Welcome to Northwest Photographic Arts. This is my 42nd year as a professional photographer, and yet this is my very first blog. I will start my blogs by sharing inside stories behind the images that are featured on my website. It is my hope that as you participate in these blogs, you will pick up insights that will help you become that photographer you were destined to be.

 

God Bless you,

 

Chad Stevens

 

Taking Time Exposures

April 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

CBS_7636-R Black LogoCBS_7636-R Black LogoVietnam Warm Memorial - July 7, 2017 12:18 a.m.

Our family took a trip to our Nation's Capitol during the fourth of July weekend of 2017. I have always heard about the emotional power of the Vietnam memorial. Indeed it was powerful to see during the day, and since my stepsons' father is a Vietnam Veteran, it took on a more awesome tone. BUT, visiting it during the day was not half as mysterious or emotionally awe inspiring as when it is lighted at night. 

 

Taking a photograph in the day time, pardon the pun, is a snap! With almost any digital camera, you just point and shoot. If you leave it in automatic, it thinks for you, so you do not have to do any calculations at all. BUT, photographing it at night can be a bit tricky as I soon discovered.

 

The first thing one must do is figure what angle will show what you care about. Second, one must make sure the scene is evenly lit. In this case, I could see that the black granite walls were well lit by lights embedded in the stones below. As you can see, the lights are shooting from bottom upwards. Then there are the lights above the memorial that are located on the street. These were perfect for illuminating the grass and the background.

 

Imagine for a moment that all the street lights were missing. The grass and trees would not be lit, but you would have the spread of a large obtuse angle before you in the shape of the memorial. This would be fine, but the depth and texture of the scene would be missing. It would still be worth taking the shot, but it would not be as exciting.

 

Photographing the scene also needs a camera that allows for manual settings or time exposures between 1 second and 30 seconds in length. It is obvious that you cannot hold absolutely still for those time lengths, but you can fix that problem with the use of a sturdy tripod.

 

In this case, I used a tripod with my camera at an ISO setting of 400. I looked through the viewfinder and studied the image very carefully from one corner of the frame to the other. When I was satisfied with the composition, I set my camera lens at f/8 so that I would utilize the sharpest point of my lens as well as giving me sharpness from the entrance of the memorial to the exit. If I had set it at f/1.8, then the image would be sharp at some points but out of focus at others. In this scene, having the f/stop set in the middle was the best call. (More about f/stop setting in another blog post.)

 

Finally, I set my exposure for approximately 6 seconds and utilized my self timer so as to avoid any camera vibration that might take place when depressing the shutter button. Then I looked around me to make sure no one was going to bump into my camera setup while making the exposure.

 

When it was all clear, I pressed the button, listened to the beeps until the shutter was automatically released for six seconds.

 

When I viewed the image on the camera screen, it was a bit dark, so I decided to increase my time to 7 seconds. I kept changing the time by one second for several frames until I got to 16 seconds. At that point, the images were looking brighter and good enough to stop.

 

When I got home to my digital darkroom, I was thrilled at the 14 second mark. It was just the right exposure, and I used Photoshop to enhance the image even further.

 

By studying the photograph carefully, you might notice that there is a woman sitting in the light of her cell phone. There are what appear to be ghosts around this memorial caused by people slowly walking through the memorial and stopping long enough to be caught on the camera chip.

 

If you found this blog helpful, let me know! If you would like more information about how to take better photographs, send me your questions and your e-mail address and I will put you on my mailing list. If you would like to own this photograph of the Vietnam Memorial, contact me for sizes. We offer 16 x 24 through 36 x 60.

 

If you are looking for Fine Portraiture of yourself, office associates or your family, call for an appointment. (208) 777-1818.

Ask for Chad. 


Jake's Story

April 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


JakeJakeJake’s
- - Story - -
By Jake & Chad ~ 2010
Wallace, ID

A family friend referred Jakes mother to my studio in Wallace, Idaho. She wanted to see if I could capture the shy but friendly spirit of her teenage son.

Jake came to the session late in the afternoon when the sun was within thirty minutes of the sunset over the Silver Valley mountains.

We hopped in the car and went to the neighboring town of Silverton where the light was soft and warm and where rugged backgrounds would work well for a male high school senior.

None of the backgrounds seemed to work with the personality of the young man standing before me until I spotted a nearly condemned shack surrounded by an old chain link fence.

The sun slid behind the mountains, but there was a beautiful evening afterglow that gave Jake a warm evening skin tone and a glistening sparkle in his eyes.

His mother was thrilled and placed a large order for all her friends and family.

Canvas, 16 x 20

By Jake & Chad ~ 2010

Wallace, ID

 

A family friend referred Jakes mother to my studio in Wallace, Idaho. She wanted to see if I could capture the shy but friendly spirit of her teenage son.

 

Jake came to the session late in the afternoon when the sun was within thirty minutes of the sunset over the Silver Valley mountains.

 

We hopped in the car and went to the neighboring town of Silverton where the light was soft and warm and where rugged backgrounds would work well for a male high school senior.

 

None of the backgrounds seemed to work with the personality of the young man standing before me until I spotted a nearly condemned shack surrounded by an old chain link fence.

 

The sun slid behind the mountains, but there was a beautiful evening afterglow that gave Jake a warm evening skin tone and a glistening sparkle in his eyes.

 

His mother was thrilled and placed a large order for all her friends and family.


Engaged Couple's Story

April 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


Engaged CoupleEngaged CoupleEngagement Couple’s
- - Story - -
By Chad ~ 2004
Hauser Lake, Idaho

In the olden days, (which were my younger days) I used to have
the stamina to chase a wedding couple around a church for six to eight hours on a Saturday afternoon.

My wedding packages always included a free engagement session just
before the big day.

I discovered that most couples keep their wedding day Portraits in an album, but when they get an engagement portrait they hang it on their walls for
friends and family to enjoy.

This couple came into my studio for their free portrait session.

We shot it in color, but they wanted something different and unique.

I suggested that a Black and White Portrait would be delicious if we
added a little brown to the mix.

So after I finished retouching their
faces and the background,
I added a “Milk Chocolate”
flavor to their portrait,
and voila!

Metal, 16 x 20

 

By Chad ~ 2004

 

In the olden days, (which were my younger days) I used to have

the stamina to chase a wedding couple around a church for six to eight hours on a Saturday afternoon.

 

My wedding packages always included a free engagement session just

before the big day.

 

I discovered that most couples keep their wedding day Portraits in an album, but when they get an engagement portrait they hang it on their walls for

friends and family to enjoy.

 

This couple came into my studio for their free portrait session.

 

We shot it in color, but they wanted something different and unique.

 

I suggested that a Black and White Portrait would be delicious if we

added a little brown to the mix.

 

So after I finished retouching their

faces and the background,

I added a “Milk Chocolate”

 flavor to their portrait,

       and voila!


Osburn Mine Story

April 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


Osburn MineOsburn MineOsburn Mine
- - Story - -
By Chad
Osburn, Idaho

Next door to Northwest Academy
of Music’s original location is
A marvelous company called
Computer Restore.

On the north wall of their
store is a famous pen and ink sketch
of the abandoned Osburn Mine.

While living in the Silver Valley, I noticed places like Mc Donald’s had
similar sketches.

I searched the Silver Valley until one day I came upon a cul-de-sac with a
driveway leading to the
entrance of that mine.

A chain link fence bordered the vast mining acreage making it impossible
for anyone to get close to the abandoned structure, but by strategically placing
my lens next to the holes of the
links, I was able to capture the
picturesque nature of
the scene.

In Photoshop I removed large pine trees and cleaned up ugly debris that
further blocked this
amazing sight.

Using Impressism techniques, it was transform from a run down
Industrial complex into
a work of art.

Canvas, 24 x 36

 

By Chad

 

Next door to Northwest Academy

of Music’s original location is

A marvelous company called

Computer Restore.

 

On the north wall of their

store is a famous pen and ink sketch

of the abandoned Osburn Mine.

 

While living in the Silver Valley, I noticed places like Mc Donald’s had

similar sketches.

 

I searched the Silver Valley until one day I came upon a cul-de-sac with a

driveway leading to the

entrance of that mine.

 

A chain link fence bordered the vast mining acreage making it impossible

 for anyone to get close to the abandoned structure, but by strategically placing

 my lens next to the holes of the

links, I was able to capture the

picturesque  nature of

the scene.

 

In Photoshop I removed large pine trees and cleaned up ugly debris that

further blocked this

amazing sight.

 

Using Impressivistic techniques, it was transform from a run down

Industrial complex into

a work of art.


Mat &Jesse's Story

April 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Mat & JesseMat & JesseMat & Jesse’s
- - Story - -
By Mat, Jesse & Chad ~ 1991
San Jose, California

During a major California earthquake in 1989, a nationally famous photographer’s brick studio was leveled.

The Professional Photographer’s Association put on a full day benefit where this photographer would teach us his miraculous techniques for a set donation amount.

I loved his work and delightedly memorized his techniques and
applied them to all my
client’s sessions.

My home studio was in the middle of the living room, and I used my new techniques on these
seriously cute
cherubs
within months of
marrying their mother.

Mat was three and Jessica was five.

They patiently put up
with a host of poses and
different lighting
modalities until
this image emerged.

My wife, at the time, loved it, because
it captured their sweet innocence.

“Mommy-Grandma” got one for
Christmas, and she cried!

Canvas, 16 x 20

By Mat, Jesse & Chad  ~  1991

 

During a major California earthquake in 1989, a nationally famous photographer’s brick studio was leveled.

 

The Professional Photographer’s Association put on a full day benefit where this photographer would teach us his miraculous techniques for a set donation amount.

 

I loved his work and delightedly memorized his techniques and

applied them to all my

client’s sessions.

 

My home studio was in the middle of the living room, and I used my new techniques on these

seriously cute

cherubs

within months of

marrying their mother.

 

Mat was three and Jessica was five.

 

They patiently put up

with a host of poses and

different lighting

modalities until

this image emerged.

 

My wife, at the time, loved it, because

it captured their sweet innocence.

 

“Mommy-Grandma” got one for

Christmas, and she cried!

 

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