Building the Image: Cycle Enthusiast

18 September 2010

Cycling Enthusiast

For the Photo Arts class at Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, I was working on a portrait project. I was making images of people and their machines -- in particular, people enthusiastic about their machines. That's where Mike enters the plan.

From the moment I thought of Mike and his bicycles, I saw him surrounded by them in his garage, so that's the image we set out to make.

Mike went about rolling bicycle after bicycle into the garage, and I found anything I could to prop them up and we eventually began suspending them from the ceiling at different levels using straps, cord, and rope. Some bikes are even lashed to others to keep them facing the right directions. We added his Park toolbox as a perch, then dropped the recumbent bike into the front of the scene. We had bikes top to bottom, and Mike neatly nestled among them.

Next I had to light the scene to accent the key parts. I worked from the back to the front building the lighting. To let the way background drop dark, we turned off the garage lights and worked by the light from the sky.

I dropped the 28-inch Westcott Apollo softbox half-way back into the scene and to the left. I pointed it at the background of bicycles, and found 1/8 power on the YN-460II to be enough to light the bikes. I used the softbox back there, so I could easily keep that background light from spilling into the foreground.

To light the foreground, that's Mike and the recumbent, I popped up another YN-460II shot through a white umbrella on the right side of the scene. 1/16 power was enough there to balance him with the background lighting.

I framed it up with the camera on the tripod, and Mike shifted through a couple comfortable poses, and finally we had the image that I wanted.

Fiorill's Keg Climb

Once that was out of the way, Mike had a couple ideas of what he thought would make a good photo. For his stuff, I just lit it with the 2 strobes—the one in front of him in the softbox, and both at about 45 degrees for basic coverage.

Four Year Photos in the Sand

11 May 2010

Braden brought a couple of his trucks out to the sand court for his four-year photos, and we sat and played a bit while I shot. He also ran in circles a bit to get his mother a bit wound up, but we were still doing fine -- I only needed a few good shots, and I managed plenty.

From my gear bag, I used the small satin umbrella to bounce the strobe onto the scene, often crossing the sun which dappled into our mostly-shaded scene. For Braden, I also packed a bonus toy -- a real folding shovel, so we could do some real digging. This provided a good change of pace, and it was the perfect height to aid in posing his hands when he was seated on a truck.

Beth's New Portraits

30 April 2010

Beth in April 2010

I had the pleasure of photographing Beth and her family back in the Fall for the Images for a Cure fundraiser, so I was eager to shoot an update image 6 months later (and with her current, less extreme hair style).

Beth and her team will be doing the 3-Day for the Cure fundraising walk -- 60 miles in 3 days in Washington DC on 8-10 October 2010.

Images for a Cure: 11 October 2009

30 September 2009

This 11 October 2009 is the Images for a Cure national fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can participate, by contacting me or other photographers found on the Images for a Cure site and scheduling a portrait session.

For a $40 donation, I'll be offering outdoor portraits of individuals, and for $60, I'll make portraits of small groups. Donations are made online directly to the organization. A session will take 30-60 minutes and for the donated session fee, I'll provide free 4x6 printed proofs or a single free 8x10 print from the session. More options will be available at an additional price.

All the sessions will be scheduled on Sunday, 11 October, and there are only a limited number of slots available, so drop me an email at or call me at 717-871-0871 for details. Thank you, and I hope to see you for the event.

For fellow photographers in the area, I'm looking to recruit an assistant or 2 and another photographer or 2 to share locations. Let me know if you might be interested in signing up. I can also offer a fallback indoor space in case of bad weather.

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