There goes the sun….

Meghan was with me the last time I went out shooting. And the time before that come to think of it. And before, and before, etc.

Anyways, Meghan found herself, not for the first time, as a photo subject, because I had a cool portrait idea. The sun was going down, I had a clear shot on it and it was falling. Strobe was on a light stand in the back seat.

Meghan said she initially thought I was having her stand there for shadow or something like that.She said she thought she might be acting like a reflector or something too. Not in a purple shirt honey…We don’t want no color casts here.

Couple of test shots for strobe, fast shutter speed to darken the sky, telephoto to pancake everything and to make the sun sorta big in frame and BAM! We got it! Hope you guys like it.

I got lucky and married "Up" a class when it came to looks.

(Note: When you put your wife’s photo on your blog, she gets to choose the picture that goes up. You also gotta compliment her looks, which fortunately for me, is not hard to do.)

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Flora School District’s new Bus Barn



021610_BusWEB, originally uploaded by Alex Haglund.

Mark Smith, the Flora School District’s Director of Transportation, stands under the awning of the District’s new “Bus Barn,” located at 4561 south Stanford Road in Flora, near the District playing fields. Technically, the expanded tonal range is from the use Photoshop’s Shadow/Highlight tool, working on an image that I opened up the shadows in using Lightroom’s Raw processing.

Don and George

Don Morris is a sculptor and carver and is one of the first people I met for a story when I moved down to Flora a little more than a year ago. Don is originally from Clay County, Xenia to be exact, but he lives in Rock Falls now. This is important because the town next to Rock Falls is Sterling, where my Dad grew up. So during my first week of work, my Uncle John calls me up and introduces me to Don, who comes down to Flora a short time later. I did a story on Don and I now catch up with him every time he comes back to town, which is at least once a year.

The reason Don is in the newspaper is that he’s the artist who made the statue of George Rogers Clark, a revolutionary war hero. Clark fought the Revolutionary War on its western front when he and a small group of soldiers (I think that there were about 100 of them) marched from Kaskaskia all the way across 18th Century Illinois to take the British Fort at Vincennes unaware. George also had a more famous younger brother, William Clark, who was famous due to his his expedition with Merriwether Lewis at the beginning of the 19th Century.

Don carved Clark’s form out of basswood and then had it cast in bronze using a lost wax process. The result is displayed in front of Flora’s newly rehabbed Old Depot. It is one of eight full-sized bronze statues Don has done. Since George, Don has been working with clay or synthetic carving materials instead of wood.

I’ve taken shots of Don by his creation before, but I have been on a bit of a kick to do some photo work for myself rather than for the newspaper and I thought to take a new picture of Don as a little project. This weekend, Don is in town for the Flora Academic Foundation’s Appleknocker festival. I had a him meet me at the statue at about 3 in the afternoon. It was a pretty overcast day.Previously, I did this photo with available light and this time I lit it how I wanted to.

Here’s the picture I chose:

Don is the guy in front. George is the bronzed historic figure in back.

Don is the guy in front. George is the bronzed historic figure in back.

Exposure was f8 at 1/500 of a second at iso 200 on the Nikon D70. I did adjust and spot the image in Lightroom too. Lighting Don was a 750 w/s Travelite with a 16 by 20 inch softbox set at 1/16 poser about 45-degrees of camera axis to the right. George is lit with the same light unit with a grid reflector. No grid for this shot, but I did some with a 10 degree grid spot. That light is directly to my left, about 8 to 10 feet away. That head is at full power, but it’s a much further away from George than the other is from Don and that bronze eats light.

I thank Don for letting me take the picture and I hop to see more of his bronzes in person in the future. Don retired relatively recently, after years of owning a septic tank business. Funny thing is, with all the statues and such, it almost sounds like he’s busier now than when he was a worker bee.