Last week I was set up for some simple portraits in the studio. In the days that followed, I used the opportunity to take a look at myself, often times a very close look at myself. It was a chance to experiment with some interesting, if not ground breaking, lighting techniques, as well as some post production techniques I am interested in. Over the course of the process, I found myself moving in tight with the macro lens and even playing with fire. And, you may notice I got a haircut last week.

Folks seemed to dig the shots I loaded up to facebook and instagram, and wanted to include them here as well.

Ultimately, I used the set for a few product shots as well, but am still working out the post production. Will post soon. Stay tuned!

Self portraits by Richmond Photographer Jeff Saxman

Self portraits by Richmond Photographer Jeff Saxman

Close up photograph of eyeball, iris, pupil

Close up photograph of eyeball, iris, pupil

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All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

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This group of photos is a couple years old, but I thought I would break it out in celebration of National Donut Day. I drove by Sugar Shack Donuts on Lombardy about an hour ago to pick a few up to photograph, but the line was out the door! Good for you, Richmond! Donuts for lunch! I’ll just have to get mine later. Rumor has it RVA Racing will be making a donut run later today, as we often tend to do!

The donuts in the photo are from Dixie Donuts, which sadly closed up shop a few months back. Wherever you get yours today, enjoy!

Dixie Donuts, six varieties of donuts

Mmmm, donuts. Images ©Jeff Saxman.

Stuck with the beverage theme last week in my food photography project, and, since it was Friday when I shot these, beer seemed an appropriate choice (again!). This time, however, I ventured out into the wildlands surrounding the mighty James River. Clean rivers and streams are natural habitats of dragonflies, and so away I went to capture a special species waterside.

The St. Croix Snaketail is a rare species of dragonfly found in only a few places in the United States and has recently been found in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is now also quite a tasty session IPA brewed by RVA’s own Triple Crossing Brewery. This beer was brewed to honor the discovery of this beautiful specimen of odonata and the 30th anniversary of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program. In these photos, we get a glimpse of the brew in its natural environment.

The beer is a limited release, so get it while you can. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, which finds and preserves important natural areas within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Enjoy!

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Triple Crossing Brewery, Virginia Natural Heritage collaboration results in Snaketail Ale, seen here in its natural environment

All photos are ©Jeff Saxman and reproduction in any media without prior written consent is prohibited, discouraged, and just not a nice thing to do to a guy trying to make a living. Sharing of links, however, is strongly encouraged! See more at http://www.saxmanphoto.com.

I’ve not posted in a few weeks, but I have a pretty good reason. Soon after my previous post, I took a bad digger off my bike and ended up in the ER with a fractured vertebrae and separated clavicle. Been trying to heal, while keeping up with the ordinary business of the day around here. Needless to say, a couple trying weeks!

I wanted to get back at this, and give a nod to healthy bones at the same time. What to shoot? Milk! What goes good with milk? Oreos! So, I figured I would run with the techniques of my last post, but with milk and cookies, and spend the afternoon noshing Oreos. Don’t judge me- it’s therapy.

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Image ©Jeff S. Saxman. No reproduction in any media authorized without prior written consent. Eat some cookies.

 

This week’s exercise involved something I’ve always enjoyed working on, and that is water in motion. While I do not have optimal gear to freeze images such as this quite like I would like, it is interesting to tinker with and, more often than not, the results are pleasing. I have plans to take these techniques to the next level.

Water droplets

Water droplets. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized in any media without prior written consent.

Last week past and I did not work on my food study project, but Easter flowers lingered in our house, and one day last week, Thursday I think, they told me it was “Take Your Flowers to Work” day. What could I do? It’s not every day flowers speak to you. They went to work with me.

Had been wanting to work on some more macro photos. I really enjoy getting close and pulling out detail and, often, abstractions, from my subjects. These were a natural subject, and the colors captured made me feel “springy,” despite the lingering cold temperatures. My Canon 100mm macro is pretty great, and does a wonderful job, but with an extra technique I like to apply occasionally, I get a bit more magnification and some pretty cool distortion. Hope you like!

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers

Floral study with macro lens, studio photography of flowers. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction in any media authorized without prior written consent.

Bending the rules a little here, but I won’t tell if you won’t. While there is food in this photo, it is technically a product shot. But I thought it shines a little light on our capabilities and thought process around here.

We occasionally shoot on location for things like this, but there are times when time or budget dictate we pull something together in the studio, yet achieve the look and feel of a different environment. Fortunately, we have lots of things here to work with, and I find it a fun challenge to make something like this happen. I often don’t think of the process as being that unusual or special, and, in fact, it may not be. But, when the AD snapped the photo below of the set to send back to the office to demonstrate that the final photo, despite looking as if shot in a restaurant’s back kitchen, was actually done on a set, I realized that this may actually be interesting to others.

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It brought to mind, too, one aspect of studio photography I have always found fascinating, and that is the lights and grip equipment, stands and articulated arms, flags and gobos that lie just outside of the frame. In fact, I find it difficult to look at a photo without imagining all of that. One of my favorite recent examples is the personal photography project of Adrian Sonderegger and Jojakim Cortis, wherein they recreate notable historic photos in the studio- check it out here.

My final photo:

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Final image of product on studio set. Photo © Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.