• Archives
  • Dec30

    Charleston

    I was recently “forced” into an upgrade of my iPhone to the new 4S model (by forced, I mean I was eligible for upgrade pricing and the home button on my 4 wasn’t working, so I bought a new one). I have to say that I’m floored by the quality of the new iPhone camera. Combined with the amazing photo editing software available on iOS such as Snapseed, you can make truly stunning photos. I’m not saying anything new here, but the newer cell phone cameras have enough resolution where editing photos is far less destructive (at least it’s less noticeable). Photos such as the one above are now at a resolution suitable for printing at a decent size! The dynamic range seems more realistic, and the image stabilization helps combat Mr. Blurrycam (this is especially effective for taking video). I’m very excited about it.

    Business End

    TechCrunch brought this service to my attention. CameraTrace claims to be able to find your lost camera based on an embedded serial number in your EXIF data. The concept is very interesting, but it seems to me the type of person who is stealing photo equipment will not be uploading pictures to Flickr. It’s more likely that the camera will be sold on Craigslist or in a WalMart parking lot to an unassuming poor photographer who will be the one who gets caught with the stolen goods (I know, because I recovered my stolen camera in a WalMart parking lot from a guy who was reselling my D40 on Craigslist that he obtained in a WalMart parking lot). Still, you might get your camera back! The issue I have is that sites like Flickr and 500px are not nearly as popular as Facebook has become for the average person sharing their photos. If they can find a way to search against Facebook photos, then I’d fully support this service. $10 is a pretty small amount to register your camera though, and it will give you an edge in case you do ever fall victim to camera theft.

    Christmas 2011

    The last thing I wanted to talk about is the Nintendo 3DS and its 3D camera. As far as I know, this is the first widely distributed 3D camera in the world. It’s unfortunate that Nintendo was cheap in the actual camera quality, because the potential is far greater than the reality. Regardless, a 3D still camera is an amazing tool. As photographers, we’ve been forever battling to interpret 3D reality in only two dimensions on film, paper, and/or digital screens. We struggle to find compositional tools to define depth, but with an actual 3D camera, you can see the depth. The cool thing is that it challenges you to exploit that depth, which actually carries over into a 2D conversion of the same photos. By trying to make a better 3D photo, you are actually making a better 2D one as well. I know that sounds crazy, but it makes sense when you really think about it. By trying to isolate and draw the eye to your subject, you instinctively use the techniques that photographers have been practicing for years. From using the rule of thirds to moving closer to finding leading lines, those techniques become second nature when composing in 3D because you are seeing the actual depth! I think the Nintendo 3DS could be a great training tool for teaching composition.

  • Dec24

    Family Photo

    I’m a lucky man. Look at that photo up there – my family is just an awesome group of people. We’re truly grateful for our health and happiness. I setup my portable studio in our living room this evening and we each posed individually. I put this composite together for my personal Facebook Timeline poster, but it turned out so cool that I wanted to share it with y’all.

    It has been a great year for me. I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals despite a physically rough start. I’ve grown a lot as a photographer, and with the help of events like Help-Portrait and Angel Walk, I’ve grown as a person. Speaking of Help-Portrait, If you were watching ABC World News on Christmas Eve, you might have caught a spectacular piece about it. It was especially awesome for our MUSC Kids Help-Portrait team because photos from our event were featured in the piece, including this photo of Jesse who inspired my wife and I to start our group:

    Dasinger Family

    What’s that you say? You didn’t catch it? Well it is almost 2012 – we have the internet to save the day! Check out the piece here.

    That brings me to my next point. Jesse was saved by a bone marrow donor. An anonymous awesome person was matched to Jesse and was able to save this sweet boy’s life. Giving service in the form of photography is a fantastic gesture to celebrate our humanity, but I think we can do more in a different way. Today I signed up as a bone marrow donor and I want everyone who reads this to think about doing the same. It’s easy, but I won’t say it’s painless. What’s a couple of days of discomfort compared to a human life? Besides, you have a very slim chance of actually being matched – but you are increasing the odds that a potential recipient will find a match by registering. If you do get matched, all of your expenses are paid (except time off from work) and you’re fully covered medically for the procedure. Furthermore, you will officially become the most amazing person in the world to someone who’s life you’ll potentially save!

    Here’s the skinny, go to this website to get all of the details. Sign up here to get your swab kit. That’s it. I also put a widget to the right of my blog in case you forget. If anything, you’ll get that shiny happy feeling when you hit submit on the sign-up form like you just gave a loved one the present they’ve been begging for all year.

    If you have the means and are lucky enough to be healthy enough to be able to do so, I encourage you to just do it. I hope you have a fantastic holiday this season no matter what your beliefs are, because we are all here now and all we truly have is each other. Merry Christmas!

  • Dec15

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    I had the pleasure of not only organizing a Help-Portrait event at MUSC Children’s Hospital again this year, but also of volunteering as a shooter for the Charleston Help-Portrait group at the Convoy of Hope event on James Island. I want to share some of my favorite shots from the day.

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island Collage

    This was a lot different from the event I organized. I was one of three shooters, we had 2 editors, registration volunteers, and a makeup artist all in one tent!

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    Here are a couple of shots from my phone of the other two shooters at the event:

    Help-Portrait Doug
    Doug DeLong

    Help-Portrait Hansje
    Hansje Gold-Krueck

    I also got to shoot some other event volunteers, such as these mimes who were performing:

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island Mimes

    As well as the local fire department:

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island Fire Department

    I shot a lot of families. It can be challenging to get a group to fit within the borders of a portable collapsible background. There was a lot of convincing on my part to get people as close as possible to each other. Luckily, that also usually got people laughing right away.

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    When shooting kids, I tried to get them to also pose without their parents so they could let their personalities show. Something about taking a picture with adults makes kids squirm, but when they’re with other kids they really seem to open up.

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island Collage

    I also shot a little differently than I did with the MUSC event. I shot in JPEG normal to make the file sizes smaller and also let the camera handle the JPEG conversions to speed up the processing. I shot over 54 different subjects – and I was one of 3 photogs! Needless to say the editors were very busy.

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    The other change I made was to slightly bump up my ISO to 250 to make my flashes work a little less. I worked 7 hours and never had to change the batteries!

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    I have to say, it’s nice to let someone else worry about leading every once and a while. Being a professional means a lot more than just taking pictures! For this event though, I just had to worry about setting up and making people smile. I still love leading, but it was nice to have a break from the “business” end of things for a change.

    Help-Portrait CHS James Island

    All in all it was a really successful event. I had a blast, and the subjects I interacted with were all unique and interesting people from all walks of life. I didn’t get a chance to check out the rest of the event, although we had a stage right next to our tent so we were jamming to lots of gospel music, which I was enjoying to the point of ridiculousness (although that could have been the exhaustion kicking in). Everybody was in such high spirits though that it was hard not to have a sore face from smiling all day long. You can view the rest of my portraits from the event here.

  • Dec11

    Maya

    Every once in a while you take a photo that reminds you of why you love photography. Help-Portrait is an event where every time you press the shutter you make that picture.

    Marquaja

    On Friday, our small group of volunteers headed back to the atrium at the MUSC Children’s hospital in downtown Charleston, SC to give portraits to families of children who are being cared for there.

    Megan

    This year, the organizers of Help-Portrait have reversed their stance on sharing the photos of the subjects and have in fact encouraged us to do so. I’d like to share the photos I took of our 13 subjects during the event.

    Morgan

    It’s amazing to be able to give the families of these kids something in a situation where so much has been taken from them. There is something about a kid smiling with you despite the struggle they’re fighting that makes you value the life we have.

    Riley

    Sarah

    Chandler

    Amy was in charge of gathering hats for our wardrobe since hair & make-up really wouldn’t work in this situation. For all the hats that we brought, the girls mostly liked the feather boa!

    Lashonda

    Emily

    As I’ve mentioned before, the inspiration for us to bring Help-Portrait to MUSC Children’s Hospital came from leukemia survivor Jesse Dasinger. Last year, he was unable to participate due to his health. This year, he’s doing amazingly well and was able to drop in with his family to get his picture made:

    Dasinger Family

    I did have on technical problem that arose from a bad cable, and I had to retake Christopher’s photo here because the first attempt failed. He was a trooper, and was able to re-create the magic:

    Christopher

    D'Marcus

    One of the brightest moments for me was when this girl, Amouri, came to get her photo made. She was also the last subject I shot. I grilled her a bit at first and found out she was a cheerleader. I knew she would be a great subject. She said something that made me feel tremendously enlightened about what goes on at MUSC. I asked her how she was feeling, and she said “I feel amazing”.

    Amouri

    Another change introduced in this year’s Help-Portrait was the involvement of the participants. We came up with the idea to bring plain wooden picture frames to let the kids decorate them with – they loved it! John Lindroth took this shot of Megan:

    Here’s the team photo shot by one of the staffers at the hospital:

    Help-Portrait Charleston SC MUSC Kids Team

    Drew, John, & Eugene also have some photos of the event that I’ll share soon. All of the photos will be available here. I also participated in the Charleston Help-Portrait group at the James Island Convoy of Hope event yesterday. I’ll be sure to write up another recap of that event soon! Stay tuned…