Recently I reached out to Shiloh’s Anytime Fitness manager Ruth Riley… she liked the idea of creating some portfolio images as she continues to work out and fine tune her body… and I’m launching a new program with a few local gyms and other locations are in the works as well. Ruth did her homework and brought all the right pieces to make her session go well… classic fitness apparel, a couple bikinis and a sassy dress or two. She even brought a few Pinterest ideas and admitted to practicing a few of the poses at home to be sure we could work them out in the studio easily.
So whether you’re a competitive body builder or simply want to document your self looking your best give me a shout and I’ll do my best to highlight all your favorite things about yourself!
Met up with a friend recently over a fine Denny’s breakfast. We don’t talk much these days. See each other even less. So of course it was good to catch up. He’d been a working professional photographer for most his adult life but a few years ago hung it up mostly and took on a different line of work completely out of the imaging business…
Jokingly (sort of) he’ll say that talking about photography makes him itchy… even being around other photogs makes him itch and scratch.
So after all the pleasantries of chatting about family and work and such (we actually skipped the weather talk). He told me I need to invest in a good porcelain sink. Yes. Our conversations tend to… drift… significantly. Of course I wonder why a sink. And a porcelain sink at that. Then without so much as a flinch or a scratch or an itch he told me about the amazing Light that comes through his bathroom window of a morning.
It seems Light pours through the little window and fills the bright, white, porcelain sink. But unlike the morning’s first splash of water, the sink cannot hold the Light. It becomes luminescent and bathes the subject before it with a refreshing glow… that kind of glow that supermodels love to see applied. Instant wrinkle remover and much much more
If you start shopping for reflectors and modifiers you’ll find hundreds of things folks have devised to make Light more controllable… but the mother of all reflectors just might be the humble bathroom sink. White and clean of course.
We discussed using this as a light shaping tool. Think of the beautiful headshots. Hard for anyone to figure out such an exotic, secret recipe! I imagine actors and models would be flocking to our bathroom sink studio to bask in the glory of its luminescent glow!
The interesting thing here is not a new lighting solution. Image makers have probably been using all kinds of make shift solutions since the first caveman broke his printer and had to blow ink through little grass straws.
What I found interesting is the unconscious recognition of Light.. with direction… and qualities too yummy to ignore. I remember hearing guys talk about Light – about seeing Light. The wrap of a soft light. The triangles and shapes. I didn’t get it. But once the mind’s eye is trained to really see Light and it’s even more interesting counterpart, Shadow, it continuously evaluates the yummy factor in pretty much every scene it encounters. For me, I’ve just started seeing Light and Shadow… a couple years ago a couple brain cells clicked and I started taking note of it as I pass by random people on the street or watch folks on the train ride into work.
Light. Such an obvious thing to see… so easily taken for granted… and even harder to capture it’s infinite qualities.
Boy Scout Troop 553 has a pretty proud tradition of ‘graduating’ an Eagle Scout every year or so. Yesterday we had the extreme pleasure of celebrating three scouts earning their Eagle rank. It really is quite impressive to hear the accomplishments of these
boys young men. Between the three of these guys, hundreds of miles of hiking, scores of nights camping, trips to the BSA high adventure camps with more hiking and camping and canoeing… and lots of leadership.
It’s not just the accomplishments on display that are impressive… we get to hear from these young men themselves… speaking words of gratitude to their leaders, mentors, parents and fellow scouts. They receive gifts: Flags flown over the White House. Letters from Senators and other dignitaries… and they give gifts of appreciation to their mentors and parents.
It really is hard not to get choked up every time one of these young men moves to the podium and addresses the group in attendance. These young men should be proud of their accomplishments. They generally don’t like to be the center of attention though.. they’d rather not hear their leaders and mentors talk about them and what they’ve done… Humility isn’t officially a requirement of an Eagle Scout… but it always seems to come quite naturally to these young men.
Congratulations to Sean, Andrew & Jason!
What’s it take to be an Eagle Scout?
Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. To earn the rank, a Boy Scout must: Progress through the all ranks from Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle • Earn 21 merit badges, including: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Camping, Family Life, Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming. They must serve six months in a troop leadership position. Plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Well it’s happening. Rachel is now seriously into her senior year of high school and we did her senior portraits (part one) as our trees started showing signs of autumn.. We’ll do part two of her images soon as some snow flies. Maybe even a part three and four when she or her mother suggests another venue
I could go on and on about how proud we are of Rachel. Great student. Wonderful kid. Good sister to her brother. Great helper to her mother. Fabulous character all around… but I’ll save most of that for later when her senior year is wrapping up… for now enjoy autumn Rachel.
This was waaay better than my average day at work. I’ve been employed as a video editor for about 15 years now. Working weekdays at KSDK in St. Louis. Most days we create commercials – for local car dealers, mattress stores, doctors, lawyers OR we make promos for the newscasts – tempting viewers to tune in and sample what at one time were the nation’s highest rated local news programs.
I decided to put some of that experience in the sharing mode and offered to teach a class on DSLR video and editing. With a few folks signed up through the PPA’s Super One Day education program I asked one of my favorite high school seniors to be our subject…
After a couple hours of
lecture random thoughts on video systems and videography, Meghán sang through a couple selections – each time beautifully. Then came the really exciting part – watching me edit! Ever watch paint dry? Yup. That’s kind of like watching somebody edit… BUT… hopefully my attendees gleaned a bit about the process while we enjoyed a beautiful Sunday together in my comfy edit suite…
Thanks to Meghán, her driver/mom, the PPA for this invaluable continuing education program and the folks who drove quite a distance to attend! AND here’s the finished version of our in-class edit… enjoy “The Call” by Meghán McGarrity.
es·prit de corps
: feelings of loyalty, enthusiasm, and devotion to a group among people who are members of the group.
See also: Marching Lancers
I tagged along yesterday to watch my son and daughter perform at the Collinsville marching band competition. They were of course joined by a couple hundred of their closest friends: The Belleville East Marching Lancers. I enjoy hearing them play. I enjoy watching their show. I most enjoy watching them get ready… warming up… preparing their uniforms… practicing… and just being band geeks
Photographically I prefer the evening shows where the light is more dramatic. Then there’s the challenge of being in the right spot at the right time to watch and enjoy all the visuals of their intricate performance – which of course necessitates being high up as you can in the stands…. or buy the video at BOA in a few weeks…
You may not ‘get’ marching band. You may not even like them. However one thing is for certain.. you simply have to appreciate these programs for the discipline and structure and camaraderie they bring to the kids. Hard work only tolerable because of the shared experience. Espirit de corps.
For the full set of images visit Marching Lancers at Collinsville
I don’t get to write many press releases… so please allow me a few moments to brag:
Belleville, IL, 8/12/14 — Doug Howell of Doug Howell Photography in Belleville was recently named a Silver Medalist during Professional Photographers of America’s 2014 International Photographic Competition. Photographs created by Howell were accepted into the General Collection as well as the prestigious Loan Collection of Professional Photographers of America’s 2014 International Photographic Competition. Howell’s work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015. This International Photographic Exhibition is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers and several photographic associations.
HOW COOL IS THAT!?!? Three of my four submitted images were accepted in the the PPA’s General Collection of images and one of my images was accepted into the PPA’s Loan Collection – that makes me a 2014 Silver Medalist (1 of only 108 silver medal recipients!!)
Three of these images were photographed while on the road last year with good friend and mentor Paul Rogers. Paul’s input along with that of Dan Thornton was invaluable in creating, selecting and finishing these images for competition! And of course if you’re one of the cool kids you’ll know MB & JM are always influencing me.. good.. bad.. or whatever…
Sessions range from $75 for a straight studio session to $200 for four hours of fabulous studio, woodlands and Saint Louis too!
Session fees applied toward package prices and are based on time, outfit changes and locations.
A la carte print pricing is available but discounted packages start at $499.
We’ll make 3 appointments. First we’ll set a date for your photo session… then we’ll set a time for you to return to the studio for a viewing and order session about a week after your photo session. Then two weeks later your prints should be ready for pick up!
WANT A BONUS? BE ON TIME. Time is simply something we can’t make more of. Be on time for all three of your appointments and I’ll send you a special bonus – how cool is that?
What to wear? Clothes that fit and feel good. Solid colors… long sleeves… coats, jackets, scarves.. things that add texture and dimension. Sunglasses for all those location shots that are really cool but the light is just too harsh…
Make up. Use it. Bring it. [along with your basic kit to touch up and fix your hair while we’re shooting]
Plan on a wall portrait. Something to put above your mantle or over the sofa? Send me a snapshot of your wall space and I can simulate framed prints at various sizes to help you determine how big is too big… or how small is just too small.
Print pricing– Often times the question is simply ‘how much for the 8×10′ — most photographers would rather not answer that question simply because there are so many intangibles that make a direct comparison difficult. For instance, all my prints come with a spray sealant and textured to help them last for years. My portraits also get plenty of TLC in retouching to help us both look good. My rule of thumb in retouching is to eliminate any temporary blemish and soften any other spot that we’ve discussed. AND any print purchased as an 5×7 or larger will be added to a Facebook gallery…
Hiking and waterfalls and yes even bears too.. this summer vacation was a classic. We found a swanky cabin in a pretty remote area close to the Smoky Mountain park and headed out with almost no plans whatsoever… Drove for most of a day in the family Truckster Station Wagon and found our cabin just before dark (good thing because I don’t think we’d have found it easily after dark!)
After unpacking we pretty much had the week “planned” in no time to include lots of hiking to waterfalls (sorry Jake), white water rafting, bear hunting, mountain biking and of course shopping and eating.
NOC provided some excellent river time on the dam controlled Upper Pigeon river. Thanks to John O. for guiding us through the class 4 & 5 rapids. Very exhilarating! Thanks also to “Critter” for guiding us down the French Broad river – a very deceptive river. One moment calm and passive the next quite fun and splashy
We returned to Climbworks to introduce Rachel to some very cool zip line fun. The folks here are extremely safety conscious and Rachel squealed with delight (or fear) to entertain the rest of us! Jake just HAD to try their mountain bike trail and that meant another out of shape dad got to go mountain biking! It was a ton of work panting and peddling and pushing up the hilly trail… but so well rewarded by a superbly designed downhill course. I almost felt like a capable mountain biker coming down. Sorry to Jake for not keeping up but we had a blast anyway.
If you’ve ever been around one of these touristy areas you’ve surely seen the countless go-cart tracks. That’s how we ended our week. Driving fabulously underpowered go-carts around the track and smiling and laughing like we were actually having fun!
Why a week in a very tourist saturated Smoky Mountains? Recently I’ve been watching the calendar pages fall away so very quickly knowing that our high school senior daughter Rachel will be moving away before another blink or two. This time next year we’ll be readying Rachel for her freshman year at university. That of course has this old guy trying to pack in as many family memories as humanly possible.
Thanks to Jackie and Rachel and Jake for helping me fill my memory with some wonderful times in the Great Smoky Mountains! And yes that’s a kind of creepy family photo during a loooong exposure at the Clingman’s Dome Tower.
This is the snapshot, reader’s digest version…. I’ll be posting some finished “photographs” over the next few weeks!
Tanya Reed’s Belleville Elite Dance Academy has some amazing dancers. No doubt about that. Recently at the Talent On Parade Nationals held in St. Louis one of her groups BANJI became the 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS OF 13-14 small groups division! Congrats to all these crazy talented gals!
I can’t wait to continue working with these dancers and create some unforgetable images!