Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30th, 2009

I love shots like this . . . evidence of the chaos in Mother Nature. All around my home, the leaves have yet to start showing their colors. Across the street, fall is in full bloom, but not quite here yet. This morning, however, I got the first hint that our trees would soon be changing. One, singular, solitary leaf has signaled to the rest that it's time . . . and I have no doubt, that by tomorrow, more will get the hint!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f1.8 with a shutter speed of 1/400th of a second. ISO is set to 100.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29th, 2009

So I am deep into Dan Brown's latest thriller, The Lost Symbol, and it's making me want to visit Washington DC and photograph all the location his protagonist, Robert Langdon is visiting. Part of the appeal of Brown's fiction is his extraordinary attention to detail of his settings. Angels and Demons, Da Vinci Code and now The Lost Symbol are all great books disguised as travel logs . . . great stuff.

Here we have a statue of Brutus as he contemplates the dagger in his hand (unseen in the photo). Shakespeare has always inspired me and I thought this a suitable subject!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f/1.8 at 250th of a second with an ISO of 100.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28th, 2009

Summer is over and Autumn is upon us . . . my favorite time of year. Why? Cooler days and most of all - COLOR! The leaves haven't started changing all that much yet . . . some pops of color here and there, but it's bound to start any day! And I'll be there to capture every shot I can!

This was taken with the Nikon 50mm prime at an 80th of a second at f1.8 with an ISO of 100.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27th, 2009

In my bid to make everyone who visits this blog feel snacky, I thought this would be the perfect subject. Last weekend, for my daughter's birthday party, we rented - among other things - a popcorn popper. It was a huge hit, but we had a TON of popcorn left over and have been nibbling on it all week. Needless to day, it's been a full week and the entire stash of popcorn is getting a little stale, so it's time to part with it . . . making a great snack for deer and such in the back yard. But before I toss it, I wanted to shoot it!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at an 80th of a second at f1.8 with an ISO of 400.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 26th, 2009

This was shot this morning just after sunrise . . . I am thrilled with the detail I captured in the wings. I decided to make it a monochrome image, as the dragonfly got lost in the blur of the background - everything was a deep green and so was the dragon fly . . . I often times get so wrapped up in an image, I forget about the option of going monochrome. Sometimes, it makes all the difference . . .

Captured with the Sigma 70-300macro at 400th of a second at f2.8 at ISO 100.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25th, 2009

Sometimes, you just get lucky! I had all my gear packed up and had just doing a lighting seminar mid-week. I still had the Nikon 70-200mm on my D2x body a when this little guy decided to pay us a visit on the back deck. The camera was sitting on a pile of gear and I just picked it up and started snapping away. Thankfully, I had zeroed out the camera just after the seminar, as I messed around with custom white balance and that would have thrown this show all wacky!

Captured with the Nikon 70-200mm at f/2.8 at 250th of a second. ISO is set down to 100.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24th, 2009

One of my more infamous subjects that I love to shoot . . . I got this creepy doll for the Konxari Cards ( shoot and it never fails to get a reaction out of people. I bring her to my signings where Konxari Cards are available and folks always want their pictures taken with her - either that, or they won't go anywhere near her!

This was captured with the Nikon p6000 set to Macro mode and shot hand held at a 10th of a second at f2.6. The camera was in auto ISO mode at 548.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23rd, 2009

Got more art direction from my 5-year old daughter last night while doing homework on the dining room table. After we were done, I asked her what I should shoot for my image of the day and she pointed out that the vase in the middle of the table was beautiful and I should shoot that. So I took it upon myself to shoot the vase in a way that wasn't ordinary - which every photographer should do . . . assess the composition and come up with a way to make it different somehow - be it a wedding or a fine art piece. The challenge is to make it interesting . . . 

This was captured with the Nikon 50mm prime with an aperture of 1.8 at a 30th of a second. ISO is down to 100 cause I wasn't going for tack sharp on this shot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22nd, 2009

Going a bit abstract today . . . can anyone guess what this is? It's full of patterns, shapes and texture . . . all designed for us to see it better!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f/1.8 with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second. ISO is set to 400.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21st, 2009

Took the weekend off the blog for my daughter's 5th birthday party extravaganza! What a weekend! Had a ton of people over for a carnival themed party. You can see images of it here!

Getting back to the image of the day . . . you can't beat pre-dawn light when taking pictures. It's totally worth getting out before the sun comes up! Fortunately, I don't have to go far to find a great subject. A stroll in my front yard gets me some fantastic vistas . . . 

This was shot with the Nikon 50mm prime at f/1.8 at 3000th of a second with an ISO of 100. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 18th, 2009

Part of the fun for me on this blog is experimenting with getting the shot - this forces me to rethink certain philosophies I have grown accustomed to when shooting. In this instance, I am rethinking the benefit of shooting with a higher ISO. Before, I never liked raising my ISO beyond 100 . . . you just get sharper images and better prints. But if we're going for an artsy look, then a high ISO is a great thing! This shot, all sharp and free of noise would have just looked OK . . . the texture in the grain is what makes this image for me . . . 

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime with ambient light source. 30th of a second at f1.8 with an ISO of 640.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009

Part of the fun in doing this photo-a-day challenge is looking around with renewed interest. Many of the decorations that adorn my home are featured as images of the day. This urn, for instance, rests above my stove in the kitchen. So I am standing in the kitchen this morning, having a grapefruit when I start looking closer at the urn. It's got all this texture to it and color - love the color . . . So I take it down off the cabinet and start photographing it. Sometimes, that's all it takes to find an image!

Shot with natural lighting using the Nikon 50mm prime with a shutter speed of a 30th of a second at f/1.8. I turned my ISO up to 600 so I could handhold the shot. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16th, 2009

One of the questions I get asked the most when people are looking through my books or prints is how do I get my backgrounds all blurry like that. It's embarrassingly simple, really. You can even do it with your point and shoots, if you have the correct settings. On a DSLR, it's as simple as having what's known as a fast lens - or a lens with a really big aperture. In this case, I was shooting wide open at f1.8 - meaning my aperture was wide open. Think of it this way . . . you take a flashlight and shine the beam close to an empty wall - like a foot away. The beam will show up nice and tight on the wall. You'll have clearly defined edges . . . this is the equivalent of f/22 on your camera. Now start walking backwards with flashlight still aiming at the wall. While the wall is still lit, the beam becomes fuzzier the farther back you get until there's no definable beam on the wall at all, yet the wall is illuminated - there you have f1.8! That explanation sounded a lot shorter in my head than when I started typing it out, but I hope that makes sense. So set your cameras to shoot with a wide aperture to get that fuzzy background effect in camera!

This was captured at f1.8 with a shutter speed of 320th of a second. ISO is down to 100.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15th, 2009

Something a little abstract again . . . an abstract photograph of some abstract paintings. I love shooting artwork. There's a trick to lighting it - but in this case, I let the sun do the lighting for me. This shot is all about texture . . . the wall, the canvas and the paint splatters . . . even though the image is monochrome, there is a lot of depth to the composition. 

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at a 30th of a second at f/1.8. ISO is down to 100.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14th, 2009

Bought a bunch of new flowers over the weekend to help decorate the outside of the house in preparation for my daughter's 5th birthday party. I can't buy flowers and not shoot them. So here are some wonderful, rusty colored mums I got for the front of the house. They are just opening this morning and look spectacular.

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f2.8 with a shutter speed of 60th of a second. ISO is set to 200.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13th, 2009

So I am in a very abstract sort of place this morning . . . Standing at the kitchen sink and eating a grapefruit. I am looking at the way the sun is peeking in through the windows and hitting the kitchen cabinets . . . and can see my image of the day . . . Very happy with how this came out . . . I think the colors and shapes are what make the shot interesting - what makes it much more interesting to me is that the subject is plain old kitchen cabinets . . . Gotta love when that happens!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f1.8 with a shutter speed of an 8th of a second. ISO is down at 100.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 12th, 2009

Aces and Eights . . . it's one of my favorite hands in poker. It's also referred to as the Dead Man's Hand as, just before he was murdered, it's what Wild Bill Hickok had. He drew a two pair  - aces and eights. In the historical version of the story, Bill drew a Jack of Diamonds as a kicker. In my happy go lucky view on life - he pulled the third ace and continued to roam the countryside.

Captured with the Sigma 70-300mm Macro at a 60th of a second at f2.8. ISO is set to 100 and used a SB900 to light the scene.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th, 2009

It's the anniversary of a day that changed the way we live. A day of absolute tragedy. I've seen a lot of 'never forget' sort of emails and postings all over the net this morning - but how could we ever forget that day. For me - I was on the other side of the Hudson when it happened - whereas most saw the events unfold on TV, I witnessed it happen. It's a memory I wish I can erase from my mind's eye. No . . . we will never forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 10th, 2009

I think I've mentioned I love old stuff . . . This filing cabinet has been in my wife's family for at least a century. It was passed down to us and I used it for all my CD and now DVD back-ups. It's well worn and full of character - in other words, perfect to shoot!

Captured with the 50mm prime wide open at f/1.8. I got a shutter speed of a 13th of a second. Now why it looks so painterly is because I set my camera to an ISO of H2 . . . that's Nikon speak for crazy high ISO . . . which I never use - but because I am experimenting with a style here, I thought I'd give it a shot. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9th, 2009

Up first is the 5th Anniversary video of my Photo-a-Day challenge . . . can hardly believe I am up to beginning my 6th month in this . . . Still having a blast and enjoying the hell out of it!

Can't beat a cute kid for the image of the day . . . As it were, I just happen to have one handy all the time! Peyton enjoys her time in front of the camera, but will only give me a few shots before she's onto something else . . .

Captured with the Tamron 28-80mm at f5.6 at an 60th of a second at ISO 400.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8th, 2009

Made a trip up to one of my favorite places to shoot . . . Heater's Pond right here in Ogdensburg. Never fails to snag me a great shot for the day. The beach was a mess with post Labor Day celebrations, but the pond water was glassy and still . . . very calming. 

Captured this with the Nikon 70-200 on a tripod shooting at a 20th of a second at f2.8. ISO is 100.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 7th, 2009

Sometimes, for me, it's all about the details . . . zooming in as tight as possible. That's all it takes to make a shot.

Captured on my Nikon p6000 on Shutter Priority mode. Captured at a 4th of a second at f/3. Processed the image in Lightroom to look as though regular color film was processed as slide film, giving the delightful shift in hues.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spetmeber 6th, 2009

Yesterday was a great day . . . a fantastic day, in fact! I did a signing out at Fort Mifflin where I debuted my new collection of images in "Fort Mifflin: The Fort that Saved America." The book was a huge success and I met a bunch of great people. Also reaquainted myself with some folks from PARA, the people organizing the event. It was just a great time . . .

This was captured with the Nikon d100 converted to shoot IR. Sigma 10-20 lens was attached with a 250th of a second shutter speed. f/8 with an ISO of 100

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 5th, 2009

Want a new perspective on plants and flowers? Get under them! That's right . . . lay down on the ground and shoot up at your subjects. Everyone has pictures of flowers from bird's eye view. Yours will be different because you took the extra effort to see things that no one else would!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at f/1.8 with a shutter speed of 800th of a second and an ISO of 100.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September 4th, 2009

There are times when I am processing an image and all it takes to make the image work for me is to drop out all the color information. I can't tell you how many times I am working on an image and it's just not 'there' yet . . . then I realize the simple approach is the best and completely desaturate the photo and then the magic begins to show! I use Adobe Lightroom to process my images and manage my work flow. It's a brilliant program that enhances my vision!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime at a 30th of a second with an f-stop of 1.8. ISO is 250.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3rd, 2009

So once again, I find myself turning to my daughter's snacks for inspiration - and why not! Between the fruit snacks and the breakfast cereal, they are all so darn colorful! These are Mike and Ikes - something I had the pleasure of introducing my daughter to when she was old enough to eat them . . . they are a favorite of mine! I just up ended the box onto a sheet of copy paper and began shooting. Art direction from my soon to be 5-year old!

Captured with the Nikon 50mm prime opened up to f1.8. Shutter speed was set to a 40th of a second and the ISO set to 400.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2nd, 2009

First day of kindergarten . . . both very gratifying and terrifying. Peyton took it all in stride, being very excited about it and seemingly fearless. That helped a whole lot! I am very proud of her and can't wait to hear how the day went when we pick her up!

Captured with the Nikon p6000 on aperture priority mode.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1st, 2009

Seeing all my old friends during our 20-year reunion, made me realize how much music played a part of my high school experience. From chorus to marching band, musicals (where I met my future wife!) and even forming my own band, Trilogy (or was it The Influence - can't remember!), music was, and still is, a huge part of who I am! Thought this would make for a nice shot . . .

Captured with natural lighting streaming in from the dining room, I got out some old sheet music and ended up using the cover of the book, rather than the sheet music itself! Taken with the Nikon 50mm prime at a 40th of a second with an f-stop of 1.8. ISO is set to 400.