Trunk Show – 2017

The Trunk Show sponsored by Quail Hollow Country Club spotlights unique and interesting items for sale by local businesses.

Event Details
Date: December 3, 2017
Location: Quail Hollow Country Club
11295 Quail Hollow Dr., Concord Two., OH,
Phone number: 440-639-3800
Hours: 10:00 A to 3:00 P.

tom-szabo.com will have a booth at the event to offer the following for sale:
Elegant Flights
Home Town Note Cards
Ocean Sands Jewelry
Portrait Photography

This will be a great opportunity to find a unique gift for that special someone on your Christmas gift list. You are welcomed to share the event details and bring your friends. Hope to see you there!

TV Comes To tom-szabo.com

TV – Holy Crow, this is exciting news! New Day Cleveland filmed at the Painesville Farmer’s Market recently. The producer stopped by my booth so we could talk about my jewelry line: Ocean Sands. That discussion turned into a recent visit by New Day Cleveland to the studio of tom-szabo.com. I was interviewed and they filmed the process of making Ocean Sands jewelry. The Fox 8 producer for New Day Cleveland has scheduled my segment to air on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 during the 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. slot. Sorry, I can’t give you a more specific time.

During the program you’ll learn more about how I find my materials while scuba diving, cut, grind, polish and mount these creations. Having the New Day Cleveland staff here was a hoot, great people. The whole process was fun!

So mark your calendar, set your DVR or whatever you have to do to see me on the TV. Then of course if you get really enthused, check out my on line store at www.tom-szabo.com.

tom-szabo.com business card

Mixed Light Selfie On The Beach

Mixed light photography

My wife Diane and I love the beach at Siesta Key, Florida. Anyone who has been to this beach raves about the white powder sand. As a photographer, I’m often left out of pictures. Which is OK. However, this particular trip caused me to think about a photo of my wife and I. Especially since we enjoy Siesta Key beach as we do. I’m always telling Diane, I want to create our portrait on the beach.

So one evening after we’d gotten cleaned up and had dinner, I told Diane; OK, let’s do the portrait on the beach thing tonight. The first words from Diane were; OK, let me fix my hair!  Imagine that. I told Diane, I want to get my camera set up, so I’ll head out and you can catch up.

The problem with this type of photography at this time of day is the low light levels and mix of light sources. With the sun setting or after sunset, you need a long exposure in order to capture the ambient light. To insure the light on the faces is correct, means you need to add some flash. Now you have a mixed light source. So how does this work?

First you need to make the giant leap of faith and shoot in manual! I  can hear you out there now: OMG – shoot in manual, what’s an f-stop? Yep, you will need to know your f-stop from shutter speed. The quick answer is to use the lens aperture to control the flash exposure. Then find a shutter speed to control the ambient exposure. After that, it’s just an issue to get the pose right. In this set up, I didn’t want to drag extra strobes, light stands, camera and tripod onto the beach. Although for you I’d make sure the extra lights are used. One other handy item was the hand held remote for the camera.

So after was all said and done, Diane and I chose the image below to have printed. OK, I’ll admit I did enhance the night sky a little. Let me know your thoughts!

We have this wonderful body of water here called Lake Erie. So if you’d like to have your family photographed in a setting like the one shown, contact me.

Mixed Light - night portrait on the beach

Diane and Tom on the Siesta Key Beach at dusk.

Shell Enhances Prehistoric Shark Tooth Necklace!

Shell Enhances Shark Tooth!

Sometime prehistoric shark teeth can look a little bit lonesome. On my last visit to the Gulf side of Florida, I started picking up some nice shells on the beach. My mind started to wonde;r how could I incorporate these shells into my jewelry line Ocean Sands? Answers to questions may not always pop immediately into my head. After I returned home a thought came to mind. Why not nest a shark tooth inside the shell? In addition, why not cut the shell to allow the view to go through the back of the shell?

So I grabbed a couple of the “not-so-good” shells and headed over to the grinder to begin grinding away the back side of the shell. After a couple of attempts, I had a new addition to the shark tooth necklaces.

Shark tooth and sea shell necklace

Pectin Mollusk shell surrounding a prehistoric shark tooth with a quartz crystal accent. The pendant is on an 18 inch silver necklace.

Here’s a sample of an early design. By removing the back side of the shell, whatever the pendant is against will be seen. Whether it’s your neckline, top, or t-shirt, it will show through the necklace. These shells are similar to the shark teeth in that no two are the same. Each necklace design is unique. The odds of duplicating this piece are slim to almost NONE!

Add a pair of prehistoric shark tooth earrings and what a set! As of this post, I’ve made only seven necklaces of this shell style. I have more shells, so I will be adding more to the collection.

You’ll notice that some of the necklaces include one or more pearls to enhance the design in addition to the quartz crystal ships.

Below you will see the other necklaces in this style. They vary as to leather or chain necklaces and different lengths. The chains or leather lengths include 22″, 30″ and 34″ lengths. They should give you a different look to fit the style of your clothing and the look you want. I hope you like the new style. These pieces are all in the on-line store and available for purchase. Let me know how you like them and give me your thoughts or design suggestions!

Professional HeadShot

In Lake County, Ohio we have a lot of marketing/communications professionals. Many of them belong to a local organization know as Lake Communicators. Every year, the organization publishes a directory of members (yes, some folks still like hardcopy) and list them on the web site. To make it easy for members to have a professional headshot, one of the photography members will agree to create member headshots. As Tom Szabo is one of the few remaining photographers in the group, he returned this year to conduct the photo shoot.

Prior to the luncheon meeting, Tom comes in early to set up a portable studio. The studio consists of camera, tripod, main light with a 7 foot diameter umbrella, back light, back drop, stool and light stands. Each member needing a  new/updated head shot steps in front of the camera working with Tom to create a suitable image. Subjects do have the opportunity for a quick review of the image(s) and where requested, re-takes are provided.

Portraits can sometime make people a bit nervous. However, most members know Tom and He works with them to relax. The result is a headshot that appears confident and reflective of the persons personality.

Since the photography service is available before and after the luncheon meeting, there’s not a lot of time for casual conversation. However Tom finds a way to break the ice and ease members in front of the camera. These are professionals with busy schedules and not a lot of time. So most are sit down, a couple of quick words, pose direction, shoot and go on to the next person. That means all set up and lighting checks must be completed and finalized before members arrive.

Below is a gallery of this years work. For those of you photographed this year tom-szabo.com wishes to thank you for your time and hope you are pleased with the results.

Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Tom’s fingers have been poking away at the keyboard here at tom-szabo.com. At this point, the on-line store for Ocean Sands jewelry has the following categories:

  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Manatee Bone Necklaces
  • Shark Tooth Necklaces
  • Whale Bone Necklaces

There is inventory ready for sale in each category, that’s good for you. A great selection to choose from. Remember, these featured fossil materials date back to the Miocene and Pliocene era, about 2.5 million to 26 million years ago!

In preparing the store, some new concepts have been introduced. There are two necklaces with a sea shell ground to form a ring around a prehistoric shark tooth, suspended from pearls or a quartz crystal. If these may not be exactly what intrigues you, there are more shells in inventory. That means more variations will be on the way.

Featured in the Earrings section is the NEW tear-drop shaped Marquis wire. These new wires are 2 inches long. They provide a real long elegant look. Plans call for a 1 inch long Marquis Wire. That will allow for more and longer embellishment to the shark teeth used.

Of course these new and exciting pieces are for the near future. But don’t sit back and wait. Check out the current inventory so you don’t miss anything. I need to get back to the store. I’m looking at some nice sized Megalodon Teeth hanging from a rugged chain, They need to get put into the  store. You shouldn’t have to miss anything!

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Earrings

Earrings

Infant First Portrait Session

Infant Portrait Session.

So there’s this girl, NO, NO, NO, not like that! Shannon belongs to the same networking group as I. Gosh we’ve known each other for years and years. I feel like her brother. I can’t say Father since I know him also and he’s a pretty cool guy.

Well Shannon and her husband Travis recently had their first child. Let’s call him say, Mike. I’ll use my brother’s name. Mike is now almost four weeks old. So Mom and Dad brought him into the studio for his first sitting. You’ve heard the description of newborns; eat, poop and sleep. That’s what makes them so cool to photograph. You can put them in almost any healthy non harming position, photograph them and they sleep through the entire session.

Well, not little Mikey! Midway through his session, he woke up. I think he just didn’t want to miss anything! In any event, Mikey was a trooper. We put him in all of his poses and he just stayed their for the most part.

Typically, in these sessions, infants are often photographed in the suit they were born in. Of course it was then that Mikey decided to leave his mark on the fleece posing cloth.  Good job, Mikey. But no problem that’s what washing machines and bleach are for!!

So here’s a few images of Mikey for you to enjoy. Oh by the way, can you tell Mikey’s dad is a deer hinter?? Mike was a pleasure to have in the studio. Love you Mom, Dad and Mikey!

Infant in camo.

Get ready all, I’m waking up!

Sleeping infant

Aren’t I just so cute while I’m sleeping?

Infant boy in black and white.

Our little guy in black and white.

 Mom and Dad with infant son.

Don’t Mom and Dad look so happy?

If you’d like more information about infant photography or any other services offered by tom-szabo.com, check the studio website for contact information.

New Design Earrings – Shark Tooth, Now Available

NEW DESIGN Earrings!

tom-szabo.com announces the release of a NEW earring design. The initial set is made of:

  • 2 – Prehistoric shark teeth, approximately .6 Gms each.
  • Tooth length: 11/16″ to 3/4″
  • Mounting: 20 Ga. round silver plated wire
  • Earring Wire: 20 Ga. round silver plated wire in a 2″ Marquis form

Tom Szabo recovers prehistoric shark teeth and other materials while scuba diving off Venice, Florida. These prehistoric items are found in 25 to 30 feet of water. The shark teeth in this pair of earrings came from his “haul”. Tom hand made this new design pair of earrings in this new design. His studio is located in Concord Township, Ohio, . More inventory will be made available soon.

The new design earrings compliment tom-szabo.com’s Ocean Sands line of jewelry. Ocean Sands jewelry also includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The featured center pieces are from prehistoric: shark teeth, manatee and whale bone from the Miocene and Pliocene eras. These eras date back 2.5 million to 26 million years ago.

The Ocean Sands line of jewelry can be seen on the website: www.tom-szabo.com and at https://www.etsy.com/shop/tomszabo. To purchase Ocean Sands jewelry, contact tom-szabo.com at 440-354-2535 or visit the website. Locally, Ocean Sands jewelry can be purchased at Craftsmiths in Perry Township, Ohio and Starfish And Coffee in Painesville, Ohio. This new set retails for $31.95 + tax.

Prehistoric shark tooth earrings

NEW DESIGN, ST1.2 ER MA-2 S; Prehistoric shark tooth earrings (.6 Gm each, 11/16′ to 3/4″ long) on 20 Ga. Silver Plated Marquis wires.

Hints: Best Photo Tips Ever!

Hints: Best Ever

If you’ve my blog posts regarding photography, you’ve heard me almost if not full on RANT about the flood of marketing hype on technology vs art. I’m a firm believer that buying a new set of paints, brushes, canvas and an easel does not make one an artist. The same holds true for photography. You can purchased the biggest, best, camera; the latest apps, the latest software and it won’t make you a photographer. It’ll just make a big dent in your bank account.

You’ve heard me go on and on about exposure, composition, lighting and knowing camera limitations. I like other photographers would be more than willing to answer questions, offer how-to’s and hints, coach those interested in the medium as an art form.

It makes me think about time I was at an event talking with another photographer, when an acquaintance came up to me. The person was there to photograph the event. Their images we way over exposed. The photographer (well actually, picture taker) asked for my help to figure out the problem. My problem was I was handed a Nikon camera when I shoot Canon. I had to figure out the menu navigation in order to help solve the problem. The photographer (picture taker) couldn’t even navigate the menu.

After getting the “picture taker” situated, it dawned on me; This person is the Official Event Photographer? Are you kidding me? Hey why not, the person has a “big camera”, they must know what they’re doing.

Anyway back to the original idea behind this post. I have a “Google Alert” set for portrait + photography, so interesting articles come in to my inbox. The other day, there it was. The article that summarized every really cool photography hint to the non-photographer. Guess what, no special camera/phone, no wiz-bang app, no marketing hype, just good-ole photography basics. The best advice anyone could give a wanna-be and good reminders for the seasoned photographer – like me! So I decided to include the article for  your benefit.

http://www.telegram.com/entertainmentlife/20170102/avoid-dull-snapshots-tips-for-taking-stunning-pictures

Please look it over. In fact, book mark it as you may want to go back to it again. I have to hurry up and finish my post so I can go back and read it again. Afterwards, take a moment to give me your thoughts on the hints. Remember the goal is not to make you a National Geographic staff photographer, but to help you improve your photos on Facebook. Let me know what you think. You can even post your questions for more discussion. Happy shooting!

tom-szabo.com logo

tom-szabo.com; jewelry, photography & scuba instruction.

Commitment to Craft

Commitment To Craft

Those of you who know me are probably aware of my commitment to my craft – Photography. I’m willing to help people solve a problem. I use this medium to share tips and techniques. Yes, I’ll give you suggestions/critique on your work. It doesn’t matter to me if you use a DSLR or a cell phone camera. Although I have my opinion about cell phone shooters – chuckle!

It’s been my expressed opinion that people often fall into the trap of believing high-dollar corporate marketing about their technology vs individual skill. Meaning buy our product and you can create like the pros. If that were the case, our entire golfing population would be on the pro tour because they bought expensive golf clubs. Now we all know the truth behind that one.

To be a good – not necessarily award winning photographer, takes time, effort and knowledge. Time spent experimenting with your tools. Effort to work at your craft. Learning about your camera, exposure, composition and lighting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect you to get a degree in photography. However you need to learn enough to achieve the results you desire. Buying the latest and greatest technology doesn’t do that.

You may have heard my comment: A poor image with an Instagram filter is still a poor image. Can filters and special effects enhance your results? Bet your media card it will. It all starts with a well done image and that happens using the skills I mentioned above.

A great way to begin understanding what makes good photography is to study those recognized for being a master of their craft. Why do art students spend so much time in class and places like art museums? They’re studying the masters. It doesn’t mean you copy them, but you need to recognize what makes them a master and try the studied technique.

On occasion I’ve offered a link to a photographer I feel has a “Good Eye”. This link just came across my inbox: https://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2016/nov/16/patrick-harbron-intimate-rock-photography

Take a look at Patrick Harbron’s work. Most of it seems was created during the age of film photography. You’ll see how He uses composition, lighting and equipment to get his results. If you’d like a discussion about what film teaches us, that’s another topic. Does Mr. Harbron get special access at events? Probably. But might you’ll be able to get special access at your child’s next performance or sports outing? Maybe – give it a try and let me know about your results. Oh yeah, be sure to check out Mr. Harbron’s work.

tom-szabo.com logo, commitment, craft

tom-szabo.com; jewelry, photography & scuba instruction.

Black Friday – 2016

Black Friday 2016

Holy Cow, Are you kidding me? Black Friday is almost here. Where did summer go? I know it’s the middle of November, but I’m still hanging on to summer by wearing sandals. I know at some time I’ll have to convert to socks and shoes.

So do you have a plan to take advantage of the specials for Black Friday? You could try waking up real early to get to the big-box store right at opening. Maybe you could leave at 12:01 a.m. after Thanksgiving Dinner to get a jump on things.

Once you fight your way through the front door, then what? Maybe you have a specific gift in mind for that special person or family member or maybe not. My luck would be I have a great idea only to find the store has just sold out – urrgh! You may be stuck wandering the isles aimlessly looking for a hint. I’ve done that. Ask my wife and she’ll tell you She knows she’s difficult for whom to buy.

Here’s a good one for the guys. You find just the perfect outfit for your girlfriend or wife. Get just the right gift wrapping paper. Only to find out – that great outfit doesn’t fit!

So here’s a suggestion. Buy some fun and an heirloom. I’ve got the solution. On Black Friday you can call me while enjoying your morning coffee (Let’s say after 10:00 A.M.) and purchase a certificate good for a 1-1/2 hour studio sitting, an 8X10 color print  and save big money. Normally an $85.00 purchase. But for Black Friday you can get the package for 50% OFF. Hey for that price you can purchase a second to give to another friend or family member for the price of one gift. You’ll look like a hero!

This offer is good only for Black Friday, so don’t hesitate! A sample of the certificate is shown below.

Black Friday - 50% OFF Portrait Package

Relax, have your coffee and get your shopping done! One-size-fits-all.

Sun – For One Light Portraits

Sun: A very interesting portrait video came across my feed today. I wanted to share it with you.

First of all most Facebook photography I see has one thing in common – Bad Lighting! Please stop and think for a minute; where does your outdoor light come from? Of course the sun. So that means you have a single source for your photos. In this video photographer Aaron Anderson talks about shooting portraits using – guess what: 1 light. Think of his one light as the sun. I know, what a concept – LOL.

In the video you’re going to see a lot of studio equipment. Yes, but pay attention to the main tools he uses, a strobe, a camera and a reflector. That’s it. What Aaron does do however is CONTROL the illumination. Don’t have a big DSLR? no problem use your cell phone camera. Remember his main light placement and position your subject using the sun in the same relative position. Oh you don’t have a white reflector card? How about the side of a building, a newspaper, a blanket. Look at what’s at hand that you can use.

You may not have Photoshop to make the post process editing. Don’t worry, you’re not a pro trying to sell your work. Paying attention to your subject position will get you better results than what you have been doing.

Watch the video and pay attention to what Aaron is doing with his 1 light (like the sun). Enjoy and feel free to post your thoughts and/or results. I’d like to see your results.

 

Portrait photography tom-szabo.com

Relaxed portrait pose for a high school senior.

Your Rights – Public Photography

Your Rights

Often photographers will ask about their right to photograph people in public? Do I need a release? Let’s start by asking where are you? Legal rights vary from country to country. They may even vary from state to state or city to city. With technology being what it is today, you might start out on Google. Some countries may say OK, but some cultures there may say NO!

Generally here in the states, I will compare my situation that of a photo-journalist. What do they do relative to photographing in public? Often, they will record names and location to identify the subject in print. You don’t see the photographer asking someone in public to sign a release. The time spent getting their subject’s name allows time to discuss usage and any problems publishing the photograph. This may not necessarily address any legal issues, but it sure gives the subject the right to ask not to have their image published. You might also use this time to offer to send a print as a “thank you”.

Here in northeast Ohio, we have a big event coming to town, the Republican National Convention. There will be a lot of people here in town, offering lots of photo opportunities. You may even spot some celebrities. With that in mind, you might want to learn more about your rights and the subjects rights. A panel discussion is being put on by the National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) at Cleveland State University. You will need to register for this free event.

Musician playing banjo on stage.

Workin’ a bad banjo!

Underwater Archeology Site

Archeology

Diving archeologists have been working on a site in a Florida river. The results are helping to dispute that the Clovis group were the first humans to be in the area. The sire has exposed an ancient butchering site for Mastodons. To learn more, read on……

If your interested in underwater archeology, please check out the Maritime Archeological Survey Team (MAST). The group provide basic and advanced classes in underwater archeology. Specifically related to shipwrecks. Or contact Tom Szabo via this site’s Contact page.

MAST diver

A diver records details for a MAST underwater archeology class.

Photography As Therapy!

Therapy – Ahhhhhh.

Photography as therapy?

Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you they started out as a “pitcher-taker”. After all the gear, classes, workshops and pulls of the shutter, they’ll tell you how now they now spend more time concentrating on creating their art. In fact, they may tell you how therapeutic their art is for them. You can’t worry about things in your life when you’re concentrating on creating something.

Chris Gambat explores this concept in his article: Photography as a Form of Personal Therapy. Give it a read. If you start to use photography to relax, maybe you’ll notice your work becoming creative art. That’s not a bad thing!

Anchor Winch

Anchor winch from 19th century vessel in 27 feet of water.

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera? What’s that you ask? This is the most simple form of film photography you’ll find. It’s a great way to make your own camera and learn more about photography. If you have kids, they’ll be intrigued also. Remember film is light sensitive, so you have to devise a way to protect your film for handling. Also, film needs to be developed, so you may want to learn how that works also.

This article came through my inbox. It has some photos of other pin hole cameras and “How-Tos”. These are great for black and white film. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to email, text or call me. Enjoy the read!

tom-szabo.com, tom szabo, jeweler, photographer, scuba instructor

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

In March of 2016, my wife Diane and I vacationed in Florida. What a great time to leave NE Ohio!

Out With The Old!

As a photographer, it’s important to use updated camera gear. So when it came time to consider updating my main studio camera body, I was faced with what to do with my camera and housing for my underwater photography? The plan was to upgrade my main camera body to a Canon 70D. My older Canon T3i would become my back up body. Problem: The T3i would not fit my current Ikelite Housing, urgh! I called my good friend and Ikelite rep, Dave Haas (Haas Images).

Dave’s suggestion: Sell both camera bodies (T3i & Xsi) and the Ikelite Housing. Then purchase the Canon 70D, Canon SL1 DSLRs and the housing for the Canon SL1. After evaluating the economics of all this, I made the decision to move forward. In addition, this needed to be done for my trip to Florida. This would be a good chance to try the equipment while diving.

Canon T3i DSLR camera body.

Canon T3i DSLR camera body.

XSi DSLR Body

Canon XSi DSLR Camera body.

Ikelite camera housing

Ikelite underwater housing for a Canon XSi DSLR camera body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problems With Poor Viz!

After arriving in Florida, the first dives were to search for more fossil material for my jewelry line. Diving off Venice, FL means diving the gulf side of Florida. As a result the water temperature was around 66 to 69 degrees and visibility ranged from 1 to 3 feet. Certainly do-able for fossil hunting. Not so great for photography.

After checking out of Siesta Key, we made the drive to Key Largo, FL. Diving conditions improved. Water temps were around 74 to 76 degrees and visibility ran 40 to 60 feet. After getting the new Canon SL1 set up in the housing, a trip to the pool was in order for some testing. Later, it was off to the dive boat. I only had time for 2 days of diving, so photography time was premium. You can see the results by checking out my images from Key Largo.

Anchor Winch

Anchor winch from 19th century vessel in 27 feet of water.

Your comments are welcomed!

Light, It’s All About The Light!

Light, It’s all about the light.

Light! My wife Diane and I like to vacation at Siesta Key Florida. The beach has the softest and whitest sand you’ll see anywhere. During our walks on the soft powder white sand, Diane gets tired of my commentary on the people taking photos with their cell phone cameras. It generally goes something like this “there’s another photo that won’t turn out very well!”

Even though she gets tired of listening to me, I’m right. Two major problems I see: Stop putting the sun at your subjects back! Number two, move in closer. So let me spend some time again talking about lighting. Why my comment about sun placement? Camera sensors don’t have the capability that our brain does. Sensors can’t adjust the image we see through our eye and correct the exposure. Don’t believe me? Take the scenario I just described and experiment. Put the sun behind your subjects back. Look at their face. I’m sure you’ll see the detail in the face. That’s because our brain and eyes work together to adjust the lighting and see the detail. Now take the picture. How much detail do you see in the near black orb called the face. Almost none.

So how do you fix this problem. You have to train your eye to evaluate scenes for lighting. Look for the highlights and the shadows. Make slight adjustments in subject positioning to reduce the amount of shadow in the subject. Take a picture after your adjustment to see the results and continue to adjust your subject. Eventually you’ll begin to learn what works.

Another way to learn is to observe what other photographers do. I’m not saying to copy their technique as much as observe and adjust. Evaluate the lighting of the scene and subject to see how they work with light. Look at what award winning photographer Irene Chen has accomplished in her photography. Although she uses studio lighting for the award winning images, see how she uses control over lighting to work her magic. Read more about her work.

You’re welcomed to ask me questions. Or just give me your comments.

Film used in family portrait photography. Light.

Portrait photographers strive for detail in their final prints.

Film Photography – Dead?

Film Photography – Really?

Film, remember that stuff? With the explosion of digital cameras today, most of you would likely wonder why shoot on film? Let me back you up a bit. Before digital, you had to put more thought into your photography based on the type of shooting and light conditions. You selected film to support your planned shooting.

Cameras were available in varying sizes. The size concept was based on the physical size of the negative you were shooting. Real photographers would argue the benefits of shooting 35mm, 2-1/4, 4X5 and 8X10. Who cares, you say. Well it all boiled down to the larger the size of the negative, the sharper and more detailed the print. Speed was also an indication of the density of the film. The better the density of the negative, the better the image quality. So if you could record an image on a larger negative size, then you could get incredible detail in your print. That is what photographers would strive for.

So here comes this photographer, Pali Kalsi. He started photographing on the larger formats and got intrigued by the results. To the point where he decided to build an 11X14 camera. Those of you who still remember film cameras and negatives, think back to the negative size for a 35 mm camera. Now imagine a negative 11 inches by 14 inches. The detail in an 11X14 print would be simply amazing.

For more details and to see some of Pali Kalsi’s work, check out this article. As always, let me know your thoughts!

Film used in family portrait photography.

Portrait photographers strive for detail in their final prints.

Lion Fish Inavade Atlantic Ocean

Almost every diver who’s been the the western Pacific Ocean will come home bragging they saw Lion Fish. They are a beautiful species! However, they’ve become a big problem in the Atlantic Ocean. Why? They are considered an invasive species. Lion Fish are very prolific. They can lay upwards of 30,000 eggs every 4 to 5 days.

Lion Fish live on the small reef fish and their numbers are dwindling. That means  the juvenile fish needed to maintain fish populations could be gone. The smaller reef fish eat algae which keeps coral healthy.

To help combat the problem divers have taken to spear fishing Lion Fish. In a lot of locations the season for them is wide open. In fact many restaurants welcome the fish for their menu.

Cayman Islands has announced this weekend will be a Lion Fish hunting weekend making a big event out of it. So if your in the Cayman Islands this weekend, get your spear ready, dive in and  go hunting.

Lion Fish, tom-szabo.com Vieques 11 057

Lion Fish have hypodermic like venomous spines.

School Pictures And Special Deals

School Picture Business

School pictures are a real tradition for families. People often ask if I provide that service. My answer: well I’d like to. I learned a long time ago this is a very difficult market to break into. Schools have told me they are under contract with large photography studios for the service and in addition, the school gets a cut of sales. One of the biggest contract term that’s a barrier for me is the no competitor clause. These contracts often prohibits another photographer from suppling promotions to students within the school.

In fact, the picture business made the news in Washington, D.C. on the local News Channel 4 report. Please don’t think I’m angry or upset about their practices. I just wish I could participate on some level.

tom szabo, jeweler, photographer, scuba instructor. tom-szabo.com

This high school senior portrait uses 3 colors, skin tone, white and red.

Fashion Mags – Photo Lighting Tips

Fashion Magazines – Photography Tips

Fashion magazines – OK, I admit to looking at them. No, No, really, I’m not that way. The fashion industry spends A LOT of money on photographers to advertise their products. So it stands to reason that they would be hiring the best fashion photographers, they can get. So why not look at their work for hints, tips and how to’s?

Next your going to ask me what should you look for. I’ll offer two things to look at: Poses and Lighting. Poses should be pretty straight forward. No you don’t have to expect your subjects to be professional models. But when you tell your child to hold for a picture, suggest body positioning or hand placement that you’ve observed in a magazine.

As far as lighting goes, start with reading catch lights. These are the white dots that appear in the subject’s eyes. If you look close enough you may be able to count the number of dots in a single eye. This will tell you how many light sources the photographer used. Upon further review you might be able to tell if they are round or square, further suggesting square reflectors, rectangular or square soft boxes or round for umbrellas.

In addition to the catch lights, look for highlights positioned against shadows. This will help you identify the main light position relative to the subject.

To help you get started, look at the images used in the article at this link. Tell me what you think or feel free to ask me your questions.

Girl poses in doorway.

Can you determine the light source and direction for this portrait?

Light Planning

Light Equals Photography

Light plays a powerful role in photography. In addition, it is relative. A scene/subject will often have varying degrees of illumination. These are commonly know as highlights and shadows. Both highlights and shadows can be a creative tool.

Your job as a photographer is to understand the it, evaluate it creatively and control how the camera captures it. Wildlife photographer Taylor Glenn does a great job of controlling how his wildlife portraits are lit. He often photographs captive animals in studio where he can plan and control the scene. To learn more.

Photography, Portrait, Pet, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Not all wildlife need be wild!

Light – Composition For Photography

Use Light and Composition

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you’ve heard me comment about understanding light in order to improve your photography. In the article attached to my post, I’d like you to examine the photographs of the artist – Vivienne Gucwa. First, notice how her images evoke a mood. Whether it’s the night scene or a snow storm. It sets the mood for the subject.

Secondly, when you look at her images do you notice your eye moving through the image. That’s her use of light combined with composition to accomplish that. Next time you pick up your camera think back to Vivienne’s images for inspiration. What are your thoughts?

Mount Rushmore Light Show

Electric lighting on Mount Rushmore at night.

Golden Hour Photography?

Golden Hour vs. Mid Day

The Golden Hour as referred to by photographers as the hour around sun up or sundown. The sun and atmosphere combine to give the photographer unique and colorful lighting. Photographers often avoid shooting mid day. Why? The more direct and overhead sun causes a lot of shadows, a lot of contrast and deep dark shadows.

So do you put the camera away during mod day? Absolutely not. This is where you have to be a photographer not a “snap-shot-er”. Huh? Yes, spend the time looking at the scene obviously for composition but also for lighting. Can you position your subject in a location where the lighting is softer and away from dark shadows? Can you shoot in an area that is in shade? Of course you can. You may have to think a little bit and take the time to find a location that gives the light you want.

Take a look at what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic. At the same time look how He controlled the light in his images.

Golden Hour vs. mid day photography

Choose an environment that offers soft light. If needed, add fill flash.

Scuba Diver Brave, Stupid Or Lucky.

Scuba Diver Touches Shark!

I caught this scuba diver article on my FB feed. The image was of a diver reaching out from a shark cage to touch the snout of a great white shark. Brave, Stupid or Lucky?

Apparently the cage was baited to attract the animal(s).  I tend to disagree with feeding as a way to attract animals – well except maybe birds. I’ve seen animals become very friendly with divers who feed them regularly. While this is cute, I’m not sure it’s geed for the animal.

Every critter in the food chain has a purpose. Maybe it’s population control, eliminating the sick or injured or keeping the environment clean. I believe associating humans with a food source is not in the animal’s interest. Anyway, read the article and check out the picture. Then give me your thoughts!

scuba diver, tom szabo, tom-szabo.com, scuba diving instructor, sharks

Shark Feeding? Your thoughts. Image by Tom Szabo.

This Portrait Video Will Make You Think About Lighting

Portrait Photography And Lighting.

Portrait photography requires that you always think about lighting. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a boat-load of studio equipment or a cell phone. I found this short video demonstrating 3 different set ups. These set ups will demonstrate how you can change the result using some minor tweaks of lighting.

Obviously you’ll notice how much equipment a professional photographer uses. That’s not the point. The point here is when taking a picture of another person or persons, you have to open your eyes and plan your shot accordingly. I hope you find the video helpful! Feel free to post your questions, comments or thoughts.

tom szabo, tom-szabo.com, portrait photographer for families, high school students and executives

Notice how your eye is drawn to the subject in this image?

Scuba Divers + Underwater Gardens

Scuba Divers have begun to plant gardens underwater.

I suppose if certain aquatic plants will do well underwater, than why not vegetables. Using huge bubbles in 26 feet of water, they have started growing lettuce. The whole project has been going on for 3 years. Seeds and soil need to to be brought down in sealed containers. Scuba divers are able to work in the air filled bubbles without wearing a mask. You can read more in the full article.

scuba diver

Think About The Colors To Enhance Your Portraiture

Do you really love your family? Silly question right? Because you love them, why would you share them through lousy pictures? Today with the proliferation of smart phone camera technology, it’s too easy to shoot without thinking. I suggest taking about 3 seconds to examine your subject and their surroundings before you start snapping away. Of course think about the lighting, but don’t forget about the colors in the subject and scene. The color scheme should compliment the subject not cause conflict. Check out what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic.

Make Shutter Speed A Photography Tool

If you have read some of my posts, you may have read this before: “You’ve got to be smarter than the camera!” That means understanding how the camera works and camera limitations. Cell phone manufacturers want you to believe that you can take professional photos with their product. Well, even a blind squirrel finds a nut! Good images are made not taken. So that means what I said earlier – “You’ve got to be smarter than the camera!”

Lets start with one of the tools used to create good images – Shutter Speed. Simply the time the sensor is exposed to light from a scene or subject. That time be be a fraction of a second to minutes. Shutter speed can be a very creative tool. Read on to learn more and see some wonderful examples.

Photographers – We All Were Beginners!

As a photographer and a Scuba Instructor, I often tell beginners: “We all started as beginners”. It’s a thought we should all remember. We need to be reminded that we had to work to get where we are today. Here’s an interesting blog post that talks about the road we travel to improve as photographers:

A Declaration Of Love To All Our Crappy Shots

Enjoy!

Portrait Of A Proud Young Man!

Recently one of my high school seniors wanted to go on-location in addition to his studio session. No problem, where would you like to go? Being a member of the swim team, he replied: Let’s go where there is water! So off to the beach we went.

Here in northeast Ohio, we are lucky to live near the beach in Fairport Harbor Ohio. It just so happens near the mouth of the Grand River, there is a monument that includes an American flag. So up he went and we captured this image.

Outdoor location shots like these, can often put the subjects face in harsh shadow. So I powered up my flash to match the ambient exposure and fired away. I like this shot. What do you think??

young man under American flag monument.

High school senior photographed on-location at Fairport Harbor, Ohio.

What’s All The Fuss?

Have you noticed how photographers are overly protective of their images? I often get requests from people to send them digital photos. To the point they feel  they are entitled to them. Here’s an example of why photographers are so protective. A photographer image of her daughter was stolen then entered into a competition! Can you believe the nerve?  Read on……

Why Does This Photo Look So Bad?

Cell phone, point-n-shoot or DSLR camera, it doesn’t matter. A bad photo is still a bad photo. As I said before, A bad photo with an Instagram filter is still a bad photo, it just has an Instagram filter! Do you even recognize that you’ve taken a bad photo – maybe, maybe not.

Many unsuccessful photo are the result of not paying attention to lighting. I created a short video to demonstrate one of the major outdoor lighting problems and a couple hints to help correct it. I hope you find it helpful. As always, let me know your thoughts.