Diva.

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One more of Kelsie before things start to get really geeky around here … I’ve got some exciting stuff coming in, and that means I finally need to get around to reviewing my new secret weapon first.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 7-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (equivalent of 50mm f/0.8 according to Brett’s calculator)

Roxbury Barn Wedding: Catherine and Jeff

Catherine and Jeff’s wedding at the Roxbury Barn was a fantastic respite from a scorching New York City August. Not that it was precisely cool, but heat is a different beast when covered by lush forest. Catherine is a photographer herself, and used that expertise to plan a gorgeous, intimate wedding. I mean, a giant high five over the idea of giving the array of adorable flower girls hand-made tutus. I asked Catherine, “no one family has this many adorable children so tightly congregated. Admit it: Some of these kids are rentals.”

Apparently not.

Absolutely a gorgeous day, and I was happy to be joined by Hendrick Moy, who did a really fantastic job.

Teaser: Shoot with Sophisticated Weddings, Kleinfeld Bridal, and more

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I had a grand old time shooting a cover and some inside editorial photos for Sophisticated Weddings’ New York Edition yesterday. This is broadway and tv actress Synthia Link sporting a gown from Kleinfeld’s bridal, one of the many fabulous dresses they donated to the shoot (yes, we said “yes” to them.) Thanks also to Maria Perry Atelier, Ariston Flowers, Oasis Day Spa, Lisa Hubbard and Jessica Vargas for their help. This was a blast.

I’m not giving too much away here … I had to shoot under very different constraints for layout of the cover photo. But I had a horizontal in my heart.

More to come.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6

She’s Got Kelsie Fields Eyes…

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Some of you may remember Kelsie from my adventures in Boise. Well, she’s been visiting the city and is off to Italy soon, so I knew we had to shoot even though my schedule is crazy. I’ve been inspired by the Brenizer method contest, so I wanted to get a bit ambitious with it. Thanks to perspective and parallax error (among other things), it isn’t easy to use this technique from close-up. But of course the closer you are, the more dramatic the effect. Here I really wanted to show the sort of depth-of-field effect that you can only get in one shot with a large format camera and some really exotic lenses, all calling attention to those darned eyes.

Kelsie, by the way, is an insanely talented singer. You’ll be hearing more from her. And more photos to come.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 12-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (equivalent of 39mm f/0.56 according to Brett’s calculator)

Trump SoHo wedding: Jody and Simon

Jody and Simon are that special sort of couple that can work together, play together, spend every waking moment together, and still laugh and love every moment. Honestly I can barely stand myself for that long, so it’s amazing to see that sort of bond in a couple. They wanted to put on a grand show to celebrate this union with their loved ones, and what better show than the 46th floor of the Trump SoHo, the best seat in the house for New York’s July 4th fireworks show?

I knew that Jody and Simon had a wicked sense of humor, but I hadn’t known how much it carried through to their families, with Simon’s daughters in particular keeping assistant Jake Whyman and I laughing throughout the day.

It was a beautiful, perfect day to spend with Jody and Simon, their friends and family, and 5.5 million home viewers.

Brenizer Method Contest Results: THE WINNERS!

Drum roll please…

(Honorable mentions are here and here)

It’s been a long road putting together the first contest on this blog. First, securing the generous support of B&H Photo and Video, and then putting together a team of judges and procedures that would make the contest as fair as possible and the final set as artistically excellent as possible. I put together two judges — myself and Sam Hurd — who were very experienced in creating Brenizer method photos, and paired us with two judging teams — Nordica Photography and Feather and Stone photography — who do not regularly do these, but create fantastic portraiture and documentary work in their own genres. With very different styles and aesthetic circles, it made for a lot of healthy debate in the judging process. Interestingly, not one photo of the hundreds received an initial “YES” vote from all four judges … well, sort of.

You see, as a publisher I know that it is important not just to avoid impropriety, but also the appearance of impropriety. Since the only major place this contest was announced was on this blog and associated pages, it’s no surprise that I knew a large percentage of the people who entered, either from attending my workshops, commenting on my blog, or other work connections. To avoid bias, I fed all the e-mails into a program that scraped the photos without associating them to the sender, and have only connected them as I prepared these blog posts. But still, there were some where I felt too closely connected to the photos, and where I knew who had taken them anyway, and I recused myself from the voting. This actually penalized the photos, since the first round of judging was based only on how many judges had voted for them.

Why am I saying all this? Because two of these photos were so fantastic they won anyway. It was a weird situation where I felt I had to argue against photos I loved and the other judges said “Are you crazy? These are the winners.” And so here they are…

Third place

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By: Adam Baruh
Info: 62 images with a Nikon D3s and 85mm f/1.4

Comments: Since the Brenizer method is technically challenging to pull off, we got a lot of photos with great depth-of-field but bad poses. The poses and expressions are great here, and the framing is perfect. It is not easy at all to create an interesting compositional framing when you have to completely pre-visualize the photo, and the use of the foreground plants is just perfect. Great job Adam.

Second place

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By: Nessa K
Info: 17 photos with a Canon 5D Mark III and 85mm f/1.2

Comments: This both shows off the depth-of-field power of the method but maintains a sense of subtlety. The colors, processing, depth-of-field transitions, and sense of mystery are just perfect. This would have been a unanimous YES if I had allowed myself to vote on it. Worse still for the ego, this was Nessa’s first attempt.

First place

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By: Sara K Byrne
Info: 29-image pano with a Canon 5D Mark III and 85mm f/1.2

Comments: In the end, what I wanted from this contest — why I chose two judges who barely had ever tried the Brenizer method — is that in the end it’s not about depth-of-field, but doing whatever it takes to make great photos. All I’m saying is “here’s a way to have a 35mm f/0.4 lens, now what will you do with it?” And Sara has done great work here. Masculine, feminine, soft and hard. The depth-of-field contributes one part of a great photo. Also, on the technical side, long thin trees are difficult to shoot without stitching errors, and this looks great.

Congratulations again to everyone who entered! I hope this gives all my readers new ideas and inspiration about how to use the method in your own work — I know it’s inspired me.

Brenizer Method Contest Results: Honorable Mentions, Part 2

Here we go! Part 2 (of 2) of the Brenizer method contest honorable mentions — drum roll for the winners tomorrow! (Part 1 here)

Thank you so much to the entrants! There were a number here where I didn’t see a Web site link in the e-mail; please drop me a note so I can add them!

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Photo by: Kelcey Olson
Info: 56-image pano with a Canon 5D and 50mm/1.4

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Photo by: Dennis Baburov
Info: 19-image pano with a Canon 5DII and 50mm/1.4

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Photo by: Owen Cherry
Info: 38-image pano with a Nikon D3s and 85mm f/1.4D

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Photo by: Annie Hall
Info: Nine-image pano with a Nikon D700 and 50mm f/1.4G

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By: Joshua Ayres
Info: 69-image pano with a Canon 5DII and a 70-200 f/2.8L

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Photo by: Ahmed Behiry
Info: 29-image pano with a Nikon D7000 and 85mm f/1.4

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Photo by: Andrew Ramsey
Info: 9-image pano with a Canon 40D and 50mm/1.4

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Photo by: Borys Las-Opolski
Info: 36-image pano with a Canon 5DII and Sigma 85 f/1.4“>Sigma 85mm f/1.4

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Photo by: Sara K Byrne
Info: 44-image pano with a Canon 5D Mark III and 85mm f/1.2

120622 161831Photo by: Andrew Ramsey
Info: 35-image pano with a Canon 7D and 70-200

120702 174936Photo by: Urška Majer
Info: 20-image pano with an Olympus E-3 and Samyang 85mm f/1.4

Brenizer Method Contest Results: Honorable Mentions, Part 1

Whew! After several rounds of judging between myself, Nordica Photography, Feather and Stone Photography, and Sam Hurd*, we have winners chosen for the contest!

First, I want to show you some of the honorable mentions. The impetus for this contest was to show that, once you get the mechanics of the Brenizer method down (instructional video here), the important thing is to go out and take some good pictures that show your unique vision. It’s not easy, but it’s been great to see what others have done with it, so I wanted to highlight that work here.

So, before we announce our winners, we’ve come up with 20 Honorable Mentions, great photos showing off different approaches, that I hope will give you some ideas about how to apply this to your own work. Here are the first 10, with more to come. Thank you so much to everyone who entered — this will not be the last contest!

Most of all, thanks again to B&H for sponsoring.

*Sam was nice enough to help judge instead of enter even though, let’s face it, a Brenizer Method portrait of George Clooney is sort of a ringer.

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By: Kacy Jahanbini
Shot info: Six-image pano shot on a Nikon D300 with a Sigma 85 f/1.4

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By: Alex Bee
Shot Info: Nine-image pano, shot on a Canon 5DII with 135mm f/2L

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By: David Childers
Shot info: 16-image pano, shot with a 50mm f/1.8 on a Canon 5D

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By: Crowley Photography
Shot info: 55-image pano, shot with a 50mm f/1.4 (at f/1.8) on a Canon 5D

Orry brit2 brenizer submission

By: Michael Jurick
Shot info: 74-image pano, shot with a 85mm f/1.8 on a Canon 5D Mark III

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By: Ryan Kwong
Shot info: 28 images, shot with a 85mm f/1.8G on a Nikon D7000

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By: The Markows
Shot info: 24 images, shot with a 135mm f/2 on a Canon 5D Mark II

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By: Ryan Kim
Shot info: 20 shots with an 85mm f/1.2 on a Canon 5D Mark II

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By: Ryan Kim
Shot info: 36 shots with a 70-200 2.8L IS II on a Canon 5D Mark II

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By: Kacy Jahanbini
Shot info: 13-image pano shot on a Nikon D300 with Sigma 85 f/1.4

Princeton University Wedding: Heather and AJ

Raised first like Huckleberry Finn in the middle of nowhere, and then in tiny upstate hamlets, I fell in love with New York City as soon as I could get there, and have never felt even a twinge of regret about my NYC alma maters of Fordham and Columbia … except sometimes when I stroll the more audaciously beautiful parts of Princeton’s campus. Heather and I geekily bonded from the start, when she mentioned she was a classics major and I started reciting the opening of the Iliad from memory. (It gets geekier — I may have let out an audible sigh of jealousy when her bridesmaids started talking about bonding during classes taught by Elaine Pagels).

If two people can have a laugh over jokes that use Agamemnon as a punchline, it’s no surprise that John and I had a fantastic time at this wedding. Their ceremony was in the opulent Princeton Chapel with an intimate reception at the Prospect House, with a jazzy band and and endless stream of great food. Like every other wedding you’ll see here for the next few weeks, it was blisteringly hot, but it didn’t slow them down — she even took all of the bridesmaids out for crack of dawn yoga that morning.

I was happy to have John Edgar along as a second-shooter again — it’s always easier to get a laugh out of a couple when you can poke fun at the Canadian. Also thanks to Rafael Javier for a great job assisting and running the photo booth, including an epic amount of driving.