. . . just 10 seconds . . . the sports shot


“A lifetime of training for just ten seconds. . . ” said Jesse Owens.  And, yet, the image is not 10 seconds, it is a nano second.  “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts. . . ” said Phil Jackson.  But, some planning to get the image is inevitable.  There is technique and luck and access to get a sports shot, and as to to luck part, as Yogi Berra observed, “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”  Here are some of my sports shots, some planned, some not.  Where possible, I used lights – 4 SB900 speedlights in a Foursquare or a quadra. high ISO, high shutter speed, wide angle where possible.  Many of my shots were inspired / coached / taught / cajoled / prompted by Dave Black  and Tom Bol.  I would describe each image as a type of sports portrait, an environmental shot of an athlete doing what they do where and when they do it.



Thanks for stopping by my blog, Mark



smile, please . . .


In my shoots with models, I have come to learn that smiling is not something they uniformly want to do in a digital image.  Thoughtful, pensive, sexy, fashionable, stylish, curious, and content all work and come easily.  But, a smile, the simplest form of communication that we have, is a little harder to conjure up when working  on a shoot.  Charlie Chaplin said:  “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.”  So, I try to coax at least one smile during a shoot because it helps break the ice, sets a tone, and, frankly, I like the way a smile looks after I have had a hard day in court.  Here are some smiles for me from some past shoots, and now for you.  Remember, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  (Thich Nhat Hanh).

Thanks to all for a little smile, and thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark

[hair and makeup by Jolie Carillo-Allen ]

f/1.4 . . . or so



Tom Bol, introduced me to the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens in a photography class in Ft. Collins.  Tom let me try his “G” series.  I purchased a used “D” series (older model) at KEH.  The wide open aperture portrait lens is an amazing instrument.  It is both sharp and soft.  Its depth of field wide open is incredibly shallow and really can be a challenge.  It has the capacity, however, to make absolutely lovely portraits and even when the focus is not perfect, the softness and quality of the image that the lens captures is wonderful.  The swift drop off in depth of field really helps tell a story in the image.  I am in love with the lens and use it regularly in my portraiture work.  Another advantage for me is that it is a fixed focal length lens.  So, my legs provide the zoom and I have to move around and keep moving.  With a model posing and me moving, the variety of shots can increase and I am not planted in one spot while perspective options are lost.  Here are some of my favorite shots I have taken with the lens (all are taken with a Nikon D700 and are 1-3 speedlight setups in various modifiers triggered by PocketWizard Flex TT5s).

Fun stuff.  Thanks for stoping by my blog. . . . Mark

hats hats hats

I do not typically wear hats.  Neither do my friends or family.  So, my interest in using hats in my photography is hard to explain.  But, hats have taken on a purposeful role in my photography . . .  the incorporation of a hat into a portrait to help tell the story of  the model I am shooting — playful, mysterious, sexy, moody, worldly, sassy, thoughtful, elegant, etc.  For me, hats seem to help fulfill Dr. Suess’ observation:  “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”  Here are some hat observations to go with some of my favorite recent hat shots.

“When you wear a hat, it is like medicine for the soul.  The hat is the expression of who you are as a women in every moment! The hat is your dreams of who you can be.  It facilitates the different parts of who you are:  With the wave of the hat, voila!  You are mysterious…no, you are sexy…now proper…now playful.’” (Anonymous)

“Cock your hat – angles are attitudes.”  (Frank Sinatra)

“You can flirt with a fan in your hand. You can flirt holding a cigarette, too.  But a woman can really flirt with a hat.”  (Dolores Foster)

“Women who love hats don’t get jealous.  It makes them happy to see a hat that looks good on someone else.  Women who wear hats know who they are.” (Anonymous)

“A hat is a shameless flatterer, calling attention to an escaping curl, a tawny braid, a sprinkling of freckles over a pert nose, directing the eye to what is most unique about a face.  Its curves emphasize a shining pair of eyes, a lofty forehead; its deep brim accentuates the pale tint of a cheek, creates an aura of prettiness, suggests a mystery that awakens curiosity in the onlooker.” (Jeanine Larmoth)

“Wearing hats has become like fine art for me.”  (Tina Brown)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Visit my flickr site if you have a moment.  Mark

Makeup and hair by Jolie Carillo-Allen

workin’ folks


Over the last month, I have pursued a project to take portraits of a sampling of working people here in the Midwest.  All in the Midwest is not wheat fields and cattle.  So, I focused on the industrial and service side of things.  Most of the folks I have met are either blue collar workers or are in one service industry or another. Some wear ties, some wear uniforms; some wield tools.  It is my cross section — a record of sorts of who is at stake in these times we are enduring.

Some of the folks I met and photographed are bosses,

some are workers,


and all are trained at what they do.

In this Great Recession  all I can think to do is to provide a record of folks as they really are through my lens and my eye.  All shots were taken with a Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens, and one or more SB900 speedlights usually through a Westscott 28″ Apollo softbox or a FourSquare, triggered by PocketWizard TT5s.  With that, here is the rest of my record:


Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark

new galleries

Just a short blog entry to advise that I have added some new galleries:

corporate and environmental shots


and aerials

Please check out the galleries and enjoy!  Thanks for visiting.  Mark