Denver Photographer { Nature Photography }

It’s so rare that I shoot nature photography.  I never seem to be able to find something that I like enough, or is abstract enough, or has enough character to shoot.  I find people so much more interesting to photograph.  So much character.  Human emotions are something interesting all by themselves and capturing that is so much fun.  But I’m always looking for ways that I can branch out a little bit, and expand my photography.  Now I don’t think I’m going to get into the business of selling nature photographs anytime soon, but nature photography has its own challenges.  For me my main problem is deciding on a subject.  A flower is a perfect example.  It’s obvious what the subject is.  My problem is finding that subject in an interesting setting.  something that makes that subject stand out.  I find myself taking pictures of dead flowers a lot more than living ones.  Somehow a dead flower tells a story.  I can’t always say that for living things.

I went out shooting this afternoon around my neighborhood in Berkeley on the west side of Denver.  You gotta love the power hour for shooting almost anything.  This is a classic example of shooting when the sun is just about to set and you get that wonderfully complimentary yellow light that just seems to sell everything that it shines down on.  I found this yard with a ton of Iris in it and the sun was just hitting the very top of the blossoms.  It looked amazing even just seeing it.  I can’t believe I hesitated about shooting them.  I really do need to get over my complex about shooting nature photography.

For this shot the post work was extremely minimal.  Just a little bit of curves for contrast, a little bit of saturation to make the flower pop, and that’s about it.

Photography Stats :

Exposure: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO Speed: 400

Again you can see I’ve gotten back to shooting my primes.  I really wish I could shoot with them more often, but in the fast paced world of shooting clients I simply don’t have time to “zoom with my feet”.  I love the bokeh that I get with my 85mm.   It’s hard not to fall in love with a lens that performs like that.   I think at this point if someone told me I had to be stuck on a desert island with one lens I would pick my 85mm.  Although I guess with a 800mm maybe I could figure out if I was anywhere near land.

Here are some bonus shots.  From the same session.

Photography Nature Denver

Denver Nature Photographer

Hope ya like them.

-Dave

Posted in Commercial Photography, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Playing with Textures { Abstract Photography Denver }

Wall Fine Art Abstract Denver Photography

I can’t believe how inspired I’ve felt lately.  Not only to create amazing portraits, but also to do some abstract work, which I haven’t done much of lately.  I’m finally starting to get more free time, and feel less stressed out at work, and thusly my photography prospers because of it.  I love creating, and it can be especially fun with abstracts when you have such a blank canvas it becomes difficult to find focal points, and put meaning into shots.  So instead I just try and make them look cool. Just kidding.  Even with my abstract shots I try and put “emotion” into them.  I realize that my abstract photography might not always have that “emotion” in it, or that other people might not see it, but I do.  Most of the time.  Although sometimes I do just like it because it looks cool. 

I do like the freedom of abstract photography.  You don’t always have to have everything in focus.  You don’t have to have the perfect skin, perfectly saturated sky, perfect black and white conversion.  It doesn’t have to mean something.  It can just be.  I really need to get back to doing more abstract photography.  I think this last little outing has tought me that coming back to abstract photography after doing so much portraiture I look at it in a totally different way.  It’s almost like my trigger finger craves the freedom.  Looking for ways to escape having to perfectly focus on a models iris.

I also get to shoot my primes for hours at a time, and can feel totally comfortable going on a walkaround with just one body, and one prime.  For this last outing I took my 85mm.  Man o man, I totally forgot how much I love the smoothness of the bokeh on that bad boy.  I mean you can see it in this shot.  The out of focus parts are as smooth as a painting.  I can’t get enough of that.  It’s hard to appreciate that kind of stuff unless you shoot lenses that are less than perfect when it comes to bokeh

It’s funny I feel like my passion for photography is this totally fluid thing.  I always love portraiture, but there are other area’s that I seem to forget about, and then come back to periodically and totally fall in love with all over again.  It’s like I only have a certain amount of photography “juice” and it just ebbs and flows into all the other areas of photography that I love to do whenever it feels like it.  Totally fine by me.  I love being able to surprise myself with new found passion, and new found inspiration. 

Did I mention it’s summer time!  Woooohoooo.  I’m so happy about it being nicer outside.

Photography Stats :

Exposure: 1/1600 sec
Aperture: f/2.0
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO Speed: 200

This image has a ton of work done to it.  First off I started with a fairly bland shot that was mostly just black and white and built it up from there.  I found this great little building downtown that had these great hand painted flowers all over it.  I can’t wait to take a couple there for some engagement shots, but until then this shot will have to do.  I of course did a ton of color correction on it to start with, giving it a vintage film look, added some vignette, and then I started building up about 4 different texture layers.  I simply had all 4 texture layers turned on with varying blending modes, and masked out bits and pieces I wanted or didn’t want from each one.  Layer masks are a real life saver when you’re dealing with this kind of stuff, because you might like something until you put another texture layer on top and then it doesn’t work anymore.  Also when you’re using textures it’s tempting to just erase away what you don’t like.  Again I think this is a bad idea because you’re never going to know what you want or don’t want until you get all your pieces in place. 

Anyways hope yall like it.

-Dave

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Denver Photographer { Abstract Location Scouting }

Fine Art Photographer in Denver Goes Location Scouting

I know it’s rare that I put up something so abstract on my blog, but every once in a while I see an abstract shot that I really enjoy.  This is one of those cases.  I rarely do abstract photography anymore.  I’m far too busy doing portrait photography, which is really my main passion.  But when I first got into photography I did a lot more abstract photography than portraits.  I mean honestly how many times can you take a picture of your friends before they start to get annoyed.

I always enjoyed using textures in my abstract photography.  I think the use of textures adds what I like to call “Crunch” to an image.  Something that makes it a bit gritty, and real.   I’m not sure why but abstract shots without texture tend to bore me.  I tend not to be able to see the character.  In abstracts it’s hard for me to see why the shot is interesting without a bit of texture.  I’m not saying that I put textures on everything, but for the most part I enjoy the life it breaths into an abstract shot.

I took this shot when I was walking around downtown doing some location scouting for an upcoming engagement shoot.  I typically don’t find to many interesting shots when I’m going location scouting.  It seems like my brain is in a different mode when I’m location scouting than when I’m just out shooting.  But this shot just seemed to jump out at me.  It was getting close to sunset.  There was this great looking modern building that I was walking around finding tons of cool areas to do some shooting for my engagement session, and I saw this wall with black windows.  Darkly tinted and perfectly reflecting the mirrored scene across the street from them.  I Knew that this would be a great shot if I could pull off in my head what I was thinking and actually capture it in the camera.  So I paused for a minute, changed to the mode of photographer and not location scouter, and snapped a few shots.  I knew one of them would turn out like I wanted.  I love how this shot almost looks like a double exposure.  It’s actually the gaps between the large windows that create that double exposure look.  Something I’ve really been digging lately.  Not sure why double exposures seem to pop out at me lately, but I sure do like the artistic nature of them.

This shot obviously isn’t straight out of the camera.  Once I got the contrast where I wanted it in Lightroom, I moved it over to Photoshop where I went to work.  This shot has about 6 different texture layers added to it.  And then on the top there is a hue and saturation layer added to give it a warmer glow.

Photography Stats :

Exposure: 1/6400 sec
Aperture: f/2.0
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO Speed: 200

Anyways I hope you like it.

-Dave

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Engagement Photography Denver { Candace + Andrew }

First off if you’re looking for an engagement photographer take a look at my denver engagement photography portfolio.

Man I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve done a real post about some of my recent work.  I’ve been so busy with other things going on in my life it’s been hard to stay on top of blogging.  Not that blogging is really a chore, I love writing about all my photography sessions, and being able to look back on them with some version of commentary.  Even if the commentary is lacking I hope the photography isn’t.

I sure do love spring time.  The weather here has been rainy, but it’s getting better.  Thank goodness for that.  I don’t know how many more rainy days I could take.  It’s not like we live in Seattle!  But spring gives way to summer which means more reliable springtime shooting downtown.  I hate having to be nervous about whether a shoot is going to get rained out.  Thankfully here in Denver that’s usually not so much of a problem.  Although even when it is I still have plenty of indoor locations scouted out just in case.

So anyways back to Candace and Andrew.  Everyone say Hi!  They sure were a nice couple to work with.  Never serious.  Plenty of character, good smiles.  There really isn’t much more I could ask for.  We had a lot of fun even though it was a cloudy day.  I don’t always like the way color shots come out on cloudy days, but man black and whites look fantastic.  Sunny has the advantage of looking great in certain shots, and then having harsh shadows in others, but cloudy days you never have to worry about shadows.  Which makes my life a lot easier.  It’s hard to get couples to look natural when I’m trying to make them move out of each others shadows.

This first shot is in front of my favorite wall in all of downtown Denver.  I swear I lead off with the shots from this wall on more of my blog posts than any other, but it’s just so versatile.  And on this particular day I just so happened to get lucky enough to have a chair hanging out on the sidewalk which changed the whole mode of how I usually shoot this wall.  I still did some of my standard shots, but I loved the dynamic that the chair gives.  And frankly I just love this shot.

Photography Stats: 1/500, f/4, ISO 400, at 48mm on my 24-70 2.8.

Black and White Fine art Engagement Photography

This shot simply goes to prove how great B+W shots come out on a cloudy day.  Great soft light.  No harsh shadows, and I was able to push as much contrast as I wanted to at this shot.  Which is usually a lot for me.  I love really contrasty photography.  Not sure why, but it seems that’s probably because when I started out on film I used to shoot almost exclusively on B+W film.    I like that you can almost make out an outline of the mountains in the background.  Giving context, but not exactly glaring in your face.

Photography Stats: 1/2000, f/4.0, ISO 800, 55mm on my 24-70 f2.8

Bench Engagement Photography Denver

You can see by this point the sun was starting to come back a bit for the day.  I love the added warmth in the tones that some fresh sunlight gives.  I actually have another shot at this same location, that I like better, but I’m saving the surprise for Candace and Andrew.  I just how it really seems like I captured a moment here, something I always love being able to do.

Photography Stats: 1/640 , f/3.2, ISO 400, 70mm on my 70-200 f2.8

Ok here comes the last shot.  But I’m just warning you.  I already understand it’s not the traditional over saturated, engagement photography shot.  But for some reason I absolutely love it.  I still can’t really explain why.  But lets just say this is why I do engagement sessions, so that I can have these artsy moments which really better define what I’m trying to accomplish with my photography.

Hill Photography Services Denver

Photography Stats: 1/4000, f/2.8, ISO 400, 34mm on my 24-70 f2.8

Anyways I hope you like these shots.  Thanks again to Candace and Andrew for a great engagement photography session.

-Dave

Posted in Engagement, Portrait, Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Denver Street Photography

Denver Street Photography

I recently took a trip walking around 16th street mall.  I love Denver.  So may characters, interesting faces.  Denver certainly is just alive with people.  I don’t always see the shots that I want when I’m shooting street photography.  It’s hard for me to get up the courage to really get close and shoot people who aren’t expecting to have their picture taken.  I try and push myself to get closer, see more emotion, and capture unique shots.  This can be really hard sometimes.  This first shot was one where I knew I was going to get exactly the shot I wanted.  I had a a great backdrop, and I knew that if I shot this shot I was going to love it.  This guy had such an interesting look to him.  He seemed a little forlorn, but he also had such an interesting look I couldn’t help but get the shot.  This is what street photography is all about.  Getting interesting shots of interesting people.

Photographer Denver Street

This next shot was an interesting on for me.  I knew that this guy didn’t want me to take his picture so I had to act like I was shooting something else, and then turn my camera at the last minute focus, and shoot.  I don’t always like being so subversive to get the shot, but I knew that this one would be an interesting shot, and I wanted to make sure that I got the shot.  I thought the fact that he was holding the paper open to an interesting quote seemed even more poignant.

Processing on both of these shots was fairly minimal.  A little sharpening, convert to black and white with a little bit of split coloring, to give them a slight brown hue.  Added a vignette, and that was about it.

Hope you enjoy,

-Dave

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Denver Engagement Photography { Kaleb + Colleen }

Denver Engagement Photography

First off if you’re looking for an engagement photographer take a look at my denver engagement photography portfolio.

I know it’s been a while.  I keep promising to stay up on all my posting, and make sure that I post often and write new stuff, but I just keep getting so busy.  This time I’m blaming it on the fact that I had thanksgiving dinner this year at my house.  Yes that means that I cooked a turkey and everything.  It was amazing.  Great food, great family, just all around it was an absolute blast.  I would love to say that I want to host thanksgiving every year, but we’ll see.  I can’t quite tell if my gram is ready to pass that torch along yet or not.  She was all for me hosting the dinner this year, but for some reason still wanted to make the turkey and bring it over.  Gotta love a gram like that.

Anyways back to my adorable couple Kaleb and Colleen.  Everyone say hi!  Seeing as how it’s still practically thanksgiving,…. you know what I’m thankful for?  A cute couple who really wanted to have their engagement photography done around the Denver Art Museum.

I’m not gonna lie, I was a little hesitant at first.  I have never really done engagement photography over in that area, and I was worried about coming up with enough locations that all looked unique and gave them some great engagement shots.  After scouting it out though a few days before the shoot I knew that I would have plenty to work with.  The only difference was that when I do engagement photography downtown there is usually quite a bit of travel time walking from location to location, and I managed to plan out all the locations in a reasonable order so that the travel time was negligible.  Meaning I was blowing through all my locations way too fast.  I just kept getting good stuff and moving on.  Its hard to stay shooting at a location after you know that you got something great.  Really there isn’t much of a point, so towards the end of the shoot I had to really get creative, and use some locations that I just had in the back of my head but wasn’t really planning on using.  This turned out to be a good thing, because I got one of my favorite shots at the very last location we shot at.

This first shot is one of my favorites from the shoot.  I gave the couple a few different versions of this first shot.  However personally I really loved the old 1970’s print look of this shot.  The main reason that they wanted to shoot over in this area was because they said they really liked the modern architecture over on that side of town.  The hard lines, interesting angles.  I can definitely appreciate that.  I love the architecture over in that area too.  Ya know what I love more.  Putting people in front of that amazing architecture.  It was really a lot of fun shooting over there, and it totally got me out of my comfort zone.  Something I think I had really been needing.  It’s always good to get a little push, and push your photography even further.  New locations while still a little worrisome for me can be a breath of fresh air.  Breathing new life into my photography, and the look of my portfolio.  This was that sort of experience.  I got out of my box, and came away with some fantastic stuff not only for the couple, but for my portfolio as well.

Photo Stats : 1/800, f/4.0, ISO 640, at 24mm.

The sun was going down in this shot so I really had to punch the ISO to get a bit of over exposure on the side of the wall like I wanted.  I also wanted them to be crisp and since they were moving around I had to use a fairly high shutter speed.  Turned out exactly like I wanted.  Still a bit of color in the sky, but not completely underexposed people either.  In lightroom I just played with the coloring until I got something I really liked.

I’m nearly positive that I’m the only one who actually likes this next shot, but I love how fun it looks.  I’m also a big fan of these kinds of angles.

Photography Denver Engagement

Engagement Photography Denver

I figured for some nice contrast to the more modern looking stuff we would get some shots over by Civic Center Park.  I only got a few shots from over there, but I sure do like how they turned out.  They worked great as black and white.  I think that older archticture just lookes so cool in black and white.  It already has such cool contrast that pushing it to black and white makes it look even cooler.

Red Wall Engagement Photography Dave Brown

I absolutely loved this red wall.  It was clean, bright, and awsome.  Great stuff to shoot against.  I’m such a big fan of bright colors when it comes to engagement photography.  I try and make sure that I always have some bright colored shots in any of my engagement photography sessions.  Everyone wants some shots that “pop”, and I’m pretty sure that this wall does just that.

Well that’s all the shots I’m going to write about so far.  You can see a few more shots of this cute couple in my portfolio, but I’m saving a few more shots in case I want to do another write up about Denver engagement photography.

Hope ya like,

-Dave

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Denver Fashion Photographer { Goldyn Fashion Show }

Denver Fashion Show

I know everyone is a little tired of seeing shots from this fashion show, but seeing as how I worked on a few more I might as well post them, and talk about them each. Again it’s so weird to me how much more work is involved in fashion photography.  Really it’s so much more of a challenge, getting all the hair right, the makeup spot on, colors perfect, everything has to work so well together. 

Anyways for this first shot I didn’t do too much, again I just cleaned up all the fly aways smoothed out her skin a bit, and did a little bit of dodging and burning.  I found a great dodge and burn technique that involves adding a new layer set to overlay and filled with 50% grey.  Then you paint either black to burn, or white to dodge, or 50% grey to completely remove the effect.  Here I didn’t do too much dodging and burning just added a little bit of depth to the hair, and darkened her lips a little bit.  It’s easy to go overboard with this technique so be sure to use a brush opacity that is really low like 25% or so.  I also brightened up the eyes a bit.  Although I really wish there was some way of creating some version of an iris here.  I’m sure I could figure something out, but again I”m not getting paid for these shots so It’s a little hard to put in that kind of time working on creating the perfect eye on a shot that might never really be seen or used. 

Fashion Runway Model Denver Photography

This shot is my favorite out of all the runway shots for this fashion show.  I’ve only shot a couple of runways before, and if I had to get all the models in every look this shoot would have taken me forever to post process.  This shot I cloned out about 4 people, and did a lot of cloning in general to get the shot to look clean enough to even post.  But I figured it was a fashion show, so I might as well show you some shots from the runway.  This girl had the best runway look out of all of them.  Not cold, not smiling just the faintest hint of warmth.  I like that expression a lot.  The next shot she’s a bit more smiley, but that’s ok I like that look too.  She was just a cute girl all around and walked the runway very well.  This one is definitely my favorite runway shot out of the bunch.  I also had the advantage of having a really big camera so anytime the girls would walk by me they would all give a nice look my direction.  +1 for using a camera big enough to get attention from security guards. 

The lighting for these shots was me bouncing my sb600 off a big white sheet of fabric they had hanging from the cieling.  I still wanted to get some of the backdrop in the shot, so I shot at ISO 640, f 3.2, and a shutter around  1/100.  How did I freeze the motion?  Easy at 1/100 your flash fires and actually exposes the scene.  The flash duration is about 1/2500 of a second so you can easily freeze motion with your flash.  These are things you should always be thinking about. 1. Can I bounce my flash off something so I don’t get point and shoot pictures, and 2.  I don’t have to worry about shutter speeds because my flash is going to freeze the motion for me.

Goldyn Fashion Show Denver Fashion Photographer Dave Brown

Here is my last shot from the runway that I’ll be showing you guys.  Recognize those lights from the previous shots.  Don’t worry you can go look I’ll wait.  Back yet?  Ok see for this last shot I had to do a ton of cloning.  Removing more people and adding something to the black abyss on camera left.  That’s where I took the lights from the first shot and moved them into this shot.  Another nice thing about getting some ambient in the exposure is being able to see some version of a light source.  It helps the viewer imagine the scene a little bit better.  And just based of the shape of the lights you get a sense of what kind of scene this was in.  I like being able to paint a little bit more of a story even if it involves a bit of photoshop trickery.  But just know there were no lights in the original shot, and there were about 4 more people I had to clone out.  Heck at one point I just started painting black, because it was easier, and worked just as well.   

Sorry for more of the shots from the fashion show, I just wanted to post these last few so that I could show you some shots from the runway.  Which is what a fashion show is all about anyways.

Anyways I hope you like em,

-Dave

Posted in Commercial Photography, Denver Fashion Photography, Portrait, Strobist Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments