Sunday, October 18, 2015


Cover for the September issue of the LGBT / Alternative Lifestyles magazine, QUEST
Jacob wanted something that recalled a Norman Rockwell magazine cover from years past.

Studio work of promotional photos for DJ Chomper, Milwaukee
They weren't all shirtless, however I chose these because it highlights work I have been doing where the lighting emphasizes muscle definition.  In this case, two strip lights are used to rim light the side of Derrick (DJ Chomper) and one beauty dish from above in front fills in just enough,

and ... finally a bit of fall color.

Taken at 1000 Islands Nature Preserve, Kaukauna, WI
I haven't been out much shooting landscapes for pleasure.  Mostly I have been in studio or shooting on location for clients.  It was great to get out this fall and catch the leaves at peak color.
I have shot this bank of trees on the right a few years back when i was lucky enought to catch some birds in flight.  I still use that in fall as my desktop screen on the computer.  I love this wide shot with beautiful clouds reflected in the Fox River as it turns a bend and moves north to Green Bay.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Where I Work Out

I train weekly at Pro Fitness in Green Bay.  My personal trainer, Darron (far right in the photo) helps me improve my body strength and also lose some around that middle.  Being in good shape is important for a photographer I have found, especially now that modern digital cameras keep getting bigger and heavier.

This photo is a composite of the window exposure and the main group shot.  It is lit with just one small flash unit into a very large umbrella.  One of the personal trainers in this staff photo was wearing a shirt with the Pro Fitness logo in pink.  We wanted them to all look the same.  This was no problem for Photoshop.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Photographing the Male Physique

I am continuing my study on photographing the male form.  Here are a couple more of Andrew shot back in January 2015.  This was the third time I have worked with Andrew.  I added new strip lights for specifically bought this shoot.  I now have a large beauty dish to play with as well.  This lighting is more difficult to get just right and I enjoy the challenge.

In case you don't already know it, click on a photograph to make it larger.

This past Wednesday I completed another series with Nick (a dancer) to use in Quest Magazine's May issue.  I used the new beauty dish for the first time.  I will be shooting a third model, John the day after he competes in a body building competition (early April).

(I will post images from these shoots near the end of April or in May after going to press.)

To do this kind of lighting well, I need a home studio that has taller ceilings than what I previously shot in.  I have mostly shot small children or product photography at home in the past.  Now I am beginning to convert a large section of my three stall garage into a dedicated shooting space.  Sadly because much of what I shoot is on location, I can't justify the expense of a studio and have to make do with less for now.

One last image.  A friend, Katie was there with me when it was time to send my cat Orangello to kitty heaven.  I know, I should be stronger! It was therefor and honor to be asked to shoot her with Princess the week before Princess was to go live with Orangello in the afterlife.  Princess was a pleasure to work with, but that might be the treats that Katie bribed her with during the entire shoot.
Rest in peace Princess.

Friday, January 30, 2015

January is cold! So I shoot in studio.

I haven't posted since November.  Personal stuff with family, flu, holidays kept me away... but I have shot a few things this January I wish to share.

The next cover of Quest will feature Andrew Marks who has been on the Quest cover before.  This will be his third time to be featured in the magazine.  It is my first time trying out lighting technique I learned attending a seminar presented by Phoenix photographer Joel Grimes at Imaging USA, the PPA convention in Phoenix last January.  I needed to buy a few new light modifiers first, then find a date that would could work for Andrew and I.

This lighting is designed to really bring out the body and muscle tone.  In this image Andrew has not applied oil to his skin yet so it lacks that metallic sheen.  Joel Grimes would do quite a bit more work to grunge things up for his photos for Sports Illustrated or rock band images. I am keeping it a bit more simple here.  I don't want to give away what is inside Quest just yet.  That hits the street on Thursday, February 5, but I can show you this first attempt at processing the images.

Andrew posted on facebook he was sore from the flexing.  It was a two hour shoot, so I can understand.  People think modeling is so easy.  Not true.  Andrew is a joy to work with however and it was helpful to have his girlfriend along to assist with posing and styling.  I hope we can shoot again in the future.  There will be one series from this shoot that will not be in the magazine, I will post one or two of those here next month after I process the images using Photoshop.

Also in January I had the opportunity to shoot a vocalist from the greater Green Bay area.  Sara Saari has a great voice and was so much fun to work with.  She sings with Bay Area Big Band but also does gigs for hire. Check out her website: or find her on facebook.  Better yet, come check out the next time Bay Area Big Band does a concert.

Sarah wanted a photo that included her baby grand piano. 
Hard to believe this was shot in her living room isn't it?

Shooting on location is often a challenge to have enough room for placing lights and camera.  Today we can use tiny battery operated flash with small light modifiers. The Rogue FlashBender soft box saved this shoot.  My main light is a studio strobe with a large umbrella off camera on the left.  I then added The Rogue FlashBender softbox on a boom stand stretched out across the piano to the black backdrop so I could back light the piano and provide hair light for Sarah.  Because we couldn't have a black curtain behind us 15 or 20 feet out of the light, I used Photoshop to help get this look of a concert on stage.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Photographing the loft

I have several friends in Phoenix that I visit often.  For the past year Ian has been working on converting a run down warehouse unit into a loft apartment.  I have watched this process from the beginning and had no doubt it would turn out nicely, but I was thrilled when I saw the final results.  

I wanted a chance to photograph the loft once finished.  Ian's birthday/halloween costume party was just the right affair to introduce his loft to 173 of his closest friends.  I was on hand to shoot the festivities. (I alsohelped pick up empty glasses, cleaned up spills and grabbed stuff for the bartenders since I was a former bar owner and this is second nature for me.)  That was all day Friday and Friday night so by Saturday morning I was exhausted.

After resting, another Halloween party and then more rest, it was time to get ready to fly home, but not until I had gotten my chance to photograph the newly cleaned loft free of people.  Below are the results.

Taken from rear entrance off alley.  Lit from available light.

This is the view we used for the party photos.  That truck is the bed for sleeping.  It has a queen mattress in back.

The kitchen/dining area is in the center of the room and is raised a few feet.  Industrial stove and fridge.

The kitchen seen from the living room area up front.

The living room area ends with a glass wall and glass door that leads to a small atrium created by removing part of the ceiling exposing the front of the building to the air.  Live plants surround the walls and there is another door to go out of the building from this atrium area.  Neon, rain lights and antique globes plus hand wound filament retro lamps make up the lighting inside.  It looks more like a club than a home which is just what they wanted.

I used a tripod and my wonderfully sharp Nikkor 16-35mm ultra wide lens to shoot these interiors.  We live in a wonderful time when it is possible to buy light stands, umbrella reflectors and speed lights that can easily be packed into my luggage so I can travel by air and still have what I need to do an awesome shoot.  I used some hidden strobes remote triggered to fill in in some exposures, but mostly this is lit with the room lighting.  It is difficult to balance getting to see the room and still be able to not have the lights completely washed out.  I was happy with these results, and the client (my friend Ian) loved them.  For the party, I used the light stand and umbrella that fold very tiny but open to an impressive size.  I will post just one photo below from the party.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Photographing Seniors - and we don't mean high school.

I am fortunate to have two healthy and fairly mobile parents who are at the moment both 90.  I shot a family reunion series on location for my mom's 90th birthday back in June.  This included a white backdrop for individual family groups as well as one massive group shot outdoors with 39 people including me.  (I used the timer and ran!)

Since this was on location at a rented hall, I kept it simple with just a plain white backdrop.
With this many people, I had to shoot fast to get it all done during our short visit.
You can probably tell I prefer people to be having fun while I shoot them.

I am interested in developing a look to some of my portrait work that harkens back to the early 1900's when photography was still very new and our tools were much more crude.  I love the old sets the studios created and I also love some of the poses, so stiff and often pretty stark.

I have just started collecting what is needed for this project, but in the meantime, I am going to have some fun with a new background I bought for this.  I wanted to have my parents pose on this new backdrop and make a formal portrait of them at the age of 90.  The last time they had a portrait taken was in the 1990's and I think they still make a great looking couple today!

It sometimes takes a little while to get people relaxed in front of the camera.
They were very patient with me.
In fact after I got them warmed up, they were quite fun to shoot. 
Just look below and be sure to click on the image to make it full size.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer in Italy and My Getting in Shape

I haven't posted much lately and I have several items I want to get to, but the retouching is not competed yet.

This past June my family and I took a trip to Umbria, Italy to visit relatives.  We stayed at a wonderful country house, Villa Pascolo which means in english Villa Pasture. (Think Bed and Breakfast/Hotel)  While there I had the opportunity to shoot interiors and a few outside shots of this wonderful place.  
The main dining room at Villa Pascolo

There was a wedding on one weekend and let me say they have different customs.  While tossing the bride into the air, the men almost dropped her on the gravel driveway. Wow, I think we are better with just tossing the bouquet!

Villa Pascolo Hall for wedding receptions, parties, etc.
Wouldn't you love to have your wedding reception here?

 I will have more photos to come from Costacciaro and other small towns in Umbria soon.

Also this summer I made a personal commitment to get in shape.  People who know me well understand how reluctant I always was to exercise, but at long last I have taken the plunge.  The past 4 years I have been changing my diet to include healthier choices.  I even cut out Diet Coke and even caffeine.  That leaves Decaf coffee and water (and a few beers or a glass of wine.)  Now I am working with a personal trainer twice a week.  My goal is to lose some weight around my belly and more importantly build my strength and muscle tone.  I need it to carry around all this heavy camera equipment.

Speaking of diet, I am eating a lot of salads these days, and found out how much better they taste when you combine berries and other stuff.  When I eat at home I keep it simple.  Below is a photo I took of my typical salad this summer.  Leaf lettuce, almonds a drizzle of pomegranate dressing and either raspberries or strawberries on top.  YUM!
Raspberry Almond Lettuce Salad