Category Archives: street
I had an hour to kill before meeting someone on campus, and I had my EOS3 in the truck, and one roll of film… so I figured I would shoot it. Finishing off the last shots on a roll of Illford Delta 3200, I put in some HP5, my new favorite film and wandered. I thought. I waited. I was feeling particularly contemplative, mainly because it had been a hard week for a number of my clients and friends. Some days are more melancholy than others, even for me. Whatever goodness the sunshine has to deliver, whether it be vitamin D, or a joyful placebo… it sure did the trick. The clouds parted and I wandered the Oregon campus for the fun of it, watching students mill about, and taking in the fantastic diversity of humanity that Eugene has to offer. I sincerely love this town (so take that, Zack), and I hope to live here forever. Where else could you find Frrog Miller, the eccentric, bearded joke-book seller? He is pushy, crass, and the perfect, ornate and quirky subject.
I clicked the shutter just in time to get a text from the person I was meeting. We stood on the busy UO bookstore corner and exchanged a few words, I handed off some images, a quick hug and I was on my way. I’m not a hugger. Outside my wife and son, the list is very short… I’ve even been known to recoil from people who go in for an unauthorized squish. For some reason, this person I’ve only met a few times has made the cut. Maybe it was because there was a real need for the hug that week. Maybe that’s what happens when I set aside my camera. Who knows 🙂
Zack has been an inspiration for me since 2006, roughly the beginning of of my professional career. I’ve always been fascinated with music, so music photographers hold a special place in my heart. Jeremy Cowart, Annie Leibovitz, the late Jim Marshall, Mark Seliger, and Zack Arias, to name a few music photographers I love, bring two artistic mediums together in different ways, all of which speak to me as a person.
Zack teaches a lighting workshop and has a DVD called the OneLight, which is focused on off-camera lighting (my favorite way to shoot). You’ll work with speedlights, Pocket Wizards, softboxes, umbrellas, and a number of other light modifiers. You will also do some math. Sorry, it’s just part of the process 🙂 I’ve wanted to attend this workshop for years, and 2010 was my year, I suppose. I chose DC, and aside from a monster $187 ticket for being a single-occupant driver on a freeway, not a LANE, mind you… an entire freeway (like I could possibly know anything about that, thanks a lot officer Sensitivity of the VAPD), it was a great workshop. I’m pretty comfortable with lights already, although I admit I rarely use speedlights, it’s usually my Alienbees, so it was nice to gain speedlight experience with the modifiers I already use. The math aspect was one that I was specifically interested in. I hate math. To quote Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush, “math is very much a part of the Axis of Evil.” I think the officer who decided an Oregonian didn’t deserve a warning about a violation he couldn’t possibly know about is also in the Axis of Evil.
To explain why I wanted the math aspect, I’ll step back 4 years or so. I love natural light, but back in the day I loved natural light partially because I was scared of flashes, strobes, umbrellas, and all of the off-camera wizardry. I din’t understand it, so therefor I loved natural light 🙂 Now, I still love natural light to this day, however; I feared strobes. I decided I didn’t like avoiding something because I was afraid of it, that’s a foolish rationale, so I bought a Canon 430EX and an Alienbee 400 with a standard shoot-though umbrella. Major fail. I didn’t get it and I didn’t do it well… so I set it all aside for “a while.” Like over a year “a while.”
Then I found Zack’s work. I saw a Flickr photo with the tag under it “Screw you all, I still love jump shots.” I instantly loved the photo and the photographer. It was now 2008 and I started paying a lot of attention to people with lights, Zack in particular. Fresh, clean, easy to understand lighting. I tried my hand at lighting again. This time I fell in love and have been using them more and more frequently ever since. All because I decided not to be afraid of something and was willing to make some atrociously bad images until I felt comfortable.
Fast forward to why I want the math. I don’t want to think about how to light, I just want to do it… I want it to be as second nature as aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are. That’s the “why” behind wanting the OneLight DVD and workshop experience. This July I got both, and I am so thankful – bucket list item, for sure. Zack, and his talented wife Meghan, put on a legit program, not forgetting Zack’s right hand Dan, and I highly recommend it. I’m still digesting the math, as it is my weakness, so we’ll see if I ever get to the place where it is second nature.
I’ll get to some pictures from the weekend. Thanks, Zack and Meg – you’re some of my favorite people.
Zack demonstrated the techniques, then we implemented them. Pretty simple, huh?
Dan gets lazy, but Zack shows him how to do it right. We got turned loose to do our own thing, these are some of the images I came up with.
I was driving home after shooting a wedding (another blog post for that soon) when I saw him. The banjo, the hat, the overalls… I knew I had to pull over and take his picture — if he would let me, of course. Permission was definitely going to be in order, because I wanted to use my octobox, I saw the picture in my head before I ever got out of my truck.
Erik has been playing the banjo for 33 years, and it shows. His effortless picking was only outshone by his amazing handlebar mustache. He told me that he loves shooting in front of The Kiva, a great little grocery in Eugene, because of the appreciation their customers show him. I guess people who like good wine and good food also like good music. I’m planning on doing more impromptu portraits here in town… bring on the Spring.
This shot was a special request by Erik. Happy to oblige.