Karen Maternity

My wife Karen is about 5 months pregnant and has recently developed quite a "baby bump." I am really looking forward to making lots of images over the next 4 months. These were from yesterday. We were meeting my parents for dinner at Woody's on the beach and arrived a little early. So we scooted over to Upham Beach for a few quick beach shots. I am including these particular images because they show how two different techniques can produce very separate results, even though the pose, location, time of day, and ambient light were all the same.

I love this image because the sun and clouds provide such a dynamic background. I also think the sea oats help to frame the subject, while providing a reference to the beach location. Oh yeah, that is a flower in her hair, not a really big ear!

This image is a little softer. Most photographers these days would automatically increase the contrast and saturation to make it "pop." But I think muted colors and diffused light (from that cloudy sky) contribute to the overall calm and tranquil feel of the image. What really makes this shot is Karen's pose. I set her general body position so the sun would provide a nice accent light to her shape, then asked her to keep changing it up a little bit any way that felt natural. What a great model!
Thanks Karen for dealing with 90 degree heat while pregnant! Geez, and I complain about carrying camera gear around! Remember ladies, being pregnant is a beautiful thing that will be gone before you know it. A maternity shoot is a great way to preserve memories of that special time for years to come. The new arrival will also get a kick out of seeing his or her first "baby" pictures some day. To schedule a maternity shoot, or for more information, email me.

Keep it coming!

Recently, I mentioned Florida's drought situation and the coming of the summer rains. They are starting to trickle in, although not with the frequency or duration that we need. As a few drops fell last night, I peeked out my front door to find this fella clinging to our window. Even though he is a cuban tree frog, it is nice to see some wildlife around. This is a non-native invasive species that pushes out Florida's native green tree frog.

This frog was pretty large. The light from my front porch light was not bright enough to get a steady photo. Time to use some creative flash! A short trip inside, a tripod, a flash, and one step-ladder later... I didn't like how his toe-pads were cut off by the frame on the left, so I recomposed the image and shot it again. Unfortunately, that image was not as sharp, so this was the keeper.
A close-up. Frog eyes are amazing close-up.

Multimedia Flag Day

Recent years/decades have seen a shift in attitudes toward the flag, and our nation in general. Many individuals can remember a time when the flag was revered and evoked fellings of pride, honor and sacrifice. At times, it seems that my generation has lost this deep appreciation for the symbol of our freedom. Maybe we're spoiled. Maybe we have had the luxury of time and freedom to sit back and critique our government. Maybe we take our position in the global community for granted; having never experienced a World War, a Cold War, or a time when our nation wasn't the dominant military and economic power in the world. September 11th, 2001 is my only experience with a direct threat to American soil, and I remember the surge of patriotism and U.S. flag displays. Where are they all now? As the "War on Terror" has continued, the general population has become increasingly discouraged and dissastified with the current situation. This, I believe, has led many to connect the flag and other patriotic symbols with the war effort and/or the current administration, with which they may not agree. So I guess this is a reminder that there are lots of great things about this nation that we have been lucky enough to take for granted.

While Flag Day does not usually get the attention given to some other holidays, it holds a special significance for certain segments of our population. One of those segments is the military. As an employee at MacDill Air Force Base I witness the daily events that make life different for these folks. Familiar faces on the frisbee field disappear for months at a time. It is always a welcome relief when they return. Yesterday was Flag Day, and MacDill AFB celebrated it with the help of the 6th Medical Group. As Base Commander Col. Robert D. Thomas mentioned, it was a beautiful start to a day as the sun rose over Tampa Bay, shining the first rays of light on the ascending American flag. The serene setting and symbolic ceremony made for a great oppurtunity to make some pictures. This assignment was part of my effort to advance my experience with multimedia photojournalism. By combining images and custom audio recorded at the event, I am able to produce a multimedia slideshow that can more accurately convey the true feeling of that day. Print journalism is evolving into multimedia online journalism and new advances are constantly changing how and where we get our news. Now, here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Three soldiers stand in silhouette awaiting for the ceremony to begin. I saw this image in my head, but was trying hard not to interfere with, or distract from, the ceremony. I set my exposure and focus manually and then held the camera at ground level for one quick capture. I wish I had aimed up a little bit.
Members of the 6th Medical Group were on hand to assist with the ceremony.
A soldier guides the flag as it is raised. The green flare on the flag is from the sun reflecting off my lens. I decided to not remove it in Photoshop, and show the unmanipulated image.
Possibly my favorite shot of the day. I like the color, balance and emotion. I only wish I could have framed it so the saluting soldier's arm was separated from the palm tree. While rearranging and reshooting are viable options for weddings, that was not the case here. I had to work with what was there.
A nice juxtaposition of flags.
Members of the 6th Medical Group look on during the ceremony.
And finally, the raised banner waves in the early morning sun.

If you enjoyed these images, or would like to see more, check out the audio slideshow.

Rain Relief

Florida, like most of the nation, is experiencing major drought. The rainy season is upon us and the afternoon thunderstorms are going to start bringing welcome relief. But we are going to need one major rainy season to put us back on track.

A few recent rains have brought life back to my backyard; both plant and animal. The lizards are always around, but I haven't seen a toad since last rainy season. This guy was a welcome sight. I photographed him with the natural light that was nicely diffused by the rain clouds.

This fella was in the shade where it was not bright enough to shoot at a decent shutter speed. So I handheld my SB-800 flash out to the left side to add some nice directional light.

Keep that rain coming!

Photo Assignment Class

I recently took a "Photo Assignments" class at the St. Pete Arts Center. The Arts Center is a great local organization doing lots for area artists and the whole community. This particular class was taught by Beth Reynolds, a very talented photographer with a gift for teaching. Tonight was the grand opening for two new exhibits at the Arts Center, and as a bonus, images from our class were going to be projected on to one of the gallery walls. Unfortunatley, I was unable to attend the opening, but I still thought it would be worthwhile to post my images.

The theme of this project was to "connect 5" meaning choose 5 images that can be connected in some way. We didn't necessarily choose our best or favorite images, but instead the class worked together to find 5 connected photos. It turns out that all my images are from an evening shooting in downtown Gulfport. Most of these images were shot with the assignment to capture two colors next to each other. And since lots of my weekly work involves people, I was instructed to show only images with no people. Kinda tough for a wedding photographer!

These images will also be hung upstairs in the hallway of the Arts Center, so if you are ever, check them out!