If you know me (and know me well) you will have known that, at one time, I was a semi-professional musician (a polite term for “weekend warrior). I was a drummer in a variety of bands playing a plethora of styles, doing it mostly for the pure love of it. Since becoming a professional photographer 12 years ago I have had to put my drumsticks away (I can only obsess over one art form at a time). But, when I had the opportunity to participate in the Drum Fantasy Camp in Cleveland Ohio as their photographer, I jumped at the chance. The camp features, in my opinion, five of the most amazing and influential drummers today: Keith Carlock, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Steve Smith and Dave Weckl. These images are from the first day of camp and the first night concert. Very difficult to stay focused with capturing their images when I am standing there in awe dragging my jaw across the floor.
Yesterday was the first official portrait session for the newest Kaniecki, Olivia Bernadette Kaniecki. Olivia was born this past Monday, July 9th 2012 at 6:30 am (7 lbs 10oz, 19″). Olivia was very cooperative considering the session lasted about 1/63 of her lifespan. Dave Ann and Alissa were very patient as well and I would like to thank them for allowing me this special honor. Here are just a couple images from their session.
Last night I had the opportunity to witness the Chagrin Falls Balloon Glow. This is an annual event put on in the city of Chagrin Falls, Ohio and sponsored by the Chagrin Valley Jaycees. It is festival type atmosphere culminating in a number of hot air balloons (on this evening there were nine) igniting their propane tanks to create a pretty impressive site. I usually don’t take my professional equipment to a night with friends but this was a definite photographic opportunity that I HAD to take advantage of. There were a ton of people present and the whole night had a family friendly vibe that was just great. Thank you to our friends Alex and Brandi Hamerstone for inviting us and thank you to my girl, Marie, for putting up with my photo obsession.
Yesterday was our workshop for photographers. We met at the Tangier in Akron Ohio and it was the PERFECT place for what I wanted to accomplish with the participants. With many different areas for different lighting techniques, I wanted to make sure that the photographers involved understood the importance of a direction of light in their photography, which is sorely missing in most photography today. Creating texture, mood and shadows for a much more interesting image. I also wanted to show how light is light. As long as it’s used correctly ANY light source can be used (see my image of our model Lea where her face is lit with nothing but cell phone lights). I really enjoyed spending time with the photographers involved and talking about photography (DUH!!). Thank you again to all participated and also to our wonderful model, Lea. Let’s go light hunting!!
The image above was lit with nothing more than two cell phone flash lights (light is light).
Direct sunlit images do not have to be over exposed, contrary to today’s trends.
This may look like a straight forward portrait, but the location was not. Lea is standing directly next to a car with a trash dumpster over her left shoulder and a walk in cooler for a background. I wanted to show that by controlling your environment (rather than letting your environment control you) you can get acceptable images anywhere (although we always strive for exceptional, right?)
The image above shows, that with proper technique, you can get an acceptable portrait in even the least hospitable location.
Yesterday, I had a great senior portrait session with Larry (with a name like that, how couldn’t it be great!) Larry is the son of Larry Porter Jr. whom I’ve known much longer than I care to mention (we’re getting old, Larry). Larry is a senior at Kenmore High School (my Alma Mater) where he played football (every position that requires someone getting mowed over, Larry played it). Larry has his game face down pat. We did do some “smiley” photos and those are specifically for you, mom Porter. One of my favorite spots for senior portraits in Akron is right downtown. Great little spots of light here and there that are of the type that I love. Anyway, Larry is also a guitarist so we incorporated that into his photo session. Great job, Larry, and good luck in the future (Rock on!!!) Be sure to leave Larry some love in the comment section below and also to “Like” Spencer Photography Inc. on Facebook.
Yesterday, I met past bridal clients, John and Alli Butler at Hale Farm and Village in Bath Ohio. I photographed John and Alli’s Cleveland wedding back in 2010. As a matter of fact, they were the subjects in my most successful competition print to date (-here-) so I was excited to catch up with them again. The session, though, was really all about their baby, Raya, their two year old Golden Retriever. Raya was like the Kate Moss of K-9′s, she did so well. It was great getting to meet Raya and to see John and Alli again, although I will be seeing them at at least one wedding in the next year. Here are a few images from the session. I don’t know if it was the log cabin vibe of Hale Farm or what but I am showing more sepia toned images than usual. Be sure to leave Raya a comment below and also to “Like” Spencer Photography on Facebook.
Gotta thank Cooper Heiberg for the inspiration for this image.
As a wedding photographer, I am constantly challenged by the environment around me. Not afforded the consistency of a studio where the lighting is always the same and even backgrounds can be controlled, I have to use what the locations have or do not have. This was illustrated beautifully the other day when my brother Jim asked me to take some images of a classic car that he restored. While I was there, he asked if I could do a few images of him by his recently fully restored 1971 Corvette LT1. We didn’t have the time to pick the perfect location so we had to do this right in the parking lot of his auto body shop. Well, his shop is located on, probably the busiest main street in Green Ohio. So I had to improvise.
This first image was a test to make sure that my exposure and light were correct. As you can see, the background is crap.
I obviously had to change something in order to get an acceptable image of Jim. He couldn’t move because the lighting on his face was exactly what I wanted and the light on his Corvette was hitting it just right. So Jim remained exactly where he stood. He didn’t move…I did. I changed my angle and captured this:
Here is an image of the LT1 where I COULD chose a great location.
On Sunday, I met with Karan and Cara for their engagement session, which we do with every one of our bridal clients. I will be Karan and Cara’s wedding photographer in June when they will be getting married at Wade Oval Park in Cleveland with their reception following at the ballroom at the Cleveland Marriott at Key Center ( I can’t wait!). It was a cold, windy and somewhat rainy day. But that didn’t slow Karan and Cara down one bit (that is one of the reasons why my clients are AWESOME!). We met at Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system here in northeast Ohio (a true gem of the area). As our outstanding luck would have it, as we pulled into the parking lot, there was a group of classic car enthusiasts there. What a stroke of luck!! They let us use their beautiful vehicles as a backdrop for a few images. Here a just a few. Be sure to leave a comment for Karan and Cara below.
Over the weekend, I had a session with Todd and Tina Esson and their adorable son Dallas. I photographed Todd and Tina’s Cleveland Ohio wedding almost five years ago (time flies!!). Now, I am primarily a wedding photographer, but I am still a photographer. And I offer all of my bridal clients incentives to have Spencer Photography take care of their family portrait needs. Todd and Tina took advantage of these incentives and that is how I came to meet Dallas. He was such a great little model, as you can see. One image in particular that is my favorite is one of Dallas in Todd’s police uniform. Todd is a Cleveland police officer. I also met Moose, their dog. I’ve posted an image of him, since there was a rumor that he was impossible to photograph. Be sure to leave the Esson’s some love by leaving a comment below. Also, “Like” Spencer Photography on Facebook.
On Sunday, Laura and Patrick had the AWESOME idea to take a vintage T-Bird, and have a session at the Aut-O-Rama Drive-In in North Ridgeville, Ohio. How crazy great is that??!! My mind was going crazy with ideas and ways of lighting them and the car. The first half of the session we were lucky that we had perfect weather and a perfect sun setting. So we just pointed the car in the right direction and went to work. Once the sun went down completely, we turned on the headlights and some alternative light sources and continued on. After almost getting ran over by a car (literally, I was laying on the ground, like I LOVE to do when photographing) we ended the day with some images that I am proud of. I will be Patrick and Laura’s wedding photographer this June at Caro’s in Medina. Thank you to Laura’s mom and brother for helping with the T-Bird as well as Nicki from Aut-O-Rama for letting us use their facility. Thanks also to Katy Rex for her assistance during the session. Here are a few images from the session. Be sure to show Patrick and Laura some love by leaving a comment below. AND BE SURE TO “LIKE” SPENCER PHOTOGRAPHY ON FACEBOOK!