January 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


Well, happy belated new year!  I meant to have a entry uploaded long before now, but I've been busy with work.  I have a feeling that it's not going to let up anything in the next five months, but I'm definitely making an effort to work photography into my schedule.  Of course, that's going to take the form of me taking a photography class this semester.  It's going to be interesting since I haven't really focused on photographing architecture and interiors; so yeah, I'm hoping to learn some new skills and get some interesting images throughout the semester.  I'll definitely be posting some of the better images here as separate entries and in a gallery specifically for the subject matter. 


In addition to the architecture photography course, I'm signed up to take an advance imaging lab.  Yeah, it's going to be good to have a dedicated course to work on the images from my architecture course, but I'm also hoping to work on some composite images during my free time in that course.  I'm definitely hoping to do some stuff similar to "Game Face".  On top of that, I'm just looking forward to having time dedicated to working on images since I've been coming home from work exhausted and just wanting to read and look at images on the iPad instead of editing my own images.  So yeah, I'm hoping that this course will help me get back into editing my backlog of images and creating some interesting, artistic images.  That would definitely be cool. 


So yeah, that's what I've got going on in my life right now - a busy time at work for the next five months at least, but will definitely extend beyond then.  Plus, the two photography courses this semester.  Unfortunately grad school is put on hold because of work restrictions, but I'm hoping that the two photography courses won't be impacted by work.  Here's hoping. 




Anyway, I've been looking forward to writing an entry on the photo session with Michael.  As I mentioned in the last two entries, I was taking a long weekend trip down to San Antonio and wanted to work with a couple of San Antonio models while there.  As part of my preparation, I started looking at Model Mayhem for San Antonio models that caught my attention and that I would be willing to work with.  I was first attracted to Mikey's look when I viewed his portfolio on Model Mayhem.  I have to admit that the skater look definitely was one of the primary reasons that I wanted to work with him.  Of course, I definitely made sure to include an aspect of the photo shoot that made that connection, which means that I asked him to pose with his skate board.  However, we definitely went beyond the skater look as I honed on his eyes and started focusing on portraits of Michael. 




As I mentioned, as I worked with Michael throughout the photo shoot, I found myself focusing on portraits.  When I work with models, it definitely helps if I can find something about the model to fall in love with.  It could be their personality or it could be a physical feature.  If I can make that connection, then I find myself working harder to highlight that feature in the best possible light.  As such, I found myself mesmerized and falling in love with Michael's eyes.  It was definitely easy for me to transition into capturing portraits with a focus. 


I love the image below for multiple reasons.  While I originally thought the hat was weird, it actually turned out to be an interesting prop in the images.  I ended up liking how the faux fur contrasts against his skin and the plaid fabric of the rest of the hat.  Like I said, I actually ended up liking it in the image below.  It's probably because, to me, it adds an editorial feeling to the image and looks like something that I would have seen in a magazine.  Of course, Michael's look definitely adds to that editorial feeling.  I love that he's looking off into the distance and not focused on the camera.  Like I said, it actually took me by surprise when this image became one of my favorites, but, in retrospect, it is actually easy to pick out the individual elements that I love about the image and how they come together to create an interesting image.


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And in contrast to the image above, I loved the image below because of the feeling of intimacy that is captured in the image.  I love how the back lighting is highlighting the individual strains of hair as well as highlighting the different colors.  Those little details will definitely catch my attention, but it's only a starting point for me.  As I mentioned, I love the back lighting in the image, but I also love how the light is being reflected into his face, especially in how it is picked up in the catch lights in his eyes.  But I also love how the light is playing across his body, including his shoulder and arms.  But more importantly, I love the overall feeling of the image.  Like I said before, the expression on his face and the overall pose suggests a sense of intimacy.  If I didn't know better, I could believe that it's a private moment between two lovers in the middle of the day.  It's because of that sense of intimacy that this image has become one of my favorites.


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As I mentioned before, throughout the shoot, I found myself falling in love with Michael's eyes and overall facial structure.  That's one of the reasons why I chose the image below to highlight.  His eyes are definitely one of the features that captures my attention when I look at the image.  I love the fact that he's not looking directly at the camera and looking off into the distance.  Yeah, it's definitely one of several portraits of Michael that captures and holds my attention for several moments as I take in the details of the image before honing in on his eyes. 


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As I mentioned in a previous entry, I was staying a hotel near the San Antonio Riverwalk.  One of the features that I liked in the hotel suite was the wrought iron bed frame.  It definitely lent itself as good prop for the shoots, including the one with Michael.  I love the image below because of the framing that I was able to do with one of the wrought iron design elements from the bed's foot board.  I love that I was able to use to capture his head within the element and that I could mimic it with the tilt of Michael's head.  While some may not like it, I am actually pleased with how the wrought iron detail added an interesting element to the image. 


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And finally, we come to my favorite portrait from the photo shoot with Michael.  I love Michael's off centered positioning and the attention focused on his eyes.  Of course, I love how brilliant his eyes look in the image, including the hair hanging over his right eye and how it is acting as a frame for his right iris.  Actually, I love the sweep of his hair towards to right side of his face; it creates an interesting detail for me.  In addition to the strains of hair crossing his face, I found myself interested in the freckles that peppered his nose and the area just below his eye.  And of course, the facial hair definitely helps to make an awesome overall look.  I definitely find it interesting that I find myself thinking how mature Michael looks in the image and how it compares to the energetic and playful personality that I encountered during the shoot.  Either way, this portrait has definitely become one of my absolute favorites to date. 


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Lately, I've been focusing on photographing guys posing in underwear and in the nude.  The image below is my favorite from the underwear series that I did with Michael. 


The image below was taken towards the beginning of the photo shoot.  As I work with models, I like to start the photo shoot by photographing them in what they wear to the shoot before taking off each piece of clothing.  It gives me an opportunity to get to know them, find out how comfortable they are with the overall shoot, and gives them a chance to get to know and become comfortable with me.  Some guys respond well to it; some would rather get down to business and not worry about that connection.  As part of that process, I like to photograph them in the underwear that they are wearing.  It's definitely been interesting to see that.  I have found that some guys don't really care what they wear to the shoot while others come in designer underwear purchased specifically for the shoot.  Of course, I get other guys that come to shoot not wearing any underwear because they don't want to have lines from the waistbands showing up on their skin.  Like I said, it's definitely an interesting side note for me. 


As I was saying, the image below was taken towards the beginning of the shoot.  He came to the shoot wearing typical skater clothes and was wearing Hanes boxers underneath.  I can't say that it gave me a lot of insight to him, but at least they were somewhat flattering on his physique.  However, I love the image below for several other reasons besides the underwear that we wore to the shoot.  It's a simple pose, but shows off his body very well.  Like I said, Michael, to me, is your typical skater with a lean body, which is different from several of the guys that I have photographed before.  However, there's definitely an appeal there that is further helped by his facial features and his mesmerizing eyes. 


For me, his facial features and expression catches my attention each time that I look at this series and come across the image.  Again, it's the seriousness and maturity that is etched across his face that makes me stops each time.  Of course, I do love the how the light highlights his skin tones and how you can see the details of the freckles on his nose and just under his eyes.  But again, I come back to the expression and the sense of confidence that he is emoting.  I'm not really sure how else to explain or whether I am able to exactly pinpoint why I love the image, but I just know that I'm happy with the way that the image came out and the feeling that is captured in it. 


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And, of course, I had to include a black and white image in here somewhere.  As you guys know, I am a lover of black and white images.  Not just my own, but all black and white images.  So yeah, if I see an opportunity to convert an image into black and white and do it well, then, yeah, I'm going to take that opportunity.  As such, when I started working on the image below in Lightroom, I knew that I was going to convert it into black and white. 


Let me start by saying that I love the pose in this image.  I love how you can follow the curve of his thigh into his ass and on up into his waist and back before getting lost in his hair.  In addition to that flow, I love that his hips are slight turned and gives the hint of the shape of both cheeks.  I have found myself attempting to capture something similar with several of the models that I have worked with with varying degrees of success.  However, I am definitely glad that it turned out well with Michael. 


In addition to those lines, I am glad that I was able to move Michael's arm into a position that would mimic the line segments created by his thigh as well as the line segments created by his back and chest.  For some reason, I like seeing that repetition done well in images, and especially when I can create it effectively in mine.  I think that this image did it well without being heavy handed about it. 


Finally, I love the look on Michael's face.  Again, the seriousness in his expression is primarily what captures my attention after working with him.  However, it's the tilt and subtle turn of his head providing a glimpse of his right eye that I love.  And, of course, I love his stare.  But yeah, I love the absolute seriousness in his expression.  This image has definitely become one of my favorites and has become one that I love highlighting whenever I can. 


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One of the things that I've been interested in has been interesting angles.  During my Intermediate Photography course, we were tasked with a photography scavenger hunt.  One those items was the photograph this piece of art hanging in the building.  When I went looking for it, I was interested in photographing the textures and how the art was curling up.  When we were getting individual critiques on the images, my professor told me that he liked the image and was the first time that he had seen captured this way.  I didn't go out of my way to intentionally capture it completely different since I didn't know what had been done previously; however, I did go out of my way to capture the piece of art in a way that spoke to me.  And that meant that I looked for an interesting angle that would capture the ripples.  In the end, he asked if he could use the image in future classes as examples of good images stemming from the scavenger hunt assignment. 


However, that image helped to reinforce my desire to use different angles in my work.  Granted, I can't always achieve good results from the experiments, but I have captured or created some interesting images by thinking different about angles.  It may not always be the image that is shifted into a different angle, but it could be something simple like the tilt of a model's face and eyes. 


That was what I was going with in the image below.  I love the tilt of Michael's head as he looks upwards.  There is absolutely no eye connection with camera, which is one of the reasons that I love the piece.  I know that it's been done before, but this is one of the first times that I captured that pose myself.  On top of that, I like the way that light worked out as it highlighted his skin tones.  Plus, the details captured, such as the freckles and the individual strains of his facial hair, worked to create an interesting image.  Of course, for me it all started with the pose and the angle and tile of his head. 


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It's similar thing with the image below.  I love the close-up on Michael's face and all of the detail captured from the freckles to the intensity of his eyes to the individual stains of hair.  However, it's the angle created by his eyes that really capture my attention in the image below.  Again, there's no direct connection with the camera and there's a sense of curiosity in what Michael is staring at in the distance.  On top of that, there's a sense of melancholy in the image.  Again, that's completely subjective, but there's definitely a sense of emotion in the image.  Finally, I love how the light worked well in the image and created some intense highlights and some interesting shadows.  Again, this has become one of my favorite images because of the intimacy as well as the evoked sense of melancholy. 


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And finally, we come to one my favorite images overall from my collection.  It's definitely not your traditional image, but I absolutely loved how the tilt of image turned out.  Other than that, I don't really have a lot to say about the image.  I just knew when I saw that image that I absolutely loved and continue to love it because of the unique angle as well as Michael's himself.  I'm just happy that it turned out as well as I imagined. 


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Working with Michael was a delight.  He's definitely one of the models that I will want to work with again if the opportunity ever arose again.  His mesmerizing eyes definitely captured my attention and helped to focus my attention on portraits throughout the shoot, but his personality and easy going attitude defintiely made the shoot a fun one. 


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