Tuesday, June 16, 2009

almost a kiss

That moment just before contact. Sometimes it is tough to catch. When I look over a serries of photos from a wedding or an engagement shoot I often see two couples with faces smashed together and think ... wow they look goofy. Most people look kinda strange. Either her nose is pushed up or his lips are off center or something. We never really think about it for two reasons.
1) When we kiss our eyes are generally closed so we don't see the squish
2) When people kiss it happens so quickly that we don't have time to take notice of any distortion or goofy faces that are created when faces collide.

The moment before the kiss has such a build of anticipation. Everyone knows what is about to happen. It is like having a snapshot of two cars driving at 80mph on a collision course seconds before the impact. What is about to happen makes us brace. In the same way we see an image like this and it makes us think about all that will happen. It builds drama and weight to an image. You have to think ahead though. An image like this doesn't just happen - you have to plan for it. It isn't a hard image to capture - but it doesn't usually happen by accident. It is a detail. Something a lot of photographers don't think about - but something ever photographer should tune in for.

Most of the time "the shot" happens before the action - so look for the details and enjoy the anticipation.

Windows 7 - Woo Me!!!!!

As an informed computer user I am always looking at the latest and greatest. My current platform of choice is Mac OSX on a previous generation 15"MacBook Pro (the one before the unibody system). Prior to that my primary production system was a Windows Vista system produced by HP (didn't stick around long) and prior to that was my favorite laptop of all time - the 12" PowerBook. That being said - please do not confuse me with an a-typical apple fanboy because I am not. I enjoy using Mac OSX and will continue to do so for the considerable future. In recent years I have nudged people toward OSX over Windows because of Vista. Vista was a decent operating system - BUT ... there is always the ever present "but." ... but it is a memory hog and has compatibility issues and it doesn't run well in VMWare, and it won't run on a netbook. Those are a lot of buts! Enter Windows 7. A few months back I installed the first public Beta of Windows 7 on my Mac using VMWare (I currently run Windows XP for my album making software on VMWare) I liked the layout; however, I was not really impressed with the speed on my computer. Now granted it was running on a virtual box and on 1GB ram but it still did not replace XP for my use. I just loaded Windows 7 RC (release candidate) and WOW! Super fast, super slick. I have been using it all morning and I am amazed. You have got to go check this OS out. FINALLY OSX has some real true competition in the operating system market again. I am not saying I will be trading in my MacBook Pro for a windows based system; however, I will be keeping a close eye on it and ditching XP from my virtual system when Win 7 ships.

UPDATE: A little perspective... I have not been simultaneously surprised and impressed by an OS since I originally saw Steve Jobs (in all his "Reality Distortion Field" goodness) present Panther and WWDC 2004. I had never looked at a Mac or really use an apple computer before. I remember this feeling of awe and wonder. This was it - my next computer. Looking at Windows 7 I am feeling the same vibe. My wife is in the market for a new machine. I am seriously considering picking up a clearance Dell or Gateway and loading Windows 7 on it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

blow-out those highlights

The rules.  They exists to establish a standard.  A standard that is established so that when one feels the need to break the standard others take notice.  The almighty histogram is a great friend and a formidable foe when working on location.
A photographer is wise to consult the great histogram - or a least it's hot cousin the blinkies.  These tools insure that highlights and shadows do not clip and thus produce a lack of detail in the highlights and shadows which can be problematic in post production.  Our camera's can see approximately a 3 stops of light while our eyes can see about 7.  That means there is a set range of highlight and shadow you camera can view at any given time.  As photographers we have to always be aware of our camera's range - particularly the highlights as they are easy to clip.

But as stated above - sometimes a rule is meant to be broken.  The image above is such an instance.  The blow-out look gives this image its pop.  Just remember, if you shoot something blown out on purpose it should look like it is supposed to look that way.  If there is a question of whether it was an accident or intentional stay away from it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 2009 Wallpaper

Camera Canon 20D Lens: 14-40mm f/4 USM L
Settings: 1/80 f/5.6 ISO 200

We are always looking for new ways to adapt our images and lighting.  We spend so much time looking at locations and gear.  In the end the couple makes or breaks the photo.  This engagement session was in one word FUN and it shows in the images.  Great locations and great couples make our job so easy.  Downtown Louisville is such a dynamic backdrop with limitless possibilities that make it so easy to be creative.

My assistant mike is just out of frame to the right with our standard off camera setup (a 580EXII speedlight shooting through a 36" translucent umbrella).  The light is set to about 1/4 power to just kiss the subject with a little soft fill while leaving the wall behind untouched.

This should have been up last week; however, I was on a houseboat all week and my aircard decided to stop working so we have pushed this out as soon as possible.  Enjoy!

Standard Size [click here to download] 1440 x 900
Large Size [click here to download] 2560 x 1600
(for you folks with stinkin' huge monitors, you know who you are.)