Pet Photography

So this business of Photography is so much more than just clicking away. The business side of photography, (networking, developing your brand, marketing, etc) is what truly separates the pros from the amateurs.

If you love animals as much as I do, please enjoy a gathering of images that I threw together so all of you out there could see these family members the way I do.  Yes, some of my family is included, how could they not be?!? How else could I show you that I can help make memories for you if I don’t share my own?!?

Blue, our Blue Heeler, Gabi our African Basenji-mix that my wife brought home from the Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa, our Black Tabby Luna, and the most recent addition Cabo, the Collie, Pit, ‘All-American Dog’-mix is now about 12 months old and rounds out our pack quite nicely.

Now, once we get our family all trained up, thanks to the amazing talents of Steve Walter and Christina at Nitro K-9 in Seattle we’ll be a much happier family!  We’re 3 sessions in and I can personally say, WOW, what a difference. Not having to worry about my Dogs freaking when a squirrel farts while on a walk is worth it’s weight in gold. And this is just the beginning…

 

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Nikon D4: Test Shots…and more!

So, I have one of the finest photographic tools available, now what?


The First Frame. After wracking my brain, in attempts to quell the butterflies in my stomach, I decided to make my first frame in the digital 35mm equivalent world, full circle and nostalgic. A few years back while honing my skills at UDub I shot 35mm film at a gathering just like this, capturing Jan and her best friend Brie deep in discussion and wine. Felt it was only fitting to try and re-create it.

Let the Testing Begin!

Sharpness:

Here’s where I begin to put Ken Rockwell’s well detailed and scientifically straightforward approach to answer the burning question, “Why is a Full frame sensor better than Crop Sensor?” in his post The Full-Frame Advantage.

So, I have an obscenely expensive Full-Frame camera now, so in theory I should be able to produce sharper, less noisy, and more colorful images with less expensive lenses.

Since I already have a few fast primes that can be used on my DX D300s and the D4, for now, I only needed to fill the mid-range zoom spot that I have used quite a bit in the past. I had my eyes on the tried-and-true Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 that Kenmore Camera has had several copies of, over the past few years from anywhere between $399-499, depending on condition. So, it wasn’t going to be as wide as I was used to with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC lens that but it was Nikon glass and there wasn’t really anything else in the price range that I had my heart set on, new or used.

Irony and coincidence rear their ugly head on the day of the big purchase. I take the D4, new Tamrac Evolution 8 bag, and used 35-70 home, only to realize that the zoom on the that copy of the lens sticks pretty bad. I called Northwest Camera Repair who said it wasn’t worth the cost of the repair and it was fairly common for those old slide-zooms to fail in that respect.

So, I returned it, and since they had no other copies of it handy, I went with a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 thinking my DX Tammy has gotten me this far in the mid-range zoom game, let’s give it a shot. Hah, Pun totally intended. On the way home I realized that for only $100 more than the used Nikon I got a new FX version of the lens I’d been using. 17-50 on DX = 25.5-75mm on FX, just minus the VC. Tamron has recently released a 24-70 f/2.8 with VC for $1299. It was a moot point because Kenmore A. Didn’t have it in the Nikon mount, and B. If I am going to be spending over $1000 on a lens I might as well spring for Nikon glass. Plus at that focal length and the low-light capability of the D4, Vibration Control is unnecessary for the shooting I do. Just control the shakes the old fashioned way, using at least 1.5 times the focal length in shutter speed.

Without further adieu, the sharpness Test 1: I-5 Signs
(I may, or may not have been driving while taking these and I don’t condone this behavior for others.)


1/2000, f/2.8, ISO400, 75mm


Roughly a 1:1 crop

So…yeah, I’d say this $500 lens is quite sharp and does the job nicely.

 

The Dynamic Duo: D4 and Lightroom4

Below are a few examples of what blows my mind about how the new processing engine in LR4 and how well the D4 sensor handles extremely blown out highlights and non-existent blacks.


Ahhh, the token U District street shot. Now if you’ll notice these people are totally back-lit so you should not really be able to see their faces or anything that would normally be shaded very well. But, thanks to LR4’s new White/Black, Highlight/Shadow sliders this is easily remedied. Honestly it took a little getting used to because compared to what I could do previously, this seems almost like HDR. It’s much easier to just expose for a specific area of your image and if the rest doesn’t turn out the way you had envisioned adjust the sliders accordingly.

Here’s an extreme example. Luna, and most of the background was totally blown out. I was able to pull this down about 4 stops, and tweak the sliders to get this decent result from a totally overexposed image. Would I consider this a usable image, no. The composition is pretty weak, and not at all what I was going for, but I did get an extreme example of how big of a sweet-spot I have now.  The idea of how many more useable shots can be brought back from the dead is staggering.

One odd thing to note that throws me off a little bit in LR4 is that whether you nail the shot or have to move the sliders at all and then check your little Blacks/Highlights upside down triangle indicator (you know those little buggers that usually turn grey respectively) that you mouse over or click on to show you the affected area of your images. Well, I don’t know if it’s a glitch in the program or what, but I notice that more times than not the Black arrow will stay lit but it wont show little Blue specs at all.  Weird.

Welcome to FX Wide Angle!


28mm @f/2.8 about 2 ft. away.

The overall feeling I get shooting full-frame can be summed up in one word: Richness. There’s just more to these files it seems. More spirit, more depth, more character than on DX. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

So that’s what 300mm really looks like, not 450!


Seuss, my 300 f/4 performs really well on my D300s, it’s absolutely stunning on the D4. I don’t have to stand 572 yards away to get something in the frame anymore, it’s an odd feeling. My theory is it’s a little bit lighter than the 70-200 and I prefer to shoot at a little greater DOF than 2.8 anyway and I get 100mm closer with out having to use a teleconverter, plus the D4 has no problem making up for 1 stop less light.

12,800 ISO…yes it is totally useable under the right conditions.


Both images shot at 1/60th @f/2.8 at about 3 feet with the light coming from our bay windows on an overcast day in the early evening.

Shooting Shows & Events:

Enough with the dogs and cats already, I know! Here are some of my faves from the FLE (Friends Like Enemies) show at the historic El Corazon in downtown Seattle. All of these were shot at somewhere between ISO 6400 and 1/60-1/125th at f/2.8. Just wanted to see what this lens could do with only about 8 crappy stage lights, 4 of which were red.


Attack with Care brought their own lasers and fog machine!




Now for something a little more charitable.

Thanks to Michael Berg I got connected to the local Volunteers of America office because they had some events coming up that needed to be covered. I agreed to shoot their NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive at the main post office in Everett, WA.


Conclusion:

The camera is amazing, and this new XQD Card is super fast! I will be even happier when it comes back to me repaired because it’s quite possible the CF Card slot was DOA! It never recognized any card, regardless of size, brand, or speed. Hope to have it back before the 16th…I have a wedding to shoot!

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

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Learning Things and Art of Being Humbled by Them.

This is proof that for as tech geeky and on top of things you may think you are ,never underestimate the power of asking for others viewpoints and opinions; A fresh set of eyes on something are invaluable.

Learning something new everyday is a good thing. It’s not always going to happen, but  when it does it’s quite an amazing feeling.

There’s this amazing Publicize feature of WordPress that automatically updates the social media sites, email blasts, and other contacts that you deem necessary.

That would’ve been awesome had I noticed there was a little link every time you post that says “Turn Publicize on” right next to the preview post link up at the top of the page. Now I’ve seen this numerous times and here is where the irony sets in.

Yesterday I noticed that I could no longer manually copy and paste the link from my blog to either my personal or artist Facebook pages. Yes, my friends, copy-paste has been my dear friend for so long. Then no more.

So after consulting my Webmaster as this issue was clearly over my head. He dug around and found the Publicize function a Google write up which tells you to look under settings, locate Sharing, and click Publicize and it will give you options much like adding allowing anything access to your Facebook or other social media sites, type in your user name, password, and presto every time you post it automates either a static or personalized message to said locations with the appropriate linkage.

So let’s see if it appears now. So I can blog more efficiently from now on.  8_)

*Edit. It was not there now….hmmmm. Why not? Only answer I can find is that I have a privately hosted site, not through WordPress directly.

So I just went through the lengthy process of trying to use the SharePress plug-in. Let’s see if it works.

 

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Joshua Tree: Revisited


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Equality: A historic day in Washington State.


Equality: the quality or state of being equal.

The Seattle Men’s and Women’s choruses led by Artistic Director Dennis Coleman joined by fellow members of the gay community and their straight supporters, my wife JanRose and I included, to pack the halls of the Plymouth Church for a celebration on Monday February 13th, 2012.  This historic day Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law a measure to legalize same-sex marriage making Washington the 7th state to do so in the United States.

The photos captured this night echoed several sentiments. The most of which were joy and disbelief. Not a negative disbelief, but one repeated through out the various speakers reiterating the overwhelming and surreal concept of acceptance. The feeling that gay men and women of varying ages never thought they would see a day where their niche of humanity and love could be recognized legally by the state in which they reside.

The other shoe left dangling at this, “Halftime,” is now the push to communicate with others to ensure equality this November should it come down to a vote at the polls. At least we are ahead at the half.

As was stated in by the local representatives and delegates from Capitol Hill, “The best thing we can do is talk to our neighbors about it.”  Get the word out there to help bring the message of equality to those that are new to the idea or are undecided either way.

Also do your part by pledging your support on Referendum 74. More in-depth information is found on their site.

By doing this simple act of spreading the word in conversation you can help become a part of history this fall by helping to solidify the vote for legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Washington.

“He’s got five fingers on his hand, I got five on mine, where’s the difference, what’s the problem here?” My Dad teaching me a lesson early in life about racism and equality.  Words that will forever be a part of who I am and what I stand for.  It was a story about equality and racism in the late 1960’s- early 1970’s when he was approached by a fraternity while he attended San Diego State University. They were really interested in him as he played linebacker on the football team and was an outgoing, charismatic guy. However his teammate who was black they were not so interested in because of the color of his skin. He didn’t join.

In closing, we all bleed red on the inside, all require the need to love and be loved, and be members of the only race that matters; the Human one.
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Romantic Sunset Stroll: Everett Waterfront’s Port Gardner


A new gallery: Port Gardner
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EVCC Men vs. Whatcom


A new gallery: EVCC Men vs. Whatcom

After a sloppy battle-royal of a first half the Everett Trojans Men’s Basketball team could not hang in the ring long enough earning a double digit loss to the visiting Orcas of Whatcom Community College 73-83. One of their final home games of the season they drop to 1-8 in league and 4-15 overall.

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EVCC Women vs. Whatcom


A new gallery: EVCC Women vs. Whatcom
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A Near Perfect Day on Orcas Island

Beautiful Orcas Island, WA

My wife, my Mom and I were invited to Orcas to visit Mom’s ex co-worker who has built a house and moved there from SoCal in the past year. We couldn’t have had better weather, except for the ice on the road that prevented us from getting up to the top of the 360 degree view. Pretty awesome little town. Can’t wait to go back. 8_)
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Starting my Day-Off Left.

This gallery contains 8 photos.

So this is how I decided to casually get up after sleeping in way too long yesterday…thank you my lovely cranky Gabi-dog. Breakfast of holy healthy-ness and good taste. There’s just something that makes me feel like I’m taking action … Continue reading

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