Some photo galleries/projects I’ve worked on outside of the Picture-a-Week framework. These are mostly family events and travel.

Tim and Lisa

Tim and Lisa blew in from Phoenix in August, 2006, for a whirlwind week of reunions with their friends and family on the East Coast. Our vacation coincided with their visit, but fortunately there was just enough overlap that I was able to see them before they left. It was so great to see them especially after such a long time. They are both musicians who live in the Phoenix area. Check out their work on their web site, Opus Fromus, and buy lots of CDs! They make great gifts! The pictures also include our dear friends Jack and Reenie, who hosted the barbecue.

Susan’s Graduation

My niece, Susan, graduated from high school in June, 2006. Before leaving for school, she and two friends posed for pictures and clowned around. Afterwards, she posed for pictures with the relatives and her uncle hoisted her up on the goalposts for a quick hang. She is headed to Boston University in the fall.

The pictures start here.


Saturday, April 29, 2006, the Philly Photobloggers converged on Centralia, Pennsylvania. More on the day as well as pics at a later date.

Following lunch at the Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, we all went to Pottsville for a tour of the Yuengling brewery. The place was packed with photogenic apparatus, but we were discouraged from wandering off or falling behind. I took a few pictures during the tour.

TreeVitalize Tree Planting

On Saturday, March 25, 2006, we went to the Kingsessing Recreation Center in West Philly to help out with a tree planting organized by UC Green and TreeVitalize. 150 balled-and-burlapped trees arrived the day before from a number of nurseries (the trees were selected by staff at the Morris Arboretum). Each one weighed about 300 pounds, so a forklift was kept busy moving the trees into position. An army of volunteers, mostly students from nearby Penn and Drexel, were there to dig holes and wrestle the trees into position. Most crews were able to plant two trees and virtually all of the trees were in the ground within two hours.

I did my bit and worked very hard taking pictures (he said defensively). We missed the main photo op when the VIPs arrived to make their presentation. They were late, and we had to leave. Far worse, we also missed the barbecue.

Laurel Hill Cemetery

The fourth Philly Photoblogger outing was November 19, 2005. The temperature was in the upper twenties at 7:30 AM at the beginning of the outing. Despite the low temperature, we had a great turnout; I think ten people braved the cold. I wore long underwear, two layers over my shirt, and a coat. As a result, the cold didn’t bother me too much, except when I had to adjust the tripod without gloves, which I soon learned to avoid!

Alec Long arranged to have the gates unlocked for us two hours before the cemetery normally opens. Thanks to his efforts, we had more interesting light as well as a photogenic layer of frost covering the grass. I loaded two bodies with Ilford Pan F+, but later discovered that I misloaded the Nikon, so I was snapping away with effectively an empty camera. That mistake lost me half the pictures (about 25). It figures that they were probably the most interesting of the day, since I was more experimental with that camera, which has macro, telephoto, and wide-angle lenses. The pictures that survived in the other body were all taken with a 50mm lens. Since I lost an entire roll of pictures, I was a little more generous than usual in my editing of the pictures that remained. Here’s the sixteen that made the cut. In spite of my huge blunder, I felt I had a great day. Oh, well. Better luck next time.

Film Test: Neopan 400

Since getting Tri-X under control in 2004, I’ve been a happy camper, yet I still wasn’t satisfied. As much as I loved the look of Tri-X, I longed for less grain. Another issue that troubled me was shadow detail. For all Tri-X’s vaunted latitude, in my experience Tri-X has no latitude at the shadow end. In my testing, I’ve discovered that if you rate Tri-X at 400, you only have five stops below middle gray before you have a completely clear negative. That’s not much latitude. Admittedly, this was in dilute Perceptol; I should repeat the test with Xtol. I’m sure it couldn’t be any worse.

Anyway I had been reading good things about Neopan 400, so I thought I would give it a try. I had an opportunity to shoot some friends at a gathering in a tavern downtown. These shots were all taken at f/2.8 and 1/15. I didn’t dare use a slower shutter speed (there’s enough motion blur and shakiness as it is), but I expected the pictures to be underexposed. I hadn’t run any tests yet, so I guesstimated development time as 9 minutes at 72 degrees in Xtol 1:2 and was surprised how much shadow detail there was. Grain is quite fine as well. Check it out.

Farewell Portraits

For the last few rounds of layoffs where I work, our department has been creating a memento for the outgoing employee by mocking up a magazine cover with their picture on it. My friend Jim, who is by far the most gifted designer in our department, has always been prevailed upon to create the mockups. The photos themselves were always supplied to him and were taken in cubicles with digicams. Needless to say, they weren’t great. The latest round of photos (October, 2005) were especially amateurish and low-resolution, and Jim knew that they couldn’t be printed without severe jaggies after he finished cropping them. Although he is a fine photographer himself, he just didn’t have the time to re-take all these portraits, so he asked me to do it. I was more than happy for the opportunity to help create a memento for some good colleagues. The portraits turned out pretty well, considering. If you like the way they look, read on for how they were done.

Lighting was simple, since all I have is a single strobe; I bounced the strobe off a wall to create soft sidelighting. For location, all I needed was an area where I could turn the lights out to create a darkened background and a wall to bounce the strobe. Because our building is being renovated, it was easy to find some vacant areas to set up an impromptu "studio." I set the white balance on the camera, and zoomed all the way in to 70mm for the most flattering perspective. At ISO 400, the aperture worked out to around f/5.6. I don’t have any experience with directing subjects, so I just winged it; I took everyone sitting down and tried a few different poses. Here are the portraits, cropped a little from the originals.

Ninth Street Market

This was my second photoblogger outing, organized once again by Alec Long. We met early on a Saturday at Anthony’s Italian Coffee House on Ninth Street at the north end of the market. There were quite a few new faces, and I enjoyed chatting with everyone throughout the day.

This was a great opportunity for me mostly because the outing provided a chance for me to work on my shyness shooting around people. I still stuck mostly to non-human subjects, but by the end of the morning, I was starting to loosen up a little. At least the best shots are from the end of the single roll I shot.

A sampling from that roll starts here.


Sofie is a high-school student from Sweden who came to America to visit my niece, Susan, for a few weeks. (Earlier in the summer, Susan had spent a few weeks in Sweden staying with Sofie’s family.) These pictures were taken July 15, 2005. The first group shows Sofie and Susan making chocolate balls (they were delicious!) and later, we all gathered around the computer to watch movie clips of Susan’s time in Sweden.

Andrew’s Graduation

My nephew, Andrew, graduated from high school in June. The ceremony was scheduled for Monday night with a big party for all the relatives beforehand. It was great seeing all those people, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. The ceremony was postponed because of rain, but the graduates (Andrew and his friend Paul) donned their caps and gowns and mugged for portraits with the relatives. After dinner, most of the adults gathered in the dining room for a game of Trivial Pursuit, and the “catching up” continued.

Most people weren’t able to attend the actual ceremony on Tuesday evening, which was kind of a shame, but none of the graduates lacked for company; the stadium was packed. Andrew is headed to Drexel University in the fall.

The pictures start here.

Eastern State Penitentiary

An expedition to the extremely photogenic Eastern State Penitentiary on June 4, 2005 organized by Alec Long. We met first for a convivial lunch across the street at Jack’s Firehouse. I took the first ten shots in this series (all black-and-white), and the rest (in color) are by Anne. Here they are.

Ward’s Birthday

A little get-together to celebrate my dear friend Ward’s birthday, May 22.

Carol’s Commencement

My sister-in-law Carol graduated from the Stern School of Business at NYU with an MBA. We attended the commencement ceremony on May 11, 2005. Here are the pictures.

Mosaik at Sellersville Theater

In December, 2005, I went to see a rock band made up of 5 Upper Bucks County high school students at the Sellersville Theater. I knew the drummer, who is the son of a friend of mine. They rented the theater and sold tickets for the benefit of tsunami victims. These kids played amazingly well, playing their own compositions as well as covering some Dave Matthews tunes. On March 28, 2005, the band, called Mosaik, took over the Sellersville Theater for another benefit concert. They packed the house again and raised $1,200 dollars. Whoa. There were two opening acts, Cody and Adam (on guitars), and Chris and Jim (on guitar and harmonica). Here are the pictures.

They Might Be Giants

On February 25, 2005 we went to see They Might Be Giants play a short set at the Borders book store in Rosemont, PA in support of their new CD/DVD Here Come the ABCs. The pictures.

Black-and-white wedding photography

In the summer of 2004, I shot my first wedding, and for all I know, my last. The occasion was my sister-in-law’s wedding in Cape May. The bride and groom hired a professional photographer, and I was free to act as the self-appointed auxiliary photographer. Because the pro was shooting color digital, I decided to offer an alternative look and shot Tri-X with a Leica equipped with a 50mm lens and flash (note to purists: a handful of shots were made with a Nikon).

I shot about six rolls of the day’s events (except the ceremony itself) and presented them with a set of prints of about 80 of the best shots. I edited those down to what I considered the best of these. At 47 pictures, it’s a loose edit, but it provides a better feel of the day’s events.

The prints look “better” than these scans of the negatives do. The prints have a bit more contrast and “snap,” and the skin tones are smoother. I’m not sure why. Anyway, here are the pictures.

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