Monthly Archives: March 2012

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The holidays can be a fun time of year.


Food, parties, family, and good photo opportunities. Family and friends gather together, and because you have spent the last decade or more with a camera in your hands, and in their face, they are very comfortable and quite willing to act completely natural. In these conditions sometimes there are some great shots to be had.

This particular one was so classic to me. A little girl playing with a music box with a ballerina on it reminds me of so many scenes in so many movies it is hard to even remember what scenes go in which movies. In most of those movies the music box was ceramic not plastic and didn’t have interchangeable figurines, but the concept is the same.

I have gotten several comments on the light falling the subject in this image. For this I can take no credit. That fantastic soft, but not that soft, light is coming from indirect sunlight coming through white lace curtains. I would have never thought of lace as a great diffuser, but in this case, with the already indirect sunlight it was just about perfect.

As you can see I desaturated the color quite a bit. I think it gives the image a more old school look. It helps express the iconic nature of the action in spite of the plastic hinges and obviously rubber figures. I also darkened the blacks both to give the image more drama and to help hide some of the stuff in the background.

One thing I like about this photo, that you would never know unless I told you, is that there is a lot of other stuff going on in the room. Its a holiday party and there are people snacking, chatting, laughing and generally making allot of noise and motion. But not in this frame. This moment looks snatched right out of an empty Victorian house, the only sound the melody of the music box. But, as with so many things in life, it is all about context.

I think the context of this image is very important. This image works on an entirely different level if you also picture the controlled holiday chaos taking place just outside the frame. This little girl is an oasis of calm happiness amid a sea of joy. I think that is what i’m going to name this image “Amid a Sea of Joy”

This blog is a very effective way for me to look critically and fondly at my own work. It help me understand my artistic voice and direction. So, I would just like to thank you very much for reading and please feel free to give may any feedback you would like.

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“Sun Bubbles”


Some of you have seen this image before. If you have, you probably know that there are two versions. This one is the version that shows up best on a computer screen. The other is more subtle and soft and will look fantastic printed on canvas in a large format.

This photo was taken at about 6am in MA and the water was very cold. I would like to thank Chris Bloom and Lauren Evans for agreeing to get up that early while on vacation, climb into cold water and put up with me asking them to hold various precarious positions while they tried not to look cold. Based on the final product they are both good actors because they were freezing.

I would also like to thank my assistants Taylor and Michael Bloom, as well as my lovely wife Megan, for dealing with me getting very cranky because one of my wireless flash triggers was not working. Oh, and getting up early and that whole bit too.

I had been planning to try and get some sunrise shooting done for several days, but was afraid to ask the folks on vacation with me to get up before the sun came up and indulge my artist obsession. It was completely unfounded fear as it turned out because everyone was on board from the word go.

This version of the image is the HDR version. HDR is the process of capturing scene by taking multiple exposures in order to capture a broad tonal range, and then combining those exposures later, with software. These type of photos can have a surreal quality to them that can make them look fake or like digital renderings. Depending on the situation they can be a very effective tool and I even like to use a normally exposed image in some areas and an HDR for other areas of the same final product. In this case though it is just HDR.

The pose was developed by the circumstances. in other words I had no idea what exactly i was looking for. We tried a bunch different things and finally we worked our way to this. This turned out to be one of those posses that looks completely different on camera than to the eye. In fact it looked like two almost random positions to the eye, but when compressed into two dimensions and onto a CMOS censor the compositions really flows.

The sun is obviously on the right side of the image and the “chi” of this image flows in an arc from the bottom left of the frame to the top right, the sun. Also from the foreground to the background. I added the lens flairs in post because I wanted the flow to be immediately apparent. To me they almost look like some sort of mystical tractor beam pulling the models towards the sun.

As I sit and write about it i have discovered several small  things I would like to change. They are minor, but I think that it is these minor changes that may be the difference between looking at this image one time and wanting to see at it often.

Thanks so much for reading.

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This week is going to be a little different.


We are going to cover a more “event” style of photography. Not like corporate event, I may touch on that later, or birthday party, again maybe later. In this case we are talking about a small coffee shop where a local singer/songwriter was doing set. I have several more traditional shots that are for promotional material for the artist. This image though is a little different. I had been to the venue before and had noticed its very cool decor. It has several very cool design elements that I liked and thought would make good shots. Some did, some didn’t.

The wall in this photograph is actually a chalkboard that is covered in different colors of some sort of iridescent sidewalk chalk. Because of its iridescent it had a cool almost 3d look to it. I knew that using some interesting post processing would make this wall look great in black and white. So I definitely wanted to to have an image incorporating this background and Joe Bloom, the musician.

In most photography situations I think about what I will need in post to create an interesting image, not what I can do in camera to get an immediately usable images. Really, good in camera images are important in many situations, but with the very streamlined and effective post production software available unless you need the images immediately after shooting I would always shoot for what you know will be useful later, on your computer.

So in this image I needed a couple things. First I needed a steady, evenly exposed background. Second, I needed an interesting shot of Joe that was caught just at the right moment. The framing you see is a compromise of needing these two elements. So in my PS project I had two photographs to work with. One with the proper exposure of the background and the other good shot of Joe. These two photographs had different shutter speeds and ISO settings so that they captured their priority properly. It was simply a matter of blending these two images and putting effects on them individually to bring out their attributes.

It turned out pretty much exactly as I had envisioned it and although it has an abnormal style of framing I think it works quite well in generating interest as well as differentiating if from other types of music images.

I had other, more traditional shots from the concert, but this one is bar far my favorite and I think represents my artistic style.

Thanks for reading and please check out Joe Bloom at

Twitter @danielcbloom



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a good example of “using lies to tell the truth.”


This weeks image is a cool and interesting one. Its  In this case there were two challenges. First, making a photograph look like what I actually saw with my eyes. And second, convincing people that this is actually what the sky looked like when this picture was taken . Seriously, it looked like that! I have made several digital adjustments but in this particular situation they were only made to make it look like what I saw. The only real artistic license I took was that everything on the ground that is not man made is in gray-scale and everything on the ground has a charcoal shading texture. Even this was somewhat in the service of replicating reality. There was this bizarre colorless effect going on. I think that it may have been because it was one of the most brilliant rainbows I have ever see and that in comparison perhaps the ground seemed pale and lifeless.

There are many, many small details that you will not be able to see on this small version. Like so many of my pieces this one was very specifically created for large format viewing. However, I think you can get the gist of it from this small version. One little detail that is easily noticeable in this version is the little black triangle in the top left corner of the frame. This photo was taken from the balcony of my apartment and that little black shape is the underside of the balcony above me. I was going to take it out, but I decided that to me it added a grounding point. So many photographs seem to be take from some magical vantage point that does not exist in reality. This is due obviously to the skill and vision of the photographer. In this photograph I thought it might be fun to subvert that tradition if only in the smallest way.

Thanks so much for reading and as always I welcome your feed back. You can share this page using the share buttons on the top left of the page. And please follow me on twitter @danielcbloom