Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Olsen Family Adventures

My good friend and partner in crime, Jake Olsen, asked me to take some family pictures for him this summer.  I've been looking to hone my portrait skills so I can hopefully start making some quick money with this camera of mine, so I gladly accepted the challenge.  Jake and his wife, Amber, have two awesome sons and since Father's Day was coming up, they wanted some shots to give to grandpa.  Well grandpa is the ultimate outdoorsman, so it was only fitting we get some outdoor, "down in the dirt" shots.  But I wanted to make sure Amber still had nice family photos as well, so we decided to shoot at a botanical garden and it was perfect!  We started with the family shots and then got the boys into overalls and 'coonskin caps and let them play in the stream.  I learned a lot about the importance of getting everyone relaxed, changing up my angles, getting down to the kids' level and the importance of capturing smiles. I can't wait to work with them again!  Oh by the way, these portraits could probably use a little work, but I'm refusing to use Photoshop, so these are all SOOTC.

The leaves give a little bit of splotchy sun, but it was the best spot I could find.
35mm f4 1/250sec 400 ISO

This one is dark...  Look at the smiles!
50mm f5 1/640sec 640 ISO

Happy kid!
35mm f4.5 1/250sec 800 ISO

Happy kid #2
45mm f4.5 1/500sec 800 ISO

We tried swinging both boys, but with different weights it was hard to get it to look right, by throwing one on dads shoulders, he is still getting just as much attention as his brother.
70mm f5.6 1/500sec 1000 ISO

You can't see all the eyes, but you can see the smiles!
25mm f5.6 1/400sec 1000 ISO

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Think Like a Professional

A while back I went out on a photo shoot that I thought would be a wonderful stepping stone, only to realize it wasn't.  It was a BMX/skate shoot with a few different athletes that I had been told were amazing.  They were good, and I was impressed at their consistency in landing tricks, but I didn't really have any fun, it wasn't as "epic" as I was hoping for.  I couldn't figure out what had gone wrong.  I knew that part of my disappointment was due to the scene, it was a cloudy day at a skatepark, grey sky with a grey ground, not cool.  But there was something else that wasn't right.  
Then I got the chance to shoot the last two posts on the blog, the comp and the 50/50 demo, and I finally figured it out.  The difference was the attitude of the riders!  The riders in the first scenario were constantly complaining.  Even though they were landing tricks, they always had some sort of gripe.  Rather than just be happy with what they did, or be unhappy and try again, they had to place blame on something other than themselves, usually their equipment wasn't working...
On the other hand, the kids at the competition were hanging out and having fun.  They weren't landing everything, but they weren't about to give up!  The 50/50 guys took it a step further, they did land everything, and they got the crowd pumped while doing it.  And if they did have an issue with a bike, they had the tools to fix it right there, no room for excuses!
But my point in bringing up this difference is what it means for me.  It sucks to think I've been in the first mindset plenty of times.  In fact that day I was in that mindset, I already stated (and used) the cloud cover as an excuse.  But how many other times have I quit trying because of conditions that weren't quite to my liking?  So what to take from this?  Think like a pro!  The world doesn't want excuses, and they won't put up with them for long.  The scene is rarely perfect, but you've gotta be good enough, and know your trade so well, that you can make something worthwhile out of any situation.  That's the difference that determines so much in this life.  I'm grateful to have seen this contrast and I will definitely employ it in my life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Glass Bottles are Great to Photograph!

One of my favorite parts about photography is the possibilities, they truly are endless!  I enjoy doing what I call experimental photography.  I find an odd object and I think of ways to make that object look awesome in a picture, then I set out trying to do just that.  Well some of my favorite objects are glass bottles.  They are simple, but they can be so incredible with a little imagination.  Here's my challenge to the readers:  Get a glass bottle and make it come alive!  Try out different colors of glass, maybe get one filled with soda, or empty and see what you get.  Use different light sources to change the scene, try everything you can think of.  When you come away with the product of a new idea, you'll have opened your mind to something new, and you'll be learning how to work every angle.  That's what it's all about!
This is a green laser pen I experimented with
24mm f4.5 1/10sec ISO 100

24mm f4.5 1/10sec ISO 100

10mm f20 4sec ISO 100

I added a sparkler inside
16mm f22 4sec ISO 100

Now the Sparkler is outside
24mm f5 1.3sec ISO 100

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The 365 Project

For a while now I've been thinking I should try one of these photo-a-day projects.  The main reason I'd like to try it out is because I want to expand my photographic eye and learn to see more around me.  Right now I feel like I focus primarily on night photography, which is super fun, but there is so much more to try.  This project will allow me to experiment with new things and I'm really excited for it.  I've found a list online to guide me each day.  Most people begin these projects on January 1st, I guess starting on the calendar year isn't too important to me, I just want to complete a years worth of shots.  My hope is that at the end of this project I can see major improvement in my photography and that some principles of photography will become ingrained in my process, the goal being to constantly get the shot in a pinch.  I'll update when possible and explain the photos, stay tuned!

Happy Birthday, National Geographic!

Today National Geographic turns 125 years old!  To celebrate, they have compiled many articles about their diverse past.  Check out these memorable images on the National Geographic website!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Day at the Races

A few days after photographing the Ferrari I got the chance to head out to Rocky Mountain Raceway and check out the races.  A great friend of mine, Dave Smith, who is also the guy that went with me to Antelope Island, used to race his 442 out on the track in NHRA events.  Now he doesn't race, but his family and friends still compete so he goes out pretty often to help them on the line.  This day he called me and offered me two free tickets to go see what drag racing was all about, so of course I grabbed my camera and jumped at the chance!  It was a blast being able to see the power of those cars and I had a great time hanging around a few of the drivers.  Check out some of the shots!

Add caption

The 'Mater jet car, so fast!
throwing out some heat!

The Grave Digger!

Ed Jones and the Jelly Belly Stage Coach

If one jet engine wasn't enough, try sitting in front of two...
So the one thing I'm going to remember for next time, ear plugs!  My ears were ringing for hours afterwards.  I couldn't believe how fast some of these cars went down the track!  Next time I think I'm gonna try to get right down on the starting line and take some real pictures.  Dave deserves a huge shout out for hooking me up with the seats!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Yellow Ferrari!!!

That's right folks!  A yellow speed machine, that I got to photograph!  How did I get this chance you ask?  Because I'm amazingly lucky and have some wonderful friends with adrenaline packed toys!

It all started a few years ago when I had this idea to take a self portrait of me looking into the side mirror on my truck.  (kinda almost pretty much exactly like the image sitting at the top of this page.)  I tried it out, and found it to be incredibly hard to get the camera to focus on me rather than the mirror, while trying to hit my remote to trigger the shutter.  Now any of you other photo geeks out there would probably just think, "put the camera on manual focus!"  This didn't work because when I was outside the truck how could I possibly know what to focus on?  So anyway, it was hard!  I was okay with the end result, but I knew I could do better.  I wanted a better mirror that didn't have so many mineral deposits and I was hoping for a flashy frame, not my oxidized plastic frame.  I was on constant lookout for the right car.

Well as luck would have it, I moved into a new ward and met my new bishop, who just happens to live a rather wealthy lifestyle.  He owns this car, a Ferrari 360 Modena, plus a garage full of other gleaming beauties that just seem to "speak" to me, photographically speaking...  It just so happens that this bishop is one of the nicest and giving men I have ever met, and with very little coaxing he agreed to let me use it for my picture,  he actually thought I would be taking it to a location to shoot and he was fine with that, why didn't I capitalize?!   

I had the car secured, but this time I didn't want to be the one in the shot, I wanted to be behind the camera working my magic and learning some new photography techniques.  So I did what anyone would do, I found a beautiful model to take my place in the driver seat of that perfect car...  A girl I grew up with has done a fair amount of modeling and she was more than willing to help me with this project.  The shoot was on! 

I started the session about a half hour before sunset because the low, golden light brought out the color of the car remarkably well,  plus I had this shot in mind with the sun directly behind the mirror.  I only had a limited amount of time, so I knew I would have to work quickly.  Luckily everything worked out wonderfully and I walked away with some great shots.  Unfortunately, the driveway was sloped and didn't allow me to place the sun right where I wanted it in the shot, but I still really happy with what I got.  Thank you so much to Mark Ross and Haley Mears for their help!