Thursday, March 31, 2016


V.A.L. in photo lingo stands for Voice Activated Lightstand.  I spent many a shoot being a VAL and have learned immensely from those experiences.

The best shoots are the ones where all parties collaborate.  The talent, photographer and assistants working together make a shoot successful.

For this setup with Demi we wanted to keep the theater as it was ~ dark.  The mood felt like she was sitting in the second row watching a performance.  With that idea though we still had to shed some light on her.    Two very small continuous lights were placed at her feet criss crossed and channeling light up towards her face.  Cathy and I talked about this -- and even though it's not commonly a successful way to light a woman - in this case it worked quite well.  The light at the back of the stage was giving a hint of illumination but not enough to give Demi separation and make her stand out from her surroundings.

So in pops Cathy as our V.A.L.  She held a single strobe up over Demi's back to highlight her and the seating making the photo work.  

Once we got a few at this angle we let Demi get into her vibe and watched her take the stage from the seats! 

I was fortunate that Cathy had the day off from work and was able to join me on this particular venture.

She had some fun capturing the down and dirty photographer rolling around in the dust to make the shot

….as well as sharing with Demi so she had a feel of what we're seeing through our lenses.

Thanks to both ladies ~ we make a great team!



Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Superman Patch

Scheduled a head shot session with Joanie.  She'll be teaching yoga classes over at Studio 151 Fitness and wanted to sport a good photo so folks could get to know who she is.  We started with a couple of fresh looks.

Vibrant colors - beautiful smile - a confident woman.

When I went to get my gels to use with my backlight flashes I found where I had put my "Superman" patch.  I had been searching for it and couldn't for the life of me remember where I had placed it.

So, of course, Joanie being Joanie, she agreed to make a few portraits…..

I'm so blessed to have this woman as my sister in law.  We've had many an adventure throughout the past 30+ years.  And I can honestly say she is one of the people in my life that is beyond "super".  I have a feeling the Superman patch will stay in my lighting kit.  I'm thinking there will be a series here!

Her pups Mocha and Roxie had been patient throughout our shoot.  When it came time for their turn they gave mom some love and "kisses" to seal the session.



Dance To Your Hearts' Content

….and this kind of shoot beats my heart!  I can't dance - just don't have good rhythm.  Doesn't mean I don't dance - just means I don't think I do it well.

Most people are self conscious in what they do.  They do it - they're good at it - but there is always a piece of them thinking they don't do it well enough.

I had the pleasure of photographing Demi, a dance student studying in NYC.  She is an incredible dancer - as I noted in an earlier message she's got "pizazz x's 10"

But still there's something about being in front of a camera that brings out insecurities in just about everybody.  The entire way through this session we would collaborate.
    Karen   "show me make you're thinking Demi..."
    Demi would get into her "dance zone" and do these creative dance moves.  Then I would begin to build a photograph by placing her within my frame and working through the lighting scenarios.

The collaboration would continue through each setup.  "My main light is here - aim your focus in that direction.  Try to extend your body this way or that.  I need to see all your limbs…..  "
Even with Demi's extensive dance background she still wanted that direction.  It helps her visualize in her head what I'm putting into the frame.   To see what I am seeing.

Her ability to come up with unique positions with just a little bit of guidance was incredible.
Whether she was within the confines of a door frame…..

 ….or taking control of the hallway.

Demi brought vibrance to the party that is uniquely her own.  The best part of doing a photo shoot like this is being able to allow another person to show you who they are.

This young lady opened my eyes and brought sparks into my lens.

I just love her body position and energy in this series!

As we calmed down and the cold started to set in we settled into a few last reflective moments.

This job was truly a breathe of fresh air!



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It's What's Inside

One Word ~   Circle

"My outer body deserves to be admired because it's gorgeous but, quite honestly, the least interesting thing about me…."                                    author  unknown

When it was my turn to come up with a word ~ I chose CIRCLE.  A simple quote that kept coming back to mind when I started to brainstorm ideas.  So I went with it and made a photograph.

I headed to the grocery store and bought a bermuda onion, kiwi fruit and some tomatoes.
All of these items have a fairly plain exterior ~ but when you cut them open you will see a different story.  Each one of them has a unique character all their own making them interesting in their own right.

When I ever cut open the onion and saw the heart center I knew my choice was the right one.

My next step was to play around within Photoshop to see if I could find a combination that spoke to this feeling.  First I went to Emboss and that produced an interesting effect but wasn't quite catching me the way I wanted it to.  On to Extrude.  This one was trial and error as I couldn't see how the elements I applied were going to effect the photo.  After a bit of back and forth I came up with this rendition.  It made a connection with my thoughts from the quote above.

Selecting the "block" feature gave the appearance of many individual spines coming out from the image - this I relate to an abundance of people.
Each one reaching out from within to show themselves to the world.

As a society we place so much emphasis on that outer shell.  Perhaps we'd all do a little better if our emphasis was on what's inside.

Food for Thought!

More to chew on    ….some of the "traditional" style photos from this shoot



Monday, March 21, 2016

Grandeur ~ Dusting it Off

As I walk through this Grand Dame of a theater I notice the attention to detail and beauty in every room I enter. Yes, she's covered with dust and much, much more but still these walls have had patience for years and will continue to wait patiently as they get the attention they deserve.

I spent the better part of my day setting up lights, tweaking my camera settings and making photographs all to document the transformation of this beautiful space as she comes back to life.  You can feel the excitement from the many stories folks share.  Some from their own childhood memories and some of their children's memories in the later years when the changes were made.

A smile came across my face as I photographed this view looking out from the stage into the audience seating.  I brought my two boys to see Lion King and sat in that front row ~ seats 3-4-5.  I remember my younger son Tom, two years old at the time, being so scared during parts of that movie.  

I didn't have the pleasure of experiencing this space in her "hay day" years ~ but as I walk through now I can see and feel the joy she brought to so many over the years.  Back in the day when it was $0.15 to see a show.

This view is from the back theater and allows you to see through to the front two theaters with the partially torn down walls.  It allows you to sense what it will feel like when it is complete as one grand theater.

Things change - for good or for bad.  I'd say looking ahead people will walk through those doors with awe in their hearts and wonder in their eyes.



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Seeing the Light

This session was done using all continuous lighting.  Adding the light one by one placing them exactly where I wanted each one to shine.

Started out with two soft boxes skirting light on my right and left. Main light to illuminate my face and left arm with the secondary light having a grid to keep the light wrangled off the background.  Third light was placed on the floor facing upwards to fill in a few of the shadows…..not all of them as I wanted to keep a more dramatic look. Kept this light "light in power"and diffused.  A soft wash lifting upwards.

Feeling a little left out over my right shoulder up went a fourth light placed overhead to shine a little love down on my tricep.  And finally two small lights just behind my waist to illuminate the wall and give a bit of separation.

Hand painted backdrop and a little black dress ~ Voila!



Saturday, March 19, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Time has Come for the Restoration Process

Who wouldn't want to lovingly restored?  

The beginning stages of the restoration process has begun at downtown Laconia's Colonial Theater.  This grand dame has been kept hidden for decades while retaining her beauty within.

This was one of those days where I feel so very fortunate to do what I do.  As I walked through the aisles of this theater I could see beauty everywhere ~ visible through the dust.  The vision is all there, in tact, waiting….

This restoration process will be far reaching ~  well outside her walls.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Look Back

The grip is gone…



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Epic Proportions

Ready ~ Set ~ Action

on stage with GHS in their spring theater "Epic Proportions"

will be heading over to LHS later this week.  A lot of great theater going on in our community schools!



Sunday, March 6, 2016

To The Edge

Whenever I photograph ski racers in action I am reminded that when you take yourself to the edge you will be rewarded for your efforts.  This doesn't mean you will succeed each and every time.  But you will learn to trust your instincts and build your confidence.  There will be many failures along with some success.  The failures teach you important lessons and the successes build your confidence.

Either way it's a win ~ win situation if you ask me.

Congratulations to these young ladies and men for their hard work, dedication and "grit" to the sport of ski racing!



Friday, March 4, 2016

One Word


  1. existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence

    This word brought all kinds of possibilities into my head.  Most of them being more of what I consider to be a traditional abstract photograph.  A few that I recall over the years are images of trees out in our back yard.  I would photograph them during the different seasons by opening up my aperture, slowing the shutter speed and panning the trees.  It created some beautiful photos.  Another time was when I was with a friend in Maine and we happened upon some fireworks at the end of our evening.  Not wanting to take the time to go to the car and get our tripods we photographed them by hand holding our cameras.  Again, with intentional movement of the camera creating fireworks images that looked nothing like when they exploded in the night sky. 

So……. how the heck did this photo come from thinking about all of that?  In the spirit of this project I was drawn to make something different.  So instead of using an abstract technique I decided to use an idea.  I chose an idea that doesn't really exist in the concrete form but yet it exists in our minds.  

Thoughts churn around in our brains ~ we grind them up a bit ~ and eventually spit out a new idea.

In the spirit of humor I tend to think many of the thoughts that have floated around in my head over the past years as "bird brain" ideas.  And I've had my share that I've churned and ground down with plenty of new ideas as an end result.  Through the process of making this photo I came to realize that I proudly own each and every one of those "bird brain" ideas and God willing shall continue churning out loads more in the years to come.  

This photo was photographed using a custom backdrop that I painted.
It's time for all of us to own who we are, how we think and take pride in what we put out into the world.  This was a darn good word ~ thanks Cathy!



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Would You, Could You

A visit by the Cat in the Hat at Gilford Library
during Read Across America day

Would You, Could You        
                                         Eat Green Eggs and Ham?

At the craft table with Thing 1 and Thing 2 

Many helpers blowing out the birthday candles on Dr. Seuss' birthday cake!



Wednesday, March 2, 2016