Sunday, September 27, 2009

Barry Chignell from FreePhotoResources and more…


Barry Chignell, Friend and Founder of FreePhotoResources recently took a trip to London. There Barry made some striking photographs of the city’s familiar landmarks. His use of HDR and post-processing leaves the viewer  in awe of the subject matter that exists in his compositions.

There is a surreal quality to the images that Barry creates. It gives the viewer a dynamic glimpse  and approach to the subject matter that he is photographing. Barry is anything but your average digital photographer. While he does produce a vast amount of HDR photographs he does have a collection of images that do not present any sort of HDR manipulations. Instead, they have a fine art quality and aspect that conjures up memories of being at the coast as a child.

I wouldn’t classify Barry as a landscape photographer because of his large interest in other types of photography. Though his landscape photographs are breath taking. For example, Frost 2, (being one of my favorite images he has made) he presents the landscape, a tree stump, and the morning frost in a stylistic manner that we normally wouldn’t see. The visual qualities in this photograph, being the vibrant colors and the sharp details in the vines, the vegetated growth that has died off, plus the overall mood, make this an outstanding example of and HDR landscape. Had this photograph been made in a more traditional manner, such as black and white film and printed in a darkroom, I do not think it would evoke such an desire to view it.

View more photographs from Barry’s trip to London. trip to London

View a larger collection of Barry’s photographs at his Flickr Photo Stream 


 Tower Bridge

 Trafalgar Square Fountain





Quality of light plus the quantity of light: Does having the proper amount of light mixed with the type of light make a difference when it comes to making HDR photographs? This is a question I have formulated over the months and months of HDR shooting that I have been doing. The answer is yes. Yes, the quality and quantity of light is a massive factor in the end result of your photographs. This can also be applied to photography in general, not just HDR. For those who have not heard of the Golden Hour, the golden hour is the first and last hour of sun set. The “right” time to be out making photographs that have a strong quality of light. By the “right time”, I am of course referring to not being out in the middle of the day, (11am-3 or 4ish pm) where the sun is can cause bright highlights and deep dark shadows. This can work in some situations, but majority of the time shooting in conditions like this is best avoided. Hence the quality of light being to poor at times to get powerful, impacting, surreal HDR photographs.

This is where quality and quantity come into play. The quantity of the light can be to strong and produce an unflattering photograph. These are just a few things to keep in mind when you are setting out to make some photographs. However, in the photographs shown above, the use of strong lighting works very well because of the thick cloud coverage. The clouds provided enough diffusing light to come through that it didn’t create to harsh of highlights or shadows. Instead it allowed Barry to create these masterful images. A special thanks to Barry for allowing his images to be shared.

Photograph made during the Golden Hour

Littleville dam 8

Jeffrey Byrnes

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thinking outside of the box

I have been so consumed with shoots and studio work lately that I hardly had a chance to check the news. But, I did manage to find this last night. I haven't heard anyone else discussing this, but I feel it deserves some attention. I love interesting photography projects. I often create my own. However, two MIT students have gone above and beyond the normal ideas and created a unique project of their own. Students Launch camera to edge of space This project encumbrances technology with a simple idea and a very very small budget. It really opens your eyes to simple ideas that can gain attention quickly.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Long Exposures plus Social Etiquette during shoots

This past summer has been quite an amazing photographic journey. We, by we I mean my business partner and I have embarked on some new processes and techniques that further enhanced the visual qualities of our photographs. It was said best in a conversation this past week, (by myself of course)  “I will always be a student of photography. As much knowledge as we can and have obtained about the traditional practices of photography, we will always be in a constant state learning as new processes, technology, cameras, and software enter the photography industry and continue to change the photographic medium.”

With that said, here are some Long Exposures that I began working on this past summer. Using no cable release, nor a remote, or wireless cable release, these photographs were made with my hand remaining on the shutter release for as much as 5 minutes.

Landscape of Memories

Long Exposures  (3)

Basket Ball Hoop 

Long Exposures  (2)

 Basket Ball Hoop #2

2:30 in the morning, the water is moving peacefully down the river. The clouds are rolling gently over head. Shooting stars pass quickly through the night sky. My hand grips the camera firmly. My finger depresses the shutter release. Minutes later, the light from the LCD screen illuminates my face as the image appears. For a moment, my breath escapes me.




Social Etiquette as defined by is as follows “ etiquette is a code of behavior that influences expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.” How does this definition play a role in photography? Well, from time to time, people tend to forget their manners and throw out the social etiquette that comes manners. While on a shoot for a client this afternoon, a family took it upon themselves to include themselves into our setting. With total disregard for what was taking place, the shoot they were interrupting, they moved in and took over a section of the backdrop we were in the process of using.  Is it rude to jump into someone else’s shoot and take over the area that a photographer and client are using? Of course it is. From time to time I have had individuals take notice to what I was photographing, during travels, street photography, or even in areas that I photograph often, and come up and stand next to me and make almost the same photograph. This is blatantly rude and disrespectful. One could take this as a compliment. You notice something that people were passing up and it generates the attention of others to the point that they themselves want or feel the need to have the same image that you are making. This also falls into the spectrum of social etiquette and improper manners.

Is it easy to delicate a situation where someone else essentially moves into your spot? Chances are no. If they swoop in and take the spot and start setting up, this spot might be their money shot. Which in that case, they will not be quick to give the spot up, even though they essentially took the location from you. Approaching the person/people about this may cause a nasty confrontation, which if you are present with a client, may not be a good idea.  Especially for business.  What are your options at this point? Well, for us we went about with our shoot. Moved down slightly and let them do “their thing”. While on looking, we took notice how the “photographer” (father of the family) was posing the family in a very unpleasing lighting situation. This validated for us that taking the spot over was a mistake on their part. Nasty shadows crept over the family members from the high key natural light that was splashing over them. The over powering speed light was no doubt giving the subjects way to much light at this point. Our shoot moved on smoothly. Minutes later, the family breaks apart and leaves saying “sorry and thank you” very impolitely. Did this deter us from making some very satisfying portraits? Not at all, it was just a socially and unprofessional way of creeping in on a location that was already in use. The point of all this, be respectful of when choosing a location to shoot in. Make sure if you are going to be close to another photographer, that you are not interrupting their shoot or being a part of their back drop. After all, you wouldnt want the same thing to be done to you, would you? I’d hope not.




Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The elements and arrangements within a composition, as well as the composition (composition defined for visual arts ) of the photograph itself make up a very large portion of the over all image. The other remaining elements are creativity and of course LIGHT. Seeing as how photography is based on light and the principals that make up light. There are certain rules that need to be followed in composing your photographs. Some times elements, objects, and people are already presented in a composed manner and it is just up to us to make the photograph. Other times, this can be the tricky part, we have to compose and arrange the elements ourselves. This can be done by physically moving the elements and objects, or by physically moving around them and getting creative with how you position the camera as you are making the photograph. The angle and position in which you take can give a dramatic and some times impressive composition that gets you away from the boring, blah, snap shot qualities that can be made. The Digital Photography School has a great post that discusses The 5 Elements of Composition. A post that should be read, even if you are a seasoned pro. There might be something written in the post that could give you a new idea. Or might spark some sort of creativity.

Photography explained

Friday, September 11, 2009

IPhone and your DSLR: Controlling your Canon or Nikon DSLR with an Iphone or Itouch

I do not own an Iphone or Itouch (to bad my small Ipod support this feature). However, if I did this is something I would consider purchasing. A company called Ononesoftware has released an interesting application. DSLR Camera Remote It is the first application outside of the Speak Polish (an application that can translate, listen to, and repeat the Slavic language) application that I have seen that is worth having. Boasting it self as the “next generation of cable releases”, this impressive piece of software has a list of functions that seem pretty impressive for a cell phone. After all, it was merely a few years ago cell phones didn’t even have a camera.

Key Features include:

Remote firing, Remote adjustments, Image review, Live view, Intervalometer (used to trigger exposures), and Zero configuration.

Priced at a mere $19.oo this application will not break the bank, but break you free from your being trapped behind the lens, and possibly make you look cool. Well thats a given, but regardless of the wow factor, this app does seem to be a progressive step forward for ingenuity when it comes to cell phones, photography, and cameras.

For a list of update features that this application is capable of running, check out the site.

DSLR Camera Remote

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Northampton, MA: Some personal thoughts and images.

The best way to describe my feelings towards Northampton is as follows, “ I am in love with Holyoke, but have a torrid love affair with Northampton.” On the average I can be found in one of these two towns making photographs. I work, manage, operate, and co-own a photography business in Holyoke, yet can be found enjoying the culture and night life that Northampton has to offer. For a few years now I have been wondering around Northampton, photographing the city as I see it. Documenting my time in the city to the point that it feels like home now.

These two photographs represent a different view of Northampton than most people will see. A view some people would rather not try and see, but very much enjoy seeing when presented to them. They also represent how this past summer I hit the pinnacle of memories formed in Northampton. This summer has brought the most changes in my life at one time. Some great, some good, some ok, and some bad. But within the bad still exists beauty. I have a much more fond appreciation for the time spent in Northampton this summer. Moments I dare not forget.



These images are grainy. This is due to being shot handheld at a slightly higher ISO than I would normally be found using. It was in the absence of a tripod that I was forced to use such a high ISO. These images were also shot from a dynamic vantage point. I.E scaling a fire escape to get this view.

Noho processed

Sitting in one of our regular places to grab a quick slice of pizza, Sam’s always has something going on inside or outside. And of course plenty of memories line the walls of Sam’s. What can truly be said about Northampton in one post and 3 crappy/quick photographs? Nothing more than one word, love. Which also happens to have been the theme for this summer as evenings were spent in Northampton.

I’ll end with this thought in mind.

“I could spend a life time photographing my memories of Western Ma, but the ones I want to remember the most I keep where no one  else can see them”