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Pictures in the Park w/the Langston Family

Summer photo session with Anthony, Christy and their yellow lab Jack

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Driving towards Newbury Park on a warm Saturday afternoon we were met with the wonderful surprise of a ten degree difference in temperature.  Given the heat that we have been living with this summer it was a welcome change.  When scheduling photo sessions in the summer season Its good to check the weather ahead of time to be sure it isn't too hot out.  The heat can cause a lot of discomfort for a client and that discomfort will show through in the photos. On the 101 freeway as we drove toward our shoot we even caught a glimpse of a fire burning off in the distance.

We met on location at 6:30pm.  The sun was still far from ready to set but the light we had was great none the less.  Christy, her husband Anthony and their dog Jack are close friends of my fiancee.  Christy and Anthony were a pleasure to work with. Their dog Jack was full of energy like most labs but when it was time to take their photos he was very well behaved.  My fiancee and Christy have been friends for almost ten years.  When Christy asked to have her photos taken it was just about setting a date.  

The park Christy selected for her photoshoot was just a few steps away from their new home.  I try to do as much research as possible before shooting at a new location. This helps me plan the path we will take through our photoshoot and ensure we get the photos we want. In this instance I wasn't able to make it out to survey the area prior to the shoot.  I relied on Google maps and screen shots taken by others who have visited that park before.  I find it helpful to use Instagram when doing research on a new location.  More often than not I find a large amount of photos taken by others who are familiar with the best angles to photograph from.

Since the sun was still rather high in the sky we began our shoot posing under a tree.  The shade helps to prevent harsh light and shadows from being cast on a persons face. One thing I learned to watch out for is light spilling through the branches.  It can create a hard light spot or spots on a person that isn't easy to edit out in post.

From there we moved into the clearing while still remaining covered by the trees shade.  I tried a few different lenses to incorporate the grand landscape in the background.  Having started out taking landscape photos I like to incorporate the surrounding area whenever possible in my work with people.

Have you had your photos taken on a hot summer day? Also what do you do to manage harsh sunlight? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

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Capturing wildlife at Balboa Lake

Taking the camera, and baby out for a walk around the lake is a highlight to the end of the work day.  Having a baby definitely changed my routine after work as well as my views on places to live.  Before our son was born we lived in the Woodland Hills area with the Westfield mall and other local hangouts just a short walk from our place.  It was a great area to live as a couple however as parents I feel more drawn to quiet neighborhoods.  Having the lake close to us is great.  We take our son out for walks and as his attention grows so does his consumption of the beauty in the park.  I took this shot with my 85mm prime at ISO 400, f/4.0, and 1/5000 of a sec. Looking back it was a really bright day, and I could have shot it at ISO 100 with a slower shutter speed. I think I had forgot to check my settings after taking some photos indoors. In the end I got the shot I was going for and all in camera with no cropping in post.

Where do you spend your time unwinding after work? Also if you have a little one do you prefer the busy city life or a quieter neighborhood? Let me know in the comment section below Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

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In todays video watch while I run through my work flow in this Lets Edit Lightroom edition.

Not being one to miss out on a prime shot this photo was taken while on the road home from a trip to Bakersfield CA.  More often than not landscape photos are taken with a tripod and carefully set up.  However the cloudscape over the open flat land was an amazing site and we were dead set on getting home so I used what I had and took the shot.  As we came closer to the grade heading south the sun began to breakthrough and display some amazing rays of light.  There are many ways to add god rays to a landscape using photoshop.  However I was fortunate enough to capture them as it happened.  While going through my editing process I focused on bringing more definition to the light rays, and correct the photo to display the original colors of the scene.  Due to the car windows tint there was a slight cast of green in the original image. I shot this photo with my 50mm prime at ISO 100, f/4.0, and because the car was moving I had my shutter set to 1/2500sec to prevent any motion blur.

What photo editing software do you use in your photography? Since most landscape photos are taken using a tripod have you ever taken a landscape photo from a moving car?  Let me know in the comment section below Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

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Some of the steps I take when editing my sunset photos.

Ignited with the final light of the setting sun. The sky was set ablaze with color.  For the past week the sky has been alive with color.  While busy with work and errands I make time at the end of the day to stop whatever it is I am doing to watch the setting sun.  Each one is different from the last.

When I shoot a sunset I lean more toward editing with the foreground in shadow rather than going with the HDR look.  I feel It helps draw the attention toward the main focus of the image.  Also I will add a subtle vignette to the edges and finish with a graduated filter in Lightroom at the top to give the sky a cooler feeling as your view draws further from the setting sun.

I took this photo with my 85mm prime as ISO 400, f/4.0, and 1/250sec.

How do you edit your sunset photos? Do you prefer the HDR look or having the foreground in shadow?. Let me know in the comment section below. Also If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

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Exploring new vantage points while photographing in Woodland Hills

It was a hot day without a single cloud in the sky while out in Woodland Hills. We were out getting some weekend errands taken care of. After we had some lunch I took a little time to explore some parking structures surrounding the Warner Center buildings.  I ended up finding a great view from on top of the Westfield Mall parking lot.  Normally when I set up to shoot a landscape or architecture photo I get my tripod out, and take my time framing my image.  However it has been my experience when photographing in public parking lots that security isn't far from coming in and telling me to leave.  For this picture I shot five exposures handheld so that I could get a higher dynamic range when editing in Lightroom.  The sun was extremely bright on the windows so I knew I would need that range to preserve some detail in my shot. For most of my landscape and architecture photos I use an aperture around f8 to f16.  For this I shoot I changed things up and shot a little wider placing my focus point on the buildings.  Another thing I took into consideration while shooting without a tripod was to use a fast shutter speed so the photos would merge nicely when editing.  I took this photo using my 85mm prime at ISO 100, f4, and 1/1600s.

Have you ever explored new angles at places you photograph often? How did those photos come out? Let me know in the comment section what you thought of that beach. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Exploring LA -cooling off in Santa Monica-

This week has been hot. Sweltering to put it mildly. So after work on a Wednesday we packed our things and headed for the beach.

the godmother

We were on the 405 south by 4:00pm and the temp for the day was over a hundred degrees. After managing through some normal traffic for that time of day we made our first pit stop at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery for some cold cut sandoes. A friend had recommended this place and also suggested we order their godmother sandwich. Over the years I've come to trust a good source when it comes to trying a new food, and boy was I not disappointed. My sandwich came loaded with flavors all nestled between a sliced loaf of chibata bread. It is easily one of my top ten sandwich spots.

With our appetite well satisfied we headed for the beach. I was going on 8 weeks without the smell of the ocean air in my lungs. It was a trip long overdue. The weather was welcoming at a cool 78 degrees and slightly overcast. We made our way to the pier where we acted like tourists and observed all that is the Santa Monica Pier. There were people from all walks of life on this small stretch of sand ranging from vendors, musicians, and entertainers all looking to capitalize at the historic location.

Santa Monica deffinately felt like a very hip and trendy stretch of coastline. After all these years I am surprised that I hadn't taken the time to check it out. So for this midweek adventure I got to try a new sandwich, and marked another California beach off the list.

Have you ever been to Santa Monica? Let me know in the comment section what you thought of that beach. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above. 

Family Photos with Johanna and Her Boys

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring our mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society

My fiancé has known Johanna for over twenty one years, and has watched her boys grow from tiny babies to young men.  We met up for out shoot on Saturday and went over to Balboa Lake in Van Nuys.  The lake is a great place for photos here in the city.  With plenty of trees, bridges, and water to work with. It was slightly overcast this day so we went to the lake two hours before sunset just to ensure we had good light to work with.  

Our first location was by a wood fence around the perimeter of the lake. I picked this spot for a few reasons. First it was farthest from where we met so as we made progress through our shoot we would also be making our way back to the car, and secondly I think people relax more when they can sit or lean on something.  Walking between locations helps with small talk and getting to know each other if your working together for the first time. This helps ease people I work with into getting comfortable in front of the camera. If the people I am working with are up for a little walk on our shoot I recommend comfortable shoes. Being able to move around to different locations provides a diverse collection of photos by the end of our session.

Johanna and her boys were great about walking to each place at the lake. It was during those walks between shooting that we got a chance to catch up with her boys to hear how they are doing with school and what plans they have for summer vacation.  

Before heading out on a shoot I take the time look up photos of where we will be on google and even Instagram.  This helps me decide where we can meet and unless the client has a specific place they want to shoot, I will have a few places picked out ahead of time. When searching a locations photos online the first to come up are usually the most popular spots. I like to save those for the end of our photo sessions because it takes time for people to get comfortable. Also the light tends to get better near the last half of the shoot if you time it right. 

Have you recently had your family portraits taken?  What was your experience like, and did you shoot at multiple locations? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Photographing A Classic Car

 Photoshoot with a SoCal classic

America Classic

Timeless

Down here in Van Nuys I've had the chance to meet a few people with a strong love for classic cars. The late hours they put into the restoration process , and thorough searches for original parts is what makes their cars passion projects.

I met the owner, TJ at his home in Van Nuys before he drove us over to the location for our shoot. The interior had a vintage smell to it like an antique pice of furniture.  Once we parked people started to take notice to what we were doing.  We were approached twice by strangers who wanted catch a closer look, know what the story behind that car was, did TJ travels to car shows, and if it was for sale. TJ told me this was all normal whenever he takes his car out, and that people really like older cars because you don't see them that often.

I began our shoot with my 85mm lens. I like this lens because it gives me the chance to study the cars lines from a distance. I took a few snap shots to dial in my settings and then we were off and running.  TJ parked his car at an angle with the sun off to the upper left (behind the car). It was a few hours before sunset and the light I had to work with was perfect.

Photographing this classic was a lot of fun. The people we met during the shoot seemed to be just as passionate as TJ. The challenging part of photographing someones car is capturing the vision that they have of their prized possession. 

Do you have a classic car?  Have you ever had photos or taken photos of your car? Do people stop to come up to you whenever your out with your ride? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.