Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Flashbus Tour Starring David and Joe

 My head is still spinning trying to contain all the information we were presented with yesterday at David Hobby's and Joe McNally's Flashbus workshopI had attended Joe's workshop here in Houston two years ago and maybe that is why this time I learned more from David Hobby's morning session than Joe's in the afternoon.  Or maybe it is because Joe shoots with his flashes in TTL mode and it can be inconsistent and confusing though he always gets the shot in the end, I am not confident however that I would.   It was certainly an information-packed and entertaining workshop to say the least.  Below are some of my very high ISO (1600 and 3200) shots from the day and let me explain the third one ---- when the crew arrived at the venue in the early morning hours it was set up (rather garishly it seems) for a wedding and they had to scramble to remove all the tulle, satin, tables, flowers, etc.  So they opened a little late with an announcement that as a result of all the togetherness on their rock-group-set-up touring bus, David and Joe were getting married.   Those guys are pretty quick on their feet!

Following are some shots of the large screen they projected their images on, David showed his Lighting in Layers instructions while Joe's were the shot he had just taken with his camera and then I also shot the set up.

 This kid was one of Joe's grips and an excellent model!

 Joe had us hold up our flashes and incorporated them onto this workshop attendee's "rock star" shot --- we had at least 87 flashes fire using the commander flash on Joe's camera.

I can only hope that at least a smidgen of the information we were given all day will stick in my brain and help me make some awesome portraits in the future.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Murphy

Murphy and his people --- 
wouldn't you know, they are both petite and make him look even larger.

And one final image that I had hoped to use for the Blur assignment, but Murphy is in a lot of pain from his bone cancer and could not run very quickly so I was not able to blur the background much when I panned with him.  He just was not up for multiple attempts.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Murphy, an Irish Wolfhound

 I recently got to meet and photograph Murphy, a 5 year old Irish Wolfhound who is suffering from bone cancer.  He is such a regal and impressive dog.  I had never met that breed before and I learned a lot about them --- they originally guarded castles and hunted wolves to keep the game safe and unfortunately they do not have very long lives, they only live about 7 years.  Murphy was a great poser and I really enjoyed meeting and photographing this gentle giant.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adopt, Don't Shop

The Friendswood Animal Control Facility is full to capacity and these darlings are available for adoption.  If you know of anyone who could give these animals a forever home, please pass their photos on.  I have worked with all of them this week, and they are calm and friendly and affectionate, every one.

Sally, a 5 year old spayed female Persian and Maine Coone                 

Darla, a young spayed female Staffordshire Terrier mix
Dixie, a young female Dachshund and Terrier mix
Scotty, an adult neutered male Scottish Terrier mix.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cutest Pit Bull Ever

This is Miss Rosie, a very sweet and loving Pit Bull.  Her person wanted a shot to submit to a calendar contest so maybe Rosie will be Miss June or December or some other month one of these days.  I first met Rosie last Fall but only recently learned of her narrow escape from death row at BARC and now she is pretty much the Princess behind the reception desk at Alvin Friendswood Vet Clinic.  It is always wonderful to be greeted by her!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Waiting For Dylan

A more contemplative image from Denise's maternity session,
converted to black and white in Silver Efex Pro. Dylan is the name
they have chosen for their little girl. 

Watch Out for that Bump

I am still photographing babies, but this one isn't here yet.  A few weeks ago I had the chance to photograph my first maternity session.  Denise made it so easy and fun, and it doesn't hurt that she is really photogenic.  Paul and I had scouted out some "bump" signs and found this really grungy one with a great wooded background.  I am still trying to figure out how to shoot in sunlight and ended up using some fill flash in these --- my Stroboframe with a speedlight in a Gary Fong diffuser.  Then we headed to my house where I set up a white background and shot some more.  I think we ended up using 2 of my speedlights --- one from behind the white background to blow it out and get rid of the wrinkles, one with a softbox from camera right...and maybe even a third aimed at the background from camera left.  We moved lights around several times so I can't remember what we ended up going with.  The pattern was added in post-processing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This was my submission for our Blur assignment.  It is a spinning striped umbrella and the colors are actually much more muted than the image but the only editing I did was to move the black slider in Adobe Camera Raw all the way to the right, and in Photoshop I cloned in a small section of the lower left corner.  I had other ideas for this shot, to have a person spinning the umbrella and include them in the shot but did not get the chance to do that. So, I put my camera on my tripod and set the timer to engage the shutter, set the aperture as small as it would go and started experimenting.  I got some really interesting effects with things in the background showing through the blurred colors but unfortunately it was a messy room!  But something to pursue in the future.  The settings for this shot were f22 for 10 seconds at ISO 100 with my 24 - 70 mm lens.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lensbaby Gerbera

Using blur and also complimentary colors to make the flower stand out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Little Blur or Even a Lot

I've been working on some images for this month's assignment of Blur.  There are so many ways to include blur in an image, and I think just about any subject can be taken in a way that will make it more interesting by blurring some of the elements.  A moving subject looks great by panning with it and blurring the background whether it is a vehicle or a bird or a person running, etc.  A slow shutter speed can be used to blur just the part of a subject that is moving the fastest such as wings or legs or blades on a windmill.  A longer exposure will make moving water very interesting too, in a waterfall or rain or waves at the beach.  I love shallow depth of field for isolating a subject from the background.  The Lensbaby lens will distort and blur elements around a specific focused area.   Then there is the option of shooting abstract blurs where nothing is in focus like I tried last spring shooting wildflowers from a moving car and getting bands of blurred colors.  Sounds great, right?  Maybe it is the perfectionist in me but I have not been super happy with most of the images I have tried to shoot and specifically incorporate blur in lately.  Sigh.  I had some great ideas but not many chances to execute them.  The flowers above were shot with the Lensbaby lens and I was very happy that for once I actually got the part of the subject I wanted in sharp focus while blurring the rest.  I think I had to use a +4 closeup filter on the front of the Lensbaby Composer.  Many people (yes I am talking about you Jen!) would want to see all of the flowers and the vase and the stems in sharp focus, but not me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Different Kind of Newborn

 This is Gabrielle and she is just one or two days old.  
I have been neglecting my blog mostly because I have been busy almost daily shooting photos for homeless animals for posting on Petfinder or recently another round of pet portraits to raise money for my rescue group to get those animals to safety.  This puppy and her very young Rottweiler mother were saved by my vet Susan Pickle at the very last minute before they were both about to be euthanized.  They appear to be full Rottweilers.

And here is her momma who is not harming her by holding her in her mouth.

Her name is Angora, named after Angie who had the mission of going to save her, and the puppy Gabrielle is named after Gabe who helped her ---- I love that!  Two people who I am so glad to know who go to so much effort over and over to help these animals.