Hi, Erik again….
I used to Blog every single day for almost three years! Crazy! I have been a Slacker as of late…must get back on the horse that bucked me off!
Anyway, at my other work , I found a book that was discarded like a piece of used snot rag …. I grabbed it! (Wiped off the snot)
It was written by Richard Oliver and it is all about Henry the 5th and interpretations of Shakespeare. It is called “Inspirational Leadership””
“Henry V is Shakespeare’s greatest leader – inspired and inspiring, visionary yet pragmatic, powerful yet responsible. In this fascinating book, acclaimed director and creative consultant Richard Oliver draws on his intimate knowledge of the play, and its absorbing central character, to unmask the secrets of Inspirational Leadership and reveal the timeless lessons it holds for Managers and Leaders today.”
….from the back cover…I am not so eloquent…..such a good find! Here is but a tiny snippet….
“O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention…
But pardon gentles all
The flat unraised spirits that hath dared
On this unworthily scaffold to bring forth
So great an object….
And let us, ciphers to this great account,
On your imaginary forces work.”
Thank you so much for visiting my Humble Blog
In a blink of an eye, a lot can happen. A lot of astonishing things happen in a split second, but they are moving too quickly for us to see. High speed photography is the art of recording just such events.
Depending on the event to be photographed, methods range from use of ultra-short time flash exposures to producing lots of exposures in a split-second, using for example, a strobe light, or a more exotic sound triggered system (useful for popping balloons, gunshot punctures and the like). A typical camera flash lasts around a few thousandth of a second which is easily quick enough to freeze most anything. The speed of the camera’s shutter is not really that important provided it is open when the flashes fire – synchronizing the camera shutter opening with the flash firing is the key…as well as deciding when to trip the shutter itself.
In this series of pictures, I constructed a setup in my studio which consisted of an aquarium, two inexpensive speed light flashes, wireless flash triggers, black muslin backdrop, DSLR on a sturdy tripod and various veggies and fruits. I filled the tank brimming with water and set one flash above the surface pointing down and the other below the surface pointing in. The tripod mounted camera (Nikon D7000, 17-70mm lens, ISO100, f18, 1/250sec) was in front of the tank and equipped with a wireless transmitter that would trigger the flashes when the shutter was tripped. The veggies and fruit were dropped from various heights depending on their size and density – I found that limes descend much faster than bell peppers, eggs and coconuts being the speediest.
The lighting angles and intensities of the flashes were adjusted periodically. One should also use a plastic zip-lock bag over the flash units, have plenty of paper towels at hand and check the camera lens after every drop – this technique can be a trifle wet! I also discovered that eggs are super fast and tend to crack upon impact on the bottom of the tank and other materials, such as yogurt just make an awful mess and cloud the water. I was contemplating dropping my small dog in the tank, but he quickly caught wind of my thoughts and beat it out of the studio!
Here is a photographic take on this famous play The Glass Menagerie: a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams which originally went under the name of ‘The Gentleman Caller’. A Glass Menagerie is fragile and delicate. This fragility is manifested physically in the glass; “If you breathe, it breaks!”. It’s also really beautiful – of the translucent, other-worldly, delicate kind. Here is a snippet from the play…
“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
This is somewhat like the craft of Photography. Photography, as we know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which the Photographer creates his own private world. Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live.
This image was executed during an event which we covered in Northern California. During an After-Party, we arrived a bit early to scope the scene and were drawn to the stacks of wine glasses being readied for the oncoming, thirsty hordes. Being Photographers, we tend to gravitate to glass (for some reason), and gazing through the stacks we were captured by the (seemingly) endless lines and rows.
While were preparing some of our gear for a Photoshoot, we broke out some our old Medium Format Film Cameras, blew off some dust and admired the quality of the construction and how great they feel in the hand. Lurking in the background is our trusty digital Nikon D7000 and in the front we have a Mamiya C3 and Mamiya 645. The C3 was from my Father’s early years as a Photographer in the 50s and 60s. He showed up one day with this baby and proudly showed it to my Mom. Even at this time, the C3 was not cheap and likely cost several weeks wages. Mom was not pleased and instituted a “Zone of Silence” which according to rumors lasted several weeks! Same thing when he brought home a 12 gauge shotgun, but that is a different story!
The Mamiya 645 is not the most expensive of their line, but a sturdy workhorse. There is nothing fancy about this camera, it does have an internal light meter, but there are no “Presets” or Automatic Settings. These types of cameras really teach you Manual Operation, and being film, you really have to think about what it is you are trying to achieve, have confidence in your mastery of light and perform a “first time right” shot. There is no instant preview which we are now used to with digital cameras. We almost always shoot digital in Manual Mode, just because of our training with gear such as this – take the plunge and put your camera on Manual and experiment. At least you won’t need to wait a week for the proofs to come back from The Lab!
If you have any questions, just drop us an email email@example.com
Happy Shooting, Kathleen and Erik
This was shot during a Studio Session with our Model, Dinah Wolf. We experimented with High Key Lighting. The idea is to use a white backdrop, light it up with strobes from behind the Model to wash out the scene and then light the Model from the front using strobes from left and right. You can reverse Engineer the front lighting from the reflections in the shoe. This is a great tip for Photographers for Studio work. It is often very easy to tell how the lighting was set up by looking at reflections, especially with Portraits. Look for “Catch Lights” in the eyes of the Model. Often you will see one, or several. If the Catch Light is circular, they used a Beauty Light which is quite popular.
Now a bit about Catch Lights!
Catch Light is a photographic term used to describe either the Specular highlights in a subject’s eye from a light source, or the light source itself. They are also referred to as eye lights or Obies, the latter a reference to Merle Oberon, who was frequently lit using this technique. A catch light may be an artifact of the lighting method, or have been purposely engineered to add a glint or “spark” to a subject’s eye. This technique is useful in both still and motion picture photography. Adding a catch light can help draw attention to the subject’s eyes, which may otherwise get lost among other elements in the scene.
We experimented with Catch Lights during this shoot, not with eyes but with the shoes – fun!
Thanks for visiting our humble Photoblog! If you have any questions, just leave a comment and we always answer!
Kathleen and Erik
This is another shot from our Studio in California – not a complicated lighting set up at all. We used one Alien Bee strobe (you can see the rectangular reflection), the Martini Glass was lit with some LED Lights from Stage Ape. The multi-color reflections came from a Wallace Ting piece we own. Glass empty – time to go Home.
Now a bit about “Closing Time”
Closing Time is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in March 1973 and was produced and arranged by former Lovin Spoonful member Jerry Yester. Closing Time was the first of seven of Waits’s major releases through Asylum, the final being Heartattack and Vine (one of our favourites!). The songs on Closing Time are often noted for their lyrical content, which like the music, vary in form. “Ol’ 55” narrates the story of a man riding “lickety split” in a car and is often seen as a song about escapism.
Closing Time features an eclectic mix of musical styles. While tracks such as “Ol ’55”, with its “gentle slipnote piano chords”, and “Old Shoes”, “a country-rock waltz that picked up the feel of ‘Ol’ 55′”, are usually considered folk-like numbers, other songs such as “Virginia Avenue”, “Midnight Lullaby”, whose intro features an instrumental segment of the nursery rhyme “Hush Little baby”, and “Grapefruit Moon” reveal a quieter, more jazz-like temperament. “Ice Cream Man” is often noted as being the most “up-tempo” song of the album, whereas “Lonely” is toned-down and slow-paced. The sophisticated piano melodies are often accompanied by trumpets, typical of the jazz sound that Waits originally designated for the album. Noticeable string arrangements are also featured on the album, on “Martha” and the final “Closing Time”, the latter being purely instrumental.
Thanks for visiting our Humble Photoblog! If you have any questions, just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, so this is not Astronomical History in the making but rather a Science Fiction Scene created in our Studio. The concept was executed with some selective studio lighting, a picture of Jupiter, a glass pane suspended above the picture and selective placement of Dishwashing Soap. We used a Nikon D90 with a Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Macro lens mounted on a steady tripod and waited until the bubbles had burst and the soap began to flow – consuming this wonderful gaseous giant! Somewhat abstract, kinda cool! Now a bit about this planet before it gets eaten by the Blob!
Jupiter is perpetually covered with clouds composed of ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. The clouds are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of different latitudes, known as tropical regions. These are sub-divided into lighter-hued zones and darker belts. The interactions of these conflicting circulation patterns cause storms and turbulence. Wind speeds of 100 m/s (360 km/h) are common in zonal jets…perfect for extreme Sailboarding!
The orange and brown coloration in the clouds of Jupiter are caused by upwelling compounds that change color when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun. The exact makeup remains uncertain, but the substances are believed to be phosphorus, sulfur or possibly hydrocarbons.
The best known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, a persistent anticyclonic storm that is larger than Earth, located 22° south of the equator. It is known to have been in existence since at least 1831, and possibly since 1665. Mathematical Models suggest that the storm is stable and may be a permanent feature of the planet. The storm is large enough to be visible through Earth-based telescopes! Check it out before it The Blob has it for Dinner!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 250,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 3 sold-out events for that many people to see it.
It is just fun to see the variety of interests of these Gentlemen who work in the Insurance Industry here in Southern California. This dude loves skateboarding. You can see his passion for the sport by the wear and tear on the back side of his board!
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. A person who skateboards is most often referred to as a skateboarder, or colloquially within the skateboarding community, a skater. Skateboarding can be a recreational activity, an art form, a job, or a method of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2002 report by American Sports Data found that there were 18.5 million skateboarders in the world. 85 percent of skateboarders polled who had used a board in the last year were under the age of 18, and 74 percent were male.
Skateboarding is relatively modern. A key skateboarding maneuver, the Ollie, was developed in the late 1970s by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand as a half-pipe maneuver. Freestyle skateboarder Rodney Mullen was the first to take it to flat ground and later invented the kickflip and its variations.
The Calendar Series continues with this local Cowboy. he actually wanted us to capture him riding his horse, which would have been a blast, but we wanted the consistence of the Studio. The Studio is large enough to actually bring a horse in, but he settled for just the Tack!
A Cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horsess used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos. Cowgirls, first defined as such in the late 19th century, had a less-well documented historical role, but in the modern world have established the ability to work at virtually identical tasks and obtained considerable respect for their achievements.
Continuing the series of shots from our Calendar Project for the San Diego Insurance Women, these Gentlemen obviously have a passion for Basketball. We had so much fun directing and shooting, they really got into the spirit and the results were great! Houston Rockets and LA Lakers square off in this image much to the dismay of the Ref!
Much is known of the LA Lakers but did you know that the Rockets used to be from San Diego? The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego, and after being bought by Robert Breitbard for 1.75 million dollars they joined the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967-68 NBA Season The San Diego franchise nickname became the “Rockets” due to the local development (General Dynamics) of the famed Atlas missile/booster rocket program. Jack McMahon was named the Rockets’ coach, and the team’s first draft pick, in 1967, was the future Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley However, the Rockets went on to lose 67 games in their inaugural season, which was then an NBA record for losses in a season
This continues the series of Studio shots from the “Men in Insurance” project for the San Diego Insurance Women. This Father and Son duo arrived dressed to The Nines complete with all sorts of James Bond props – they even brought Moneypenny! (I think the Father’s Wife). We wanted to create a look of sophistication and a bit of micheiviousness from Bond Junior. Now a bit about the inspiration!
James Bond has long been a household name and remains a huge influence within the genre. The Austin Powers series by writer, producer and comedian Mike Myers, and other parodies such as Johnny English (2003), Bons Baisers de Hong Kong, OK Connery, the “Flint” series starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, the “Matt Helm” movies starring Dean Martin, and Casino Royale (1967) are testaments to Bond’s prominence in popular culture.
The Bond series also received many homages and parodies in popular media. The 1960s TV imitations of James Bond such as I Spy, Get Smart, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E went on to become popular successes in their own right, the last having enjoyed contributions by Fleming towards its creation: the show’s lead character.
Not long ago we were involved in creating a Calendar for The San Diego Insurance Women called “Men in Insurance”. We invited professionals from the San Diego Region to the Studio with instructions to come prepared with “In Character” attire, props or whatever else they wanted to portray their hobbies or interests. For these two Gentlemen, they had mentioned that they would arrive as San Diego Surfers. To our surprise, they strolled into the Studio as Chippendale’s performers. At first we were somewhat taken aback, but as the shoot progressed and they got warmed up in front of the lights, things got hilariously crazy. This shot was the one they chose for November 2011!
My adventuresome Wife was drawn to this location deep in backwoods Texas – she said it looked like a Moonshiners Shack, complete with a “Sittin Chair” and empty container. I imagine that someone might have been sitting there, shotgun in hand by the light of the moon, guarding against unwary interlopers and having a sip or two. Notice the mysterious shack in the background!
Bootleggers and Baptists, is a model of politics in which opposite moral positions lead to the same vote. Specifically, preachers demand prohibition to make alcohol illegal while the criminal bootlegger wants it to stay illegal so he can stay in business!
One version begins with preachers in a rural county demanding the government ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays. “Alcohol”, they say, “is a vile drink and efforts should be made to restrict its spread through society, especially on the Lord’s Day.” The Baptists’ electorate votes the county dry.
But the demand for alcohol does not disappear with the supply. People still want to drink on Sundays and so the bootleggers step up and illegally sell alcohol. And because the supply is restricted because far fewer people are selling liquor, one day a week the bootlegger gains monopoly power and the lucrative market that goes with it. The Baptists, in their turn, point to the widespread use of alcohol on Sunday as evidence that laws need to be tightened further, and propose to ban sale of alcohol on Saturday as well. This causes a spiral of tougher and tougher laws that are enforced less and less.
While cleaning our garage I found a cooler of Soda and Coors Lite from our Son’s camping expedition. (All skunky, shame). This lead me to think of some Studio Images. I ventured to our backyard to get a Blood Orange, loaded up the skunk beer and lit it up with a portable studio lighting system. Background celebrates the start of America’s Independence Day. I had hoped to shoot this with a Molson Canadien (eh) can for Canada Day, but, apparently this is a rare animal in Southern California! So a bit of Canuck History!
Canada Day is the National day of Canada, celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act (today called the Constitution Act of 1869), which united three British Colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day, the name was changed in 1982, the year that Canada gained full independence from the United Kingdom. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally. Just like the 4th of July for America! www.kerstenbeck.com
PS @ Molson I would have loved to Feature your Product! (Send Beer to SoCal)
On June 15, 2011, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals. This was their first championship since 1972. A bitter loss for the Canucks and their loyal Fans which was marred by a few Hockey Hooligans who proceeded to vandalize the beautiful city of Vancouver. This studio shot highlights a Boston Bruins hockey puck as the city of Vancouver burned in frustration.
In 1924 , at the convincing of Boston grocery tycoon Charles Adams, the National Hockey League decided to expand to the United States. Adams had fallen in love with hockey while watching the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals between the NHL champion Montreal Canadiens and the WCHL champion Calgary Tigers. He persuaded the NHL to grant him a franchise for Boston, which occurred on November 1, 1924. With the Montreal Maroons, the team was one of the NHL’s first expansion teams.
On December 1, 1924, the new Bruins team played their first NHL game against the Maroons, at Boston Arena, with the Bruins winning the game by a 2–1 score. But the team only managed a 6–24–0 record (for last place) in its first season. They played three more seasons at the Arena, after which the Bruins became the main tenant of the famous Boston Gardens while the old Boston Arena facility—the world’s oldest existing indoor ice hockey venue! www.kerstenbeck.com
OK, a bit of a change of pace! We were shooting an event in Napa, California and had set up some portable Studio Lights for a series of portraits of many charming women in fine Evening Wear. Along came a couple with their Boxer. It was amazing! They instructed their pet to sit, stay and look into the camera. I have never seen such a well-behaved Dog! The studio strobes didn’t even make him flinch!
And some Boxer History: Developed in Germany, the Boxer is a stocky, large size, short-haired dog. The coat is smooth and fawn, brindled, white, or even reverse brindled with or without white markings. Boxers are brachycephalic (they have broad, short skulls), and have a square muzzle, mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey. The Boxer was bred from the English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser and is part of the Molosser group.
Boxers were first exhibited in a dog show for St. Bernard’s at Munich in 1895, the first Boxer club being founded the next year. Based on 2009 America Kennel Club statistics, Boxers are the sixth most popular breed of dog in the United States for the third year in a row—moving up in 2007 from the seventh spot, which they’d held since 2002! www.kerstenbeck.com
This was shot from the balcony of a very quaint hotel in Catalina, California and somewhat of an ode to Bob Dylan.
“Blowin’ in the Wind” is a song written by Bob Dylan and released on his album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963. Although it has been described as a protest song, it poses a series of questions about peace, war and freedom. The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” has been described as “impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind” .www.kerstenbeck.com
We were testing a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 in advance of a Family photo shoot on Catalina Island when we ran across this beautiful Australian Shepherd patiently waiting for his best buddy to return from diving off the coast. He was in the back of a pickup truck, just staring wistfully. This lens does a great job for portraits shooting wide open!
The Australian shepherd is a breed of herding dog that was developed on ranches in the Western United States. Despite its name, the breed, commonly known as an Aussie, did not originate in Australia They acquired their name because some of the Australian sheepdogs arrived in the United States with boatloads of Australian sheep. The breed rose gradually in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War I. They became known to the general public through rodeos, horse shows, and through Disney movies made for television.
For many years, Aussies have been valued by stockmen for their inherent versatility and trainability. While they continue to work as stockdogs and compete in herding trials, the breed has earned recognition in other roles due to their trainability and eagerness to please, and are highly regarded for their skills in obedience. Like all working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive, and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball and frisbee. They are also highly successful search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide, service, and therapy dogs.
Bring May Flowers! This has been an exceptionally wet Spring in Southern California. This is good news – not only is the snow pack in the Sierra’s at record levels, but reservoirs are near full, chance of wildfires is abated, draught conditions lifted…and both wild and domestic flora is blooming! This shot shows the colorful variety of the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.
The fields today are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920’s. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee’s small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called “Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs”. The name “Tecolote” came from the owls that nested on his property. www.kerstenbeck.com
OK, enough Trains, Planes and Automobiles for a while! I spent some time shooting the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. This time of year it is just overflowing with acres of color!
Carlsbad is a coastal resort city lying along the Pacific Ocean in San Diego’s North County region of Southern California. For over sixty years, the rolling hills of Carlsbad have been a spectacular and coordinated display of natural color and beauty. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are in a full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, is also one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring. www.kerstenbeck.com
This is another view from inside The Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo. This huge butterfly loves to land on people’s hair, camera and lenses but generally likes to rest on the sides of trees which act as natural camouflage. They are known for their iridescent colors!
While not all Morphos have iridescent coloration, they all have ocelli, or eyes on their wings. In most species only the males are colorful, supporting the theory that the coloration is used for intrasexual communication between males.
Many Morpho butterflies are colored in metallic, shimmering shades of blue and green on the inside. These colors are not a result of pigmentation but are an example of iridescence: the microscopic scales covering the Morpho’s wings reflect incident light repeatedly at successive layers, leading to interference effects that depend on both wavelength and angle of incidence/observance. Thus the colors produced vary with viewing angle, however they are actually surprisingly uniform, perhaps due to the tetrahedral (diamond-like) structural arrangement of the scales or diffraction from overlying cell layers. www.kerstenbeck.com
Every Spring, The San Diego Zoo marshalls butterflies from all over the world for their Butterfly Jungle. There are many dozen different varieties and thousands in total, fluttring in and about the exhibit, landing on people and being shot by local Photographers. Tripods are not allowed due to space constraints, so we used a Monopod to capture this Macro of an Orange Iulia just as it was landing.
Dryas iulia (often incorrectly spelled julia), commonly called the Julia Butterfly or Julia Heliconian, is a species of brush-footed butterfly. The sole representative of its genus Dryas, it is native from Brazil to southern Texas and Florida, and in summer can sometimes be found as far north as eastern Nebraska.
This butterfly is a fast flier and frequents clearings, paths, and margins of forests and woodlands. It feeds on the nectar of flowers, such as lantanas and Shepherd’s needle (Scandix pecten-veneris), and the tears of caiman, the eye of which the butterfly irritates to produce tears. The species is popular in butterfly houses because it is long-lived and active throughout the day. www.kerstenbeck.com
This was shot at at Vintage Car Show in Lido, California. A close examination of this curiuos kids back shows the original vehicle!
So, the title is a Tribute Van Halen and NASCAR!
The song has been a signature track for Hagar during and after his tenure with Van Halen, and is commonly used on TV programs and commercials related to automotive racing. Most recently, the song was featured in a NAPA Auto Parts commercial, where NASCAR drivers Micheal Waltrip and older teammate Dale Jarret are asking Hagar to keep the noise down during a recording session; in response, Hagar asked Waltrip if he could drive faster. Waltrip’s car number at the time of the 2007 commercial was #55.
In 2001, NBC Sports had Hagar record a “corrected” version, now known as “I Can’t Drive 65,” reflecting the common 65 MPH speed limit on freeways, for use during Bud Pole Award presentations on Winston Cup Series broadcasts on NBC and TNT. It was used from 2001 to 2003 during the broadcasts. www.kerstenbeck.com