Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for November, 2008

Pre Thanksgiving food photos…

Posted by Mike on November 26, 2008

Turkey isn’t everything. Especially when you see this spread.

Today’s food shoot was a treat to look at….

Steak…. Halibut stuffed with Crab…. Salmon…

There was a shrimp dish too… but I ate it…. sorry…

The get this look I use one 20 inch wide hard dish light with a sock over it and one really big soft light for fill… Canon 5D with 100mm macro at f25, 1/125th, iso 50 or 100…

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Look back once in a while!

Posted by Mike on November 25, 2008

I was getting no where on this assignment due to the nasty ol’ sun blasting me right in the lens… So I turned to go around and get a new position and hey… there was the shot….


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Twin Sisters Range, SE of Lynden, WA

Posted by Mike on November 24, 2008

At just the right time (sun only a few degrees above horizon) I happen to be driving by this wonderful little scene south of Lynden, WA.

Kinda has that Thomas Kinkade painting look doesn’t it… that’s the plan.

mt-shuksan-001Here is the way the shot looked before any work was done….








I re processed the DNG file with a new version of Lightroom (no photoshop this time). This is a Lightroom 4.3 version of the image…more sharpness, less noise, no paint filters… straight photography…


Posted in fine art photography, Landscape Photography | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Kitchen Design Contest Photography

Posted by Mike on November 22, 2008

Here is a fabulous award winning kitchen from Dawn Gogle at Hoppet Design….

Photographed at dusk with a 4×5 camera and a few lights to fill in for the gaps in ambient light.


Posted in Advertising Photography, Architectural Photography, Public Relations Photography | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Into the light…

Posted by Mike on November 16, 2008

There is, of course, no better time to shoot pictures (i prefer “make” pictures) than when the sun is on the deck… You only have a few minutes and you need to explain this to your clients… it’s not negotiable.. there is only a 20 to 40 minute window.

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Homelessness: The same experience 70 years apart…

Posted by Mike on November 15, 2008

This photo, when published in 1936 from a farm workers camp in Nipomo ( a few miles south of San Luis Obispo) motivated the government to send a shipment of 20,000 pounds of food into the area to feed the farm workers who were starving. Response time was 3 days. Compare that to 2007-2008 FEMA.

The 2006 photo got the city council and the cops to force the people to move away… as a nuisance and health hazard… and a criminal threat to the well to do neighborhood where the tent city was located… on purpose I might add.


A Life Beyond Limits

By Linda Gordon

Illustrated. 536 pp. W. W. Norton & Company. $35

Gordon expertly analyzes the political culture of Depression-era California, where the enormous power of big agriculture kept tens of thousands of landless workers in peonage and despair. She portrays Lange as an ambivalent radical, deeply sympathetic to the plight of the migrants yet uncomfortable with the chaos that social conflict inevitably produced. Early in the Depression, Lange had tried but failed to photograph the labor protests that shook San Francisco. “Much of the action was so fast-moving and so violent that slow-moving Lange could not or would not get close,” Gordon writes. “This was the territory of the new breed of adventurous photojournalists.” Lange’s talent lay elsewhere.

Gordon is more in tune with the politics of Paul Taylor, who believed in organized protest to redress economic grievances, than she is with Lange’s more passive approach. A portrait photographer at heart, Lange stressed the inner emotions of those facing injustice and deprivation. “Her documentary photography was portrait photography,” Gordon says. “What made it different was its subjects, and thereby its politics.” An individualist at heart, Lange provided an alternative to the photography of wretchedness, which centered on the misery of beaten-down victims, as well as to the Popular Front mythology, which showed earnest, well-muscled men and women laboring together in fields and factories to produce a Soviet-style paradise on earth. Lange saw America as a worthy work in progress, incomplete and capable of better. By portraying her subjects as nobler than their current conditions, she emphasized the strength and optimism of our national character. She became, in Gordon’s words, “America’s pre-eminent photographer of democracy.”

But not for long. Though Lange would go on to photograph the dehumanizing process of Japanese-American internment during World War II and produce a number of elegant spreads for Life magazine, her unique brand of photojournalism — dignified, personal, contemplative — was overwhelmed by the action of wartime photography and the more abstract avant-garde imagery to come. In some ways, Lange, who died in 1965, remains frozen in the ’30s — a relic of the Depression and the enormous creative energy it unleashed. But even a glance at “Migrant Mother” reminds us of the timelessness of her best work. “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera,” she liked to say. Gordon’s elegant biography is testament to Lange’s gift for challenging her country to open its eyes.

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Las Vegas comes to Seattle…

Posted by Mike on November 15, 2008

As a Public Relations campaign, the Vegas tourism office brought some “showgirls” to Seattle for photo meet ups at various locations for a couple days…

One of my favorite photos of all time is the incongruent,  bizarre view of these two waaay overly  (or underly) dressed women catching the Seattle Times sports page in the morning at Cafe Umbria, in Seattle.

As you can see we also went to a bar and hooked up with some other folks too.

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Pizza before and after…

Posted by Mike on November 14, 2008

Unfortunately there is this belief that just because a file is digital it’s ready to go right out of the camera… not true. Same is true from film scans… which is where this photo originates (21/4 film scanned to 65 megabytes).



after-pizzaAnd by the way… This finished version was entered into two different photography judging competitions… It scored a very low score in one and first place in the other.

So don’t give up if the world doesn’t see it your way. Perhaps they weren’t even looking.

I made this with a 110mm macro lens on a 21/4 Bronica with Portra 160NC. f22 at 1/125th of a second. Two strobes and a foam core reflector helped out. One strobe was in a soft box strip about 14 inches by 30 inches and the other light was in a 16 inch dish painted white, with a sock over it.

Posted in Advertising Photography, Food Photography | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Coffee and sugar… a fine mix

Posted by Mike on November 11, 2008

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Invasion of the Alien foodstuffs

Posted by Mike on November 11, 2008

Remember War of the Worlds? I think the radio show Orson Welles put on was the BEST! It’s scary but what a bunch of suckers people are to panic, eh?

Anyway, I am certain the inspiration for the tripod walking machines came from these guys:

tripod walkers or beets?A poster from the 2005 version of the story….

I suppose in some perverse way beets are good for you but I’ll never eat them, now….

war of the worlds poster 2005

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