Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 10

Christmas Day is almost upon us and we've reached the last of our pinup images. This is the lovely Audi and she has been quite the prolific model this year, though I understand she is taking and break and concentrating on her music for a bit. She has modeled for me quite extensively this year including a Sword & Sorcery shoot, a Women in Chains shoot, a Sword and Chains shoot and we wrapped up the summer shooting at Cathedral Park for fashion, Barefoot Glamour and then Sauvie Island for some figure nudes.

It seems fitting that I should end the series with her. I hope you enjoyed the series and I wish you all the very best for the coming year.

Audi Reflected

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 9

Well, we're almost to the end of our countdown. Tonight's lovely lady is Nixi with whom I've just recently started shooting this month. Nixi is fairly new to modeling and we did our first shoot in the studio. In fact, she's not had time or opportunity to review the images from the shoot yet as our schedules have not yet meshed well enough to get together again.

Nixi has studied and participated in theater and so has experience in providing expressions for an audience. We worked well together, I think, and with a future session or two under our belts we'll have all the kinks worked out with our directions and posing.

Nixi brought along a friend to the shoot who is also interested in shooting with me, and so we'll probably be able to stage a sword fight for a future shoot. I've done that twice before in the studio, but I'd like to attempt a shoot outside where the models will have more room to move and interact without the need to stay within the framework of the backdrop.

Here's a final shot of Nixi for this iteration of the countdown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 8

Kira as Jacoba Marley
Here's my take on A Christmas Carol. Poor Jacoba Marley, struck down in her prime and yet willing to return to earth to make amends and warn the rest of us to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Kira makes a beautiful Marley, chains and all.

Kira is one of my most versatile models and can pull off any number of looks. She's extremely professional and just a great sport when it comes to shooting various themes. I plan to use her for several more projects in the upcoming year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 7

Bridgett Xmas 2002
This particular model is not only someone who has posed for me many times, but she's and her husband are wonderful friends as well. These images were taken in different years at our home and thought I shot with Bridgett here and in various indoor and studio settings on several occasions, I've not yet had the pleasure of shooting with her in an outdoor glamour session. I do hope to remedy that sometime in the near future. The problem has been not one of willingness, but rather of busy schedules and missed opportunities.

Her husband is also an avid photographer and has made some  imaginative images of her for his portfolio. There is a great series he shot of her using candles and a crucible in which he created a beautiful blue flame. That is definitely an effect I want to recreate in one of my future shoots.

Bridgett completed one project for me in which she is featured as my Reaper Fae. I do hope to use her for my Sword & Sorcery and Sword & Chains project and that's my goal for 2011.

Here's a final image of the lovely Bridgett to share with you. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 6

Okay, technically I didn't get to do a Christmas shoot with Sivonna, but I thought it might be fun to put a composite of her in a Christmas scenario. I sent it to her for a look and she had a good laugh about it.

I normally manually mask images for my composites, but I tried a new release of Topaz Remask 3 for this composite. It works quite well and has some nice features that make masking and compositing quite simple.

The background image is from a set of digital backdrop images I purchased for stock and the image of Sivonna comes from a set of image we shot back in March of this year.

It's certainly not the greatest composite I've ever made, but I kind of like it for the simplicity of the image.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 5

The Mollie Tree
As the Christmas countdown continues, meet Mollie who came up with this idea for a Christmas pose. I've worked with Mollie (Lady Mab on Model Mayhem) a couple of times now. We shot a Sword & Chains shoot back in August and are planning at least one additional shoot this winter. Mollie is currently scouting a location for that shoot near her home.

Mollie has a fun and quirky personality and likes to cut up in front of the camera. I have lots of funny out-takes from our two shoots together and may feature a few of those in a future entry along with out-takes from a number of shoots with my other models.

Mollie is quite dedicated to her modeling. She does it mostly for the fun and creativity and both times I've worked with her, she's given me some great poses and expressions, and I'm looking forward to what we'll be able to pull off in our next couple of shoots - especially one that I hope we'll be able to do this winter in the snow.

Here are a couple more shots for your enjoyment:

Mollie in Soft Focus

Bottoms Up

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 4

Tinsel Wrapped Olive
Olive is one of my newest models. She's new to the Portland area and I think I was one of the first photographers she worked with when she moved here.  Some of the images she has shot recently have already been featured in a local show, and I think we'll be able to get some exhibition quality shots from our shoot together as well.

We've a few more shoots scheduled after the first of the year when I locate another studio, as well as a couple of shoots when the weather becomes warmer and we can move into the outdoor venues.

As with a number of the other models I'm presenting here, we shot these images at the end of studio session where we were concentrating on my Sword & Sorcery project.  I think Olive had a lot of fun with the shoot, and I know I did.

As you can tell, she's very expressive, and I thought she was able to provide me with a number of excellent poses, even though we only got to shoot for about 90 minutes. She certainly has a great attitude and was playfully fun throughout our shoot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 3

It's time now for the 3rd pinup of our countdown. I'm hoping I don't run out of girls before I run out of days before Christmas, but even if I do, I think I can put together a montage of a few additional images to tide us through to Christmas Eve.

In any event, this is my friend, Veronica. She was one of my main models for about three years. We quite a number of holiday shoots, but I believe this was our only Christmas set.

Veronica is a frisky model to say the least. She's always been a great friend and a fun girl with whom to hang out. She was instrumental in helping me find a few additional models to shoot.

I haven't seen her in about 8 years, but we still exchange the occasional e-mail. I don't think she's modeling any more at all, but if she ever came back out to Oregon to visit, I'd certainly ask her to shoot with me again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Pinup Day 2

Continuing with our Christmas Pinup countdown, I'd like you to meet Alija. I started working with Alija back in early summer when she started with my Sword and Chains project. Since then, we've done three additional shoots together (Women in Chains, Barefoot Glamour and Sword & Sorcery). We shot this at the end of our Sword & Sorcery shoot for a bit of fun.

Alija is great to work with and also a fun conversationalist. She has some great poses and seems to be naturally adept with moving her body for the camera.

Since she's a trained beautician and stylist, I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get from her hair when we shoot, but that's part of the fun of shooting with her.  Indeed, for her Barefoot Glamour shoot, she sported a mohawk for a portion of the shoot and we used wigs for the remainder.

I'm looking forward to our future shoots together. I'm sure she'll make a great fairy for my Fae in Us All project. What do you think? Earth Fairy?

A Fitting End to a Fun Shoot

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Countdown

There's just a few days left until Christmas. Over the years, I've had fun shooting various lovely ladies at Christmas time, so I thought I would share some of those images with you all as we wend our way toward the holiday. So, everyday from now until Christmas I'll post a set of images celebrating the sexy season.

Today we're starting with the lovely Krisa, with whom I've worked with several times over the last couple of years. In fact, Krisa did her first nude shoot with me, as my Danse Fairy, in 2008. Since then we've done several fun shoots and we took these shots in the studio just within the last couple of weeks.

Krisa is always fun to shoot and she does a great job with her hair and makeup. That's always a plus for a shoot. She's got a great "I'll try anything once" attitude and she's always willing to help me pack gear after the shoot. As you can see from the shot below, she's got some enviable "talents."
Candy Cane Fun

Monday, November 29, 2010


Kira in Chains
I got to shoot with Kira three times in 2010. We completed a full sequence of projects that consisted of a studio shoot (Sword & Sorcery), a location shoot at Dragonfly Landing (Sword & Chains - seen in the images here), and an indoor location shoot (Women in Chains). Because I was traveling quite a lot this past summer while on sabbatical and then catching up with work after returning from that nice long vacation, I only recently got around to queuing up those images for final processing.  Shooting Kira was a joy. Trying to cut down the number of images to process was not - I mean, it's tough to cut images from the que when they're all so good.

Of course, that's a problem most photographers would love to have when they finish a shoot, so I consider myself quite lucky to have been able to shoot with her for all three portions of this project arc, and I'm sure I'll be using her for future projects as well. I certainly want to shoot a figure study with her as well as a series of outdoor nudes and some barefoot glamour series. Those shoots, however, won't occur until the warmer months return, so in the meantime I'll just have to work on the images I've already made with her.

I hope you all enjoy these images and I can tell you to look for more in the near future.

Kira says "Halt!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Leave a Comment

By my calculations, I may have a grand total of 5 regular readers of this blog. That's as many as I can determine from the followers list and from the comments that I occasionally get, as well as the three friends I know for a fact who check out my writings from time to time. I enjoy writing, and I'll probably continue to write about my interests in photography and the various shoots I do, but it would also be helpful to me if I knew the size and the interests of my audience, as small as it might be.

So, I'm asking for a boon from my readers. Leave me a comment. Let me know if you do, in fact, read this blog on any kind of a routine or recurring basis. If you do, what type of entries interest you and what would you like to see more of here. Also, is there anything that bores you to tears and you'd just as soon never read about again.

This blog is useful to me because it provides me a creative outlet for combining my photography with writing, but I'd like to make it useful for readers as well, if it isn't already. So, leave that comment, or if you prefer, shoot me an e-mail, because I'd really love some feedback and it doesn't matter who you are (model, photographer or just a casual reader) or what you have to say (even if you think my writing and photography suck), let me know. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Studio Issues

Jen & Ashley at MRB Studios, St. Johns
It is mid-autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Pacific Northwest that means it's the beginning of our gray, cold and wet season which will last until at least the middle of March when the sun breaks begin to become more frequent and the temperatures start to rise. This is the time of year when I move my photography to the studio or to other indoor venues. As I have a three-part project that requires two of the three settings to be indoors, this usually isn't a problem. Unfortunately, for the second time in two years I've lost access to the studio I've been using for my on-going projects.

Gabriell as the Blood Sorceress - MRB Studios
In 2009 I found a great place to shoot in the St. Johns area of North Portland. Eric Rose, the studio's owner, gave me a great deal on using the studio and it was simply a matter of scheduling the time in advance on the studio's calendar. The studio was fairly large, allowing for some elaborate sets, and had easy access to bathrooms, a cafe and excellent parking. There were four photographers sharing it on a regular basis, and I never really had a difficult time getting the time I needed for my shoots.

I was able to shoot in that studio for almost the entire year and the only drawback was the large skylights at the top of the studio and provided great natural light during the day, but which limited and complicated the use of studio lights until after sunset. Toward the end of 2009, though, Eric decided to move to a smaller studio. That made a lot of sense for him, since he primarily shoots portraits and head shots for agency work.  I checked out his new studio after he moved and it was simply too small for what I normally shoot--it simply couldn't support that elaborate set-ups that I use for most of my indoor photography.  I could see how it was a great place for Eric, though, with its great natural light and textured wall.

Audi at Tim Gunther Studio
For a while I looked into getting my own studio. I found a great place in a fine location and seriously considered leasing the location. The space was actually a 2000 square foot warehouse with an office area and a bathroom. The high ceilings, roll-up garage door, and area dimensions were near perfect, but I couldn't justify the cost of the lease for the amount of studio shooting I do. I thought if I could find a partner we could share the expenses and lease the space out to other photographers, hold classes, and conduct seminars to make up the cost of the space, but I couldn't find a willing partner to share the space with me.

I had been looking on various forums for weeks and perused the commercial space ads on Craig's List hoping to find something suitable. I finally broke down and posted an ad myself seeking a space to shoot and fortunately Tim Gunther of Tim Gunther studios sent me an e-mail and we came to an agreement and I started using his studio space in February of 2010.

As a studio, it was even better than the previous place in St. Johns. Tim's studio has a single skylight which doesn't interfere much with the studio lights, a dressing room, a bathroom, and several storage rooms. Tim was easy to work with and there was ample studio time available for me projects. The cost was a bit more than what I paid in St. Johns, but I managed to stay within my budget while shooting there from February to May. Of course, in May, I moved back to my outdoor settings and continued to work my projects with the expectation to returning to the studio during this time of year.

Unfortunately, Tim had the building sold out from under him and my last shoot in his studio will be the weekend of December 4th. I'm booking my models now and also hope to do a family shoot of my grandchildren that weekend as well. So, after the first of December I'll be looking for studio space again.  If you have any suggestions, don't hesitate to let me know.

Sivonna the Sorceress at Tim Gunther Studios

Friday, October 29, 2010

Raiding the Archives

A very good friend of mine asked me for a few images from our previous shoots together so she could add them to her Model Mayhem account. She's modeled off and on casually for both her husband and for me, but I think this is the first time she's actually ventured into modeling as an avocation.

I've shot with her many times, but only once or twice in a studio environment, and I've never really felt that I gotten any images of her that really do her justice. I did agree, however, to send her some images that I thought would work for her portfolio. So, I went back to my archives and found some images that I liked and thought she would like as well. Since I haven't done much else photographically this week, I thought I'd share them here.

The images here are from a couple of different photo sessions we've done over the last few years. I'd really like to get her in the studio again before I lose my place to shoot, so I'm hoping we can work something out with both her schedule and mine. If I am able to get her back in the studio, I'll be shooting specifically for a couple of ongoing projects for which I think she'll be a great subject.

In any case, I hope you enjoy these shots.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seasons Turn

It's a cool, crisp fall day here in Portland. The sky is clear, the leaves have turned and are near, if not at the height of their seasonal color. Here in the Pacific Northwest, though, that means mainly yellows with a smattering of bright reds and oranges.The pumpkin patches and the corn mazes are in full swing with as weekend visitors flock to pick out pumpkins to carve into jack o'lanterns, to feast at the vendor stalls, and to wander through tall rows of corn in hopes of getting a scare or two on their way to the exit.

Soon, however, the winter rains will be upon us and my outdoor photographic activities will be mostly curtailed. I've had a fruitful summer working with some great models and I have lots of images to process over the coming months. Oh, I"m likely to do a few studio shoots as I wrap up some specific projects, but more likely the majority of my time will be used to work on choosing and editing images and working on the layout of the two books in which they'll be featured. Here are some favorites from my summer shoots:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hand Held High Dynamic Range Images

This past summer I did a number of experiments with High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. This grew out project I had done for work that required some high dynamic range images taken of some on the unique architecture of my company's facilities. The results were interesting, and were used in some company presentations, and one image was ultimately released to and published in the Wall Street Journal, though only credited to the company and not to me personally as the photographer. The images did get me  to think about how I could use the process in my own personal projects, so I decided to attempt it using some of my lovely models and experimental subjects.  Of course, the shoots weren't shot entirely in HDR, especially since I wasn't sure the process was going to meet my needs or expectations, so I set up one specific camera and lens combination for HDR and alternated between that camera and a couple of others during the shoot.

Specifically, for those of you unfamiliar with the process, for an HDR image you take 3 or more exposures of the same subject bracketing the exposure above and below the suggested exposure settings and then merge the three images in Photoshop or some other program to expand the total dynamic range in the resultant image. In my case, I set the camera to bracket one stop above and one stop below the recommended the exposure.

Warrior of Light
The other key to HDR is to minimize the movement of the camera (and subject) between the bracketed exposures to minimize ghosting and other artifacts after merging the three images. Ideally, you'd use a tripod and a remote release to do this, but I wanted to try it while hand-holding the camera. So, I set the camera to aperture priority (to keep the depth of field constant for each exposure), set the bracketing as required, then set the camera's drive to high speed mode. I also used an ISO setting high enough to give me shutter speeds sufficient quick for hand-holding at the focal length of my chosen lens, in this case a 50mm focal length.

Of course, nothing worked perfectly and even the slightest bit of wind created artifacting in the background of the final images. I did determine that blowing out the highlights was quite easy to do, and that a simple HDR merger couldn't provide quite the dynamic range and look that I wanted, so I had to resort to tone mapping of the final image. That wasn't quite what I wanted either, so I brought the tone mapped image back into Lightroom and Photoshop to adjust more of the image parameters and for the final pixel level adjustments of the final image (cloning, skin retouching, and burning/dodging). I think as a photographic technique it's certainly useful, and it does help to create some interesting images. I think I'd like to try using a tripod during my attempt at HDR with a live subject to further minimize the camera shake so that any resulting ghosting is only the result of minute changes caused by the wind or the model's movement.

Guarding the Path of Light

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is from my Sword & Chains series. This is the image most preferred by the model.

Megan with Kilgorin Sword

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dark Sorceress in the Glade

I just love the expression on Jen's face in this image. I asked her to give me dark and foreboding look and she delivered.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Alija - Sepia Warrior

Here's another shot of the lovely Alija. There are many more images of her available from my recent shoot, I just have to find time to process the many images I've shot this summer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

From Some Recent Shoots

Here's my latest model, Mollie, in her first shoot with me out at Dragonfly Landing. This is just a quick shot at random and a quick edit while the rest of her images were downloading:

Mollie at the Arsenal
This is from a fun shoot with Alija. She wanted to be an urban guerilla and I envision her as a punk soldier. Whatever you call her character here, it's definitely a fun image:

Alija the Punk Soldier
Finally, here's a glamorous shot of Kira, finishing the third shoot in the series of chain shoots I'm doing with several models. 

Kira at the Window

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wicked Kira

I particularly like this shot of Kira - her expression and stance make her look wickedly ready to take on anyone or anything that gets in her way.

Kira is ready for a fight.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Arsenal

Here's the lovely Jen posing with a bevy of swords.  This is from a recent shoot. Prior to this, our last shoot together was back in November of last year. It was sure fun to work with Jen again.

Jen in Amira Steel Chains with Emerald Crystals

There are lots more images of Jen to come, but I'm still working on catching up and I have a few shoots planned while the weather is still good. Looks like I'll have plenty to work on this winter.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Audi in the Glade

Here's another image of the beautiful Audi posing in the glade at Dragonfly Landing. I'm way behind on post processing my images due to all the traveling I've been doing, but I hope to start catching up slowly but surely over the next few weeks.

Audi in Ice-Flame Dewdrop Chains

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sivonna and the Tree

Just finished processing this as a follow-up to a post on one of the forums in which I participate.

Sivonna at Dragonfly Landing

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back from Belize

Belize was great. We snorkeled with the sharks, snuba dived withe the sea turtles, climbed ancient Mayan temples, and drank copious quantities of the local rum and beer and ate our fill of seafood. After a few days home to rest, take care of some chores, and to play with two of our grandkids, we're off for a visit with our son and his family, including our little granddaughter, in Mesa Arizona. We'll take the fast route down, spend some time with them, then take a slow, scenic route back that will include the Grand Canyon, Historic Route 66, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Mono Lake, Carson City, Reno, and scenic views of the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascade Mountain Range. It should be a fun trip - especially the visit with the family.  In the meantime, you can enjoy these shots of Nicole taken a few weeks ago at Dragonfly Landing.