Thursday, March 19, 2009

I wanted to title this photo I uploaded to Flickr "Blah!" but I didn't think anybody but my wife would get it. "Blah!" is what we think babies say pretty much universally "out of the box" until they learn their local lingo.

This photo I took during a recent family photo shoot reminds me of a true story. One day I had a big presentation in front of a couple hundred people - real "hard cases". They were all heavy duty tech guys, this was back when I was still an engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) many years ago. And yes, I was nervous about getting totally "beat up" about the presentation. But, before I could drive an hour north to Nashua to do the presentation, I had to take my still very young son to day care. My wife did the pick-up in the afternoon, I did the drop-off. You know how it goes.

My son was still in diapers at the time. So I started to change him prior to getting over to his day-care, and right in the middle of the change he shot a fountain of, well, you know, "wee-wee" up into the air so high it almost hit the ceiling. But it did hit me. Quite a bit. And all you can do in a situation like this is to laugh... finish the diaper change, change your shirt, etc.

So I'm taking him out to the car & he's all gurgly & being cute & I was lifting him up over my head like he was flying for a minute before putting him in the car seat... when I looked up, and he was smiling real big & drooled. Right in my mouth. OOooo, yech. But again... laugh...

So at day-care I'm taking him out of the car seat, lift him up, this time he barfs, all over my shoulder. Not alot, but you know, enough.

So when I started my presentation - and I was first-up that morning since it was a couple-hour long presentation I was doing, I was quiet, stood there looking at everybody, all these hot-dogs and "heavies" as we used to call them, and very deadpan I said: "Look, so far this morning I've already been pee'ed on, drooled in, and barfed on... absolutely nothing you say or do to me here is going to be worse than that!" which of course broke the ice & got everybody laughing pretty well & I proceeded on with the show.

Thats the beauty of photos... they remind you of important (and sometimes: simple) things in your life!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When The Lights Go Out

We had a fun day today in the studio... I was setting up for a little mini-fashion shoot when the power went out. Holding the "light" button on my watch showed me I still had about half an hour before the young lady I was shooting was to arrive. After a few seconds, I decided to move a small set outside the studio into the parking lot and shoot her out there.

So of course, I've, like, got a bunch of stands in the lobby waiting for me to carry outside, and was just lowering one of the large softboxes when.. taa-daa- the power came back on. So I thought... well, a photo jedi like me would just go ahead and shoot in the parking lot anyway just to say I did it, but then my brain kicked back in and I re-set up in the studio.

Naturally, about half way through the shoot, the lights went out again while Brittney was changing clothes in the dressing room, so I switched lenses to my 70-200 (a skill I long ago mastered in the dark) and when she came out (I could see her silhouetted against the eerie light of the emergency lights in the hallway) I said... hey: lets go outside (this being the most original thing I could think of to say). We had had a pretty weird sky - high clouds - so I thought I'd grab a light & battery back, but looking out the front door I saw the sun had come back out, so I grabbed a mid-size reflector and we all trooped outside (her, her sister, and her mom).

We took shots in a few locations just outside my building - I made her sister work the reflector for me! - and we saved the day (although I already had some cute shots from the studio shooting we did before the lights went out).

Anyway... it was just one of those mornings where we had to be flexible!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Model Shoot In Nelson, Nevada

While in Las Vegas recently I had found out about a small independent group of photographers putting together a model shoot. The time and place got worked out, there were about 8 slots or so (enough for a van load), & we had booked 4 models to take part. Two cancelled. That was a bit of a bummer. But two (Brooks and "Z") gave us some pretty good variety. See my flickr set here.

The weather held real well, rain was supposed to come in (and did later, rained for 2 days). Gave us some nice clouds in the background in some of the shots. I got some great shots of Brooks & Z & did some funky photoshop treatments on a couple of them.

viva las vegas.

In February I went to the Wedding and Portrait Photographer International conference in Las Vegas.

I love going to Vegas. I had been there seems like a million times up to this point when I ran NetGrafx Internet Web Services, my web development and internet consulting company some years back. I love people-watching and now that I've been doing photography for a while I think it has honed my people-watching jones to a fine art... but I get the most fun out of looking at the interesting clothing people wear... alot of fashion "dos" and "don'ts".

I'm not Gods gift to fashion, by any sense. But I think I have developed a better sense of what looks right on camera, and this extends to when I'm not looking through a view finder. I saw the usual really-hot-blondes with micro-minis and high heels... I wasn't even out of the airport when I saw two or three girls that could have legitimately modeled. And maybe they were models. But it didn't take long checking into the MGM to see my share of other fun to watch people - like the cougar in the lobby wearing a total kath & kim collision of tight clothes, high heels, frosted hair, too much makeup and too much tan. And too much exposure... and not in a good way.

And it's not just the women, of course. I saw a few guys that were perfect looking, and quite a few that had a way to go (probably the category I was in for somebody else people watching). I try not to pretend too much at these events, and there were plenty of others "like me" who seemed just great natural people that would have been fun to just hang with.

I met alot of a good people. Went to a "cocktail" party one night sponsored by Nikon featuring the band Blues Traveler which plays kind of a party mix of funky zydeco I've never been able to put my finger on. But pre-gig at the reception I had a great time visiting with a couple from my old stomping ground in Ocean City Maryland... they own and run Atlantic Portrait Studio (if I'm not butchering the name of it too much) in North Ocean City. As we were talking family history (I'm from Maryland) - turns out we may have been distantly (with emphasis on the word "distant") related!! The odds were probably: not. But there were alot of similarities with last names up the family tree, family history and homes and neighborhoods in Baltimore, etc etc. I won't dwell on it further here, but it was a cool little reminder of how much you have in common with fellow man when you stop and take the time to get to know them.

Ah well.

Oh, this trip to LV was the first time I didn't step out of the hotel/casino once the whole 7 days I was there. They say the average visitor to LV walks 8 miles a day, a fact I painfully learned the hard way early on in my trips to LV. When you think you'll just walk up the strip to that next casino you always wanted to see... you realize sometime later: dang, my feet hurt! We got to see tigers, pirates, volcanos, romans, roller-coasters, whatever... but dang... I'm tired!! So: learn to take a cab or the train or whatever. Don't try to walk everywhere.

So this time, I knew that I had to pace myself and not go mental with the "going out". The MGM - where WPPI was held - is big enough. The business center is in the back next to what used to be an amusement park the MGM tried for a while which I think is long gone now. But the walk from the hotel/casino to the business conference center is by itself maybe, what, half-a-mile-but-seems-like-three. (maybe it was 3 miles!!!) (nah, not really). So I stayed "in" the hotel the whole time. Still seems weird to me, but I barely noticed it. Sessions I attended started at 8:00 am and I was ending up the night sometimes after 10:30 or 11:00 in terms of WPPI scheduled events... so I was whacked! Then there were scads of vendor parties in the middle of the night for the real hip and trendy, only a few of which I went to (surprised they let me in!), and most of them were insanely lame (outside of the Nikon/Blues Traveler thing which was open-bar and surprisingly "cool". Alot of the Nikon names were there, although I only saw Joe McNally, I know a few other hot shots were there). Here's a shot of Chandler Kinchla of Blues Traveler I took at the show...

So anyway, Vegas is, was, and will be. It's not for everybody, but I'm always surprised by the people that wear the "I-will-never-go-to-Las-Vegas" badge like it's some kind of pride point. Geez, there's so much fun stuff to do there even without the gambling part - why wouldn't you go?!? You don't like... fun? I never went there - even when working through the night stuffing handout materials like I used to do when I ran trade show booths at COMDEX - when I didn't have a good time. And I'm waaaay conservative when it comes to partying and "going out". But I always enjoy it there. Even took the family there a few years ago, met up with friends, cruised around to the Grand Canyon, Moab, back to Vegas... we had *a blast*. Went to the big tournament show in the Excaliber... had a great time.

Anyway, thats enough prattle about Vegas. For now anyway!