Monday, December 17, 2007

All right, school's done for the semester and I'm off 'til early January. I'll be doing some portraits of friends' kids and family. Here are some shots of my friends little boy Elijah. He possibly might be the cutest kid alive. You can't tell because you can't hear some of the stuff he says, but take my word for it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Does that thing have face recognition?"

It seems I link to Strobist in just about every post, but with the wealth of knowledge provided by David and all the readers, I feel obligated. I was watching an interview with Mr. Strobist himself, discussing the development and growth of the blog, and how the internet community has become enabling in ways the world has never seen. There is nothing between us and the information. It is all free.

I really can't imagine if it was 30 years ago, and I had picked up a camera and had to learn everything I've learned through school or from other people. On Strobist, and Flickr, I literally have the ability to communicate with tens of thousands of people who are willing to help and give advice. It really is amazing how much I've learned in the past year, and I wonder how much longer it would have taken me had I not had this gigantic communication platform from which to draw knowledge and valuable information.

That being said, technology doesn't do everything for us. Digital cameras are getting better and better, but it's not like you could give a monkey a brand new Nikon D2xs and expect great results. There is still some talent and skill involved. As I'm sure every photographer has experienced, someone sees your pictures and immediately remarks, "wow, your camera must be great!". This is somewhat off putting to say the least. Was LeBron James in the NBA at 20 years old because of his "super sneakers". No. My pictures don't look decent solely because of my camera's ability. As said in the interview, "a minimum of equipment is required to do the job, but the most important equipment is between your ears." Oh so true...

In one of my favorite analogies on the subject, David said
he used to tell his students something similar to the following when he taught college:
"Say you're in a valley, and on one hill there is a twenty-year old kid with an super-expensive automatic rifle. He has tons of ammo, but little know how or experience in marksmanship. On the other hill, there is an old man with a single shot bolt-action rifle, and he's been doing nothing but this for 20 years. Who are you going to be more afraid of?"

I just love that. Anyway, my super camera had this idea of stitching together 3 shots for a panorama of this nice church. I didn't get it at first, but it turned out pretty bitchin'.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Here I am, doing a little holiday shopping, a little blogging. Wait till you see what I got you, you're gonna love it. Me? What do I want? Well, hopefully after this Christmas I'll have enough lighting gear to make the above shot more like this one, hint hint. Hey, they're only SB-26's. They're cheap on ebay. Cheers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weddings anyone?

A couple of dear friends of mine got married over a year ago, but didn't have a photographer. They rock hard, so I decided to take some shots of Danielle in her dress. We went out to Aldridge Botanical Gardens in the afternoon to try to snap off some keepers. It was funny, I had my umbrellas set up to provide fill light, and also overpower the ambient light on a few more dramatic shots (those are my favorite, but not as traditional). All the weekend photographers were out, taking pictures of their grandkids, nieces, nephews, and then stopping to stare at us before walking through my shot on their way to the pretty oak tree.

It was a shame we got there when we did, because by the time the light got really great with the sun going down, we were all tired and ready to call it a day. Thanks to Brett for letting me take pictures of his lady, you guys are champs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So, now I'm going to try to start posting more regularly. Having recently seen the work (and envious lifestyles) of Chase Jarvis, and the fine fellows at Bruton Stroube, I've been really inspired. Seeing the kind of commercial advertising photography of the aforementioned artists and the way they go about producing it, is amazing. They both do behind the scenes videos of their processes, and when I watch them I find myself thinking "wow, if I got paid to do that all day... I would really be livin' the dream." Photos like this, this, and this really light a fire under me to get out there and start making the best images I can.

This is my Dad's new frame. I was gonna do a cool shot of it to give to him for Christmas, but after I got this I had to show him. I took a long exposure and painted the bike with a flashlight.

P.S. - I really slacked on making some cool shots with my diy ring light, but I just don't have any hot babes with wind blowing through their hair at my disposal to make that happen. Until my girlfriend decides I can snap off a few of her, I'm outta luck. I'm afraid my Dad, and guy friends, just won't do for the sleek high-fashion look. I'll work on this...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Ring

Armed with nothing but a free weekend and some Strobist determination, I decided to save a few hundred bucks and build my own ring light.

My main goal was to make a ring light that didn’t scream cardboard and paper “diy” construction (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and could be self contained and secure, without having to hold a loose speedlight somewhere around the ring. So, I started off with a trip to the local hardware superstore.
1Total cost for materials: $27.29 (excluding an SB-600)

Materials used:
1. 1 pvc drain about 7 inches in diameter -- $13.98
2. 1 pvc drain about 3 and a half inches in diameter -- $8.55
3. Cheap foam tape - $1.98
4. Black spray paint for aesthetics*
5. 2 “L” brackets with screws*
6. aluminum foil*
7. gorilla glue and spray adhesive*
8. Laminating film -- $2.78
9. Transluscent paper*

*already had these around the house, not included in price

So, the first step was to cut off the square part of the pvc drain so as to make a ring. This proved to be quite a daunting task with a jigsaw and a dremel tool for touching up rough edges. The hardest part of the cutting was making the opening for the speedlight with the jigsaw. Next I painted both the drains black for a more dapper look.
The circumference of the second drain fit perfectly around the inside of the bigger drain. (I checked for drains that fit into each other at the store, this is crucial).

Then, I lined the inside of the big drain and the outside of the smaller one with aluminum foil using spray adhesive.

The next step is to glue the small drain (now just a ring) into the bigger one.

With the two L brackets fastened together, I screw one end into my tripod thing on the bottom of my D80, and on the other end screw in the hot shoe attachment for my SB-600.

I have the bracket with my SB-600 positioned so that my speedlight is pointing right up into the hole of the ring, firing light into it and reflecting throughout thanks to all the shiny aluminum foil.

After a few painstaking hours and pvc shavings and black paint on everything, I have my completely homemade ring light!!!!
The only things left were to fit the opening of the ring with foam tape so it sits safely and snugly around my lens, and cover the ring with laminating film and transluscent paper cut out into a ring to hide the aluminum foil and soften the flash a bit.

This is what the effect of the ringlight looks like, with a nice, even, halo effect around the subject. I like it.
I did a few other things that weren’t completely necessary, being a perfectionist and having a tendency to do everything the hard way.

Thanks to my dear ‘ol dad (pictured above) who helped a lot cutting metal and providing super ideas!
You can check out my Flickr page for example shots, along with more pictures of the process and finished product.

Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out for more do-it-yourself lighting mastery and really cool off-camera flash photography.

Update: light diffusion of the ring

Monday, September 24, 2007

My beautiful and too-awesome-for-words girlfriend got me these sweet old school cameras for my birthday, which was Saturday. The brown one is a Model 95 Polaroid Land Camera manufactured and sold in the late 1940s. It was the first "instant print" camera made. I know, how cool is that! They don't make film for it anymore, but it will be a great peice of memorabilia to have and place decoratively on a shelf somewhere.

The smaller black one is a Kodak Brownie, a very popular camera from the 1950s that takes really awesome shots from what I've seen. This one works and I have color and black & white film for it! I can't wait to play with this thing. When I do I'll scan the shots and put 'em up on the web.

My last birthday present, while less tangible then the first two, is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever given me. My girlfriend went to a local art gallery and showed the owner some of my work. Apparently she liked it, because they are going to have an exhibit of my photos sometime in January or February! I'm really excited about it. More details to come for sure, here's the gallery's website.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What to do?

I bet my two devout readers just assumed I had quit the whole blog thing. Surprise! I'm back! Hopefully you've had me on RSS so you haven't been having to check every day. I'm in the midst of trying to determine exactly what I want this blog to be about. I'm not necessarily interested in this being any kind of editorial, where I express my opinions or discuss politics/current events, so that's out. I've also grown tired of the posts solely about myself and the goings on in my life, (who cares right?).

Clearly I'm interested in photography, and I'm inspired by the blogs of David Hobby at Strobist and super-awesome (I really was gonna say "super bad"...damn movie) photographer Chase Jarvis in his blog . However, I can't yet provide the kind of service and insight into my discipline enough to have people actually read for information, I'm still learning.

My passions are music (which I'm kinda burned out on right now, except for the new Interpol record!), photography, and sociology. So, hopefully over the next few months I can make this an informative resource in regards to the latter two, and synthesize ideas from these concepts into a functional learning outlet with a clear purpose. Geez, that seems like a rather daunting task. Sounds like a test question...

Till then, here's a shot of one of the best hot dog joints in downtown B'ham.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm so tired

Happy monday everyone! Mine was pretty rough, I woke up this morning and went to perform some of my duties as a lowly intern. We went to a lawfirm and shot portaits of all the lawyers for their website. It ended up being fun though, and I never leave the day without learning something, regardless of how small the experience may be.

So now that I've officially started my internship, I've done some pretty cool stuff by myself. I did this shoot of an architect from a local firm, and it's going in the Birmingham Business Journal. I know, I know, I'm practically Ansel Adams right? No, but things do seem to be coming together really fast. I'm not quite sure when the pics will be out, but keep your eyes peeled! Although, they won't have my name on them. This shot had 1 SB600 shot into an umbrella camera right at subject.

On a bright note, I now work for the University of Alabama at Birmingham's newspaper, the Kaleidoscope. I've already got three assignments for this week, so all three of you should plan on sparse posting over the next week or so as I adjust to the 20-hour days I'm probably gonna have.
Blah, blah,, me, me. I know, posting has been a little self-absorbed lately, but so much cool stuff has been happening I just felt the need to share. Good talk! (finger guns).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wussup Coco...

Hey there folks. So my girlfriend got this adorable new puppy a couple of weeks ago. Coco was kind enough to pose for me the other day in the early morning when the light was fantastic. Look at da wittle pupppy awwwwwe...
P.S. - this picture was linked on the super cute blog, you should check it out for your daily cuteness overload.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Light for Thought

Ok, so I've been meaning to mention and link a blog that has helped me sooooo much in my photographic endeavors, specifically in regards to creative lighting. HTML Tutorial
is like four free semesters of college, and you have thousands and thousands of classmates who will actually provide insight and help you answering any questions you may have. The site is well outlined, beginning with guidance for people completely new to off camera lighting, specifically off camera strobes (also geared towards saving $$$$$ by encouraging diy projects as opposed to spending lots of cash on lighting gear). I know I speak for many when I say I'm completely indebted to David and all of his hard work he does in his spare time. This kind of free sharing of information and experiences is oh so very refreshing and appreciated. So, anyone interested in learning how to creatively and effectively use light to improve your photography, would undoubtedly be doing themselves a disservice to not check it out.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ya miss me?

Wow, so it's been a while. I've been ridiculously busy with a new summer semester at UAB. I'm taking 5 classes, and now I'm officially interning for a local professional photographer. He had me do the poster shoot Wednesday for the Birmingham Steeldogs cheerleaders all by myself! His other intern and I are doing a shoot this week for some architectural company in town. Things are really coming together, and it's been alot of fun. I haven't had much time lately to do any recreational shooting, but managed to mess around with some super duper high shutter speed stuff today. Coffee!

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Man, I know it's been a while, and how horrible of me to leave all of you on the edge of your seats for so long! Yeah, anyway, I've been studying for my finals for the last couple of weeks, and just finished them. Here's a picture of my buddy's Corvette I ran through Photoshop using a new technique. It's pretty cool, brings out all the details. Also, the picture of my dad after some filtering effects. Compare it to the unedited version I posted on April 2nd; the differences are ridiculous.
So I've been interning with Karim a little bit since I landed this sweet gig, and it's been really exciting. I helped him with a wedding last weekend and actually learned a good bit. But before that, he invited me to go to Talladega to shoot with him for Sports Illustrated! I didn't get to go, but man would that have been killer. Gotta go, you kids stay classy!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007

I woke up and can't go back to sleep. I've got so much to do tomorrow. Today....dammit. Here's some ancient rusted chairs on my patio. Excitement is my middle name people.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Happy late April Fool's Day

I forgot to trick anyone, but this is a shot of my dad with my new Nikon SB600 speedlight. As you can see he means business, and if you cross him, he'll cut you. Now get your eyes off his cornbread.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I liked how the light was beaming out from behind this building. I've learned lately that lighting is everything. Alliteration baby, yeah!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Killer Bees!

I had to chase this little bastard around for about twenty minutes. These big fat ones will stop and hover briefly, then shoot off into the distance. Every time I would get him in focus, he would fly straight up and whiz away...the things I do for you.

(Editors note: I apologize for assuming this bee was a he, but I figured his hairy ass was a dead giveaway.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Alabama Theatre

They just happened to be giving a tour when I walked in. Lucky me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Woof, You're a Moron"

This is my dog Devo. He's the best dog I've ever had by far; it's funny how intuitive animals are, and how they can make you feel better when you're down. Lately I've realized though, even though he's happy with me and where he is, simply feeding him twice a day and the occcasional scratch behind the ears just isn't enough. Dogs need to be walked, and play fetch in the yard with an old nasty tennis ball. It's not at all as if that is a chore, or that I don't want to walk him or take him outside to play, because I love that. That time is important in a pet/owner relationship and is truly satisfying. I think sometimes I just get caught up in the monotony of daily life and just assume do it later. Maybe I just look at him laying around the house and assume he's content. And maybe he is ok, but just that...ok. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be great. Some of us can all have a tendency to get consumed by the routinization of our days, and lose focus on the things that really matter, and the ones that mean the absolute most to us. The most important relationships are the ones that require the most effort, and the ones that we should pour every ounce of our being into. Not simply out of obligation for fear of loss, but because priorities are in line in accordance with the ones we love more than life itself. If you get no satisfaction out of walking your dog and doing what you should for it, then don't. But if you do, don't just assume it knows that, and do it before it runs away and finds a new home.

(Note: this isn't about my dog...)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Grass n' trees n' stuff

The shot of the barn is my first attempt at utilizing HDR (High Dynamic Range). It's a composite of 3 seperate RAW images taken at different exposures, supposedly to take advantage of color elements in both the under and over exposed images. Everyone else I've seen doing it has been in some exotic locale whose dreamy landscapes I don't have access to. So for now, we'll just have to settle for this comparitive definition of blandness.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I've been pretty under the weather for the past week and a half or so, but got out to Botanical Gardens yesterday. I think this is an orchid.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dirt and Sky

Just a random shot I took at a construction site near my house. They're building about 200 cookie cutter houses in a square block, likely priced to sell at right under half a million dollars. Get 'em while they're hot people!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sloss Furnace

I've had my head in a book for the past couple of weeks, but managed to make it out today. A wheel.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This horsey lives in a beautiful piece of farmland over on Looney Mill Road. One of the few truly rural places in metropolitan Birmingham. Of course, it has been bought by the city of Vestavia and will be razed to build commercial and residential real estate. Yep, what is now a lovely testament to the beauty of our state, will soon be just another section of strip malls and condos. Truly sad.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Les Paul

The weather down here has been so terrible lately, I didn't much feel like getting out in the frigid rain. So here's a shot of my guitar, inside.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This is across the street from my grandparents' old house in East Lake, where I spent much of my childhood. If I recall correctly, the people that lived here were very mean.

Friday, January 19, 2007

And it was called yellow

In a dark corner in a parking lot near Morris Avenue.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy day after MLK Jr. Day

This is from one of the nicer churches in town. It's like he's reaching out to me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shweeet Hoome...

The Alabama Theatre Sign. Every Birmingham native has seen it. Perhaps you haven't...ehh?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


So here's a little less industrial place to go and think, Boulder Canyon, in Vestavia (which has neither boulders nor canyons). Water, and rocks. Soothing...

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


I've been away, busy with the holidays and whatnot. Now I'm back baby, with a new zest for providing you, the public, with a candid view of many interesting places I wouldn't even see on a daily basis were it not for this new venture. Here's a little part of town that provides a certain feeling of detatchment from the urban super-metropolis that is Birmingham, Alabama. The shipyards are a little eerie - kind of seems like the kind of place police may have found bodies. So here's the happyer steel and gravel part of it in all it's glory. (Not pictured: a well dressed yet troubled looking middle aged man sitting in a lawn chair far behind me, whose reason for being there by himself at that time of day I couldn't even venture to guess)

P.S. - Yes, Will Smith has inspired me to spell the adjective and noun forms of happy with the y. :)