I made this photograph a few years ago to be used on the cover of a local power company’s Annual Report (corporate and commercial photography is my day job).
We were using a local high school pole vaulter for the shot, and it took a lot of on-the-ground coordination to get it set up. We needed permission from his parents and the school, which insisted that we take all kinds of safety precautions, including having paramedics on site — which, by the way, they don’t do during practice or meets!
At one point I thought the client would call it off because of all the added expense, but it turned out fine.
I was a long way away from the action. We set up the shot so the sun was backlighting the vaulter. At the point where I was going to capture the image I set up two Norman 400b flash units hooked to an infrared triggering device that also triggered the camera. When the athlete broke through the beam both flash and camera were triggered. We did seven takes so we could choose the body position and expression we wanted.
I do a fair amount of industrial photography for annual reports. This is a photograph of one of the sections of a rocket booster engine. I grabbed a couple of workers and had them stand inside the booster for scale. I love the greenish orbs with red — they look like olives in a martini!
The difficult part of the shot was the lighting. I put a huge 10 x 10 ft. scrim behind the engine and lit it with two strobe heads from behind. I had to balance the light from the front so it wouldn’t burn out the interior. Light from the front was provided by two 6 foot square scrims positioned with a narrow slot between them for the camera.
The whole shot took about an hour and a half to set up, but it was worth it.
This is the new Cardiology wing at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugarland, TX. I am including this photograph to show that when you earn your living as a professional photographer you have to deliver no matter the circumstances or weather conditions of the shoot. I was given one day to create a series of images both inside and outside of this new cardiology wing at the hospital. It was a horrible day: the wind was blowing like a hurricane, it was cloudy and dull, and of course it was raining. Nevertheless, I had to get a shot that made everyone happy. No one cares about the photographer’s problems. So, here is what I came up with. Thank the gods of photography for post-production software.
For many years I earned my living photographing architecture for architects and contractors. It has always been a passion of mine, which is why to this day I still take on assignments I find to be interesting. This photograph is from the New Fine Arts Auditorium at the University of Texas, Brownsville. This type of photography is extremely challenging: getting the perspective right, finding the right composition to show off the scene, and achieving accuracy of color are all extremely important technical aspects to the photograph and I have always loved the challenge of getting just right.
Well I finally got my fine art web gallery up gjphelpsart.com. I invite you to take a look. If you are a Houston, TX, resident or live close by check out the Houston Collection, it shows off some of the great architecture of Houston, Texas.
I call it Houston ~ Proud and Tall. I hope they will inspire you to want to own one. If so, just click on the shop button.
This is the oldest Suspension bridge in the United States. It connects the US with Mexico in Roma, Texas
It’s great to be back. Assignments have been coming in fast and furious. So I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like.
One of the projects I just completed was for the Sheraton South Padre Island, Texas, Resort Hotel and Condominiums. (What a mouthful.)
One of the photographs commissioned was this one of the outside pool area showing the beach and Gulf of Mexico in the background. This photograph was taken early in the morning and as you can see it was a picture perfect day. Except, since we were shooting directly into the sun the camera saw the sky as almost pure white, because it was so bright. However, our eyes saw what you see here in this photograph, a beautiful blue sky with wispy clouds and deep blue water. (I wish I could have stayed a lot longer) So the challenge was to be able to show this wonderful view including the beautiful sky you see here. I accomplished this by using a special technique I have been working on. It allows for making two exposures, one for the foreground and one for the sky and then assembling them so that both are perfect. Sounds easy but in actuality it is a lot of work. But, the final result is well worth the effort. Especially when this is what you are selling.
I have done several projects for the Sheraton and working with them is always a pleasure. It is easy to see why they are the number one place to stay for pleasure or business when you are on South Padre Island. Their staff is very friendly and helpful. Even though I was cruising their hallways with assistants and tons of equipment they took it all in stride and were always there to lend a hand if needed.
Next time you are planning a vacation try SPI, Texas and the Sheraton. I know you’ll love it as much as I did.