45:52 - Jeffrey S. Jackson

Wow, it's been forever since I've got a post up on here. Craziness. In the time I've been absent from posting on this blog a lot has changed for me. I got a job at the Apple store here in Austin, TX, and I love it. I enjoy just about every aspect of it, and am thoroughly enjoying making friends with all the awesome, unique, and creative people I work with every day.

I don't know if you've ever worked in retail, but it's exhausting. Especially at the Apple store, where I'm not only on my feet all day, but listening intensely to people and carrying on thoughtful conversation. At the end of the day I'm pretty drained but it's well worth it.

Unfortunately that has resulted in me not shooting as much as I have historically. But never fear, I'm still here. I've been shooting, just not publishing to the blog. I've been doing regular work for a magazine here, Austin Woman and ATX Man, as well as some personal projects as well.

The latest shots I wanted to share are of Jeff Jackson, CEO of CHORE Masters (also happens to be my old boss), and the host of a new talk radio show on KJCE. "Like" their Facebook page, and check out their website as well.

The idea behind this shoot was three-fold. First, to play with some cool dramatic lighting effects with cigar smoke. Second, to add to my portrait portfolio. Third, to play with my newest toy; a new flash! Finally! A three light setup! I got a (LumoPro) LP160 from Midwest Photo Exchange. Any flash / product that comes highly rated by David Hobby (Strobist) is good enough for me.

So, all that being said, here are the photos!


1/160th  |  f/7.1  |  70mm  |  ISO250


1/160th  |  f/7.1  |  38mm  |  ISO250

Some of my thoughts: I like the top one for a few reasons. So much of a portrait is about the eyes. Needless to say, the eyes are what makes that emotional connection. Whether they're locked in focus with ours, the viewers, or off in another direction, they tell us something. The fact that his eyes aren't readily visible, although not completely hidden, makes for an interesting tension that I like. I also enjoy that his hair mimics the smoke's curls.

The second photos better portrays the subject. I've known Jeff for quite a few years. I believe it was over the July 4th weekend of 2008 that I met him and we became friends. In September of 2010 he offered me a job in Austin and I moved here. This picture shows Jeff, from the Crown Royal and cigar, to the Tag watch and Austin Paddle Sports cap, and body language. Portrait photography is all about capturing a person's essence, and that is, in my opinion, what this image shows.

And switching gears... (note, if you're visual, all this information is also in a video I have embedded below). It was a fairly basic lighting setup; for both shots I used a Canon 580exii into a 3' Creative Light octabox pointed almost straight down, just outside of the frame above him.

I also had my new LP160 into a medium softbox (16 or 20 inchs) behind him, and to the left. This gave the separation off the background on the left side of his face.

Lastly, I had my Canon 430exii fired into a Rogue Flashbender sitting on the ground, pointed up. The flashbender is an awesome accessory, and is great for sculpting light, especially in situations like this. it allowed me to get a nice even light falloff (gradient) on the background.

Oh. Did those last three paragraphs make no sense? Here. Just watch this BTS video instead:

Why does the video suck so bad? Well I shot and edited it all on my iPhone 4s in a very short amount of time. But I have to say - pretty nuts that my phone can run iMovie, add music, trim video, adjust audio levels, add titles, and upload right to YouTube. Also, there's some user influence on it's quality as well. I'm saying I need practice, people.

Still reading?

Cool, then I'll tell you some more stuff.

I've made some great connections through friends in Austin, as well as Model Mayhem, and have a handful of people who are excited about shooting with me. All I need to do is get some concepts together and make it happen. With work it may be tricky, but I'm getting excited about the ideas I've got swirling around in my brain.

Stay tuned for more. Best way of doing that? Get yo' self all up on my Caleb Kerr Photography Facebook page!!