Archive for the ‘University City’ Category

Run, Don’t Walk

Posted: June 13, 2017 in Photography, University City

I guess this is the reason I am not a very successful commercial photographer; I go to an event and take a few hundred exposures and in spite of my best intentions I am subconsciously looking to get one “keeper”.  Oh sure, I do yeoman’s work, cover the bases, get the cliches, but dang it, I never really get excited about the commercial aspect — I am always striving for that one memoriable picture. I blame this on the uber competitiveness of University of Missouri’s photojournalism program, not so much the formal classwork, but the informal one-on-one (or dog-pile five-on-one) absolutely brutal critique sessions. And, of course I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Three for One

Posted: April 9, 2017 in Cameras, Photography, University City

Technology is a wondrous thing but with great power comes great responsibility. The easier it is to produce special effects the more important to stretch beyond the obvious. HDR photography is a great example — you can produce HDR with your phone camera, but why settle for a gimmick? Think content and decide, “will this tech trick impart greater meaning to this photograph? Am I stopping too soon because I see a neat image on the camera screen?”  Think of the sports mantra — follow through.

Face the Day

Posted: November 6, 2016 in Delmar Loop, Lenses, University City

Interesting how sometimes there is more to a face than meets the casual glance. I found my subject quietly sitting in the Loop and observing.  I am not sure of his worldview, he is not a big talker, but I would venture that those eyes don’t miss much.  On a technical note, I used the Nikon D610 with an  AF-S Nikkor
80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR (whew). I was contemplating selling this lens — a hefty 1570g — but when I have my mojo working (in focus and no camera movement) the images just shine and it is such a useful focal range, arrrgggh, guess I have to resume weight lifting.


Summer arrived a week early in Missouri –  already 90+ and high humidity. My solution was to bike to the local coffee shop and slurp.  Advice to the “instagram” generation, put down your mobile phones and connect with folks. A meet and greet resulted in two hours of stimulating conversation with a graphic novelist and a screenwriter. Make the effort, skip the virtual world and go analog.


Posted: February 29, 2016 in Delmar Loop, Photography, University City

Blueberry Hill
One of the hardest things for beginning photographers is asking permission to take pictures of folks. In my brief experience (40 years) I have rarely been told “no pictures”.  People love to have their picture made — you just need to be considerate, non-threatening and open. It is also good idea to be able to explain why you want to make a picture. In this example, after an inital “ask”, I just explained how I wanted to share with others (via ITEP) the trio’s dart throwing fun.

Dragon Visage

Posted: February 21, 2016 in Parade, Photography, University City

Lunar New Year dragon
The festive tradition of the Lunar New Year parade in University City.


Bridget, a charming and talented photographer, had a photo exhibit at “Create Space” here in University City and we started comparing notes on what makes a “keeper.”  Bridget’s example was a dance she photographed in Turkey — low light, movement, and muddled colors. She was ready to give it up, but she admits to a weakness — seeing if a bad situation can be salvaged by a black and white conversion. She uses iPhoto (now Photos) to up the contrast and increase the definition. Her experience reminded me of a technique I read about–visualizing by setting your LCD to “monochrome” in playback. This can be easily done (in Nikon land) by going to the “set picture control” menu.  Warning, you will have only a black and white picture if you shoot JPEG.  However, if you shoot RAW, all the camera sensor capture info is still there — in full color or in glorious black and white.


One of the delights of being a freelancer is the lack of clock-punching. The other morning I was up at five and had the urge to hit the street. Spring in St. Louis brings rain and between downpours I took the tripod out for an outing. Wet weather is great for photography – even the concrete ‘pops.’  I was trying a little HDR here – got three bracketed frames and the scene was spoiled (a huge delievery turck pulled up) before I could recompose and then one minute later the rain came back with a vengeance.  Wait — is that thunder I hear — got to get back to the street!

Funky Town

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Delmar Loop, Photography, University City

Always fun to see friends return to town.  Polyphonic Anthony is back from NOLA to play his funky music in the Delmar Loop. Photo tip — use a low angle to isolate the subect — “nothing but blue skies…” as the song goes.

NO NO NO, I am not talking about my totally innocent U-City Loop neighbor who was sweet enough to pose on the spur of an (intoxicated) late-night moment, but poor Johnny who can’t resist a bargain.  In this case I am shooting with a new used (err, pre-owned) Nikon D300 and a new pre-owned AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens that I could not refuse. Damn, if you can wait six years the greatest technology can be yours for a song. Now, can I wait for the uber sweet AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR? BTW, that is ISO 4500 @ 1/8 sec @ f3.8 @ 18mm.



Two lights and a gel and we get a wholly different version of the young person who initially graced my studio space for a “model shoot.'”  I love/dread these sessions. Forces me to think fast and I use it as an excuse to futz with controlled lighting, but nonetheless I have a sense of  dread…

Beets me?

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Food, Photo equipment, Photography, University City

I saw this beet on the cutting board and thought, that kinda looks like a mouse — seems Willow had the same feline feeling.
Gotta say it is nice to have a Nikon with a Micro-Nikkor in the kitchen when needed.

Not crazy about this snap, but I liked the “thought” of using a low angle and framing the band member with the crowd. No pay for this gig, just taking the camera for fun; of course now I wish I had worked it a little harder. What’s the phrase?  “…coulda’ been a contender.”

Loop style snow
One of our favorite assignments in J-School was “people without people”.  Sometimes the suggestion of less is more.

Just another day for this non-believer – but I will be happy to see the days grow longer.
Mom and the kids is a grab shoot from the coffee shop patio – don’t forget your camera.