Archive for category Blatherings

Death of the Righteous

Hollywood Cemetery

While in Richmond, VA this weekend, photographing for Sigma Phi Epsilon, our tour bus visited Hollywood Cemetery. There we saw the grave of William Lazell Phillips (“Uncle Billy”), one of the founders in 1901 and a man who devoted his entire adult life to SigEp. While there I was struck by the beauty of the cemetery. The following day Donna and I spent about an hour there on a self-tour. I was impressed by the geometry of the monuments, certainly, but mostly by the engraved sentiments testifying to the quality of the people buried there.

I shot just a couple of images, but I will return. Enjoy and please read the image captions. These were amazing men!

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The grave of Anton Osterbind, who died in 1820. From his tombstone “”The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. Malachi 2:6”

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Albert Lawrence West died in 1892. On the tall obelisk His inscription reads, “Tender and faithful at home; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

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MoneyWise Executive Portraits

MoneyWise Executive Portraits – two improvements in my location executive portraits

MoneyWise executive portrait

MoneyWise executive portrait

This post falls under “olde dog learns new trick(s)”.

Improvement 1:  Lighting equipment

For many years I have been photographing executives on location with Balcar lights but have always been frustrated that they are just too powerful. I prefer than an executive portrait subject’s eyes are sharply focused but that the tip of the nose and ears are soft (out of focus). This requires shooting around f4.0 or so. Even when I would power down the strobes, their color temperature would also warm (slightly yellower). (Of course, I could correct this in Lightroom, but why should I have to?) Then there are the small shooting locations, where it is difficult to reduce the strobe power enough, so I have to stop the lens aperture down more; losing my desired “look”, including the soft background bokeh.

So, I have been very interested in the Paul Buff Einstein strobes. Consistent color temperature, adjustable to very low power level, already uses all my Balcar accessories, and can be controlled remotely from the camera with the Cyber Commander!!! I bought a couple and used them on this job. More on the Einsteins in a future post.

Improvement 2:  Camera equipment

For the last 5 years much of my photography has been at corporate events. It requires shooting hundreds or thousands of image a day, standing on my feet all day, and really having my photography under-appreciated in this era of camera phones and selfies. Photography has become just a commodity, and good photography seems not to be as valued as it once was.

I am now making a conscious effort to move away from run-and-gun shooting (no pun intended) to a more deliberate style of photography. That involves simplifying equipment and lightning my load. My Nikons have served me well but will soon be up for sale (after a corporate shoot next weekend in Richmond). I have decided to move to the Sony mirror less E-mount Alpha system, specifically the Alpha/a 7r 36MB image sized camera.The “r” stands for resolution, and it lives up to it’s name. I am seeing things in these portraits I did not see in my Nikon D3s. Incredible detail! You should see the pores and eyelashes in these RAW images…stunning!

These are my first portraits, shot with only 2 Einstein strobes and the Sony a7r and Nikon 70-200 lens tethered wirelessly to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. The images were processed in Lightroom 5.6, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and PortraitPro Studio 12.

The camera system is not perfect, but when I get it figured out I think it will work really well.

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Back in the Saddle

Charlottesville downtown mall photography

I said I would share why I have been away from photography. The short version is that I had prostate cancer and surgery in November 2013. Please visit my new blog Dead Man Walking to find out the whole story. I now have a passion to help other men going through PCa, so please share!

Back to photography now!

It has been too long since I have felt like shooting. Fortunately, a friend needs some images for his new business site. (Thanks, Sean!) I started capturing some Charlottesville downtown mall photography last night. Thanks to my wife and dog who endured a too-late evening!

Charlottesville downtown mall photography - nTelos Wireless Pavilion.

Charlottesville downtown mall – nTelos Wireless Pavilion.

 

 

 

 

Charlottesville downtown mall photography at dusk - The Downtown Grille

Charlottesville downtown mall photography at dusk – The Downtown Grille

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