Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Music: Kendra Morris

I find good music in the darndest places. I was watching a retouching video on youtube by Dodge of EMG Studios, learning how to get better at it (I attended a very valuable workshop from him in 2011) and I couldn't help but notice the music playing in the background. I watched the video 3 times for the retouching and 4 more times for the song.

He told me it was called Concrete Waves by an UK artist by the name of Kendra Morris. Much to my surprise, the song was already a year old. I was drawn to the James Bond sounding guitar and her light but breathy vocals.

Turns out she's signed to Wax Poectic's record label. Who knew a magazine had a label and released music?

 It amazes me the way some UK artists (ok I'll say it, White girls!) sound so good by taking a chance making soulful music, while vocalists doing the same thing here in the states struggle getting heard, or abandon it all together. Some may not call it soul, and maybe the rest of her album might not be, but that is how I feel when I listen to this.

I hate missing out on something good, especially with the state of current rhythm and blues music: rapper singing, singers rapping, every song having a techno-y, electro-euro thing. I shake my head.

A year old or not, this will be a welcome addition to my ipod rhythm and blues 2012 folder. 

Aaand...there is a Dj Premier remix!

Kendra Morris “Concrete Waves” on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sigma Lens Review

Although I had a great time shooting with it for the past event, I wanted to put together a couple tests for it before I send it back.

I did the focusing test to see if it front focus, trying foreground, middle, and background.

I compared it to my old Sigma 28-105mm. One of the first things I noticed is that it has the same contras. Remember when I used the Tamron 17-50mm last month, instantly it was much brighter than my Sigma, so I could get better exposure with lower settings.

I shot this bottle of Kraken Rum (hey I had to use what was laying around, right?) under natural light, and looked at the detail in the label, blur in the background, and colors.


Random clutter (not in my house!) 

I didn't have this lens for long, but I love it already. I will make some kind of decision whether I need to pursue the Sigma, which performed very well during my event shooting, or get the Tamron, which was cheaper and performed great during my short shoot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ThesePinkLips -Naked Strip Exposed Art Show 2012

The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX lens from Lens finally came in the mail today, just in time for me to go to the Naked and Exposed Art Show by artist Iris Bonner. She designs custom high heels for fashionable girls and photo shoots. I discovered her work through her many collaborations with photographer Ricky Codio (who does dope work).

I almost let this evening go to waste just because I was tired, but I dragged myself out, and boy was I rewarded with a good time.

The event was held at the American Dreaming Building, home the magazine of the same name and Jasen Hudson photography. The place is located near my old partying grounds, on Front st near Spring Garden.

I expected this to be more of a gallery show, but when I got there it was a party in full swing. Music, drinking, some dancing. I didn't know it was also her birthday.

Iris had huge paintings hanging up that were also testimonials of her work, her life, and beliefs. Plus many beautiful women walking around with her apparel; wearing shoes, hats, shirts, and little else. This was the good part.

I ran into a few faces I knew on facebook, including designer Dah'Mod of RM67, meeting Ricky for the first time in person, and Robin Lynette, make up artist extraordinaire. I talked shop with other photogs about shooting video, the Canon 5D Mark II, and well, the ladies.

Special shout out to Jasen for saving my lens hood, which fell off in the confusion.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the lens! I could certainly tell the difference between this one and my old Sigma. This one quietly and quickly focuses fast as hell. After a few adjustments I was talking shots in dim or flashing lights without hunting. The photos (with flash) seemed evenly exposed on the histogram and LCD screen, but later when I looked at them at home, I was really blown away by the sharpness of this lens. The detail was something I had never seen before!

This lens was dynamite. The detail on her black hat and her hair was incredible. I am so glad that I had it for this evening. So glad I came out!

Check out all the people who I had the pleasure of meeting/knowing...

Jasen Hudson
American Dreaming Building
American Dreaming Magazine
Robin Lynette

Wax Poetics Magazine Covers- Lenny And Sade

Sometimes surfing online and not shooting and editing is bad, but it pays off when I find something I think is inspirational.

I stumbled across these alternate covers for Wax Poetics Magazine, featuring Lenny Kravitz and the always beautiful Sade. I know these photos are actually older; Lenny doesn't have locks anymore and Sade definitely looks younger, but I still really liked them and will absorb them into my "looks to do" folder in my mind.

I love the personality that comes through these photos, as well as the light. Lenny's eyes are calm, Sade surprised.

I like to try to figure out the set up to recreate the look. Lenny's set up is probably one light (softbox) and a nice reflector on camera right. Sade has a flattering beauty dish or two florescent lights (with a reflector underneath) giving her face that glow. I would love to get my missing friend Kaya for a look like this.

I guess I'm around too many perfect photos because I'm really surprised they did not retouch out Sade's fly away hairs. I find them distracting, but hey, is Sade and if you're looking at her hair instead of that face, then you have larger problems.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Philadelphia RAWartist - RAWards 2012

I went to RawArtists' event RawAwards 2012 on Tuesday. I usually miss them because of the night job. This was the semi finals of fashion designers, make up artists, fine artists, and musicians who, if they win, move on to compete with winners from the other cities.

I rented the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 Ex, the other lens I wanted to try, but no one was home to sign for the package!! They couldn't leave it at the door without a signature, so I had to shoot the event with my trusty Sigma 28-105mm, which hasn't been so trusty since it started to give my camera error99 messages randomly. 

I was a impressed by the Tamron image quality, but my ol' faithful sigma reminded me what I get when I use her right.

Leah and Taylor from PrettyPrettyRebel
 Designer Orlando Caquias
Model Stormy Jane for Prettyprettyrebel ( I helped this futuristic model find her car after the show. What a surreal experience walking around downtown in this outfit)

After the show I met and complemented the work I liked and introduced myself to some of the models and designers. I always need more subjects (and time!)

Visit RawArtists for showcase events in Philly and in cities around the country.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photoshoot Practice: Kids

Fresh off of my One Light, Two Light Workshop and my head filled with new information and techniques, I decided to take advantage of all of my grand nephews (my nephews kids, right?) coming over for dinner to practice some lighting. I also wanted to make the same spur of the moment adjustments without taking a long time. I used my Lumopro 160 manual flash, set up a shoot-thru umbrella and I went to town.

Like most photographic things, shooting kids isn't easy! Especially when you have parents, grandparents, and distractions in the background. This was practice after all , so I had a chance to see what works in terms of directing kids, and directing the parents (my family) to shut the hell up!

I worked to push past the lighting "look" where I normally would have stopped and been satisfied; to keep trying until I get the look I want, checking my histogram as I went. 

 Although kids try to follow your directions, they create their own random moments that end up being adorable to hilarious. That goes for the parents as well.