Archive for December, 2009

Zerba and Hammer Families

Here are some of my favorites from our session with Max, Clarke, and Shaio from the Zerba family, and Gina, Aiden, and Dave from the Hammer family by the White House Holiday Tree.

Dave and I have been friends for just about 6 years now, and we met during my first tour in the Middle East where he was my Aircraft Commander. I learned a TON from Dave as a very green Second Lieutenant, and I’m glad that I could pay back some his patience and mentoring during this afternoon with his family and friends.

Little Clarke did great in front of the camera and settled in right away.

After walking around the tree, we took a quick Cheerios break and Clarke was in HYSTERICS feeding Shaio and Max.

Most of the afternoon was overcast, but the sun decided to pop out right at the end of the day.

Next up is Aiden, and boy was he tough to frame! Every time I thought he was just about to look my way he would grin for .0001 seconds and then turn and run in the opposite direction.

Eventually I got around his fleet feet and moved on to a telephoto lens.

Aiden got his hands on some wreath ornaments and decided to send some my way!

Thanks to the Zerba and Hammer families for inviting me out to a great afternoon in DC!

Portraits of Power

Over this last December UTA weekend I was personally requested (thank you MSgt Eckert!) to come out and shoot a few portraits of our wing’s career advisers.

After seeing a bunch of back and forth emails from the Cult onPlaton’s Portraits of Power series I was feeling inspired, and took a similar approach with these portraits.

Unlike Platon, I do not have access to an amazingHasselblad, but I do have buckets of ingenuity and a Sony! I took his basic concept and spun it a couple of different ways. First off, I’m not in my subjects face purposefully trying to induce distortion. I am close, but my subject’s features remain somewhat proportional and do not appear too exaggerated. I love what he did, but I don’t think the shots are the most flattering. Second, I used a back light to create the halo effect instead of turning to Photoshop. This is mymodus operandi99% of the time, and if I can make it happen in camera, I will. Finally, I used two rim lights to throw in some contrasting highlights on my subject’s temples which I think is more in tune with sports photography and works well for military folks…probably would be out of place when shooting world leaders.

Maria Bartiromo

Hope you guys had a great holiday!

Just a quick hit while I’m sorting through some work from the past month.

Pictured above isthe host of Closing Bell,Maria Bartiromo, which is on CNBC and covers the last hour of trading in the US stock markets (via Wiki). I was tagged in October by Booz Allen to shoot her while she spoke during a luncheon for the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her since the event moved along at a brisk pace, but she seemed like a very cool person and took the time to engage everyone who approached her.

I really enjoy shooting these type of events. They are usually straightforward, and I only make minor adjustments on maybe two or three settings the whole time. The biggest challenge is wrangling people for group photos and staying one step ahead of the action to better predict how I am going to set myself up for the next shot.

The best way to ensure a great product is REAL simple:get there early! I usually arrive about an hour ahead of time to speak with whoever hired me and scout out the venue. I try to get as many details about the event that may not be obvious and pick my client’s brain to get a idea of what their expectations are for the images. After about 15 minutes of chatting, I grab my light meter and start taking readings of where I predict my subjects will end up. At this point I decide if I will set up an off-camera flash or maybe a studio strobe. I’ll also judge from the saturation of the lights whether or not I am going to have to gel my strobes.

For this shot, I talked to the Audio Visual guys running video cameras ahead of time and asked if I could adjust their background lights to create some separation between Maria and the background. At first, I tried an off-camera flash to bring in some fill light, but it competed with the gelled flood lights and caused a nasty shadow to show up on the background. I ended up using the meter reading I took before hand, glanced a few times as my histogram, and boom, that’s it!

When in doubt, I always try to fall back on the KISS principle and it has yet to let me down!