Amy Smith and an Avocado in the Shed

Now that we are using the shed as a small studio, i am excited to start getting some people over and working together on portraits as well as anything else that comes to mind. Of course Amy ( is always the perfect subject. Here she is along with - an avocado 8-)). Please click on the image to see the full frame. Canon 5d mark iii, 100mm macro.


For Amy, a combination of Norman strobe heads on either side and a 2 second exposure with Kino Flos for the background and fill. For the avocado, a Norman tri-lite on the background and a single strobe head to camera right. Double exposure

Chef Laura Fonner

It was great to spend a little time and make a portrait today with Laura Fonner, the chef at Duners restaurant just west of Charlottesville Virginia. On the menu for this evening, handmade pepper pasta 8-)) Thanks as always to my wife Amy for the assist and C'Ville Weekly art director Bill LeSueur for the creative genius.


The future is near - Perrone Robotics

Amy and I had a nice time shooting Perrone Robotics yesterday. Very nice people, very cool platform. It seems to me that there is still a fair amount of work to be done, but it is also clear that autonomous vehicles are coming to a theater near you. Click on an image to see it larger.

Small business owners for C-Ville Weekly

C-Ville Weekly recently put out an issue circulating 3 different covers featuring small business owners in Charlottesville Virginia. Each of the owners we photographed were engaging and nice. A real pleasure.

Lighting:  ringflash as fill and a Profoto 22" soft light as the main. Camera: Canon 5diii. Lens: Canon 45mm ts-e. We used the shift feature with the camera horizontally and stitched together the 3 images giving a unique perspective and a larger more detailed image.

Thanks to our art director Max for his guidance. Jeff, George, and Laura for being easy and patient. And especially to for your help and support.

This is Jeff Anderson owner of Fitzgerald Tire

17013 Jeff Anderson 014 final 02.jpg

This is George Swingler owner of Rose Hill Grocery

And this is Laura Conklin owner of Iron Wolf Fitness.

Laura Haas-Knox portrait

Our friend Laura came to the set to get a new headshot for herself while we were shooting some portraits for Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. She did a great job and we appreciated her letting us shoot some personal work with her even though she claimed not to like having her photo taken. Thanks Amy ( for your direction and help.

Kibiriti Majuto

Amy Jackson and I had the opportunity the other day to photograph 2 amazing students from Charlottesville High School for the cover of C-ville Weekly. Kibiriti Majuto (pictured here) was kind, thoughtful and easy to work with. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he has become a leader in this community. Kibiriti is the senior class president at CHS, and the president of the schools Amnesty International Club. Read about the trip he led Washington DC to lobby for refugee rights here. Thanks Bill for your help and direction 8-))


Drag Queen Max Miss Everything

We shot this image a little while back for the cover of the festival issue of C-Ville Weekly. The shoot was a lot of fun 8-)). The art director (Max March) brought the pink backdrop, and Max Miss Everything brought the dress, the cape, the patience, and the glamor. We used 2 lights on set. The main, a 20.5 inch Profoto Softlight and the fill, a Hensel ringflash to make the colors really pop. Thanks Amy for your help, creativity, and support.


AccuTec Blades for The Ivy Group

Recently, Stephen Burden and The Ivy Group , a full service ad agency in Charlottesville Virginia, have done a reworking of the AccuTec brand. We were so excited when The Ivy Group asked us to shoot in their sprawling Verona, Virginia factory. Everyone was so helpful and nice. Thanks Stephen and Siska for your hard work and making the shoot productive and fun. And, thanks as always Amy Jackson for putting up with me. It turned out to be about a 14 hour day.


Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center (Regan)

A little while back, we were shooting for a promotional piece at the UVA Cancer Center. This little girl walked by the set. We all stopped and looked at her. She was curious about what was going on and excited by the camera. She wanted to take a picture. Why not? Right. So we stopped and spent just a little bit of time with her before she went for her treatment. After her treatment, she came back, we put her in the set and got a photo of her for her family. Over the years shooting in the hospital I have met a handful of kids that have had to deal with serious illness. Looking at this girl, and having an idea of the kind of discomfort and pain she has had to go through is just heartbreaking. It makes you have to hold back the tears. But, there is something about these kids that is so special. You can just see it when you look in their eyes. Maybe it is because of their experiences with illness, the people (professionals, family, and friends), the sacrifice and the commitment treatment requires. I don't know.


Apex Clean Energy take 2

I love shooting the company photos for APEX Clean Energy. They added another 80 or so employees in the last year (what) and are a pretty amazing group of people. Thanks so much to Brooke and Dahvi with APEX for scheduling and being so helpful with anything we needed. Heather Romberger ( and Angie Ferguson ( for your support and making the employees look great. And of course, Amy Jackson ( for making everything better.

To see a few more of these APEX heads please visit my workbook site at (CLICK HERE).


Jonathan Kipnis Lab for Vitals

Having the opportunity to shoot and get to know the research staff, the doctors, and the patients at UVa. Medical Center is always a pleasure. We recently were once again in the Kipnis labs doing work for The Medical Alumni Associations publication Vitals Antoine Louveau, Jony Kipnis, and the rest of the crew are doing some amazing work in the field of neuroimmunology and have "opened up whole new areas of study about how the brain works and the influence of the immune system on diseases of the brain". (Linda Kobert - copywriter for Vitals) BIG. Anyways, Amy and I had a great time and were pretty psyched about the photos. Thanks Anne, Liz and Linda for putting together a great publication, and Amy for all your help and support 8-)).

Dahila Lithwick and Cookie Monster

"What kind of Muppet are you, chaos or order?"  Chaos Theory - A Unified Theory of Muppet Types is the Slate article Dahlia wrote that inspired this weeks cover of C-Ville Weekly. Dahlia was so nice and easy to work with. Obviously a pretty awesome person. Thanks Bill for the concept and dressing up as Cookie Monster. Here is some more of Dahlia's work with The Slate

Chief Longo for C'ville Weekly

The other day we had the opportunity to shoot Chief Longo over at the police station for the C'Ville Weekly (article here).  We shot against a blank greenish colored wall using a Norman Tri Lite 2000 and a Canon 45mm TS-E lens.  The Chief was straight forward and very easy to work with.  I can't imagine what a difficult and demanding job he has.  Anyways, we really enjoyed the shoot.  Thanks Bill and Amy for the art direction and help.  BTW - the Chief did his own hair.  8-))


WWII Veterans for C'ville

Amy and I recently photographed 3 WWII veterans for the Charlottesville, Virginia weekly magazine, C'ville Weekly (Click on the images to see them bigger). It was so great to get a chance to meet these guys and hear a few of their stories. Thanks for giving us your time and hospitality.  8-))

Jack Bertram, a B-17 pilot in World War II, kept in touch with his crew throughout the years, through Christmas cards and letters, and also at yearly reunions for the 95th bomb group. He and bombardier Harry Hull, lifelong friends, are the last living members of their crew.


James “Monk” Bingler served in the 394th infantry regiment of 99th infantry division in World War II. Although fighting on the frontlines and being captured by the Germans left him with nightmares, he has been able to channel his experiences into positivity through his mission to help others.


Dr. Jim Kavanaugh served as a B-17 radio operator in World War. He says he only shared his stories with his family over the years if they asked. “But it seemed so encapsulated and increasingly distant to me that I couldn’t imagine that it would be of genuine interest to anybody, except maybe [at] these veteran gatherings, and even then you talk more freely to someone who’s done it because you don’t have to explain it.”


Using spot grids to highlight a male physique


The AD (Bill LeSueur) on this shoot was interested in a dramatic image that highlighted our subjects head and his torso independently. The original idea was based on a comp Bill had showing a guy sitting on the ground with a spotlight shining down on him and the all of the shadows fading into a black background.

Here is the program description he sent me:

Annual health issue publishing a week from Tuesday.
Collection of pieces under the umbrella of a connection between mind and body.
I was reminded of a photo JFK, Jr. published in his political magazine "George", of himself naked (with an apple dangling over his head).
He was writing about temptation.
Wondered if we could photograph a beautiful bare male body in a similar way.
Dark background, Body largely in shadow, head (maybe in profile) and torso spotlit, emerging from shadow.
(mind and body...)
What do you think?

I loved the idea for the image, but thought that instead of having the shadows fade into blackness, it would be really nice to see the outline and form of the body.

To create the photo we used 4 strobes:

  • 2 profoto strobe heads lit a white background, and were flagged so that there was no spill on our model (Eric). The background was obviously underexposed so that the white appeared grey.
  • The spot light on his head was created with a medium 6 inch honey comb spot grid fitted onto a Norman strobe. This light was positioned almost directly above the model and shining straight down.
  • The light on the torso was created using large 10 inch honey comb spot grid fitted onto a second Norman strobe. The light was positioned high, to camera left, and just slightly in front of the model, raking across his body.

While we were shooting the image, I had Eric stand really still while I took 2 frames. The first with all of the strobes firing, the second with only the background illuminated, giving me a silhouette. For the final image I used the silhouette in post to darken any areas that had more light on them than I wanted. Specifically his left arm and his pants. I also used it to create that shadow effect.

Anyway: thanks to Bill and Eric for a job well done. *-))


The great Jen Horne - a positive influence 8-))

This is my sons all time favorite teacher - Jennifer Horne. I know her enough to say that she is enthusiastic, earnest, kind, and really really good at what she does. She is the kind of person I wish I knew better. It was a privilege to photograph her 8-))

Below is the C'Ville Weekly article written about her for the back to school issue. Please look it over, it is worth the time to learn a little about someone that is such a positive influence to others.