Friday, May 21, 2010

Ethereal Beauty

In Hocking Hills you can actually sense the land as a living, breathing organism. No two spring seasons are ever exactly alike. The photographic artist notices the smallest of details that sets each apart from the other. The flow of water. The way the morning light is carried on the cool breezes that arise from the sandstone recesses. The towering, dark forms of the giant hemlocks. Maple, beech and elm with branches aglow with the luminescence of new growth.

This was the morning of May 13, 2010. Dawn at Ash Cave.

To capture these images I used a Canon 5D Mark II with Canon lenses that included 70-200mm, 28-70mm  and 17-35mm. All are longer time exposures with camera set on a Bogen 3021 tripod and Kirk ballhead.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Rick Sammon: What Does Your Photography Mean To You?

Rick Sammon: What Does Your Photography Mean To You?

Rick Sammon is one of the top pro shooters in the field. I always recommend Rick's books, workshops and presentations to my workshop students. A great teacher with an enthusiasm for photography that is contagious.

A couple of years ago he was in Columbus for an evening presentation hosted by Midwest Photo and Canon USA. It was very motivating to see his work and more importantly, hear him talk about his creative approach, working seamlessly with light and subject.

And by the way, the HDR program that Rick recommends - Topaz Adjust - is a great program. I've been very pleased with the results. A fun thing to do is to take an HDR image that's already been processed in Photomatix Pro and then apply additional adjustments in Topaz Adjust.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Like I Said, Columbine and Miami Mist

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Spring Morning at Clifton Gorge

Morning in early May at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. Wildflowers include Columbine and Miami Mist.

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Movie Posters and Visual Design

The essential elements of visual design. An entirely new - and refreshing - take on movie posters, by going back. Modern titles set to the vintage style of movie poster design.

So what does this have to do with photography ? Everything. Because quite simply it is the fundamentals of composition that will have a far greater impact upon the visual impact of the resulting photograph, than having the camera with the highest megapixel count, the most and best lenses, the biggest lens, etc., etc. Get the "picture?"

Fundamentals such as shape, lines, direction, placement, spatial relationships and emotional reaction to colors - all go into the decision making process when the photographer and artist approach scene and subject. The difference with photography - especially nature and landscape work - is that quite often all of these elements are already present versus the painter or graphic artist who creates the elements to work into the finished piece that they have in mind.

The photographic artist must be diligent in 1) recognizing these existing elements, 2) effectively applying his or her own technical skill with appropriate exposure settings and lens selection, and 3) employing creative approach, i.e. changing and moving to proper angle and perspective, in capturing a photograph that goes far beyond the simple "snapshot."

The "gear" serves the artist. Not vice versa. I continue to be amazed at the number of photographers out there who struggle with that essential rule.

Back during my years living in Salt Lake City I attended the MPC program of studies at Westminster College. I didn't quite fully see it then, but many of the classes I completed in that particular graduate program of studies would eventually have a positive impact on my career as a photographer and artist. When I saw this online posting regarding retro posters of modern movie titles the class that immediately came to mind was Professor Bridget Newell's course on design and visual communications. One of the books required for that particular class was Molly Bang's Picture This: How Pictures Work. It's been over 10 years since that class, but I still keep that book close at hand, more and more using it as a reference for my photography workshops.

It's a simple read. Only 96 pages. But Bang carefully describes and illustrates just how important the fundamentals of visual design are in the process of creating a picture - be it painting, poster, advertisement or fine art nature photography - that successfully transcend the boundary from artistic concept to finished piece.

Once again, fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Posted below are two very recent images that I captured just a few days ago, along the trail to Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park. These images are from an area known as the Devil's Bathtub. I think both illustrate the point I'm making in this particular post quite well. Also, kudos and thanks to friend and owner of The Next Wave, David Esrati, for tweeting a reference to the retro movie poster article which spurred this chain of creative thoughts in my head, thus resulting in this post.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

In the Woods on an April Morning

The morning after a thunderstorm, on April 25 2010 on the trail at Sugarcreek MetroPark. Macro nature photography of wildflowers and other flora.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The kind of September where inspiration blooms

Of the 25 open seats for this September workshop, nine are already filled. I'm expecting registration to be full by early July. The two-day program - in the wonderful light of late September on a landscape that is considered the most picturesque in Ohio - will provide the best in hands-on instruction on how to get the most out of your digital SLR camera. You'll learn the best tips and techniques for capturing nature and landscape photographs that quite simply jump-out from all the rest and cause viewers to say "I can't believe that was taken in Ohio." The classroom location for the workshop will be the new conference and retreat center at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. Known as "The Gathering Space," it's where 'inspiration blooms.'

in reference to: Season of Good Light Photography Workshop | Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, May 07, 2010

High School Senior Portrait Photography

I'm pleased to announce the addition of senior portrait photography to my offering of professional imaging services. Graduating high school seniors can choose between in-studio portrait sessions at my Centerville, Ohio location or portrait sessions shot outdoors. Senior portrait packages start at $300 and include up to two hour session, proof prints, select custom 5"x7" and 8"x10" prints and select images from the session delivered as high resolution JPEG files on DVD. Other options include a private, online proof preview gallery, custom slide presentations, enlargements on canvas up to 30"x40," and post-production digital editing such as custom black and white conversions, montage composites and spot color.

Also included is a pre-session consultation with the graduating senior and his or her parents. From the consultation meeting I help families in deciding what type of portrait session will best serve the type of senior portraits they have in mind, or perhaps explore some new creative approaches in visually capturing the essence of this very important milestone in a young person's life. The pre-shoot meeting also helps in building rapport between client and photographer.

One thing that's important in capturing the client's true personality is to have fun with the portrait session. I encourage seniors to photograph in a several outfits and bring along items that best symbolize their high school experience, such as medals, letter jackets, art projects, sports items, etc. A favorite playlist on an iPod through studio speakers is encouraged as well.

There's also an option for a post-session get together to review the images from the photo shoot and select the photographs for both prints and disk. Client consult meetings are held in the comfort and convenience of my home studio where client images are viewed on calibrated, LED Mac cinema display screens.

As with my commercial portrait photography services, I utilize professional-grade Canon EOS DSLR camera bodies and lenses, a variety of studio strobe lights and light boxes and muslin cloth backdrops. All client images are captured in digital raw file format for highest quality standards. All original, raw digital files are carefully archived and retained by Picture Ohio, LLC, which can be accessed in the event the client loses his or her DVD with JPEG image files.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consult meeting, call 937-432-6711 or email I serve high school senior clients throughout the Dayton area. Professional insured, recommended and certified.