Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yesterday...out of nowhere, I decided to see if I could pull together a little shoot...a shoot revolving around basketball. Somehow, with little time, I got my neighbor Skyler...and friend Jerome to come out. Skyler, as you may already know (if you follow my blog), is an avid fan of basketball...even to the extent that late last night he called me to tell me that alma mater, Valparaiso University was playing on TV! Jerome is my trusty friend...and helpful hand!

We shot in Brooklyn...a real small part of town near's definitely not a place for the weak-hearted. I found this basketball court while driving around scouting for a shoot next week. Sometimes, I take alternative routes to see if I can find something new...I'll keep the location in mind...maybe even write it down...and then one day I find the perfect opportunity to use that location.

Here's a few pics...and for once, no running shots...these are pretty stationary (no...not talking about paper)...enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

5 minutes with Blue Franswa...

During this Sunday's Composition 101 "thingy" at the very generous Michal May abode, I charged everyone to pair-up and give each other 15 minutes to do portraits with their partner...happen to be Blue Franswa was setting up for a shoot and he was using Michal May's (Make-up artist) abode as home I took him out for about 5 minutes to shoot a few follow suit with the rest of the group...

Here's our 5 minute session...
Because this education piece was focusing on composition, I asked everyone not to bring any lights...hence, I had no if you are wondering, I'm shooting at a high ISO...any where between 800-2000 ISO...max shutter speed was 1/200th of a second...and I used whatever light was available...which made for tricky color balance issues on a few shots...ah...and as usual...I'm wide open - f1.8...


Thursday, February 18, 2010 Curtis...

I could make this blog entry like 5 blog posts...but I won't...or at least I'll try to condense it.

First...I know it might be kind of ironic (especially after watching this video) that I'm a wedding and family photographer. But it shouldn't be. I'm married...I have kids...hence, I have weddings and family work is right up my alley! But I do see where the irony comes let me explain a little about me...I'm a little radical...I've always been. It's part of my genetic make-up...and the environment I grew-up in. Let's just say that if I didn't have this little rebel side to me, I would still be sitting in my old office from 9 to 5...and I would have never picked up a camera...ever!

Second...photoshoots are not so glamorous. It's a lot of work...and not every shot is golden...especially when you're dealing with running, flipping, and flying people. Plus, I laid down on the ground in that nasty tunnel like underpass (yes, Jax natives, that's Myrtle Ave.)...gross!

Third...focusing on fast moving objects is not an easy task for cameras...especially when it's dark! There's various techniques...but when people are moving real fast...I'm not so sure. So this is what I do...I have the subject stand in the place they will be jumping or running through...or by. Then I manually focus on them. And then I stay as still as possible. I wait...and then the subject runs, jumps, grabs walls...or whatever crazy thing we can come up with. Sometimes the subject hits the spot perfect...sometimes they don't...sometimes my flash doesn't recycle quick enough, hence why some shots were happens...

Fourth...a quote I found on twitter: "Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~ Scott Adams

Fifth...enjoy this video/slideshow...turn your speakers down...just warning you...I didn't think Beethoven or Jack Johnson were the right fit for this one...sorry....loud music instead...that's the rebel in me...

Thanks Curtis...this is definitely one of my coolest shoots to date!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Curtis...the stuntman!

I met Curtis about a year ago during the making of a short film...but I saw him first in this short film. Unfortunately, it took me about a year to figure out that I need to photograph this guy. I called Curtis...left him a message...and thank God he got back to me!

I love personal projects like this. Fortunately for me, I've always been about doing personal projects...and then Chase Jarvis & Amanda Sosa Stone reinforced the importance of doing these types of shoots! They really push your creativity and problem solving skills! Additionally, you get to experiment with light, flying bodies, and water puddles! Again, like Steven, Curtis was a good sport...he must have did about 50 flips today!!!

To all of my "past clients," I hope you enjoy these pictures. I know...they're a little different than wedding and family sessions...I hope you don't mind? To my fellow photogs who visit my blog...go do a shoot for you! Push something out of your norm!

All shots were take with 2 nikon flash with a portable soft box...the other bare.
I'm a minimalist...I don't have expensive studio lights...or those fancy transmitters. I firmly believe in exhausting the possibilities with my current gear before upgrading...once my gear causes serious limitations and is holding me back from achieving something, then I'll consider the mean time, the minimalist way is suffice...and lighter! This was all written so that you don't feel limited by your Nike says, "Just do it!"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Carmen, Rafael, Jetti, & River!

This is probably the most diverse montage I have created yet! Today I got to hang-out with Carmen and her family. (Carmen is the Executive Director for the Riverside Avondale Preservation). I met Carmen a few weeks ago during RAP 180 at the Underbelly. She's super cool...and so is her entire family! As you can tell from the montage, we had a lot of fun...and some serious spontaneity!

Ahhh...and because this popped-up during a conversation with Rafael...Carmen's husband...I'd like to share this bit of info with everyone. As a photographer, I have to back-up all of my files in various places. Backing up on extra hard drives is cool and necessary...but we have to take it step further...we have to get our files saved outside of our houses (b/c of theft or fire) I save my files in the cloud! Yes...I additionally back-up my files with Backblaze. I use Backblaze because they back-up external hardrives (not all companies do) & because it cost about $60 for a full year of unlimited storage! The con of using Backblaze is it's takes quite it bit of months to back-up 500 gigs...but once you get caught's pretty fast! That was my lesson for the day...I hope you enjoy the montage!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Today I had the opportunity to hang-out at Anomaly (& the Underbelly) in 5 Points...and as with all of my shoots, I had a good time! This place is real cool...mellow...but "fun & funky" as co-owner, Emily puts it. Emily opened shop in 2004 upon returning home from L.A (where she was a designer for a clothing company). Anomaly carries quite a bit of local products (clothing, jewelry, etc...). They also carry small label wears and vintage shoes!

About 3 weeks ago with the help of Shea (co-owner), Emily opened the Underbelly...a cozy little bar adjoined to the shop in the's a must go! Shea has a background in art...she once owned a local art when you visit the Underbelly it's like a cozy art gallery...where you can chill and have a few or beer!

Here's a few shots from the day...check out the pics...and then tomorrow go visit Emily & Shea...experience the cool vibes!

Anomaly opens at 10am...the Underbelly opens at 3pm (but not on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday).

Thanks Emily & Shea, for the vegan grub and beverage!



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Composition...basic photography aesthetics...

Last month I met with 12 up&comers and hobbyists to help them take control of their cameras...and it was a load of FUN! This month, I'm offering another "thingy" that shall go unnamed... This time around, we'll focus on composition. We learned about exposure...and how to do it manually last time now we're free to move onto Composition...the Aesthetics of photography.

The date for this month's Composition "thingy" will be on February 21st. Like the last time, it will be VERY hands-on...and perhaps a bit exciting! I'm opening this up to 12 participants...but I already have 7 participants I only have 5 available spots!

If you want more info...or would like to attend, contact me at or 904-338-3901.

And yes, there is NO charge...just like last time...

A little background to this shot. was shot on a Nikon never blame your camera for bad artist never blames his tools. This shot was taken in the Redwoods National Park...uh...the BIG trees were behind me...but these interested me more. I first took this shot without a a slow shutter speed. When we (family) got back to the hotel...about an hour away, I looked at the shot on the camera display screen and I was a bit nervous that it was out of focus. But because I loved the aesthetic of this shot, I woke-up early the next morning...and drove back to that spot by myself...this time I brought my tripod. I took the shot...drove back to the hotel...and again, I was concerned that the shot was out of focus. When I got back to Florida, I showed the shot to my professor (by the way, when I took this shot, I had only been taking pictures for about 3 months...I was just getting started!)...anyway, I showed the shot to my professor...and he told me it wasn't out of focus...on the other hand he praised me on this shot like you have no clue! There's multiple lessons here...take your tripod when your doing landscape what you have to do to get the attention to details...and have a good mentor!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This is a pretty long post...if you don't feel like reading it...scroll down and watch the video. If you got away!

Lately I've had a few photographers ask me how I do my shoots...or more specifically, how do I do LIFESTYLE photo do I get my "clients" to do the things you see in my images?

First, I think we need to all ask Bruce Weber or Ben Watts this question. To me, those are the masters of lifestyle work is novice in comparison! But to answer your question, I think it comes from my background in Social Work.

In Social Work, for any progress to be made, you have to establish rapport. If you have rapport, then you have TRUST...and TRUST is the key factor! This is especially true in photography in general. When your working with families or couples...or in other words, "normal" people (I also do lifestyle shoots with models or actors...and those are much "easier" or simple) you have to gain their trust...they have to know that having them play with their kids on the grass is going to look fantastic! So RAPPORT is king in this issue!

But you have to have concepts. See, a lot of photographers come to shoots with poses in mind...for me, it's CONCEPTS. These concepts come from real life experiences, music videos, movies/documentaries, photojournalism, and looking at other lifestyle photographer's work...(yes, like most, I do that too... just add your own twist). So when I show up to a shoot, I have a little paper in my pocket that reads, "running shot" or "taking pictures of each other" or "flirting on bench" or "chasing bus" or "baking cookies with daughter." I'll have like 20 or so concepts...but I also keep my mind open for other possibilities that might pop-up on the field...I kind of keep it free-form.

Let me start another might make it easier to read. And then, while I'm shooting, I keep my eyes in the view finder trying to capture a real moment! So, if I say to a couple, "embrace and flirt"...I know I have to be patient. The first click isn't going to be the money shot...I wait...and, click...and then all of the sudden they start laughing...giggling... and's all spontaneous and ORGANIC - it's THEM! These are the keepers! This is also something we use in Social's called silence. If you're a parent...try it on your kid. When they've done something wrong...and you question them...and they don't respond quick enough...and then you usually jump in and give some sort of a lecture...well, don't do silent...let it get uncomfortable...and watch...the truth will come out...or they'll put their foot in their mouth...and if that doesn't have one STUBBORN kid! Point is, give your "client" space...back off...and watch the sparks. It's way better than telling them to move their head or arm a little...(at least I think so)...

Here's a shoot I posted a few days ago...THE ENTIRE SHOOT...Motion by Steven. Most of the images are in their natural state (SOOC)'ll be able to tell which one's made the cut...the first cut, at least.

This shoot will give you an idea of me actually inputting my concepts...and trying them...and trying them. And you'll see...some of them are complete failures...and only a few are keepers! Oh...and before I forget, I think Lifestyle photography, in general, likes a 50mm or 35mm lens...sometimes being too wide (i.e. 17mm) takes the attention away from the subject...but then again, it depends what type of Lifestyle you are incorporating in your shot...enjoy!

Music by Beastie Boys - "Sabotage"
And by the way, that was 540 pictures...I hope I didn't hurt your eyes!