Monthly Archives: November 2010

Arvada, CO | Kids Portraits | Airplanes, Wagons & A Big Bruise

Kids are resilient. Ten minutes before I shot this series of pictures, Jaxon managed to fall and bang his forehead on the asphalt. I would have been laying in bed for a week. He cried for about thirty seconds, and then wanted to get down and play. We watched as the bruise started to come out on his forehead, and I went back to taking pictures. This was something important to document, as a toddler he is pretty much a walking bruise. That’s just who he is at this point in his life.

Jaxon never seems to get too worried about it. He has more important things to think about. Like airplanes flying overhead and wagons to pull and climb on. I guess he figures bruises are just the price you pay for the freedom to walk around and check things out.

I really like the authenticity of these pictures. The bruise, the clothes, the hair, the setting, it all feels real – because it is real. A picture doesn’t have to be staged and styled and manicured to be beautiful. Life is what it is, and I like to document it. Let me know if you have a life you would like to have documented.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…


Tech Info:
Open shade late in the day
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
f2.8 | 1/400 | ISO 200
Adobe Camera Raw
Photoshop Unsharp Mask to boost midtone contrast

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Boulder, CO | Chautauqua Wedding | Final Album


It’s been a while since I put up a wedding photography post, so I thought I would give you a look at the album I designed to document Kate and Brandon’s beautiful wedding at the Chautauqua Community House in Boulder, CO.

As I was shooting the wedding on that rainy June day, there were a lot of images that I made specifically with this album in mind. It’s really gratifying to see so many of them make the final cut. Kate is a very artistic person, so I had her and Brandon make the final selection of images to include in the album. I don’t always work in this way, but in this case, I think it worked out really well.

The book contains about 110 images spread out over 50 pages and is laid out in chronological order from getting ready all the way through the reception. I find placing the images in context really helps people understand how the day unfolded, and also helps the bride and groom mentally “fill in the gaps” between the images.

I designed the book as a 12X12, but also made it available in 10X10, 8X8, and 6X6 for family and friends to purchase. The pages of the album are printed on real photo paper and the spreads lay flat with no seam in the middle. The font used for the text is the same font that Kate chose for her wedding invitations, so this helps tie the album to the other mementos from the wedding day.

As you can see, I used very little text, a simple layout, and only one design element – a very subtle sloppy border around all of the floating images. I think these pictures speak for themselves, and adding a complicated layout, or a bunch of extra elements would really detract from the story of the day. This tends to be my album design philosophy – let the pictures stand on their own.

Tech Info:
This whole book was laid out using Layered Photoshop Files
The sloppy borders were created using a Photoshop action
All but 11 images in the book were shot on film

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Westminster, CO | Documentary Photos | Friday Night Lights

This is a series of pictures from Westminster High School’s homecoming football game back in October. My goal was to go out and capture the atmosphere of a high school football game, rather than document the game itself.

To accomplish this, I decided to use my Canonet QL17 GIII. The little rangefinder with a fixed 40mm lens. Using this camera meant that I couldn’t get caught up in shooting typical photojounalistic football action shots. Instead, I would have to focus on the periphery of the game – coaches shouting, players celebrating, officials moving up and down the sideline – all the stuff that goes on during a football game that goes almost completely unnoticed by the crowd.

There are some things that I find really interesting in these images. First is the lens flare caused by having the bright stadium lights in the images. This really seems to capture the glare that you notice when down on the field. Another interesting aspect of these images is the contrast… black uniforms – white numbers, dark sky – bright lights. Finally, there are the relationships – players talking, coaches teaching. If you’ve never been on a football field these can be easily overlooked, but they are as essential to the game as touchdowns, helmets or big hits.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger and read the captions. Enjoy…

Tech Info:

Canonet QL17 GIII
Canon 40mm f1.7 lens (fixed)
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA – Fuji Neopan 400) – pushed one stop (ISO 800)
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X Developer (10min @ 20C)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Documenting Your Family | Photo Tips | Get On Their Level

One of the keys to getting great pictures of kids, is getting down on their level. This simple step accomplishes a few things…

  • It opens your eyes to the way children see the world, and helps you relate to them.
  • It can give interesting backgrounds that mostly go ignored by us grownups.
  • It helps hold kids’ attention, as they are unaccustomed to having the big people look them in the eye.
  • It makes the little ones smile, they love watching us struggle to move around for a change.
  • It lets your camera really see into a child’s eyes, rather than looking up through their eyelashes

So what does moving down to the kid’s level mean from a technical perspective? Since you are lower and pointing your camera up, you are likely to have some sky or brightly lit background in the frame. This can trick your camera’s light meter and cause the images to be underexposed. Just be aware of this as you are shooting. If your camera allows, it might be a good idea to dial in some exposure compensation.

Another thing to consider is your clothing. When I work with kids, I almost always wear jeans or shorts because I am invariably kneeling, sitting or rolling around on the ground. This makes kids laugh, and keeps the atmosphere light, but it is hard on dress clothes.

Below are some pictures from a shoot with Molly. You will notice that I was moving up and down as I was shooting these. I was also moving in and out (with my feet, since I don’t really use zoom lenses). I think this is an important point – allowing the kids to move around, and you yourself moving around, keeps everyone animated and engaged.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Natural Light
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw – no actions or filters

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Denver, CO | Follow Up | Quiznos Pro Challenge Press Conference

With today’s announcement of the route and host cities for next year’s Quiznos Pro Challenge, I thought it would be a good time to show a few more pictures from the announcement press conference back in August. My previous pictures from the event are over here.

I went downtown to hear the announcement and see if there would be anything interesting to photograph. To my surprise, thousands of cyclists showed up on their bikes to see the press conference and have a group ride with Lance Armstrong following the event. Needless to say, there was plenty to photograph.

I was mostly looking for interesting details and quirky situations, rather than traditional “news” or press conference images. The fact that I was shooting with a fixed 40mm lens certainly eliminated the possibility of getting close-ups of the speakers, but I do like the context provided by the crowd in the shots of Governor Ritter and Lance Armstrong speaking.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger and read the captions. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Canonet QL17 GIII
Canon 40mm f1.7 lens (fixed)
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA – Fuji Neopan 400)
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X Developer (7min @ 20C)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Colorado Wedding & Portrait Photography | New Business Cards

Up until recently, I have been using business cards designed in Photoshop, printed on photographic paper and cut down to 2″ X 3″. While I liked the way these cards reproduced pictures, they were not great for text, were thin, only allowed printing on one side and were slightly smaller than standard business cards.

Using lessons learned from creating my first business cards, I went ahead and designed a more traditional card and had it printed on heavy-weight recycled paper. The new design utilizes both sides of the card. The front shows my standard logotype as well as contact information and the short message “fine art documentary photography of kids, seniors, weddings & families”.

The back of the card contains three vertical images, one of a young girl (to represent child and family photography) another of a high school senior, and the last showing a bride. All three images are in black and white and were shot in my signature style – on location, available light, natural expressions, etc. Coincidentally, all three images were shot with the same camera and film combination – Nikon F100, Legacy Pro 400 (Fuji Neopan 400) film.

So take a look at these samples and let me know what you think…

Tech Info:
Business card examples
Cards printed on 100lb recycled stock

Images all photographed using
Nikon F100
Legacy Pro 400 film (Fuji Neopan 400)

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