Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Rock the House Despite a Blizzard

The weather outside was frightful, but the food, ambience and music inside was sweetly delightful. That's the official conclusion my wife and I reached after combining a date night with shooting some pics for Nissi's in Lafayette, Colorado. But the night was not without an element of danger. Now I do NOT cancel date nights and babysitting due to bad weather, mind you. Yet as we approached Lafayette while 12" of snow an hour pounded our car, I started to have some doubts about our chances to make it to the venue in one piece.

But we persisted over the strong objections of my wife and we were richly rewarded. Teresa and Mark were great h
osts at Nissi's. The Kobe beef sliders rocked. Also loved the yummy ahi tuna. The place is cozy and warm, every seat in the house a perfect view of the music. And if you have never been to a FACE concert, you need to put that on your bucket list right now and get 'er done!

I am no professional music critic, but the wife and I had a wonderful time. Hard to believe a human being can make such sounds without a single keyboard, instrument or other digital sound effects. The vocals brought some tears to my wife's eyes, she loved it so much. Their energy and sound and overall stage show was dynamic and fun. It was a real treat to be a part of that evening out.

What else can I say? Some things are worth risking getting stuck in the snow to see. FACE was worth it. See the whole shoot here.

Music photography is a lot of fun when there's a talented band, a great venue and excellent food. And throw in a pretty date and you can't miss!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's In Your PC?

Until I enrolled in a computer maintenance course did I have any real clue what was going on inside my computer. All I cared about is that it would run smoothly and blazingly fast. No blue screens of death nor the whirling beach ball of death on the Mac side and I was happy.

One day we took apart motherboards and had to identify and replace a processor and cooling unit. In the harsh light of an overhead fluorescent at our workbench, still I was unimpressed. Then color contrasts started to scream out in the back of my head.

Next day I borrowed some defunct memory modules and a motherboard and took them home and set up a shooting table. I kept my 4 year old daughter up late to be a hand model and then threw a blue gel on my background light. Then I gelled the ringlight to about 1/2 CTO (an orange-tinted gel). With my white balance set to warm the image some more, I fired away. Time to send off to the publisher to compete for next year's photo placements!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ignite Boulder + Velvet

Andrew, Kath and the crew over at IgniteBoulder know how to throw a party. They sold out the Boulder Theater and streamed another 500+ people in online, making this the largest-attended Ignite of all time. Well done, you guys! While photographing the event last night, I learned about how to prepare for being a contestant on Family Feud from a real-life game show veteran. Learned some new Spanish vocab should I ever get stopped at the US-Mexico border. Top that with some of the neat work being done for spinal cord injured people here in Boulder. I now have 'Pam' as a secret weapon to donning triathlon attire. And most critical of all, I learned to never leave home without velvet.

What an imaginative and informative bunch. And a heck of a lot of fun, too! See the pics here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lightpainting the Town

Ever see a photograph where you can't quite tell how they did it? Light seems to come from out of nowhere. You wonder how did those weird streaks get recorded in the picture? Or why does the subject seem to glow in funky ways?

Take the image to the left. I shot this for a product portfolio several months back and have always liked the various bits of motion and action in the composition. What's going on in the shot to come up with this one?

I used three lights. I blue-gelled my Nikon speedlight and fired it into the white seamless backdrop from off camera left. Then I left the shutter on my camera open another 8 seconds while I took 2 different flashlights and lit the front of the bottle for a moment, then danced their lights off of the background. Then I took one of the flashlights and illuminated the back of the bottle for a second or two. Finally, I made the arcing streaks of light emerge from the bottle top to resemble an erupting volcano.

Also, there is the extra layer of color contrast going down in this shot. The bottle glows a warm tone, which your eye/brain complex interprets as moving towards you. The cooler blue background appears to recede away from the viewer.

So the result? Don't know about you, but it makes me want to go crack open another BAWLS Root Beer!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Using the Schwartz to Combat TMI

Non-photography topic--TMI: How much is too much information?

Social media can be a great tool for business and personal use. There are a million blog posts singing the praises of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. But why must we all broadcast every detail of our lives to the world? Aren't some things better left in the private sphere?

We're a society obsessed with safety, from anti-bacterial soap to air bags to home alarm systems and wearing helmets on the ski slope. We show zero tolerance for kids who have toe nail clippers stowed safely in the trunks of their cars. Yet when we get online, we gush uncontrollably about the most private moments of our personal lives. No one cares about the espresso double shot you just scored at the Starbucks drive-thru. That is TMI.

But there is a growing class of people who DO care about such things. They like to read about how you are on vacation in Fiji for a month. They love to know your birthdate, social security number and home address. They like to read up on every personal account they can about you. And trust me, you don't want these people in your life. Let's be smarter out there and assume that whatever you put online CAN and MAY very likely get read by someone you don't want.

Some suggestions for your 2010 online experience:

1) Don't accept a friend request unless you are absolutely sure who they are.

2) Be very leery of Facebook requests--often these are phishing attempts to steal your login and password. Always get in the habit of checking the URL bar to see the true web address of the site asking you for your login information.

3) Don't respond to a Nigerian email solicitation telling you that only you can help them claim a $10 million lottery prize. (On that note, don't board a flight with a young Nigerian male who paid $3000 cash for his ticket, checked no luggage and whose father reported him for Jihadist ties and is wearing holy underwear, Batman.)

Wishing you all a wonderful 2010--ring it in with peace and joy. And love your neighbor just do so wisely. And may the Schwartz be with you!