HIWS: Portrait of Brian Betz

Brian B&W
Nikon D200, Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 @ 70mm, ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec.

My friend Brian (a Philadelphia-based jazz guitarist) has been on my case for a while now to take his new press photos. He was telling me how much he liked my work and that he’d want to get some new stuff going for his website and promo materials. So when I finally had some time to get up to New Jersey, I made it a point to set aside some time to do a session with him. That being said, we didn’t have a ton of time and he didn’t want anything too involved anyway.

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On a Budget: Lenses

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My current lens lineup (left to right): Nikon 135 2.8, Tokina 11-16 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8 DX, Nikon 180 2.8, Nikon 105 2.5, Nikon 75-300 4.5-5.6, Nikon 60 2.8 Micro (Nikon 18-70 not pictured because it took the picture!)

If you’re into photography, chances are you know how expensive it can get to purchase gear. In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d throw together a handful of posts that could help the budget-conscious photographer get some great gear.

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HIWS: Taming the Sun with Speedlights

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Nikon D200, 60mm 2.8 AF Micro, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/250 sec.

Shooting in broad daylight can be really scary at first. Hundreds of beginner portrait photography tutorials will advise you to shoot only during golden hour, or to hope for a cloudy day with soft, diffused light. Others will tell you to look for open shade, or just stay inside and find a north or south facing window. These are all valid suggestions (and worth checking out) but I’ve learned that you don’t have to be afraid of the sun. Golden hour sun can be amazing and I love to use it, but you don’t always have that luxury.

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HIWS: Portable Off-Camera Flash

Curly, King Street
Nikon D200, Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 Pro DX II @ 16mm. ISO 200, f/8, 1/250 sec.

For almost a year, I’ve been experimenting with a technique I learned through David Hobby’s Strobist blog. It’s essentially a speedlight attached to the end of a monopod, so that you can achieve mobile off-camera flash. Holding your camera in one hand, you can then position the speedlight with your other hand. In his blog post, Hobby triggered his flash through a modified TTL cord, but I’ve been using either the pop-up speedlight to trigger the optical slave of the SB-26, or a radio trigger. Radio triggers are a little more cumbersome and require bungee-cording the trigger to the monopod to keep it from flying around. The optical slave is a much easier setup, but can be unreliable in certain shooting conditions (more on that later).

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HIWS: Website Self-Portrait

Jon Barnes Self-Portrait
Nikon D200, 35mm 1.8 AF-S DX, ISO 160, f/8, 1/250 sec.
I’ve been working on a professional website for the business end of my photography for a month or so now. Creating and editing my portfolio has been the hardest part of the process and I’m certainly not done. One of the other things that has been lacking on the site is a picture of myself for the about page. I’ve been thinking about what I’d want that to be for a while now. Nothing I had previously shot quite fit the bill.

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Self-Critique: Sound Engineers

Sound Engineers
Nikon D800, 24-70 2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/250 sec.

Every time I do a shoot it’s a chance for me to learn and improve. I definitely learned a valuable lesson while creating this photograph of the Navy Band’s sound engineers. I’m going to get a little in-depth today about the thought process behind this photo, and how it’s easy to become “blind” to the little details. The overriding lesson is: Don’t get so stuck on a concept that it keeps you from realizing the other possibilities in a photo.

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