Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Steampunk is the new black

The next stagecoach is late ...I've long been fascinated by science fiction and cyberpunk literature. When the steampunk movement started becoming more prevalent, I started paying attention to what people were doing with it. It's amazing what lengths people will go to re-create something in brass and steel, just to get the right look, the right feel for an object whether it's clothing or geekiness.

Red expressed interest in having her new steampunk outfit recorded on film. We were going to do it the last time she was in town, but by the time we got around to it, the day was faltering and it was quite a drive to the scene I had wanted to put her into. I knew of a great set of train tracks that always had some railcars parked on it. They would have been perfect had the drive not been so long. We opted to do the shoot another day.

You're in the wrong town, Mister.When I got into the studio, I found the building rife with corrugated steel and darkness: perfect for something steampunk-ish. I let her know and we arranged to do a shoot last Saturday (the 25th), making sure to have her bring the outfit in this time. Along with it, she brought an excellent point of detail: a 9mm steel, brass, and pearl Taurus PT 92. If that handgun didn't scream steampunk, I'm not sure what would.

We ended up with quite a good photos out of it, including my favorite (the first one) and one of her favorites (the last one). I definitely need to do more steampunk photos. It's an aged beauty that just sort of ... speaks to me. I had an amazing amount of fun doing this one.

Howdy, friend.This has been one of the more "staged" shoots really. I spent a little bit of time trying to figure out what I wanted form this one and trying to place her into the environment so she blended a bit. Back to that whole idea of taking photographs versus making photographs. I've watched some of the things that Chase Jarvis does in his ninja shoot, for example, and I'm picking up on the idea that I like coming up with concepts (even if I think I still suck horribly at it ... I'm getting better!) instead of just taking a model and posing her half a dozen ways.

New Steampunk Sheriff in TownThe light is getting much easier to manipulate each time I do this. I'm starting to experiment a bit more with adding one, two, or even three more lights just to see what happens. For this shoot, I played around with the gridspot I built for my speedlights. I'm not sure about the effect yet. I mostly used it to get the gun metal to pop a bit more without overly spilling light onto Red. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

But when it did, I think it worked reasonably well. And that's all I can ask for. Lots of failures in this shoot. And that's really what I wanted.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Maker Faire Austin

Lobster ArmyMaker Faire was here in Austin last weekend. It was a pretty October weekend for it. We missed going to it last year because of a series of unfortunate events. Having never been to one before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it would be a great experience for the boys, so I brought them along.

Overall, I think the event was somewhat overrated. There were quite a few interesting things (the robowars, the tesla coils, some of the fire displays), don't get me wrong, but there was just not enough to keep the kids entertained. We made it down to the childrens area and it was just overrun. It was like a pack of ravenous feral kids had descended upon a pile of Willie Wonka chocolate looking for the Golden Ticket. The tent that was set up was just entirely too small for the amount of stuff going on underneath and for the sheer number of kids who were attempting to have fun. Because of that, we didn't really stick around the kid area too long.

Hands don't fail me nowWe ended up walking out to the big craft area and around the fairgrounds, looking at the various art displays. By lunch time, we sat down and ate our $18 worth of hamburgers and fries (RIDICULOUSLY overpriced). While we sat, I picked off a few photos of people surrounding the area, including the kids playing their steel drums for the crowd. They were pretty decent.

Hula HulaUltimately, we only spent about three hours at the event on Saturday. The boys had seen enough and weren't really interested in looking at the various maker things (and I didn't have any serious amounts of cash on hand to purchase anything fun) so we ended up calling it a day and going home. I think next year, I'll purchase a full weekend ticket for myself and only bring the boys to one day, that way I can spend some time doing the seminars and meandering through all of the faire at my leisure.

A few more photos. Next year, I'll make sure to take my time and get more interesting photos. This was definitely the best part of the day, the people watching I mean. These two guys were watching the steel drummers while the boys and I ate our lunch.

Shocked ... SHOCKED!Future's so bright ...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Links for 2008-10-22

Interesting links gathered from all over the Internet

international photography awards -IPA 2008 winners Some amazing photos here. Definitely worth going through. Just take your time or you'll miss something good. (tags: photography awards photographers)

Hedony Design - Latex "Couture" clothing and accessories - Fashion Design (NSFW) Latex clothing design house. The product shots have some interesting lighting and ultimately caught my eye because of the multitude of specular highlights coming off the shiny material. (tags: design clothing photography)

Photographer template websites compared | RobertBenson.com Robert gives an indepth review of quite a few website designs that you can find being sold out on the internet. (tags: photography website webdesign review)

Even Better Softbox Part One - The Build Process | DIYPhotography.net This looks pretty slick; a much cleaner looking DIY softbox. (tags: strobist photography softbox projects)

Monday, October 20, 2008

All weddings, except those with shotgun in evidence, are wonderful.

The BrideLast week, my friends Todd and Elizabeth got married at Ruta Maya in South Austin, surrounded by friends and family before the the wing fountain. As my gift to them, I said I would take photos of the day's events since they weren't going to have a professional photographer present. I think, in short, the day went smashingly (except for the part where I ran into another car on the way to the wedding).

This wedding was quite different from the previous one (Greg and Tara's) I did last month. There was significantly more people and it was being done outside during the height of the day, sun fully blazing down upon us. Ok, it wasn't that bad. It was partly cloudy, so I had points where things weren't so harsh, light-wise. I didn't use the flash outside at all, really. I started out but decided that with the alternating sun-no-sun moments, the fill would be too much and overpower the things I did have correctly exposed.

Inside Ruta Maya was a different story. DARK! The ceiling is covered in black paint, some of the walls are corrugated steel, and there's really no place to bounce light off of. I ended up putting one flash with a stoffen on one side of the room and one on the other, both powered up to 1/2 and full power. Just enough to get some light filling the place so I can shoot at ISO400 and 800. I just made sure to keep them out of the field of view whenever possible.

Once I got the obligatory reception shots, the cake cutting, and some other things, I pulled a few people aside and got some nice portrait shots done. I liked how they came out. I think Elizabeth and Todd will love them.

Overall, this one was much easier than the last wedding. I still don't think I could shoot these professionally (at least, not until I get a D300 and the new 24-70mm lens). But, nonetheless, it was fun and yet another experience to stick under my belt.

More photos from the wedding.

Todd, the groom, looking rather dapper in his tux.


Elizabeth, the bride, was positively glowing ALL day.


The mouse newlyweds sitting atop the cake.


Before the ceremony, she walked around the pond watching the waterfall onto the smooth rocks below.


A moment of silence hushed the crowd.

A moment in silence

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."


"Do you?" Yes. "Do you?" Yes.

The Crowd

"You may now kiss the bride!"

The Kiss

Aw, and the didn't even smush it into each others faces. How cute!

The Cake

There's always one in every crowd, the one who gets all the girls. We call him the Mac Daddy.

The Mac Daddy

And finally, bridge and groom brought together by the big man.

Todd, Elizabeth, and O

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Life Updates.

Fire PetalsWoo! What a long week. Exciting, but long. One of the local photographers, James, runs a coop studio on South Congress. He's been looking for a few people to buy-in and help spread the cost out a bit more. I talked it over with my wife and she agreed to it, so I paid my first month's portion of the rent and picked up my keys on Thursday. WOOT! I've already got half a dozen friends and such lined up to do some shoots.

I'm really excited about this. I'm finding that I work a lot better when I have some place more controlled to move around in. I like the Strobist shoots, but those can get overly hectic, so this will give me a much better ability to refine my skills even more.

The studio isn't big. But it's big enough. I think it's about 15'x25' or so. Certainly deep enough for portraiture. They have it set up with some seamless paper backgrounds and a few lights. My friend Scarlett has offered to give me a trunk of stuff useful for props, so I'll have something fun to play with in the studio with my subjects. In fact, Scarlet will be my first subject next Tuesday.

As I mentioned, I've gotten a few other folks to let me take their photos too. I'm still working on ideas, but I know that I'll be able to do a few fetish shoots like I want.

Yesterday, I shot another wedding. Like the last one, this one was for a friend. Sort of my gift to them for their marriage. I'll be posting more about it later, once I've gotten a better handle on the photos. What I have so far is looking pretty good. I still don't think I could do wedding photography as a mainstay of my photographic career. It's definitely A LOT of work.

I need to work on a website. I'm realizing this more and more as I get farther along this photographic track. I'm going to figure out some designs in the coming weeks. It's going to be a busy time.

The photo above is of my friend Greg playing with fire one evening out at practice. He wanted to know what a particular move looked like on film to see which version was more aesthetically pleasing. The half-time version you see above (where the flaming poi are moving a half-step out of sync) was the better looking flower.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

XDRTB and James Nachtway

In 2007, James Nachtway won the TED prize (and a $100k that came with it). He used the money to document a problem growing in the world that isn't being paid much attention to. The video is the culmination of his work photographing the effects of Extreme Drug Resistant Tuberculosis across the world. I've watched it a few times now. Very haunting.

Spread the word. This needs to get out there. Go to xdrtb for more information.

More about Nachtwey.