Monday, November 23, 2009

erica in black and white, with coke

This is funny - this is one of my daughters posing with a coke in the studio one day a couple years ago. I didn't think much about it at the time - kind of a random shot among many as I was playing with some new studio strobes I had gotten. I don't remember the specifics, but I'm guessing this was shot with one strobe to my left against white seamless paper.

A couple months later I was doing some self training in a couple aspects of photoshop I wanted to spend more time on, and I used this photo as a test for one of the things I wanted to play more with: masking. Not a very exciting photo (I thought). But when I converted it to a low contrast black and white image, it looked better to me. I masked in the coke bottle colors, posted this image on flickr, and immediately got alot of comments about it including some constructive feedback about the areas with color I masked back into the photo. (I also had some fun at a friends expense who didn't realize the model was my daughter!)

I went back and edited it a little more, made some notes about the edits and reposted this at flickr - and got many more comments.

Right now, a couple years later, despite all the other images I have posted on flickr I think are much better, this remains one of my top two most viewed (and commented on and "favorited") images on flickr (the other being a photo of USA Olympic Boxer Deontay Wilder).

Go figure.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

jimmy thackery, crystola roadhouse

Here's a review of Jimmy Thackery I did for the Gazette a week or so ago when he played the Crystola Roadhouse in Woodland Park:
Jimmy Thackery is slowly making his way through the crowded room in the Crystola Bar and Grill toward the stage in relative anonymity. He can easily be mistaken for somebody’s uncle: amiable, chatting with a few friends, in no hurry to get anywhere. As he gets up on stage and pulls out his beat up ‘64 strat and slips into a pair of sunglasses he adopts a serious game face that leads bassist Mark Bumgarner and drummer Russ Wilson through a set of songs including covers and material from across several of Jimmy’s albums.

This is my first time seeing Thackery live, and it doesn’t disappoint me: the blend of tones and styles that have made Jimmy Thackery a legend in the blues community is all there. Known to be hard to classify musically, Thackery pulls in elements of bluesy surf rock using classic vibrato and reverb through numbers that feature him playing fast rock riffs complete with southern rock harmonics as accents. Not to ignore the blues purists, measures of primitive clean notes that somehow merge with slow meaningful weeping blues show that he’s internalized not just the notes but the passion of past great blues players.

His eclectic styles verge on the bizarre, but they all seem to work: westernized surf-rock, blues mixed with country, Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix, Thackery’s all over the board. Dragging shuffles, cowboy honky-tonk, boogie-woogie, Texas swing, upbeat 12-bar blues, it’s was all there and the crowd loved it!

Splitting about half the numbers between instrumentals and songs with vocals featuring Russ Wilson or Thackery himself, the band is totally comfortable working the crowd. Between songs the band good naturedly heckles back and forth with members of the audience, and right in the middle of one song featuring Wilson in a slow heartfelt vocal number, he stops to admonish a group of women who laughed over something at their table leading to a moment of pretend-pouting by Wilson which gets the crowd (totally laughing and encouraging him to get back to the song) totally engaged. In a later segue between numbers, Thackery played a long extend soulful blues solo that ended with some blistering riffs blowing the hair on people in the back of the room when he stopped and pulled a James Brown fainting shtick stumbling back into the drums as laughter and cat-calls mixed with heavy applause.

The snow outside, the warmth and cheer inside, and solid music made this night rowdy, raucous, and fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009

unintended consequences

unintended consequences
Originally uploaded by butch leitz
I had a senior session last week & while editing the images I had a mistake happen in one of my photoshop editing actions I had created some time ago. The mistake made this alarmingly cool but stark black and white image (and it wasn't supposed to!) so I went back and tried to duplicate it.

I couldn't get the action to "break" the same way again. I used to have a saying back in my tech days: "software doesn't break". This is generally true, but the data given any piece of software may cause it to have unintended consequences.

As I went back and reedited this photo from scratch, I applied about half of the effect of the action that broke... doing it manually step by step again.

Sometimes working on a photo, you drift into the feeling of the image so much that the edits kind of force themselves into a certain direction. I got to a point with this photo where I just needed to stop. There was alot of direction I could have gone with this image, but just extrapolating from the whole vibe here, her expression, the glare, the reality of the harshness of light and perhaps other subtle things going on under the surface, I decided the image itself dictated it's edit to me, so I felt it showed "unintended consequences".