Archive for December, 2009

What Christmas Tree?

Posted in Photography, Preparation with tags , , on December 21, 2009 by bobshank

The plan was to put the Christmas tree up but a lot of interesting distractions got in the way!

My son, James, and I started going through all of our trains and we got distracted. After all, we had track to lay, accessories to locate, and engines to test. There is nothing more exciting than watching a steam engine chug down the line with smoke circling out of its stack!

Lydia is not happy that we haven’t progressed to actually putting the tree up yet, but it is coming–I promise. So are some photos of our trains and the tree with its lights and decorations. Christmas is fast-approaching but we will be ready, I’m pretty sure.

Ever notice how life changes our best-laid plans? That’s been the story of my week, but I like trying to handle the curve balls that get thrown our way! This happens in photography, too. We plan and plan for a specific shoot–trying to imagine every possible thing that could happen. Then the big day arrives and something pops us that never saw coming. Learning how to handle these surprises is what makes us successful. The alternative is we let the surprises take over and we merely complain about them. No, this is not the approach for me. Deal with the surprises and unexpected trials that come our way. In the end, we will learn and be much better for it. Bring it on!


Old Toy Trains

Posted in Lionel, Toy Trains with tags , , on December 18, 2009 by bobshank

It’s almost Christmas! Our daughter wants to get the tree decorated and our son wants to set up the toy train underneath the tree. I feel like a kid again!

I was one of the lucky boys whose dad gave him a Lionel train. We had great fun watching it run around and around and around the oval track. Wooooo! Wooooo!

The meteorologists are saying a snow storm is coming into our area tomorrow so we are going to stay inside and decorate and finish setting up the train. I hope to post a few photos once we have it together.

“Old toy trains,
Little toy tracks,
Little boy toys,
Coming from a sack,
Carried by a man dressed in white and red,
Little boy don’t you think it’s time you were in bed?”

(As sung by Roger Miller)

Stage Lighting and Backgrounds

Posted in Backgrounds, Light, Musical with tags , , on December 17, 2009 by bobshank

This past weekend I photographed a Christmas musical that my daughter had a role in as Holly Moss. I find stage light to be difficult and un-user friendly much of the time. The problem is that many different colored lights create all kinds of light casts on the actors and have a way of tinting skin and hair to amazingly unhuman qualities. It can get quite funky!

I choose to go without flash for two reasons: first, most of the time flash is not allowed in these situations, and second, I want to portray the lighting as we see it in the actual performance. These seem like pretty good reasons to me.

I have found that dark, black backgrounds are the best in these conditions. Other backgrounds not only can get busy looking, but they can reflect a lot of different colors that come from the stage lights. Black is predictable more so than any other background and it seems to swallow up some of the ambient light colors that reek havoc on skin tones.

The next time you are out on a photo shoot think more about the backgrounds and try a black one if possible. It works beautifully at times when nothing else seems to work at all.

Portraits & Headshots

Posted in Headshots, Musical, Portraits with tags , , on December 16, 2009 by bobshank

If you had predicted that I would some day be photographing portraits and headshots I would not have ever believed you. Funny how our children bring us into things we never even dreamed of doing!

Our daughter, Lydia, is very much into musicals, singing, acting, dancing, and performing. She sings in our church, performs in many community plays and musicals and does the same in her school. Just as our son, James, gives me opportunities to photograph baseball games, Lydia gives me the privilege of photographing plays and musicals. Moreover, she sometimes needs a headshot for an audition and enjoys sitting in as my model as I learn how to do this more effectively.

Headshots and portraits were never high up on my list of photographic interests until Lydia started with all of this. Now I am finding the challenge to be invigorating and rewarding! I am learning more and more how to make better portraits and headshots these days!

Tara Lynn Concert

Posted in Concert, Photography with tags , , on December 15, 2009 by bobshank

I had the privilege of meeting Tara Lynn last year at a concert she opened up for Jimmy Fortune. Tara is an incredible singer with an awesome voice and she has a stage presence that is absolutely amazing!

This past Saturday I attended another Tara Lynn concert and served as the photographer, hoping to capture the mood and excitement of the concert with my camera. Take a look at these concert photos and let me know how I did in trying to accomplish this task.

Maintaining Creativity

Posted in Photography with tags , on December 13, 2009 by bobshank

Do you ever find your photography creativity getting stale?

Creativity can be elusive at times. It’s like a flash in the pan–it comes out of nowhere but disappears just as quickly. Maintaining creativity is essential to keep your edge and to keep your photo dreams within reach. So how do you maintain creativity?

One thing I do is look at the work of other photographers. Seeing fellow artists’ work can stir some new ideas within us. Reading books can help, too. I have a growing photo library of good photo books which I find myself constantly referring back to time after time. The internet can be an extremely helpful in keeping our creativity alive.

What do you do to maintain your creativity?

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Posted in Concert, Photography, Tara Lynn on December 12, 2009 by bobshank

Do you remember the magician in Frosty the Snowman? He used that line, “Busy, busy, busy!” He always seemed to have alternative motives, too. Anyway, it is getting to be that time of year again! Busy, busy, busy!

I have been busy. In the past two days I was behind the camera for three different shoots. I’ve been shooting so many photos in fact that I haven’t had any time to post or display many of them. I will over the next few days and I’m certainly not complaining because where is there a better place than behind the viewfinder?

Tonight my daughter and I attended a Christmas Concert by Tara Lynn. She is an incredible singer and entertainer. She had us all singing Christmas carols and getting us in the Christmas mood. Her boyfriend, Jeff, is an incredible guitar player, too! They make a great team and it was an awesome concert!

I had the privilege of being the photographer for the evening, with the task of trying to capture the concert with my digital sensor. This was not an easy task in a dark church without much stage lighting. I hope to post some of these photos tomorrow so you can judge for yourself how I did with this. It sure was fun!

Okay, I confess, I like being busy, busy, busy!