Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Making Light of the Moment

Shooting an evening wedding the week after daylight savings time closes out means you will have to get creative with lighting. We were able to shoot a few series of getting ready shots and some formals before the sunset. And it got dark in a hurry!

Launi and Jeremy chose to see each other all decked out for the first time just prior to the ceremony, so we accomplished our formals shoot as well as a few minutes for them to be together. As an aside, I think this can be a wonderful way for couples to share in the excitement of the day together, to experience the touch of the person whom before God and man they will make a lifelong covenant. I have never shot a couple who regretted having those special moments together, especially the tender photographs we make of them laying eyes on the other for the first time.

Back to light--in a large venue with very high ceilings, we employed a few lighting methods that brought out some unique looks and made for more dramatic images. I snooted (i.e. made a narrow tunnel of light) one of my strobe flashes by attaching it to the end of a monopod and then having my assistant hold a 3' long poster tube in front of the flash. We worked in tandem on the dance floor, my shutter wirelessly tripping his flash from a range of distances. In the top image, we managed to squeeze a little light in between a crowd of dancing guests to penetrate just to the groom's hands clasped around the bride's dress. I kind of like it! The second image took a different approach. My assistant held the flash on the monopod, but this time we put a red gel over it to provide a more dramatic, club feel. I again triggered his flash as he backlit the couple, but I also snooted my own flash to throw some clear light onto just the subjects without overpowering the red light coming from behind. A color contrast is a fun way to add some more ooomph!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience...

When I am photographing a wedding one of the most loved passages of the Bible at wedding time is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ("Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy..."). It reminds me of the passage where Paul talks about the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). So I put together an image taken from an engagement session this past weekend with the fruits of the Spirit burned into the area around where their hands meet. To me, these 'fruits', or virtues, are great traits to demonstrate in one's own life, marriage, place of work, neighborhood and beyond. If only I could display more of these in my own life!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Who says you have to trash the dress in order to 'trash the dress'? As trends go, all the cool kids are doing it, so why not get in on the act? Never one to just conform, we decided to mix up things a bit and just go for a nice, family-friendly ice skating session. But this one was literally right after Mariah and Reed walked back down the aisle and out of the church following tying the knot in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It always helps to have a rink 200 steps away from the church (and to arrive in style by showing up in a stretch Hummer limo).

Mariah & Reed hit the ice

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Glory Community Golf Benefit

I got to spend the afternoon photographing foursomes from the 13th tee at Coal Creek Golf Course last week in a benefit for Glory Community. They are a faith-based non-profit group that provides assistance to the mentally-handicapped as they become adults and seek work, housing and meaningful contributions to society. They are a wonderful group and are doing a lot for the community.

I enjoyed the balmy afternoon in the shade and getting to brush up on some cross-lighting techniques with my trusty speedlight and umbrella. Also found 18 premium golf balls in the rough behind our tent that were written off by their former owners. And if that is not enough, I got to photograph the weatherwoman for Fox News, my high school principal from 20 years ago, my now-retired eye doctor and a friend from bible study--as the photo suggests, fun times were had by all!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Senior Session with Hanna

Senior portrait photography is starting to grow on me. For this portrait shoot we met up in downtown Boulder, Colorado on the Pearl Street Mall, looking for something urban, yet vibrant and bold. So while Boulder Pridefest was in full swing on the mall, we explored a few alleys to come up with several locations we liked. Taking full advantage of off-camera lighting using Nikon SB 800 speedlights and an umbrella and light stand, we turned the harsh, late-morning sun into an asset for some strong compositions.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Training Day

We're putting together a collection for a potential children's hospital client that focuses on the theme of trains. Kids love 'em, boys and girls alike. If I were a kid again and had to be in the hospital, I'd love if they had trains everywhere to look at and to play with! Heck, I'd like that even as an adult stuck in the hospital!

Here are a few of the photographs we put together to go with the train theme.

To the Trains!

Circle Day, Red Day

Looking for a creative way to change the way I see things photographically, I decided to come up with a personal challenge. I would only photograph circles or round object. Another day I walked around the neighborhood and photographed anything red that caught my eye. Then I assembled them into a 5x5 collage using a free Photoshop Action I found online. A good time was had by all. If you have any creative assignments that have worked well for you, post them in the comments.

Best of Denver

For some reason I keep thinking of this famous National Lampoon magazine cover from the 70s where the publication shows a gun to the head of a lovable dog stating that if you don't buy this magazine, they will shoot the dog. Okay, we're not taking such drastic measures to get our clients and readers to vote for us in the photography category for Channel 7's A-List Best of Denver, but we thought some subtle association couldn't hurt. Vote for us and add your comments, too, at this link:

Channel 7's Best of Denver voting

Monday, September 03, 2007

More Lightpainting, Different Subject

Many of you have probably seen the recent Sprint commercials showing dancing figures of light moving about the screen. Using flashlights and other LED-based lights, a Japanese performance group known as Pika-Pika discovered a whole new way of painting with light. Not sure if they are the designers of the new commercials, but if not, they certainly were the inspiration for it. What's neat here is that instead of painting a surface or tree or cactus with a lightsource, the light itself becomes the subject. They make repeated photographs of the lights spinning, moving about in distinct shapes. Then they animate them with software to create a type of cartoon that will blow you away.

Check out more here (courtesy of Strobist blog) and follow the link to watch the Sprint commercial and the original Pika-Pika videos:

Lightpainting Videos

Lightpainting--What Is It?

Forget lightsabers and paintbrushes for a moment and think of light as a way to illuminate the surface of some object or scene. Now imagine setting up your camera on a tripod and leaving the shutter open for several seconds, if not for many minutes. Then take a light source (flashlight, strobe light, LED keychain light, your open cellphone or even car headlights and placing light just where you want it to go. Now if you do this under cover of darkness, no one will think you are weird or working for a counterterrorism unit, but rather that you are having a blast making one-of-a-kind images that extend your creativity in entirely new ways. Of course they might still think you are weird--just look at the shot of me above lightpainting in front of the Flatirons in Boulder, CO.

For a basic primer on the topic, visit the link below:

Dave Black's Cool Lightpainting Tips

Thursday, August 30, 2007


From a recent trip to Williams, AZ, I shot this cafe sign along the street. A couple of topics come to mind on this shot--leaving out distracting details and, well, I'll leave the other topic out for now. The temptation here is to shoot the sign, the pole it was on, the front of the diner and even the street scene in the background. Boring! There would have been way too much activity for the eye to digest, leaving the viewer with an uninteresting photograph. Zooming in tighter overcomes much of this problem, allowing your eye to visually absorb what just the sign has to offer. And don't be afraid to crop in tight, even cutting off the edges of the subject a bit. The other temptation here is to go inside the diner and order a chocolate malt, greasy french fries and a tasty burger. But I wouldn't know anything about that now would I...?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Trash the Dress?!

a.k.a. Drown the Gown, this new trend is trying to break away from traditional views of the wedding dress. I personally go back and forth with the idea of destroying an expensive piece of clothing. Part of me thinks it is a wealth status symbol to frivolously destroy what can cost thousands of dollars. But then again if you are spending that kind of money to begin with on a dress and you hope to never need to wear another wedding dress again in your life, why not start your own tradition and go counter-culture? You can make some amazing photographs that don't even require you to demolish the dress. Taking a quick swim in your wedding dress or jumping on a trampoline? Why not? You can still get it cleaned later and preserved for posterity.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sharefest 2007

Forgot to post about our piece on the front page of the Lafayette newspaper earlier in the summer. The paper ran three of our photographs from our coverage of Sharefest 2007. Sharefest is an annual church-based event put together by many Boulder County churches to paint, clean and fix up something like 16 different public schools in the area. Over 2500 volunteers turned out and did some great work getting the schools ready for the fall start to the school year. Lots of fun! One school hadn't been painted since it opened nearly 22 years ago!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fairview HS Class of '87 Reunion

It's fun catching up with one old friend you haven't seen for 20 years. But when you multiply that sensation times 200 all at the same moment, it can make your head spin! My 20 year high school reunion in Boulder, Colorado this past weekend was more fun than any human being should be allowed to have! For those of you who didn't attend or left before the bitter end, click through to see which classmate took the 'casual cocktail' dress code in an entirely new direction. What a fun time, Fairview HS class of'87!

View the reunion photographs here

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Unnecessarily Beautiful World

Customers have been asking to have easier access to view our landscape photography collections, so the links to our main body of nature work (i.e. those generally without bodies in them) can be found below. To view/purchase, follow this link:

Landscapes and other Unique Images

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ashley and Matt's Wedding

Jim and I road-tripped across Colorado down into the Oklahoma Panhandle to celebrate this outrageously fun wedding. Giant windmills some 15 stories tall, Ashley and her mother-in-law frolicking a la Marilyn Monroe on a steam grate, the bride on horseback and jumping on a trampoline and more! A tornado even hit this Oklahoma town just a few days before the ceremony. What an exciting and colorful wedding--thanks, Ashley and Matt--we enjoyed ourselves!

See the full wedding here