Hobbes

I figured a little photo shoot was in order with our newest addition to the pet family. We rescued this guy from a nearby adoption center. He appropriately came with the name Hobbes, after the Calvin and Hobbes comic. The name suited him and this was my favorite comic as a kid so we kept it. I rarely ever take photos of animals so it is always a learning experience. Cats are definitely my favorite animal to photograph so far for the simple reason that they don’t move much. This is totally different from when I tried to photography my sisters golden retriever because he would not stop moving. I took this with a Rokinon 85mm f/1.4. This is one of the best lenses for portraits, and usually they are really expensive. I found this one for cheap but the only drawback is that it is manual focus. That is a small drawback for saving a lot of money and being able to get this lens. This is a one shot image taken handheld with a on camera flash that I bounced off the wall behind me. Hope you like the...

Engagement

My best friend came out to visit me in California and asked if I would take her engagement photos so of course I agreed. I love taking photos of people considering it is the area where I have the most room to grow and this was one of those opportunities. We chose to do the shoot at several location since it was spanned over two days. We started at the Huntington Library, from there we went to Huntington Beach, and the final day we ended at Corona Del Mar. I have hundreds of photos to go through still so expect to see many more to come. But this was my favorite of the bunch so I decided that I would post this one. I always love when it works out that both the people that I am shooting are attractive because it makes getting great shots easy. And these photo shoots were no exception. The best part about this day was that it was overcast and made great filtered light. I don’t have too much equipment in California anymore since I brought a lot of my stuff home, so all of my shots are done with natural light and that;s why I felt so fortunate for a nice, filtered, overcast sky. I tried to get a bit of the vines in the foreground to add to framing and keep things interesting. Hope you like the...

Looking Back

Here is another photo from the set of pictures that we took on the little shoot that I had with Geena. This was towards the end of the shoot when the sun was getting really low and was right over the cliff at Pines Park, in Dana Point, California. I had her pose for this shot, facing the sun, and caught her looking back without telling her to try this pose. When I saw her do it, I ended up loving how it looked so I quickly snapped away a bunch of pictures to try and get some good ones. The sun was perfect because it was only harsh on the areas of her body that I didn’t mind. Her face came out exposed great and the sun even provided a nice glare in the background. I shot this with with my Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. As far as editing goes I did a little color correction, levels and curves, and used Nik Color Efex Pro in order to mess with some cross processing filters and what not. Hope you like the...

Golden Hour

If you have never shot during the golden hour then your are missing out. This is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day. It provides some awesome light that isn’t as harsh as the sun during the middle of the day and gives pictures a nice warm glow. If it was up to me this would literally be the only time I would choose to do shooting. Geena ended up really liking some of the pictures from the first shoot so she agreed to another fortunately. I wanted to do it outside this time and so did she but I didn’t know any good nearby locations that wasn’t a beach. She suggested Pines Park in Dana Point and I’m glad she did because it worked out great. The park overlooked the ocean and had enough trees and what not to take pictures around. This Nikon D810 is proving to be quite the workhorse. It takes amazing pictures and is so great when it comes to editing them afterwards because of the high megapixels that it produces. For this shot I used a 50mm f/1.4 which has been my lens of choice lately for people. It’s just so versatile that I don’t have to constantly change to different lenses, which can be a pain when photographing people. I did some editing in Lightroom and Photoshop for this picture but it was all very minimal. I like using Nik Color Efex Pro when it comes to portraits because it creates a great natural enhanced look. If you got any questions, feel free to ask!...

Geena

I recently purchased a Nikon D810 and I have been itching to use it. I’m still waiting on my FX wide angle lens to come in but I still have my trusty 50mm f/1.4 and my 85mm f/1.4 so I asked my girlfriend if she would let me take a couple of photos of her. Fortunately she said yes. For the larger portion of the shoot, the photo shown below included, I used my 50mm since I was in a more cramped space. I was amazed at not only how gorgeous Geena looked in every photo I took, but also how well the camera performed. The detail with the high megapixel count that is in each photo is amazing. When it came to editing, I had so much more room to play. I am extremely happy with this new camera. Geena did great as a model. She hadn’t done this too often surprisingly but with the little help I gave as far as posing goes, she picked it right up. I could have taken photos of her all night but I could tell that it was a bit tiring for her and I didn’t want to ruin my chances of another photo shoot with her. We will probably do some outdoor shots next time with natural light. I used my SB900 for these shots, mounted on camera. On camera flash has a lot of capabilities that people underestimate. All I had to do was bounce it off the ceiling and it came off like a big softbox. Hope you like the...

Beach Ride

Everything was good; I had this idea for a picture that I had wanted to take in my mind and was finally ready to try and make it happen. The sun was out, the spot was chosen, we had a way to get to the spot. Everything seemed perfect. It wasn’t until we were leaving that the clouds started coming in and going in front of the sun. By the time we got to the spot at San Onofre beach, it was completely overcast with no sun in sight. The whole reason for this outing was because I had wanted to situate the setting sun glare somewhere off the side of the picture to give it a warm effect that made a nice natural glare over everything. I was so excited for this shot but was disappointed when I learned that it wouldn’t be happening that day. So what did I do? I made the best of the situation. I had ended up bringing along my SB 700 Nikon flash and a wireless trigger along with some gels just in case. I’m extremely glad I did because I had ended up using it for this shot. The natural light wasn’t too bad I thought it looked a little dull and I wanted it to seem like there was still sun in the picture so I could try to recreate the original idea as close as possible. I put a warming gel on the flash and positioned it off to camera right, where the sun would have been. I had wanted to be the model for this picture but since I had such a specific idea in mind, I couldn’t have someone else shoot this for me so I had my friend Steven model with...

Driver

I liked this photo a lot after I saw it on my camera when I shot it. I was working on getting the right amount of glare in the picture when I was taking it which was a little tricky and I couldn’t have known that it would have worked out this good when I was looking through the viewfinder since light can be tricky like that. This was one of my first few shots that I had taken with my Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 lens. This is a less expensive version of it’s Nikon counterpart and in my opinion works just as well. Although, it would be nice to have the auto-focus feature. The tricky thing is that when you look through the viewfinder with a wide open aperture like I was using, you don’t actually get an accurate representation of what it will look like in the actual photo. I didn’t know you could press the depth of field preview button at the time to do this so I was going off experience with different apertures and hoping for the best on this one. The sun couldn’t have been in a better position when I took this. It produced an awesome glare that gave the image a movie poster feel and really worked out. This is my buddy Steven Feusi who happened to be the driver of a sweet old Chevy Nova that ended up being extremely photogenic. Hope you guys like the...

Doomed Youth

I took a few more shots of my buddy Steven Feusi while we were at Huntington Beach the other day. What can I say, he likes getting his picture taken and I like taking pictures, so it works out. You can check out his tumbler that goes by Doomed Youth page by clicking on his name in this post. It was a great evening for taking pictures considering the sky was filled with clouds. I didn’t even come here intending on taking any portraits, rather I had visited this spot with the intention of taking landscape shot which were also accomplished as well. You can check out one of the landscape shots from this night here. The cloudy sky acted as a great diffuser for any harsh light the sun would have given me. I had to step way back to take the shot because the lens I was using was intended for a full frame camera and my Nikon D7000 crops the view because of this. This is a RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6. I love this lens. It is a Rokinon f/1.4 85mm. It gives awesome blur effects on the subjects. Let me know what you think or go to Steven’s page and give him some...

Portrait of Mom

I took this portrait of my Mom while I was back home on leave. This was taken near the end of the day before the sun set in my backyard so I had some great lighting. I used a Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 lens which has an awesome depth of field and I have been using that to it’s full potential. Before I got this lens I had always wondering how some of the top pros got these awesome portrait photos where the focus point is so small and the rest of the image is gradually blurred and I could never figure it out. At first I thought maybe it was my camera but I have seen other picture taken with a Nikon D7000 with the same effects so it couldn’t have been that. Once I found this lens I finally understood; it’s all in the glass. My eyes are finally open to why so much weight is put on lenses as opposed to cameras. This lens is great and I definitely recommend it for taking portrait but remember it is a manual focus lens. This will definitely create a problem for people who need real fast focusing because it takes some getting used to if you have been using auto-focus a lot; at least it did for me. Not to mention being an f/1.4 it has a really small focus point so it is easy to mess up and have the picture not look right. I do have the automatic chip in this lens though which I think is a must and cannot be done without wasted effort without it. This will indicate when you focus point is in focus in viewfinder that way it is not just a guessing game. This is a single RAW image that was...

Steven

Introducing Steven Feusi. This is my buddy from the Marine Corps that was willing to let me take some pictures of him. We had some time off after work so we went out back near his car which happens to be a sweet red Chevy Nova. He was super embarrassed because I had him dress somewhat nice and we were around the barracks where we live with people walking around but it still worked out. It was his first time in front of the camera for a shooting session so being a little uncomfortable is understandable. I can imagine how awkward it must feel with someone just staring at you through a lens. This picture was shot while he was sitting in the front seat of his car with the door open. The light was awesome because it was in the shade and the sun was behind him so I barely touched this photo. All I did was brighten his pupils a bit and take away some blemishes. The new lens makes such a difference for portrait pictures. It’s amazing. I suggest to anyone who is serious to take portraits to go out and get a 85mm F/1.4. It gives it that soft professional...