Monday, July 6, 2015

Senior Pictures: Faith

B & W Portait

Senior pictures are my favorite portraits to make.  Why?  I know I have written about it before.  My reasons are pretty much the same, but maybe a little bit more refined.  I like them because they allow a good look at who someone is right now. But they also can give small glimpses at the child they used to be not too long ago and as the adult they will be not too far from now.

Morning Coffee

I also tend to get pictures I really like.  Exhibit A is the black and white picture at the top of this post.  I think its good, I like it. I'd like it even if I didn't make it.  Heck, I might like it more if I didn't make it, I'm a bit self-critical when it comes to these things.

Color Portrait  

I haven't done that many senior portraits recently.  In fact, the closest I got recently was with my nephew.  I mean, it almost counts, but its not the same thing.  For one, it isn't the same amount of photographing.  And, for another, it is still a little too far away from adult-hood to get that sneak peek!

This year decided to specifically seek out a few people.


I was happy that Faith and her family gave me the chance work with her.  She was great in front of the camera, is fun to be around, didn't give me trouble for attempting bad puns, and brought some of her own ideas into the session.  In other words, she was simply a delight to work with!


I want the opportunity to make more this year.  If you are are a senior, or parent of a senior, and are interested send me an email ( and I will provide you information.  Sooner is better than later, I will limit this to a handful of sessions.

Sneak and Pointe

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Kathryn(is) w/ Bow

For Kathryn's birthday this year we got her a bow. She wanted one for a few reasons. I shoot one, but I doubt I'm the reason she was interested. Teenagers will things in spite of their parents doing it, not because their parents do it.  I expect the real reason has more to do with a so-called Katniss Everdeen and a set of books and movies called the Hunger Games.

I don't care what the reason was, I'm glad she has some interest.  Archery is by far my favorite shooting sport.  Guns never held my interest, not the way bows, arrows, and broad-heads did.

The smoke machine added some depth this one lacks.... 

She's still getting used to shooting, the learning curve seems steeper than I remember, but she is getting there.

I'm going to make part of this a mini-review for the bow.  I haven't seen too many user reviews of this one.  I have seen a few video reviews done by kids.  They aren't great reviews, but I'm pretty excited that there are kids out there creating things that like.  This won't be a great review either, but some of the subjective thoughts from an adult may be useful if you are looking for a bow for a smaller person.

I did see a few write ups and reviews from women who were using one of these as their bows.  The adjustability makes it a viable option for small adults too.

The bow is a Bear Apprentice 3.  It is built extremely well.  It is far better than the bow I owned in college in terms of fit, feel,  and finish.  The riser is aluminum, and feels solid, and is LIGHT.  Its a dual-cam bow and is capable of throwing arrows pretty darn fast.  The full specs can be found at Bear's website, but if you aren't familiar with this bow, you may be surprised.  It retails for around $300 with whisker biscuit rest, a 3-pin site, and a quiver.  All you need to add is a release, and a set of arrows.  We also opted for a stabilizer and wrist sling.  It doesn't make this an inexpensive option, but this is one of a few smaller bows that doesn't have some toy-like failings.

Kathryn was pretty excited that purple was available as a color.  There are a few more, and all but the black finish look sharp in my eyes.  In fact, I'd have a hard time choosing between the blue, or the orange, or even the purple myself!

So far, I've been pretty happy with this.  Like I said, its head shoulders better than my first real bow, and in terms of actual dollars it is cheaper.  In fact, in terms of nominal dollars it is cheaper.  This is yet another area in which I am jealous I didn't have the same stuff available to me as a kid!  I would have loved one of these!  We've only had about 4 dozen arrows through this, Kathryn is still learning, and still building strength.  That isn't enough time to shake out any potential problems.  But there were kids at the shop that had quite a bit of mileage on theirs with no issues.

If you are in my general area, I recommend Marchio's Sport Hut as a place to go check them out.  If you choose to buy one there, they will set the draw length and weight of the bow, tie in an upgraded peep, and get your you headed the right direction in terms of shooting technique.

I'm pretty excited about this, and look forward to shooting with her.  That shouldn't be too much further in the future, she just needs to internalize the "coaching" she still needs from me to get aligned correctly, not tilt the bow, and gently pull through the trigger.

Our only problem, currently, with this decision is now Tobias wants one too.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The character that should not be


This is kind of a combination of two "ongoing" projects. One is just getting Tobias in front of the camera as various characters. The second is to use songs that mention "light" as picture inspirations. 

Tobias received this stuffed octopus from a class trip his sister went on to the National Aquarium in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  It was the second attempt at that trip this year, the first was cancelled because of the civil unrest.

Of course, the first thing I saw him do with it was stick it on his head and run around the screaming about how it was sucking out his brain .... so, this basically is his entire idea.

I don't usually say much about how I make these, I don't think ya'll care.  But, I thought a few notes would be interesting this time around.  The main light is on the floor, which is the whole key to the mood.  The dirtied up colors are from local brushes in Lightroom, as well as a full image overlay in Photoshop.  The watery effect is an image I took of my windshield in a car wash screened over the front.

Maybe it wasn't all that interesting.

But, I'm not deleting the text.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Frederick Running Festival

I've wanted to go to this event for years.  Usually, I am reminded of this fact about 3 days after it occurs.  I see an article, or a picture from it, and realize I missed it.  Again.  But, this year I got a heads up weeks in advance thanks to a friend who had family in the race, so I took the opportunity to go out!  From a spectators point of view, it is very well done.

This is the lead group right out of the starting line.  The Superman shirt caught my eye about 3 minutes pre-start.

This is one of the views of the pack pouring down Market Street.

I think I heard during pre-race announcements there were 7000 participants for the whole weekend, and around 5000 running today. I heard that too early in the morning, though, to be held responsible for those numbers!  I briefly looked for counts online before writing this, but gave up.  They are probably out there though!

This picture makes me grateful I'm not out there.  My left foot can't do what this runner's right foot is doing at the moment.  It is either a carry over from my foot break a few year's ago, or a recent development from my other injury.  In any event, I'm working on it.

This was a lot of fun. It made for a long day, I had a 5AM-ish start, but it was worth it.  I'm glad I had a chance the go!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A bit of catch up

So, its been quite a while since I put anything up here.  There are a few reasons for that.  One, if I just have a quick picture to share I've been putting it on Facebook.  It just seems like the proper place for that kind of stuff.

I also haven't been doing too many "real" photo projects.  I've been following a few personal projects that I generally haven't shared much work out of, and I've been making a bunch of garbage pictures while trying out new ideas.  I've also been learning how to do a few other things.  It takes quite a bit of time and effort to learn something new when you are my age.  I'll probably do a post on what I've been up to in the near future.

This is also the time of year that I tend to start making more pictures, and I went and done hurt myself.  Again.  Not as bad as previously, and I'm nearly out of the woods now.  But it took a dent out of the early part of my creative year.  I'll catch up.

One of the neat things about being hurt, is I avoid driving.  Which means I can take a few pictures while in a car.  I'll leave you with a couple of those.  I love blur, motion ghosting, and all of that.  Perfectly sharp pictures can feel so clinical sometimes.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Goals

Coorporate Drone

I took a look back on last year's goals, and for the most part everything was accomplished.  We are still working on the house and continuing to clean up.  I expect this will be forever ongoing.  However, we haven't stopped, and with the basement accomplished cleaning up the the other areas is much smoother.

One of the things I noticed is last years goals all fell within the realm of habit forming.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  For example, the more I cleaned and organized the more ideas I had that I implemented, started on, or have planned for the future.  The more I read, the more things I felt like reading.  The more I used the pinhole camera, the more I understood about photography and the more interested I was in other ways to photograph, like wet plates and such.

However, this year I want to build on those habits and go after specific "merit badges".

So, again, in no particular order...


  • Make at least 5 pictures of classic cars with my pinhole camera.  This will start a project I conceived early last year.  I think I have learned enough that I won't waste anyone's time by completely blowing a shot now.  Five is chosen because it is do able and I can only think of three cars off hand.  I will have to do some leg work to get all five.
  •  Make 1 portrait of a non-family member with a 4x5 or larger view camera.  This one requires finding or purchasing a camera and getting familiar with it.  I already know who I want to photograph, scheduling could be interesting for that person though.
  • Draw more, and create 2 finished items this year
  • Get back to a 300+ pounds dead lift.  Yeah, I know, you strong people are snickering, but whatever.
  • I may add run reasonably paced mile here.  But not yet.  I hate running any meaningful distance more than anything.  Adding it as an item would just be torture.  
  • Learn more of the guitar solos on this album.  The exact number depends on if I can manage the time for lessons or not.  I think without them I could learn 2-3, with them I could probably learn many many more than that.
  • Along the way read at least 2 Pulitzer prize winning novels.  I chose 2, because I already have one on "my list" so just reading that one isn't really fair now is it?  I'll pick another one.  They all should be good right?  I mean, they won a prize.
  • Bible reading.  I can't really make a specific goal.  I get through at least part of every book every year.  So, I will aim for that again.  The problem with saying "I will read the WHOLE thing!", is when I've set out to do that it wasn't very beneficial -- the order of the devotionals never made sense, was never where I needed to be.  You only need what you need on any given day, and sometimes you go back to it over and over again on different.  So, this one will not change from a "habit forming" goal-- despite already having the habit.  

  • Redo the office
  • Redo the "music" room
So, I think these will be enough personal goals, the ones just for me.  Have fun making and reaching your own goals!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Favorites of the Year: 2014 Edition

I skipped doing this last year.  I'm in a similar spot to last year, in that there were a few of my favorites I wasn't sure I wanted to stick out there for various reasons.  This year I've decided I don't care.  I miss not having a post to go look at right now. These are not in any particular order.

Rocking Chair

This is one of the 4x5 pinhole pictures I made.  It was captured onto to direct positive paper.  This represents the best out of my pinhole attempts I think.  It looks great in person too.


This was one of my first attempts at a serious portrait with the x100s that was close. I had been using the camera because of its short lens back a lot further. But, I wanted to see what happened closer.

E.  Kindergarten Graduation 

I liked what happened well enough I kept doing it.  This was the last day of school.


The light in this one looks good. I also like that it looks like a studio picture, when the reality is so far away from a studio it isn't funny.

Vacation Picture

This one is nice because it sums up the summer pretty well.


The typical distance I was working the x100s.

Cellos work Outside Too

One of the "planned" pictures that ended up being planned by surprise. I know that sounds confusing. I am not going to explain it though.

Coorporate Drone 

He doesn't do this to often anymore, and I thought this was the most fun from the handful we did this year.

A Restaurant Portrait


These two put together because they represent most of what I did carrying my small camera around everywhere this year.  Its the kind of thing we tend to use cell phones for.  I'm pretty happy these were not done with a cell phone though.  They wouldn't, technically, be as nice.

Truck Panorama

I saw this truck at a car show. It reminded of one my grandfather drove over 35 years ago. I still remember quite a few of the trips I took in that truck.   [ This one is a stitched panorama and looks better over on flickr if you click through. ]

So, that is my look back at my favorites of this year.  I'm surprised how many of these were done with existing light.  It is the majority.  I think it is because I just did more pictures this year with what was there.