Blog Post 33 - Live Music Photography

As I continue to learn and grow in the world of photography, new and exciting opportunities present themselves. Over the past few weeks, I've begun to build a musical portfolio for my website. Photos include shows from bands like Turnover and the Oak Ridge Boys. I have learned a substantial amount of knowledge over these past few weeks that have been beneficial to my photography as a whole. I'm loving shooting photos of bands and performances and hope to continue.

On Monday, March 21st, a local band called "Magnolia." had a show at the Lizard Lounge in Downtown Lancaster. I know all the guys in the band and they asked if I would shoot the show. I graciously accepted and agreed to shoot before and during the show. I met up with the guys around 4:00 pm and after a quick bite to eat at Sheetz, we headed down into the city to unload gear and get ready for the performance. 

The Lizard Lounge is a bar and arcade located below the chameleon club in Lancaster, PA. The lighting is virtually nonexistent and the space is fairly small, so I knew I would have to be smart about the way I shot. I put my camera on a lower shutter speed and raised my ISO to around 16,000. I knew the image quality would not be great, but I was working with poor lighting, so I had to make do.

Magnolia was 2nd in a group of four bands that played. I shot their entire set and made sure not to get in anyone's way; obstructing their view or distracting from the performance. after about 30 minutes, the guys wrapped up their set. We played pool for a while and eventually headed home. 

Overall, I had a fun night. I got some good photos and was able to vlog the whole experience. feel free to check it out here.

Until next time! - Evan

Blog Post 32 - New York City

After a very spontaneous decision, my friend Alyssa and I took a train up to New York to spend the day in manhattan and Brooklyn. 

The day started in Lancaster with an uneventful train ride over to Philadelphia, then New York. Alyssa and I had both not been in the city for a while, and since it was only a day trip, we wanted to make the most of the little time we had. 

The first thing we did in the city was visit the Museum of Modern Art. For decades, MoMA has been a great place for creatives to go and look at art from the past two hundred years to find inspiration. The architecture of the museum was beautiful. The museum is centered on an open floor, with the exhibits going around it, stacked on on top of the other. As you move up the floors, you’re able to look off of balconies down to the open area. While walking on the 4th floor, I saw a stair-way shown by a cut out in the wall across the museum. It wasn’t until Alyssa and I found ourselves on the other side of the museum when I had the idea to use it as a framing tool for a portrait. Alyssa waited in the stairwell while I made my way to the other side of the museum and shot across to get what turned out to be a pretty interesting composition. Since I was on the other side of the museum, Alyssa and I couldn’t communicate, so I wasn’t able to pose her. Luckily, she was pretty good at posing herself and I managed to get a few shots that I thought look really good. 

After about an hour and a half in the museum, we made our way over to Central Park. I've been to New York a handful of times, but this was the first time I’d been to Central Park in ten years. Central park in the fall is beautiful. The fall atmosphere and the yellow glow of the trees made for beautiful lighting. Alongside that, the feeling in the park is much different from that in the city. The city feels more congested and everyone seems to be trying to sell you something. In the park, it is much more open and the only people you really see are tourists, except for the Buddhist Monk who sold me a hand-made bracelet for two dollars. Alyssa and I spent about an hour in the park before taking a taxi down to Soho for lunch and shopping. 

I didn’t get too many photos in soho, but I did meet an awesome photographer by the name of Bryan Close. He Screen prints designs of cameras he draws onto shirts. (and of course I bought one). All the shops we went into were cool, but extremely expensive. We do like to stay fashionable, but Alyssa and I both agreed we weren’t ready to drop $500 on a pair of sunglasses, or $800 on a light-weight jacket, so we headed down to the Brooklyn Bridge.

The architecture of the bridge was excellent, but the lighting was not. So we ended up just walking across like tourists, not too focused on getting photographs.

In, Brooklyn, the two of us strolled about the parks on the west end before heading to Shake Shack for a much anticipated dinner. I'd never been to a New York Shake Shack before but I was pleased with my vanilla milkshake and hamburger. The best part the meal was our table, A small table placed right next to a window with the freedom tower framed perfectly in between. 

After our meal, we started towards Mainstream park, but happened upon a small wooded area right outside of the river cafe. The whole thing was covered with small, warm lightbulbs. The scene was almost dreamlike as we made our way across. I snapped a few pictures to capture the moment. 

Our evening in New York ended with a perfect view of the skyline. We climbed out on rocks and just looked at the beautiful skyline for about half and hour. 

For me, this was probably my favorite trip to New York. I usually don’t like the city, but I found some of the best parts of it I feel. 

Until next week! - Evan 

Blog Post 31 - Filling the Frame

Photographs can range from a simple snapshot, to images with lots of planning and preparation. The photo in question today sits right in the middle of that scale. Start to finish, my friend James and I spend six hours working on this image.

 The idea came to me over the summer; I wanted to combine ideas from two of my favorite photos. The first photo was one of the sample images from the release of canon’s 50-megapixel camera, the 5DSR. The image showcases a frame completely filled with detail. Since the selling point for the camera was its astounding resolution, the frame was filled so you could zoom in and still see all the detail the image has to offer.

 The second image by was taken by a photographer named Jared Polin. It’s a self-portrait taken with all of Jared’s photo-prints spread throughout his loft. The idea is to get a picture of himself, as well as showcase his work. Both photo concepts fill the frame and showcase work, which is exactly what I tried to execute.

  James and I got to work building the set in my basement. We ended up taking rugs from most of the rooms in my house and all the fake plants we could find. Centered around a red chair, the photograph considered of all sorts of classical, yet clashing elements. We put records on shelves, paintings on the wall, and scattered plants throughout.

 I had two subjects for this piece, James and myself. James dressed in a suit to be classy and classic. I wore an outfit that I chose and typically would wear on a photo-shoot.

  The first photos taken were of James. Due to the large scale of the photograph and my lack of lighting equipment, we had to take the photo as a four second long exposure. This mean that my cameras sensor would be picking up light for four seconds and any motion would be picked up as blurry. Since we were capturing the photo in this style, James had to sit very still.

 Capturing the photo went smoothly and I soon took James' place as the subject of the photo, meaning he snapped the photo. When I saw the final image later on my computer, I sent James a Snapchat of the photo saying, "You sure take a mean photo".

 Following my portrait, we moved into our deconstruction phase of the afternoon. James and I moved everything back throughout my house and went about the rest of our evenings.

 Overall, I really like this photo. I think the concept for the photo is strange and was executed well, considering I really didn’t have a plan. Check out the vlog here http://bit.ly/2g1EKKS

Until next time! - Evan

Blog Post 30 - 5D Mark III

In the fall of 2014, I went on a photography outing with my friends Carly and Tia. Tia and I had just met that day in our schools photography club. She shot on the 5D Mark I and I thought it was so cool because the camera had a full frame sensor. My most vivid memory of the day was viewing the back LCD screen of her camera to chimp the image she had taken of Carly and me. I really liked the image, but fell in love sensor size. For me, there was a noticeable difference between her full frame camera and my crop frame camera.

In photography, there are a few different sensor sizes. The two most common are full frame and crop frame sensors. Crop frame cameras are usually better for sports and wild life, where portrait photographers primarily use the full frame sensor. The camera I owned at the time was a crop frame camera. It was a great camera, but I wanted to get more out of it and felt limited by the sensor.

About two months after our photo outing, I took a huge leap bought my 5D Mark II because I knew that portraiture was the style of photography I wanted to peruse. Having a full frame camera has given me more flexibility with being able to work in tighter spaces. The image noise is also significantly decreased due to the larger sensor. The Mark II was great for all these reasons and many more, making it my main camera for the past 2 years. The Mark II is a great camera, but I needed another body for the kind of shoots I was doing. After much consideration, I decided to go with the 5D mark II’s successor, the 5D Mark III.

The Mark III is one of those game changer cameras. The functionality is far beyond most cameras. First of all, the mark III has more than 6x the auto focus points of the mark II. Having more auto focus points means that I’m able to have my lens focus on different parts of the frame instead of just in the middle. 

I felt that the only way to get to know the camera is to go out and shoot with it. I went out with my friend Tia to a local hiking trail and Downtown Lititz to take some portraits. After some brief testing, I found that the camera is way sharper than my mark II. First of, its auto focus is faster and more precise. Secondly, it has more auto focus points, so there’s a lot more I am able to do with composition. Finally, the larger LCD screen makes it easier to check exposure settings and image quality during a shoot.

Over all, I love the mark III and would highly recommend getting it if you’re looking into buying a full frame body.

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 29 - Why I Love My 70-200

Photo of Carly taken with the 70-200

You will often hear photographers say "It's not about the gear, its about the photographer". This quote explains philosophy that a photographer with experience and a "bad" camera will always be able to get better shots than a photographer with less experience using "the best of the best" camera. I do agree with this philosophy for the most part. 95% of photography is the photographer, but over the years have found some pieces of gear that I think, regardless of skillset, should be in your camera bag. 

One of these items is a 70-200mm F/2.8 lens. I bought the Tamron version of this lens about a year and a half ago and it is in my bag for almost every shoot I go on.
 
First of all, this lens is a portrait photographer’s best friend. I use this lens at every wedding, headshot, and senior portrait session I shoot. The lens is amazing for blowing out the background and getting sharp, shallow depth of field in portraits. The lens has a great zoom range as well. During a wedding, I’m able to get wide and tight shots from the same place, which I wouldn’t be able to get with a prime lens, such as an 85mm.

The second reason I love this lens is because it is so versatile. I use it primarily for portraits, yet have found myself using it at events, product photo shoots, sports, and even during my most recent wedding video. I don’t shoot a lot of wildlife myself but have seen breath-taking photos that were taken of animals with the 70-200mm F/2.8. 

The third and final reason why I love this lens is because of its amazing auto focus performance. Its speed, accuracy, and sharpness are unparalleled to any other lens that I own. It’s nice to have a reliable lens that I trust because I’m not always in a situation that I have control of, but I’ll never worry about how my lens will perform.
 
Overall, this is my favorite lens that I shoot on. It’s extremely versatile and if I’m ever in a pinch, I never have to worry about its performance. If you are looking into adding another lens to your bag, I would highly recommend a 70-200mm F/2.8.

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 28 - Pittsburgh Trip 1

Adding to the excitement of being a high school senior, I found myself in Pittsburgh this weekend. The trip had a few different points to hit, first of which was to tour Robert Morris University in Moon Township, just 30 minutes outside of the city. Alongside the tour, I would also visit my cousin and walk about the city with my parents. 

As it turned out, my friend Carly was in town for the weekend. Since she attends school in Pittsburgh, she caught a ride with us over. The trip started Sunday morning with a four-hour drive across Pennsylvania. I love long car rides, but they’re typically uneventful. 

We got into the city around 3:00PM. This was the first time I'd been to Pittsburgh in almost ten years, last time being on my 8th birthday. My first impression was that the city is more open than most. One of the reasons I possess distaste towards places like New York City and Philadelphia is because of how cramped it feels. City’s like those two are great cities, but they always feel too cramped for me personally and Pittsburgh feels more open 

Carly and I walked around the city and her college campus with my parents before we parted ways. My parents and I headed down the hilly landscape and back over to our car where we made our way downtown. We were in () and checked out some of the local shops and enjoyed an awesome Mexican food dinner with my cousin at ().

Following dinner, we drove across town to Allegheny Landing, right across from PNC Park. The plan was to take a photograph of the skyline, but 2 unexpected events took place and made the photo more challenging than I had hoped for. First of all, there was a Steelers game that night and all of the possible parking spots in the city seemed to be taken. A Minor setback, but the solution was a solo mission to the park while my parents hovered on the street side across the way.

The second issue was a chain-linked fence placed right in the middle of the park. The frames I waned to capture were either on the other side of, or obscured by a fence. Since I couldn’t get down to the river front, I chose to go up to the fence and telescope my tripod over it. In order to see my rear LCD screen, I had to stand on top of a piece of construction equipment. To make matters worse, it was slightly drizzling, so everything was wet. Luckily, I got the shot.

The evening wrapped up with a drive to the hotel and a successful college tour the next day. Check out the vlog here (http://bit.ly/2cTAnAc)

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 27 - Emily and Daniel's Wedding

On Sunday, September 11th, I was given the opportunity to shoot a wedding video for my friends Emily and Daniel. Not much of a filmmaker myself, I still agreed because I’ve worked on film sets and have a grasp on the concept.

Pulling onto the 40 acre property the wedding would be held on, I immediately knew the day was going to go well; it was just a feeling I had. The sky was filled with big, white, puffy clouds and the humidity from the past few days had finally broke. I tend to get hot when I shoot weddings, but the property had thick tree line throughout, producing nice shade and therefore areas to help stay cool.

Emily and Daniel were adamant on making sure that they didn’t see each other until the ceremony (which even included not texting each other which I thought was really cute).  This meant that we were to do the bridesmaids and groomsmen photos separately. The wedding photographers Emily and Daniel hired were a husband and wife team, so they were able to have one photographer with the groomsmen and on photographer with the bridesmaids.  Since I was there doing video by myself, I was only able to be in one spot at one time. I ended up divided the time equally, filming half of the groomsmen photo-shoot and half of the bridesmaids photo-shoot. I would was nervous in that I didn’t want to miss any special moments, but it ended up working out.

After the photos, I headed up to the clearing that the ceremony would be held, shooting decor before setting up my cameras to capture the ceremony. The ceremony was held in a large clearing in the center of a wooded area. The only access to the clearing was through small pathways leading back to the open property. At the start of the ceremony, Daniel and the groomsmen walked up the aisle and waited patiently for Emily to enter through the pathway.

Escorted by her father, Emily walked into the clearing and down the isle. This moment was very special because it was the first time Daniel saw Emily in her wedding dress. The look on both their faces told that they are both truly in love with each other.

After a beautiful ceremony and pictures of the wedding party, Daniel, Emily, the two photographers, and I all hopped into a golf car (made to hold two people) and rode into the woods to get shots of the couple. The four of them sat in the front and I volunteered to hang of that back, it was quite the adventure. I nearly fell off while riding down bumpy dirt path, but in the end it was worth the experience.

The five of us came to a clearing and set up for some shots. The light was just above the tree line creating warm, inviting light for the shots. The weather and the time of day made for a very relaxed and simple photo-shoot, resulting in excellent photographs and video. I was at the wedding to capture video, but couldn’t restrain myself from snapping a few photos of my own. After that, we headed up to the reception, which was filled with great food and lots of dancing.

Emily and Daniels wedding was a lot of fun. I super pleased with how the video images turned out. You can watch the video here (http://bit.ly/2dhPT67).

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 26 - Creative Women

Recently I was given the opportunity to do lifestyle photo work for a company called Creative Women. Creative Women has been selling textiles designed as a counterpoint to mass-produced, modern living for over ten years. Creative Women employs artisans in Ethiopia and Mongolia to hand make lightweight blankets, hand towels, table runners, and so much more. “By creating a sustainable niche for these artisans, Creative Women helps to ensure their craft supporters health, education, and economic stability of their families” - Bekah Fry (Creative Director).

I was tasked by the Creative Director Bekah to take photos of all the textiles they sell on their website. I've shot product photos before, but what made this shoot especially interesting was the lifestyle element. Instead of doing the stereotypical white backdrop product photo-shoot, lifestyle shoots add home elements and accents into the photo, creating an atmosphere for the products to live in.

Some of many textiles

The shoot took place at a space in downtown Lancaster called Hingework. Previously used as a cigar box factory, the space was transformed into a collaborative workspace for creatives in 2016. The large open floor plan of the office room creates a unique environment for creatives to either collaborate on new ideas or projects, or simply work independently.

Hingework has a few different rooms, but my favorite was an all white room used as a photo studio. Everything from the walls to the ceiling is painted white, including a brick wall in the back of the studio. Windows run up and don the side of the room, letting in tons of natural light. Typically for I shoot like this I would be using flash, but for most of the shots I got, I was able to use the natural light coming in through the windows. 

In total, Bekah and I spent about 12 hours in the Hingework studio staging and shooting the photos; it was a lot of fun. For anyone who is looking to buying hand made textiles, I would highly recommend Creative women. Their products are extremely well made and their cause is noble.

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 25 - Colorful Explosions

The idea was pretty simple. I wanted to have a person throw a dustpan full of colored powder at a model and capture the moment where a colored powder hit their back and exploded behind them.

I started my day at a local coffee shop to work out the logistics for the shoot. I allotted a $50 budget for the photo-shoot to cover the cost of baking flour, shirts, and faux decor flowers. Originally, I thought it would be a cool idea to light the flowers on fire, but realized that baking flour is extremely flammable I reconsidered. Another important part of the shoot was having a crew of people to help. I drafted my friend Ian to help with the technical side of things such as setting up the shoot and throwing the flour, as well as the help of my friends Chris and Griffin to model for the photographs. I went to a few stores to pick up supplies, but couldn’t find any powder that I could add to flower to color it, so I decided I would have to add color in later.

Set up was one of the easier elements of the photo-shoot. I set up four flashes around a tarp, which was laid out to catch most of the flower that fell after hitting the subject. I would have the subject stand to the side of the tarp, then have another person stand to the opposite side of the subject to throw the baking flour at them. We set up for the photo around 7:30, and then waited for nightfall. 

The four of us were all kind of nervous for the first shot because we weren’t sure if it was going to work. Ian put a handful of baking flour in the dustpan, got my signal, wound up his arm, threw the flower towards Chris, and completely missed. It was hysterical. Learning from his mistakes, Ian figured out what he had to do. After a few attempts throwing to the side and back of Chris, Ian got a system down that worked every time. I checked the photos in camera and loved the results I was seeing. The group then decided to switch gears and have Griffin model. 

For Griffin, we wanted to lay her hair on a table and then have her bend over said table. After putting baking flour in her hair, she would stand up rather quickly and the flour would create a cool arc effect over top of her. This Idea worked almost every time and the results we got looked awesome. We tried a few more ideas and then wrapped up the shoot.  

Clean up was pretty gross because absolutely everything way covered in flour and it got everywhere. Alongside the flour going everywhere, it also clumped up where we threw it around the tarp and it's still there (as of three days post shooting). 

All things considered, I feel that this photo shoot was a success. Be sure to check out the vlog of this story

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 24 - Boston Trip

I decided to take a break from blogging over the summer to focus on other photography related aspects of my life. Now that my senior year of high school is in full swing, I will have more time to write and will be able to resume the weekly blog posts I started back in January of this year.

Over the summer, I had a handful of exciting and different photo trips, but one of my favorites was a quick three-day trip to Boston. I was in Boston to help out on set for a documentary, help shoot video for a dissertation at MIT, work on final post process tweaking of a short film I had been director of photography on earlier in the year, and explore the city of Boston with my camera. I took a bus up to Boston on Sunday night and arrived Monday morning. I met up with my friend Nick and went straight to the Documentary location, followed by MIT, then editing at Nick’s house. Over all, the day was long and tiring, but I managed to get a lot done.

The next day I woke up and headed straight to the city to explore and take photos. I shot in the Boston Public Library, Acorn Street, and some cathedrals, but the most memorable photo I took on the trip was a photo of the Boston skyline at Fan Pier Park, which is right across the fort Point Channel on the northern end of Boston.

Nick and I got to the park around 7:30. The sun sets at about 8:15, and the lighting isn’t the best until about 8:45, so we were early. We walked around the whole park looking for compositions. The park overlooks a shipyard and has a sort of chain fence. (I googled what they are called, but my search was inconclusive. If you know what they are called, leave a comment down below). We waited for a while and the sun finally set. I framed up my composition so that my foreground interest would be focused closely on Fence, which would then lead the viewers attention to the to the buildings in the left third of the photograph.

In photography, parts of the photo are in focus and parts of the photos are out of focus. If I wanted the foreground in focus (because its so close), I would have to sacrifice having the background out of focus. One way around this is using a technique called focus stacking. The way it works is by taking multiple images, focused on all the different parts of the photo you want to be in focus, them stitching them together later in a photography program such as Photoshop.

I took three photographs to get the photo. I took a photo of the front of the chain in focus, a photo of the back of the chain in focus, and a photo of the skyline. I did three different variations of the composition totaling nine photographs. Once at nicks, I stitched them together and came up with the final product.

My Boston trip was excellent. I was able to get portfolio worthy shots and have a great time while doing it!

Until next week! - Evan

 

Blog Post 23 - Rehoboth Beach

Landscape photography is on of the more difficult styles of the art form. Much preparation and work goes into capturing a photo that often might not even work out. At times it doesn’t seem worth it. Alongside preparation, there’s landscape composition, which is made up of two elements of interest, foreground and background. Foreground interest is what your frame is focused on, whether it is a rock or a tree, it’s the main focal point of the photograph. The second element is the background interest. This is typically the sky, but it can be something like water or a mountain range as well. Over the years, I’ve learned that regardless of the location, there is always a way to find a good frame for a photo, you just need to know where to look and have the patience to know that you will most likely fail the first few times.


I spent last week in Rehoboth Deleware. My main goal for the trip was to wake up every morning and shoot the sunrise over the ocean. On my fifth day, I ended up with an unexcpected composition. 


I awoke at 4:45 and headed out the door. The weather was desolate and covered in clouds. I knew that I wouldn’t want to drive to the shoreline just to be greeted by a colorless sunrise, but I was already up, so I headed into the town of Rehoboth and went straight to the shore. I learned two things that morning. Parking is free in the city before 8:00AM (Sweet), and the shores closer to Rehoboth have decommissioned wooden jetties. I walked along the shore for a while until I found the perfect jetty. It was a long outstretched wooded structure sitting perfectly between the tides highest advance point and lowest receded point. Up the sides of the supports ran thin green moss, which popped in beautiful contrast with the rest of the frame. I framed the jetty into the center of my frame, so the lead in lines would take the viewers focus into the center of the frame and up to the sky. The only issue that I had was that there was no background interest in the sky; it was just a sea of dull gray overcast. Frustrated, I began to look around for other photo ideas. There was an asortment of shells to the side of my composition of which I could have used to get the stereotypical and so called "artsy" beach photo, but I wasn’t too interested. Just as I was about to pack up my camera and head back to the house, I noticed that the clouds behind my composition could make for interesting background interest as long as they continued to move east and into my frame. I reset my camera and waited for the wind current to move them into the picture. The clouds were moving rather quickly, so timing was key. At this point, the sun was over the horizon, but not entirely visible due to cloud cover. By the time the storm clouds reached the frame, the sun was high enough to shine through the clouds, giving them a vivid glow that tears through the center of the frame. I managed to snap two photos before they were too far-gone and out of frame. I walked back to my car knowing that I got a good photograph, which in landscape photography is a rare, yet great feeling.

Until next time! - Evan

Blog Post 22 - DIY Card Wallet

I would like to start this weeks blog by apologizing about missing last weeks post. I am Director of Photography on a new movie called "Jim's Lanes" by endScene productions and was able to post due to the crazy shooting schedule. Weekly blog posts will resume starting now. 

A camera takes memory cards. The memory card my camera uses is called a compact flash card. Having multiple cards is a good idea because they fill up with pictures rather quickly, and having more means you are able to shoot more photos. I store all my extra cards in a Ruggard brand card wallet. The card wallet is exactly what it sounds like. My specific case is made of rubber and plastic and holds four cards. I used it for a while, but after about six months, the binding keeping the two halves together broke apart, leaving me with two sides of a card wallet. Instead of buying another card holder, I wanted to see if I would be able to repurpose an Altoids tin and use it as a card wallet. 

Inside the original card wallet are four smaller card holders. These holders pop out. My idea was to secure the four holders in the Altoids tin. I liked this idea because it's both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The issue that I encountered was that the holders didn’t fit into the tin completely, but that was solved by cutting the edges with an X-Acto knife. Once cut, I glued them into the container so they wouldn’t move around.

Im pleased with the end result of this project. It was quick and simple to do and very practical in the long run, since I made it for free. Check out the full video here: http://bit.ly/1sH9DGz

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 21 - Carly's Birthday and Hiking

May 28th was my friend Carly’s 18th birthday. Since we wanted to do something different, in place of a typical birthday celebration, we went hiking. Carly and I decided to go up to the Governor Dick Observatory Tower at Clarence Schock Memorial Park. We packed our camera bags and at about noon I picked Carly up and began our easy 30 minute drive to the park.

We arrived and quickly realized that my phone GPS took us to a restaurant and not the park (thanks apple maps). The two of us drove around the town to try and find these supposed hiking trails. The journey took us to the Mount Gretna Lake and Beach where we asked an employee for directions. As it turns out, in order to get into the town of Mt. Gretna, you actually have to pass the entrance to the park we were looking for. Carly and I felt like pretty big goofs for not realizing upon arrival that we passed it. Nevertheless, we made it to the trail and commenced our trek to the top. 

Immediately two things were realized. It was incredibly humid and the bug spray we used decided not to work. These two elements made for a very uncomfortable trip, but we didn’t let that hurt our spirits because we were determined to get to the top. The hike was fairly easy. We took a few different trails which led us to the main gravel path. From there we walked about twenty more minutes before we came to the final stretch of the hike. Towards the peak of the mountain, we came to a clearing with the observatory tower sitting at the end.

The closer I got to the tower, the more I realized how thin it was. Carly explained that unlike observatory towers we've been to in the past, the method of getting to the top was ladders and not stairs like I had hoped. A journey up a set of ladders with a bag and a camera in hand would not be easy, but I'm always up for a challenge. There were 9 ladders to climb from the bottom to the top of the tower and each one was about 12 ft tall. The ladders were off set from each other on platforms which means the climber would scale one latter and arrive on a platform, then walk to the next latter and repeat the process. I'm not entirely sure how I managed to do it but I made it to the top of the tower. I walked out of the ladder covering and saw an astounding view. I was able to see for miles over beautiful Pennsylvania mountains. 

This whole day was documented as a vlog as well. Check out the video on my youtube channel: http://bit.ly/24jpl6h 

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 20 - My DIY Desk Lamp

This week I went online looking for a lamp (I know this is a weird way to start a blog but stick with me). I needed a lamp for the table in my studio. There’s a style of lamp that is very popular on Etsy called "Pipe table lamps". These lamps look great but cost so much more than what I’m willing to spend on a simple lamp. The specific one I was looking into cost $170, which is too much money for a lamp. I decided that instead of buying this pipe lamp, I was just going to build it. 

There are two primary aspects to building a pipe lamp; constructing the frame and wiring it. For my project, the frame would be built out of black steel pipe with a silver junction box for an outlet and light switch. Once the frame was completed I would then wire the lamp. I purchased all the necessary items from home depot for $40 (so far so good, I’m under budget and haven’t gotten electrocuted). I returned home and got to work, but immediately ran into problems (since the reoccurring theme of these blogs is "Evan runs into some sort of issue"). I assembled the whole frame and realized that it would be incredibly difficult to run the wire through it like I had hoped because the wire is not that flexible. What I ended up doing was attaching string to the end of the wires and pulling it through the frame. This took a decently long time considering how simple the task is. Once all the wiring was through, I connected the outlet and switch to a light bulb socket and three-prong plug. 

Before I screwed the base onto my table and finished the project, I had to test out the lamp to make sure it would work. This was little bit scary because so many things can go wrong. I didn’t want to get electrocuted or start a fire. Luckily the lamp turned on first try with no issues. I screwed the baseplate into the table and attached the lamp to it. The wiring ran throughout the lamp and in through a hole hidden by the baseplate. I tested the lamp one final time to make sure everything was in working order, then threw a tiny lampshade over the bulb

In my opinion the lamp looks really good. It has a fully functioning light switch and outlets, which are perfect for charging my phone or laptop as I work. It makes a great addition to the table!

Until next week! - Evan 

Blog Post 19 - Shooting Sunsets

One style of photography I find extremely tricky is sunset photos. I love the way they look but have never been able to capture one that stands out. The issue is the sky is significantly brighter than the ground during sunset. Since the sun has already began to lower for the day, the ground has no way of being lit and therefore my camera sensor will produce and image with a dark ground if exposed for the sky. However, the only way to get better in photography is to keep shooting. A few days ago I noticed that the sunset looked really good and decided to go out and try to shoot it with my friend Carly. The easiest place to shoot sunsets in Lancaster is anywhere you can get a clear shot of a barn in a field, since Lancaster is predominantly barns and fields. I know of a great location a few miles out from the city, so thats where I decided to go. After parking in a retirement village not too far from my location, I headed over. Carly texted me saying that she would be a few minutes late. A tricky part of getting a clear shot of a barn is that you could potentially get into trouble for walking on another persons land. I was walking the perimeter of the field to get closer to the barn when I saw the farmer whose field it was. I began to walk into the field knowing that if he had an issue with what I was doing, he would come up to me and ask me to leave. I walked out to the center of the field and pointed my camera at the barn. I shot a few different photos but was still having the same issue that I always have, the exposure of the image did not look that great. Now there is a style of photography called HDR, which combines multiple photos of the same compositions set at different exposures. When you out these photos into specific ending softwares, it combines them and creates and evenly lit photograph. It seems easy enough but whenever I do it, it never seems to work out. 

 

 

At this point in the photoshoot Carly showed up and began taking photographs of her own. Carly shot a few on her kit lens and then switched over to a 100mm F/2.8 macro lens. This I thought was an interesting approach to the whole idea because when I showed up to the shoot, I just went straight into shooting wide angle sunset shots. Carly, on the other hand, was thinking outside of the box and taking macro photos with the sunset in the background which I though was super creative. (unfortunately Carly is on a trip right now and can’t send me her photos)

Blog Post 18 - Preparing for a Photoshoot

As the temperatures are beginning to rise and the foliage are springing to life, us photographers know that photography season is ready to begin. I like to refer to spring as "Photography season" because that is when it’s finally a great time to go out and get photos. It’s very hard to get photos in the winter because those months are a sort of dead season. Since I personally specialize in senior portrait photography, this is not only the start of photography season, but its also the start of portrait season due to the abundance of beautiful scenery that pops during springtime. Since shoots will start to pick up, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post about how to prepare for a photoshoot as a client. Preparation is imperative to a good photoshoot because it helps with any potential issues that could arise during a shoot. Here are 5 tips that I find help when preparing for a photoshoot. 

1. Practice your smile. It may sound odd, but practicing your smile before a photoshoot can help tremendously when posing in photography. By practicing your smile, you as a client are able to better visualize what you might look like in the final image. 

2. Bring the right outfit. Make sure the outfit you want to wear is ready to go the night before photoshoot. This allots enough time before the shoot to insure that if any problems arise, you can fix them. It is also a smart idea to make sure the clothes you are going to wear are clean and ironed. 

3. Bringing water is a smart idea on a photoshoot because there will be lots of walking around. 

4. An important reminder is hygiene. Make sure your fingernails  are trimmed and hair is the way you want it. It seems like such a simple thing but it can make or break a photoshoot. 

5. Try to eat something before the shoot. Becoming hungry during a photoshoot can become pretty bothersome. You become much more focused and have energy as well.

I Hope these tips help you better prepare for your next photoshoot. If you have any tips for preparing for a photoshoot, leave them down in the comment section below. 

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 17 (Tips for Long Exposure)

I get a lot of questions about how I take photos like the one to the right. The technique used in the photograph is called long exposure. Long-exposure photography involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. This was a technique I discovered accidentally while I was messing around with my camera at the beach a few years back. Long exposure can be used in all sorts different ways. There’s light painting, star trails, milky way shots, light painting, water photography, and even a way tomake cars leave trails of light. Long exposure is a super easy concept to grasp. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Make sure its your camera is set to long shutter speed. In photography, shutter speed is the length of time the sensor inside the camera is exposed to light. So with a longer exposure, you allow more time for your sensor to pick up the moving objects in your scene. 

2. Make sure you ISO is low. As a starting point I typically bring my ISO down to 100 for light painting and around 400 for night time photos of the sky. By bring the ISO down, the final images are less susceptible to being overexposed

3. If you’re doing long exposure of water during the day (Like shooting a waterfall), make sure you use a neutral density filter. Neutral density filters limit the amount of light that hits your sensor (basically like sunglasses for your camera). Your sensor will become overexposed If you leave your shutter open for a long period of time during the day, just like if you use a higher ISO when your doing night time long exposure work, so a neutral density filter will help with that.

4. A great thing about long exposure is you don’t need a fancy camera to do it. All you need is a smartphone with the correct app. A few different apps exist, both paid and free, but they are super easy to use and the photos are then right there on your phone.

I hope this helped anyone interested in long exposure photography. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know in the comment section below

Until next week! - Evan

 

 

Blog Post 16 - Photoshoot in a Wood Shop

This week, my friend Kevin and I were given an assignment for a photography class we are taking together. The assignment was to apply settings we had learned in class to real world situations. Obviously, the two of us decided to do portraits. We found a wood shop with a secluded upper floor accessible by a tucked away stair case. The lighting among the floor was dim but incredibly even allowing us the be very versatile with posing and composure; not having to worry about the subject being unevenly lit.

I would consider the two portraits above candids because I didn't have to pose Kevin for these. The photo on the right was taken while I was checking my settings to make sure the exposure was properly set. The photo on the left was a composure that happened on its own. As the two of use were walking through the upper level, we stumbled upon this stretch of shelving with a stool towards the end. Kevin sat down and I got some shots.

Unlike the first two photos, the composition below was staged. The log was originally in a different room, but we rolled it over to this location. The two of us love the composition of the photograph. The shadows in his jacket go well with the shadows casted throughout the room, while his khaki pants bring out the wooden surroundings of the room. All in all I would say the photoshoot was successful, let me know what you think in the moment section down below!

Until next week - Evan!

Blog Post 15 - John Supnik

This week I was given the opportunity to shoot fashion photos for my friend and Instagram star, John Supnik, a model/promoter from Lancaster PA. John contacted me asking to get photos of him in a few outfits companies had sent him. He sent me pictures of the clothes I decided that they would look best in an urban setting. We both decided to go down to Lancaster city for the shoot. Saturday rolled around and there was not a cloud in the sky. It sounds like a beautiful day but its actually one of my least favorite conditions to shoot because it causes harsh shadows due to no natural diffusion from clouds. This meant that I would have to plan out my locations accordingly and make sure there was even light coverage throughout the scene. John and I met in the city around 2:00 and began walking a route I had planned out. The first place we came to was a set of stairs in a nearby courtyard. One of the first things I noticed about John is that he’s is incredibly photogenic. Very little posing was required for this shoot, John really knew what he was doing. Following that, we went to a back alley-way with a nice brick wall. I had john pose with his foot against the wall and one hand in his pocket. It may sound odd, but hand placement of the subject is very important in a fashion photoshoot. If the hand placement is odd, the photo will look odd. Right around the corner from the wall there was a set of steep and narrow stairs in a shaded area. John and I decided to sit for a little bit. Once there, John pulled out his phone and I thought it might be a cool idea to try some candid shots of him. I ended up liking the angle, which was at a wide 24mm, but thought the phone ruined the look we were going for. instead I had john put his left hand on his knee to show off a watch that a company had given him. After a while, John asked if we could get some of him crossing the street. We found a road that wasn’t very busy and decided to try and just get candid shots of him crossing the street while the light was red. This assured that no cars would come and hit him while we were crossing. Since we were now out in the open, as opposed to in back alleyways, we did attract the attention of some passersby. This is a given when you're taking fashion photos in an urban setting, but its always an amusing reminder of how silly we actually look while doing it. We finished our journey on the top floor of our local town market. The lighting inside the building was awesome because it was covered in big windows, so lots of light got into the setting without casting harsh shadows. Right as I finished packing up, a nice women informed us that the market was actually closed and that we would have to leave. This was perfect timing for us because we had just finished up the shoot. I have two take aways from this shoot. fashion photography is a great and fun way to show off different apparel, and if you want people to come into your market while its closed, lock the doors. 

Until next week! - Evan

Blog Post 14 - Staying Inspired

No matter what style of shooting we may do, photographers are always looking for ways to stay inspired. This has remained particularly true for me this year since I’m putting out blog content weekly. This week I want to talk about inspiration since I’m always looking for new ways to stay inspired. Here are a few ways that I personally stay inspired.

1. One of the things I do is find different photos I like and try to re-create them. This is a great way to better yourself as a photographer because you are able to work through the process of a photoshoot with a reference to what the final product is supposed to look like. The method is also a good way help you learn new tricks and techniques. If I do ever end up going with this idea, I always try to mention the original photographer’s name to make ensure they are not discredited.

2.  Another way I stay inspired is by being creative. For example, the current photo series I’m working on right now is (tentatively) entitled “Out of place”. The series incorporates a mix of things that don’t go together in a single photo. This is one of my favorite ideas to do right now because it requires me to think outside of the box and come up with random and goofy designs for photos.  

3. A great way to stay inspired is by carrying a camera wherever you go. Whether its my 5D or just my Iphone, I always have a camera with me and ready to go to capture whats happening around me. You never know when you’ll see that perfect sunset or a picturesque scene, so if you always have a camera, you will never miss it.

4. The final way I like to stay inspired is by going out and exploring. By going for a walk, hike, or even bike ride around my country is usually a successful way to find something worth taking a picture of. I recommend going out with a friend and taking your camera along. If you’ve exhausted all the photographable places in your county, maybe try the next county over. I’ve always been able to get a photo of two by doing this method.

Inspiration is nesscisary to photography, without it, there wouldn’t be a purpose. I hope these tips have helped you to stay inspired. Keep shooting!

Until next week! - Evan