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Hamilton High School Senior Portrait Chandler Arizona

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I Love New York

The New York workshop was great. We were completely packed. It was fun. Thanks to everyone. It was good to meet you all. Now it’s time for Philadelphia, the Washington.

Boston Was Great, New York Tomorrow, Philadelphia, then Washington!

Boston was sold out and packed! Only three seats left in New York. I opened up another two seats in Philadelphia and we’re getting tight in Washington DC and Atlanta. Things are going great. Can’t wait to meet the rest of you in the next week. If you are thinking about booking a seat, do it now. See you soon.

Fun Portraits in Gilbert, Arizona

We shot Sarah and Macey’s portraits in downtown Gilbert, AZ. They are great friends, so we were able to get individual portraits as well as some cool shots of them together. They are not high school seniors yet, but who says you have to be a high school senior to get some cool portraits done?

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the portrait session:

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The wind was picking up toward sunset, but rather than fight it, I went with it and it provided some added energy to the shots.

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Once night falls, street lights and off camera flash are the only way to go.  Here we are using the Canon 580EXII with a Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 TTL radio slave which allow us to send the advanced TTL exposure information to the flash via radio signals.

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I think this photo sums up Sarah’s personality.

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San Francisco Streets at Night

Just a quick shot from last week in San Francisco. I was doing a workshop there at the liveBooks offices and was staying near by. I went out to explore the streets after dinner and found an interesting store, in front of which people were passing. I set up my G10 camera on a newspaper box and started photographing waiting for the right person to walk by. This is an example of contextual honesty. No matter who passed in front of the camera, this homeless man was the perfect representative of the people who populate the streets around my hotel. After all, I am a documentary photographer. I attempt to tell the truth.

The streets of San Francisco late at night, when I should be sleeping.

The streets of San Francisco late at night, when I should be sleeping.

I’m Flying Once Again!

Well, I’m back on another plane and on my way to teach another Lightroom Workflow Workshop. This time, I’ll be in Seattle and Vancouver. Should be fun.

Sunset in the clouds at 30000 feet.

Sunset in the clouds at 30000 feet.

The San Francisco Lightroom Workshop is Sold Out

I am pleased that so many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to come to my Lightroom Workflow Workshop in San Francisco.  The workshop is SOLD OUT.  Should be a great crowd and everyone will walk away with a new way of looking at their images and their post production workflow.  If you are thinking about taking the workshop in a city near you, you need to sign up now, don’t be left out.

The San Francisco workshop is being hosted by liveBooks, my web portfolio creator.  They are hands down, the best in the business.  If you haven’t been to their web site, you need to go.  Not only do they make great web sites, they also have great learning resources for professional photographers including informative blog posts, webinars, video interviews and articles.  Don’t miss out.  Go to liveBooks and check it out.

A Fashion Shoot in the Farm Lands South of Phoenix, Arizona

I went out with Bill K., a previous student of mine to shoot some portraits of Tayler.  It was a fun morning and we got some nice shots.  The entire shoot was done south of Chandler, Arizona.  This area is filled with farmland and this month, we were fortunate enough to have a few fields of wheat.  When we decided to do the shoot, I knew we had to do it here because Tayler’s hair and skin tone are both perfect for the setting.

The Farmlands south of Phoenix, Arizona make a great backdrop for Tayler and her golden hair.

The Farmlands south of Phoenix, Arizona make a great backdrop for Tayler and her golden hair.

Tayler's golden hair reacts perfectly to the sun, but that powerful hair light can be challenging to avoid blowing out the highlights.

Tayler’s hair reacts perfectly to the sun, but that powerful hair light can be a challenge as well.  The last thing I want is a blown out highlight in that angel hair.

Eyes, lips, curls... nothing else mattered in this photograph.

Eyes, lips, curls… nothing else mattered in this photograph.

Just a quick thought about exposing in the harsh sunlight of Phoenix, Arizona. There is almost no place like Phoenix on the planet. The hot, dry desert climate tests your skills as a photographer.  On a cloudless day (which is the majority of our days) there is nothing to soften the light of the sun and without humidity, there is very little in the atmosphere to refract the light, so we in the desert, are challenged to find ways to equalize the light.  One of the simplest ways to remove the harsh shadows from the subject’s face is to turn them away from the sun’s light.  In the shadow of their own body, there are no harsh shadows.  Just the expansive soft light from the opposite side of the sky.  However, just turning the subject is not enough.  Without some additional light source, the shadow side of the model’s body would be extremely dark and by exposing for her face, I would have to completely over expose the background.  So I must expose for the background and then light the subject with either a flash or a reflector and since I would prefer not to blind her with a reflector, I chose a flash.  But on-camera flash would flatten out the face and body, so in order to avoid the obvious flashed look, I took the flash off camera with Pocket Wizard’s new TTL System.  By using the Pocket Wizard, I am able to allow the camera and flash to work together to determine the proper amount of flash (with some flash exposure compensation on my part -2/3) for the subject, while my only manual exposure concern is the background.  My assistant holds the flash off to my right at about a 45 degree angle to the model, which helps to give her more volume than we would have gotten from an obvious on camera fill flash.  Direct on camera flash is almost always the worst form of light one can use to light any subject.  Look for ways to get that flash off o f the camera, or avoid using it all together.

There aren’t any perfect Wireless TTL systems out there yet.  But I think that Pocket WIzard is the closest to getting it right.  We’ll see how things improve as time passes.

In this image, Tayler is backlit by a very hot and bright morning sun. Exposing for the background puts her in a very dark shadow, making the image unusable. But with the help of off camera TTL technology from Pocket Wizard, both she and the background are just right.

In this image, Tayler is backlit by a very hot and bright morning sun. Exposing for the background puts her in a very dark shadow, making the image unusable. But with the help of off camera TTL technology from Pocket Wizard, both she and the background are just right.

Being able to find a small country road in the middle of the sixth largest city in the US is one of the reasons I love Phoenix, Arizona. We have such a great variety of locations in this state, the possibilities are endless.

Being able to find a small country road in the middle of the sixth largest city in the US is one of the reasons I love Phoenix, Arizona. We have such a great variety of locations in this state, the possibilities are endless.

During the photo shoot, I am often looking those natural moments between the poses. This image is one of my favorites from the shoot.

During the photo shoot, I am often looking those natural moments between the poses. This image is one of my favorites from the shoot.

And sometimes, no matter how harsh the desert sun happens to be, soft light is still available in the subjects own shadow.

And sometimes, no matter how harsh the desert sun happens to be, soft light is still available in the subjects own shadow.

Im not sure what it says about me, but solitude attracts me to an image like nothing else does.

Im not sure what it says about me, but solitude attracts me to an image like nothing else does.

Portraits of Kevin Burdick – Piano Rock Star

It is an interesting thing to have talented friends.  I grew up around very talented people, but Kevin Burdick was one of the most talented and has always amazed me with his story telling and musical depth.  It is such a pleasure to work with him as his photographer.  Next project: a music video!

Lecturing at Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans

Great news!  I will be lecturing at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans this November.  The topic of my lecture is one of my favorite to give: The Photographer’s Eye.  I have given this lecture two times this year, one in Hong Kong and the other in Phoenix.  It is also the basis for an entire semester course I teach to college students.  It is an entertaining and inspiring lecture on the unique attributes of the photographer’s art form.  If you are coming to partner conference in New Orleans, come join me and get inspired.

There will be a lot of great speakers at the conference, including my friends: Dane SandersMelissa JillJay GoldmanJared Bauman, & Jeff & Erin Youngren.

Lecturing at Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans

Join me at Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans, November, 2009.