Sunday, December 18, 2011

A moment of zen

The holidays always bring a certain amount of festive kind of stress, and the first in-law family gathering of the season had its moments.

For a fairly laid-back 29 year old, I felt myself in the rare situation of feeling a bit overwhelmed and over-stimulated. Children crawling over me and opening gifts, fragmented conversations in a confined space, combined with my strategic seating choice between everyone else and the food, was a stark contrast from just a few moments earlier.

Seeing the coming social storm, and just wanting some fresh air, I "borrowed" my wife away from the crowd to snag some photos in the quickly fading light. As she sat in the quiet cold, a pair of swans and several ducks made a beeline to us from perhaps a half mile away. Knowing better than I, Andrea got some bread to throw to our new fowl-friends to share.

Soon enough, we were back inside celebrating the season. However, it's times like this that remind me how often I overlook the tranquility of escaping to the outdoors once and a while.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Engaging in fun

In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage; catching it was acceptance. Little did my friend Johanna know, she was to take part in this centuries old tradition on the day of her engagement.

Jay, her boyfriend and a good friend of mine, had worked in the tossing and catching of apples into their everyday routine as they had a relaxing day on Martha's Vineyard. When he finally brought her to her favorite beach and got down on one knee with the ring, he informed her she had already said yes...several times.

Upon hearing of their engagement, not only did I think Jay's tactic was clever, I was ecstatic for the couple, having known both of them since high school. When I was asked if I could do engagement photos for them, I was honored, and excited. They're great, fun people who are so clearly in love. As I hang out with them regularly, I knew they'd be a fun shoot.

When Jo told me they planned on having the shoot at an apple orchard, I had high hopes. The sun shone, the air was unseasonably warm, and the sky blue. They brought some props, and their good humor and fun.

Here's some of my favorite shots of some of my favorite people.

Congratulations, you two.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Martin-Gramajo Wedding

How much can someone mean to you? While photographing the wonderful people at the Martin-Gramajo wedding, Laura and Justin showed everyone around them just what that can mean...

If means enough that you'll never forget.

It means you can make a promise to someone.

That you would walk in their shoes.

If you have something...

You would share.

If you were apart...

Then you make it count when you're together.

There were plenty of people at this wedding. Yet, so often I could tell that for much of their celebration, it was just the two of them, lost in the moment.

It was an absolute pleasure to be part of their day. Laura, probably the most laid back bride I've ever know, made life easy on me. I couldn't help but be laughing anytime I was within 10 feet of Justin. You could tell they were having fun.

Congratulations to Laura and Justin. I hope you both have a long and happy life together.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Portraits Updated: Finally!

Quick update:

My slow updated to my portfolio site continues. I've been absolutely devastatingly busy at work lately, so this has had to take a backseat for a while. I'm quite happy with the section's update as it stands. I've worked in some favorites from shoots in the past, new material, and new people. It's all spliced in throughout the section.

Next project: Landscape section. Hopefully it won't take multiple months again.

New section

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beaumont-Caldeira Wedding

Who says 13 and 1/2 hours of work in a day can't be fun? Kerry and Tony's wedding in late June was an absolute blast to photograph. Bride, groom, wedding party, and all the relatives were all so great to work with on what turned out to be a wonderful wedding day for the newly married couple.

Things certainly got interesting at times with limousines pouring out smoke, a ceremony snuck into the sunshine between downpours, and small children napping in the middle of the dance floor.

The Day kicked off hanging out with the girls. Makeup, hair, excited/nervous chatter, all that good stuff.

I bounced from the main room to their alternate readying room to capture some dress and finer details before the women were really ready to get photographed.

A few points during the day I could see nerves kicking in. Good nerves, wanting a perfect day kind of nerves. Just another set of emotions in the cornucopia of feelings being experienced by the group.

So, the girls' limo may or may not have been spouting smoke for the majority of the ride, after our driver missed becoming part of a multi-car accident. Regardless, we got the shots we wanted in the shortened amount of time we had before the ceremony began.

It was certainly a different challenge photographing a ceremony from across a pond. I wasn't aware the couple would be on a bridge, which I would not be able to shoot from at the same time. Long focal lengths saved the day.

It was so obvious how happy Kerry and Tony were once the pressure was lifted and the ceremony had gone off without a hitch. Relaxed and ecstatic, they started to look forward to the party ahead.

As you can see the light and weather cooperated for the ceremony and after-shots.

Such a great group of bridesmaids. Accommodating, cooperative, and encouraging when they saw I was wearing down a bit at the end of the day. (That camera gets heavy after 10+ hours). I'm looking forward to seeing many of them again in September at my next wedding coverage.

Kerry and Tony, cheers to your new marriage, I hope you're always as happy as I saw you were on that day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boston Models

I had the very fortunate experience today to find myself in the Boston public gardens surrounded by nice people who all share a passion that I do. It was the first meet-up with a new portrait photo-group I have joined, and it was a great first experience.

Twenty five photographers attended, joined by 5 or so models, and a makeup artist. We had the run of a decent chunk of the public gardens before the number of people became interesting to work with.

As the models finished with makeup photographers branched off in small groups and moved into different locations. We had a rotation to split time shooting and holding reflectors for others. There was only slight jostling for position, and most of it was simply inadvertent shot-crossing trying to get a new angle. People were very nice, and models were receptive to ideas photogs would suggest now and then.

I would certainly say I was young for the photographer contingent, if not the youngest. I was much closer in average age to the models. I hope I am still shooting when I'm the age of some of the group's members. I know I can only improve, and if or when I mirror the experience of some (45 years), I look forward to seeing how I've developed by then.

I took far too many shots to share, so here at my favorite dozen or so:

Some of these will probably find their way into my portrait portfolio in this ongoing overhaul. I'm always open to suggestions on what you think is best. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Portfolio Overhaul

Time to clean the cobwebs out of the portfolio. My tastes change with new and adapted styles and techniques both shooting and processing. It seems silly to have a static group of images represent my best or favorite works, if the criteria I used to judge them is always changing.

(New Home Page)

Therefore, in the spirit of that, I'm updating the "expressionist" portion of my site first.

These photos used to represent my continuing...journey... in finding out the different things my camera and software were capable of. I would show the "best" of my attempts at striking color, composition, or subjects slightly out of my own ordinary.

My newest additions take this portfolio section in a new direction. The direction I chose for my latest "expressionist" photos, tell a story, make a statement, or (hopefully) invoke some feeling.

Several of these photos are personally important to me and, I feel, have the rare ability to convey the emotions felt by the photographer to the viewer.

You'll notice all of them but one are in B&W. I subscribe to the oft stated opinion that sometimes color can be distracting, and I'd rather have people concentrate on substance, rather than style for much of this section.

Feel free to view them on the site, or check them out below:


Monday, August 1, 2011

Stuff I forgot about

Every now and then I just take photos that I forget all about. Some of them I revisit and really take a liking to. I wonder what was going through my mind when I just uploaded them and did nothing. Most of these aren't even flagged as picks to be backed up or anything.
A new selection my entries for this blog will occasionally be posting the photos that I've forgotten.

Like this one:

"Chicago Oz"

I'm feeling back in the game. Hopefully I'll be posting on the regular from now on.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

East Africa: Top Shots

(Cue dramatic intro)

It's hard to pinpoint where to begin.

Visiting east Africa was one of the least relaxing vacations I've ever taken. This was largely due to the almost impossible task of trying to soak up every experience to its maximum potential. I don't think one can really prepare themselves for the beauty and melancholy they will encounter in this place.

Emotions ran from the highs of sheer joy, to the soberness of heartbreak, or primal with fear. Sleep was an even rarer commodity than usual. Excitement, jet-lag, climate, and diet all contributed to this.

The chaotic streets of Nairobi greeted us with a swallowing embrace. Congestion, population and a budding infrastructure create a dizzying sense of constant movement, almost in agitation of itself.

Traffic can't keep up with construction, and the "laws" of the road are governed by the average driver's sense of patience.

Fires burn by the side of the road, trash blows in the wind by the endless passers-by on foot, or the countless loitering in the midst of nowhere and everyone.

Then it all stops. The bustle of the city's countless markets and shops and people start to fade into the countryside. The land grows hostile in a matter of miles, and any hope of sustaining the comforts of civilization is lost.

This is the place we sought. Pervading silence in the endless fields of grass and trees.

Here is a link to a small piece of it though my eyes: Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to basics: The Portrait Session

I had the chance to shoot portraits for a wonderful client this weekend, Helen, who simply wanted professional-grade photos of herself. In a real no-frills way, I think the session was highly successful. This shoot reaffirmed that I love even the most basic forms of photography: the black and white portrait.

Helen indicated that she liked black and white shots, which often do not make up the bulk of my work, as much as I like them. I think one of my old photography professors often referred to them as a crutch for those who couldn't shoot in color well. As much as I don't agree with that, I think it still resonates from time to time.

I tried to keep the B&W mindset during the session, and played off the surroundings of her home as well as my available lighting to ensure some of those shots would come out well.

100% non-pro-tip: An $8 halogen work-light at 250 watts does wonders as a fill-light when using a 1 flash setup. I diffused and bounced the flash as necessary, and put the halogen through an umbrella when needed. $8 well spent.

Helen and I worked through the concept of each pose on the fly, and while insisting she never modeled before, managed to preemptively correct for almost every suggestion I was going to bring up with her own simple and natural adjustments. This made my life that much easier, and I could focus on the mechanics.

Hopefully now with the weather turning more towards the favorable kind in terms of outdoor shooting, I'll be out and about snapping more portraits within the spring scenery. Fingers crossed that's sooner rather than later.