Ajijic Mexico

Cami and I took a break and spent a week exploring the state of Jalisco, Mexico! We stayed in the popular town of Ajijic on Lake Chapala, which is the largest fresh-water lake in Mexico. Besides exploring this attractive town, shopping at the farmers market, and strolling along the lakeside Malecon…we did a number of day-trips to nearby towns like Mazamitla and Tequila. However, one of the highlights for me, was visiting the town of Petatan, where thousands of white pelicans flock during the winter!

Owl’s Head Lighthouse

Here’s a couple shots from around Owl’s Head Lighthouse near Rockland, ME.  It’s supposed to be the most haunted lighthouse in America!  Many thanks to Mike & Becky of Rock Coast Sports for pointing us in the right direction and treating us to lunch.  J

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Cami & I just walked in the door from a fantastic and relaxing week-long trek through scenic Maine.  The LIGHTBENDING 411 WORKSHOP at the end of the week went great!  But before I do a full write-up on that, I thought I’d post a few shots from our travels.  We spent several days in Bar Harbor, taking in the hikes and views of Acadia National Park. 

The first morning we were there I woke pre-dawn and drove to Bass Harbor Lighthouse to get a sun-rise shot.  It was cold and windy.  So I set my white-balance to a 4500K to draw out the cool tones and help evoke the mood of the morning.  I have a wonderful Cokin graduated tobacco filter I like using for landscapes.  But unfortunately I didn’t have it with me.  So when I brought the image in to Adobe Lightroom, I created a Virtual Copy of the image, and processed the second one at a much warmer 7000K white balance.  Combining the images in Adobe Photoshop allowed me to duplicate the effect of that graduated filter and brought back the natural color of the rocks while retaining the cool blue tone of the sky that I liked.  I shot this in two vertical frames that were stitched together for the final image.

RadioPopper Goes to Romania

I have been a HUGE fan of RadioPoppers since they liberated me from the line-of-sight limitations of my Nikon Creative Lighting System.  I absolutely LOVE the versatility, dependability, and control that the whole Nikon CLS flash system gives me.  Extending all those qualities to HUNDREDS of feet instead of a couple dozen, and being able to place remote flashes around walls and behind subjects, all while maintaining full i-TTL functionality and high-speed-sync, truly allows me to bring my vision to life without any limitations. 

This past July I traveled to Romania with a very compact lineup of gear that included a RadioPopper Px System.  (To see some my other posts and photos from Romania, Click Here.)  I have a couple of tricks I’ll share some day that allow me to attach the units in a more compact and streamlined manner to my flashes.  This maximizes my opportunities and minimizes set-up, tear-down, and excess space in my camera bag…especially important while doing run-n-gun street-level travel assignments like this!

In spite of the different radio frequencies floating around most of Eastern Europe, I had absolutely no problems with interference.  My RadioPoppers worked every time and made for some really dramatic shots that never would have been possible without them!  Since I’m such a believer and real-world tester of their products, the wonderful folks at RadioPopper have been kind enough to sponsor my “Light Bending 411” wireless lighting workshops like the one I’m doing in Maine next week.  So please check them out at www.radiopopper.com and let me know if you have any questions or would like a discount code so you can order your own set!

Faces of Romania

As days turn into weeks…and weeks turn into months…I often catch myself thinking of the amazing people I met in Romania.  It’s hard to believe that was July and we’re now moving into September!  So I thought I’d post some of the images that gripped me the most from that amazing experience.  Not surprisingly, they were all images of the beautiful faces I met along my journey.  Enjoy!

Gypsy Village in Romania

One day while we were in Romania we visited a Gypsy Village.  It really touched my heart to see the conditions these people live in.  They were so kind and gracious, allowing me to photograph them, photograph their families.  One lady even came up to me and motioned for me to follow her.  We wound our way back through the shacks to HER shack.  It was a humble one-bedroom home…but it was HER home and she wanted her portrait in front of it!  I was honored to oblige.  

Welcome to Romania!

As most of you know, I recently traveled to Romania.  Here are a few of my favorites of some young people dressed in traditional outfits.  We saw them warming up for a performance they had later that evening.  When my new friends Mihaela & Ana asked them if they’d be interested in working with me, they went for it!  Zack was there with me and did an excellent job as a lighting assistant, holding an SB-800 with a warming gel for a little extra kick to the lighting in some of the shots.  I loved the colorful details in their outfits!    

Packing for Romania

While thinking about what I wanted to take to Romania, I knew I wanted to pack light.  So I left my main ThinkTank Take-Off bag at home.  But I also knew I wanted to have as full a range of equipment at my disposal as possible, since I didn’t know what kinds of photographic opportunities were going to avail themselves.  So here’s what I packed:


Nikon D3

Nikon D300 + MBD10 Grip with ENEL4a adapter

Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 fisheye

Nikkor 24-70 f2.8

Nikkor 70-200 f2.8

3 – RadioPoppers (1 transmitter, 2 receivers)

3 – SB800 strobes

2 – Bogen 5001B light stands

All of this gear along with spare batteries, chargers, compact flash cards, lens cleaning pens, and the usual assortment of doodads all fit into my ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro and this super small generic light stand bag pictured in the photo.  I was very happy with my selection and used every piece of equipment I brought, without being left wanting for anything I didn’t! 

My thinking on bringing the D300 instead of two D3 bodies was because it gave me a little more reach, turning my 70-200 into a 105-300 f2.8 if I needed it.  Plus in a pinch I could command my remote flashes with its built-in pop-up flash.  Both proved to be scenarios I would be glad I had.  I fitted it with the MBD10 Grip with the ENEL4a adapter so that I could use the same larger capacity batteries for both cameras and only have to bring one charger. 

For image management and storage, I brought my smaller 14” Toshiba laptop in a small backpack.  That and my Streetwalker Pro were my carry-on luggage.  The light stand case fit easily into my checked bag.  I’ve mounted this laptop with a small 320GB external drive and software that backs up all the important data off my laptop every night.  After each day of shooting I transferred all the images from my CF cards to my laptop, which then got backed up to the external hard drive.  I brought enough CF cards that I never had to re-use them.  I kept each copy of my images separate from the other…especially during the 26-hour trip home. 

I hope some of this info helps you out the next time you have to pack light…

Photographing in Romania

Buna!  (Hello!)  I’ll be photographing in Romania all next week!  Our church sends a mission team there every year to work with the orphanage, school children, and others in need.  This year I’m excited to be going along as the “team photographer”.  We’ll be flying into Bucharest where we’ll be picked up for the long drive to Campulung.  I’ll be gone from July 18th – July 26th.  If you have any questions while I’m gone, don’t hesitate to call Cami at 843-324-0010.  I look forward to catching up with everyone when I return!