Project Zodiac

Every year since I was a child, my mother bought Llewellyn’s Astrological Calendar. Besides being interested in astrology, my mother referred to the calendar to know the dates for cutting our hair. For example, if you cut your hair on the full moon in water signs, which is Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio, it’s supposed to promote thickness.   Several years ago, I became friends with a woman who studied astrology and even worked for the renowned Mountain Astrologer Magazine. Through my friendship, I gained a much better and deeper understanding of astrology. I learned that it involves much more than our sun sign, which is the sign we’re born into. I love talking astrology with other folks. When I decided to embark on this photography series, my two main goals were to use models that were actually born in the sign they were portraying and to create my own interpretation so that I wasn’t merely replicating the imagery that I’ve seen so many times for each sign. Of course, like with Gemini, which I have pictured above, there are some elements that I had to include. Gemini is about the two sides of the coin, the twins. However, Gemini is […]

Cathy Rankin

I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy on a few shoots. This shot was taken during a shoot where we were trying to get as many different looks in one session. In just a few hours and using only natural light, we were able to get many different looks. Being resourceful is an important skill as a photographer. I chose to shoot at my parent’s house because their backyard has interesting walls and lots of greenery, which is rare in Phoenix. Overall, the shoot was a success and we both had a lot of fun.

Happy Hour at Parkwood Photography Studios

   I love going to the workshops hosted by Photographers Adventure Club. These shots are from the most recent Happy Hour Shoot at Parkwood Studios. I’ve never been confident setting up lights in the studio because it requires a high level of accuracy. Lighting, according to many photographers, is the most important element to good photography. So you can imagine why I’ve found it a bit stressful. I really appreciate how PAC sets up the lights and backdrop. Even though I’m not a part of the process, I still learn a lot from watching. The models PAC brings to these workshops are also really good. Since most of my work is the realm of photojournalism, I’m not used to coming up with poses on the spot. Every model I’ve photographed through these workshops has been amazing at coming up with poses. I imagine it’s tough trying to come up with different ideas, but they never cease to amaze me. I’ve actually learned the most from models when it comes to poses because they already know what works and doesn’t work for them.

Photographing Art

A lot of what I’ve learned about photography came as a result of photographing other people’s art. The nice thing about photographing art is that it can’t talk back to you. If you have to fidget with the lighting or the camera settings, the art is not going anywhere. That’s the nice part. The hard part about photographing art is that involves some interpretation and a lot of precision. For example, sculptures can be photographed from a multitude of angles, and, even the slightest change in the angle makes a huge difference. The face, for example,  can look completely different depending on if I shoot at eye level versus slightly below eye level. A lot of the times, unless the artist is specific in how they want the art photographed, I look at the shape of the face. Just like with people, sculptures have a “good side.” Another issue to contend with when photographing art is color accuracy. It’s never going to be 100%, but you can get it really close. Lighting has a lot to do with the color, but a lot of the times the color is further corrected in Lightroom or Photoshop. Color accuracy can be pretty tricky because sometimes […]

Junkyard Photoshoot

Finding cool spots to photograph takes time, and I’m always grateful when photographers share information on new places to photograph. There’s something about junkyards and abandoned places that both terrify and fascinate me. There were so many things to photograph. The possibilities seemed endless. By the way, the entire time I was shooting, I kept thinking of the junkyard scene in “The Brave Little Toaster.”

Mannequin Magic

Mannequins go back to ancient times. When King Tut’s tomb was opened, in 1923, Howard Carter found a mannequin which matched the Pharaoh’s measurement dating back to 1530 B.C. The European fashion doll was the beginning of the modern mannequin. These dolls ranged from a foot tall to life size and were beautifully clothed and sent abroad to show the fashions of the day. These dolls also had porcelain faces. These models of fashion were so popular that they received protection and safe passage across borders, even during times of war.   After the French Revolution, these fashion dolls were replaced by drawings and dress forms made of wire, leather and wicker. They were often headless. Fortunately, the French came back to life and introduced the full body mannequins in 1870. It was at this time that window shopping became a form of entertainment.   The mannequins of the 1890’s had full bosoms and broader hips. Waists were wasp thin and, even in those days, many women were willing to have their lowest ribs surgically removed to achieve this illusion.   When a mannequin modeling a corset appeared, a religious group tried to banish mannequins completely, but they were unsuccessful. […]

Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, Lullwater

Every time a I photograph a concert, I usually encounter some challenges. It’s never completely smooth sailing, which I kind of like. I look at concert photography like a game because my success depends on my ability to adapt to any situation and compose shots that others will find interesting. Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, and Lullwater are great bands ,and I highly recommend you check out their music. So this blog has nothing to do with their performances. The concert was probably my most challenging event, and it was mainly because the venue was very dark. Pub Rock is a cozy venue, and I have actually played on their stage a couple of times. If you’re there to enjoy watching a band, it’s a great venue. However, if you’re a photographer, you’re going to feel a little frustrated. For one thing, there was no photo pit. The place was packed and the only way I could get close enough to the stage was to make a deal with a couple of people near the front, that, if they just gave me the first song to get my shots, I’d stay out of their way. The second problem was that the musicians […]

Rachel & Mackenzie

Just before the summer heat settled in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to photograph recent Chaparral grads Rachel and Mackenzie. It was my first time shooting at the Riparian Reserve in Gilbert. Even though the afternoon was overcast, it turned out to be a really fun and successful photo shoot. Besides the fact they had an incredible wardrobe, they were comfortable being in front of the camera and they had a great sense of humor.

Headshots

Since I was a kid, my parents collected movie posters and 8×10 headshots of the glamorous actors of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Elizabeth Taylor was my mother’s favorite actress. We had so many photos of her and other actresses, that we started referring to the rooms by the name of the actress whose photos plastered the walls. We had the Liz Taylor room and the Marilyn Monroe bathroom (People always took extra time in there). I spent my childhood surrounded by these pictures. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can remember the way the tilted their head, the shadows, the colors, the piercing look in their eyes. Headshots are fun for me because I don’t feel there’s a right or wrong way of doing it. I go with my instincts, and I also take chances or experiment. Most importantly, I have fun with it.

Landscape Photography in Jerome

Even though I’m primarily focused on photographing concerts, fashion editorials, and portraits, I still like to explore other types of photography. Every experience teaches me more about my camera and exposes weaknesses that I want to improve. As one instructor told me, “Photographers are always practicing.”