Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Leica Fotografie International | Terry Clark Photography

This morning I was pleased to discover Leica Camera has published two of my images in the gallery section of their website. These are images they have judged to be among the best of the all images submitted from across the globe.

This image is one of the two. The subject is my good friend Harold Betters, legendary jazz trombonist from Connellsville, PA. We were doing some test shots in my daylight studio. The photo was made using a Leica MP camera, Summilux 50mm f/1.4 lens and Tri-X film.

To see the other image follow this link to the Leica website.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving... now go wild!

It's Thanksgiving week. Today is my last day in the office till Saturday. I'm going to do something totally different, totally wild. This week I'm pulling a few odd pieces of gear out of the cabinet and going wild. I'm shooting film. Yeah, I know, I've been doing that here and there with my Leica M cameras. But this is different. It's going to be an old SLR system (for those who wonder that means Single Lens Reflex). No auto focus. Gotta have an eye ball in there, and fingers to turn the focus ring. No motor drive. Gotta have a thumb to advance the film and cock the shutter. No zoom either. Just a simple body with a few simple lenses. Three. Just three lenses -- 25, 50 and 135. Oh there are a few more, but that's enough. More than enough.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and remember to give thanks for what you have, who you have with you and what the future may hold. It's a beautiful life. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Light Up Night Pittsburgh

Friday was Pittsburgh's 50th annual Light Up Night celebration so at the last minute we decided to travel in to join the fun.

After moving across a sea of bodies crushed in the bottle neck of Market Square, we moved to a more tranquil position next to the Fred Rogers statue for the annual Light Up Night fireworks display. It had been many years since I photographed fireworks on Light Up Night so I was quite surprised when I realized they moved the firing position! No wonder it was so sparse where we were! I'm sure it happened ages ago, but like I said, it had been ages since I did this event.

None the less, the shot worked and we were no longer getting stepped on by scores of people. All in all a fun and successful night. There is no place on earth like Pittsburgh when they turn on the lights!

Tech notes:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikon 12-24 mm f/4 (16 mm used)
Exposure: 0.4 second @ f/4.5
ISO: 200
Tripod: none

As we were getting ready to go I decided I was going to shoot with just one Leica MP and a couple of lenses (35 Summicron & 50 Summilux). My film choice would be Fuji 800 Pro. Well, that didn't quite work out very well as fireworks approached. I knew we were going to be too close to get in the city and fireworks. Luckily, Toni brought her digital camera and, in her usual gracious manner, allowed me to use it.

Because I had assumed the crowds would be massive (they were) I decided not to lug around a tripod. Unfortunately that meant I didn't have solid three legged support from my camera. This is where you need to improvise, adapt and overcome the situation at hand. To do so, I simply used the railing around where we were shooting to brace the camera. I knew using this method I could shoot as low as 1/4 second with a reasonable expectation of getting a sharp image.

To reduce noise in the image I selected a low ISO (200). A faster ISO would allow me to hand hold the camera easier, but the price of a faster shutter speed would also have been shorter tracks from the fireworks. From past experience I knew I wanted as long of a trail as possible in my situation. Next time a tripod will go in my car regardless!

Setting the appropriate f stop for correct exposure on the buildings and it was all just a matter of timing the release to the bursts of fireworks. In such an uncontrolled environment you shoot a lot and hope you get one frame you like.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Private Commission Portrait | Center Area High School| High School Portrait

Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing Miss M in a private commission session.

Every year I do a select number of private commission portraits for high school age people wanting something unique and artistic. I don't like to call it a "senior portrait" or "high school picture" just a "private commission portrait session." To me there is a difference. It's not volume work. Everything is customized to the individual client. As I tell everyone, "you won't be hugging any trees or sitting on big numbers." The work is done on location or in my second floor urban grunge daylight studio. Occasionally we'll shoot against a seamless, depending on what we collaborate to create. Collaboration is of utmost importance. I like people with ideas and passion. It's so much more fun and rewarding to create images of excited, creative people.

Because my work is so customized to the individual client I rarely book multiple shoots in a day. I want to work in the best light. Usually that occurs once a day so booking more than one session on location is to possibly compromise the quality of my images. I won't compromise my work, period, so a generous amount is mandatory.

The portrait shown here was made near the end of the day. The sun was low in the sky. A California Sunbounce reflector kicked in just enough light to add dimension and provide a clean catch-light in her eyes. I like her expression - soft, yet confident, someone ready to take on the world. In post I used custom mix in Nik Silver Effect Pro to create the overall tone and tonality. Nik software is simply the finest black and white conversion program out there today. I'm a huge black and white fan, and I still shoot film at times for "the look" but Nik nails it so well I hardly ever "need" my film bodies anymore.

Camera: Nikon D700

Friday, November 12, 2010

November, already? Wow.

You'd think, judging from this blog, I've taken an extended leave of absence. Not hardly. October was a total whir wind. It blew by so quickly I barely had time to enjoy the (albeit limited) color of fall. Weddings, commercial assignments and private commission work kept me shooting almost every day. When I wasn't behind the camera I was in front of the computer trying to knock out the work to my clients. It was exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time.

I love being busy. Always have. Some photographers are like thoroughbred race horses. They like staying in the barn till the big race. Me, I've always likened myself to the plow horse. Put me in the field every day and just stand back and let me work. I'll get er done. Such was October. Plowed many a field both here and on the far side of the state.

Unfortunately (for the blog) much of my work is of a commercial nature. Art directors and commercial clients sometimes don't like pictures posted before their projects are released to the public. They're funny that way. They like to keep things under wraps till they're finished. Also, because so much of my work is project specific it sometimes loses meaning out of context. So a picture that might look mundane or routine as a stand alone may be exactly what the client needs to communicate their message. The total (package) is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Such is life. Still, a cool picture is in most cases still a cool picture.

Luckily there were a lot of weddings, too. Unfortunately there were a lot of weddings, too! Those took some time last month to not only shoot, but to process. Most are out now so the results will soon be on the blog. Backwards for sure, but I felt I needed to get the pictures to the couples first since I was running so far behind. Only seemed fair.

So here are a couple of images I did while I was "away." Hope you enjoy this tiny peak. Much more to come. Thanks.

A college up north

A college out east

A school right here