Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a sulking walk

A couple weeks ago, I came home from work "grumpy and throwing a temer tantrum"...acording to my wife.  I was promptly sent out to walk arround with my camera.  I tried to campture a little of my mood.

Monday, March 28, 2011

longing for spring

Sarah got some flowers the other day, she says it was because they were on sale but I see her eying them with longing that can only mean she is thinking of moist soil and things that grow...cabin fever is setting in here in the doesn't help that we got a nice 50 degree day 2 weekends ago only to have freezing rain this last weekend and 15 degrees this morning.  sheesh

Friday, March 25, 2011

anna's b-day

Birtdays seam like they are so much more fun when you are turning 4.  Thanks for celebrating a late birtday with us Anna.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

50 degrees and melting snow

Mike, Steve and I walked around Devils Lake over the weekend in the excise to create some “Outdoor Lifestyle” photos (see those here) but we also had fun with gathering other ‘normal’ images too. It is a little funny that these look so similar to some of the other treks at Devils Lake. (here and here) I think I need to spice up the way I see this place, there has got to be more than this amazing precipice to photograph, right? Anyway, it was an exhilarating hike up that mountain and an amazing feeling to be hiking in 50 degree weather when there is still a little snow on the ground. It felt great to laugh at the diminishing signs of winter; I am really looking forward to spring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

mock 'product shoot'

I asked Steve and Mike if they wanted to go up to Devils Lake over the weekend because I just needed to get out...but Steve had other ideas; he wanted to create some "outdoor lifestyle product shots" similar to what you may find in an REI catalog or in a Trail Running magazine. (I secretly look at the photography in such publications just as much as the gear...and I have wanted to do something like this for a didn't take much convincing.) So that’s what we did, we went for a hike with our cameras and stopped at intervals where we thought great 'athletic lifestyle' photos could be made. We even took flash gear, and since this is a little bigger than the normal minimalist gear I now take on hikes, it presented some challenges in carrying a light stand up the mountain.

The first 3 are my attempts to use that light gear, filling in the shadows with a flash at about 90 degrees to the subject. I have done many outside portraits with off-camera-flash, but never like this so i was playing with flash location just as much as composition. Curious that the subject was always Steve, but he was more than willing to try out his new trail shoes and micro wool clothing.

Below is a setup shot without the flash to show just how much it is doing.  I was hoping that the above shots would not look like flash was used.  I learned that placement and not just power settings are key to this.

To set up each shot, I had Steve stand where I thought the best composition was and check exposure and flash settings, then had him run through the scene and I waited until he was in the ‘sweet spot’ to fire.  I only had one chance at each pass so I had to make sure focus and timing for for the 'sweet spot' and timing for peak action we right.

More fun "product shots" as we walked around too:

Friday, March 18, 2011

airplane travel

I have been traveling almost nonstop since the beginning of the year. Some of that travel has been by car, others (especially more recently) has been by plane. I used to love flying, but I think I have changed my mind lately because of the scramble and squeezing that is involved with air travel now. I do not know how stewards and stewardesses deal with it all; especially the travelers that think their oversized roller will fit in the already stuffed overhead compartment. I am glad that I am done traveling…well for now, there are rumors of more late in the month.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

new composition

When I was at the South West Photo Journalist Conference a couple weekends ago (see that post here) I was encouraged to push myself in my photography. My portfolio reviews were a little disappointing because nothing "concrete" came of them; I found that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I could be doing so much more. One way is to really jump into my photos, allow myself to almost be part of them, get into the fray and play with my subject in a way that created depth in the photo. This last weekend I did just that at the Wisconsin protests, below was one of the first images I took and my favorite…mostly because I jumped into it from the beginning. I saw these guys mocking government up on a big flat bed truck, most people stopped to take photos but stayed down on the ground, but I decided to jump in the truck with them. If you look at more of the photos (here) you may see that I did this more than once; when I climbed into a semi-truck, or jumped onto one of the tractors...always with permission of course.

[note to self: next time bring a note pad to take down peoples names and contact info. Also your monopod so that you can raise your camera up above the crowd.]

Monday, March 14, 2011

my photo take on the Wisconsin protests

As many people know, Wisconsin’s State Capitol is under crazy protests right now over the Governors budget solutions. (If you want to know more about that I bet you can find that for yourself somewhere else.)  For me, I finally went down and take some photos. It is a great visual experience and not like the “rioting” reports that some people in other parts of the country fear. Only Wisconsin knows how to protest with a farmer’s tractor parade complete with dressed up cows. “Only in Wisconsin,” I caught myself saying more than once.

Friday, March 11, 2011

it's still winter you know

We were greeted the other morning with 4 inches of heavy snow, despite the weather man's predictions of occasional flurries.  I guess Winter wanted to remind us that we are still on its time, even though it has been warming up to a balmy 33 degrees, thats shorts and a light jacket weather here in Wisconsin.