I spent an hour or so with some friends at the newly bloomed peony garden in Nichols Arboretum yesterday evening.
The garden has scores of different varieties and it was fun to catch the subtle differences between some of them. The flowers produce some beautifully clean whites, deep purples, and supple pinks. They’re also particularly fragrant unlike many other species of flowering plants.
There is a massive yellowwood tree adjacent to the garden and it was slowly dropping its petals to the ground below, looking like something from a nostalgic movie scene. It washed a feeling of serenity over me like I haven’t felt in some time.
What better way to spend your birthday than having some portraits taken and honing your modeling skills?
We spent some time getting into summer with a flowing sundress. We also spent some time talking about modeling and how to achieve a range of looks and how to deliver them successfully in a more efficient way.
I ended up with some images I am really proud of, and I’m really looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store.
This Saturday I had the pleasure of attending yet another meetup with Mary DuPrie. These meetups are always fun and educational, and this was no exception.
We tried a few different lighting setups with Haley, a young model pretty new to the business. Despite her juniority she is already signed and on her way to doing great work. It was easy to get beautiful shots from her once we found the right lighting.
Creating this shot took quite a few pieces, though not as much work as I might expect if viewing the final product. This shot includes the light of 7 strobes:
2 backdrop lights
2 rim lights
3 lights arranged in a triangle at head level with the base light receded slightly from the subject
The raw images were fantastic, but I took the opportunity to learn some new photoshop skills to get the most possible from them. I used the Liquify tool to smooth the hairline and learned to use adjustment layers for a more effective/fine-tuned dodge and burn. I improved my skills with the Clone Stamp to remove and fix anomalies in the hair. In all I spent more time on this image than any other, but learned enough about the workflows that I could now do the same work in one-tenth the time.
I learned some really important concepts and techniques that I know I’ll be using in the studio in the future.
A few months ago a friend contacted me asking for a ride from the airport. Two of our mutual friends were going to be in the Gilbert and Sullivan production of the semester, Pirates of Penzance. They said they’d kill him if he didn’t come.
As a return favor for the ride he offered to buy me a ticket to the show, which I gladly accepted. I felt a little guilty for never having gone to one of the productions since my friends had been doing them for ages.
The day of the show came and my friend missed his flight. He offered me the tickets since they were already reserved. I contacted my friend in the show to arrange to pick them up. He said he had a favor to ask and that it involved my camera. He then called and said this particular favor involved talking to his girlfriend (my other friend’s) father beforehand. It became clear what was happening, and he wanted me to get pictures of it. This is the video of his ambitious endeavor:
I clicked about a million shots, and got a really nice series that told the story of the event for them. I was really happy with the result. Here is a small sample:
It was amazing being part of such a special moment, and beyond that the show was incredible. There were some really talented actors and singers that I look forward to seeing in a larger spotlight someday.
I joined up with some friends yesterday to explore the beauty of the golden hour — that time just before sundown where the sun’s light grows warm and casts long shadows. We discovered how fast the sun runs away and it was as if each picture used up some amount of light.
I took this opportunity to try my hand at the Brenizer Method. For those unacquainted with this technique, it’s a way to achieve wide angles with shallow depth of field. By stitching together several images with a short working distance (read: shallow depth of field) you can create one large image with the same depth of field as it components.
I had an opportunity to spend a few hours touring the Port Oneida Rural Historic District yesterday. It’s funny how little I’d seen of it considering how close it is to my parents’ place. I found this fantastic tree standing all on its own in a field and couldn’t pass it up.
There were deer everywhere we went and we saw the largest bald eagle I’ve ever laid eyes on. We noticed it on a branch about 100 yards off the road. We walked toward it through the field a bit, and it dropped into the brush as I was raising my camera to my eye. I wasn’t able to capture it but the moment was majestic.
I have started to realize my affinity for chiffon shirts. A brightly colored chiffon top over a dark undershirt or dress can be insanely appealing. The vibrance that can be achieved in the fabric is atypical among other materials and the sheer quality gives whoever wears it a rather whimsical appeal.
Chiffon is growing in popularity which will likely accelerate when the weather starts warming up.
Warmer weather has started creeping into Michigan and I always look forward to signs more conceptual and phenomenal than the temperature to indicate the coming season. One of my favorites is the arrival of birds. I saw a cardinal a few weeks ago and practically jumped up and down in joy. Yesterday I was about to walk into my house after a long day at the office and noticed a bright, hungry robin plucking some old berries off the bush near my door.
I ran inside quietly and grabbed my camera hoping to find the robin still stuffing itself when I returned. Sure enough it had not yet had its fill. I tried to be courteous while still getting some good shots (birds like to move deep into foliage to hide and to protect themselves), but he did end up flying off after I pestered him for a few minutes.
This is the second robin I’ve seen this year and I hope to see many more soon.