Alissa and Paul

Alissa and Paul, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Kentucky
Alissa and Paul married on September 8, 2012 at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Kentucky | Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 28mm | Exposed 1/200 sec. @ f/10, ISO 100 | Strobes fired with Phottix remote triggers

I returned on Sunday afternoon from photographing Alissa and Paul’s wedding at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.  One of the items on their “wish list” of photographs was a portrait that highlighted the industrial look and feel of the distillery.  Here, we photographed them adjacent to a warehouse, standing on the tracks used to roll barrels of aged bourbon to the bottling plant.

We used three lights for this portrait: the key was in an umbrella on camera left, with a fill held by my partner on camera right.  The yellow backwash for the brick was created with a flash behind the bride and groom (their wedding colors were yellow and orange.)  I think this light really helps to separate them from the wall behind them and gives the image more of a three-dimensional appearance.

More to come!

Katie at the Gardens

Katie at the Gardens
Katie at the Gardens, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham, N.C. | Canon 5D Mk. II and Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZE lens | Exposed 1/250 sec. @ f/3.2, ISO 100.

While testing the Zeiss 85mm two weeks ago, I ran into Katie at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and made a quick portrait.  While I’d really need to have them side-by-side to do a more thorough comparison, it seems that the Canon 85mm f/1.2L Mk. II has far superior bokeh, but that the Zeiss might actually be a sharper lens from f/2.8 and smaller–but the Canon would definitely win at the largest apertures.  Either way, the Zeiss has fantastic micro-contrast, good bokeh, and clearly has potential for portraits…so long as your subject understands that it will take a second to (manually) focus!

Like living on a working river

Dan Egan portrait
Capt. Dan Egan minds the rear of the boat as Steve Gray stands on point at the bow of the empty barge while they push it up the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on Illinois Marine Towing's "Albert C." on October 20, 2010 near Lemont, Ill. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 38mm | Exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/10, ISO 100 (flash @ -1/3 EV)

A few more frames from my day on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with Illinois Marine Towing.  I wanted a little “more” both from the portrait of Dan Egan and the image below, with Steve Gray growing in proportion from one frame to the next.  As for the third image, I can’t help but be drawn to photos of flowing water, although usually I try to make it silky, I enjoyed the way that the faster shutter speed froze the large droplets.

(Two more photos after the jump!) Continue reading “Like living on a working river”

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Calin Ilea diptych
Calin Ilea diptych - 3 October 2008, just after participating in the Missouri Photo Workshop in St. James, Mo., left, and 1 October 2010, on the second-to-last day of co-coordinating the Missouri Photo Workshop in Macon, Mo., right.

Today, a Romanian Fulbright student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism will defend his project to his committee to earn his M.A. in journalism.  When I met Calin Ilea two years, ago, I had no clue our friendship would change the way I approach photography.  He’s headed home on Thursday, but I can’t be in Missouri today to celebrate the (likely) completion of his project with him.  Are rain checks good in Romania, Calin?

Sources of Inspiration

Jeff Phelps, proprietor, Saints Rest Coffee House
Jeff Phelps, proprietor, Saints Rest Coffee House, Grinnell, Iowa | Canon 5D Mk. II and 85mm f/1.2L Mk. II lens | Exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/1.2, ISO 100.

Last weekend, I traveled from Missouri to Iowa to visit my Alma mater and some of the people who were crucially influential for the beginning of my career in photography.  (My dad is the most influential of all, but it was in college where I found people who urged me to take my photography in the direction that it has traveled since my graduation in 2006.)  When I return to campus next year both for my five-year reunion and to peddle the re-print of my book, I hope to use these images as the basis for a series of portraits of people who mean so much to me.

I’ll just have to make a note to myself to reserve the 85mm f/1.2L II from Canon Professional Services so that there will be some consistency among the images.  It may just be the most beautiful lens in Canon’s line-up. . .

Matthew Kluber in his office
Matthew Kluber, Assistant Professor of Art, in his office at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa | Canon 5D Mk. II and 85mm f/1.2L Mk. II lens | Exposed 1/200 sec. @ f/1.2, ISO 100.

Anne Geissinger
Anne Geissinger, freelance photographer and co-author, Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others, Grinnell, Iowa | Canon 5D Mk. II and 85mm f/1.2L MK. II lens | Exposed 1/800 sec. @ f/1.2, ISO 100.

Cutting Room Floor

I have finally had a chance to go over all of my images from the Tour de Missouri, as well as my other shoots from the week, and found three images that I thought were particularly interesting but were unpublished–they did not find their way into the Columbia Missourian, or my Blog, for that matter–until now!

Old Courthouse reflection, St. Louis, Mo.  Canon 5D II and 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 70mm; exposed 1/500 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 100
Old Courthouse reflection, St. Louis, Mo. Canon 5D II and 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 70mm; exposed 1/500 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 100

I saw this composition with the imperfect reflections of office buildings and the Old Court House as I was walking to the downtown Hilton to pick up my press credentials for the first stage of the Tour of Missouri.  This is cropped fairly heavily, so I do wish that I had switched lenses to the 70-200mm f/4 I L IS, but I was in a rush to get to the race before it started without me!

More after the jump!

Continue reading “Cutting Room Floor”

Some inspiration in slideshow format

I was watching some audio slideshows for a class assignment and found a few that might be of interest to viewers of this site.

Martin Schoeller and Steve Pyke are staff photographers for The New Yorker and have an interesting discussion about some of their portraits  that are being exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. through this fall:

I recognized some of Schoeller’s portraits from a different slideshow that was originally published on Media Storm.  He certainly has a distinct style.  Makes me want to go and make some strip lights………

Studio Lighting: Portrait of Jarrad Henderson

This past weekend I photographed Jarrad Henderson, a fellow photojournalism masters student at MU. It was a class assignment to make a portrait first with a single strobe, and then with multiple lights. That’s where the fun really began. The only problem is that I have two images that I like, so it’s hard to choose!
Ultimately, I believe this first image is the more successful of the two:

Studio portrait of Jarrad Henderson
Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70mm f/2.8L Lens @ 70mm. Exposed 1/125 sec. @ f/16, ISO 100

More after the jump.
Continue reading “Studio Lighting: Portrait of Jarrad Henderson”

Lighting with a Beauty Dish

The concept of the “beauty dish” came up today in my Advanced Techniques class at MU.  Two examples that immediately jumped to mind, both linked from David Hobby’s Strobist blog.

The first was a People magazine photo spread from 2007 that featured ten celebrities without the use of retouching–digital or otherwise.  Instead, studio techniques were employed to ensure that these celebrities would not look like mere mortals.  Just the same, I’d rather see clever studio work to get the result “in camera” than to see a photograph in a magazine that features only a few “original” pixels.  Strobist points to a PopPhoto blog that (roughly) explains how the images were created.

Secondly, I thought of a portrait of a Navy SEAL by photographer Morgan Silk.  The setup for the photograph was a beauty dish, a reflector, and two smaller lights for some rim lighting in back.  It’s explained at F Stop, with some really nice diagrams.  Ironically, and unfortunately, I think just as much post-production retouching went into the photo as would normally have happened with the photos of the ten celebs.  Funny old world.  The addition of the sky is just overkill, but the lighting on the face, especially, is interesting (and simple).

Finally, if you want to make your own beauty dish, there is a tutorial at Light and Pixels.