the muse - October

If you have not read the introduction to the project, please do so by clicking here


Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1,single strobe with natural light

October 26, 2011
We got a late start this month and by the looks of it, we will get a late start on November's shoot as well. Both Kat and I have pretty hectic schedules so we fit it in where we can. I really appreciate Kat's dedication to the project and her sticktoitiveness.
It has been getting cold a little early so we planned on a very short location shoot and then studio for the rest. 

We started out in the North part of Salt Lake east of the airport. The image above was one of our first shots. It's mostly natural light with a very slight fill from the left. This is a very natural shot of Kat and one of my favorites from the shoot. 

The next two were shot just down the road. Pretty quite area but we did have a farmer drive by in truck that looked at us a little uneasy. Silly city slickers :)

These were both shot similar to the one above with mostly natural light and just a little fill. Luckily Kat is pretty good about not squinting so it made lighting a lot easier. We were also lucky enough to have some awesome clouds for background.

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1,single strobe with natural light

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1,single strobe with natural light

We then headed to a warehouse location were we took a few shots. Kat provided the wardrobe and make-up for the entire shoot. The warehouse we chose is really a pretty simple location but as we walked around scouting it, we both saw the possibilities in certain backgrounds at the same time. Either that or she is psychic :) It is really great to have the synergy with Kat and to create building upon each of our ideas. 

The following were all shot using two battery powered off camera strobes in various configurations.

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO160, 1/125,  f/6.3, two strobes

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO160, 1/125,  f/6.3, two strobes

  Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO160, 1/125,  f/6.3, two strobes

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO200, 1/80,  f/5.6, two strobes

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO200, 1/80,  f/5.6, two strobes

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO200, 1/80,  f/4.5, two strobes

Lastly, a couple from the studio. These were shot against black muslin and used high powered strobes with various modifiers, i.e., soft box, grids, beauty dish, strips, etc.  

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/9, one strip, large softbox, reflector w/grid. 

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO50, 1/200,  f/11,single strip, beauty dish and reflector

And, here is a shot of Kat with her little girl Nova Star
Kat used to have a cat but now has a dog ...........hmmmmm???
Nova looks like an ankle biter but is really the well behaved non yappy type.

Last but not least, I wanted to share a pic that Kat and I created up on the top of Farmington peak. Kat had been working on this idea for a while now. We went through a lot of effort to get this shot. drove through some pretty sketchy roads and endured the cold. Well, Kat had to endure it a little more than I but I was a little chilly. Not to mention we shot this on Farmington peak during hunting season so we were a little concerned about safety but took extra precautions.

Stay tuned for November!


the muse - September

If you have not read the introduction to the project, please do so by clicking here


Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO100, 1/125,  f/9, natural light

September 28, 2011

For September we headed out to black rock. Black rock is located just South of the Great Saltair. It's not the hardest rock to climb but with all the gear, you had to be pretty careful. Kat doesn't especially love heights but she did awesome and can climb with the best of them. If you have never been to the top of Black Rock, I highly recommend it. We took up quite a bit of gear with us so it can be done. I recommend a lot of bug spray for when the sun goes down. A couple weeks prior, a buddy of mine and I were up there and it was great up until the sun actually set and then it was attack of the biting flies, mosquitoes, or whatever they were. It was like the movie 'The Birds', except with bugs, really. This time around we were better prepared and it wasn't too bad. 

The opening image was captured from atop black rock as were the following-

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO100, 1/125,  f/9(standard exposure), single strobe
This first image is an HDR image from two bracketed images combined in Photomatix Pro. 

Besides the friendship and getting to know Kat, one of the things that I have enjoyed most about 'the muse' project is the synergy. I've said it before and I am reminded of it when working with her, she works great with no direction. It's not necessarily that she does her own thing but more like we have the same thoughts for the pose and mood at the same time. I think she may even understand some of my jokes :) 

This next image is also a bracketed exposure with a single strobe flash during the standard exposure. I love the feel to this image and how large the sun appears in the scene. One of the more challenging exposures on this outing but worth it.  

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO100, 1/125,  f/9(standard exposure), single strobe

This next image is probably my favorite from Black Rock. The mood captures Kat's personality perfectly. 

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO100, 1/125,  f/9, two strobes

We then headed out to do some light painting. Rusty Sessions, of Sidewinder media, and Whit Green joined us for the shoot on Black Rock and for the light painting excursion. Both are excellent photographers in their own right and are very skilled with light painting tools. 

You may remember that during the May muse project I was practicing balancing model exposure and the exposure from the light painting tools. This was our mission. All of the following images are single exposure images with very slight Photoshop for balancing colors, etc. they are not composites.

We started off with some homemade orb tools. This went pretty well but they need a little fine tuning before they are ready for prime time so, stay tuned. 

This first image is not of Kat but is her painting with one of the lights.

This next is an orb with Kat in the middle of it. We eventually let her out :)
 Canon 7D, 17-40mm, ISO125, 69 seconds,  f/5.6

This next image was captured with Rusty 'spinning' burning steel wool. There really is a balance to keeping these exposures that are so dissimilar in the same shot. 
 Canon 7D, 17-40mm, ISO100, 126 seconds,  f/8.0

This next image was a combination of strobe, gelled strobe, ambient, and EL wire. Kat really nailed the mood for it!
 Canon 7D, 17-40mm, ISO125, 105 seconds,  f/5.6

This last image is our final from the night. Rusty is the Spinner again, this time on top of the bus. Rusty is great and will do anything for the shot. 
 Canon 7D, 17-40mm, ISO100, 57 seconds,  f/8.0

It was great having both Rusty and Whit there to help out. Thanks Guys!

With all the travel and shot set-up it turned out to be a pretty long day. As always it was great working with Kat. I think I learn something new about her every time we shoot. To summarize the day I would have to say it was 'epic!'....... 'just saying' (inside joke).

We have three more scheduled shoots to wrap up the project. At that time I will release more of my personal insight on the project as well as images previously unreleased. It has been a great experience . 

For October, we are planning on shooting earlier in the month. Hopefully we can do a location shoot and the weather will cooperate.


the muse - August

If you have not read the introduction to the project, please do so by clicking here


Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO400, 1/50,  f/7.1, one monolight

August 24, 2011

For August, we headed to Logan (about a an hour drive from Salt Lake). Usually I drive but Kat drove for most of this trip. She is a good driver I'm just not the best of passengers. We are probably both over it by now :). Just kidding, she did fine and I didn't worry at all.We did have a lot of time to catch up on things which was great.

We started by heading up to Ricks Springs near the top of Logan Canyon. It's a natural spring coming out of a shallow cave. The sun was really harsh but we made do. These two images are a balance of natural light and a single strobe used to freeze the motion of Kat. She holds pretty still but insisted on being able to breathe :)
This first one was actually a pretty quick shutter of 1/200.

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO200, 1/200,  f/1.8, one monolight

This next image was taken with my tripod in the water by the bridge. the camera was actually a little below the bridge just out of the water. To get the water to blur, the shutter was left open for a little over a half second. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO50, 0.6 seconds,  f/14, one monolight

We then headed over to Franklin Idaho to a location that Adam Reeves turned us on to. We started shooting out by the corn fields. As you can tell from the pictures, the sun was getting pretty low in the sky. These are balanced natural light with a single monolight. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/6.3, one monolight

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1, one monolight

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO100, 1/80,  f/5.0, one monolight

We then headed behind the old factory and took a few shots out in the field. As the sun was setting, there was a cool haze and warm hues. 

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1, one monolight

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO100, 1/200,  f/7.1, one monolight

We then put the flash away for a bit and used the available natural light. I have said it before but it is really great working with Kat. I can focus on what a photographer needs to focus on and I don't need to give Kat any direction. She just falls right in to the right pose and knows the look I am going for. The synergy makes for an enjoyable experience and really helps me to focus on lighting and other aspects. 

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO200, 1/800,  f/1.2, natural light

This old window frame looked really cool but it is literally hanging on a thread. The board you can see on Kat's right is the only thing holding the rest of the frame up. We bumped it slightly and the top panes slide down about 6 inches. We propped it back up a little and set Kat up on the ledge. It is as sketchy as it looks. I was little concerned that if a wind came along or she bumped it that it may fall on her. We weighed all the risks and decided to work quick and careful. The frame never fell while we were there but I doubt it is still up. No Kats were harmed in the making of this photograph :)
Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO200, 1/640,  f/1.2, natural light

We then went back inside and took a few more natural light images. Kat really stood out against all the textures and character of the old building. 

This building is also home to an owl family. They were not overly concerned with us. This is a shot of one of them from a month prior

By the old power panel.
Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO250, 1/100,  f/1.2, natural light

Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO250, 1/160,  f/1.2, natural light

On the way out we stopped by this large rubble pile and grabbed a few shots. Below is one of them and the opening shot was also in this same area.
Canon 1Ds MKII, 85mm, ISO200, 1/50,  f/7.1, one monolight

We definitely want to return to this area when we have a little more daylight. There are a myriad of possibilities here. 

It's been a while since I have given an update on how the project is going. So, here goes. I still think it is going great and something I am excited about doing. I look forward to every shoot. 
It has become more challenging which I expected. We still have a lot of ideas and things we are going to try. 
 The longer time between the shoots doesn't have a real impact. We can pick up where we left off which I don't experience the normal warm up time I do with on other shoots. 
 When we are shooting, we both seem to sense when we need to mix it up a little. Sorta a we've been there done that feeling and we come up with something new. 
Kat has become a cherished friend and collaborator. The images in this project are a true collaboration and I can recognize our distinct styles and contribution in each image.

We will be shooting later in the month of September so the post will probably be up in mid to late October.  


the muse - July

If you have not read the introduction to the project, please do so by clicking here

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO125, 1/100,  f/4, natural light 4 image composite
July 27, 2011

It's been just over a month since our last shoot. Seems longer.
We talked about different things to shoot for July but nothing set in stone. Sometimes we just choose a general location and choose the look while we are out. On a side note, I have had quite a few people email and ask me how we come up with the shoot ideas. It really is a collaboration between the two of us. Most shoots I can't even remember who originally thought of it but it is always a result of teamwork. Kat is very creative and willing to do whatever it takes to get the shot. 

We started at Big Cottonwood park next to an assisted living center. It was an overcast day and the lighting was great! It had rained really hard the previous day so the ground was really wet. 

This first image is one of my favorites from the day. I don't usually catch candid shots of Kat and I really liked the feel to it. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO160, 1/160,  f/4, natural light
It was really great to be out shooting with Kat again. We picked up right were we left off and got some great images!
Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO160, 1/160,  f/4, natural light

Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO160, 1/125,  f/4, natural light
Canon 1Ds MKII, 70-200mm, ISO160, 1/500,  f/4, natural light
We then headed up by Cottonwood Mall. I wanted to do a collage inspired by some of the old Andy Warhol paintings. We grabbed a few images on the East side of the mall. Each with a different pose and different wall texture. The opening composite image is the result. I pushed the highlights farther then I normally would and went with obviously unnatural coloring. Most of what I shoot has to stay within certain 'standards' and it is great to get back following my own  preference and finding the look for the specific image.

In the front corner parking lot was an old hobbit house. I think someone left it there for us to shoot :) 
It had a large round door and was approx. 10 foot square. It was finished on the inside with wood floors and greenish walls. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/8, 2 strobes

These next two images were shot with natural vignette from gridded single monolight. I was going for a moody image with a spotlight effect. I think I try too hard sometimes to capture the Kat I know.  When I back off and just let her be herself the images are a lot more natural. This first shot is my favorite from the day.  I love focused and hard light creating the dramatic shadows to compliment drama in Kat's mood. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/9, single strobe

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/9, single strobe

We stopped over at KFC and Kat bought me a couple BBQ sandwiches to eat on the way to the next location. I could get used to this. Maybe I will start leaving my wallet home :)

We ended up down in the west part of Salt Lake down by the freeway.

First couple images were captured just below Pictureline and the graffiti wall images are in the same general area. 
I love the relaxed smile in this first one.
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/50,  f/6.3, single strobe

 Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/7.1, single strobe

On these next images we wanted to capture some with extreme perspectives and all the cool distortions that come with it. 
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/8, strobes

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/8, strobes

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/13, strobes

This last one is my favorite from the graffiti wall.
Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/80,  f/8, strobes

The sun had set so we decided to get one more image that we had previously discussed. The shot involves dragging the shutter to exaggerate the motion of one of the trax commuter trains while flashing Kat with a single strobe to freeze her motion. We headed over to one of the station platforms and proceeded to do some test shots. We did a test shoot on a South bound train. Got everything set up to  shoot the North bound train as it arrived at the station. Let me start by saying that I know better then to fire a flash into the eyes of a commuter train driver. It seems sorta obvious I think. However, the train driver must not have believed I knew better. As the train approached he slowed down and stopped just before getting to us. He then announced over his PA system that we couldn't be taking pictures on the platform and we needed to go somewhere else. Kat proceeded to wave at him with one of her fingers and this seemed to upset him a little. He rambled something and then announced that he was going to call the police. I think the driver is just ignorant of the law and especially the laws governing where and what you can photograph. Certainly he would have a point if I were firing flashes in his face but that was not the case. Anyways, we knew there was not an issue with shooting so we basically ignored his request and waited for the next South bound train. The South bound train came a few minutes later and we got the shot. After we got the shot, a transit officer approached us to talk about the situation. Her only concern was if we were on the tracks and if we were flashing the driver (you know what I mean). She was fine with everything we were doing and seemed a little frustrated the driver had called her out. We were actually done though so no problems. We really need to stay out of trouble :)

Here is the final image. It is a 1/2 second exposure with a single gridded light source

Canon 1Ds MKII, 17-40mm, ISO125, 1/2 second,  f/4, single strobe

It was great working with Kat again! I forgot how much I missed it and the synergy we share on a shoot. I'm looking forwad to next month.