Thursday, December 15, 2011

Want great art and give to charity? How does $27 shipped to your dore sound? Interested? Read on!

Good morning all.  I am participating in a charity event.  Please check out the link below.  The are various artists participating and all proceeds go to the Toys For Tots charity.  Images are $27 each including shipping!  Order instructions are on the link page as well.  Don Giannatti is coordinating the event.  He is a well known and established photographer out of the great state of Arizona.

If you want some great art pieces and also want to give to a great charity, please stop by the site and see what might interest you!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Taking sometime off....

Just wanted to let you all know that I have a gall bladder full of stones and it needs to come

Seriously, though....I've been dealing with some gall bladder issues for some months now and I originally had a surgery date setup for Dec 9. Surgeons office called me this morning and they have an opening for the 5th. I'll most likely be out of commission for a week or two.

I'm In the best medical hands I know of (OSU Med Center) and the best recovery crew you could ask for - Dani and Elise(wife and daughter, respectively)...sooooo...all should be well and good.

I'll keep you all posted. Nothing like getting status updates from a freshly out of surgery and on pain meds person. Don't laugh too hard, you don't want to be getting your gut worked on too for a lower abdominal hernia!!

This is not my first surgery, so no worries on this end.

For any prospective photo clients, we are leaving the voice mail active for you, so if you need any services, leave us a message and we will get back to you.  Right now, it looks like we will resume bookings on December 19th.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fuji X10 - My Take On This Camera

A lot of people have opinions on camera gear....OK....everyone has an opinion on camera gear.  If you want to hear mine of this camera, then feel free to read on and check it out.

Before we start - some ground rules.  I'm a photographer, not a camera engineer.  I'm coming about this review and impression from a standpoint of a user of the gear.  I'm just going to explain what my understanding is and my impressions thus far with the camera.  I could be wrong, off base, or dead on accurate.
I've got no problems with any comments that you might want to leave correcting me or adding some critical information that I might have left out.  All I ask is that you be respectful in your correspondence.

First - Why would a professional photographer want a small camera?
Well, I can't speak for all photographers, but I will say this.  There are times when I don't need a pro kit, don't want to carry a pro kit around with me.  it really is that simple.   I wanted a smaller camera with a high image quality, good responsiveness and easy to manipulate controls.

I believe the Fuji X10 gives me those things.

Second - Why the Fuji X10 over the Fuji X100?
There are quite a few things that make the Fuji X100 a superior camera over the X10.  The X100 has a larger APS-C size sensor(same size as in a lot of intro and mid level DSLRs), a fast fixed prime lens and a slightly larger body.
So again, why the X10?
If we look at all the other things...the X10 is the little brother of the X100.  It's layout is pretty close, its functionality is pretty what are the changes?  The X10 has a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 28-112mm with an f/2.0 to f/2.8 maximum aperture.
My other thought is that with the X10 - Fuji had time to figure out all the quirks of the X100 and fix them with the X10.  For the most part, I think that Fuji has done just that.

So what did I get for my money?  I got a very portable, take anywhere, anytime camera.  It is quite a capable little machine.
The dynamic range is excellent, and there are plenty of modes that can help to extend that.  It can do in camera panoramas.  Special modes for low light, enhanced depth of field.  While it is great for those who do not want any kind of special help - just point and shoot - it can do that too.  So people like my wife, who just wants to press the shutter and make the image are fine with it too.  For me, I like the fact that it has aperture, shutter and manual modes and a standard hot shoe.  Oh...and it has a leaf shutter so syncing flash all the way through the shutter range is possible!!  More on all this later and why it is an exciting thing for a photographer.

The short comings - not that many to be honest.
This is what I found so far and none are deal breakers to be sure.
Flash exposure compensation - I cannot seem to find a way to make the internal flash exposure compensation to be more or less that 2/3.  Not horrible, but sometimes I like to travel light and I have a speed light with an optical slave on it.  I want the camera flash to not be part of the exposure and having  it as low powered as possible is a plus.  We'd just have to be careful of the camera to subject distance in that regard.
Menu System - OK - I'm just really used to the Nikon DSLR menus and while the Fuji menus are not
that for sure - they just take a little getting used to.
The User Manual - While pretty bad, not one of the worst I've seen.  I've worked in the IT industry for 25 years, so I've seen my share of bad instruction manuals.  Everything you need to know is in there, it just takes some interpretation.  I recommend reading it and then re-reading it - then take it with you for some time in order to get a good feeling for all the options.  This camera has a ton!

That is about it for the time being.  If I find any other quirks of note I'll make sure to update them here.

External Controls
The camera takes a lot of its cues from the old film rangefinder cameras.  While it does not have an all manual control scheme through dials(like the X100) has a system similar to a DSLR.  Set the mode you want on the dial and use the thumb wheel or the spin wheel to change the options you want.  Coming from a DSLR - this is great because the controls are very familiar.

On the top you'll find an exposure compensation dial, a mode command dial, a function(Fn) button, shutter release.
One the front is a switch for the focus control - AF-S, AF-C and MF(manual).
The great thing about the dials is that they are all very tight and I have had no problems with them at all.  I've yet to accidentally move a dial.
The rear has your thumb wheel, AEL/AFL button, your combo pad with drive mode/delete, macro focus mode, flash mode and self timer on it.  On the outside of that is a wheel you can spin to change options as well.  A note on the thumb wheel.  It is clickable and among other things, it is used in manual mode to change between switching the aperture and shutter value.  There is a back/display button, a RAW button for switching to RAW shooting mode or to process RAW images into JPG while in image review mode.
Rounding out the button controls are the play button, AE(doubles as zoom in), AF(doubles as zoom out) and WB buttons.

For me - I'll spend 99% of my time with these controls and not in the menus.  See?  Another reason why the menu system doesn't bother me - I'm not really going to need it much!!

The biggest innovation is the power button and zoom.  Instead of having a conventional power button, twisting the manual zoom ring to the 28mm setting causes the camera to power on.  Ok - a lot to take in with that one sentence.  Yes - the power switch is on the lens zoom ring and yes, it is a manual zoom - not a powered zoom.  Yet another comfort for a DSLR shooter.  Why do I like a manual zoom ring?  It gives me minute control over the zoom range, I can zoom as fast or as slow as I want.  Unlike a powered zoom, where they often step through different zoom ranges with no in between or they zoom at inconsistent speeds depending on how long you hold the zoom button.
Another advantage is that you do not have to wait for the zoom to move in and out when powering hte camera on or off.

OK -  So the boring part is over.  Now lets get into the good stuff - things that I'm sure you really care about - performance!!!  How does this thing rock!?  Lets find out.

For comparison, I'll post some stills from the different modes and possibly pit the X10 against my old war horse - the Nikon D50.  I bought this camera back in 2005 and it is still going strong!  While I do not expect the X10 to destroy the D50 - I do want to give you a sense of how close these cameras are(or not) in image quality.
I know that a DSLR is king on control and the X10 is not in the same league as far as that goes.  Just make sure we have this in our minds as we move on.

The A/P/M/S modes work as you'd expect them to, so no need to really go into them.    I shoot mainly in aperture priority mode or manual mode for my normal shooting needs - and those work as I need them too.

C1/C2 - on the dial these are for setting up custom shooting modes.  To use them is a little different.  Firs - set the camera to the mode you want to emulate.  For example, if you want the mode to be in aperture priority as it's base shooting mode - turn the command dial there first.  Then - setup all the other options you want.  As the last step - go into the menu system and find the option on menu 4 called CUSTOM SET.  This is the custom spot on the dial that you want those options you just set placed under.  Once saved all you need do is turn the dial to C1 or C2 to use those options.  You can even change some of the shooting options while in C1 or C2 - but they are not permanent unless you re-save the settings again.  Kind of nice if you ask me.  A little weird to use at first - but a nice option none the less.

EXR Mode
This mode is like "magic".  It runs through a multitude of different options to get the best image quality it can.
EXR Auto - this is like a full auto mode on steroids.  It will automatically determine which of the three EXR modes below to use.
Resolution Priority - it determines the best options to use to get the highest image quality possible - the most detail.
High ISO/Low Noise - this mode aggressively goes after reducing noise in high ISO/low light situations.
D-Range Priority - Tries to maximize the dynamic range of a scene - useful for when you have a scene with highly contrasting ranges.
Here are some examples of the benefit of the EXR mode D-Range:
EXR D-Range Mode
Usually in a shot like this the sky would have been washed out in order to keep the barn and grass properly exposed.
Here, you can see the sky has a nice blue tone to it.
1/450th @ f/4.5   ISO 100
It also works in B&W Film Simulation mode as well.
1/420th @ f/5  ISO 100 
Advanced Mode
Panorama - the camera will automatically stitch a series of images together to create a vertical or horizontal panorama.  I've used this a bit and it does work quite well.  If shooting at 28mm, there can be noticeable barrel distortion.  I've also noticed some ghosting, especially when you have something in the scene that is moving.  In the example below - look at the wind mill to the right - the blades are a bit off.  Nothing that could not be fixed with a little post processing love.
120 degree in camera stitched panorama

Pro Low Light Mode
B&W Conversion Lightroom 3.6
1/25 @ f/2.2   ISO 3200

Pro Low Light - the X10 takes a series of images(up to 4) to get the best image possible in a low light situation.  I've experimented with this and it does work quite well.

Pro Focus - again, we have a multi image situation.  The camera takes a successive series of images to get the main subject in focus and the background as nice of a bokeh as possible.  Given the small size of the image sensor it is difficult to get a shallow depth of field.  This option is there to help you.

Special Mode
This option is where all the "scene" modes exist.  If you need a quick setup, like using scene modes, then this option is the place for you.  There are a ton of options to choose from.

Full Auto
The Ron Popiel Rotisserie mode of the camera - the "set it and forget it" mode.  I use this mode if I want to hand the camera to someone and have them take a picture of me.

Video Mode
You've got quite a bit of option here.

Full HD(1920p) at 30fps
Regular HD(1080p) at 30fps
640 mode at 30fps

start of high speed video capture modes
640 mode at 70fps
320 mode at 120fps
320 mode at 200fps

Not sure what I could do with the lower res movies(need to think about it) but I did mess about with them and it is a pretty neat effect.  I was never getting this camera for the video modes, so anything that it has is a bonus.
The camera does allow for zooming during movie recording and the auto focus does work.  It is a tad bit slow to re-acquire after changing zoom, but it does stick with it.
The sound is recorded in stereo from the two mics located on the front of the camera.

Other Performance Items of Note
Auto Focus - for a contrast detection system - it is quite fast and accurate.  Especially when you have a lot of light.  I did have some failures to focus with low contrast or low light scenes - more than I would have had with a DSLR - but nothing that didn't get a lock the second time I tried with a little creative recomposition.
Manual Focus - I don't see myself using this much, but the rear wheel is used to step through the manual focus range.  It is a bit slow - but there is a good work around.  The AEL/AFL will auto focus even in manual mode.  It will get you close and you can then use the manual wheel to get you where you want to be.
Shutter Lag - pretty dag gone fast from what I can tell.  Not quite a DSLR, but probably the fastest I've seen in a "point and shoot" type body.  For most people this should be a non issue.
Continuous Shooting - can shoot up to 10 frames per second bursts.
Battery - Uses the Fuji NP-50.  A little anemic when compared to a DSLR battery, but the NP-50 batteries are common and can be found inexpensively on eBay and Amazon.  I bought up 2 extras, just to be on the safe side.
Memory Card - I did not want to take any chances and I opted to go with a class 10 SD card.  I wanted to  make sure that there were no chances of a performance issue like has been reported on the X100.  Fuji states that the camera should work just fine with SD cards rated as class 6 or above.

Off Camera Flash
I mentioned previously about the benefit of having a standard hot shoe.  The excitement it brings to me is the ability to use a radio trigger to control off camera flash units.
Because the hot shoe sits flush with the camera body, my trusted and well tested set of Radio Popper triggers would not fit on the hot shoe without a little help.  The antenna on the Radio Popper is on the bottom of the unit and exends below teh bottom of the plate on the hot shoe connector.  After a little web site research, I turned to the great folks at Flash Zebra for a hot shoe adapter.  It is a small cube that sits on the standard hot shoe and provides for a cable connection for other flashes - but the benefit for use, here has a pass through that will allow for another flash to be attached to the top of the cube.  Now you can connect the Radio Popper and all is good.
With speed lights such as the SB-26, I was able to get consistent flash exposures with the camera in manual mode and the shutter speed up to 1/2500th.  Beyond that the flash duration just was not fast enough.  I do plan on running some tests with the Alien Bee B400 unit I have.

Of these two images above - can you tell which one was taken with the Fuji X10 and which was taken with a Nikon D50 with a Tamron 90mm f/2.8???  Lighting setup was the same for both and both were triggered with the same Radio Popper units.  By the way, the X10 shot is the one on the left, the D50 is the one on the right.

How far can we push the images from the Fuji X10?
This first shot was taken in aperture priority mode with all other settings at standard.

This next shot is with a little help from some Lightroom adjustments.

Pretty significant difference and the jpg files from the X10 seem to hold up pretty good to some manipulation.

Some other images:
aperture priority mode - pretty good dynamic range here

SOOC black and white with a 1:1 crop ratio.  Again, good dynamic range through out the scene.
1:1 crop ratio - super macro mode
These are all the images I have at the moment.  I will definitely be doing a portrait shoot with this camera in the future and will post those images later....maybe even do a head to head shoot with the Nikon D300 just for fun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How I Got The Shot #26 - Senior Portraits of Chris

One of the most memorable times in a students life is their senior year in high school.  The excitement of finishing up something, the anticipation of going off to college, starting that career path.

Photography captures a moment in time - a way to share in visualization, you at that time in your life.

Meet Chris.  He is a 2011-2012 senior at Reynoldsburg High School.  Come with us on our photo shoot with Chris!

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, November 7, 2011

How I Got The Shot #25 - Environmental Family Portraits

It's always a good time to get family portraits, and if you've been following along with the BLOG here for any amount of time, you'll know that I favor the environmental portrait.  I love them because, for me, it gives the images more context and allows for the viewer to have more of a vested interest in the subjects.

For this family shoot, the Shamblin's, a family of 5, wanted a nice location shoot at the Creekside park in Gahanna, OH.  This is a relatively newly renovated area that has fountains, bridges, great architectural designs...and well...just a lot of great backdrops for portraits.  I've used this location before for some fashion and commercial work before, so I was very familiar.

Check out the details after the break...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Workshop At Franklin Park Conservatory

Just wanted to share with everyone about the photo workshop on 10/29/2011.

I've had a group that has been wanting to work on portrait techniques for a while now and the stars aligned and we were able to get a group together.  Ohio being what it is this time of year, we were not sure how the weather was going to cooperate.  I thought that the Franklin park Conservatory was a great location as there are both indoor and outdoor locations that lend themselves to great photo opportunities.

Ambient Light with silver reflector low
Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D
1/80 @ f/4 80mm ISO 320
My wife volunteered to be the model for the workshop.   She is a very gracious and willing model.  She made it very easy for those attending to get some great shots.

We started off with some expectations.  All those attending had some prior experience with photography and I've personally gone through some of the basics of photography and some information about off camera lighting and how to craft the light in order to make a killer image.  So I knew that they had the "book smarts", but what they were clamoring for was some real world, hands on experience.  A way to be able to put theory to the test.

I gave them some time to scout the location and determine if there was a good backdrop for our subject.

Not too far in we decided that the rain forest room, with its lush foliage and numerous waterfalls would be a good place to start.

I gave them some basic instruction on getting their exposures dialed in and then let them start to get some shots with just the ambient light flooding the room.
One of the first things that they noticed was that the daylight streaming into the room was a great free resource, but as bright sunlight tends to do, left some pretty harsh shadows on the model.

So,I asked them...."what can we do to make the image better?"
We discussed it for a minute and came to the consensus that we wanted to lift the dark shadows.  But how do we do that?    External flash?  Change the models position relative to the ambient light?  Use a reflector?

Ambient exposure only, no reflector or fill light
Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D
1/80 @ f/4 80mm ISO 320
Ah!  A reflector!    I brought with me a fold able 33" 5 in 1 reflector.  That sure did the trick!

Lesson here....good ambient light, proper exposure settings and a $30 fold able reflector and you go from getting a so so snapshot to a more professional looking portrait.

Nikon D300, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8D
1/250 @ f/7.1    38mm ISO 320
Main light at camera left SB-28 with a Lumiquest SB LTP
Hair light at camera right SB-600 bare
Next we moved to one of the outdoor areas.  This section had some very nice looking lattice fence and a spiral staircase.
Again, I had them take a few test shots to get their exposures down.   Once they did that they evaluated them also for any improvements and again, those pesky shadows from the overhead sun crept into play.  The reflector was employed and did the trick.

After 2 hours at the Conservatory, we took ourselves over to a local coffee shop that had a community room and relaxed for a minute.  We then went through some flash portraits.
Here will be some from the attendees(update coming soon).  Pretty successful shoot from the group.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Website Re-Design Complete!!!

Just wanted to let everyone know that the website redesign is now complete and live!

The site is cleaner, more dynamic and easier to navigate.  Everything can be found by using the menu at the top and the site is now more oriented to those things that matter the most - the images!!

Check it out at Best Light Photo Website

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How I Got The Shot #24 - Couples Portrait Shoot

Pictures can say a lot of things, and sometimes you want to use them to show others an emotion or to capture a feeling in a moment in time. 

I had the pleasure of being picked by Layne and Neica for a couples portrait shoot.

Check out the details after the break...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New website layout...coming soon!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am working on rebuilding the look and feel of the website.  I'm going to be less verbose and more image oriented.  I figure,everything I want to say, I do here on the blogs, so it seems like the right place to do all this.

There will still be business info, but the work should speak for me.  Probably going to re-work the portfolios as well and stream line them down to a couple of shots each.

More to come....stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How I Got The Shot #23 - Strobist Boot Camp 3 Assignment 2

I like participating with other photographers in industry events.  One such event is an off camera lighting "boot camp" where an assignment is given and then a photograph is produced within the guidelines given.  For this particular assignment we were tasked with coming up with an image that is an icon or iconic in your local community.

Reynoldsburg, OH is known as the "birthplace of the tomato".  Not because tomatoes were first grown here, but because Alexander Livingston developed over 30 commercially viable strains of tomato.  If you want to learn more about it, please feel free to check out this site, which has a lot of information.
Alexander Livingston's House is also a national land mark and a society tasked with its upkeep and education can be found here.

The tomato.   Reynoldsburg has a festival in its honor every year.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, July 18, 2011

How I Got The Shot #22 - Self Portrait in Port Clinton Ohio

Sometimes you just need to get a picture of yourself and to be honest it is not the easiest portrait to get.  That is why I enlist the help of my wife and place her in the drivers seat!
Check out the post today to see how I went about setting this up and getting a nice, sunset self portrait.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, July 4, 2011

How I Got The Shot #21 - Jason Shamblin

I know it has been a while, but we are back with another episode!  This week, we are looking at mixing flash exposure with ambient.  Our subject is the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Reynoldsburg, Jason Shamblin.

I wanted this portrait for many reasons, on of which is for the Visual Ohio story I did on him.

Read further to see how we took a potentially challenging lighting situation and turned it into a winning portrait.

Check out the details after the break...

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Heading out on a much needed vacation starting Monday 7/4.  Probably not any posts until I get back on the 12th.  Enjoy our Independence!

I'll probably have a few posts from our tromp through Port Clinton and one of our great lakes - Lake Erie.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Project Coming - VisualOhio!!

Those of you who have been regular readers of the blog know that I attended the Flash Bus Tour Stop in Pittsburgh this year.

While there, David Hobby discussed his HoCo360 project.  Essentially it is a hyper focal news blog about interesting people or events in the Howard County Maryland area.

I though that this was a great idea and am going to start something similar.  In the next couple of days, look to find a new website,

This site will concentrate on bringing stories of interest regarding the people and events of the great state of Ohio.  While I am headquartered in the central Ohio area, and most stories will probably be from this area, I'm not limiting it.  Anything in Ohio is far game.  I've already got an initial article in the bag and ready to post once the site goes live.

The key to all this will be you, the reader. If anyone has any tips to a great story....a person they know that has some skill, talent or story of interest that you want to get out there, an interesting event...drop us a tip and we might use that as the catalyst for a future story!

Monday, June 6, 2011

How I Got The Shot #20 - Plant Reynoldsburg

Hello everyone!  And welcome back to another episode.  I had the pleasure of covering an annual event in Reynoldsburg.  Every year the city asks for volunteers to help plant flowers and other plants on the city hall grounds and other government owned properties.  People that show up for this event want to show their civic pride by helping make the public lands as attractive as possible.

Check out the details after the break...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Announcement - New Service Coming Soon!!

Just wanted to let everyone know that a new service will be coming soon.  Something you can do with your friends.
Check back here and on the website for more updates!

Monday, May 30, 2011

How I Got The Show #19 - Before The Prom

Why should the images taken before the prom be of any less quality than any other?  Especially if this is a senior prom and the last one this student may attend.  Why not put that money you spent on a dress and a suit/tux to good use and have a professional photo shoot!

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, May 23, 2011

How I Got The Shot #18 - One Light and a Willing Model

OK, so anyone who lives in the mid west will tell you that this time of year is generally rainy...and this season we've had more than our fair share.  I thought I saw a someone building an ark, the other day....but I digress.

Sometimes the mood just hits a person.  I'm speaking of my wife, who generally gets into moods of not wanting her picture taken at all, and then at other times, she asks me if I'd be interested in an impromptu shoot.  Well, lucky me, the other day was just one of those days.

Literally, I had just enough time to convert our living room into a make shift studio while she got her makeup on and hair into shape.
This first shot here is one of my favorites.

ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 1/125th, 50mm
Light to camera left

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, May 16, 2011

How I Got The Shot #17 - Tartan Day

Working with the Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department is always a pleasure. Not only that, it give me access to shoot events that are fascinating.

This past weekend, I was able to attend the morning portion of the sporting events and bagpipe band.

Check out the details after the break...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another busy week!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have not forgotten about the weekly posts.  It has been crazy busy this week.  I want to get all my client work complete before taking a little vacation to Chicago to see one of the greatest bands in history play.....Rammstein!

Ill try my best to get something out there tomorrow..but if I do not, you'll see it at the end of the week for sure.  Some great portrait work coming your way.  Don't miss it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Flash Bus - Pittsburgh - 4-11-2011

I just wanted to write about my experience at this seminar today.

To sum it all up...all I can say is WOW!  One of the best things I've bought in a long while.

The Flash Bus is a traveling seminar held by two of todays legendary photographers - David Hobby and Joe McNally.  These two guys have gone through a lifetime of photography and will most likely forget more than most of us will ever learn.  These two give their knowledge freely and anyone interested in photography would be a fool not to tap into that open faucet of knowledge.

Morning - David Hobby

David started off like gangbusters.  He has a great wit and presence about him.  I really like his teaching style.  He has a good way of bringing technical things into a common language that all can understand and relate.  He went in depth into his "lighting in layers" philosophy and had examples of some of his shoots where he used this technique.  I won't get into the specifics of it here, as I think that it is best left to him to explain.  You can learn all about it over at

What I will say is that I was going about setting up my lighting the exact opposite way that David teaches....and I can see why he does what he does.  I will definitely be trying this new way of thinking out with future shoots.  Davis shoots almost exclusively with manual flashes.

David was so engaging that even my wife thought his presentation was superb.  My wife helps with the business and is more on the creative side of things and leaves the technicalities to me...but David made all of his concepts accessible to any knowledge/experience level.

We went from 10am until about 1:15pm, then broke for lunch until 2pm, which is when Joe McNally gave his presentation.

Afternoon - Joe McNally
Joe showed why he is a true wizard with TTL.  He showed a 3 minute slide show of his "greatest hits" and then went into demos of the Nikon CLS system and how he employs it.  Joe pulled subjects from the crowd to help him demo his lighting techniques.  Guess who was lucky enough to get selected...yep...that's right....ME!

04-11-2011_TFB_Pittsburgh 2

Joe was demonstrating how to build layered lighting. I believe he used 4 speed lights in total.
There was a softbox with a strip light directly over head, a gridded snoot low and shooting up...then he blue gelled two rim lights, one each at a 45 degree angle behind me. This gave the results you see above.

But wait...there is more....I also got to hold a light for one other shot. It was a three person shot. The image was of three people holding a laptop, one light was bounced off a piece of paper on the screen and there was a red gelled speedlight behind them. I held that speedlight.

There was a lot to be learned there. Both photographers did an excellent job of giving you a taste of how they work their magic. You learn more than just lighting ratios and stuff about gear. You really get to know these guys and their work ethic and what they stand for. They talk about interpersonal relationships and how to work with clients and subjects/models. Best of can ask questions at any time.

I also wanted to thank my wife for coming along. She really enjoyed herself, learned a lot and we always work best together as a team. Best Light Photographic would not be a reality and the success that it is without that strong woman being there.

What is it that famous quote, "Behind every great man, there is a great woman."

Monday, April 4, 2011

How I Got The Shot #16 - Another Trip To The Zoo

Hello everyone!  And welcome back to another episode.  Back to the Columbus Zoo again.  This time with a concentration on Australian Birds.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, March 28, 2011

How I Got The Shot #15 - Senior Shoot #2 - Indoor with Small Flashes!

Another recent senior shoot - this is Skyla's sister Brittany.

A little secret, I did shoot both sisters under the same lighting conditions.  They both got a location, natural light shoot and a more controlled lighting "studio" style shoot.
They both had great images in both sessions.  Today we are going to look at and evaluate Brittany's "studio" shots.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, March 21, 2011

How I Got The Shot #14 - Natural Light Senior Portrait Shoot

Had a recent senior portrait shoot.
I'm not a light snob.  I like W. Eugene Smith's take on "what is the best light".  W. Eugene Smith was asked at a seminar he was giving the following question, "What is the best light to photograph with?"  He responded, "The best light is available light".  You could here a pin drop.  What did that mean?  Did that mean sunlight, perhaps diffused by passing clouds or filtered through an overcast sky?  He then added, "by that I mean any damn light that is available!"
 -- Thank you Joe McNally for introducing me to that story!

I hear all too often that people only want to shoot with "natural light".  Nothing wrong with that.  Don't want to invest in a lot of expensive gear, learn to use flash, speed lights, studio strobes, softboxes, umbrellas, gels?  Completely understandable.  However, if you want to be a professional photographer the utmost important thing is that when a client hire you for a job and you accept - you are able to deliver the shots you promised.
They don't want to be continually rescheduled during the rainy season or have to wait for an hour until the "daylight is right".  Just keep all that in mind.
Now, given all that...sometimes the sun is your friend and you can get all the light you need for free, from a source millions of miles away!  That is exactly what we did for this shoot.  Our Senior - Skyla.  Come with us on our journey - Skyla's photo shoot at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, March 14, 2011

How I Got The Shot #13 - Split Toning

OK, I'm not going to write a new tutorial on split toning.  There are plenty of good ones out there and I will save you some time by posting a few here.  What we want to do is have an example of a relatively simple technique and how it can change the mood of an image.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, March 7, 2011

How I Got The Shot #12 - Look For The Abstract

Whenever I go somewhere or go on a shoot, I'm always looking around me....I've trained myself like that to see if there is anything out of the ordinary.  You can thank my father and brother for that.  I was trained at a young age in various martial arts and how to survive on my own.
Weird how that can translate over into other things....but it does help you find those things that don't belong or objects of interest.
I've compiled a few images of some abstract or out of the way things.  I'd love for you to check them out!

Check out the details after the break...

Friday, March 4, 2011

I have some catching up to do!

Well given the recent sickness that had run through the family and quite a few jobs that needed my attention,  I have fallen a bit behind in a few things. 
Gotta get the blog posts up for the "how I got the shot" series for monday and I'm behind in following among with my Project 52 assignments as well.  No worries...we'll work hard and get back on track.
Stay tuned!

Monday, February 28, 2011

How I Got The Shot #11 - Back Lighting for Dramatic Effect

This is a picture from a vacation I took with the family.  We like to travel when it gets cold here in Ohio, so we went off in January to San Diego, California.  There are a lot of great pictures from that trip and a lot of photo techniques to share.  However, for this post, we are going to take a look at back lighting and how that kind of light can make for a dramatic image.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, February 21, 2011

How I Got The Shot #10 - Location, Location, Location!!

One of the mos important things to keep in mind when getting that great image is location.  Sometimes you need to build your background in a studio setting while other times find some remote site is best.  Today, we will be talking about how sometimes the location itself can provide some great images.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, February 14, 2011

How I Got The Shot #9 - Product Shot - Armando Javier Clutch

Had a past client need some product shots for their online store.  They had some specific requirements on how they wanted the pictures to look.  This blog will take you through the steps on getting the product shot you see below.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, February 7, 2011

How I Got The Shot #8 - Bonobo Portrait - Shooting Through Glass

Not everyone can afford to go on safari or take exotic vacations.  That should not stop you though from getting great images.  You must use all of your creativity and skills.  We are here to help.  In this Bonobo portrait we had quite a few obstacles that we needed to overcome.  Today we learn about throwing your background out of focus(bokeh) and how to shoot through glass(common for shooting at zoos/museums).

Check out the details after the break...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Now on Twitter!!

Check us out on Twitter!!  Get updates and tweets on all things BLP!


Monday, January 31, 2011

The Flash Bus Tour 2011

Just wanted to let everyone know that two of my idols in photography are going on tour!

Check out the information here:

Lots of places all over the States were they will be having an all day seminar.  I'm headed out to the Pittsburgh seminar in April.

This is a great opportunity to learn an and interact with legends and master photographers.

How I Got The Shot #7 - Product Shot - Seiko Watch

Sometimes you have limited equipment to work with.  So what do you do?  You make the best of it and get the shot anyway!  This weeks blog post we will explore a low budget solution to product shots.

Check out the details after the break...

Monday, January 24, 2011

How I Got The Shot #6 - Smooth Look For Moving Water

Had a chance to get out to the great state of West Virginia.  Boy, it did not disappoint.  If you ever get to the Blackwater regions, I recommend it.  Just make sure that you don't ignore the smaller trails or you might miss out on some great shots.  This blog post will cover techniques on getting that smooth water effect in landscape pictures that have moving water.

Check out the details after the break...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

52 Project - Week 3 - Still Life - "Exceptions" Magazine Cover

For this project, we were looking to provide a still life shot for a magazine cover.  I came up with 2 concepts.

See what I cam up with after the break!

52 Project - Week 2 - Photograph a Stranger

I had 4 portraits to share.  Here is what I posted to the group for week 2.
Portrait of a stranger is designed to get you to approach people you do not know and have some kind of interactions.

Get all the details after the break!

52 Project - Week 1 - Mission/Vision Statement

This first project was to have you think about a goal you would like to accomplish in this year and provide an image that expresses that goal.

Get the details after the break!

You can learn something from everyone

Good Morning!

I'm of the firm belief that you can learn something from everyone you meet.

This brings us to the "52" project being offered by Donald Giannatti(
I encourage anyone looking to get some face time with another established professional, a weekly project, insight into running/starting a successful business to do this project.  You can start anytime and it is a completely free thing to what is holding you back?

I've chosen to do this project and I've decided that I'll include my finished projects here to share with everyone.

So look for posts here in the future regarding the 52 Project.  So far we have been three weeks in and I have three projects completed.  I'll try and get caught up with all the previous projects and then try and stay current from then on.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Photography Bookshelf

Thought that I would share the books that I keep around that help me in my photography business.  Some are reference, some are for inspiration and others are for running/starting the business.

I've categorized them somewhat and will provide links to them on Amazon when available.

Read on after the break...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How I Got The Shot #5 - Sunset Cemetery

I started out in photography doing landscape and nature photography.  There was just something great about getting out and recording the beauty of nature and its wonders. On a trip recently to San Diego, I was able to get this shot.  It took some creativity and thought since I had limited gear with me.  Come with me on a journey to see how I got this image!

Check out the details after the break...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lighting Essentials "52" Project - by Don Giannatti

From the Lighting Essentials Website:

"A project for serious photographers -
Today we start our 52 weeks, 52 Assignments Project. We’ll just refer to it as “52″. An assignment every week with discussion, critiques, development reviews and more. If you are wanting to make the break and go into professional photography, this integrated, synergistic approach may be just the thing you need. "

Don is providing a great opportunity to interact with him and learn. Even though I have my own business, I plan on going through the 52 project. You always can learn something from everyone you meet and Mr. Giannatti is a wealth of information - and he is willing to share.

52 Project LINK

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I Got The Shot #3 - Outdoor Child Photo Portrait

A client came to me and was in a quandary - they had not had any success getting a good portrait of their high energy son.  They asked me if I could help them out.  As I do with all my clients, I gave them my best and here is what they got.

Check out the details after the break...