Donofrio MMA, IFL 61

March 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
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What an exciting night Saturday March 14th 2015 was; with a stacked card of some amazing fights.  I am happy I was afforded the opportunity to photograph the event thanks to the generous Joseph Donofrio, who, from my perspective treats everyone like they're family.  I really appreciated that as it reminded of family gatherings as a kid. My grandmother is 100% Sicilian, so you could only imagine the size of the gatherings.

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Throughout the night everything moved very smoothly and the matches seemed to move on without a hitch.  No delays in fights or action!  I have been to other promotions where I couldn't say the same.  With flames, smoke, action-packed fights and beautiful ring girls there was not a moment of dullness.  There was so much action to take in my two cameras (Sony Alpha a77 and Sony Alpha a99) never got a rest and didn't need one.  The performance of both these monsters was nearly flawless and the Continuous tracking of the Sony Alpha a99 continued even beyond the central group of the focus points.  

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Most of the fights were barn burners and had unexpected outcomes.  At least to me -as I was making my own predictions :)   That being said, it made them even more exciting.  And although there was some blood, the experience of the referee showed, knowing exactly when to stop the fight before anything went too far.  As a former Full Contact Karate competitor, I appreciated the good calls by the referee.

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Most of the night I was able to shoot pretty comfortable with my Sony a99 mounted to my Minolta 50mm 1.7 and my Sony a77 mounted to my Tamron 28-75 2.8 lens.  Both cameras tracked very well, even shooting through the fence of the cage.  My ISO settings where from 800-3200, with a shutter speed of anywhere from 160-250 to stop the action.

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There was eight title fights!  Yes, you read that right, I said eight.  Under what other promotion does that happen? Um none, that I have heard of or seen.  These title holders and challengers weren't and did not seem inexperienced either and for their part were skilled MMA competitors.  The last fight was amazing and worth the wait! All in all, it was one hell of a night and I feel like I made some good friends.  

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For more on Donofrio MMA, fighters and upcoming events please visit their website. 

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Review of the Opteka SolarFlare LED Wand Light

January 12, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Review of the Opteka SolarFlare LED Wand Light

This is just a short review of the Opteka SolareFlare LED light that I have finally had the opportunity to use after owning for about 6 months.  This won’t be a comparison to ICE Light as it would not be fair for me to comment on the ICE Light, since I do not own one.  

First, let’s go over the short bit of tech:


·         Dimmable 1,160 lumen LED that is rated for 50,000+ hours

·         Daylight 5200k and tungsten 3200K lighting modes

·         AC/DC power operation and built-in Lithium Ion battery (3 hours on 5200K setting)

We’ll do the negatives first, but there really is not a lot of negative to say about this light.  It works as advertised, although the battery life on the one I have purchased seems to be a bit shorter than three hours.  About 1.5 hours with the power turned all-the-way-up.  Then again, I did not run it at its lowest settings to see how long it would last.   Maybe it would last three or more hours on its lowest settings.   The only real negative thing I could say about this light is that it did not come with any instructions and again, not really negative, because it is so easy to use.  It only took a few seconds to familiarize myself with the light.

I absolutely love this image.  The only light source was from the Opteka.

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So I said it took me about six months to try this light out after it was purchased.   This has been due to being so busy working on my new studio and of course I wanted to test it on the right subject.  Anyway, the new studio is close to completion, ready for engagement shoots, fashion shoots to senior portraits.  Next on the list was finding the right subject --and it just so happened Kaitlynn Anderson became the subject.  A great model, who competed in the Las Vegas International model search, was the perfect subject. 

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From a usage standpoint this thing is very easy to use.  You have a mode button, On/Off button and Power Level up /power level down – that’s about all.  Nothing too mind numbing.  The mode button controls your kelvin settings, in other words turns it from 3200K to 5200k.  The power level buttons decrease or increase your light output.  Complicated, right? Oh wait, the ON and off button turn it on and off.  One more thing, “you can plug-in the power adapter and run it when the battery dies, if an electrical receptacle is available.”

IMO, the light it produces is pretty nice.  It can be a bit harsh on some subjects but you can always feather it a bit or find a way to diffuse it - if you desire. 

First Cosplay Shoot with Miranda

December 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Cosplay Shoot with Miranda


Well, I’d have to say this shoot involved a lot of firsts.  This was my first ever Cosplay photo-shoot, first time working with Miranda and first shoot at my new location. 

First let’s start with the setup.  I used a 6 foot Impact silver umbrella as the main light source, camera right at a 45 degree angle with a White Lightning strobe.  Camera left and slightly behind Miranda I used an Alien Bees B400 with a Softbox to create a nice rim light which also helped in separating Miranda from the background and in this case was a green screen.  Now I usually don’t use green screens and build most of my sets and backgrounds but on this occasion I wanted to achieve two things a movie worthy green screen effect and test my new location in a photo-shoot.  For camera gear, I mainly used my Sony Alpha A99 and Tamron 70-200 2.8 and at times I shot with my Tamron 28-75 2.8 attached to the camera.  I did bring my Polaris light meter but decided to wing it and not use it this time.

Miranda was great!  She knew the history of the character she was portraying very well, brought a lot of energy and her poses were excellent.  I was really shocked that she hasn’t been modeling for years as her poses looked natural and not forced.  Looking through all the photographs, it was very hard to find a pose I did not like and one in which I couldn’t think of a scene for a pose to go with.  I can’t wait to work with her again in a Glamour or fashion shoot which I believe she’ll definitely do great in.

All-in-all, I would consider the photo-shoot a success and am looking forward to doing to more Cosplay shoots in the future.  If they all go as well as this one did, I might advertise this as a specialty of mine on my website.  Below are some images from the shoot.  I hope you enjoy them and if you do please check out my website and also click on the link for my Facebook page and like it as there are many more images and styles I shoot posted there.


How this photo was created

October 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

How This Photo Was Created.

In this blog I am going to give you some information on how each of the photos were created.  First, I will list the equipment used.  camera gear is as follows: Sony Alpha A99, Tamron 70-200 2.8,  Minolta 50mm 1.7, Minolta 28mm 2.8.  Lighting devices, Sony HVL 43, AlienBees b400, giant shoot through umbrella, 43 inch reflector (gold side) and Yongnuo flash with orange gel.

Location:  Well for location I was lucky enough to have an old train depot all to myself.  This helped with giving the shoot some character and of course the model "Liz Perez."

The below shot was created by using a large shoot through umbrella attached to the b400 not pointed directly at her face, but to the right of her face and pointed directly at the wall and angled about 45 degrees towards the floor.  On the floor was 43 inch reflector gold side up to soften any shadows under her chin.  To create the gold highlights in her hair my assistant held the gold gel in front of the Yongnuo flash off to the side and behind the door. DSC05128_1DSC05128_1

In the photo below I used a fog machine but I will  say none of the sky or background was photo-shopped.  This was all out of camera.  To set this up I used the large umbrella, AB400, light meter and large 43" reflector and the Sony HVL 43 flash.  Well, luckily we were fighting the rain on this shoot because it made for some really cool cloud coverage.  The clouds weren't that color but I  set the camera AWB to shade to get that beautiful sky.  

The AB400 was attached to the large umbrella to model right.  The reflector was lying flat on the ground gold side up just out of frame.  The Sony HVL 43 was left of model 1/8 power just for a little splash of light on the right side of her face.  The hardest part was synchronizing the fog with everything else:)


This photograph was a very simple photo to setup but very dangerous since the training was speeding by at about 40 mph.  You would never realize how much wind and noise a speeding train can generate!  A lot of yelling and ear ringing happened during this time.  Also, in this shot the wind destroyed my shoot through umbrella but it was worth it to get the shot.  Setup for this was just my AB400 with shoot through umbrella almost directly in front of the model.  


Well, I hoped you liked this short informational on how I setup these shots.  Please follow add me for more fun blogs to come.




A Family Photo Day

October 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
A Family Photo Day

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to photograph the wonderful Martinez family.  The session consisted of two different locations.  The first location was indoors were I tried create a fashion look but also make it relaxed and fun at the same time.   The second location was outdoors on my small ranch where I mostly just documented the children having fun. 

The first location's setup consisted of a White vinyl background, three strobes (two Alien Bees 400s) and one White lightning.  All three were fitted with softboxes as modifiers.  The White Lightning was on a boom located above the children in the middle of the frame and angled down at a 45 degree angle.   The two b400s were located in the rear angled around a 25 degree towards the children away from the background.  They were wearing white clothing so I did not want a background pure white.  My camera gear for this location was my Sony Alpha A99 and Tamron 70-200 2.8.  I was shooting mostly at f5.6, ISO 50 at 1/200 sec.

I always love shooting children because it's hard to get them pose and that is what makes shooting them interesting.  To get the shots below I just joked around with them and waited for the magic to happen.  Eventually they started acting like the stars of the show and gave me many great poses:)

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The second location was outdoors on my small ranch where I have a horse barn, Hay, horses and other fun things for kids to have fun getting into.  I used my Sony Alpha A99, Samyang 85mm 1.4,  Tamron 70-200mm 2.8, 43 inch reflector and Sony HVL 43 flash for the following photos.  In some of the photos I bounced the flash into the silver side of the 43 inch reflector to help create a larger light source.
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