Tag Archives: Portraits

Tristan Turns 9!

Seems surreal to me that my oldest son turns 9 tomorrow. When I think of it… I sorta wanna peak at my 401K and make sure I’m planning my retirement correctly 🙂 I know, I know, many of my friends have older kids, but this is me… and thinking he’s 9, just blows my mind. Ton of clichés run through my mind, “in the blink of an eye”, “time sure flies” and all that stuff, which happen to LL be true (hence they became clichés).

So to celebrate we had Tristan and about 30 of his friends and family head out to Atlantis, the aquarium in Riverhead, NY. Turned out to be a great party! Informational, and fun, and even got to bake in the sun while watching the sea lion show (it reaallly got hot out there!, but it was well worth it). I took a ton of snaps (as usual) and wanted to post a few that I liked. More to come I am sure. Been pushing myself to start exploring off-camera flash as well as outdoor hi-speed synch flash (shutter about 1/4000 of a second, bright sun, f2.8 or so… Joe McNally stuff!). So a few of these shots are exactly that, me playing around, and learning what works, and what doesn’t (sigh, always seems more of the latter than former!) so I can continue to build out my mental checklist of “how to make cool pictures…”



First Day of School!

Amazing to think we have a 1st grader and 4th grader on the bus! Time really does fly…

Lord of the Rings

We have a big family wedding coming up this weekend! Ryan and Jenna are getting married… and our son Aidan has the distinct honor of being the ring-bearer (hence the name of this post).

In the tradition of wedding “traditions”, the ring-bearer gets to don a tuxedo like the rest of the bridal party. And since this would be Aidan’s first official “tux fitting” I had to grab the camera and record this first of many “life moments”. He has been over-the-moon excited since Ryan and Jenna sent him a practice pillow. He slowly walks the kitchen and spreads a killer smile across his face. His gait is slow and deliberate… he’s very serious about performing well and realizes the magnitude of this day (well, as much as a five year old can realize the magnitude of anything…)

As in most retail locations there was just a horrid mix of light- daylight pouring through the window, harsh fluorescents above… just a wicked nasty swirl of ickiness. But I pretty much forgot about it all, and just went to shoot some special candids. Ryan ended up meeting us at the fitting, which turned out to be really special for the boys.


Russell Brown, WineMaster

Had the distinct pleasure of meeting Russell Brown during the DLWS Napa adventure. For those of you not familiar with Russell, he’s the Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems and is heavily involved in the graphic design and development arena. He is also a total blast to photograph. Russell came prepared to get into “character.” He asked a couple of us to shoot him in the vineyard we were visiting… So I broke out a flash and a Lumiquest LTP softbox (a McNally favorite) and went to TTL town.

Russell is just plan awesome to have in front of the lens. He lends drama where there is none, and very quickly transforms himself from “mad” scientist to elder winemaster with ease. For this portrait I wanted to bring out the drama in the clouds building behind him, as well as include enough of the vineyard “environment” to show where he was and paint a “story” around the image.

I call this the “Wine Spectator” cover shot. 🙂 Enjoy.

Ruby – Doo!

or Rub-a-lina… or Ruby-Star!

Meet Ruby, my sister’s golden-doodle dog. She has quite the mouth, and rarely lets you forget she’s by your side. She’ll actually have a full-blown conversation with you, if you let her. 🙂

Fun with Flash II

Saw a portrait awhile ago of a baseball player done by Dustin Snipes… Always liked his work..

So I set up 3 flashes and let Tristan don his Three Village Patriots uniform.  Asked him to pretend he was pitching and shot away.

1) First flash was snooted and aimed at his cap to highlight the Patriots icon

2) Second Flash behind him with a blue gel to light the white seamless a different “punchy” color

3) Third Flash was a Honl grid aimed directly at his eyes… wanted that swath of light to capture his eyes and really highlight them. There was a bit of spill here, if he and I had the patience I would reshoot and try to remove the highlight on his cheek, so the line from the hat would meet the mitt.

Pretty quick setup, which was good… Both kids patience ran out real quick as the Lego table called… 🙂


Fun with Flash…

Took alot of pictures the last few days- with Easter, and sports, and visiting family… the camera was clicking away.

Been thinking quite a bit after seeing Hobby and McNally on the Flash Bus Tour about taking my flash work to the next level and really starting to get serious about understand the language of light as it pertains to small and big strobes. I’ve dabbled and played, and the results have been ok to pretty good… but its time to bare down (as they say) and start understanding the details…

With that in mind, my poor, unfortunate boys begin easy targets. And since baseball season is in full swing, I figured some quick portraits against my white seamless would do. Couple things I’ve wanted to try.

1) Rim lighting the face and arms using two strobes off to the left and right behind the subject

2) Grid spot on their face to highlight this area, and give it a bit more punch

3) Adding a splash of color with another flash low to the ground pointing straight up at the seamless (zoomed out to 24mm to proved a wide swath of colored light)

Again, with that all in mind I asked Aidan to pose first. A shot a series of images using TTL (McNally-esque) and wasn’t real happy with the results. Had three separate groups set up – Group A were the rim lights, Group B was the gridded flash in front, and C was the flash in back. Honestly struggled a bit with the rims… didn’t seem to give me the definition I really wanted… I think Aidan was just moving around too much, so I stopped fiddling with em’, left em where they were, and just shot away.

Ended up with a few keepers, with just a few tweaks in post… Have some of Tristan for later this week!

P.S. Love the hat bending his right ear in this one

100 Days… 100 Dinos!

To celebrate 100 days of school Aidan’s class does a 100 days… [fill in project name here]. Last year he collectd and donated 100 cans of food to a local food bank, this year, his love of dinosaurs (thank you Dino Dan!) lit his passion for his 100 Dinos project. He painted the sky, mountains, land and river… picked out the 100 dinos of various dinosaur genres and let Mom glue em to the posterboard (which promptly curled a bit due to all the paint!).

Always fun to snap a memory!

With a heavy heart…

…We had to say goodbye to our “gurl-dogga” yesterday.

After a valiant fight against a very aggressive cancer (which took one of her front legs in August) the results yesterday indicated it had returned and spread through her lungs and chest. She was losing this fight. Her breathing had become labored over the last few days… the steps should would normally take two or three at a clip, seemed much more daunting as her aching joints just couldn’t support her… I had started carrying her up those stairs so she could sleep in her bed on the floor next to me. This was one of her favorites spots to be, and like the most determined human, she wanted nothing more than to settle into that spot and sleep.

I am going to miss her “running dreams”, her crazed “throw-that-ball-as-far-as-you-can… I’ll-find-it”, look… her short-snorts (when she was done conversing with you), her getting-comfy-dance as she took her spot next to my feet while I finished images or wrote on this blog. She was a quiet presence that permeated our home. She was truly a member of the Rowland-clan… and she will be missed more than words can convey by all of us.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye for now Mocha. I promise when we meet again I’ll have your favorite leash in hand, and my running shoes on… and we’ll go for a four or five miler. You can lead as you always did…

I miss you gurl dogga….

Brothers at Christmas

This is the  “inside” of this years Christmas Card. As usual, wasn’t as easy as it looks… I get a string of “Are we done yets’?” ‘Dad, you’re killing me if I have to take another picture…” and so on and so on. The value of saying “This will mean something when you are older…” doesn’t seem to be working so much…

Anyway, love these brother pictures and looking back at them over the last few years. They truly are growing up so fast and this annual tradition of the photo in front of the tree just seems to be an exclamation point to time’s onward progression. Amazing how a still photograph really captures their personalities… tristan is a bit more of a clown (as witnessed in the facebook video post… him screaming “They are TORTURING us!… that’s Tristan to a “T”).. and aidan, my sweetness, just wears that heart-melting smile. That’s also him to a “T’.

Merry Christmas everyone…


Nikon D3, with Sb-900 through Lastolite Ezybox, finshined in Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS3 (various Nik filters)