A lot of my peers and clients don’t think of me as a people photographer. But ever since my son was born (he’s 24 now), and I was informed by my wife that I would be taking lots of photos of him, I’ve gotten to love working with people. Creating good people images is as much about their body language and facial expression as it is about lighting and post work, something I learned from paying attention to Peter Hurley. Peter has a great DVD and online training session on how to create dynamic “headshots”.
The left image is pretty dull. Just a change in shoulder angle, a tilt of the body towards the camera,
and attention to where the kicker and main light are falling makes a big difference.
At the end of each semester at Brooks Institute I offer to photograph students in my Lighting Theory course. Using the Einstein E640 flash as my main light and a Nikon SB900 as my kicker flash, I’ll shoot the students in a couple of different poses. The “demo” shows them how quickly you can create different variations of a portrait.
Photographed at the library and gallery on the Brooks Institute campus, Santa Barbara.
It’s hard to beat sitting around an evening campfire listening to the sounds of the woods as night falls. When you add the sounds and smells of food cooking over the open flames, life is truly good. Mary Jane makes this amazing meal; layering potatoes, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and sausage, dotted with butter and drizzled with olive oil, all wrapped in a foil oven. Then it’s 30 minutes in the coals, plated on warm camp ware and served with a nice red wine or cold beer. People from other campsites follow the smells and ask us what we’re eating. You can check out other camping recipes at About.com Camping.
Mary Jane’s famous camp dinner.
I shot the image on the left with a Lensbaby Composer. These are really fun; rent one and try it out. You can get a similar effect in Photoshop with one of their blur filters (that’s what I did for the campsite image below).
Painting our campsite with light.
I was recently interviewed by Frederick Van Johnson about my iceberg image and Alaska workshops. Click here to view: Interview with Frederick Van Johnson
The thing about shoes is that if we trust them, we can go anywhere. That’s why I think your shoes are one of the most important tools for location photographers. Whether it’s bare feet, cowboy boots, climbing shoes, flip flops or snowshoes, if your feet are happy you won’t think twice about where to step to get the shot. The rubber boots I wear, Xtratuf Boots, were recommended by a friend of mine, Tom Backer, who shoots for TV shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers. My feet are happy.
Kayla McKenzie and I working Hare Creek in Limekiln State Park, Big Sur, California.
Fun with rubber boots and a 16mm fisheye.
My Alaska presentation at Samy’s Camera in Santa Barbara, on October 27th, 10:00 a.m., will cover Denali National Park and Southeast Alaska. I’ll talk about the photo gear I use and how to deal with weather issues and other logistics in these dramatic landscapes.