Here’s another project I hope to bring back to life. Almost a decade ago I managed to get some people from Craigslist to stand in front of my camera. I had this idea, using the 1000mm lens my dad gave me (a Sigma 1000mm f8 APO vintage 1990’s) to photograph people around sunset to make silhouettes.
I put out a call for people that looked interesting in profile. For example, mohawks, big afros, shapely people etc. I got a really pretty woman and her daughter, and a couple of punks the guy had an awesome mohawk.
Technically I found this more challenging than I expected. The use of the 1000mm lens is very tricky. It’s about a meter long (as implied by its focal length.) That’s not including the lens hood. And I was using this Nikon mount lens on a Canon camera with manual focus. But manual focus wasn’t much of an obstacle. It was trying to point this lens where I wanted it- and to avoid showing anything behind the models. Also, being maybe 30 meters away made communicating with the models tricky. That and the fact that the waterfront path lied between me and my camera and the subject- so I had to pause as cyclists and pedestrians walked through the scene.
That having been said, I’m very happy with the results. The punks looked great from profile. The young woman had a really nice figure and the guy’s mohawk was as the best I could imagine. And you can tell they were genuinely in love.
The other set of models were very different. A lovely young mother brought her daughter along. She told me her daughter had a great day- I wish I asked them to come back for another couple shoots. I particularly liked the shots of her with camera in hand.
I post this now as a reminder to repeat this idea. I’ve got some better gear for the task. I’ve got some other silhouette ideas. It’s time to open up this project again!
(note the Mohawk couple is not model released for whatever that’s worth)
Yet another day of stock portrait shoots to report. I had a busy day of three different models: Yami, Martin and Josh. It occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned another model I worked with too…Tre.
The stock photography model shooting has been pretty intense. I’m not used to working with people like this. And I’ve never met anybody prior to our shoots so it’s kind of like getting to know somebody and only having an hour or two to get a sense of their “look”.
In the end I feel like I’m learning something. This hasn’t been a particularly lucrative endeavor, at least yet. But while learning to work with models I hope to improve my skills and find what stock photography does sell.
Recently I’ve been hiring models. There are a few reasons- I want to add something different to my stock photo library. I also need to hone my people photography skills for when they really count. So often I have a shoot and find myself fumbling with concepts I could have worked out when I wasn’t under alot of pressure. Having a large diverse library of people also seems to help getting my foot in the door for some gigs too.
In my most recent casting, my first model was Gina. She’s got a great look and was a real pleasure to work with.
On the unfortunate side,I found right before my shoot that all the lighting gear I meant to test was at my dad’s so we worked under natural light. Not to say that’s bad, but part of what’s in this for me is sorting out the lighting options. On the plus side with El Nino we had a giant softbox overhead (heavy overcast!)
Gina had a number of looks and outfits that played well for the shoot. We shot in a local park here in Alameda. All of the scenery was nature- which was nice. But I also wanted a mix of urban as well. Gina offered to do another shoot that I wanted in her neighborhood in San Francisco and I hope to make that happen after I’m done going down the list of all the great folks who’ve replied to my modeling request.
This year our family vacation involved a trip to the Pacific Northwest. To give me a little flexibility to do some work too, I drove up and met my family at the airport a couple days after my departure. Though Seattle is a pretty public transit friendly place, having a car really afforded me the flexibility to venture out where ever I wanted and to take the pole along with me.
I’ve often heard that it is cold and rainy in Seattle. I’ve only been there a couple of times, but once again that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I think it’s just a ploy from Seattleites to keep us out of their beautiful city. My two weeks there were not only nearly entirely sunny, but hot, hot, hot! I even managed to get a nice sunburn swimming out on Lake Desire.
My brother who we were staying with lives in Renton, a suburb of Seattle. Turns out there is one stock photo worthy spot in town. The final resting place of Jimi Hendrix is located in town at the Greenwood Memorial Cemetery. I was a big fan as a young man, but guess I’ve heard the his popular songs too many times. As it happened there was a funeral in progress as we arrived right across from the memorial. That made it a bit akweird to photograph. But we waited a half hour or so and I managed to even get some pole shots in there too.
I’ll spare you the boring family vacation details as best as I can. But part of our trip was spent on Vashon Island. It was a pleasant enough, and a good reason not to do a lot of photography. I did manage to get a few shots in. Mainly of the Bicycle tree (an old bike that a tree grew around,) and the Point Robinson Light House. I also managed to score at a local thrift store on Vashon and among other lenses came home with a 500mm mirror lens for $22. I’ll be doing a little piece on that on my Lensbusters.com site.
Later while my two gals went to visit the Pacific Science Center I trolled around the Seattle Center neighborhood for photo ops. The Frank Gehry designed EMP museum, the Armory, Chihuly garden, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Space Needle were all in my radar. I stumbled upon an awesome playground: the Artists at Play Playground with the Gehry curved metal building in the background. The pole made for some unusual views not only of the playground, but I could peer over the hedges blocking clear views of the Chihuly garden and view over like a periscope. Also on our trip we did a walk around the Olympic Sculpture Garden. There was a giant white head (besides mine of course) looking out on the waterfront that made for a few good shots.
When I dropped my girls off at the airport I got a couple productive days of shooting stock as well. I spent a day covering some landmarks in the Fremont neighborhood. I originally wanted to employ the pole to look down at the Lenin statue. But when I arrived it was half in sun, half in shade and was the target of vandalism.
In Seattle, I managed to cover some other landmarks when I wasn’t on family duty. A couple years ago my sister-in-law who’d already lived in Seattle for a decade or so showed me some of the awesome sites. I returned to a few of them like Volunteer park to photograph the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Arboratorium. And still on a plant kick, I found the Medicinal Herb Garden listed on Google Maps- now that sounded like a stock-op if I’d ever heard of one. Turns out that was on the gorgeous University of Washington Campus that also served well as a stock photo location of interest.
I managed to get a little of the Silicon Valley Stock shtick in too. Turns out that in the Fremont area there’s what’s dubbed “Silicon Canal”. Google has their “waterside” campus and there’s a heavy presence of Adobe Systems as well. It so happened that was a Sunday and I got some aerial views of the famous Fremont Sunday Market- celebrating its 20th anniversary this year I read somewhere. I also tried to get some photos of the Amazon Headquarters- actually I did. But there’s no signs to make the photos look interesting. Maybe being anonymous was the point, Amazon was in the international news for their controversial treatment of workers at the time.
Another stock photo highlight of the trip post family was the Center for Wooden Boats and the other attractions nearby. There’s a handsome MOHAI museum building, a few historic ships on display and a Seaplane port all in the same vicinity of Lake Union. At one point I was working on doing a book on tugboats that I left dangling, but there was an important tug Arthur Foss on display as well.
What else did I forget? There was the Frye Museum, that was fun and free (with free parking to boot.) I should have also mentioned the Bolton Locks- fish ladders and all. Somehow I forgot to mention the fun and quirky Georgetown neighborhood as well. I also omitted the original Starbucks and the Bubblegum Wall near the Pike’s Market.
Unrelated to my Pacific Northwest journey I photographed a model, Taylor right before leaving. Some of those photos turned out quite well and we’ll see if they’re saleable. I also stumbled upon a Google Street View car while running errands.
If you read this far I’m amazed you’re still awake. Thanks for visiting!
The young woman above, Howland, posed for some stock photos. I think she has a really nice look. I’m still in the process of adding model released people to my stock photo library and hope to find more like her.
I photographed Joe a while back as part of a stock photo project. It was quite a coincidence that on that same day I photographed another young woman (Howland) on the same day who was the same age and a lefty. What are the odds?!
One more in a series of model released people I’ve been working on for my library. This is Angeline, who worked out really well for our shoot. She had a great look, and the light overcast weather really made for a nice natural outdoor lightsource.
When I have free time, I’ve been hiring some models for released stock photos. The above stock photo is Pat using a smart phone. I’d seen a number of requests for people using technology and hoped to build up my library. Pat has a smart business woman look that seemed to work well.