Archive for December, 2009


Monday, December 21st, 2009


Photo shoot yesterday, with a great model in a great location (a pretty gritty rear stairwell of an office building). I used a pretty consistent lighting strategy throughout, going for a colorful, warm/cool feel: camera set to tungsten WB, key light generally gelled with a full CTO plus a 1/4 CTO to give some warmth, exposure balanced to let in some ambient light, which went blue thanks to the tungsten white balance. The above shot had the key light at camera left, no umbrella because I was going for hard shadows, plus an ungelled light at low camera right to shed a bit of light on the background. I did bump up the blue saturation a bit in Photoshop, but most of that rich tone comes from the tungsten WB.

I was pretty happy with the results in general – the lighting combination gave a pretty dramatic look that went well with both the model’s look and the location. It was particularly effective when we moved outside briefly for a few quick shots in the two feet of snow that recently got dumped on DC. The below shot has the key light at high camera right, through an umbrella, with a fill light at camera left, gelled with a full CTO, no umbrella. No saturation adjustments here, just WB combined with a deep blue sky at dusk.


Probably my favorite background, though, was this grungy looking window, with the afternoon sun coming in at a sharp angle. The below shot is a simple one-light treatment – key light at camera right through an umbrella, balanced with ambient. One of the challenges I faced in this shot, as well as many of the other indoor shots, was a difficulty retaining detail in Starr’s black clothing. I couldn’t just blast more light at her, as that would have completely washed out her skin tones. I’m not quite sure what the elegant solution was – instead I just used some masked levels adjustment layers in Photoshop to get the job done.


On a related note, I’ve added a portraits portfolio to my website. Feedback welcome!

“Greatest Pits” feature in this week’s City Paper

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

This week is the Washington City Paper‘s year-end music recap issue, and I’ve got a two-page spread of photos in it. The editor seemed pretty keen on doing something other than a simple “best concert photos of the year” feature, and so we chose some of my best fan photos and I wrote a very short blurb to accompany them. You can see the feature online, or click above to see a near-final proof of what actually appears in the print version of the paper.

I’m actually on a six-week hiatus from shows, which isn’t really intentional, but largely a product of being out of town a lot (yes, Ecuador writeups coming, still pending my completion of work on the photos) and the usual winter live music lag. Things will turn around quickly in January though, as I’m currently planning on shooting a whole slew of bands including Arch Enemy, Epica, Jucifer, Caspian, Salome, Amanda Blank, Those Darlins and potentially Mariah Carey (interestingly, almost all female or female-fronted acts).

From the jungle to a 14,000-foot alpine lake

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Exiting Cajas National Park

I tried and utterly failed to do a post-facto travelogue for my two-week trip to Beijing in August 2008, but here I am failing to learn any lessons and trying again with my recently completely two-week trip to Ecuador. As with the Beijing trip, I traveled heavy on cameras and have a ton of photos to share, and figured I might as well string them together with some prose that may or may not be interesting to friends or helpful to random Internet surfers looking to plan a trip.

The trip was split into several different phases, as follows:

  • Phase 1: The Northern Amazon (Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces): working with the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía
  • Phase 2: The Middle Amazon (Napo province): interlude in Misahualli and Tena
  • Phase 3: Among the Kichwa (Pastaza province): guinea pigs for a new ecotourism operation
  • Phase 4: Tourists in the Northern Sierra (Pichincha province): lazy days in Quito with stops in Papallacta and Mindo
  • Phase 5: The Southern Sierra (Azuay province): exploring Cuenca
  • Phase 6: Cajas National Park (Azuay province): backpacking at 14,000 feet
  • Phase 7: Back to Quito (Pichincha province): half-days in Cuenca and Quito before heading back to the States

I’ll try to write up each of these in turn to accompany my photos (above: one of the last photos I took on the trip – the road out of Cajas National Park). Stay tuned.

Two from Ecuador

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Quito por la noche

A couple largely unprocessed shots from Ecuador thus far. My photos from the oil waste pits will have to wait, but here’s just a brief update. Above, Quito at night, taken from the inside of a school bus that one of our party managed to hire as a taxi. Below, riding through the jungle in the back of a pickup truck – near the oil production station of Atacapi, in the Succumbios province near Lago Agrio.

Camioneta a través de la selva ecuatoriana

Much more to come, just wanted to upload a couple quick ones before embarking on Part 2 of the trip (Cuenca and the southern Sierras).