Portrait of a Pincushion as a Young Forb

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

A reprise of a recent Flickr post.

Here’s the text I posted with the original photo:

Chaenactis, or pincushion, litters the desert floor. Its dainty top-heavy heads are known to wave in the wind. It’s an inconspicuous little aster. But all so important for the desert tortoise. Studies indicate that pincushion is the number one food for desert tortoises in the Mojave. I can just imagine how many hundreds of these a grown 50-year old desert tortoise has consumed…

Texture by Nasos3.  Files combined and layered in Photoshop Elements 8. Amazingly these two photos came together beautifully with little additional manipulation.  The combination setting was “overlay” for combining the photos.  100% for both photos – flower on top of texture.  Simple is great.


Single umbrella, lovely lady

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

So here’s my homage to one good light, one fast lens and a beautiful lady (eh hem, she’s my wife).  Simple set up in the living room with a blanket hanging from the doorframe.  One off-camera Canon speedlight (580 EX) and a 33″ shoot-thru umbrella.  Canon 50mm prime set at f2.2.  I have a little bounce (small light disk) on camera left to provide some fill.  I think this baby just sings.  And I think my babe is beautiful.  Single umbrella, lovely lady.  I’m a lucky dude!

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Project 52: Week #3 – with an 2/5/11 update

January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was inspired to get started on Project 52 because Don’s assignments have been challenging and interesting.  Week #2 was photographing a stranger.  This was truly a fun experience wherein people were typically interested in the project, even if they weren’t comfortable stopping for a photo.  Thank you world for a great experience into the unknown.

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Istanbul AND Constantinople: merging images

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment


I’ve been enthralled by the act (and art) of merging images.  There’s just so much you can do with this process, both artistically and message-wise.  I think this technique has become so much more accessible with digital cameras. Like a whole lot.

Just think, about 10 years ago, the only way to get this image was to take a picture, (not forward the film), snap another, (still don’t advance film), and finally a third photo – with probably some travel in between photo locations. (Then you hope and pray the photo turns out!)

DIY projects just rock

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am excited to see the work DIY (http://www.diyphotography.net/) is doing on beauty dishes.  I think that photographers are inherently do-it-yourself types, so I really enjoy the inspiration from this site in particular.

Notably, getting great light from a single strobe is HUGE.  I mean really big. No one wants a photo shoot to require so much gear that a sherpa is needed. So the dish works wonderfully for environmental portraits, indoor portraits and even an occasional product shot.  I highly recommend the terra cotta version which runs about $17 to make.  Really, the key parts of this set up actually run under $10 if you can borrow some paint from Grandpas garage.

DIY did this great side-by-side comparison of two different builds. Here’s a link to the 2 beauty dishes:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/isayx3/2812691251/

I thought the results were pretty clear cut.  The right photo is livelier, brighter and carries more detail.  So I wrote about it.  Well, the folks at DIY humored me and here are my 15 minutes of fame!

Funny 🙂

Redesigned Website is a Comin’

October 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

So I’ve been busy not posting since I’m redesigning my photography website. I want my site to be set up with room to grow.  I wanted a “smart phone”, not just a phone booth of a site.  Here are my thoughts on the topic.

If you view any of the better business sites out there they have the following features in common:

1. fast upload to viewers computer – don’t forget the 14.4kb set-ups out there!

2. clean, simple design with a reasonable number of places to click – little distractions are another possibility that someone will loose their interest in your site.  keep the audience firmly planted at your site.

3. easy access to the most used pages right from the start – for example, its easy to get to the portfolio or blog with only one click from the homepage

4. easy to update with new material – not only on the blog, but also on the actual website so you can circulate out photos that don’t meet your standards/taste as you change and improve as a professional

5. content is king – your photos should be prominent and display your skill, style and dedication to the art and business

These 5 guiding principles are the cornerstone for my design.  I’ll let you decide how it turned out for yourself when I publish the site!

Here are a couple of sites I visit regularly:

See local Oakland photography Maurice Ramirez’s site.  He’s got a slick eye and presents as well as anyone.

I really like the Strobist blog for current posts, but man, does that mother get busied with information and too many distraction.  This was something I was hoping to not duplicate (other than the amazing technical information).  I know this is a “blog” and not a portfolio – but I think the key principles should apply – e.g. how long will it take you to find David’s contact?  More than 2-3 clicks and you might get distracted!

Dan Winters – simple, amazing, awesome. Um, perfect… (can you tell I’m a fan)

I decided to set up my site with Wix.com, which had some nice templates and lots of room to grow.  I must admit that the online interface is decent at best, very buggy often.  I’m still working out some of those issues and hoping to finalize the site soon.

Oh yeah, I also did a little logo for the business – It was fun!

A Sense of Lightness

September 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

Morse Mountain Preserve, Maine

Morse Mountain Preserve, Maine = Black = Heavy

So I’ve always enjoyed black in photos.  That ultimate contrast color that often plays nicely with lots of white – which seems to be the most common color of webpages nowadays.  Certain functions also cater towards increasing black, I found the “clarity” slider in Lightroom, for instance, tends to increase the prominence of darker shades, lines, thus increasing “shadows”.

Black is great but it is heavy.  It can be overdone.  It can weigh on a photo like an anvil.  Heavy.

So here’s heavy on top of light (think of oil on water).  This is Sitka Spruce from Maine’s Morse Mountain Preserve – the southern range limit of this species.  Isn’t it amazing how one feels very serious, and the second photo much lighter – almost lively-er.

So I started thinking about the work I do – botanical photography – and I wanted to revisit whites.  White is a light color.  It adds nicely to many smaller forbes, grasses, smaller and lighter plants.  Then I came across a really special site – Angie Seckinger’s A Macro Journey.  Please do visit it.  Her triptychs are amazing.  Her eye is precise and well tuned.   She’s also a phenomenally nice person immediately asking how she could help my non-profit – Golden Hour Restoration Institute.

So here’s my thanks to Angie – and a resurrection of a sense of lightness.

stumbling onward

a whisper of fall

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