Tag Archives: film

Wray, CO | The Other Half | Colorado’s Eastern Plains

The mountains of Colorado get a lot of love from photographers (for good reason). This is a really beautiful state, and the first subject that generally leaps to mind, is the mountains.

Having grown up spending a lot of time out on the Eastern Plains with relatives, when I think about cool places to shoot, this other half of the state really calls to me. Out on the plains, agriculture and open spaces rule. This gives photo opportunities that we rarely come across in the city. In the small towns, the pace of change is slower. Old buildings stick around longer. And history feels real, not like something that was made-up for the tourists.

Below I have a few pictures that were shot on a trip to Wray, CO (my Dad’s home town) last summer. They are all pictures of buildings, some in use, some abandoned. The images were all shot on a quick walk around town early on a Sunday morning. The streets were pretty much empty, so I had the place to myself. I was really happy with the textures and forms that I got with these pictures, also the detail visible in both highlights and shadows is really amazing – gotta love that black and white film.

Hopefully you will like these pictures, and if you are thinking about a quick photo trip, I would highly recommend taking a look at a map of Colorado, picking a small town out on the plains and pointing your car in that direction. You never know what beautiful pictures you will find along the state highways, county roads and small town streets.

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




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

Posted in Personal Work | Also tagged , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Denver, CO | Family + Senior Combination Session | Three Sisters

Below are a bunch a pictures from my recent Family Portrait / Senior Portrait combination session. I really like the variety of images we were able to get in just a short time. McWilliams Park in Denver provided a bunch of different settings and backgrounds, and I kept switching between Camera/Lens/Film(digital) combinations to keep the look changing.

As you look over the pictures below, the soft, pastel looking color images were shot on color film, the warmer more contrasty color images were shot on digital, and the black and white images were shot on black and white film. Film processing and scanning was done by the amazing Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood.

I am really happy with how all of these images turned out, but as usual, my favorites are the images shot on black and white film. The combination of Fuji Neopan 400 and the Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens constantly blows me away.

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

Tech Info:

B&W Film
Nikon F100
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA Fuji Neopan 400)
Richard Photo Lab

Color Film
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Fuji Pro 400H
Richard Photo Lab

Digital
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw

Posted in Portrait, Seniors | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Westminster, CO | Documentary Portraits | Molly & Balloon

With all of the below zero weather this week, I was really longing for some summer sun. I went back through some of my photo shoots from last summer and pulled these documentary portraits of Molly. They were shot during a concert at the Westminster Promenade in Westminster, CO. Molly was having a great time playing with the black balloons while staying in the shade of the Westminster High School tent.

The dark tent overhead, with light streaming in from all sides, made for some beautiful light; and the dark balloons next to Molly’s light skin created really interesting contrast in the images.

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

Tech Info:
Natural Light

Nikon F3
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Ilford HP5 Plus
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X (9min @ 20C)

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

Posted in Portrait | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

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

Posted in Documenting Your Family | Also tagged , , , , , , , Leave a comment

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

Posted in Personal Work | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

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

Posted in Personal Work | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Brighton, CO | Documentary Portraits | Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas!

Here are a couple of documentary portraits from a couple years ago on Christmas day. I like the fact that they include the Christmas tree, but it is subtle and out of focus in the background. I also really like the tones and grain visible in these film scans. As usual, these were shot with available light, in the natural surroundings. Just a couple of quick snaps after the kids had opened their presents. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get great shots. Simply pay attention to the light, the situation, and expressions and be ready with the camera. That is the fun, and the challenge, of documentary portraiture.

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

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

Posted in Portrait | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Boulder, CO | Chautauqua Wedding | Top Knots Photo Contest

I just entered some of my images from Kate and Brandon’s June wedding to the Photo District News Top Knots photography contest. This is one of the biggest contests of the year for wedding photographers. There is some really great work on display, but most of it is more traditional “posed” wedding photography, so I’m not sure how my documentary approach will go over.

The main website can be found here . If you would like to vote for one of my pictures in the “People’s Choice” category, you can click here.

Below are the pictures I submitted for consideration. The four pictures of the Bridal Party walking around in the rain were submitted as a series. I chose these because I felt they really held together well as a series, and they also do a good job of illustrating the documentary style that I use when shooting a wedding. In the portrait category, I chose this particular portrait because I think it is really pretty with nice soft window light, rich dark tones and bright highlights that retain the details in the dress. I also chose this picture because it is somewhat unusual, being a straight profile of Kate’s face.

Hopefully, the judges will find these images interesting, if a little different than the usual wedding photography fare. Let me know what you think of them.

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

Tech Info:
Nikon F100
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA – Fuji Neopan 400)
Processing and scanning by Richard Photo Lab

Posted in Wedding | Also tagged , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Documenting Your Family | Photo Tips | Tell An Authentic Story

With the advent of digital scrapbooking, and inexpensive one-off book printing, it is more important than ever to tell a story with your pictures. Rather than thinking about your final product being a print, think about a series of prints or a layout in your very own coffee table book.

When you work in this way, not every picture needs to be able to stand on it’s own. If fact, they probably shouldn’t. Some pictures will just be there to reveal a detail or give a broader view. Some pictures may even be presented simply to give a visual break. The trick is to remember to shoot these “supporting” images as you are out shooting your more traditional portraits and snapshots.

Also, when you are working in a story format, not every picture needs to be technically perfect. You are free to do some experimentation – dramatic lighting, motion blur, soft focus, interesting angles, etc. These elements can all bring depth to a photo story, as long as you already have a few “safe” shots in the bag.

So, when you are out shooting pictures of your family, try to think about how the pictures you are making will work together as a story and whether that story authentically captures the situation.  Remember to experiment with different techniques and grab some of the supporting shots that will add the flavor to your story.

This weekend, get out with your family and try to find a story to tell. I’ll be curious to find out if you found this information useful.


Below is a series of images of Emma that I shot in Glenwood Springs, CO. You will notice that almost all of these are of the more “experimental” variety (my favorite variety) – We have a cropped portrait with dramatic light and motion blur; another portrait shot from a low angle; an “action” shot that focus on leaves and grass rather than Emma walking; a detail picture that doesn’t even include Emma; and a picture of her climbing on the playground, completely unaware of the camera.

Of course, there are a few elements that tie these disparate images together – Emma’s clothes and hair remain consistent, and the pictures were all shot on the same camera/lens/film combination. But I feel like the pictures are really unified and given a purpose by the final, traditional, portrait. It’s clean and sharp and she has a great expression on her face.

You can click on the images to see them larger and read a caption. Enjoy…

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

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

Posted in Documenting Your Family | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Arvada, CO | Documentary Portraits | Real Baby, Really Cute

It’s hard to shoot a picture of a baby that isn’t really cute, but you don’t see a lot of portraits of babies that are really real. They are usually laying on a white background, or sitting on a blanket covered with roses, or popping out of a cabbage patch in a costume. While those types of pictures are fun, they don’t really tell you much about that baby’s personality, or what makes them different.

Below, I have some documentary style baby portraits. These pictures were made in a real location, with natural light and authentic everyday baby clothes. Through the pictures, you can relate to this little one’s environment and understand how  she interacts with the world. They give you a good sense of how old she is, and where she is in her development. She is alert and aware – curious about the camera. She is able to pull herself up to a sitting position. She is very tactile, using her fingers to better understand her surroundings. This is all important information that can be effectively communicated through documentary portraits. And of course, you also get to see all the “cuteness” visible in a more traditional studio portrait – the big eyes, the peach fuzz hair, the chubby cheeks. I think it is the combination of all these elements that makes for interesting pictures.

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

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

Posted in Portrait | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment