Shooting In The Snow

Snow at Longmire Lodge 

This is the lodge on Mount Rainier where the skiers and the trail walkers come in from the snow to warm up and have a meal it is also a restaurant and hotel (booked way out in advance). We were shooting footage (video) for my friends video production company called Glory Scapes and he wanted snowing conditions which is what we found. If you have never been there it is a beautiful place with lots to do and lots of things to photograph. It was cold, snowing and we could not get up to the main observatory as they closed the roads beyond our parking lot. This image was shot with my D200 and my 70 to 200 mm VR Nikon lens. as was the image below.

 Snow and Country Store

This  is the “General Store” where they sell a varity of things all worth looking at and considering. The store sits below and beside the Lodge you see in the above image with a covered walk way between the buildings and yes the snow is half way up the side of the building. Notice the giant snow ball on top of the chimney (no fire now) that looks like a giant beach ball. There were a couple of trees that were broken off up high with the same kind of build up of snow. It was a great outing and Russ came home with a series of good footage and I have a bunch of snow pictures to enjoy.

Converting Flash Units First Images

When we did the High School Junior Senior dance I realized my Nikon Wireless strobes lacked the necessary power for a large room with poor lighting so I started to look at different lighting systems to complement what I have and use. When we did the cap and gown shooting my system (Nikon Wireless) worked fine and produced images as good as the other photographer did with his studio strobes. But I still wanted to move on so I did a lot of research on line reading posts and watching videos on the pros and cons of the various systems I was interested in and I also called and talked to two fellow photographers that have 50 years in the business between them as to their thoughts and opinions on one line I was interested in called “Alien Bee’s” and was surprised that they both were familiar with the brand and both felt they would more than meet my needs. I also talked to my partner ( I am retired from the same company he is still working there) about what he used and to my surprise it was the same line I was looking at. So I ordered one B1600 rated at 640 watts of light and being able to reduce the power down to 1/32nd power, it was a basic kit that included a heavy duty stand, a silver umbrella, a carrying case for the strobe and related cords. I promptly broke one end of the sync cable and called the factory for a replacement shipment and they did just that and for no charge (service as advertised).

Since the light and all of the necessary parts have arrived I have been setting it up and working on how to best use the one strobe and how to integrate it with the Nikon wireless setup I already own. So far it has done more than I expected and I am pleased at the light produced and the real ability to reduce the out put to my needs. One caveat for me will be procuring the wireless transmitter and receiver for the first strobe and then adding a receiver for the balance I intend to buy. At the last school shoot I was working I noticed that any one behind us that fired there flash caused our set up to fire also and I am sure they have some over exposed pictures but that is the way it is. When I attach the new wireless slave to a strobe it will not fire from any flash in the area. I tested this with the sync cable plugged into the strobe with the strobe powered up and used my on board flash from my backup camera to see if it would fire the flash and it did not. 


 Smile rock

The images here were taken at my home studio and then re-sized and enhanced in CS Four for the web. I took a lot of pictures at different levels of light out put to see how much control I really had with the cameras and the main strobe light. The images were shot at F5.6 shutter @250 and ISO at 160 for the picture with the rock, the Lilly was shot at F.9 shutter @100 and the ISO at 160.

Junior Senior Prom and Dance Elma High School

So last week we did the Elma High School Junior Senior Dance and Prom for about two hundred students. The school officials were great and the Students were a lot of fun to work with. We had two backgrounds to choose from, one with a theme of the dance and one was a more modern pattern and the latter was the one chosen the most by the students. We returned the following week and did the School Graduation Class of 2010 picture for the school wall and then individual portraits and fun shots. I used the Nikon wireless light system for the second time on the portrait session and I am impressed. The set up was two strobes with umbrellas on stands and a Nikon SU 8OO wireless controller using one of my D200 cameras.

Set up was simple and the system worked flawlessly for me, giving more than enough light and I had control of each flash from the camera. Recycle time was great and the students appreciated seeing the images first hand and picked the one they wanted from the shots I took. We delivered the picture packets and the year booklets to the teacher in charge of the dance for distribution to each student. All in all it was a success to me and a lot of fun also to work with a school where the students are fun and easy to be around.

We are already starting to work on next years packages for the students so they have more time to review what we offer and how much each option is. I did post the entire shoot on the secure site I maintain for students that wanted more copies of their pictures for family and friends. So far we have a shipped and completed one order from a student so that made it worth while for me.

Salvaged Wedding Image

Bride looking out at the audience
How not to do it


 One of the things I hate to see as a photographer is a wedding done by someone that does not know what they are doing, what equipment to use as the results are rarely acceptable. Things do happen such as equipment may fail or the distance allowed during a ceremony makes it difficult to properly expose an image. Some churches and venues have such a mixture of lights that without “filtered” flash proper white balance is almost impossible and harsh shadows are almost certain. And that is what has happened here with this image.       

Usable image

How to salvage an image

Here is the same picture cropped and worked on (approximately four hours) using many filters and most of the image editing procedures in PS 4 to create a memory for this bride. The color shift was the easiest correction, but the harsh shadow from the on board flash was the most difficult. Layers and many enhancements were used to make her day a good memory. This is the daughter of one of our friends from my wife’s work place. We were most happy to do this for her along with most of the images she received from the “paid” photographer.  Now many people can take reasonable pictures with digital cameras today but if there are any lighting or other distractions you will be better off to hire a professional and not be disappointed with the results, even if that photographer has to touch up a few images also.   

Artistic Touch To An Elk

Nice Bull Elk with a nice rack

Artistic Bull Elk

I traveled a lot because of my work and always took one camera with me on my business trips and some times it paid off with a good elk image or a great sunrise or sunset picture. This elk has been worked over in Photo shop with Little Ink Pot filters to give the chalk effect you see in the attached image. Usually I leave the elk images as shot except for some minor tweaking in contrast and a slight color correction but I needed a artistic image for a notebook cover I use a lot so this was the result. Many have commented on another site on this image but to me it is just an elk that was in the right place at the right time and of course I did take the camera. I will post a eastern WA sunset another time that was shot from my hotel room with the headlights showing in the unlit area and the sky looks like it was on fire. 

The little Ink Pot filters are great for artistic work on images and most of them are free. You can really do a change on a decent picture and get some nice results but it really helps if you start with a decent image rather than try and save a marginal image. Also some images do not lend them selves to processing and will look like your trying to salvage an image rather than applying an artistic process.

Commercial Condo Pilot Project

The Farm


This was a fun project for me and I learned a lot in the process of shooting for a client that wanted full coverage. The Mayor of Lacey turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony along with about 100 other people. There was a formal dedication and the usual credits for making the project work. The building style was country and there were old tractors and farm implements properly placed on the property to give the feeling of a farm like atmosphere. The owner and his wife along with the Mother of the owner had the building blessed and then there was the formal ribbon cutting and a parade through different offices within this part of the project. If all goes well there will be more expansion on this property under the same theme and principle. The owner wanted the brass weather vain captured in my photos so here it is.  

The main part of the new structure was  ready for occupancy and had a tenant moving in and I am sure the balance of this building is now occupied. I have many interior and exterior shots including some old farm implements like the ones I used as a kid on our farm many years ago. Surprisingly they are still in fairly good and usable shape. The weather provided the blue sky you see in the back ground instead of the normal gray sky we usually have. You can view their site at the following link: http: The Farm Lacey WA