Finally Some Sun

It seems like it has been a month of dreary, rainy, overcast days here.  Well this morning I finally woke to sunshine and blue skies. (Not mention the sound of lawnmowers).  All in all not a bad way to start your day and a big improvement on the past couple.  Sunshine is often underrated as a mood altering substance.  It sure makes everything seem that much more enjoyable.

Recently I’ve been really busy shooting houses for real estate agents and hotels for Hotel Tonight that I haven’t really done anything artistic.  So yesterday after I finished tweaking my website ( I decided to grab my camera and my macro lens and head outside between rain showers and see what I could find.  Well I didn’t have to go far.  I walked out onto my front porch and found raindrops still sitting on the leaves of the tulips in the garden.  Even though the flowers were gone I thought that the raindrops were interesting.  Especially the way they were just sitting atop of the leaves.  Here they are.  Enjoy.

It’s Prom Time

Spring means different things to everyone.  For most it is the earth re-awakening from it’s Winter nap.  A re-birth so to speak.  For photographers it means proms, formals, Senior portraits, engagement portraits and the like.  This year I am trying to expand into the prom and Senior portrait arena.  I ran a contest earlier this year for Seniors where they could win a photo shoot and some prints.  I sent out mailers and had my girlfriend’s daughter distribute some post cards around the school.  It went ok but I found the response rather minimal.  I only got about 10 responses.  A little disappointing but hey it’s just the first year trying this.  So I am going to take a much different approach next year.  I’m going to find about 4 or 5 students from each of the area high schools and recruit them for this work.  I plan on providing them with their own photo shoot and print package as well as their very own Rep Cards.  All of this in exchange for a minimum number of referrals that turn into actual paying customers.  We’ll give that a try and see how that works.  I have attended a couple of webinars where other photographers have used this approach and apparently been very successful with it.  Plus having this knowledge under my belt will help me get a bit of a jump start on it for next year.

In the meantime here’s a couple of shots of Emily and her friends before they left for their Junior Prom.


It has been a couple of overcast, dreary, days here and it is sprinkling outside as I write this.  But I would like to show a house that I shot recently for one of my realtor clients.  This is an early 19th century (about 1808) stone barn that has been converted into an incredible house.  It has four bedrooms on 3 different levels in the main portion of the house.  The master bedroom has it’s own fireplace and a separate loft area that could be an office or work-out room.   In the lower level, which has it’s own private entrance and I guess could be considered an in-law apartment or something like that, there is another 2 bedrooms and a completely separate kitchen.  It was very nicely decorated and just had a wonderful feel to it.  In an interesting design twist the you basically entered at the mid-level of house.  The only thing on this level was the master suite.  There was an opening in the wall to give you a wonderful view of the great room.  On the opposite side there were the stairs that lead to the other levels where the other bedrooms were.  In the middle were the stairs that lead to what I called the living level.  This level consisted of the kitchen, dining room, family room, great room and the utility room for the washer and dryer.  An odd layout but it really worked.  All of the stone was from the original construction and they maintained a lot of the original rough cut beams through out.   Very cool.  It was, however, extremely challenging to shoot.  It had some very dramatic lighting but in general was a little on the dark side in the middle with a lot of bright Sunshine streaming through the windows in the back of the house.  Lot’s of dynamic range.  I measured in some of the rooms as much as 8 stops difference front to back.   It forced me to break out the big flash as my Speedlights weren’t cutting it. Especially in the great room.  This room was one of the few places that I’ve had to use more than 1 flash to fill.  The room was so large and the light fall off so great at the far end I ended up using a 200 watt second strobe (wishing I had a little bit more too) and a Speedlight.  I used the strobe with a shoot thru umbrella up high to fill the far end and the Speedlight with a Gary Fong Lightsphere down low to take care of the close stuff.   All in all I think these are going to make great additions to my portfolio.

The Morris House

As promised here are a few shots from the Morris House Hotel that I shot the other day.  This is a quaint hotel located just off of Washington Square in Downtown Philly.  The original building was built in 1784 and has all the charm of that period.  It is beautifully appointed and has a wonderful garden area that is a great place to relax.  It’s only about 3 blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and all of that history that is Old Town Philadelphia. Nothing else exciting to say other than in full on packing mode in anticipation of the move.  Enjoy these and have a great Sunday.

More for Hotel Tonight

Not just one but two shoots yesterday for Hotel Tonight.  I did a lovely little hotel by the name of The Morris House.  It is a converted mansion built in 1784.  Very nice.  It has a beautiful courtyard and wonderful restaurant called “M“.  The staff was exceptionally nice.  I want to single out Lenka for making everything possible there.  A big “Thank You” to you.  On the way home I shot the Wyndham at the Philadelphia airport.  A big “Thanks” to Lisa and Harry for being so accommodating and welcoming.  Photos of both will be here shortly.