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Category Archives: Oooh, purty!


I have no idea what to say about this photo. I’m riding the biggest wave of photo-awesomeness I’ve ever felt, and it’s all right here. To think, I actually said, “I think we’ve got enough for tonight,” moments before she turned her head just so and I nearly bruised my face raising the camera to my eye.


One of the interesting challenges of this whole photography wheeze is showing off your best work. I have dozens of photos I would consider showcase worthy, and really, the hardest part is locating them. Although my photos are well organized, they were never organized with “showcase” in mind.

Still, it’s very interesting to go through the history of what I’ve shot, and to discover just how many awesome photos I have. Finding one will spark a memory of another, and it’s another hunt through the directories to find the appropriate file. It’s definitely a hunt, though: I’ve rolled the shot counter on my 7D at least three times, putting me at somewhere north of 30,000 images just from that camera. Other cameras probably combine for another 10,000 shots, or so.

So, I will say that I’ve started the process of gathering showcase photos. There are certainly more to come. I’ve also only just begun discovering the best way to display them. For the moment, it’s just the gallery linked above. My galleries are certainly functional, but they’re really not up to the standard I want to hold for Dangerpants Photography, so I’m also hunting for a more graceful method of showing off my work.


It’s long been a preferred method of mine to use available light when possible. At first, this was because I was cheap — available light is already there, and you don’t have to buy any expensive flashes or lighting gear to use it. You just take pictures.

Most cameras include a flash built in. The problem with that flash is that it produces a very flat, uniform, familiar lighting pattern; on top of being ubiquitous, it’s really boring looking. It’s better than having a too-dark picture in many cases, but the appearance of it screams snapshot. You can’t see any shadows, so everything looks like it’s 2D.

The trick to using available lighting (at least indoors) is having camera gear that can actually work without a flash. You need a fast lens, or a relatively noise-free sensor (or, in the film era, fast film), and a steady hand. Outdoor shots with available light just make sense, and don’t require anything more than “a camera,” since there’s usually an abundance of light to work with. It’s those indoor shots that are tricky.

A picture like the one above, however, uses a trick that bridges between indoor and outdoor light, and takes advantage of both. I simply asked the woman to stand by the window. It was daytime, and overcast (because Seattle!), making for the world’s biggest softbox. If you look at the full size image, and look carefully at her right eye, you can actually see a reflection of the window frame.

It’s fun to use tricks like this to reduce the load (available light now means no heavy lighting gear to cart around), and you can also get some really good photos out of it.

I have been amazingly well-blessed in the photographic opportunities department, and the Team of Heroes is no small contributor.


I’ve been working with the Team of Heroes shows since they started, about four years ago. I’ve done a variety of things for the shows, including building special effects, preparing graphics, and other general Technical Director duties. But the thing that keeps coming back to me is the photography. For this third and final show, Team of Heroes: No More Heroes, I talked to the director about possibly using my Shadow Series aesthetic for the marketing photos. She thought it over, and decided she liked it, so we ran with it.

I took a couple dozen photos of each actor, ending up with a good selection of various poses. Some of those were chosen for postcards, or the poster, or SLOG ads, all of which were designed by other people. I was given the task of building the “cover photo” image for Facebook. Whether I like it or not, Facebook is now a primary marketing medium, and having an easily shared and compelling cover photo is important.

This is actually the first time I’ve done this particular type of “movie style” compositing. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. It looks blatantly false, but in a way that we’ve come to expect. I’ve received lots of good feedback from actors, and then from other people who saw it, once it was released on the 15th.

One of the things I love about doing theater photography is that I frequently get opportunities I never would have sought out. In fact, I can directly credit the 14/48 festival as being the event which inspired me to start shooting the Shadow Series (about which more later). Working with Annex has allowed me to take pictures of gun-toting nuns, duck-billed belles, and glistening, rippling superheroes. The opportunities are almost always interesting, and often go in directions I never would have anticipated.

One such opportunity occurred in January last year, when I was invited to shoot at 14/48 for the first time. 14/48 is a theater festival in which a group of participants is gathered together on a Thursday night, introduced to each other, and told what the theme is. Given the theme, the writers go home to write a 10 minute play for an assigned number of actors, which will be delivered by 8 am the next day. That Friday morning, the directors and designers gather, and directors pick a script from an array of unmarked envelopes. Designers have, by this point, already been poring over their copies of the scripts, quietly discussing what needs to be built, borrowed or bodged together for the shows. At 10 am, actors show up, and directors pick names out of a hat to cast their shows. They go off and start rehearsing, with a performance that night at 8 pm and again 10:30 pm. It is honestly a completely ridiculous, yet completely compelling process. Some of the performances are flat or silly or flops, but some are hilarious or sublime or move you to tears.

Over the course of photographing 14/48 (which I’ve done twice now, and hope to do many more times), I have occasionally come up with some very good shots. For today, here’s one of them.


I had a few minutes this afternoon to play with a new lens before I had to go back to work.  I found a used Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 full-manual lens on KEH, and couldn’t resist. They’re cheap lenses anyway, but at just over $200, that was too good to pass up. I don’t often have need of a fisheye, but they’re a good lens to have around. Most of the “real” fisheye lenses run over $600, which is too much to spend on an infrequently-used piece of kit.

The most interesting image I got out of my 3 minute shoot was this picture of daffodils in front of my house.