Model Test: Diana... and what I've learned.

DianaDiana Diana Diana

Some shots from a recent model test with Diana. The last shot was a lighting test shot... and at the time I thought "the light is crap, now what?" In moving some lighting, I snapped a plastic housing on a monolight... tried a ringflash... snapped a plastic tightening knob on that... so moved to the window for some backlighting, and lastly to the wall with diffused light from the window coming in from her right.

In the end... what did I learn? The initial lighting looked pretty good and I should not have abandoned my initial setup so quickly. And secondly, you have to have durable, reliable gear. That's why made the switch to Profoto Acute2 1200R... and window light. I'm loving both, though the window light is significantly less expensive.

Photography: One thing I've learned in 2008

As a photographer, 2008 was a very important year for me. I shot more than I ever have and in doing so, started to feel like I’m starting to know what I’m doing. I thought it might be helpful (for me and perhaps some others) to rundown some of the things that I’ve learned throughout the past year. Here’s one of them... Don’t forget to look for shots off-set Sometimes I find myself so focussed on getting the shot I have in my head, I’m not leaving myself open enough to what’s happening around me. Here are three examples from the same shoot.


I had decided to try a ring-flash, so as I made sure it was working I turned behind me to shoot something, and there was Bernadett & Daryon. Popped a frame and said to myself... “yep, it’s working.” Little did I know that I had just taken one of my favorite shots of the day.


Later that afternoon, as the window light began to fade, Daryon (MUA) needed light so that he could see what he was doing... I quickly set up a kino-flo diva light and pointed it over his right shoulder. While Melissa was getting madeup I wanted to shoot her... but I had the ring-flash attached to my 5D, and did not want to take it off So I grabbed a Rebel-XT with a 50mm ƒ1.4... and took this shot of Melissa... one of her favorites.

Which led to this shot (below)... where I played with camera position and used the kino-flo as a backlight and nothing in front. You can see a bit of green fringing on her chin... that’s how the Rebel deals with extreme contrast. I wished I’d had a backup 5D at the time because it would be nice to have this shot in better quality.


After this shoot I became convinced that a good second camera (not only as a backup but as a second camera to shoot with) can be extremely useful.

Video: BTS Sarah Hartshorne

Here's a short video I put together with some of the random footage and stills from one of Sarah's tests. Based on this first try, we have a much better idea of how to document the entire process. I just want to thank Chase Jarvis for continual inspiration. His "Frames" pieces gave me the idea to work with all of the frames of the shoot... for better or worse. It's difficult to throw every shot out there–where people can see just how bad some of them really are. I look at some of my choices and wonder "what was I thinking?"

What does a President look like?

This morning on my way to the studio, I was driving down a residential side street not too far from my apartment. I noticed a wiry 40-something black man jogging on the side of the road. My first thought, was that he looked like Barack Obama. And then it occurred to me... if Senator Obama becomes President Obama... then that man jogging looked like the President of the United States of America. Let’s take a step back and consider the enormity of just that. A black man jogging down the street looks like the President. That one idea changes so much for so many. It changes how we view others, how we view ourselves and how we view the country in which we live. No greater case can be made for the greatness of American than an Obama presidency.

I support Barack for his passion, his purpose, and his ideas on how to move the country forward. However, the ancillary benefit of transforming the public's "mind's eye" as to what an American President looks like could be more powerful, and have a more lasting impact for generations to come.

Speed up Lightroom 2.0

One of the touted benefits to the latest Lightroom upgrade is the 64 bit support. So, why is Lightroom 2.0 running so damn slow? After some searching various message boards I found the reason. Lightroom 2.0 defaults to running in 32 bit mode. Just change it to run in 64 bit mode... right? And here's how:

Uncheck the "open in 32 bit mode" box and then start.

Seems like funny place to put it... right?

Read my tweets...

I've decided to take the plunge and try to figure out just what is so cool about twitter. In an number of podcasts I listen to... guests and hosts alike have told people to follow them on twitter. Some of these people I actually like, so if they're on twitter, maybe I should check it out. And the only way to really check it out and understand it is to do it I guess... so follow me on twitter at