Just so you know, I don’t only shoot agricultural images when I shoot landscapes.
Bunny Chafowitz and I were making plans to go out at 4 a.m. this morning to try to catch some sunrise “agscapes.”
Unfortunately, my day job got in the way of being able to adequately scout out locations. Since I had no idea where we might go to look for agscapes that might look good under a rising sun, I asked Bunny if it was okay to move our schedule by one day. She agreed, and we’ll go out tomorrow…or tonight…or…aargh…sometime after the next 4 a.m. following this post.
Meanwhile, she went on to bed, and I got to thinking about the sunrise.
This naturally led to me wondering what that pesky ol’ Sun was doing right about then, and how I was going to photograph it…. [Read more...]
I have been remiss. I’m shooting, but haven’t felt much like blogging lately. So maybe I’ve got a few stacked up inside me here.
Anyway, last night I went out driving around starting about 6 p.m. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to shoot, but I knew that I wanted — among other things — to try out a new “rail” I bought for being able to keep my camera on a line for stitching multiple exposures. For reasons that aren’t 100% clear to me, although I’ve got some pretty good ideas that it has to do with the distance between subject and camera, combined with focal length, the thing doesn’t do quite what I wanted.
Nevertheless, I managed to get some interesting shots, traversed another 20-30 miles of agricultural land outside my normal purview, and started to get a handle on what crops are being grown where.
Why does this matter? Because I’m wanting to try to apply lessons I’ve learned from landscape photography to shooting agriculturally-oriented shots. I live in the midst of one of the biggest farm regions of the United States; at least one New York Times article says our valley “is the world’s largest patch of Class 1 soil, the best there is.” Though I haven’t found a tomato farm yet — or maybe I passed one and didn’t recognize it?! — we are supposedly the largest supplier of canned tomatoes in the world.
Yet, until recently, I’ve never paid much attention to this. [Read more...]
Field of Dreams?
For some farmers, that’s just what onions are.
Frankly, I don’t know a lot about onions. I like to eat ‘em. That’s about it. Recently, I decided to start trying to shoot “agscapes,” as Ryan from Horn Photo called them when I showed him my work the other day. I was surprised to learn that he’s been shooting “agscapes” for a couple or so years now.
I was also surprised to see that onions, when blooming, look like giant dandelions. [Read more...]
This website, I think, is about to undergo another makeover. If you’ve paid any attention to me — and my infrequent blogging probably does not encourage that — you know that I keep re-designing the website. There are reasons for that which go beyond “I don’t seem to be able to find something I really like.”
I’ve been trying to transition from being, as one photography vendor once called me, “an enthusiast,” to being more of a professional photographer. (The vendor said that as a compliment. I had referred to myself as an “amateur” in terms of my skill level at that time. The vendor stated that I was far from an amateur, but since I was only selling my prints “in addition to” my non-photography day-job, he used “enthusiast” to describe me.)
As I make this transition, I’m submitting some of my work to juried competitions.
My latest such effort resulted in the black-and-white version of my “Calm Beneath the Storm” winning second place in the Landscapes category at the Sorensen Studio. [Read more...]
Stayed home all weekend, playing around with Photoshop.
Continuing the theme from the last post, today’s post is another High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. This one is true HDR, with three bracketed exposures shot with my Canon 5D Mark III.
As I write this, I cannot exactly remember which restaurant is depicted. I was walking along a pier near the marina in Monterey — if you know the area, it’s over near the Portola Plaza.
I set up the camera with the idea in mind that I would deliberately shoot HDR, just to see what would happen. [Read more...]
I’m always amazed at just what I’m learning these days.
I really hope that some day, I’ll be able to make a major part of my living off photography, and be able to devote even more time to improving my skills. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting there. The image this post is about is currently being sold through Rolff’s Gallery in Fresno. If you want to view the print version, it’s on display in the window of the store.
Anyway…I don’t have a lot to say about this image. It was something of an accident that proved to me that buying the Sony DSC-RX100M II was a good idea.
Not that the image was purely the result of the Sony…
Yeah, sorry. I couldn’t come up with a better title.
One of the things about my photographic work is that I’m not really totally wanting to “just do photography.” In almost all of the images that I capture, I want to add something of an element of painting, or compositing, or otherwise manipulating the image. Frankly, if I were good enough, I’d probably try my hand at photo-realistic digital painting, so that I could create exactly what I want without the need for the intervening photograph. I think.
I mean, I still enjoy the craft of photography, of getting a good picture straight from the camera. It’s just that sometimes, when I look at an image, I “see” things that aren’t really there. [Read more...]
Everyone I’ve ever met, in one way or another, has a colorful past.
By this, I mean that I’ve learned that almost everyone has something unexpected and interesting about them, and particularly about their past, which the majority of us would perhaps not know just from meeting them, or even interacting with them in an ordinary acquaintance-type relationship on an ordinary day. [Read more...]
You may notice that things are changing back-and-forth here a bit, and, depending on when you show up, you might not see my photos on the main site very easily.
That’s because I’m in the middle of a “reboot” here, and I’m not quite bright enough to do all the development on my local computer this time. I thought the alterations I wanted were not going to be that difficult, so I started working on the site “in place.” I expected the update to take a very short period of time. Due to the fact that I was wrong, and I’m too lazy to shift things over to the development environment — plus, to be frank, I don’t seem to have many readers yet, so I’m thinking most people won’t notice — I’m going to continue working on the site “in place.”
That means that for a few days to a week here — maybe even two weeks, if I’m unlucky — you might see my website looking one way one time you arrive, and another way another time you arrive.
Since, for now anyway, the Galleries are hosted by SmugMug and somewhat “integrated” into my website, they will be unaffected by what I’m doing here. That means that although the “featured images” for the individual web posts here might not be viewable (depending on which version of the theme is active), you can still view all my work in the Galleries. And the menu on the galleries will still bring you back to the main website here, if you click a menu choice that targets the main website.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
If you notice any problems, have any questions, or want to make suggestions, be sure to leave a comment. The actual content of the website is unaffected by this upgrade; it’s just a “face lift,” if you will. In addition, I expect it to have an impact on the size of images I put up in the future, so I’m going to be looking at that aspect of things, too.
When all is done, we should all be happier. The images will be bigger; the website will be cleaner; and I’ll feel like blogging on it more often.
[Update: The "Reboot" is about 99% complete for now. All that really remains is to add some information to the footer. Later, I'll add a couple pages. I'll also be trying to figure out how to better integrate selling prints into my website. Right now, the "Galleries" link goes to SmugMug, where you can buy prints, but I don't like that it's not completely seamless to the existing website. But, for now, things seem to be about where I want them. I obviously need to get some more content loaded in now!]
Yep, that’s me — the “award-winning photographer” part; not the models in any of the images! [Read more...]
If you’ve read any of my recent articles, you know I’ve been taking some steps forward in my artistic “enterprise.” First, I hired a graphic artist to design a new logo for So Shoot Me!™. Then I hired an attorney and finally filed to register the trademark I’ve been using — So Shoot Me!™ — for longer than I can remember right now. I rebuilt my website (twice, actually). I had “work shirts” embroidered to help me market myself, particularly when I’m shooting an event.
And I recently placed some of my work in a gallery connected with Art Hop; specifically, I’ve entered two pieces in Nudes in November, showing at the Chris Sorensen Studio in downtown Fresno.
But now I’m stepping things up. [Read more...]
I was just telling Bunny Chafowitz (Denise Chaffee) about a TV show idea I had. [Read more...]
Every year in November, the Sorensen Studio in downtown Fresno hosts “Nudes in November.” It’s been going on for at least — I’m told — eleven years, but I’ve never participated. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve participated in any shows or competitions in more than 25 years.
One of my friends changed that this year. He encouraged me to submit a couple of my pieces. At least one, you’ve already seen. The other, though, I don’t believe I’ve posted here until now.
This image was originally shot by me some years ago, when I hired a model from San Francisco by the name of Iona. (I suspect that is not her real name; I think it’s a name she uses for modeling purposes only.) At that time, I had access to a full-sized studio, and brought her in for a few hours of shooting. Of the approximately three- or four-hundred images we shot, most were done with future photo manipulation, and compositing, in mind.
This image, however, was actually meant to be an interpretation of a stance taken by Gorean kajirae — at least in the presence of free persons. Some years ago, I had read the books by John Norman about Earth’s parallel planet, Gor. Kajirae — the form “kajiras” is incorrect — are essentially slaves. Kajirae are female, and are referred to in the singular form as “kajira” when referring to one female; the masculine form, more rare, is “kajirus” for the singular and “kajiri” for the plural.
If I recall correctly — the Wikipedia links will give you more information if you’re interested — there were approximately 27 or 28 books in the series. I think I read at least half of them. I later learned that there are people in the world who actually try to live in accordance with the books(!) and that, in an online social environment known as “Second Life,” there are virtual spaces that have been modeled on the books, as well. People there engage in role-playing as various characters from the stories. I myself occasionally, and briefly, spent some time hanging out in such places, and about once every year or two I return just to see what’s happened.
In any event, the image accompanying this post was my interpretation of a kajira in her customary submissive pose. I lost my original Photoshop file, with my original interpretation of this image, so I had to again manipulate the color and tonal ranges in Lightroom 5 and then Photoshop CS6, using a plugin or two that I can’t remember. It didn’t match up with the original version, but I actually like this better.
The photograph itself was shot with a Minolta Maxxum 5D digital camera, ISO was set at 100, shutter speed was 1/160th of a second, aperture was f/14, and the focal length set for the lens — which, as I recall, was a zoom — was 60 mm. According to the meta data “flash did not fire,” but that’s not true, as you can probably tell. The flash units were Alien Bees; I don’t recall the exact models. They were set in very large soft boxes, one of which was an octagon that I think was about 5′ or 6′ in diameter. The model was shot on white background paper, pulled all the way forward to almost where I was standing when I shot the image.
So, keep your fingers crossed for me, as I make my first foray into showing my work in a studio, where it will be judged. And if you like Arthop, consider visiting Nudes in November at the Sorensen Studio on November 7, 2013, where you can see this, and my other piece, hanging. I printed both my pieces at 14 by 21 inches, and both are framed and matted, which probably adds another 8 inches or so. You can even purchase them, if you are so inclined.
Oh! I should note that if you want to see the uncensored image, you can find it here.
Anyone following this blog lately knows that I’ve been shooting a lot of bands.
As you might expect, I typically shoot at night. Sometimes the venue is indoors. More often than not, outdoors. Regardless of the venue, it’s almost always a “low light” situation. I’ve invested a lot of money in “fast glass” because I don’t want to distract either the band, or the people who may have paid to see the concert by using flash.
This post is not going to be a detailed “how-to” for the use of textures and blend modes.
And I should note — you’ve no doubt already noticed — that the image here is “different” than what I normally post, in that it includes a nude model. I’ve applied a little censorship, since I’ve never used any of my nude work here in a blog post. If you want to see the uncensored version, it’s in the “Transformations (Nude – NSFW)” gallery. And that gallery is, as the title suggests, not safe for work. So you’ve been warned. [Read more...]
When I was in high school, I was fortunate to be able to take photography at a school that had a good-sized darkroom, with areas for processing color as well as black-and-white film and prints. To this day, I still remember the acrid smell and the way everything inside the room was — when not completely blacked-out for film or color-print processing — red-tinged. It was the perfect place for the then-shy version of me to hang out. [Read more...]
It seems like lately the best opportunities I get for shooting that interests me comes from gigs and concerts.
This weekend was no different. [Read more...]