A couple of weeks ago I got together with a couple of photographer friends to do a test shoot in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas. We primarily discussed lighting, depth of field and the use of lens flare to add dynamics to a photograph. Fellow Chicagoan Miranda Stephanie sat for us and as always, she brought the goods...check out the boots at the end of this post!
To those that know me it's no secret that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Simply put, it's a time to be thankful and grateful for what you have and spend time with family and loved ones. I get a feeling of nostalgia mixed with melancholy as I think of my Grandmother cooking breakfast and dinner simultaneously on Thanksgiving morning. I close my eyes and envision that old A-framed corner house on the southside of Chicago and I smile. Our home was full of love and my Grandmother was the embodiment of that love. Tomorrow will be my first Thanksgiving without her and I'm oh so thankful that I had her in my life for 42 years. I'm thankful that she showed me the meaning of unconditional love. So with that said, I fly back to my home town tomorrow to spend the holiday with my Mother who carries on the tradition. I called her today and of course she was already prepping, just like my Grandmother. That unconditional love thing...she's got it too and I'm oh so thankful for her as well.
Today my girlfriend asked me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer to that question was..."I all already got it."
....thought I'd share a few shots from Jacqueline and Justin's day. The wedding was held at the historic Salem Baptist Church on Chicago's southside. I had the pleasure of shooting with two of my longtime friends, Joe Townsend and J. Anthony. Hope you enjoy....
For photogs...I do not use off-camera flash for weddings, the highlight on the left side of the ring bearers face was provided by a patrons point and shoot just by chance. I love it!
This week I launched my Fine Art website at www.fineart.jamesoliphant.com. It's a collection photographs that are my personal favorites from Key West to Las Vegas. It's a continued work in progress and I will add more images as time passes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have putting it together. The site was designed by myself and the images are available for purchase, framed or in canvas wrap. Click the image below "Bow @ Turtle Crawls" to check it out.
Located about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Mt. Charleston is one of my favorite places to visit. Having shot an event the previous night that was full of smoke and mayhem, I wanted to enjoy some fresh air. So on this Sunday morning I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to have breakfast at the Mt. Charleston Lodge. Needless to say, she was dressed before I finished the sentence. We didn't make breakfast, but we did enjoy a fabulous lunch amidst the crisp mountain air. What a beautiful place!
On the road to Mt. Charleston, it's the one with the snow cap! Yes, I said that nasty four letter word, S-N-O-W. In winter, Las Vegans drive up here and bring snow back to the valley for their kids. Can you imagine that...having been born and raised in Chicago, I've had my share of snow and I must say I don't miss it at all, but this was a very nice view.
On the way to lodge, you'll happen upon Cathedral Rock Trail. I'm looking forward to hiking this one soon.
After reaching our destination we dined on one the best Ruben sandwiches I've ever had while overlooking the serene mountain-side.
After lunch we headed over to the northern side of the mountain and came upon the Desert View Trail. One word, stunning. If you're ever around these parts, it's a must see. We ended our outting with a nice cruise down the northside of the canyon which was quite enjoyable. Here are a couple more pics from the day.
all the best,
These old water towers are on the road to the mountain. I thought the textures were awesome and I couldn't wait to convert my RAW file to Black & White.
...and I'll close with my favorite shot of the day, "2 Chairs."
A gift arrived in the mail from my girlfriend's father in the form of two tickets to a breakfast cruise on Lake Mead. I gotta tell you, it was one of the best times I've ever had in 106 degree temperature. Here are a few pics from the day.
The Desert Princess. Three levels of bliss....
Note to photogs, the pic above was shot with a 24-105mm, set at 24mm to achieve the barrel (bend in the image) effect. This is an easy fix in photoshop under lens correction, but I think the effect makes the image look more dynamic. Again, art is subjective, so if works for you, work it.
....my girlfriend and I headed across the desert to Laughlin, NV and Bullhead City, AZ. We found this spot in Bullhead City right off Fourth St. which was butted up against the Colorado River. If you're ever in the area make sure you check out this little oasis in the desert, we had a blast! Hope you and yours enjoyed the day too!
Note: I know this post comes a bit late but I was inspired by Matthew Jordan Smith's blog and Shauna Harris' blogging article in this months Rangefinder, so I'll be making it my business to post early and often. Thanks Matthew & Shauna!
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of shooting Michael & Craig's wedding day here in Las Vegas. A day to remember it was....the bride was at the Encore, the wedding was at The Wynn and the reception was at Joe's in Caesar's Palace. Busy day to say the least, but I wouldn't trade my job for any. Michael & Craig reign from my hometown Chicago, both are lovers of House Music and Craig and I graduated from the same High School albeit five years apart. This booking came my way via Facebook and a mutual friend. Here are a few shots from the day. Thanks Tracey, Michael & Craig!
if you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.
go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
how much you really want to
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
you can imagine.
if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
do it, do it, do it.
all the way
all the way.
you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
Someone recently stated that blogging for photographers was dead and that energy should be geared towards social networking, i.e., facebook and twitter to name the most popular. In my very humble opinion I adamantly disagree. I do believe that facebook and twitter are awesome components to networking a photography business, but I also believe that it is essential that one maintains their identity and brand via blogging. In the vast arena that is social networking it's easy to get lost amongst the shuffle. How does one differentiate oneself on facebook? I don't have the answer, but I do know that facebook in itself is a brand, a social networking brand and I do believe one day it will be replaced just like myspace. Remember them? So for now, I'll keep with the troika, my blog, facebook and twitter. And as time goes by, my blog will always be here.
oh and another jewel was Las Vegas’ John Michael Copper’s wedding album...totally outside of the box...one of the best albums I’ve ever seen...
introduced myself to [b]ecker afterwards, very nice and personable...
approached another “well known” photog afterwards, clearly blew me off which prompted me to tweet the maya angelou quote..."We learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ...not nice, and we all know NICE goes a long way with me....I’ll never forget...
six time winner of the WPPI Wedding album of the Year Award
displayed an album chronology dated back to 1999 (he’s come a long way...lol)
shared his pricing structure and dos and dont's for album design
continues to re-invent himself
continues to shoot jpeg
later that afternoon...
As I was headed to the Pictage booth, I ran into Matthew Jordan Smith. Walked up and introduced myself. Clearly a gentleman and very humble. It was nice to share a moment with him....moving right along....
Mike Colon, Ray Santana and Kenny Kim were speaking at the Pictage booth. It was great to meet them all, considering we’ve been tweeting and fb’ing back and forth for the past year or so. Hell, I wouldn’t be shooting weddings again if it weren’t for Mike. They were giving a truncated version of Cause Marketing that will be featured on Tuesday night’s platform.
I then headed out to witness [b]ecker shoot his annual WPPI headshot session. He wanted to shoot a hundred headshots in an hour. It was kewl to watch him work, I even sat for headshot myself...lol...I think [b]ecker produces some of the best images in the business...
I was pretty much done after that...I headed back home....
Tuesday, March 9th
Totally bummed that I missed local photog John Michael Cooper’s platform...sorry John & Dalisa, hope it was a great experience for all....
I attended Mike Colon and Jim Davis-Hicks presentation of The Marriage of Profit & Purpose...got there and hour early and heard the last of the great Jay Maisel’s presentation, Jay was big influence in my younger years....so after Jay is done I move up front only to be told that I had to leave the room and line up outside...oh how pissed I was...I felt like was outside a trendy New York nightclub, someone needs to talk to WPPI about this. I’m more akin to the Southwest Airlines method of first come, first served. I guess it wasn’t too bad because even though I was probably a hundred people deep into the line I managed to get the same seat.
Mike and Jim gave a thought provoking presentation on Thirst Relief, shooting to give and giving to shoot with no intention for a return, but the returns become substantial because helping others for purely altruistic means has led to a more profitable business, essentially "Cause Marketing."
Wednesday, March 10
I finally hit the Trade-show floor. My first thought is that it reminded me a of flee market with really really kewl stuff... I spent most of the time observing others and watching people interact.
The only highlight was Becker’s presentation at WHCC. They’ve managed to put together one of the best shopping cart experiences I’ve ever seen for a photog. Spoke with [b]ecker for a bit afterwards, he enlightened me about a few vendors who will remain nameless for this blog, but if you see or talk to him just ask, he doesn’t bite his tongue for anyone and that’s why I like the guy...just as real as can [ b ]....
Thursday, March 11
Photo Ignite presented by Kevin Kubota was a unique experience in that involved 15-20 photogs presenting 20 slides within 5 minutes. The presentation were geared towards the fellow photog improving his/her business, etc., Stand-outs for me were Jessica Claire, Jules Bianchi & Joy Bianchi Brown, Kevin Kubota, Riz Crescini, Scott Bourne, Becker and Jerry Ghionis. Jerry shared his singing chops to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic, I will Survive....as long as we don’t shoot and burn, I know we’ll stay alive....
Overall a very memorable and invaluable experience....I made some new friends in the business, managed to learn a few things and I'm totally inspired :-) ...cya' next year.