I just wanted to share my final self-portrait for Movember of 2012. I try to do at least one of these a week during the event. Last week’s was a little more special since I made it on top of a rocky cliff 😉
So far, my team has raised over $2,000 during the month, and I think that’s awesome! So thank you for those of you who supported. If you are feeling generous, there’s still some time to donate some money at my MoSpace page.
Every year, my family picks a spot to spend Thanksgiving and we all come together to eat and enjoy a beautiful and/or fantastic location. This year we ventured to Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina.
Now, I’ve fashioned myself as a people photographer over the past couple of years, but it’s fun every once in a while to slow down and shoot some scenery.
Lower Cascades Falls
Waking up at 5:30AM to catch the sunrise is not something I usually have to do, but if you want to get a shot like this, you’re going to have to hike up a mountain in the dark:
I still managed to take some shots of my family as well. Here’s my wife with her brothers and sister under a waterfall:
And here’s my kids at another waterfall. The park has 5 different waterfalls you can hike to.
There’s a reason why this waterfall is called “Window Falls”, as illustrated in the following shot:
Taking portraits with a very slow shutter speed is quite the challenge. It felt akin to old school portraiture where the subject had to hold perfectly still to get the proper exposure. Here, we’re trying to get the falls to look smooth while keeping ourselves sharp. This is a self-portrait with my son:
Upper Cascades Falls
Speaking of self-portraits, here’s one I made while we played with light painting at night:
And here’s a self-portrait I made up on the Hanging Rock:
I leave you with one last shot from underneath the rock. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well!
This past weekend marked the 4th BarCamp in Charleston, SC. What is BarCamp? It can be described simply as an attendee-driven conference. The attendees pitch, vote on, and present the content of the day. It’s a lot of fun and this was my 3rd year doing it.
Once again, I presented a class that was photography related. This time I tackled my portrait workflow in Photoshop. I had two examples prepared to demonstrate the techniques I currently use when editing photos. The first one was a headshot of one of the pediatricians at Sweetgrass Pediatrics. I showed a basic RAW conversion in Camera RAW, and then opened the photo in Photoshop to demonstrate techniques like blemish removal, teeth whitening, how to optimize the eyes, skin softening, and dodging & burning. I finished with my selective sharpening technique. This is the final retouched image:
Due to the nature of BarCamp, my class got scheduled in the very first time slot of the day, which is cool by me (who doesn’t want to get their session over right away so they can enjoy the rest of the day??). Unfortunately, the day started quite late due to the fact that almost twice as many people showed up this year compared to last year. I only made it halfway through my session before we had to move outside to get the group photo made. I promised the class that I would post the second half of my session as a screencast here on my website, so you’re all in for something a little different.
Before I get to that, I wanted to talk about the group photo. As I was packing up my gear in the classroom, my daughter came rushing in and said “Come on, Dad, everyone’s waiting to get the photo taken!” I grabbed my camera and ran to the balcony to see everyone all grouped together on the ground level. I looked down at the crowd and thought “Oh, crap”. Mid-day, cloudless skies. Sharp shadows from the building, and worse, the trees. Bright yellow warm light dappling big swatches of faces, and cool blue shadowy light on the rest. All inconsistent, and no time to get hundreds of attendees to relocate! Besides, where could I possibly relocate them to anyway? Well, I switched my camera’s bracketing feature on and organized the crowd to fit in the frame and fired away.
This photo is the end result of a lot of finessing in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Color Effex Pro. I’ll save you from all of the gory details, but the dynamic range of my camera truly helped me save this photograph. I was able to use a highly underexposed photo (that still had blown highlights anyway) and create a useable image. HDR didn’t fly because there were too many moving parts. Doesn’t matter – people seem to like the shot regardless of the pixel gymnastics it took to get everyone somewhat evenly exposed.
OK, so here’s the screencast I warned told you about – Hope you enjoy it:
And here’s the final image that I retouched in this video:
Listen, I just can’t find any more things to say about CupcakeCamp that I haven’t said here, here, or here. But, you need to understand that it still remains the greatest event ever conceived. Bakers make cupcakes. People eat cupcakes. Nobody loses.
So how could we improve on this experience? Easy, you bake cupcakes for it! That’s exactly what my wife decided to do. She did the research and narrowed it down to two recipes:
Harry Potter themed “Butterbeer” cupcakes
“Sweet Potato Casserole” cupcakes
I’ll tell you what, those Butterbeer cupcakes barely made it onto the display. As soon as I took these pictures, they were snapped up in record time! Don’t mess with the power of Harry Potter.
Here’s some other shots of cupcakes for your enjoyment:
This morning I took my razor to my lip and removed my mustache. It’s been with me for almost a year now since I started growing it during last year’s Movember event. So it was with great pride that I shed my stache just to document it’s regrowth for you in the hopes that you might donate a few clams to men’s health organizations through my MoSpace page.
If you have no idea what Movember is, you can read all about it here. The TLDR version is that every November, participants try to raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. The traditional method of doing this is to grow a fresh new mustache during November and let everyone know why you’re doing it.
Please donate whatever you can spare. It’s a rough time for a lot of my friends up north, so I wouldn’t mind if you decided to throw some money to the American Red Cross instead (or both if you can). Another organization that’s directly helping out people in need in NY & NJ is Occupy Sandy Relief. They have a ton of information, including drop off locations and volunteer efforts for places that are currently being overlooked by FEMA and the Red Cross.
I look forward to sharing my weekly self-portraits with you as my upper lip gets fuzzy again. Last year’s family photo was one of my favorite photos of all time:
I'm based in Charleston, SC and offer my personal creative vision to the world of photography through the open sharing of ideas and the pursuit of all that inspires me. I have a DIY work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit, but I love to work with awesome people.