Portrait: Laura

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Last fall, I had the chance to do some photo work for a local lawyer’s office. They were handling an estate with some vintage cars that were going up for auction and photos of the vehicles were needed. The cars were fun subjects to shoot, and the payday was nice, too! My contact on dealing with all of this was Laura, and it was a pleasant surprise when she contacted me recently to see if I could handle some personal headshots needed for an event she was part of. As someone that has largely been at the hobby level of photography, it’s rather nice when someone you don’t really know comes back to you with repeat business because they liked the first job you did for them!

We arranged to handle the shoot at her office (I even managed to lug all the studio equipment up the elevator in one trip) and it was a great time. The space we had to work in–a conference room–was pretty small and crowded, what with a big conference table and chairs taking up most of the space, but we made it work. Besides, it was just a headshot, so the needs weren’t too complex. It did, however, mean that I wasn’t able to get her positioned as far from the backdrop as I would have liked in order to help keep shadows and creases in the cloth out of the shot. So, the background wasn’t quite as I would have liked, but that gave me a great chance to practice some Photoshop techniques for cleaning it up, and I’m glad I had that opportunity! It meant I ended up adding in some Photoshopped “light spill” to help make sure the cleaned up background still blended nicely with the subject and I loved how it turned out. Here’s the shot that was my favorite, and to be honest, sharing this is really the only reason I wanted to even make this post!

Canon 6D | ISO 200 | 50mm | f/6.3 | 1/100 sec
Lit with one AlienBees B400, bounced into umbrella at camera left

Of course, what really helped was how Laura’s fantastic expression and pose worked so well with the angle of the light. I hope you (and Laura!) like it as much as I do :-)

Cherry Blossom

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Two posts in one week! Just wanted to take a moment to share this lovely cherry blossom I spotted while out for a photowalk earlier this week. The sky and the flower had such beautiful, complimentary colors. Also pretty pleased that I managed to get solid focus even at an f/2.8 when close-up and outdoors. No easy task!

Canon 6D | ISO 100 | 100mm | f/2.8 | 1/400 sec

Dusting off the cobwebs…

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Once again, I’ve gone far too long without updating the blog! As it turns out, while I’m constantly creating new photos and posting them to Flickr, I’m terrible about adding new blog posts. And it’s about time to get better about that. While I don’t see myself adding new posts here daily, I can certainly do more than what I’ve been doing lately!

To kick things off, here’s a photo I created recently that I rather liked. Where I live the weather is usually quite boring, but we’re in our brief rainy season now, which can add some rare moodiness to photos that I really enjoy getting to use.

Loved the moodiness of this tower on a hilltop as the fog rolled in.

News: On Display at Higher Groundz Coffee!

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higher groundz coffee shop

Hello! I’m pleased to announce that my photography is currently on display at the Higher Groundz coffee shop in San Luis Obispo for the month of August. This showing has some of the highest quality, largest prints of my photography to date, including several 20 x 30 gallery wrap canvas pieces. I hope you’ll be able to swing by to check it out.

I’ll also be available at the shop on Tuesday, August 12th, from 6:30 – 7:30 PM CORRECTION: 6:15 – 7:00 and would love to see you there for coffee and discussion.

Higher Groundz is located at:

3230 Broad Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Map below:

Newborn Photoshoot – Tiffany

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newborn sleeping

Had a wonderful opportunity to photograph a newborn earlier this week! Meet Tiffany, daughter to my friends, Lauren and Joe, whose wedding I had the honor of shooting last year. All throughout Lauren’s pregnancy, she’s come by once every few weeks to get a maternity progress photo done, which was a great project, and so it’s very nice to finally get to meet Tiffany. She just turned three weeks old today!

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Canon 6D: First Impressions

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close up of Canon 6D camera

So as you’ve perhaps seen, I got myself a new Canon 6D a few days ago in celebration of both my birthday and my 2,000th consecutive Photo-a-Day. (Plus, this week managed to get the extra bonus of the new website launch. What a week!)

While I haven’t had too much opportunity to do extensive shooting with it yet, I’ve at least done enough for a few quick first impressions. And note that I’ve been shooting with a Canon 50D for the past five years, so everything will be presented from the perspective of that. Here goes!

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Quick News: Apple Kills Aperture and iPhoto

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Woah! Glad I went with Lightroom back when I had to make the choice between it and Aperture. Kind of a shame though, Aperture was pretty cool and I like that it had a much more flexible workflow than Lightroom does. But it just ran much slower than Lightroom did on the same hardware…

Canon 6D [2002]

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Canon 6DView full size

Today is my birthday! So in honor of that, combined with having just recently completed my two thousandth photo of the day, I got a new camera: the Canon 6D. That’s right, now I can shoot full frame. :-D

Plus, since my 50D is still going pretty stong, I can now have two cameras at events so I don’t need to change lenses :-)

Photo-a-Day: Year 6, Day 176 – Total Days: 2,002

catalog maintenance [2000]

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catalog maintenance [2000]

Well, I’ve hit 2,000 days of this crazy project. I had planned to do something a bit more special, but it turned out that much more of my past photo a day collections were quite a bit more messed up than I thought. So I’ve spent the day (like seriously 8 hours straight) doing a bunch of catalog maintenance, relabelling, and tagging. At least now I’ll have a lot more of my photos correctly labled and cataloged now.

And besides, 2001 is still an awesome number. So look for something special tomorrow :-)

Photo-a-Day: Year 6, Day 174 – Total Days: 2,000

50mm [1993]

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50mm [1993]

Whenever people start getting into photography and they want to ask me for advice on what first lens to get (beyond whatever lens came with the camera that is) I ALWAYS recommend a 50mm prime, usually of the f/1.8 variety. It’s got basically the greatest price to performance ratio of all camera gear. It’s simple and not particularly versatile, but that helps make it ridiculously cheap for its quality.

So what are some of its main advantages?

  • The f/1.8 means it’s great in low light (a.k.a it’s super fast) and awesome for getting very shallow depth of field
  • Surprisingly cheap! Usually you’ve got to pay a lot for such a fast lens, but the simplicity of this lens gets the price very low. (When I got mine several years ago it was around $80. Sadly, its popularity has caused it to creep up a bit into the $110 range, but that still makes it one of the cheapest lenses you’ll find.)
  • 50mm is a very close approximation of your normal vision, so composing is quite a bit easier.
  • Plus, its lack of zoom is a great way to learn to move around when composing! It helps enforce a “zoom with you feet” mentality which is crucial when first learning photography. With a zoom lens, too many people get lazy and just stay in one place while fiddling with the lens. Moving around is one of the most important things you can do for finding the shot :-)

There’s a reason it’s got the nickname “nifty-fifty”.

Photo-a-Day: Year 6, Day 167 – Total Days: 1,993

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