The Power of the Print

As a photographer, I find myself taking anywhere between 500-1500 photos at a given event, depending on how long I’m there, and what’s going on.  I usually have no reason to get prints of my work, because they would just sit around in an envelope or a box somewhere.  I prefer to show my digital images on line (Facebook, Flickr, Smugmug, etc)..

However, prior to a recent shoot where I tagged along with some great muscle cars, I printed up a bunch of 8×10 prints and put them in an easy-to-carry portfolio.  When I committed to the shoot, I had one client who had committed to pay me for shots of his car.  When I arrived and met the other car owners, I introduced myself as a photographer.. I didn’t get an overwhelming response.. however, when I showed them my portfolio of 8×10 prints of other cars (primarily shots from a car show I had recently attended and from Sacramento Raceway), they were VERY interested.  I ended up getting 3 additional clients that day.

This past weekend, I went back to Sacramento Raceway to shoot the ‘NorCal Invasion‘.  Prior to getting all my gear set up, I walked around the pit area with my portfolio and a bunch of business cards.  I recognized one car from a shoot I did at Infineon Raceway last year and approached the owner.  I didn’t have a print of his car, but I did have my iPhone, and quick access to one of my online galleries.  I showed him my print portfolio that I was carrying around, and while he was looking at that, I pulled up an image of his car from Infineon on my phone and showed it to him.  He nearly fell over – he must have commented 3 or 4 times about how much he loved that shot of his car, and would want to order it.  By showing him what my final print products looked like, and an iPhone-sized image of his car – he could tell that a print of his car would look great.  That night at the racetrack, I made sure I got plenty of pictures of his car to add to my gallery for him… after speaking with him tonight, he’s very excited to order a bunch of prints in various sizes.

It just goes to show – that while our lives are becoming more and more digital every day (and I LOVE it!), there is still something VERY compelling about the power of a printed image that has much more impact than a picture on a computer screen.

This is the image of the guys’ car from Infineon that he loved so much.  It was one of my favorite photos from that weekend as well.. I was really happy to be able to find the owner of the car so I could show him the image I created… and then to see his reaction – priceless.  This is what being a photographer is all about!

NorCal Invasion at Sacramento Raceway

This past weekend, I went to Sacramento Raceway for some drag race photography.  We were all hoping for a HUGE turnout, but the crazy heat (and I think the high entry fees) kept a lot of racers away.  There was still a decent turnout, and some great race cars to photograph.  I got my usual spot right at the starting line where all the action (burnouts!) happen.. it was a hot day, and by the time I left, I smelled like race fuel, high-octane exhaust, and burnt rubber.  It was great!

Take Better Photos

A friend of mine recently asked me about how to go from using Auto Focus to Manual Focus on their Canon, in order to take better photos.  Honestly.. I hardly ever shoot in Manual Focus.  The camera can focus much faster and more accurately than my hands and old eyes can do.  However, if you want to take better photos… more than just “snapshot” photos – I think it’s critical to understand the key relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.  It has to be such an ingrained part of what they do, that they don’t even think about it as they’re shooting.  This allows the photographer to focus more on where the light is coming from, how it will impact the image, how they’re composing the shot, what might be in the background, etc.

There are a number of things available on these cameras that are important to understand – light metering modes, focus modes, color/temperature settings, image quality/RAW settings, etc… I strongly suggest that anyone who may be looking to improve their photos beyond just ‘snapshot’ photos look into workshops, classes, groups, etc that are targeted towards “beginners”.. and if you’ve got a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, find a class for beginner DSLR users.. Just because you have a camera that cost $1000.00 or more, doesn’t mean you’re a photographer, and doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to go right out and take amazing images.

I love the fact that I’m still learning how to use my camera, play with lighting techniques, metering functions, etc… there’s definitely a progressive learning curve with these cameras we have.. but I think the key part is learning about the relationship between Aperture (f-stop), Shutter speed, and ISO.

Congratulations to Cathy and James

Congratulations to Cathy and James, who got married on August 6 2011 .. I was honored to be there to capture their special day.  The wedding and reception were at the Heirloom Inn in Ione, CA.  A beautiful, historic house with beautiful grounds, great shade and a ton of character.  Feel free to check out the gallery of photos!

Wedding Collage

Cathy and James tie the knot

Great weekend in San Francisco

Emily and I spent Friday and Saturday in San Francisco for a little weekend getaway.   We did a ton of walking, which was good because it helped burn off some of the food we ate…. we’ve been to SF a ton of times, but this time we went on one of the double-decker bus tours – a great way to get around and see the city.  My goal was to try to capture photos of strangers, and the cultural diversity of the City… This ended up being a lot of fun and made me look at things a little differently.  While we were there, we ran across hundreds of bicyclists riding through town with a police escort.. turned out it was something called “Critical Mass” .. a monthly ride that takes place in a number of large cities throughout the US… another interesting photo opportunity.  After our trip to SF, we stopped by Muir Woods for a quick walk through the redwoods.. a nice way to relax after the hustle of the city.

Look closely

One of the photos of the Critical Mass bike ride in SF

Collage of photos from San Francisco

SF Collage


More photos can be seen in my Smugmug gallery

Retro “pin-up” shoot

Sunday, July 24 I got together with 7 other talented photographers, half a dozen models, and a number of classic car owners at Reiff’s Gas Station in Woodland CA for a collaborative shoot.  It was an all-day shoot in 90+ degree heat.. the models were troopers and the car owners were patient while we all got our lighting perfect and shot our models.  We had a ton of fun and got some great images.. thanks to everyone involved!

Retro Shoot Collage

Models at Reiff's Garage

Muscle Cars in Kirkwood

Last Saturday (July 23), I got the opportunity to go hang out with 3 classic Dodge Challengers and a Pontiac Trans Am on a drive up to Kirkwood ski resort for a photo shoot.  2 of the Challengers were green (one of which was a convertible), and the 3rd was purple, and the Trans Am was blue with white stripe… beautiful cars, and great photography subjects.  We met up at Jackson Rancheria, and made the drive up to Kirkwood where we took photos along the way.

Skulls Car Club Cruise and Car Show July 16

The Sacramento Skulls Car Club hosted a Cruise and Car show this weekend, the cruise started at the So-Cal Speedshop in Sacramento and ended out at the Elkhorn Station Roadhouse Bar and Grill.  A ton of cool cars from a multitude of car clubs showed up to participate in the event and enjoy the live music from several different bands.  The old cars, along with their owners and other enthusiasts/supporters who were dressed according to the 50′s/60′s time period made for some great photos.  I had a blast and got some really cool photos.

Video on

Link to photos

Car Show Collage





Aerospace Museum of California

Decided to go swing in to the Aerospace Museum yesterday for a little bit to take some photos.  This museum is open 7 days a week and has a pretty decent selection of old airplanes to look at.. they’ve got some model displays, simulators, and an extensive display of engines.  I didn’t have a ton of time, so I did a couple quick trips around the display, one with my 24-70mm lens, and then again with my wide angle 10-20mm lens. It was a nice clear day, providing a perfect blue sky for the backdrop to my photos.


Collage of images from Air Museum

Great night at the racetrack!

Went to Sacramento Raceway Park tonight to watch (and shoot) the grudge match races.. this is local guys/girls bringing their muscle cars, hot rods, imports, trucks.. whatever – out to the track to race for fun (and sometimes money).  Good turnout tonight, even with it being in the triple digits.  A great night to shoot some nice cars.

Link to my Smugmug Gallery

Sacramento Raceway photos

Great night at the track