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2010 personal project – my year in photos with Madame L – Month 2

Madame L and I had our monthly photo shoot on Valentine’s Day.  We are both single at the moment and decided it would be great to have some fun together and enjoy the day.

This was our first shoot since she got her hair cut short.  I really like the way it looks.  She had a lot of great ideas and we did a number of creative things.  I’m really having a lot of fun with this project, more from a personal standpoint than as a photographer.  I get to spend time with one of my favorite friends and she invites me over to dinner a few days after our shoot.  Not only is she a fantastic person, and lovely, but she’s a pretty darn good cook too and we have great conversations.

Museum of Flight

Hanging around

One of the trade associations I am a member of has their meetings at TMOF on Boeing Field in Seattle. It’s a great meeting location, with a view of the runway on one side of the room and Mount Rainier to the south. I’d definitely recommend it.

I tried to show up a little early for our last event and get a few shots off. I have taken a guided tour before and it’s very fascinating. There’s so much history there and it’s a testament to mankind’s creativity.

I only had a few minutes to take photos. I need to plan some time to visit again when I can spend more time there.

Playing with light!

I was recently invited to participate in a small group of photographers that get together once a month to explore different aspects of “strobist” lighting.  This month I offered to host the get together and let the group spend some time shooting with my studio lighting.  We had a local model who volunteered to work with us and I think we all had a lot of fun and came up with some nice shots.  Our goal was to practice rim lighting, but this particular shot which I liked best ended up being more of a pinup shot.  The model had great legs and was wearing some really shiny nylons and I couldn’t resist lighting them up and making that the focus of the image.  I used a wide lens and stood fairly close to her, which had the effect of making her appear a bit elongated.  Fun stuff!

There are some shots from the other photographers here:  If you’re in Olympia and would like to network with other local photographers, I encourage you to check out our group:

She's got legs!

Groovy Goldie Godiva

This last weekend I shot with my favorite model, Goldie Godiva. She is the most creative model I’ve worked with. Every time we shoot together (this was our 5th shoot), we have a lot of fun and make some great images.

This time around she had the idea to shoot in front of a wall of photos of people with tattoos. She has no tattoos, and thought it would make for a fun dichotomy, her tattoo free body against a backdrop of tattooed people.

We shot in my small spare bedroom which I normally use as my workout room. We spent over an hour putting photos on the wall. We ended up with about 5′ X 10′ of usable space to shoot in. I used a couple of small inexpensive strobe lights and shot used a couple of wide angle lenses. I had to be creative with the space and the lack of high quality lighting.

I love working with her and it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make things work in that small space. I know she’s already cooking up another idea!



This weekend I had a wonderful shoot with Jen, a fine art model from Portland. We shot a number of themes and had a lot of fun. She’s a great model and was very professional and pleasant to work with. I’d highly recommend her.

I’m constantly playing with studio lighting, and one of the things I’d hoped to do is create some nice silhouettes. This was my second attempt at silhouettes, and this time I decided to use some reflectors to help prevent too much light from getting on the model. I wasn’t able to achieve a perfectly black silhouette, but I’m very happy with the results.

Ageless Beauty – an ongoing project

I regularly shoot with aspiring models to practice new techniques and to expand our respective portfolios.  Most of the models I shoot with are in their late teens and early twenties.  These shoots are usually fun and regularly produce usable portfolio images.  When I get the opportunity, I really enjoy shooting with “mature” models, those that are in their 30’s, 40’s and beyond.  I find that they’re usually confident, self-aware, creative, and that they make excellent subjects.  I always try to capture the character and personality of a subject, and find that mature models often have more character and individuality.

I recently had the opportunity to shoot with Corina, a “new” model just getting started at the young age of 41.  We set up a shoot and she was interested in doing some creative artistic shots.  She didn’t have any experience posing and was a bit “stiff” at first, but after some coaching and gentle coaxing on my part, she really started to come out of her shell.  Before I knew it, she was doing some very creative poses and we were making some really interesting images.  It turned out to be a really fun and productive shoot.

Here’s the first image from the shoot.  It wasn’t intended to be a “fitness” shot.  We were shooting nudes with a single gridded light source to create an emphasis on her face and upper body, while letting the light quickly fall away on her extremities and minimizing the amount of light on the background.  When I was reviewing the shots, I fell in love with this image.  I think it’s very expressive, and really shows off Corina’s muscularity. 

2010 personal project – my year in photos with Madame L

I’ve started a new personal project for 2010. My friend (who for now I’ll simply call Madame L) has asked me to document the next year of her life in photos. She has set out to make this a year of great change and growth and I’m honored to play a part in that. One of the first changes was to her appearance, cutting off most of her hair. She is a beautiful and striking woman. Her long hair has a distinctive grey streak that runs along the top of her head. We did a photo shoot just before she went to the salon. We had a lot of fun and she had a chance to play dress-up and be creative.

I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to spend more time with my friend, and to partaking in the home cooked meals she has offered in exchange for photographs. It should be fun! Stay tuned for more…

Baby Shoes

I’m always buying new equipment.  Sometimes I wonder if the equipment really makes me a better photographer.  Every month one of the sites I frequent ( has a photo contest.  For last month’s contest one of the categories was “macro shots of items around the house”.  So rather than use my current 12MP body, I decided to see what I could do with my six year old 5MP Olympus e-1.   This was one of the first digital SLR cameras introduced.

Today there are cell phones that have more megapixels!  I decided to go totally “old school” and use the FL-40 used flash I just picked up from an online used camera store for $64.00.  This is an older discontinued model, but was the flagship flashgun for Olympus for many years.  To my pleasant surprise, when I mounted the flash on the trusty e-1, it showed the “TTL” (through the lens) indicator.  This means that the flash will “see” whatever I was looking at through the lens and automagically adjust itself to output the right amount of light.  I used my Zuiko 50MM f2.0 lens and set the aperture wide enough to make the shoe in the background appear out of focus and bounced the flash off the ceiling.  A couple of minutes in Photoshop to make it black and white and add some contrast, and voila!

The fun part wasn’t that I won the contest, but that I was able to make (what to me) is an interesting image with “outdated” technology and also that I still have the memory of these shoes.  Of course I don’t remember wearing them, but I remember my mom having them around the house when I was growing up and her giving them to me when I got older.  My mom is no longer with us, so these shoes are one of the few tangible physical links that I still have to my mother.  Hopefully in some small way that emotional connection I have to these objects is conveyed in the image I created.

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GM Photography

My blog will focus on the "behind the scenes" aspects of photography, my thoughts and beliefs about photography, a chronicle of my shoots, and discussions about equipment and personal projects I'm working on. I hope this becomes an interactive page and look forward to your feedback.