Saturday, December 24, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Princess Carolina was radiant in this year's costume provided by our next door neighbor, Krista Ledman.
We spent the evening with friends chasing our kids from house to house as they filled up on candy i'll struggle to not eat for the next month or so.
Happy Halloween everyone!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Just a millisecond later and i would have gotten his foot on the ball. I tried several times, but just couldn't time it right. Either the ball was in the frame or it wasn't.
If there is such a thing as perfect weather in Houston, today was the day. The cold snap had killed all the mosquitoes that had hatched after a recent rain and the sun was bright, crisp and warm.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
For those of you that don't know, Carol and I have now been married for over 10 years. Our anniversary was September 29th, but it was the weekend of September 10th that we spent celebrating in San Francisco. It was a magical time.
Special thanks to Taggart for making it all possible.
I know it's a bit late, but no one ever reads this anyway - do they?
One of the cool things about having two kids that can talk to one another is that, every now and then, they fall (maybe stumble is a better word) into a real honest-to-god conversation. One our way to Needville this weekend and question emerged from the back seat from a game of angrybird vs. bunnybun: "Can God die and then come back to life?"
Adolfo took charge: Well, I heard about this when I was a baby, but i'm really not too sure about it. I mean, he WAS nailed to his own cross, so ....
So the question was posed to the adults in the front seat.
Daddy: Well, as Catholics, yes, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
Momma: That's what we celebrate on Easter.
Adolfo processes and then turns back to Paola to translate:
Adolfo: Okay, so on Easter, it's like God gets a 1-up.
Paola accepts this answer wholeheartedly and the game of bunnybun vs. angrybird continues in the backseat.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
And the second one is something I put together for a conference ("Cultural Distinctions Remediated: Beyond the High, the Low, and the Middle") that I'm helping organize here in Hannover:
Hope you like!
Also, I like coffee too!
Also, I think Paul's app icon is pretty swell too...
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Today, Paola's locks were shorn. After months of her pleading and an attempted self-haircut at pre-K, we relented. Paola now has 'short hair' and she's extremely happy, and as she put it, a little bit cold.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Fell off the wagon for a bit as my last job wound down and my new job ratcheted up. This is the first time i've shot anything in the studio since ... well, i don't actually remember.
I pulled the couch cover off the couch and used it as a background. I used a shoot through umbrella for the key light and put two black cards on either side of Paola. Flash with a tight grid is on the background.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Ok, so The Killers have been around a while, and, while they sandwich neatly between Kings of Leon and Franz Ferdinand, they seem to have a little more going on.
I have heard them, but had not 'listened' to them until i heard Sawdust. I think it has some pretty good stuff. Maybe even very good stuff.
Yeah. Probably pretty good stuff.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Monday, July 04, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Hey everybody, hope you're all doing well. Thought I'd pop in and share a presentation I gave last weekend, for anyone who's interested. It's called "Frame, Sequence, Medium: Comics in Plurimedial and Transnational Perspective," and I gave the talk at the German Association for American Studies conference in Regensburg. Take care.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Traditionally, i make steak for Bob on Fathers Day. In the past few years, i've always been able to reach into the freezer and pull out a couple of steaks from one of Bob's own calfs, but this year I didn't have any. At Taggart's suggestion, i stopped by the Revival Market and picked up a couple of ribeye's. I must say, they were tasty. A bit of a sting to the pocket book (19.95/lb), but worth every chewy, marbley bite.
T-bone, Bob's most recent calf that is currently hanging at the butcher, will be ready in about 3 weeks.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Another busy weekend goes by. Visited the Zhilman's to photograph their newborn baby, Cooper.
Babies are hard to photograph.I came to it thinking, "I'm going to photograph a baby" and forgot all the practical things like their inability to sit up. Duh.
Anyway, made the best of it.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Another weekend has come and i can't seem to get it together. My house is a black hole that sucks all the responsibilities and plans i have out of my brain. Once I walk through the door - *poof* - all I want to do is lay down, stare at the ceiling and drool my life away.
Luckily, every now and then people visit and move me to action. Last weekend my cousin Stephanie came over with her daughter, Ariel, for some Memorial Day BBQ. I photographed her in the studio with a simple setup i've been using lately: beauty dish camera left; hair light high and behind subject camera right; spot on the background directly behind the subject. Speaking of, i think it's time for me to change my background color to blue.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday was the first official day for picking blueberries. Carol made sure we didn't miss it this year. A couple of years ago, we drove way too far to a grove that had already been picked dry earlier that morning by a church bus. This time we chose a grove that was much closer and much larger. The bushes were bursting with blueberries!
Luckily it wasn't so hot that the kids didn't instantly begin to complain about it. We were prolly there half an hour before they began their drumbeat of, "Can we go home now?" or "Can i got sit in the car with the a/c on?" or the best one "Why are we picking blueberries anyway?"
Normally, I would have made some comment about Colin, but since he's taken that away from me, here's just another photo of some old dude making sand castles at the Art Car Parade last weekend.
Speaking of Colin, I miss those of you I don't see so frequently: Paul, Colin, Ryan ... where the hell are you?
On the night that this photo was taken (May 19th), the entire board of my neighborhood civic club resigned with the exception of myself. On this night, opposition to the newly proposed deed restrictions would come to a head at the meeting. I decided that Carol should go to the meeting and I would stay home and watch four kids rather than attend.
I made the best of my evening and got some pretty awesome shots of the kids as they ran around under the lights in the garage.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Today i found out that a co-worker of mine lost his wife to an accident on Friday. He is left with two young daughters. It broke my heart to hear the news, but immediately all i could think about was Carol and how, without her, i would probably fall apart.
Back in the studio again today. I quickly discovered that I had left all my flashes on the last time i was in there so all my batteries were dead. Luckily, I had just charged a second set so - yay me.
Shot Carol with a lot of underused equipment: 80-200mm @ 2.8 handheld, hence the incredible softness of this image; my large diffused beauty dish; and a mostly broken Vivitar bounced off the garage door.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Three weeks ... or maybe four. That's how long it's been since i've photographed. Finding a balance for all the various parts of my life is not as easy as i want it to be. Family, house, job, gym, photography ... i want to do it all - at the same time - with equal intensity.
After spending the last three months ignoring everything else in my life but photography related items, i had to refocus. So last night after kicking the soccer ball in the cul-de-sac and an impromptu game of sweetgum ball war with the kids, i took a handful of sweetgum balls into the garage for a photo shoot.
I started off slowly. I knew i wanted to use the ring light, so i started off with that. The results were nice, but a little flat. I added a grid and that just really opened things up. I probably shot for an hour or so in the garage, which isn't so long when you are proud of the results.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Didn't realize it was the last day of the month till this evening. I spent my evening going through April's crop of photos. It turns out i've had a pretty productive month. I've managed to collect a crop of new equipment and constructed a DIY softbox, ring light and a black straw grid for the sb-600. I've shot two portraits for the Mangum Manor Civic Group and managed to drag the family out for bluebonnet portraits ... just to name a couple of the shots i've done.
I've also managed to resurrect a couple of pieces of equipment that i thought i'd never use again. Turns out this stuff can be fixed! (insert laugh track).
The Bronica is back in business and i couldn't be happier. This is the first shot for the month of May. I worked this shot as slowly as i could and built it in the strobist fashion - in layers.
Used my big beauty dish with a diffuser as the key light and exposed for the out-of-focus Zenza Bronica up on top. Once i had that solid, i added the fill and decided on simply bouncing flash off a poster board. I thought about using a piece of foam core, but the foam wouldn't bend the way the poster board did. I made sure the flash was pretty closet to the board so that my source would be small and would create noticeable specular highlights. Lastly, i set up a flash with a gel on the back wall for separation. It went surprisingly smooth. I almost dropped a flash only once. Once.
Strobist info: Vivitar 285 with 1/4 CTO gel in big beauty dish with diffuser camera right (1/16th power); sb-600 bounced up-close off of a curved white posterboard for fill with specular highlights (1/32nd power); and lastly, a Vivitar 285 with DIY black straw grid with full CTO gel on a white background.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I kinda forced it this evening. I really didn't have time to do this, but i'm glad i did. I had been wanting to set up the beauty dishes and get to know them.
I was supposed to have a friend over today to play around in the garage, but the day got away from me. Had to complete a project that took me longer than i expected; then, i had to head to the other side of town to do yardwork at my aunt's house (again).
We didn't make it back home till nearly 7:00 or so and everyone was just tired. Luckily for me, exhaustion makes for good drama.
Took this in the garage with small beauty dish with Vivitar 285HV, camera right as my key light. I had it set up with the diffuser on it and no grid, which i REALLY wish i had. I always spill onto my background. I had the large beauty dish with my sb-600 behind me and up high as a fill light, bare. I had a Vivitar 285HV with my DIY black straw grid behind behind him and pointed at the wall. Oh, and one other small detail: Had a +2 close up filter on my Sigma 24-70.
Post-processing was as follows: RAW file brought into ACR where i set Recovery to about 50 to get just a bit of my highlights back and set the saturation down to about -30. Not much else. Once open in Photoshop i added a black and white layer and set that to hard mix and dropped the opacity to 50%. then, i added a curves layer and very gently pulled down the highlights and dropped only the deepest blacks.
Lesson learned: I need a flag to stop spilling light everywhere. I'm a mess.
At eight years and three grades into school, Adolfo now truly understands the significance of the weekend. Each Thursday evening he asks me, "Tomorrow is Friday, right?" and at the end of the school day on Friday you can see the relief on his face.
For this reason, Saturdays are especially comfortable. Everyone has a real appreciation for the empty, free-form schedule we keep on that day.
Took this shot while lazing about on the floor with my camera and a reflector. The sun was just rising over the back fence and cutting its way through our back windows. I need to use the sun more often. Unfortunately for the grass, it seems that is all we're gonna get for the foreseeable future.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Mangum Manor Civic Group - Parent's Group Founding Members, a photo by killy on Flickr.
This is the beginning of what i hope will become a regular project for me: photographing the happenings and interesting folks of my neighborhood for the civic club. Photos and their accompanying stories will be placed on our neighborhood's website. What is in it for me? Practice, portfolio building and a lot of local marketing for myself as photographer.
Photo number one is of the founding members of the Mangum Manor Parent's Group, Krista Ledman and Carolina Chavez.
I think what makes me happiest about this portrait is that it doesn't look excessively lit when in fact, this is a three light shot: the first is a 9x12 DIY softbox camera right, up high; the second is a DIY ring light on camera axis for fill; and the third is just behind the tree shooting into Krista's back providing just a bit of rim light on her hair.
Having spent most of the day staring at the portfolio of Dan Winters, I initially went into this thinking of something far more dramatic, but changed my mind once i started setting up in Krista's backyard. I tried to keep in mind that these were the founding members of a mother's group, not a girl punk band called "Mother's Group".
1. SANDBAGS. I had a stand with my Vivitar 285 and my DIY softbox fall over twice. Luckily, no serious damage, but yeah, SANDBAGS.
2. Having the lighting flexible enough for your subjects to move around is a big plus when you have an already uncomfortable model. More dramatic lighting would have forced Krista to stand in a certain way/place and i would have lost her much faster than i eventually did.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Houston Japanese Festival 2001 - Photographer's Paradise, a photo by killy on Flickr.
I managed to accomplish the things i had planned in my head despite a number of roadblocks that popped up.
The family and I made it to Hermann Park for the Japanese Festival. From Cosplayers to Steampunk kids to Lolitas to traditional Japanse garb, there was something for everyone!
There was so much camera firepower out there, it was incredible.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
No photo tonight, but ...
... this past weekend, the family and I braved the steep bayou (note the leaning horizon) along 34th and TC Jester and took some photos among the blooming bluebonnets.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Had a nice talk with Taggart yesterday evening about 'monetizing' my photography; assigning a value to the work that i do. This is not something that I know how to do, so i've got to start working at it.
How one goes about this, i simply do not know. I spend the waking hours of my life trying to hone my technical skills so that when the time comes i can make beautiful pictures easily; so that it's easier for my mind to create something. The purchases i have made recently are all targeted at giving me the ability to achieve a certain 'look'. Being able to achieve a look or to come away with a really beautiful, striking image has always been my goal.
The act of getting paid for that, however, is not something i have ever practiced for. It is nothing i have ever trained for. Quite honestly, the money/photo relationship has always made me pretty queasy. It sets up expectations, delivery of a product, etc ...
Taggart's rather extreme relationship with his camera is one that i'm not sure i want to have. He doesn't use his camera unless someone pays him to use it. Lucky for him, lots of people want him to use it.
I'm sure a balance can be found. Gotta start looking.
Today's picture is taken with a new beauty dish that came in the mail yesterday. I got home late (around 8:30) so it was another one-light shot. Beauty dish with sb-600 @ 1/64th power against a white background.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Been trying to come to terms with grids. I would love to expound on this, but don't have the mental energy today. Perhaps tomorrow. For now, here's a fairly dramatic portrait of Carolina using my DIY black straw grid and a reflective umbrella as a very dim fill.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Howdy folks! I just got back from a swell trip across the pond that featured much wondering and wandering in Istanbul, Athens and Berlin where I conquered many doner kebabs, looted many cafes, and e-plundered many museums.
Istanbul was a dream and remains a dream. For a lover of arches and domes there is no more better place to wander. I think the prayer hall of the Blue Mosque is the most perfect expression of quiet light and space I have ever known. In contrast, walking around the bazaars gave me an incredible lust for gold and a desire to sack cities.
Athens was warm and bright and blue. Colin and Killy will remember how delightful the orange-tree lined streets of the city felt those 15 years ago and they remain as lovely today. It was great fun to see some of the same places we visited on that long-ago trip.
Berlin is fantastic. I can’t wait to go back. I spent nearly a week there and did not get enough. I struggle to characterize what made the city feel so good, so energetic and so positive. It is a big city with lots going on but it does not feel hectic. It is packed with and burdened by history but it does not feel tied to the past, rather it feels like its time is now. While I was there I met up with my brother who is on a european tour with his band. I caught a couple of his shows and it was simply wonderful to hang out.
There is much more to tell but mostly it was just a great and much needed holiday.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Spent the majority of friday night making a DIY softbox. It turns out that Carol is a much better engineer than i am.
Built from foam core, black gaffer tape, foil and the wrapping that comes around mac towers (used as the diffusion material), the softbox works extremely well. It's double diffused and the light comes out evenly.
It was designed with a Vivitar 285HV in mind in that it allows the flash to zoom in and out. For this particular photo, the flash was zoomed out with makes the light dropoff noticeably shallow.
The inside of the softbox is lined with foil paper which, i think, gives the light a harsher quality than if i had lined the inside with simple white paper. I'll probably spend a portion of my Sunday creating a white version and posting a comparison picture.
In other news, I am now the proud owner of a (used E+ condition) Nikon ED 80-200 2.8 zoom lens. Sharp as a tack and built like a tank - I am looking forward to posting some portraits from this one soon.
Friday, April 01, 2011
So, I finally went under the "knife" this past Thursday morning.
Always gain a high level of respect for doctors and nurses and PAs when I have to go through this sort of shit.
Now - the slow road to recovery.
I will post a cool photo when the bandage comes off.