Thursday, June 27, 2013

Understanding Depth of Field and Long Lenses

The majestic Jaguar! How graceful yet powerful this creature is.

This image was taken during one of my many photography workshops that I teach here at the Phoenix Zoo. It almost appears that I am right inside the cage with this wild animal but in fact there is for the safety of all a fence or cage in between us. More for the safety of me than the Jaguar of course.

In this portion of my workshop I teach the understanding of how long lenses and depth of field play out in such a way to make the fence virtually disappear. As you can see a understanding that can make a ordinary picture of a Jaguar in a cage more intense and dramatic.

How fantastic photography can be with the proper knowledge and ability to apply it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Here is a shot that I took at the Phoenix Zoo this spring while teaching a photography workshop there.

There is nothing like the cactus blooms in the spring here in AZ. People come from all over the world to see and photograph them.

This shot was almost missed but caught it from the corner of my eye. I love this image.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


My plan for this upcoming year is to do a "Whats in my bag" post about what else, the equipment I bring when I shoot events. Of course this isn't all my equipment but just what I bring for a normal shoot.

In this post I wanted to mention a company named Yongnuo. This is a Chinese company that is making some nice affordable products that are getting some rave reviews.

Two of the many products they manufacture I am going to talk a little about today. The $75 YN560 Speedlite and the $35pr RF-603 flash triggers. The quality is unbelievable for these prices.

First the YN560 Speedlite.

Now the YN560 at $75 is a great secondary all manual flash unit that works well both on camera or how I like to use them off camera. What do I mean by secondary? Well listen I have top of the line Nikon equipment but if I can find products that are reliable and fit the need and save me big money I use them.

I purchased these products right off their page on Ebay and the shipping was FREE. Can't beat that.

So this flash unit as stated is all manual. It has power zoom from 24-105mm and flash power adjustable from 1/128-1/1 power. It also has fully adjustable head angle, PC port, external battery plug, optical sensor to trigger flash, just to name a few things all with about the same flash power as the top of the line Nikon and Canon flash units that run about $500. How do they do it?

Now if you only use the TTL (automatic mode) of your factory flash unit your going to have to put in a little learning time to familiarize yourself with manual flash but thats where comes in or a workshop in your area. We all know that TTL flash is like shooting with your camera on AUTOMATIC. Sometimes it works and most of the time it doesn't.

Listen we as photographers need to know how to use manual modes on everything we have. If we don't we are not going to be able to take control of things if something isn't going right which happens a lot.

Second the RF-630 Trigger/Receiver

These RF-603s at $35pr are another great product and much more affordable over the $150 a peice competitor. For off camera flash I break out a tripod with a umbrella bracket mounted on top. Then I put on one of the triggers and then the flash unit on top. I then mount a trigger on my camera, yes these are both triggers and receivers and I can also still put a flash on top of the trigger that is on my camera and we are ready to go.

I love to use these at weddings where I need to throw some light here and there to bring up the back light. There is a cool light system on the trigger that tells you it is talking to the other triggers so that you know the signal strength is good. I have used these at about 100ft and not one miss fire. I have seen on Youtube tests out to about 300ft.

The only downfall I see with these is that there isn't any locking collar on these. They did make the fit snug and I haven't had one fall off so they seem to stay on fine but I would feel better with a screw down locking collar at least.

Ok, so there you go. Two great affordable products to fill your needs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lung Cancer

Sunday I spent the morning shooting the Lungevity event which is a event to help in the fight against lung cancer.

My mother who died several years ago died of lung cancer and so I know first hand of this brutal disease.

If you are a smoker or if you know someone who smokes my hope is that you or they would have the strength to stop smoking. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Liliana & Carlos

Yesterdays shoot of a two shoot weekend was with Liliana & Carlos.

Sometimes things start off a little slow and the couple may be a little hesitant to let themselves be themselves and such was the case with these two. But once we got the ice broken it was great from there.

I had a great time shooting them and I love being so close to peoples special occasions.

I didn't even remember that the day before I had a 11.5hr shoot that wore me out. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


This is Rosi (Rosy). Rosi was a delight to shoot and was outgoing and joyful.

You can see in this image that she is wearing softball cleats. Softball is her sport of choice.

The after party just seemed to go on and on and the shoot was a total of 11.5hrs. Needless to say that I am a little sore today. Well worth it to capture a special moment in time.