Aug 232010
Gina's Twilight

Like many of my subjects, our niece does not like to have her picture taken. She’s been around me and my cameras her whole life, but now as a teenager she’s developed stealth techniques like the hoodie coming over her face whenever she sees me approaching with a camera.

I was only able to sneak a quick shot before she covered her whole face. While trying to work with what I got instead of what I wish I had, I liked the image’s intriguing gesture, but the mood was all wrong. Taking a clue from the movie posters I have seen for the book and movie series “Twilight” (which is one of her favorites), I decided to rework the image into a more mysterious and sinister quality. This was not going to be a pretty picture.

The transformation involved darkening the image, while holding and enhancing detail and attention to the eye by extensive vignetting of the whole image, and a few layers of color shifting to cool down the tone. The eyes were still not “alive”, so I also added a “full moon” reflection to the pupils. For comparison, here is the original image.

I wasn’t sure if she was going to be too happy with it because the image reminded me of a vampire hiding her fangs. To my surprise, she liked it and even called it “awesome”, a rare compliment. Go figure.

 August 23, 2010  People Tagged with:  15 Responses »
Aug 022010

Testing the iPhone4’s Pano app while Josie (lower left) prowls for low tide critters at Lamoine State Park in Ellsworth, Maine.

“iPhoneography” is a new term floating around the web describing images made with the iPhone. I was never impressed with the quality of images from my old 3G iPhone, so when time came to upgrade, my main motivation were the improvements to the camera and video.

I was able to take the iPhone4’s camera for a test spin during a recent trip to Maine. Going for a dog walk at sunset overlooking Eastern Bay, there was a gorgeous expansive setting and a perfect opportunity, but I realized that a single image was not wide enough to do the scene justice, so it was a job for the Pano app. This image is 180 degree panorama composed of seven different exposures and stitched on the iPhone. Despite all the automatic settings, it handled the panorama quite well and required just minor exposure tweaks in Photoshop to bring out detail.

The humps of Acadia’s National Park’s Cadillac Mountain and the park’s other peaks are visible in the distance on the left. Cadillac Mountain at 1,528 feet, is the highest peak within 25 miles of the coastline of the Eastern United States, and if you are an early riser and adventurous, you can witness the first spot in the country to be lit by the sun’s rays in the fall and winter. Here’s a reverse panoramic view from the summit.

The new iPhone4 has much better image quality, shorter shutter lag times, HD video, and much faster processors, which make on camera processing and many other functions a much quicker experience not to mention a gorgeous sharper screen. I also have been playing around with the HDR app, and its ability to squeeze out a much greater tonal range in extreme shooting situations is simply amazing and probably a post for a later date.

I am one of those photographers rooted in photojournalism that liked to wear a camera at all times, but it is often cumbersome and impractical. Having the iPhone in my pocket is now the next best thing. Despite the bad press about antenna and connection issues, it was worth it just for the new image quality. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. Now if I can can only figure out the proper way to hold it it so it won’t lose a connection…

 August 2, 2010  iPhoneography, Landscapes, Travel Tagged with: ,  10 Responses »
Jul 192010
Red, White and Blue in the Green Mountains

I haven’t been to a parade in a long time. After going to the Farmer’s Market in Londonderry, Vermont, I realized that the town’s Fourth of July parade was about to start soon, so I grabbed my camera and waited for the festivities to begin.

Londonderry, (where incidentally, snowboarding was invented) has a population of 1,709, and its annual parade brings out the community to participate and draws families from nearby towns to watch. It was interesting to see a celebration of Americana with homespun patriotic displays and reactions from the crowd who all seemed to know their marching neighbors.

Here’s a gallery with additional images from the parade.

 July 19, 2010  Editorial, Events, People, Travel Tagged with:  4 Responses »
Jun 172010
Dr. Anne Beal Editorial Portrait

It is always refreshing to do executive portraits away from the confines of office environments as in this image of Anne Beal, M.D., M.P.H., president of The Aetna Foundation in Hartford. The Foundation is an independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc.

She is a recognized authority in health disparities, quality of care and children’s health, a topic on which she has published several articles and a book.

Dr. Beal was photographed among the pillars of the main entrance to Aetna Inc.’s  headquarters on a bright day, with plenty of soft daylight filling the scene. Two additional portable strobes were used, a soft umbrella main fill on the left, and a secondary bare strobe aimed as a skim light on rear left.

The client asked for a full length or three-quarters view of Dr. Beal. In selecting the setting, I often like to work with strong architectural shapes that become a main element in the image, but in a way that hopefully does not overpower the subject. There was a choice of shooting on either side of the pillars, but I chose to have the natural ambient light come from the right which gave shape to the columns and also acted as a rear fill light. The subject being in the shadow, allowed for better control of the main light and then, it was just a matter of balancing the strobes to the ambient, to achieve a light, clean look that I envisioned.

The portrait was done for a feature in an upcoming issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

 June 17, 2010  Editorial, People Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Dr. Anne Beal Editorial Portrait