Jan 22, 2015

I Miss Summer

Granted, it's between 15 and 20 degrees above normal, and I have no problem with this reprieve as I'm sure we'll get more winter, but it's just not the same as actual, jacket-free summer.

  Photograph Watermelon Slice by Jay Scott on 500px

Digging through the archives, I found a photo made this past summer that never got posted. We eat a lot of watermelon in this house when it's in season. We're working on a mini watermelon right now, but it's nothing compared to the splendor of the seven or eight the two of us ate this summer.

Jan 20, 2015

Five Months, Already

  Photograph Five Months by Jay Scott on 500px

Difficult to believe. Even more difficult to think I'd put together a three-light setup for her on this chilly day. Must pretend to enjoy winter a little bit. I'm sure she'll enjoy going for a ride in daddy's sleigh once she can sit up independently. It won't be long at the rate she's progressing.

Jan 1, 2015

Delynne, Mark, Jordy & Josh

I had been bugging Delynne for a long time (like, 18 months) to let me do their family photos. We finally got serious about it and found a time that would work with their family's busy schedule. I think it was the results from my session with Paul and family that made her want to get the family together to get it done.

  Photograph December Family Session 6 by Jay Scott on 500px

Unfortunately, because of unexpected events and having to push our shoot date back we missed out on the temperatures and scenery that make for the nicest photos. It's not that we couldn't have ducked outside for a few shots but it was a cold, windy day and we were dealing with two quadriplegics, here. On a day like that just ducking outside briefly would have had the two of us chilled and shivering for the rest of the day, not to mention the time needed to bundle back up for those brief minutes.

  Photograph December Family Session 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Thankfully, the new health sciences building on campus is just a delight to shoot in. Excellent light and a beautiful mixture of old and new style. Some very modern brushed metal and some very old, deep dark mahogany-like would all surrounded by classic textured stonework.

Some barriers have been broken down in recent years by the likes of people such as Joe McNally, David Hobby, Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias, and Peter Hurley, to name just a few. These photographers have freely shared many of their techniques, tips and methods and have taken away the gnosticism of the past, held close by many photographers. 

That information was what set the photographers of old apart and kept their business running. With the freely shared information and affordability of digital camera technology, their need to find a new way to stand out is not unlike musicians needing to find new ways to generate income with the prevalence of piracy of music. I'm not condoning it, just making the comparison based on my observation of the success of those who have tried fighting it and those who have tried finding new ways to work around it or work with it.

  Photograph December Family Session 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

Each of the boys arrived with a prop, Josh with an excellent new Fedora and Jordy with his guitar. I wasn't entirely sure how to best portray them before the shoot because, honestly, I don't know them that well. But when they showed up with those items I knew it was going to be a breeze to make something that represented them well.

  Photograph December Family Session 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph December Family Session 5 by Jay Scott on 500px

Delynne brought her usual genuine charming smile and piercing eyes.

  Photograph December Family Session 4 by Jay Scott on 500px

Even Mark, like most men, who are there but not the most fond of being in front of the camera, posed for an individual portrait. He didn't seem that comfortable when I suggested it awhile prior to this shot but I'm really glad that I got him to sit down and do one of just him by himself. He really brought it and should feel confident in how comfortable he looked before, during and after I made the photo.

  Photograph Bortis by Jay Scott on 500px

I had to do something with beautiful angle light coming in near the back of the building. This session was potentially an album cover for Jordy so Josh was my first choice to put in this light since I was aware of the disproportionate number of photos of him. The last thing the little brother needs is to see his big brother, once again, getting more attention than he is, right?

Delynne was impressed that I managed to get some real smiles at him. If he's anything like our one nephew a genuine smile and a photo is a true accomplishment. Too many years of being told to say "cheese" trains kids to produce a lot of unnatural smiles. Here's a pro-tip: try telling them to say "cheek" next time. It will look a lot more natural.

  Photograph December Family Session 7 by Jay Scott on 500px

I know that my typical style is not always the extremely bright, overly flattering, very common photos that most people want. Of course, I don't want to bring out the most dramatic and darkest parts of the people I'm photographing but I also think that a tasteful edge is quite possible while still flattering your subjects' appearance.

Case in point, my favorite shot of the day. Jordy doesn't look menacing or threatening, just sophisticated and confident. That's the same location as his dad's photo from above and just 5 meters away from his brother's photo. I'm just grateful that the fun personality each of the members of this family has gave me an opportunity to produce both traditional and slightly edgy photos of them. It was one of those sessions where I had no idea how much time we had spent and I could've continued shooting but they had scheduled activities before too long so we had to get going.

  Photograph December Family Session 8 by Jay Scott on 500px

It was a great day and I hope that Delynne, Mark, Jordy and Josh will choose me again to help preserve memories of their family on a regular basis in the future.

Dec 16, 2014

Merry Christmas! UPDATED

Guess who got to meet Santa today?

We will be home and around, I even have new work for Challenging Reality that will be posted soon, but I think it's that time of year to settle down, relax and find some peace in whatever will bring it. Be that nostalgic cartoons (Garfield and Rudolph -- peeking from behind Angie-- are my favorite oldies with Shrek the Halls being my modern favorite), favorite music (Boney M is where it's at!), favourite movies (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) or whatever tradition brings the warmth of memories old and not so old. Try to find time to enjoy them.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy, blessed new year to all of you!

Dec 12, 2014

Black and White Five Day Challenge

A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Black and White Five Day Challenge going around on social media. It was fun to have something to think about each day and, regardless of how long the photo took to make, to produce something with parameters to adhere to. Especially since I'm not much of a fan of grayscale photos. If I may be technically correct for a moment, black-and-white is inaccurate. It should be called the Grayscale Five Day Challenge but it wouldn't be the first time social media got it wrong.

Four out of the five photos I used a DSLR for but the busyness of catching up after the preparations for Help-Portrait necessitated one shot, the honey bear, just being a quick cell phone photo. Without further explanation, here are the five photos I made in order of the five days that I made them.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like nutcrackers. A point of interest in this photo, the large white ornament on the tree is the footprint impression of Fiona Angie made with a kit that she bought. It's a little bit big but to be able to look back at that over the years, and how tiny her feet were, will be special.

The bikes are always a huge hit at our Help-Portrait event. We are very grateful to have Bikers against Child Abuse (BACA) there to lend a hand, entertain people and add to the fun of our event.

Besides being in a bit of a rush, the shifty eyes of our honey bear were the perfect quick subject for this day's photo. A little bit of hard light added to the drama.

Finally, while busily working on a stirfry, to make a quick frame of the mushroom medley we bought to be the highlight of the dish. Button, shittake, oyster and portobello were in the mix and it was nice to try cooking with a greater variety. They didn't cost much more than straightforward button mushrooms but we both agreed that we didn't feel they added enough to the dish to buy them regularly. The portobello were very nice and I found the texture of the oyster mushrooms very interesting. To anyone who has texture issues with their food I don't think you would like oyster mushrooms. I would like to try cooking with these with some type of a white or plush pasta sauce.

Nov 24, 2014

Frosty Apples For Ma

My mom has wanted me to make a photo of frosty berries or apples for a long time. Finally all of the conditions came together for me to be able to make a few nice shots today when I got home from some business. The early morning fog made for the hoarfrost, the wind had not blown it away, yet, it was not too far into the winter that the apples were shriveled or ugly looking, and it was in a location that I could easily get to. Though, the excuse could be made that the teleconverter I have been coveting would have made an even stronger, closer photo than these. Angie supports the purchase but perhaps I will wait a little longer to see if it's the right idea. There have been more than a few instances lately where it would be great to have more reach and that seems to say to me that this purchase would be justified.

  Photograph Frosty Thunderchild Crabapples 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

First, I will complete a few more shoots, think about it a little bit longer and maybe save a little bit of money from Christmas to go with birthday money to make my decision. One of my doctors believes that it would be better for my neck than the 200-400mm f/4 alternative, and be better for my mental well-being if I had that extra technology at my disposal. Unfortunately, Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj is not a medical doctor but one of genetics and ecology and an acquaintance who also knows his way around a camera so a bit of the weight behind his purchase opinion is lost there since his background isn't so much concerned directly with my health. Today, though, I was told that because of the number of times I have recently wanted more reach, in addition to giving my disabled self every advantage I can, I would be wise to consider this. Of course, neither of these guys are the ones swiping the plastic for the purchase. :-)

  Photograph Frosty Thunderchild Crabapples 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

Nov 20, 2014

Three Months Old

Our dear daughter turned three months old today. Far ahead of the curve, in our opinion and as sweet, cooperative and agreeable as babies get.

Our love for you is limitless, Fiona Lily.

Time flies, doesn't it. During a hectic week, this was the best part. I very much enjoyed working on the photos from Saturday's excellent shoot but I have a verbal NDA with the family so I'll need to wait awhile to share them. What I can say is that I have at least one new portfolio shot from the day which means it was a successful shoot.

Today during our Costco run we bumped into a real estate agent I had worked with in the past. He was great and it was good to see him, say hello and catch up briefly. He's been monitoring me on Facebook and inquired about a family session so there might be another short notice shoot to try and get the photos made and ready for Christmas cards this year.

Because of that I had best quit rambling and try to scratch a few more things off of the to do list, including getting him the information he wanted. Tomorrow's exercise with Paul takes priority but the afternoon will mean resuming that ever-growing list to see if I can complete an item or two faster than what is added to it.

At some point this winter I may even have a video compilation of Fiona to share. However, that will require many more hours of work using software I'm not familiar with so, no promises. :-)