Friday, March 28, 2008

Shooting with Sierra

I had just an amazing shoot with Sierra yesterday. This is the third time I've shot with her (including her test shoot), and I have to say she just keeps getting better. She doesn't do nude shots, but she's quite creative when working with the photographer to produce images that are fun, sensual and even provocative. She has a great attitude and really enjoys collaborating in the shoot. And, as you can see from the photo to the right, she's quite beautiful.

When she arrived yesterday, she was ready to get to work and we managed to get through about 9 costume changes in the 3 hours that we shot. It's a real pleasure to work with her and she has great potential as she gains more experience. We're already discussing some projects we can work on this summer, so I'm really looking forward to completing more shoots with her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I had the distinct pleasure of working with a new model today. Lisa was prompt, professional, and very classy. She takes direction easily, self-poses and understands the photographic process. She understands hot to quickly accommodates the photographer's needs. She collaborated completely in the creative process and provided excellent suggestions on how to make the shoot better. Her enthusiasm was invigorating and contagious and made the shoot one of the best I've done in a very long time.

We were able to get through several scenarios in about 2 1/2 hours of shooting and it was definitely enjoyable for both of us. Lisa is very photogenic, curvy and has great legs. We were able to have a great conversation throughout the shoot which made it even more enjoyable for us both. I certainly look forward to shooting with her again.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Post-processing is the modern term for what photographers used to do in the darkroom. Some photographers disdain the idea of post processing and use the philosophy that if you didn't get it right in the camera you didn't do the job.

Other photographers obsessively post-process everything they capture to the point that the image is no longly truly a photograph but becomes, instead, a piece of graphic art. These folks use all the tricks of the computer trade -- saturation, sharpening, Gaussian blur, three or four filters, and so much more that they spend more time working on the computer than they do taking photographs.

There is another set of photographers that take a more lackadaisical approach to photography and use the philosophy that "it can be fixed in post processing." By this, I mean they don't excessively post process, but they're not particular careful with their original image so that they have to post process in order to correct obvious flaws with the image. Typically these go beyond difficult exposure and are in the realm or poor composition and extraneous objects in the field of view.

My philosophy lies somewhere off to the side of all this. I strive to get the image as close to the final product as possible as part of the initial in-camera exposure. In general, however, almost every image I publish will have some degree of post processing applied, though it's typically pretty minor. Usually it's a touch of sharpening and saturation, and if it's a high ISO image, some noise reduction. I try to shoot RAW image formats as much as possible so that I have as much data as possible to manipulate. I am not, however, against extensive post processing to produce a more graphical art type of image. In fact, I think that it's fun and I enjoy playing around with different techniques to produce those types of images.

Usually though, I take a minimalist approach and limit my manipulations to that necessary to subtlety improve the image and I try to make the post-processing indiscernible. Too much processing can render unnatural looking skin and make the model look like a plastic Barbie doll, or it can introduce easily noticed artifacts that detract from the overall look of the image.

The purist will tell you that the best images require no post-processing at all. I'm not sure Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and the other great photographers known for their film and darkroom skills would agree. I imagine that if they were alive and shooting digital today (and I'm sure they would be), they would embrace the computer as their new darkroom and would find the ability to appropriately manipulate their images without smelly and dangerous darkroom chemicals a great leap of technology and in creativity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tastes Vary

People vary and that's a good thing.

So, I've only been on Deviant Art a few days, but I've uploaded quite a bit of my work there. It's been interesting to note which images get the most views, which ones get the most comments, and the ones that are collected the most. It's even more interesting to visit the pages of the collectors to see what it is that they enjoy adding to their favorites.

Some people like landscapes, some like flowers, and many, many people like nudes. I suppose that's to be expected, but I was surprised at how many ladies also collected images of the female form. I suppose I shouldn't be as I've been a photographer for many years and I've met lots of women who have enjoyed my more erotic images.

So, I'll keep uploading a variety of work as it seems it does get looked at and enjoyed. That site is certainly helping my enthusiasm for photography, but I think it's more of an ego thing than anything else. I guess everyone needs their ego stroked from time to time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Themed Photography

I've been working on a series of photos with a unifying theme for a while. I've completed the first set of the series, and it seems that I have models lined up for at least the next half-dozen or so sets. The problem is that I can't seem to get the coordination of models, costumes and weather to cooperate to make much progress on the series. With any luck, though, I'll make better progress this year.

Although, I have no set deadline for any of the sets and the series is open-ended, it would be good to get at least a couple of more sets done this year, possibly even more. Last year there was just so much happening in my personal life that my photographic projects took a backseat to everything else. This year should be better.

I have several photographic expeditions planned and a couple of new and interesting models to work with so I'm looking forward to a fun spring, summer and fall. I already have three locations scoped out for my projects and ideas for what to shoot for each of the sets. So wish me luck.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Deviant Art

My friend, Mark, who lives up on the mountain, got me interested in the deviantART website. It's an interesting site where people can share their art and creativity. It's more than just a photography site as there is a wide variety of artistic endeavors showcased on the site. People share sketches, writings, poetry, computer graphics, and even lyrics to songs they've written. I find that it's quite refreshing to read more about the creative aspects of art than the technical aspects that I find on most photography forums.

I've uploaded a number of my photos and graphic art experiments there, and have received a fairly enthusiastic response, so I'm quite likely to keep posting and contributing there, and I hope to make a few new online friends as well. Some of the people that post there are just beyond talented, and I'm sure I can learn quite a lot from them.

The photo above seems to be a favorite of many on that site and has been "collected" by several folks who seem to think it's a good example of pinup photography which is an area of photographic interest I'm currently pursuing.

If you are an artist in any media, you should probably check the site out if you haven't already done so. You may find something there you like as well as a new outlet for your creativity.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Weekend Trips

We spent the last weekend in the lovely little coastal town of Florence. We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends Mark and Bridgett and their children, Gabriel (Gabby) and Morgan. It was good to get away for the weekend to spend some time with our friends and do some photography in a different part of the state.

Florence is a relatively small town located on the Siuslaw River. Fishing and logging used to be the primary industries, but these days tourism is the major contributor to the area's economy due to the Three Feathers Casino that opened there in 2004 as well as the 40 miles of sand dunes that stretch through the area. The Old Town area is very picturesque with several small and friendly restaurants, bars, shops, and a delectable coffee shop. We had a couple of very nice meals there, and managed to get in a little shopping as well, especially when Wanda found a shop with fairy figurines.

Mark and Bridgett are among our very best friends and we always have a great time when we see them. We met them several years ago at a social event we were hosting at our favorite watering hole. They were brought along by some other friends of ours, and we just seem to hit it off and found that we had many common interests. Since then we attended many events together including the Oregon Country Fair and the Shrewsbury Faire. At the Oregon Country Fair, Bridgett and Wanda make quite the eye-turning pair as they wander around the fair in the sarongs, jewelry and body paint. At the Ren Faires they turn eyes with their lovely costumes and happy smiles.

Since they both enjoy photography, it's always fun to attend events with them. Mark has an excellent eye for composition and seems to enjoy shooting from the odd angle just as much as I do. Bridgett has been known to pick up the camera and shoot from time to time too and I think she looks pretty good holding my big lenses. :) In any case, just about anytime we hang out with these guys, there are cameras and lenses to be found.

Unfortunately, since we all live busy lives and Florence is about 180 miles from Portland, we don't get to see this folks as often as we'd like. Fortunately, in the days of e-mail, instant messaging and cell phones, we do manage to stay in touch and can arrange to meet at various events. And, on occasion, we just meet somewhere along the coast and spend the weekend away from all of our kids. Of course, in the days of e-mail, instant messages, and especially cell phones, we can't get completely away from the kids, but we can get far enough away to have relatively uninterrupted conversations.

But sometimes, it's fun to do things with the family as well. Gabby and Morgan both enjoy the fairs as much as their parents do, especially when they get to play dress up and their parents dress up too. Our kids aren't so much into the fairs anymore, since they're quite a bit older than Gabby and Morgan, so it's fun for us to see them at the various events.

Family and friends are the two most important aspects of life, and we're lucky to have both. Our children and our grandchildren give us the joy of family love, and friends like Mark and Bridgett helps us maintain our sanity by providing the friendship, conversations, and adult companionship that everyone needs to have balance in their life.

Of course, these guys aren't our only friends, but they're the subject of this entry because we just visited them, and I teased Bridgett that I would blog about her. She seemed to think that I couldn't find anything to write about, so I just had to prove her wrong.