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“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
— Ansel Adams

25% Off Single, Couple or Family Portraits

I'm booking portrait sessions for August at a discount! Regularly $200, but $150 only if booked in August and based on availability. Once I'm booked up that's it. Any theme, any location (within Atlanta), and any group of people. Contact my on my contact page and in the Promo field type: "25SUMMER"

Timelapsing Atlanta to Phoenix - 3.5 hours in 49 seconds

Sit still, don't get up, unless needed, try to get comfortable within your bubble, which includes you plus 5 inches in any direction. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling, and the plane ride is my preferred option over car rides. I love the view from the window, the speed, and the time to catch up on things (like sleep!... and sometimes work). Window seats are great for the view, but you lose the ability to easily get out and stretch or slip to the bathroom, usually I prefer the window so I can see (I'm a visual person, probably why I enjoy photography). But I hate taking the typical "view from my window" photo, the birds-eye view with that darn wing in the way, it's inevitable! (can't get rid of it! and panning to the side is usually impossible - on rare occasion though I get that opportunity).

Anyway, I decided to show off my timelapse video I captured when I was going from Atlanta to Phoenix. I thought since it's a long flight I could grab a nice long capture, with lots of changes to weather and so-on (also for a future project in mid-May for another trip to LA... which I'll record another timelapse and brag a bit more).

To prepare I decided to use a GoPro, instead of the Garmin Virb, really just because I'm not as familiar with the Garmin and knew I would have a higher chance of success with the GoPro. So I pulled out the suction cup, stuck it on the window (not sure what the people beside me were thinking at this time), and I attached the GoPro, set the settings to capture every 10 seconds. Then because GoPro batteries die so quick, and because Delta knew I would need power, usually because my phone is almost dead once I get on the plane (somehow this happens all the time), but I plugged in the GoPro to the provided power source at my seat (Thank you Delta), and it lasted the entire trip, from gate to gate.

Once I got to my hotel, I setup my computer, imported the footage, worked some magic in After Effects, then added some fancy music and titles. Unfortunately my recent conversion from iPhone 6 to Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (I love this phone the more I have it) was finding out Instagram adds new great features to Android phones AFTER iOS phones get it; like posting 60 second videos instead of the former limit of 15 seconds, yep, I'm still stuck with a 15 second limit, while I can watch everyone else post 60 seconds! Thus, I had to create a 15 second version of my timelapse, remove the text and upload it to show off there too... I was pretty humble about this project, I mean I posted it everywhere I could think! (except here... until now) Watch:

Turn the music up! Watch in HD, and be ready once you click PLAY (you only get 49 seconds)

I also wanted to record the return flight, thinking we would land just after sunset. How cool would it be to record a timelapse on the plane passing over a huge storm in central USA and catch the sunset? Except an hour before landing I saw the camera stopped recording, due to a powerless power plug at my seat (thanks Delta!). But we also landed before the sun had set, we were too quick (thanks Delta!!), Fail #2 now. So I plugged into another outlet, and reset the camera to capture every 2 seconds for the final 30 minutes of the trip. I need to edit that still... but stay tuned for the trip to Los Angeles, and I'm hoping to capture a great sunset for the return flight. Otherwise it'll have to be for my flight to Europe coming up soon, where I could capture sunset and sunrise!!! I'm really excited now about that!

Phoenix is Hot! (in the summer... and dry)

Last week I visited downtown Phoenix for an entire week, but only had a limited amount of time to explore, really when I had an afternoon off for 2 days that week. I absolutely loved the local people, something about the southwest culture that has such a great vibe and atmosphere around city spots.

Looking west on Fillmore St. in Phoenix, AZ

Looking west on Fillmore St. in Phoenix, AZ

Monday afternoon I decided to spend my free afternoon exploring the city. So I spent a little time researching some areas, signed up for a bike share program, it's called Grid (I signed up for the $15/mo since it includes 60 mins/day free, rather than $7/hr -- best if you're going to use it more than 2 times). However, I probably spent more time looking for the nearest location where the bikes were (literally were 2 blocks from my hotel, but I walked about 5). Luckily I signed up online, because there's no way to pay at the stations, you just punch in a code on the back of the bike, which unlocks a locking bar, and that's when I pulled it away from the pole and slid the lock back in... which you're not supposed to do, it locked the back wheel and ended my ride... so I ended up standing there trying to hold up a heavy bike in the middle of the sidewalk and punch in my number to unlock it again. That's when I saw two holes to slide the lock bar on the side while riding, rather than inserting through the bike (hope that's not too confusing).

After getting on the bike, I rode probably 8 blocks, instead of 5, took a few wrong turns and then parked at the 2nd nearest location to a bike shop cafe; The Velo Bike Shop/Bicycle Nomad Cafe and hung out in the bike shop a bit, then moved over to the coffee area where I talked to the owner, Keith. For those who don't know, I dream of opening a bike shop cafe one day (preferably in Europe near the coast somewhere). So I talked to Keith for quite some time, learned his story and background and then grabbed a few promotional photos for him and one of him too.

I spent the rest of my time there, then walked back to my hotel. Along the way I found a tease to the heat that Phoenix gets as summer was starting to show it's signs. Walking in the sunlight was HOT! But once I got in the shade it felt beautiful... I love climates with no humidity, you can escape the heat fast if needed. I even sat outside on a shaded porch during the week, midday there and it felt amazing, was more comfortable there than inside the restaurant.

It wasn't until Saturday that I had my next opportunity to venture out, and a group of colleagues and I decided to head 20 minutes south to South Mountain Park and hike up a trail, thankfully it was another day that the temperature only rose to 78F (25C) -- which feels great in dry climates. Once getting to the top, the breeze was keeping us cool from the sun beating down on us, and we found an edge to sit upon and look over the city and metro area, while just relaxing and talking amongst each other.

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Phoenix metro area with a colleague (the rest of our group was just to the side and behind taking this pic)

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Phoenix metro area with a colleague (the rest of our group was just to the side and behind taking this pic)

When it was time to leave I looked back at how great of a spot just that little downtown area was, next time I hope to adventure out to the surrounding neighborhoods (if I ever get to visit there again). But the people were super friendly, the locals had many great suggestions for spots and places to check out, as you know I love local restaurants, cafes and popular hang out spots. We even saw Deon Cole live at a stand-up comedy show, met a French couple who I hope to see when I visit Italy at the end of the year, and again found a new connection for a potential bike shop cafe, maybe I can start one up in Atlanta too.

Follow me on Instagram and 500px to view more, and contact me if you'd like to purchase any prints from my posts or social media accounts.

Austin & Katie | A Halloween Wedding - 10.31.15

I've never had to photograph a wedding on Halloween, but when Austin & Katie asked me I was willing to take on as photographer for their special day, but I was secretly hoping it would be themed around the holiday... this wasn't the case though, they wanted to keep it traditional. Honestly I would've done the same most likely.

It was a beautiful fall day, trees were colorful, we were in the mountains at a camp location, it was partly cloudy midday and overcast by sunset, even a light rain a few times. But for lighting, this was great for me, I always enjoy shooting under clouds when it's midday, and clear skies when the sun gets lower for that beautiful lighting.

When it was time to take some photos of the bride & groom, and with the party, we walked over to (what I was told) an abandoned chicken coop, and with it looking so eerie I thought we need to take some "spooky" looking shots with the couple, in lieu of this particular day they chose to tie the knot.

The couple was a lot of fun, lots of great ideas around the location; fishing, canoeing, standing on a bridge, etc. All-in-all they had a great connection with each other, which I tried to capture some of this connection, the simple moments they had between each other. One particular shot that comes to mind was when they were playing cornhole out on the patio deck when everyone else was inside mingling and dancing. They just snuck away with only each other, and enjoyed the simple pleasures of only each other's presence.

I wish these two many blessings on their wonderful marriage! I'll post some of the photos in a small gallery here, and also on my 500px account, so be sure to check it out!


Bicycle Photos

If you know me then you know I love bikes! I've been cycling for 2 years now (almost to my 2 year anniversary since I bought my Giant road bike). And after reading cycling magazines and books, drooling over photos of bikes on Instagram and 500px; new bikes, used bikes, portraits of people on bikes, bike accessories... all of it captured so wonderfully. Now when I look at photos of things I enjoy I don't just fall in love with that product being advertised or shown, but I also fall in love with the photography: the lighting, backdrop, details, color or b&w, etc etc.

Over the last two years my urge to do a bike shoot had grown ever so much, and while on my way to a photo shoot in Piedmont Park for The Salvation Army one of the models rode by on her bike. After introducing and so forth we chuckled about taking some shots with her and the bike, not only that but the other model also rode her bike to the park - PERFECT!!

So we'd setup shots for the "real" reason we were there to shoot, and when they could relax we took the quick opportunity to capture some fun times of them riding around that area, or posing with the bike. 

I had a 24-70mm lens on so I could zoom in and out to frame as they moved and the sun was at a great angle (about 3pm in November), so I used it to backlight them and had an assistant to hold the reflector and bounce light. I used some techniques I had seen in other pro shots and mixed with the setting we had, and the models were great to work with and had colorful outfits. Check out the photos below and also on my 500px profile where you can share and purchase.

Cosplay Exploration

Lately I've been really fascinated with photographing people, and there is something about grabbing the reality from a fantasy cosplay shoot, or creating a fantasy from reality that is so unique. I had never done a cosplay shoot before, but really wanted to pull the human element out of each character, and give them an opportunity to be that character.

I played around a lot with the lighting to get different looks, trying to focus on defining the details in their costumes, and the expressions of their faces. Some just showing the outlines of their form, to create a real dramatic look, and I think they speak loud. Check out the images below.

So it started Saturday night, I was browsing for a fun photography idea to do Sunday and happened to check out Meetup. Near the top of the day was an event "Cosplay DragonCon Shoot" - and I hadn't ever done a cosplay shoot, let alone really knew what it was. But the photographer hosting it, John Mason, had a few of his examples in the description and I was immediately hooked. I didn't even take the time to think about it, I signed up for the event immediately.

It was definitely a worthwhile event, showed up at 11am to meet with other photographers to setup 4 areas with different lighting & backdrops, and about 1pm had models start arriving to get in their costumes until we finally finished about 4pm.

The location was great, and had the amazing opportunity to learn from other photographers, their style and their lighting setups - which is my main reason for attending group photo shoots.

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Love is in the air and I was inspired by a blog to do a themed shoot for this day of love. This was the first shoot of the day with Ed & Ashley (you can view the second one in my previous post). As always, things were getting close to the wire to when we wanted to start shooting, I had purchased some props the day before at Michaels, and done some crafting the morning of.

I had this idea to shoot at the Goat Farm but was too short notice to reserve it, so thought Old Fourth Ward Park or Piedmont may be an option until Ashley suggested Mason Mill Park. It was about half a mile from my apartment so I knew that park well, and would ride through it but never actually stopped to solo off the paved 1 mile path that connects the two parks.

It's amazing, there's an old mill in ruins (there are a lot of them are around Atlanta) and it was covered in beautiful graffiti. It was surrounded by trees and nature, but had this urban touch to it. It was mid afternoon, so the sun was getting to a perfect angle and we first setup against a wall with stairs that just went to the top of it. We started grabbing different poses, angles and emotions between them as a couple, and moved to another wall that had some windows and doors, what looked as if someone had knocked a sledgehammer to create it, but maybe just had fallen apart over the years of abandonment.

It was a fun shoot, I've done weddings before and was trying to steer away from the standard "engagement" look to these photos, but it still came out that way, and I don't think I could've gotten around it as this style of shooting is trying to capture the love between each other. These two were once again awesome to work with, and really worked well together and we all came up with ideas throughout the shoot as well as they easily took direction to some ideas I had.

Ed & Ashley ATL Urban Action

I finally accomplished two of my goals I wanted to work on this year, first was to work with people, on a creative shoot, and second was to try a high contrast detailed action theme.

So I texted my friend Ed if he and Ashley would show off some of their dance moves for this idea. I grabbed some gear, with the best assistant/manager Laura, and we found a location in Inman Park (after just finishing another photoshoot with them - I'll post about that later). We accidentally stumbled on this alley after making a wrong turn, but it was perfect for that grungy urban look I was searching for. But this neighborhood had a ton of perfect backdrop settings. 

Setup was pretty simple: I placed a strobe with a softbox to the right of the frame and a bounce on the left. The sunlight had almost gone completely when we started, which was was perfect for the lighting I wanted, that gave a nice separation from the background. We had easily spent 30 minutes on this angle until we moved around for a few different backgrounds, but the temperature was dropping quick and we were started to wear out since this was our second shoot that day.

These two were great though, luckily I know them personally so we got comfortable pretty quick and relaxed to create some awesome poses. Hopefully we can grab some more shots down the road and I can find some new spots and new themes to capture. Huge thanks though to Ed & Ashley for being my subjects for this shoot and Laura for her help and keeping me on track. Check out the rest of the photos below.

Photographer Resources

One isn't born with knowledge or acquires it overnight by simply holding a camera and/or reading the manual (let's face it though, who reads the manual?). So I decided to compile a brief list of some great resources for those searching around for photography info:

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Those who find reading enjoyable, the book that actually got me out of the crib of being an "auto-function" hobbyist photographer was "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. I have yet to meet the author, but little does he know he was the most influential photographer that jump started my photo career. It's very clear and understandable to those fresh to the pro photographer world, and also great even if you're just looking to improve your hobby. You can purchase the book from Amazon here.

There are tons of great magazines out there as well, Digital Photographer, Advanced Photographer and Popular Photography are my top three I always choose. If you want to focus on more specific categories of photography (nature, b&w, outdoor, wedding, etc) there are publications focusing on that as well. Another tip is to check out other magazines with ads, weddings, etc to study the styles and break down those photos.

My top online blogs & resources:

  1. Digital Photography School (introduced to me a couple years ago by a colleague) - This is, in my opinion, the best blog I follow. And I highly recommend to like and follow them on Facebook, they post the best articles in my opinion.
  2. 500px ISO is another amazing blog for photographers, taps into the network of 500px users (probably the best network of pro photographers around the world).
  3. B&H Photo Video (great resources for tech and beginners)
  4. Digital Photography Review offers amazing reviews of cameras and equipment, I highly recommend spending time here when researching what camera you'd like to purchase first, or next.
  5. Vincent Laforet (especially for Canon users). He also has a great resource to choosing a kit here.

When it comes to equipment, the most recommended brands are Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. It's long been a battle between Canon and Nikon, myself being a Canon user, but it truly does come down to the photographer and the style of photography combined with the situations your camera needs to be able to handle. Honestly, look beyond biased opinions and names, and study the specs and unbiased reviews.

My kit that I bring almost everywhere. I have more equipment for shooting various projects, but this is my bare bones. Perfect for transporting around with me when I want to just do a photo walk, travel, or keep on me anytime.

My kit that I bring almost everywhere. I have more equipment for shooting various projects, but this is my bare bones. Perfect for transporting around with me when I want to just do a photo walk, travel, or keep on me anytime.

I won't talk too much about the editing side of photography yet, but that list of resources are great starts for grasping that too, and if you have access to Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop don't forget their free tutorials at tv.adobe.com.

I'll most likely add to this list as time goes on, but these are great to start with. If you have any recommendations also add it in the comments section.

Foggy Adventures

The 1st week of the year has already gone. This past weekend I assisted a video shoot and brought my camera along to take some photos before and after the event. I love when the weather gets super foggy, blanketing high rise buildings and trees and revealing each light's beam to the naked eye, which are usually hidden under clear skies, and after many evenings of wanting to capture it, I finally did.

I love this shot, the park below is so clear with the fog just sitting above like a dome is protecting this area. The lights at the top of the building make it seem like some "Area 51" top security area.

I love this shot, the park below is so clear with the fog just sitting above like a dome is protecting this area. The lights at the top of the building make it seem like some "Area 51" top security area.

The high contrast of night shots looks so great in black and white with the depth from the lighting from the fog and the glossy wet ground. Night photography is quite a spectacle, allowing shadows to create the frame instead of light. Contrary to what most believe, that photographers and cinematographers are painters of light, this isn't the case; the best artists paint with shadows. I'd say my favorite of this series are the bare winter trees where the street light just outlines the branches. It's absolutely breathtaking and adds a bit of eeriness with the fog.

2015

One year seems like it flashes by but also can hold a lot of different memories. But each new year brings a fresh start and hope that our journey down this road is always a great ride. 

Near Athens, GA one foggy afternoon

Near Athens, GA one foggy afternoon

As I look back each New Year I've either chosen a few resolutions and stuck with them for a few weeks or didn't choose any at all and enjoyed being lazy. For 2015 I've decided to create a few fresh goals and use this starting line to begin working on them (despite me adding more goals as time goes on).

1st: cycling has become a fun adventure, so I'll be working harder and sign up for at least one event this year (hopefully more - and most likely one that raised money for charity since its more rewarding than winning a race).

2nd: I'd like to begin pursuing my masters degree, which I've said since getting my undergrad. Currently I'm looking at focusing on marketing, wéll see.

3rd: Take on photo challenges! I've chosen two challenges to take on starting now, a 52 week challenge to choose a theme and shoot around that theme that week. And my second is the 100 people challenge; where I can work on stepping outside my introverted comfort zone and ask 100 random people if I can take their photo. Let's see how I do. I'll be sure to post frequent updates on here and also soon will post the article I found these challenges on in a later post, which is from a blog that every photographer should follow. 

Anyway, all this to say 2015 will be a great year to look forward to and I hope we all find ways to continue to grow where ever is needed. May the new year bring you a fresh start and many blessings!

 

New site, New blog

So let's see if I can be consistent with keeping a blog. I usually start one in hopes to have an online public journal for therapeutic reasons, and to share what interests or ideas I have roaming around in my mind looking for a place to escape. 

So, here's to a good finish to 2014 and a great start to a new site! Oh!.. and Simone says hi!

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(This is Simone)