Sunday, November 29, 2009

MickeyB


MickeyB, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

MickeyB and I collaborated on a series of portraits on November 24, 2009. He'll probably post others, but this is my favorite.

Frazier Studio
Batavia, Illinois

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Fall Berries


Fall Berries, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
September 2009

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Avoiding the Stolen Camera Blues

I've heard of two other suggestions which I've never put into action, but will someday...

1. Use a large Styrofoam cooler for storing stuff in your car. Who breaks into a car for some wet, cold beer? A side benefit is that it keeps your equipment a little cooler if it's a a sunny day.

2. Use a diaper bag as a camera bag. It doesn't look cool, but really, who would steal a diaper bag?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Eyes

I was really thinking that I liked the lighting on this picture of Kate.

Kate at the Bridge

Open shade is such nice soft light. But the problem is that her eyes are too dark. You can barely see the whites. And they ought to be white, not dark gray. And you can't even tell the color of her eyes.

That's one of the reasons for close-to-the-axis fill-flash, even in a situation like this, where the light is nice. The idea is to spark up those eyes just a little.

Another thing I've learned too late.

Saint Louis Historical Old Courthouse

The Old Courthouse (officially called the Old St. Louis County Courthouse) was a combination federal and state courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri that was Missouri's tallest habitable building from 1864 to 1894 and now is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Courthouse_(St._Louis,_Missouri)

The view from our room at the Hyatt Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri
September 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Henry Hudson Bridge


Henry Hudson Bridge, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

The Henry Hudson Bridge is a steel arch toll bridge in New York City across the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, a tidal strait. It connects the Spuyten Duyvil section of The Bronx with the northern end of Manhattan to the south. On the Manhattan side, it touches Inwood Hill Park. The bridge has two roadway levels carrying an aggregate of seven traffic lanes, the lower level having been opened to traffic in 1936 and the upper level in 1938. It was designed by David B. Steinman (in realization of his PhD thesis) and built by the American Bridge Company at an original cost of $4,949,000 for the original single deck structure. A second deck had been designed in and was added in 1938 at an additional cost of approximately $2,000,000.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Hudson_Bridge

On April 25th, 2009, I took the "three hour tour" on Circle Line Tours in New York City.

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Have Projects

If you just take pictures when the opportunity presents itself, you're probably not taking as many pictures as you should. Develop some projects that you're constantly working on.

The benefits are:

It keeps you involved with a subject you enjoy, so that the photography is enjoyable on multiple levels. It also means you learn more. I've recently started working on leaf closeups so that I learn more about trees. And I've always enjoyed photographing leaves. Which is nice.

Projects give you something to work on, even if you're uninspired. Or to make sure you stay photographically busy. For example, whenever I go on a trip, I know that I'll be able to work on several projects, even if I can't find anything else to photograph (eg. One Shot of Everyone, Pictures from the Largest Cities in the US, and Unitarian/Universalist churches, to name a few).

If you've got the collecting bug, photographing things is almost as good as owning them. And more practical that starting a train museum.

By having projects, you are taking more pictures, because you have something to take pictures of. And you get better by taking more pictures.

And someday, I know I'll be famous for my eat sign collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Photography doesn't have to be art

My wife just got back from a field trip to a vendor's facility and she took lots of pictures with my point and shoot. It was set on auto and all she did was, in fact, point and shoot. Most of the shots were not "artistic" although there was this one....

The important thing was that she recorded the place (which was impressive), the products, the people, and the feel of the event. Her purpose was not to make art, but to record things so that she could share information with her colleagues who didn't go on the trip.

If I had been there, I would have spent a lot more time taking pictures, but I'm not sure I would have captured the situation like Kate did. I would have gotten some really nice shots, but they would not have conveyed the information that Kate needed to convey.

My point is that we need to take snapshots too. We need to capture pictures that may not be very good, but tell the story - even if they're just pictures of potted plants and random people standing around in bad light.

Pictures can be art. Or they can simply be information. Both are good. Both are fun. Be careful that you don't fail to transmit information while you're spending time being artistic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles, Illinois
September 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Pottawatomie Park Pavilion


Pottawatomie Park Pavilion, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles, Illinois
September 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Jim Frazier Arrested for Wearing a Tie

One of my benchmarks for a long beard is whether or not it hides the tie knot. I didn't expect to find out before I cut this baby down. Heck, the last time I wore a tie was for either a funeral or a wedding - can't remember. But then I worked an assignment photographing a fund-raising event. A tie seemed appropriate for the situation.

Maybe I'll let the beard grow a little longer. Christmas is coming and there are little children everywhere who need to have their dreams destroyed. ;-)

Aurora, Illinois
November 17, 2009

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Event Photography

A few things I've learned:

When shooting portraits at an event, watch out for people in two layers, front and back. If your lighting is from the side, they'll throw shadows on each other. I think I'll try a clam-shell set up next time.

Also, figure out where you want people to stand / sit before the event begins. Then mark out a box on the floor with tape so you can just say, "everyone needs to be standing in that box." I'm guessing it'll eliminate some of the direction woes.

When shooting party scenes, raise the ISO a little to pick up some ambient light. On the other hand, getting rid of the ambient can isolate the people you want to photograph, and clean up the background.

Remember to bring your bag when going on a walk-around. I could have used a lens change, batteries, and memory cards.

Use the Softbox III on top of the flash bracket.

Stay away from walls - particularly if the subjects are within a few feet of it and you're operating with an on-camera flash.

Watermark your pictures

I'd encourage you to "watermark" your pictures. You may not like the technique that I use, but you really should do something. It doesn't have to be big, but it should be visible and readable when the picture is shown at 500 pixels across - the Flickr "medium" size.

Like this:

UP 1995

And, I'd encourage showing not just your names or initials, but your web page address as well. What, you don't have one of those? Geez. Get one. It's pretty cheap and even if you can't get "bobjones.com" anymore, you can probably get bobjonesphotography.com. The problem is that having just your name or your initials will not help people find you. If you've got a common name, like Bob Jones, even if they Google you, it'll be needle in a haystack time. And don't think that having a Facebook or LinkedIn profile will help. People can't see much without going through hoops. But a web page? No problem. So get one!

Even if you have nothing more than a few portfolio pictures and contact information with a link to your Flickr account, that's enough. I've had several people find me because someone stole one of my pictures that was watermarked. People could clearly see where it came from and visited my site.

Yes, people can crop out or obliterate the watermark. But that doesn't happen very often, particularly if you make it big enough that it can be read at 500 pixels. In most cases the "theft" is more a function of laziness on the part of the thief than malevolence. They're not going to go through the rigmarole of getting rid of your watermark. They just want to put your picture on their web page. Which means people will find you. It's gotten to the point now where it doesn't bother me as much when someone lifts my picture. Because, with that jimfrazier.com text in the corner, it's like free advertising.

But what about the malevolent pirate intent on stealing your intellectual property? What if he does get rid of the watermark? Well, if you look at the above picture, I now always put a second, hidden watermark someplace in the picture. In this case, it's not so hidden. I'm usually better at concealing it. Now the jerk really has to do some work to retouch the hidden watermark out of the picture. Even if he does, I can enjoy the warm feeling that he had to break a sweat. And since I don't usually post pictures that are much bigger than 800 or 900 pixels across, I'm not too worried about someone stealing the picture and printing or publishing it.

But Jim! Watermarking is so ugly! So what? You can be elegant about it. Here's one from Aldo Risolvo. His watermark almost enhances the picture. Me, I'm not so elegant. But it doesn't have to be ugly if you don't want it to be. And if the watermark bothers the occasional photographic purist, well, it's my picture - so there (sticking my tongue out).

You might have noticed that Aldo doesn't put his web address on the picture. He doesn't need to. Try Googling Aldo Risolvo and you'll see what I mean. But Bob Jones?

So there you have it. I'd encourage you to watermark your pictures. It'll help people find you. And it goes a long way towards preventing theft. Or at least helping you take advantage of thieves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New York Aster ballad


New York Aster ballad, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.
Kate "encouraged me" to join her on a trip to Home Depot's garden center to look for mums. As usual, I got distracted and made her buy me this toy. That'll teach her.

Frazier Studio
Batavia, Illinois
August 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Yellow Leaf / Blue Sky


Yellow Leaf / Blue Sky, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois

November 5, 2009

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kate's Place Setting


Kate's Place Setting, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

We had some friends over for dinner Saturday and Kate broke out the good stuff. The china is from her mother, the crystal and flatware are from the event that happened 25.5 years ago.

When I saw the table after she had set it, I had to break out all the camera equipment that she made me put away. Dinner was excellent, by the way. Wow.

Batavia, Illinois
November 7, 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Blue Berries


Blue Berries, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

At the NE corner of Third and Campbell in Geneva, Illinois
November 8, 2009

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Latch


Latch, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Illinois Railway Museum
Union, Illinois
July 2009
www.irm.org/

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Box Car Door


Box Car Door, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Illinois Railway Museum
Union, Illinois
July 2009
www.irm.org/

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Washington Bridge


Washington Bridge, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Bridge

On April 25th, 2009, I took the "three hour tour" on Circle Line Tours in New York City.

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

A friend asked me to take some pictures of her and her horses.

Bartlett, Illinois
August 2009

Lighting: Bare SB600 triggered by CLS camera left, TTL -1.0 EV

Here are more pictures from this session

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

A friend asked me to take some pictures of her and her horses.

Bartlett, Illinois
August 2009

Here are more pictures from this session

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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"I think I'll just go over and see what that guy wants."

A friend asked me to take some pictures of her and her horses.

Bartlett, Illinois
August 2009

Here are more pictures from this session

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some Links

Here are some general photography sites

The Photo Argus

PetaPixel

Photocrati

Photography.com

And some specialty site

Gigapan - a pretty neat process for making BIG images with a collection of pictures too.

Cantigny on Fire


Cantigny on Fire, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois near the McCormick mansion

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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This is a birder who just got a lifer

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Revolutionary War Reenactment

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Park Avenue Bridge


Park Avenue Bridge, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

The Park Avenue Bridge is a vertical lift bridge carrying the Metro-North Railroad across the Harlem River between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Avenue_Bridge_(New_York_City)

On April 25th, 2009, I took the "three hour tour" on Circle Line Tours in New York City.

Copyright 2009 by Jim Frazier. Licensed for limited use ONLY under Creative Commons. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

You can find Jim Frazier at his web page, and on Facebook and Twitter

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