Magpie3x3 Ceramic Studio & Gallery

Last week, I shot for Magpie3x3 Ceramic Gallery. Magpie is an art gallery on Frankfort Ave. in Louisville, Ky, and they just opened. It was pretty cool shooting their stuff. It's all for sale, and you can go there and take classes on how to learn to play in the clay. The classes are for both adults and children. 

All the pieces are ceramic (except the black wooden box holding the ceramic scroll). It's a really cool place to check out. Lots of beautiful and fun pieces. the ones I have here are just a few of my favorites. They're open Tuesday through Saturday.

Action Installation

So some shots from my Action! series were selected to become a permanent art installation at the Zappos HQ in downtown Las Vegas. It was tons of fun watching my work go up on these walls. The process was very interesting. These pieces are blowtorched to the walls. This, I was told, helps with the preservation regarding the harsh Las Vegas Summers. Each shot is 8'x8'. Was quite a night watching my work come to life in this manner.


last week i had the opportunity to shoot the breakdance team KnuckleHeadZoo, and it was a lot of fun. it was nice outside, and we shot behind the studio here in vegas. a good number of them showed up, and the age ranges were from (i think) 9 to 33. these guys, at all levels, were killer!

i shot all with Profoto B1s and highspeed sync. i wanted to freeze the action. the first half of the shoot, the fellas did posed shots. after that, they started dancing, and i just shot them while going. everything is processed with NIK and Photoshop.

check them out at


it's been a while since i've added anything to Nisshi, so i thought i should add something to get myself going again. it's not that i've not been shooting. it's that i've simply not been adding shoots here. HAHA anyway...

last night i shot with Erisse 'Petey' Peterson. it was a great time! i'd originally asked her to shoot for my Action! series because of her giant beautiful braids. since they turn silver about halfway down, i thought i'd shoot her on black as i shot Haley a few months ago, but they weren't turning out as i'd planned. i scratched the Action! shots and went for these black vignetted images. i am quite pleased with how they turned out. she's great to work with.

these were shot with a canon 5Ds with two profoto b1 heads. the key light is just a normal reflector from high above. the little fill is a 3' strip box off the right side. the background is an extra durable plastic coated foam core. it's heavy duty stuff. as always, everything is processed with NIK and Photoshop.


George asked me if i'd take some athletic shots for him. i've never shot athletic shots before aside from a few jogging shots here and there for catalog work and some skateboarding shots, but as for studio shots, nope, not once. what i know is athletic shots are usually shot high contrast hard light, so that's what i did. i think they turned out pretty good. George is happy with them, so that's what really counts.

was difficult to get the appearance of running. it took quite a few shots on my end, but we got the shots we were looking for. i also learned that when taking a shot with the model taking a drink, make sure the name brand and logo aren't showing. far too much editing on that shot just to remove the logo and brand which could have easily been avoided with a little more planning. we had no stylist for these shots. turned out fun, and i look forward to trying some more in the future.

these are all taken with Profoto B1 lights. most are taken with a zoom reflector, one on each side, and a couple are taken with a Magnum reflector. as always, all images are edited with Photoshop and NIK. 


so tonight i tested with my friend Katie. she's modeled for me a few times, but tonight, we shot her in a morphsuit. i intended to use these as part of my Action! series, but these turned out better in odd poses which are intensified by the morphsuit itself. there's a creepiness to these photos i really like.

we did shoot some Action! style shots, and i'll process them later. for now, i'm quite pleased with the eeriness of these yoga contortion style poses. there's something very animalistic about these which i like.

these are shot with 3 profoto B1 lights using the high speed sync. obviously these shots didn't require high speed sync. since i was already set up for it, i shot them with a very fast shutter. i have a magnum on the key light, and two 3' strip boxes on the background. everything's processed with capture1, photoshop and NIK.


tonight i tested Chameleon Colors again with my friend, actress, stylist and model Gar-Ye. i've known her a few years. she's always wonderful to work with in any capacity, and i look forward to future shoots with her! we've got a few planned!

tonight was to test how the colors worked with water. it didn't react to the spray mist as i thought it would, but it reacted in an interested way nonetheless. the colors both blend and clump, and i like that quite a bit. also, the water increases the vibrancy and saturation.

i've enough tests now to move to a final shoot. i hope to get one more test in next week to test how well the color bombs will work with high speed in an attempt to catch them exploding on impact. my favorite aspect of these Chameleon Colors so far is how they layer and build on each other.

these are shot with a 3' octobox as the key and 3' strip light for minor highlight in the hair. as usual, these are profoto. the octobox is an acute, and the strip was a slaved B1. everything is processed with Capture1, NIK and Photoshop.


last week, i order color bombs, and tonight, i got the chance to test them. i already had a shoot scheduled with Taylor, and after those shots, she agreed to let me throw color all over her. these turned out exactly as i'd hoped. i have so many shoots now i want to do with these. i'm looking forward to using these more. we had a blast! as i'd throw it on her, it would get in her eyes and mouth. it was a lot of fun!

the color comes from the company Chameleon Color. they've been very cool to deal with, too.

these were shot with one Profoto B1 with a 3' octobox. all processed with photoshop and NIK.


tonight i photographed the nashville, tn based duo Chasing Lovely. they are a very talented sister duo who were a lot of fun to shoot and chat with. they're songs are a lot of fun, and you should check them out if you get a chance. it was a lovely evening hosted by the coffee house "mothership" and the duo from the blog Desert Froth.

nothing special here. no lights, just a camera, photoshop and NIK.


the other day, i shot with my friend, stylist and designer Taylor Sandy. she and i shoot a lot, but this was a bit different as these are dresses she designed while in fashion school. our lovely model is a stylist friend Haley Schulte who i've worked with on shoots quite a bit lately.

this shoot was a great deal of fun!  i had to put white foam core on the ground to cover up a wooden floor that didn't go well with the backgrounds. the heels kept poking through the foam and throwing Haley off balance. she almost fell a couple times. it was quite funny! Taylor wanted these photos bright and punchy! i think we achieved that! i love the colors of the dresses! this is actually the second time i've shot these for Taylor. a few months ago, she and i shot them pinned without a model. 

when she asked me to shoot these, she mentioned layered backgrounds of color. when i first started laying out the background, i only used two colors. as i looked at them, i thought they'd look good with stripes of varying widths. i think they turned out pretty good! all the colors are punchy!

the lighting is two profoto heads, one with a normal zoom and one with a 7' octobox. the zoom is directly in front of the octobox. as usual, everything is processed with photoshop and NIK.

20150513.Light.Test.Joan-Elise Del Santo

a month or two ago, reading a fashion photographer's blog, he said one of his favorite lighting setups for fashion is five lights directly in front of the model, on the ground and pointing straight into the background (not at the model). of course, this is a composite of 5 shots. it's always fun to shoot with Joanie. i think this was the first time i've shot with her in over a year.

i DO like the lighting on Joanie, but it would be difficult to take a bad photo of her. what i learned from this setup is that the lights can't be sitting on the floor. the test shots i did with the lights resting on the floor looked too "campfire", so i raised them to the height of an apple box. for these five shots, all five lights are sitting on apple boxes. i also learned that i need to pull the model farther away from the background to spread the shadows more. these shots, despite liking the light on the model, the shadows on the background seem to make Joanie appear to be shaking due to the shadows being a bit too close together.

lighting wise, we have five profoto acute heads all with the same amount of power to each, all at the same distance from the model, all equally distanced from each other and all the height of an apple box off the floor.


this series took a turn as i was processing these images. as i've shot and processed these images, i kept making and breaking the very rules i began with. one of the very first rules i made (and why i made this rule, i have no idea why) was that each image should leave the canvas in three directions which is also why i originally "framed" each shot. the second rule was making sure the images broke the canvas at the top and bottom. the third rule became keeping the entire image inside the canvas without breaking the canvas at all. the rule i was using until today was that images couldn't overlap. in one of the original shots of Haley, i found myself struggling with an overlap. i wanted two images next to each other, but i couldn't make it happen without an overlap. yes, i could have liquified the situation and been done with it. as i lined up the two images, i didn't mind the overlap. in fact, i liked it. since that, i have been thinking about that overlap. today, this overlap is what i came up with.

i am enjoying the slow evolution of these shots, and all the little rules i've made only to break later have all been good choices. this one, i'm liking a lot. while processing this, i was coming up with all kinds of projects i want to do with these. here's to making another rule and breaking it!


today i shot Action! shots with a new stylist i work with. her name is Haley Schulte. After all the Action! shots i've taken, this project is still the one that's holding my attention the most. i'm still looking for ways to update it and evolve it. with Haley, due to her white hair, i thought she'd be perfect to try on a black field instead of a white field. she is in the reverse of the other Action! shots which i dig.

the more i shoot these, the more things i see i want to change on the next one. i want to keep adding accessories and clothing with contrasting elements. polka dots, stripes, contrasting buttons, suspenders and anything else i can think to add contrasting elements are slowly getting pulled into the shots piece by piece. my hope is that i never complete this as a series. i want to see where it goes.

these are still shot the same way. there is a difference between this one and all the others. all the others were shot with a profoto B1 with a magnum modifier. this is actually shot with a profoto acute head and a normal zoom.


friday night, i shot with my friend and often stylist/photography partner Taylor Sandy. she normally doesn't let me take too many photos of her, and i'm not quite sure why. she photographs very well.

she styled these, too. she showed me a few photos she had in mind, and i made some adjustments to them to make these our own. a lot of photographs were taken which makes it very difficult to choose which to process. the sampling here most certainly won't be all the finals. in fact, she hasn't even gone through the shots to find the ones she likes and wants to see complete. i'll let her do that this week.

there is another shoot i'd like to do with her. with this atmosphere, it was difficult for me to capture Taylor's personality. she's very bubbly and loud and bright. these images do not reflect that personality, so hopefully we'll do another shoot soon.

these are shot with a 3" octobox and a slight bounce. i originally set up with a fog machine and a 3' strip light for that. we shot a few with smoke, but as of posting, i haven't processed any. all is shot with profoto and canon. images were processed with photoshop and NIK.


saturday, my friend carissa and i visited the armagosa opera house which is between death valley, ca and las vegas, nv. we found this pearl on our way to death valley two weeks before and both decided we needed to check out the opera house in the ghost town.

it was, as i expected, romantically creepy. it was everything i thought it would be. it was completely ominous and beautiful. the fact that this place is not only there but still operating is surreal, and surreal is the best word i can find for it. it's a juxtaposition. it's a contradiction. it's gorgeous. it's unreal that it exists as it does.

the "town", armagosa junction, was originally owned by the borax company which operated from nearby. when they stopped mining for borax, the town was abandoned. there is a hotel and gift shop operating in conjunction with the opera house. one of my favorite finds, along with a small cat i found painted in one of the mural's corners, was a tiny skull in the gift shop. it was not for sale. it was merely there for decoration.

this place exemplified noir which is why i processed a few of the photos as i did, dark and grainy like an old nosferatu movie, and while there, at any moment, i felt someone could enter the building a murder us all, not in a scary way, but in a romantic way, as if the opera house required the sacrifice to stay alive. 

all the walls and ceilings are painted with wonderful murals depicting an old english theater's seating. along the top rows were the dignitaries. the middle would be the wealthy business owners and the bottom row of paintings are performers. we, in the seats on the floor, are in the cheap seats. my favorite is the mural of a man handing a rose down to his love. the entire thing is as whimsical as it is serious as it is horrifying.

here's the the armagosa opera house! not many things can surprise, but it did! CHEERS!


yesterday, i took a quick road trip with my friend carissa to death valley. i've been wanting to go there since i moved here. no idea why it took so long. it was pretty interesting. the sites we made it to were: scotty's castle, the sand dunes, artist's drive, ubehebe crater, badwater basin and zabriski point.

there was one more point of interest i wanted to see, but we ran out of time. i wanted to see the sailing rocks/racetrack. i've seen some images online before, and have wanted to see it. i will have to go back and check that out.

the most impressive thing for me was the volcano. it was enormous. the photograph doesn't do the size justice. i was shooting at 24mm, and i couldn't fit it all in. the drop was enormous. my fear of heights kept me from walking to the edge and looking in. my friend carissa kept telling me that it was a slope and not a drop. it didn't matter. once i noticed the size by looking at the other side, i couldn't even walk halfway from the car to the edge. the black landscape surrounding the volcano was quite eerie. it felt alien. a scifi movie about another planet could easily be filmed there.

while checking out scotty's castle, i spotted a fire hydrant which instantly reminded me of the movie "beavis and butthead do america". they're lost in the desert and dying of thirst. beavis says, "this desert is stupid. they need to put in a drinking fountain."

as we were leaving the park, we stopped at a site we spotted on the way in. it's not technically part of death valley, but it was still an amazing point of interest, the amargosa opera house. after wandering around the area a bit and stepping into the hotel's gift shop, we both came to the conclusion we'd go back for an opera soon. it was a little creepy, but that made it more interesting to me.

everything here is shot with a canon 6d and processed with photoshop and NIK.


Saturday morning, I shot with my friend Gar-Ye Lee for the Action! series I've been working. This series is still one of my favorite to shoot. It's always fun, and the folks I'm working with love doing it which makes it even more fun to shoot. I've known Gar-Ye for a few years, and she's super energetic to start with. She's a wonderful actress, so getting her picture taken and being in the light isn't new to her! Gar-Ye's also a really good stylist, and we're planning a few shoots together for the future. Looking forward to those!

The previous times I've shot these, each person has taken about 20-30 minutes. It's always a quick shoot. With Gar-Ye, we shot for over an hour and a half. At most, I've been getting two sets out of each shoot. I processed 10 sets with her since we shot so many variations of the outfit (hair down, hair up, jacket on, jacket off, suspenders on, suspenders off and so forth).

On this blog, these are processed relatively small (as with the previous sets). These are actually anywhere from 2' to 3' long and maybe 2' tall.

These are shot with Profoto B1 lights (two on the background and one on the model). The background lights have the zoom modifier, and the one on the model has a Magnum. Post is all handled with Photoshop and NIK.


Wednesday night, I got lucky with Meaghan Pocock, and by that, I mean I got the chance to shoot with her! She's a peach and so much fun to work with! Taylor Sandy was our stylist for the evening. We shot lots of different outfits with lots of different accessories. Meaghan can make anything look great! A friend who saw a preview asked, "what needs styling?" Well, it takes a lot of effort to make so little look so great (on both efforts of Meaghan and Taylor). I'm lucky to work with both!

These shots took place over two nights. We shot the week prior, too, so some of these are from the 18th, and some are from the previous week. Both shoots were shot with Profoto lights, modifiers and power packs. Modifiers used are: beauty dish, magnum and an 8' octobox. I wanted to shoot with a variety of sources to get as many different looks as I could get. These were shot into Capture 1 and edited with Photoshop and NIK.

Super fun night working with two super fun folks! It's shoots like these that make me realize just how lucky I am!


tonight i worked with taylor sandy on a project she's been designing almost since i've known her, at least a year and a half. she had the idea to pour/paint/drip paint on hands. it was a fun shoot! our model is fellow photographer susannah smitherman.

this was a fun shoot, and taylor was so excited while doing it. she squealed a couple times. susannah had to be quite uncomfortable the entire time. we started off with her on the floor, on her back, head towards me with plastic bags covering her face and torso. we ended up with her on her back, on a cooler, head towards me covered in plastic. i snapped a pic of her face with the plastic. it made her look kind of dead. i thought it was funny. taylor thought it morbid. i still think it's funny.

these are behind the scenes shots as the finished shots are not complete, and since it's taylor's shoot, they're not my shots to publish. once she and i go through them and edit as she wants, i'll post what she approves.

these are shot with a profoto acute with two background lights with 3' strip lights and an 8' octobox on the subject.



today in the studio, there was a "springtime" shoot taking place which included floral arrangements. once that shoot was complete, i asked if i could photograph the arrangements. once i was assured i could, i got to work.

this is a series of tests. i've been working up a series in my head for a future shoot. i needed samples to put in place to see if i could get the atmosphere i'm looking for. soon, i will insert the actual still-life objects into the lighting of the last couple shots.

i like the light and background of the first shot, but it's a bit less atmospheric than i want. i shot that with a profoto gridded magnum. the rest are shot with a small softbox of varying heights and angles with and sometimes without white bounces either in front or to the side. the images are not in order in this slide show as i wanted the 5th shot to appear as the first image.