Sunday, December 31, 2006

...the fairies are too strong...

Had a lovely shoot with sweet Charity on Friday night before the group shoot. Did some shots for her "7 Deadly Sins" series, and a little more good clean (and wet) fun that will possibly get ME in hot water with a few protective friends of hers. Please don't be concerned, friends, the shoot was properly chaperoned by Miss Alizarine.

I hope I didn't overdo it though, as sadly Charity missed the group shoot on Saturday because she wasn't feeling well, but I'm sure they are unrelated circumstances. This shot is from the first controversial bathtub shoot a few weeks ago -- look for some results from the new shoot soon.

Apart from a couple of no-shows, the Collingwood shoot went well... hope to share those with you soon, too.

Sitting here at Andi's place while her brother's metal band practices in the next room, and through the wall, one of the lyrics they keep repeating sounds like "...the fairies are too strong..." MEEEETTTTAAAALLLL!!!!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

Here's a shot done last year on December 31, the afternoon of New Year's Eve, with Destiny looking pretty happy, despite freezing her butt off out in the park. Everyone makes such a big deal out of New Year's, but I don't know too many people who actually manage to have a good time on the night itself, simply because I think the expectations are too high. Some of the more party-prone people I know stay home, referring to NYE as "amateur night" because so many lightweights overdo it and get mixed up in stupid things like fights, DWI, accidents, and the like. Looks like I'll probably spend the evening with Andi over at Heather's new place. We might even do some shots... photographic, not alcoholic.
Returning to the Collingwood yet again this weekend for another group shoot. Working with a few more new people, and a couple returning champions. Here's one of "the Beth" from almost a year ago in the well-known parlor space. These things always present a challenge, so wish me luck!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Friends of Carlotta"

Here's a shot of Carlotta that's been getting a lot of compliments lately. Let me know what you guys think of her... and anyone who recognizes what movie the headline of this post refers to, let's hear from you. No fair Googling!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Last Christmas...

Remembering that last year on Christmas, my favorite present was that I got to do my first real shoot with Sarah. She was going to be passing through on her way from Detroit to Florida after spending the earlier part of the day with her family. So we arranged to meet for a quick shoot that evening down in Cincinnati. The shot with the white sheet has been one of the most popular on my OMP, although the white shot with the blur is one of my favorites, probably one of the best images I've shot with the LensBaby. I've worked with Sarah a number of times since, but she's recently moved down south, so there won't be as many opportunities. Unless I plan myself a little roadtrip. :) Thanks Sarah!

As a little bonus, download a beautiful version of "Christmas Time is Here" by The Silent League.

Blue Christmas

Was saddened to see the news today about the passing of the legendary James Brown. Back in college, my friend John introduced me to the genius of James Brown, and the music from his glory days is still among my very favorite. I had the chance to see James perform about 15 years ago, and it was simply amazing. Even got to shake his hand from the edge of the stage. It was a shame to witness his self-destructive behavior, but when he was on, he was simply incredible.

Did a little digging and found this photo of J.B. and an unidentified poodle. For some reason, I think this is just about the coolest photo ever. I once ordered a poster of this from an ad in a matchbook to make an enlargement of any photo you sent them.

Here's to you, J.B.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Three tall drinks of water...

Here's Sarah hanging out, Kristina taking it easy, and Iris basking. Cheers, y'all.

"...and folks remember this is an exhibition not a competition so please, no wagering." -David Letterman

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mandy Claus

Just because we can never get enough Mandy... here she is in the holiday spirit, covering her assets, and practicing her ninja moves... thanks Mandy for a pair of fun and memorable shoots. Can't wait to go again!

Season's Greetings...

As we rush headlong impossibly towards the end of 2006, the Holiday Season is well upon us. Hard to resist the temptation of the cute model (this time it's Danelle) in the ever-popular Santa hat, and now would seem to be the time to wish everyone peace and happiness this season, and all the best for the year ahead.

I want to thank the many models (and non-models) I've had the pleasure of working with this year, and all the photographers who have shared their insight and support, and provided motivation and inspiration, whether they realized it or not. And last but not least, I want to thank all you regular visitors to this blog, especially those who have left comments or offered other feedback. It's always nice to hear from you, so don't be a stranger. Ho Ho Ho!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Let's hear it for voluptuous...

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Crystallynn to the photo blog realm... she's just launched her new blog and will be sharing her thoughts and work. Unapologetically curvaceous, she takes pride in having the build of a "real woman," as you can clearly see. I'm honored to have one of my images featured in her inaugural post.

These are from my most recent shoot with her, and you'll find a few more here and here. Thanks Crystal! See you again soon!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iris continues to bloom

The Iris juggernaut of links rolls on, so welcome visitors from around the world who may have spilled over from her site.

Thanks also to Iris for frequently featuring my images on her blog and her OMP portfolio.

Here's Iris one more time...


Another shot I've had floating around on the hard drive for a while, meaning to post it somewhere, so yesterday I popped it onto OMP just before heading out to run some evening errands. I happened to check back later, and it had received a showcase. Not expected, but certainly welcome, it's number 20 on my portfolio, with 19 on model portfolios... it would be nice to get an even 20-20 count at some point. The shot is of the exquisite Melissa, who can show remarkable strength and definition one moment, and switch to a softer and more curvaceous look the next. I called this one "Carved" for obvious reasons. Thanks, Melissa!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dirty thoughts encore...

The entry deadline for the next incarnation of The Dirty Show is the end of the month, and I've been trying to narrow down the contenders to a final four to submit for consideration. This is always tough for me, trying to decide what's going to stand out in a crowd and catch a judge's eye as opposed to images that are personal favorites of mine. I have to separate the personality component of the model from the images, too, which can be tricky. For instance, a model shooting something that's out of character for her may carry more weight with me, but that fact will be lost on a judge who has no idea who the model is or what types of work they usually do. So, it's an effort to be "objectively subjective" and focus strictly on what the image in itself contains and conveys.

Plus, for this show, the more over-the-top the piece, the more likely they'll want to hang it, or so they say. It seems last year, the photography was a bit milder than the other media, with a lot more "beautiful" images than raunchy stuff. A few potential reasons for this... one is that with photography, you have to find a model (or models) who are willing to commit the raunchy acts envisioned, whereas with a painting, there's no limit to the actions, or the size/shape/endowments of the subjects. Plus you actually have to have the nerve to ask the model(s) to DO the thing you envision. ("You want me to put my what WHERE?") There's also the potential censoring factor of "if I send this to the lab for prints, will that cause a problem?" That's minimized if you have made the investment in your own archival-quality pigment inkjet printer, but not everyone has that option. Also, there's the factor of what is someone actually going to hang on their wall at home...something subtle and suggestive has a better chance than explicitly sexual. (The piece that got me into last year's show *I* won't even hang in my house.) Now all of these factors are based on others; concerns for how people involved in the process will react. Some might make the arguement that a true artist would not allow the vision to be limited by these kinds of constraints. That is valid, and that seems to be part of the mission of the show -- prompting artists to push these boundaries regardless of how society might react.

But I think the primary reason that the photos in the show tend towards the "beautiful" is that most "artistic" photographers don't shoot Dirty Show style images as a rule, and even when they do (such as with this show in mind), they bring the "beautiful" component of their style to the images. And I guess that's about where I'd draw the line between "erotic" and "p0rnographic."

The image is the beautiful Alicia, enjoying herself in her apartment a while back... thinking dirty thoughts, I'm sure.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A quick one...

Things are getting busy as the year-end approaches, and won't be around much this weekend to update, so just a quick one for y'all and the new visitors spilling over from Iris' newly popular blog.

This is the charming Angie, displaying some of her charms. You've seen her here before and you'll see her here again, no doubt.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tough Teddie

Here are a couple more from my most recent shoot with Teddie. While I don't often have this problem, one thing photographers do tend to gripe about are models being no-shows, or canceling at the last minute for the slightest reason. But I should give Teddie credit for just the opposite. The morning of our scheduled shoot, she was a passenger in an auto accident. Not just a sideswipe or fender bender, but enough to set off airbags, and leave a couple pretty serious bruises where the seat belt held her back and her knee hit the dashboard, along with a few other minor bumps and bruises. But she didn't cancel the shoot. We didn't have any concealer on hand though, so the bruises are pretty evident in some shots. I took them out of a few, left them in on others (like the top shot above). Thanks Teddie for being such a trooper!

On edit: If the "no show" problem happens to guys with the status of Don and Dave, I won't take it so hard next time it happens to me.


The other night I was shooting with Kristina here, and started having more than my usual share of technical difficulties. The shutter on my camera refused to give me an exposure longer than about 1/125 of a second, which was not a problem for flash photography, but prevented me from doing available light work during the shoot. Towards the very end of the evening, I started getting the dreaded "Error 99" until I had to wrap the shoot. After some diagnostics, the problem does seem to be isolated in the camera, so it looks like I'll get to send it in to Canon for service. I've only had it for about six months, so it is under warranty, but may be gone for several weeks. I have a couple back-up options, but it looks like it's time to purchase a back-up camera for just this situation, as I have a number of shoots booked during the next month. Not an expense I was counting on right now, but I'm just going to bite the starfruit and make it happen.

Lots of stuff on the agenda for this weekend and the week ahead. Can't believe it's almost Christmas and the end of the year. So much to do, so little time. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dial-Up Hell

Here's Mandy, caught cracking up during our most recent shoot. I love the "whole body" expression it captures, and in some ways captures the whole mood of the shoot. This one is pretty modest by the standards of the rest of that shoot and our previous shoot, nevertheless, this image was taken down from one online community she posts to. Specific reasons are rarely given when these things happen... is the "peekaboo" flash the problem? Or, since it is an art nude forum, maybe she isn't nude enough?

Due to a phone company SNAFU, I've been in "dial-up hell" for the past few days, and will probably have to endure it for a few more. Even though it's a DSL connection, it's only functioning at about 50kb speed, slower than a lot of dial-up connections. I'd heard somewhere recently that about half of internet users have high-speed connections, which would indicate the other half still endure dial-up. But I suspect this is misleading relative to the amount of internet activity that takes place over high-speed connections. I'm guessing the 80/20 rule applies... 80% of the surfing is done by 20% of internet users, and I'd guess that 20% is made up almost exclusively of people with high-speed connections. I'm sure there's a study on this somewhere that I could Google, but my connection is so slow, I can't take the time to find out right now.

I bring it up here because like most photo blogs, this one takes a bit of time to download through a dial-up connection, and I'd be curious to know what percentage of my visitors are using dial-up versus high-speed connections. And, to those of you who use dial-up, I have a renewed appreciation for what you put up with to view a page like this one... thank you for your patience. :) I'm beginning to think that website designers should force themselves to spend a week out of the year using only dial-up. Might change the face of eBay, Amazon and MySpace, if nothing else. It used to be that load speed was a primary concern in web design, and I remember worrying about squeezing a 24k graphic down to 16k -- because that's a 33% savings in load time. I'm guessing today that online retailers and marketers don't care about that any longer, because if a visitor can't afford a high-speed connection, they probably aren't the type of big spender the retailer is looking for.

But if nothing else, the slow connection has made me more deliberate in what sites I visit and how often I check my e-mail. And that's probably a good thing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Add it up

Here's the ethereal Angie, which somehow seemed to fit today's screed.

Regular readers will recall my gallbladder surgery escapades last month, and now time has come to pay up. Fortunately, I have insurance, albeit with a rather high deductible. In general, I'm pretty healthy, so this is the first time in 13+ years my insurer has actually had to pay money out on a claim. The reason I bring it up is that I received "explanation of benefits" statements for the surgery billing, and the math on the statements is both comforting and disturbing. I believe the paperwork I received reflects the bulk of the process--hospital charges, surgeon fee, ultrasound. As I'd expected, the standard charges total around $14,000, however due to being in the "network," the charges were "repriced" to about $2200, most of which I'm responsible for to meet my deductible. Now, I'm grateful for the discount, but it also got me wondering. Does this mean there is $11,800 worth of "wiggle room" or mark-up in the standard charges? I presume the numbers mean that they can do the operation for $2200 and still make money.

Now, if I didn't have insurance, the amount probably would not get repriced, and I'd owe $14,000 for this surgery, right? WTF? I suspect that the extra dollars are padding for a couple reasons... if I could in fact afford to pay, the additional $11,800 would go to cover the expenses of 5 other uninsured people who did not have insurance whose fees would be written off. But also, if I could not afford to pay, and the hospital would have to write off the bill, they want it to be a huge amount, presumably as a tax-deductible business expense. This seems like a real shell game to me, and the people hurt most are those who are uninsured but who intend to pay their bills. Chances are if you have no insurance, you're not a high-earner, and $11,800 represents about a full year's earnings at a full-time minimum wage job, so no wonder medical costs are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Yet, somehow it's OK to charge astronomically higher fees to those least able to pay them.

So, the hospital and the surgeon and everyone already have their fees dictated by arrangements with my insurance company. The hospital may even receive some payment for being part of the network to offset the repriced amounts, which would come out of my premium payments. So, why not just have the fees dictated by a non-profit government agency, such as Medicare, and offer these lower prices to everyone? Instead of paying thousands of dollars a year into insurance premiums, if that were shifted to taxes, it wouldn't cost me any more, but less money would go to corporate profits and lawyers eager to dispute claims. In fact, I bet if the insurance company profits were redirected to actually providing patient care, we could provide basic medical coverage to everyone. This is how the system works in most developed nations in the world. It's been said as a whole, the US is paying for universal health care, but we're just not getting it. I guess that's true... lots of people just don't get it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You don't have to be crazy to pose for me...

...but it helps.

Here we see the charming Heather modeling the lastest in straitjacket fashions, courtesy of She Saw Red creations.

While I've shot Heather on numerous occasions, I don't think we've planned a shoot more than a few hours or maybe a couple days in advance. Each one has been on location, so the results have been unpredictable, but I think this last session is among our most productive, even though it was pretty brief. Thanks Heather and Andi... until next time.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frozen in Amber

The shot is Amber from a while ago. Love her expression on this one.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jumpin' Jiminy

There's something about a good jump picture that I really enjoy. Not necessarily acrobatic leaps, which I also enjoy shooting, but just a simple jump can add a lot of fun. The one at top is of Amanda, and has received many compliments, but it's largely the result of the right model at the right split-second. The lower one is of Gaea, similar in some ways, but with a different feel to it.

Had the chance to see Amanda over at Dave Levington's studio yesterday when I got to observe a fun little holiday-theme shoot he was doing with her and Crystallynn. Amanda and I will probably be working together again in January, so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Our first shoot together was last January, and I really learned a great deal working with her... she's a fine addition to anyone's portfolio to be sure.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Kathleen Encore

Here we see more from my shoot with Kathleen back in warmer weather. Katie is always such fun to shoot with, and when we work together, we end up with so many images I love that it's tough to choose. I posted a few earlier in this entry, but revisited the pictures last night, and I thought I'd share a few more with everyone. She's an exceptional young woman, and I'm looking forward to working with her again and again.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pure Crystallynn

Here's the curvaceous Crystallynn, who was featured here a few entries back. She and I had shot a couple times before at the Collingwood group shoots. The first session was pretty disappointing, but probably because it was the first shoot of the day for each of us, and we only had a short session, so didn't really get the chance to warm up and find a groove. The second session was an improvement with some nice images, but I wasn't really satisfied with how I handled the shoot... again, another early one. No reflection on her... she's always open to ideas, but somehow I was blocked. But she had faith that the third time would be a charm, so we booked another session at Collingwood. Not only did we set it for later in the day, we decided that instead of the boots and corsets and lingerie and such that she had for our first sessions and trying to find good spots with some decent light, that we'd simplify and do some "little black dress" shots as well as straightforward nudes with studio lights. "Pure Crystallynn" if you will.

I have to say I think that simplifying made a difference... I'm really pleased with many of the shots we got, and so is she. This was her first full nude shoot in a long time, and I think only her second one ever. I was impressed with her poise and confidence -- even when people wandered onto the set a couple times during the shoot. I believe her confidence shows through in the shots, too. We're talking about doing another shoot soon, possibly at my studio. I'm planning to keep it pure next time, too.