Fall Drive 2015

It was that time of year again when the foliage fills my eyes with beautiful fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, the cold crisp air wakes me up early in the morning, and all I want to do is grab the steering wheel and whip my car around mountain roads, climb some hills, and kick up some fallen leaves behind me. Of course it wouldn’t be as fun to do a cruise by myself, which is why I always organize a small drive with my buddies, old and new faces, so we can chase each other around, get some good rolling shots of their rides, and enjoy good food.

This year I took out my 2016 Mazda6 as the chase/camera car, and our group line up included a 2016 BMW 328i XDrive, Subaru BRZ, BMW Z3M, BMW E46 M3, BMW E36 M3, Infinity Q50, and BMW Z4M Coupe. Our first stop was at Croton Point Park in New York, with plenty of parking space, and we found a gorgeous RV park with a rows of trees that were glowing orange and red. It was a perfect photo op for everyone’s car. Can you say Facebook cover photo? Our food stops were Billy Joe’s Ribworks, and Pie Lady & Son for the best pie I’ve ever had.

All photos were captured with my new favorite gadget, the Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II and OMD E-M1.

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Scarlet Overkill in New York

After buying tickets for the first time to Comic-Con New York 2015, I’ve been thinking about what cosplay would be best for Olivia. While watching the movie Minions, it was obvious that Scarlet Overkill, the glamorous villain with a simple red dress, black choker and gloves, hosiery and stilettos, would be perfect for a beautiful girl like her. Scarlet’s pinup look she wore to Villain-Con would also be perfect for Comic-Con.

The dress was designed by Hardley Dangerous on Etsy. The rest of the accessories were ordered on Amazon. Scarlet tries to take over London in the movie, so it is only natural her next target would be the great New York City. We imagine where Scarlet would visit on her trip to the Big Apple, from the iconic Flat Iron building to the Empire State Building, and finally Times Square. Every villain needs to take a food break, so in comes Shake Shack. By the end of the tiring day of taking over the city, Scarlet sips on a Starbucks before taking her cute little red ride back to read her favorite Minion a bed time story.

The photos were taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M1, with Canon Speedlites in a Westcott Apollo softbox with Pocket Wizard triggers. A lot of post processing done to make sure our villainous Scarlet is the center of attention. Bonus behind the scene shot at the end!

To see a before and after, click here.

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New York Air Show 2015

This weekend was my second annual New York Air Show event. While I only had my Canon 70-200mm to capture planes far up in the sky, the 21 megapixel sensor from the Canon 5D Mark III allowed some safe cropping buffer. My favorite part of the show was the F-22 Raptor, showing off the most advanced flight maneuver capabilities in the world. The thrust vector engine allowed impressive low speed turns that would otherwise stall any other jet. I’m pretty sure it could out maneuver a lot of stunt planes too. The most exciting part was hearing just how loud the engines were, which also translates to how much power 70,000 pounds of thrust feels like from the ground. Fighter jets have always been awe inspiring to me, and will never get old even as an adult. Maybe next year I will try low shutter speeds with tracking, and rent a super telephoto lens!

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Summer Days

One of the best days this summer was going on a top-down spirited drive on windy mountain roads in perfect weather with your buddies, enjoying multiple scenic and food stops along the way. Imagine your own Top Gear challenge not without the close calls with police that usually comes with a car chase as you can see in the video screenshot below. The photos taken are one of my favorites with just the right lighting, ND filters on an Olympus OMD E-M1 camera at low shutter speeds and a steady hand.

Our destination was Perkins Memorial Observatory in Bear Mountain, followed by a hearty brunch at Billy Joe’s Ribworks. Our mid-day dessert for some extra driving boost was amazing pie from my favorite place, Pie Lady & Son. That was only our first half of the day, as we later carpooled to Brooklyn for the evening to enjoy the amazing weather.

Nothing puts a smile on my face like the freedom of being on the road with good music, good company, and speed! Like I always said, who else can buy bliss at $2.22 per gallon?

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Ferrari 458

It was a beautiful Saturday morning driving in various formations with Greg in a Ferrari 458 with my BMW Z4 M Roadster as the chase camera car. Maintained speed, a steady hand, and low shutter speed makes for some great car photography that helps make the car pop, but a little extra filter and editing makes it polished. I just wish we could close down the entire highway for my own photo projects.

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Laura + Robert in Curacao

Laura and Robert got married at the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort on the beautiful island of Curacao, just a skip away from Aruba. The ceremony was on a cute grassy cliff overlooking the ocean right at sunset. The reception was right by the beach where you could hear the ocean waves crashing. The next day we went out to the other end of the island to get some beautiful landscape shots with the newlyweds, ending in the town for some evening city shots.

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Princess Bunny

If princes are frogs, then all princesses are bunnies. If you are ever lucky enough to catch one, don’t let it go and make sure you give it a kiss before it has a chance to run away, it might just turn into a princess.

All photos taken with Olympus OMD EM1

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Skye Under the Sky

The unusual east coast weather this summer has caused some amazing skies lately. I took the opportunity to snap a few photos with my Olympus OMD E-M1 with ND filters, and did some post processing through Lightroom 5, then Photoshop CS6. Shooting in RAW helped enhance the shadow details from the car, and highlight details from the sky. It’s always safer to shoot a slightly darker exposure since you can always retrieve more shadow detail than you can from blown highlights.

It’s normal to get all kinds of ambient color reflections from the environment onto the car, so I desaturated the car and pavement to a neutral gray (don’t forget to keep the turn signal colors intact), but left the windows slightly tinted from the sky. The final steps included sharpening, more Shadow/Highlights to bring out some more details, and final highlight dodging of the car to make it pop.

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Olivia in Los Cabos

I recently took a strictly vacation only trip to my timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. No weddings, no clients, just Olivia and I. Being on vacation is a very different experience compared to shooting on location no matter what most people might think. There is significantly less stress, no itinerary, and no post production work deadline. The only thing missing is the fact that the travel is paid for.

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Olivia In Bahamas

What do you do when you’re stuck on an island resort full of Americans? You rent a buggy and explore the island with a big appetite and your camera gear. Olivia and I found great secluded spots to just run around and take photos. I had my wedding gear, Canon 5D Mark III and an assortment of lens from 16-35mm to 70-200mm, and the nifty 50 with ND filters. I strapped my camera bag to the back trunk of the scooter and crossed my fingers that it didn’t fly off. All photos processed through Lightroom 5.

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Micro Four Thirds First Test

I’ve been very tempted to get a Micro Four Thirds camera for travel and day to day life photos. I like the idea of compact bodies with prime lens options, although not a big fan of how the equipment costs almost as much as DSLRs. I borrowed a friend’s Olympus OM-D E-M1, with a 12-40mm f/2.8, and a few primes. This body is on the bigger side of M4/3 bodies, but it allows it to be packed with dials and buttons easily accessible, along with a sturdy grip and flip screen. Coming from DSLRs and a 6 year old Canon S90, I was very impressed by the focusing speed and sharpness of the images. The entire kit of body and 4 lens fit in a small pouch that I can easily take anywhere, much of an improvement from my Lowepro backpacks.

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Focus Stacking Tutorial

Most of us love the 3D pop effect of a shallow depth of field photo. It’s practically impossible to get these effects with a phone camera, so it’s crucial to use a DSLR or a higher end compact camera to achieve these effects. Even with a prime lens at the widest for the best bokeh, it means you may not get the entire subject from front to back in focus either. Focus stacking technique lets you keep the beautiful bokeh background while having full control of what objects to keep in focus.

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Kyla + Mack

Kyla Gray gives us a glimpse of what it’s like on a night out of town if she were your girlfriend. I meet up with Kyla Gray and Mack Kuhr in their suite at the Oyster Point hotel in Red Bank, NJ. With the assistance and direction from another amazing photographer Olya, and my Fiilex K311 LED lighting kit, we mix up casual and sexy in the same scene. I think more couples should take sexy photos like this they can hang in their rooms, and also have a little fun in the bedroom in front of a professional photographer with memories to take home.

Yes, I thought I was directing Keanu Reeves with Kyla the whole time.

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Lexar Card Reader

B&H (who takes all my money) had a sale on this Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader for $12.95 recently, and I decided to jump on it since the micro USB 3.0 connection on my previous Inland 3.0 card reader snapped off. The micro USB 3.0 connection feels weak and easily broken if not careful. The Lexar card reader has the same micro connection, so I hope it isn’t built as flimsy as the cheaper Inland brand.

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Joli Robinson Puerto Rico Part II

Day two of our shoot in Puerto Rico with Joli Robinson, we trek into the rain forest to find a waterfall. Quantum battery in my back pocket attached to my Speedlite, legs into the water up to my knees, I prayed that I didn’t trip into the water and shock myself. It was absolutely worth it watching the water soak through the white shirt. After surviving the hike, we made it across the entire island to one of the most amazing hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in, the Horned Dorset Primavera.

I even traveled with both my Alien Bees, which I had setup in the suite. The evening shoots were lit with the modeling lamps, which I usually prefer over a strong flash. When I book a hotel, I will make the most of it, from shooting in the evening for dark intimate lighting, to using the beautiful morning light. Our last shoot ended in the infinity pool, making sure it was in the shade for a beautiful surreal look.

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Joli Robinson Puerto Rico Part I

I was always inspired by Sports Illustrated style of modeling photography. There is something simple and clean about their work with models in exotic or beach locations. The model really shows her personality, her chemistry with the photographer, and the lighting just always looked natural. With my opportunity to work with such a talented and beautiful model, Joli Robinson, how could I not take the chance to travel to an exotic location to get the best photos I can, inspired by SI? While Puerto Rico isn’t exactly exotic, the beach and seclusion was just as good as the next island.

You may be wondering what equipment is best to bring to an island model shoot. Telephotos are always the top choice, as it creates the best bokeh effects and the least distortion for the model. The king of all lens for outdoor is still the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. I’ve had this lens for nearly a decade and it’s still one of the sharpest lens I have. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L is good if you have to be closer and want some purposefully wide shots of the model and landscape. If you want extremely shallow depth of field, then go with fast prime lens with ND filters, I have a few NDX8 filters. A handheld wireless flash is useful to for fill flash in dark places, and a light duty light stand if you don’t have an assistant.

I hope these photos inspire you to go out on an adventure and shoot! What publication inspires you?

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Intro to Adobe Lightroom

While Photoshop has become a household name and even used as a common verb, the term is usually vaguely defined as fixing up an image. While Photoshop is an industry standard photo editing software, and probably one of the most powerful tools out there, not all images require a heavy duty tool just to tweak or enhance the image. It’s comparable to always rolling out your $30k Snap-on tool chest with all shelves loaded with tools just to replace the battery on a toy that needs a Philips screwdriver.

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Boudoir Sessions

Have you ever wanted to look your best, feel your sexiest, experience something new, or surprise your significant other? A boudoir session is the best way to feel completely free to fulfill your fantasies in a comfortable, fun and professional environment. Show off all of your photos, or just some of them. Wear your lingerie collection or nothing at all. Either way, don’t put it off till later or it may be too late!


Maria In Lace

Maria and I worked together once, years ago, and we recently reconnected to start shooting together again. If you want to enjoy one of the most modern, beautiful, and sexy hotels in Manhattan, The Standard Hotel suite is the place to be. Floor to ceiling windows facing the west allows for amazing natural light all the way through sunset. Maria looked stunning in her lingerie with her full figured body, sexy mixed Asian features, and gorgeous hair. This first set is entirely natural light, thanks to three of the walls being entirely windows facing the public.

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Michelle Nguyen

After finishing a previous shoot, I rush to Original Tommy’s for a quick burger and fries before meeting Michelle at my next Airbnb location to shoot. One great thing about the West coast is you can shoot outdoors all year round. I used all ambient and natural light from indoors to the back yard. Michelle is a great model with professional makeup skills and can easily be sensual and seductive in front of the lens.

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