Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Fog Machine update at Target. If you can still find one they are on sale for $6.oo!!!

How did I do it? And if you are a regular on the strobist blog you cant answer becasue you know. Maybe I'll tell you later this week. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Looking back is what I will call post about old photographs I shot: I have been glued to the web and CNN as I edit photos this week looking at images from the California wildfires. SEE PHOTOS HERE. I am a big news junkie even though I don’t do photojournalism work on a daily basis anymore. I am especially amazed and curious about things like wildfires, floods, hurricanes and the like. I really would like to be there covering and photographing the event. Not that I could do a better job or there needs to be another photographer in the area. But, mostly because I have never covered a huge event like the wildfires in California. Could I do it? Could I help tell the story well and document history? Could I find and get images the other photographers were not? I would hope so. And I still have the urge to shoot things like this just not the means and I have small kids at home to think about.

I use to love the challenge of covering breaking news even on a small scale at the papers I worked for over the years. I also liked going places the general public wasn’t aloud to go. To be the eyes for everyone and on a selfish note to experience things other people don’t get to experience.

It sounds bad but there is a thrill side to it. Even though it might be a bad situation for some people involved. How close could I get without getting hurt or kicked out and could I make a nice photograph to tell the story?

But I also think without the thrill aspect of fighting a fire you would not get people to choose to work or volunteer as a firefighter. If parts of the job were not exciting to some people why would a “normal” person go into a burning building or witness death and injury on a daily basis? I think firefighters are great people for what they do and I always enjoyed photographing them doing their jobs so the public could appreciate what they do.

In this old shot, from 1995, I went into a building that still had hot spots burning to photograph firefighters looking for them to try and save some of the house. I had a great relationship with the Novi fire department when I worked for the Novi News. The chief let me get right in the action when he felt is was safe enough. They even gave me a fire pager, helmet and fire jacket. I don’t think they would do that now. The chief was smart and liked photos of his crews in the paper and realized it would always help at funding and millage increase time. Access can be a huge part of newspaper photography. But he did always tell me I was on my own and to be smart and be careful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


More kid photos today. What a cutie and she put up with almost an hour and a half of shooting which is great for an 11 month old!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Sunday, October 21, 2007


Twenty years since he left the David Lee Roth joined the band again, after many years of drama, and they are now out on a big arena tour with a couple shows here in Detroit. I was a Van Halen fan back in the day and saw them twice when Sammy Hagar was the frontman but never with Dave. I still think they were one of the greatest rock bands of all time. They always looked like they were having a blast on stage. I was assigned to shoot the concert for the Detroit News tonight. They sounded good tonight.

I always wanted to photograph Eddie Van Halen, the rock guitar god he is, so it was cool to do so twenty years later. Even if we were kept way back by the sound board, the fans were in the way often, the light wasn't that great and Eddie was behind the mic stand most of the time. But at least we got to shoot 3 songs when many times its 1 song and thanks to the Detroit News for letting me use a 400mm 2.8 lens to shoot with. We were so far aways I could not have gotten a shot without it. Thanks Chris! Good thing I am switching to Canon and had a Canon 40D body. (More on my switch in a future post) So with the 1.6 conversion factor I had a 600mm and needed it.

Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's 16 year old son is playing with the band. Not a bad thing for a kid to be out on tour with a bunch of rock-n-roll legends. Everyone I knew when I was in high school wanted to be a rock star!

I touched on it some above but I might try writing more about the behind-the-scenes so to speak of some of my assignments. I just don't like writing that much and I'm usually in a hurry or tired, but I'll try. If you ever have questions post them in the comments and I will answer.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Saturday, October 13, 2007


Wow! Friday was the busiest newspaper shooting day I've had in a long time. I had four assignments for the Detroit News and it reminded me of when I was shooting as a staffer.

I ended the night shooting monsters at a haunted house in Ypsilanti. The shot below was the one I turned in because of more light on the face of the clown, I hate clowns! They are creepy!

I think the shot below is a little creepier but doesn't read as well. I didn't have a bunch of time to set up a shot as they were holding up people going through so I could get a couple shots off. Thanks Mike!

I got a nice shot of people getting scared. These are always a crap shot because you can't really see what you are doing in the dark and there is usually a ton of fog in these haunted houses. I would post more on how to get these shots but I have to get ready to go shoot a wedding. Maybe another time.

Before the haunted house I was at UofM men's basketball practice. I forgot how bad the light is at Crisler Arena. They said we were only going to be able to shoot for 45 minutes but they let us stay over an hour which I needed. I didn't fell good about what I shot while shooting but when editing and transmitting from a Caribou Coffee shop I did better then I thought.

Shot and ok portrait earlier in the day.

And I started off my day shooting a bakery making cupcakes, yum!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I have been going through old prints and negatives, remember those, on an off and thought I would start to post some. I have been shooting for 20 years now. Although my career didn't go the way I though it might 20 years ago I have photographed many things and met some really cool people along the way. I will try and post one or two old photos every week. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

CORRECTION: The photo above was published in March of 88, my wife reminded me and I found the original neg and the date was marked on the holder. Also I guess you could say I didn't start working as a pro photographer until 1990 when I started shooting full time at the Northville Record. So I guess my 20 year mark as a pro is a few years off, there is still hope. :)

The photo above was my very first published photo. It was published in the Oakland Press back in 87. Then they called me and asked if I wanted to shoot assignments for them. I was going to school at Oakland Community College at the time, which I never finished, but learned much more from the photogs at the OP and making many mistakes.

Funny story about the photo. There was a storm that blew through and I saw some glowing in the distance from my house. So I ran out of the house and jumped into my car to go see what it was. I was still living with my parents. As I pulled out of the driveway my mom yelled out, "don't you need this?" holding up my camera. I usually left it in the car but this time it wasn't. Thank mom! Funny thing is I still do things like this 20 years later. I can seem to leave the house without going back in 2-3 times for something I forgot.

Over the years I photographed a bunch of car crashes. This one was probably in the mid 90's. It was shot in Novi less then a mile from where I live now while working for The Novi News and Northville Record. I miss working there some because of all the great people I met but the money was bad and I ended up stuck there in a rut for almost 7 years which held me back I think. More to come.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Normally when I shoot concerts I don't mind getting in and out and transmitting the photos to the paper asap. These days you normally get to shoot only 1 to 3 songs anyway and then they kick you and your cameras out. Sometimes you can take your cameras to your car and come back in if you have a ticket. But tonight I shot Kid Rock for the Detroit News and I'm a fan of his music and would have liked to stick around. The concert was the kickoff to Rock's month-long club tour to promote his new album. So as always he treated his fellow Michiganders to a last minute show. He lives here if you didn't know. The show was announced Wednesday morning for the Thursday show and sold out in 5 minutes. We got to shoot 2 songs and he was quite animated to get off some decent shots. I say that because I thought my shots were OK but not great. Maybe to much toe tappin' and singing along to "Devil Without a Cause" his second song and one of my favorites. :) I though about asking if I could stick around after I moved out of the pit in front of the stage if I kept the cameras down. I probably could have even without asking since it was so crowded and no one would have seen the cameras but I needed to edit the photos and find a place to transmit for a 10:00 PM deadline and it was already after 9:00. I ended up at a McDonald's as I usually do since many have wi-fi wireless Internet. Maybe next time Rock performs in town I'll have to break down and buy a ticket to the show.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The Thank You Calendar is a calendar designed for (and to raise money for) members of the armed services who are recovering from wounds sustained in the Iraq war. A couple of photographers did the calendar.

FROM THEIR WEBSITE: The Thank You Calendar was an idea with multiple sources of inspiration and is the combined creative efforts of many people. Jackie had already started her “Thank You” photos around the same time Rissa heard via the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce that soldiers at Walter Reed needed assistance getting simple items for themselves as they recovered, such as deodorant, gum or magazines.
Jackie and Rissa met via Ashley. Jackie’s project, as well as the news from the Chamber, inspired Rissa to find a way to make a large sum of money to donate to the soldiers at Walter Reed. From there the idea for the calendar was born. Nathaniel immediately came on board, and Ashley was eager to step in with her talents and make all the models look gorgeous. Each model was booked for her wholesome All-American look and donated her time for the shoot. Some were professional models, others were at their first photo shoot but each did fabulously and worked hard to make great pictures. The girls were then combined with Jackie’s “Thank You” project to make the calendar. The overall goal of the calendar project is to raise at least $10,000 by the end of 2007 for the veterans & soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center. Funds raised will be donated to Maryland For Our Military, a 501c based in Mt. Airy. This organization directly works with wounded soldiers and veterans at Walter Reed Medical Center. Some of the services they provide include flying families in for visits and providing comfort items to recovering soldiers.


Monday, October 01, 2007


Well they play soccer rain or not and I was assigned to shoot it tonight. The two shots below were the best I got. Rusty on soccer and under-lensed for sure. I just can't justify spending the money on long glass when I really don't shot sports where I need it very often any more. I'd like to shoot more but don't so I make due. I'm not telling you something nobody knows but Nikon's high ISO sucks! But I wasn't getting the flash out in the rain. Another reason I will be slowly making the switch to Canon. There I said it I am jumping ship. I will post on this soon.

This would have been a nice shot but the camera quit firing. Well actually the next frame would have been nice with the ball but there is no next frame. I think the camera lost focus so didn't fire. Actually the shot is back focused on the guy sitting on the ground. Another Nikon problem is back focus in my opinion. Maybe it then tried grabbing the front guys and since I had is on "focus priority" the camera didn't fire. Almost.