The Dark Queen and the Woodland Princess

I had not used an outdoor setting to do creative portraits very much until recently and it figures I would wait until it got cold out to start. Inspired by the creations of a truly masterful artist, I enlisted the help of two of my favorite subjects and set about traversing a woodsy area across the street from my home.

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I immediately encountered two problems, one, it was cold and two I started about an hour too early to achieve the light I was looking for. Away from the comfort of my studio lights, I was utilizing a few speedlites to try to capture the look and feeling of the images I had in my head. By the time that light, I should say lack of light, presented itself we were all freezing and ready for some Hot Chocolate.

It was a great learning experience for me as far as light placement for direction, power and gel color. I guess I would add timing to that list as well. I was worried about running out of light and we had just the opposite to deal with. In the woods no less. Go figure. Once spring arrives we will give it another go, unless of course I find subjects as crazy as I am over the next few months that love to play in a little snow. There is still one image I am after that has a snowy setting so we shall see.

And even though my vision didn’t come to fruition, we did obtain some really cool stuff to build upon for future endeavors.

A few individual captures

And together

And in the end everyone gets along just like old friends.

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Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…..

Phil

 

 

Deal Casino, A Coffee House and 3200 iso

I was at a loss on how to begin this story. I wanted to talk about a couple of things specifically photography related like how my 7D was cranked to 3200 iso and I was literally terrified by that number, as necessary as it was. My camera is not a big fan of such high numbers. Word has it the new model fairs much, much better with that setting. We shall see, but until then lets just talk about the band I went to see and an early gift.

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When queuing up HECK, the brand new EP from Deal Casino, the first thing I noticed was the big smile gracing my face from the opening track, Bang Bang Bang. Pumping bass lines, a driving drum track, spirited guitars and killer melodies. Filled with energy and movement. This is their third EP, finally had a chance a couple of weeks ago to see them live and I took it, where have I been?

I am by no means a music reviewer, my stories are told through photographs, so I will leave an official review to the pros, but as a fan, my thoughts are that this quartets latest release cements them even deeper as a member of the hierarchy in the New Jersey Music scene.

Personally, I am more about the feeling of a song rather than a meaning, I do not key in on what is being said, too much room for interpretation. I do however pay very close attention to how it is being said, the progressions, the cadence and the rhythms a song contains.

The second song, Fortyfive, has a most distinct and grungy edge to it,epitomizes the sounds of alternative punk. Downtown is anthemic, (yes it really is!) and Flying Cars takes you on an emotional journey and when it is over you are left, missing, wanting more. So you play the whole thing again. A cycle that just keeps repeating itself.

The official EP Release party will be at the Asbury Lanes on Dec 11th. If you get the chance be sure and take in the show. You will get the EP!

Back to the beginning and this camera thing. I had the chance to check the guys out during a stripped down, acoustic style, electric set at the Revolutionary Lounge in Toms River. Coffee house atmosphere, very intimate setting. My wife told me I should stop serenading the people next to us during the set, so I started capturing some images and doing what I do.

I will be resuming regular programming here for a bit as I have a couple of shoots I want to get done. But I do have a feeling Deal Casino will be a regular topic in these parts, at least until someone gets a hold of them and takes them on the adventure of their lives…

Thanks for stopping by, till next time…

Phil

 

Deal Casino Inspired

I have been privileged to see many great bands over the past four months while shooting for Speak into My good Eye but have never been inspired to really write about any of them. I always left that to the boss. Inspiration though, sometimes hits when you least expect it. Coincidentally enough, there has been one band that has been on my radar to see perform, that I have heard many great things about, but it seemed my schedule was always in conflict when they were hitting the stage. I recently got that chance, and the inspiration followed.

I have always considered myself somewhat of a music snob, I am eclectic but based in an alternative hard rock genre. I seek talent, passion, energy and presence in my musical endeavors. Pick me up, keep me up and allow me to put ear phones in and turn  it up.

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Deal Casino, a band out of Asbury Park, NJ, gave me just that recently. Such an incredibly amount of emotion coming out of four individuals that are putting their stamp on the New Jersey music scene. They have been playing together on and off in different incarnations since middle school, but it is the last 18 months as their current configuration that things have really sparked for this group. What I witnessed was a well rehearsed performance with an incredible amount of passion and energy, pouring their heart and soul into well composed songs that keep you moving, watching, making you afraid if you let your attention sway you will be missing something.

I have always believed that it is easier to identify and appreciate an artist, or in this case a group of artists, if you see them live, this is why we go to shows. I have not felt this much excitement about a band since, well, a really long time. One of the long time veteran photographers on the scene said they are far and by the best band in the area and I most certainly do agree. New Jersey residents, this is the one group you must see in a small club while you can, before long they are going to be in larger venues with larger crowds spreading their sounds to a larger following. To all, be sure and check out their most recent video release here.

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Stayed tuned for the release of their latest EP on December 11. One I am looking forward to for sure.

Thanks for stopping by, till next time!

Phil

 

 

The Back to My Roots Tour

The Back to My Roots Tour, as I am labeling it, has led me out of retirement and back into the local music scene. Well, sort of. For this go round, rather than me being on the stage and performing, I am in the crowd, camera in hand, documenting the nights groups for the web based music review site Speak Into My Good Eye. A big thanks to Chris and Mike for bring me on board. I have been introduced to some great bands, met some fantastic people and witnessed some of the frenzy that has reemerged in the Asbury Park, NJ music scene.

If you are familiar with me, you may know that I shoot with a Canon 7D which is not the greatest camera when it comes to low light captures. Night clubs/bars are small and the lighting is less than stellar for photographs. Red Wash is a bitch. Many, if not most of the other photographers I have shot with have used flash. So to be different, I did not. I did not to a point of stubbornness. This resulted in some very soft images. Yes, I overshot a bunch in order to get the right combination of red/green/purple/blue/yellow lights in the image to satisfy my desires and I tried not to take the easy way out and just convert them to b/w unless they really screamed convert me!

Some of my favorites from July’s shows:

There came a point sometime in the later part of September in the main club I shoot at that they changed their front lights and gelled them. I had to break down and start using a flash to compensate. Even though I have a Rogue Grid attached to retain some of the color depth on stage, I still am very hesitant with using a supplemental light source due to the effects it has on the performers. The ones I have spoken to say they do not even notice but stealth mode is no longer possible. The good thing about it is that I am shooting 50% less than I did without a flash. And color wash is not as big of a concern. Trials and tribulations.

I have never been all that comfortable with on camera flash, much prefer having them off camera. Maybe one day when I am not the new guy on the scene anymore I will be able to set a few up around and on the stage and really create some drama. A 5DIII is not anywhere in my near future but how I would relish the chance shooting at 6400 iso without a worry at all.

Some shots using flash:

And sometimes, you just never know what will appear during a set…

The Bull Fight

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

Phil

“Take my Picture” – The Look

If anyone has a teenager in their midst then you know some of the looks that come out of them. Confusing right? And they will almost never let you take their picture when you want to, it has to be on their terms. And the selfies? Not sure I will ever completely get that.

I am doing some work at the desk one evening, my daughter comes up to me and gives me a look. Now I had no idea what this look meant, my wife had to clue me in. My daughter Britt had just finished applying some make up so I just thought she was showing me what a good job she did. Little did I know. Then she keeps looking at me….Well?

I stopped asking her to let me take her photo a long time ago, the answer would always be no. As a photographer when I get inspired by a look I want to capture it, as a parent when that look comes from your daughter you want to capture it immediately. Of course it does not work that way. I stopped what I was doing, reconfirmed this request with both my wife and my daughter and went to get set up.

The attention  span wanes quickly, taking your time is not an option. I am normally pretty laid back, and by creating a fun atmosphere it keeps my clients attention to where I need it, but with your kid that is all out the window. There will be no dialing in of anything. But all in all, in the end the results were quite nice.

Took a few liberties, experimented with a some presets to a few of them. Nice. My kid is not a kid anymore. She is now a beautiful young lady isn’t she?

All for now, Thanks for stopping by!

Phil

The Yard Sale Editorial

A town wide yard sale, a bunch of old dance clothes and our daughters curious friend. These elements came into play for a spur of the moment, off the cuff shoot entitled “The Yard Sale Editorial”.

While we were going through a few years of dance costumes our daughters friend found great interest in some of the outfits. Being a normal teenager she decided to try a few things on in a not so normal fashion. A tutu skirt donned as a hat set my mind adrift in photographic opportunity.  While not my normal style, I thought it may be fun to experiment a bit and see what transpired.

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I do believe she thought I was a bit crazy, and I am positive she had no idea what was in store when she agreed to a quick shoot. It was already 10:30 pm, so we were all a bit tired. So, my stylist and trusted second pair of eyes joined me in producing the following selections.

I certainly would like to create some more images of this nature. Probably should plan ahead next time, but these spur of the moment sessions are lots of fun. You never know what will happen when you have old dance costumes hanging around.

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time!

Exit 82 Theater – Legally Blonde

I recently took in Exit 82 Theater Company’s summer production of Legally Blonde, the Musical. This is the second of the companies three productions this year and it surely did not disappoint. I thought that their spring production was fabulous, but once again they have raised the bar even further and cemented their place as a force to be recognized in the local theater community.

A core group of individuals who regularly participate can only strengthen the cohesiveness in their productions and in this running of Legally Blonde some fantastic new blood was placed in to the lead roles. The faces I recognized from previous shows stepped aside and played support roles but they certainly still starred in their own right, often providing the comic relief and vocal support that gives that little extra Exit 82 touch that the crowd came for.

I remain in awe of the efforts this volunteer cast puts forth and will be looking forward to this winters shows and beyond. A few shows are left for this running, if you get the opportunity be sure and check it out. A surprise announcement is even scheduled for the fall, me thinks they have outgrown the confines of their current theater and it is time to move into a bigger venue in order to hold their growing fan base. Sign up on their email list to be notified of all the upcoming and important happenings in their world. But before you go, enjoy a few shots from Legally Blonde.

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

Phil

 

A Boardwalk Stroll

Part of our recent trip to Ocean City, Maryland involved a couple of strolls along their famous boardwalk. I have always been intrigued by the styling’s of street photography but have never attempted to undertake the always interesting, somewhat nerve racking, sometimes dangerous aspect of this genre. I do people watch, all the time in fact. I am constantly looking for expressions, shapes, styles, contours, and colors but as a portrait photographer, not as a sometimes sneaky I caught you looking like that photographer.  Anyway, I figured why not give it a go and see what translates out.

I already know how to be subtle and not so subtle…but I did not realize how fast you need to be when trying to capture the image that you see in your head as it walks by. Some knew, most did not, I only requested one shot, and even got photo bombed by my daughter as I was lining someone up. I wanted to request a couple more but did not get up the nerve. All in all pretty cool experience, turned out much better than I anticipated.  A common theme? Boardwalks have lots of food….

I present to you my interpretation of the people of the Ocean City Boardwalk

Thanks for stopping by!  Till next time…

Phil

In This Leap

I was in Maryland recently cheering on my daughter’s dance team during their national competition. During some down time, standing on the balcony of our hotel, seven floors up and over looking the ocean I get a call from my daughter who was on the beach with a friend. “Dad, can you take pictures of us jumping?” Unable to resist the challenge on went the 200 mm, and a few phone calls later we had what we wanted.

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This image of Brittany captured the attention of one of our friends, who sent it to one of her friends who just happens to be a terrific writer. Inspired by the photograph of a leaping dancer a poem was born:

IN THIS LEAP

 It is here that I live

the in between realm

of Being and flying

the space between soft sand and azure sky

where my legs are strong,

my hair flows like a running stream,

and my purpose shines

just beyond the salmon horizon.

In this leap is my freedom.

I sing here,

I dance here

I am.

Cristina M. R. Norcross

Copyright 2014

Thank you Cristina for touching our lives!

And for those of you wondering what the other half of the tandem accomplished:

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Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

Phil