Wednesday, December 30, 2009

white balancing act

Our friends over at PhotoWalkPro have put together a very nice blogpost about White Balance that you can find here . If you use Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom (basically the same processing engine) you can easily adjust your white balance after the fact, whether you shoot in jpg or raw. RAW will always give you a greater margin of error, however.

However, it will save you some time and guesswork if you set it correctly to begin with. A truly white object will be helpful, or an 18% grey card, or the slightly warming grey that is mentioned in the linked post. You can also use devices like the expodisc.

The most important thing to remember is to try to avoid a situation where your subject is under lights of different temperatures. An incandescent light coming from one angle, some flourescent off this other way, maybe some natural daylight sneaking in a window. Try to limit your lighting to just one kind or match the temperatures if you can in order to achieve true colors in post.

Of course, completely whacked out color can be fun, too. That's why they invented cross-processing. But I advise you generally go for accurate color early and allow yourself more options later.

Monday, December 21, 2009

more sweet 16

sweet 16

This past Friday I got a last-minute job to cover a sweet 16 party. Mom and Dad (middle shot) threw a very nice party for the birthday girl and about 75 of her closest friends! Most of the night I was shooting in near total darkness (only a bit of light leaking in from two doors and a blue glow from a projector that was left on -- I think these pix really speak to the power of the ol' 580EX flash and the joy of a white ceiling [and acceptably light walls]).

And special thanks to John Horn for the loan of some extra gear. Didn't end up needing it, but it was a godsend to have available. Check out his site, he's becoming a photographic force to reckon with!

Friday, December 18, 2009


So I was out and about yesterday trying to find an image that would fulfill an assignment with a very broad scope and (perhaps too much) freedom. Didn't find what I was looking for (yet) but I stumbled upon a couple of hawks in the desert. One would perch, runaway, perch, runaway, and so on and so on. I did not have a long enough lens with me to give him the space he so clearly wanted.

The other one was happy to soar and soar and soar, sometimes close enough for these shots. Wished I had had some different equipment with me, but we make do. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

visitin' santa (in SAN TAn valley)

Yesterday, we took pictures of children visiting with Santa over at Harmon Elementary (Dawn's old school). Here's a favorite. Aren't they just precious?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Intro DSLRs under $500

Our friends over at Photography Bay put together a just terrific blogpost highlighting several DSLRs that are currently available for under $500. If you are thinking about making the jump to a DSLR (from point and shoot or film or from nothing at all!) but you don't want all the expense and know that you don't necessarily need every single bell and whistle at this point in your photographic education, these are just great choices. And, although I know far too well that $500 is by no means cheap, it is a substantial discount from the prices of the majority of worthwhile DSLRs.

Check out the post and keep these in mind for yourself or for holiday gift-giving. Also, any of these would be a swell choice for anyone taking my Basics of Digital Photography class in Gilbert next month (Wednesday evenings, January 6, 13, and 20!).

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

p & s and video guide

MSNBC put together a nice little shopping guide to consumer cameras, specifically point-and-shoot and pocket HD video (with a Polaroid wannabe thrown in to round out the field). Take a peek if you're shopping for yourself or someone special for the holidays. Of this batch, I'm partial to the Canon G11 and the Flip Video MinoHD. Let me know what catches your eye and why.

shutter speed/aperture simulator

In a most basic sense, cameras handle exposure through shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open) and aperture (how wide or narrow the hole that admits light is).

In today's digital environment you can also affect exposure with ISO (the adjustable sensitivity of your camera's sensor) and and variety of light modifying options (from on- or off-camera speedlites, off-camera strobes, hotlights, reflectors, etc., etc.) and of course, some manipulation of your ambient light situation.

It is important to understand the basics of shutter speed and aperture before anything else. They not only affect the brightness or darkness of your image, but also your ability to quell motion blur, and, perhaps most importantly, depth of field, especially of backgrounds.

I just stumbled across this terrific little shutter speed and aperture simulator to give you a nice introduction to how they can affect each other dramatically. Play with it for a few minutes, trying different combinations and then get that camera in hand and go shooting!

Friday, November 20, 2009

free image editing software apps

Terrific list (and reviews) of free image editing software. If you just don't need the expense or all the bells and whistles of Photoshop, you might want to check some of these out. What have you got to lose? They're FREE!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

leopard seal experience

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen has quite an amazing "fish" tale, as it were, here. Enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

boudoir posing tips

Southern Maryland wedding and boudoir photographer Robin Owen has a simply terrific blogpost about boudoir posing tips . Check out the images, the tips, and be sure to give her a call if you need wedding or boudoir photography in the Maryland area!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

to those who serve

If you are currently in the United States military or if you have ever served, in peace-time or in a conflict, I thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your dedication to preserving the freedoms that we enjoy. Freedoms that we have enjoyed for so long that they are sometimes taken for granted. Thank you, veterans!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

McNally's letter to a young photog

Check out Joe McNally's "letter to a young photographer". That Joe has a way with words, he do.

Friday, November 06, 2009

ryan takes up photography

Ryan (from The Office) has, it seems, taken up photography. He's deep. He's insightful. And he's arty. I know this because his images are in b/w. Oi!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

hyperfocal distance

What is hyperfocal distance? It is a technique wherein you focus about a third of the way into your scene in order that everything in the image is relatively, and usually just about equally, sharp.

Check out this terrific and detailed explanation of hyperfocal distance and then get out and get those landscapes!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Some of the swell scientist types over at Stanford are working on an open-source camera that has the potential to add tons of new features to digital photography. Affectionately called the Frankencamera, this could dramatically change the course the photography evolution. For better or worse, the jury is out. Take a look.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

photography basics classes in Gilbert (by me!)

This winter, I will be teaching a couple of classes for Gilbert Community Education. There will be a "How to Buy a Digital Camera" class in November, for folks shopping for the holidays and again in January for folks looking to spend the cash they received for the holidays.

Then....THEN.....drumroll, please..... there will be a "Basics of Digital Photography" class! A three session class in November covering as much ground as I can cover in three 2-hour sessions and then we repeat it again in January (for all those folks who just got a camera for Christmas!).

Here's the details: click on blue “Winter 2009-10 Leisure Pursuits” icon to see full catalog of classes. This is the jumping off page to register for classes.



Would you like to shoot fewer “snapshots” and more photographs worth showing off? Learn about composition, exposure, tips and tricks of technique, and an introduction to lighting. Photo critiques as time permits. 18+YEARS

Course # 54385 / Tuesdays Nov. 10, 17 & 24, 2009, 6:30-8:30pm / Redwood Rm. of the Community Center located at 130 N. Oak (2 blocks N. of Eliot and 2 blocks W. of Gilbert Rd.)


Course # 54386 / Wednesdays Jan. 6, 13, & 20, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm / McQueen Park Activity Center, Classroom 4 (510 N. Horne St., [s. of Guadalupe & E. of McQueen, just s. of Playa Del Rey Elementary School)



Is it time for a new digital camera for yourself or as a gift? Learn about megapixels, file formats, and the mysterious ISO. You’ll obtain a working knowledge of features and pros and cons before you shop. 18+YEARS

Course # 54387 / Monday 11/9/09, 6:30-8pm / McQueen Park Activity Center, Classroom 4


Course # 54354 / Tuesday 1/5/10, 6:30-8pm / McQueen Park Activity Center, Classroom 4

Hope you can make it! I feel like Ted Mosby in his Architecture 101 class!

Irving Penn, RIP

Irving Penn, renowned fashion and celebrity photography died today in Manhattan at the age of 92.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

magazines of the future????

This has already been featured on a couple other photographers' blogs, but it is far too interesting, conceptually, to not post here, also. My readers, who may not see it elsewhere, might find this very cool. I wonder about the value of video in individual books or magazines when we each have, or will likely have in the future, our own computer, tv, or iphone kind of device, but it still makes for an excellent video.

Check out Alexx Henry's vision of the future of the magazine.

Living Magazine Cover & Spread - Outside Magazine from Alexx Henry on Vimeo.

Monday, October 05, 2009

a love story in a thriller

Megan + Narbeh's Sweden Thriller Concept "Snow" from PACIFIC PICTURES on Vimeo.

Zeke Kamm wrote at Nice Photography Magazine : "Kevin Shahinian was hired to make the following short film for a couple to show at the reception after their wedding. The couple play themselves in the video that creatively retells the story of how they met."

This is just a wonderful concept and execution. Simply beautiful and moving.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

informative article link has put together a very informative article about how to hire a wedding photographer. Lots of info from industry professionals as well as a list of good questions and issues to address with a potential vendor. Take a look, bookmark it, then, of course, feel free to call or write me with any questions! 480-252-2787 or

Thank You!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

week of the panos

Another angle on the ol' Supersition Mtns. Click for larger, then scroll left and right!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Supersition Mountain Panoramic

Shot this panoramic picture in the Superstition Mountains this morning. We had a short hike and we didn't even have to call for a helicopter rescue! Click on the picture to see it larger.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ATV accident in the wash (San Tan Valley)

Yesterday, over by Dawn's school there was some sort of an accident with one or two people riding ATV's in the wash (sort of a valley for rain waters to travel and steer clear of the homes -- the desert doesn't absorb the rain very efficiently on the rare occasion that it does rain). Just a couple of shots of the rescue effort.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zack Arias Shooting Strangers

Zack Arias recently self-assigned portraits of strangers on the streets of New York. Go see the portraits at his site at Whether it's strangers, rocks, machinery or whatever, a self-assigned photo project is a great idea. Whatever keeps you shooting. Here's a little video of Zack's experience with his impromptu subjects.

Monday, September 14, 2009

At Work

Reading Annie Leibovitz's At Work. Lots of folks think she's the bomb, others think she's over-rated. Some think the conceptual stuff is too (pretentious, obvious, silly, etc. etc.) while others defend her every move as genius. I've also seen a lot of press (both negative and sympathetic) about her current financial problems.

I happen to be in the camp that she is, perhaps not genius, but solid, creative, and certainly determined to be at the heart of things. Some of that may have been luck, but I'm sure most of stems from her skill, her adventurous nature, and knowing the right people.

There is no denying that sheer opportunity has been a big plus for her. Working w/ Jagger, John Lennon (on the day of his death, no less), Hunter S. Thompson, Streep, Belushi, Sharpton, Jimmy Carter, William S. Burroughs, Patti Smith, Jack White, Robert Penn Warren, and the Queen of England to name just a bunch is simply amazing. The access, the approach, and the execution have to be acknowledged as an impressive body of work, even if you don't particularly like her images. And I generally do. Pick up At Work. The stories behind the images are a great read.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mr. Randy (Random) Poochie

a random poochie from Cosmo Park this morning...

Friday, September 11, 2009

shooting owls is a hoot

Got this fellow about an hour ago in the wash at Desert Mountain Park at Ocotillo and Hawes...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

hd vid on the Canon 7D

A still from a swell little movie ( )
shot on the new Canon 7D at 1080p at 24fps by Philip Bloom.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

handsome beast

OK, well maybe I like this little fella, too...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

safari hut

Went shooting at the zoo today. And what was the most interesting thing I saw there? Well, it wasn't an animal. It was this odd little room that I have decided to call the Safari Hut. It is steeped in mystery, indeed.

Friday, September 04, 2009

becky and shane

One of my favorite shots from Becky and Shane's engagement photo shoot from Tuesday. It was hot and humid out, but they were troopers. We started near the Val Vista Lakes Clubhouse and then worked our way over to Freestone Park in Gilbert. Catching that golden hour means working fast. We called it a night when the last orange glows of sunlight dipped behind the palm trees. Thanks for a great shoot, Becky and Shane!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canon 7D announced....

Canon just announced a new prosumer DSLR to cover the market between the 50D and the 5D Mark II, although early opinions are that is is closer to the 5D, what with HD video at various frame rates and weathersealing. Here are some specs:
  • 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (halfway between the 50D's 15mp and the 5DMII's 21mp)
  • Dual DIGIC 4 image processors (you have to go up to the D1's for that)
  • 8 frames per second (max 126 JPEG / 15 RAW images)
  • ISO 100-12800 (in ISO expansion mode)
  • 19 point cross-type AF sensors (fancy)
  • Center AF point is 8-directional double cross-type
  • 100% viewfinder coverage
  • 1.0x viewfinder magnification
  • TTL full aperture metering with 63 zone Dual Layer SPC
  • 3″ 920k dot resolution LCD display
  • 1080p HD video (30fps, 25fps, 24fps)
  • 720p HD vidoe (60fps, 50fps)
  • Live view mode
  • External mic stereo mini jack input
  • HDMI output
  • Pop-up Flash (that I hear can control your Canon speedlites)
  • E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites
  • 150k actuation rated shutter

Rumored to sell for $1700 body only, or $1900 w/ a kit 28-135mm. It all sounds good to me!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Restoration Plus Imagination

Our friends at PhotoWalkPro ( recently did a post about a terrific photo restoration job they did. You can see that particular post, the restoration, and an idea as to how they did it here.

So let it be made perfectly clear that they did all the really hard stuff with the scratches and entire chunks of missing image (but I have done some work like that in the past). However, I decided that perhaps the job could be taken just a little bit further. So I tried a color-correction to remove most of the sepia effect and then did a manual colorization. Now, I have no idea what colors the people in the picture were actually wearing, so, in terms of accuracy, PhotoWalkPro was probably absolutely correct to leave it where they did.

That being said, I like where I ended up. Here is where PhotoWalkPro ended and where I started.

And here is where I ended up.

So, although I think this process can be taken further to truly maximize the overall effect (and I just wanted to show-off a bit), I know why PWP stopped where they did, and I'm certain that their client was thrilled with the authenticity of the restoration job.

If you have mildly damaged pictures or images with simple color casts, let me know. Perhaps we can bring those memories, that personal history, back to life!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Noah Camera Holster

Check out this interesting bit of gear from Brian Noah. It's a newfangled camera holster that you can find at

Friday, August 21, 2009

and the winner is...

The results are in! We've drawn a winner of the free engagement photo shoot from entries we received at the East Valley Bridal show in Mesa last Sunday. The winner is....

Caron Poole!

I want to thank Caron and all the other participants in our giveaway. But please, don't be disheartened if you didn't win. I have a special offer for you. An RWP engagement photo shoot is valued at $200. But for you, as a special consolation prize, half off! That's right, an RWP engagement photo shoot up to two hours long for only $100!

Contact me at or call 480-252-2787 to schedule a shoot. Only $100 is a remarkable deal and a great way to get to know me and my work before you take the plunge of deciding on your photographer. Thanks again for entering the drawing, stopping by our booth, and considering RWP!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fun In A Flash

So.... of course you want a professional photographer at your wedding. It just makes sense. But you know what else is a great idea? And makes laughter and joy? A photobooth! The terrific folks over at Fun In A Flash rent out amazing old-school photobooths with some wonderful small twists. Like customizing the photostrips with words or a logo, 2 strips for each set of pictures (1 for the subjects and 1 for your scrapbook!), CD of all event pics, and more. Check them out at or call them at (480) 620-3728. And be sure to check out the pics of Dawn and me below. As if I needed the jester's hat to emphasize my silly side!

Check Friday for free engagement shoot winner!

NOTE: Friday, August 21 at noon we will draw a winner for the free engagement shoot offered at the East Valley Bridal Show on Sunday. Check this blog on Friday to see if you are the lucky winner! Good luck!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dawn workin the bridal show...

Dawn saying hello to all the eager brides....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

East Valley Bridal Show

Dawn and I worked a booth at the East Valley Bridal Show at the Mesa Convention Center today. We met a lot of very nice brides-to-be, a few swell grooms-to-be, and a lot of very patient parents!

We want to thank everyone who stopped by the booth, other vendors that we had a chance to meet, the organizers of the show, and all the friends and family that helped make it happen!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

beaming bride

from the Lerczak/Beck wedding....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

projection technology, applied and projected

Today Chase Jarvis was talking about multimedia, especially projection, presentations. Here is a terrific example of an actual projection show.

Projection on buildings - Live performance from NuFormer Digital Media on Vimeo.

and here is a faux-presentation showing what the same company thinks is possible in the medium.

Projection on Buildings from NuFormer Digital Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dslr video

Take a look at this video. In terms of content, it's just a crappy Ralph Lauren ad, but I want you to look at the cinematic quality of its production. And then I want you to know that it was all shot on a Canon 5D Mark II. A DSLR still camera that just happens to have full high-def 1080p video capability. Unbelievable. I never really had any aspirations to shoot motion pictures before, but this kind of thing (and there is getting to be a lot of it out there) is making me think twice.

The dreamy quality of shallow depth of field. I've been doing more and more shallow depth of field work with the still photography, but now take that same nifty fifty lens and shoot video. The possibilities are limitless... from Camille Marotte on Vimeo.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Spent some time this weekend playing with images from Julien and Theresa's wedding from back in '07. I particularly like this new edit of this shot of Theresa.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

new pocketwizards

I know we've talked about the new pocketwizards before, but, since I don't have any yet! I'm going to go on and on about them. Hopefully I'll get a mini and 3 flexes by Christmas to add some flexibility to those spring weddings. Here's a great little video introduction to the devices by Mark Wallace.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

all about the aussies

I admit it, this week I'm all about the awesome Australian Shepherds. These are really great dogs!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

variation on a pooch

Mo-mo's at it again

dragonfly lady

she likes the dragonflies, what can I tell you?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is the front and back of a trifold brochure design I'm considering. What do you think?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

is that a great face, or what?

This is Tom. He's the father of the bride (below). Terrific guy with a great attitude!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

secret service of love

The two groomsmen in the background look like Secret Service protecting the happy couple from any and all anti-love factions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

west town

Dawn randomly steered us to this little bit of wonderful over by the Superstition Mountains on Wednesday. There should be an old saloon/hotel around every corner!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review of print lab

Last week I placed my first order with, an online print lab that I found out about via an ad in Professional Photographer Magazine. I'd like to tell you about my experience.

First, I applied for an account and was promptly emailed with an account number and information on downloading their ROES software. I had a little trouble with the download, but we got there sooner than later. Then I watched a quickstart tutorial video and they made it look very easy. Which it was. I selected my folder of images, picked a sized/format and dragged in a picture. Then another size and a whole batch of images at once. The system understood that I needed 20 images at 10x10 at a quantity of 1 each.

Finalized my order and sent it off. So.... system easy to use. Price very competitive. All that was left was the quality of the prints. Can you say "suspense"!?!

Note: I meticulously edit my images and did not want them color corrected by the lab, so I turned off that feature. Hence, I can't speak to their correcting.

Yesterday, I recieved my package via Fedex. I opened the package to find...... that the prints were bright, crisp, and (nearly) perfect. Nearly? Well the prints were great but there was a slight dent in the corner of the batch but I am going to blame Fedex for that (altough MeridianPro might consider more padding in the package).

Verdict? I have myself a new lab! will be getting my future business (I've already sent another batch) unless the quality or price dramatically changes for the worst. I recommend (and no, I'm not getting any consideration for this review, but it's never too late -- hint, hint MP)....!