Sunday, March 29, 2009

The NEW blog,

Visit my new blog at!

See you there!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Twitter Envy

For those that just don't understand what Twitter is about, here's a hilarious parody that I'm sure most of you will enjoy whether you tweet or not!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saving National Park Seminary - Video History from ABC News 7

I received dozens of request for more information about National Park Seminary regarding my last blog post. So I'm sharing a link to the WJLA ABC News 7 video segment about the Seminary and the link to the SAVE YOUR SEMINARY website... and of course a few more images =)


Tisha got some shots of me while we were there

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dilapidated? No problem =)

Asim, Tisha, Kristie and I headed to National Park Seminary to have some fun shooting the ruins there. With new condos and homes recently built right on the property, it's very likely this hidden gem will be gone soon. Our cameras & my Flip Mino HD video camera now help preserve its history.

Slideshow of my images


Some of my favorites

Saturday, March 21, 2009

THE Canon 5D Mark II - Wedding Photogs, You Might Wanna Manage Your Expectations About this Great SLR!

Ok wedding photographer friends! Everyone knows I'm a Canon loyalist, and today I had the pleasure of trying out their new 5D Mark II. One word should sum up my thoughts about it as a SLR - AWESOME. One word describes my initial impression about the video mode - CHALLENGING. Bear in mind, I started in video way back and have some experience in that field, so maybe my expectations were high, but I know I'm not the only one frustrated - just read some forums about it and you'll see I'm not all alone. Click HERE to read a review on the 5D Mark II where the writer & I share the same opinion - the 5DII is NOT meant to replace video cameras. AND you'll need your tripod/monopod/Steadicam handy to produce professional looking results. AND you'll need to seek some education, training, and everything else related to cinematography, camera operation, stabilization, the list could go on. Basically what I'm saying my wedding photographer friends is that you might want to manage your expectations about this baby. It's an awesome SLR, but if you think for one moment you'll master HD video at the press of a button, think again.

One of the biggest draws for me (and many others) is the ability to achieve a filmic look with the 5D II's HD video using our amazing Canon lenses that can give us stunning shallow depth of field that we all love. Easier said than done on the 5D Mark II. Read more about these shortcomings HERE on SportShooter. To sum up this challenge, almost everyone who has seen videos made on this camera want to attain that shallow depth of field look in the middle of the day. In Vincent Laforet's Reverie Canon 5DII video, no shots were taken at mid-day or even in daylight. That's because this camera is made for lowlight video when your video exposure can produce shallow depth of field because it adjusts exposure accordingly. But in bright sunlight, you must do some workarounds to achieve shallow depth of field since manual exposure control is not possible with this camera in the video mode. You read correctly, manual exposure control is not possible in the video mode. Sorry wedding photographers, I know many of you are M-mode fans, but that goes away with HD video mode on the Canon 5D II. Yeah I was bummed big time. However, there are ways to "cheat" the camera into shooting at a wide aperture to get the shallow depth of field - yes I was a little frustrated, but not surprised. One work around to shoot in mid-day at say f/2.8, is to aim the lens at a darker target or area to trick it into a wide aperture (because video mode is always in AUTO), THEN hit the video record button "SET", then quickly lock that exposure and swing it to the actual target I want to shoot video of. Even then, I was struggling with the exposure because my ISO was too high resulting in overexposure. As wedding photographers, especially as wedding photojournalists, this is not always a fast way of shooting, especially when shooting a live event like a wedding. Will the bride & groom really want you wasting precious photojournalistic seconds trying to achieve that shallow depth of field during their wedding? True, you'll have better luck in low light situations, but you'll look silly in bright light swinging your lens around aiming at dark things and trying to get the video exposure right. Still shaking your head on this one? Yeah, me too, but I fell prey to the excitement of HD video too in the beginning.

I am disppointed a bit, simply because many wedding photographers were somehow lead to believe all the hype surrounding the HD video mode about this camera. While it captures stunning HD video, it also reaffirms my initial belief that videographers and their very expensive gear and extensive training will NOT be replaced by HD video capable SLRs in the hands of most photographers. Thank goodness! However, as an SLR I'm VERY impressed with the new Canon 5D Mark II and cannot wait to get mine in April! And you can bet I will probably try to master the video mode on it anyway because as everyone knows, I still love playing with video, and I kind miss flying a Steadicam =)


In summary, I feel that wedding photographers that want to achieve the stellar cinematography we're seeing on the web created by the 5D2 should take some classes, find an instructor/mentor/tutor/editor, or just get some good training on video/film/cinematography. Otherwise, leave wedding videography to the experts. You can point & shoot your video and it'll still look great, but to really get that "look", you'll need more than that =)

Thanks to those who commented already, especially "Denver"! Please read his comment, he's got some good insight.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Season is About to Begin!

With several engagement sessions ahead starting next weekend I am totally stoked about this year's wedding season. I have some of the best couples and amazing weddings to share with you this year! In the meantime, I'm going to try & enjoy myself with friends & family over the next couple of weeks. After that, I'll be slamming with weddings in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Atlantis in the Bahamas. Gotta love destination weddings! My intern will be joining us this Spring as well - Becky Hayhurst from Minneapolis, really excited to have her on board, you'll be seeing more of her as the season progresses! I'm really looking forward to Reanna & Jeremy's wedding in the Bahamas where I'll be shooting some footage for my next behind-the-scenes video. My former associate Noah Hayes & I will have our Flip Mino HD's and my new Canon 5D Mark II w/HD video mode. awesome! Denise will be with us to keep us out of trouble and do her logistical magic as always. 2009 is looking really good =)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nathan's RC Truck

Nate was begging me to shoot footage of him operating his old E-Maxx RC truck, so of course I did! This thing is pretty quick, even on semi-conditioned batteries. I shot this using my Flip Mino HD, then edited it on iMovie 09 with a little Garage Band track. Check it out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm Assuming a New Identity...

A big shout out goes to Daryl at Defiant Creative - THE coolest, hippest branding agency in the Mid-Atlantic. If you're serious about taking your brand to the next level, connect with them. Having a professional and objective party involved in developing your brand identity could enhance your business.

Just do it!

My new home page, thanks to Chris Harvey...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shelby & Brian - Photos and Video!

The weather was absolutely incredible over the weekend in Annapolis, what better time for a photo shoot! My friend & amazing photographer Natalie Franke & I had the best time photographing our friends Shelby & Brian's Lifestyle session. Yep, that's Shelby - the talented photographer behind Shelby Leigh Photography!

When it's a couple, I shoot it the same way I shoot engagement sessions. It's all about the couple and quality their time together in front of my lens, letting them be themselves and having a great time doing it. Natalie's boyfriend Hugh was kind enough to capture some Flip Mino HD video for me!

Please check out Natalie's blog post & Shelby's blog leave them some love! And enjoy the video & some of my favorites from the session.

Gotta love that soft diffused light from cloudy skies spilling straight down on your subjects' faces. Perfect flattering light!

And here's the uber talented Natalie Franke!

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Vegas Videos!

Even more video fun from Vegas!

I ran into everyone's friend Kenny Kim...

Grace explains matte albums, shows us some album sketches, and some insight into what a good designer can do for your business...

Grace looks at Graphi albums...

Julia chats about her plane ride to Vegas, hehe...

DC Photographers represent - me, Kristen Leigh, Shelby Leigh (no relation there, haha), Kimberly Brooke, Moshe Zusman, Hadar Goren, Kristie Blake, Megan Beth... plus our Tampa friends Erin & Chris Harvey and our O.C. girl & photographer extraordinaire Christine Bentley. Here we are grabbing dinner at Studio Cafe in MGM...

A bunch of us at the GO|BEE/Photography Mentor party at the Luxor...

Good friends grabbing "brunch" at Studio Cafe - Erin & Shane Melenbacker, Ray & Anna Santana, Mike & Gina Steelman, Bob & Dawn Davis, and Kristie Blake & me...

Saying hi to my friend Ray Santana & visiting A Portrait Project Booth...

Blues Traveler at the Nikon Party, MGM Grand...

We hit the casino floor at MGM Grand...

Bob Davis Night Shoot!

Leaving Las Vegas

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Grace Chou's Quick Review of Couture Books

Album designer Grace Chou gives us her initial reactions to the one of the most talked about wedding/portrait book vendor Couture Book. Here she is at WPPI in Las Vegas giving me the scoop!

Visit Grace Chou Designs for more info about her album design service for professional photographers.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bridal Shoot for Racheal Baxter Cook

On Saturday I got some fun moments of the lovely Racheal Baxter Cook in her gorgeous wedding gown. Racheal is a manager at Grace Yoga in Richmond, VA where I spent time with over 40 other photographers showing video light methods, networking, socializing, and just having a plain good old time! My friend & photographer Tisha McCuiston & wedding planner Pauline of Elations Designs organized this big event. I had a total blast with everyone & helping photographers experiment with video light. Thanks Racheal for letting us use your incredible Yoga studio and for being our bridal model!

Despite the rain, Racheal was simply wonderful in front of the camera!

While I was there, my friend Ingrid Kaslik got this cool shot of me... I was holding my Lowel ID video light off to my left. Thanks Ingrid!

(background painting by Dennis Wymer)

And a fun little video I captured with my Flip Mino HD cam!