Archive for January, 2012

Procession of the Species 2011

The Procession of the Species is an annual event in Olympia that happens in conjunction with the Spring Arts Walk.

This is a description of the event from their website:

“The Procession of the Species is a joyous, spontaneous artistic pageant where community members celebrate their relationships with each other and with the natural world.

Created by the community for the community, the Procession program facilitates seven weeks of art, music, and dance workshops that inspire personal understanding of and local action for wildlife protection.

Then on Procession day, residents don their creative expressions and proceed through the streets of Olympia in masks and costumes. Carrying banners, windsocks, and giant puppets, they participate in a cultural exchange honoring the awe and splendor of the natural world.”

The Procession of the Species was named “America’s Best Procession and Parade” in 2009.  It’s a visual feast!

Spring 2011 Arts Walk

Arts Walk is a great event that happens twice a year in Olympia.  Local artists display their work in shops in the downtown core area and the streets are blocked off so that people can wander around.  There are also street performances and live music at a number of venues

and the Spring version of Arts Walk includes two parades, the Luminary Procession and the Procession of the Species.  It’s always fun and a feast for the eyes!

Puget Sound Photographic Collectors Society Annual Swap Meet

The Puget Sound Photographic Collectors Society has an annual swap meet every year.  This is a fun event that draws out photographers from all over the region.  You’ll find everything from antique cameras to new DSLR’s.  Since I only shoot digital and with Olympus, there wasn’t a lot there for me to look at, although I did get my first chance to check out a Pen body in person.  They are pretty neat little cameras, but at this point I don’t see one in my immediate future.  In addition to the camera gear, there are also a lot of interesting

characters there.


Liz is an aspiring model and I was thrilled when she agreed to do a portfolio development shoot with me.  She has a really unique look and I was hoping to shoot some fashion type images.  I also enlisted the help of one of my favorite makeup artists, Moxie Glam, so that we could do some beauty shots.  The shots with the jeans and blue top were taken with a single light, a 22″ Alien Bees High Output Beauty Dish.  The shots in the black dress were taken with a giant gridded softbox.  Some of them had a second light added for fill.


These are some headshots of her Steven.  One of the makeup artists I work with (Moxie Glam) asked me to take some photos for his modeling portfolio, which I did in exchange for her makeup services on another shoot.  For the most part I only shoot female models, so this was an opportunity to try something different and experiment with lighting that would be more flattering for a male.

These shots were taken with my Alien Bees 22″ high output beauty dish about 45 degrees camera left and a large gridded softbox camera right for just a  little bit of fill.  Most of the light was coming from the left to create some dramatic and moody shadows and I positioned the beauty dish slightly above to add some light to the hair to provide separation from the background.


Kekoa is a local model and an acquaintance through some mutual friends.  The first time I saw her I was impressed by two things, her sense of fashion and her striking features.  I enlisted the help of my friend Morina from Moxie Glam Makeup so that we could do some nice beauty shots of Kekoa.  She was great to work with and I thought Morina did a great job with the makeup.  All shots were taken at my home studio.

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

The W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory is a historic Victorian style conservatory that was built in Tacoma’s Wright Park in 1908.  There is an ever changing assortment of tropical plants and flowers that make great photographic subjects.  I visited on a combined field trip with the Olympia Photographer’s Meetup group and the Olympia Camera Club.  While most of my photography is centered around human subjects, I love the combined challenge of floral and macro photography.  It’s an opportunity to take something fairly common place and present it in an interesting and even abstract way.  I had just purchased a new macro lens, the Sigma 150MM f2.8 and was itching to try it out.  The majority of these shots were taken with that lens and I was impressed by it’s sharpness, color rendering, and bokeh (the characteristics of the out of focus areas of the image).  Shooting at its maximum aperture created a very shallow depth of field but the area of the image that was in focus was quite sharp, especially considering that I shot all of these images handheld.  You can see more from this shoot on my flickr


Kerry Park in Seattle

I was in Seattle for my day job and was near this park during my lunch hour and decided to stop and take a few photos.  I’m a lifelong Seattle (OK, Puget Sound area) resident and had never been to this park, but I have heard it offers fantastic views of the city.  It was a cold but clear day and I wasn’t disappointed by the view.  I was able to see Mount Rainier pretty clearly and even catch a glimpse of one of the Dreamliner’s

test flights.


Low light Photography – Indoor horse show

One of my friends hired me to photograph her and her draft horses.  This was a pretty challenging assignment for me for a number of reasons.  I don’t have a lot of experience photographing this type of event, the lighting was terrible, and my camera body maxes out at about 1,600 ISO for usable images.  Oh, and did I mention no tripods and no flash and my subjects would all be moving constantly?!?

Luckily one of my friends in our camera club shoots horse events all the time and was familiar with the facility I was shooting with.  I got some great information about the layout and lighting conditions in the facility and some pointers on the best shooting locations.

Now that I had a better idea of what I was up against, I decided to use two bodies and one “normal” fast prime lens (my Sigma 30MM f1.4) and a telephoto lens (Zuiko 50-200 f2.8-3.5 zoom) on two bodies, my Olympus e-3 and e-30.  The e-30 has slightly better high ISO performance, so I put the fastest lens (the Sigma 30MM) on the e-3.  I also invested in a monopod and read up and practiced techniques to hold it steady.

I decided to push the ISO beyond what I was comfortable with, 1600 on the e-3 and 2000 on the e-30.  I love my Olympus gear, but high ISO performance is one area where Olympus lags behind other brands.  I knew the images would have a bit of noise in them, but felt confident that I could remove a lot of the noise with Lightroom and I also discussed the challenges with my client and learned that most of the images would be for display on the web, not printed at high resolution.  She has tried to take photos of these events in the past with her camera and understood the issues.

I tried to use slow enough shutter speeds to show a bit of motion, but also have the rider be in sharp focus.  It was a challenge, but I feel the research I did before the shoot and my prior experience shooting weddings in low light paid off with some good images.  My client was very happy and I felt like I delivered a quality product.

Rain Photography

OK, call me weird, but I get really excited about trying out new gear.  I had just purchased a new (to me) Olympus e-3 camera body and also some cool gloves that allow you to open and fold back the forefinger and thumb so that you can operate your camera and keep the rest of your hand warm.  I have a view of the marina from the back of my house and saw some sailboats out in the inlet and decided to go take some pictures in the rain.  It sounded like fun until I got out there and got totally soaked and froze my butt off!  I liked some of the images though, it was a very gray monochromatic day and the sails of the boats provided the only color in the images.

Return top

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.