Ta-Nehisi Coates, Middlebury, Vermont

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a student in the French program at Middlebury College's Summer Language School

Journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, photographed in Middlebury, Vermont

Shooting portraits in full sun can be a problem because it’s hard to compete with a light source as powerful as the sun. One sure way to work this is to place your subject in some shade and light them yourself, balancing ambient exposure with your strobe.

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Holiday Book + Print Sale!


For the upcoming 2014 Holiday Season, I’m offering a copy of my Pane in Empty Rooms 12″x12″ hardcover exhibition book and a 5″x6″ archival pigment photographic print on 8″x10″ fine art cotton rag paper for the low price of $85, plus shipping and handling. The book is signed on the title page. Your choice of print from the Pane portfolio comes signed, titled and shipped flat.

There are only 10 copies of this book available at this price. Once these sell out I won’t be offering them at this price again.

  • 12×12 inch Pane in Empty Rooms exhibition book
  • 5×6 inch fine art photographic print of your choice on 8×10 inch cotton rag paper
  • Both are signed by the photographer and shipped flat
  • $85 plus shipping and handling*

Order now by clicking the link below. Payment processing is handled by PayPal. After you’ve completed your purchase, please email me the title and identification number from the gallery of the image you’d like as a print.

*Applicable sales tax will be added for Vermont residents.

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George Burrill for Drew University Magazine

Drew University Alum Dr. George Burrill
I try to photograph people outdoors as much as possible, but sometimes the weather gets in the way.

Drew University hired me to photograph one of their distinguished alums, Dr. George Burrill, at his home on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. It’s a picturesque location and I would have loved to shoot him outdoors, but the high winds and rain forced us inside.

Shooting him indoors would mean that I would lose any connection with the wonderful surroundings of his cabin. Ultimately, we settled on making this photograph on his screened-in porch looking through his cabin windows behind him to the greenery outside. And that’s not a fan blowing his hair back for that studio wind-blown look: The wind and rain blew in sideways while we were shooting. Even inside the shelter of the porch I had to use sandbags to hold the light stand and softbox in place.

Technical Information

I photographed Dr. Burrill with a Fuji X-E1 camera and 18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 Fujinon XF lens. The exposure was 1/30sec at ƒ/3.2 zoomed to 26.5mm (~40mm full-frame equivalent). It’s a two-light setup, using the overhead table lamp in the background as a backlight and an Einstein E640 monolight far camera left inside a Photoflex medium strip box for the main light.

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Lacrosse Practice, Middlebury, Vermont

Men's lacrosse practice, Middlebury College

Mens Lacrosse Team Practice at Middlebury College, Vermont

I’m not usually a sports shooter, so when the infrequent athletics assignment comes up, I strive for imagery that’s less than a literal account of the event and go for more suggestive compositions.

Technical Information

Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 70-200 ƒ/4 VR lens. The exposure was 1/1600 second at ƒ/5.6, ISO 800.

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Backpacking the Winds with the FujiFilm XE-1

Sunset behind Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming

The Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming. Four-image panoramic composite taken with a Fujifilm XE-1, 35mm ƒ/1.4 lens and a Singh-Ray 3-stop graduated neutral density filter. » View Image in Archive

Note: What follows is a rambling review of the FujiFilm XE-1 and how I felt about carrying it on a six-day backpacking trip in Wyoming. Click here to skip the text and look at the photos.

On a recent six-day backpacking trip into Wyoming’s Wind River Range, I decided it was time to change my usual camera kit. Walking for six days at over 10,000 ft with two climbs above 11,000 ft had this sea-level photographer worried about the weight on his back. More weight = more fatigue = less motivation to photograph. I had to be merciless with the gear I was going to carry so instead of my “massive” Nikon D800 DSLR and lenses, I opted for a Fujifilm X-E1 body and two prime lenses.

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Moon Over Clear Lake, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Backpacking the Wind River Range

Using a graduated neutral density filter along with a standard ND filter brought the exposure of the sky in line with the foreground and allowed a longer shutter speed to blur the wind-blown surface of the lake.

I’m just back from a week of backpacking Wyoming’s wonderful Wind River Range and testing the new-to-me Fujifilm XE-1 mirrorless camera system. I’ll post again soon with more of my thoughts on the Fuji.

EDIT: I’ve posted a long review with my thoughts on carrying the Fujifilm X-E1 deep into the backcountry.

Technical Information

Moon Over Clear Lake, Wind River Range, Wyoming was photographed with a Fujifilm X-E1 camera and Fujifilm XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 lens fitted with a Tiffen 3-stop neutral density filter and a Singh-Ray 3-stop graduated neutral density filter. The exposure was 30 seconds at ƒ/11.

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“Fire”, Sunrise Orchards, Cornwall, Vermont


Careful: his eyes will burn holes in you.

I photographed a man named “Fire” at Sunrise Orchards while shooting for The Apple Pickers portfolio. My modus operandi for this project was to use one studio strobe light to make portraits of the Jamaican workers in the fields as they worked. Most of the men were eager to have their portraits made, but some were reticent, probably unsure about what I was going to do with the photographs.

“Fire” was one of the shy ones, but eventually he gave in and stood for my camera. I got a nod and a handshake when I presented him with prints the next day.

Technical Information

“Fire” was photographed with a Nikon D800 camera and 105mm ƒ/2.5 MF Nikkor lens. The subject was slightly backlit by the sun and illuminated in the front with a Paul Buff Einstein monolight inside a 60-inch reflector umbrella, high up and directly above the camera.

Posted in Cameras, Digital, Equipment, How-To / Tutorial, Lighting, Nikon, People, Photography, Technique | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Using the Camera to Spark Debate


Alexander Cort and Lauren Honican. I made this image the same day I shot the polarizing cover image for the Winter 2014 issue of Middlebury Magazine.

This image of Alexander Cort and Lauren Honican is an outtake from my recent cover story in Middlebury Magazine on student hunters at Middlebury College. The story was so provocative that the next issue’s “Letters” section was devoted entirely to discussion of the article.

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Flow, Otter Creek, Vermont


Technical Information

Flow, Otter Creek, Vermont was photographed with a Sigma DP2 Merrill camera and a B+W ND 3.0 Neutral Density filter. The exposure was 15 seconds and ƒ/11 at ISO 100. The image was converted to monochrome using Adobe Lightroom 5.


Flow, Otter Creek, Vermont, 8″x8″ image on 11″x14″ paper

Buy a Print

Flow, Otter Creek, Vermont is available as an 8″x8″ image on 11″x14″ paper for $99, plus shipping and sales tax for Vermont residents. The bare print is signed and titled and is accompanied by my suggestions for mounting and framing. You can buy your print by clicking the button below to checkout with PayPal.

Posted in Black and White, Cameras, Digital, Equipment, Fine Art, Outdoors, Photography, Sigma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Alfred, Sunrise Orchards, Cornwall, Vermont

Jamaican Apple Pickers at Sunrise Orchards

Technical Information

Alfred of St. Mary, Jamaica; Sunrise Orchards, Cornwall, Vermont is part of my ongoing portfolio The Apple Pickers. I photographed Alfred with a Sigma DP2 Merrill and an Einstein E640 Monolight inside a large Photek Softlighter.

View The Apple Pickers Portfolio

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