March 3, 2015

I love teaching studio photography classes.

Tonight I started my new one, Vintage Glamour Photography.  We’ll have 4 different models, all shot in the style of classic photographers like Edward Steichen and Richard Avedon, two of my favorites.

I used my new Fuji X-T1 for some of the shots, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out in a fast-paced studio environment without a tripod.  The way our classes go, we have to manually set our cameras and lighting to handle 10 people shooting at once in low light without the aid of a tripod.  So all of these shots are on the fly, fast and awkwardly shot dodging other people and slipping in when I can.  Working this way really helps me to focus on my technique and my aperture and shutter speed settings.

The Fuji is slower than my Nikon D800, but did well, as evidenced by this first photo.  I shot in black & white only with the Fuji, trying to keep the vintage feel.

Here are a few shots from tonight’s shoot featuring the lovely Abrea.


January 22, 2015

I was given an assignment today and I’m quite proud of the results…

I had taken a photo of my workplace using Hipstamatic, one of my favorite iPhone apps.  It does a great job recreating photographs in an old style.  I sent the photo to my boss and she loved it, but wanted a high resolution version for advertising.  Problem is, Hipstamatic produces a relatively low-res photo so I couldn’t fix it.

Challenge! Recreate the photo using my actual camera and not my iPhone.  I was daunted, I admit, because Hipstamatic compresses the photo in a certain way and also colors it a certain way.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to create something without filters and other gimmicks that was comparable.

But I did it and here you go!  The one on the left is the original Hipstamatic version.  The one on the right I took with my Fuji X-T1.  I didn’t use any filters on the photo, just dodged and burned it as I would have done in the darkroom.

I was pleased with the results.  I always like creating a photo based on my knowledge of photography rather than those created by filters or special apps.

January 10, 2015

As a professional photographer, I own many cameras.

The oldest working camera that I own is from the 1940s.  I have a lot of film cameras that I still use and find valuable to have.  Not so much for digital.  When I first became a professional wedding and portrait photographer in 2001, the camera that I used for most of my work when I finally went digital was a Fuji S2-Pro, a 6 megapixel DSLR.  My back-up was a Nikon D70, also 6 megapixel.  I used both of those cameras for over 10 years before I finally felt the need to catch up to the rest of the digital world and up my megapixels.  My cameras had become virtually obsolete.

That’s what gripes me the most about digital.  You spend a lot of money only to have your gear outdated and almost valueless in a few years.  My Rolleiflex from 1950 still works as well as it did when it was first produced, and has held its value.  I can’t imagine any of my digital cameras doing that.  BUT…I have to keep up, and so I did.

Two years ago I upgraded my digital gear and purchased a Nikon D800 for my professional work.  It’s a great camera and takes wonderful photos, but on a recent 7-mile photo hike I realized that it had one real problem for me:  it is heavy.  Along with the zoom lens I regularly use with it, it can cause pain to my shoulder and back after only a short time.

Because it’s heavy and really expensive, I started leaving it at home a lot.  I found myself using my iPhone to photograph more often than not.  I love taking iPhone photos, don’t get me wrong, but I started to miss the manual control I had over my images.  Yet I didn’t want to carry around my D800 with me.

So I researched smaller mirrorless cameras to find an alternative to my D800 that is not so heavy but still takes great photos and allows me to have control over my images.  I desperately wanted a Leica M Monochrom camera, but I couldn’t afford the $10,000+ it would have taken me to buy the body and a lens to go with it.  So I quickly put that one out of my head and decided on a Fuji X-T1.

Today I took it out for its first shoot, a casual walk the kids, Jack, and I at Reynolda Village.  I kept it on the black & white setting for today (the one with a red filter) and was really pleased with the results.  I didn’t have to do any post-processing on the images, just crop them.

Once I get a small case for it, I’ll be taking it out with me a lot.  It is fun to use and the dials remind me of my old film cameras.  I will still use my D800 for professional and studio work, but this little guy will come in very handy for my everyday shots.

Here are some photos with the Fuji from today.  Emma even took a few…