Group Shoots

I frequently shoot with several other photographers. We share the cost of the models and studio or travel. I like shooting that way. Means I can work with the model for a few minutes and then let someone else take over while I think about my next set-up or what I want to shoot before the time is up. Less pressure.

I know others who hate working this way. They don’t like having other photographers around. They find it distracting or worry that they will get photos that look like everyone else’s photos. That last one has never been a problem for me. I can shoot shoulder to shoulder with someone and never get the same shot. A slight difference in angle, equipment and eye can make a huge difference in what is actually captured.

This photo of a group shoot in South Dakota is fun because part of the group is off working with hay bales while myself and the photographer in the foreground are setting up a different shot. I took the picture because it was one of those “you have to be there” moments. If I tried to describe that scene . . .

Better to just grab a photo of it.

SCALE–means letting a photo be big and small at the same time


In order for a photograph with SCALE to work, you need something of immediate interest like the figure in the foreground kicking up sand as she runs. Then you also need to have a wide background that puts the figure in context. Here it’s the dunes and the ocean in the background. Not enough! You also need points of interest in that broad background. Notice the shadow of the runner. Notice the second smaller figure in the distance. Notice the mystery–the question of “what’s really going on?” All of those element add to the overall composition and not all of them are visual. The mystery is only visual in the sense of wondering how all of this works as a setting.

I don’t do a lot of photographs that feature scale. They’re hard. I think this one works. What do you think?

Appreciate the model!

It’s not easy to be a model. Not only do photographers sometimes ask them to take off their clothes, sometimes we also ask them to get into water. I’ve had models work with me sitting in cold streams and ponds. I’ve had them work without complaint under hot lights and in cold drafty buildings. Here’s an example where the water wasn’t warm and wasn’t gentle. I was happy to be the photographer that day, not that I would ever try to reverse roles. I know my limits. Here’s the point:  Besides writing a check–I always pay my models–I also appreciate my models. I never assume that the job is easy. I have the easy part.


Too Many Legs

Working with mirrors is fun. Tricky! You have to figure out how to get the shot without also getting a reflection of you and your camera and/or the lights and the studio in the shot. In this case the model is holding the mirror at an angle that almost points down, but the photo flattens it. That and cropping off the ends of the mirror creates the surreal, not-sure-what-I’m-seeing sensation. Mose people have to puzzle a moment before realizing a mirror is part of the composition. Lots of fun. This is a photo that has been successful for me. It’s been at Camera Obscura, Dairy Center for the Arts and a couple of other shows. I think of it as a made-you-look-twice kind of picture that a lot of people enjoy.

Black and white film capture; digital print. Although I have also printed this one in the darkroom as a traditional print as well. The only thing I did in Photoshop was clean a few dust specs off the mirror. It can be printed large 10×20, but also works as a small print. It’s a personal favorite that hangs over my desk. I think it could be fun hanging over a fireplace. In series of 25 prints. About a third of the series is sold.

Fine Art Nude #1

This is the icon image at Homo Sapiens Unadorned.

Title: Maskatude

What makes it a worthwhile image? The unexpected, comic attitude.

I especially like the way the photo makes the viewer look twice–those vacant eyes between backwards ears. The hand is also nice, including the shadow of the upper hand. I also like the movement. That butt wants to swing, a nice contrast to the straight, expressionless mask.

The photo was shot in a studio with two lights. Camera is Nikon D90–digital. It was handheld. Except for suggesting she put the mask on backwards, there was very little direction. Model was dancing to music. My job was to catch the right moment.

The print required very little work in Photoshop and has been shown as large as 18 inches by 29 inches (matted size 28 inches by 40 inches) There are 2o remaining in an edition of 25.

It has shown at Camera Obscura in Denver.

Decorating tip: a room where music is played.