Category Archives: Portrait

Best Laid Plans

best laid

This is some sort of large machine.

Doing a little work for a racing team, and came up with this for their newsletter. I like it a lot, but I think it’s much too dramatic for the purpose it was meant to serve. Could a brooding black and white really work on a white and navy newsletter? I’m going to try, but I’m not holding out much hope.

Nikon D200, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Minolta strobe triggered by remote.


Filed under Digital, Portrait

In the Studio (Part II/Sunday Stills)

yellow pete 2

More happy accidents.

I’m still not sure how exactly this happened. I was shooting in the studio triggering a bounced flash remotely, and apparently I tried this one with no flash. The auto white balance (which was doing a nice job with the mixed strobe/fluorescent lighting) apparently fell on its face on this one, producing what turned out to be a very interesting yellow cast.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8.


Filed under Digital, Portrait

In the Studio (Part I)

pete in the studio bigger

This is one of the many places I’ve been instead of here.

Starting to combine my interests in music and photography.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Minolta strobe triggered remotely bounced off the ceiling.


Filed under Digital, Portrait

New Nashville (still on hiatus . . .)


Photography and music are sort of related.

It’s true. Just look at Zack Arias. That guy can shoot as well as anyone on the planet, and the music industry is his thing (and really, his site is fantastic. Great photographers who share their knowledge are the greatest of all). I have been a musician for a lot longer than I’ve been a photographer, and I would love to unite the two.

This shoot would have worked a lot better with better equipment, but there are always resourceful ways to cheat. Things with lots of shiny surfaces (like very chromey guitars) don’t usually do well with hard light, but I still don’t have any umbrellas (because. . . I haven’t ordered them yet). So what do you do? Bounce one big flash cranked to mega power off of the (fortunately white) ceiling! Part of me feels like this would look better with a pure white background, but part of me likes the tones and the textures of the gray. I could have made it white (well, if i could have dug up a few more batteries), but I didn’t, partially because this shoot ended abruptly when my megaflashzilla decided that was as far as it wanted to go on my sort-of-mostly-charged AAs.

While the title and the instrument suggest country music, I can assure you mine is not of that persuasion. I just love Telecasters- something about that lipstick pickup in the bridge makes the sweetest tones. If you’ve played one, you know what I mean (though you may disagree. That’s why there are Les Paul players). Just like having a camera that’s more than you really need can make the experience sweeter, my guitar playing is not nearly up to the task of needing an American Standard Telecaster. But it plays like magic, and that’s fun. In a way, the Teelcaster is the K1000 of the guitar world (yeah, I have one of these too). It hasn’t changed much since a long time ago, it has an almost comical lack of features by modern standards, and it’s still awesome. Except you can still buy a new Telecaster.

For the record, I am still on hiatus . . .

Nikon D200, 50mm f/1.8 (but not at f/1.8 of course), one Minolta strobe on full power bounced off of my white ceiling, one perfect guitar.


Filed under Digital, Portrait



What wlil become of you?

I need to figure out what I’m doing with all of this film by making a longwinded rant about it. Though I am not ready to do that, I did get bored and set this up under my desk.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, optical slave triggered ghetto Quantaray high just left of camera.

1 Comment

Filed under Digital, Portrait



It isn’t often that I add a new category to my “categories.”

One of my goals (and the way I’m justifying the expense of digital gear) for this year is to become a confident portrait photographer. I don’t need to be Zack Arias (whose work is fantastic), but I want to feel like I know what I’m doing. Fortunately, I have roommates to drag to my bedroom-turned-studio for impromptu self-education sessions. I am fairly happy with the light here considering my constraints (one undiffused light, limited space and backdrop options),  and I know where I need to work. More of these may appear from time to time.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, strobe that was free.


Filed under Black and White, Digital, Portrait

Golden Dawn


Around and around and around again.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory.

The exciting news is not that the camera body got here today (which was expected), but that the lens and CompactFlash card arrived a full four days earlier than UPS predicted. That was definitely a nice Friday surprise.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, off-camera flash (“Promatic FT700”) medium-high right with printer-paper-and-electrical tape barndoor assembly triggered optically with the onboard flash.


Filed under Color, Digital, Portrait


Photography is a learning experience, but learning experiences are less fun than they’re made out to be.

I was at the Met over Thanksgiving (also mentioned here, although the image is from an entirely different Eastern Seaboard city) and made what I thought was a terrible mistake. I had my Ricoh with me, which is an all manual 35mm camera. I had just received some Kodak Plus-X film in the mail, and had brought a mix of that and Agfa APX400, my go-to black and white film at the time. The Plus-X, at ISO 125, would be perfect for sunny outdoor work, while the 400 ISO APX400 would be great in the museum. I originally loaded up a roll of the Plus-X anticipating a walk to the museum, but when we parked underneath, I pulled it back out and loaded a roll of APX400, its higher speed better matched to the presumably dark indoor lighting. As I worked my way through the musem, I was glad I had switched to the APX, because I was barely able to get shots at 1/30 f/2 in most situations, which is barely handholdable and has a very shallow depth of field. At about exposure nineteen on a roll of twenty-four, I had a startling realiztation: I had left the camera set to 125. I had shot nearly an entire roll of APX400 at Plus-X speed, overexposing the film by one and two-thirds stops (this also explained why the film had seemed so slow in realtively good light). There was nothing I could do but finish the roll at 125 and see if I could salvage it later.

I figured the roll was ruined (if you shoot digital, try setting your exposure compensation to +1 2/3 and see what happens to your images), but a little research revealed that many APX400 users shoot at ISO 200 under normal conditions. I let the film sit until last night, and then, in a flurry of photographic productivity, I developed it. Though many of the images themselves are unimpressive (and many are blurred from the slow shutter speeds I was forced to use), the smoothness of the tones and the  shadow detail are amazing. From now on, I will be shooting my APX400 at ISO 200 except when I need the speed of 400 or 800.

Agfa APX400 accidentally pulled to 125, Clayton F76+ 1+19, Ricoh KR-5 Super II as film holder and light meter.

1 Comment

Filed under Black and White, Film, Portrait, Self-Developed



Photography is serendipitous.

Holga photography (and “toy camera” photography in general) is often described as a serendipitous art form. While this is certainly true, I don’t quite think it’s fair. All photography is serendipitous, at least for those of us inexperienced enough to suffer the inconvenience of not being able to transfer images perfectly from our mind’s eye to our chosen medium (a 35mm negative, a digital sensor, a piece of 8×10 print paper in a pinhole camera).

Pentax digital system, perhaps a remote strobe, and some headlights contributing to my lighting.


Filed under Abstract, Digital, Portrait



Manipulation may be older than you think.

What a bizarre effect. Two images superimposed onto each other. And the tones- that is a strange-looking black and white image. There are two things that are going on here that are more than meets the eye:

1. Double exposure. The roommate and the glass look like two different pictures. In fact, they are. Two exposures are made on the same negative (with some careful exposure adjustements, since the sum of the light from each expoaure must fall within the desired range), and there it is. In some cases, one doesn’t fully understand the workings of one’s brand-new twenty-eight year old camera, and the exposures only half overlap. The result? This image. No Photoshop trickery, just old-fashioned analog mind games (and user error. Come on, the camera’s older than I am).

2. Cross process. This image (this one too) were fake cross processes, designed to digitally replicate processing slide film in color negative chemicals or vice-versa. While this is the most common cross process, developing color film in black and white chemistry counts too. The results are generally unique (to say the least).

There you haeve it. All sorts of tricks played with film chemistry that have been available for much longer than I’ve been living. Some people have a visceral reaction to “Photoshopping” of digital images, but fail to realize that many of the techniques reflect the sort of manipulations that photographers have been up to since, well, a long time ago.

This is a long one, so bear with me: Pentax K1000 body on its maiden roll (in my hands, at least), Fuji Superia X-tra 400 (color negative film), Clayton F76+ black and white developer. Alright, so not as long as I thought.


Filed under Black and White, Color, Film, Portrait, Self-Developed, Uncategorized