Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Changing Things Up a Bit

I've decided to separate my blogs into more appropriately divided journals. This journal is devoted more specifically to my glamour and nude photography and linked to my Provocative Photo website. I've also designated this blog site as an adults only site so that anyone who visits gets a warning that what they are about to see isn't appropriate for work or for young eyes (or at least not young eyes with no parental guidance).

Splitting the blogs also allows me to be more flexible with what I post by allowing project based posts as opposed to the chronologically based posts system I was following before.  As part of splitting the blogs, I did extract the pertinent glamour and nude posts to transfer to this journal to maintain the continuity of the writings. There may be some odd holes here and there in the stream of posts, but there's nothing anyone will miss from series of posts about glamour photography.

The image to the right is the lovely Ashley posing with sword and chains in my backyard. The image was taken with the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 SF lens with the soft focus setting set to 2. As you can see, it provide a dreamy effect straight out of the camera. Some have argued that the effect could be achieved in Photoshop as well, but I don't think the dimensionality of the effect can be achieved directly with software. That's why I keep the 135mm SF lens in my lens bag even though I also have the 135 f/2L which is probably my favorite prime lens.

This shot was taken as part of my Women in Chains project. Ashley posed in several different sets of chains and in a few settings and at one point we decided to go out into the back yard for a few shots, and that was when we decided to use the sword with the chains.  I've subsequently started a different project featuring both the chains and various swords. I've shot the first set of those images (see Vanessa in the post below for one example and Ashley G. at the bottom of the page for another).

To the left, you can see this Ashley in an Ice-Flame body chain and headdress in Dark Flame. This is one of several different sets of chains I've been using in my recent photography projects. In the image above, she's in a set of chains called the Raven Ensemble.

I've got a few more images of Ashley to process later this winter, but for now I'm concentrating on completing the Sword and Sorcery images shot in November. When the warmer months arrive, I'll be shooting some outdoor scenes with many of the same models. It gives me something more to look forward to once warm weather arrives.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Processing Images

Here's on of the latest images I've processing now that my comptuers are back online and optimized for operation. I had only intended to process about 20 or so images of per model, but Vanessa's images (the first I've worked on) are turning out so well, I'm post-processing many more than that.

I'm also experimenting with the capabilities of Lightroom, especially with varying the colors of the background. The program can certainly change the hue of the background for a specific color, blue in the case of the image to the left, but it seems limited to a narrow subset of hues that can be adjusted without adversely affecting the skin or hair tones.

Still, it has its uses and I can see where I'll be able to use it to expand the utility of my different background.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thoughts at the End of the Year

I think, perhaps, my long running battle with my computers may be over, or at least in a lull. My laptop drive has been restored with only the loss of a list of images that I needed to process. The images are still there, but the list of images the model chose for me to process was lost in the recovery.

The external hard drive that failed when PGE cut the power to my neighborhood has been restored and the thousands of family photos on that drive have been copied over to a new drive, backed up, and re-cataloged. Additionally, the main images will be backed up to a small hard drive and stored in my safety deposit box. I’ve also added to UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) units to my computer network and optimized the system drive on my desktop. Now, at last, I can actually begin processing the images I’ve taken over the last few months. In fact, I did manage to complete processing the Autumn Fairy Reshoot images for the model chosen for that shoot and will deliver them to her this weekend. Now I have to start processing the Sword and Sorcery shots from mid-November.

In the meantime, I have a number of family images to process, including some Christmas portraits of my grandchildren and daughters. Those will need to be completed before I travel to Arizona next week so my daughter-in-law will have them for her scrapbooking. Of course, Wanda has a few thousand photos she wants scanned a retouched too. Maybe I should consider golf as an alternative hobby.

It’s hard to believe that 2009 is almost over and with it the end of the first decade of the 21st century (depending on how you look at it). The 2000’s were sure different from the 90’s, and not all in a good way. We’re still in the midst of two wars, the economy is, at best, staggering along. Unemployment is at an all time high, and more people are homeless this Christmas season than ever. What I can’t understand, is why we can’t as humans, despite our political and ideological differences, pull together as a country to do better and be more kind and humane toward each other.

I feel fortunate I have a wonderful wife, great children and adorable grandchildren, as well as a job, a home and the time and money to spend on a hobby. I know there are many others who are just scraping by these days and would be grateful for a 1/10th of what I have. That makes me appreciate my family and friends all the more—and I’m certainly happy I have the ability to take photos of them, and my other projects, and share them with the world.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Site Move

I'm in the processing of moving my personal website,, to a new server. The server I'm currently hosting it on will be shut down at the end of this month, so I'm moving to a new web hosting company. The move should be transparent to the 3 of you who read this blog on a regular basis, but in the event that it's not, I'll warn you that some of the images here are hosted on my site and may disappear for a bit until the name server properly propagates the directory changes. That shouldn't happen as I paralled the sites prior to submitting the change request, but then, you never know.

I had a great shoot this past weekend. I was able to work with 8 models and a make-up artist (MUA) for a series of shoots with a Sword & Sorcery theme. The shoot took a full two days. Both days we started shooting around 11 am and didn't finish shooting until around midnight.

The shoot took place in the studio I share with 3 other photographers in Cathedral Park Place in St. Johns. The goal was to shoot the models both as a warrior and as a sorceress using poses inspired by the works of Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Luis Royo, Michael Whelan and others. The models were very inspired by the theme and loved posing with the various swords and edged weapons, and especially the chain mail costumes I acquired for the shoot.

We used several backdrops throughout the shoot as well, but tried to keep the set and the lighting fairly simple. I think it was pretty effective.

In several instances the models overlapped each other and I was able to shoot two models interacting together as in this image of a sorceress and her slave seen here to the right. There was also a few staged sword fights which the models enjoyed shooting. Some of the girls have a pretty risqué sense of humor. I'll definitely need to post a shot of Ashley balancing a skull on her head in a future posting. She was hilarious.

I also got Krisa to come out for a shoot, despite being 7 months pregnant. We both had a lot of fun shooting her as a pregnant swords-woman.

When the warm month return, I'll be shooting with most of the same models again, but this time I'll be shooting them in outdoor settings over the course of the summer months utilizing the same outfits and swords that we used in the studio. I think we're all looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Portland Pirate Festival 2009

This year we finally got the majority of the family to the Portland Pirate Festival. The first year of the festival, I attended the festival alone and covered the festival for the St. Johns Sentinel. The next couple of years, Wanda, Amber and Makayla attended with me, and Ryker attended last year even though he was only a couple of weeks old. This year, we went all out and even brought Greg and Nikki (and all of us were in costume, I might add). Unfortunately, Jeremy, Kristin and Jocelyn weren't able to be with us. Had they been, it would have been truly a terrific festival. Wanda and I hope we get to attend the Arizona Ren Faire with them in the spring of next year.

We did get quite elaborate this year. I had the idea to decorate one of the Radio Flyer wagons as a pirate ship and had thought to simply add some cardboard cutouts and a flag to the wagon and that would be it. Once I made the suggestion, though, Wanda, Amber and Greg took off running with it. Amber drew ship outlines onto plywood and Greg cut them out and designed a method to mount them onto the wagons, and added some neat modifications such as cup holders, restraints for the handles, mounts for the pirate flags, and cannons on the port and starboard sides. Amber designed images for the ships and Wanda painted them with bright colors. Amber and I added cannon balls and fake smoke to the cannons. Pretty quickly we had a two ship squadron of pirate vessels. They were certainly a hit at the Pirate Festival. We had to stop every few feet for folks to take photos. It certainly didn't hurt that we had a couple of cute pirates manning the rails.

Wanda made Ryker a cute little pirate's outfit and we bought one for Makayla some weeks before the festival. With all the costume materials at our place, we didn't have any difficulty coming up with appropriate outfits for all the adults. We remembered to bring blankets this year to watch the shows, and we even thought to bring a tarp for the wet ground.

When we arrived the the gypsies were on stage, and while they were quite fun to watch, the kids had little interest in them. So we spent the first hour of the festival checking out the shops, the food vendors, and the children's play area. There were definitely fewer vendors this year, and fewer activities for the children. Many of the same entertainers were there, though, including the Boom Pirates, Captain Bog and Salty, and the belly dancers.

There seemed to be lots more attendees in costume this year, though the Saturday crowd was smaller. I think the smaller crowd was due to the weather. The lack of vendors was probably due to the economic downturn. I suspect many of them went out of business over the last year. Still, there was plenty to see and do. The food was plentiful, there was a beer garden, and the weather turned out to be quite nice for the festival.

Of course, the reason Makayla came to the festival was for Captain Bog and Salty. For the entire week leading up to the festival, she had us playing the Captain Bog CD and specifically Nellie the Elephant and The Pegleg Tango so she and Ryker could dance to the tunes. Ryker especially loves the Nellie the Elephant song. It has a part where the song starts out on a long, low note and then rises to a very bouncy and bright chorus. During that crescendo he just starts giggling and laughing in anticipation and then when the chorus arrives, he bobs and dances his little heart out.

The band got off to a rough start. There was a power failure about 10 minutes into their show (their portable generator died), but they recovered nicely and put on an excellent show for the kids. Ryker and Makayla both had a grand time dancing to the songs, as did all the other kids there, including some "big kids" who looked to be well into their 20's and 30's. They seemed to be pirate groupies.

Rogue Brewery had a tent set up with several varieties of beer and wine and well as some quite delicious pizza. The Pirate Wenches serving there were easy on the eye, and the beer was easy on the throat. There were plenty of other food vendors with delicious treats as well. Chowder bowls made from bread and filled with New England style clam chowder seemed to be quite popular as did the African dishes. As can be expected with any festival there were also sweet treats such as elephant ears and a very interesting rosemary lemonade.

A big part of any festival for me, though, is watching, photographing and interacting with the people who attend and get into the spirit of the event. When you're in costume yourself, the interactions are friendly and fun, and I had a number of short conversations with various groups of people throughout the day. All of them were quite willing to pose for me and happy to have their photo taken.

Here are some of the images taken throughout the day:

Wanda had a lovely costume complete with boots, chains, a hat and a wonderful smile:

A small group of Pirate Wenches looking quite lovely in their festive attire:

Here's the lovely lass who ran the games for the smaller children. She's been a fixture at the festival for at least a couple of years.

The Beer Wench and a lucky customer from the Rogue Brewery Tent:

After we had been at the fair for a couple of hours, we met some of our daughters' high school friends, Holly and Jenny. They're sisters and Jenny spent quite a lot of time at our house when she was high school with our daughters.

Makayla and her grandmother had fun sword fighting. Makayla's favorite phrase was "Give me your treasure." She seem to be able to wrangle a few dollars out of me, so it must have worked.

Nikki enjoyed cuddling her nephew:

Of course, Papa had fun too - even though his earring got ripped off at least a half a dozen times!

THe Portland Pirate Festival is held every September in Cathedral Park underneath the St. Johns bridge. It's a wonderful setting for a fun event and I hope it will continue to be an annual festival for pirates of all ages for years to come.

Friday, September 4, 2009

August 2009 Roadtrip

Last weekend, Wanda and I decided to take a couple of days for ourselves and do some driving and shooting. We got up very early on Friday morning, 4 am if you can believe it, and drove down to Crater Lake for the day. My goal was to shoot some landscapes in infrared, and Wanda's was simply to get away from the house and spend some time in nature. She finds the lake a very restful and peaceful place, and wanted to get out of town for a a bit as well.

It's quite the drive from Portland to Crater Lake. It typically takes anywhere from 5 - 6 hours depending on the traffic and the road conditions. Because we left so early, there was very little traffic to impede our travel, and we made to the North Entrance of the park around 9 am. We checked the weather the night before, and unfortunately the forecast had changed from earlier in the week from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Since we had made plans for the entire weekend which included some time in Bend shooting the Cascade Lakes and visiting with some friends, the trip was on regardless of the weather.

When we got to the Crater Rim, the water was so still and quiet that the clouds were reflected almost perfectly such that it looked as though you were looking down into the sky. We took the time to hike up to the Watchman's Tower which is where the above shot was taken. The hike took us about and hour, and it was quite windy at the top of crater rim where the tower was located, so we didn't linger too long admiring the view. It was kind of neat to look down into the small crater at the top of Wizard Island though.

After our short hike, we continued around the crater rim to the Rim Village where we had a cup of hot chocolate, purchased some souvenirs as gifts for the grandkids, and walked down to the Crater Lake Lodge. While there, I took the opportunity to take a few infrared landscape shots of the island. That image can be seen above.

From the Rim Village we drove down to the Pinnacles. These are geological formations created when fumeroles were fused, buried by subsequent eruptions and then years later exposed when the surrounding ash and soil were eroded away. They are strange and interesting formations, and Wanda had some fun shooting them with one of my cameras.

The Pinnacles:

As we wrapped up shooting the Pinnacles, it began to drizzle, and though we had planned a picnic lunch, we decided to finish the rim drive, exit the park where we entered, and then head on up to Bend for dinner and a good night's sleep. We had reservations for two nights at a hotel in the Old Mill District, and we knew there was a weekend concert and art show planned during the our stay.

We got into town around 5 pm, checked into our room and decided to check out the art show before dinner. There quite a number of booths set up and an eclectic collection of art on display - sculptures, photographs, quilts, paintings, crystal, glasswork, and much more. We didn't purchase anything, but we had fun walking around and looking at the various displays.

After the short walk through the art show, we stopped for dinner at Greg's Grill. The meal was quite delicious, but the most enjoyable part of the evening, was sitting around the large gas firepit outside the restaurant enjoying the music from the concert and chatting with the locals. While we were there savoring the company, the music and our drinks, the weather began to clear and soon we were able to enjoy a lovely sunset. Unfortunately, with our previous 4 am wakeup call, we had to call it an early night and head to bed.

The next day we met with some friends for coffee, then headed out to shoot the Cascade Lakes for another day of shooting. We managed to get in some photography at Sparks Lake and Devil's Lake, but not much at any of the other lakes because of the sheer number of people out enjoying the day.

On our way back into Bend from our day's outing, we stopped at a meadow by Spark's Lake and had our picnic of hummus, flatbread, fruit and cheese. It was a quiet and peaceful meal and most relaxing for both of us. Afterwards, we did a little more shooting, and Wanda managed to catch me in my classic "shooting a landscape pose." And here's the final shot from that day:

When we got back into town, we stashed our gear in the hotel room, then took a short walk downtown to the Deschutes Brew Pub for a locally brewed beer. Later that evening we met our friends for dinner, had another lovely meal with good conversation, and got a good night's sleep before our trip home the next day. Before we went to sleep, however, Wanda made sure we got the laptop out and planned our next few get-away weekends in advance.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barefoot Glamour

I got to shoot with Cathy K. again this week. We tried a couple of different locations this time, but I still put her in the water at both locations. She's a good sport and didn't mind (too much).

Our first shoot location was in the Tillamook Forest at the spot where I shot my Water Fairy last year. The spot features a wide, shallow area of the Lower Nehalem River. Here, in the summer at least, the water is tolerably warm, and if shot at the right time of day, is quite blue. The day we shot, however, the river was a bit too shallow to get the deep blue color that I've managed to see there in the past. We did, however, get quite a few shots in before the sun got too high and we lost all of our open shade.

Once we lost the light there, we decided we would take the ride out to Ecola Point State Park and do some shots there. Cathy was quite eager to do this as she hadn't been to the park before and I had promised her a great view of the Oregon Coast. I also think we was eager to dry off and warm up.

We first went the the viewpoint which juts out from the surrounding cliffs and offers a wonderful view of Cannon Beach to the south, and Indian Beach to the North. It was not a very windy day there for a change, so it was quite comfortable shooting at the point. For this shoot, Cathy wore a black linen beach dress, and we had quite a lot of fun shooting around the various tourists and sightseers.

After about 45 minutes at the viewpoint, we drove down to Indian Beach for some shots on the beach and in the small stream that runs down to the Pacific. Little did Cathy know at this point that I would be putting her in the water again, but I think she might have guessed what was going to happen once she saw the waves and the small stream. Still, she was as game as ever, and even went pretty far out into the Pacific to kick up some sand and water. I dared her to kick water on me, but since I was shooting with a 70-200 f/2.8L IS zoom, there was little risk she could actually reach me. It was a fun shoot and both the photographer and the model had a great fun.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Studio Fun

I've started processing the photos from the weekend's shoots. I'm very pleased with the images so far. Bridgett did a great job as the Reaper Fae, and I'm very happy with the costumes, her look, and the variation on the themes we did. I had some concerns about lighting the background and the model and providing some degree of separation between them, but the addition of a Lumopro Reflector Panel let me swap one of my lights for background light while allowing me to have a sufficient degree of fill on the model.

Based on my previous experience shooting the Dark Fae, I knew it would be difficult to separate some of the costume elements from a black velvet background, so I ordered a couple of new backgrounds from Backdrop Outlet. I have used them with great success in the past, so I had no concerns about order a new Elite Blue backdrop and more specifically, the Scarlet Flame Muslin that I planned to use for the shoot. I ordered them in plenty of time for the shoot, but only the blue backdrop arrived before the weekend. The Scarlet Flame was put on back-order just after I ordered it. So, I had no red backdrop for the shoot at all.

Fortunately, Mike Lowery at Focal Point Photography came to my rescue. Not only did he sell me the Lumopro Reflector I mentioned above, he had a cranberry muslin in stock I was able to purchase. That's the back drop you see in the image above and to the right. I hit the backdrop with a red gelled strobe and it was almost perfectly what I had envisioned for the image.

Mike also loaned me what he called his "seagull droppings" background to use. This was a very fun background with which to play. It's partially translucent and therefore takes on the color of whatever strobe is placed behind it. The images below show three examples of it's use:

First is with a blue gel on the backdrop light:

Then with a red gelled light:

And finally with no gels:

Now, if I could just get him to sell it to me.

Most of the day was spent shooting Bridgett and Wanda, and then that evening I shot with a new model, Melanie K. Melanie posed for my Fae in All of Us series as one of my Fire Faries. She brought her fiancé along to the shoot, and he and Wanda had a pretty good time talking to each other while Melanie and I were shooting. Wanda grilled him for some of his favorite shooting locations. Additionally, Melanie's friend Betsy dropped by the studio for a bit, and she make actually become part of the project as well. I'll be talking to her soon about becoming my Wind (or Air) Fairy. Here's a shot of Melanie as the Fire Fairy. It's not the best shot from the series, but it does give an idea of the set-up and the look of the set:

When I get more of the images processed, I'll probably post a few more here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Studio Weekend

I was able to spend all day Saturday shooting in the studio and I had a great time. I was able to shoot with my good friend and model, Bridgett, for two shoots and got to work with a fun new model for the last shoot. All in all, I was able to get in about 6 hours of solid shooting, including a couple of hours of shooting with my wife.

I was able to work on two of my projects. Bridgett posed as the Reaper Fae for my Fae in All of Us project, and Bridgett and Wanda both posed for my Women in Chains series. After those two shoots, we went out to dinner in St. Johns with Bridgett, Mark and their son, Morgan, and had a nice time just chatting and catching up with them. Afterwards, Wanda and I went back to the studio to set up for the next shoot which was a reshoot of my Fire Fairy set.

The photos you see here are from the 1st shoot. These ladies weren't the primary models I had planned for the shoot. In fact, they were my back-up models. The primary model was to be shot later the same day that these pictures were taken, but the model was a no show. This was especially frustrating because this model had been planning to shoot this particular set for over a year. Whenever we would plan to shoot, scheduling issues would prevent us from getting together. At the time, I didn't consider this a major issue, since I felt that I had plenty of time to complete the shoot this year and I also knew I could easily get another model for the shoot. Also, the scheduling issues were on both ends of the equation, so I felt I owed her an opportunity to do the shoot.

Finally, this summer, it seemed things were about to come together for the shoot. I found a studio that I could rent for a reasonable rate, although because of the large windows and skylights it would require the shoot to be at night. I was also able to complete a test shoot with the model and she was ready on time and worked well with the camera. She was able to self-direct well, and was also able to take directions easily. Based on her test shoot, I reserved the studio, gathered the needed props, and paid the deposit for a day of shooting.

As you can see from the images above, the lighting for this shoot is quite elaborate. It involved 5 strobes. A large softbox on camera left, a gridded hairlight with a red gel on a boom above the model, and three gelled strobes below the model with barndoors. The model posed on a plexiglass platform with two strobes with red gels lighting her (them) from below, and the third strobe with a yellow gel was set to illuminate the smoke from an industrial fog machine. Additionally, a black velvet background was used to absorb the light and the softbox was flagged to prevent any light spill onto the background.

Earlier in the week the model wrote me (she doesn't have a cell phone or land line) to say she wasn't sure she could make it and asked me to reschedule. This was after confirming two days earlier that the shoot was on. After I told her the studio was reserved and paid for and I could not reschedule, she told me she would be there and we made the final logistical arrangements for the shoot (I was to pick her up at the Max station at 7 pm and she would be bringing her sister along as an escort). That was quite fine with me, but I did have a unsettling feeling about this, so I arranged for the two other models just in case. I also had arranged for a makeup artist for the shoot, but when the MUA called me earlier in the day to confirm, I told her to wait until I was sure the model was going to show before she headed to the shoot.

As it turns out, that was my best move in the whole situation. I figured I could at least use these models to set up the lights and fine tune all the elements of the image so that when the primary model showed up, I would be ready to go for the shoot. Due to the setup time and the time it took the two models to get into makeup and costume, we only got to shoot for about an hour and a half, at which time we all went to the Max station to pickup the third model and her sister.

Since that model had no cell, there was no way for me to call her and confirm she was on her way - so we got to the station early and waited for two trains (a half an hour) before I decided to take the two models to where they needed to be. I came back by the station after dropping them off, and waited for two more trains. At 8:30 pm, I gave it up, called the MUA to cancel and then went back to the studio and spent the next two hours breaking down the studio equipment and stowing it in my truck.

During all this time there was no call at all from the model to explain the situation. In fact, it wasn't until 5 days later that I got a note from the model. She told me she had been in a car accident on the way to a cookout before the shoot, and although she didn't get hurt, her friend who was driving bumped his head and had to go to the hospital and so she had to stay there with him.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but I did tell her in my reply that there was simply no way we'd ever be able to work together given what happened and that a call would have been the most courteous thing to do in the situation.

Fortunately, my shoots this weekend helped me to move forward and I'm just going to chalk this up as a learning experience - never shoot with a model that isn't able and willing to maintain multiple lines of communication. The hassle just isn't worth it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Completed Shoots

I've completed processing a number of shoots lately, but I"m still working on several more. I have three shoots scheduled for this weekend, and just finished one more yesterday evening. Photographically, I've been quite busy, but I've been having a blast and enjoying stretching my imagination and skills for each of the shoots.

I've been processing images for the models as they've picked them out for their TFP (Time For Print) sessions, but I'll still have plenty of images to processes over the winter, as well as a couple of other shoots that will occur during the cold season when we actually have snow on the ground.

I did a couple of photo sessions featuring three different models using a military theme. The first one, featuring Jennifer and April, was shot at Dragonfly Landing with the assistance of my good friend Mark, who shuddered with dismay each time I set my 5D MKII or my 1DsMKIII on the ground, and his girlfriend, Rainbow. That shoot went quite well, and the models were quite fun to work with, though a bit inexperienced and not used to taking directions or self-directing.

The other military glamour session was with Gabriell as part of her portfolio development, which is mostly complete at this point - at least as a starter portfolio. Shooting with Gabriell was both planned and not planned. Originally my idea was to shoot landscapes in the morning, starting and Ecola Point and Cannon Beach, then meet Gabriell later in the day in Newport and do more of a fashion shoot in Newport or Lincoln city. The day we were supposed to shoot, however, it was quite cloudy and cool; not exactly a day for shooting landscapes, so I just shot on down to Florence and spent the day shooting with Gabriell.

We did several themes that day. We started with the military shoot, then found an abandoned rail car and did a gypsy shoot. Nearby was a old gate where we did a country girl shoot, and then we used the abandoned rail line for a nude shoot. Finally, we finished up the day by shooting Gabriell as a pirate.

Gabby has come along quite well as a model. With a little effort she could do quite well as a glamour model and I think she would do especially well as a promotional event model since she has an outgoing personality and a girl next door look. Here are a few more of her looks from that day's shoot:

This is from our gypsy glamour shoot with the abandoned rail car.

And one from our Pirate shoot:

Tomorrow I have three shoots planned. I'll be shooting the Reaper Fairy with Gabriell's mother, Bridgett, ladies in chains with Wanda and Bridgett as the models, and in the evening the final Fire Fairy, with Melanie. Of course, I have more images to post from some of my other shoots as well, so there will be a number of future journal entries here show-casing those images. Right now, though, it's time to for bed so I can get an early start setting up the studio tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Shoots

I enjoy shooting in the summer. College is usually on break and the high school graduates are in that halcyon period between then end of high school and the beginning of college when their worries are few and their dreams are great. It's during this period that I generally work with a number of new models eager to try modeling for both fun and, they hope, profit. Usually, I'm always willing to work with new models trying to establish or expand their portfolios, and I especially enjoy working with ones who are on top of their game and who meet their commitments and come prepared to get the best images from the shoot.

So far this week, I've had the opportunity to work with two such models. The first new model, Miranda was to be my Rain Fairy. Our plan was to shoot in my backyard during the early morning hours so as the catch the morning sunlight on falling drops of water from an oscillating sprinker which would look likes streaks of rain falling on the model. I had a full shoot plan with costumes, wings, and filmly white material to use for shoot. The model called the night before to confirm the shoot and get directions to my house, sent me her address and a copy of her ID so I could have the model release ready to go prior to the shoot, and she arrived 30 minutes early and eager to shoot. I was ready, the model was not only ready but happily eager, on the other hand, the sun was no where to be found. A thick layer of clouds hung in the sky and diffused the sun'a light to a weak, soft, and nearly shadowless version of summer sunshine.

The diffused soft light would have been great for a beauty and glamour shoot, but we needed strong sunlight to back light the falling water and produce the silver streaks that would fall on he model. So, we quickly had a conversation, discussed some changes, and improvised a new shoot using the same location but with a different concept,

So out went the white wings, white material, white tule, white crystal face jewels and light blue sheer material that was our main costume materials for the shoot, and we quickly put together an outfit of purple, green and pink materials, purple wings, and silver body chains. The model was quite willing to go with the changes, and we had a great time winging the shoot. The image above, quickly edited this afternoon, is representative of that fun.

An even more invigorating shoot occurred this afternoon. While I was in California over the weekend for my granddaughter's 1st birthday, I was contacted via my blog (this blog in fact), by a lovely young Pacific University student who was interested in my projects, and was especially intersted in my ongoing Barefoot Glamour project. We agreed to meet for a cup of coffee on my return and to discuss a potential shoot.

We therefore met for a coffee and a chat on Tuesday evening. I let Cathy peruse the photos in my portfolio and made sure she was comfortable with my style and my work and offered her the available times I had to shoot for the next several days. She was quite happy to get started shooting right away, so after my morning meetings this week, I took the afternoon off and we drove out to the Tillamook Waterfall to shoot. We discussed the clothing and the materials that we'd use for the shoot and had a decent shoot plan going in to the shoot.

Cathy was a fun and adventurous model. She easily met any request I had for her with regard to poses, and even walked deep into the pool at the base of the waterfull to submerge herself to her shoulders and then slowly rise from the waters while getting heavily sprayed from the falls. None of my previously models had been willing to do that. It was a fun shoot with lots of great images, and I think Cathy enjoyed the shoot just as much as I did. I hope I get a chance to shoot a few more times with this lovely young ladie.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Models

I've been interviewing and working with a number of new models lately. As I've built my portfolio with new and various images from my fae project and with other examples of my glamour work, it's been easier to explain my vision to prospective models and engage them in a conversation about potential projects on which we can work together. Last week, I was able to do a test shoot with a young model called Heidi who will be one of two girls posing for my Fire Fairy shoot. We shot under the St. Johns Bridge in North Portland and we were able to get some very nice images along the river and on the steps beneath the bridge.

I did a test shoot with the young lady that cuts my hair yesterday, delivered her some prints today, and I think she is seriously considering shooting with me for the fairy project. At least, she told me she enjoyed our little photo session and wanted to do some more.

This week I'm hoping to do test shoots with two more models who want to be part of my project, and next week with any luck I'll be shooting with 2 more models who want to be fairies as well. This is all good, because I think this project is coming to a temporary close. By this, I mean I hope to have the necessary images completed so that I can begin working on designing the book for which the images are intended. My goal is to pick the final images for processing, layout the book and design the pages, and write the prose to go with each set of images during the winter and early spring. This should allow me to get the book into publication by summer.

Once this is complete, I guess I'll start working on my next project, whatever that might be. I'll need a project, though, because that give purpose to my photography and lets me exercise my creativity in a more purposeful manner.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Morality of Nudity

I've never made any secret of the fact that I photograph nudes, among other subjects, as part of my creative work. I also photograph landscapes, flowers, wildlife, airshows, fairs and festivals, birthday parties, weddings, and many other subjects. I've also never made it a secret that sometimes my wife is a model for me, as are friends, acquaintances, and other people I know.

It seems, however, that some people (specifically some folks from Georgia), think photographing the nude human form is some how sinful and immoral and I'm just a terrible person for doing so. Even worse than that, I use that awful tool of Satan, the internet to share my art with others.

I usually don't bring such personal drama into my blog, but this is more funny (and a bit sad) than it is dramatic.

I've been shooting models for glamour, both nude and non-nude, for nearly 30 years. I haven't been hit by a bolt of lightning from the heavens yet. It seems that neither Jehovah, Jesus, Allah, Mohammad, Buddha, Jupiter, Zeus, Thor or any other "god" has deemed my work prurient enough to require immediate destruction and eternal damnation. Since I don't think the gods care much about who I chose to shoot and what they're wearing when I take their photo, I think I'll just keep on doing what I like to do and not worry about the tiny minds and puritan hypocrisy of other folks. So, I do hope you like these photos of Krisa as the Combat Fairy shown above.

I imagine most of my readers will also enjoy these photos from my latest shoot with Sarah done in my garage studio. These haven't been retouched yet, but straight from the camera I'm quite pleased with them:

This was quite a challenging shoot. I had originally thought to back light black wings with both red and blue gelled strobes, but that simply didn't allow them to stand out enough against the black velvet background. Fortunately, I had anticipated that this might be a problem and had prepared two other sets of wings to use for the shoot and those wings worked much better with the lighting I had prepared. Given enough time, I might have tried to rework the lights in order to make the black wings work with the black background, but I certainly felt that I got some excellent images from the shoot.

Sarah was a great model and was exceptionally expressive with both her face and her body. She really got into the character of the Dark Fairy and I had a great time shooting with her. As a bonus, I got to meet Sarah's friend, Lexxy, who did Sarah's makeup and who I hope will work on me on some future projects.

Here's a final shot for your viewing pleasure. I sure hope your mind is open enough to view it with frying to a crisp.