Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Grids Still Have A Life

Why not use your existing over sized grids or buy some used grids for your Speed lights. I went to Ace Hardware Store and bought a rubber "Reducing Coupling" which fits perfectly over my Nikon SB-800's.

This Reducing Coupling is a 4" to 2" in size, the small end of the coupling fits snugly over the head of my SB-800 Strobe. With the use of a small bungie cord you can easily hold your grid in place. The length of the Reducing Coupling places the grid at such a distance that the projected light has a wonderful quality to it. Better than if you where to just place the grid on the face of the strobe.

You can pick up new grids for around $25 each however most grids are sold in sets of 4. Looking on ebay just now show several sets for sale, my guess is that you could pick up a set for between $50 and $75 bucks.

You get a nice projected looking light when the grid is out in front of the flash lens. This is a great way to put to use some old grids on those heavy studio strobes you use to carry. DT

Monday, December 15, 2008


I am looking for your input regarding my Small Strobes, Big Results Workshops. You will notice that I have up a Poll or Survey on the right hand banner of my blog.

I would like to know what days of the week would work best for you if you were to attend one of my workshops. The majority of my workshops have been held on Saturdays. If you're a wedding shooter this could be problematic.

Anyway, please let me know your thoughts by filling out the survey. You can mark more that one day. Thanks a bunch. DT

Available Small Strobes, Big Results workshops: Denver Jan 10th, 2009 (2 spaces available), Philly, PA at Eastern State Penitentiary, San Francisco April 13th, Orange County, CA April 16th,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Private Mentoring is Always an Option

There have been several individuals asking about my availability for private mentoring. For those that prefer private one on one instruction rather than a workshop setting, I am available do just that.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I did just that with Mike Lavoie of Indiana. Mike was interested in attending the Indianapolis Small Strobes, Big Results workshop held several weeks ago. The workshop had sold out before Mike could secure a spot for himself. Mike was very interested in jump starting his lighting education and decided to arrange private instruction while visiting family in Colorado Springs during Thanksgiving. He had a wonderful time and I thought I'd share his comments with you here.

"I had viewed Davids work on line for several months. I was intrigued by the masterful speedlight techniques, blended with ambient light apparent in all his photos. The corporate work he was doing especially caught my eye. With the use of several speedlights, slaves and natural light, David is able to paint images with light in much the same way that the old masters painted on canvas.

I quickly realized that he was light years ahead of me and if I didn't have the intelligence to outright steal his secrets from his photos then I would have to ante up and pay for them. I contacted David and was told that he was holding one of his workshops in Indianapolis but that it was sold out. It worked out that I was spending my Thanksgiving holiday with family in Colorado and it was quickly agreed that I would meet David at his home near Denver for a "one on one" session.

His passion for the project was obvious the moment I arrived and the chemistry between us was immediate and comfortable. It started with the excellent coffee and jetted into high gear in a no non-sense, structured hands on course that has elevated my photographic thinking to the next level. I was able to use all the resources of Davids' studio, both software and hardware equipment. I was taken through several different lighting setups. This was not with the intention of my parroting his setups but rather to open the doors of my own creative vision. I cannot recommend a private session with David highly enough. It is money well spend, an investment in my business that will be returned many times over. Thank you, David!!!"


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memoirs of a Weekend Photographer

Just a quick note: I was recently interview by Lawrence Atienza, his the brains behind the blog "Memoirs of a Weekend Photographer". My interview will be available just after the New Year on January the 11th.

Friday, December 12, 2008

RangeFinder Radio Interview

I totally forgot about this. In conjunction with the print article that Tammy Cravit wrote about me for the September issue of RangeFinder Magazine, I also provided an additional interview with Scott Sheppard at RangeFinder Radio. If you would like to hear the interview click HERE

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Toronto Small Strobes, Big Results Workshop?

Let me throw this out there, I've had a few emails asking for a Small Strobes, Big Results workshop in Toronto, Canada.

I'm just thinking out loud right now, I'll be speaking at the 48th annual UPAA symposium in Jamestown, NY. in June of 2009. This put me pretty close to the Toronto area, and a workshop could be arranged if the interest is there?

If you live in the area of Toronto and interested in attending a Small Strobes, Big Results workshop, I'd love to hear from you. Just thinking out loud.

I've never been to Toronto!

Available Small Strobes, Big Results workshops: Denver Jan 10th, 2009 (2 spaces available), Philly, PA at Eastern State Penitentiary, San Francisco April 13th, Orange County, CA April 16th,

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Speed Ring Set Up

I've had several emails asking me about how I set up my strobe and speed ring combo. I have several speed rings in my arsenal, you don't need an expensive one to do this. This photos show a very inexpensive speed ring from... hell can't remember who's this is, it very cheap, but works.

I use a standard umbrella adapter with a 1/4 20 male post on it. The speed ring has 1/4-20 threads on one of the sides, all of my speed ring have it so I assume that they all do. I just screw the umbrella adapter into the speed ring. Here's another look at, just a bit closer.

When it comes to attaching my strobes to the speed ring, I simply use a "Justin Clamp" clamped to the ring. I use this method on all of my Octa's as well.

I hope this helps. DT

Wanted to also show another style of umbrella adapter.  This is one from B&H their impact design.  Here I'm fitting a speed ring which is designed for a Dyna-lite strobe head.  Hope this helps. DT

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Basement Bounce

I work primarily as a "location" shooter for corporate and industrial clients with business all over the world. This work requires me to travel quite a bit and therefore, my need for studio space to shoot in is seldom.

Like so many other photographers, I work out of my home. I once had a studio earlier in my career for about 6 years in cool area of Denver. Over the 6 years I occupied that space, I shot perhaps 15 or 20 times. Do to the nature of my business it just didn't make sense having a studio.

My studio is located in my basement, Debbie calls it the black hole. I occupy the entire basement, office and shooting space. The shooting space small, for sure, when I need a larger space to shoot in, I rent a studio in town.

The ceiling height in my shooting space is 8 feet, I sure wish it where higher! There are times when I need overhead lighting for a shot and there isn't enough space above to put a softbox or some other modifier. My solution for the low ceiling is to simply bounce a strobe into a white board which becomes my light source.

From the photo above you can see the the size of my shooting space. I have a piece of styrofoam clamped to the floor joists overhead. I simply bounce a strobe into it in order to produce soft overhead lighting. I'm using a set of "Barn Doors" or some other type of gobo on the strobe in order to contain the light and preventing any unwanted spill or flare.

Here are a few more view of the crib, my wife calls it the black hole. When I go downstairs to work, I'm there for the day. Working all the time, even harder than ever with today E.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

How About Some Light Painting

My assistant Erik Lawrence has posted a short video at YouTube at his blog showing how he created this photo using just a mag-lite. Light painting is a lot of fun and with digital now a days, you know what you have as soon as you shot it. You can read and see his video HERE.

Back in Sept. of 2007 I posted an article on this blog showing how I used a 1 million candle power flashlight to create this image of my stone path in my back yard. You can read more HERE.

Working For Free....

By now you all have heard about David Hobby's recent post "Four Reason to Consider Working for Free".  What David is proposing is not new, many well know photographers grew their careers by doing free work.

Many other blogger have weighed in on David post and I would recommend reading all of them.  Chase Jarvis, Moose Petterson and Vincent Laforet.  After reading all of these posts, I would have to say that I most closely align myself with Vincent's point of view.

There is a balance that needs to be struck... Read them all for yourself.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Only a Few Spaces Left!

I just got off the phone with Vanessa V. who is the Special Events Coordinator for Popular Photography/America PHOTO Mentor Series.  Vanessa told me that there are only a few spaces left for the Death Valley, CA trek in Feb.  Bill Durrence and I will be leading this Trek and if you've been sitting on the fence thinking about going, don't wait any longer.  I would hate to have you miss out on this wonderful trip!  I plan on bring a few strobes!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Denver Small Strobes, Big Results

Just a quick note:  I have 4 more spaces available for the Jan. 10th, 2009 Small Strobes, Big Results workshop being held in Denver.  If your interested in attending, please contact me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hiding What's Not There

I've been a contract shooter for Getty Corporate Images for more than 10 years. I shoot a handful of assignments a year for them and this post is about my most recent assignment for them.

I was asked to photograph a construction project just outside of Pueblo, CO for an engineering firm. The project I was assigned to photograph is a new "chemical weapons dismantling" facility. The U.S. government has stockpiles of WWII mustard agent mortars that need to be destroyed. This project is just getting off or should I say "out of the ground", the completion date is sometime in 2013 or so. Needless to say, there wasn't much to photograph, some concrete pad work and very little iron out of the ground.

Over the last 25 years I've encountered this type of situation numerous times. You have an assignment that sound terrific and interesting only to find out that there's not much to photography when you arrive on location. I know I'm not the only one that this happens to.

In situations like this you really have to put on your creative thinking hat. I keep mine just under my hard hat at all times! What I really needed to do was "hide" what wasn't there. At this particular location I had plenty of obstacles to deal with, the government was one of them. Not only was there little to shoot, I was restricted from pointing my camera in certain directions due to the sensitive nature of the location I was shooting at.

At this location there are what seems to be, thousands of "igloos". Igloos are the storage bunkers that the military uses for the "mustard agent" munitions. I am able to show you this example of what an igloo looks like, as these do not contain any of the munitions that are stored on base.

This site was a real struggle, trying to show construction progress without showing specific locations and such. I used the sky as backgrounds and shallow death of field (DOF) to hide specific details that the government wanted hidden. I was restricted from from shooting from high places as I was not "trained or certified" for lifts and harness restraints. The next time I shoot at this location or with this client, we will need to take the time for that type of certificate.

The photo on the top is an excellent example of using shallow DOF to isolate the subject from the background. This photo of just reflections on a fresh concrete pour is another way of hiding objects that where in the background of the scene.

Sometime we run into these type of situations that require a different way of thinking. Using the sky, reflections and shallow DOF where good solutions to the situation at hand. Here is one more shot from our location.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowing/ SFO Workshop!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I had a wonder 4 days off.  As you can see from the photo above, snow has started falling in Denver, looks like winter has finally arrived.

I have a fairly large shoot later this week, I'll be shooting board of directors photos for a client.  I'll be shooting about 50 head shots and two environment portraits of the President and CEO of the company.

We still have space available for the Denver January 10th, 2009 Small Strobes, Big Results workshop if your interested.  Check out the new video on the side banner at the top to see what a workshop experience is like.  I've conducted 6 Small Strobes, Big Results workshops this year, they're fun and participants seem to enjoy themselves.  You can read some of the reviews HERE , HERE and HERE. Workshops locations and dates are listed in the banner to the right.  


You'll notice that San Francisco has been added to the list.  I'm looking forward to visiting SF for sure and this location looks like fun!

Our host for the SF workshop has secured pier side buildings in the port of San Francisco.  This should give you an idea of the type of environment we'll be shooting around.

I have a lot of readers from the San Francisco area and I think this workshop will be filled quickly.  The workshop is designed for only 12 photographers, so if you're interested in attending please contact me regarding availability.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'd like to wish all of my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy your holiday with friends and family.  I plan on eating turkey, pie and smoking a cigar!  Enjoy. DT

I might also mention that I have space available for the Small Strobes, Big Results workshop being held in Denver on Jan 10th, 2009.  Space is also available for Philly, March 20th, 2009 being held at the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Grown

I'm currently in Lamar, CO shooting an assignment for a long time client of mine.  We're here in the south eastern portion of the state photographing the fine folks of the small town of Holly, Colorado.  My client is in the process of seeking approval to build a new power plant in the area of Holly.

My subject was being interviewed by the client for use on there web site and print material.  I used one SB-800 mounted on a Justin Clamp, and placed on the fence post about 10 feet from my subject.  The flash was gelled using a full cut CTO to simulate late afternoon light.

More later regarding this assignment, time to hit the sack!  DT

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Small Strobes, Big Results Video

I just put together is short video showing what it's like at a Small Strobes, Big Results workshop.  If you have not attended one of these fun and informative workshops, what are you waiting for?

Our next workshop is in Denver Jan 10th, 2009. For more info visit the Small Strobes web site.

Looking Back These Past Few Months

When I'm not shooting or testing various lighting set ups, I'm trying to keep up with all my image files in Lightroom.  Yesterday I found myself working with all my images shot thus far in 2008.  I put together a web gallery in Lightroom and have post it HERE.  I'll be narrowing down these images to just a few of the winners for 2008 at the end of the year.

If you see an image in the web gallery you'd like more information about, let me know.  I'll be happy to discuss how the images was created, the lighting and what ever else you'd like to know.  

I have lots of video to go over, all shot while on recent assignments and I hope to post those and more details about the individual images created at the Indy workshop of Small Strobes, Big Results.

Hope your having a wonderful weekend.  DT

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Indy Workshop Results

What a wonderful Small Strobes, Big Results workshop we had in Indianapolis, ID. I want to extend a very special thanks to our host Polina Osherov. for opening her studio to us and for having such a fantastic location to shoot. Polina's studio is located in the Stutz building in Indy, If I lived in Indy, I'd have my studio there. For sure.  Check out Polina's post about the workshop HERE.

We had a full house at the workshop, my apologies to those that wanted to go but could not attend. Unfortunately we could not accommodate all of you that wanted to attend. I really like Indy and hope to return for another workshop sometime in the future!

The building where the workshop was held is fantastic! It use to be the manufacturing plant for the Stutz automobile. They use to have the famous saying "The Car That Made Good in a Day". Really neat space to shoot in, for sure.

It was a pleasure to meet all the fine photographers who participated in the workshop. This group really got into shooting all the the lighting demos that I did for them. Each of them had opportunity to shoot and work with the models. Janet P. had some truly beautiful variations by changing her angle of view and moving around. Way to go Janet.

I'm looking forward to seeing the other attendees work from the workshop. After the workshop we all went to dinner where I was able to answer last minute questions regarding work flow, lighting, business etc. This was a fun workshop guys, thanks for coming and I hope you learned a lot.

Here are a few images from our one day workshop in Indy. I'll be making full posts regarding the lighting of the images and such. We also shot video and will be posting that as well.

If you're interested in leaning location lighting using small strobes, looking into getting yourself to one of my workshops. Small Strobes, Big Results workshops are informative, fun and it just might shave a few years off your leaning curve. Our next workshop is being held in Denver on Jan. 10th, 2009.

What's coming up: I'll be leading my first Mentor Series Trek to Death Valley with fellow photographer Bill Durrence from February 18-22, 2009. On March 19, 2009 I'll be in Philadelphia speaking to the local chapter of the ASMP and on Friday the 20th, I'll be conducting a Small Strobes, Big Results workshop at Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, at the Penitentiary. This is going to be really cool, more about that later. OK I'll show you what the place looks like, just a few shots.
Here are some of the photos I created for the workshop in Indy! Enjoy. DT

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bee Keeper Photo Shoot

I was recently commissioned by St. Mary's College in California to photograph bee lover Jennie Durant. I met up with Jennie in Boulder, Colorado to photograph her in an environment suited to bee keeper... beehives.

We had about 45 minutes with Jennie and I wanted as many different poses I could get during that time. These photos I was taking for St. Mary's where going to be for inside use of their magazine. I wanted to provide my client with plenty of choices allow them a place to put copy within the photo. I shot both horizontal and vertical orientations and I placed the subject on the left and right side of the image.

We also shot video that day and I've posted that at YouTube.

The lighting for these photos where as follows: I mounted 3 SB-800 strobes on Justin Clamps and than clamped them onto the speed ring that the octabox box was mounted too. I set each of the strobes to Remote, Ch 1, Group A. I fired all of the strobes via my built in command unit on my Nikon D700. I had no trouble in the bright sunlight sending the pre-flash info to the strobes from the camera.

When ever possible, I choose to use the Nikon CLS system when ever the distance and workability of the system allows. I always carry sets of Pocket Wizards with me for those times when distance is an issue. The key to using small flashes on location is to honestly think of them as you studio strobes. Use the same modifiers as you would with your studio strobes, just outfit them with your smaller strobes. Here are some of my favorite images from our shoot.

You can see the light change

Walked into my kitchen late this afternoon and noticed something strange. Sunlight passing through the kitchen window that looks out onto our sun room.

As the sun continues swinging farther south this time of year, I notice light striking surfaces that only happen this time of year. I fun spotting these beautiful little surprises when you lest expect it.

I have this new red teapot on the stove in the kitchen, at least it's new to us. Anyway, I spotted this pool of light and just had to make a photo. This triptyph at the left was created in Lightroom using the HSL sliders in the develop mode.

I basically made 3 Virtual Copies and change the Hue/Saturation/Luminance sliders to the colors I wanted on the pots. Just more screwing around in Lightroom having fun.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

We had beautiful weather here in Colorado this weekend, can't remember when we've had such a nice fall.  It was a perfect weekend except for missing my Debbie.  She's in NM at a seminar/retreat for the weekend.

I've had a few emails asking how Debbie's business is going. My wife has been making these really cool Rat carriers.  She also make other products for rats, she has some pretty cool rat things, check out her website at Ratz Pak

Onward, I sat outside by my pond today in my backyard and enjoyed a nice cigar.  While sitting out there, my mind started to wonder off thinking about photography.  I'm always thinking about photography,  just can't stop thinking about shooting, lighting, marketing, shooting and shooting...

Anyway, I decided to pull out a strobe and do some shots in the backyard.  I have a small hook mounted on the patio wall, this hook holds my pond nets when not in use.  I thought it would be nice to set up a shot there at the hook.  The results are shown here.

I used one Nikon SB-800 set on remote, CH 1, Group A.  The strobe head had a full cut CTO filter on it and the head was fitted with a grid.  The strobe was fired via built in command unit on my Nikon D700.

Here's a shot of the set up for the photo above.  It takes such little time to do small exercises like this to keep you sharp.
I tell all of the participants at my lighting workshops "Small Strobes, Big Results" that even though I've been shooting for over 25 years, doesn't mean I don't practice my craft.  I love spending time working on lighting solutions and experimenting with my gear.

I also had time this weekend to do a portrait of my son Chris.  I wanted to check a light set up for a series of portraits I'll be shooting next week for an Oil & Gas annual report.

I hope your weekend was as productive and as fun as mine was... later.

What's all the Buzz?

Had a fun time today shooting a bee keeper in Boulder, Colorado.  We shot some video as well and as soon as I can put that together I'll be posting it.  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Wishing all of you a fun Halloween! Erik and I where lucky enough to be in New Orleans for Halloween back in 2001. Here are a few photos from that fun trip.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PocketWizard Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Gary Miller at MAC Group, makers of the PocketWizards.  We spoke for about 10 minutes about lighting and how I use their product.  I enjoyed doing the interview and I hope you enjoy listening to it.  To here the interview click HERE.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grids For Small Strobes

My assistant Erik Lawrence, has been blogging about making grids for small strobes.  His been blogging for a bit, this is worth looking at if you like DIY projects.  Check it out.

Cleaning out my closet

I have some camera gear I'd like to sell and I thought I'd post it here. Have a look, if you're interested in any of these things please contact me via email.  All my gear is well taken care of, since I have to buy my equipment with my own money... I take care of my stuff.

Since buying my D700 and putting my D300 into a backup position in my case, I won't be needing this fine camera. I've shot with this camera since Sept. 2005, it's very clean and well taken care of. I've got the box, charger and all the stuff that comes with it.  I'm asking $1,575.00.
I have this really cool Nikon AF Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED Lens.  Asking $550.00  Very very clean, for sure.

This is a Nikon 12-24mm f/4 AF-S G ED Lens.  This is a wonderful lens,  very clean, box and case.  Asking $750.00.

I also have a Nikon 85mm f/2.0 AI-S manual focus lens, well used, clean glass and very sharp. Asking $210.00.  The other lens is a Nikon 180mm f/2.8 AI-S ED lens, clean glass and very very sharp. Asking $280.00. 

Nikon camera body, F3/w MD-4 motor drive. Well used, many portfolio images created with this one, few nicks but a wonderful camera. Asking $375.00.

Last item for now, Nikon camera body N90 Works just fine...$60.00

I also have a complete darkroom system available.  Bessler 4X5 enlarger with cold light, film stuff, lens, carriers, trays  all of it.  Let me know. DT