Engagement | Cassie + Eric

Break rooms are more exciting than tupperwared leftovers and cold ham and cheese sandwiches for some. Eric and Cassie's love began the day he followed her into the break room of an Arizona Office Max to flirt with her during their shift. Six and a half years later, they still flirt and have more affection than a couple at six weeks. Cassie, a pharm tech, and Eric, a graphic designer, might not share the same passion for art but have more than enough passion to make a soap opera look like an after school special. This super sweet couple were such great sports and a pleasure to shoot. It was a cold fall Sunday but luckily the bipolar Seattle weather was on our side as we made our way through Wallingford, an impromptu stop at a sky bridge on the way to Sculpture Park, and slipped in a sushi stop at Japonessa before ending with a night shoot downtown by the market. Even with hours of posing and smooching for the shoot, we'd catch them sneaking kisses off camera.

Though we never made it to Sculpture Park due to the light afternoon drizzle, Eric popped the question here last May before a trip to Paris. He tricked Cassie by purchasing an expensive camera lens for himself earlier that day. "Sorry babe, looks like your ring will have to wait a while longer." Fill in reaction here. Hint, let's just say the back of Eric's head got to feel the fabric of what felt like an oversized bag. They finished off the day at the park, drinking wine under the warm sun when liquid courage brought upon the anticipated four words at sunset and the rest was history.

The destination wedding will be in Puerto Vallarta next spring. It was a treat to have had the opportunity to capture them before they ride into the sunset as one. Jin and I had an absolute blast spending a day in the lives of Eric and Cassie and wish them all the best in their future endeavors!

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Cassidy + Eric

You know that couple that makes you sick for being so damn cute together, like pretty much all the time? Well that would be our friends Cassie and Eric. We had the fun honor of shooting their engagement session yesterday! Linda and I had a great time and learned a whole lot shooting these two love birds and even though we're friends, we can't thank them enough for being our first couple for our first engagement shoot. It was a bit overwhelming but they made it a lot of fun for us and hope they had fun too! More on the day later, but for now here's a teaser pic!


A Busy Photographic Weekend

This past weekend flew by in a hurry even with gaining the hour from  daylight savings. It was probably because of the jam packed schedule of classes  we attended. It kind of felt like we flew to another city to attend a workshop  expo but we didn't. We were just kicking it up in Lynnwood mostly which of course is way way  cooler. =)

To kick things off, Friday evening we met professional beauty  photographer Joe Edelman. He shared with us what goes into making a great image  and emphasized the importance psychology and model/photographer interaction plays in getting great  shots. It was very informative, relevant and I really like his pictures because  they are so simple yet emotionally charged when you stare at them. I love it.

We also attended numerous photography workshops all day Saturday and  Sunday at the Lynnwood Convention Center. They were all free so we took advantage. Btw, thanks again Oliver for the  heads up. There we met several professional photographers, one of which was Dean Zulich a Seattle based commercial and fashion photographer creating great  work and representing Sea-town to the fullest! The timing of it was cool because I had just  learned about him reading the latest edition of DPP magazine the day before,  then just by coincidence I ended up meeting him the next day where he gave a  presentation about fashion photography on the go and the importance of color  calibration. He was showing the versatile Elinchrom Quadra lighting gear. Very nice and compact looking gear but like Dean when he was a broke ass student during art school, I consider myself to be  in self-study photography school at the moment so anything Elinchrom is definitely out of my price range for now. =) Anyways, Dean seemed like a cool down to earth dude and  meeting him was definitely inspiring. I hope someday I can be at a level where he'd be down  to work on a collaborative project together. Haha, it's good to dream  right? Actually you know what...I'm going to write that down as one of my goals  just for the heck of it. =)

With Dean...

Couple more exciting things worth mentioning.  Linda and I got a new lens...woot! Our second prime and this one's not made  mostly out of plastic like our 50mm, ha! Since we've been shooting a lot of portraits, we picked  up the Canon 85mm 1.8 USM. It was kind of a no brainier next lens to add to our  gear. It's a beautiful portraits favored lens that doesn't require eating  top-ramen for the next couple of months to pay for it. We also picked up a much  needed 3rd light stand and reflector holder arm. The light stand is the  Manfrotto nano light stand which is great for on the go/on location shoots since it's very compact and light. I learned about this product a while back  following Mr. Hobby's blog. The reflector holder is made by Avenger and  unfortunately it doesn't hold our Westcott 5.1 reflector very well so I'll have  to mess with it to get it to hold properly. We now have enough lights and stands to have  the option to fire off a key light, back light and side or fill light if we want  to....sweet-tah!

We also educated ourselves a bit on the history of  photography and how the camera medium was invented and evolved to what it is today. It was a fun history lesson. Makes me appreciate even more how spoiled we are in creating our images. One of the fun things I learned from this class is how the  key principles for image capture hasn't change much since the beginning. Also speaking of not having changed, during the civil war the battlefield  photographers who captured the aftermath of the bloody battlefields at times  moved the dead soldiers bodies around to get a better composition...are you serious?!

Here's a few quick shots we took with the 85mm from the convention center. Being a medium telephoto lens, it does a better job compressing the picture together than the 50mm we've been exclusively been using. We've barely had any time with it but I'm sure we will use it a lot and  get to know it's strengths and quirks soon enough. Linda was so cute like a kid in a candy store. She was so excited, she couldn't even wait and was already opening and mounting the new lens to the camera before we even finished checking out at the register.

This one Linda took of me at f2.8 | ISO 400. The 50mm is usually a bit softer at this same aperture.

Here, photographer and educator John Williamson was demonstrating basic on location lighting using a Nikon SB900 speedlight flash with a Apollo Wescott Softbox modifier.We've had this modifier for a while and it's really slick how it collapses like an umbrella. Very compact and works like a charm.

This one was wide open at f1.8 | ISO 200. Again not bad on the sharpness. I back button focused on her left eye and then recomposed a slight amount. I took this test shot simply to see how much the cars behind her would blur at wide open and the quality of the blur. Not bad, better than the 50mm and I didn't have to be as close but of course it would be really good if I shot this with the new 70-200L IS USM II lens extended fully at 200mm. I'm sure you wouldn't even notice there were cars behind her at the 200mm focal length. Speaking of the new 70-200, we got to mount that bad boy up on our camera body and take some test shots. This lens is big and heavy and ain't playing around. It compresses a scene like the way you wish your mama would iron your shirts. And then there's the creamy bokeh and the new image stabilization which is impressive. I was getting sharp shots at around 135mm at 1/50s at f2.8. How cool is that! Me want one so bad....drool.

The new sharper, more glare proof, IS capable, heavier, and expensive 70-200...

And here's the other tools we got. Their sale prices were pretty  much in line with online prices or slightly better so it was a great opportunity  to pick them up locally which helps support our local economy and all. Also there's  nothing better than instant gratification of not having to wait for shipping which Linda clearly demonstrated.

Coming up, Linda and I are volunteering for a charity photo shoot next weekend for Starlight Children's Foundation. This will  be an in studio shoot and I've been given the fun opportunity to lead the group shoot. This should be a lot fun and I'm really excited for the challenge. Stay tuned...

Tip of the Day: Using BBF (Big beautiful females?)

Okay, so the title doesn't hold true. But this is something that I've been reading up on the past week and informed Jin about as well and we played with it for the first time a few days ago. It always excites me to learn something new about something I love, especially if it's really beneficial and I want to share it with everyone. Anyhow, for those of you who aren't familiar yet BBF stands for back button focusing. It was mentioned all over Open Source Photo that many professionals use this feature and was also mentioned by a speaker, John, at the Digital Expo we attended over the weekend that many professional photographers utilize this. In dummy terms, it basically means instead of pressing the shutter halfway, you press the back (*) button on your camera to lock focus where you want and let go and the next time you press the shutter release on your camera it takes the picture since the back button prelocked the focus for you. Just an FYI though that this feature has to be enabled in your menu settings beforehand. You might wonder as I did what the advantages of this approach are versus the traditional method. For one, when pressing the shutter halfway you might accidentally lose focus if your finger moves slightly. Second, when using BBF the camera won't lose focus if something enters the picture while you're shooting. Also, if you're taking a series of similar shots, say for portraits, you don't have to refocus each time. Another example is if you're waiting for someone to make a certain expression, you don't have to sit still and wait with your finger on the shutter halfway until you capture the perfect moment. Personally, I think it takes a little getting used to since the back button is smaller and not as convinient to press but I'll definitely be using this feature more to see how it really benefits my shots. Afterall in photography, it only takes a second to miss a beautiful moment. More here including instructions for Canon and Nikon shooters: http://www.rickykphotography.com/tutorials/camera/back-button-focusing/


Lady In The Smoke

This evening, I tried capturing smoke for the very first time just for fun. In the 30-40 shots I took, by total luck in timing, I captured the smoke right when it was in this form.

Are you kidding me?! There are so many types of photography and in my short journey so far, I've been primarily drawn to shooting people and portraits. Then this happened tonight. I'm not sure how to feel about it but it is by far the most beautiful and touching thing I've ever captured. I am utterly speechless and inspired beyond words. This is straight out of camera.