mikes camera colorado

Heading to Denver tonight to do some speaking at Mike’s Camera stores Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Photo Expo. I’ll be talking about the Lumix 4K video capabilities and some of the new cameras Panasonic is putting out. It’s some pretty amazing stuff. If you are in the Denver area stop by Mike’s and check out the new Micro 4/3rds 4K video gear!

Here’s the the stuff I’ll be touching on…

Fine Art, Commercial Photography and 4K Videography

Program description – Fine Art and Commercial Photography is a specialty of Lumix Luminary Bob Coates. 4K video capture is a specialty of the newest cameras in the Lumix line. Bob has been working on ways to use the 4K video capture to enhance his commercial and art captures by pulling stills for processing into artistic images. Bob will also share some of his ideas on using Photoshop to max out the potential of the capture possibilities.

Friday in Boulder. Saturday in Park Meadows. Sunday Colorado Boulevard store.

Had to add some photos to the post so I thought a couple details from the Denver airport would do nicely…

denver airport canopy black and white

Took away the clarity and most of the color in post…

denver airport architecture black and white photo

The brushed metal and slick floor called for the exact opposite treatment and all color was removed and more sharpness added.

Images were captured with the Lumix GH2 and the 14-140mm lens. This is the gear set-up that got me excited about the Micro 4/3rds system. And it’s only gotten better!

Yours in creative Photography,     Bob

5 day black & white challenge

The Five day Black and White Challenge has been floating around the Internet for the last couple months. The basic premise is that a photographer will post a BW image everyday for 5 days at the same time inviting a new photographer each day to join in the challenge. After being tagged a couple times I jumped in… Here are the 5 black and white photos I posted with the comments. What I thought was going to be a PIA turned out to be pretty cool and I’ve been exposed to a lot of new black and white photography images as a result…

Day 1

black and white photo - horses

This from Monument Valley and the box canyon. I like the Shadowed canyon wall, back
light on the horses and the settling dust that give this image it’s depth.

Day 2

street portrait black & white

Here’s an image captured on the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
His name is Doc and is a truly wonderful character. He was introduced to me by Dennis Chamberlain

Day 3

receding fence BW photo

Scan from an image taken out of the darkroom soup almost 30 years ago… I sometimes wonder if the images we have on our computers will last as long as this. I was actually quite surprised by how much detail was still available. Print origin 1985.

Day 4

old italian man strolling the street in italy

Day 4 came from Italy. BW really adds a timeless fell to this image allowing
all the shape, form and textures to shine through with no distraction from color…

Day 5

hilltop italian town black and white photograph

Repeating shapes, forms, tones and leading lines from this hilltop town in Tuscan region in Italy close out my 5 day challenge.

It’s always good to accept a challenge to push and get feedback on your image making skills. What have you done lately??

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

sunday photo/art quote 11/16





pLaY!!! With your pHotOgraPHy…

pj orourke art quote

“The more evolved and animal is, the more time it spends playing.” P.J. O’Rourke

What do you think I mean here?

It’s the advice I give to photographers (and myself) when it’s time to learn something new.

Pick a lens you haven’t used in a long time and use it all day.

Change the shutter speed to a level that you are sure is too low and see what happens.

During the exposure shake the camera. Spin it. Zoom it. Add a rear curtain sync flash to a longer exposure.

Pick one color you want to capture for a day.

Grab a macro lens and add some extension tubes to it. Mix and match some or all of the above.

In Photoshop push some buttons and examine some filters just to see what they will do. Slide a slider as far as it will go to see what it does when pushed to it’s limit. Change the blend modes and opacity. Add textures. Shuffle the layers repeat. Repeat again.

salute to georgia okeefe tryptich

Here’s an example of play with a Salute to Georgia O’Keeffe

Continually ask the question, ‘What happens if I…???’

Become an evolved animal! ROAR…

Yours in Creative Photography,          Bob

PS – Let me know what you come up with…


images for phoenix airport hilton

Had a full day shoot for the Phoenix Airport Hilton. They are going through an $8M renovation with a complete redo of all the rooms and an update on all the common areas in the hotel. They have asked me to photograph the changes. This is the second shoot and we are planning another two day shoot once the lobby and and a few other areas of renovation are completed.

Here are a few from the shoot…

hilton airport phoenix hotel room photo

Arizona King room photo at Hilton Phoenix Airport Hotel

hilton airport phoenix hotel room photo

Double Queen Room

hilton airport phoenix hotel room photo

Junior Suite Room

Images were captured with the Lumix GH4 using multiple exposures to capture the full range of tones from the deepest shadows to the view outside the windows. A handy tool is the on-board WIFI which allowed me to control the camera from the Panasonic App. Not touching the camera makes layering the multiple exposures more accurate because even when your camera is locked down on a tripod any touch of the camera can cause the images to not be in perfect registration.

When photographing for Hilton properties they have guidelines that include no curtains being closed in the room photos. I use a variety of techniques adding some light to the original capture and blending the various exposures using masks in Adobe Photoshop. For those who haven’t already made the upgrade to Photoshop CC 2014 here is a link to $9.99 per month Photoshop and Lightroom)

Sometimes you just want to add a little kick off light to a small area to bring out some detail and the small Fiilex P100 LED light comes in handy. It has the ability to adjust color temperature which is important in mixed lighting situations when working in rooms with natural light coming through the windows and the light from the light fixtures. (order fiilex light here)

Here’s a tip to save you some time in post production. Replace lights in lamps and ceiling fixtures with 15 watt bulbs. This will allow the lamps to read as lit but not give you blown out areas in your captures. It makes a huge difference in the amount of time in post.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob


monument valley weekend photo shoot part deux

The Arizona Professional Photographers Association led by Bruce Roscoe had the weekend seeing and photographing parts of Monument Valley that many never get to experience. Here we were led into a box canyon to photograph horses running. It was a pretty cool experience…

galloping horse photo in monument valley

This was the most active horse. Excited and bucking and running with mane flying in the wind created by the speed.

photographers catching the running horses in the box canyon

AZPPA photographers capturing photos of the running horses in the box canyon.

grazing horses in monument valley

Horses taking a break to graze during the photo shoot in the canyon.

photographer in distance at monument valley

Linda went off in search of the best angle to photograph the Totem Poles and ended up being used as an element in my image.

All in all a wonderful trip! (did I tell you I enjoyed my time in Monument Valley?)

Trips like this are great to move you in a creative direction. There’s something about making images during travel to new locations to get your creative eye working and trying new ideas. When & where are you going next????

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

monument valley weekend

Bruce Roscoe is a wonderful, gentle and caring human being. And it shows in his actions…

Here’s a link to a story about a portrait Bruce flew across the country to make to help a fellow veteran. This story helped raise money to build schools over in Vietnam and bring some healing to those who had served there. And that led to a project Bruce is starting to tell the stories of our veterans that often get lost. Many people know only of the stories they read in the newspapers and magazines but miss the personal stories and revelations of the people behind the stories.

Bruce is working to rectify that. He has begun a portrait project offering professional legacy images to veterans. The vets also share their story in video and will be featured in a new veterans portrait museum Roscoe is working to put together…

But wait! I was only telling you about Bruce’s kind heart to begin to explain a wonderful photographic weekend the Arizona Professional Photographers Association had in Monument Valley this past weekend. Through being the kind of person Bruce is he’s forged an extended family relationship with the Yazzie family in Monument Valley. In order to help the Yazzie’s raise money to help them through the winter months Bruce leads tours a few times a year for photographers to experience the Navajo Way. This is a peek into the culture of the Navajo and includes storytelling, weaving, horse run, sheep herding, traditional food and exploring the back country of Monument Valley’s private areas and more. Bruce leads these tours gratis.

I’ll be sharing some images and stories from the trip and a bit more in subsequent days. Here’s a couple for today.

horse in monument valley

From the parking lot overlook this white horse managed to find some scrap plants to snack on…

azppa past president bob zimmerlich

Past President of AZPPA Bob Zimmerlich. Is that a Lumix GH3 camera I see??

effie yazzie on horse at monument valley

Effie Yazzie on horse at Monument Valley on dune in front of the Ear of the Wind.

All in all the weekend was a roaring success thanks to Bruce. In addition Bruce had suggested photographers bring dog food to help feed the animals through the winter and the AZPPA came out in force. Almost 1000 pounds of dog food made it’s way into storage for the winter. Way to go AZPPA photographers!

These images were captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Vario lens.

More images from MV soon.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob


looking to learn light

“Turn your face toward me please.”

I was talking to my friend Silvio from the back seat of the car. I had just noticed the rim light that was skimming one side of his face. I was shooting into the shadow side of his face AKA ‘short light’ which will tend to have more drama and slim down a person’s features. Here is what I saw…

portrait head shot

Portrait grab of Silvio in a car.

 It’s a great exercise to constantly be looking for lighting patterns in everyday lighting situations. Once you learn to recognize them it becomes A – easier to put people in the proper place when lighting in the field and B – to replicate the light in the studio because you have become more familiar with it.

In this particular case the lens I was using also had the added benefit of very shallow depth of field. Which allowed the background to fall off quickly. This was the LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5/F1.2 on the Lumix GH4. 1/400 sec;   f/1.4;   ISO 800 Aperture Priority

silvio head shot

A – Rim light that highlights the edge of the face

B – Shadow side of the face is the larger side meaning this is a short light portrait

C – Bit of a kicker light adds interest and more form

D – Focus fall off AKA Bokeh. Even though the ‘background’ is pretty close it goes quite soft

By the way Silvio is a portrait photographer based in Scottsdale, Arizona you can check out his work here at Silvio Portrait Design.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

eddie diamond & the az diamond band

The ‘Wall of Fame’ grows at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona, Arizona.

Last week Eddie Diamond and the AZ Diamond Band put on quite a show and I was there with my Lumix GH4 to capture the action and create the art pieces. The GH4 works well for this kind of work. It has a pretty large dynamic range which is helpful when working with the LED stage lighting. The best way to capture the moment you are looking for is to anticipate the performer’s movements and shoot at the peak of action. Some performers best moments are fleeting so the high Frame Rate of 12 frames per second can be of great help. Here’s Eddie during the show of his Neal Diamond tribute…

eddie diamond entertainer photo

Eddie Diamond ‘Wall of Fame’ image.

Using Adobe Photoshop, layers, textures, Blend Modes and masks is how I work the artistic portion of creating the images. There’s now around 70 WOF photos hanging at the restaurant. Each one has a different treatment and while they all have a similar artistic feel each is and original. I really enjoy this project because I have to stretch to keep coming up with new techniques and push to keep the looks different. Here’s the whole band…

eddie diamond band photo

Eddie Diamond Band

Each musician is photographed separately during the performance then selected and placed into the composition. The signature autographs are gathered before the performance, scanned, inverted and then placed in the photos. If we had to try and get the autographs after the design and printing of the images most would be blank.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

bodybuilder model photo shoot part duex

Had the pleasure of working with Benji Santana who works at Snap Fitness in Sedona and Cottonwood as a trainer. He’s looking to pick up a bit of modeling work and asked me to shoot a some images. Looks like the camera likes him…

benji santana body builder model photo

Benji is pretty well cut. Those abs look strong. That chain weighs about 30 pounds…

benji santana model photo

Benji fills out clothing pretty well too.

I used the Lumix GH4 for capture with the 35-100mm 2.8 lens. Shooting more toward the telephoto end of the lens compresses the scene  and features. For the body builder images I took a lower angle to give Benji a more powerful feel as in the photo he is looking down at the viewer of the image. For the clothing shot I wanted a more friendly feel so moved the camera up so we were looking at eye level with the viewer. Bodybuilder lighting was with Paul C Buff Ultra Zap with a shoot through umbrella placed high to camera right just out of the frame to accentuate the abs but still give some slightly soft shadow edge transitions. A 4×6 silver reflector was added camera left to add some fill to the shadows. An unmodified second light was placed camera left and slightly behind to open up the shadows and give some separation from the background and add some interest.

Here is a ZED card I designed for the shoot as self-assignment and as an add-on possible sale…

model Zed card photo

Model Zed card design.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

photo self assignment from dia de muertos

Self assignments.

Love ‘em!

Tlaquepaque our local Sedona Mexican Shopping Village and gathering center, put on a very colorful event in honor of the Day of the Dead AKA Dia de Muertos.

Here’s the first line of explanation from Wikipedia… “Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.”

It’s a very colorful event. People dress in costume, actors perform, musicians play, sky dancers fly and artisans display. In short a photographer’s paradise. I met a lovely lady who was costumed as a Catrina which is one of the most popular figures from the celebration. She entranced me so I gave myself the assignment of making her the centerpiece of art based on some of the images I made during my visit.

pash galbavy image

Pash Galbavy, dressed as a Catrina, as the focus of one of my Dia de Muertos art images…

When I asked Pash if she would mind my making her image she said, “No problem!” then began to move like a model… With good reason! She is an artist in her own right. (learn more about Pash at unmaskit.com and artofpash.com)

Using multiple images from the day and some of my texture files I worked with Adobe Photoshop creating layer after layer utilizing blend modes and masks to combine images in many ways to get to the result you see above.

Look for more ‘self-assignments’ from this ‘busman’s holiday’ at Tlaquepaque in future posts here at Successful Photographer.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

PS – What are you working on to stretch your photography skills??