Travel is, by definition, motion, and among the photos I always look for on my travels are the ones that capture people in motion. For me motion falls into two categories: one I call sports movement, the other fashion movement. Sports movement is the bobsledder on his run down the track that results in a photo that’s a rush of color and a blur of background; fashion movement is motion that’s almost stopped—“almost” because the person’s activity is implied in the captured movement, and that’s what I do most of the time.
“I started in my father’s darkroom, retouching negatives at 5 years old,” recalls New York City-based photographer Paul Aresu. “My father was a wedding photographer, with 10 studios and maybe 50 photographers working under him.” In his late teens, Aresu was already shooting weddings for his dad. “It grew from there.” He achieved a BFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts and went on to assist Pete Turner and Tom Arma for several years. “I learned a lot about the business from them.”
Who: Robert Beck, staff photographer for Sports Illustrated.
What: Infrared (IR) photography.
When: “The editors give me some leeway,” Robert says, “but I’m not going to be using it for a decisive putt.”
Where: Golf courses all over the world.
Why: Although the job calls for capture of the peak moment, the turning point, the key play, the tense concentration, the moment when the athlete’s body language gives it all away, there’s always the professional and personal challenge to do something different.
How: With a Nikon D700 modified for infrared photography.
“A super wide-angle lens will encompass Mount Whitney and Mount Russell with Iceberg Lake in the foreground.”
Mount Whitney, located on the eastern fringe of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, is the tallest peak in the Eastern Sierra and the contiguous United States. A four-hour drive north of Los Angeles, its lofty summit at 14,494 feet is sought after by hikers and climbers from all over the world. It’s also a favorite of landscape photographers seeking to capture the right compositions as soft pink and orange hues soak into the gritty granite mountain at dawn.
Lise Gagné is a stock photographer from Quebec City, Canada. An exclusive contributor with istockphoto.com since her first photo submission in 2003, she is a superstar on the popular microstock website.
Lise’s story is one of passion, persistence, ingenuity, and timing. As a graphic designer she often used photography in her work. One day, when searching for an image she needed for a project, she came across istockphoto.com and was immediately attracted to the idea of creating images for the then emerging market of RF (Royalty Free) images.
Mobile, Alabama-based photographer Laura Cantrell says, “Mothers trust me to capture and preserve the magic in childhood.” Her photography business in Mobile was inherited from her father who sent his 17-year-old daughter on her first assignment to photograph a train wreck with a 4x5 Speed Graphic. By assisting her dad at weddings and shooting portraits she learned lighting, posing, and how to please clients.
Erik Almas is truly passionate about his photography and will go to great heights to shoot a picture—literally. He and his camera have gone mountain climbing, skydiving, and flying in microlight aircraft. That said, most of his images are shot on terra firma.
Beyond that, he will spend upward of $10,000 on a personal project to create images he strongly believes in for his portfolio. The project may involve travel with a crew and hired talent and renting gear where needed. He does not believe in limiting himself or his creative vision, and his clients appreciate that.
Often people will ask me, “How do you get that great color in your photos?” I appreciate the compliment, but it’s usually followed by, “You must do a lot of retouching.” Actually I don’t. I will do a little color enhancement, but how color looks in my images has to do partly with how I set certain camera controls, how I control or use lighting in the scene, and how I compose the photograph.
Orest Macina says he is “a self-taught photographer interested in painting with light to capture the beauty all around us in vivid colors.” He holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Computational Chemistry, and has worked in the pharmaceutical field. He first became interested in photography in high school, though his interest lagged through college, graduate school, career, and marriage.
Ron Magill is a trained zoologist and the communications director of the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens—Zoo Miami for short—and if you think that gives him an advantage when it comes to taking outstanding wildlife images, you’re right. But don’t turn the page. What’s needed to get a share of the wildlife “Wow!” factor is technique, access, and information that’s available to all. You will also need dedication and persistence. Above all, be sure to pack your patience along with your camera and lenses.
“My dad won a Nikon FM at a company-sponsored event when I was 12, and, the moment he handed the camera over to me, it was love at first sight,” Nels Akerlund recalls. Six months later, he’d built a darkroom in his basement and that love affair with photography has not abated. It carried him through the Rochester Institute of Technology, an internship with a White House photographer in the Reagan administration, and assignments for the National Geographic Society, The New York Times, and photo shoots worldwide. He shares this passion with his wife Anna, who is also his business partner and fellow shooter. Aside from weddings, Akerlund shoots architecture, food, small products, and of course portraits in his studio and on location. He and his wife operate a spacious, two-story, 2000-square-foot studio behind their home in Rockford, Illinois.
The intriguing thing about lightpainting is you never know exactly what you’re going to get. And whatever you get, you won’t get it again. That’s part of the technique’s appeal: you’re creating a one-of-a-kind photograph.
Simply, a lightpainting photo is an image made with a handheld, constant light source in a dark room or environment. The camera’s sensor captures only what you choose to illuminate. Lightpainting images can range from relatively simple to fairly complicated. Striking photos can be created indoors with nothing more than a still life subject, a tabletop to put it on, and a small LED penlight to light it. Or you can think big: how about a mega-powerful spotlight illuminating prairie land in the Grand Tetons or a mesa in Monument Valley?
In early February I went to Cuba for 10 days of photography. Long before I left I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I’d been to Cuba 10 years before, so I knew the basics of what I’d see and what I could expect. This time I narrowed down what I wanted to photograph. I wanted to shoot mostly in the old section of Havana and in the city of Trinidad. People would be my main subjects—people on the streets, in their homes, going about their lives. In Old Havana I wanted to work in the late afternoon and early evening; in Trinidad I wanted to capture people against colorful backgrounds. On this trip there wouldn’t be open country where I’d be shooting landscapes or people working in the fields; there’d be no wide-open spaces, no photos of tobacco fields or expanses of sugar cane.
“I fell into shooting the healthcare industry quite by accident,” recalls Montclair, New Jersey-based photographer John Emerson (www.johnemersonphotography.com). He’d met an art director who hired him to photograph the staff at a research lab, for Rutgers University—which remains a client some 20 years later. That was the proverbial foot in the door. Aside from that, Emerson continues to pursue his other passion: environmental portraiture of celebrities, athletes, and politicians.
In 1987, my friends Julie and Jim bought the 12-room, three-story Victorian in which they’ve raised their daughters, Megan and Emily. Early on they researched the house and the Connecticut mill town in which it’s located. They found maps that indicated the house had been built between 1870 and 1875; town records revealed much of the chronology of ownership. Over the years they renovated the kitchen and one of the bathrooms, stripped layers of paint from woodwork and doors, replaced wallpaper and made restorations and repairs. They came to realize that the original floor plan of the house was pretty much intact, though there seemed to be some changes they couldn’t quite figure out. And Julie, Jim, Megan, and Emily—they like to figure things out. Often they thought, if only there were photographs of the old house.