Monday, December 28, 2009

Hold the Phone...

A lot of people have been talking about how they are ready for 2009 to be over, and I could not agree more. 2009 has been a heckuva year for everyone as far as I can tell. Between Allergies, spider bites, and some other some super wild situations that you couldn't think up no matter how many drugs you'd taken; I'm definitely ready for the greener grass in 2010. To commemorate the leaving of this outstandingly bleak 2009 for the bright new year to come, I've looked to Chase Jarvis for inspiration.

Chase released an iPhone app earlier this year named, "The Best Cam". It's short for the name of the book that goes with it, which is subsequently named; "The Best Camera is the one that you have with you". I don't own an iPhone, but I am a firm believer in this and I take several photos a day with my Palm Cellular phone. I can't edit the photos in my phone so my photos are bound to be not as nifty or stylized as Chase's, but I suppose that these just fall into my mentality where I like to retouch my photos as little as possible to get what I like. Either way, Here are some of my favorite cell phone pics from 2009. The Camera's not the best, but neither are the pictures so it all fits perfectly with 2009. Either way I hope you enjoy seeing little bits of life through the eye of my phone right before the grass gets a little greaner on the other side. More soon.

(Titles are underneith.)

Passing Home.

Keep Chlled

Scaredy Cat









Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a Smashing Holiday...

Whether you are waiting as eagerly for 2009 to end as I am or not, I bid you a Happy Holidays. It's been quite a year, and over the next week I have a few neat ideas for the blog so stay tuned. Until then, enjoy time with your families, uncooked cookie dough, pets, snow, or whatever it is you may be doing during this time. Whatever it may be; I wish you well. Have a Smashing Holiday. More Soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Help-Portrait Success!!

On Saturday December 19th I was asked to be included in a very special group of individuals who would be shooting photos in the Help-Portrait project at the Salvation Army Battered Womens Shelter here in Indianapolis. Great Project, Great Idea, Great people! I made some wonderful new friends, valuable coleagues, and made a whole lot more people's Holiday's just that much brighter. Not like studio strobes brighter, or hot lights brighter; but awesomeness kind of brighter. The kind of brighter that is hard to find, and even harder to find people to give.

(Photo by Josh Hollandsworth)

Back row from left to right: Brian Logan, Jeremiah Laughner, Carl Frye, Joseph Lee, Alan Brockman, Josh Hollandsworth.

Middle(ish): Me, Katie Moon

Front Row: Mitzi Wilson, Stacy Able, Amy Brucker Castillo

I've done my best to hunt out websites here, but didn't get them all. If you know one that I missed leave it in the comments and I'll link it up. There were videos taken, photos taken, behind the scenes stuff, jokes, laughter, bagels and possibly the strict orders to stay in my corner of the photo room because the other photographers didn't want to have to chase me playing in traffic...again. I'll link up the behind the scenes stuff when it makes it to me.

Katie Moon was the one who put all this together, special thanks back to her for taking the time to make this all happen the way it did. It definitely wouldn't have happened without her. Katie really blew me away with how passionate she was for this project. She very obviously lived for what was happening on Saturday, and that's a rare thing to see in people. Also later that night she sat in bar and nerded out on photo stuff with me for some undetermined amount of really long time. That's a super rare thing too. Because of Katie and the work of the rest of the people she found to help her organize this event there are over 100 people that are having a much brighter Holiday this year. Thanks again to Katie and the team for inviting me to help out with this. It was a truely great event, and I can only hope that it is continued for years to come. More soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'd Like to thank...

Milling around on the tubes of the internets earlier today I was looking at some photography blogs and I came across website that ranks photography blogs online. For kicks and giggles I searched the page for mine to see if I'd even made in into the plethora of other blogs they had listed, and to my amazement I not only did make it into one of a the many categories; but I beat out a website that I both read and recommend to people daily. Strobist.

The full list of blogs can be found here. The irony on this is that I can in no way compare myself to most of the websites on this list, and for all I know my blog might have more viewers than the list itself does; but either way it's pretty cool. The numbers that I mention as for readership on this blog may be slightly skewed, but I can tell you for sure that I am nowhere close to the 72,000+ RSS Subscribers that strobist has; much less the photographic content or Grammatical quality. If you look past all of those things though, than apparently I've got more Pages per visit.

I think that means how many pages someone looks at an average when they look at this blog. So really whomever does read this will tend to find something of interest; which is super flattering folks. I already know there are people out there that read this that I don't know, like the ladies up at the Carmel Portrait Innovations for example. I don't know you ladies, but I've been told my an ex employee/friend of yours that you read my blog; and I greatly appreciate it. Honestly I only hope that I can continue to find content of interest to write about in my quest to make something out of this somewhat lucrative profession that I have chosen.

Regardless I'd like to thank the people that do read this, and continue to read it. The readership slowly has been climbing which makes me not only feel good, but want to become a much much better photographer, and even writer. This is an incredibly minor thing to get excited about, and that's not even an insignificant enough way to put it. There are hundreds of blogs listed on the rating page, I was just blessed to be on one small part of it. I guess this just means that I definitely have to keep writing here, because it seems to be confirmed that people DO actually visit my corner of the interents. Thanks again everyone, Happy Holidays, and now more than ever: more soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

TV Superdude...

Every now and then as a photographer it seems you are given the task of making something that seems mundane or uninteresting; out to be interesting. Not that I want to say that there are people out there doing jobs that are flat out uninteresting, however if you'd asked me how exciting a job being a TV repairman would be I'd have told you probably not very. Despite that fact, as a article I was asked to go and shoot photos at a TV repair company to go along with a story about getting things repaired as opposed to buying new, and really I learned a lot more than I had expected to.

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@16, 1/20th@F5.6. Single 580EX set to 1/16th power behind Jim the TV superdude fired by pocketwizard. Single 580EX speedlight set to 1/8th power bounced out of a 12" umbrella to camera left.)

Turns out this place known as ITZ Electronics in East Washington street can repair any kind of television ever created. They have parts for televisions from 1 day old to 20 years old, as well as the components to test them out. Have a broken 60"TV that you want fixed? They will send someone to your house, remove what they think is broken and take it to the shop to get it tested. Why do it like that? hOly cOw that's so much easier than trying to carry the TV. What about the picture of the TV? There are mirrors hanging all over this place so that when they work on the back of the TV, they can see the front to know if what they had done actually fixes it or not. It's Wild!

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon 100MMF2.8Macro, 1/60th@F4. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/4th power bounced out of a 12" umbrella to camera right, slightly above shoering down on Jim the TV Sueprdude)

Every station had one of the magnifying scopes as shown in the mirror from above. Most of the TV's that they work on are the newer Plasma and LCD tv's according to what they said. Apparently the older Tube TV's are much more reliable which I suppose made sense in my mind, but I had never considered. With Today's TV's the components are super expensive individually, where as older Tube TV's are like tanks. Break a memory controller out of a New TV and it's a few hundred bucks to replace because the manufacturers buy them in bulk. Ordering just one means you might as well just get a new TV....

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 16-35mmF2.8L@23mm. 1/40th@F6.3. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/64th power zoomed to 105mm shot bare blub onto the circuit board fired by Pocket Wizard. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/16th power bare bulb to camera right to illuminate Jim's Face)

I never realized how interesting something as simple as TV repair could be quite frankly. This guy might as well be superman in his world, and he deserves it as well. In today's day in age people have trouble living without television. Frankly I get all of 5 channels, and use my television to watch movies or for background noise while I'm photoshopping things to look pretty much like they look in real life before my feeble attempt to photograph them. Either way, this dude does perform an important task in this world that we live in. I'm not only glad I was there to check it out, but to show it to everybody else. More Soon.

(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, ISO 250 Cano 16-35mmF2.8L@16mm, 1/30th@F5.6. Single 580EX speedlight zoomed to 24mm set to half power behind Jim fired by pocket wizard. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/4th power bounced in a 12" silver umbrella to Jim's right in a gap between the TV's.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Firefighters: June 2010

SO I suppose if I'm going to talk about a few months out of the Roller Derby Calendar I should start with the very first shoot done right? Ok maybe not,but this one required the least amount of work to be able to display on here with any piece of mind at all.
(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@28mm. 1/80th@F10. The lights in back are Dynalight 400JR's set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizard. Joanie is lit by a single Dynalight 400JR fired by pocket wizard set to 1/8th power through a 24"x24" softbox, and the open garage door on a nice sunny afternoon.)

That's Joanie Gouge and yes she is actually a firefighter. In fact she is the reason we had access to 'The Belle' which I believe was the name for the firetruck. Heck I'm lucky to remember to eat lunch some days, so I guess we'll just have to hope for the best on that one. Either way, people tend to think that you always go into a shoot with something set in your mind as to exactly how you want it. You usually always do, but you don't always get what you want; especially if you haven't seen the location before you get there..... The shot above was an outtake of the 'Firefighter' Shoot for the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar. We shot individuals of the girls at this shoot because at that point we were still pretty ambitious. I'll say one thing though, Joanie there looks like a force to be reckoned with and on the Track; and she is.

(Nikon D3, 250ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-F4.5@24mm. 1/60th@F7.1. Two Dynalight 400JR's at 1/2 power as hair lights at each corner behind the girls, another two dynalight 400JR's set up behind left and right camera set to 1/4th power shot through umbrella's)

We did quite a few things with the truck, and I praise the lord I didn't break it while I was there. I stood on the hood for this shot, and whoa baby talk about nervous. Next thing I know I'd have fallen straight through the engine and would be running for the coast of never to be seen again with several firefighters in pursuit. Luckily, nothing happened. They even let us play with the firehouse actually....

(Photo by Tom Klubens)

Unfortunately the best of my final shots ended up being Vertical which doesn't exactly work with the format of the calendar....

(Nikon D3, 800ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-F4.5@18mm. 1/1000th@F4. Nikon SB-900 Speedlight to camera right to fill the girls at iTTL+1EV, Single SB-800 Speedlight behind the girls as a hair light set to iTTL 0EV, Single SB-800 Speedlight set to iTTL+2EV to the left of the girls in a hallway to give som hilight to the water. Speedlights fired by SU-800 Commander unit attached to hot shoe on camera.)

Really though it was a fun shoot to do, especially when Joanie asked if she thought we should play with the firehose. Yup, I turned back into a 5 year old (visually, I'm mentally 5 all the time). The risk to self and equipment was 127% worth the risk of being hosed for the shot above. I was pleased with the overall outcome of the shoot because these girls looked HOT, which was totally the idea. Oh and I mentioned ideas when going into a shoot? The idea for this one was to have one of the girls dressed like some sort of super pyro, with her hands on fire and such. That didn't exactly work out for us, but here was one of the shots that was to be photoshopped as such. I tried to throw some fire on there, and could never get it to look right......

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@56mm. 1/125th@F8. Single dynalight 400JR to camera right through a 60" umbrella set to 1/2 power fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR to camera left set to 1/4th power shot through a 42" Umbrella fired by Pocket Wizard. Single Dynalight 400JR shot directly at the concrete behind the truck set to Full Power. Bare Bulb fired by Pocket Wizard)

In the end the final shot chosen was one I was happy with. I'd like to thank Jason Pittman, Tom Klubens, Michelle Pemberton and the entire Pike Fire Department for helping this month come together. Without everyone's time, cooperation and skills this wouldn't have gotten us started on what turned out to be as daunting of a project as it always is. I will be pulling more and more photos aside as I go though. Check for things to be posted on the blog, as well as on my newer facebook page in the soon to be coming Behind the Scenes Gallery. Thanks again folks, and as usual; More Soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Short Attention Spans......

One of the funny parts about photography is that you never know what you will end up having to work on next. Some projects come into play just like David Hasselhoff does; OUT OF FREAKIN NOWHERE!. I've posted here in the past about working with the Bob Rohrman Auto Group on the 'Rollin with Gunner' video series on This weeks Rollin with Gunner deals with wanting to play golf during the winter, for which the only solution is obviously to hit glass Christmas ornaments with golf clubs....

(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 100mmUSMF2.8Macro, 1/250th@F10. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizard to camera left zoomed to 105mm. Club Swung by Gunner)

That was a still photo that I took while shooting the Rollin With Gunner for this week. The problem is that I didn't have an off camera Cable to use with my canon equipment to achieve faster than a 1/250th of a second sync speed with the flash. That's important because that golf club is moving hella fast, which is why even though I have a flash, and I nailed the club in a single shot; The club and shattering are blurry.

On any normal Wednesday night, I stop in to work at Ultrasun USA, for whom I shoot online, and print photos for outside of the newspaper. It's all non, newspaper glossy magazine, web, and brochure type stuff so there's no direct competition there. Anyway, my good friend Brad is the one who is in charge of the work that I do there and I was telling him about what I was doing at work with Gunner. I showed him the Gunner video that I had finished earlier that day and he was not only excited but he wanted to try it. I'm sure anyone who has read this blog before has heard me mention Brad, and how if there is trouble to be had; he's there with me. He's the friend where if I decided I was going to hell; he'd yell shotgun. (For the record I believe he has in fact already called that seat on the bus I'm taking). He wrote up a real nice piece on his blog about working on photoshoots with me not too long ago too, and I am still super flattered by it. Check it out here. Anyway, Brad decided that we didn't need to shoot what we were supposed to shoot tonight, and we went and bought around a hundred glass Christmas ornaments instead....

(photo by Brock Bruner)

I wasn't totally prepared to shoot high speed action like this tonight, and I'll probably be pulling glass out of my hair, arms and jacket for the next week or so; but really it was all worth it as some of the shots are completely priceless. Brad's the kind of guy that can never have enough gadgets either, so we definitely had an HD video camera inside of a plastic box right in the line of fire to make sure that nothing was missed.

(HD Video Grab from a Sanyo VPCHD-1010)

In the end the intention was to get the club smashing the glass ornament all to snot in frame, which is not as easy as you would imagine. If I could redo it I'd have bought about 20 feet worth of USB cables to tether my camera to my notebook to be out of the line of shrapnel, but in the end we both ended up un-injured; save a few minor eye, and artery injuries.... This was also a great opportunity to play with the Nikon High Speed TTL Sync on the Speedlights too.

(Nikon D3, 2500ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro, 1/8000th@F11. SB-900 Speedlight to camera right behind the ball set to 200mm +1EV iTTL, SB-900 Speedlight set to +1 EV iTTL to camera left with the Green Gel supplied with the unit, SB-800 zoomed to 105mm, on a stand above the camera shot through a 42" Translucent Disk for Fill set to +1 iTTL. All Speedlights fired by a SU-800 Unit attached to the camera by an SC-80 Off camera Sync Cord and posted on top of a stand about 5 feet above, and behind the camera. Club Swung by Brad Clampitt)

I have a feeling that'll end up being my Christmas card this year, but we'll see what happens over the next week. You just never know. Speaking of never knowing, I think the best shot of the shoot was the shot that was only taken 1 time. This shot was taken on a whim, as I adjusted 1 speedlight to to punch Brad's face. I told him to swing only fired this one frame. Sometimes the more you do something; the luckier you get. More Soon.

(Nikon D3, 2500ISO, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-F4.5@18mm, 1/8000th@F11. SB-900 Speedlight to camera right behind the ball set to 200mm +1EV iTTL, SB-900 Speedlight set to +1 EV iTTL to camera left with the Green Gel supplied with the unit, SB-800 zoomed to 105mm, on a stand above the camera shot through a 42" Translucent Disk for Fill set to +1 iTTL. All Speedlights fired by a SU-800 Unit attached to the camera by an SC-28 Off camera Sync Cord and posted on top of a stand about 5 feet above, and behind the camera.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Third Time's a Charm"...

Some of the best things in life are the hardest things to do. Asking for a date, making new friends, confronting someone about a problem of some sort or another, chasing your dreams........ect. I give a lot of credit to people that are willing to look things face to face, hold their ground and do what they need to do. For the last several months I've been working on the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar, and more than enough times I remember thinking to myself that it wasn't going to get done, or that I was going to mess it up somehow. Sure enough though, after several nights of lost sleep, coordinating with 45 individual girls, makeup artists, other photographers and delivering products to an art director; it's done, and it looks good.

(Nikon D700, 2000ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F4)

This project did not come without its hardships before, during and after completion. The hardest thing I've had to do in a while was look three of my friends in the eyes and tell them that the shoot they had for the calendar wasn't going to make it in the final product. I've had to deliver bad news before, but when it's your friends it's the hardest; especially seeing how the girls and the fans react to the product that we produce for them.

(Nikon D700, 1100ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F2.8)

Face to face may be the most difficult way to do something, however I believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to be looked in the eye and told the truth. I can't say that I always do that, not by any stretch; but everybody seems to handle things differently. In today's day in age people like to rely on the phone, email, or text messaging to deliver communications to people that they either have a problem with or who may mean the most to them. I was recently stopped to talk by an old friend who appeared to walk out on a business deal we had almost two years ago. At the time I was disappointed that she had disappeared on me and I had considered it a bad business practice; but she stopped and talked with me face to face tonight about it. That alone to me means more than the fact that she wants to make good with me over our original contract from way back when. People don't often do that anymore, and for that I thanked her, and thank her again even now. Everybody reacts to situations differently. Some people disappear completely to never be heard from again. Some people brush things under the carpet in fear for a short timer before dealing with them; sometimes to only make things worse. I've had kind of a lot of those kinds of people in 2009. I can't say I haven't brushed things under the rug, or that I haven't avoided things even. Very few people will stand up and admit fault, or do what is right; and those people are the gems in today's world.

(Nikon D700, 1600ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F4)

These photos show the work that never ends. The calendar is being officially launched on December 10th at the NRG toy Drive at Spencers Tavern in Downtown Indianapolis. Girls will be on hand to sign calendars, and collect toys for 'Toys for Tots' which is our December Charity. Sooner or later there will be prints for sale too, but one step at a time. The photos in this blog are everyone preparing the 200 calendars for our season ticket holders as their packages include a signed calendar for that year. It was a frantic time, trying to get all the girls to go through the rows of calendars, but they all did it.

(Nikon D700, 900ISO, Nikon 60mmF2.8Nano Macro 1/50th@F2.8. Original photo by Michelle Pemberton)

The calendar is a compilation of concepts and photos from some incredibly talented people. Tom Klubens, Michael Guio, Michelle Pemberton, Megan Gill, Nikki Sutton, Polina Osherov, and Jason Pittman. Everyone did some fantastic work on this project and I have to extend an extra thanks for all the work they put in helping schedule girls, themselves, and make every arrangement necessary to get this Calendar done; it looks outstanding. More Soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shooting 'An American Shootout'.....

So if you've read the blog in the last month or so you should remember this post where I talked at one point about shooting for a band named 'Youthguard'. Well, one of the guys who was there to assist the whole time was a member of another band named, 'An American Shootout'; or AAS for short. I hadn't heard of them at the time, but apparently they have been on National Tours twice; one you may have heard of being named The Warped Tour. He was working on some neat video stuff for the youthguard shoot that I'm still excited about the prospect of seeing very soon. But that's beside the point. He came to me not long after I shot 'Youthguard' and we started negotiations for the shooting of their band. Zach was his name, and he told me he was impressed with how the files I shot looked coming straight out of camera before they were being worked on; which I've got to say is a heckuva compliment and I thank him once again for that. My main goal is always to get a file that is as close to as I want it to start with, so that the post is as easy as I can make it on myself; or in this case someone else. I'm kind of the old school mentality where; if it takes 2 seconds to do it now and 2 hours to do it later............holy cow we are going to do it now. So we came to an agreement, he sent me some samples and away we went.......

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@45mm, 1/60th@F4. Single SB-900 on a 8 foot paint pole with a 42" wescott umbrella hoisted above the band to the left held by my assistant Brad set to iTTL -0.7EV fired by Nikon SU-800 Commander Unit from on camera. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions)

That was one of the first shots that we did. The band was looking for something DARK, moody, gritty and such. The location was in front of the old abandoned hospital here in Downtown Indianapolis at the corners of Fall Creek, and Illinois Streets. Apparently there is a sign posted that says it's a $500,000 fine for trespassing. I want to thank the Police officer who pointed that out once again for informing us of that fact, and letting us finish as quickly as we could. I'd like to think that nitty gritty attidues that we had are what made him decide to allow us to finish, but it was more likely the tears forming in all of our eyes thinking about that $500,000 fine for stepping foot on the wrong piece of pavement that night that really did it. When we were done there, we moved onto Mass Ave downtown.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@30mm, 1/40th@F7.1. Single Nikon SB-900 FLash unit zoomed to 200mm on the ground behind left of the band with the Green Florescent gel set to iTTL Group A -0.3EV aimed at the Left Sculpture. Single SB-800 Above the band from the left with an 8 foot Paint pole by my assistant brad with a 42" Wescott Umbrella set to iTTL Group C. Single SB-900 Speedlight zoomed to 200mm on the ground behind the band camera right with the green Florescent gel attached set to iTTL Group B -2.0EV. All speedlights triggered by an on camera SU-800 Commander Unit. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions)

I was really pleased with how these turned out as these shots look almost straight out of camera, making very little work for Blue Tide Productions who was doing the editing. I'm sure that is what Zach had been looking for, and from my understanding he is very pleased with how they turned out, which makes me very pleased as well. Hopefully Blue Tide and I will be able to hook up on future projects if that was the case.

Despite the 'hardcore' nature of AAS's music, the guys were all super super nice; albeit a little cold at 9pm on a late November Saturday. Not that I expected them not to be nice, but you never know. I'd easily work with them again without much thought on future projects.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 28-70mmF2.8@62mm 1/40th@F7.1. Nikon SB-900 Set to iTTL -2EV zoomed to 70mm Aimed directly into the base of the sculpture to camera left. Single SB800 hoised above Zach's right by Brad on a 8 Foot paint pole through a 42" umbrella set to iTTL. Post Processing by Blue Tide Productions.)

I enjoy shooting bands like this, it gives them personality and it gives the band a chance to portray whatever image that they want. I dig it. There has also been some hinting about my working on another music video. Would be a Rock Video this time instead of Country, but that's still a long ways from being decided so Stay tuned. Speaking of portraying images though; the 2010 Roller Derby calendar is going to be available as of Saturday at the Bout in the Pepsi Coleseum. Check HERE for more information. After it's launched fully I'll probably have an entry or two talking about a few of the shoots. If there are any derby fans that read my blog regularly that are photo nuts like I am, I'm sure there will be a few questions regarding the lighting on some of those. Until then. More soon.