Well, we have another set of images from the pool. I wanted to make it hard to pick so I went back 27 pages and took the image from each page that seemed to command the top spot. Damn, it was hard. Lots and lots of talented people shooting out there, and a lot of them are on our LE forum pool. As always, please take a look at the photographers work by clicking the image. You will be amazed at the creativity shown, and really have some eye candy fun. Grab a cold one and click away. They are listed after the jump below.

A few things up front.
First, a few posts you may have missed:
I chatted with Steve who makes the great Standbagger light gear bag and also discussed why I went Profoto for new lights on the last post.

There are a lot of interesting Tech Sheets in that category. Most are can be downloaded as PDF’s if you want to view them on your iPod/iPhone or print them out. I hope to start doing that again real soon, BTW.

There is a lot of posted material for those who are about to make the break and go pro at the “Going Pro” category, and Selina, Jack and I are busy as hell putting together the materials for the “Going Pro NOW” traveling seminar series. It will more than rock, for sure. Check the date for this very informative and economically priced day of learning.

Bruce Deboer offers this challenging statement on his recent blog post: Great Work is Memorable – Good Work is Experience
“From where does the underlying threat of a life under achieved come? The canvas is barely dry and it’s nearly worthless to the artist; boring let’s move on, we’ll appraise its memory later. Art’s cash value to it’s creator is about ½ ego, ½ a need for food. The real value of the art to the artist is what then, pride plus memories?

Great work is memorable; good work is not. Does that mean that to be satisfied with your work it has to be great? Merely good won’t do. Perhaps it’s the memory of how it affects others that’s important and not so much how memorable it is to the creator.

Is it the “doing” that drives your work, or a satisfaction with the result? Is it notoriety? Certainly it can’t be wealth. My thoughts tie it to a pursuit of well-being and a desire to cheat death; the thrill of being “in the zone” and producing memorable works. This may not be true for everyone.”

You should check it out and think about what it means. I have been on a personal quest to up my game… a lot. After shooting for decades I want to shoot something more ‘lasting’ than the normal stuff that we commercial shooters do day after day. I think the key is doing instead of talking, working instead of dreaming, planning instead of wishing. This long weekend should provide a good time for us to take a moment and think about what is important to us… and to our photography. Memorial Day is one of our most precious holidays… it reminds us of what it cost to create a country that can have so much creativity and freedom.

Along with that freedom goes responsibility. And, just as the responsibility to be a better person is always there, so is the struggle to become better at what we do. Finer on the edges, more free and at the same time more controlled. A dichotomy that is at the heart of professional photography. We want excellence and we want freedom to simply create… one may not have the same parameters of judgment as the other.

Recently a student asked me to take a look at his portfolio. What I told him caught him offgaurd because I didn’t discuss the images, I discussed him. His perception of failure and success, the ability to put himself out there and risk failing. Or not. It is a struggle artists live with every moment. To understand that struggle is to be closer to understanding why it holds some of us back and lets others soar. Recently I read a tweet that said “Leap and the net will appear.” Well, possibly. And sometimes we crash to the ground in a ball of Hollywood embellished flames.

So what. It isn’t brain surgery… it’s photography. Take a leap or two this weekend and see if you can feel that freedom to create surging for the surface. (As I write this, Charlie Parker is playing on my iPod… talk about taking the creative leaps… Bird knew his limits, and pushed them like crazy in every chorus.)

Well, on to some images from the Lighting Essentials Flickr Pool.

I really like the whole ‘fantasy’ look to this shot… non commercial, but fun and with a twist.

Biker Blondes
OMG ~ Crazy Blonde Bikers !!
Captured the movement nicely, and the blend of strobe and ambient is subtle instead of overkill. The flying scarf just nails it!

Chicken Spinach
Chicken Spinach Stuff
Beautiful food shot… just the right amount of color and edge light to make it look super yummy.

Blonde in Water
Nicely done. Placing the cloud around her face makes the shot seem almost painterly – and is unexpected. I think it is the unexpected nature of the composition that grabbed me.

Clockwork Jen
Just a helluva nice shot… location light and processing. I could see this in a magazine.

The shadows racing up to the viewer, the glow of the sun behind her head… it all kills. Add to that the wonderful pose she struck… and wow. (This image was taken at my NY workshop.)

Blonde and Chair
Chair Ringflash with backlight_08-05-10-0026 copy
Gritty, grimy and lit so well as to make the grunge look grungy, and her look great. The ‘gesture’ seems perfect to me… theatrical and well done.

strobist Delta
I like dogs. I like light. Nice blend here.


Unexpected light, and something that made me look twice to see what it was. I always say show me something I haven’t seen before… like this.

Light Falling
Pure fantasy, lovely post processing and her expression kills. I usually don’t like the squatting model, but for some reason this one works so well.

Great sky and location. The light, although artificial, blends the foreground and background so well that it seems like another world. The light seems as though it may be coming from a hole in the clouds… dreamlike.

A very lovely shot of a bride that will make her daddy cry. Nicely lit and processed.

The three point lighting and desaturated ‘rock’ processing on a kids shot makes it stand out. Nicely done, and the kids seem totally distracted by the play, not the camera. Liked it a lot.

Knife Chick
The Rest of the Story
Taken at the workshop in Baltimore. She fits the part of the knife wielding crazy well, don’t you think? The photographers created a story in five images… I hope to have them on the LE site soon.

Brunette Portrait
Just a well shot portrait that captivates. The framing of the hair makes her face seem a bit angelic to me. Lovely photograph.

Uh… Libby.

Still Life
Still Life with Vinegar Jar III
This still life seems to cross over between very modern and very old world. No wide highlights from softboxes, just gentle speculars and dramatic spots. I like the approach to making something old seem new.

Green Scarf
Green Scarf!
Well, you all know I am a lover of the gesture in a photograph. This shot has that green scarf flying and her dancing and the world seems very var away from this little glade.

Still Life Flowers
DSC_0352   [Explored]
I really really liked the shadow play and the composition here. It seems to be very modern, with the flowers “involved” with the light. Something that will always attract my attention is the careful light/shadow play.

Graffiti Girl
Getting Jiggy wit It
Gesture and form… I am not a big fan of graffiti, but I like how the photographer played her against it. Nicely played, and the great expression is a gift!

Beach Yoga 6
Both shots have the feeling of being there for me. I can feel the sun from the flare, and the chill from the darker shot. I like the look of the natural light, even though I believe there is some artificial light brought into play here.

Black and White Headshot
Well this shot simply rocks. Incredible styling, great MU, a fantastic angle and attention to detail make this shot pop. Processing it as a black and white was genius. The contrasty tones and composition work together… and her wonderful expression sells the image like crazy.

Victoria II
Shadow, light, pose, gesture and of course, Victoria. Nicely done glamor shot with a lot of style.

I love dancers. This is a clean and very well done dance leap, and the photographer nailed it… not an easy thing to do at all. The negative space gives the subject a sense of height.

Working man
What can I say… the image simply jumped of the page. Unexpected pose, BW, great processing and that incredible gesture that really pulls you into the shot.

Jay’s Door
Random street corner
Great tones, intimate portrait and stunning detail/texture. Great shot… even for an iPhone.

Umm… Pink!
Hmmm… let me think, what was it I liked about this picture? I could go on and on about tone and quality and light ratios, but we all know I would be making it up… nice shot for the closer.

Thanks for coming along today, and I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day tomorrow. And a thoughtful reminder that Memorial Day is not just hot dogs and beer. Remember the men and women who paid the last measure of devotion so we could have the freedom to make photographs, love our families and live our lives. My thanks to all who serve, and a special prayer out to those who perished in the protection of our country.

Workshop Information found here: Learn to Light, and follow along on Twitter if you like.

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