Tag Archives: San Marino

It’s The Little Things…

I’m A Picture Maker, Not A Picture Taker

This is a photograph of how the subject appears during the time of day I prefer to work:

Machi-ai-1

I made a number of additional exposures while on the scene. I integrate a secondary light into the scene during these additional exposures. All 50 of ’em. They’re toned and cropped in Lightroom, exported to Bridge for assessment of order and then assembled in Photoshop where the finishing touches are applied.

Here’s the photograph I built:

Machi-ai

From cradle to grave in under 3 hours…..

Here are two more examples:

Garfield Heights Landmark District Photos

Interior photographs of the recording studio and control rooms.

A video of me in action.

Each exposure in this process is a light switch. This switch can be on or off. Made lighter or darker. Crisp or fuzzy. I have other things I can do with these “switches” but a fella shouldn’t tell all his secrets should he?

A successful photograph is a series of small decisions made correctly. It’s that simple. Especially after 10,000 hours of practice. I build photographs, I do not take pictures.

I can look at a scene and overlay a lighting paradigm:  the lighting angles, the contrast ratios, the color relationships and the brightness range. I commit this to memory and off I go. The camera is locked in place, I move around the subject with my trusty little light and in true “painting with light” fashion, I sculpt the final composition. This is part one.

Part two is all about alining the files so they share camera calibration, lens profile and white balance characteristics. Then more fun. Cropping for impact and toning for beauty.

Part three is when I assemble the elements into a cohesive whole. My average is 25 layers per man-made scene.

This technique isn’t new. It doesn’t break new ground. This is however my favorite technique because it offers many visual choices, demands improvisation and also provides a level of control that meshes perfectly with todays technology.

Thanks for reading

Michael

35,000 Frames Later

I began a new time-lapse project this week. At the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. 16 weeks of 9 hour  days, one frame every two minutes. Additionally I’ll shoot four specific daily sequences of the project as it progresses. What is the subject of this project? The re-assembly of the first Japanese tea house built in the US post WWII. how did I get this job? Having the correct keywords in my site header, the right SEO and the right amount of effort to make sure it all works together.

I ordered a custom-built weather proof housing with state-of-the-art electronics, a new camera and lens combo and software to run it all. Sweet. Getting to spend money on new stuff is a gas. The photos give you a sense of what my installation looks like. All I have to do with this is walk up, unlock the download station, jack into the system and suck up the days shoot. Simple. Efficient. Profitable.

To get to this point I did my research, found the right fabricators, made the right deal, received the right training and programming, deployed in the field and ran a day of testing under shoot conditions. This is what separates the low-ball hacks from us pros. Knowing what needs to be done and doing it..without fail. As often as possible. My track record is up near 100%. What’s yours? The game is afoot!

Michael