0 comments Thursday, May 31, 2007

This is a tiny test of a freeware application before it goes live on my main site. Enjoy the preview. I'm fairly happy with the functionality and the layout options. It looks like it will be placed inside an iframe on the main site and it should work nicely... weee.

The content in the above window is the same as the content in the badge on the right. It's dynamically changeable! All I have to do to update the slide show content on the main page of my site is edit the tags in my flickr stream.

Doing things this way serves several purposes. It makes the main site where I send clients to dynamic and changeable, it supports free software use, and it keeps me from having to use one of those horrendous pre-made flash sites for photographers.

0 comments Wednesday, May 30, 2007


After a bit of a challenge getting settled in with an excellent copy of the 70-200mm F/4L IS I've started critically examining my results from field use. This series of posts will detail my opinions regarding the lens.

I wasn't sure what to expect regarding an F/4 zoom for use in portraiture, but so far I must say I've been pleasantly surprised. The can be no argument that the lens is critically sharp when used with proper technique, but what about depth of field and subject isolation? Unless I'm trying to achieve a very specific shallow DOF effect I've found that working at F/4 really presents very little problem in most settings, not all. At 200mm at F/4 when shooting a portrait as seen above there is already so little depth of field that the back side of a subjects face is falling gracefully out of focus. The quality of the lenses OOF areas or boke is nearly exemplary for such a complex optic.

The benefits of being able to change focal length, in the range the zoom offers, during a portrait shoot should not be underestimated. I will say this though, if my primary consideration for using this lens was portraiture, I would have purchased the F/2.8L IS version. That would have gained me some subject isolation at the cost of weight and absolute sharpness. However, portraiture was not the primary motivator for using this lens. It simply works very well for that purpose though.


The lens handles very well. I've found no reason so far to lament the absence of tripod ring. It's been a beauty so far. More to come.


The penguins, walruses, elephants, and rhinos have webcams at the Zoo! The penguin webcam has to be the best waste of time I've seen in a long time.

If you have any problems viewing the webcams in your browser, try Firefox, there's a link to it at the bottom of the right column on this page.

0 comments Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm soon off to visit the newly re-opened Oceans Exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo. My hopes are high, and hopefully I shall return with some tasty photos of the exhibit as well. I'll share them with everyone here. I really missed the old exhibit with it's beautiful live corral reef.

There are a few things to keep in mind when photographing through glass, these guidelines apply to aquariums and museum displays. Turn your flash off if it you can get a decent exposure using the exhibits built in lighting. Glass is highly reflective, mixing it with flash is a recipe for disaster. Get your lens as close to the glass as possible, if you can use a flexible lens hood or a large baffle push that bad boy right up against the glass. In a pinch. a baseball cap works well for shading reflections off the glass in front of your lens. (Don't let the front element of your lens hit the exhibit glass!) Finally, make sure the glass is clean, fingerprints in front of your lens will only lower the quality of photos taken in an already challenging environment.

0 comments Monday, May 28, 2007


This was earlier today at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Christopher S. Barnthouse, a retired Major in the US Army delivered a stirring public address to locals and visitors in Indianapolis to see the Indianapolis 500.

0 comments Sunday, May 27, 2007


"If your photographs aren't good enough, you aren't close enough" -Robert Capa

Do whatever you can to get close and establish eye contact with the performers. At a large venue this can be next to impossible, but the intimate quality it can add to your photos is worth the effort.

Make sure you're in a continuous shooting mode when photographing people singing or playing instruments. Facial contortions can change from sublime to horrific in the blink of the eye when a performer is singing.

On camera bounce flash was used in this shot to massage the ambient light and add a little modeling to the flattish stage lights. In a situation like this I normally dial in an ambient exposure a half stop or so underexposed in manual mode and let E-TTL II bring the subject up to the right brightness.

You can see Mary Moss perform regularly in Indianapolis, check her website for dates. She is not to be missed!



Today was the day before Memorial Day. In Watkins Park, at 2360 Dr. Martin Luther King St., just outside of downtown Indianapolis an event took place called "Jazz in the Park". Indy Jazz Company provided musical entertainment all evening while the local American Legion Post 249 held a memorial ceremony. The next date for Jazz in the Park is June 24, bring a grill and cook out.

0 comments Saturday, May 26, 2007

The end of the Season of Lost has come and gone. Unfortunately some of my enthusiasm for the series has waned as well.

The cinematography in the first season was absolutely breathtaking. You could pause the episodes during the first four episodes during most shots and you'd end up with a composition worthy of a huge print on your wall. Gorgeous work.

That feeling of visual drama in the series has largely gone to the way side. Sure it's hard to keep something on that same level for three seasons, but it feels like a bit of sitcom mediocrity has crept into the works. Long live the Lost! The Lost is Dead!

0 comments Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'll soon be a member of the Photo Venture Camera Club. Now why would I do that?

It presents and interesting opportunity. I've already had all the classical photography training I can stomach for the next few years, I'm not interested in attending so I can learn how to use my meter better or how to compose a landscape photo. What I'm really interested in is interacting with other photographers in a field that is inherently isolated. Photography is generally a solitary endeavor, and professional photography is often an aggressively competitive field. The aspect of returning a certain social collaberation to my photographic endeavours is appealing.

I've often believed teaching others how to do something is one of the best ways to further your own understanding and give rise to fresh thought processes.


IndySoJourn will be undergoing a series of changes in the next couple of days to polish up the new look. Please bear with me as I hope this turns out to be a positive change. As always enjoy the imagery and thoughts. Feel free to comment on anything you see here.

So we've got some new functionality going on here! Hit the Email Post button to send it to any friends or enemies you think might like to see it. No username or anything is required, you just need their e-mail addy.


Today I have the pleasure of returning to Canon, via Amazon, an incredibly sub-par copy of what is otherwise an incredible lens. After waking up bright and early, having a Sprite and a breakfast cookie, it's off to the post office for me.

I do have a bit of a worry about what will become of this expensive utterly defective chunk of glass, hopefully it won't simply be repackaged and sold to another unsuspecting customer. Thankfully I don't think Amazon is in the habit of doing such things. Back to the manufacturer with you I say.

It makes one question the purchasing of professional level goods when manufacturing processes can't keep up with quality control. Unfortunately, such occurrences are all to common in today's consumer driven market.

I could step out of that market and move up to what I basically consider the boutique camera arena. Leica. In hopes that such faults would be a thing of the past, but even then, there is no guarantee with any brand or system.

Unfortunately it is simply a reality one must deal with, Kudos to Amazon.com for making the whole process relatively pain free.

0 comments Sunday, May 20, 2007

Many years ago a professor told me there was a thread of "quiet violence" that runs throughout my work. I suppose all these years later it still surfaces from time to time. I can only guess that on some level the act of creation is inherently violent to me on a psychological level, almost a trauma in and of itself.


A sucessful creation becomes catharsis and re-invigorates my passion.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I had the pleasure of covering the Broadripple Art Fair for the Indy Star today. It was a beautiful day and as usual the artists were very friendly and really appreciative towards anyone that showed a genuine interest in their work.

The predominant art fair aesthetics are really interesting. Generally work needs to be attractive, easily accessible, and bright and shiny work seems be more popular than dark and brooding. I'd say less than five percent of the work there was really thought provoking or challenging. Not to knock the work, on the contrary, kudos to the artist for making and selling art.

It all makes me question the perception and role of art in our society. Obviously lots of people like looking at thought provoking work, go check out a local art museum. A large quantity of the work there will be pretty happy shinny pieces that illicit very little in the way of thought processes, but there will be lots of little gems that make you stop and contemplate something in your or someone else's life.

Does anyone in the general populace have an interest in buying that type of thought provoking work though? I mean consider the percentage of the population that buys art from actual art galleries (the havens of thinking controversial art that they are).

It all just makes me scratch my head and wonder what Thomas Kinkade thinks of his own work.

0 comments Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of my favorite tricks when I'm out taking photos and the light isn't cooperating is to focus on near macro photography. On a dull overcast day it works a treat. This photos was taken with an inexpensive point and shoot. If the grand vista your attempting to capture just isn't there, look around your feet instead.

0 comments Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Indianapolis had the pleasure of hosting the Gyuto Monks during the month of May at the Indianapols Museum of Art. On the 7th the Monks began the creation of a traditional Buddhist sand mandala.

The process was truly amazing to witness and continued from the 7th thru the 9th. Each day before work on the sand mandala commenced the monks performed a cleansing and blessing prayer. After the basic layout of the mandala was completed using pencils and drafting tools, the application of sand began. The sand used is colored using dyes, then the sand must be sifted to remove the fine particulate mater, it clogs the tools. The sand is placed in the mandala via specialized tools called Chakpu (pronounced more like tam-pu).

The monks representative, Sonam Hangchuk, took the time to sit and chat with me about their history. The Monks originally started their temple in Lhasa Tibet in 1474 where it stayed and prospered until the 1950's when they fled to India in exile. Today the temple still has a regular influx of new monks and is doing well. It accepts new monks from as far as Korea, but the number of monks originally from Tibet continues to fall.

The sand mandala was complete on May 9th, later that evening it was ceremoniously destroyed. Some sand from the mandala was passed out to visitors at the destruction ceremony, the rest of the sand was poured into a local canal that feeds into White River, blessing the body of water.

On May 10th the Gyuto Monks held a tantric chant performance. Attendance was amazing, and many people could be seen listening and meditation on the upper levels of the museum.

Click on any image in this post to be taken to a gallery of images from the 4 day visit at the Indianapolis Museum of art, new images will be uploaded over the coming week. Contact me for prints from this series, special discounts for IMA staff as a thank you.