My Pic of 2015 Miss America in Today’s Washington Post…

Kira and Nina meet
Shutter: 1/320, Aperture: ƒ/2.8, ISO: 100, Lens: 24-70mm, Flash

As you know, I am a big fan of the Miss America Organization. For months now I’ve been trying to get “in” with the organization to be “their main dude” to take photos when they come to my area. Though it would be the most awesome job in the world, there is no dedicated photographer that travels with Miss America and documents all her appearances. So they depend on some random person at each event to take a few photos. I want them to call me when they’re in DC, and yesterday was a great “in.” Both 2014 Miss America Nina Davuluri and the recently crowned 2015 Miss America Kira Kazanstev were at a private luncheon yesterday and I was on hand to take photos. My pics appeared on Miss America Org’s official Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds, and another photo was in today’s Washington Post. And this all happened by the time I got out of the cab back to the office. Click below for more.

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Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

IMG_9247w
Shutter: 1/30, Aperture: ƒ/3.2, ISO: 1600, Lens: 15mm

Late last year I was asked to shoot pics of all the Christmas decorations at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for the company that outfits the park with all the seasonal large-scale decorations. That shoot was successful, so I was asked to see if I could shoot all of the Halloween features at the Howl-O-Scream attraction. Mainly without guests around. I immediately said yes. It would be a challenge… most of the haunted houses are specifically dark and full of fog for maximum impact, but I was up to the challenge with my new 25,600 ISO Canon 6D. This was going to be awesome!

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Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike

tunnel
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: ƒ/2.8, ISO: 100, Lens: 70-200mm

Since it’s almost Halloween, I wanted to share this creepy abandoned section of the PA Turnpike. My buddy Joe called me up and said there was a derelict tunnel and section of highway in Breezewood that was almost equi-distant between he (in Pittsburgh) and I (in DC). To be clear, it’s open to the public, and not trespassing. In fact it was used to film The Road. I was also anxious to try out my new Canon 6D complete with built-in GPS, and a 25,600 ISO. Woot!

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Street Fashion with Mary Catherine

Mary Catherine
Shutter: 1/200, Aperture: ƒ/1.4, ISO: 320 Lens: 50mm 1/200

I recently had the pleasure of shooting some fashion/editorial shots with Mary Catherine. You may remember her as the Miss DC contestant looking in the mirror in my Miss DC write-up. She was a joy to work with, and we talked about going out and get some head shots and fun fashion style pics. I told her that I was shooting the Black Keys at the Verizon center, however I get kicked out after the third song and we could meet up after that. I don’t mind when it gives me time to do stuff like this! All of these photos were shot with available light from street lights, electronic billboards, etc. We didn’t use a flash. Keep reading for more.

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I want to get better – Shooting Bleachers

Jack Antonoff
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: ƒ/1.4, Lens: 50.0 mm, ISO: 1600

I got to test out my new Canon 6D at the Bleachers show. The entire day was a rollercoaster of emotions. Let’s start in the morning. I’ve been enjoying the Bleachers’ songs I want to get better and Rollercoaster, and was anxious to shoot their show at the 9:30 Club. DC101 was doing some giveaways, so I assumed I was a shoe-in to get credentialed, but I wasn’t letting myself get excited until I had certain word that I was on the list. In the meantime I secured a seat at their lunch table at Ben’s Chili Bowl for a meet and greet DC101 was hosting. At 10:30am I got the email saying I was on the list to shoot that night. Whew! Then it gets weird from there.

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2014 Preakness

California Chrome
Shutter: 1/250; Aperture: ƒ/7.1, ISO: 100, Lens: 70-200mm

Last year I shot Preakness as a runner for USAToday. This year I wanted a more forward role, so I applied to shoot for DC101. My primary goal was to cover the live music at the Infield Fest, which included Switchfoot, Nas, and Lorde. I was then to build up a gallery of attractive revelers, and if there was any time left, shoot some of the races. The above photo is my best race shot, that’s California Chrome pulling ahead after the fourth turn. More pics and experience below!

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Miss DC Pageant – Don’t Mind if I do

The 2014 Miss DC Contestants wait for final tally
Shutter: 1/640, Aperture: ƒ/2.8, ISO: 1600, Lens: 15mm

As you’re aware, I absolutely love shooting the Miss America pageant, but I longed to get in on a more individual level, so I reached out to the people behind the Miss District of Columbia pageant to see if I could shoot this one. The winner from this night’s event would then go to Atlantic City in September to compete for the title of Miss America. The first added bonus of shooting a local pageant is getting to tell the winner that we’ll meet up again at the big pageant. I love knowing someone on the other side of the ropes. Also, this is the first time I had images published on our local NBC affiliate. I had to pick out fifteen images from the entire night to tell the whole story. Click below for more.

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Playing “Journalist” on the Red Carpet

Katherine McPhee
Shutter: 1/320, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 640 (no flash)

I’ve shot several celebrity news events before, like Miss America and various press conferences, but this was my first A List Celebrity Red Carpet job. Hollywood came to DC this past weekend for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. If you’re not aware, it’s a once a year event where real celebrities come rock out with local “celebrities” and listen to the President riff on himself and others. I got credentialed to shoot the Netflix/Google Pre Party on Friday night. I decided to go for a unique look to my coverage and even had a run-in with “real” journalists! You know, at a red carpet event. Click below for more.

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Paper bag challenge

bag_02
Shutter: 15 seconds, Aperture: f/5.6, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 6400

This week’s challenge was to take a photo of a paper bag using only one light source. We could do whatever we wanted as long as you could still tell it was a paperbag, and we used only one light. Also, preferably in a manner never done before. Above is my take. I did a long exposure of a life sized glow-in-the-dark skull. The only light source was the light coming off of the skull. Click below for the set-up.

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Photo Challenge: Shoot from the Hip

Ascension
Shutter: 1/80, Aperture: f/6.3, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 100

Our latest photo challenge in my local Lens Group was to nab a great photo, shooting from the hip. To take it further, we instituted a “no chimping” rule. Meaning you can’t look at what you shot, until you got home and unloaded all the photos on your computer. This was a challenge to force us to think about composition and timing, by stepping outside our normal methods. Click below to see my thought process.

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GroupLove & I got a “bucket-list” photo!

Christian Zucconi
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens:18-35mm, ISO: 1600

This is my second time shooting Grouplove, as they headlined the New Years Eve party I shot two years ago. I loved the energy and enthusiasm they brought to their show, and I wanted the chance to capture that in a proper club setting. I got some great stuff, but I finally nabbed one of my elusive “bucket list” items. Ever since I started shooting concerts, I was convinced you could not get a kick-ass photo of someone on a keyboard. Then I saw this shot and realized that I had just simply given up, and it was still achievable. So for the last two years I’ve been trying to get a great photo of keyboardist. And I think I finally nailed it. This was an itch that was too tough to scratch, but I got it. Apparently you need smoke and lights. Check out the rest of my shots from this show below.

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Shooting the Neighbourhood in B&W only

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Shutter: 1/80, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 6400

I had the pleasure of shooting The Neighbourhood again last week. You probably know their songs Sweater Weather and Afraid. I shot them once before as they opened for Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. So here they are headlining their own tour, and they had a very unusual request that I had never heard before. Black and white photos only. This was written on my pass envelope and conveyed to me in email. So all of my photos are in b&w. It doesn’t matter too much, as their set was very spartan, and the lights were only white spots anyway. After going through all of my photos, I don’t think I got anything that would only work in color. I’m actually pleased with a quite a few of these, let’s check it out.

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National Zoo with a 100-400mm f/5.6

Om nom nom nom
Shutter: 1/160, Aperture: f/5.6, Lens: 100-400mm, ISO: 6400

I rented the Canon 100-400mm f/5.6 for some wildlife photography this weekend. My travels took me to the National Zoo in Washington DC. This is my favorite shot from the day. The golden tamarins are my favorite animal at the zoo (especially when the red pandas are off getting prepped for breeding). I love the expression and moment that I captured (it’s hard, these guys scamper off very quickly), and the colors complement each other great. This was my first time shooting at 400mm, so let’s see what I got.

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Abandoned National Capital Trap and Skeet Club

lounge
Shutter: 1/30, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 6400

I, ahem, had some unscheduled time off from work back in October, so I set out to do some exploring during the day. In my research online I heard about the National Capital Trap and Skeet Club. It used to be a club where people would take rifles and shoot at clay pigeons. There were some structures there succumbing to neglect, and would make for some cool pics. So I grabbed my 18-35mm and decided to check it out.

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80s Photo Shoot

Bubble trio
Shutter: 1/100, Aperture: f/7.1, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 1000

White Flint Mall, just outside of Washington DC is on its way to becoming abandoned. Right now there are only two or three stores left in the entire mall, but a scheduled closing date has not been set. So you can go there and walk around a completely empty mall. It’s open to the public, and there were surprisingly, a handful of people walking around, but otherwise you have the mall to yourself. So naturally I wanted to set up a photoshoot there. Check it out.

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DC Landmark Photography Challenge

eyeview
Shutter: 1/60, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 6400

My local lens group had an assignment this week; take a photo of any well-known DC landmark that’s been photographed a million times, and produce an image that is completely new and unique. The challenge? You have to still be able to instantly recognize the locale. No fair taking a photo of just one brick of the Washington Monument. So I went into our trusty Metrorail system to come up with something new. The above image was practice, click below to see my official entry, and what I learned along the way.

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DIY lighting set up for food


Shutter: 1/125, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens: 50mm, ISO: 400

I am putting together a layout featuring employee recipes for my office’s internal magazine. I needed to take a quick photo of this poundcake, but I didn’t bring my flash, remote triggers, reflector, or any type of studio lighting with me today. So I set up a mini studio in our conference room to try and get a glamour shot of the cake. Check out the set-up below.

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Motorcycle Show at the Convention Center


Shutter: 1/50, Aperture: f/1.8, Lens: 18-35mm, ISO: 320

I took my son to the DC Motorcycle Show. Much like the auto show, all the major bike manufacturers show off all the new models, but there was also an impressive showing of sweet custom bikes. Then we took in the local School of Rock concert, and this awesome (indoor!) XDL Street Jam stunt show.

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More human than human – Shooting Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie
Shutter: 1/80, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO Speed: 1600

Just a few days after shooting GWAR I got to go back to 9:30 Club and shoot Rob Zombie, another great show for spectacle. As an added bonus, I was joined by friend and photographer Joshua Hoover. It was cool getting to take ownership of the pit, and check out the pics he got the same time I was shooting. Click below for more.

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Gwar!

Balsac the Jaws of Death
Shutter: 1/40, Aperture: f/2.0, ISO: 1600, Lens: 18-35mm

I finally got to shoot GWAR. This shock-rock band has been kicking ass for almost 30 years. They’re even quasi-local (they’re based out of Richmond) but I’ve never gotten to one of their shows before now. I had heard the stories, and I had to photograph this spectacle. I got some protective gear and dove right in. Prepare to have your face melted.

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