Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Canon EF 135 f/2.8 (Soft Focus) Prime

I was wandering around the net the other day when I thought to check in on Marc W's photo blog. Marc is a Chicago-based photographer and practicing Intellectual Property attorney. Or is he a practicing photographer and an Intellectual Property attorney? I'm not really sure. He either practices photography or practices law or, I guess, he practices at both. Practice makes perfect, I suppose. So that's what Marc does: He practices.

Anyway, one of Marc's updates was about his recent purchase of either a new or a used previously owned Canon 135 f/2.8 (Soft Focus) prime lens. You can read Marc's update on the subject by clicking HERE.

I've long had a fondness for Canon's 135mm prime lens. The 135 prime, IMO, is the near-perfect focal length lens for small format, 35mm SLR, "headshot" portraiture.

Back in the day, I'm talking the late 70s and early 80s (Yeah! That day!) I used to shoot scores of Hollywood hopefuls' headshots in my garage; make that, my small, low-tech, studio that once was a garage. (The ex-wife still bitches complains about having to park on the street.) It was all B&W film (usually Kodak Plus-X) and I developed the negs and made prints in my own (again, low-tech) darkroom which was housed in a (former) tool shed adjacent to the garage... I mean studio.

Ahh... those were the days! The smell of darkroom chemicals filling my nasal cavities. Hours in total darkness practicing my Braille skills as I carefully wound exposed film on developing spools and stuck them in little, stainless-steel cans. Still more hours in the faint glow of a red light, wielding an enlarger, my hands soaked in toxic chemicals as I made prints.

Back then, I mostly shot these would-be celluloid-thespians with a Canon AE-1 that, most-often, had a Canon FD 135mm f/3.5 prime hanging off the front of it.

Marc's update got my photo-juices flowing again for a 135mm prime. Actually, I've been drooling photo-juices for a lens such as the 135 for some time but they (my drooling juices, that is) were dripping onto Canon's EF 135mm f/2 "L" prime: A thousand dollar lens!

A thousand bucks is a fair amount of money to spend on a lens that won't see much action, i.e., it will spend more time sitting my bag than hanging off the front of my camera-- I don't shoot a lot of headshot-framed portraiture these days. But then, after reading Marc's blog post, I thought to myself, "Maybe I should get one of those cheap inexpensive 135 primes?"

So I did.

I went to Craigslist and found a couple of them listed, one for $255 and one for $199, and decided, cuz I'm a frugal sort of guy, to go for the $199 offer.

To make a boring story less boring by keeping it short, I contacted the seller, met him, checked out the lens, and bought it. I even gave the dude a tip! Handed him a couple of Ben Franklins and told him to keep the change. (I'm a big spender that way.)

I haven't yet had a chance to try out this new, inexpensive, addition to my kit but I'm looking forward to trying it out. The guy I bought it from says it's sharp! He showed me some stuff he shot with it and the images sure looked sharp: Sharp enough for what I want to do with it. And BTW, don't let the "soft focus" thing confuse you. The lens isn't permanently in "soft focus" mode. There's a switch on it that allows for the "soft focus" function to come into play. You want that soft, dreamy look? Switch it to "soft focus." You don't? Keep your grubby fingers off the switch.

For those of you who are gear-elitists out there: I know many of you think Canon's "L" glass is the shit. And it is! But it's not the only glass Canon makes that's worth a shit. If, for instance, much of your work ends up mostly remaining in the cyber world, i.e., at 72 DPI, it may be that a few of Canon's consumer lenses are good enough for what you hope to capture. I'm not talking about the entire line of Canon consumer glass, but there are a few which are pretty damn good. The 85mm f/1.8 prime comes immediately to mind. I'm thinking (and hoping) that the 135 f/2.8 (Soft Focus) prime will be another.

Hopefully, I'll have a chance to prove that in the very near future and share some results. I only have two-hundred bucks invested in it so, if I don't like the results, I'll betcha I can blow it out on Craigslist or Ebay for what I paid for it. Maybe even for a few bucks more!

The eye candy at the top is Spider Woman, I mean Chayse, from a shoot a few weeks back. I guess I was trying to get a little artsy with the shot... what with the B&W conversion and all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Everything You Want to Know About 2257 But Are Afraid to Ask

As we seemingly move closer and closer to an Orwellian society, there are some things pretty girl shooters must know about the law lest we find ourselves, uhhh... at odds with it... at odds with the law, that is. Pretty girl shooters are already at odds with a number of segments of society.

Section 2257 of Title 18, United States Code (hereinafter referred to as 2257), is one of those things photographers need to know about and to comply with.

If you sometimes find yourself photographing a pretty girl sans clothing (only those 18 and over, of course) you should be aware of 2257 and, more importantly, you should be complying with 2257's Draconian rules and regulations assuming, that is, one of your life-goals is to remain out of federal prison.

What is 2257? Well, it's a law (supposedly) designed to protect children from child pornographers. I know. I know. You would never think to pornographically exploit a child. Personally, I believe you. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government doesn't share that same faith I have in your sense of right and wrong. And because of their lack of faith in your principles and moral grounding, 2257 requires that you maintain records proving that those who grace your viewfinders are, indeed, over the age of 18.

It doesn't matter if you're shooting Grannies in their birthday suits. The Feds, it seems, believe some of those Grannies might be kiddies in Granny disguises. And if you can't prove a Granny is a Granny you might find yourself getting your three-squares a day behind bars in Federal penitentiary.

There was a time when 2257 only applied to those producing actual pornography. What is pornography you ask with a nod and wink? Well, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once opined, "I know it when I see it." Actually, Justice Potter was referring to obscenity, i.e., pornography that is not constitutionally protected. But you get my drift.

Unfortunately for many photographers, that was then and this is now.

The Feds, by virtue of their newest iterations of 2257, have expanded what is and isn't pornography. According to the new and improved (sic) 2257, many of you who are shooting, as an example, art nudes, now are suddenly making your art in the dark and seedy realms of porn where, of course, all children are at risk of being ensnared by the demons, like you and I, who lurk there. (That last sentence was sarcasm, btw.)

As is often the case with many laws and regulations and statutes we must comply with, 2257 can be more than a little confusing. But there's good news! At least one photographer has put it all together in a way that lays bare (pun intended) 2257's compliance demands and gives you all the info you need, in an easily digestible way, to help you sleep easier knowing you can pursue your art while staying out of jail.

That photographer is Stephen Haynes and he's written a book titled, "A Photographers Guide to Section 2257: How to Photograph Nudes and Stay Out of Federal Prison."

Why do I believe Haynes' book does what I claim it does? I've read it, of course.

And so should you.

"A Photographers Guide to Section 2257" puts it all together in layman's terms. You don't need to be a doctor of Jurisprudence, aka a lawyer, to understand what 2257 means to you and your craft and how best to comply with it. It's the most thorough explanation of 2257 I've read--a handy-dandy reference-resource, if you will--as it applies to this thing we do (this pretty girl shooting, photography, thing) and its relationship with the law.

If you're a pretty girl shooter and you're smart, which I know many of you are both, you'll take the time to learn all you can about 2257 and how to steer clear of its severe penalties for non-compliance. One easy and economical way to do that is to purchase Hayne's comprehensive book.

If you're interested in getting your grubby hands on a copy of Haynes' important, exhaustively-researched, and well-written book, "A Photographers Guide to Section 2257: How to Photograph Nudes and Stay Out of Federal Prison," you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

The pretty girl at the top, with the tight muscles and nice chest puppies, is Katarina-- A former Russian circus trapeze artist turned American model, from a few years back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Call Me "Teach"

I spent a fun couple of days with photographer and PGS reader, Don, who engaged my services as a private mentor this past weekend. Don flew in from the Windy City. (Chicago, Illinois for those of you from abroad or who live under a rock.)

I hooked up with Don Saturday morning at the Sheraton Universal, right next door to Universal Studios in Universal City, California, where Don and his wife had booked accommodations. Yep! Don came out to the Left Coast with his significant other for a few days of Hollywood sight-seeing, relaxation, and (for Don) some pretty girl shooting.

Don had asked me if I could hook us up with Tera Patrick as a model. I told him I couldn't pull that off but, as it turned out, I was able to arrange for us to spend some of our time shooting in Tera's Teravision studio. The studio has a white cyclorama which Don shot on. Another set in the studio, one with some pink and black Victorian wallpaper, also served as a background for Don's shooting.

I engaged a couple of glamour models off of Model Mayhem. I thought I'd kind of mix it up a bit: One was blond and fairly experienced. The other was a much less experienced dark-haired beauty. Both models were okay with nudity. The arrangement for each was the same: TFP plus a hundred bucks. Some of you guys who complain recount difficulties regarding the availability and reliability of suitable models to grace your viewfinders via a TFP arrangement might try sweetening the pot with a bit of cash. It works wonders. And it says, quite clearly, that you're the boss, leastwise, when the model is on the set bustin' moves, struttin' her stuff, and strikin' poses for you.

So, on Saturday, we worked in a studio with our experienced blond model. I didn't shoot a single frame all weekend. In fact, I never pulled my camera out of the bag. It was Don's party and I was there to mentor and assist. I did, of course, book the models, arrange the locations, and provide lighting and grip gear for the weekend. I mean, who wants to travel with a load of lights and stands and all that stuff?

Having examined Don's printed and online ports, I had a pretty good idea of where he was at skill-wise, at least in terms of pretty girl shooting. Photographically, Don is quite knowledgeable and has good skills. His understanding of exposure and composition was already nicely developed. His lighting skills are also pretty good. Where he needed the most help was in the areas of posing, direction, and general model interaction. So that's where I focused much of my mentoring. Throughout the two days, I encouraged Don to take the lead with the models. And that's why I cast both an experienced model as well as an inexperienced model. I thought that would give Don some good experience dealing with models of varying skills.

On Sunday, Don and I met up with our second model, the inexperienced one. She was a 19-year-old beauty and, as it turned out, quite uninhibited in front of the camera. The model's Mom drove her out to meet us at the Sheraton. To make a long story short, the model's Mom ended up coming along with us for the shoot. Both Don and I were a bit weirded-out shooting this woman's daughter, semi-naked, with the Mother standing there watching but, in the end, it was all good. (Note: The model was the semi-naked one, not Don or I.) Anyway, the model's Mom was very low-key and kept to herself while the shooting was going on.

For Sunday's shoot, we took off for some exterior locations in the nearby mountains. We found a secluded spot, well off the beaten path, and set up the gear. I brought along my ExplorerXT and its auxiliary battery to power the strobes.

Once again, I was very impressed with the XT's performance: It kept recycling the monolight quickly and efficiently and still had power left over in spite of the strobe being fired, at full power, somewhere in the 400 to 500 shutter-clicks range. If any of you are thinking of getting yourselves some portable power, I enthusiastically recommend Innovatronix's ExplorerXT!

For the outdoor shoot, I also brought along my 33.5" Mola "Euro" beauty dish for a mainlight modifier. BTW, back in Chicago, Don has his own Mola "Euro" so it wasn't like he was shooting with gear he couldn't, later on, use when he got back home.

We were shooting--make that Don was shooting--mid-afternoon with lots of bright sunlight, blue skies, and a few clouds behind the model. The Mola created some really beautiful light on the model as we cranked up the monolight to overpower the sun and sky. Some of the images Don snapped are truly beautiful and quite dramatic! I'd even label them artsy and painterly.

I assisted Don and, for our final set-up, wielded a 3' gold reflector to help make the model warmly glow against the darkened blue sky. Normally, I wouldn't use gold-reflective fill in bright daylight but since Don was overpowering the sky, shooting somewhere around f/22 @ ISO 200 and at his camera's highest sync speed, the gold reflector created the illusion of shooting during Golden Hour, even though Golden Hour didn't arrive until sometime after we had packed up and left the location.

In all, it was a great weekend. Don seemed quite satisfied with my mentoring as well as the models, locations, and pictures he captured. I can't wait to see some of his pics after he's had a chance to do some editing and processing.

The gratuitous pretty girl at the top is the beautiful and sexy, Thai/English, Roxy, from a shoot a few weeks back at a location house high in the hills above Hollywood. Roxy's cockney accent is a hoot! MUA was Theresa. Very minimal post-processing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8

Been a week or so since I updated. Lotsa stuff been stealing my time. Mostly good stuff!

According to the Hollywood guys, things are moving forward (in a positive way) with the reality show. Seems there's two companies showing marked interest: A&E and Showtime. They said they've so far had 12 teleconference meetings with A&E and a number of conversations with Showtime. If it turns out that one of these companies move forward, the show would be very different depending on which one takes the plunge. Obviously, A&E would mean a tamer show. Airing on Showtime would mean a raunchier more risque series.

There's also been some forward momentum on my planned Pretty Girl Shooting DVD. I'll be having a lunch meeting next Wednesday with someone regarding funding and distribution. This person is very high on the concept. It seems programs of (what he calls) a "how-to" nature are currently a hot ticket. With the inherent "eye candy" value of a program such as this, coupled with the popularity of digital photography and glamour shooting in general, he believes a DVD of this nature is a no-brainer in terms of its potential.

Back to what I intended to write about: The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

I purchased a Tamron AF 28-75 last week. Bought it from Amazon, partially paying for it with sales commissions from my Amazon link here, on the blog. Thanks guys! Your Amazon purchases, via this site, puts gift certs in my pocket and I use them to buy books and other stuff from Amazon. (We don't need no steenkeeng cash!)

Recently, I was going to buy a used Canon f/2.8 28-70 L off of Craigslist (for about $700) when a friend told me about the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8. I was going to say something smart ass to him about Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina aftermarket glass, i.e., about them being inferior to Canon's L series, when he told me this particular Tamron lens is almost universally reviewed as being optically superior to the highly-touted Canon 28-70 L as well as Canon's newer ($1300) 24-70 f/2.8 L.

I did some research of my own and, from what I read in review after review after review, my friend was telling the truth. The Tamron wasn't reviewed as favorably as its Canon counterparts for build quality and auto-focusing in low light but the price difference was, well, ridiculous.

So I bought the lens from Amazon... for less than $400. In fact, for less than that after the gift certificates were applied. Free shipping too! Gotta love that.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to try out the lens with a model. I was impressed with its performance.

The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 is much lighter than its nearest Canon competitor. That's due, of course, to its build quality-- No doubt there's a lotta plastic making up this lens. What impact this will have on the Tamron's longevity I don't know. But for the price, I'll risk it having a shorter life-span than comparable Canon "L" series glass.

While the Tamron doesn't have Canon's USM, it's very quiet when auto-focusing. Not only quiet, but fast. Very fast! Admittedly, I wasn't shooting in low-light conditions. But I've shot with similar Canon glass in the same sort of lighting and this Tamron was as quick to focus as the Canon lenses I've used.

Now here's the really cool part: This glass is sharp! And the resulting images look, IMO, as good as those produced with a similar Canon "L" lens. Obviously, this isn't a scientific review. I didn't take any pictures of rulers at various apertures or anything like that. I'm only saying this in a non-scientific way. But, non-scientifically speaking, I'll give this glass marks as high as similar focal length Canons for optical performance. I also liked the color reproduction.

With it's f/2.8 aperture available at all focal lengths affording a really bright image in the viewfinder, and considering the purchase price, I recommend this lens... especially as a utility or walk-around lens that can hang off your camera on a regular basis.

The pretty girl at the top is Marie from yesterday's quick shoot. Photographically speaking, it's a nothing special shot but, I think, a pretty decent example of a pretty girl captured with the Tamron lens I'm writing about today.

Marie captured with a Canon 5D and the Tamron AF 28-75 f/2.8. ISO 100, f/8 @ 160th. I lit (the VERY white-skinned and slightly nerd-ish looking) Marie with three Profoto Acute heads. The mainlight was modified with a 7' Photoflex Octodome and the two kickers, on either side up high and behind her, were modified with small, silver-lined umbrellas. Very minimal processing on Marie's pic. Model did her own (minimal) makeup.

And yes, those are real.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shooting in Front of Windows

Shooting in front of windows can be challenging. I'm not talking about using a window as your source light, e.g., window-lit portraits. I mean when windows are your backgrounds.

Before shooting in front of windows or any highly reflective surface, it's a good idea to understand the Laws of Reflection, commonly called Angle of Reflectance as it applies to photography.

In the first photo I'm providing, I'm shooting outdoors in harsh daylight with two sets of windows in the background: One directly behind Christina, the model, and the other on the wall behind the background glass. I was using one monolight modified with a 5' Photoflex Ocotodome: A rather large modifier that would reflect quite plainly and obviously if I allowed it to.

Shooting in front of glass windows, especially if you're using strobes, requires you to be keenly observant. First, you're looking for specular reflections caused by your strobe when it fires. If you're not using a modeling light, which helps reveals those reflections, you might need to take a few test shots to determine if the strobe is reflecting in the window or causing a flare. Often, the strobe and its modifier and stand are readily seen without firing the strobe. In pre-digital days, you weren't able to chimp the image so, in many ways, your understanding of reflections and how they appear, as well as your powers of observation, were even more important.

Reflections follow laws of physics. Light reflects at an angle equal to the angle it originated from. As an example, if your strobe is placed at a 45º angle in front of and to the left of your model, it will be reflected at a 45º angle to the right of your model. What does this tell you? If you don't want to see the reflection, place yourself on the same side of the model as the light that will reflect. Reflections, BTW, fall into two categories: Specular and diffuse. Sometimes, you might want to see reflections in your shots, e.g., when you want the model reflected or when you want diffuse reflections adding highlight to the BG in order to grab the viewers' attention.

You also need to be on the lookout for people or things that might be reflected in the window. You, the shooter, might be reflected. Others, behind you, might be reflected. Again, pay attention. Be observant. Search in your viewfinder for people or things you don't want reflected in your image.

I didn't spend much time shooting Christina outside as I kept fighting stray sunlight striking Christina in places I didn't want to see highlights. The sun was high in the sky which made using it as natural back light near impossible. In the first pic (above) you can see the sunlight hitting her arm above the elbow and on the back of her calves and on her left shoe. I didn't like that. Yeah, the way the sun highlighted her hair was cool but positioning her so that the sunlight reflected off her hair and not on other parts of her body became increasingly difficult. I decided to move indoors as shown in the the second photo.

Fortunately, in the spot inside the home where I decided to shoot more images of Christina, there was a skylight overhead that would provide hair highlights. (There was nowhere to rig a hairlight strobe... leastwise, to easily rig one.) Once again, I was looking out for reflections from my mainlight, still modified with the Octodome, and for anything else that might be reflected in the window behind her and that I didn't want seen in the images.

Bottom line when it comes to shooting in front of windows or other highly reflective surfaces, especially those that will produce specular reflections: Pay freakin' attention to details!

Christina captured with a Canon 5D, Canon 28-135 IS USM zoom, ISO 100, f/8 @ 160. 500ws monolight modified with a 5' Photoflex Ocotodome, slightly warmed with a few gold inserts, for main (and fill.) MUA Theresa.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Getting the Most Bang for Your Bucks

A hard (and expensive) lesson to learn, leastwise for me, has been to spend my money where it really counts. I'm talking about money spent on gear.

My photography equipment is okay. It's not great. It's not the best. It's just okay. It gets the job done, but just barely. If I had to go back and rethink how I spent my money for photographic production gear, I'd probably spend it differently. (Note: I'm as invested in video and video post-production gear as I am in photography gear. That also goes for continuous lighting as well as strobes. So my gear investments are kinda spread out.)

As a non-photographic example, let's look at stereo equipment. I've known many people who have spent a bunch of money on the best amplifiers on the market. Then, when it came to buying things like speakers or tape or CD players, i.e., the input and output devices, they decided to cut corners. When it comes to audio gear, your money will probably be best spent when it's used to buy top-of-the-line speakers and input devices rather than top-of-the-line amps. Ideally, of course, buying top-of-the-line everything might be best but, unfortunately, we can't always afford the best of the best for all the components of our systems. So, we spend where we think we'll get the most bang for our bucks, that is, by spending on (what seems like) the most important parts of those systems. In this case, the amplifier.

When it comes to photography, my opinion is that your money is best spent on glass. That's not to say a good camera isn't important. It is. But it sure seems to me that an awful lot of people are foaming at the mouth over each new iteration of dSLR the Big 2 camera-makers release while ignoring the importance of other components of their dSLR systems, most importantly, glass.

I shoot with a Canon 5D. (I also have a 20D body as a backup.) In my opinion, I'd get way more bang for my hard-earned bucks by spending on good glass rather than, say, a Canon 5D mkII. Why? Because in spite of things like the processor upgrade and the many more megapixels loaded into that 5D mkII, great glass will improve my images dramatically while a new 5D mkII will improve those images to some lesser extent. More so considering so much of the work many of us produce will be reduced to 72 DPI for web use.

I shot for Hustler on Friday. A friend came along to assist. He brought some of his glass for me to play with, specifically, a Canon 24-105 f/4 "L" and a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS "L." Both are lenses I had never shot with before. Frankly, I think the images were more improved using these lenses with my 5D than they would have been using a Canon 5D mkII with lesser glass. Optimally, those "L" lenses would produce the best work on a 5D mkII. But my budget won't allow for that. And that's why when I next spend on gear, it's going to be on glass, not on a camera body.

Incidentally, I really loved the 24-105 f/4 L. That's not to say I didn't like the 70-200, I did, but the 24-105 really wowed me, leastwise, for the type of work I generally shoot. The 24-105's auto-focus was near instantaneous and spot-on! Yeah, it would be nice if they made the 24-105 with a f/2.8 minimum aperture instead of f/4. And I would have liked a bit more focal length. But I'm thinking the 24-105 is a perfect, all-around, utility lens suitable for almost everything I shoot. How come they don't make an "L" version of the 28-135? That would probably be the most perfect utility lens for me.

The pretty girl in the two pics above is Tori from last week's shoot. (Not Friday's Hustler shoot.) Or was it two week's ago shoot? Damn! I must have ambrosia or whatever it's called. Anyway, I made the B&W conversions using the Channel Mixer method. (Channel Mixer tool with Monochrome box clicked and Red=40, Green=60, Blue=0 as starting points. Adjust to taste.) Composition could have been much improved on the first one-- I had Tori flipping her head quickly to the side, on a count of three, to get that hair movement. But I didn't nail the composition. Oh well. I kinda like the image anyway. No Gaussian Blur was abused used in either image.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Finally! GWCs Get Some Respect!

Hat tip to PGS reader, Kenn Ellis, for the heads-up to the first (?) and only (?) photography site dedicated to GWCs: Wronkled.com.

Wronkled says, "Every month, we'll showcase the best style to give you that 'pro' look, and the best techniques to convince them you're for real."

We all know who the "them" are, right? Yup. Hot chicks, of course. Specifically, those of "them" ready and willing to get in front of a camera and flaunt their assets.

If you're a faux-tographer, or maybe even an actual photographer, you'll find Wronkled filled with tips and techniques designed to help you in your quest to get that "Perfect 10" dangling off the front of your lens.

Tough economic times a problem? No problem. Wronkled tells you how to make the crummy economy work for you.

Looking for actual photography tips? Wronkle has them too. Even if you have no intentions of using them when lining up a great pair of tits in the crosshairs of your viewfinder.

If you're a dedicated GWC looking to improve your game. Or even if you're a serious photographer looking for a few cheap laughs, Wronkled has something for you.

The pretty girl at the top is Jenna from last week. It was evening by the time I had Jenna in front of my camera. I set her under an exterior staircase and used my 5' Photoflex Octodome for a main light, then set a couple of more strobes on the other side of the stairs, modified with small shoot-thru umbrellas, angling them to produce the shadows on the wall behind Jenna as well as some highlights on her right side. Canon 5D, ISO 100, f/5.6 @ 160.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Feasting After a Famine

For me, for the past year or so, work has been feast or famine. There were times when I was working my ass off and times when my ass was the thing I was sitting on, doing not much of anything work-wise. For the past couple of weeks I've been working my ass off, feasting as it were. In fact, so much so I feel entirely bloated! (Which is a good thing.) And, of course, more than a little fatigued. (Not such a good thing.)

One production I just finished was for 6-days and each day was 14-16 hours long. I ain't getting any younger! Working those kind of hours, especially when you add the commute to various locations--which makes those production days more like 16 to 18 hours long--makes them grueling and exhausting.

As much as I love blogging, I simply haven't had time to update much. Believe it or not, updating (or lack of updating) weighs heavily on me. Maybe it's my blogger's ego trying to convince me readers are anxiously waiting to read about my latest photographic exploits? Maybe it's just my ego in general? Maybe I'm delusional? I really don't know. All I do know is I look for opportunities to post updates even when I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I'm at a studio right now, in fact. But the girl I was supposed to be shooting at 9:00 this morning flaked and now we're waiting for the replacement body. General note to girls who get in front of cameras: If you think you're irreplaceable, think again. You may be all that, but you ain't all that AND a bag of chips!

Anyway, the flaking-feline has given me a little time to punch the keyboard and get something of an update on here. It ain't much, but it's something. And that something removes a bit of weight from my shoulders and, frankly, anytime I can remove a monkey off my back, even a small-ish, blogger monkey, I'm down for it.

The pretty girl at the top and below is December, 2008, Penthouse Pet Tori Black from last week. She's a vegetarian if that means anything. I only mention her eating habits because it stuck in my mind for some reason. Mostly, I guess, because she didn't look like a vegetarian. (Whatever it is vegetarians are supposed to look like.)

Tori captured with a Canon 5D and three lights. My main modified with a 5' Photoflex Octodome with a 3' diameter, white, Westcott reflector set below the Octo and angled up in sort of a half-clamshell configuration. I also set a couple of kickers, either side and behind her, modified with small, shoot-thru, umbrellas. ISO 100, f/8 @ 125. Not much processing on these other than cropping and levels adjustments. They're kind of like "what you see is what I snapped" pics.