Pondering Life Some of you may know that I do the vast majority of my black and white conversions inside of Photoshop. The reason for this is that it allows me the opportunity to study and learn the interactions of how various color channels, curves, contrast, and the like are affected during the conversion process. I decided to “test” myself, skip the PS export, and move directly into Perfect B/W...
I guess it is time to confess that I owe Bob Lussier a high quality IPA for letting me borrow his Sigma 15mm while we were in Moab. When we started this trip, we made a rule that the first person who had to ask for gear from a camera bag that was not their own would have to buy the first round. We did break this rule, as it ultimately was determined that it stifled creativity, but I will honor my...
The 2013 nXnw Pros
To say I had fun in Moab would be to sell the trip short. Not even lack of sleep could slow us down or dampen our spirits over the four days of photography greatness. While most of us had never met in person when this trip began, I believe we all left with memories we will soon not forget and new friendships forged. It was nothing short of pure awesomeness. So today, I would like to introduce you...
I think it is time for one of those “just for fun” kind of posts. I freely admit that I miss my Jeep Wrangler something fierce. Something about going off road with the top down and doors off just tugs at my heart strings. One day I hope to snag another one of these off-roading icons. I don’t know why, but this shot just felt like it needed to be made into an advertisement. So, not one to argue...
Delicately Painting with Light
It looks like I have a bit of a double post today, but for a good reason. The bonus here is because the nXnw pro photographers by the name of Justin Balog, Mike Criswell, Bob Lussier, Rick Louie, Dave Wilson, and Mark Garbowski all posted their light painting images last week. You can check them out on their respective blogs. Sadly, I was not able to participate in the mass internet spamming as I...
BOOM! I’m Done Here!
Imagine that you are setting up a shot while sprawled out on the ground. There are two photographers to your left and one on your right. You set your props in place, making sure the backdrop is in order and looking fly. You finesse a damn fine comp in your viewfinder, dial in those ever-important camera settings, and press that shutter button. You pull the camera back to check the LCD and there is...
In Memory of the Fallen
I’m starting the week off with a bit of a somber post, but one that has been running through my head for over a week now. The inspiration for my ramblings today are thanks to Bob Lussier and a simple bracelet he wears in honor of CPL Christopher G Scherer. You can find out more on the back-story right on this posting by Bob, which I highly recommend you read. The photo today comes from our first...
Photographer at the Edge of the World
Right off the bat, I have to admit that the idea for this shot does not belong to me, but rather Justin Balog. This photo comes at the end of our NxNW Moab trip. To put that into some sort of perspective, most of us were running on about four hours of total sleep after two full days of shooting. We had just finished a 20-hour day of greatness by capturing moonlight landscapes before finally...
Jeepin the Rockies
I honestly don’t even know where to begin this post. You see, I just got back from a wickedly fun trip out to Moab, Utah, where I spent almost 3 solid days taking photos of some of the most gorgeous landscapes I have ever witnessed. I enjoyed the scenery alongside the excellent company of Mike Criswell, Rick Louie, Justin Balog, Dave Wilson, Mark Garbowski, and Bob Lussier. We joked. We consumed...
Peep Death- Dragon Snack
Well, here we are at the last image of the Peep Death 2013 series. If you have stuck with me this long, I want to say thanks, as I tend to lose a few people during this time of year. I also figured that what better way to end this run than somewhat the same way I started it. Thus, I went all high key with my toys! As for some sort of update, well, I’m busy trying to get this house in Madison ready...
Peep Death: An Arrow to the Face
The inspiration for this shot spawns from a video game; imagine that. I recently spent a good amount of time playing Skyrim, and man was it ever a fun time. The big joke about this game is that every guard seems to have a harrowing tale that always tragically ends when they take an arrow to the knee. While this Peep does not have a wild story of perilous adventures battling aliens or dragons, its...
Peep Death: Pick’d
There was once a time when I was learning to play the guitar. I enjoyed it a lot, but life had other plans for me and so I stopped making music. Recently my wife decided it was time that I followed through with my lust of plucking strings once again, and thus we went shopping. I picked up a Mandolin and am now practicing once again! I should also note that I snagged a Harmonica as well, but that...
Peep Death: Puny Peep
I immensely enjoy the Avengers movie. What makes it so enjoyable for me is the banter between all the heroes, especially that of Stark and Banner. I’ve always enjoyed the Hulk, even when Lou Ferrigno starred as the character during the old school television series. Now if only we could get Mark Ruffalo to star in his own dedicated movie! The inspiration for this shot comes from the scene in...
Peep Death: Articulation
I don’t know what it is, but whenever I shoot something with Master Chief in it, I feel as though I need to process it as if it is something from a 1970 era war movie. The image for today is no different. I will say that thanks to the new VSCO Film Pack 03, it is getting a bit easier to achieve the look I want for these images. I wish I had a bit more to share, but it seems if I am not working on...
Peep Death: Leo Style
Life is so crazy as of late that it caught me off guard when I saw Peeps at the grocery store the other week. For the new followers I should explain that I do a Peep Death series in which I am pretty mean to these sugar coated marshmallow birds. This year shall be no different, with the exception that I might tag them into the Toy War with One7 Studios as well. What better way to kick this Peep...
Angie Pangie’s Custom Cookies
I hate that I have neglected the blog for so long. I also dislike that I have not really taken any photos in almost two weeks. Sadly, life has just become so busy with prepping the house in Madison for sale. While I am coming close to being done, I still have another week or two of being out there and working until it is fully done and ready to go. I hope that after that I can get back into the...
A Jeep Thing
The post today is purely for me. I have been in love with the Jeep Wrangler for as long as I can remember. Maybe Daisy Duke started the ball rolling, or maybe it was the first time I saw one climb to the top of a snow bank in all of its lifted glory. No matter where my love for this iconic vehicle started, it has yet to leave me. Of all the vehicles I have driven throughout the years, my...
The Master Inspires the Grasshopper
Man, the last shot in the Toy War with Jon Stolarski totally killed me. I mean he nailed the lighting and the setup of the figures. I highly recommend scoping out his work if you have not graced your eyes with it yet! Admittedly, seeing this image instantly made me start planning how I could raise the ante. It took me a few attempts of trial and error, but I finally produced the scene I wanted! In...
Some of you may remember me posting a screenshot of this image last week and commenting that it must be my “style” thanks to nailing this in one shot. This led to a small conversation with Scott Woodwhen I said I might be leaning too heavily on this particular setup and that I was sure people would just become sick of seeing another similar style image, but that I greatly enjoyed them. The...
Bow to Your Sensei
This is another entry into the Toy War series between Jon Stolarski and myself. What I find I am enjoying the most about this friendly competition is that we are doing more than just trying to outdo one another, but rather sharing work for critique, talking about the pros and cons of the figures themselves, and getting excited over what we are working on. I also find that we seem to be balancing...
Twitter is a marvelous outlet when I can have a three-day long discussion with seven other photographers. This discussion started with photoshopped images and then tackled a myriad of other topics as it went along. At the time I started this post, we began to tackle posting schedules and if it is best to post daily, every other day, and so on. It is this point that I want to address today. When I...
One of my goals this year is to get better at macro photography. So yesterday, I took some time to roam around the house and find various objects to point my camera at in order to start practicing. I am also working on honing my black and white skills, and this means a lot of playing and experimentation with my subjects, my post processing techniques, and my lighting. I want to be better, and I...
It is nice to have a kitchen helper to do menial tasks like cutting up a banana for banana chips. Here we can see just how excited Leo is for said healthy snacks. The worst part about dehydrating fruit so you can have something to munch on is waiting two to three days for the dehydrator to do its thing. I am so impatient! Be excellent to one another!
Finally, my first post of 2013. It is crazy how quickly life can just sneak away from you when you’re working on a house a state away and spending time with your significant other while they are on vacation. What a great few days! The image for today is my first entry into the great Toy Wars of 2013. Jon Stolarski is a good friend and photographer based in Arizona. He also happens to enjoy...
Weekend Relaxer #52
Here we are at the last image to sport the Weekend Relaxer label. What better way to say farewell than to send it off than with the subjects of my 2013 photo sessions. For those that do not know, I am putting away the Star Wars figures in honor of some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Halo action. Part of this is to set my work apart from the bounty of images in the toy photography world, but also...
My Favorites of 2012
We now arrive at the final days of 2012, and what an insane year it has been. I’ve managed to visit Arizona twice, spent a week on Saint John with wonderful company, moved to Iowa, attended two gaming conventions and one sci-fi/fantasy con, downed countless beers, played games for 24hrs while raising money for sick children, and enjoyed embracing old friendships while forging new ones. While 2012...
Weekend Relaxer #51
Congrats on surviving the non-apocalypse, sadly you now get to deal with all the people posting grumpy cat photos and “OMG THIS IS HAPPENING IN AUSTRALIA” compositions on Facebook. In other news, Mother Nature decided that it was high time to honor those of us in the Midwest with a blizzard, complete with thunder snow. I have never experienced thunder snow, so that was a great treat. I do believe...
Extra Life for Kids Limited Edition Print
Let’s start this post with a brief bit of history. On October 20, I participated in the Extra Life for Kids event. Part of the results of this include three limited edition prints going to sick children at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and that a random donor would choose the print. Well, Brian Arsenault won that honor but then his daughter challenged me to make a photo for those...
Weekend Relaxer #50
Well, here we are at week 50 with only two more beer labels to shoot before the year is over. I already have those labels sitting on my counter and ready for the camera, so I can check off the whole consuming a new beer part of the process. I figured why not share a few stats on this project before I dive into some more 2013 stuff and then the review. This project is nearing the end of a two-year...
As I sit here listening to the Journey Soundtrack, I am putting the final nails into my 2013 plans and goals. Part of those goals is to re-center my focus on doing this photography thing for me. Somewhere along the line, I started to focus on who was visiting my site, sharing my work, clicking that +whatever button, and so on. While this did teach me what subject matter does well on what social...
Ridin’ in Style
Well, I am back from Arizona and man is it cold here in Iowa. I do have to admit it; I am falling in love with that arid dusty state. Not only is it warm and pretty, but some cool people that I am lucky enough to call family and friends reside there. I want to go back! Anyway, on Sunday (Dec 2) I was lucky enough to catch up with Jon Stolarski for a bit of a ride in a classic Camaro, complete with...
Weekend Relaxer #47 #48 #49
Three beers in one post, how can this be!?! Easy, last week I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family and friends, this week I am actually on time, and next week I am in Arizona. With all this going on, I am making up for being lazy while being proactive about my travel. The road, she loves me. Anyway, let’s get on with this massive beer review. First, we have the Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale...
The nice thing about living in Ames is that Iowa State University is a mere stone’s throw from my house. The football stadium is within a two block walking distance, and the main campus takes maybe ten minutes to get to by foot. It is making for some interesting walks and a fair amount of photo opportunities. All I need now is either some snow or life to return to the abundance of trees here. I...
First off, I plan to post three Weekend Relaxer images this Friday. One for last week, one for this week, and one for next week. Craziness I know, but I figure it is the easiest way to post the one I missed last week along with pre-planning for my trip to Arizona. So have no fear, as plenty of beer will grace the blog this week. So what have I been doing with myself? Well, most of my time is now...
Looking at You Kid
I know this is going to sound weird, but I am taking the week off. I have given myself permission to do those things that I enjoy without feeling guilty about not handling this chore or that honey do item. I am doing this in part because it is Thanksgiving week and partly because I just need some time to re-center my thoughts and embrace some new creativity. As such, I am limiting my time on...
Weekend Relaxer #46
Here we are on the cusp of madness. Next week we embrace Thanksgiving, a week after that I head to Arizona, and then we hit the mad dash to Christmas. I think this weekend I will sit at home and bake some pies while sipping on a quality stout or two. Let the craziness begin! The beer this week is one I snagged solely because of the label and the story behind the image stemming from the family dog....
Introducing the New Father and Son Combo
Let me start by saying I love Star Wars, right through the DVD release of the original trilogy. I still think the originals are better, but the DVD versions are not nearly as cobbled and butchered as the new blu-ray versions. These are movies I enjoyed as a child, and movies I continue to covet to this day. For the past two years, I used Sandtroopers from Star Wars as the primary figures in my toy...
Yesterday I had the pleasure of waiting around for our new couch to arrive that never actually arrived. While that was a bit boring, it did afford me the opportunity to sit down and study black and white photography throughout the day. I looked at photos, read articles, and made notes as I went along. However, it took me sitting down and watching the David Nightingale The Art of Black and White...
Weekend Relaxer #45
Friday is finally upon us and I think we can all agree that this is welcomed after the crazy week we’ve experienced. Most of the negativity and hate around the election has subsided, Mother Nature decided to take a small break from destroying the East Coast, aliens have not invaded, zombies are still just a thing we kill in video games, and this coffee sitting in front of me tastes pretty...
Boy, this is one crazy week and it is not over yet! Those of us in the U.S. just went through our presidential election that saw President Obama taking the win for a second term in office. We also saw a boost in women taking various government seats and marriage equality spreading to a few more states. The ticket item that shocked me the most was the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and...
Weekend Relaxer #44
Phew, what a crazy week this has ended up being. At this time just seven days ago, I had to test my online backup strategy after I accidentally formatted the wrong hard drive. I made it through that ok and all my data is fully restored, but it also made me reevaluate my current solution and change it so further recoveries did not take all weekend to complete. I also went back to Madison to have my...
Tonight, costumed kids all across the U.S. take to the streets in hopes of scoring countless pounds of candy. This also means half-priced candy tomorrow along with every store skipping that whole Thanksgiving thing and moving right along to Christmas, not that they have not already setup huge Christmas displays…..in August. Sigh. Anyway, let’s enjoy the ghosts and goblins that will fill the...
Weekend Relaxer #43
I completely had plans of shooting a different setup this week, but that all changed thanks to an email and the kind words of a young girl. This all took place the other night when Brian Arsenault got back to me about the Extra Life for Kids prize. You see, Brian is the lucky winner of the limited edition print (thank you random.org for making that easier). He filled his daughter in on what all...