Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"No, Officer, I haven't been drinking."

The pictures below are from a photo shoot I did with a beautiful bride named Kara Boudreaux almost three weeks ago. We went to the Santa Monica Pier and had a great shoot on the lifeguard station on the beach. A cop drove by on the beach and we were sure I would get chased away...typical for one of my shoots....but we weren't!!! We got there a little late so when we parked I didn't pay...we just ran to catch the sunset as seen in the first shots below. So while walking back to the car we were sure that I would have a ticket...but we didn't!!!

We then went to the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. While shooting the shots in front of the curved building two cops rode by on bikes and asked if we were professionals. Kara immediately answered, "No," and they just kept going! This was really strange for me not to get harrassed. We had a great shoot and the reflections and angle of the building were just amazing!!!! The shoot lasted for over 4 hours and we finished close to 11:30pm. I dropped Kara off and started home.

I got on the phone with my wife and tried to follow the GPS at the same time. I was admittedly distracted and totally ran a red light....right in front of a cop. I got pulled over and thought...how ironic I've escaped the cops all night and here I get nailed for a red light. The cop comes up to the car and asks how I'm doing. By this point it's after midnight. I laugh and say, "Not very good." He asks me why and I reply, "Well, I just ran a red and I'm going to get a ticket."

He laughs and says, "Have you been drinking?" I laugh again and say, "I've never had a drink in my life." He then laughs and decides to give me a sobriety test!!!!!! Having truly never had a drink in my life....I found this amazingly hilarious and couldn't stop from laughing. He smelled my breath and said, "Well, no signs of drinking there." He then asked me to follow his finger from left to right. After a time or two I asked while laughing...how many times do I have to follow your finger correctly to pass?" He then laughed and said, "You're not drunk, you're just funny." I then responded with, "I totally deserve a ticket, but if you could give me a warning that would be great." To top it off I was driving a rental car and didn't have the registration or rental agreement. He returned to the car ten minutes later with a verbal warning and told me to have a great night. I told him if he ever needed a photographer to give me a call. He was the coolest officer I've ever met....and it topped off a great shoot. Thanks to Kara for making it so great!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Photography Tip #1- Additional Night Lighting

I'm often asked how I take certain pictures...how I light the area (subject), what I look for etc. I thought I'd throw up some pictures from a recent shoot and just shed some light (no pun intended) on what I did to get the shot. Lighting is the blood necessary to run the body of good photography....and the difference between a good and great shot depends on the right lighting. I took these pictures at a nature reserve in Utah and it was beautiful. I added some shots below but the pictures I'm referring to for the tips are the top two. If you look at the second picture that is a good example of taking the picture under normal lighting. The light is in the front of the picture from my Nikon SB800 external flash on top of the camera. It lights the picture, and I'm able to bring out the background because of the slow shutter speed on the camera. The first picture is the exact same picture from a composition standpoint, but the lighting is much different. I used the following steps to take this picture:

Shooting with the Nikon D2XS:

  1. Set the camera on a tripod

  2. Set the camera on timer mode (as if you're going to take a picture of yourself)

  3. Set the camera to 30 second exposure
  4. Set aperture to 4.5f to allow the most light the lens could handle. Go lower if your lens can.
  5. Set ISO to 320....if I set it higher it would have made the picture brighter, but also more grainy. I wouldn't recommend going above 1200 ISO for this type of a shot.

  6. Set white balance to camera preset of "cloudy" mode...to allow for richer color.

  7. Shot in RAW.

  8. Focal length- 11m

  9. Focus- used manual focus....use a flashlight and shine it on the shack....you can then focus with the lens now that you can clearly see the shack.

  10. What I did:

  11. I pressed the trigger and ran into the shack while the 10-second self timer was counting down.

  12. Once the camera shutter opened I used my external flash SB800 and starting strobing the inside of the barn. This is what gave me the light coming out of the door and the wooden slats in the roof of the shack.

I could have done more but I ran out of time. Going back I would use video lights to on the back and sides of the shack to add additional elements to the picture as well as still done the inside lighting. I hope this is helpful to any photographer or enthusiast out there! Let me know and I'll continue to post tips on a weekly basis.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Robert and Jessica

Below are pictures from a recent engagement shoot for Robert and Jessica shot by my lead photographer Don Atherton. He also had some great assistance from second shooter Karen Chapman. Robert and Jessica are getting married next month and they were such a great couple to work with. As you can tell they are very photogenic and they just radiate a very tangible "in love" feeling. The pictures were taken in Riverside, CA. Congrats on your engagement and marriage next month, we look forward to capturing your special day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Donny Angel....aka "Chief Firewalker"

Below is a picture taken of Don Atherton, my lead photographer for Jason Lanier Productions. Through the course of working innumerable events together a great bond has been established...and of course guys bond by cracking jokes and coming up with nicknames. While driving with the team down to a shoot in San Diego, a commercial played the song, "Johnny Angel," the oldies hit. Don was talking smack and I quickly dubbed him, "Donny Angel" which he then morphed into a Godfather type persona. This persona has stuck, and while he is the most pleasant person you will ever meet...and the bride and groom always love him....the team knows to watch their step with Donny Angel....all joking of course.

Well, I received a call from Donny Angel last week that he wants his name changed to Chief Firewalker. He sent me a photo taken by a local photographer in Boston of Don walking across hot coals at an event. He even has blisters to prove he did it! I told him the name of Donny Angel will always stick, but that we may now add Chief Firewalker to his resume. If Don happens to shoot your event....call him by his nicknames....and I'm sure he'll give you something extra....that's the Firewalker way.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Back to D.C.

I'm headed back out to Washington D.C. for the next four days to do some work for some clients out there. I love D.C. and I hope I get the chance to get out and take some landscape shots. I also hope the weather is better considering the last time I was in D.C. I fell down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial due to ice! Below is a picture I took about 10 years ago on film. Hope to share some pics over the next couple days...then it's back for a wedding in California this Saturday for a great couple named Jon and Julie.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Arboretum Bridal

Below are pictures from a bridal shoot we did last month. The bride's name is Julie and she's getting married next weekend in California. I have been so busy I haven't had the chance to get these up on the blog but I definitely wanted to do so now.

I had Don Atherton shooting second shooter with me and Chris helping out with the light. We shot at the LA Arboretum and had a great time. We even found a group of people doing an exercise boot camp and they were kind enough to let our bride exercise with them! It was a great time and we're looking forward to a wonderful wedding next Saturday. Thanks to Don and Chris!