Wednesday, September 30, 2009

365 Project - Day 18

Day 18

I photographed an event for the MS Society Buckeye Chapter of Ohio, so the daily photo had to be one from the event. It's been a long day, I will elaborate more tomorrow. Yes, That is a Cake and it was Awesome!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

365Project - Day 17

Day 17

Where are you headed, up or down? For the 17th I was at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, borrowing a couple DVDs. As we were leaving, I noticed there was a spiral stair well near our parking spot. Instantly, I grab the camera, ran to the bottom of the stairs, hop the barrier, and begin looking at different angles to photograph. Initially, I started to shoot the scene wide to include as much of the stair well as possible vertically, but I wasn't convinced having the extra railing add to the overall image. Next, I tighten the crop leaving only a little of the railing in the front-top foreground to balance the start of the spiral railing on the bottom right foreground. That worked best horizontally for me. I like how this image seems as if you could be looking from the bottom to the top of the stairs and vice versa.

- Now time to start thinking about Day 18.

Ja Mata,

Monday, September 28, 2009

365 Project - Day 16

Day 16

It's hard to run out of subjects to photograph in North East Ohio's fall season. Day 16, I did a little walk around looking for interesting composition to capture. No matter how many times I've seen this as a kid, it's always cool to see the leaf impressions in the cement, and since the trees haven't lost all of their leaves yet the impressions are fairly spread out on the ground. I viewed the above image from several different angles before I settled on the composition that worked. What I like about the image is that the shape of the imprinted leaf looks very similar to the actual leaf behind it. Plus, the texture of the cement give the overall image depth with all the grooves, almost like the grooves on vinyl LPs [that's 'records' for the young people out there who are scratching their heads].

Enjoy Day 16!

Ja Mata,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

365 Project - Day 15

Day 15

For Day 15 we have an awesome hand made card. The artist is actually getting a few of her cards published in a stamping magazine called Stampers' Sampler. It's not hard to see why; every single card she makes has a great story behind it and crafted simply perfectly. She can take the simplest stamp and turn it into a work of art by mixing inks and hand coloring the paper. Her artistic eye and style differentiates her work from others in the market and while some make hand made cards simply to save money, her unique designs not only express who she is as an artist but also reflect the personality of the recipient and/or the theme of the occasion.

The most impressive part of her talent, in my opinion, would be the fact that every stamp, color, and type of paper used in each card has a specific meaning. From Goddesses, to famous artists, and even icons from around the globe, like Frida Kahlo. One last piece of information on the artist, her name is Denise Harrison, and she is my Mom. :) Thanks Mom, I know where my creative genes came from.

When capturing the image, I wanted to get a reflection, kind of like the ones Apple uses in all it's advertisements. Setting the card up on a wood Singer table top facing into the light, opened the apreture up to about f3.5 to keep warriors head and rest of the card sharp [left my tripod at home so shot is handheld].

Mom, Today my post is dedicated to you! Awesome work!

Ja Mata,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

365 Project - Day 14

Day 14

Today, while dropping off a DVD of images from a resent second shoot with the always awesome Catherine Mckinley, we came across the above street. I really like how the tall trees line both sides of the street and give it a tunnel like effect when looking end to end with all lines converging to the middle. Plus, since it was raining today the trunks of most of the trees have water stains, which adds another dimension to the scene. Maybe for one of our engagement sessions next year, we may try to work in a street like this (hopefully in the fall) at some point during the session, would make for some really dramatic and cool images.

Ja Mata,

Friday, September 25, 2009

365 Project - Day 13

Day 13

Many thanks for all the love we got from day 12, Perla and I are going to go for some really cool shots over the weekend. Above, is our experiments with lights and glass. This is one of Perla's shots. I think she executed it well all around, good composition, nice color, good exposure, and great angle. We have more tricks up our sleeve, so stay tuned because we are turning up the heat.

Ja Mata,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

365 Project - Day 12

Day 12

This image has been in my head for a few days now, and I, with the help of my awesome wife Perla, got it! Unfortunately, Sara is already sleeping, so I edited the image in Pixlr, a cool online Photoshop like image editing browser interface. For basic editing is works wonders letting you edit layers, blending modes, styles, filters and much more. If you are in a pinch and cannot get to Lightroom or Photoshop, this application will do.

Ok here's the geeky stuff, originally, I was using a speedlite [flash] set at 1/64 power zoomed to 105mm to give a video light look, a technique that I learned on the DWF Blog and at one point was very satisfied with the outcome. But while I was manually focusing one last time and Perla was holding a small LED light above the cookie, she suggested I see how that looked as an image. It's looked Amazing! The Light was too nice, plus we were already excited because when we opened the fortune cookie 'Succeed' was the first words we saw...

So, For Day 12,whether you're a photographer, sales person, selling soap, small business owner, CEO, Wife, Husband, Student, or that guy scrubbing toilets for minimum wage, This Post is for You! Succeed and apparently 13,15,22 are your lucky numbers. Make everyday your 100% best, you will be noticed, hard work never goes unnoticed. Feel like getting a little pat on the back? Post a comment about something you accomplished this week. Let the world know...or at least those following our journey.

Ja Mata,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

365 Project - Day 11

Day 11

As I got a few emails to show "Golden" Goldenrod you have the image above, without any color fade. :) The Goldenrod is growing like crazy around here, funny I didn't really pay it too much attention until this past two weeks. Sometimes stopping and looking at what is around you will help change your perspective, you may notice something that you otherwise overlooked.

When I started really getting an interest in shooting nature photography I used to say there "Is nothing to shoot in Ohio" while looking through magazines with the most stunning images from New Mexico, Colorado, Upstate New York, Texas, Nevada, and countless other cool locations. It wasn't until I was in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that I realized there were amazing locations to photograph here as well, I even saw Blue Herons and could only think to myself "How come I never noticed them before?" Simple, I wasn't observing the world around me, I was ignoring it. Thank you Camera for the wake up call!

Ja Mata,


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

365 Project - Day 10

Day 10!

Being that we are now in the double digits, I thought I'd change it up a bit and start off with the image. Ok, I like water and reflections a lot, what I like most is using them in unusual places, like the parking lot of a mall. What works for me is how the reflection leads you into the building, and the reflected sign in the puddle is a bolder red due to the angle. Getting this shot took a little patience as people were leaving and entering the mall, cars were passing in front of the building, and around me. Water reflections are not just for lakes next to trees anymore, next time after it rains, go out with your camera, get down low next to a puddle, and see what cool reflection you may find. *If you don't find a good reflection then you have to jump in the puddle, it's the rules.

One last thing, if your nervous about shooting public...don't be! It's always fun, the looks I get from people, how they ask each other "What is he taking a picture of?", "do you think he works for the Newspaper?", and the ever famous tip "You're going to need a flash for that!" It's always just loud enough to hear. That never bothers me, if I can get their attention I will tell them what I'm doing, and sometimes [like on Day 8] I get a cool image out of it.

Ja Mata,

**Japanese word for today. Mizu = Water [mee-zu]

Monday, September 21, 2009

365 Project - Day 9

"Have patience young grasshopper, this project is conditioning you to see order in chaos."

Today, we have arrived at Day 9, Ku-Nichi for those keeping track in Japanese [Ohayo Minna-san, daijobu?].

One thing I love about fall in Northeast, Ohio is all the vibrant colors that blanket the trees and fields. Bright reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, but you have to capture them quickly because they can be gone in a second. I was actually looking at this field of Goldenrod all morning at my day job, trying to think of the type of image I wanted to come away with.

After work, I grabbed my gear, and walked around the field for a few minutes looking for patterns, lines, and eying different compositions. What caught my eye was the amount of grasshoppers there, easily 20+ jumping around and on the Goldenrod where I was standing. While framing up the shot below, all I could think about was a movie I used to watch called The Last Dragon, the lead actor always had some Confucius-type quotes to say. Anyway, incorporating the grasshopper adds another element to the scene without taking away from the overall composition and feel for me.

Tip of the day: Get as close as you need to, when working with insects, without scaring them away then use your zoom to crop in-camera. A long Zoom lens will let you stay back a bit giving you room to work, this also works at wedding receptions. If using you're Tripod mind the legs, you maybe touching the plant you're shooting and a small shift can be enough to send a grasshopper 10' behind you. What fun!

Ja Mata,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

365 Project - Day 8

"CupCake!" Yes I said, CupCake! Day 8, at Starbucks getting an expensive iced tea (not a coffee drinker) and in walks 'Jefi' [pronounced jef-ee] lead vocalist for a local heavy metal band named "CupCake". With his hair going wild and 3 lined goatee, the cool thing about him was that he turned heads as he walked through the sparsely populated coffee house, not only because he stood out, but because of his confidence and how comfortable he was in his own skin. Plus, Mega-coolness! I walked over, once he sat down with a cup o' joe, introduced myself, explained the project I was working on via my blog, and asked if he wouldn't mind me taking his picture for Day #8. Jefi agreed, so I grab my camera from the car and started looking around the shop to find a good place to shoot.

Luckly, the building was setup with a walkway to the back area that was lined with windows on one side, perfect side-lighting to get catchlights in the eyes. Jefi and I took a few images (you will see my favorite below), and chatted a little more about our similar taste in music. It's always cool to meet musicians, makes me want to get back into writing and performing. Going to have to check out one of his shows in the near future.

CupCake is a new band, so they don't have a website yet, but I gave Jefi my email address and when they launch one, I will do another post linking to the site.

Until then here is Jefi!

Jefi, Thanks man & Good Luck!

Ja Mata,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

365 Project - Day 7

Adding a little spice for day #7 with a some pepper action. For this shot I used cross lighting to get the shadows and then a little post-production work to add emphasis to them. When I began my interest in photography many years back and started reading photography books to learn the craft and for inspiration, I saw Edward Weston's "Pepper #30" and I've always wanted to give my take on that famous image one day. While this is not my take on it yet, playing with the lighting, angles, and positions did spark my motivation to start looking around the produce section of the grocery store for bell peppers to give it a shot in the future. But for today you have "Brian Palmer's Pepper no.1", Now that has a nice ring to it, Thanks 365!

Ja Mata,

Monday, September 14, 2009

365 Project - Day 6

Awwww Six! :) Yes Day 6 out and about with the fam and saw some dried up flowers mixed in with live ones, might have to revisit this one in the future because I have a few ideas on different way to shoot it. Shooting in the park reminded me of when I started photography, back in my nature days.
I'm a huge fan of nature photography, unfortunately, I have to be a huge fan of Benadryl because of allergies. Picture this: in the field getting ready to take a ridiculously close shot of a Blue Heron. You've been waiting for the bird to be in the right spot, with the right composition, and the right light. Getting ready to shoot and then "AAAAACHOO!" Yup I sneezed and the Heron flew away. I started using Benadryl to curb the sneezing but it made me a little drowsy, I remember once I almost fell asleep waiting for sun to come up on a landscape shot. In time, I was able to figure out the right amount and when to take the Benadryl, so that I was cool to shoot. ;) Fun Stuff!


Ja mata,


Saturday, September 12, 2009

365 Project - Day 5

Up early this morning getting Sara ready to hit the park with her bike. She's sitting on the couch and the light from outside is just crazy nice bleeding through the shades. Decided to knock out a few images there, turned the couch to get some side lighting on Sara's face, positioned her on the couch (she is 2½ so there isn't much positioning), and she runs off saying "No, no, no, no!" Plan B - Get someone who cannot run away....

Thanks Teddy!

While flash/strobes are awesome tools to create filling and dramatic light, you also have to take advantage of natural light as well when it looks this good.

Always have a plan B!

She did come back to the couch!

Ja Mata,

Friday, September 11, 2009

365 Project - Day 4

What a day! And that day is #4 in the 365 project.

I am a frequent reader of the Strobist blog where strobes and assignments enlighten all! :) There, I read a post titled, Teeny Tiny Halophiles, couple weeks back, I was intrigued by Mr. Hobby's macro setup and creativity of the shot, it stuck with me for today's picture Titled:
"My Esc" *Explained after the Image

Well all day I was thinking of what I would shoot for the blog today and had a killer headache. My idea was having an aspirin on a keyboard, sitting on (or by) the escape key. I used an unplugged keyboard sitting on an old opened laptop, was going to shoot on a laptop keyboard but wasn't long enough to get the look I wanted. Next I placed a piece of white cardboard at the far end of the keyboard to reflect some light back, then held the flash to the camera left level with the keyboard. Popped a couple shots off the check the light and see if the subject placement worked for me. It was 'Ok', ended up moving the pill to stand up against the ESC key since I was already side shooting it. Also, the image was a little brighter than I wanted, next I took a piece of printer paper and folded it into a triangle and place it between the flash & keyboard to diffuse the light a little and dropped the power on the flash. I was getting close to what I envisioned, just wanted to get a little rim light so I held a white envelope above and slightly to the back of the pill. The results are the image above.

*An aspirin was taking during the process so I didn't have to work with a headache.

Ja Mata,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Project 365 - Day 3

It's Day 3 (San Nichi), I'm going to start off with lesson learned on this one simply because it's a good lesson. Lesson: Corn stalks look shorter when you drive by them then they actually are when your standing next to them. For Real!

The use of step ladders, milk crates (they are not just for holding Vinyl!), and backing you car up into someones yard to stand on the trunk come in handy. *Although I do not promote the last option, I do, however, believe in it. So like Day 2, were getting low to the ground created an interesting perspective, getting up high can do the same. Just be careful how you do it!


Ja Mata,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Project 365 - Day 2

For day 2 I had my head in the clouds. I really like the simplicity and depth of this image. You have to look all around your subject and try every angle before you settle on what you want to shoot. Back in the day when I first started taking pictures, in the film days, I remember watching the John Shaw videos, he talked about several questions you should ask yourself before taking the picture:

1. What about the subject do I like?
2. What do I want the picture to invoke (emotion?)?
3. Why do I want to photograph this image?

Those were not verbatim, I'll have to look up the videos at the house now that I'm thinking about it. It's a good exercise to go through when your about to capture an image, the more you do this the faster it happens. Kind of like what Dane Sanders talked about in his presentation at Skip's Summer School. Getting off automatic, breaking up your normal day to day routine, listening to the conversation taking place it your the one that's happening right now in your head as you read this post. In my head I heard "look up" and then "Lay down and look up" a few settings and grass stains later this is what I came up with.

Who says you shouldn't listen to the voices in your head?! :)

Ja mata,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project 365 - Day 1

One Year.
365 Days.
8,760 Hours.
Lots of minutes and seconds!!

What is project 365? It is a project where I will take one photo a day and post it on my blog. Why a year? Why one photo?

1. Less than a year would change the project name.
2. This will make me be more selective of the image I want to show, which in
turn will make me think more about the end product before I take a picture.

Respect and props go out to Tasra @, she was challenged by Scott Bourne to “shoot 1 image a day for a year and improve her photography 300%” in addition, read one page in her camera manual , and view other professional photographers images every day too. Not only did Tasra take the challenge but she invited other photographers to follow and participate as well.

Next, I have to send a shout out to Zack Aries for giving me a push to get off of the ‘Dock’ , I started sailing, instead of watching other ships go by (Zack’s post on The Dock). He had a series of post that circled around a photographer B. who was frustrated with growth in photography and decided to email Zack. Zack posted the email on his blog and the was an out pouring of support for B. was HUGE, and kept building from there. For me, reading and commenting on B’s situation made me want to take a step in a different direction, do something out of the ordinary, and this is it!

Day 1 – I tried to be cool and do some crazy lighting, but the batteries in my pocket wizards were semi drained, no lighting tonight. Here is what I came up with:

1st Lesson (of the shoot): Always be prepared and think about the prep you need to do for every shot. I have a good excuse as to why I didn’t charge my batteries right after getting home from my previous shoot, but that’s all it is, an excuse.

2nd lesson: Test, test, test. Just because a pocket wizard can reach 1600 feet doesn’t mean it always will (refer back to the semi drained batteries), I couldn’t get the flash to pop 30 feet away.

3rd lesson: Improvise! The image above wasn’t what I set out to get, but with the light fading quick, running back and forth to set up the lights, and other technical difficulties, I changed my direction to still produced an image that I am proud of.

Stay tuned for tomorrow!

Ja Mata,