Before the Coffee

February 4, 2010

Triathlete Suzy

Filed under: people, Studio — beforethecoffee @ 8:57 pm

Suzy McCullough-Serpico is a sweetheart and I’m so glad she stopped by for a photo session. She is an Elite Triathlete who has earned her way into the prestigious Ironman competition in Hawaii this fall 2010. She wanted some promotional pictures for her website that will hopefully bring her sponsors.

Triathlons combine three events, swimming, biking and running. Being a triathlete isn’t something you do casually like joining a softball team. It’s all about preparation and dedication. After spending a few hours with Suzy I learned what it takes to be an Elite Triathlete. She is someone who pushes through the pain, someone who sees distant goals, someone who thinks about and plans the next workout, and for protein…. Suzy loves peanut butter. All the best of luck to you this year at the Ironman competition.

A little Ironman History:
Ironman began in Hawaii in 1978 with 15 competitors. Gordon Haller, a taxi-cab driver finished first in 11 hours 46 minutes and is considered the “original” Ironman. The following year Ironman got a boost of publicity when ABC sports filmed the event. Julie Moss, a lifeguard, lead the swim and the bike and was set to be the female champion when just 20 yards before the finish she collapsed. Trying to stand, her legs wouldn’t support her, she collapsed again and began to crawl to the finish. Julie came in second and ABC’s Jim McKay called it the most inspiring sports moment he had ever witnessed.

In 2009 the top finishers completed the course in a little over 8 hours. There were an estimated 1770 athletes representing 48 countries and all 50 states and ranged in age from 20 to 80 years old. The race starts at 7am and competitors must finish by midnight, 17 hours later.  This year we will be rooting for Suzy. GO SUZY!

Suzy Serpico’s Website


July 20, 2008

The Fight

Filed under: HDR, Model, people, Studio — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — beforethecoffee @ 3:08 pm

The creation of this image began at the studio when a friend, Colin Foster attending the Hallmark Institute of Photography needed to get some shots for his final portfolio submission. Colin wanted to shoot a fight scene similar to many on the internet. I was concerned about copying the work of others but Colin explained that students often replicate poses and lighting setups as part of the learning process. Colin and I shot the same models in the boxing scene but we both added our own backgrounds. Here is Colin’s version

I got my daughters, Brooke (L) and Kara (R) to come by for a few hours. The make up artist was Aimee Dorsey from Model Mayhem and her passion is gruesome-ness.

They were shot separately with both acting the part of being hit, then the hitter. Colin and I took turns shooting them.

D3, ISO 200, F13, 1/200sec.  24-70mm at 70mm

While on vacation in South Carolina I visited the pier in Garden City and felt it had many of the qualities I wanted for the fight scene. Lighting with depth, dark areas and great symmetry and perspective. This shot was taken about 5:30am during a time when only people fishing are allowed on the pier.

I set up on the empty pier and shot 5 images at 1EV spacing. I ended up blending in the single -1EV image with the HDR because Kara and Brooke were shot with a black background and a dark pier scene was needed to avoid problems blending the flying hair.

D3, ISO800, 0EV=F10, .6sec. 24-70mm at 48mm, tripod

Tyler and Becca modeled the next night on the pier to add to the fight scene. The job was for Tyler to look surprised as Becca alerted him to the fight. It was kind of a “hey look at that” moment. Notice that she’s pointing and grabbing his arm at about the same time he notices the action. I chose a specific spot based on the lighting, then during breaks in the crowd they would walk forward and strike their poses. The girl in the white skirt was fully visible in one of the shots so I included her in the final image.

D3, ISO 4000, F2.2, 1/60sec. handheld, 50mm (fixed)

The next night I walked the pier with my 50mm lens and even on a D3 it’s small enough to be stealth. I shot fishermen doing their thing on the pier. I was hoping to get someone bringing in a big one but that never happened. I left the pier about midnight. The fisherman’s bucket was white and I used Hue/saturation to colorize it close to Brooke’ hand wraps.

D3, ISO 4000, F4.5, 1/13sec. handheld, 50mm (fixed)

The final image is a composite of 4 images for the people, 2 of fish plus the HDR image. Total of 11 images.

March 11, 2008

Carlin is WOW

Filed under: Model, people, Studio — beforethecoffee @ 4:56 pm

This is Carlin’s first shoot and I must say I am thoroughly impressed. She knows how to bring it! Her poses are spot on, her expressions are perfect and intensity is amazing. I will be helping Carlin as much as I can but if you know anyone or have contacts that will help Carlin launch her modeling career then drop me a note.

I am hosting a flickr meetup group at the studio the end of March. Carlin will be there and if you are coming you won’t be disappointed.



June 4, 2007

Triple Break

Filed under: glassbreaking, Studio — beforethecoffee @ 10:04 pm

I’ve broken lots of glass. It’s a mess but it’s an incredible adrenaline rush when it hits the table after falling 10 feet. My record is 7 glasses all caught at the moment of impact.

How is it done? Well I use a sound trigger or I use plain old reflexes. Both work but the reflex method takes lots of concentration and a drop assistant. Practice helps. When a sound trigger is used I start in a dark room and open the shutter for 10 seconds. I run up the ladder and pick up the glasses placed on a board about 10 feet over the table. The drop point, camera focus plane, flash position, must all be planned ahead. Move the glasses an inch or two either way and they will be out of focus or not centered in the frame. Not only that, the glasses have to be free of finger prints, the water color added has to be the right denisty so sufficient light can pass and everything has to be protected, including your flash equipment, because water splashes everywhere. Each shot takes about 4 hours.


June 2, 2007

We All Fall Down

Filed under: glassbreaking, Studio — beforethecoffee @ 8:07 am

“We all fall down” is taken from the nursery rhyme “Ring around the Rosies.” Some believe the nursery rhyme is connected to the Bubonic Plague of England 1665. The “ring around the rosies” refers to the sores on the skin and the “pocket full of posies” refers to the flowers carried in the pockets of the dying to conceal the smell. The children skip in a circle holding hands and drop into a heap while singing “we all fall down.”

Ring around the Rosie
Pocket full of Posies
Ashes, Ashes
We all fall down

regional versions vary……

together.jpg   aog72530.jpg

aog72538.jpg   fall.jpg

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