Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for August, 2009

Making something from nothing… again!

Posted by Mike on August 30, 2009

A recent assignment called for photographing a large (91 feet or so) yacht in Seattle for a broker’s listing.

It all sounds glorious except it was parked in an ugly brown fabric boat house and wasn’t moving for our cameras.

So, out comes the creative photoshop ideas and I transported the boat to a cove on the west side of Vancouver Island with day and night scenes.

I just can’t enumerate all the actions and tweaks that went into this shot…. maybe 25 or more layers… brushes, layer masks, construction of things that don’t really exist and of course cutting holes in the windows… not to mention getting the photo in the first place so lighting during the day would look like night time….


Posted in Architectural Photography, Yacht Photography | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Fake Photos

Posted by Mike on August 28, 2009

Ok it looks nice…. I’ll grant that.

I receive this photo in an e mail about once every two weeks…

It’s fake.

From anywhere on the surface of the earth the sun and the moon look roughly the same size. That’s why you can have a securedownloadsolar eclipse (when the moon moves between the sun and earth and blocks almost all of the sun….). Likewise a lunar eclipse would not be possible if the moon where actually this big.

This constructed “photo” makes the moon out to be so big it would probably spin the earth off into space with it’s colossal gravity. And notice the lighting…. The moon has sunlight hitting it while the sun is almost directly behind the moon… not possible….

Posted in Photojournalism | Leave a Comment »

Mid Summer, perfect day.

Posted by Mike on August 16, 2009

I wasn’t going to make any pictures today… But it was a perfect day… slight breeze, 73 degrees, a couple clouds to break up the monotone blue sky.

Sam and I frequent this park since it’s at the end of dead end street and no cars can drive through… He sniffs around until he is content, finds a stick to chew on or a mole to dig up…. Dog Heaven, I suspect. The only downside is once in a while he thinks it’s cool to chase after a bike rider and scare them….Doofus!

Posted in fine art photography, Landscape Photography | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wrong! Fox News Wrong again.

Posted by Mike on August 12, 2009

Don’t patronize this network.

They are the world’s foremost source of spreading false information. Check out this map for an example.


For at least the last 7,000 years Egypt has been over there to the left… straddling the Nile river… not where Iraq has been since who knows when.

Posted in Photojournalism | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What about “uncle Bob” for your important event photos?

Posted by Mike on August 8, 2009

I ran across the complete explanation for going with a professional photographer the other day… quite by accident.  I was catching a rerun of the Red and Green Show the other night and Red was explaining the difference between reliable and unreliable methods of repair to some object using  his famous Duct Tape.

“Do it the right way and you get the Grapes of Wrath, he said. (A Nobel, Pulitzer, and Literary Award winning book/movie.)

“Do it wrong and you get the Wrath of Grapes.”   (See here, here** , or here for citations.)

** “…television producers in America venture into a world they know nothing about…sweet dreams slowly ferment into sour grapes as “American Idol” executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick invest in a California vineyard…”

You could also check this out for a little eyewitness testimony on the subject of being out of your league as an amateur photographer:  Seattle Bride Magazine.

Just to fend off the Best Buy crowd a little… Check this link out here. As Ken puts it; “…There is nothing wrong with being an amateur photographer. Many of them are better than professionals…” And certainly “most amateurs have better equipment than professional photographers…”.  But, as we all know equipment does not make photographs, eyes, hearts, and brains do.

Recounting the last few jobs I have worked… Here are some topics that are not in the latest book of TIPS on how to make great photographs….

1) Client does not know what they want… they are hiring you for your expertise… If you have no expertise perhaps you should pass on the job?

2) Client is drunk during the photo shoot… How do you handle that.

3) Or worse, the client has a talent agent who thinks he knows more about photography than you do. How do you handle that?

4) Computer breaks during print on site job.

5) Camera refuses to record pictures.

6) Lens fails.

7) It’s dark outside. How do I make photos without people looking like deer in headlights?

8) You know in your heart the shadow on the side of everyone’s head in vertical compositions is the sign of a equipment poor, unskilled photographer. How do you make it not happen?

The answer is right here:  Read this blog.


Additionally, I might add that here is a link to a pretty good sized blog that is absolute proof that good photography trumps photoshop. Trying to “fix” poor photography does not work.

Photoshop Disasters…

Posted in Event Photography, Wedding Photography | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A little fun after dark….

Posted by Mike on August 5, 2009

People have been coming to this location for decades to snap their photos with 8 x 10 view cameras, 4×5’s 2 1/4’s, 35mm’s, digital snappers and now camera phones… (Wait, did you notice a trend toward lesser and lesser quality?)

Why? Mostly they are not seeking a quality professional photograph. They are only seeking a memory…. And in that case, any rough image will do….

Not me; I can’t stand crappy images. I want something to look at with the idea that I might see something different every time I look at it…. The concept is “transcendence”.

This is when the image transcends the medium and you feel as though you are looking at the concept (the essence of the thing (if a real “thing’ even exists)).

Ansel Adams and Christopher Burkett, ( ) and some others are two photographers whose work transcends the medium.

Click the link to the right that says “levels of photographers” for a complete explanation.


Posted in Concept Photography, Landscape Photography | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »