Rick Luiten Photography: Blog http://www.lu-10.com/blog en-us Rick Luiten Photography luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:25:00 GMT Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:25:00 GMT http://www.lu-10.com/img/s/v-5/u580191479-o615071692-50.jpg Rick Luiten Photography: Blog http://www.lu-10.com/blog 120 90 Photography as a Spiritual Pursuit 2 http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/11/photography-as-a-spiritual-pursuit-2  

Well, here we go, grab your camera and let’s have some fun. By the way, this blog is not going to cover settings, technical things, and the sort.  Those you can find anywhere and if you are not comfortable with your camera you need to study them and learn so that the technical aspect is in the back of your mind. If you have to keep calling it to the front it will get in the way of your photography and everything we are trying to do here.

 

We are going to try and learn to shoot with our hearts, with our spirits and the only way possible for that to happen is that we really can’t be spending time fidgeting with our cameras. If you haven’t spent the time to learn the camera, inside and out. Well, the basic settings so that you can get what you want in the image.

 

My method if you can call it a method is: see, feel, shoot, process. I spend no time trying to define what I am feeling, for me that will get in the way of execution and tend to preclude that I will get the image that touched me.

 

This is a right-brained process, and yes I know that the latest studies are wanting to refute the actual right and left brain understanding but for the sake of communication, I use right brained in the traditional sense.

 

The things that attract me reveal something about my spirit. A friend once said to me, “I love your work but your photographs are so dark.” Before I even thought out of my mouth came, “I am a dark person.”  Before this happened I just thought it was that I liked the dark moody photographs. Not the morally dark, even sick ones, but dark and shadowy. If you look at the photo I chose to head this whole blog, the tracks going alongside the cemetery in the fog you get an idea of what I mean.

 

I have not chosen the photo for this post yet but I am sure given the subject matter it will be of a similar nature.

 

You may always see sunny photos, cheery and that is fine. You may choose to shoot those because they are the antiquities to the darkness you are attracted to, also okay. Just shoot and don’t over think. Keep shooting what attracts you and see what appears. I would hope that it would go without saying here, that for our purposes, we want to avoid any type of photography that objectifies and demeans another person or treads on our most basic lusts. That is just way too easy and will not aid us here. Although it too is revealing. In the end, you will find your own path. However, at some point, a true spirituality will inevitably have to make a moral judgment. But before you run down that road please think of the puritan in the parable at the end of my first post on this subject.

 

It will be easy here to go off thinking that the rules of composition and image are not necessary especially after what I said about the technical side. That would be a mistake. Good composition is essential to convey the feeling that attracted you to the image in the first place. Do your best. If you are a beginner you may find as I did many years ago that you see something, it touches you and you shoot it only to find that later the image has nothing of the feel you liked about it. Many times, in the beginning, we will shoot something that touches us and not think at all about proper composition, lighting, setting, and so on and get a photo that just doesn’t work. So when you find that thing you want to shoot, look at it, really look at it and find what conveys something, you don’t even have to understand what. In reality, your image probably if it touches someone will do so in a far different way that it did you unless it is some tragic event, and still it might.

 

Don’t worry about anyone getting it. That is not the point. The point is that you shoot what makes you feel. If you accurately capture that it will touch someone, just be ready to let it do so in that person's own particular way.

 

I learned this bit of letting go of the image from my wonderful wife. Darla is an amazing painter and writer. Probably the most talented person I know, and I know some very talented people.

 

I met her while I was in Seminary and she had just returned from a 4-year apprenticeship in Florence with a master painter and sculptor.  I was amazed how she could finish a painting and then just let it go. Things people said both positive and negative would not touch her. She was about the doing and was already on to the next one.

 

She is about to publish her first novel and I am so very interested in seeing how she handles the response to this. She has spent a decade writing this and six others in the series now are polishing up the first book and will release it by the first of the year. A painting takes her weeks, this has been her life for ten years, much more invested and I will be very interested in how she deals with this.

 

So, go out and shoot. Then process. For me, processing is just as important as the shooting, maybe even more so. When I process I don’t really visualize what I want I just begin and the photo will guide the processing. What to do will come as I go.

 

It is funny, I shot fashion and advertising many years ago and I found the same true. I would plan the shoot, work the plan and more often than not the photos I shot around the set and those became the ones the client would want rather than the ones we had planned together. As a pro, you need to be able to give the client what they want and that takes planning and ability but I also found that the spirit was in what was happening with the people during the shoot and I would try and catch that as well.

 

I call my landscape shots earth portraits, not sure where I heard that but it fit.  I am not a true landscape photographer. I can not often sit out there with my camera on a tripod waiting for that perfect light. I need to move, experience, see, and shoot as it prompts me. That is just who I am. I do however love good landscape photographers work. It always amazes me.

 

I love street photography, the being out there among the people going about their lives. I love the energy and the ever-changing dynamic of each and every scene. Trying to capture a poignant snippet of that energy. A street photographer has to see and react quickly. It is so much fun.

 

This is one of the reasons I like shooting weddings. I shoot photojournalistic style if you have to put a name on it. I love shooting the candids and capturing wonderful moments in time, the emotions and love, trying to do so in an artistic way. When it works it is magical.

So go out and shoot, shoot what attracts you. Try it all, landscapes, street, portraits you name it and then process letting the energy and spirit reveal itself through the process. That is a great start.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/11/photography-as-a-spiritual-pursuit-2 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:25:28 GMT
Photography as a Spiritual Pursuit http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/11/photography-as-a-spiritual-pursuit  

 


 

Okay, I guess I ought to say right off the bat that this will probably be about much more than photography and spirituality.

 

If you are one of the two or three fine folks that have attempted to follow my writing you know that I tend to be all over the place.

 

While it may be hard to tell from the outside my life has been about the search for an authentic spirituality. This has been a long and sometimes painful journey that has shown no sign of coming to an end or even stasis. I guess that is spirituality, in a nutshell, if you think you have it, it is gone.

 

Spirit is life and life cannot be contained, forced or coerced it must be free to take its own course.  

 

Many of us begin the journey into spirituality with some idea of what it is we are going to find and then set about trying to make our experience fit into that model. It won’t so don’t try. Really, you can spend years in this manner and only leave yourself frustrated and depressed or worse, deluded.

 

Another trap we get into in the west, maybe the east, I really don’t know if it is particular to us or it a human thing or maybe just appeals to a certain type of personality, whatever the case may be it is a trap nonetheless. I am speaking of learning about spirituality.  

 

Learning about spirituality can for a time satisfy that inner longing that propels us on in the search of that connection a true spirituality offers. True spirituality costs and much of its price our minds are reluctant to part with. Learning gives the mind a bit of control it may not otherwise have, nor is that control conducive to a real spirituality.

 

An Anglican priest once told me, “The  mind is a great servant but a terrible master.”  I did not see the depth of truth to that statement at the time but it has become abundantly clear over the years many of which I spent serving that terrible master.

 

I think that the learning however it necessary to a healthy spirituality. A spiritual director is of great help along this path. I have always been a loner and that bent has pressed its character into my spiritual quest for better or worse. So I owe a lot to my education, what I have learned has brought me back from the brink more than once.

 

I guess I ought to get this out of the way for those of you who do not know me. I grew up in a wonderful church in a wonderful little town on the Colville Reservation. I attended college, seminary after earning a Bachelors of Psychology, Master's of Divinity I worked for a few years in postgraduate studies in the area of Christian Spiritual Literature. I did not finish my Ph.D. for a couple reasons. First, my mentor passed away and second I found what I was looking for and by this time I knew I would never again work as a pastor or in a church.  This decision is not about any anger, perceived slight it really is because at the end of it all I realized that it just was not for me. Nor do I think it is what I am called to do. Working out a calling is an interesting task especially for someone who does not fit in traditional roles, but it is possible whether or not others understand it.

 

I did spend over a decade as a Regent on the board of a highly respected Seminary. This is my one lasting bit of traditional Christian ministry and I am very proud of it.  I also will say right here that as one gets into spirituality and for lack of a better term I will use that old, battered and worn out word that is full of baggage which leads many astray of the truth, Mysticism, theologians tend to get nervous, and much of the time rightly so.

 

I have to admit that I, in a large part do not understand theologians and their spirituality it has been to a few that I have turned when the way gets muddled and believe me it does.

 

I don’t think we need spend much time convincing the church that we need theologians, well maybe these days more than ever we might, but I do find that the church has a problem with mystics, and that I do understand however they too are important.  I have to admit that I  also have problems with the modern idea of a mystic.  The ones that seem to teach that once you have reached that spiritual plane everything is now easy and there are never any more problems that touch you. They now walk around in a false, floaty superficial faux spiritual act trying to convince themselves and others that they have arrived. Where, I have no idea.

 

The old Zen adage, “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water,” is well worth remembering.  

 

Yes, I have spend a lot of time learning from other spiritual traditions that Christianity. I will say this, for one who is grounded in your faith it can be quite enlightening.  While reading writings in Zen, Taoism, Sufism I came to see that the mystics of all the religions I studied, on some level, are saying pretty much the same things. This was a huge eye opening experience for me. That many of their experiences and ah ha moments convey similar truths.

 

I  read, I think, all or least most of the works of Thomas Merton. A brilliant thinker and trappist monk. He spent years living in a Zen monastery while remaining a monk leaning of the Zen way. He has many very interesting things to say on the matter. One of my mentors was a friend of Merton and had many interesting insights to share about this man.

 

Lastly, I have studied the Martial Arts for around 50 years. I have studied in Okinawa and Japan and I have spend over a decade studying Chinese internal martial. My Sifu, a wonderful Chinese gentleman who is a Christian has taught me so very much about the Spiritual life.

 

The other thing that will probably make its way into this is white water rafting. There are so many great metaphors to be had on the river it will be hard to resist.  But for the most part I will use my approach to photography in an attempt to help you understand what I am trying to say.

 

I certainly do not believe I have THE truth or even much of it. What I do have is experience that has come from decades of my struggle along this road. It is my way and I am not in any manner trying to say it is the way or even a way, as you will find, your way will open itself up to you as you seek if you are just honest with yourself and willing to admit failure which seems to be the largest prerequisite for growth.

 

A line from the Desiderata, and yes I am aware it is not what it claims to be, it is however still worth reading, says, “Beyond a healthy discipline, be gentle with yourself.” Truer words have…

 

This short parable below, I think, tells more about my journey and what I have found to be true than anything more I could write. I hope you understand it. Spend some time with it, let it speak to you in a way beyond words, in that place my mentor Francis would call, “the deepest determining part of your being.”


 

THE GREATER SEA

From The Madman

By Kahlil Gibran

My soul and I went to the great sea to bathe. And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea. “This is the pessimist .” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet. There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejeweled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist.” said my soul. “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”

Further on we walked. And on a beach, we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.

“And we cannot bathe before him.” said my soul. He is the humane philosophist.”

And we passed on.

Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it. But he went on tracing it again and again.

“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”

And we walked on, till in a quiet cove we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.

“He is the idealist,” said my soul. “Surely he must not see our nudity.”

And we walked on.

Suddenly we heard a voice crying. “This is the sea. This is the deep sea. This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned toward the sea, at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.

And my soul said, “Let us pass on. He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”

So we passed on. And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand. And I said to my soul, “We can bathe here for he cannot see us.”

“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all. He is the puritan.”

And then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.

“Let us go hence,” she said. “For there is no lonely, hidden place we can bathe. I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my sacred nakedness.”

Then we left that sea to search for the Greater Sea.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/11/photography-as-a-spiritual-pursuit Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:57:12 GMT
Review of the sleeklens Forever Thine Wedding Workflow http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/9/review-of-the-sleeklens-forever-thine-wedding-workflow The fine folks at sleeklens contacted me about trying their Lightroom workflows. The set I tested was their Forever Thine Wedding Workflow. You can see these presets and many others at their website  https://sleeklens.com/ I will be posting photos from a wedding that I  processed with the workflow that I was sent and I grabbed a few photos from a previous wedding and did the same.

All of the photos start with a preset from the set and most have very little tweaking of the settings. 

There are things I would do to these photos but I wanted to show how the presets looked without much interference.

 

I was a bit hesitant as I am not a person who uses presets but after thinking about it for a while I thought why not. When I shoot a wedding sometimes I process over a thousand photos. Due to the amount of time that it takes I was thinking of drastically reducing the number of photos I would offer the client. I thought if I could just save a couple minutes per photo that would really add up. I could save up to a third of the time it takes to process a wedding. 

 

The problem was that I had never found a preset that I would use for a wedding. I just have not liked what I have seen and also figured I could build my own just as easy. 

Well, I have changed my mind. I did find some presets in their collection that I like and used for a starting place. They used some settings that I would never have thought of and I truly liked the outcome.  What I did was to find the preset that I thought fit the look of the wedding and processed a few photos with it, tweaking them a bit to fit my vision then created my own preset from that and off I went. In the end, this saved me a great deal of time and I was able to deliver the photos weeks before the date I had promised. This is definitely a plus.  

Even if the preset only saved me thirty seconds when processing a thousand photos this saves around eight hours. So considering this alone I am very happy with the sleeklens wedding workflows. 

With the Forever Thine Wedding Workflows, you get 112 presets and 23 brushes. I have not tried the brushes yet but I will and will add to this review.

I found the whole process from download to use to be very easy and intuitive. I highly recommend this sleeklens workflow, if the others are this good then it is definitely worth looking into and purchasing. I will be using this set for some time. 

Thanks to sleeklens for asking me to take part in their review process and sending me the workflows. It has been a great experience. 

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) how to images lightroom presets photography photoshop presets processing sleeklens wedding presets workflow http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2017/9/review-of-the-sleeklens-forever-thine-wedding-workflow Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:02:26 GMT
My Take on Wedding Photography http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/11/my-take-on-wedding-photography  

Lake Oswego Wedding at The Foundry.

One of the things I dislike most is talking about me or my work.  Oh, I love to answer questions and yes I take pride in my work and always strive to do the very best that I can for a client, but singing one's own praises, to me feels self-serving, and just plain wrong.

So you won’t find my page on the top of search engines because just about everything it takes get there I just cannot do without feeling like I am being as egocentric as some photographers seem to be.  I have had many marketing people tell me that I must talk myself up in that way, but I just cannot do it and feel good about myself.

Rock Springs Ranch WeddingRock Springs Ranch WeddingMegan and Brian's lovely wedding at Rock Springs Ranch in Bend Oregon

So then what can I write about while trying to let people know about my work and the way I love to approach a wedding, portrait or commercial shoot?  I guess I can discuss what I strive for, how I look at the process of photography and what my goals are.  I will not be discussing what I am trying to get across in a particular photograph, as that to me is just as bad.  I believe that if my photographs do not stand on their own and convey a message or emotion or tell a story and give the viewer that little tug of the heart, then I have failed and no amount of supporting text will change that.  I am happy to discuss a certain photograph if asked but to post one somewhere with a long explanation just doesn’t work for me. 

Kiah Lodge Wedding.Kiah Lodge Wedding.Wedding at the lovely Kiah Lodge resort in Poulsbo Washington.

Part of this way of looking at things I get from my talented wife. She is a world-class artist who learned to paint as an apprentice to a Renaissance master in Firenze Italy, where she spent many years learning her art. She too shrinks from written descriptions or explanations of her work. It either stands or falls on its own.  I find that amazing because a painting takes so much more effort than a single photograph does to produce.

So with all that said, here is my approach to my work.  The technical aspects of photography aside, and I believe this can be set aside, because if a photographer has not mastered the technical aspects of his or her craft then they have no business calling themselves a pro and taking people’s money all the while hoping they don’t get into a fix that will take some real skill and knowledge to get out of.

A photographer only has a few tools they can use to make a photograph work. These tools used correctly and creatively are essential to convey the emotion, the feeling, or to tell the story of what is happening at that moment when the shutter clicks.

Beyond the technical aspects and the rules of composition which are fairly easy to learn, it just takes time and experience to be able to see and capture these wonderful moments. There are three main tools once can use or if you will, aspects that make up a good photograph especially in wedding, portrait and advertising photography. These are light, composition and human emotion.

To me, the first in foremost is light. A photographer may have the all the rules of composition down but if they do not understand or cannot see light their photos will look flat and will be lacking in personality.  Light is one of the strongest allies we have in making a great photograph and it must be used wisely to have it work for us in creating a photograph with stunning visual impact.  Wedding photographers, especially those of the photojournalist style, must develop an innate sense of light, where it is coming from and how it will impact the image because they must do everything on the fly. There is no time to pose each shot. 

This is also where camera knowledge comes in; we must be able to change settings instantly to whatever is needed to be able to get the shot.  As the subjects move the light changes and what you can do with it differs, different backgrounds call for different exposures and the wedding photographer must be able to keep up. I have seen way too many wedding photographs where the photographer just set the camera on auto and that was it. If everything stayed the same they might have gotten away with it.  Most don’t.  I think that the new washed out look that has become popular is fine, but I have seen it used as a way to hide bad exposure. I think that the photo must be well exposed and then if you want to go that direction in processing fine, but it never should be relied upon to cover up less that adequate technical skills.

Kiana Lodge Wedding in Poulsbo WashingtonKiana Lodge Wedding in Poulsbo WashingtonBeautiful wedding at the beautiful Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo Washington.

Light tells the story; it sets the mood and conveys the emotion of the moment in time that was captured.  The greatest painters know that, look at Rembrandt’s work, his understanding and use of light is amazing. Lord Leighton is amazing at using light and dark to create fabrics on his women that you can almost feel. There are so many other wonderful painters we can learn from. They, however, and not to take anything away from their brilliance and skill, get to add light where needed, journalistic style wedding photographers, as a rule, do  not have that luxury. When we do add light to an image we need to do so in such a way that we avoid that on camera flash washed out look. Only one of my cameras has a built-in flash and I have never used it. They produce horrid light. 

We need to spend our lives looking at and learning the properties of light and how it reacts with the world around us. This can be done all times all days.

Next is personal emotion. We must be able to capture that instant when the emotion is there, that fleeting moment the emotion passes across the subjects face and then is gone forever. We must be vigilant, ever watching, and give it everything we have to not lose those precious moments.  Sure some will get by us be we need to be able to capture the majority of them.  I still ache inside about a couple shots I missed; I can still see the light hitting the subject and the photo what would have been made. Luckily they were street shots and not a wedding but still.  Street photography is a wonderful way to train yourself to be able to see light and capture emotion as well as anticipate how the elements in a scene will play out and the image that may be created from them. It keeps you hopping and you have to keep that camera up and looking through the viewfinder or you will miss something.

Sometimes that street photography look works very well for a wedding image, another reason to learn and practice street photography.

Cell phone cameras are a part of weddings now so get used to it. They will be there unless the couple asks that they not be taken out, but usually they are all over.  There will be some great shots taken with the phones and they will be posted so your work needs to be good enough that it will, for the most part, stand above those photos as everyone will see both.

These are the elements that I believe go into making a good wedding photograph and I spend my life trying to improve my abilities and bring the very best to the work at hand.  I will never be as good as I desire to be but that keeps me growing and there is always plenty of room for that. 

So this is what I am about and I will do everything possible to get the best photographs of your wedding, portrait, and event, well you name it. Yes as photographers we are told to pick a specialty and don’t venture outside of that, well I have and it is photography, I just love shooting and creating interesting and powerful images that will capture those wonderful moments in time so they can be relived and shared.  Images that will draw one into them and convey the message directly to the heart, these are the things I can talk about because they are what excite me.

I have been a photographer for decades and am currently training my son in the craft. I shoot weddings as well as many other genres of photography. We limit ourselves to six or eight weddings per year this allows us to do the very best work and I do all of the processing myself putting eyes and hands on each and every photograph.  Doing so I can keep wedding photography a passion rather that just a job. Sure a pro will do nice work on any job but a passion, that brings wonderful results.

I live in the quaint little town of Silverton Oregon it is located just outside Salem and less than an hour from Portland and while I love shooting weddings here in the area the majority of my work is all around the pacific northwest and I am available to travel where ever the wedding is held. We love to travel and have the ability to enter a new location sized it up and produce quality photography.

 

The best way to contact me is either go to contact on this page or email to luitenimages@gmail.com  email is the best way to get to me as I am out of cell contact much of every day. Thanks.

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/11/my-take-on-wedding-photography Sun, 15 Nov 2015 01:41:19 GMT
You are the Artist http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/8/you-are-the-artist Over the past few years I have put my photographs out to the public in a number of forums. I was curious how they might be received. Overall I have been happy with the results and I have learned a lot.

Some of my most popular photos that I have shared on Facebook are not my personal favorites. The same goes with 500 PX and Flicr. There have been a few other places as well. I belong to a few photographer groups as well but one, a closed group with maybe a couple hundred photographers in it is my favorite. There are some shooters that are totally amazing in this group. They hail from all over the world and in my mind are tops in their field. There are Fashion, Landscape, Portrait, Travel, Street, Fine Arts, well you name it and they are there and they are very good.

I find this group tends to like same things I do. I can place a photo on Facebook at it will get little attention but the same photo in this group will receive some of the highest praise of any I post. The opposite is true as well. Please don't get me wrong I am very appreciative of the wonderful comments and likes I get for my work in either group. It truly is nice to hear that someone likes my work and maybe they feel something while looking at it as that is what I am trying for.

I can think of nothing better than having someone view some of my work and have it move then in some way. Maybe make their day a bit better, or it could make them think on something that is what a photograph is about and if it happens I am a success.

However what I am writing about here is how one has to approach their art. An artist has to do work they like. Sure we all will create what a client wants but when we shoot for ourselves then we must create images that please us. If we begin changing to get more likes or attention we become kind of like a politician changing his or her views in reaction to polls. We loose our soul.

I am not saying that we don't take advice or attempt to grow in our art. Heck maybe after a number of years we can find ourselves going a totally different direction as our interests change. Also as our style begins to emerge we follow that and it may lead us to something different or more focused. We begin to learn what we like.

One thing I learned from my wonderful and talented wife Darla is to hold onto our completed work lightly.  For those who do not know Darla is an amazing artist. She was trained in Firenze in a style called New Renaissance which combines the old techniques handed down from master to apprentice over generations with the freedom of modern art.  She spent four years studying as an apprentice working twenty four seven.  When working with galleries they would always tell her to be more this or that to fit into American and local culture. She didn't do that and I have always admired her for it. Of course it might help to have one art hanging in the homes of royalty, artists, world class musicians and even one of the most popular restaurants in the world among food critics. I have seen her art in many food magazines and TV shows as they did reviews on this wonderful eatery in Firenze.

I have watched her finish a painting and have people see it and everyone has a comment some are not very nice. She handled it all with grace and equal equanimity.  When she is finished with a piece she is finished and is on to the next one. This is a great way to be. I find that when I finish a photograph that I like, I can look at it for a short while and enjoy it, then I am bored and must go for the next one.

In closing all I am really taking so long to say here, is that you are the one you have to impress, do what you like and push yourself to get closer and closer to your vision. In the end if you don't do that you will become quite disillusioned with yourself and your art.  When people like and comment positively on your work, well that is the frosting on the cake.

Do I think these are my best? Probably not, but right now they are the ones I sort of like best but that will change.  

 

That probably is the natural way of things.

Happy Shooting!

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/8/you-are-the-artist Fri, 07 Aug 2015 20:38:43 GMT
Arrivederci http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/arrivederci  

Sometimes you have evenings that are just special. Last night was one of those. Darla and I went up to Arrivederci Wine and Jazz Bar in Milwaukie Oregon to see Kate and the Crocodiles. Now most of you have figured out by now that Kate, Gavin and Craig are good friends and we have said many times how much we love them as well as their music.  So having need them in so many venues things have to go really right for us to have an exceptional evening at least compared to all the other wonderful time we have had seeing them in concert.

Steve is the gentleman playing sax in the photo below. I need to talk to him again but I think that he runs the place or manages it. It belongs to his son is what I think he said, I will have to check that out to be correct. Anyway he brought his sax out and sat in a few songs and that was a pleasant surprise. It is a really cool atmosphere at Arrivederci and a lot of fun.

It was our first time to go to Arrivederci and I was very impressed. We made a reservation and got a great table right in front.

 

Our waitress was a beautiful young lady who was just as nice and helpful as she is attractive. That is always a plus.

Over the years I have gotten to be a bit of an Italian food snob, well not really, but I do hesitate to order spaghetti in a restaurant as I seldom find it done correctly. Okay my pseudo snobbery ( I am really not a snob, just like good, well prepared food) has come about because of my wife Darla.

 

When I met her she has just returned to the U.S. from a four year internship as an apprentice to a master painter and sculptor in Florence Italy. They would eat the majority of their meals at a little trattoria.

 Trattoria del Garga is a world famous restaurant that Rachel Ray has called her favorite restaurant in the world. That is a pretty good recommendation.  Darla learned a lot from her friends who own and operate this little gem and she as passed much on to me.  So when I say I am kind of picky about my Italian food I have good reason.

 

Last night I steered away from the pasta for the reasons I mentioned above, a new restaurant and all, and went for their pizza. For around twelve bucks you get a generous sized personal pizza made from fresh dough and ingredients.  The pizza I had was called the Shameless Seamus. Seamus is a chief from New York who is hanging here for a couple months and they are getting some new and cool dishes from him.  It has a spicy marinara sauce on perfectly done crust.  Genoa, salami, red onions, mozzarella, parmesan, sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers & it is topped with fresh basil.  It was amazing. I like big bold taste and this pizza had it to spare. I am now looking forward to going back to try their pasta.

 

I think I described it to someone as being liked getting punched in the mouth with flavor. Now it really isn’t like that and I meant it in only the best way. But really I love it when I take a first bite of something and get flooded with flavor. It really was that good.

 

Darla had the Molte Bene. She too liked her food very much. She said it tasted like something she would cook. It is a chopped chicken sautéed in garlic and onion with a mixture of vegetables and topped with shaved parmesan.  I didn’t get to try it but I did insist that she have a bite of my pizza and she loved it.

So I would highly recommend Arrivederci if you are looking for good food and some great music.

 

Kate and the Crocodiles have never disappointed and last evening was no different. They are always writing new music, which added to songs that have become favorites of mine, always makes for a wonderful experience.

 

It is hard to pinhole their genre as it is so broad. They do take some well-known songs and mess with them as Kate calls it and none have failed to be truly enjoyable.

You will hear songs ranging from Pat Benatar to Nat King Cole and all are done uniquely and perfectly.

 

For those of you who do not know them Kate Morrison is an accomplished vocalist. Craig Bidondo is an amazing pianist who plays in so many different venues around Portland and across the country. Gavin Bondy is an amazing trumpet player who also has played with Pink Martini for the last twenty years.  These three amazing musicians come together and produce a truly unique and wonderful experience for those fortunate enough to hear them play.  I would highly recommend that you get out to see them and if they are playing at Arrivederci you will be in for double the enjoyment.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/arrivederci Sun, 26 Jul 2015 01:27:44 GMT
What is the Best Camera? The One you Have! http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/what-is-the-best-camera-the-one-you-have  

I am often asked what camera is the best? That is a tough question. In the fast changing world of digital cameras if you are a tech geek who always has to have the latest and most advanced equipment you will go crazy or broke, or both.  

 

My answer to the question is usually, the camera you have in your hand is the best one.  If you are a pro and depending on what your main subject is, you will find cameras that do the job you want it to. It will need features  that can do what is required.  A sports photographer will need a different camera than a landscape photographer.

 

If you are looking for a camera that will take nice photos of family, landscapes, or what ever, then your really don't need to go crazy. 

 

I personally like DSLRs, even if I am just shooting for myself. I came up on film cameras and they just feel right. A mirrorless may be what you are looking for.  Many point and shoots are very good now as well. 

 

If you are on a budget and want a good camera, maybe look used.  The top cameras of a few years ago are very inexpensive today, well comparatively. 

 

I have a couple pro cameras. One the Canon 1D MK lV was over seven grand new now you can get it for around three or less. It is a fantastic camera and will do all you could ever need it to. The other a Canon 5Dmk ll  was around twenty five hundred new and now you can get it around eleven hundred. It is still being snapped up by videographers. It was used exclusively to make a number of movies  you may have seen. Still a great camera.

 

Another camera brand I have that I used until I went pro again was Pentax. They make a great camera and if I had not gone pro and needed some of the add on gear that second party manufacturers only seem to make for Canon and Nikon pro equipment, I probably would have stayed with it alone. I had a K100D, a consumer level camera that takes great photos and you can buy now for around a hundred bucks. My son still uses that one. 

 

Also a K20D this is an amazing camera that takes great photographs. Also a K5 both Pentax again.  The K5 and K20D are considered pro-sumer cameras. Personally beyond the ancillary equipment problem, much of which has been remedied in the last few years, they are pro level. I would probably have stuck with the K5 forever. I still use it and love it.

 

So just to give you and idea, the photos below were shot with the K100D, K5, 5D mk ll and the 1D mk lV.   Oh yes and one was shot with an old fujifilm point and shoot. You probably could get that one for around fifty bucks now. I think you can tell that one pretty easily.

 

If you see quality you would like in every day scenic shots then you can find a camera that will do the job. There are many other great cameras out there these are just the ones I have owned.  

 

Don't be fooled by megapixels or what ever just find something you like in a camera.  Just for your information.  Fujifilm 3mp, K100D 6.1mp, K20D 14mp 5D mk 2 20mp and the 1D mk 4 18mp. With 6 megapixels you can make a beautiful 20 x 30 print.

See if you can tell which photo was taken with which camera. If you are interested you can ask me either in a message here or below the link on facebook.

 

So if you are in the market for a camera, first figure out what you are going to shoot primarily and that will help you to decide. Don't waste money on features you will not need. 

 

If you would like feel free to contact me for any help.

 

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Camera Canon Fujifilm Megapixels Pentax landscapes http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/what-is-the-best-camera-the-one-you-have Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:14:56 GMT
Black and White or Color? http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/black-and-white-or-color Some photos can be processed either way and will look good in both. Others will only look good in one or the other. I guess for me it is more of a feel when I see the photo. Some people go out to shoot one or the other and in the film days we had to. Well there was a way to print black and white from a color neg but I never thought it looked all that great. Of course it could have been my darkroom technique as that is something I only did a few times.

The above photography, I think, works equally well in both. It really is a personal choice. I had to do a bit more burning and dodging on the black and white to make it look as I liked it.

The second I saw the above scene as I drove over a hill in Colorado I knew it would be black and white. It just had all the qualities that I like for a black and white image.

The above image actually looked good in both but I chose the black and white to create more of the mood I thought a bare tree in the fog was showing.

I think the old saying is true that you have to do a better job of composition and the technical aspects of photography for black and white because very often a color image can get by on the color alone.

This image above in color just would not make it. Black and white was the way to convey the feeling I was looking for. This was taken a few years ago on the day, okay one of the days the world was supposed to end. I wanted to portray the solitude and loneliness such a prediction can create in someone who had no family or friends to cling to if it truly was the last day. Of course my wife and I were together and went over to Voodoo Donuts just before snapping this maybe a block away. 

Here is one that works equally well in both color and black and white. It is interesting to not the entirely different mood given by each one again showing the power of each medium. 

If you have not tried shooting black and white go out and try it. It is a wonderful medium for expression. Back in the film days black and white is kind of what I was known mostly for. I loved shooting it especially in medium format. The tones were amazing. I love the tones we can get with digital as well. If I were to have to pick only one processing program I would go with Lightroom you can do it all in there. I do personally use Photoshop and I love NIK Software's Silver Effects Pro I think it is the most powerful black and white program out there, well the last time I looked.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/black-and-white-or-color Sun, 12 Jul 2015 22:39:16 GMT
Photographing Fireworks http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/photographing-fireworks I probably ought to have posted this a week ago. It seems that every year when I post a few photos of the fireworks display that my family and I go to watch I get asked how to shoot fireworks. I usually reply personally but thought others might be interested. This will be here for next year so you can look it up if you want.

There are a couple methods. Back in the film days I used to use a set formula, it was set times for certain ASA, on your digital it would be ISO. Here are the ones I used.

ISO 64     1/30th @ f2.8

ISO 125   1/30th @f4

ISO 400   1/60th @ f4.5-5.6

ISO 1000 1/60th @ f8

The various ISO chosen was because of the type of film available it changed a bit over the years as more film speeds became available.

(In the image above I held the shutter open and let the light streak until the little white explosions went off the let it shut. There were 4 bursts in that time. I was lucky that they were all the same color it made a great look.)

 

You could easily meter the scene if it was say a city and get the exposure you like and let the fireworks do what they do and that will look fine as well or even shoot on automatic as long you used the exposure compensation adjustment. I would start with a two stops underexposed and see how that looks. If not remember that meter in the camera will attempt to make the scene 18% gray so you will get a lighter scene that you probably want.

Lately I have been doing it all differently and a lot simpler. With digital we get to see our results so we can experiment a bit more and still get some good shots.

(In this Image I waited for the second burst and got lucky that it happened in the the middle of the first.)

 

I set the camera on Bulb or B. This will set the shutter to stay open as long as the button is pushed.  Of course I use a tripod as this will be long exposures. I also use a release cable well it is not a cable anymore but electronic but the same idea. That way you can hold the shutter open without touching the camera and keep from giggling it.

The photographs I am showing here were shot around 160 ISO and f5.6 I only used 160 ISO because the particular camera I shot these with seems to prefer that ISO. The vertical shot was at 100 ISO and probably the same f stop. It really doesn't matter for the fireworks but lately I have wanted to get a bit of the crowd in the shot as well in keeping with the small town America theme.

(Again waited for the second burst which gave time for the first to trail down.)

 

So here is my complicated technique. When I hear the firework go off I either open the shutter then to get the trail or I wait and guess and just when it will explode after a couple that is quite easy. Then I hold the shutter open until I see what I want in terms of the fire works. I am sitting in a chair and not looking through the view finder as I have already set the camera to where I want it to see.

 

(I opened the shutter just as they were shot and held it open until all three burst.)

 

If I hear or see two launches I may wait until the second explodes and get that shot. If you wait and keep the shutter open too long you will begin getting  jumbled mess. I prefer up to maybe three explosions at the most. There are techniques that you can keep the camera from advancing to the next frame and moving it a bit to fill up the frame with multiple bursts that I did sometimes with film but I find it easier to do that in post now although I don't ever really do that.

Well I hope this helps, sorry it was after the 4th but if you have any questions let me know and I will try and answer them the best I can.

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) 4th July Oregon Photography day fireworks how images independence learning lesson of to http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/photographing-fireworks Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:47:16 GMT
Another July 4th at Mt. Angel. http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/another-july-4th-at-mt-angel

 

Well the fireworks at Mt. Angel didn't disappoint, Darla, Jake and I had a great time. This year Darla made a great pasta salad and strawberry short cake. She made pound cake and whipped the cream herself. Living the life. 

 

One of the cool things was somebody a block a way has a drone that kept flying over us and out by the fireworks, I'll bet they got some cool photos.  I think people spent as much time watching that as they did the fireworks.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) 4th of July Families Fireworks Independence Day Kids Mt. Angel Oregon Sparklers http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/another-july-4th-at-mt-angel Sun, 05 Jul 2015 10:02:34 GMT
Happy 4th of July. Even if it isn't your countries holiday I still wish you a great day. http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/happy-4th-of-july-even-if-it-isnt-your-countries-holiday-i-still-wish-you-a-great-day

 

I captured this image at the Mt. Angel Oregon fireworks display last year. We go every year.  There are certainly larger displays around but this one is special. We all take our chairs, food and drink out to the Mt. Angel High School football field, the marching band plays and it is just a slice of Americana.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/happy-4th-of-july-even-if-it-isnt-your-countries-holiday-i-still-wish-you-a-great-day Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:39:57 GMT
Having Portraits Done? Here are a few tips http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/having-portraits-done-here-are-a-few-tips

Hi all,

So it’s time for a portrait and you want it to be one you will cherish for years. So here are a few tips to help that happen.

There are many kinds of portraits here I will be dealing with the individual or family portrait for family or personal use.

Probably the biggest mistake I ever see in portraits sessions is not being ready. People pay good money for a quality session and they don't put any effort into it. In reality they don't do this every day so most would not think about it at all, just make the appointment and show up.

However if you want a great picture all the elements must be there and these are elements that one feels more than sees unless they are used to looking for them.

In our hurried lives we pass over a lot, we get a perception or a feeling and that is how we make our judgement concerning certain things.

So what are the elements that make up a great portrait? Well certainly it is the skill of the photographer, they must know how to light, and this is whether it is in the studio or outside.  Experience, ability to work with people, a good eye, imagination, and yes decent equipment are all necessary.

However all of these things will not help to create that amazing, emotionally satisfying portrait if the subjects don’t follow a few simple suggestions.

The things below not only will help the photo look better but will let you know you are ready and help you feel your best and more relaxed. This will help the photo greatly.

I always try and make the sessions fun and a fun session is the best way to get a great portrait.

This is what I recommend for what to wear to a portrait session

  • wear solid colored clothing
  • choose muted tones that are a bit subdued
  • choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
  • choose 1-3 colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that color palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.
  • choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
  • choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
  • choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
  • keep jewelry simple and minimalistic
  • do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes (I’ll explain more later)
  • if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session
  • I do advise hiring a makeup artist, I recommend having you hair styled as above, the most problems I have seen is with makeup it really helps having a professional do it.
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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/7/having-portraits-done-here-are-a-few-tips Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:03:45 GMT
My Daily blog http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/6/daily-blog Hi folks, I am trying a daily photo blog here, we will see  how well I do hahaha anyway I will be posting photographs that I have done and maybe a bit of explanation of what went on and how I did them.

I had the honor to be booked to shoot a fabulous concert with Kate and the Crocodiles. I snagged this shot while the band was getting ready. It is taken through the backdrop and the color is from the light shining on the back drop. When I shoot concerts I am pretty much always in manual mode. There are only a few exposures one needs and I memorize them and switch between them as needed. If you learn the reciprocity table you can easily figure out what shutter speed or F stop you need as you move one or the other.  Here and in some of the following photos you will see many different colors and intensities and from that one figures out the exposure needed to get the shot desired.

In this shot I wanted to give the viewer the feel of what I was experiencing at the time. Kate was singing a beautiful emotional song full of love and loss. Gavin was playing softly and his soulful trumpet was wafting trough the theater in an almost ethereal manner. It came to us like something not fully in the consciousness working its way in and adding depth to the experience.  The blue light was perfect and I exposed for the highlights on Kate which let Gavin fade into the back ground but like his music still a part of the reality of the experience. 


When I saw the light striking Gavin I knew I had a good shot. I was temped to move because the lid of the Steinway was between us. I decided to use it to get the black at the bottom of the photograph and run the lights across the frame.  Again in a shot like this I exposed for the highlights. This does a couple things. First it gets the look that I wanted with the highlights exposed correctly and the rest going black.

In the film days one had to know their exposures better because beyond a Polaroid you had to make the judgement on the exposure then trust it for the outcome. When I shot medium format I had a Polaroid back but that would not have worked here. 

Now with digital you can chimp (look at the screen) to see what you are getting but it is still important to know your exposures and what they do as when an image like this pops up you have to get it quick and don't have time to mess around.

The second thing you get out of this is that you can lower your ISO a bit. I shot this at 5000 ISO and 1/250 @ f2.8. What I was after here was getting a sharp image. I shot this with a 70-200 zoom When using longer lenses you want to shoot a bit faster because it amplifies the shake. The rule of thumb is match your shutter speed with your focal length. If you shoot at 200 then be at least at 1/200 of a second. It is just a guideline and like all guidelines can be broken but it is a great way to remember and get in the ball park.

I do think the easiest part of photography is the mechanics. They really are not that hard to learn. The toughest if training the eye. That takes a life time unless you are one of those wonderfully gifted persons who just naturally see artistically.

 

This photo was a bit harder than it looks. It is Havasu creek just at the confluence with the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.  

The problem here is that it was a very bright day and part of the photo was shot in the shade of the overhanging rock but the sun is hitting the other side and of course it is hitting directly on the water.

Part of the interest of this place is the water, that creamy light blue. I wanted to show everything but not let the river blow out the highlights.

I had to overexpose just a bit probably 3/4 of a stop to get detail in the dark and yet leave enough to get detail in the river.

This would have been very hard with film but a secret for digital is shooting in RAW this gives you much more latitude to draw information and detail out of the dark and light. In a good digital camera you have maybe eight stops of Dynamic Range where with film it was about three. The human eye sees around 11 stops I believe and some cameras are just now getting there.

This camera was an entry level Pentax K100D. A great camera for the money. The big thing here is not the shutter speed or F stop but the relationship with the dark and light, shooting RAW and the Pentax helped me achieve this photo and still let the viewer see the water just like it looks with that beautiful creamy light blue.

In this photo the story is told less by the mechanics that the composition. This place had a magical feel to it and I wanted to show that. It was about the rafting trip not just a scenery shot so the rafts are in a dominant position. The rope in the foreground is to let the viewer know that we were tied up there and to at a bit of interest to the image.

The use of the leading lines created by the rocks and water draw the views attention into the photograph.  If you look the area where the water disappears into the rock is a bit lighter than the foreground this also helps draw on into the photo as the eye will naturally gravitate toward the lightest portion of the photograph. This is something to remember especially when shooting portraits.

 

A number of things came together to make this shot. As most of the time my camera was set on AV. That lets me control the f-stop to get the depth of field I desire. This one was probably around f8 and I think the shutter speed came in around 1/160th of a second. The lens is a 24-70. I like shooting AV as it is quick and easy. Keep the ISO up enough so you can used a fast enough shutter speed to keep from blurring.  Another trick that I learned from slide film works much of the time digital as well is to underexpose between a half and 2/3 of a stop and the colors get richer. The deep blues come from the early morning light which has a lot of blue in it. The light reflecting off the water especially in the small streams here contrast with the dark sand that I let go black to get the effect I wanted. I liked the strong graphic design of the scene.

This image was shot just a few minutes earlier than the previous one. Everything was done pretty much the same but the fist light striking the waves make for a cool effect. As the sun began to peak over the hills to the right rear of the scent the first light only lit the white of the waves.

The image below actually was the first photo I took that morning. The light had of course lit the sky some but no direct light on the scene itself. I bit higher ISO and longer exposure allowed me to capture what light there was and the rest I brought out in processing. Remember shooting in RAW give you far more dynamic range to work with. Most people don't think about sunrises on the left coast but they do create some cool images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Bondy Concert Crocodiles Gavin Jazz Kate Morrison Music Powerhouse Theater Walla Washington and the http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/6/daily-blog Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:11:44 GMT
5 Minute Photos (and stuff) Silverton http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/2/silverton-profiles-and-assorted-stuff  

 

Mark Heinman. What Mark has to say about himself, "Smiles a lot. We have two ears and only one mouth - for good reason. Pay it forward.  

 

While Mark lives in the country outside of Silverton he comes into town to bring his dog Akira to Veterinarian  Lauren Acton at Abiqua Animal Clinic in Silverton, whom he speaks very highly of.

 

Mark is among other things an amazing potter and creates highly unique pottery. He is also an EMT, yes you can see a trend of helping and creating things for people's health and pleasure here.

 

You can view and even purchase Mark's creations at   http://www.lostmountainclayworks.com/ Check it out, you will be glad you did.

 

Donovan and Tristan Mattole.

Donovan grew up on the Lost Coast of Northern California where his parents decided to move from New York City and live off the land. Donovan did not have electricity or running water until he went to college and he loved it.

After graduating from Wheaton college in Chicago he attended school in Jerusalem and then moved to Portland Oregon with his wife and new baby. He got a job with Borders Books and Music where he worked for the next ten years, first running three stores and then moving into Human Resources.

After being given the Salem store to run he moved to Silverton and lived here for the next eight years before career opportunities moved him on.

Donovan still returns to Silverton often. He owns the Julius Alm building on Water Street which houses the Lunaria Gallery and the Chocolate Box.

He is currently the Head of People for Mars Global Retail which includes the M&Ms World Stores around the world and My M&Ms business.

Donovan's life partner is Emily and his passion is kids, Heather, Tristan and Maddox.

I do happen to know that he kind of likes rafting as well as he and family and some work colleagues have rafted with me in past.

 

Gary McGuire: Artist

 

We met Gary and his wife Merial at the Lunaria art gallery where Gary is showing several pieces of lovely wood art.

 

When Gary was asked to tell us something about himself, the first thing that came to Gary's mind was, "I am happily married."

 

Darla asked Gary, "How long have you been married?" "Not long enough." was his immediate answer.

 

Gary has Osteoarthritis, but he hasn't let that stop him!  He retired early, at age sixty, soon after he decided to take his love of woodworking to another level.  His heirloom quality wood art shows in intimate knowledge of wood. Each piece draws you in, invites you to touch the smooth surfaces and follow the intricate patterns of tree ring growth.

 

But Gary doesn't create his art by himself. Merial handles the oiling process as well as classifying each piece. "She's my organizer." Gary said.

 

Gary and Merial have five children and ten grandchildren and are very happy.

 

To see Gary's work go to.    http://www.turn-a-round.com/

 

 

 

 

 
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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) America Americana Art Energy Interesting Life Love Oregon People Photographs Photography Silverton Small Town happiness images photography http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2015/2/silverton-profiles-and-assorted-stuff Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:18:29 GMT
Faith in America http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/10/faith-in-america

Faith in America is going to be an ongoing blog and hopefully a book.  What I have decided to do here is spotlight some of the ways the Christian faith is good for America.  It has become pretty popular to bash religion lately and not without some good reason yet there is still an incredible amount of good being done every day by people of faith.

It is that good that makes this world a better place and it is that good that would cease to exist without people of faith exercising that faith in outward, tangible and helpful ways.  It is to that end that I have started this project hopefully to remind people that the majority of Christian people are decent people just doing their best to get through this thing called life and trying to make a positive difference along the way.

I am certainly not saying that Christians are the only ones nor even doing the most I just want to point out that this country and the world is truly better off because they are here. As this progresses I would like to expand it to other religions as well. Religion, like people, has both its good and bad and here we are looking at the good.

I have decided to start with a couple of people that I know personally and have watched over the years, who I can personally vouch for their character and also have personally seen the good that they do and the people that they have helped in the name of their faith.  It is my hope that each story will somehow lead to another but I am not opposed to suggestions either.  So if you the readers know of people, who are helping others and are doing in part because of their faith, please feel free to suggest them to me and I will look into it.

 

 

 

Terry Motte (Pastor, Hospice Grief Councilor)

 

I met Terry a number of years ago when I decided to go back to college and earn a degree in Psychology.  I could tell Terry was not your typical pastor and as I listened to him during the classes his insights into the human condition and the loving way he approached his Christianity prompted me to get to know him better and now I am proud to call him a friend.

Terry does things right, well at least in my opinion.  In a world where some pastors have become their cultures rock stars, making million dollar book deals and getting rich off of their television shows Terry might be seen as somewhat of a throw back.  He doesn't make much money and he is perfectly happy trusting God for his welfare.

 

Terry pastors a small Free Will Baptist Church in Salem Oregon and he works as a bereavement coordinator with a local hospice to fulfill his vocation and pay his bills.  With Terry it is about the work and his work helps a great many people.

Terry and is wife Debbie live in a small parsonage provided by the church and his kids are now grown and out on their own.

Terry has found a small niche that he can fill with his particular talents and personality providing council and comfort to those seeking to find their way through the loss of a loved one or are trying to take the next step on their spiritual journey.

When asked how Terry’s work serves the community he answers:

Loss is part of the human condition and so is the grief that follows significant loss.  My work as a hospice grief counselor cuts across all strata of humanity.  Communities have cultural and ethnic differences to negotiate as we handle loss along with the rituals and ceremonies we use to give recognition to those losses.  Each must be honored while addressing the real psychosocial needs of each family and individual.  Facilitating grief support groups, taking referrals from hospitals and doctor offices, getting a phone call from the friend of a friend, or speaking at a community memorial service is all part of how I serve my community.  In addition, I provide comfort and counsel to local nursing homes, adult foster homes, or assisted living facilities—both staff and residents.  I recently spoke to the residents and staff of a nursing home where a staff nurse had taken her own life, helping them to “make sense” of something that seems so senseless.  Educational in-services to these facilities are part of my work.  I may speak to a group of 30 CNA’s on how to avoid burnout and/or compassion fatigue.  There was the time when an administrator called saying a resident had died and her aide is not doing well, can you come?  There is also the face-to-face counseling done in my office as a string of bereaved are scheduled each week seeking to be consoled who just lost a loved one on hospice.

At least in my humble opinion Terry is a man who lives what he believes. He does what he says he will do and a love of people and God is at the core of everything he does. To me that is what it is all about.

 

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Acceptance America Charity Counseling Death Faith Giving Good Help Love Loving Sharing. States United Work http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/10/faith-in-america Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:49:20 GMT
WellKrafted http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/8/wellkrafted

For the last few weeks I have been having a blast photographing artisans for Maggie Jones WellKrafted website

 http://www.wellkrafted.com/ .

Beyond the obvious reason that I just love photography and working to create pleasing images, I like meeting new and interesting people.

This is one of the coolest thing about WellKrafted. Maggie had the great idea to create a website that would promote the wares created by artisans who were passionate about their products. In fact I would venture that product isn't an accurate word, it would be more truthful to say work of love, so I am going to replace the word product with work of love for this entire article.  Yes work of love, that seems to be it. Maggie has talked about the wonderful artisans she and John Parenteau have met since they began this work and they all have one thing in common, they love what they do and it shows in the quality of the works of love they create.

 If you are interested in finding about a bit about John check out his page on IMDB and see all the movies and television series he has worked on.  Yep, Maggie has an Emmy winning talent right here working on this wonderful enterprise with her. 

Okay just a tidbit, they were sweet on each other since grade school then finally got together later in life, it is a beautiful story that I will not spoil by attempting to tell. I am sure that they will get around to telling it sometime.  :)

My first assignment for them was to shoot Mt. Hood Coffee Roasters. Rick the owner and guy who does it all is so passionate about what he does it is contagious. Heck I was in love with his coffee before even tasting it and tasting it was far from a let down, he is great at what he does. 

Maggie's pension for finding interesting characters for her site was definitely running full tilt when she found Rick. He has the whole area of Rhododendron interested in what he does even when he is not working on his business.  You see Rick spent many years in Army intelligence and while he insists that Mt. Hood Coffee Roasters is a more than full time business the roomers floating around that small mountain village still create a bit of wonder at Rick's quiet mountain life. 

Rick has created a small alpine retreat with his shop, store, house and cottage. He has created a wonderful life out of his love for coffee and people. Rick truly is an artisan worthy of display on the WellKrafted Website.

It is hard to think of an artisan shoot that would compare to a coffee roaster living on a mountain but Maggie came up with one and I got to shoot a friend and his business as well.

Maggie, John, Darla and yours truly got to spend the day hanging with Jeff Desantis one of the owners of Seven Brides Brewing.  Seven Brides was already a favorite of Darla's and mine we love their beer and the food they serve at the Tap Room.

Jeff's love of brewing becomes instantly apparent as he begins to talk about the whole process from brewing beer in his garage with the other owners to having a very well received work of love that is gaining fame across the country.

Earlier that morning Jake and I got to shoot the brewing of their latest batch of beer and I found that fascinating. 

In the evening we began the work of love shooting in earnest. We shot the three varieties of beer that will be sold on the Well Crafted Website and a couple glamour shots for the Tap Room and of course Jeff himself.

You can always find Jeff hanging with the customers and talking beer and food when he is not off on a customer service trip across the country. He loves what he does.

The very cool thing for all of you out there in the world is that you can now get Seven Bride's world class beer sent right to your home and at the same great price that you would pay for it a the Brewery.

That is the genius of Maggie's idea, to work with artisans, just the ones she has personally tried their works of love and found them to be superior, and then sell them without a markup of their original prices and then ship them right to your door.  Yep pure genius.

Oh and yes they are selling some of my framed prints on their site as well.

So far this has been just a wonderful experience meeting and working with creative people from various walks of life and for me personally it just fits into what I like doing most, well right up there with rafting and hanging with my family not necessarily in that order hahah.

Please check out the WellKrafted website and if you see something you like give it a try.  Their Website and Facebook page links below.

https://www.facebook.com/WellKrafted   http://www.wellkrafted.com/

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/8/wellkrafted Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:57:45 GMT
A Few Good Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/why-do-professional-photographers-cost-so-much

 

I have been perusing some wedding pages lately.  As I photograph weddings it is a good thing to do for ideas and to keep up on what is going on in the industry.  One thing I have noticed that really has blossomed since the advent of the digital age is the "guy/girl with a camera" offering to shoot weddings for a lot less than the pros are charging.

At first glance this may seem like a great idea, things are definitely easier now, the professional's "secrets" are a thing of the past and heck this guy or girl can shoot a couple thousand photos so some are bound to come out. Well that is the thinking anyway.  Heck they might have a good eye and you could get lucky and get some good photos.

I am happy that photography has in some respects gotten easier since digital has taken over and I am happy to see so many people getting into photography it is a very rewarding pursuit but there are some things one ought to consider before hiring that guy/girl with a camera. 

 I was reading about a woman in Salem who was shooting weddings and then she would not give the photos to the couples. There are multiple complaints with the attorney general about her. I cannot think of any reason to shoot the weddings and then not give the photos to the client other than she messed them up so bad and had nothing to give or was embarrassed about the images she had taken. So here are a few things that can go wrong in the digital era.

Camera Failure  The guy/girl with a camera has just that a camera.  Cameras fail and if they have only one camera and it fails, the wedding is lost. Just to give you an idea I personally bring a minimum of three professional grade cameras to a wedding and my daughter brings another.  A while back I brought a brand new camera to a wedding. I had it for a couple weeks, enough time to get to know it. Yep you guessed it, half way through the wedding it failed.  I was very glad that I had two back up cameras to finish the wedding with.

SD or Compact Flash Card Failure  Like it or not the cards that the camera records the photos on fail from time to time. I always buy new cards for a wedding and check them before I show up. This too adds cost to shooting a wedding, sure I get to keep the cards but I still have to purchase something that I normally would not need. This also brings us back to Professional level equipment. My cameras have dual card slots where I can record a second copy of all the photos as I shoot them so in the event that the new card fails (and it has happened) there is a back up.  Speaking of back up I also will always create a back up file for all the photographs on an external hard drive.  That way I will have my main file that I am using for processing, a back up and two dual camera cards as well so I will have a main file and three back ups. I don't delete the photos on the cards until I have processed and delivered the photos to the client.  You cannot reshoot a wedding.

Equipment is one reason we pros have to charge what we do, and yes we have to support our families as well. When I show up to a wedding I am carrying three camera bodies worth in excess of $11,000 and lenses $12000, this is not unusual among professional photographers.  This gives me excellent glass and the ability to capture a wide variety of situations something the guy/girl with a consumer grade camera with a couple kit lenses will not be able to do.  On top of this I bring flashes, strobes, radio triggers and other equipment that runs into the thousands as well. I, as other pros, had to pay for this and pay for its upkeep. A pro camera also has a larger buffer. A cheaper camera may let you shoot continuously but the processor is slower so after a few shots the buffer will be full and you have to wait for the processor to catch up before you can shoot again.  This can very easily cause a photographer to miss those wonderful moments that happen so sporadically.  For example the camera I use has a huge buffer and it also has multiple processors that are so fast I have yet to see the camera stall even when shooting sports. Sure this is a technicality and sounds like camera nerd talk but it does make a difference. The point is that the pro will choose equipment that can do things that the consumer grade camera cannot do, things you should never have to think about.

Equipment Upkeep  As a pro and having purchased professional equipment I am eligible to belong to the Canon Professional Services Program which helps pros keep their cameras working perfectly. I know that Nikon has a similar program as do most makers of high end equipment. Owners of consumer grade cameras cannot join this professional service and being being a member is very helpful and allows us to get cameras repaired and returned with in a couple days not to mention many other professional services.  I have known friends to wait months for consumer program repair to return their equipment and if they were shooting a wedding they would have to rent then show up with a camera that they are not familiar with.

Professional Organizations Along with many other professional photographers I belong to the Wedding Photojournalist Association or the WPJA. Here in the words of the WPJA, is why this makes a difference to the client.  Since 2002 the WPJA has been the number one trusted source for the best wedding photojournalists in the world. Recognized for excellence by leading wedding publications including BRIDES magazine, the WPJA is an international network of vigorously vetted professional photographers whose work is regularly judged by award-winning photojournalists (including many Pulitzer Prize-winners) and news photo editors.  With ongoing curatorial vision the association identifies emerging talent, keeping our talent pool fresh and cutting edge. The WPJA is dedicated to upholding the highest standards in creative wedding photojournalism while promoting best business practices. There are a number of professional organizations that aid the photographer.  The provide information, training, seminars and a host of other activities that help the professional photographer grow at his or her craft.

To become a member of the WPJA is not easy and membership tells the Bride and Groom that the photographer has met the creative, technical and professional requirements to get in. 

The Ability to Perform Under Pressure  Like it or not a wedding is a high pressure event. A great deal of work has gone into it and the event is filled with great expectations.  This can be a daunting challenge for someone who has not worked under that kind of pressure. There are a great many challenges that can come the way of a photographer from equipment challenges to location problems.  The light is hardly ever perfect and the photographer has to be able to adjust to each and every situation seamlessly.  This is usually beyond the abilities of the guy/girl with a camera. The seasoned pro can enter the toughest situations and come away with the best images possible.

Assistants and Second Shooters  Most pros have assistants and they too need to be paid.  I always have at least one assistant and usually a second shooter.  As a male I prefer to have a female photographer as second shooter. This helps in a number of ways.

Professionalism  Professionalism includes all of the above and more.  First I have a wedding agreement where both parties agree on what is expected of my company.  I take very seriously the reverence of the occasion and the understanding that as a photographer I have one chance to get it right.  A professional photographer also knows that he or she must be able to work well with the other vendors at the wedding. We understand that the wedding is about the Bride and Groom not us and we need to work with not against those others who are all working to create that special once in a lifetime event.  The last thing needed is squabbling vendors.  All venues have their special rules. Many do not allow flash photography during the ceremony and the photographer must be competent enough and have equipment capable of shooting in ultra low light and still get wonderful images also having professional equipment helps in this instance as well.

Experience  No one is great the first time out. Becoming good at shooting weddings takes time and experience. While shooting a wedding may seem easy it most assuredly is not. I have personal experience that reminds me of this lesson. When my wife and I were married we had a friend shoot the wedding. He was a very talented commercial photographer. He did a great job of exposing the photos, all were technically perfect but he missed the emotion of the day. I was in graduate school and I had friends attend who were from many different Asian and African countries they all wore wonderful traditional dress from their respective countries. This would be a wedding photographers dream yet we have not one photo of these people most of whom we will never see again. An experienced wedding photographer would know to get those shots. While I am still very grateful for the work this fine photographer did for us an experienced photographer would have not let so many once in a lifetime images get away.

Time I had a friend once say to me, wow I wish I could work one day a week.  I found that extremely funny as I put in way more time now than when I worked a normal weekday job. There are many hours that do not relate directly to the client. Things such as marketing, dealing with keeping your equipment clean and in good working order. Trade shows, seminars and other learning events take up lots of time. Hours of looking at what is going on in the industry and much more. Here are some things that do directly apply to the client.  Time for correspondence, meeting and working with client to get a good understanding of what is wanted. Engagement photos, I include this with some packages.  The day of shooting, usually that is a ten to twelve hour day depending on the wedding.  Then the processing and color correction. I will shoot over a thousand photos at a wedding and will have to go through each one. Yes I discard some if they are the same as the next one or I may shoot rapidly to catch just the right emotion and the photos on either side of the choice may be discarded.  However I still have to put eyes on each and every photograph. If I give the client lets say eight hundred photos each will be processed and color corrected and this takes time. It is not unusual for me to put in well over one hundred hours working on a single wedding's photos. Then there is retouching which I will do for the photos of the bride and groom. This takes far more time. Sometimes I will put in more than an hour on a single photo depending on what is needed. Multiply this by a hundred or so and you can see how the time adds up quickly.  Also the years I have spent learning my craft, from the actual photography to the processing. Back in the film days I learned darkroom work and spent the hours there now it is Photoshop, Lightroom and other processing programs that took a couple years to get really comfortable with.  I became a professional photographer in 1980 and that is a lot of experience. I shot fashion and advertising for years and didn't start shooting weddings until around 1987 to help pay for graduate school and I fell in love with shooting weddings at that point.  I know photographers who have been doing it longer or even less and are great photographers. The point is that it takes time and the guy/girl with a camera doesn't have the experience needed to put the thinking clients mind at ease.

Its Your Choice   It is your wedding and you will make the choice, you can have wonderful images that you will treasure for the rest of your life or save a bit of money and take a huge chance. I would hate to think of others wishing they had photos of friends they will never see again.  I could go on and on with this little post but I hope I got my message across and my message is simply this. A Professional Photographer is Worth the Money.

 

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Photographer Professional ability experience images knowledge photography photos pressure time http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/why-do-professional-photographers-cost-so-much Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:14:43 GMT
Breaking the Rules http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/breaking-the-rules

Hi again. Sometimes we need to break the rules a bit to get the mood or feeling that we are looking for.  I love a great technical photograph. Where the zone system is correctly applied and each zone is faithfully represented with detail in the image, truly I do but I also love a moody, emotional image as well and sometimes to go for the mood one must throw caution to the wind and go for it.

The image above is of a hallway next to the  concert area in the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. This venue has a long and interesting history of concerts that began with great big name bands even before the place opened. People squatted in the old abandon building and found a way to have concerts there in the sixties and early seventies. It was a great time.

In the shot above I wanted to try and convey a bit of what I felt as I walked down this hallway with my wife Darla and a great Vocalist, Kate Morrison. I am going to refrain from trying to explain that feeling because that would detract from any feeling the viewer might have.  For art really is less about the artist conveying feelings than it is about those feelings the viewer might have that are born out of their life experiences. So from now on I will just talk about the technical or maybe lack of technical aspects of this photograph.

The lights are blown out, too light they are off the zone system scale. Technically they are poorly exposed.  The blacks are the same, no detail in places again poorly done. The rule of thirds is pretty much broken but I did manage to get some leading lines. If however I would have exposed it correctly which would have been hard given the dark room and bright lights I would have had a gray photograph that may have worked but would not have had the impact that is created by the "incorrect" exposure used here.

So what I really am saying is that exposure as long as it gets across what you want really is never incorrect it is taste and feeling that dictates it.  One does however want to know how to do correct exposure and understand the value thereof so when the time comes to ignore it, it can be done intelligently with an end in mind.

So really if you visualize an image and then expose and achieve that image I guess that the exposure would then become correct no matter how many rules it breaks.

Lastly when shooting for yourself, you are the only one that you really need to appreciate the image. 

Happy Shooting.

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) Feelings. Mood Photography System Zone blacks darks exposure images lights whites http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/breaking-the-rules Wed, 04 Jun 2014 05:46:20 GMT
Taking the Mystery out of Exposure 2 http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/taking-the-mystery-out-of-exposure-ll

The other day someone mentioned this photo and said they like to shoot at night as well.  I too love shooting at night and catching the dramatic effects you can come up with if you pay attention.  This photo as well as the whole series however was taken during the day.  What I had in mind was a night shot but Gavin had just returned from a world tour with Pink Martini the band he plays in and he was so gracious to drive all the way from Portland to Salem for the shot on the same that he returned. He was also dead tired and yet was such a great sport I just couldn't ask him to hang around until evening.  To get around this I under exposed the scene by a couple stops to make it look dark like it would at night then lit him with an Elinchrom monoblock strobe (powered by an Inovatronix Mini battery pack) in a beauty dish on a boom placed where a the light on the building over the door was. Of course it had not come on because it was daylight. I adjusted the light around one and a half stops lighter and shot the photo.  There you go, instant night photo.

The second photo was shot primarily in the same fashion. I put the strobe close to where the streetlight (which was not lit) was positioned.

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/6/taking-the-mystery-out-of-exposure-ll Mon, 02 Jun 2014 03:49:09 GMT
Taking the Mystery out of Exposure http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/3/taking-the-mystry-out-of-exposure Hi all, one of the things I get asked about most is exposure and why people's photos do not come out like they saw the scene they photographed.  Probably the most important factor in getting what you see recorded (wow I am still getting used to not saying something like down on film) is to understand what the meter in your camera is trying to do.

Light meters try to get the exposure to come out to a perfect 18% gray. This doesn't mean that it will make photos gray but that it will try to find a neutral tone that corresponds to that tonality one gets with the 18% gray card that we used to use to set our meters and exposures back in the film days. Well many people still use it today many professionals still meter to get that perfect exposure to begin work with.

I guess what I am saying here is lets say you go out and take a photo of a street and night. You see the very dark or black night sky, the bright lights and the way their light plays off the buildings or the street. You like the contrast and find the mood appealing. The shot is taken and it comes out kind of a wishy washy gray tone with no real darks or whites. That is the meter going for the 18% Gray.

To get the photo you saw in your head you are going to have to adjust your exposure.  On a dark scene and as counter intuitive as it may seem you will need to underexpose sometimes a couple of stops.  Many of the modern digital cameras have a meter control that will say plus or minus then a 1,2,3 after it so you can still use auto exposure and set the camera to underexpose up to the limit of the control

If you do not have this option or the degree you may want to alter the exposure is beyond what it will allow you will need to go to manual exposure.  I know many people who dread this but it really is very easy once you get the concept down.  If you set your camera on M you will have complete control of what it does exposure wise.

T

Check the meter in your view finder and when it shows perfect exposure (check your manual to see how it will display this) your exposure is set for 18% gray, then you can under or over expose as needed you will see the markings on the meter in your view finder. Now the good thing about digital is that you can shoot and chimp or look at your screen and see if the exposure is what you are looking for if not adjust it and since you are shooting digital it costs nothing to do. In  the old days many people bracketed the exposure shooting a stop over and under and steps in between to get that perfect exposure that will have information in all the lights and darks of the photo so a nice print can be made. That got expensive but now you can do it and it wont cost a thing but a bit of effort and time. Some people do this instead of meter they just shoot and adjust, it works but metering is better and especially when you begin to want to control all shades in the photo.

One other thing I would add here is that I always shoot in RAW, this will give you a greater latitude in exposure and dynamic range, the range of light to dark that the sensor will capture.  The human eye captures around 11 stops of light. A stop is a measurement for photography and the aperture and shutter speed combination will allow you to adjust that.  Anyway the cameras I use are able to capture 8 stops of dynamic range and most digital cameras are around this maybe a stop or two shallower.  Film captures about 3 stops of dynamic range which is why those of us who shot it for years really had to learn to expose correctly to avoid blown out or black spots in the photo. Sometimes the black looks great but I rarely see a blown out portion that looks good and they do not print well at all.  Nikon has come out with the D800 this camera will grab to 9.5 of dynamic range. It is almost approaching the human eye. I am sure in a few years we will be there and that will be amazing. 

To get the best dynamic range out of your camera shoot RAW if you shoot JPEG the camera processes the photo for you and you loose stops of range. Of course if you are not processing your photos then shoot JPEG and let the camera do the work for you but you loose control.

As far as a processing program I would recommend Lightroom, I use Lightroom 5 and it is amazing. I also use some plug ins for it as well as Photoshop CC and I will get into that later but if I were forced to choose one processing program that is the one I would go with.

Well this is a good start and I will add some tips specific to certain photographs to show how they were metered in my next Post.

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luitenimages@gmail.com (Rick Luiten Photography) http://www.lu-10.com/blog/2014/3/taking-the-mystry-out-of-exposure Tue, 01 Apr 2014 04:36:03 GMT