Tuesday, September 30, 2008

They Said, "Go West, Young Man"

...so I did! This stagecoach is one of several decorating a local watering hole. I guess it's fair to say that convertibles have always been, and always will be, a very popular mode of transportation!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pain at the Pumps

This is a semi-complicated image. The gas pumps are from a crazy retro looking joint in Royal Oak, MI called the Vinsetta Garage (I think that's what it is called). Then a dusting of a poster edge effect.

I didn't care for the dull urban background, so I dropped in some desert and now, finally now(!), I am very enamored of this look. I'd been sitting on this image of the pumps for a few years, never quite satisfied with it.

So, as always, thank you Photoshop and all the PS gurus out there in Adobeland.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pipedreams of the Obsessed

So, I spare you a picture with this post (although I thought about adding the pix to all of the equipment listed below). The big Photokina event is wrapping up in Cologne, Germany. This is where all the big guns in the world of photography announce the new gear. And when it comes to photography, I have visions of being a huge gearhead!

So I share with you my current wishlist over at B&H. Yeah, it's only like $15,000 worth of stuff. Ha! The items in italics aren't even available yet!

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera (1)
  • Impact Umbrella Bracket (2)
  • Bogen/Manfrotto 3216 Monopod (black) w 234 Head (1)
  • Canon EOS 50D SLR Digital Camera (1)
  • Canon EOS 40D SLR Digital Camera (2)
  • Quantum Instruments Turbo SC Battery Pack w/ C2 Flash Cable (3)
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Autofocus Lens (1)
  • PocketWizard Plus II Tranceiver Radio Slave (4)
  • Canon 580EX II Flash (4)
  • Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens for Canon
  • Bunch of Alien Bees or White Lightning strobes, stands, umbrellas, softboxes and power packs!

Good Humor Man and Wife

She clearly knew what she wanted. In a husband, a wedding, and an ice cream! This was a seriously fun wedding in downtown Detroit, summer of '07. This photo was taken on Belle Isle, a park/island in the middle of the Detroit River - a great spot with terrific views of the Detroit skyline as well as Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gotta See a Man about a Horse

...or perhaps, two horses. That's right, it's a photograph. At least that's how it started out. One fancy solarization effect later, we have this. And again, it's a case of "I don't know art, but I know what I like." It's funny how sometimes an abstraction can really capture the essence of something better, and more clearly, than a straight photograph.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Been Working on the Railroad

A detail from the train station at the Goldfield Ghost Town near Apache Junction, AZ.  I like the way the vivid color juxtaposes with the dilapidation. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spooky Behavior

In the memorable words of Amy Poehler, "I don't respond well to... spooky behavior." This was a bridge to some woods in Goodison, MI, a cute little rural town north of Rochester, MI. Actually not spooky at all. Really. I mean it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...But I Know What I Like...

I'm goin' "fine art" for the rest of the week. But as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I suppose the same can be said of art. So today I say "Mailboxes to you!" and I hope I haven't offended anybody with this shocking depiction of the tried-and-true, steadfast postal communication in this hectic age of e-mail and text messages.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Forgotten History

Just found this shot that I forgot I took probably two years ago at Greenfield Village in good old Dearborn, MI. Would have been the same day as the old-timey baseball guy below. Pictures, like history, come and go and sometimes end up in the bottom of a shoe box.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hot Off The Presses

Killing some time yesterday wandering around Mesa and we found ourselves in the Art Center area along Main St.

At every corner, and in some spots in between, there are statues that really add some pizazz to the street. This paperboy is just one of them. Nice touch to an already pretty area.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bomb Pop Wedding

I've heard of a shotgun wedding, but a bomb pop wedding?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Pre-Owned Vehicle?

Found this in the Aussie Exhibit over at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Think it has much trade-in value?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

9/11 Memorial

Was in Tempe on Sunday. In the park over by the lake, they had a memorial display for 9/11 victims. One U.S. flag for each victim spread out over the whole park with a little info on the person represented. Very impressive sight. Kind of hard to see in this panorama (if you click on the picture, it may open larger depending upon your browser), but the entire middle of the picture is flags. And all those great sunbursting shadows are from the flagpoles all lined up perfectly and orderly in stark contrast to the terrible event it memorializes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Old Rose

Old Rose here was a delicate flower. Just about ready to shrivel up and go to the old greenhouse in the sky.

I like the details within the flower as well as the good bokeh beyond. Also, the subtle gradations from red to yellow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I don't know if this is what you would call ruins or not.  It certainly could be more ruined.  Anyway....  This was back in '06 on Antigua (I think).  But definitely a Carribean island.  I'm not big on the notetaking.  May have to invest in one of those cameras that lets you add a soundbite to the file of each image.  Now that's some useful technology!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Wayback Machine

So I had a little time on my hands yesterday and I decided to take a trip in my Wayback Machine. I decided a nice day with America's favorite past time might be fun (with a twist), so off I went to the late Nineteen Century somewhere in the South.

Everyone was perfectly pleasant, but I had to be very careful to keep my fancy newfangled picture box out of sight. Oh, they had photography back then, but the sight of my 40D might convince the excitable masses that I was a minion of the devil.

That may be, but gosh darn it, I wanted some pictures before I was run out of town on a rail. I grabbed this shot and then settled in with a hotdog and some lemonade to enjoy the game.

I was eventually run out of town, but not because of the camera. Word of warning: when lurking about the South some odd hundred years ago or so, don't say that Miss Larabie's fried chicken isn't quite as good as your Mom's. No, just keep it to yourself and move on to the apple pie. Yessiree, Bob. I can't stress that enough.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Frenetic Wedding Sampler!

Having a little fun with animoto.com.  Check it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We'll Call It A ButterMoth....

I don't know my butterflies from my moths (until they start eating my clothes!). So, we'll call this little stinker a buttermoth for now. This is from last week's journeys at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. If anyone has any suggestions for great photo subject matter in the southeast valley, let me know. My shutter finger is getting itchy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Glamour Dog

Cosmo demands more exposure on the blog. And who am I to deny him?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Environmental Executive Portraits

Used to be, if you were shooting an "executive portrait" -- and I use quotation marks because they are not just for businessmen, anymore -- you'd set your subject right in front of your favorite marbled grey or blue backdrop, set your lights to the 45's and bob's your uncle. Well, that's so 1985!

Now folks like something a little more environmental; a natural background of their workplace, or a wall of trophies, or a gaggle of happy employees beaming on proudly. This gentleman is an educator, a principal, an author, a leader, a speaker, and a motivator. No marbled canvas was going to suffice here. We shot in an office, a library, and on a playground.

The point is: really consider your subject. If they know what they want, great. If not, find out a bit about them and make some appropriate suggestions. Or crazy, wildly creative ones if you think they are game. But leave the marbled canvas to the chain school pix guys!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Top Tips For Grooms

Fancy Duds
OK, Groom. You're probably going to do the tuxedo thang. Terrific (although a nice new suit is acceptable for many less formal modern weddings but you'd better OK it with the bride, first). Arrange for the tux well in advance (at least three months). Take your best man along if you think you'll be overwhelmed by the choices. Better yet, bring the maid of honor. And there actually are a lot of choices. Styles, cuts, colors, accessories. Even if you go basic black, try to coordinate the cummerbund with the bridesmaids' dresses.

Are your groomsmen a little on the irresponsible or forgetful side? Remind then where to go, when to show for a fitting, and when to pick up the tux. On the day of the pickup, try on the pants and jacket and make sure all the accessories are acounted for (shoes, shirt, cummerbund, tie, and cufflinks). Assign the most responsible groomsman to return your tux with his on the day after the wedding. Late charges can get out of hand, fast.

Fancy Dude
Get a clean shave for the wedding, but not too clean. Shave with the grain to get the job done, but don't shave against the grain. At best you'll risk razor burn, at worst nicks. Use a good deodorant but little to no cologne. There will be plenty enough good smelling flowers, girls, and foods to cover all the bases. Just be clean and ready. If a teeth-whitening regimen is in motion, leave it alone the day of the wedding. The whitening agent is often hydrogen peroxide and you don't want to get any of that near your fancy duds. A good brushing will do the trick.

Stag Night
If you make sure that the stag party isn't the night before the wedding, you won't have to worry about a hangover. Or red, baggy eyes in your wedding photos. In fact, better plan for a good week prior in case you need the time to destroy evidence or dole out apologies. And no cameras, cameraphones, or camcorders! Even if you just go for a good meal and then to a nice ice cream social at the local church like I did.

Morning Of
Eat a healthy, but not heavy breakfast. Stay away from the hard-boiled eggs and order the omelette without onions. And not too much coffee! Have a few Altoids available throughout the day.

Get Going!
Leave for the ceremony far ahead of time. Do not allow any chance of arriving late.

Enjoy your party, but don't drink to excess. Your bride will be peeved and you'll just get tired and bleary-eyed.

Think About Your Gal
Plan ahead for a gift and a card for her to receive while she is getting ready. Strive for sweet and sentimental, maybe something about how you met or when you knew she was the one. Make sure she gets it early enough that she can re-do eye makeup if you make her cry. You'll be a prince!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Nice One From The Archives

A nice shot from a country club wedding last year.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

But Ya Doesn't Have To Call Me A Wedding Photographer

Remember that old Raymond J. Johnson, Jr. bit from the 70's? (really Bill Saluga)

"Ahh, ya doesn't has to call me Johnson! You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me RayJay, or you can call me RJ... but ya doesn't hafta call me Johnson!" [I know, I'm dating myself here.]

Well, sometimes I feel like ol' Ray.

"Ahh, ya doesn't have to call me a wedding photographer! You can call me a portraitist, or you can call me an event shooter, or you can call me a child photographer, or you can call me a fine artist, or you can call me Ronnie... but ya doesn's hafta call me a wedding photographer!"

True, my bread and butter is the wedding. But I like to shoot and I'll shoot just about anything so keep me in mind when you need an executive portrait, or sports shootin', or any ol' kind of photography. I'm versatile and ya doesn't hafta call me Johnson!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Dawn and I spent part of Labor Day in Superior, AZ traversing the trails at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Very beautiful spot with, of course, desert plants, fleet-footed animals, and lots of great rock and cliff formations. Here are a few pics of the wildlife (that stood still long enough to shoot!).