Jim Craige Photography: Blog https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog en-us (C) Jim Craige Photography jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT https://www.jimprophoto.com/img/s/v-12/u752432348-o736041133-50.jpg Jim Craige Photography: Blog https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog 90 120 Breaking the Rules https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2017/7/breaking-the-rules The Coyote The CoyoteA Coyote in Back Bay- Sandbridge, VA. Shot on a Nikon D810 with Nikon 500mm F/4 Telephoto and Nikon 1.6 Teleconverter. 1/125 - F/4 - ISO 3200 Photo by Jim Craige Photography www.jimprophoto.com

It was after sunset and I had taken my final shots for the day.  I had hiked with my Nikon 500mm and D810, a tripod, and a couple of other lenses a few miles in to the Back Bay National Wildlife Preserve near Sandbridge, VA.  This is just north of the North Carolina Outer Banks, which I have been to a number of times.  So I was hoping to find some birds and wildlife to photograph as the sun set.  I did find flock of white Great Egrets and spent some time photographing them, getting shots I was really happy with.  I decided to make my way back as the sun set and look for some opportunities for the sunset shots as I walked along. 2017-Back Bay Wildlife-193Great Egret in Back Bay A Great Egret catches its dinner in Back Bay Nature Preserve near Sandbridge, VA. Photo by Jim Craige Photography www.jimprophoto.com

I enjoyed the hike out and it was a peaceful and quiet way to end the day.  Some fighter jets flew overhead, and I thought it would have been fun to photograph them, but the light had faded to the point that I felt it was too dark to capture the fast moving planes.  Then I saw some movement ahead on the trail.  I suspected it was a fox but it was too big. It was a coyote, and I don't get to see them often.  I watched it nose around the grass as I quietly pulled my camera back out of the bag and set it up.  I had a tripod for the sunset and although it did not have the normal Gimbal head I use for the long lens, I figured it would have to do the job of holding the lens steady.  It was way too dark for wildlife photos using the standard rules that many follow:

Rule 1- The telephoto lens- shutter speed rule.  Many photographers know the rule of telephoto lens use is to avoid a shutter speed that is slower than the lens length.  So a 500mm lens should use a shutter speed of 1/500th second or faster.  A slower shutter speed will result in a blurry image because the subject moves, the camera moves, or both.  In addition, the movement of the shutter resonates from the body down the lens causing the lens to vibrate during the exposure.

Rule 2- The higher the ISO the more noise in the photo, which results in poor quality images.

But the coyote was still there, even sticking around as some bike riders approached, and then passed it.  It was time to break the rules.  

Because I had a tripod, and the coyote was remaining relatively still, I took a chance on the shutter speed and reduced all the way down to 1/125th second.  Many portraits are taken at this speed, so if the coyote remained still and I was able to keep the camera still I might get away with it.  I used my arm across the top of the lens and braced it to my forehead to dampen some of the shutter flap that will resonate through the long lens.  But the shots were still too dark.  Then I tossed the second rule and went to ISO 3200.  I was able to get quite a few frames in at that speed before it moved off to the other side of a pond. 

When I got back and began post processing I discovered that I had some relatively clear shots.  Of the fifty frames I took of the coyote, only a couple had the right composition, exposure, and sharpness.  I put them into Adobe Lightroom and worked on basic exposure, color, saturation, and hue. Even with the high ISO and low shutter speed they were still under exposed and I pushed the raw files over 1.5 stops of exposure.  I used Lightroom noise reduction and sharpening aggressively.  The result was a photo that shows good detail and exposure.  

The rules are not really hard and fast, but in my discussions with photographers both new and experienced I have noticed a reluctance to stray far from the two rules I disregarded to get these photos.  The telephoto and ISO rules have good standing under normal lighting circumstances and beginners do well by starting with them.  There are also times when it is good to just enjoy the view and take the photos another day.  But when presented with an extraordinary opportunity in less ideal conditions the rules have to be broken to make the camera do what you need it to do to get the shot.  If I had played it safe, or just left the camera in the bag, I would still have enjoyed the beauty of nature.  But now I have an image to remember it by, I got the shot.  Go get yours.

2017-Back Bay Wildlife-294Last Look Back Before LeavingThe coyote glances over its shoudler before heading off into the evening. Photo by Jim Craige Photography www.jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Wildlife https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2017/7/breaking-the-rules Sat, 08 Jul 2017 04:20:29 GMT
Your Portrait Photography Session https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/9/portraitphotographysession 2014NamFall-161Fantastic Family Photos  Together we will get stunning photos during your portrait session
 Portrait sessions are about making connections.  Family portraits offer the opportunity to bring everyone together.  Engagement sessions are a special time for a couple.  Senior portraits are about connecting with the present and the future.  Through all my portrait sessions it is the connection that I have with you that brings out the best images.  There is an energy that sparks new ideas and fresh photos every time.  Working with lighting and setting, the session will be a fun filled adventure, taking photos and enjoying the time we have together.
 


 

Fun family imagesKids will do magical things that we couldn't possibly pose, but makes for great images. Getting to know you
To capture  the best moments it is important to know something about you and your motivation for a portrait session.  We will have an initial consultation, but it is more than just the logistics of date, time, location.  During that first talk, or while we are warming up on location, we will talk about what is important to you.  Sometimes it is a reunion of distant relatives. For many it is the chance to capture a special event, or the beauty and innocence of children.  These photographs will live on, and there will be personality, not just a picture. This is where I want to take you.                        
 


 

What to wear
Be comfortable.  Consider the weather and wear the right clothing for comfort- warmer sweaters and layers for the cold of winter and fall, lighter clothing for spring or summer.  Bring a light jacket or throw during the in-between seasons when the temperature might be unpredictable.  I recommend that men avoid shorts even in the summertime unless going for an extreme casual look.  In general earth tones work year-round, brighter colors for spring and summer and darker colors for fall and winter.  Select clothing that you like to boost your confidence when in front of the camera.  
 

Props are fun! Things to bring
A few items to prepare for the image or occupy children during downtime or as part of the images:
 

  • Hair accessories or ties
     
  • Makeup
     
  • Hair brush/comb
     
  • wipes, especially for kid's faces
     
  • favorite snacks or drinks for children
     
  • favorite toys or books
     
  • blanket for sitting on the grass
     
  • Props are a great way to personalize the image and give focus to the session.  A traditional toy or ball will give a timeless look to any photograph, and helps give the children something to focus their attention on.   Musical instruments or sports equipment lend a nice touch to the photos, and holiday themed props are also a fine addition.
     

Having fun getting some great images. Fantastic images
We are going to take the formal out of portraits. You want photos to show you relaxed and having fun, and that is the farthest from "formal" that you can get. Working too hard for that perfect pose can sometimes cause great stress and anxiety.   We starts simply with getting everyone in the same place.  When working with children I sometimes start with the parents as I prepare the angles and check lighting.  Then we can build the family around them once we have found our comfort zone. When everyone has gathered round we will get the group shots, then let the adults move out of the shot and do a few portraits of the kids. 
 

We can try different spots at our location for a variety of backgrounds. Moving around also gives us an Candid moments opportunity to get some candid walking and playful photos.  In the end, we will have a good variety of posed and natural photographs that capture the moments. 
 

Let's go get some fantastic photographs!  To book your next portrait session contact me: jim@jimprophoto.com
 


 

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) family portrait https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/9/portraitphotographysession Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:00:00 GMT
2015 Police Unity Tour and Law Enforcement Memorial Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/5/2015-police-unity-tour-and-law-enforcement-memorial-photos PUT2015 3Police Unity Tour PhotosPhotos from along the route of the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV.
Photos of the May 10-12 2015 Police Unity Tour, from the ride across Virginia to the arrival in Washington D.C., are now posted online.  Also online are photos from the candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial the following day.

From lying in the grass for the low angle to soaring in a helicopter above the riders it was a fantastic tour to see, with many opportunities for creative photography.  I wanted to capture the different environments of the tour to include scenic farmland, suburban and city scenes.  I used a variety of techniques and lenses over the course of three days so that I could add uniqueness to every setting.  Another goal was to try to get as many photos of every rider as possible instead of just focusing on the front of the pack.  Each participant in the Police Unity Tour has made a commitment of time and effort to support the fallen officers they are honoring, and it is important to me to ensure that their dedication is captured and memorialized.  Scroll through hundreds of photos in each gallery to find group shots as well as individuals, there are over 2,000 photos in all.

I have set up several galleries, starting with one with a few of my favorite shots from this event.  This gives the viewer a taste of each of the different legs of the journey.  You can use the favorites button to create your own set, look for the heart icon at the top left of the photo or press the "Add to favorites" button.   Ordering photos in a large variety of sizes as well as specialty options is simple and easy directly from the website.  Before completing the order there are options to crop, select sizes, and make other adjustments, including changing the photo to black and white. Easy ordering instructions can be found here, with additional options here.  

  Aerial view from Fairfax1Aerial view from Fairfax1Looking down on the riders from the Fairfax County Police Helicopter  In addtion to a gallery with ride photos from Charlottesville to Warrenton, VA, I have a gallery of images from the helicopter as the tour went from Warrenton to Fairfax County, then on to the memorial in Washington D.C.  PUTIV15-906-2The Entire Ride TeamRiders and support from the 2015 Police Unity Tour pose in front of the Fairfax County Police helicopter.

  PUT At the MemorialTHe Police Unity Tour Arrives at the MemorialRiders from across the country converge at the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
And finally there are photos from the candlelight vigil held the following evening.  2015Vigil-240_1_2_4HDR2PPThin Blue Line Over the MemorialThe thin blue line shines over the memorial at the candlelight vigil of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 13, 2015.

The name of every officer who died in the line of duty was read aloud during a solemn ceremony to honor their sacrifice.   2015Vigil-216Candles Held HighSurvivors, Officers, and citizens gather to honor the fallen law enforcement officers.

2015Vigil-204Candlelight VigilThe candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. on May 13, 2015.

Feel free to contact me for questions, details, or for your next photography need- jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/5/2015-police-unity-tour-and-law-enforcement-memorial-photos Sun, 24 May 2015 17:29:51 GMT
2015 Police Unity Tour Ride https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/5/2015-police-unity-tour-ride PUTIV14-281 - CopyPUTIV14-281 - Copy
 

The 2015 Police Unity Tour will bring law enforcement bicycle riders from points across the country to Washington D.C. and the National Law Enforcement Memorial.  I will be out on the route covering Chapter IV of the tour as they make their way over 200 miles of Virginia to Washington D.C.  Their cause is simple, to raise funds and support the National Law Enforcement Memorial to officers who were killed in the line of duty.  Pedaling along with the law enforcement riders will be some family members of fallen officers.  Here are some scenes from last years ride, all the photos from last year can be found at this link.

 
 

2015 PUT Blog Collage22015 PUT Blog Collage2
 


 

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/5/2015-police-unity-tour-ride Sat, 09 May 2015 17:42:16 GMT
Upcoming Event: Police Unity Tour Gala https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/3/upcoming-event-police-unity-tour-gala I am looking forward to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala on March 21, 2015.

2014PUT4G-2972014PUT4G-297Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery.

Members of the community come together with officers and survivors to honor and remember the fallen officers from Northern Virginia and across the country.  The gala is also a fundraiser for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.  The Police Unity Tour is an organized bicycle ride to the Memorial from various points across the United States.

Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com

Chapter IV rides from Richmond, VA through the Shenandoah mountains over three days and three hundred miles.   The Chapter IV gala will feature a formal dinner with guest speakers and live entertainment.  There will be a silent auction in the atrium and a live auction after the dinner.  I will be on hand to capture the evening in photographs.  

2014PUT4G-1412014PUT4G-141 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala

2014PUT4G-4142014PUT4G-414Formal Portraits from the 2014 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala. Photo by Jim Craige www.jimprophoto.com
There will be plenty of opportunities for candid photos, and I will also have a backdrop and studio lights set up for formal portraits.  During the night I will also be getting those creative shots of the displays and grounds of the beautiful Westfields Mariott Hotel and Conference Center .

I am looking forward to a fantastic event!  Below are some more images from last year's event.

2014PUT4G-1552014PUT4G-155Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery. 2014PUT4G-1872014PUT4G-187Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery. 2014PUT4G-2702014PUT4G-270Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery. 2014PUT4G-2842014PUT4G-284Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery. 2014PUT4G-2942014PUT4G-294Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery.

2014PUT4G-4902014PUT4G-490Here you will find your basic event photographs from the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Fundraising Gala held on March 22, 2014 at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. You may select from a variety of printing options from a professional lab. Prints will not have the watermark. A donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each purchase made from this gallery. 2014PUT4G-3742014PUT4G-374Formal Portraits from the 2014 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala. Photo by Jim Craige www.jimprophoto.com

Contact me for photography like this at your next event! jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/3/upcoming-event-police-unity-tour-gala Sun, 15 Mar 2015 15:02:12 GMT
6th Annual Center for Alexandria's Children Gala https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/3/6th-annual-center-for-alexandrias-children-gala I was the official photographer for the 6th Annual Center for Alexandria's Children Gala held at Virtue Feed and Grain in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.   2015CACGALA--2392015CACGALA--239Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com

The event was the night of February 27 and it was a standing room only fundraiser for the CAC.  The theme was the seventies, complete with music of the era and a disco ball.  Find all the photographs here.

2015CACGALA--5812015CACGALA--581Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com

The event started with VIP guests gathering in the back room and presenting awards. The party continued through the bar and restaurant with many guests decked out in their most ostentatious seventies garb.  It was a fun night for all!  The food and service was top notch, served in the warmth and comfort of the Virtue Feed and Grain.  

The silent auction allowed the participants to make even more contributions to this fine organization, and the tables were busy through the night with many bids.  There are few causes that are more stirring than being able to directly impact a child's life.  The CAC has a mission of helping children and families who have been victimized or are in need of assistance with parenting classes and activities for the children.  

2015CACGALA--3822015CACGALA--382Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com

For the evening I slung both the D800 and D700 using the F2.8 zoom lenses but carrying a fisheye, maco, and superwide lens to switch out when needed.  The fisheye was the lens I changed into most frequently, the beams and other features lent themselves nicely to that rounding effect.  I also staged a Vivitar 285HV flash in the corner of each room to give additional light to the dark and warm setting.  Using a wireless radio trigger they fired at the same time as my on-camera flash and really made the difference.  Below is a shot with the fisheye, and you can see the Vivitar firing off in the far corner.  That fisheye lens is an old beat up one I found in the used section of Bergen County Camera.  It was in ugly condition but the price was so good I bought it on the spot. Even being about 30 years old it still takes great shots!

2015CACGALA--4522015CACGALA--452Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015CACGALA--482_3_4_5HDR22015CACGALA--482_3_4_5HDR2Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com Virtue Feed and Grain hosted the event, this is a really beautiful restaurant and well worth a visit.  It was a great night and I am glad to have had the opportunity to photograph this event.  For more information on the Center for Alexandria's Children click on this link.  Contact me for your event photography: jim@jimprophoto.com

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/3/6th-annual-center-for-alexandrias-children-gala Mon, 09 Mar 2015 02:26:37 GMT
Telephoto Lens Comparison- Tamron SP AF200-500MM vs Nikon 500mm Prime https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/2/telephoto-lens-comparison--tamron-sp-af200-500mm-vs-nikon-500mm-prime Tamron 200-500mmTamron 200-500mm The near lens is the Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) and the far lens is the Nikon 500mm F/4 P manual focus lens. Nikon 500mm F/4 PNikon 500mm F/4 PClosest is the Nikon 500mm F/4 P with a cool cammo cover. The far lens is the Tamron 200-500mm

Here is the straight up comparison and review of two fantastic telephoto lenses: the Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) and the Nikon 500mm F/4 P.  I have owned both and can now give a well rounded opinion of these lenses after many shots in the field.  I am mostly doing this post for the consumer perspective and as a guide to what you can expect from these lenses as you use them under real field conditions.

Soaring OspreySoaring OspreyPhoto taken with a Nikon D200 and Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) lens.

I bought the Tamron 200-500 new in 2006 to use on my Nikon D200 camera.  This lens became my wildlife and sports lens with many years of happy use.  I found it easy to focus and I could use it in just about any situation.  When I upgraded to the full frame D800 I kept the Tamron 200-500mm because it was already full frame compatible and I still needed that long reach. The Soaring Osprey to the left was taken with the Tamron 200-500mm on a D200.

Then I came across a Nikon 500mm prime F/4 P lens in a local camera shop. This big lens has been in production from 1988-2002.   Although I knew it was manual focus, this 500mm prime had the potential to get me better images through superior optics and better light gathering.  So I went down to the camera store with my D800, Tamron, and tripod to check it out.  I was able to take a few test shots outside with both lenses and see the back of the camera for comparison.  The difference was clear enough to me and I bought it on the spot.

I kept the Tamron 200-500mm so I could still have a travel lens, but found that I did not pull it out of the bag even though the Nikon 500mm is so bulky and heavy.  I was able to outsmart the manual focus on the Nikon 500mm by investing in a  Nikon T-16A 1.6x teleconverter that had been modified to allow the last bit of focus to be done by the camera.  This also gave me some extra magnification, but at the cost of a stop of light. 

I found myself wondering if I was really getting better shots, or if I just felt better with that big piece of glass that the Nikon F/4 is.  So I set up a comparison test to document my results.  I put both lenses on tripods and set up a target card about 25 yards away.  

For each lens I used the same Nikon D800 set at F/8 ISO 800 and shutter speed of 1/500.  I put my focus point on the number 2 on the left hand ruler and took a few shots to make sure I was in focus and not shaking.  I shot in RAW and brought them in to Lightroom.  So let's take a look at the results- Tamron zoom on the left and Nikon Prime on the right. 

Tamron Nikon full frameTamron 200-500 vs Nikon F/4 PFull frame from 25 yards, raw output to Lightroom.
They look very similar, but it is clear that the Nikon prime is allowing a lot more light in than the Tamron.  This is not unexpected.  So now the details that I always look for- the 100% center crop.  This is where you can see the greatest difference between the two lenses.

100 Percent center crop100 Percent center cropTamron 200-500mm on the left, Nikon 500mm on the right. Both at 100% crop.

Take a look at the big and small letters and you will see that the Nikon prime is superior to the Tamron 200-500mm at full magnification.  What also stands out to me is the details of the card edge- there is a crispness from the Nikon that is not available from the Tamron.  

So when viewing the close up details of these photos you can definitely see a difference.  The difference is not so great that it renders the images unsuitable, in fact I have a gallery full of images from the Tamron 200-500mm that I am quite happy with!  The Tamron 200-500mm telephoto is a fantastic lens for someone who wants a lightweight and affordable super zoom lens.  I just could not pass up the opportunity to get the Nikon 500mm prime. 

The 500mm f/4P that I have is manual focus.  Manual is fine for static displays, but a moving target is much easier to capture with autofocus.   PohickBay-221PohickBay-221Photo by Jim Craige- www.jimprophoto.com For this reason I picked up the modified Nikon T-16A  1.6x teleconverter that does the last bit of focusing.  You can find these on Ebay already modified, and there are also some guides on how to do it yourself.  This has made the investment in a 500mm prime worthwhile.  I get a little extra reach and sacrifice a stop of light.  The image quality is quite good with the teleconverter installed.  The drop in available light is noticeable.  However the sharpness of the image remains relatively intact and is still superior to the Tamron 200-500mm.  The photo of the diving eagle on the left was taken with the Nikon 500mm F\4P with the 1.6x Nikon teleconverter on a D800.

The Tamron 200-500mm  is a great starter lens for someone looking to get into sports, wildlife or any other type of photography that needs a telephoto lens.  It is a good lens for mastering the technique of using a long telephoto lens while being lightweight and portable.  A used Tamron 200-500mm is much less expensive than a used Nikon 500mm.  To put it in real perspective, you can buy ten Tamron 200-500mm lenses for the cost on one new Nikon 500mm prime autofocus lens.  The Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) may meet all of your needs for super zoom, as it did for me for many years.  Getting the Nikon 500mm F/4 P prime was an investment to push my boundaries and continue to inspire me to get out and take the long shots.

Did you find this review helpful?  Leave a comment or send me an email- jim@jimprophoto.com

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/2/telephoto-lens-comparison--tamron-sp-af200-500mm-vs-nikon-500mm-prime Tue, 17 Feb 2015 17:07:52 GMT
Event Photography for CAC https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/2/event-photography-for-cac I am looking forward to photographing the Center For Alexandria's Children 6th Annual Gala!  This event is being hosted by the Virtue Feed and Grain restaurant in Old Town Alexandria on February 27, 2015.  

The CAC is dedicated to helping children who are victims of abuse as well as creating programs to help prevent child abuse.  This is a fantastic cause and I am proud to be able to photograph this event and help draw more attention to their cause.  Check out their website and Facebook page for more information on the CAC and how they help the community.

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2015/2/event-photography-for-cac Tue, 10 Feb 2015 01:46:10 GMT
Photo Downloads and More Print Options https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/6/photo-downloads-and-more-print-options I am happy to announce the availability of digital downloads and other new products for collections in the Jim Craige Photography Events Gallery , including the Police Unity Tour.  Many thanks to those who have contacted me about alternative prints and file downloads.  Here are the details on some of the new products available and how you can take advantage of all the options to get your images just the way you want them.

Digital Downloads - Now you can purchase a web-sized digital file that is suitable for posting on Facebook and other social media or sending by email.  No watermark will be on the photos purchased for download, and they may be used for personal and non-profit purposes.  Look for the option in the Featured Products list as well as when you view all products. 
Digital Download OptionPurchase a digital download of a photo and you will receive a link to download that image for personal use.

Collages - Another new product is the ability to combine several photos into one collage image.  Find this option by clicking on the  "View All Products" button and finding the collage option.  You will be guided through selecting the size and layout, then you can build your collage.  Photos from different galleries can be added to a collage either by first selecting multiple photos as favorites or by following the onscreen instructions for adding photos.  Advanced features allow you to crop or reposition photos once they have been dropped in.
CollageBuild a CollageYou can create a collage using photos from multiple galleries- Use from within the gallery or select favorites and have them all in one list to choose from.

Crop - Also, Once you select a photo print size, you can edit that photo in your cart.  Crop your photo to bring your favorite portion to the image.  Especially for events I try to take more wide angle shots so that you can then select the part of the image and zoom the print.  This way I give you more options from the same image.
CROPCrop Your PhotoOnce you have selected the print size for your photo you can open it from the shopping cart and customize the area that will be printed.

Color Options - Any of the photos can be printed in black and white or sepia tone.  Once the photo is in your cart you can change it to black and white with the click of a button.  
Change the FinishAny photo can be customized to black and white or sepia tone. Select your print size and then prior to checkout you can customize each photo in your shopping cart.

 

I can do many more creative and artistic enhancements to these photos- if you have a custom request in mind, contact me and we can discuss your desires and how they can be accomplished.

So be sure to browse the galleries and get these new offerings in addition to the prints and specialty items.  If you have any questions or need more help with ordering your prints or digital downloads, please contact me jim@jimprophoto.com and I will be happy to assist you!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/6/photo-downloads-and-more-print-options Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:31:56 GMT
Order Police Unity Tour Photos Online https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/5/order-police-unity-tour-photos-online Photos from the Police Unity Tour are now online.  The positive comments and reviews have been very much appreciated.  There are some really fantastic shots from along the route, on breaks, and at the memorial.  Now you can order prints online and have them delivered directly to you!  As the guy on TV always says, "Here's how to order.":

You see the photos in the gallery view like below, and there is a photo that you would like a print of.  Click on that photo and a new view will appear with that photo displayed.  For this example I clicked on the one with the big open field, mountains in the background, and lots of bikes

Pick a size from the list on the right, or hover your mouse over the photo and a menu will display on the upper left.  Also note that there are two other  "buy" buttons not circled- one over the middle of the photo and one with a picture of a shopping cart in the upper right.  Any of these will head you toward getting prints.  You may repeat this process for any number of photos you would like, and you can select different print sizes or other items if you prefer.

A way to quickly select multiple photos is to use the "Add To Favorites" button.  You may select all your photos into a favorites group, then choose print options.  Look for the favorites button on the screen in the locations circled below.

You will see your favorites group in the upper left of the screen.  You can use the favorites feature in multiple galleries and they will all be combined into one list for you.  Click on the list name, usually titled "My Selection" and your photos will be displayed.  You can purchase the same size photo for all, or make individual print selections for each photo.

Once you get the photos in your cart you can edit your selections- change size, crop, and even select black and white printing.  The prints are processed by a professional photo lab and are very high quality.  Shipping is quick and direct to the address you specify. If you have any questions or need help, send me an email- jim@jimprophoto.com 

There are many photos to choose from, I did my best to try and capture as many important moments as I could, and also to get as many individuals in photos.  So be sure to go through all the galleries and find the ones you like!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/5/order-police-unity-tour-photos-online Sun, 18 May 2014 01:02:34 GMT
2014 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/3/police-unity-tour-gala-photos  

Stage and BandThe 2014 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV held at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, VA.

The 2014 Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala was a fantastic event. The Gala was held at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia and was a fundraiser to highlight the upcoming bicycle ride by the members from Richmond to Washington D.C. and the Law Enforcement Memorial.  The night started with cocktails and silent auction in the lobby.  There were several guest speakers during dinner, including survivors of fallen law enforcement officers and the keynote speaker Craig Floyd, Chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  A live auction was held to raise more funds for the memorial, and a live band played through the night.  

I was there to photograph the entire event, and also set up studio lighting and backdrop to capture formal portraits throughout the night.  

Washington Redskin Pierre GarconWashington Redskin Pierre GarconPierre Garcon of the Washington Redskins football team came out for the cause. Pierre Garçon of the Washington Redskins was the special celebrity.  Guests had the opportunity to make a donation to the cause and get a photograph with him.  He also autographed footballs and jerseys for the auction.  It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Garçon, he always had a smile on his face on and off camera.   

Gala PhotosGala PhotosPolice Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala. I have prepared several galleries to display these photographs.  The formal portraits, candid event shots, and celebrity portraits are arranged on the site so that visitors can easily find photos and see all the happenings from the evening.  High quality prints can be ordered directly from the website, and a donation will be made to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV for each sale.

Included in the Unity Tour galleries are some of my favorite shots from the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C.  These have been discounted and a donation to the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV will be made each purchase of memorial photos as well.

Silent AuctionThere were many unique items up for auction to benefit the Unity Tour.

As a former rider in the Police Unity Tour, I was honored to be the Gala photographer for Chapter IV.  In May I will be along the route to catch the riders in action, and at the candlelight vigil honoring fallen officers from across the country.

Formal PortraitsFormal Portraits at the backdrop of the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV Gala. PortraitsMostly formal, and some silly, everyone had an opportunity to get a professional photo at the backdrop.

 
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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/3/police-unity-tour-gala-photos Wed, 26 Mar 2014 23:51:02 GMT
Police Unity Tour- Chapter IV Gala https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/3/police-unity-tour--chapter-iv-gala I am looking forward to photographing the 2014 Gala to benefit the Police Unity Tour Chapter IV on March 22, 2014.  During the black tie event I will be photographing candid shots and will also have a studio backdrop with lighting setup for portraits.  

Lighting the Blue LineLighting the Blue LineA candle is raised and intersects with the blue line, which symbolizes law enforcement.

The Police Unity Tour is a bicycle ride to benefit the Law Enforcement Memorial, with several chapters across the United States riding different routes to honor fallen law enforcement officers and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial.  The Chapter IV ride starts in Richmond on May 10 and over three days tours to Charlottesville, Warrenton, and concludes on the final day of riding at the memorial in Washington D.C.  

After the gala the photos will be available in a gallery on the website.  With the goal of raising funds for this worthy cause, a donation will be made to the Police Unity tour for each print purchased from the Unity Tour gallery on my website.  In addition to the Gala photos, I will be photographing the riders along the route and also taking photos of the candlelight vigil at the memorial during the evening of May 13. 

Check back after the Gala to find all the photos from the night.  In the meantime you can browse the photos from past candlelight vigils.  Please consider supporting the Police Unity Tour with a purchase from the gallery.

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2014/3/police-unity-tour--chapter-iv-gala Sun, 09 Mar 2014 02:40:55 GMT
Seatbelt Safety Poster Photoshoot https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/12/seatbelt-safety-poster-photoshoot

You might assume that police officers are the most diligent seat belt wearers of all.  They are, in a sense, professional drivers.  At times they must drive at high speeds with split-second maneuvers while responding to emergencies or chasing bad guys.  And they are first on the scene of crashes in which occupants are seriously injured or killed because seat belts were not used.  

But the flip-side of the law enforcement driving scenario is the constant vigilance for violence, and the fear of getting caught up in the seat belt when fast exiting the car.   The need for quick action by police is not unwarranted but the chances of getting into a collision on the road are most likely much greater than the chances of getting stuck in the seat belt. That black band on the badge represents mourning for fellow officers killed in the line of duty.  As of this posting twenty-five law enforcement officers have been killed in auto accidents in 2013.

So a campaign is underway to educate officers on the safety seat belts provide and I was asked to photograph an Alexandria officer and badge for this poster.

To set this up I started with a police car positioned in the shade of another building so that there would be even light throughout the scene.  The sky was also cloudy at the beginning of the shoot, so that made the lighting even. On the hood, pointed into the driver area, I placed a soft box with Vivitar 285HV  flash on wireless trigger.  I then used a Vivtiar 285HV inside the car pointed at the ceiling.  When I tested that lighting I found more shadows than I liked, so I used a hand held Nikon SB-800 flash just to the right of the camera to fill in.  I liked the scene, but I wanted something a little more bold both to add detail to the shot and also provide additional branding.  So I brought another police car into frame in the background and positioned it so that the agency name could be seen.  

I used the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 lens so that I could get a wide angle to include the entire driver area of the car, steering wheel, and the view out the window.  I wanted the officer and uniform, including the shoulder patch, to be in focus so I needed a smaller aperture.  But I also wanted the car in the background to be a bit out of focus so I did not want to stop down too much.  I settled on f 8.0 and that gave me the look I wanted.  It took a few shots to get all the flashes balanced, and the results are above.

The badge was done with light painting- I set up a uniform with the badge and opened the shutter for 15 seconds at f 14.  That gave me enough time to work the LED flashlight all around the badge and avoid any hot spots that a direct flash might have created.  The final result came out super sharp because of the static shot and small aperture.

The poster came out looking very sharp, even when printed at 24" x 36".  It was very nice to see this in print, and it has started circulating on twitter and other sites around the internet.  And the lesson is good for all of us- wear your seat belt!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/12/seatbelt-safety-poster-photoshoot Sat, 21 Dec 2013 04:33:05 GMT
Alexandria Arts on the Avenue Exhibit https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/10/alexandria-arts-on-the-avenue-exhibit Some of my favorite fine art will be on display at the Alexandria Arts on the Avenue Festival.  The event is Saturday October 5 from 10:00AM to 6:00PM on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia.  I am lucky to have this opportunity provided by the Alexandria Police Foundation.  The Police Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the officers of the police department through grants and other programs.  They are currently fundraising for a memorial that will be placed in front of Police Headquarters.  

They have provided space at their booth for artists from the Department to display their work.  This provides the public with another face of the department besides just the uniform.  It will hopefully draw more people to the displays and raise awareness for this outstanding charity.  Judy from Fuzzy Paws Bakery will be there to staff the booth and will have a selection of her dog treats for sale as well.  

I have placed a limited number of items for sale at the show, including some unique framed prints.  I have also created an online gallery so that you can browse the artwork and order directly from the site, especially if you miss it at the show.  So take a look around the gallery and head out to the festival!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/10/alexandria-arts-on-the-avenue-exhibit Sat, 05 Oct 2013 03:45:36 GMT
Sunset San Diego https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/sunset-san-diego I have had a week in San Diego and spent most of my evenings moving from spot to spot along the coast to take advantage of the beautiful Pacific sunsets and other natural wonders.  I have many raw images to take home and work on so that I can choose favorites and finalize them for display.  On the road I don't have my calibrated monitor and more advanced editing tools, but already I am excited about some of the images captured.  A full gallery of the California Coast photos can be found by clicking here.

The rocky coastline of La Jolla's Scripps Park glows in the last bit of sunlight.  La Jolla Scripps Park OutcroppingThe rocky coastline of La Jolla's Scripps park glows in the last bit of sunlight.

The water smashes against the rocks in the tide pools at Point Loma. 

A view from the base of Sunset Cliffs.  It was a bit of an adventure to get on this spot.  I followed some surfers past the "danger, do not enter" barriers and down a narrow but well trodden path.  The trail, which had many steep dropoffs along the way, poured out onto a ledge which led to another 20 foot drop.  A boulder had a rope tied around it and draped down the cliff.  I rappel-scrambled my way to the base and found myself on a beautiful secluded beach.  I am sure that I presented an odd sight to the few people there, I was dressed for photography and not the beach.  No matter, the sunset was spectacular and well worth the effort. 


The seals! They have taken over Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla.   The cliff-caves of La Jolla.  I ran into a photographer at Children's Beach and said I would put this one up on my blog so she would not have to hike all the way up there.  If that photographer happens upon this page send me an e-mail so we can compare shots! jim@jimprophoto.com

And finally, a classy shot of the San Diego cityscape.  I headed over to Coronado to set up for the sunset and was not disappointed by the view.  

I have many more great sunset photos- I will hold them back for now and drop them out from time to time so they continue to have an impact. No matter how many times I see the sun set the photos are always unique.  Next up- more San Diego wildlife and cityscapes along with info on the Art on the Avenue show in Alexandria that will be featuring some of my fine art photography.

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Cityscape San Diego sunset https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/sunset-san-diego Mon, 30 Sep 2013 04:28:49 GMT
Pacific Coast https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/pacific-coast I am spending a couple of weeks in Southern California and have kicked off the photography!

La Jolla Sunset at the CliffsLa Jolla Sunset at the CliffsAfter the sun set the sky gave off a beautiful glow that bathed the cliffs in a warm light.

I headed to La Jolla to watch the sun set, and I was not disappointed- it was a beautiful evening with clear skies as I got down into the Wind and Sea beach area. The view was stunning, with surfers riding waves, sandy beach, rocks, cliffs and more. There is something adventureous and bold about the Pacific Coast beaches that set them apart from those I am used to in the Mid-Atlantic. I set up near some rocks and watched the sunset develop. As expected, it was fantastic.

I stayed on until it was almost completely dark out in order to get those last glows in long exposures. I have more coast to explore, I am looking forward to getting more great photos!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/pacific-coast Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:03:10 GMT
Fall Portraits https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/fall-portraits

 

Fall portrait time is almost here!  I have a few session times still available, contact me jim@jimprophoto.com to schedule yours!

 

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/9/fall-portraits Sat, 07 Sep 2013 15:58:10 GMT
2013 Friesian Classic Horse Show https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/4/2013-friesian-classic-horse-show I am preparing for the 2013 Mid Atlantic Friesian Classic Horse Show held in Fairfax, Virginia on April 27, 2013.  As show photographer I will be in the ring and around the arena capturing the events in photographs for the participants. 

The horses will start arriving on Friday April 26 so they can practice and acclimate to the facilities at Frying Pan Farm Park near Herndon, VA.  I will be on hand to catch some of the practice and behind the scenes activity prior to the event.  Then on Saturday the events will run all day, with dressage, trail riding,  halter events, walk-trot-canter, and more.  The focus is on the Friesian breed, distinctive for their beautiful dark coat.  Click here for more information on ordering photos from this event.  
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173 176 There will be liberty events, in which the horses are allowed to run free.  This can be quite exciting to watch.  And there will also be costume events for the riders to showcase some very fancy and creative designs165

As this is my second time photographing this event I am looking forward to seeing many familar faces as well as meeting new people in the Friesian world.  This will surely be an exciting show to see!  For more information or questions please contact me: Jim@jimprophoto.com171

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Equestrian Friesian Virginia https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/4/2013-friesian-classic-horse-show Sun, 21 Apr 2013 09:00:00 GMT
Landmark Mall Carnival Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/4/landmark-mall-carnival The carnival came to town!  Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia hosts a carnival in the parking lot every year.  There is much talk of redevelopment for this mall so I don't know how much longer the carnival will be coming to Alexandria.  I figured it would be good to capture some of the fun before I miss the opportunity.  I headed out on a Saturday evening and caught the sunset while watching the rides and attractions.

The Reitoffer Shows came to town in April 2013 for a short stop at the mall.  Landmark Mall has been an Alexandria . . . landmark on the west end of the city since 1965.  The beautiful sunset and the lights of the carnival brought back fond memories of   working at the old Hecht's Department Store when I was going to college, and frequent shopping trips for me over the years. 

I put a 24-70 lens on my Nikon D800 and used the pre-sunset hour to scout good locations and get some nice shots.  I was ready when the sun set to catch the rays coming through the carnival, and then worked through the evening twilight to use the mix of carnival lights and fading natural light. 

The Ferris Wheel is a natural draw for a photographer. Depending on how much I wanted to blur or stop the action, I used F16 with 2 second exposure or F18 or F20 with 4 second exposure.  I was pretty amazed to see the colors pop out on the back of the camera, and I was not disappointed when I got home and loaded them on to the big screen.  Since I had the tripod I did some bracketed exposures and was able to work some HDR photos into the mix, however most of these are just standard single photos.

I was lucky to catch the Ring of Fire coaster right at the top of the arc while framing the Ferris Wheel behind it and I am really happy with the way this photo turned out!

i am amazed at all the rides and equipment that they bring, set up, and break down.  It sure was fun to see the carnival and all the people who were enjoying it.   You can find all my photos of the carnival here.

jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Alexandria Carnival Cityscape https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/4/landmark-mall-carnival Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:57:39 GMT
Calendar Photo https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/3/calendar-girls Last year I completed a photoshoot for Melanie and her horse Xena, and they were featured in an earlier blog post.  Melanie then submitted one of those photos to a calendar contest, and won a spot on the March 2013 page!   Melanie runs an equestrian attire business- Eros by Design.  She makes custom gowns and riding accessories by hand, including the outfit she is wearing in her calendar photo.  If you are in need of a custom riding outfit, please contact her, she can make just about anything you may need.

The calendar was created by Black Horse Creations, a boutique that carries equestrian related fashion.   it was very exciting to have a photo selected for this calendar, and I hope to get more great equestrian photos in 2013!

If you are interested in equestrian portraits please contact me- jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Equestrian https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/3/calendar-girls Sun, 17 Mar 2013 12:43:01 GMT
Washington Post Features Jim Craige Photo https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/3/washington-post-features-jim-craige-photo Police work is most often a routine.  The story always seems to start out with "the officer was responding to a routine [insert type of crime here] when tragedy struck.  This time it was called a routine traffic stop.  But there was nothing routine about the outcome- Officer Peter Laboy was shot in the head and the shooter fled the scene. That suspect was captured after a chase and a crash.   Peter was flown to a hospital and, despite the odds, has been slowly recovering from this traumatic injury. 

Peter is a friend of mine and a photography enthusiast.  We often compare photos, techniques, and the latest gear we had acquired.  After he went into the hospital I started combing through my photos looking for images of Peter.  One photo taken at a holiday party shows Peter's winning spirit: This photo has been featured on the Alexandra Police Association Facebook page and republished by online news media

An effort is underway to help Peter and his family with expenses while he recovers.  A fundraiser was held at local Alexandria restaurant  Virtue Feed and Grain on March 10 2013, and I was there to participate.  I took some photos along the way and the Alexandria Police Association posted several of them.  The Washington Post did an online article about the fundraising effort and featured one of the photos that I took as their cover for the article.

I was excited that my photo was selected for this and that I could contribute to raising awareness for the fundraising efforts.

We are all thankful that Peter survived his dangerous encounter, but he still has a long road to recovery.  So for my facebook friends, please like the APA page so you can follow along with the efforts and find out about future fundraisers.  If you would like to make a direct contribution, you may use this paypal link or send a donation to:

Alexandria Police Association
c/o Peter Laboy
P.O. Box 1228
Alexandria, VA 22313


jim@jimprophoto.com

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Alexandria Police Virginia https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/3/washington-post-features-jim-craige-photo Thu, 14 Mar 2013 03:14:08 GMT
Tintype Restoration https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/2/tintype-restoration I just finished a restoration project on a tintype photo.  The photo was from the early 1900's- tintypes were that era's equvalent of a photobooth at a carnival.  The photographer could take the print and quickly develop the image right on a metal plate.  After applying a quick drying clear laquer and inserting the tintype into a paper sleeve an instant photo is delivered to the customer.  This one came to me as a 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" inch metal plate in a paper sleeve marked "Souvenir FROM".  unfortunately the "from" was not filled in, so we can only guess as to where this might have been.  The image is underexposed and has many cracks running through the entire photo.  The cracks are in the finish, not the tin, it is a very sturdy photograph. 

I removed the photo from the paper sleeve and scanned it with my Epson V600 flatbed.  I like the V600 because it has most of the features for professional scanning that are contained in the industry standard V700 for about half the cost.  I use Adobe Photoshop for the major reconstrution and Adobe Lightroom for finishing and management.

The scanned image was quickly brought to proper exposure and it was clear that although there was surface damage the actual photo was in focus and detailed.  A sharply focused and well composed image is much more worthwhile to restore, There is a limit to the ability to correct poor photographic technique.  I rely on a photographer from one hundred years ago to get it right so I can bring it back again.

 I started in on the obvious big dark cracks running through the photo.  I used Photoshop's Spot Healing Brush Tool for the majority of them.  But when the crack meets an obvious change in the image, like going from the background to the dress, I stopped short and used a clone at the seam so that there was not any bleed from one section into the next.  I used the Spot Healing Brush Tool or the Stamp Clone Tool for many of the spots and blemishes. 

As you can see above at this point I have cleared out most of the lines across the faces and bodies of the subjects in the photo.  After I was done with all the lines I went after the spots and blemishes.  I zoomed in tight on small areas of the photo and worked a section at a time until I had most of them cleaned up.  I also had to reconstruct some areas of the face and hands because the healing tools would cause unnatural lines. To reconstruct I would use a very small clone brush and paint the areas back to their normal form using samples from nearby areas.

When I was done with the major work I was left with quite a lot of surface blemishes and dots on the photo- too many and too small to want to hunt and peck down, but I was not satisfied with the overall look with all that surface speckle.  I tried using the Dust and Scratch filter in Photoshop, but that filter even lightly applied caused too much blurring and loss of detail in the subjects.  I compromised by selecting the entire background and excluding the subjects.  I used the Photoshop Dust and Scratch filter on the background, which was out of focus anyway.  I was able to do away with the majority of the blemishes with little work and frustration, while leaving the details intact.

To finish up I added a new border in Photoshop, then in Lightroom I boosted contrast a bit.  The results are below:

So I was able to bring back the details as well as maintain the charm that goes with an old photo.  The original was too dark and blemished to see the details, now you can clearly make out the faces, the clothes, and the setting.  Getting to see these details again is just like a trip back in time, and I enjoy seeing the old photos come to life again.

If you have some old photos waiting to come back to life, contact me- jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/2/tintype-restoration Sun, 24 Feb 2013 22:50:04 GMT
The 110 results are in! https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/2/the-110-results-are-in How old must an object be to obtain the status of "antique"? 

I sent off my color 110 film for processing at Dwayne's Photo.  These rolls of film had been sitting in a coffee can (there I go again, remember when coffee came in a metal can?) since the photos were taken.  Back then the expense was in the film and developing, not the camera itself.  So getting photos developed was a budget driven process, sometimes you put it off until you could afford to get a bunch done. Waiting over 25 years was a bit much though!

I was very excited to see the package arrive from Dwayne's Photo.  It had substantial heft to it so at least I knew there would be photos inside and not just a statement that there were no recoverable images.  I tore open the package and started checking out the photos.  Each roll of film was processed and the prints placed in separate envelopes which added to the excitment of opening the photos.

Each envelope also contained an "old or damaged film" disclaimer.  I knew chances were slim that there would be anything worthwhile recovered. 

So of the five rolls of film sent off I ended up with about fifty mostly blank photos. However when looking closely at these I could make out faint images of what the subjects were.  The prints were also bundled with the original 110 negatives, so I tried scanning those with my Epson V600 in color negative mode.  I don't have a holder for that size of negatives.  They were bowed on the glass and the resulting images were even more unusable.  I have a good deal of experience with print restoration, so I started scanning some of the prints.  This worked much better for the short term- I still have the negatives if I wanted to put some glass on them and really work it out.  But keep in mind that the camera used was plastic, with a plastic lens.  The quality of image is flawed to begin with.  I am satsified with the print scanning, and have been able to clean up and enhance some of the photos in Lightroom.  On with the results!

This first example is what most of the photos turned out looking like- as if mud were smeared on the camera and that is all you see.  Using Lightroom I was able to clean it up a little and get some detail out of the photo.  The original is on the left, and the cleaned up version on the right.

It looks like a couple of these rolls were of my sister or brother when they went on a summer trip with scouts.  I see some zebras and other wild animals- they went to a nature preserve or zoo, not to Africa!  This must have been from my sister on a summer trip.

Not sure he knows which end the round comes out of.  And why is he carrying that anyway?  It must have been a scary place on the preserve in the 1970s.  Below is a group of girls checking out a baby deer. 

Of course nothing can save a photo when you put your finger in front of the lens!  The old cameras  had a plastic "viewfinder" that you looked through, and the actual camera lens was offset.  It was really easy to block the lens used to expose the film because you did not see the error when taking the photo.

Then I discovered a group of photos with relatively good exposure.  I could make out the Governors Mansion from Williamsburg- This must have been a class trip or a scout trip there.  Here are a few photos from that group.

 

And finally, someone I recognized! This is my brother, Chris, as he was preparing to go to scout camp circa 1984.  These were the best preserved photos for color and detail, although there were only about four or five in such good condition.

Chris always suited a uniform well- here he is today:

 

These photos were taken by us when we were kids.  I had no expectation of quality photographs, I just wanted to see what was on these rolls that I had kept around for a very long time.  I am very glad that something turned up!  This has been a great adventure both to see the old photos and a nice trip down memory lane. 

The restoration process is a blend of art and technology.  I enjoy bringing out the details and giving life to old photos.  If you would like to have some old photos of yours restored, contact me- jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Restoration https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/2/the-110-results-are-in Sat, 16 Feb 2013 15:04:11 GMT
TacOps East Published Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/1/tacops-east I am always happy to see photos that I have taken used in publications, websites, and prints.  I often have an opportunity to photograph tactical teams during training and actual events.  I was asked to provide some photos for an upcoming trade show- TacOps East, so I submitted some of my photos from the past year.

A few months later the brochure arrived at a friend's mailbox.  He thought there might be photos that I had taken, so he sent it over to me.  I checked out their website and recognized the banner photo as one that I had submitted.  The original photo is below- This was from a training day in an industrial area.  The setting was really neat because the buildings were actually being demolished in preparation for new construction. This made for a very stark and edgy scene.  As you can see they flipped it and gave it the cool graphics. for a grittier edge.

They also used a photo from a different day as another banner:

Again they added the cool graphics, the original is below:


A few other photos were also used online and in the brochure. All of these photos were taken with my Nikon D200 with the 18-200VR lens- I didn't have the D800 yet when I took them.

Tactical operators with cool gear are always great subjects for photography. These are the people who run toward the problem when others are running away.  I try to capture a portion of the determination and dedication to duty that they display every day.

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) SWAT law enforcement police tactical https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/1/tacops-east Sun, 13 Jan 2013 14:41:35 GMT
New and old for 2013 https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/1/old-and-new-for-2013 Happy New Year everyone!  As the title suggests, I am embarking on some new adventures for 2013, and I also am taking on some restoration projects of old prints, slides and film.

For new I am looking forward to more services and product offerings.   I also want to expand on my landscape, nature and abstract photography. 

To blend old and new, I have a different sort of photography project to bring out that merges the past with the present.  More on that in another post, once I have it ready to introduce.

And for the old, I have a couple of slide and print restoration projects underway.  The slides are exciting to work on, because you can't really see the details until they are scanned and displayed on the big monitor.  Then I apply several techniques to restore color and quality while removing dust and scratch defects.  The prints I have to restore range in quality from OK through damaged and into one that is in pieces and needs major restoration. 

So with some time on my hands over the holiday break I started scanning.  I also started cleaning out the basement, we have lost things in boxes and really needed to organize.  I came across some old 110 film from when I was a kid.  This film fit into a camera that was about the size of two iPhones stacked on top of each other.  It was a pocket camera with a plastic viewfinder not connected to the lens, so you were really pointing and shooting!  These rolls may contain photos I took, or family photos from the 1970s.  There is a good chance that time and conditions have ruined any images that are contained.  But I am willing to give it a shot, this is my 35 year old time capsule and I am hoping to dig up some sort of treasure.

I have done some web research and chosen to go with dwaynesphoto.com for the processing.  They seem to have good experience and have been recommended by several others. Once I get the prints and negatives back I might be able to scan them and bring out more detail . . .  if there is anything at all left.  I will make another post when the results are in!

If there is anything I can do for you, photography or restoration, please contact me at jim@jimprophoto.com.

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2013/1/old-and-new-for-2013 Sat, 05 Jan 2013 21:41:43 GMT
APA Santa https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/12/apa-santa The Alexandria Police Association hosted Santa on Saturday, December 8, 2012.  The event started with a magic show, and was followed by the main event- a visit from Santa himself.

 

The kids had a great time!  This event was also for the parents, because they will have a cherished memory for years to come.  I was able to capture some of the excitement and joy on this day, and the results are here for the families to enjoy. 

I will distribute the gallery code to the parents.  The portal can be accessed here.   If you need access please send me an e-mail - jim@jimprophoto.com

 

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/12/apa-santa Sun, 09 Dec 2012 21:16:07 GMT
Fall Photoshoot https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/11/fall-photoshoot

Fall is a great time to get family portraits.  The colors pop and bring that special life to the photos.  Ben and Kari wanted to get some photos before their second child was born, so we met up for an afternoon at a local park.  A large maple tree provided some diffused light and spectacular colors for us to work in and around.  We timed it for the latter part of October when the leaves are at their peak, and we were not disappointed.

I set up two strobe flashes on wireless triggers with softboxes.  I set the power on them at 1/4 and just pointed them in the general direction of the subjects, moving them around a bit as we changed our setting. 
 

We started with their son, so he could warm up and play around a little before having to sit still. 

 Then we did some shots with each of the parents.  Here he is with Kari.  He was a good boy and played along well!

 We brought the whole family together and captured some great images.

 We took all these photos from one location, which saved setup and breakdown time.  In some earlier shots I was taking the photo from a position close to the ground so I captured more of the trees in the background.  In this shot I stood tall and shot at a downward angle so that the leaves on the ground filled the frame. 

As we shifted positions I moved the strobes.  But it was not necessary to push them around too much, they did their job well filling in the subjects.  I kept one flash aimed low and the other high so that I was sure to light them fully whether they were sitting or standing.

 It had been cloudy for most of our afternoon, but the sun peeked through for a few moments, and I was able to use some of that nice golden lighting to enhance some portraits of Ben and Kari. 

There are always opportunites to include the natural beauty of the landscape in portraits no matter the season.  To make an appointment for your family photos, contact me - jim@jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/11/fall-photoshoot Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:19:31 GMT
2012 Keuring Photos Are Ready! https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/10/2012-keuring-photos-are-online The 2012 Keuring sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Friesian Association (MAFA) brought people and horses to the Virginia Horse Center from as far away as Florida and New York.  I was there to photograph the inspection process and judging. Photos are all posted on the website, grouped by horse number and name for easy access.  Order your photos now - click here for an online order form or information on paying by check580 The morning started off cloudy with periods of rain, and it was quickly decided that the event would have to be held indoors.  The judges prefer the outdoors because the lighting is better, and so do photographers!  Despite the lighting challenges I have been able to deliver some great shots of each of the competitors.  We started with measurements- the horses are brought to the concrete pad so that they can get an accurate read. 579 Then we went to the ring for the judging.  There I relied most on my Nikon D800 with the 70-200mm F2.8 VRII lens.  I needed both the wide open aperture at F2.8 and the ISO performance of the D800 to push the boundaries of digital photography, especially when the horses were moving quickly.  I had my D200 with a 24-70mm F2.8 lens ready for wide shots and brought it up a few times on each horse to capture the inspection processes. Since the D200 is a DX sensor, it does seem strange to use that for my wide shots, but it gave me the extra angle I needed, especially at 24mm. I was also able to use a lower ISO and slower shutter speed because the horses are held still while being inspected. 

Some of the most exciting events were when the foals were judged. They run free alongside their mother, and being in the ring sometimes got me a little too close to the action! 561 At the end of the day the judges made selections for the best of categories and show- and Elis was the winner!579 The previous night the MAFA held a social with several demonstration rounds, including a costume ride and western dressage. Costume two
Costume three

Costume one, two, three, four, five And Julio Mendoza gave an up-tempo demonstration of his riding techniques.Julio Mendoza Demonstration at Keuring

Keuring is a Dutch word meaning  "judging".  This is held each fall in the United States for the purpose of judging and grading the Friesian horses.  This event was sanctioned by the Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) as part of the annual Keuring process in the United States.  Judges from Holland only come once a year for a short period to complete these inspections.  This makes it a very momentous occasion for the owners and trainers as they only have one opportunity each year for inspections.

It was a pleasure to photograph this event!  Click here to see all the photo galleries from the 2012 MAFA Keuring.

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Equestrian Friesian Horse Keuring MAFA https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/10/2012-keuring-photos-are-online Sun, 14 Oct 2012 12:27:54 GMT
MAFA 2012 Keuring Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/9/mafa-2012-keuring I am very excited to be the photographer for the Mid-Atlantic Friesian Horse Association Keuring in Lexington, Virginia October 1 and 2.  I will be working hard to capture images of the highest quality that showcase the horses and participants.  These photos will be perfect for publishing in the FHANA Special Edition.  You may also want photos for other publications, websites or prints.  I am prepared to work with the quick turnaround for publishing deadlines- FHANA has set a deadline that is just days after the show. 

In order to ensure that you get these photos by your deadline I have set up a pre-order process.  Right now you can order the entire set of digital photos for the horse of your choice right from the website.   I will also be on-site Monday October 1, and of course at the show on October 2.  While on-site you may use a check or cash to purchase the set and ensure the quick delivery of your photos.  The cost for a set of digital photos, at 300DPI will be $90 for the first horse and $50 for each additional horse.  You will be contacted by e-mail as soon as the photos are completed and given instructions for downloading them. A CD containing all of your images will also be mailed. 

So I can figure out which horse you would like to pre-order you may give me identifying information in the "Preview and Configure" section once you add it to the cart.  But don't worry if you have trouble on that, I will also follow up with an e-mail to confirm that your order was recieved and that we have the right information.

Click here to make your order now.

I will process the photos in the order that the requests are received.  So order your photos now to be first in line! 

For questions or other photographic services, send me an e-mail- jim@jimprophoto.com  I look forward to seeing everyone at the show, and wish all the participants good luck!

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/9/mafa-2012-keuring Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:48:43 GMT
Butterflies at the Pavilion https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/8/butterflies-at-the-pavilion During my trip to Denver we ventured in to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado.  I have never seen so many different butterflies in one place.

I had some help in locating and photographing these beautiful butterflies.  First, my family was scouting out the butterflies and then pulling me in the right direction when one landed and was still for a moment.  And second, I struck up a conversation with one of the staff members there.  He gave me some much appreciated tips on the Pavilion, including information on early openings specifically for photographers.  And then he let me into a "staff only" area so I could get some close-ups of some of the more shy butterflies.  He said that, just like many other animals, the more people and activity around the more jumpy and afraid the butterflies get.  So I was lucky to be able to work some close-ups with my Tokina 90mm  F2.5 macro lens.  I was able to cautiously move in on the butterflies and get pretty close for some great macro photography.  The tricky part is getting the whole butterfly in focus- a smaller aperature helps, but it seems the most important focusing trick is to ensure that the wings are at the same distance all the way along their surface so that the subject remains within the short depth of field.

Then I transitioned to my 70-200mm lens so I could stand off  a bit and catch some of them when they landed for just brief moments. I was just handheld for all these photos.  They don't allow tripods in the pavilion unless it is during the early open for photographers.  I don't know how much I would have gotten from a tripod anyway- the butterflies seemed to fly away before I would have been set up.  I suppose they are less active in the morning before the crowds get in. 

To get a photo of one of these that is sharply in focus is an accomplishment.  But to really capture a moment it helps to incorporate the surroundings into the photo as well, so the butterfly has a true sense of belonging in the photo.  Some of my success in integrating the subject and the background involved finding similar colors to the butterfly. 

At other times similar shapes or patterns help draw the viewer into the photo. 


 

The Butterfly Pavilion is a great place to visit.  This is a place that the whole family can enjoy!  See all my butterfly photos here.

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Colorado Denver butterfly pavilion https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/8/butterflies-at-the-pavilion Mon, 13 Aug 2012 01:38:32 GMT
Abandoned Gates Rubber Company Building https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/7/abandoned-gates-rubber-company-building One evening way back in 1989 I was in Denver with my brother.  We had just enjoyed the fine dining experience of Casa Bonita and were headed back to Colorado Springs where he was attending the Air Force Academy.  As we were headed south on I-25 I saw an old sign on top of a building.  Even then I was always with a camera at the ready so I snapped off a quick photo as we drove past.

I just thought it was a neat looking sign.  Over twenty years later I was visiting my sister, who now lives in Denver, and found that the Gates Rubber Company has abandoned the building and taken the sign down.  The area is slated for redevelopment, but a slow economy and high demolition costs have kept the project on hold. 

Today this old building stands empty and abandoned.  I headed out one evening to get some photos as the sun set.  I started on the southwest corner and worked my way around the building, stopping and taking photos as I found interesting angles or features.

Everything lined up nicely for some HDR- High Dynamic Resolution photography. HDR takes patience though, because to get one photo out of the process you have to set the tri-pod up, compose the shot, and then take several shots at different exposures.  To capture the details I am using a rather small aperture, so the exposures get long, especially as the light fades.  I figure about five to ten minutes of time goes into each shot, and add to that download and post processing time to create the final image.  But if done right, HDR results can be spectacular!

I only took exterior shots of the building because there was a fence around it which was an indication that visitors were not welcome.  As if that were not enough, a guy showed up and left a viscious dog inside the fence. It was a giant Rottweiler, or perhaps a small black bear, I did not want to get close enough to find out.

I figure these days that any photo can instantly be turned into black and white, so I try to use it only when it enhances the photo and helps tell the story.  This photo of the east side seemed to have much more to say when pushed into black and white.

Who knows how much longer this building will be here?  I don't know, but I am glad that I had the chance to see it up close before it is gone. The rest of the photos from this gallery can be seen here.

www.jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Abandoned Colorado Denver Gates Rubber Company building cityscape landscape https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/7/abandoned-gates-rubber-company-building Tue, 24 Jul 2012 01:39:36 GMT
Carbon Motors Published Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/7/carbon-motors-published-photos Carbon Motors brought their vehicle to Alexandria in June as part of their exhibition tour.  I had a chance to view the car up close, and even got to do a quick photo shoot.  I gave them the link to my gallery and was happy that they liked the photos enough to request some high resolution copies for use as corporate artwork.  And even more proud to see the results!  On July 4 Carbon Motors posted on Facebook a commemorative photo that featured a flag superimposed on an image I took:

And then on July 17 Carbon Motors posted a flyer advertising a stop on their Pure Justice Tour that featured another photo of mine:

My original blog post can be viewed here:http://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/carbon-motors-car

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/7/carbon-motors-published-photos Sun, 22 Jul 2012 19:01:22 GMT
Skyline Drive Photos https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/skyline-drive-photos I took some time during a recent camping trip to enjoy the scenic beauty of Skyline Drive in Virginia.  I was able to catch a gorgeous sunset from Big Meadows and also hiked down to Dark Hollow Falls for some of the most spectacular falls in Virginia.  Big Meadows also gives you the beautiful big sky.  The sun itself sets on the horizon and drops below in about two or three minutes.  But for me the sunset begins a few hours before, scouting locations and setting up shots.  The shutter starts going off about an hour before the actual sun sets, while it is still in the sky.  Then after the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon the sky continues to change and evolve, so I can continue to stay out well past the sunset itself.  With High Dynamic Resolution photography (HDR) I can take several exposures and merge them into one, combining every detail in both the bright sky and the dark landscape.  

The hike down to Dark Hollow Falls was a nice, gentle 3/4 mile trek.  Sure, it was steep, but who cares when you are going downhill?  So I brought the heavy tripod, extra lenses, bag, gear, stuff.  I was loaded down.  I was time restricted because this was a family hike, so I knew I would be there at midday, not during optimal sunrise or sunset.  But that is OK- I still got some spectacular shots, and the play of sun and shade on the rocks and water added some depth to the images.  I almost lost my footing, and all my camera gear, when I found that the sign for slippery rocks was very accurate! Then on the hike out the constant uphill climb was challenging!  But it was worth it for some great photos.

Waterfall

See all the images in the gallery here.

 

www.jimprophoto.com

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Big Meadows Skyline Drive Virginia landscape sunset waterfall https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/skyline-drive-photos Fri, 29 Jun 2012 00:33:17 GMT
Xena and Melanie Photoshoot https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/xena-and-melanie-photoshoot Xena is a beautiful Freisian horse, and I had the chance to go visit her and her owner, Melanie  for a photoshoot. 

We had a gorgeous spring afternoon to explore the fields and trails, and Xena was happy to be the center of attention.  She did not mind the flash, so I was able to use some off camera flashes to fill in the light.  There were so many great photos from this session- Here are a few of my favorites! 

 

Melanie also looked stunning in several different outfits.  She makes these gowns herself - amazing!

It was great to break away from the pasture and walk some trails where we could capture different backgrounds and give much more drama to the images.

www.jimprophoto.com

 



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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Equestrian https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/xena-and-melanie-photoshoot Sat, 23 Jun 2012 02:50:02 GMT
Carbon Motors Car https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/carbon-motors-car I had a chance to see the Carbon Motors vehicle- a vehicle purpose built as a law enforcement car. It looks pretty cool.

Today law enforcement agencies must convert passenger cars into law enforcement cars, Carbon Motors is making this car from the ground up to have all the features an officer would need to patrol the streets efficiently and safely.  I photographed the car when it was on display, and I also got a special photoshoot in which I could set up some strobes and work with different lighting.  See the rest of the photos by clicking here.

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Car Law Enforcement Police Vehicle https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/carbon-motors-car Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:20:14 GMT
Featured on APD Facebook https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/featured-on-apd-facebook K9 jumping

I attended the K-9 School graduation at the Alexandria Police Department kennels.  There were several dogs and handlers who were graduating.  After the ceremony they put on a demonstration of K-9 capabilites, from obedience, to obstacles, to tracking and apprehension.  It was great fun to see the dogs at work!  Some photos were featured on the Alexandria Police facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=230040657107672&set=a.230039913774413.44333.187216751390063&type=1&theater

 

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Alexandria Police K-9 Virginia apd canine law enforcement police https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/featured-on-apd-facebook Mon, 04 Jun 2012 01:12:07 GMT
Old Town Alexandria at Dawn https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/old-town-alexandria-at-dawn The confederate soldier memorial stands facing the south.The Confederate faces South

Old Town Gallery
I decided to set my alarm for 3:30 on Saturday and get out to old town for some photos.  Yes, this makes no sense- why get up that early when I can sleep in?  There is a good reason- the hour before and after dawn are the photographer's best light.  Predawn is the softbox of the sky, and when the sun appears it is warm and golden.  The evening has a similar lighting effect.,  But when doing cityscapes there are hardly any cars or people out in the morning (back to the sleeping in thing) as opposed to the evening, when everyone wants to flock to the old town area for the shopping, dining. . and the great views, a few of which I have captured here! Old Town Gallery

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) Alexandria Cityscape Old Town Virginia https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/6/old-town-alexandria-at-dawn Mon, 04 Jun 2012 00:37:13 GMT
First Post https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/5/first-post Hello everyone,

 

I am Jim Craige, and this is my blog.  I am going to try to put some things out here to showcase my photos and bring some interesting things to your view.  Much of my photography is events for clients who maintain control over the photos, so I often can post them only after they have been published or displayed by the client.  I will try to keep up with the places my photos land so I can show you the results of these session.  You may also find some photography tips, equipment reviews and general thoughts.  I will also post some photos that I just really like and want to show to you and tell you a bit about how the shots came about.    The great photos are what I am after, but sometimes the journey is what makes the results worthwhile. 

 

I hope you enjoy.

 

Jim

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jim@jimprophoto.com (Jim Craige Photography) https://www.jimprophoto.com/blog/2012/5/first-post Sun, 27 May 2012 00:33:09 GMT