sunset

Beauty at the beach

Have you ever been to Lewes, DE?  It is one of the hidden gems of the East Coast.  Growing up in Pennsylvania I barely knew that south of our large state lay the wonder of Delaware.  Yes, Delaware is actually a state and not just a small town or a river.  It is know as “The First State” apparently.  When I arrived on the Eastern Shore all those year ago I did not know that Lewes would hold a special place in my heart and in my destiny.  For in this small town I would meet and fall in love my beautiful wife, Jen.  I, like so many others, mispronounced Lewes and it was a dead give-a-way that I was from out of town.  I learned quickly how to pronounce what would become such a pivotal place in my life.  Lewes, for those of you following along, is pronounced like Lewis, not lose.  So remember that little piece and it will save your some embarrassment when you come to visit this small slice of heaven.

One of the young ladies on my Senior Team this year lives in Lewes, DE.  We coordinated a shoot recently and I was super excited to head back to the town where I met and married my wife Jen, so many years ago.  To get to Lewes I took the back roads that I had grown so familiar traveling when my wife and I were dating.  It’s quite an enjoyable drive, through farm land, little towns, and then the bustling thoroughfare of Route 1.  During the summer I will avoid Route 1 at all costs because it is packed with outlet and beach traffic.  Being mid-April I expected an easy trip, yet RT 1 was jammed.  I traveled down Savannah Road, past the historic Presbyterian church that Jen and I were married in.  I reminisced for a few moments on the beauty and absolute “perfectness” of that May day.  A few more turns through town and I pulled into the parking lot at the Canal Park and shut off the engine.  I got out of my car and began to walk around a bit surveying one of the locations for our shoot that evening.  Some modern elements of stone and wood contrasting with the gentle flowing water of the Lewes Canal and sprawling grass of the park.  There is a life saving station situated on the grounds and an old light-ship anchored in part of the canal.  I circled back towards the car with a good idea of where we would photograph, now just had to wait for Sydney to arrive.  She pulled in as just I was returning to the car and we chatted for a few minutes then started to wander around photographing in the park.  

I am no fashionista so I will let Sydney describe her outfit for us:  “Keeping it simple!  My go to, out of town outfit would be my overall dress, it’s super easy to throw on and it’s so comfortable and laid back.  I paired it with a white flowy off the shoulder shirt that i recently stole(borrowed) from my moms closet!  Since the shirt already brings attention to my neck I kept it simple with my bar necklace that I wear everyday.  Because it was so simple up top I added a chunky bracelet to give the outfit some pop!”

She is a natural in front of the camera and needs little direction as far as posing.  We shot around the concrete steps leading down into the grass expanse of the park, then headed over to the life-saving station and the light-ship.  The light-ship was a mobile light house, with a large light fixture on the main mast.  It is now a museum and is docked in a berth cut out of the canal.  The ship was closed for the evening so we photographed a bit around the museum building that looks like a pilot house.  It’s the building with the red strip running along the ship-lapped wall and has this awesome dark stained oak door.  We then made our way to the edge of the canal and photographed on the rocks and among the reeds that Sydney had once played in as a small child.    

Her boyfriend arrived, we chatted, and got acquainted a bit.  We still had daylight and the weather was quite amazing so we took a short drive down to the beach past the Dairy Queen and parked in a somewhat deserted parking lot.  The beach was mostly ours, only a few people were lingering about.  In the misty distance the Cape May-Lewes Ferry was pulling in to its moorings, ready to disembark its cargo of vehicles and passengers.  We climbed up on the dunes and photographed with the sun dipping behind us.  One of Sydney’s good friends randomly pulled up and even jumped in a quick photo with her.  As the gorgeous spring sun began to sink into the horizon I hurried back to my car to get my lighting set up that I love to use for this exact time of day.  The light had such a warmth to it and Sydney looked right at home in the amber glow of the setting sun.  With her toes in the sand and catching the last bit of golden light, surrounded by some good friends, we ended the evening on a great note.  

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Emily’s Senior Portraits

Meet Emily!  She is a senior in the Class of 2017 at Salisbury Christian School.  She is a sweet soul that loves Jesus, horses, and her boyfriend too….sounds like a Tom Petty song.  I’m dating myself with that reference, still a good song, just not known by this generation.  Anyway, we got to spend some time together the other day for her senior portrait session.

One thing I love to do is spend time with my senior clients.  This is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be skimped on in regards to time.  I take pride in crafting an experience for my clients that includes things that are important to them and tell a story about who they are.  Emily is one amazing young lady.  She rides, plays soccer, is involved in Young Life and her church and is a great student from what I hear.

We spend some time photographing at some spots that hold special meaning for her.  The railroad station is in their hometown, the barn where she rides, and Assateague(where she spends every spare moment).  It was a great session and we were treated to one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen at Assateague to wrap up her session.  This is another reason I don’t do mini sessions with my seniors, again it’s too important and you miss out on beautiful settings like this.  Sorry for the novel, but I loved this session and I hope that you love the sneak peeks!  Enjoy!

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Sidney’s Senior Portrait – sneak peeks – Salisbury, MD senior portrait photographer

Meet Sidney!  One of the great joys of my life is getting to work with high school students through a ministry called Young Life.  I get to meet students from all walks of life and at different places in their journeys.  I met Sidney through Young Life club a few years back and was honored that she asked me to create her senior portraits.  This is a young girl with poise and strength and a beauty that is way more than skin deep. We had a beautiful afternoon for portraits and were able to shoot at a variety of locations.  We ended the evening at the Cove with another amazing sunset in the books.  Sidney, have a great senior year!  Enjoy every moment of it…it goes by way too quick.  Good luck on the soccer field and see you around in Club.  Thanks for having me create your portraits with you.

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Rachel’s Senior Portraits – Salisbury, MD senior portrait photographer

I love when I get to capture portraits for siblings of my previous senior portrait clients.  Rachel’s sister Maddie was a client of mine a few years back.  I was excited to meet up with Rachel and capture her portraits at the same place that we had done Maddie’s a few years before.  A strong thunderstorm skirted around us while we were doing her portraits, but we go them in.  She really wanted a good sunset picture and the think the storm helped create some great colors and clouds in the background.  Thanks Rachel for coming to me to have your portraits made.  It was great being with you and your mom for this session and I wish you the best in your senior year at Bennett.  Enjoy the sneak peeks!

Sincerely-James

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Behind the Image – Off Camera Flash(OCF)

We’ve all seen the beautiful sunset shots that people take on vacation.  Chances are that you will have a beautiful sunset, but only see sillhouets of the people that you were trying to photograph.  Here is a simple way to get that beautiful sunset AND the people that you were sharing it with.

If you are using a point and shoot camera, simply make sure your flash is on when you take the picture.  It may not seem like you need it, but you will need the flash to fill-in light to the faces so that they are balanced with the exposure of the sunset behind them.  If you have the option of using a flash that is separate from the camera (off camera flash) then it opens up so many creative possibilities for balancing the ambient light with the flash that you are using to light your subject.

Take this photo of Maddie, one of my senior model reps. from the Class of 2014.  We were out the other night doing portraits and it was dreadfully overcast.  Great for colorful and vivid sunsets, but not necessarily the best for portrait lighting.  I wanted to capture the sunset AND the beautiful Maddie.  So here is what I did for this shot.

I wanted very shallow depth of field for this one so I set my aperture at f/1.8 and then pointed the camera at the sky and metered for the ambient light.  Then I set my camera to manual: setting the shutter speed and keeping the aperture at f/1.8.    Then I brought my off camera flash in camera left and 45 degrees down on Maddie and captured this image.  The two images below are straight out of the camera, no photoshop process applied.

 

Exposed for the sky 1/250, f/1.8, ISO 200
With OCF: 1/250th, f/1.8, ISO 200 Alien Bee 800 Flash at 1/8th power with 24X36 softbox

One thing that I have learned when using off camera flash is that shutter speed controls the amount of ambient light and the aperture controls the intensity of the flash.  Knowing this saves lots of time and you can make adjustments right from your camera to change the scene, without having to change the power of the flash.

 

 

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Maddie J. {sneak peeks} Senior Model Rep. Class of 2014 – Senior Portrait Photographer Salisbury MD

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Maddie again the other night to capture a few more images to add to her portfolio as a senior model for my studio this year.  It was a perfect, cool, overcast evening.  A little too overcast for some of the portraits I had in mind but we were able to take some killer sunset pics.  Check out her sneak peeks from this session.  Plus, if you are senior in the Class of 2014 see Maddie for a Rep. Card that you can use when you book your portraits at my studio.

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Watermelon LOVE – engagement session {Sneak Peeks} Wedding photographer, Seaford, DE

The sweet juicy taste of locally grown watermelon can’t be beat.  Only when you put the watermelon farmer and his fiancé in the middle of his fields and do engagement portraits does the watermelon and love get sweeter.  I had the privilege of hanging out with these two the other night up in Seaford for their engagement portraits in Corey’s watermelon field.  We had a beautiful night and lots of fun capturing these unique images.  They will be married next August and I am excited about capturing what I know will be an amazing and beautiful day.

Random watermelon facts to brighter your Monday:

  • The watermelon is actually a vegetable (related to the cucumber family)
  • Did you know that every watermelon has an even number of stripes on it, no matter how big or small it ends up being.

Enjoy the sneak peeks.

Engagement portraits in the Given's watermelon field.

 

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