Archive | July, 2011

New Photoshop Painting Technique

26 Jul

I just learned a new Photoshop technique where you literally paint on the photo with these cool watercolor brushes. It adds a lot of amazing texture and gives me yet another tool in my Photoshop arsenal. The possibilities are endless! Below is an example of how I have spent most of the last few hours 🙂 Actually, this is what I spend most of my time doing – learning new photography and Photoshop techniques so that I can improve my craft. I consider learning to be a part of my job, and I truly believe that everyone should. Our ability and willingness to learn can be one of our greatest assets in life.

This photo is from the same shoot that I used to create the stop motion. The lighting was simple – just a large shoot through umbrella camera right and modeling lamp camera left for fill.


Frank Strunk III

20 Jul

A few weeks ago I did a photo shoot with Frank Strunk III in his studio. He is a metal artist in St. Petersburg, FL. We spent about an hour and a half shooting all over the space with different metal working tools, etc. His studio is filled with wonderful, interesting things to photograph. Here are a few photos from the shoot. Also, if you want to read the article and interview that I wrote about Strunk, check it out here at New Roots News.

The eagle above Strunk’s head has a wing span of 14 feet. It’s all hand made.


Pyrograph – Drawing with Burning Glass

14 Jul

Artist Etsuko Ichikawa makes drawings with molten glass. This video captures the symphony of her art perfectly. Please watch. It’s short and incredibly inspiring.

Pyrograph Short Film

Shooting au Natural

12 Jul

I recently did a photo shoot with the young and talented Bianca Persechino. She wore a dress by Raven Reda of Dementa, one of my favorite local designers. She was wearing NO MAKEUP, and I did very little post processing on these photos. Large strobe with shoot through umbrella above and camera right. Modeling lamp camera left for fill. Also during this shoot we started working on a stop motion movie, which is turning out to be amazing, fun and tedious all at the same time. This was all a test shoot for a big shoot that I’m planning in the next few weeks, which will result in a short stop motion movie and a whole new set of cool fashion photos.

Watercolor Painting with Nikon’s 85mm 1.4 Portrait Lens

8 Jul

The 85mm 1.4 lens is nothing short of a miracle worker. It is the perfect portrait lens. I also use it for concerts and events, because the light is usually so sparse and I hate to ruin the ambience with flash. I’m going to discuss a few of the reasons why it is such an exceptional piece of glass, without too much technical jargon and numbers, etc.

Being a prime lens, the 85mm 1.4 is one of the sharpest lenses out there. Even at an f-stop of 1.4, the lens yields incredibly sharp images. Of course, at f1.4, the bokeh is simply stunning, and this is the main reason this lens is so desirable. At the right distance, you practically achieve a watercolor painting in the background of the image. Click this bokeh link for an explanation of the word if you don’t know what it means. The photo below is a good example of the bokeh at 1.4 with this lens. Look at the wash of colors. It looks like a painting!

For concerts and any low light situations, this is a wonderful lens as well. It’s great for getting close up shots of musicians playing guitar and singing, as its sharpness captures a lot of detail and action, and the bokeh of all the lights and other musicians in the background adds some cool elements of interest to the photos. So you can almost capture the essence of the band and the song they are playing at that moment. Here is a cool band shot with the 85mm.

In any low light situation, the 85mm l.4 allows you to abandon flash, and the resulting images look much more natural and sometimes even moody, as in the case of concerts and weddings. When you’re shooting without a flash, you have the ability to capture the contrast and shadows and highlights that exist naturally in your subject, which is always intriguing for the viewer. In addition, this lens yields incredibly beautiful and natural color. When I use my 85mm 1.4 lens to shoot, I rarely have to edit my resulting images. This photo is from a wedding I shot recently. Just look at how the bokeh makes it look like a rich painting.

Some photographers dislike prime lenses because they are forced to move around to capture the angles they want, rather than remaining stationary and simply zooming. In my opinion, the fact that I have to move around is one of the benefits of having a prime lens. I am forced to explore angles and distances and details that I would never have thought of if I just stayed anchored to one spot. With my prime lens, I’m all over the place, even jumping up on chairs and laying on the floor! It makes you get really creative with your shots and forces you to think. This opens the floodgates for some really interesting imagery that may not have emerged with a zoom lens and planted feet.

The true drawback of this lens is its price. At a whopping $1200, it is an investment. But being of superb build and hefty in nature, this hunk of metal and glass will last forever. Actually, its build is one of my other favorite things about the lens. It is nice and heavy, but compact, so it balances perfectly on a Nikon D300 or D700 body. In my opinion it is the ideal balance for these mid-sized bodies, certainly superior to a cumbersome 70-300mm zoom lens.

I hope this was helpful if you are trying to decide whether or not to purchase this lens.

Simple SLR Camera Users Guide

1 Jul

Here is an awesome and cool-looking supplement to the article I wrote a couple weeks ago about manually operating your SLR camera! This is a great way to visualize the functions of aperture and shutter speed.