Winging it with Mary-Joe and a Parabolic Umbrella

I had picked up a new parabolic umbrella from Paul C. Buff and wanted to try it out. I therefore put out a casting call for a model to have a creative, improv photo shoot. It’s been said, that one should always have an idea, or theme, or even a direction for a shoot. I won’t argue with that in the least. It’s certainly faster to go into a shoot with a plan of action, especially with an Art Director in the studio. And, yes, I do normally go into my shoots with a plan. That said, it’s also pretty good mental exercise to wing it once in a while. Just make sure that you do it on your own time. Why? Because when there is money on the line and the shoot all goes to pot, you’re able to pull something out of nowhere and still make it happen. Freestyle. Like jazz. In this case, all I knew was that I wanted to try out the newly acquired 1.6 meter (64″) Paul C. Buff PLM. That was my starting point. Furthermore, there’s no better way to try out a new tool (for me anyways) than to throw it in with the sharks and see what happens. Not exactly an empirical method of testing, but way more fun. Continue reading


Empty Canvases

 empty setWe’ve all been there…a blank page, a new house, a hunk of wood… an empty canvas. That’s where I was about 22 words ago. Looking at the words “Add New Post” –  looking all nice and intimidating in extra large, black, italicized, seriffed letters at the top of this page – wondering what I should say and hang out there on the interweb for all to see. This is todays empty canvas. As photographers, we face that every time we step into the studio or onto a set. It’s empty. No lights, no props, no subject – no life. It’s up to us to set up stands, turn on lights, modify them, sculpt them, introduce objects and/or people for the light to bounce off, create life, tell a story, convey an emotion and, ultimately – make a photograph… click.

It’s quite intimidating. That first brush stroke, shutter click, key stroke, wood shaving, piece of furniture… whatever. The point is we all, at some point or other have to take that first step to creating something from nothing. Let’s back track… Continue reading