“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
— Ansel Adams

Fitness Photo Shoot

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Fitness Photo Shoot

Last year just before moving to Romania I was still working as the Production Manager for The Salvation Army Headquarters in Atlanta, GA and we traveled to a couple of our Kroc Centers (state-of-the-art community centers with full-blown fitness centers, aquatic centers, outdoor fields, chapel/theater and banquet halls). 

My colleague and I spent a week just capturing video b-roll and shooting photos, literally anything and everything we could catch: children, families, adults in classes, recreation, events, etc. We honestly needed more than a week to capture everything happening at each location, but we also did spend full days just shooting things to use for marketing. It was a blast.

One of my highlights for that week was an idea to do a "fitness" photo shoot for some marketing for their classes offered with their fitness instructors as models. We went to the main gym and also the "trendy" crossfit room to capture some dramatic shots. I was heavily inspired by work I had seen from some photographers' work before and setup the strobes for the effect I was looking for, and then the editing took it to the final level.

The setup was pretty simple actually, 2 800W alien bees, the key was a large softbox 45º, and the back light (when used) was open-faced with a scoop opposite the key, or 90º opposite the side of the key. I really wanted to accentuate the detail of their muscles, something that's fun to do with light, how the shadows & highlights meet each other. When editing I exaggerated the clarity and pushed the contrast and saturation to the edge of reality to get the look I was going for. I played with the shadows and highlights, some brushing obviously and touch-ups. In the end, I loved the results, check it out! I can't wait to do another (in another backdrop, give me a new challenge!)

I'm in Romania Now

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Wow! I can't believe the time has passed. Back in September I made the jump to Romania and in just a few weeks came Autumn and the chaotic weeks of setting up my business and establishing residency. By the time I locked in my apartment, some work teaching English/remotely managing a DAM/Communications manager for Armata Salvarii, winter arrived. Before I knew it I was in Constanta with Marian & Daniela Sterea celebrating Christmas, back in Bucharest for New Year's then off again with Marian, Daniela & Cristian to Bucovina for a week.

Then the rush of getting things going, 4 jobs in to get a steady income all while trying to start making connections as a ROMANIAN PHOTOGRAPHER. So... here I am, and once the snow melts away and the Spring sun starts shining, I'll be ready with my gear to capture some Weddings, Portraits and all things photogenic.

So... start by BOOKING HERE!

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Phoenix is Hot! (in the summer... and dry)

Last week I visited downtown Phoenix for an entire week, but only had a limited amount of time to explore, really when I had an afternoon off for 2 days that week. I absolutely loved the local people, something about the southwest culture that has such a great vibe and atmosphere around city spots.

Looking west on Fillmore St. in Phoenix, AZ

Looking west on Fillmore St. in Phoenix, AZ

Monday afternoon I decided to spend my free afternoon exploring the city. So I spent a little time researching some areas, signed up for a bike share program, it's called Grid (I signed up for the $15/mo since it includes 60 mins/day free, rather than $7/hr -- best if you're going to use it more than 2 times). However, I probably spent more time looking for the nearest location where the bikes were (literally were 2 blocks from my hotel, but I walked about 5). Luckily I signed up online, because there's no way to pay at the stations, you just punch in a code on the back of the bike, which unlocks a locking bar, and that's when I pulled it away from the pole and slid the lock back in... which you're not supposed to do, it locked the back wheel and ended my ride... so I ended up standing there trying to hold up a heavy bike in the middle of the sidewalk and punch in my number to unlock it again. That's when I saw two holes to slide the lock bar on the side while riding, rather than inserting through the bike (hope that's not too confusing).

After getting on the bike, I rode probably 8 blocks, instead of 5, took a few wrong turns and then parked at the 2nd nearest location to a bike shop cafe; The Velo Bike Shop/Bicycle Nomad Cafe and hung out in the bike shop a bit, then moved over to the coffee area where I talked to the owner, Keith. For those who don't know, I dream of opening a bike shop cafe one day (preferably in Europe near the coast somewhere). So I talked to Keith for quite some time, learned his story and background and then grabbed a few promotional photos for him and one of him too.

I spent the rest of my time there, then walked back to my hotel. Along the way I found a tease to the heat that Phoenix gets as summer was starting to show it's signs. Walking in the sunlight was HOT! But once I got in the shade it felt beautiful... I love climates with no humidity, you can escape the heat fast if needed. I even sat outside on a shaded porch during the week, midday there and it felt amazing, was more comfortable there than inside the restaurant.

It wasn't until Saturday that I had my next opportunity to venture out, and a group of colleagues and I decided to head 20 minutes south to South Mountain Park and hike up a trail, thankfully it was another day that the temperature only rose to 78F (25C) -- which feels great in dry climates. Once getting to the top, the breeze was keeping us cool from the sun beating down on us, and we found an edge to sit upon and look over the city and metro area, while just relaxing and talking amongst each other.

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Phoenix metro area with a colleague (the rest of our group was just to the side and behind taking this pic)

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Phoenix metro area with a colleague (the rest of our group was just to the side and behind taking this pic)

When it was time to leave I looked back at how great of a spot just that little downtown area was, next time I hope to adventure out to the surrounding neighborhoods (if I ever get to visit there again). But the people were super friendly, the locals had many great suggestions for spots and places to check out, as you know I love local restaurants, cafes and popular hang out spots. We even saw Deon Cole live at a stand-up comedy show, met a French couple who I hope to see when I visit Italy at the end of the year, and again found a new connection for a potential bike shop cafe, maybe I can start one up in Atlanta too.

Follow me on Instagram and 500px to view more, and contact me if you'd like to purchase any prints from my posts or social media accounts.

Austin & Katie | A Halloween Wedding - 10.31.15

I've never had to photograph a wedding on Halloween, but when Austin & Katie asked me I was willing to take on as photographer for their special day, but I was secretly hoping it would be themed around the holiday... this wasn't the case though, they wanted to keep it traditional. Honestly I would've done the same most likely.

It was a beautiful fall day, trees were colorful, we were in the mountains at a camp location, it was partly cloudy midday and overcast by sunset, even a light rain a few times. But for lighting, this was great for me, I always enjoy shooting under clouds when it's midday, and clear skies when the sun gets lower for that beautiful lighting.

When it was time to take some photos of the bride & groom, and with the party, we walked over to (what I was told) an abandoned chicken coop, and with it looking so eerie I thought we need to take some "spooky" looking shots with the couple, in lieu of this particular day they chose to tie the knot.

The couple was a lot of fun, lots of great ideas around the location; fishing, canoeing, standing on a bridge, etc. All-in-all they had a great connection with each other, which I tried to capture some of this connection, the simple moments they had between each other. One particular shot that comes to mind was when they were playing cornhole out on the patio deck when everyone else was inside mingling and dancing. They just snuck away with only each other, and enjoyed the simple pleasures of only each other's presence.

I wish these two many blessings on their wonderful marriage! I'll post some of the photos in a small gallery here, and also on my 500px account, so be sure to check it out!

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Love is in the air and I was inspired by a blog to do a themed shoot for this day of love. This was the first shoot of the day with Ed & Ashley (you can view the second one in my previous post). As always, things were getting close to the wire to when we wanted to start shooting, I had purchased some props the day before at Michaels, and done some crafting the morning of.

I had this idea to shoot at the Goat Farm but was too short notice to reserve it, so thought Old Fourth Ward Park or Piedmont may be an option until Ashley suggested Mason Mill Park. It was about half a mile from my apartment so I knew that park well, and would ride through it but never actually stopped to solo off the paved 1 mile path that connects the two parks.

It's amazing, there's an old mill in ruins (there are a lot of them are around Atlanta) and it was covered in beautiful graffiti. It was surrounded by trees and nature, but had this urban touch to it. It was mid afternoon, so the sun was getting to a perfect angle and we first setup against a wall with stairs that just went to the top of it. We started grabbing different poses, angles and emotions between them as a couple, and moved to another wall that had some windows and doors, what looked as if someone had knocked a sledgehammer to create it, but maybe just had fallen apart over the years of abandonment.

It was a fun shoot, I've done weddings before and was trying to steer away from the standard "engagement" look to these photos, but it still came out that way, and I don't think I could've gotten around it as this style of shooting is trying to capture the love between each other. These two were once again awesome to work with, and really worked well together and we all came up with ideas throughout the shoot as well as they easily took direction to some ideas I had.

Ed & Ashley ATL Urban Action

I finally accomplished two of my goals I wanted to work on this year, first was to work with people, on a creative shoot, and second was to try a high contrast detailed action theme.

So I texted my friend Ed if he and Ashley would show off some of their dance moves for this idea. I grabbed some gear, with the best assistant/manager Laura, and we found a location in Inman Park (after just finishing another photoshoot with them - I'll post about that later). We accidentally stumbled on this alley after making a wrong turn, but it was perfect for that grungy urban look I was searching for. But this neighborhood had a ton of perfect backdrop settings. 

Setup was pretty simple: I placed a strobe with a softbox to the right of the frame and a bounce on the left. The sunlight had almost gone completely when we started, which was was perfect for the lighting I wanted, that gave a nice separation from the background. We had easily spent 30 minutes on this angle until we moved around for a few different backgrounds, but the temperature was dropping quick and we were started to wear out since this was our second shoot that day.

These two were great though, luckily I know them personally so we got comfortable pretty quick and relaxed to create some awesome poses. Hopefully we can grab some more shots down the road and I can find some new spots and new themes to capture. Huge thanks though to Ed & Ashley for being my subjects for this shoot and Laura for her help and keeping me on track. Check out the rest of the photos below.

Foggy Adventures

The 1st week of the year has already gone. This past weekend I assisted a video shoot and brought my camera along to take some photos before and after the event. I love when the weather gets super foggy, blanketing high rise buildings and trees and revealing each light's beam to the naked eye, which are usually hidden under clear skies, and after many evenings of wanting to capture it, I finally did.

I love this shot, the park below is so clear with the fog just sitting above like a dome is protecting this area. The lights at the top of the building make it seem like some "Area 51" top security area.

I love this shot, the park below is so clear with the fog just sitting above like a dome is protecting this area. The lights at the top of the building make it seem like some "Area 51" top security area.

The high contrast of night shots looks so great in black and white with the depth from the lighting from the fog and the glossy wet ground. Night photography is quite a spectacle, allowing shadows to create the frame instead of light. Contrary to what most believe, that photographers and cinematographers are painters of light, this isn't the case; the best artists paint with shadows. I'd say my favorite of this series are the bare winter trees where the street light just outlines the branches. It's absolutely breathtaking and adds a bit of eeriness with the fog.