Category Archives: Because photography is our passion

Photoshop and the past.

I recently worked on a photo restoration project that had a unique impact on me. You will see both the before and after pictures for reference.

The original was a tightly curled up and yellowing,  black & white darkroom print.  In order to get it in the computer, it had to be unrolled and gently crushed on the scanner to get it as flat as possible.  I am still surprised that the print did not break.

On a side note, I think we could have dipped the print in water for a while and it would have taken the curl out with minimal damage to the print. I wasn’t about to take that responsibility with their memories.

I have been using a 12×12 Wacom Tablet, with its pen tool, for a couple of years now . It’s completely replaced the regular mouse. I would buy one for each computer in my office if I could. When I get a new MacBook Pro., it’s getting it’s own tablet.  It was really instrumental in getting the job done fast and clean.

Here is now the reason for this post.

I got know a lot of the faces in the picture because so many of them had to be reconstructed. There were noses missing, ears missing, arms missing, etc. It’s ironic that these men had to give of themselves to each other in this project. I had to borrow arms and cheeks and noses to repair the damaged. I was fortunate that I did not have to borrow any eyes. There was usually one good eye that I could duplicate and fill the gap.  Eyes are too unique.

Apart from the Photoshop, the photograph was fascinating. Shot cleanly, everyone was in focus. But like every group photo, not everyone was happy to be there.

Time for me to get overly analytical.

Even the guys who seemed uninterested were interesting. One can get a idea of their sense of direction for that day.  Maybe there was a outing to get to, later that day ,or  someother thing that was distracting on the minds of some of them.  The human face evolves through the generations and I saw faces that I would have once seen in an old western. The smirks, the bravado and  even the stern looks were captivating.

The group shot becomes so important because it can tell a story of one sees him or herself in that group.  We play our perceived roles in the world even when posing for a group shot. This isn’t science, just  my thoughts.

Next time you see a group shot.  After you have looked at yourself and determined if it is a good photo or not,  look at the other people.  What do you see?


Assistants, mules and rockstars.

I enjoy shooting with help. Sometimes all the help I need is someone who enjoys photography and is basically happy to be there.

I also enjoy assisting other photographers on jobs. I have done a few this past year and its fun. The pay isn’t stellar but I learn stuff and its a great change of pace.

When I need help, I get picky.

I had a great assistant for a while. She would say that she was part pack-mule. We carried a ton of stuff on jobs. We tried new things and we grew together. Mostly we had fun. She moved to another state. You can find her at

I have worked with ‘rockstar’ assistants. I say that because on job day they get distracted and go off shooting for themselves, socializing and having a good time. I am left carrying the bag.

But ‘rockstars’ can energize crowds that helps with fun photos.

I think a good assistant, for me,  is someone who is calm under pressure.  A lot of people can shoot good photos and a LOT of people THINK they shoot good photos. I say this only to emphasize that the good assistants are a real small group. They are calm during inevitable equipment breakdowns, take initiative when situations change, are good with people, and mostly great at brainstorming ideas.



Focusing issues…

I have nothing to say. Zac does an awesome job

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Now that those pesky New Year resloutions are out of the way…

To peers and students alike,

This year is going to be awesome.  I have a few suggestions for our photographic resolutions adventures, designed to have artistic growth.

Here is the list. Try every one of these at least once.

1- Shoot at least one roll of FILM this year. Choose color or B/W based on whether you can have it processed locally. No film camera, use a disposable.

2-Shoot for yourself. Plan on everyone thinking you have gone nuts and shoot something that REALLY interests you.

3-BE in more pictures. I realize I am missing from so many memories over the years. It will make you a better portrait shooter, trust me.

4-If you shoot for a living, surprise one of your clients with a FREE shoot. Do this after all your negotiations are done, and all details have been agreed upon and the job is finished.  When it is time to bill them, let them know it was your gift to them.

These will be enough for now.

Most of us  look at blogs for the pictures anyway. So here is one with me in it, taken by a plugin remote trigger on the camera.blog1