Over the last 9 days I had 8 shoots, made 27 collages, a 290 image slideshow. Took 4,393 images. Designed an album, working on another. Designed grad cards. Needless to say it’s been insane. Here is a slightly more detailed breakdown of the last 8 days.
This was a fun day. I have a rule that I try to keep to myself. No matter what my week is like, I make sure I schedule a shoot for me. One that has no expectations, a day for me to just shoot. Try new techniques, re-enforce proper photography techniques, try to train my eyes to see things differently. I got to photograph Sofia. She’s a new model to me, never photographer her before. She is getting into the fitness world and love the beach so a beach shoot seemed like the obvious answer. This shoot should have been super easy, however, our schedules only lined up to where we could shoot at 1pm. A giant turd time to try to take pictures on the beach. The lighting is basically straight down, very harsh light, and then it reflects off the sand and is so bright most people squint. Another issues that made this one harder than it had to be was self inflicted. I forgot to bring the brighter flash and was left with one that had about 1/4th the amount of power. Not ideal at all. This went from what should have been a walk in the park with a beautiful model in a beautiful location, to one where I had to really work. I had to find places where I could overpower the sun. Find places where she wouldn’t squint so much. It wasn’t easy and a lot of the images aren’t where I would want them to be, but I still managed to get some really good shots.
Rolling into May and I am still grinding things out day by day. Finishing up the collages for BCS and running errands all over the place. Driving home through GT bray I saw the Hurricane flags out at the softball field. I decided I needed a break from the computer so I slid over to the fields. Manatee was playing Palmetto in a district playoff game. Even though I have been out of high school for quite awhile now, when Manatee plays Palmetto or SE or BR that switch turns on and I want MHS to not only win but absolutely destroy them sadly that didn’t happen. Palmetto lead wire to wire and it wasn’t ever really close. I did try a few double exposures. I think it has the possibility to be some of the coolest images I may ever take, I need a lot more practice with them though. Palmetto also had a player in Right field who was all out, all the time. She dove for the ball on numerous occasions. People who play the game all out, gas pedal through the floor. I will respect you no matter the uniform. She gave me ample opportunities to get some great shots, which I did. I made a bet towards the end of the game if Manatee hit a homerun I would do cartwheels all the way around the bases. With one out in the bottom of the last inning one of the MHS girls hit the ball maybe 3 feet short from going out. I was bummed that I wasn’t going to do cartwheels.
The running errands to finish the 22 collages for BCS plus a few extra for Julie was taking up most of my day. As I got my facebook fix I saw a post about BCS playing in a district title game for softball. BCS’s softball team is one of the most entertaining teams to photograph. They are a lot of fun with some characters for sure. I must also admit I love their games because they are still played during daylight hours. More daylight gives me more chances to play with the light. I must also admit that St Stephens has some really nice facilities from a photography perspective. I CANNOT wait for BCS to have their new complex! Sadly BCS didn’t win this game. They started off slow, gave up a few untimely hits, they made a run in the 5th to bring it back but then again gave away a few more runs. They play later this week for a chance to have a re-match.
This was my crazy super long day. I had a wedding, which was fun for it to be on a Friday. Fun fact my last 3 weddings were all not on Saturdays. A Sunday, a Wednesday, and a Friday. Before I made my way to the wedding I had to drop off my last collage. Friday night was BCS’s Varsity sports banquet. For the last I don’t know how many years, at least 7, I have been given the task of creating a collage for each senior athlete. It is a freaking task. This year I had to make 22. One year I had to make 41. I love this job more than almost any of them though. BCS does a great job of displaying these collages all throughout the lobby of the auditorium. I was really bummed that I wasn’t going to make it to the banquet. It’s always nice to see the kids reactions to the images. I think when everyone see’s all these collages printed they realize how much work goes into them. This year there was another twist. The athletic director wanted me to make a slideshow that showed off all of the teams throughout the year, not just the seniors. I put together a 287 image 6 minute slideshow. Apparently it went over pretty well. After I dropped the last collage off, I headed up to St Pete to photograph the wedding of Ryan and Erin. Nikki and I met up at the venue to drop all the equipment off and then headed to the hotel where everyone was getting ready. The bridal party at this wedding was hysterical and I fit right in with them. I knew the groom and a few of the groomsmen from high school which always makes this more enjoyable. Nik and I headed back to the venue but not before a quick stop at the chick fil a where she brought up this hilarious video about this ladies love for said restaurant. The venue wasn’t your typical venue as I think it is also a research facility for marine life. The ceremony spot was the backyard overlooking the inter coastal which was beautiful. It was so nice to be able to do all of the formal images before the ceremony. Makes everything less stressful after the ceremony. Ryan and Erin were great to work with. They took directions well and gave me plenty of time to be creative and get some fun shots. The end of the night ended not exactly the way I wanted. During the cupid shuffle I was next to a former Manatee Sugarcane and was nailing some high kicks. I told her I knew she still had them in here, and she did, the dance floor however happened to be slightly wet and she hit the deck hard. I felt so bad. Sorry Kristina! 😦
May (the) 4th (be with you)
I had planned on the 4th being a lazy day at house just working on finishing up some photoshop work. That stuff never seems to be done. I suppose that is a good thing. My friend Abbi called me and asked if I wanted to shoot. Against considering this is also my hobby sometimes it is hard for me to say no. Plus I had been bugging her to shoot for awhile. We shot at my house which I have photographed maybe 100 times. It is another great opportunity to test my eyes to look at things differently. The house only has so many places that are worth photographer. Recently I found out that this little hallway/foyer area makes for some great images. I have used this pocket door before too, but never so tightly closed. I also decided that I would go with a really really tight crop in post production. The image didn’t come out exactly how it was planned in my mind but I still really like it.
The 5th was a fun one. As you may or may not know, I am the official photographer for the Manatee/Sarasota County Debutantes. The last one I had to photograph on a different date as she was gone on college visits for both of the pre arranged dates. I got to go to her grandma’s house to photograph her. I always love to see the looks on peoples faces when I bring in an entire photo studio to their living room. I also like to see how they react when they see how much stuff comes out of my car. I had to alter the lighting set up a little which I wasn’t excited about. My dumb self had left a soft box at the wedding and didn’t have it back yet. I needed it. I wanted to keep everything exactly the same for consistency sake. That being said, I am a professional and one of the things I pride myself on is lighting. The other is being able to adapt and over come whatever obstacle may be put in front of me, even if it is self inflicted. The normal lighting set up I use for the debs has 4 lights and a reflector. More technically the main and fill light are on the same side with a reflector on the shadow side. The soft box I left at the wedding would have gone on the main light. You don’t have to be a photographer to guess that the main light might be important. After pounding my head against the wall and talking to my buddy Jim and Maria, also photographers. I decided my best bet was to use 3 lights. Combine the main and fill into one massive soft box. Thankfully it worked out well. Miss Anna Shelby and her family made the shoot so easy and a lot of fun. Those are always such a bonus about my job, meeting such nice people. May 6th:
Another day another Abby. I’ve been lucky enough to photograph Abby a few times. I did her deb portraits, her senior portraits, and some life style portraits for her. She was in town from college for a few days so we decided it was time to update some images for her. We made it over to Ringling which is free on Monday. Every Monday. Take advantage of that. Ringling has a rule about off camera flash, basically you aren’t aloud to use it. Off camera flash is kind of my thing. There are exceptions to every rule but 99% of the time if you see a photograph with a flash on their camera taking portraits, they have a lot more to learn. What makes a great image is the light. Shadow too. Getting light to have direction, esp in portraiture is everything. It is what sculpts the face. It is what creates detail. Having off camera flash makes this a lot easier to achieve. When you don’t have that you need to find other ways to manipulate light, or find the natural light that will do the job. It’s possible you just need to know where to look. For the second time in a week I am shooting outside around 1pm. Awful. The gardens at Ringling are gorgeous but damn near impossible to shoot at that time. I managed to get a few good ones in the gazebo. In the corner of the gardens was a bench that was in shade, barely. There was also a lot of either cement or light colored rocks bouncing the light back into her. Making some great light for images. I took advantage of that. The next spot that I knew would have great light is a little hallway in the front of the Ca d’zan. Not only did it have great light I though her outfit matched the scenery pretty well. There are a few tricks to window light but it is almost always a great place to take pictures without a flash. The next spot we went to was the shady side of the Ca d’zan. It was barely in shade. This door/window whatever it is, it has amazing color to it. It is almost always a go to spot for me. However the gem of Ringling is the main museum. It is spectacular. It rivals Abby but I think it comes up just a tad short.
The ending point for this blog post. If you have made it this far, I commend you. This was a dual shoot day. BCS had a district baseball game vs The Falcons and Manatee was hosting its Annual Outstanding Alumni Dinner. The first stop was the baseball game. I was dressed up in a semi formal outfit which looks out of place at a high school baseball game but especially for me. I do love getting dressed up but not when it is near 90 outside. The nice part about this game was again it is during the day time. The sun was behind the batters meaning I could slightly over expose them and get this really clean nice look. Sadly for the panthers they didn’t pull this game out.
Capping off the evening and this blog post was the MHS Outstanding Alumni Dinner. It is always a pleasure to get to give back to the alma mater. Everyone knows I bleed Manatee Hurricanes. What might not be known is how much love so many other people have for the school. The MHS Alumni association has over 10,000 registered members. It truly is a family. When I walk into that room I see people I have worked with, people who taught me, people I look up to from not only a personal level but a business level as well. The knowledge in the room is immense. This years recipient was from the class of 1955! Mr. Andrew Economos. He is a brilliant mind. He worked for NASA, NBC, and RCA creating computer technology. He left those companies to start his own. It expanded into 24 counties and became the biggest company of its kind in the world. One downside to having the camera in my hands is sometimes I am disconnected from the moment. I am so focused on my job that I miss details other in the room will pick up on. I wish I would have put the camera down and listen to his speak more than I did. When Mr Vita was reading off Mr. Economos’ bio it seemed as it was never going to end. He must be on 7 or 8 different boards for either science or technology. It was inspiring to hear him speak. (Left photo. Coach Yusif Shakir, Andrew Economos, Bowen Summer)
I have to say I am one lucky photographer to have so much going on. Next week doesn’t slow down very much and I couldn’t be more excited to see what it has in store. If you enjoyed this blog about my photography experiences this week give the blog a follow. Also feel free to follow me on all the social media.
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