Monthly Archives: January 2011

Arvada, CO | Children’s Portraits | End of Year Collage

I have posted previously about a collage that I created for one of my seniors. For the holidays, I decided to take that idea and apply it to a bunch of pictures that I had made of my girls thoughout the year. I put together the collage you see below and we gave prints to Grandmas and Grandpas. I think this ended up being a cool way to display a variety of pictures, and it tells a much more complete story than any single image ever could.

These collages would also work really well to display a selection of pictures from one of my documentary family or children’s portrait sessions. Over the course of a single shoot we might not get enough images to put together a complete album, but we will almost always get enough great images to put together an interesting collage. If a collage seems like something you might be interested in, just let me know.

You can click on the image to see it larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Collage created in Adobe Photoshop CS5
Mixture of film and digital captures

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Denver, CO | Family Portraits | Sneak Peek – Sisters

Today, I have a sneak peek from a recent portrait shoot. These three young ladies are sisters, the two in the vertical shots are twins. The images are from a sort-of combination family/senior (in college) portrait session. The twins just graduated from college, and their younger sister is a student at CSU. Their mom wanted to take some time to document how they look at this transitional moment in their lives, finishing up school, but before careers and families. I think this is a great idea, and it was especially fun for me because I have know these girls since they were little.

We dedcided to try for an outside shoot – always my preference, but sometimes tricky in January. We lucked out and got a relatively warm day with just slight overcast and enough snow on the ground to give some of the pictures a sense of seasonality. Pretty much ideal conditions for an outdoor shoot in Colorado during the winter.

I really liked how these digital captures turned out, so I wanted to get them up on the blog while eagerly awaiting my film scans from the extraordinary Richard Photo Lab. I will put up a more comprehensive post once I have all the film scans and digital files prepped and ready.

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
B&W conversion using Adobe Photoshop/Channel Mixer

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Documenting Your Family | Photo Tips | Slow Photography

Over on Slate.com there is a recent article about the Slow Photography Movement.  Basically, the idea behind “slow photography” is to think before you  shoot (to be honest, I am a fan of this approach in pretty much anything you happen to be doing). As you may have noticed, this is a theme that I return to often on this blog – think about your frame, consider your camera angle, how will your pictures work as a photo story, etc. The Slate article brings up some interesting points, and I like the general ideas behind the “slow photography” movement; but there are some quotes from the article that I wanted to pull out and discuss.

“…by the logic of volume: If you take a thousand photographs, one or two will turn out great. Professional photographers rely on this logic…”

This is what is often called the “spray and pray” approach to photography, and while there are some “professionals” that use this approach, it is definitely not the norm. Most professionals know that every shutter click has a cost. In the digital world, that cost is time sitting in front of the computer editing photos.

“In slow photography, the basic idea is that photos themselves—the results—are secondary. The goal is the experience of studying some object carefully and exercising creative choice.”

I sort-of see where he is going with this, but I really don’t see how you can separate the “experience” from the “results”. As far as I am concerned, the experience isn’t over until you are holding a print in your hand. The “results”, so easily dismissed in the article, have intrinsic value – be it historical, artistic, or whatever – and that value should not be discounted.

“In the logic of slow photography, the only reason to take photos is to gain access to the third stage, playing around in post-production, whether in a darkroom or using photo-editing tools, an addictive pleasure.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find a lot of pleasure in doing Photoshop (or darkroom) work. It truly is a means to an end. I want a nice image and so I must go through the post production process (especially with digital captures). Given the choice, I will take some extra time while shooting to ensure better results and less post processing. To me, that is the essence of “slow photography.

“No, the real victim of fast photography is not the quality of the photos themselves. The victim is us. We lose something else: the experiential side, the joy of photography as an activity. And trying to fight this loss, to treat photography as an experience, not a means to an end, is the very definition of slow photography.”

In my experience, quality IS a victim of fast photography. You may end up with a few good shots using the “spray and pray” method. But you will have far superior results using a more considered approach. As for the second part of this quote, again, I don’t think the “experience” of photography can be separated from the final image.  If there is no final image, there is no photography, only looking. Looking is fine, but it’s sure not photography.

I will finish up this post with a slightly older quote that concisely explains what I see as the “slow photography” approach.

“Not many realize that good photographs – like anything else – are made with one’s brains.”
— Edward Weston, October 22, 1924
Tech Info:
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.8
Ilford HP5 Plus
DR5 Process (B&W Slide)
Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Arvada, CO | Outdoor Children’s Portraits | Emma+Molly+Tree

There has been a lot of black and white stuff up on the blog recently, so I wanted to break things up with a bit of color. Below are a few portraits of the girls that I shot back before Christmas. I needed to get prints of these pictures in short order, for presents, so I shot digitally. I think the digital files held up pretty well. It would be nice to have a little more highlight detail (like I can get with film), but the prints still look really nice.

Even though these are my own kids, this was a pretty typical “kid’s session” for me. For this shoot, I was more focused on nailing the traditional portraits than I normally would be. We were working on a pretty limited time table, and I knew I was going for a couple of nice prints rather than a photo story or session album. We had to shoot pretty fast because the light was falling and it was pretty cold (but not that cold considering it was December in Colorado).

I find, when photographing kids, it makes things easier if I have something for them to interact with. It takes their mind off of the camera and allows me to get more natural expressions. In this case, we used an almond tree in my parent’s back yard as our “prop”.

We waited for late afternoon to get warm, directional light. I placed the sun at the girls’ backs to give nice rim lighting on their hair and to help show the texture of the tree.

One other element in this shoot was camera angle. You will notice that I was moving around a lot. Some of the shots I was standing on a chair to get a higher angle, and some of the shots I was sitting or laying on the ground to get a lower angle. I like to move around to keep the images from a shoot constantly changing. It allows me to get a variety of different looks from a single location.

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

Tech Info:
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
ISO 200
Adobe Camera Raw

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Glenwood Springs, CO | Photo School | Pretty Pictures

There are a few places that I tend to think of as my “home towns”. I have spent most of my life in the Denver metro area so that is the most obvious. But another town that holds special meaning for me is Glenwood Springs, CO.

When I was a sophomore in high school  my family and I passed through Glenwood on vacation. I loved it – the old buildings, the mountains, the river – it just seemed like such a nice place to live. A couple of years later, I got the opportunity to live in Glenwood when I started attending photo school at Colorado Mountain College.

At CMC (sometimes referred to as See Me Ski), I learned the techniques, history and craft of photography. Being isolated in the hills above town, provided a perfect environment for learning. There really wasn’t much to do besides sleep, eat, go to class,  and work in the labs. This was back in the days when labs housed enlargers and chemicals rather than Macs and inkjet printers. But I did have a couple of classes using some new software called Photoshop.

During my first week at CMC, I did manage to find time to meet Julie. Who, as it turned out, was from right there in Glenwood. About three years later, we were married at a large house that overlooks the CMC campus and Mount Sopris. Julie’s Dad still lives in Glenwood, and we try to get up there every chance we get.

Below are some pictures from a trip to Glenwood back in the fall of 2007. These were all shot over the course of a couple overcast days on black and white film using a yellow filter. The yellow filter rendered the autumn leaves a very light tone and provided great contrast with the dark tree limbs.

I’m not sure if these are great pictures, but I like them, and they remind me of “home”.

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

Tech Info:
Nikon F3
Nikon 35mm f2.8
Yellow Filter
Ilford HP5 Plus
DR5 Process (B&W Slide)

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

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Wray, CO | A Portrait And A House | Goodbye Papa Paul

On Christmas day, we lost my Grandfather (My Dad’s Dad). He was over 90 years old, and his health had been rapidly declining, so it was not a surprise, but it was a shock. We waited until the following day to tell the kids, and then we had to get everything ready for the funeral. I printed up an 11X14 of this portrait of Grandpa Paul with Molly, to stand along side the casket at the funeral. The final print turned out really nice, and added a happy element to an otherwise sad occasion.

Along with this picture, Julie and my sister-in-law, Jess, put together a large presentation board showing a wide variety of pictures from Grandpa’s life. There were photos going all the way back to 1942. Seeing all of these images together really drove home the importance of protecting your memories. I know there are a lot of people out there who have pretty much stopped carrying a camera and are just using their cell phone cameras instead. If this sounds like you, please make a conscious effort to get those pictures off of your phone and on to your computer, and then make a conscious effort to make some prints.

To go along with the portrait above, I wanted to show some interesting pictures that I shot this summer. The three images below were shot in Grandpa Paul’s home town of Wray, CO. The house shown in the photos was actually my Grandpa Paul and Grandma Nondice’s first home. They moved in shortly after Grandpa returned home from World War II. As you can tell from the pictures, they very well could have been the last people to live in this house. It is almost completely overgrown with trees and bushes. This is probably an appropriate metaphor to end this post – my Grandfather’s house, being reclaimed by the Earth.

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

Tech Info:

Portrait
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
f4 | 1/90 | ISO 200

House
Fuji GS645S
60mm f4 Fixed Fujinon Lens
Fuji Acros 100
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X Developer
Epson 4870 Scanner + VueScan + Adobe Camera Raw

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Arvada, CO | Social Media | Jason Noffsinger’s New Tumblr Feed

Hey out there on the internets. I just wanted to call your attention to my new Tumblr feed. If you look over there >>> in the right hand widget bar, you should be seeing some pictures or quotes that I have added.

If all goes as planned, these will be the most recent additions to the feed. I will try to put up at least one fresh post every day. They will be short and sweet – One picture, or one quote, or one random thought. Most of the time, the posts will be photography related. I am calling the feed Jason Noffsinger Photography/Life, and that pretty well sums up my intent. I just want to give you a little more insight into my life and my work without the limitations of Twitter or Facebook but also without all the analysis, editing and SEO considerations that go into a full blog post.

“So what exactly is a Tumblr feed?” you may be asking. Well, Tumblr is a blogging platform that has been stripped down to the bare essentials. It fits somewhere between Twitter and a traditional blog (like this one). It doesn’t limit me to 140 characters, but it is super easy to put up pictures or quotes or random thoughts – especially from my new favorite toy – the Ipod Touch 4G. I love this little thing! I can check email, maintain my calendar, surf the web, make Tumblr posts, and look at Flickr from anywhere that has wi-fi, all with no $90 per month data plan.

And my favorite feature… the horrible little 0.7 megapixel digital camera. I can use it to make quick snapshots (like the one at the beginning of this post) and then run the pictures through one of the many post-processing apps on the Apple App store, before uploading to Flickr, or Facebook, or Tumblr. At last count, I already have eight of these imaging apps loaded. Of course, with the terrible camera, the image quality is not good at all, but the pictures are sure fun to play with. So I am using the iPod Touch as my FunkyCam – for fun little pictures that I can snap while I’m out and about.

So take a minute, click on over to www.jasonnoffsinger.tumblr.com and have a look. I really like the simple design that I put together for this project. Hopefully, I can create some worthwhile content to go along with it.

Let me know what you think.

Tech Info:
Ipod Touch 4G
Instagram App for tonality and sloppy border
MonoPhix Lite App for B&W conversion
Filterstorm App for adding metadata and uploading

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