Jun 242014

Neutral GrayPhotographers continually strive to be neutral, as in neutral gray. Despite the fact that we often purposely shift and enhance colors, this is often done in post processing, but it is always helpful to start with correct neutral tones.

In the studio, when photographing products on a white or black background or all the gray shades in between, it is critical that not only the product’s color is accurate, but in addition, it is equally important that the background is also perfectly neutral. We often shoot on laminates because of its durability and texture but often finding the the right neutral tone has always been problematic.

When looking into purchasing some new laminate backgrounds, I came across a study done by Dan Kushel, professor at SUNY Buffalo State in New York, where he did some extensive calibrations of different Formica laminates and paints for the photographic lab renovations at the school, from which he narrowed down the ones with the best neutrality. In the studio, it is also ideal to have neutral walls to avoid color casts.

For paint, the best gray selections with different reflective values were Benjamin-Moore “Steel Wool”2121-20, “Sterling Silver “1461, and “Pelican Gray”1612. And for Formica, “Mouse”928-58, “Fog”961-50, and “Folkstone”927-58. The two page PDF with the data and recommendations can be downloaded here. And if you are also looking for a gray card to balance out your images, next time you’re at Home Depot or Lowe’s, pick up free sample of Wilsonart’s laminate gray “D-90”, that will also work just fine and save you a few bucks.

 June 24, 2014  Photography, Product 4 Responses »
Feb 262014
Frozen at Fenway

Every January, Boston builds an ice rink for a few weeks in the midfield at Fenway Park to host a series of skating and hockey events with college teams throughout New England in what is called “Frozen Fenway”. This year, I covered Hartford’s Trinity College Bantams hockey team playing the Williams College Ephs. In case you are wondering, a Bantam is a small variety of chicken (or rooster)  and the “Ephs” (pronounced “eefs”) are named after the college’s founder, Ephraim Williams. Their mascot is a purple cow.

frozen fenway

Photo by Mike Raciti / Trinity College

Conditions at game time were brutal. It was 10 degrees with windchill factors of 10 to 15 below. It was so cold, pucks were cracking in half and the player’s water bottles froze instantly. I worried about how the camera and batteries would hold out but there were no issues, attaching a foot warmer heating pad to the bottom of the camera must’ve helped. I dressed warm enough with plenty of  layers but the hands are always problematic. It’s impossible to wear heavy gloves and operate the knobs and controls on the cameras. Keeping a few hand warmers in my pockets barely provided relief.

Hockey, even in a heated arena, always have been one of the most challenging sports to shoot due to its fast pace and limited vantage points around the plastic barriers, while at all times trying to stay clear of puck projectiles and hurling bodies. Fortunately, current camera and lens technology have made following the action a lot easier under the bright stadium lights.

Despite the bitter cold, it was neat to experience the fabled venue from unique vantage points and be able to visit the (wonderfully heated) exclusive skyboxes and club areas with lots of memorabilia and great sports photography everywhere.  At least in hockey they have three periods which allowed for two thawing out breaks, then it was back to the boys of winter, certainly different than the summer ones.

 February 26, 2014  Editorial, Education, Events, Photography Tagged with:  2 Responses »
Jan 092014
The Ice Dog Cometh

On a previous post I had a picture of Josie, our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon creating quite a splash after retrieving the ball from the pool in the summer heat. Just because it’s winter, her obsession for daily ball time never lets up, even this past week when temperatures reached 10 below zero.

Feeling proud that she was able to find the ball in the deep snow, Josie stares and drops it at my feet in her usual all season ritual. Seeing her snout full of ice and usual determination, it was something worthy of a picture.

The trick was to have her stand still for a brief moment before my fingers froze. I’m sure she was just being patient having trained me that if she cooperated, I’d throw the ball again. And I did, over and over again, just like we did last summer – aren’t those words from a song ?

Wishing everyone a prosperous, healthy and blissful New Year!

 January 9, 2014  Editorial, Photography Tagged with:  4 Responses »