Wednesday, December 14, 2011

     With the season of Christmas and giving here upon us, I just wanted to stop by to say thank you. Thank you to all of those who have supported my photography and my art.  Thank you to those who have wanted my interpretation of light for your personal portraits.  Thank you to those who have given freely of their feedback (both good and bad) for me to cultivate and grow from.  Here is a glass raised in holiday spirit to you.  May you have more than you want, and need for nothing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just had to stop by long enough to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am discovering a new program to help with some of the sales on the site.  VIOLA seems to be a very straight forward way to capture video from the screen of your computer.  I think this will help tremendously on the way I can show people how to order, sell, and otherwise share on the website.  See what you think :

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zenfolio and BlackRapid! What a pair!

So what are the two most important accessories you would say a photographer has?  I would argue that the strap/sling for the camera, and the way you display your art would fall into the top ten!  In the list, Zenfolio has to rank toward the top with an easy to use interface for web-based display.  The ability to compose galleries, custom price lists, send links and emails to customers, change and customize your orders.... love it!  The vendors in the background are national superstars of print (MPix Pro is one of my favorite print services).  Head over to my site,, select a photograph you like, hit buy and try out all the different things you can add to your favorite wall!

The strap comes next in this.  I have had my eye on BlackRapid for some time, and would dearly love to try one out.  I have looked at several, and spoke to several photographers that use them.  I have not heard one bad thing about them.  I think if you knew that you were not going to be going back and forth to a tripod, this would be the sling for you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Fridays

The Start of a new month is here.  With it, a new First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District in downtown Kansas City, Mo.  Several things have changed over the last month.  One, my lovely wife gave me a healthy baby girl.  Two, I have added seven prints for display at the El Patron Restaurant.  Tricia Cronk, owner of Ethan Cole Desgins, contacted me about the possibility of displaying some of my work for the restaurant.  I took her up on her idea, and we will see what the first First Fridays brings.

The works are of various iconic areas and views of Kansas City.  Feel free to stop by the Facebook page with the album El Patron images.  While you are there, hit the like button to be able to follow updates for TBL Photography on Facebook.

Also, for those of you who love to adorn your walls with photographic art... Fracture is a very unique way of getting your favorite shots up on the wall.  I have a couple of these (soon to be more), and love them.  The photo is uploaded to their website (give it a minute as there is not an upload monitor) and then the process begins.  Pick the size you want, add a fancy digital frame around the pic, and order.  

The idea behind this is one of simplicity.  The photo is adhered to the back of the glass so that you can scrub away those pesky toddler fingerprints, and there is no worry of scratching your photo.  Also, the back has your mounting already as part of the backing.  Pull out the provided screw when you open it up, screw it in the wall, and you are set. 

One of the interesting things about this item, is the size is measured from corner to corner (like your television).  There are some estimates as to size comparison on the website.  Also, you can email the company for custom works (i.e. three panel splits).  I think that will be one of my next orders.  All in all, I really like the product.

Hope to see all of you at the First Fridays tonight.  Don't forget to stop by 2010 Gallery KC (located at 2010 Main Street, KC, Mo) for some great artwork.  Currently I have one gallery piece there, and it looks great.  A 20x30 framed print of the Liberty Memorial (Happy Easter from the Liberty Memorial).

Have a safe and fun weekend,

TBL Photography

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Been interesting around here...

Well, the last few days have been intersting. You would think that a guy (or gal) could go out on a photo-walk, and not have that many major incidents.  I get home the other night, and end up having to run in with my wife.  This is what happened...

Now let us talk about baby photography.  Shallow depth of field seems to be the norm in the industry that is baby photography.  The dreamy soft edges and the loving gaze of mom and dad are what we are going for.  Shoot for the eyes, and make them sparkle!  The depth of field is great, but if you can not nail the eyes you have lost the shot. 

This is where I love the focus lock, and then recompose the shot.  Focus on the eyes, hold the focal point, then readjust and put the subject just off center.  This will make the shots pop!  

Oh, and welcome to the world Mackenna! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

It has been awhile since I have been on here, and things have been busy.  I just placed some art in the El Patron Restaurant located at 29th and Southwest Blvd in Kansas City, Mo.  Stop by on your way downtown for great food and margaritas.  I also have placed a 20x30 print of the Liberty Memorial downtown at the 2010 Gallery Kc (2010 Main Street) for First Fridays.

Over the last few months, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts has received some substantial publication coverage.  The building is a noticeable change to the skyline of downtown Kansas City.  The newest addition to the downtown area, shows the lines much akin to the Sydney Opera House.

I have been waiting, in between catering to my pregnant wife, for some night outings downtown to see what it looks like lit up.

As soon as I can make it down there, I will be sure to post more shots. 

In the meantime... be sure to stop by my website at and see what prints you would like to order.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Tallgrass Prairie of the Flint Hills

I made a drive the other day that ended up being about 400 miles by the time it was all said and done. I went from the industrial, downtown area of Kansas City...

 and ended up in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

The Konza Prairie just south of Manhattan, Kansas offers excellent hiking opportunities.  The rolling hills and gentle slopes of the area make for a wonderful day out.  Please be sure to pack out what you bring in.  There are numerous scientific studies being performed on the prairie, so please stay on the trail. OH!  No pets, bikes, or horses are allowed on the trails... and don't forget the minimal $2.00 trail fee at the trailhead... its worth the experience.

Further south on Highway 177, and a slight jog off the paved road, is the Fr. Padilla monument -

Further south on 177, and you come to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve just north and a little west of Strong City, KS.

"The preserve protects a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass ecosystem. Of the 400,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American Continent, less than 4 percent remains, primarily in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a new kind of national park. The preserve is 10,861 acres, but most of that land will remain under the ownership of the Nature Conservancy, which purchased the land in 2005. The land was originally purchased by the National Park Trust in 1994. The National Park Service may own up to 180 acres, yet the legislation calls for the entire acreage to be managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the private land owner.

On September 20, 2002, approximately 32 acres were donated to the National Park Service from the National Park Trust. This area includes the 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse." - Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve [National Park Service - US Dept of the Inerior]

Go to the Gallery - Tallgrass Prairie Gallery

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Search for New Glass

Well, I have been looking for a solution to a mid-range want for a nice telephoto.  I have anguished over the last several weeks... pouring over reviews and pages of text on the performance of different equipment.

I had thought about saving some cash, and looking into the Sigma line of lenses.  I don't know about you guys, but the "gamble" of getting a good lens when spending $500.00 to $1300.00 doesn't appeal to me.  I would think that if you are spending that type of money, you should EXPECT a quality lens.  I read and read about the different Sigmas (The Bigma - 50-500mm) and the 70-200.  From everything I could find, they were "okay."  Now the Bigma (50-500) is consistently listed as a bit soft, some over focus, some short focus.... really?  For $1600.00 and they ALL don't WORK like they are EXPECTED?

I listened to a podcast the other day by Frederick Van Johnson called "This Week In Photo."  First, if you are into photography and want a weekly little show about the industry and what is going on... you should listen.  Anyway, they had Dave Metz on from Sigma.  Now I understand that he is employed by Sigma, but I think he kind of skirted a couple of the questions.  I also understand that he probably doesn't know what the quality and control standards are at the factory, so I will give him that.  I am baffled by his lack of brand commitment when asked how the Sigma lenses stack up to professional use.  His comment was to the effect that some of the lenses are made for the backyard shooter.  Hmmmm... doesn't inspire me into dropping $1600.00 on a lens Dave. (This Week In Photo)

The one set of lenses (and no I did not look at Nikon as I happen to shot Canon) that consistently had high reviews with apparently few quality and control issues were the Canon L-Series lenses.  The reviews showed that these lenses were being used by not only novice shooters, but by professional portrait and outdoor photogs.  So I buckled down and then had the next decision to make... what F-stop range to go for.

I had narrowed my search down to a 70 - 200 lens.  I looked and checked and looked again... this looks to be a great area for portraits and moderate event photos.  I see it also as a short end wildlife lens, and should fall into a great range for some of my hunting shots.  So, do I plop the $$$$ out for the 2.8 or the 4.0?  After checking some more, I boiled it down to this....

- the 2.8 non image stabilized (i.s.) lens is not weather and dust resistant
- the 2.8 does give better low light ability when compared to the 4.0 (twice the amount of light on the one f-stop difference)
- the 2.8 apparently does show some softness on the edges (but not much)
- the 4.0 with i.s. has been reviewed as "tack sharp"
- the 4.0 with i.s. is cheaper than the 2.8 without i.s.
- the 2.8 with i.s. is twice the price of the 4.0 with i.s.
-both of the i.s. lenses are weather and dust resistant

I took all of this in, and came up with the Canon 70-200 F4 L.  It is on the way now, and I will post results as soon as I have some camera time with it. [I got mine from Adorama Camera - Canon F4 kit]

I came to this by looking at something else... the cameras made today.  The ISO ability of the new digital cameras is amazing.  I have been making some great shots with ISO of 1250, with very little grain.  This being said, I get that the i.s. is only going to help in steadying camera shake, and not in the motion stopping ability (shutter speed).  I am anxious in seeing how I can balance a great lens with the appropriate ISO, and shutter speed.

more to follow.....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A moment about portraits...

I have been pouring over books and the interwebs looking and delving into the use of strobes and off camera flash.  Now, I am not opposed to flash.  I think it should be looked at as just another tool to achieve a desired look.  After all there is no photo without light, and in the absence of light we have to introduce some.

I have the standard flash units, but I broke down an purchased a set of studio strobes.  I received the box much as a child rips into the paper on Christmas.  I had the lights set up in about ten minutes with the umbrellas attached, and then waited for the correct subject matter to strike me.  Thankfully my wife and daughter arrived home just in the nick of time.

I wanted to comment on this as there is something I noted in most of the "instructional" sets for the use of off camera flash or strobes.  In almost all of the posts I noticed that there was something missing.... the light settings.  Now I understand this is dependent on each situation, but why can't someone give a starting point to go from.  I messed with the strobes and noticed a decent set up that should save a lot of time ext time to set up.  Main light - 3/4 to full, fill  around 1/2, hair light 1/2 to 3/4.  That is all I did... and fired away.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Okay folks, I broke down and bought a set of location strobes for portrait photos!  They are going to be a nice addition for shooting family sets.  I am also going to work on a battery set for outdoor location shooting!  This should be fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Update to the Boulevard Brewery!

Just received the notification for the property release from Boulevard Brewery to be able to sell my shots from there!  Check out the site, and go to the Boulevard gallery.  I should be back in there in a few weeks, so there will be more.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Went on a photo shoot today!

The Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Missouri.  I walked in there and the first thing I noticed was that everyone was smiling.  These were not put on smiles... people, walking by themselves would walk around the corner not knowing I was there... smiling.  This was one place that the employees genuinly appeared to enjoy working there!  What ever they are doing as a company must be working for the employees!


Went for a walk...

I drove downtown yesterday, and went for a little walk around downtown Kansas City.  I found it interesting, like so many downtown areas... there were old, run down shells of buildings.  Buildings that years ago were filled with apartments, businesses, people.  Now they stand waiting for something.  But I also noted that there was construction going on around them.  I saw streets steady with traffic.  I saw people walking in and out of apartment buildings.  I know that Detroit is in the news lately about the decay of its Urban Core.  I just hope Kansas City, Missouri gets a hand on its core... because like all of decay... Urban Decay can spread.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Birds

Well, I was able to make it out to one of the local open ponds.  It is about the only open water around here, as they have a bubble system in it.  The geese were managing to keep the perimeter of the ice filled with their numbers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Snow

They are predicting 4 to 8 inches of snow from this afternoon into tonight.  I happen to be off tomorrow... first off that is a good but of luck, and second I hope to get out and take some night shots of the snow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow day!

Well, going out in the -10 wind chill this morning to try to get some great morning snow shots!  Last night was fun.  Talked to a couple of people out and about.  Kind of interesting that the only people out on foot last night were photogs.

I was driving down the road through The Country Club Plaza, and saw this white German Shepherd on top of a large snow pile.  I could not see his owner on the other side, so it was an interesting site driving toward this LARGE white dog.  It looked like he was perched on his lookout waiting to pounce.