Something Wicked

January 26, 2010 | Category: Photography | 4 Comments

Hell's Leak 


Group shot

Way better than sparklers!


  Burn out

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Sparks Will Fly

January 11, 2010 | Category: Photography | 8 Comments

 The Flaming Tube

This was a failed first attempt at attracting the authorities with flying sparks (some reaching heights taller than the freeway above us). More seriously, the sparks were made combing very fine grade steel wool, metal cabling and a 9V battery. All exposures were made using a Nikon D3 and a 17-35mm 2.8 lens. Exposure lengths vary, but most were around 8 seconds.

Things to work on:

  • Better location
  • Cleaner looking Orbs
  • Nicer cabling job (my hand was seriously bloody by the end of the night)
  • Wear all black next time

 Self Portrait

The Orb is Angry!

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I’ve been slacking on posting photos lately so I thought I’d share a “reject” photo since I haven’t really shot anything blog-worthy in a while. Hopefully that’ll change on Monday (big, fun, icy-cold shoot planned)! 

A cave near Pyramid Lake, Nevada

This is a “cave” near Pyramid Lake, NV during the recent meteor showers. 2.5 hours of exposing, freezing and conversing with some photo buddies. The red glow comes from a red-gelled headlamp facing into the rocks behind the camera.


And speaking of star trails, I’ll leave you with this new video I hacked together from my recent star trails’ still images.

Comments welcome…

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I will never be able to afford most of these items, but I can always dream. Here they are in no particular order……


My old Shen-hao

10.  Shen-Hao 4×5 Field Camera

One of my biggest regrets is selling my beautiful Shen-Hao 4×5 field camera. Beautifully crafted from teak wood and utilizing a full set of movements, this is one of the best values in a 4×5 field camera out there. The camera folds up to the size of a thick book. I used to shoot a ton of 4×5 and once I switched to digital, I sold off all my gear. One of these days, I’ll convert my basement into a darkroom and get another one of these babies. Street $600

9. X-Rite Eye-One Xtreme w/ iO Automated Scanning TableIO table

This is a completely automated print profiling solution. The robotic arm moves the accurate spectrophotometer over the print swatch to create custom RGB and CMYK profiles. Just what the doctor ordered for specialty papers.  Street:  $1,495.00 (iXtreme) + $1895 Table


Spot strobe

8. Prism Science Works SPOT strobe

My dream setup for my high-speed and ballistics photography. This baby weighs 10lbs and will fire at a duration of 1/2,000,00 sec. (yep, that’s one-two millionth of a second)! According to the specs,  “A typical camera setting is f/5.6 to f/8 at 200 ASA for objects illuminated from 3 feet..” Impressive!
Price: unknown (guessing in the thousands)

Suba NlD3. Photo credit:

7. Underwater Housing for Nikon D3: Subal ND3 

One of the best, most modular underwater housing available for the Nikon D3. This housing supports a variety of flash and lens options and gives you complete control underwater.  Apparently Thomas P. Peschak uses one for his stunning underwater photographyStreet:  $6100



Nikon 200mm f/2 VR AF-S

6.  Nikon 200mm f/2 AF-S VR lens

My absolute dream lens. I’ve seen the images and shot a few frames through one. This massive sized 200mm has beautiful bokeh properties and is one of National Geographic photographer, Joe McNally’s favorite lenses.  Street: $4999.95



hahnemuhle photo rag pearl paper

5. 17”x22” photo paper! (Preferably Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl)

I recently got a great deal on an Epson 3800 and I’ve yet to do a print bigger than 13×19. Photo Rag pearl is a beautiful surface and considering this is probably the only thing on the list I can afford without taking out a mortgage, I will probably pick some up soon!  Street: $129 for a 20 pack (ouch!) 



lucis 6 screenshot

4. Lucis 6 pro

Very cool and super expensive software that creates a unique local contrast enhancement look. The output is similar to the works of Dave hill (although one can use the software without going to that extreme). The software is commonly used in medical, scientific and forensics fields for enhancing minute details in photos. Lucis website.  
Street: $595

 BH40 ballhead


3. Really Right Stuff BH-40 or BH-55 ballhead

Arguably the best ballheads out there! They are very well built, hold more than enough weight for most applications and support the arca-swiss style plates. The heads also come in multiple configurations. Combine one of these heads with a RRS or Kirk L-bracket and you’ve got the ultimate head solution.
Street: $375-$450



16mm fisheye

2. Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye AF lens

I used my old Nikon 10.5mm fisheye all the time when I shot a D300 and now that I’m shooting full-frame, I need a new fisheye. Back in the film days, I owned a cheap MC Zenitar 16mm 2.8 lens made in Ukraine and it worked well. That is a much cheaper option ($150 on eBay), but the Zenitar doesn’t come close to the quality of the Nikon. Plus the Nikon has autofocus.
Street: $929.00




24-70mm 2.8

1. Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S ED lens

This is my most practical “next lens” choice. It will replace my trusty 35-70mm 2.8 AF and is one of the sharpest zoom lenses that Nikon makes plus it is a ton smaller and lighter than the older 28-70mm 2.8 AF-S lens.
Street: $1779.00

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What a Classy Guy!

December 20, 2009 | Category: Photography | Comments Off on What a Classy Guy!

I’ll be teaching some upcoming classes at Gordon’s Photo Service in Reno for anyone that is interested. Here is a list of classes and descriptions. Classes are either one or two nights, dates and times can be found below. Click the links to signup online (Paypal payment required). 
HDR, foggy downtown Reno
For more information or to sign up over the phone, call Gordon’s Photo Service: 775.826.6488.

Class schedule after the break….

Read More

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The Geyser

November 25, 2009 | Category: Photography | 5 Comments

Hidden away on private property in rural Nevada, a beast gurgles. Fly Geyser is a man made anomaly apparently less than a century old and is one of Nevada’s hidden jewels. Here are a few photos from a fun day of shooting in a very unique location.

While I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the huge amount of great photos I took from just a few hours of shooting, I figured I’d post a few!

All photos taken with a Nikon D3 and a 17-35mm 2.8 lens.

Sun setting on Fly Geyser


Fly Geyser at twilight (and yes I realize the year on the watermark is wrong). Specs: Nikon D3, 17-35mm 2.8, tungsten WB, CTO gelled light painted


The geyser in the day.   Another geyser shot in the day.

I plan on returning to shoot some star trails at the geyser soon so stay tuned…

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Something Slightly Different

October 13, 2009 | Category: Photography | 2 Comments

I am certainly not much of a landscape/nature photographer, but its nice to change it up every once in a while. Here are some recent diversions.

The leaves are changing at Thomas Creek. Late afternoon light at Thomas Creek

Dandy!This is available as a desktop wallpaper. Shoot me an email (see my contact page).

This is available as a desktop wallpaper. Shoot me an email (see my contact page).

And a special bonus photo:

Never buy a camera from Kevin!

Kevin doing what it takes to get his shot. Ironically, trying to get this photo of him I dunked my camera’s vertical grip! Meanwhile his camera remained unharmed. Figures….

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F15 Eagle sitting on the tarmac (under close watch)

I’ve never shot the Reno Air Races which is pretty much ridiculous for a Reno based photographer who loves aviation. So when a buddy said he could get me pit access at night, I jumped on the idea. By the time I got out High Tech Lighting Diagramof work and reached the airport, the sun had already gone down. In the evening, the aircraft are bathed in ugly glow of the bright sodium vapor lights, making it very difficult to get any decent photos. As a result, I improvised with my own lighting.

Just as I unpacked my gear, the Military Police showed up and told me I wasn’t supposed to be near the military aircraft, but they decided to give me a few minutes to grab a shot. I scrambled to set up my lights, stands, gels and tripod. Considering I literally had 5 minutes to set this one up, I think it turned out pretty well. There is just a hint of blue in the sky that really stands out when the photo is viewed on black (click on the photo to view on black).

Thanks to my buddy Cliff for the pit access (and keeping conversation with the MPs) while I ran around like a photographer on speed adjusting and position lights.

Lighting Specs: 5x bare Nikon Speedlights (4 with CTOs and one under with a heavy red gel).  Basically, the CTO speedlights are positioned in an X pattern shooting at 1/2 power at 24mm. All triggered by Skyports.

Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm, F15 Eagle

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Breakfast is Ready

Here are some high-speed shots from my analog month. All photos were created using an audio trigger and multiple speedlights set to 1/128th power. I am working on a guide detailing how to make photos similar to these, stay tuned…

The Smiling Melon

 .22 Versus the Light Bulb, NOTa photoshop compositeThe powdery stuff in that bulb is apparently toxic

Here is the setup shot for all of the photos. Basically on the black background photos I turned off the 3 background lights and had two SBs shooing into the V-card instead of one.

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In a lonely valley near rural Alturas, California, miles away from sky polluting lights of the city, the setting sun illuminates a dusty Ranch. Among the rusty Buicks and grazing livestock stands a decrepit, single-roomed school building complete with a creaking door, broken paned glass windows and occupied by an ecosystem of eight-legged nocturnal crawlers.

It was there, on the dusty floor lined with torn Jehovah’s witness brochures and the occasional playing card, that we slept.

A 7 hour star trail of an old single-roomed school building

Above: Clocking in at 7 hours (stacked), this shot of an old single room school building is the longest star trails shot I’ve done thus far. Specs: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm, 70 x 6min = 7 hours,  f/4, ISO 500.

A Coleman lantern illuminated the inside and a red gelled flash light painted the exterior. Thanks to Jon for the superb light painting.

Sunrise at the ranch and I've got no batteries!

Above: This was the scene at sunrise near the main house on the Ranch. Due to a slight oversight on my part (stupidity), I didn’t have any spare batteries and since my seven hour exposure had just finished my battery, I had to frantically “get creative” with ways to warm up my battery to squeeze out a few extra photos of the quickly approaching sunrise. Meanwhile, Jon happily took his time composing, focusing and exposing with his completely battery free 4×5 camera setup.

Specs: Nikon D300, Nikon 17-55mm 2.8, 1/100th, F11, ISO 400, battery life = 1% !

The galaxy Andromeda during pre-dawn above the school house.

Above: At 5:00am my alarm went off to remind me to turn off my camera and prepare to shoot the sunrise. I bundled up, stepped outside into the brisk ranch air and as I turned my camera off, I looked up. This is what I saw. In the larger version of the photo, you’ll notice the galaxy Andromeda a few degrees above and to the left of the point on the roof of the house.

Specs: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm, 30 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 800. I ran around like an idiot trying to paint the house with a flashlight during the 30 second exposure.

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