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Posts tagged “50mm f/1.4

Michael’s First Trip to Coldstone, Plus Photo Talk




Well hello, people! I know. I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve decided to wipe the dust off of my trusty Nikon and get back into this photography game. CALM DOWN! I know you’re excited, but I’m going to ease my way back into this. So don’t expect a barrage of posts … at least not right away.

So, for some strange reason, I realized today that I’ve never taken my son to Coldstone before. For those of you who don’t know, Coldstone is an ice cream shop that is, well, EVERYTHING. Imagine eating the ice cream that you love the most. After eating Coldstone, that ice cream will taste like hobo underwear dipped in a garbage juice au jus. Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to take him. We could eat the ice cream outside, and I could snap some pictures. Image

Everything went very well. He enjoyed the ice cream. “Can we come back here and get the same thing again, Daddy?” BTW, we had the Apple Pie a la Coldstone. My favorite one there. I also took these photos while he was eating.

ImageSo not only is the photo above my favorite of the 3, it’s probably one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken. I love LITERALLY everything about it – the depth of field, his eyes, the ice cream on his mouth … EVERYTHING.

Finally, I’ve decided that going forward, I’m going to dedicate a paragraph or two in each blog post to talk about how I took the photos in the post. Most of what I’m going to say will probably seem like a foreign language to the vast majority of you, but for those of you still learning photography – actually, let me rephrase that – for those of you just starting to learn photography (we’re all always learning), these paragraphs could be helpful.

All of these were very simple shots. There was no work put into them as I was shooting them. These were all shot at f/2.8 on my 50mm f/1.4 prime lens. My camera was in aperture-priority mode, so I set the aperture, and the camera selected the shutter speed based on the available light in order to give me a proper exposure. My ISO was at 200, which is where I keep it unless I have to change it.

One weird thing that I’ve always noticed is that, in-camera, when pictures look like they’re properly exposed, they always look too dark when I view them on my computer. That was the case with these. When I opened them in Photoshop, I changed the exposure on all of them, increasing them about half a stop apiece, basically until they were pleasing to my eye. I sharpened them a bit, whitened his eyes, removed a blemish a two or on his face, smoothed his skin a bit, and that was it for any post production.

So that’s it for now. Feel free to leave a comment here or my Facebook fan page, and I promise I’m going to start updating this more often.



Braylon Edwards: The Diamond Life

Oh yes, the champagne was flowing and all the beautiful people and celebrities came out last night for Braylon Edwards’ “The Diamond Life” event at Cauley Ferrari in West Bloomfield. (Sorry for the long first sentence.)

The event was a fundraiser for the Braylon Edwards Foundation (http://www.braylonedwardsfoundation.org/) and is only the beginning of a weekend full of events set to rake in money for a good cause.

There was a veritable smorgasbord of food options, including chicken and sushi. Of course, Braylon wins major points with yours truly for the open bar. : ) I was drinking Ciroc all night!

Celebrities were in the building as well, including of course Braylon himself, who was not difficult to find for multiple photo opportunities. I also got to chop it up with the reigning Miss Michigan, Channing Pierce, who was a very cool and down-to-earth person.

The highlight of the evening for me (aside from the unlimited Ciroc) was seeing Braylon get serenaded. This is the most wholesome pic I could post. lol

The Braylon Edwards Foundation continues it’s great effort to raise money for others tonight in Ann Arbor with his charity basketball game. Head to the site to buy tickets, or you can donate if you can’t make it. Check out some more pics, and I’ll see y’all next time!

“WALK” It Out

Saturday night, The Roostertail in downtown Detroit played host to the WALK Fashion Show. The event showcased the work of more than a dozen designers, and offered a night of food, drinks, and music.

The show was split into 3 portions: the urban portion, the couture portion, and the couture and high-fashion portion. Each portion was preceded by a musical performance by a local artist.

The Roostertail was jam-packed with eager fashion fans, and the show did not disappoint. Many portions of the show received standing ovations from the excited crowd.

The crowded venue did, however, present several obstacles for me as a photographer. For one, there were A LOT of photographers there. Photographers tend to be … how do I put this nicely? Assholes. They behave as they’re the only person there, ignoring any thoughts of common courtesy or decency – assuming those thoughts even occurred to them in the first place. So I had to spend the vast majority of the show “dealing with” less-than-savory individuals.

Secondly, The Roostertail sits off the water and has giant large glass windows for walls. This provided a stunning light for the show, and the sun stayed up fairly long. So, had the show started on time, the light would have been phenomenal. Unfortunately, by the time the show actually started, the sun was long gone, and the venue was VERY poorly lit.

Despite cranking my ISO way up and attempting to shoot at f/1.4, I was STILL not getting an acceptable shutter speed. So, I was forced to do something I have literally NEVER done while shooting an event: Use fill flash. I took the time to get the settings right to a point where the flash was as unobtrusive as possible. I think the results look pretty natural, and most people probably would not know I used flash had I not just said so.

The show had its issues, but all in all, I think the creators of the show would consider it a great success. Check out some more pics after the jump, and I’ll get back with you guys very soon with a “different” sort of post. 🙂

To see the full set of pics, head right on over here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dtownpistonsfan/sets/72157626381271210/

A Little Fashion Editorial Work

While working on some images from another shoot, I decided to grab a few of my lesser-used images from some fashion editorial work I did while I lived in California and make some new edits to them. I like the way they look now – sort of like they should be in a magazine. I really hope to do more fashion editorial work in the future.  Hell, I hope to do more fashion work PERIOD in the very near future. So I figured I’d throw a few of the images up here for you guys to check out. Feel free to leave some feedback.


I know I keep saying this, but I truly do intend on blogging more often. Although I’ve consistently been inconsistent with blogging, there is a very big difference between my initial inconsistency and my current inconsistency. Before, I was just lazy. Now, I’m busy. So that’s a good thing, right? 🙂


2011 North American International Auto Show


It’s been a while. I haven’t blogged in a little over a week, and in a way, it’s a good thing. So many great things have happened over the course of the past week that have kept me busy, highlighted by the subject of this post: The 2011 North American International Auto Show. I was hired by a very popular car blog to shoot the press preview for the 2011 NAIAS, and I owe it all to Twitter.

I’ve been on Twitter for a little over 2 years, and during that time, I’ve met so many great people. Twitter has been useful to me in ways that few people can understand, and its existence is entirely responsible for my stumbling upon this opportunity. In short, I follow the official Twitter page of the NAIAS. The founder of the aforementioned blog tweeted that he needed a photographer to shoot the show. The NAIAS page retweeted that tweet, I saw it, and the rest is history.

I had no idea what I was in for. It was a long and hectic day… and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I woke up at 3:30 am, and got downtown at 4:30am. The media center opened at 5, and we began working.  Basically, my job (as well as the other photographer there) was to shoot the press conferences. All the major companies had the conferences scheduled, and we had the schedules. When the conference started, the CEO (or whoever was presenting) would come out and speak about the companies achievements in 2010, and their goals for 2011. Then they would bring out a new vehicle, talk about it, and then we’d be allowed to come up and shoot it.

The reason the day was so hectic for me (besides starting at 5am and ending at 7pm) was that the media center was on the 3rd floor of Cobo. Additionally, the bloggers who hired me were live blogging the show. So I had to get the images to them immediately. I would run downstairs, shoot the conference, then run back up to the 3rd floor. I’d give them my memory card, swap it out for another, then run back down to catch the next conference. This happened over and over all day.

One of the ways in which I made sure I was able to get the best images possible was that I got down there early. If the press conference was scheduled to start at 2:30, I’d be at the location at 2:00. This got me in the first row of every single press conference, so I was already setting myself up for success. The down side was that I had to sit there for an hour. Eventually, when the press conference started and they brought a car out, I’d be able to shoot unobstructed pictures from my seat. Then, when they allowed the press up on the stage, I’d have the best angle to get up there first. So I was able to get a lot of unobstructed pictures of the cars, despite the entire scene being a huge dogfight.

All in all, it was a great experience. I’m thankful to be able to have my press badge as a sort of keepsake from the event. I’m also thankful to have this shoot on my “resume.” Being able to shoot the very first NAIAS event – before the charity show and before it opens to the public – is special. While it was a very hectic day, it was a learning experience and an accomplishment I can be proud of. It also was the first in a long line of great photography-related incidents that took place over the course of the past week, but more on that later.

If you want to see all of the images from the 2011 NAIAS, check out the Flickr photo album.

Christmas 2010 and a 2011 Announcement

Christmas 2010 was a special one for me. My son was born in March 2008, shortly after Christmas 2007.  By Christmas 2008, he was too young to appreciate it. By the time Christmas 2009 arrived, he was at a decent age. He had some things he liked, but he was not yet able to express himself well. Additionally, he didn’t have any TRUE passions. He just had things that could hold his attention for a while.

In 2010, as Christmas approached, I began to anticipate it more and more. He gained a deep love for the “Toy Story” movies, which was special to me since I adored them as a child (and I still adore them now). His excitement when I gave him a couple of $8 “Toy Story” figures will forever be etched in memory. He still will not go ANYWHERE without at least a couple of his “Toy Story” figures. He doesn’t even like to leave them in the car while we go in the grocery store. Needless to say, I had big plans for Christmas 2010. My son did not disappointment me.

I don’t have any photos of him opening his Christmas gifts because I elected to record the event instead, but his gasp upon seeing his Buzz Lightyear toy made the wait worth while. Also, right before Christmas, he surprisingly really enjoyed another Pixar movie, “Wall-E.” While it is not my favorite movie by Pixar (the Toy Story movies are), I think it’s probably the BEST film they’ve done to date. I’m surprised that he liked it so much because it’s probably the least kid-friendly of all the Pixar films. There’s not even any dialogue for the first 45 minutes or so. Despite that fact, he asks to watch it DAILY.

I didn’t expect to be able to find any “Wall-E” toys since the movie is a few years old. I went to Target to do the bulk of my Christmas shopping for him, but I couldn’t really find anything that I felt would really wow him. I got him a pair of “Toy Story” shoes, then decided I’d head to Toys R Us to see what they had. I was blown away. They had the absolutely COOLEST “Toy Story” toys I’d ever seen. I wanted one for myself! They had a Buzz Lightyear that has a blinking “laser,” AND the wings pop out! But, I digress. lol (Although my birthday IS 2.5 weeks away. Ahem.) While trying to decide on which Buzz Lightyear I wanted to get him, I spotted several equally cool “Wall-E” toys! I knew my son would void his bowels in happiness to get both a Buzz Lightyear and a Wall-E, so I took the wack ass shoes back to Target and blew all my money on Buzz and Wall-E.

So yeah, it was a good Christmas for me, because it was a great one for him. 🙂

NOW, on to my insignificant announcement for 2011. I have a lot of BIG plans for 2011: Paris, Fashion Week in Sept., and ultimately retiring from Corporate America. In the mean time, I’ve decided to start a little project. First, I’d like to give a bit of background.

I lived in and around Detroit until I was 26 years old. During my adult years here, I did the same old stuff. I ate at the same places. I went to the same clubs every week. I hung out with the same people, instead of expanding my network and meeting new people. I had the freedom to do anything I wanted, and I did the same old shit. Then, I moved to California. While I absolutely loved Los Angeles (except the traffic), the city I lived in was a wasteland. There was nothing to do. Due to my situation, I was unable to meet any new people, and I rarely got out of the house. If I did get out, it was usually just to see a movie. During the 2 years I spent in California, I probably went out to a bar/club a grand total of 3-4 times. All of those times were in Los Angeles. While I did see some great sites, do some great photo shoots, and I truly did love spending time in LA, I look back at my time in California as an overall negative experience. It’s not a knock against California. It’s more of an indictment of my situation while I was there. My hands were tied. Tightly.

Fast forward to my return to Detroit. On the surface, returning to Detroit probably seems like a step backward. Again, you did not live in my shoes. You weren’t in my situation. Returning to Detroit presented a fairly large of pros and very few cons. Having been back for a while, I stand firmly behind the decision to return. While I’m not where I want to be just yet, I’m headed in the right direction, and things are FAR better here than they were in California.

The point? Due to my situation in California, I’ve gained a whole new respect for the culture here in Detroit. I slept on the great variety of things to do in and around the city. We have a great art community, and there are a large number of people working hard to bring Detroit back to respectability. I slept on a lot of cool restaurants, cool bars and lounges, and most importantly, cool people. Through Twitter, I’ve expanded my network and thus expanded my culture. I’ve become a lot more of renaissance man – a man about town, if you will. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the city and the diversity of its events and citizens.

Inspired by my love for the city, I’ve decided to tackle a new (and small) project in 2011. I’d like to photo-document a few of my favorite places. This documentation could (and will) include photos of the buildings/architecture, the employees, the people who frequent the establishment, and/or photos of whatever service they offer (food, drinks, etc.). Through the project, I hope to learn more about some of my favorite business. I’ll learn more about the people who work there, and I’ll learn about the people who go there. I also hope to find NEW places to frequent! So when I post about a place, if the posts inspires any of you to suggest a new place to me, feel free! As an unofficial kick-off to the project, here are the oh-so-tasty crab cakes from Centaur Bar on Park Ave downtown!

NYE 2010!!

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and that’s just one of the many things I’d like to briefly address in this post. The main purpose of this post will be to recant the year of 2010, as well as discuss some of my goals/plans for 2011.

2010 was a good year. There were a lot of negative things that happened this year, and a lot of difficult times. However, many of the negative aspects of 2010 provided me with a lot of insight and knowledge that will undoubtedly benefit me a great deal in 2011. Typically, I struggle to see the positive side of things, but I learned a lot from the negative aspects of 2010. So essentially, since I gained knowledge, the negatives are now positives.

However, I did do a lot in 2010 that will help me move toward my ultimate goal for 2011. For starters, I met so many amazing people in 2010. Between photography, Twitter, networking, and just the fact that “it’s a small world,” I had the privilege of expanding my social circle a great deal. Additionally, while it may seem that moving from California back to Detroit was a step backward, moving back home has been very beneficial for me as well. I also feel that a large number of people who live here are sleeping on what’s going on in Detroit. I truly believe we’re back on the rise, and I’m appreciative of everyone who is helping contribute to that cause.

As you can see in the image at the top of this post, NYE was a ball. I went to my friend Darrell’s house for NYE. He has developed something of a reputation for throwing great parties. His Halloween party, as well as his NYE party, have achieved legendary status already. I took about 150 pictures that night, and recorded about 7 videos. Of that total, only half of those images were appropriate for public viewing. None of the videos are safe. 🙂

I love the picture up top for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a well-composed image. All the ladies look nice in the picture, and they’re all positioned perfectly. Secondly, it’s well-lit (very important). Finally, I think it accurately tells the story of the night: Classy, but raunchy. lol Overall, it was a great time, and I’m going to cherish all the images I have from the night (especially the ones that I could submit to Hustler).

(My son eating some NYE crackers. lol)

Now I’d like to talk a bit about 2011. I know a lot of people think it’s cute to spout off a cleverly-worded phrase that degrades the idea of a New Year’s resolution, but if done right, a resolution can be quite useful. People are suckers for things that are cleverly-worded, no matter how stupid the actual idea may be. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Reverend Run’s Twitter feed. It’s full of fancy-worded bullshit … but I digress.

I’ve never been one to actually make a resolution. I’ve never been a fan of making one for the sake of making one. You should make it because it’s meaningful to you. With that said, I have one resolution. You can’t even really call it a New Year’s resolution, because I started on it in December. I didn’t see a point in waiting until January. My goal in 2011 is to be successful enough in photography that I can quit corporate America and the 9-5 grind. I abhor this shit, and I’ve reached a point where I feel as if I’m above it.

I want to live. I want to do what I love. I want to meet people. I want to travel. I no longer want to complain about having to get up in the morning (or in my case, at night) to go to work. I want to ENJOY getting up and going out to do my job. My entire life, I’ve hated my job(s), and I realize now that it has less to do with the job itself, and more to do with how I’m wired. It’s not for me. I’m not built for getting up at the same time every day, to go do the same shit, and make money for some rich person I don’t even know so that I can get his leftovers trickled down into my wallet. I want control over my life.


In 2011, I plan to blog more, and dramatically increase my “picture taking.” I want to meet more people, and expand my social circle. I want to be a better father, a better man, a better photographer, and a better person. While I feel as if I have a lot “figured out,” I have so much to learn. I feel as if I’ve reached something of an epiphany while still in my 20’s (barely, lol), and I’m grateful for that. I hope to impart this knowledge on my son as he grows up. I truly wish all of you a happy and successful 2011, and I hope that all of you make great strides toward achieving whatever goal(s) you may have. Expect to hear and see a lot of me in 2011.