Photos

For a few years, I shot white seamless portraits at Ann Arbor’s Pirate Swing. I dragged a bunch of white reflective boards to the Saturday night venue, laid them all out on the floor, set up a white background and three studio strobes, and invited the costumed dancers to cheese it up for me in front of the camera. This is one of my favorite images, if nothing more for the sheer contrast. Photo shot with a Nikon D700 and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, with Pocket Wizards triggering three Alien Bees B800 strobes.

I shot this picture back when Detroit Region SCCA still ran autocross events at the Pontiac Silverdome. I went around the grid and tried my hand at taking people portraits. This was one of my favorites: two young novices getting ready to make a run. Smiles were captured using my favorite technique — aim the camera, start firing away, move my head away from the camera while still firing the shutter, and giving the subjects a glare or an evil grin, thereby usually getting rid of the deer-in-the-headlights stare and getting a laugh, which then becomes the photograph I keep. Photo shot with a Nikon D700 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

I’m… not quite sure what is going on here. This was the band for Pirate Swing, the members whom decided that they wanted a white seamless portrait of themselves. I’m sure there’s some sort of meaning here that is too deep for me to understand, so don’t ask me why one person is holding a roll of gaffer tape and another is hoisting a jar of spaghetti sauce in the air like it’s the Stanley Cup. Photo shot with a Nikon D700 and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

Some dance photographers are passive observers. Then you have photographers like me, who… aren’t. It’s no secret that I get up close to the dancers I photograph, and occasionally encourage/goad/cheer on fellow dancers. This is one my favorite dance photos. Notice that everyone else is standing around. Why? Because the song ended 10 seconds ago. I spotted this dip, trained my camera on the pair, and simply kept shooting and shooting. Without moving the camera, I moved my head away from the viewfinder and gave the lead an evil grin as he struggled to keep the dip going, eventually nearly dropping his follow on the floor. The laughs I got from the lead and the follow are what make this image for me. Photo shot on a Nikon D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

I had heard that there were going to be swing dancers dancing to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival, but upon arrival, I could only find a single friend sitting in the stands. After listening to a song or two, I decided that sitting around and listening to this awesome music wasn’t enough, dragging said friend down to the space directly in front of the front seats and before the stage and dancing some ballroomin’ blues in front of a crowd of a few hundred people. At the end of our dance, not only had we drawn out the swing dancers that had been dancing in a hidden, secluded spot of the auditorium, but we also inspired many others in the crowd to come on down and join us for the dance party. Here we have two attendees really getting in the swing of things. I think the picture was shot with my Nikon F100 and a 24mm f/1.4 on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

I had heard that there were going to be swing dancers dancing to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival, but upon arrival, I could only find a single friend sitting in the stands. After listening to a song or two, I decided that sitting around and listening to this awesome music wasn’t enough, dragging said friend down to the space directly in front of the front seats and before the stage and dancing some ballroomin’ blues in front of a crowd of a few hundred people. At the end of our dance, not only had we drawn out the swing dancers that had been dancing in a hidden, secluded spot of the auditorium, but we also inspired many others in the crowd to come on down and join us for the dance party. Here we have two swing dancers dancing to the band, with the Renaissance Center in the background. I think the picture was shot with my Nikon F100 and a 24mm f/1.4 on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

Here’s another portrait from Rantoul, a picture of a friend who has since moved out of the Midwest to the western United States, making me jealous of all the cool off road stuff he constantly posts on Facebook. I had rented a Canon DSLR and a couple of lenses for shooting autocrosses and dances. I nabbed this shot from in front of grid. This was the last picture in a series of pictures; I just kept shooting until the normal serious face gave way to something a bit more whimsical. Photo shot with a Canon 5D MkIII and a 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens.

I brought along a set of Alien Bees B800 strobes, a roll of white paper, and several white glossy boards in the back of my Ford Focus hatchback and traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana for Rose-Hulman’s Winter Gala dance. I set up a studio outside the dance hall in the lobby and tried to shoot white seamless for the very first time, relying on the stuff that I had read from Zack Arias. After a bit of a rocky start, I finally was able to get a series of decent shots going. Thankfully, the swing dancers that I shot were more than accommodating to my stumbles. Towards the end of the night, I decided to ask someone to stand behind the camera and take a shot of me. Photo shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, with a trio of Alien Bees B800 studio strobes triggered by Pocket Wizards.

I shot this picture at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, where Ford had on display a Ford GT, a Shelby GT350, a Focus RS, a Fiesta ST, and a Raptor, all painted this wonderful shade of blue. I waited in one spot for several minutes, waiting for the turntable to move the car into position and for the screens surrounding the Ford booth to transition to blue, getting me a blue Ford GT awash in a swath of blue light. I need to go back and find the film to verify the details, but I think this image was shot with a Bronica 645 ETR with an 80mm f/2.8 lens on Kodak Portra 400.