Sunday, May 31, 2009

It is about light.

Sometimes the light really cooperates. In this case I added a bit of flash as fill on this strongly backlit iris.

Backlit Iris

View LARGE On Black

Here is the same image in black and white. It works just as well.

Backlit iris in B&W

View LARGE On Black

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The shot within the shot

Every once in a while, when I am scanning an area in search of a photo, I see one. And then I see The One. First I took this shot, deliberately cropping out the mother, but not being too mindful of the other two in the image (who are not in any way related.


As I hit the shutter my brain said, "Whoa, missed it." WTF? I looked again, paused for the movement to settle out, and zoomed a little tighter. Voile - he correct picture. Mom is paused because junior has found something that distracted him. She is waiting without apparently trying to hurry him along. One hand is out of the picture. Is she carrying something else? Is she merely on a phone? You do not know and it adds a little tension. The water in the background, the dress and sandals all paint a picture of a glorious day at the lake. For the child, it may be one of those carefree days of summer that become indelibly imprinted. It is a story every mom would identify with.

View LARGE On Black

The lesson here is to not leave an image your brain zeroed in on. Give it a second look because the real shot may be lurking within.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Ponds in place of fields

Just a few more drippy-day garden pictures to share. It is a curious thing. Around Madison, Wisconsin, we have plenty of rain - too much even, with area farm fields under water or too wet to plant - while our friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are in a drought and crying for rain as yards and gardens scorch.

Rainy Day Garden
Osteo Spermum
View LARGE On Black

Rainy Day Garden - Japanese Iris
Japanese Iris
View LARGE On Black

Rainy Day Garden - Hosta
Water on Hosta

Not where it's needed.
. . . Drought in the north, while south has
. . . ponds in place of fields.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wisconsin Fashion Week 2

I had no idea that editing the shots from this event would take so long. At last I am almost finished.

Wisconsin Fashion Week

I thought it would be fun to post a handful of images taken as the models were being prepped for the runway show. This was the task I contracted for with WFW. I was bluntly told if anyone told me to go away I was to point out that I was an official photographer for the event. Fortunately, that never happened. Rather I pretty much established a friendly give-and-take with the models and stylists, doing my best to not get in the way, and thanking them for tolerating each of my intrusions.

Wisconsin Fashion Week

This was actually a great experience, and I hope a few good contacts come out of it.

Wisconsin Fashion Week

I like the before-and-after of this post when viewed with the earlier one. The transformations are sometimes pretty dramatic. Several of these models were prepped for well over an hour.

Wisconsin Fashion Week

Wisconsin Fashion Week

Wisconsin Fashion Week

This one actually threw me for a momentary loop. The model is tall and statuesque, hard to overlook. She was being prepped with cupcake frosting - just cupcake frosting - from the waist up right in front of the huge windows that look out (from Overture) onto Fairchild Street. It made me chuckle.

Wisconsin Fashion Week

I hope you enjoyed the peek into this year's Wisconsin Fashion Week!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wisconsin Fashion Week 1

When I heard about Wisconsin Fashion Week a couple of months ago, I thought, gee, I bet they hire photographers for that event. How do I get to be one of them? So I found out who the event coordinator was and contacted her. She in turn put me in touch with the fellow who was in charge of photographers. I received an electronic application. A week or so later I was notified that I was "in" and was to shoot two events. One was a behind the scenes shoot of models being prepped for a show and one was a runway show featuring models with different-than-normal abilities. Sounded great to me. The first played to my strengths and the second would be really good experience in a unique and interesting setting.

WI Fashion Week

I also learned that there was no pay. Darn! Well, it would still be a good experience. It would also be a great way to make local contacts with models and other creative businesses. And finally, it was an interesting way to fill out my resume and portfolio.

WI Fashion Week

Then a change in circumstance meant that I got bumped from shooting the runway event (they only allowed one photographer). Now I was going to give up a 3-day motorcycle ride for only one hour of interesting shooting. Rats. Well, I made a deal so that is just the way it was going to be. I went, and took many shots of the model preparation (perhaps a subsequent post will feature those shots).

WI Fashion Week

As it turned out, since I was already there, I was told I could stay and shoot some of the afternoon runway events if I wanted to. Yes sir, you bet! It was a fantastic opportunity to shoot the finished product, get some experience shooting a runway - it was difficult - and have no pressure since I was not an official photographer. Sort of a No Lose scenario.

WI Fashion Week

After the runway portion was officially over, a few of the models lingered and let us shoot them at greater length - again a win-win opportunity for them and us. It was a fantastic experience, and perhaps some subsequent (paying) work will also come out of it.

WI Fashion Week

These images are all pretty much straight-from camera with no editing other than maybe a crop or tweaking brightness. The agencies and models all get free access to the full-resolution images - that was the deal - and if I want to get artistic in Photoshop I need to make a duplicate and still provide the unaltered image as well. I am sure I will post some edited images in subsequent posts. In the meantime, here is a link to the whole (small) set so far:


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Friday, May 22, 2009

Free Spirit

Every so often I get to take photographs of people who really delight me. This set is one of those people. She is truly a delightful spirit; warm, friendly, and of pleasant disposition. Her life has not always been easy, yet she always has a ready smile and a kind word. If she has something to share, she shares it.


When I took these photos, she was camping with a group that included Reena and me, her mom, and her friend who is also a dance partner. Prior to playing dress-up for these pictures she was wearing a tee shirt that read, "I get it from my mom." It was a perfect compliment to her also-fine mom, a dear friend.


It being early May, the weather was nice, but variable. There were clouds moving across our area all afternoon. I was hoping for sunset pictures, but a large patch of clouds seemed to be settling in, so we bumped the timing up a bit. Thus we got images that are a bit more squinty-eyed than might be desirable, with light that is still pretty strong.


Nevertheless, the experience was delightful and the results are fine. In some small way I captured a slice of her essence to share. The real person is so much more.


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Everyday Woman

I just started a new project. The framework is an art exhibit idea of a friend. She wants to mount a significant body of work, so it looks like a lot of specific portrait shooting in the months ahead. Grant money will be sought, hopefully making this into a venture that is rewarding at more than one level.


We started by shooting her to work through what she really wanted, and to establish a bit more solidity in the plan.


These particular images may be used in the final body of work, or not, but I enjoyed both the process and this initial result.


I am looking forward to the next 15-20 subjects who are yet to be determined.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

More of Pewit's Nest

Reena and I took another trip up to Pewit's Nest on Tuesday. One of the advantages of being unemployed is the ability to go interesting places when (almost) no on else is there. Reena's sister was in town visiting mom, so we took her as well; her first time to the Nest. As you would guess, I took some photos.

Pewit's Nest
Pewit's Nest in B&W


While I was precariously perched to get that shot, Reena remained safe above me and took this shot.

Pewit's Nest
Getting the Shot

There is exactly ONE place to get a shot of all the falls up the length of the canyon. It is an easy enough climb down to reach that spot, except that it is sloped, and covered with an inch or three of loose pine needles and sandy soil. It is all too easy to contemplate a small slip turning into a fast skid and over the edge you would go. It is about a 30' drop onto boulders (and the creek). Since there is no access to the crash-landing spot except by walking up the creek, the EMTs would probably be all kinds of pissed off if they had to come rescue me. I was veeeery careful! Notice that the down-slope tripod leg is fully extended while the other two are barely extended.

Here is a link to info about Pewit's Nest. It's a few pages down in the document. Interesting reading:
"it received its name in 1843 from thefact that an ingenious mechanic built a workshop in a recess of thesolid sandstone there, ten feet above a deep pool of water the basin ofwhich had been excavated by the plunge of water over a fall of eightor ten feet in height. The approach to it was either through a trapdoor in the roof, or a trapdoor in the floor. If through the roof, it wasby climbing down the rock wall to it; if through the floor, it was by a floating bridge upon the pool, with a ladder at its end leading to thetrapdoor in the floor. The shop could not be seen from the mouth ofthe canyon, or from the top, or from any direction but one. Hence,by the early settlers it was called Pee-wee's Nest."

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Monday, May 11, 2009

House Party Slideshow

Trying something new here. Let's see if it works!

Saturday night I went to a house party celebrating the PhD of a friend of the home owner. Pagee Go Go was playing, and the party was seemingly open to word of mouth invitations. Since I am married into the band, and frequently take photos for their use, I went, armed with my camera. This resulting slideshow is my test (can I embed the slideshow successfully?).

If you are receiving this via email, the embed may not work. If that is the case, please follow the link to my site and view the images there. If this embedded show really bogs down your system, please let me know so I can know not to use this technique. However, it is a tempting way to post a lot of photos in a small post.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Savoring May Day

The May Day party - Maibock actually - is held at a small private park in one of the coulees off the Mississippi, north of LaCrosse. It is a pretty idyllic little park, especially at this time of year. The hills are just starting to green up while we are there and over the course of three days you can really see the changes.

May Day Hillside 1

The above hill faces north and gets a late start. The one below faces south.

May Day Hillside 2

A conservation group - privately funded - is reconstructing a trout stream that begins from springs very close to this next photo. The stream had become flat and meandering over the years (it was in a pasture), and not very suitable to Brook trout. The eary stages of the reconstruction are complete and still pretty obvious.

Reconstructed Stream

However, it seems like they did it properly, creating undercuts and pools. There were many trout in evidence (it was not stocked), and fly fishermen were working it just a little farther downstream.

Reconstructed Stream

I am anxious to witness as it naturalizes over the next few years. I am certain that the next generation will not even know that tinkering was involved.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Wow. I cannot believe how busy I have been. I note that it has been 10 days since I posted anything here. Shame on me. Bad blogger! No cookie!

Well, Here come a few posts. Part of the busyness was getting set for a weekend camping trip. I was going on my motorcycle and Reena was going to follow me in the car when she got done with work, 7-8 hours later. I was eagerly awaiting the custom made seat I had ordered from Rick Mayer Cycle. After 7 weeks off the bike, the seat finally arrived, in the afternoon on Thursday. I immediately inspected it:

Rick Mayer Seat for MZ Baghira

The stock seat is a dirt bike seat, long and skinny, not at all conducive to a long ride. As you can see, this seat tapers noticeably wider yet remains skinny at the front. The textured vinyl provides a bit more butt-grip, and the slope of the seat was adjusted to prevent sliding forward (nuts up to the tank) under hard braking. A bit of inspection showed that the quality of the work was first rate:

Rick Mayer Seat for MZ Baghira

Pleased with what I saw, I was eager for a ride. I quickly reinstalled it on my bike and logged a 100 mile jaunt to see what my butt thought of it. I opted to ride both city and highway miles, so while the distance was 100 miles, the time was over two hours. The initial verdict was that the seat did what it was supposed to do.

Rick Mayer Seat for MZ Baghira

Installed on the bike it did not stick out too much, and even matched the general flow when viewed from behind. Fit was excellent.

I left around 10:45 AM on Friday, loaded with a light array of clothes, tent, sleeping bag and pad, a beer stein, pillow, and change of shoes. Everything a boy could want for a 2.5 day beer party over May Day weekend. I started the trip by blasting 40 miles up the Interstate to Wisconsin Dells, then jinked left and picked up Hwy 33, which took me a hilly, twisty route through Hillsboro, La Farge, Ontario (over Wildcat Mountain...Mmmm!) and eventually to La Crosse. There I crossed the Mississippi river and headed north in Minnesota. I cut back into Wisconsin at Wabesha and headed a bit farther north to the site of the party. Total saddle time for that ride was just over 5 hours and my butt was still ready to ride. On the stock saddle my buns would have been begging for mercy. I guess it is safe to say that I am satisfied with the new seat.

The party? That is for another post!

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