Glastonbury Dance

Glastonbury Dance
I particularly enjoy photo assignments that involve meeting and photographing independent business owners. Entrepreneurs are a special breed of risk takers who make their dreams a reality, despite adversity. On a recent Google virtual tour assignment, I met Shari Boyaji owner and Director of Glastonbury Dance Center https://glastonburydancecenter.com/ 





We discussed how we got our businesses through 2020. I was impressed to hear that Shari was quick to pivot to on-line dance classes and that she was able to keep her entire staff employed through the pandemic lockdown. Shari told me that she has been a dance instructor for over 25 years.


Normally I spend about an hour photographing a small business. You can view the Glastonbury Dance Google virtual tour here:  https://goo.gl/maps/zuyfgCatZHAzvaes9  I take five panoramas that are connected to create a virtual walk-though of the business and then I take about ten still images of the business interior, exterior, and signage. When I viewed the mirrored studios at Glastonbury Dance, I knew this photo assignment would be challenging.  After discussing with Shari what still photos she wanted, I realized that this would not be a routine assignment.

I keep a complete set of flash lighting equipment in the trunk of my big Ford Crown Victoria and I always take the time necessary to properly light a subject. I am very fussy about lighting. The first challenge was a photo of the vast array of trophies from dance competitions won by Glastonbury Dance Center. I set up two large umbrella lights, but I still wasn’t happy with the lighting. The background of the dance studio was too dark, so I got a third light out of my trunk and lit the background so you can see the logo on the far wall.


The next set of photos was Shari posing with the Glastonbury Dance Center logo, for her branding program. I set up my umbrella lights in the dance studio and worked on getting just the right lighting on Shari and the logo painted on the wall.  Shari asked if I had any time constraints and I said “nope, I’m having a ball”.



This is why I became a photographer. Every day is different and every photo assignment has unique challenges. When I'm asked when I'm going to retire; my reply is " why would I retire when I'm having so much fun working?"

Tim Becker
Creative Images Photography
901 Main St.
Manchester, CT 06040
860-528-7818

Lighting

Lighting
I became interested in photography as a high school student. I saved money from my after school grocery clerk job to buy a Kowa single lens reflex 35mm camera. My Dad let me trade in his old Kodak 35mm and I went to New York City to purchase the camera I had seen in Popular Photography magazine. I later added a 135mm telephoto lens.

I remember developing my first roll of black and white film in my friend’s basement and making black and white prints in the school darkroom.  It was amazing watching a print develop under the red safelight. That's when I got hooked on photography.  I won one of the prizes in our high school’s photography contest. The print was a nighttime snow scene that I took using my new tripod, right in front of my house. The streetlights which were mercury vapor lamps; made a strange blue color on the snow, which made the street look surreal. At the time, I didn’t understand anything about lighting. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. When I see an interesting light pattern, I can’t help framing the composition in my mind. I can't turn it off. It can be a tree or a fence in my backyard, a patch of light on my floor at home; or a fiery sunset that I saw when walking my dog,. Occasionally I will pull out my cell phone and take a photo of the lighting just to get it out of my system.  





I have become obsessed with lighting and the proper way to utilize flash to get the best lighting possible, on the images that I create for my clients. I don’t know exactly how many light heads I have. The number is over 30 from high power studio strobes to small video lights. Lately I have become enamored with battery powered portable flash units that I can set up anywhere.

This brings me to the point of my story, which is my opinion that lighting is so important; that all professional commercial photographs should include lighting that is controlled or put there by the photographer, if at all possible.. This is especially true when photographing interiors. Anyone can point a camera and take a photo. A professional will light the scene so that texture and color are brought out and a feeling is created.

Here are a couple of examples of recent home interior images I took for a MLS listing. Can you tell which ones I lit with electronic flash?







I could have lit the home exterior below with my large flash units or waited until mid June when the sun would be on the front of this house, but neither option was practical. When I need to; I will use software to get the lighting effect that I need.



I will have a lot more to say about lighting in future posts. Life and photography would not be possible without light!

Tim Becker

Creative Images Photography

901 Main St.

Manchester, CT 06040

860-528-7818

tim@2cimages.com



Funny Business

Funny Business


There are times when photo assignments don’t go as planned. A Google virtual tour assignment in early January, from my photo agency, Instant 360 ; https://instant360.com/ appeared to be routine, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

I was asked if I would be willing to drive to Nyack, New York, which is about 100 miles away, to photograph a comic book store called Funny Business funnybussinessonline.com. It sounded like a fun job and I readily agreed. I set it up for the next Friday. It was a two-hour drive which included passing over the new Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge, which was formerly known as the Tappan Zee bridge.  The new bridge is very impressive.  https://bit.ly/3699eDd..



I arrived at 10 AM and found that the store was not open. There was a paper sign in the window that said the store had closed early. I began making phone calls and sending emails. I eventually found out that the owner had to leave, due to an emergency. My only choice at that point, was to reschedule and enjoy the two-hour drive home, without accomplishing anything. This happens from time to time and I need to be flexible to succeed as a commercial photographer. The following Friday I made the trip again and this time the store was open. I met Chris, who is one of the owners. Chris began collecting comic books at age five. It was his dream to have his own comic book store. I went to work taking a variety of exterior and interior still shots. The bright colors throughout the store were compelling. There even are large posters of comic books on the ceiling. The store also has a variety of Lego kits and collectable toys. Chris also sells on-line and does a weekly virtual auction on Instagram.






I went to work creating the virtual tour, which can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/maps/MKsjcHMCae9AzUDe8
While I was taking the 360-degree images, the UPS driver burst through the door with several large packages. I stopped and waited. Unfortunately, I had lost my rhythm and made a mistake that I didn’t discover until I went to stitch the panorama images on my computer. I was missing one angle and there was only one way to fix it; go back and take it.

In hindsight, I should have retaken the entire panorama after the interruption. I should have known better. I called Chris right away and arranged to visit again the next morning, to get the missing photo. He offered to open the store an hour early, which I appreciated.




 After my third visit to Nyack, I got it right. By that afternoon the images were edited and sent to the agency. One thing I learned in business is to own my mistakes and to fix them as soon as possible. As you may recall from one of my earlier posts, I go to great lengths to avoid messing up. My mistakes do help to keep me humble. At least, I got to enjoy driving over the cool new bridge two more times!

Tim Becker

Creative Images Photography

901 Main St.

Manchester, CT 06040


860-528-7818

tim@2cimages.com

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The Retreat

The Retreat
For anyone receiving my photography blog for the first time, I share my interesting photo assignments and my thoughts about photography; every month or so. If you don't wish to receive these emails, please feel free to unsubscribe. 

In the spring of 2019, I was asked to provide a quote for producing a Google virtual tour and still images of a hidden gem in downtown Hartford called “The Retreat” http://www.crtct.org/en/need-help/senior-services/the-retreat .


The Retreat is the first urban-built affordable assisted living community in Connecticut. The facility has 100 apartments in a beautiful building at 90 Retreat Avenue. The facility is is owned and operated by the Community Renewal Team. According to their website, CRT http://www.crtct.org/en/ was started in 1962 and has become the largest non-profit human service agency in Connecticut. In 2018 CRT’s programs and services helped more than 67,000 individuals and 28,000 families.

Unfortunately, funding was not available in 2019. One thing I have learned as a commercial photographer is to follow up with clients who request a quote. I keep checking back and was pleased to be contacted by the communications director of CRT in the summer of 2020, when funding became available to go ahead with the photography. 

You can take the virtual tour here: https://goo.gl/maps/V2ssftV6V4HtRYxM6
I was also asked to create a short video, which I did utilizing the still images. You can view the video here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/o1yvcjmq7bh637q/The_Retreat_Version2.mp4?dl=0




The apartments and the patio feature views of Hartford. There is a spacious "Civic Center" lounge, a craft and game room, a large dinning room and a smaller private dinning area for family meals. There is a large chapel that features artwork of all the major religions. The residents also have medical professionals and an exam room available on the premises.




They also have a beauty salon.

I was really impressed by the staff at this facility and by the fact that the rental fees are scaled to the income of the residents. The Retreat is truly a gem, and I was pleased to be chosen to photograph it.


Tim Becker

Creative Images Photography

901 Main St.

Manchester, CT 06040

860-528-7818

tim@2cimages.com


Metal Parts

Metal Parts
I want to start out by wishing everyone a wonderful and joyous holiday season. I am confident that 2021 will be a great year as the new vaccine takes hold and our economy gets back into high gear. 

After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in photography, I got my first full-time job working on catalog photos that included Spalding golf clubs and Stanley measuring tapes. I learned how to light chrome and polished metal products and they became one of my favorite things to photograph.
 
When I started my commercial photography studio, one of the specialties I offered was photographing metal parts. One of my first assignments was making a black and white photograph, with my 4X5 view camera, of a single Pop Rivet. I see my job as making the photographs as interesting as possible utilizing lighting, camera angle, and background color. I consider photographing a metal part like photographing a fine art sculpture.



I have found that shades of blue make the “cold steel” stand out. I often use a blue background or a blue gel on a neutral gray background. From time to time, I also have used a large slab of slate or a mirrored finish black plexiglass to add interest. 


I had the challenge and opportunity of making pipe hangers exciting and interesting for Empire Industries in Manchester, CT: https://www.empireindustries.com/products/



When I am in a factory and I see an interesting pattern of metal parts, I just snap away. Wherever metal parts are being cut, assembled, waiting for inspection, or just raw material being moved, there are opportunities for great photographs.


 



According to the National Associations of Manufacturers:  "Manufacturers in Connecticut account for 11.23% of the total output in the state, employing 9.49% of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $30.78 billion in 2018. In addition, there were an average of 160,000 manufacturing employees in Connecticut in 2018, with an average annual compensation of $96,279.43."


In November, I had the privledge of handling a week-long project that involved photographing hundreds of metal replacement parts for Gerber Technology in Tolland Connecticut: https://www.gerbertechnology.com/ They manufacture machinery for cutting fabric, leather and vinyl along with many other products worldwide. 

I am proud to produce visual content for manufacturers; and I am looking forward to photographing many more metal parts in 2021!

Timothy Becker
Creative Images Photography
901 Main St.
Manchester, CT 06040
860-528-7818
1518127659643_PastedImage

 
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