Category Archives: photography

Father’s Day

Sarah here. I took this picture while walking along Alki Beach (Seattle) on Father’s Day, and it’s been rattling around in my head since then. I finally worked on it this weekend. The moment between these two was so sweet; I’m glad I caught it.

I showed the picture to my mom this morning, and she said, “I bet the two in this picture would love to have it.” Of course, I don’t have any idea who they are. If anyone sees this post and knows them, or if you think you know someone who might know them, please pass it along. The picture was taken on 16 June 2013, on Alki Beach in Seattle, Washington State.

(And if it does make its way to them, please tell me!)

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Bragging Rights

Sarah here. Andrew and I hang out on a few photo-related sites, including one called ViewBug, which runs regular photography contests. Since he won’t brag about it, I will… Andrew won the Healthy Lifestyles contest with his picture of kayakers at Silver Falls.

(As an aside, that picture was taken with my old camera –a Nikon D5200– since his D800E was several thousand miles away in the shop for repairs at the time. Just goes to show that you don’t need the fanciest gear to capture great shots; the photographer and the subject matter a lot more than the camera.)

And today, I noticed that ViewBug used Andrew’s shot of Gljúfrabúi – Hidden Falls as the headline picture for their summer photo contest. Ironically, the picture was taken during an Icelandic winter, but never mind. I still commend their taste.

To wrap up with a little joint bragging, the picture on the homepage of Langdon Tactical was a tag-team effort between Andrew and me: Andrew took the picture, and I did the Photoshopping.

Whew… it’s been a busy week! Andrew and I are pretty new at putting our stuff out there, so it’s very exciting to see our work getting some attention!

Keep Trying

Andrew here. I’m rarely somewhere scenic for long. I’d say 99 times out of 100, I’m in front of something photographically compelling once, either as an intentional destination, or stopping while in transit to somewhere else. If I’m going there on purpose, I *try* to time it for good conditions — the right light, the right time of year, the right weather… and so on — but that’s not always an option. That’s even less likely when I happen upon something interesting.

So, on those rare occasions when I will be spending time at or around something with good photographic potential, I really try to make the most of it.

In this case, I spent most of a week at the Grand Hotel Baglioni in Florence, Italy. I was there for work, so I couldn’t really focus on photography but because I was there for a week, I did have many chances to check out the incredible view of Florence from the rooftop. I saw it in the morning, I saw it at night (no tripod… alas!), I saw it in the rain, and I saw it at sunset. In this case, I saw it in the rain at sunset, and when I saw the side light start poking through the clouds, I grabbed the camera and headed for the roof. I didn’t stay for long (thunder plus rooftop shooting = bad idea), but I managed to come away with a few shots, including this one.

Wet Zoo Day

Sarah here. Andrew and I went to the zoo last weekend. It’s been hot and muggy here recently, but we lucked out and got a cool and (very) rainy morning. There weren’t many people out, the light was soft if not exactly plentiful, and some of the animals didn’t mind the wet at all. Like this little guy, for one.

It was also a good test of rain gear. Even our cameras were wearing rain coats.

Otter

The Strobist – Cooking Light

Sarah here. In my quest to learn how to bend light to my will, I’ve been working through the Lighting 102 class over at the Strobist. I did the early exercises, but got stuck for a bit on the first assignment, aptly described as “deceptively simple”:

The assignment is to photograph one or more kitchen utensils – knives, forks, spoons, whisks – whatever you like. The look you are going or is that of ordinary object elevated to high art. Or at least commercial art, as this is the kind of thing that might appear as a catalog cover or in a calendar or on the wall of one of those ubiquitous “fast casual” restaurants.

It’s harder than it sounds. I finally buckled down and knocked it out today, using my super-fancy homemade cardboard light box to make a single speedlight nice and soft and less unidirectional. One of the harder parts was getting my subject to stay in position; I built a little mountain out of a dome diffuser and old corks to hold the corkscrew at a good angle, but it was less stable than a house of cards. More than once, I got everything set up perfectly, was juuuuuuuust adjusting the focus, had my finger resting on the shutter button……… and then the whole wobbly structure collapsed unceremoniously. Le sigh.

But eventually it held together long enough to pull off a few shots, and I actually kinda like a few of them.

Strobist - CookingLight

DIY Light Box

Sarah here. After fighting with speedlights in my last attempted portrait shoot (and eventually giving up in favor of window light), I’ve been spending a lot of time over at the Strobist. If you haven’t already heard of him, David Hobby is a genius with flash and a great teacher. I read through Lighting 101 and am now making my way through Lighting 102, exercises and all. I’m a bit stuck on an assignment right now, but more about that later, perhaps.

In the meantime, I poked through the Strobist page on DIY projects, and came across these instructions for a cheapo light box. It’s super easy to do (materials: one box, white tissue paper, tape), and makes lovely soft wrapping light for small objects. If you wanted more even light, you could put a second light on the other side (maybe the top and front, too, if you really wanted to go nuts?).  If I’d closed the barn doors (i.e. box flaps) a bit, I might have gotten some bounce on the front… especially if I lined them with white paper, too.

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I’ve told Andrew that I’m claiming any reasonably sized cardboard boxes that come into the house, because I have my eye on a cheapo softbox next…

Always Stop for Gelato

Andrew here. I still intend to revisit a few things from my recent trip to Iceland and I’ve got a couple of gear reviews in the works too, but last month I spent a few days in another “I” country — Italy — and decided the story and this shot were worth sharing.

I was in Florence for work and I knew I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do most of the main tourist things, so I made a point of going walking around in the early mornings and evenings. Turns out this was a good plan.

One evening, I was walking back toward the hotel via my favorite Gelato shop (somehow *every* walk back to the hotel took me past there even though it was a mile or so from the hotel …how odd), when I noticed the sun starting to set over the Arno river. It wasn’t an epic sunset yet, but the height of the clouds and the stillness of the water told me that the scene was just going to get better.

To make a long story short, I spent over an hour (and a melon gelato) there watching the sunset progress and go through a variety of stages. This is the peak of the saturation and color, but I came away with a series of nice shots.

Over the week there, I’d gotten used to the locals being thoroughly uninterested in everything I found intriguing. After all, life in Florence was just everyday life for them. In this case, however, the bridge was lined with both tourists and locals, cell phone cameras in hand like electronic butterfly nets trying to capture the amazing colors. At one point, a police officer stopped his car in the middle of the road, came over next to me (I had the prime spot in the middle of the bridge) and took a few shots with his cell phone too. I asked if he minded if I take a photo of him taking the photo (always a good idea to ask law enforcement – especially in foreign countries – before photographing them), he cheerfully obliged, then asked me what camera I had. Turns out he’s a photographer when not working as a police officer and was wishing he had his trusty D700 with him instead of his iPhone.

The moral of the story — always stop for gelato.