105mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400, 2 images stitched
Now that the festivities of Christmas and New Years have wound down once more, many reading this are back to their normal lives. I hope everyone out there had a great time with friends and family the past couple weeks and didn’t do anything too crazy (but hey, I can’t tell you how to celebrate!). Especially with it being a great time for gifts and resolutions, I’m sure many are finding themselves learning a new camera or lens to shoot with. As long as you are mindful of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.), you should be fine. 😉
Oddly, WordPress didn’t put together an end-of-year analysis like it usually does for this site. A few clicks into my analytics still show great numbers despite my decline in post frequency (which, if you’ve been following previous updates, are due to a myriad causes). Over 110,000 views from 71,000 visitors, with the top three countries being U.S.A. (no surprise), the U.K., and Germany (Hallo!). I can’t thank you all enough for still supporting the site through my many life changes. Speaking of those life changes, 2018 definitely had its fair share. I moved from Japan back to the States in Chicago, got married, bought a car, and even managed a promotion at work. Keen readers may know what Mrs. Matthew Durr Photography looks like from a previous post or two, but just in case… Continue Reading
I knew it was just a matter of time before I had to start learning to use Photoshop. For years, the free and open-source GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) served my limited graphics-producing needs well. In fact I still remember some tricks to make that program perform at a much higher level than it was originally designed for (thank you plug-ins!). As Adobe started adding more and more features into their Lightroom/Photoshop suite–in addition to the slow but inevitable march towards a dastardly subscription model–I shifted back to see what I was missing. Over the past year, I slowly introduced myself to this powerful program, and am still taking baby steps to learn the ins and outs. Continue Reading
200mm, ISO 100, f/2, 1/2000
Better late than never, I always say. I took some much-needed time off this past July 4th Weekend to catch up with some personal errands, so getting a website update out in time wasn’t a top priority. 🙂
That said, I can keep this month’s update pretty short and sweet. Aside from finishing up my South Korea posts, June saw me get back into the motions of writing lens reviews with my personal favorite Laowa 105mm f/2! Definitely give that lens a look-see if you find yourself wanting super-creamy bokeh in almost every shot. Currently I am working on a review of my Rokinon 16mm f/2, which has served me pretty well over the past year. Not a great lens, but for the price it does a good job at a relatively wide focal length.
As you can see in the title image, I had a little fun working a July 4th Color Run on base to help get my action photography muscles back in shape. For more shots from the powder-filled day (and yes, my camera gear and I got covered…), check out the department’s photo album here. I think I may start wearing a clear poncho to these kinds of events to protect my stuff!
In the world of Sony, the month of June has been a relatively quiet one. The A9 is, of course, garnering a lot of attention for shaking the foundation of the DSLR-dominated pro market, so I can only hope that continues (along with tech from the crazy camera trickling down to other models in the near future). As such, that’s all for this quick update, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! As always, have a great day.
Under the Veil
Nikon 50mm, ISO 800, f/1.8, 1/160
Still in the pursuit of my goal of catching up with posting past work—before I get into current projects (provided I have time!)—just a month ago I was the main photographer for the wedding of Chelsea and Jonathan Durbin in Louisville, KY. With mostly the same equipment as I used in my previous wedding, and the addition of the Rokinon 16mm f/2, I had my ducks in a row as far as gear preparation goes. In stark contrast to the rustic, small-scale wedding I shot prior, this catholic wedding with a large bridal party forced me to change techniques and styles around to keep up with the proceedings. Thankfully, I enlisted the help of Lisa Britton—another freelancer in the Cincinnati area—to help as backup and lighting assistant (Nikon d7000 with Tamron 24-70mm). As a larger wedding with more events to cover, this post contains significantly more photographs than my previous photo story, so make sure you have the time to peruse through the following. With that, let’s get to some shots! Continue Reading
Just like last week’s installment of my 2014 Project 52, I am working one bit at a time towards getting this past summer’s photographs organized and uploaded. On one weekend in-between a three-week sports camp photography gig, my family and I traveled only a few hours north to the small town of Nashville, IN just for the sake of going.
Nestled in the southern portion of Indiana, downtown Nashville is full of dozens upon dozens of artisan shops, stores, and eateries. Surrounded by trees and gardens, each block of the town looks something akin to this:
Shoppes and Stores
Zeiss 32mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200
In the world of fast primes, not often are the specs of “200mm” and “f/2” combined in the description of a single lens. Inherently large and heavy, the ultra-fast design of a 200mm f/2 has long enabled photographers to effectively shoot telephoto in very low light as well as create stunning subject separation simply not possible with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. Though the available light advantage afforded by the f/2 aperture is somewhat offset by the high-ISO abilities of modern digital sensors, the extra depth-of-field control still has its place in creative photography. Additionally, when used on an APS-C sensor camera like the NEX-7, a 200mm f/2 helpfully acts as a 300mm f/2.8 would on a full-frame camera.
Though it should come as no surprise, telephoto primes such as the Nikon 200mm f/2 are somewhat bulky and cumbersome even used with a suitable DSLR like a d300 with its vertical grip. When a lens of this caliber is mounted onto a comparatively tiny mirrorless camera such as the Sony NEX-7, the combination looks outright comical. That said, it is far more important to see how the lens performs in front of an unforgiving 24-megapixel APS-C sensor in making photographs rather than how the kit may turn heads at an event. Read on to find out how the 200mm f/2 stacks up as the professional fast telephoto it aims to be. As always, if you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please read up on this post first! Continue Reading
My life has seen a world of firsts over just the past month. From college graduation to a senior recital, and individual portrait sessions to my first wedding photography experience, the last month has been a whirlwind of activity. Everything seems to just be getting better, however, as I am pursuing more freelance work in photography in lieu of a traditional “summer job” for work over the next few months. There are possibilities for more weddings, portrait sessions, and events, so this site—and my shutter finger—may be nice and busy as time goes on!
Regardless, another “first” that I participated in last week was my first engagement shoot with a couple I graduated with at Transylvania University. They make for a very happy, sometimes silly, couple that was a blast to photograph during our 1.5-hour session. Per request, the majority of shots were largely informal, with most poses forming naturally with only a little pre-guidance from me. I have found with not only my wedding portraits but individual shoots that giving subjects general direction for poses, without specifically telling them “put your hand/foot here or there” too much works very well for relaxing everyone and making photographs that are more organic. Continue Reading
Some time, sooner or later, I knew I would get into wedding photography. With my experience the past few years shooting events and sports primarily from a candid perspective, the pursuit of more freelance work with portraiture and weddings was the next natural step.
So, when presented the opportunity to be the primary photographer for a country wedding, I jumped at the chance, despite the fact that at the time I was preparing a musically intense senior recital for my undergraduate degree in music education. But hey, I do love a good challenge, and this one was no exception—with time management a chief concern.
Regardless, after much research on wedding photography articles and ensuring I had the proper gear to take on anything an outdoor wedding could throw at me, I felt more and more confident as the wedding day grew nearer. Along with backup photographer and lighting assistant Chase Bullock, we were set for a successful day of shooting.
And succeed we did! All in all, I whittled down a large batch of files from three cameras in Lightroom 5 to a solid pool of 500 images. Obviously I don’t have the bandwidth on this site to post them all (and I would not expect any reader to want to look through the whole set!), so below are 42 selections from this pool that span the course of the wedding day. Continue Reading
After three short portrait sessions with friends (first two here and here!), I can say I’ve gotten just about enough experience in portraiture to be a little dangerous during a photo shoot. 🙂
Finagling how to balance flash with ambient light, place light sources, and pose a subject are three areas I am still working on, but in all three of my short sessions, I have learned new skills in varying scenarios. The first with Matt Simmons saw me working under different-colored fluorescent light, then under the shade during a bright day. The second with Ashley Montgomery let me experiment with balancing flash with the sun to create highlights from the now two light sources, and figure out some feminine poses. Finally, my most recent shoot with Melissa Moberg challenged me to constantly adapt to ambient light levels that quickly dropped from sunset to twilight.
It’s never easy, is it? Continue Reading
Whew, three posts in one week? I almost feel like it’s last summer again! Continuing my portraiture practice with friends before I shoot a full-on wedding, I got some experience with poses of the more feminine variety just yesterday. This time, all of my photographs were made outside on a particularly sunny day, which presented its unique set of challenges to create more flattering light. Luckily, in addition to my triple-speedlighted umbrella, I experimented with both a handheld diffusion panel as well as a B+W 3-stop neutral density filter that I have on hand. The former turns the sun into a soft light source, while the latter cuts down the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor by 8 times, whether flash or ambient. Continue Reading