In location shooting, photography, technique on November 16, 2010 at 11:44 am
Artist, David Nyquist, Oakland, CA, November 13, 2010
It’s a fun, if intimidating process, to set up a portrait of a fellow artist. It might be that a corporate executive wouldn’t be interested in the process or subtleties of photography, but a painter is very likely to appreciate the power of light and composition. I’ve been spending time with Arnold Newman’s portfolio this week and it’s always a source of inspiration. He’s the Godfather of editorial portraiture and photographed a number of notable artists, including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams (talk about intimidating artists for a photographer to shoot!)
[more, and a "behind the scenes" shot after the jump..] Read the rest of this entry »
In digital art, location shooting, photography on October 12, 2010 at 11:41 am
Oakland, CA Alumni, for Teach For America’s One Way Magazine
On a recent shoot, I had the joy to meet a number of Teach for America alumni. It was a group photo for the current issue of the organization’s alumni magazine and a fun project. The subjects are people who’ve had a unique and positive impact on Oakland’s education system. I worked with the New York-based art team to select a location that best communicated themes from the written piece, “A Slow Steady Revolution.” I used student desks to illustrate the work of our subjects and a roof-top perspective to portray Oakland’s “urban-ness” in a bright, contemporary rendering the city doesn’t often receive.
[more after the jump..] Read the rest of this entry »
In equipment, location shooting, photography on October 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm
The Hasselblad H4D-40, Medium Format DSLR, Part 2
My first encounter with medium format digital photography was during an MFA class, “Advanced Digital Capture”. The camera, a Hasselblad H1 with a Leaf digital back, was a complex machine, capable of creating big image files, but only with patience, practice, and a bit of professional training. The back operated tethered to a computer and operation was most comfortably a two-person job.
Since those days, much has changed in the digital medium format world. Hasselblad shook up the industry in September 2006 by closing out Leaf and everyone else with the All-Proprietary H3D. Partnered with the scanner & digital back company Imacon, Hasselblad began creating cameras that operated as a unified machine: lens, back, and camera body. The formula has been refined with the H3DII and now the H4D line of camera/back combinations and the current camera is a joy to use, in the studio or on location.
[more after the jump..] Read the rest of this entry »
In location shooting, photography on September 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Rev. Harry Williams, Minister at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA
and author of Straight Outta East Oakland.
Rev. Harry is a unique figure in the infamous neighborhood of East Oakland. He’s a saint, and has made a profession of working to improve lives in the impoverished community. He’s a minister at Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church and has written a compelling tale of life and hope in Deep East Oakland. I really enjoyed meeting him and collaborating for these images. The first shot, especially, is one that captures both the roughness and spirituality that run throughout the community. I think successful life here places great need on a firm foundation.
[one more image after the jump..] Read the rest of this entry »
In equipment, location shooting, photography on August 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm
It would be fair to consider this beast of a digital camera most at home in a photography studio, and perhaps not a natural choice for an editorial-style location portrait shoot. As primarily a location shooter, though, I wanted to run a test in the vain of my usual work. What is it like in the field? Are the resulting files of sufficiently higher quality to justify the expense over a 35mm system? Is it more complicated or difficult to use than my usual Nikon D3? I’m hoping this entry might be of use to people with similar questions. It was certainly an interesting experience for me!
First, the Hasselblad is a bigger, heavier camera than the D3 (which is saying something). It’s not taller or wider, but certainly feels bigger. Its lenses are huge, smooth metal tubes with clean, minimalist controls and markings. It’s a hefty, robust camera, not something that feels frail or out of place in the field. Ergonomically, it’s a joy to use, especially once you get used to a few traits unique to Hasselblad, like its purely electronic interface and its simplified, computer-like menu system.
THIS ENTRY – along with the rest of my blog – HAS MOVED TO A NEW HOME, PHOTO ARTS MONTHLY. It’s bigger a better, and definitely worth a visit.
YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY HERE:
In location shooting, photography on August 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm
Rudy de Vos, Music Director at Christ Our Light Cathedral, Oakland CA
A joy of photography is the people you meet. Rudy is an inspiring musician working for Oakland’s beautiful new Cathedral on the salty shores of Lake Merritt. He’s an eloquent master of the organ, and a soft-spoken man with an ambitious vision for the artistic future of our city. He is new to his role, but is certain to be an influential figure in Oakland and in the greater Catholic Church.
Says Rudy: “Beauty is for everyone, regardless of social standing or level of education. I always remind myself of the quote of the composer Franz Liszt: ‘The artist should not step upon the platform as the accused would appear before his judges, but as a true witness of beauty.’”
Photographed in Oakland, August 11, 2010,
Equipment used: Hasselblad H3DII-31, 80mm f2.8 and 28mm f4 HCD lenses Read the rest of this entry »
In digital art, location shooting, photography, technique, the creative process on February 26, 2010 at 5:37 am
I recently had another chance to shoot with Kelly Armstrong, University of Arkansas football player and NFL hopeful. I’d always wanted to incorporate flames into a portrait and had a blast working on this one. We set up for the first shoot, without flames, on Alameda’s abandoned military base. The open space and runway was intended to give the shot the feel of travel or change, which doesn’t really read like I’d like. None the less, once giant fireballs are on the set, it’s important to pick a relatively remote and non-flammable location. Read the rest of this entry »
In equipment, location shooting, photography on December 17, 2009 at 5:17 am
A capture from a recent shoot in Oakland. Laurie & Ziggy were heroic, running up and down the steepest part of the street for 45 minutes… Also, a streamlined 1-head White Lighting kit saved the day (the “big pack” is in the shop with a fried sync plug). The single light and relatively dinky umbrella make for pretty unsophisticated lighting, but work well to give this image a heavy dose of dramatic contrast. Also, using a low-powered monolight made for an easy balance with the sky exposure. This was my first strobe-lit shot I can remember shot at higher than ISO 200…
In equipment, location shooting, photography on October 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm
Well, regular-gas-powered location work anyway, but what kind of headline is that? I recently chucked our old battery packs in favor of a smooth-running Honda and life on location has never been better! I’ve enjoyed the added power, unlimited strobe pops, and even modeling lights (a rare luxury away from AC power).
The current generation of Honda inverter generators, including this “EU 2000i,” are smooth and quiet and put out power fit for delicate photo gear. It’s a little like having a 4-stroke lawnmower in the background, Read the rest of this entry »