What Inspires Your Photography?
Mar28

What Inspires Your Photography?

Photographers get inspiration from many places. One friend finds it in old master’s paintings; I get the inspiration for many of my images from the movies. Recently I watched (for the umpteenth time) Frank Capra’s 1937 classic Lost Horizon and was struck not just by the cinematography but by all of the still images used to illustrate a “making-of” video on the DVD that were shot using 4×5 film. This was truly the golden age of...

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Monochrome & Color Portraiture
Mar24

Monochrome & Color Portraiture

Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have a built-in monochrome capture mode with some  offering scene modes, Canon calls’em Picture Styles, that let you enhance gray tones while making the rest of the colors less vibrant producing an old-fashioned hand-colored look. The reality is that you can always shoot in color and  make these kinds of adjustments after the fact using Adobe Photoshop or your favorite digital imaging software but...

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Shooting Sigma’s 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens in the Studio
Mar14

Shooting Sigma’s 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens in the Studio

The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens is part of their Art series and has an angle-of-view equivalent to 45mm. It’s designed for APS-C format digital SLRs like the Canon EOS 60D I tested it with. The lens has a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and produces quiet (for shooting video) and fast autofocus. It has Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting and the company includes a nicely made lens hood and case at no extra cost. The...

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These Day LEDs Are Popular; Here’s Why
Mar09

These Day LEDs Are Popular; Here’s Why

Continuous light sources are popular with new and aspiring pros because they let you see in real time the lighting effect produced. LED-based studio lights do that without creating lots of heat, especially when compared to other continuous light sources. At the WPPI show one industry insider told me, “When LED delivers a form factor that looks like a monolight, studio flash is dead.” While I’m not so sure that I believe that statement...

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End of a Portrait Thread?
Mar07

End of a Portrait Thread?

“The poet, the artist, the sleuth – whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial… he cannot go along with currents and trends.”—Alfred North Whitehead I guess we can add photographer to Mr. Whitehead’s comment. Today is the last day on a two-week run of portrait-oriented posts so I thought I would end it with an one of my favorite images of my former muse*, Ms. Tia Stoneman. A portrait of Tia is...

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What Size  is Your Umbrella?
Mar06

What Size is Your Umbrella?

“A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains”—Mark Twain In my workshop “The Magic of Umbrellas” one of the topics that I talk about is size and it’s not just the size of the umbrella’s fabric that matters, there’s also a question about the diameter of the umbrella’s shaft. And while that may not seem significant, shaft size can affect the umbrellas you may already own and any...

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Working with the Classics: Speedotron
Feb23

Working with the Classics: Speedotron

“Remember that the person you are photographing is 50% of the portrait and you are the other 50%. You need the model as much as he or she needs you. If they don’t want to help you, it will be a very dull picture.”—Lord Patrick Lichfield Speedotron’s power pack and head systems are the studio lighting world’s equivalent of the American muscle car. They’re made in the USA, ruggedly built to take hard use, and powerful. The...

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