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12 posts from January 2004

January 28, 2004

Nikon D70

Today Nikon announced a whole slew of new products including the much anticipated D70. You can read all about the new products at DPReview.com.

January 22, 2004

Surfs Up

I spent last weekend shooting surfers again in Santa Cruz, California. Wow! What a weekend it was. For Saturday the surf forecast was 8-12ft with the occasional 15 footers and for Sunday it was even bigger. After spending the day Saturday shooting at Steamers Lane, I decided to come back early in the morning for better light and the bigger surf. Sunday started at Scotts Creek with double to triple overhead waves. The sights and sounds of the huge waves was amazing! While my friend James was out surfing, his son Josh hung out with me on the cliff watching the surf. Josh quickly became interested with my camera and after a few tips on how to use it, he went crazy shooting. I'd have to say at least half the images taken at Scotts were taken by him (and we took over 600 images). I think Josh got the bug and will be bugging his Dad for a new camera. We left Scotts around noon and drove into town for some grub and to check out some of the images that I shot so far. After lunch we headed to another break called Swift Street and it was going off! Beautiful, clean, 8+ foot waves were steadily rolling in giving the surfer huge grins. The lighting was extremely difficult as the only position I could shoot from made the surfers almost directly backlit with the setting sun. Many lessons were learned which I will use the next time out shooting in Santa Cruz.

Here is cool shot from my Picture A Day gallery of the view from my shooting spot at Swift Street. The small black dots out in the water are the surfers.

And here is one surfing shot from each of the breaks.

Steamers Lane

Scotts Creek

Swift Street

January 14, 2004

Studio Lighting

While attending R.I.T. as a photo major, my focus was on Advertising Photography (studio work). I had only just begun doing a bunch of studio work before I switched majors so I really didn't get into it very deep. Now that I'm back into photography and doing my Picture A Day project, I am doing more and more still life shots in my house. Each night my living room or dining room is transformed into a make shift photo studio using various lighting fixtures such as table lamps, a light table or my Nikon flash. For reflectors I'm using large pieces of black/white matte board and for my black blackgrounds I use a piece of black velvet. The setups I can do are very limited as my light control is very difficult.

So what do I do? I need some studio lights. I have decided to go with strobes instead of continous lighting so that I can also do portrait work (no one likes to sit under 2000W of continous lights). I've been looking around the net for some economical packages and found a company called AlienBees. They produce wonderful self contained strobes for studio and location work. They are affordable, very flexible and the reviews on them are excellent.

I see Aliens in my future. :)

A friend joins in

My friends Reeves has joined in on the Picture A Day project. You can find out more here.

January 11, 2004

Life in the digital age

In just about every corner of my house, office and truck you will find an ominous glowing LED light. The TV, computers, remote controls, stereo, coffee machine and light switches are just a handful of the many devices that surround me in my daily life. Each has their purpose and each has some bright colored light telling everyone it's plugged in, wired and ready to serve your digital needs. A far cry from the days when people used oil lanterns to a add a little light to the their cold dark rooms. Now with the touch of a button all the lights in my house dim, the TV comes on, the thermostat sets itself to a comfortable 72 degrees and I'm free to sit back and let my worries melt away while being bombarded with latest episode of some new mindless reality or home improvement show.

I am so deep into the digital lifestyle that it requires manuals to operate my house. Hundreds, if not thousands of hours goes into installing, programming, debugging, maintaining and upgrading all the components that I interact with (or that interact with me) everyday. Some people say all this technology makes you lazy. HA! All this technology makes me wish there was 25 hours in a day and sleep was optional. I never stop the endless chase that is required to immersive yourself in the digital lifestyle.

My picture for today (really yesterday since it's already 1:30 in the morning) is something that symbolizes the digital age. The ever so present power and reset buttons which are vital to the daily operation of so many facets of my life. And let's not forget the great glowing blue LED light.

This photograph is a picture of the front of my Home Theater Computer. It is the key component that processes all sound and video to squeeze out the best quality before sending them to the amplifier and bright glowing plasma screen.

January 09, 2004


I wanted to come up with an photograph that was about "personality". What I thought of was a montage of custom license plates. Do you think you can tell the personality of someone from their license plate?

January 07, 2004


Are one of the best things in life...

Photo gallery of my Friends

I just started going through my thousands of images and pulling out my favorites. There are many more to come so stay tuned.

January 06, 2004

An experiment with light and form

After last night's success with using the white matte board as a reflector on the pinball table, I decided tonight I would spend more time practicing using it. The challenge was finding something around the house that would be interesting in a photograph when it is the only subject and would be a great form to show off different lighting setups. The first thing I tried to photograph was one of those Galileo Floating Glass Thermometers. It turned out to be extremely difficult to shoot because of the very reflective glass and the fact that I only had 1 flash. I will revisit that idea someday when I have multiple strobes. I started searching again around the house and Sharon suggested her little bendable human figure that she uses for painting and instantly I knew that would be perfect.

I'm really happy with the results and I can't wait to do the experiment again trying new lighting arrangements. I'm really interested in getting a second (or even a third) Nikon flash to experiment with more complex lighting. I can also see some softboxes in my future.

Those rare moments

Today I was searching for something interesting for my Picture A Day project and was coming up blank. I decided to ask my neighbors if I could do some shots of their pinball table. A Nikon SB800 flash was used off camera, bouncing it against a large sheet of white matte board to illuminate the table. While my neighbor played a game I fired off a number of shots when I saw the pinballs rolling by. I couldn't be happier with this shot! Everything just came together and I perfectly captured this exciting moment in time.

The prints of this image are stunning! I'm planning on framing it in a black shadow box frame to make it look as though you are actually looking down through the glass of a pinball game.

If you like it as much as I do, framed prints are available for purchase.

Click on the image to see a larger version

January 05, 2004

Sharon joins in on PAD

Sharon has also taken on the Picture A Day challenge and if off to a great start.

While Sharon is full-time artist working in a number of mediums, Photography is very new to her other than the typical snapshot here and there. This challenge is the first time she has actually begun to put her artistic vision in a photograph. As you can see from her first images, it won't be long before we start seeing some amazing work.

You can keep track of here Picture A Day progress - HERE.