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.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spring is in the Air!

Ah! Spring is in the air! The trees are sprouting their summer leafs, the summer grass is starting to come in, wild flowers are blooming and white is back in for summer.

Of course if you are back east you are getting snow but not here in sunny AZ where summer starts in April and ends in October.

I'm ready for it! Bring it on Mother Nature!

Cooling Off

This image was taken once again during one of the many workshops I teach at the Phoenix zoo. Most of the workshops there are my DSLR Photography 101 Workshop which goes over the basics of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed as well as proper camera setup, depth of field etc.

I find that the zoo is the perfect place for beginners to learn because of the vast changes in scenery and lighting from one exhibit to the next. This vast change forces one to make many camera adjustments in order to adapt to these changes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chris & Raquel

Love is in the air! This image was taken this past weekend of Chris and Raquel.

It was a beautiful spring day which was perfect for this outdoor wedding.

Unfortunately the groom was very ill but he held it together long enough for us to get through the day.

There are always challenges to work through on every shoot so patience and quick thinking are what help the professional photographer get through it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pixel Sling

For this new year I decided to start a new project built around photography. Being a working photographer as I looked at several camera products that I use I thought there was much room for improvement.

The first two products that I wanted to start with were based on the camera strap and also a camera strap mounting system to allow the photographer to bottom mount their strap.

As I looked at the modern camera strap one of the first complaints you hear would be the shortness of the strap itself and how the normal camera strap is designed to be worn around the neck or over the shoulder.

The professional camera setup hung by a strap draped around ones neck for hours can create great stress in the neck area and after many hours starts to feel like an anchor dragging them down. A better way I thought would be to wear it slung across your should and chest which spreads the load out much more effectively. It is also a safer way to carry your camera verses slung over your shoulder which when worn this way tends to fall off your shoulder from time to time.

It was important to me in redesigning the strap to have it still be able to mount to the camera using the stock mounting points if desired. This would allow no other necessary items to be purchased if this was all you wanted out of your strap.

The second item that is just coming off the production line is a new mounting system to allow the photographer to connect their camera strap to the bottom of the camera at the 1/4 20 tripod mounting point. This is becoming a desired way to carry the camera which by doing this keeps the cameras strap out of the face of the photographer when shooting vertically. It is a more casual setup but has its purpose just as well.

You can find out more about these two products by visiting

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This past weekends shoot was with Odessa and Tony on their wedding day. The day brought a heavy does of rain, something a bride hates to see on their important day but I assured her that rain or not that we would get great images of them.

This shot, taken in the studio before the ceremony, was a shot I enjoyed. It is much better at its full size but we are limited here so we get what we get.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Double Header



Well this past weekend was a busy weekend with events on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Need I say I'm Beat! I am not getting any younger that's for sure.

Both events went well and both girls were very happy with the images I got.

Now a day of rest.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maria Maria

Maria was the subject of my shoot this past weekend for her 15th birthday celebration!

It was a great day for a shoot and she was eager to follow all my posing requests.

Many of these shots are very traditional which is what the family usually likes but we always try to sneak in a couple fun ones also.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Here is a shot of Vanessa from my last shoot a few days ago.

Late afternoon shooting has become a little more difficult lately because of the sun reflecting off the water and creating flares on the images. This shot includes two flares that I had to spend some time with to correct but overall I think the image came out fine.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Controlling Exposure

Here is another shot while teaching a workshop at the Phoenix Zoo. I am not sure of the name of this winged creature but I use it as a study on controlling exposure in harsh direct sunlight.

Proper exposure becomes more difficult with white subjects in direct sun at times which can cause an over exposing of white which can blow out all detail in that white.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Topaz Labs

We are happy to announce a new sponsor to our page, Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs is a company that I love. They make many different pieces of software that work as a Photoshop and Photoshop Elements plug in that are simple to use with a dramatic effect.

The image below of Papago Park was enhanced with Topaz Adjust which works wonders with landscape images creating almost a HDR effect on the image.

Click on the image above which will bring you to their site for more info on their products.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Yesterday was a beautiful Arizona day here in Phoenix. It was sixty degrees out with some great clouds in the sky, something we don't get enough of in AZ.

I spent a couple of hours teaching one of my photography workshops at the Phoenix Zoo and upon leaving noticed this great view of the bluffs at Papago Park. I knew I had to stop and get this shot while I had the chance and did take advantage of the opportunity.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Black & White Film

Shot at 2.8

Shot at 2.8

These are a few shots with my medium format Mamiya 645 from a shooting excursion I had a couple of months back with a friend of mine Brad Armstrong from Brad Armstrong Photography.

This is my first time shooting with this camera and the first time shooting film in probably ten years.

I got the camera just for the purpose of shooting B&W film which I use to love shooting.

I had a great time and look forward to shooting more film in the future.