Friday, September 14, 2012

Prints stand the test of time

                         1994                                                                 1931

The photography we’re posting on digital media has a shelf life of about ten minutes. We need to think beyond Facebook, Instagram, Flicker etc.

Do yourself one very important favor. When you capture that great picture of your spouse, kids or pets put the picture in a folder called to be printed. Take your disk or what ever to a lab and have some prints made. Photographic prints stand the test of time.  Storing pictures on your phone will fail you someday.

You don’t want to look back 20 years from now and say I can’t remember what my kids looked like on their first day of school. Do it for yourself and for your family.

The pictures I’m posting are of my son (left) when he was 13. It was 1994. It’s shot on film and I have a similar print displayed in our home. The picture to the right is of my father when he was 10 years old.  It was 1931

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bonkers with a cell phone

Hipstamatic / Winkelman, AZ.

Cell phone photography has gone bonkers. Image quality has risen to a point where the work looks great. You don't even need to hold the camera to your face or close one eye. When people say everyone is a photographer now. It's so true. What defines a photographer these days. It's all over the place. Imagine being a fine art photographer who makes a living selling images. Good luck! Just look at Instagram. Quality photography is being produced by 10's of thousands of people all over the world.

Beyond my commercial work, this type of photography is still a self indulging practice for me. I can't live my life through how many "likes" I receive. It has to be fun for me or why do it at all.

I'm still shooting film but not as much.

View Camera Portrait

Jason 1994

1994, 13 years old and life's a bitch. Budding testosterone and way to many important decisions to be made.  He's got that leadership eye and whit.  He's done quite well for himself.  Grew up, got married and has a terrific career in the semiconductor industry.

The image was made with a Deardorff 8 X 10 view camera using a 360mm Rodenstock lens. The film is Tmax 100 and it was developed by hand in a rotatory drum using Tmax RS developer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Camping Portraits

Lori and I,  Photo by Toru
Donna and Toru
These pictures are from a recent overnight camping trip to the Mogollon Rim in AZ. 

The pictures are made with a Polaroid camera and film made by Fuji film.  The color is FP-100c and the black and white is FP-100b.  These are the pull apart film’s like the old by gone Polaroids.  The sun light was intense and contrasty so for fill light I used a Canon 580 EXII flash and a small beauty dish.

This was an exercise for me not to over manage. The conversation prior to making the pictures was use the coffee pot or cup as your prop and beyond that I will not micro manage the portraits.  I wanted Toru, Donna, Lorie and I to just be.  You don’t have to smile or look into the camera.  Just be yourself and do what every you want.  This is the result.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Catherine Dec. 2011.

I recently did a Photoshop tutorial and decided this would be a great image to work on while discovering new ways of doing things.  I realize this is a departure from my purist photography and more on the digital art side. I think creative applications are worthy of learning in spite of what people might think of it.   It may not be for everyone but as far as I am concerned it's all about discovery at my finger tips.

Photoshop is an incredible tool and I know this type of image is perceived as fake or trendy. It's taken me a long time to realize I don't do this to make other people happy.  Photography is a self indulging creative activity that is very personal.
So go for it.  If people like it, great.  If they don't, learn from it and move on. 

If you read my blog you'll know I'm all about learning and constantly pushing myself to learn new things. I'll say it again, I need to evolve and grow creativley.  If I'm satisfied with a particular techneque I fear I will become formulaic, predictable and boring.  I may be that already but at least I'm trying to be better everyday I go out the door.

Thanks for looking and supporting my blog.  Comments are always welcome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It was our 33rd wedding anniversary last Saturday.  Lorie and I decided to get out of the Phoenix heat (107 degrees) and head North to the mountains two hours away.  We brought our dog Kona and we had a relaxing day under the pine trees near Flagstaff.  

We eventually ended up on Schnebly Hill Road.  We got there by way of interstate 17 and eventually descended into Sedona from the North.   It’s a rough 13 mile road that is pretty smooth until you descend into Sedona.  From the Schnebly Vista Point you need a high clearance vehicle to make the final descent into Sedona.  You would bottom out if you drive it in a car.  The road is no longer maintained and is heavily traveled by Jeep tours and other four wheel drive recreational vehicles.  It’s a rough road these days no doubt.

I took these pictures with a Polaroid SE600 camera.  It’s a big camera but it’s fun to get instant pictures.  The Polaroids are 3.5 by 4.5 inches.  To get the pictures posted onto the Transformations Blog I scanned them with an Epson Perfection V750 Pro flatbed scanner. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Process

Being a photographer means using your equipment regularly.  You have to stay in shape physically and creatively.  Know your equipment.  Learn the menus backwards and forwards.  The goal is to be in control of your gear and not the other way around.  Practice makes better!

These portraits are from a practice session with my assistant Zak.  Both are one light set-ups.  The guitar portrait is made with a large umbrella while the biker portrait is with a silver reflector with a 25 degree spot grid attached.  In both portraits the f stops were wide open creating a shallow depth of field.  Balancing studio strobe with ambient can be tricky at times but in natural light this situation was ideal.  Both shots have a two to one lighting ratio meaning the subject is twice as bright as the background.  Both shots are ISO 100 using an 85 millimeter lens.  The biker shot 160 @ f 2.5 and the guitar shot is f 2.2.
Enjoy and have fun.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I was invited to go to Grand Falls, Arizona back in March with friends Pete Pallagi and Nate Pallace. Pete and Nate are staff photographers at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. 
Pete was the tour guide since Nate and I have never been to Grand Falls before.  I’ve seen tons of pictures of the place but I had no idea where it is or how to get there.  Pete’s been there many times and guided us right to the spot in spite of the fact theirs know signs guiding you in.  For the most part, this is a primitive area deep into the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona.
It was great for several reasons!  It was completely void of government intervention.  No park service, therefore no entry fee’s, no designated parking lots, no fences, no maintained trails, no signs, no rules.  Imagine that, leaving it up to us to leave the place as we found it.  Refreshing!
It’s been a while since I’ve been on a photo trip so I greatly appreciated the opportunity.  I’ve been so focused on my photography business that my personal work has been reduced to practically zero.  So this was a little photo vacation for me in a way.  Interestingly this was a day trip.  From Phoenix we were there in maybe three and half hours.  
About the photo’s.  These are all digital.  My camera was a Canon 5D Mark III.  I used a 24 to 70 f-2.8 zoom lens for most of it. I also used a neutral density filter to get the water slightly blurred.  The ND filter allowed me to shoot; ISO100 shutter speed of 1/8 of a second with an aperture of f-22.  For me, I like the water slightly blurred.  It gives the a sense of motion. 

Monday, February 6, 2012


Film 6 X 6 Kodak Portra 160VC Below:

I’ve been itching to get out and do some photography of my own lately.

I remember coming back from a photo shoot in Tucson when we passed an interesting area about a half mile long. It’s on I-10, east of Eloy, AZ.

It’s very close to the road so you can’t miss it. All the buildings are abandoned awaiting demolition and redevelopment. Since we were on our way home, I thought I'd come back when I could.

A few weeks went buy when I finally took the afternoon off and drove down there. It’s 45 minutes south of here on the freeway, so not so bad for me.

I took a medium format film camera and a DSLR.

Things left behind, like old buildings are really cool to photograph but I got to tell you it kind of gives me the creeps. You’re out there exposed in an isolated area with your gear and it’s unsettling when someone drives up and say’s, you own the property? I reply, no just taken a break and they drive off. In many ways Arizona is still a territory. You never know who’s armed and why. So it's a good idea to be prepared.

When I look at these pictures I see each photograph as a time capsule recording the place as it stands now. For me, I’m pulling from my own memory or visual library so to imagine what this must have looked like with people working or guests checking in. Now it’s left to you to complete your own narrative.

Here are some of the pictures I thought were interesting.

*******  I wanted to update this post.  I shot these pictures back in May of 2012.  It's now October 2012 and I went back to shoot more photo's with a friend.  To my surprise all the buildings were completely gone.  Nothing remains but smooth dirt.  Not even a concrete slab was left behind.  You would never know there was a commercial community that once occupied this area.