Monday, January 30, 2017

Right out of a movie...

The mysterious bachelor uncle that may have shown up for Thanksgiving or Christmas or may be off golfing in FL, we never knew.
My Mother's Brother Phil, never married. He was always alone. Growing up, we only heard from him a few times a year. At his funeral a woman showed up with a shoebox full of letters from the 1940s and gave them to us. Phil had amazing elegant handwriting and these were all love letters from Phil to this woman. I mean LOVE letters. She was Catholic and my Grandpa was a pretty tough Protestant who forbade the union. Phil's letters were full of "You are a good person don't listen to what my family says" affirmations towards her. All this while he's in flight school then stationed during the war. None of us knew this happened or that he was even capable of "love". I found a wedding announcement in his possessions from her saying that she married in 1946. I speculate that it had such an impact on him that he never married. Her husband passed and at the funeral, sobbing told us Phil was the only one she ever really loved... We were all shocked and saddened.
This seems like it should be a movie script but it actually happened. The fact that this was all hidden until after his passing boggles my mind.




Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Portrait...

    I've had people asking me what my recipe is for shooting head shots and portraits. I have no trade secrets. Most folks are confused when I tell them I don't need a studio to pull off the style of shots I take. All I need is about 10 feet of space and a couple of lights.
I shoot 100% of my portraits with a 70-200mm IS L series lens from Canon. With that lens I can stand about 6 feet from my subject and blow whatever is behind them so out of focus that it becomes an instant backdrop. I tell people all the time "The world is my backdrop" I also use what's known in the industry a "hot light" except mine is cold. My wedding photographer Guru invented the Ice Light and it has changed the way I can contour light and shadows.
    So you have your gear, you have your space and you have your subject. I will firmly say if your subject doesn't trust you, you are not going to get "the shot" Sure you may get some pics but the smile may be forced or fake looking. Getting people to let their guard down and trust you is 80% of the gig. Here's a story of a woman who started off our session by telling me right off the bat she hates getting her picture taken and isn't expecting much from the pics. I changed directions immediately and asked her about job and oddly, I happened to have a joke about her industry to which she promptly groaned, after a few minutes of just chatting I told her "let's just take a few and see what we get" I also assured her I would delete any image she didn't like right in front of her.
She believed I was going to protect her image. After about five shots, she relaxed and I got what I felt was "the shot",  I showed her and if I remember correctly her response was
"hey, I don't hate that" we shot for another 10 minutes but none moved me like that one pic. Here's that image, beautiful.


    I have shot hundreds of portraits and as of a few days ago, I may have technically shot one of the best of my career. Shot in a living room with a fax machine behind me and a dining room table behind him you would think I was shooting in a high end studio.
Full 120mm lens, aperture f/4.5, exposure time of 1/100th of a second, ISO of 1000.
White balanced of 5200K for the Ice Light, camera RAW, not .jpg


Here's a bigger version of a few from that session...Lance

    The balance of technical and gained trust is what gets a great head shot. I will never say I've mastered either but I am loving learning every day.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Tunage...

When delving into Christmas music there are all kinds of dangers you can encounter for Music is subjective. While you can love a song it may sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to others.
This Christmas music list is MY list not yours, this is not a debate. If you think I am out of my mind great, so be it. If you hate something on this list and feel the need to comment realize you are also commenting on a choice that means something to me.
What appeals to me in a Christmas song? For me personally it's a time of peaceful hope. Being a man of faith, it's a celebration of when Jesus came to Earth. On a humanistic side, faithful or not, it can be a time for humans to just step back and care for one another without looking for something in return, something we should be doing all year. If a song lyrically hits those targets, my heart takes notice. Musically, if it's a traditional carol, either stick to tradition or do such a unique cover and make it your own. If you do that then my ears take notice.
   I have 500+ Christmas cd's even I will admit that's too many. I am using my iTunes play count to guide me on what I've been listening to the most the past few years and see if there are any new additions... Let's get started.


#1. Lowen & Navarrow's "At Long Last...Christmas"
#2. Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn "Christmas"
#3 Dave Grisman's "Acoustic Christmas"
#4 Riki Michele's "Come let us adore him"
#5 Smalltown Poets "Christmas"
#6 The Gypsy Hombres "Django Bells"
#7 Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumble "The Gift"
#8 Uncle Daddy "Christmas"
#9 Mel Torme's "Christmas Songs"
#10 Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas"
#11 Riders in the Sky "Christmas the Cowboy Way"
#12  A compilation, Bethlehem Skyline
#13 Andrew Peterson "Behold the Lamb"
...and quickly climbing my "plays" numbers is (just got it) Carolyn Arends brand new "Christmas: the Story of Stories"
#14 The Cambridge Singers " Carols of the Nativity"
#15 Fernando Ortega "Christmas Songs"
#16 Casting Crowns "Peace on Earth"
#17 Christmas Cocktails
#18 A Very Blue Rock Christmas
New for 2016
#19 Colorfair
#21 Cara Dillon


    This should be enough for you to understand what my photo editing area sounds like during the holidays. If feeling stressed I will full admit I will pull some of these out even in the Summer. These tunes put me in a better place.
Now I know there are hundreds of more artists and albums this is just my personal top choices.

    In this time in the world when there is so much hatred, there's a passage that can be implemented  no matter what religion you practice or if any at all. The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or treat others how you would like to be treated, Not hard...

Peace Y'all!!!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Cell Phone...

Okay here we go...

What kind of society have we become that we can't get by without our precious smart phones for an hour or two? In shooting a wedding yesterday I spent more time trying to get the attention of the shootee's away from their phones. During the hair and makeup time the bridesmaids all had cute matching t-shirts, mimosa's, 4 hair and makeup stylists, fun music playing, pretty dresses ready to be worn and what are they all doing, sitting on the bed with their heads buried in their phones.
A bit later the groomsmen were all standing around with their heads buried and I actually leaned into one of them and asked what we would do if we didn't have smart phones... "I dunno, maybe talk to each other?" then went back to his phone.
Then comes the FABULOUS cameras we all carry now. I was hired to shoot an event that Matt Forte of the Bears was going to walk around and take pics with people.
I was supposed to shoot the meet and greet shots BUT!!!! everyone getting their picture with Matt wanted it on their phone so they could instantly communicate with the world who they were standing with. The majority of the pics I took that night were of the group smiling for a cell phone then dispersing leaving me with no shot. Trust me I was making myself known, I'm hard to miss.
   When shooting weddings I always have to let who ever is there with a phone get the shot first. The people getting their pictures taken always know the cell phone holder better than me so of course they are going to pose for them first. So after 3 or 4 cell phone people, I can then try and get their attention back to me. I can't even tell you how much shooting time cell phones have cost me. Then comes the ceremony. People have no shame in standing in front of you to get their shot and because your screen is the viewfinder you have to hold it up for all to see to get that pulitzer winner. How many concerts have we been to lately that is just a sea of bluish glowing 4 inch screens. Forget the lighter, the cell phone is now our beacon of support. Now one area of a wedding I think is kind of fun for cell phone is the exit from the church. I actually like seeing a bunch of phones out capturing the bubbles or bird seed being launched at the new couple I'll admit, pretty fun.
    How about dinners, here's where I have point the finger at myself. I am guilty of food pics. I am also guilty of checking email looking for the next job. All too often when I am in a restaurant, I see couples more interested in Face Book than the person sitting across from them and not just a quick check, a full blown absorbed session. I heard once of a game. Everyone at dinner has to put their cell phone in the middle of the table in a stack and the first person to check the internet has to pay for dinner.

Cell phone tip from a photographer.
If you feel the need to take a picture and absolutely have to, your heart will just break of you don't get the shot, do it. Do it fast and do your best not to disturb anyone around you BUT FIRST!!!
look behind you and see if you are getting in the shot of the pro, wait 30 seconds and they will have moved on.  Be as discreet as humanly possible.

Bottom line, cell phones are not going away anytime soon. Don't let em control your life.
Words I am going to do my best to live by.














Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Backdrop?


The beauty of shooting portraits with a 200mm lens is if you stand about 8 feet from the subject, the world becomes your backdrop.
The following pictures were all shot in the same location with us just turning towards a different wall.

Doug White Photography for more information.











Friday, August 8, 2014

A surreal twist at the WI St. Fair...

    I made it quite known that I just had ZERO desire to work for the Cudahy Bacon Day at the Wisconsin St. Fair. We have to be on site by 5:30am, put in a long day in the Sun to have rude people grab bacon samples out of other peoples hands. Last year I vowed I wouldn't do it again.
I soon realized I just am not at a point in my life that I can turn down work so I agreed to do it.
This year was different because I was to stage manage for the bacon cooking demos and the live band. Much better assignment than the previous year, things were looking up.
I then find out that Ralph Covert was the act. I met Ralph years ago when his band The Bad Examples were playing in the 90's. He then came up with a brilliant music angle of presenting family oriented rock geared towards kids. That quickly caught the eyes of Disney and you can see Ralph's World on the Disney Channel here and there. Playing Bass for him is an old friend of mine Brian.
Here's why I'm talking about these guys. I know my Dad went to Ralph's studio a few times to help him with some French accordion consulting. I re introduce myself to Ralph and talked about a few of the same people we know and by the way,  I'm Don White's son. His eyes lit up and he declared that he loved Don White. I told him of his passing a few weeks ago and he was so moved that he hugged me and didn't let go. We talk about Dad for a while and I was amazed at the impact Dad had.
    The band goes on stage and they are just kill'n it. Kids and parents dancing and really having a great time. Ralph then asks "Who likes a polka???", the crowd cheers. He then says we sure could use an accordion on this tune, This one goes out for one of the best, Don White.
I'm trying to be all professional out in the crowd and I just welled up and was trying to clear my eyes throughout the whole tune. Head here and listen to Peggy's Pie Parlor Polka.
The day was very enjoyable and I'd do it again and thanks to Ralph for making it unexpectedly amazing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A special Sunday morning...


On Sunday morning July 13th, my Dad passed away.
After 89 years of an amazing life he spent less than a week in Hospice care in our home.
Not having any medical experience, I was not sure what was going to happen or how so I didn't know what to expect and I have to say, I was pretty scared.
Hospice comes in with a few drugs for us to have on hand in case of breathing difficulties or anxiety and it wasn't
until Saturday evening we noticed his breathing was, for lack of a better term, controlled panting. The nurse suggested we give him a .25mg dose of morphine to calm that down. We did so but I wasn't sure if it made a difference. We stayed up with him for as long as we could before we fell asleep. I woke around 7:30, put on some music for Dad and he was in the same state but now 100% unresponsive or unable to squeeze my hand when asked to. Around 8:15, his breathing became more labored so I gave him .5mg of the morphine and within 10 minutes his breathing calmed, it was shallow but calm. Kim was working with Mom to get her ready for the day and as she brought her out she wheeled her over to see Dad. As she touched his arm I could notice his breathing was slowing to every 5 seconds or so, then 10 seconds, then...nothing. He just stopped breathing. No gasp, no twitch, he just ceased. Kim was on the phone with the Hospice nurse and I checked his neck for a pulse, it was over.  I had not experienced anything like this. Was honored yet a little....uhhhhh, what do I do now?
Was there divine intervention for him to wait until Mom was by his side? I don't know but sure was amazing timing.
Siblings were all called, tears were shed. An amazing peace for all of us. 

All four of his kids were able to see him before he died...win
No suffering....win
Peaceful end...win