Posts Tagged Balcar

Civil War Reenactor Noah Crawford

Recently I had the privilege of photographing Noah in several of his Civil War reenactor uniforms. Below is his story:

Private Noah Crawford, Civil War Reenactor

Noah Crawford and his chauffeur Mom

Noah Crawford and his chauffeur Mom

“I am a member of the 19th Virginia Infantry, Company B (“The Albemarle Rifles”), which is part of the 3rd Regiment, ANV (Army of Northern Virginia), re-enacting unit.

The 19th Virginia was recruited from Albemarle, Nelson, and Amherst Counties. Company B was recruited largely from Albemarle (as its name implies). The Regiment fought at First Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines’ Mill, Frayser’s Farm (also known as “Glendale”), Second Manassas, South Mountain, Antietam (also known as “Sharpsburg”), Suffolk, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, White Oak Road, and Saylor’s Creek.

At Gettysburg, the 19th was part of Garnett’s Brigade of Pickett’s Division, and participated in the famous “Pickett’s Charge.” The regiment lost about half its strength in the doomed assault as well as its battle flag, which was captured at “the Stone Wall” by the 19th Massachusetts. Three days before Appomattox, the remnants of the 19th Virginia were surrounded and surrendered at the Battle of Saylor’s Creek. Though a total of 1,600 men served in the regiment at some point during the war, only 29 men and 1 officer were present to receive paroles when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House.

I was voted into the unit in early 2008, when I was almost 11 years old. I began as a drummer, but in recent years I have carried the rifle when needed. The first uniform is a standard gray infantry frock coat with blue trim on the cuffs and collar; during the war, these coats were manufactured at the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. The accoutrements are all russet leather, typical of those worn by members of the 19th. As the war dragged on and material became more expensive, uniforms would more closely resemble those found in the second impression: a gray Type III Richmond Depot Shell Jacket and butternut pants with a wide-brimmed hat would be more typical to a post-Gettysburg soldier in the war’s Eastern Theater.”


  1. This is my inaugural portrait session at my new home studio. It is very nice to have a “home” from which to work!
  2. All images were captured with the Sony a7r and Sony 90mm/2.8 macro using “Eye-AF” autofocus.
  3. The key and fill lights were Einstein E640 strobes. The background light and right/left rim lights were Balcar P2’s.
  4. The RAW images were edited in Lightroom 6, exported to Portrait Professional for face retouching, and then re-imported into Lightroom.
  5. I imported the images as TIFs into Capture One Pro for Sony, where I made minor adjustments and exported the JPGs as B&W sepia #2.

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On-location Executive Portraits

On-location Executive Portraits

“The photographs look wonderful. Carroll made the entire process easy for us, and quickly provided us the final retouched portraits. Next time we need photographs for our firm, we will call Carroll Morgan.”

Maggie Heim, partner at Schklar & Heim, LLC

Maggie Heim

Photographing executive portraits on-location presents several challenges. Primarily, few business people like having their picture taken. The photographer is expected to capture a pleasing expression, and everyone has one!

These are some of the logistical challenges that must be resolved.

  1. Is the room large enough to accommodate all my equipment? What about that unplanned group photo?
  2. Is the ceiling tall enough to properly position a hair light or to raise a light high enough to eliminate reflections in eyeglasses?
  3. What about simply accessing their office (parking, service elevators, time of day access, security)?
  4. Do they wear glasses? (See 2 above)
  5. What are the hair colors (blonds require a lower hair light intensity than brunettes)? And what about that person with no hair?
  6. The time of day and season matter, too. Try shooting a portrait late in the day during the summer; without makeup you will have shiny skin to retouch.

I need answers to these questions (and more!) in order to have an effortless shoot.

Edwin Schklar, partner at Schklar & Heim, LLC

Edwin Schklar

Maggie Heim contacted me to photograph portraits for their new website. I had not been in Resurgens Plaza before, and based on our phone conversation, I felt that it would be unwise to “show up” and shoot. We scheduled a site survey, and I’m glad! Though the unoccupied offices were large, every one contained massive desks and credenzas which ate up floor space and disallowed proper placement of the background, 5 light stands, and camera/tripod. Unfortunately, I could not shoot in their offices.

Fortunately, the property manager allowed us to use the training room. (Recently, I photographed another attorney in that building. There is a new property management company, and they now want to charge $100 to use the classroom. Note to self:  assume nothing!)

On shoot day, because of my preparation, nothing was a surprise. I was on-site before the building opened. I knew where to park, the best way to move 2 dollies of equipment using the service elevator, and I had security’s phone number for access to the freight elevator.

The shoot went well, and I learned something about them I didn’t know. They both have beautiful skin!


  1. I shoot a full 5-light portable setup with Balcar strobes (octa key, fill, rim, hair, and background). I really like to provide great lighting for my clients. You can’t do that with 2 or 3 lights.
  2. If the ceiling is a neutral color I will bounce off of it for the hair light. I find this provides a more gradual highlight on the hair than a small softbox. I adjust the power to hair color.
  3. I try to shoot around f/4.0 – 5.6 with a focal length between 100 and 135mm on a 70-200/f2.8 lens. I focus on the near eye and find that gives a depth of field sufficient to hold the tip of the nose to the eyes in sharp focus. The ears are out of focus, as is the background. Who wants to look at your ear!?
  4. I do an in-camera manual white balance and shoot a ColorChecker card which I use to create a custom profile in Lightroom.
  5. I shoot tethered to a Lenovo W520 laptop (which has a gorgeous matte screen!), running Portrait Professional Studio 64 (which leaves the images on the card as a backup). The RAW images appear on the computer in about 1.5 seconds.
  6. The captured images are processed in Lightroom and uploaded using The Turning Gate TTG Highslide Gallery Pro (which is outdated… I need to upgrade to TTG CE2 Pages).
  7. I will convert to black & white using Silver Efex Pro, if the client wishes.

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On-location Executive Portrait – Dr. Armando Moncada, PCG Labs

Executive portrait of Armando Moncada, Jr. MD, President, CEO of PCG Labs, Inc.

Armando Moncada, Jr. MD

On-location Executive Portrait

A week earlier Donna and I photographed Dr. Moncada’s executive portrait, as well as his staff at the office in Dahlonega, GA. The shoot went well, but he felt his hair was too long. Always happy to serve my clients, we headed to his home on a Saturday morning to reshoot his executive portrait. We setup our normal 5 light portable portrait studio in his family room (fortunately, it was just large enough). Though the ceiling height did not allow for a proper hair light its color was pretty neutral, so I bounced a light off of it.

Executive portrait of Armando Moncada, Jr. MD, President, CEO of PCG Labs, Inc.

Armando Moncada, Jr. MD

The PCG Labs corporate colors are in the blue tones, so used the same mottled gray background as before. His first suit was gray, and I was concerned about separating him from the background, so we shot a series of head shots. Dr. Moncada graciously changed into a blue suit, and we reshot the series. (Note:  Dr. Moncada’s new business name and site is PGC Molecular)

Executive portrait of Armando Moncada, Jr. MD, President, CEO of PCG Labs, Inc.

Armando Moncada, Jr. MD

While setting up our lighting initially, I noticed that his front door provided a clear view to the woods across the street, and I thought the bright green leaves might make an interesting background. On the final shot we moved the octa, rim, fill and hair lights, balanced our Balcar lighting to the outside. I think this is my favorite image of Dr. Moncada.

For post-production I edited in Lightroom 3.3 and uploaded to The Turning Gate TTG Highslide Gallery Comment template for his consideration. I was surprised when he selected 13 for full retouching! These were my selects.

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