Tag Archives: Black and White Photography

Aiden Sinclair Photoshoot

 

 

 

Aiden-For-Web-4I met Aiden Sinclair in April of 2014 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado during a Strange Escapes event. Aiden was not only the kind of guy that I instantly wanted to make friends with, but he was the kind of guy I immediately wanted to photograph as well.

Even while he took over the lobby of the hotel for a twenty minute demonstration of his paranormal illusions act, it was his manner and style that struck me as much as the quality of his act. He was dressed in a black vest with red tie, crucifix chain hanging from a button, with round glasses, and his act was a compelling mixture of illusion and allusion — drawing on the history of the hotel, spiritualism, and spirits themselves — in a way I’d never seen before. As someone intensely interested in the play between ghosts, entertainment, performance, and the suspension of an audience’s disbelief, I was quickly curious to get to know this stranger and see what he was all about.

He made many fans that day, as well as significant connections. He returned the following year to the Strange Escapes event as an official entertainer for those groups on their off-nights, and he’s established a recurring show at the Stanley each month called “Illusions of the Passed.” Turns out that, during his second stint at the Stanley, he was also in-between rounds on America’s Got Talent, where he wowed judges and the audience with his not only his act, but also his story.

After a few good conversations over beers that second year at the Stanley,  I began to pester him regularly for a photoshoot, knowing his style and mine would be a match I’d wanted to shoot for my whole career to that point. We finally managed to make time this October for him to visit my home studio in Loveland to make a few portraits.

This is the behind the scenes video:

The images were shot on a Canon 6D with both the 24mm 1.4L and the 50mm 1.8 (still working up to that Sigma Art!) with an Einstein E640, a 47″ Paul C. Buff Octobox, and a Canon 430EX II speedlite with a MagMod kit in front of a black fabric backdrop.

We were going for a variety of shots, from headshot portraits to images with a few of his more iconic props, and a handful of composites. The composite backgrounds are plates of various locations around Germany that I had the opportunity to shoot back in January while traveling with my brother.

October was a crazy month for me, running from photoshoot to photoshoot around both the state of Colorado and the country itself. Early November was crunch time to get these shoots edited, and Aiden’s name was high on the list! A few of my favorite images can be seen below.

 

Aiden-For-Web-21It was truly a blast to work with Aiden, and I’m happy to call him a friend. He’s a class act and has very big things in his future. I’m excited to watch them come together for him as smoothly as these images came together for me!

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Karl Pfeiffer is a novelist, photographer, and ghost hunter. He’s the author of the novel Hallowtide, the short story collection Into a Sky Below, Forever, and the forthcoming Amarricages. He won the first season of Ghost Hunters Academy, went on to work with the GHI team, and now lectures across America and leads the weekend ghost hunts at the Stanley Hotel. He’s also a portrait photographer and conceputal artist based in Northern Colorado. Follow him on Twitter: @KarlPfeiffer

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Ed and Ryan Wedding

Wedding-Title-CardBeautiful wedding with Ed and Ryan from back in July. I’ve been doing photos for a year now, but this was my first wedding. And I have to say I have way too many favorites. From the prep to the sheer joy that carried Ed and Ryan through the day, I couldn’t be happier with the experience. Eide-Wedding-For-Web-100 Wedding-2-For-WebEide-Wedding-For-Web-316 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-254 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-177 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-424 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-307 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-163 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-137 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-131 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-167 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-185 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-189 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-562 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-50 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-76 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-78 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-97 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-118 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-120 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-123 Eide-Wedding-For-Web-412
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Ian and Kate Engagement Shoot

Ian-Kate-8BA barista at the coffeeshop I attend all too often asked me the other day if I enjoyed doing engagement photos. She asked it with the kind of wariness much of my generation shares about sentimentality and the hollowness of tradition. Even this couple, who I just did these engagement photos for, were reluctant, after perusing Pinterest for days, to wind up forced into dumb sappy engagement photos. At the coffeeshop, I shrugged and said, “yeah, I guess.” I’m not sure I want to exclude all others, but I like it okay.

But then I’ll sit down for a few hours and I’ll work on my coffee after it’s gone cold and I’ll turn out a batch from a session like this one and I fall in love with the work all over again. No matter how many headaches or stresses, capturing a real moment, whether that’s between two people or just one person and the camera lens, translating an emotion through the lighting and the small ways faces move, that’s what I love. There’s a kind of sublimity in that, and it appeals to the inner Romantic in me, who’s always searching for the transcendent in the details.

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Unsettling

Another quick rundown of the last few days of 365 photos, where I focused on a bit of a different style, lightening the blacks and playing with the more surreal and the more disturbing. 29C-Headless-For-Web

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Something Unsettling

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Another set of my more eerie and supernaturally inclined conceptual photography. It’s still January (though if this accounts for 1/12 of this project already, it’s going to be a wicked fast year). Hoping to continue to improve. Some of these I’m not in love with. Some I am.

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365 and 2014 and New Chapters

Happy New Years, all! Big thanks for undertaking the last years together with me, and hopefully holding on for more to come!

2014 is bringing a lot with it this year, which is equal parts terrifying and thrilling. I moved into a new apartment a few days before the new year broke, finally stepping out on a gamble that my photography will be enough to make rent. Love the place. It’s tiny and old and the number one fire worry in the city right now, but I adore it and I’m looking forward to a lot of memories made there in the next few months.

With this new chapter, right around the new year, and my recent emphasis on photography, I thought it would be an excellent time to begin work on the 365-Photo-Challenge, which is a project that requires photographers to try taking a picture every single day for a year. It’s a great opportunity to flex one’s creativity and skill set, and I’m wicked excited for it (even if I’ve already missed two days this weekend and I’m playing catch up not even a week in).

But I wanted to share the first few with you guys, and give you a glimpse of the new place.

The first photo was on the morning of the new year. We pulled an all-nighter and drove up the mountain in Boulder to catch the sunrise. An awesome way to bring in the new year. The sunrise turned out a bit weak. Overcast skies masked the sun. The best I got was an eerie shot of the city lights and moody clouds. We could only see the sunrise through a gap in the cloudcover. There was probably a metaphor there for how I feel starting the year.

1a-For-WebAnd I’m hoping that this shot, from my apartment window later that afternoon, was another indicator of how the year will wrap up.

1b-For-WebThe official second photo was actually taken a couple days before the new year, the first morning I unlocked the apartment. I’d been in there dozens of times because one of my close friends was renting for a couple months before moving to Wisconsin. That morning, it was eerie and empty and echoing and of course the first thing I had to do was lug in my camera stuff and take a shot.

2-For-WebThe after-shot of course, after moving most of the bedroom/living room in.

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Today’s shot. There might’ve been a haircut in there somewhere.
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And the first of hopefully a series of coming creative/conceptual shots. I wasn’t expecting much with this guy, but it wound up surprising the hell out of me.

(Probably another metaphor there for the year if you want to force things). 5-For-Web

 

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Soft Light

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Finally got together with a friend of mine, Laura, for a shoot we’ve been talking about for some time.

“I’m thinking something with soft light,” she said. “Kind of a Suicidegirls feel, only with clothes.”

I think we killed it.

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Fog and Fotos

Angels-and-Demons-For-WebDriving home from a Stanley hunt, the skies were clear over Estes Park and most of the canyon. When I left the mountains and hit the front range, driving into Loveland, I hit a massive fog bank that had swallowed the town. Fog is rare in Colorado — only a couple times a year rare — and perhaps because of its rarity, it has become my favorite kind of weather. After getting home, I grabbed my camera gear and swung back out to a nearby parking lot to shoot. 

The two self-portraits were more practice for the 365-day photo challenge I’ll be undertaking in the new year than anything particularly serious.

It was a fantastic way to transition to the winter solstice, fifteen degrees, with the world surrounded in mist.

I’m not one for naming my photos. I find it tacky. Usually names only try to get at something the art is doing well to speak about on its own. But I like them when they add something. The photo above is called “Solstice (Angels and Demons)”.

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Speedlites and Sunsets

AJ-For-Web-11Stole my filmmaker buddy AJ again while he was in town last week. He wanted some more headshots to choose from and I was happy to oblige. Of course, it came with the steep price of his being my guinea pig to test out what I’ve been wanting to try for a couple weeks now, which is shooting portraits in front of a sunset.

These last couple months, I’ve been very passionate about portrait photography (pretty straightforward) as well as shooting HDR landscapes (which combines different exposures to get high-contrast images that more or less allow you to control where you’d like the light to fall in the shot without blowing out highlights or losing silhouettes). The joys of buying a speedlite mean that I can more or less combine both in camera. By exposing for the sunset first, you then fill in with the flash until you’ve got a nice blend of both sky and subject. I think I managed it pretty well for a first try.

Obviously, we had a lot of fun playing around before that key twilight moment I was waiting for. The sun didn’t disappoint. All these following shots use the speedlite (some with a touch of reflector) to help lessen the harsher shadows from the sun, balance out the background, and later, the sky.

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If you dig the photos, they’re just a taste of what’ll be coming as 2014 swings into action and I get more photo work. If you want to get ahead of the curve, I just built a Facebook fan page for my photography specifically, and you’re welcome to browse, interact, and like it — if you like. It’s just right here.

And then after we finished shooting AJ, I couldn’t say no to juggling my flash along with my camera to shoot AJ and his boyfriend, Ben.

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Photoblog: These are the Ghoulies

Ghoulies-TeaseSpent my Friday night hanging out with these crazy fools, the Ghoulies. They’re a punk band out of Denver, Colorado, and they have a damn good time on stage. (You might recognize Connor if you’ve done a ghost hunt at the Stanley Hotel with the two of us).

The band booked me for some shots before performing at the Buffalo Rose in Golden, Colorado. Buffalo Rose was a bad ass place. Grungy and dingy but with big booming speakers, a fantastic staff, and a nice front end, it was a sick place to bang out something loud.

They banged out the tunes. I banged out the shots. These are my favorites. After shooting some 1500 photos over the course of the night, both band shots and live shots, I’ve been deleting and editing until my fingers hurt. But these are the fruits and I couldn’t be happier.

It was another experiment in flash photography at twilight, and I’m still in love with it. The lack of softbox or umbrella gives a lot of the photos a harsh look, but that works for these guys. And I’m still wigging about shooting this dark with 100 ISO. You can’t beat the sharpness.

Anyway, have a look, give their stuff a listen. This song is perhaps my favorite. They closed with it, and it was stuck in my head for the rest of the night. It’s called Backdoor Man.

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Ghoulies-For-Web-7And this is the set from their live show. I creeped about during sound check and the show to get the best angles I could. I took about a thousand photos during the live element (trying to keep my shutter fast enough to avoid motion blur, catch the action without silly expressions, and nail the focus in an already-very dim but often backlit room was hard as hell, and it was easy to spray and pray when I caught an angle I liked). I got maybe 25 that I liked, and of them, only the following are the favorites.

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