Interview Guatemalan Older Adult: His Life in Guatemala

This is some footage I got while interviewing an older adult in Guatemala. I presented it at Caritas Veritas Symposium at Dominican University.

Right place, Right time – Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

Check out this amazing snap Ela caught when we sprinted up the stairs to get this last minute shot. The reaons we sprinted up the stairs was because we had to fight Chicago traffic to get back to the venue in time for the reception. I love it when a plans comes together. We saw the train start to move and yelled “kiss!” And – it worked :)

Right Place, Right Time - Bianca & Jonathan Chicago Wedding

I’ll link to the full wedding post when it’s up.

Master Series: Gary Land Lighting for Adidas and Lionel Messi Campaign

This was featured on Strobist today, but I still wanted you to see in case you don’t already follow David Hobby’s blog, which you should be. It’s a video about lighting Lionel Messi and how he was lit for an Adidas ad.

The crazy thing about the lighting setup is seemingly EVERY single inch of Lionel Messi was lit with a different light. I know many of us are working on mastering 1-3 lights, but this video give you some insight on how more can be better especially when trying to composite your subject.

To learn more about Gary Land go to his website or blog. Also, check out Profoto the sponsor of this fine video.

PS. Here’s some career advice from Gary Land.

California – Bombay Beach, Salton Sea and Slab City

The second we landed in LAX around 11pm, we picked up our car rental and made our best attempts to get out of dodge asap. With the thoughts, of course, that there is no midnight traffic jams in LA. Thankfully, we were 90% correct. :)

So it was our first day in SoCal- and there we were, in the middle of nowhere. 187 miles from LAX, and far far from any 3G service. It was amazing. On our drive down the coast of Salton Sea, we stumbled into a fantastic little community called Bombay Beach, with the population varying between 60 and 200 depending on the season.

What is the Salton Sea you ask? Well, it is the largest lake in California, and was created by accident back in 1905 due to an engineering mistake by the railroad companies when the Colorado River runoff flooded into the basins of California- submerging the town of Salton over the course of 2 years. After a few decades, and the lake still there, realtors made vast attempts of turning the lake into a resort town.

Due to the loads of agricultural runoff being dumped into the lake, the lakes salt levels rose drastically- now at around 4%, and followed up by scores of dead fish washed up on the lake, and the tourists quickly retreating. All in all, the resort town was quite short lived and abandoned…. which makes for fantastic post-apocalyptic photo-ops. We’ll have to head back and get a few sunrise shots of this amazing area.

On the bright note- the Salton Sea played a big part in the stabilization of the once threatened population of the American White Pelican. (As you can see bunches of them in the distance below) :)

The minute we stepped outside it felt as though we had a heatwave of a smack in the head. Thankfully, it was 115 degrees of dryheat- which beats muggy weather anyday.

So you see all of that lovely sand? If you take a closer look, much of that is actually crushed up fishscales and bones the closer you are to the lake. Yeeesh. That called for me to run back to the car and grab some closed toe shoes. After that, we stumbled into the wonderfully amazing and airconditioned SKI INN. We had no idea what to expect when we walked in the door…

We entered the bar covered with $1 bills from visitors past, and greeted by a lovely gentleman by the name of Wendell. The man behind the bar, as well as the 2nd owner of the place- he chose Bombay Beach for retirement and loves it.

The lovely lady to Wendell’s left was as though she emerged from a cartoon- green flyswatter and all. She had fantastic aim too. And Brian, on the right, handed us a dollar to decorate and tape to the ceiling.

Oh, and not to mention, 115 dry heat makes for the most amazing $2.50 pint of fat tire. Served in a handled mason jar? AWESOME.

While we were outside, we ran into a few fellow travelers, Undergrads on break from UCLA- and they told us that Slab City- Salvation Mountain was only 20 miles down the road. Yes! Remember the movie ‘Into the Wild’ about Christopher McCandless, he ventured out to Slab City as well.

When we arrived, Leonard Knight- artist and dweller of Salvation Mountain wasn’t home, so we will have to venture inside next time.

Originally posted on Studio Finch our photography website, I couldn’t resist sharing on here as well.


Quick post – while editing some photos I noticed this grasshopper out the window on one of our plants. I snapped them making use of a Canon 70-200mm lens and an Extension Tube EF25 II on a Canon 5d Mark II.

Pretty sweet!

Matt Kloskowski’s Book Photoshop Compositing Secrets

I just picked up a great new book by Matt Kloskowski “Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites” what I love about the book is it is so straight forward and to the point. With lesson after lesson – it has multiple of examples that you can apply to re-world scenarios. You can follow along and do the examples he has in the book in Photoshop. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in compositing in Photoshop.

Check out the promo video for his new book.

In addition to this book Matt has a great website on to help improve your Lightroom skills

Happy World Photography Day!!

Didn’t know if you knew this, but today is in fact World Photography Day!! Below is one of my favorite photos I’ve taken. It’s a self-portrait and it was a part of series I did entitled “The Personal Ad.” It actually was the first thing Ela, my now fiancee saw of me.

So, I hope you enjoy World Photography Day and keep snapping :)
Personal Ad - Look at this guy!

Zach Arias: Transformation & Interview by Chase Jarvis

A photographer I’ve been really digging lately is Zach Arias. This is because I can tell this guy really speaks from the heart and has a very inspiring story on how he became a professional photographer.

Growing as a person and an artist is something which is very important to me. Just ask my fiance as I watch video after video and read blog after blog like Johnny 5 in “Short Circuit” “Need more input!” Below is a video Zach did for Scott Kelby as a guest blogger. It really touched me because after watching it I felt even more focused on the task at hand of being a better photographer and why I do what I do in life. I hope it does something for you too.

Chase Jarvis had Zach on his live show, it’s long but good if you have the time.

“The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.” – Edward Weston‘s quote Zach Arias uses at his workshops.

And now Photographer Gregory Heisler

In a recent post on the Strobist he posted a video about Arnold Newman, a fantastic watch in which I learned a lot. Upon further investigation I bring you a video about his assistant Gregory Heisler (from Profoto). He camped out on Arnold Newman’s doorstep until he let him be his assistant.

“His iconic portraits and innovative essays have often graced the covers and pages of many magazines, including Life, Esquire, Gentlemens Quarterly, Geo, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and The New York Times Magazine, yet he is perhaps best known for his more than seventy Time cover portraits.”