of one or both of us loosing extremities.

Select the image and it will take you to my Flickr page to see the others.

 

Football 2010

Cross Country (male) 2010

 

Tennis 2010

Shutter Speed & Strobes

Shutter Sppeed

One concept that takes many photo students awhile to grasp is that when using strobes your shutter speed controls the ambient light. The only difference between these two images is that the one on the left is shot at 1/20s and the one on the right is shot at 1/250s.

I wish I had moved my key light around a little more camera left to get some catch light in his eyes, but tomorrow is another day in the world of newspapers.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

I have not mastered developing a method for updating my blog from the various computers in my life. We use PCs at the paper, and simple keystrokes on my MAC, such as the copyright symbol, are ridiculously difficult on the PC. The list of fonts between the two systems are different. If I wait until I get back to my MAC the updating just doesn't get done. It seems the little amount of down time I have to check in comes about 4pm at the office.

I'm so glad this has finally appeared in the paper. The story is about an 83-year-old golfer who has seven career holes-in-one, two of them this past year. We did the interview at his house, and he suffers from some memory loss (he couldn't remember the name of the club he plays at.) So I was without a golf course, cart or clubhouse, and with a budget limited to $0, I was struck with a bolt of genius.

How does one make a golf cup out of nothing? One snags a styrofoam coffe cup from the lunch room, rips off the bottom, wedges it onto the 10.5, uses the same setup I use from my remote camera and gets our victim model to lean down like he his pulling the ball from the hole. GENIUS!!!

Photo of the Day (from the day before)

There are quite a few happenings that I cover every year, and some of them, such as Swinging Summer Thursdays in West Chester happen a few times each year. After 15 years at this it becomes hard to find something new. While I don't remember every shot I've taken, I do know how my eye works analyzing a situation. I am mentally thinking about not going to the same lens/angle/subject more often than not. I guess admitting you have a problem is the first step in correcting it.

After about the third year on this job I realized I actally am part of the commmunity. I spend as much time saying hello to people as I do shooting. This image was made while catching up with a woman I hadn't seen since before the boy was born. Time does fly! I have some funny moments when Addison is open mouthed for her taffy, but I just love the randomness of this frame. I don't know exaclty what it is, but it is an intangible quality I love other people's images. I know it when I see it. (As I quote out of context Potter Stewart.)

Preperation is Never Overkill

I had a shoot yesterday which was scheduled as a portrait and a shot of the computers he has installed. Think on that for a bit. Develop your idea of what this will look like, perhaps a nice environmental shot of the prof with the room of machines behind him.

So as I was unpacking the rolling case with five remotes, flashes and cables, the long bag with supports, a bag with lenses ranging from 12 to 200mm, two camera bodies - my new D3 and a D200, I though to myself, "Is this too much?"

Then I discovered I was photographing a physics professor who has opened up the long closed astronomical observatory. Dark blue domed ceiling, dark blue telescope, small room (this is West Chester, not the McDonald Observatory at UT), low ceiling, prof in casual, pre-term clothes.

My mental check list went like this: this will be the first moment where the full frame of the D3 will be very useful, the 70-200 is still too much lens it will stay in the bag, I need to put a back light on the telescope to separate it from the ceiling but have to hide the source and support, I need to include the room, a single computer (and computers are no longer BIG), and we need to crack the dome open to give the impression that the observatory is in use again.

Hiding the lights and getting enough room to place the main light and umbrella were the biggest challenge. Thankfully I am using Nikon SBs and not DukeNukeUms, one because there were stairs between the parking lot and the observatory, two because I would have had to pile on the ND filters to drop the power down low enough, three because the space was rather limited. I wavered about dropping a light onto the face of the computer, but I liked how it is still readable as an object in silhouette as opposed to drawing your eye away from the subject with a spot of light.

I am very glad I pulled out the moderate lighting kit. There are plenty of assignments that don't require much more than available light with a bit of fill, but I listened to my little voice (for once) and came prepared.