The Bonnie Springs Models

I never have been real big with working with models as subjects but ever since I started in Aviation the need arose to get better. It’s a common thread in photography to evolve or parish, thus is the same with life. At Bonnie Springs we had four great models, two cowboys and two saloon girls. The Marshall had his town well under control.

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Melissa was one of our best models at the shoot. In my mind the saloon girls both had a unique side to them as far as where their background came from. Melissa seemed more like the east coast girl that just came out west, while Charmane (below) had already been out west for some time and had a harder life. With Melissa’s fair tone soft light was key. Here it was a diffuser on top to block out the hot spots from the sun and a gold trigrip below bouncing light back in.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCNVBS0111.swf, 430, 675[/swf]

Charmane was a lot simpler to light. She was on a covered porch that acted as our diffuser. With no hard light behind her the background faded away. The only light source that was desired was a simple gold reflector trigrip bouncing more light into here face and hair. The big trick with each of these two was feathering the light on them instead of full beam from the trigrip. It takes a little practice and is far easier with two people then just one.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCNVBS0102.swf, 430, 675[/swf]

The Marshall was the exact opposite of the saloon girls. Edgy, gritty and rough was exactly the looked needed to make the marshal seem like he has seen it all. Getting the desired affect here was real easy, a gold reflector on this backlit subject made him pop out and the background stay dark. All really simple tricks that can yield to some nice results. It’s fun to play with these things.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, Trigrip Diffuser, Trigrip Reflector on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Precon Photo Safari

Every time I go out shooting it is a different experience, usually because every time I go out either I get the shot that I wasn’t thinking I was going to get or something else comes up completely that i was predicting. It’s one of the best parts and the most frustrating parts of being a photographer. Well for the last couple of Photoshop Worlds I have been too I have had the great honor of assisting at the Precon Photo Safari with Moose Peterson and Joe McNally.

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What sets this one apart from all the rest is each one is different from the last. It’s whatever wherever we can find. A year and a half ago in Orlando it was PBY’s, Trimotor’s, Mustangs and Jets at Fantasy of Flight and Stallion 51. This past March it was a Civil War Reenactment group at a plantation outside of DC.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0333.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

What will today’s Precon be? What will these crazy guys come up with next? I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out and share it with everyone. Stay tuned.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A Few more Days to Photoshop World Vegas!

That’s right it’s drawing ever so near. Only a few more days and the start of Photoshop World Vegas will begin. I am honestly so excited I can hardly stand working today. Always more of those little things to get done but man this weekend is going to fly by and then it will be time for fun and learning. Truly the best part of Photoshop World is the amount of info streaming into your head. Afterwards you need a vacation!

This is from the Precon Real Live Concert Photography, which is a ton of fun. It’s hosted by two of my good friends Alan Hess and Scott Diussa.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Night Shooting Around Town

One of the really cool things about this Photoshop World was that, our hotel was only a few blocks away from the National Mall. Which meant that whenever there was some down time anyone could walk over or take a cab real inexpensively to go see the monuments, museums, or memorials. On the last night of the event, I went out with the folks and a couple of good friends and we went over to the Lincoln Memorial to do some night shooting. Now the last time I was some this memorial I was kid and it was big then. Now… it still seems big.

Amazingly enough the crowds, which are definitely smaller at night and thus even more in the early morning, are still quite large at 10:00pm. It was well worth the trip over to see this great place. It still amazes me how it was built so long ago and still remains. The photography wasn’t bad either.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70 F/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

This Time in Color!

Black and White wasn’t the only thing going for these guys, the light which wasn’t the greatest when we first got there, was getting better and helped create a lot of nice shadows. Shadows can be a very powerful aspect when included in the composition. For a lot of those shots when the light was harsh the shadows were great to have. The reenactor below, who couldn’t keep a straight face if her life depended on it, posed beautifully on the staircase where the shadows actually add to her surrounding.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0229.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

Then of course you have this General who was probably the quietest out of all the reenactors but made a very convinsing somber man. It seemed like the only places we had him were besides buildings, but that’s okay his shadow did wonders.

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As you can see the background made everything with these guys and the buildings on the Sully Plantation were just killer. The General was a great sport and stood here in front of this particular buildings for a good 20 minutes before he finally walked away. In case any of you were wondering none of this was flash everything was just natural light.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0117.swf, 430, 675[/swf]

Now in case anyone was wondering why i choose to use a 70-200 for these shots instead of something like a 50 f/1.4, it’s for two reasons. The first and most important, when working with people you haven’t worked with before and you’re in a big group, getting physically close to them with a camera can be very uncomfortable for that person. The 70-200 gives enough range that I don’t have to be close. The second reason just has to do with courtesy, since there was 60 of us there, if everyone got up close then there would always be someone in the shot. It’s just more polite and easier to move around this way.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Reenactors

This past week at Photoshop World has just been a blast and it has gone by so fast that it’s hard for me to be back in my office already. Every Photoshop World is a little bit better than the last, partly because the staff is always trying to improve the experience for the participants. Photoshop World always starts off with Precons, this year there was ten different ones. For the Photo Safari it was off to Virginia to meet with some real Civil War reenactors who did a outstanding job portraying people from the period. You might of course notice Honest Abe there who happens to be none other than infamous Russell Brown, not a reenactor but certainly a convincing President. Heck I’d vote for him.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0044.swf, 430, 675[/swf]

Now this was by far the most challenging of Precon shoots I’ve been to so far mostly because it required communicating with very accurate reenactors, which has never been my strong suite. So I might have, sorta, kinda sponged off of a few other people’s idea’s when it came to the positioning. Hey if it’s a good idea why knock it.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0163.swf, 430, 675[/swf]

Now while I was out there I was thinking of black and white. I was also thinking of tin types. SilverEfex has a great filter for both, which was what these were converted in. Tin Type’s can be a lot of fun but I find a limitation on how often they can be used, mostly because the subject matter just doesn’t support the conversion. This is one of those instances when it fits absolutely perfectly.

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[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/LCVADCSP0181.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

The two gentleman above are a general and a governor. Both played their characters brilliantly to the point where it was difficult to get them to talk about themselves! Even so they made for excellent subjects. The Governor bellow posed especially well, he was so relaxed watching the 60 or so photographers move around the place.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Blossom Poppers

The streets are packed with the hustle and bustle of the people as everyone is looking at the Cherry Blossoms. The trees popped a little early this year but that didn’t stop anyone from showing up. this year marks the 100th anniversary of the day the trees were given to this country from the Japanesse. Today they can be seen all over the state capitol. After a long but truly rewarding day of walking around the Smithsonian, around being a loose term since the Smithsonian is over 2 million square feet and we couldn’t walk around everything, the folks and myself went down to Tidal Wave for the blossoms.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Super Pumped!

It’s almost here! I so excited to be going back to Photoshop World this year. It’s one of those events that you hear about and you think you know what’s going to be like and then you get there and it’s nothing like you imagine. For instance the Precons are a great example. Before the classes begin is a series of different photo shoots to get the blood pumping and the imagination stirring. Having been to two different ones, Real World Concert Photography and the NAPP Photo Safari, I can honestly say it’s always interesting.

Heading out today I am greatly looking forward to getting in a little early and having some fun in our nations capitol.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, AF-S 24-70 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Working a new Venue

O this is just too much fun. For the first time in the many years that my folks have been trying to get me to go to Photoshop World, I’m finally here. Now they kept telling me it was going to be a different experience but i had no idea until i got here. The first thing big noticeable thing was everyone saying hello. It was easy, Dad had me by one hand introducing to everyone, here’s Jake. It was funny and exciting at the same time. Then there are the Precons, different shooting venues where you spend a day a learning about that particular area of photography. I went to the Real World Concert Photography mostly cuz i had never done it before! O and Scott Diussa is a good friend and was co instructing it with Allan Hess. Knew absolutely nothing about it.

[swf]http://jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/GPSW0072.swf, 585, 435 [/swf]

It was completely different then any other subject i have photographed before. Between the settings, the composition and the general atmosphere of the other photographers. I’m used to waiting and watching the subject learning it’s habits over time, that’s just necessary in wildlife. Or even the quickness of aviation knowing the planes are coming around the pylons. But this! O know it’s all about moving around, getting the shot, the unpredictable nature of the players and the every changing light. It was intense, but a lot of fun. Only been here a day and I’m already learning.

[swf]http://jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/GPSW0278.swf, 585, 435 [/swf]

Images captured with D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 VR 2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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