Friday, December 30, 2011

Part II: Cover Art for “Feel” by The J.O.B. (Jim O’Ferrell Band)

In my last post, I shared some cover art candidates for “Feel” by The J.O.B. (Jim O’Ferrell Band).  Here are the balance of shots I sent along for the band to consider.  The idea behind the photos is feel the light.  Enjoy.

Feel the Light-7

Feel the Light-6

Feel the Light-12

Feel the Light-9

Feel the Light-11

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cover Art for “Feel” by The J.O.B. (Jim O’Ferrell Band)

Feel the Light-5

Over the last couple of months I have been working with The J.O.B. to produce artwork for soon to be released songs “Guardian” and “Feel.”  With a new set of flashes and a model (my son and soon to be USAF Officer), I was presented with some new opportunities for inspiration and creativity.

Feel the Light

The lyrics to Feel talk about light, possibilities, and the feelings and understanding between people.  The ideas of “Feel” and “light” inspired a photo shoot focused on feeling the light.

Feel the Light-4

From a photographic perspective, this was a bare bones shoot.  The shots were made in my garage with a single light.  The garage was completely darkened and I used the base piece of a yard shed as a back drop because it was black and non reflective.

Feel the Light-1

After a few test shots, I found that I had to close the garage doors, turn out the lights and shoot in the dark to get the effect I was looking for.  The main challenge of shooting in the dark was focus.  If you have not noticed, cameras do a really poor job of focusing in complete darkness.

Feel the Light-2

To overcome the focus problem, I turned the lights on, dialed in the focus, and marked a spot on the floor for the camera distance.  I then set the focus to manual (so it would not change), and began to shoot.

Feel the Light-2-2

The shots shown here represent half of the keepers.  Come back soon to see the rest…as well as the J.O.B.’s final selection for “Feel”

Feel the Light-3

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Scenes from Occupy DC

Breakfast Time

With the paying part of my life occupying much of my time along with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I have yet to revisit the Occupy DC encampment.  However, I still have plenty of photos to share.

Occupy DC Chef

Passing By Occupy DC

Park Seating

McPherson Square at Dawn-2

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Volvo – Worth Every Penny


With the holiday season in full swing I have not carved out the opportunity for much photography – with the exception of playing with my new lighting gear and food photography (Craig’s Grape Adventure).  To make matters worse, I have to deal with my badly crumpled car.

Last week I was struck by a deer in Southern Maryland.  It was about an hour after sunset.  I was driving about 50 mph with my wife in the passenger seat.  Suddenly my headlights were filled with a nanosecond flash of a deer racing across the road.  The blur of fur came at the same time as the tremendous thud of impact.  It happened so quickly there was not even time to brake.

Gratefully we were uninjured and the car performed flawlessly.  Despite the tremendous shudder and unsightly damage, the seatbelts not only locked, but cinched us back into the seats.  Amazingly, the car did not swerve or even give the hint of loss of control – it tracked perfectly straight as if nothing happened.  I will be without my beloved Volvo for a few weeks, but am immensely grateful none of that time will be spent in a hospital.  Thank you Volvo!

Finally, if you have not yet picked up your copy of Craig’s Grape Adventure – Loving Life with a Skillet and a Corkscrew, follow the link and take care of that last minute Christmas shopping.  It is easy, you will get the book before Christmas, and you will make a food and wine lover happy with nearly 500 pages of stories, great recipes and wine pairings.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Photography From Occupy DC

Camp David

My last visit to the Occupy DC camp was several weeks ago.  I have it on my work list to visit McPherson Square later this week.  In the mean time, here are a few shots I have not yet shared.

Legal Observer

Occupy K Street

Strike for Justice

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Playing With Your Food (Photography)

Braised Pork Belly over Cocunut Curry Soup and Ramen Noodles-2

This week is very exciting for me.  I finally moved from natural lighting and a do-it-yourself lighting rig for food photography to the world of flash photography.  Thanks to the generous donations for my recent book “Craig’s Grape Adventure – Loving Life with a Skillet and a Corkscrew” I was able to upgrade my lighting kit.

Before making my purchase of the Yongnuo YN560 flashes and the Yongnuo RF-603 wireless flash triggers I researched flashes, talked with photography friends, read reviews, and shopped for best prices.  I first concluded that with food photography as my principle use for the flashes, I would not need to go to the expense of purchasing TTL flashes.  With static photos, a manual flash is the best choice giving you full creative control over the quantity and quality of the light.  TTL flashes can be used in manual mode, but why pay for something you don’t need?  In essence, you set up your shot, set the power and zoom on the flash after a couple of test shots (or triggering the flash and using a light meter to set power and exposure), and you are ready to go.

Yongnuo YN 560 and RF-603

From my experience with testing various lighting configurations for my food photography, I wanted a three light kit.  Two lights for side lighting, and a third for backlighting.  Why? By applying light from three angles, you are able to wrap light around the subject and bring greater dimensionality to the photograph.  I also knew I wanted to use radio frequency remote flash triggers.  When I shoot food photography, it is real food – that I eat.  Using the RF triggers, I am able to quickly set up a shot, get the work done, and quickly move the gear to the side so our dinner party can enjoy the creation.

Cherry Tomatoes

My decision to go with manual flashes also saved a boatload of cash.  The Yongnuo YN560 flash sells for $75 on Amazon.  The RF triggers sell for $35 a pair.  In total, I have about $300 invested.  Compare this to $450 for a single Canon 580EX II.  When I decide to move to more dynamic situations (i.e. moving subjects or situations in which I cannot take the time to set up the shot in a controlled situation) I will likely purchase the 580EX II, but for now, the manual flashes are completely adequate.

Braised Pork Belly over Cocunut Curry Soup and Ramen Noodles-3

The photographs you see here are test shots and not the end of the story.  I was not at home when I took these shots and did not have umbrellas or other diffusers to shoot through.  In other words, these are all bare bulb shots.  I was able to use a little trickery by bouncing the light, but the addition of diffusers will result in softer light, controlled specular highlights, and even greater flexibility with the quality of the light.

2010 Bin 106 Twisted River Germany Gew├╝rztraminer-2

As I play more with my food, and my lighting setup, I will be sure to share my results.  If the food you see here is making you hungry, head over to Craig’s Grape Adventure for hundreds of recipes, wine pairings and more food photography.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Occupy DC Black and White Photography

McPherson Square Tent Camp

On the day after Halloween, I made my first visit to the Occupy DC tent city at McPherson Square in Washington DC.  I continue to visit the camp every couple of weeks to document the changes in the camp – like the next shot – my last visit found the University of the 99% was established.  I can’t tell you about enrollment or faculty.  Sorry.

University of the 99%

I was intending to hold on to these shots for a while, then publish a series.  However, after reading the news yesterday, of the protestors building a two story wooden structure that eventually led to a conflict with the DC police and several arrests, I decided to share several of the photos.

Creativity Planning

The guys above and in the next shot were new additions upon my last visit, and had a nice new white enclosure from which they were able to talk to passersby about their economic perspective – and hand out flyers for their landscaping business.

Radical Bible Information

The eclectic gathering of people that make up the Occupy DC protestors is quite interesting.  I was happy to find the Latinos were well represented.

Latino Corner

I have a whole pocket full of photographs from McPherson Square.  I intend to continue shooting as long as they save.  Come back soon for more from Occupy DC.

Have fun and go make some great photography.