Thursday, May 20, 2010

Film Is Not Dead | Personal projects | Pittsburgh Lifestyle Portraiture

New images from some recent projects flexing my film muscles. The question continues to come up... why shoot film? I continue to answer, why not? There is a different look to film and I like it. And the reaction I've received from people who have actually seen the work in print is 100% positive. So again, I say, why not!

So am I going to stop shooting digital? Of course not, don't be silly. If all I did was personal work or weddings or lifestyle portraiture then maybe I would think about a total conversion, but since the bulk of my work still rests squarely in the commercial realm it's impossible not to shoot digital. Commercial deadlines today are way to short to allow film to come back from my lab on the other side of the country. Heck, in many cases, I barely have time to return to the studio to process the digital files before the clients needs the finals! Nope, we live in a digital age, but that doesn't mean we can't go "back to the future" once in a while.

Besides the look of film, another thing I enjoy is the size of the camera - film bodies, especially Leica M cameras and lenses are smaller thus making it easier to carry around for a long day and allowing me to more easily keep the connection with my (human) subject.

Furthermore, working with film, especially with Leica cameras, requires keen technical prowess. Going old school you don't have autofocus, there is no program mode to set your exposure (heck with the cameras I use there isn't even a built in light meter) and you don't have hundreds of frames on a single card so there's no banging away, hoping one picture works. You have 36 exposures so you have to make them work. Working with film separates the pros from the rest of the pack.

And finally, for me, it's fun. And what's the point if you're not having a great time? Happy photographers produce happy work : )


Father and son, window light, red studio wall. Leica M2, 35mm f/2 Summicron, Fuji 400 film. Shot made hand held while looking over top of camera to keep eye contact with subjects.

Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle, PA with a Leica M3, 21mm f/3.4 Super Angulon, Fuji 400, custom b/w toned conversion. One second exposure with camera mounted on Gitzo tripod.

Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle, PA with a Leica M3, 21mm f/3.4 Super Angulon, Fuji 400, custom b/w toned conversion. Two second exposure with camera mounted on a Gitzo tripod.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Annual Report Photography in Pittsburgh | Western PA School for Blind Children

For the third year in a row I have had the extreme honor and pleasure to photograph the annual report for the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. What I witness during my time at the school is humbling and uplifting in ways I cannot describe. The staff there are Angles, doing work that is above and beyond words. And most importantly, the children are incredible. These are very special people - staff and students. Here is a tiny glimpse into their world.

Hugs abound at the school.

The Vision Room

Play is important, even if it's with the photographer

One of the highlights each year is Prom night when the kids dress in their finest and dance the night away.

Each year a Prom Queen and King are selected.

Lots of snap shots are made on Prom night.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ohiopyle PA | Nature Photography

After a long week of intense shooting I needed a little R&R to recharge my internal batteries. Nothing does that better than nature, and specifically, water, so Saturday we took a day trip to Ohiopyle in south west PA. It was beautiful! And of course it made for some wonderful photos, too. And yes, to me making pictures on a "day off" is relaxing : )

Tech notes:
camera: Nikon D300s
lens: Nikon 70-300
ISO: 100
shutter: 1/8 to 1/15 sec
f-stop: 32 to 36 (minimum aperture)
Tripod: Gitzo
SD card: SanDisk 16 Gig

Processing was done in Lightroom. Black and white conversion was a "home brew" Lightroom custom conversion.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Love it when it works so well |Commercial photography Pittsburgh

Some days everything just comes nicely into place. While doing a rapid fire series of portraits of young students the other day, everything just fit. All the children were great and easy to work with. This young man in particular was wonderful - he naturally just learned against the lockers, and did it in good light. What more can you ask, well except for that beautiful expression on his face. Life is good.

Camera Equipment For Sale

Still clearing out my Canon equipment and lots of good stuff remains. If you need a lens or more please give me a shout out. Here is a partial list of gear available:

5D Mark II
5D (two bodies available)
15 mm fisheye
24 mm tilt-shift
24 - 70 f 2.8 L zoom
50 mm f 1.2
85 mm f 1.2
100 EF macro
200 f 2.8 L
300 f 4 L
Canon 580 EX II flash w/Canon external AA battery pack
Canon ST-E2 IR transmitter unit

Monday, May 03, 2010

Chicago Wedding | Lisa and Brian | Chicago Pen Show

May 1st was a day of firsts. It was the "official" first wedding of my 2010 season. It was also my first wedding in the Chicago area. And, it was the first time a couple were ever married at a pen show.

Pen show? Yes, gather several hundred avid collectors of new and vintage writing instruments in one room and you have a pen show. Chicago is one of the oldest and biggest shows in the country. The couple, Lisa and Brian, are collectors who met through the hobby so it was only natural for them to be wed where they met.

Their rings, modeled after Esterbrook pen cap bands.

Lisa and Brian

Brian writing Lisa a note with a very special pen

Lisa reading the note

Mother and son, with daughter in the background

Exchanging the vows, quite literally.

This is the pen set that started the romance. Lisa bought one of the pens from an Ebay seller. Brian, found the other pen, through a private seller. At the time, neither knew the other one had the "missing" half of the set. The odds of two collectors each buying half of an engraved set without the others knowledge must be huge. If so, what are the odds of those same people meeting, falling in love and "discovering" they each had half of a set. Almost chilling when you think about the odds.