Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fall

The Fall
Originally uploaded by Brad Perkins
Meghan and I decided to take a trip to Estes Park to see the changing leaves of the beautiful Rocky Mountain Park a couple of weekends ago. We were pleasantly surprised with the amazing weather. We had been there a few times before and it snowed both in fall and spring! As we drove up we saw nothing but small patches of changing aspens. We were losing all hope until we turned a sharp corner to see the most colorful hillside we had ever seen. I made her stop the car so we could trek over there to take these photos. As I started taking the first couple we noticed three other photographers coming down to the area. I decided I didn't want to share so we moved my gear up a bit and I started shooting into the sky. The images that showed up on my less than adequate LCD were extremely pleasing so we called it a day. Driving a little more left us with nothing other than a better view of the park.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Butternut Squash Stew / Lemon Cous Cous

I have only had the cous cous but if the stew is in the same ballpark then you can bet it's delicious. This was a pretty fun diptych although the colors are slightly off. :/ Check it out here  ----  and here


Originally uploaded by Brad Perkins
So apparently this easy to make dish is really good so I suggest you veg heads to try it out! I'm just glad I got to take a picture of this beauty. Check it out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vegetarian Day - Pizza

Originally uploaded by Brad Perkins
Well it's National Vegetarian Day so Meghan decided to post one her favorite and easiest recipes to make...PIZZA! I don't know the actual stats but if you cut meat from your diet at least one or more days a week you can lose around 300 pounds...idunno. But seriously, you can lose some real pounds and just feel a lot better. Her blog has a lot of other great ideas if you wanna check it out!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Chili
Originally uploaded by Brad Perkins
This is probably my favorite food photo I have taken for my girlfriend's blog so far. I have a lot of fun doing it because I'm too busy to get out and take pictures right now and it tests my ability to compose a photo quickly with good lighting. The lighting is actually the hardest/most fun part. For most of the photos I use natural light and a reflector. Others I have to strobe and reflect for a similar effect. This one was done naturally and then edited in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I added a preset then adjusted some AdobeRGB values for a more accurate representation of what the food really looked like(while pushing the creativity a little bit).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Gear - Nikon D7000

I started taking pictures in the summer of 2007 and have taken tens of thousands of photos since then.  I have studied every aspect of photography and am still learning to this day.  Traveling around with my trusty Nikon D40X has been a lot of fun and quite the experience learning so much about photography, including the base knowledge(aperture, shutter speed, ISO, rule-of-thirds, etc.), and the digital photography side.  But it is about time for me to move on and get a camera that can help me expand my knowledge even more which is why I chose the Nikon D7000 as my replacement. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Streamlining Your Photography Business

So you know how to take a photograph, you know how to edit, you have your style and you want to start a business...what do you do?  I have recently updated my editing process and signed up for a website to share and sell my prints while also serving as a portfolio for my best work.  These are some necessary additions for any photographer looking to improve their business plan.  The additions include Adobe's organizational software, Lightroom and the websites and

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Splash of Life

This weeks photo was made as the result of a longstanding curiosity with splashes and the perfect way to capture them.  Is this it? Probably not, but it's pretty :).  So I returned to school this week and completely forgot about this weeks photo.  I started thinking about what I could do and put together this very simple setup.  I tried one shot and it turned out better than I could imagine so I stuck with it(don't fix what isn't broken).  I changed the color using the in-camera white balance(set to tungsten).  The strobist info can be found here.  The rest was luck...the splash I mean.     

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Best Place in the World

Yes I said it....Crested Butte is the best place in the world.  There is so much for the outdoor adventurer to do here like biking, hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, x-country skiing, rock climbing, wake-boarding, dog-sledding and probably more activities I can't think of right now.  Every year there is one of the nation's top art festival's showcasing photography, pottery, paintings, and many other mediums from 350 different artists from around the nation.  Food is a bug deal there and two of the best restaurants are The Secret Stash and Lobar.  I am leaving it at the strobist info because blogger is ridiculous and messed up my post...once again.  LP120 camera right @ 1/2(I think) and one more behind me gelled @ 1/2.

Eat What Makes You Happy

This week I did something that I've had in mind for awhile.  My girlfriend loves to eat healthy and even writes a blog that showcases some of her best dishes made healthier and easy to make for college students. hamburgers.  What can I say...I love the combination of beef, buns, bacon, bleu cheese, and bbq sauce(what an alliteration).  So I took this and came up with an idea to show that you should...refer to the title.  I thought the depth of field would be cool so the food is the subject and you can barely see that we are smiling.  I'm in Crested Butte on spring break so I'm going to leave it at that. 

The strobist info can be found here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Control Light!

I must say, this has been an amazing week. I purchased a two light strobist kit in the mail a couple of weeks ago and it arrived recently so I had to learn how to use it. How did I do this? Well, I have been reading a lot lately, some scientific, some technical, and others artistic. The first thing that pushed me into this strobist movement is probably the man who coined the term, David Hobby, who writes the blog Strobist. You can find everything you need to know to start off on your way to becoming a better master of off camera lighting. It's an amazing way to make your photos more dynamic and artistic while giving them a professional look that is so easily recognizable.

While I definitely recommend strobist to start with, there are other ways you can learn about off camera flash(OCF). For instance, flickr hosts a plethora of great strobists who are willing to show their techniques and tricks to get that unique photo you couldn't get with an on camera flash. In my opinion, one of the best ways to learn OCF is by looking at photos that spell it out for you. A lot of people don't want to learn the inverse square law, and that's okay(unless you want to be the best :)), so turn to other platforms of learning. The best source of spelling things out in an easy to understand format would have to be Dustin Diaz's flickr profile. He is/was a huge flickr "star" that gave people great photographs every day in addition to pictures of the lighting setups he used for most of them. He also wrote the article "Flash photography, and pwning the inverse square law" which every aspiring strobist should read to become well-versed in the science behind the subject. Knowing the background information is crucial to succeeding as a strobist and on a broader spectrum, a photographer.

The last method to learning how to use OCF should be the most obvious....get out and DO it. Practice, practice, practice. You've heard it a million times and it is hands down the best way to increase your knowledge of the subject. Yes, you will fail...get over it. We all fail at some point so you just have to realize it's inevitable and practice so you can grow and reduce your odds of failing when the consequences are serious.

I have produced two photos this week that I am proud of...the first is number 9 out 52 photos for the year and it is also my first photo to make it to flickr's explore(top 500).

The second is a self portrait that was my second photo to make it to explore.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Colorful Reflections

So this week I did something that has been in the back of my mind for a long time...water droplets on a cd. I used my macro setup and the light from my room for this shot. It was pretty simple and the hardest part was keeping the tripod and water still enough to get a clean shot. It is probably one of the most basic shots you can do considering the colors are natural and turning the cd produces different effects. I wasn't successful using a flash for this but I'm sure there is something I didn't try. I'd like to improve on this photo but considering the time given I am happy with it. I have some new gear coming my way that should greatly improve my photos and I have already started thinking of tons of ideas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day

So this is a little late but seeing as how my total view count per day is up to .001...I don't think you'll mind. I know that my pessimism surrounding the following of my blog is probably more of a turn-off than I want it to be but honestly, this is mostly for my own good. So this photo idea came from the flickr community and the lighting was fueled by the creativity found at the best photography blog(IMO)...Strobist. If you don't know anything about strobe hour on this blog will give you enough information to start improving your photos ten-fold. I don't have the equipment many people use for this type of photography(yet) but some great kits can be found at Midwest Photo Exchange. For $500 you can have 2 flashes built specifically for the strobist community, some low-quality but perfect starting level wireless transmitters and all the goods to go along with it. I'll leave the rest of the lighting tips up to David Hobby over at Strobist. So for this photo I took a mirror and put it on top of a table next to a window that was letting in some bright morning light. I put the subject(heart candy) on the mirror and played with the aperture to get the correct depth of field(DoF). From here I turned my flash on, did a test shot, turned the power down(mind you this is all on-camera) and eventually I got the lighting I wanted. I liked the image while looking at it on the lcd but thought I could bring more life and a better style out of it through post-processing. I uploaded it into Lightroom and used some of their presets to come up with this final image.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


So Meghan and I went to Denver last weekend to shop, eat good food, and hang out with her brother. It started off slow and we were being very indecisive in selecting a restaurant. We finally chose the Great Northern Tavern which was surprisingly...well...GREAT. If you're in the Denver area you should definitely try it out. After that we went to Chris' house and started playing monopoly which none of us had done in about a two years. Of course I had to bring out the camera and start shooting pics of the board but grew bored(rhyme not intended) rather quickly. I started taking pictures of Chris and Meghan in the awful incandescent light(easily fixed by lightroom) and this is what I came up with!

Its kind of a cop out for the week but its busy here at school. 3 tests in a row after a paper was due and one more test next week! Oh well, next week should be better after my posting of that valentine's photo I promised. I'm thinking I'll take my camera in the business building so I have some material for my website that I will also be starting soon. I'm extremely excited to go to Crested Butte over spring break so I can get some landscapes and then soon after I'll be heading to Arizona so hopefully I can get some photos of those famous sunsets. Well, one more test to study for!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Weekend in Wyoming

I headed home from school last weekend to you guessed it...Wyoming. From first glance Wyoming seems like a pretty boring place. Well, with the largest population of antelope per capita and all the buzz revolving around the new olive garden in my hometown of Casper, that is exactly what it is, boring. Fortunately it is a diamond in the rough as far as natural beauty goes. Sunsets are unbelievable and western motifs are plentiful, providing an urban photographer the means for a good ol' fashioned country wet dream. Sound pleasing? Trust me, it is.

So I spent the first day of my weekend away from the cattle slaughtering capital of the US taking photos of candy hearts and a cork from a nice bottle of vino. I had the thirst for some of that country lovin' I told you about which prompted me to ask my dad if he wanted to get out and shoot some sunset photos of the Platte river. He agreed and drove right past the river. Fortunately, I trusted his instinct to go much much further out of town. We arrived to a spot that could be only found with a gps and the corresponding coordinates due to the much appreciated remoteness. From there we set up tripods, attached necessary accessories and applied settings to cameras needed for the photos we wanted. With his new Nikon D90 and my new Kenko extension tubes, my dad and I each took 250 images with ease. I was so excited I almost acquired frostbite in my hands because I couldn't stop thinking of all the great shots I was getting. When the sunset went down we headed home to look at our trophies.

I found this one particular image I was very happy with so I opened it in Lightroom. I started off simply adding the aged preset, then played with the many sliders. That is all I did to finish this photo of a barbed wire fence taken with my 50mm lens. Next week, I'll be posting a special Valentine's day photo! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


As you may have noticed...or not since no one is reading this, my last blog was a bit short. Well, I wrote a full post for last weeks photo and my computer shut off, erasing my blog. I hate starting over so I left it at that! I'll pretty much reiterate the photoshop technique I use most in this post since it was destroyed last week. It has been a month since I began this 52 weeks project and so far I'm loving it. I'm even considering doing a 365 next year. So this week I took a photo from my fantastic weekend in Denver with Meghan. We spent all day down there, eating at Pappadeaux's, hanging out at 16th street mall where we ate crepes and shopped at American Apparel, and of course went to REI not once, but twice. The photo was taken in a Lodo fine foods store. For those who don't know, Lodo stands for lower downtown and is a block or two from 16th street. If you're in Denver I'd suggest visiting this part of town, especially for the food. Well as you can see, the photo is of some raspberry preserve jars. I opened the image in PS Elements 7 where I duplicated the layer twice. From there I converted both of those layers to black and white, one lighter than the original and one darker. After that step I selected overlay from the layers palette, then adjusted the opacity to my liking. This creates sort of an HDR image that has more depth and brings out much more detail. I then flattened the image and added bars to the top and bottom by increasing the canvas size. Sometimes I adjust color curves and highlights after the HDR technique but I didn't do that for this particular image. Well, that raps up January! February will be much more interesting with new extension tubes, a 35mm Holga conversion kit and a fisheye lens for my Holga!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 2/52

I'm playing catch up right now with this whole 52 weeks project. I started the photo part on time but didn't think about blogging it until just recently. This week was inspired right before christmas when I went to go buy some flowers for a shoot. The shoot was a set I was doing inspired by the TV series Dexter. I bought some white flowers and dropped "blood" onto it for some pretty sweet macro shots. I went in to buy the flowers and the store owner of Keefe's Flowers in Casper, Wyoming said I could come in whenever I wanted to take some photos. I jumped at the opportunity, going to the shop just a couple weeks later. They allowed me to go in the cooler and take whatever shots I wanted. I probably spent 45 minutes in the cooler trying to get as many photos as I could. I tried to pick up a lot of color and cool tones but I ended up like a black and white photo the best. I was using Robin's(girlfriend's dad) Canon xTi with a 160mm Macro lens. I also had his speedlite(unsure of the model because I'm a Nikon guy) and I used my horrible sunpak tripod. Fortunately I am in the process of getting repair parts for my awesome Slik tripod. Well this is what I came up with!

52 Weeks

So I posted one blog and sort of left it at that. But now I'm back with my newly restored passion for photography along with a great way to stay motivated to take pictures all year round. I have recently joined which is inspiring me every day. I find myself thinking about photography all the time. I have also figured out more about my camera, equipment, and a lot more about photoshop! Flickr has helped in so many ways so I have decided to do a 52 week project where I produce one photograph per week. I thought this would be a great time to blog about my photos including how I took the photo, and what inspired me. I think it'll be a lot of fun and I'll start with my first weeks photo. The first one was a happy accident that happened while using my girlfriend's dad's camera and his 10mm wide angle lens. My girlfriend hates getting her picture taken so of course she wasn't very happy when I pointed the camera at her this particular time. She became uncomfortable and moved, providing the perfect blur in the photo for a pretty sweet composition. In this photo you can see she is reading her favorite book series, Twilight. She is obsessed with Twilight so I thought this was a perfect moment to capture with that amazing lens. Unfortunately I cannot find this photo so I have provided a link to follow...