Special senior session

Like the writing on the image above states, this was almost surreal.  Nate is the son of my best friend of 30 years. Jon and I have joked around a lot saying, “you know, when we get old……” Well.  This is one of those, “when we get old” kind of moments.  Trey (my son) and myself have spent a lot of time with Nate and Jon through the years.  Visiting them in Maryland and State College, Pirate baseball games, fishing and camping… the list goes on. 

Never once did I notice the odd happening of “growing older”. 

Until it was Senior portrait time for Nate that is…

The entire session was a blast from the past and a simple reminder that through all the ups and downs and the jokes, we are not that bad of parents.  Trey has turned out to be a pretty good kid (adult I guess as Trey is now 20) and Nate was just nice to be around. Not surprised by that mind you.  It is more of a wow factor in seeing this little kid mature into a great young man.  

 I was not only talking to Nate through this process but I got to “revisit” my best friend while watching Nate make simple expressions and noticing simple mannerisms.  That is the coolest thing I can think of while being a photographer.  I have the ability to see bits and pieces of parents come out from their children.  I just happened to be extra lucky and see Jon slip out of Nate from time to time.   (Nate, if you are reading this….you are lucky.  You have the good stuff from your father. I know, I knew him at your age now. )

Once again, I am one of the luckiest dudes on the planet to be able to do what I do.  I was awarded the pleasure to capture/take away/even steal a little bit of last Saturday and keep it immortalized for years to come.  

What a wonderful “job” I have.  


Actions and expressions

Very short post today.

Beach session once again… Well, it was actually a session on the Dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in NC. 

What a lot of professional photographers, and non-professionals alike, tend to do during any family setting is that they forget to have fun! FUN! We worry about exposure…or worry about the fill flash needed to open up the eyes…or we worry about posture…. We need to be concerned with connection and attitude and personal expression of our family and/or clients.  Yes, I realize that the sky is blown away….. that the image is a bit hot and details may be blown out a bit. Honestly, I really could not care less about those things at this moment.  This was a spur of the moment m-o-m-e-n-t. I was not even looking through the view finder.  I was just living, being apart of their moment of silliness.  These images here are all about capturing the moment.  

(On the more technical part of things… It is still crucial to have an understanding of your camera and how to change settings on the fly and to still be able to pop a fill so the action itself can be recorded.  If I at least did not understand such things I could not make light of the fact that I did in fact blow highlights and in fact the sky is somewhere a few stops away.  I have read many many times… “you need to understand the rules before you can break them.”  I broke a good three or more rules and I am fine to admit that. And truth be told, I think these images would not be as fun and fantastic if I had followed all the rules.  And when I say fantastic I am not talking about great photography.  I am talking fantastic expressions and fantastic fun by this awesome group of kids.)

Expressions trump exposure and technique every time.  I mean, when was the last you looked at your parents or grandparent’s photo album and looked at the exposure instead of the laughter or goofiness?  “Man, I sure wish that part of the picture was darker or lighter!” (Right… my point exactly)  Instead we tend to laugh at the smirks or eye contact of the people and loved ones in the image. Sure, I could add a sky in if I needed to. (I always take a shot of the area before anything else is done) I could have burned in the blown out areas (there is detail in most of the highlights I think) but these images don’t need that. All the images shown here have everything that is required to be remembered and loved and shared for decades to come….actions and expressions. 

Nags Head

So I took a few days and drove to Nags Head with some friends for a little fun in the (not so) hot sun and see what all the fuss is about.  I say “not so” because I try to keep out of the beating hot sun as much as I can.  I just can’t handle the heat and not a huge huge fan of sand between my toes. (although I did do just that to say I did.) 

I also took the normal beach and pier images. (I will show those at a different time)

What I am showing are a few images I made of Jess and Madi who traveled on this trip as well.  What a hoot!  With my trusty Fuji X-T1  w/ the 18-55 kit lens, LEE graduated filter and those ugly and cheap Yongnuo flashes we took to the beach. Had just enough time before the rain started to fall.  I edited these in LR and altered the ratio of the frame and the color to a Kodak Tri-X  film emulsion setting I have set up.  These would be almost identical to images I would have printed in the dark room many years ago.  A tiny bit of burning/dodging and about  #4 contrast filter.   (The two color images are SOOC with a touch of contrast.  I did not try to match the two images as the light changed drastically within 5 minutes and I liked both looks)

After the beach we headed back to the house and took a handful with my MamiyaLeaf 645.  I cannot say enough about this camera and it’s lenses.  Such perfection! Jess and Madi did such a great job of being themselves while at the same time giving the images some attitude.  What a kick!  Again, These were cropped to a different ratio than my camera and used the the same Presets in LR. I added more contrast and extra grain to the images.  When I printed in the darkroom my favorite paper was a fiber based double weight Illford paper. (Velvet Stipple) It was a creamy white based paper and at times I would add an extra step and tone with a sepia-ish style toner. 

And this was our quick parting shot… after all, the girls spent much time in the water.  

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