Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas with Caitlin

Clearly, my girlfriend knows me well.

Leica IIIc-1

Leica IIIc-2

Leica IIIc (1946-47ish). Expect to see some photos from it soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Multiple Flash

I Put On My Robe and (Santa) Hat

Vivitar 283 camera left as key

Vivitar 285 high above camera for fill (1/4 power).


Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Probably one of the best soundslides I've seen in awhile:

When I had to find an inspiring audio slideshow, the first site I thought of was Mediastorm. This project is no exception. The photos are diverse enough to be interesting but cohesive enough to tell a story. The segmentation of the story into what feels like chapters (with each character) makes the nearly-14 minute length flow extremely well. The audio is well done, though I feel like the narrative should start earlier than it does. Overall though, the work is basically incredible and really reminds me of the reasons I wanted to do photojournalism in the first place: tell stories that have the ability to demonstrate some essential part of humanity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Painting with light... AGAIN!

Caitlin and I decided to go out to the sandpits just outside of Tulsa (in Bixby, for those of you who know the city) and do some painting with light. I just got a few new manual strobes, so I thought I'd use this to test them out... turns out, I only used my flash on a few shots. But, the flashlight stuff turned out really cool.

(all photos by Caitlin and me)


This was with a Mag-Lite and Caitlin's little multi-color flashlight.


Tree was strobed and multi-color flashlight'd. Grass was with the Mag-Lite.


This one is sorta morbid. But, I really liked the glow around her body.


This isn't painting with light so much as it's just open flash... but, I loved the color of the sky in this one.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fill flash!

Bonus points if you can guess how this would look without fill.


Still need suggestions on portfolio (see last post). Any help would be awesome.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hey, I just revised my singles gallery for my portfolio. If you can, take a look, leave me a comment with any thoughts/improvements/etc.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Painting with Light

Here's our group's (Matt, Claire, Erin and me) painting with light shot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Remember Today

Remember Today

Regardless of what you may think about what direction this country might turn, today was important. Remember that.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the Diner

In The Diner

Caption: Grill cook Raydell Wright makes hamburgers during the lunch hour at Broadway Diner on Wednesday. Wright has been working at the diner for two and a half years.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Single flash, part 2: Direct

This is direct flash! I had a much, much easier time metering for this.

John Clark, a night custodian at Hickman High School mops the main entranceway on Wednesday night, long after students had left. “I love my job,” Clark said. “Love it, love it, love it. Simple as that.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Single flash, first take

Well, I took around 50 shots, and this is basically the only good one I had. Near the end, I was getting the exposure more accurate, but moments are hard to come by when you have to wait for your flash to recharge to full power.

Cutline: Stephens College sophomore Caitlin Harris burns a bra to encourage breast cancer awareness on Wednesday, Oct. 15 on Stephens College campus. Harris’ said she was attending the event due to the death of one of her favorite teachers from breast cancer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Metal and glass! (Technically, I had glass... the metal's just for fun)

Lit on a light table, one light under the table bounced off the ground to diffuse it, and a softbox behind the table.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Classmate portrait!

I decided to go with my original image for the select... I just liked the tones on it a bit better than my retakes.

Valerie Mosley holds a locally-grown green pepper to her face. Mosley, described as a "food nerd" by her younger brother, worked at Wild Oats, a natural food store in Tulsa, Okla, for five years before attending the University of Missouri to study photojournalism.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I went to the Heritage Festival and the Pinnacles with some friends last weekend and brought some of my film cameras. The Pinnacles were crazy; I almost fell of the side of this huge cliff. So, all-in-all, it was a good trip.

Photos? Of course.

Kiss The Sky

This is Chelsea. Chris and I asked her to pose, and she just randomly did this.

Fall, Once Again

It's fall! This photo looks way better before it was converted for the web... the color just isn't as vibrant.

Working Away

There was a bunch of people at the Heritage Festival just making their products as people watched. It was cool stuff. I love the skin tones on this photo... Kodachrome is just great for that.

Broom Maker

My exposure was a bit dark here, but I love the old-timey feel of this.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Opine me!

Valerie is currently at the Missouri Photo Workshop, so I had to shoot my classmate portrait project for Advanced Techniques a bit early... Since I have so much time, I'd really like your help. This goes for all of you, those who are in the class and those who aren't. I have to submit one photo for the select. First of all, I want to know which one you think I should pick. Second, if a picture would be better with a reshoot, I have a limited amount of time next Monday in the studio to redo it, but only if it's absolutely necessary.

Also, for those of you who aren't familiar with Advanced, the photos are all .jpgs, straight out of camera with cropping as the only edit. I can't (A) shoot raw or (B) edit levels or anything like that. So, keep that in mind.

Lighting: Softbox on the right, reflector high left.

I'm leaning towards this one as my select, but the right side of the face is a bit hot. There's still detail there though, so it shouldn't be TOO big of a deal. I was also thinking of shooting this again on a white background. Thoughts?

Lighting: Softbox right, reflector left, red-gelled light in the background (even though you can't see it).

Lighting: Same as previous.

Please, tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Schwag

NOTE! If you hear random dialogue when you open this page, this is where it's coming from. Just hit pause. kthnks!

I'll post some uncropped stills from this soon... until then, enjoy!

The full version can be found at, along with the actual article. Also, if you live in Columbia, it's the cover story of Move magazine, which should be available pretty much everywhere.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just catching up

Okay, so I recognize how long it's been since I've updated this with any of my work other than that last copy test thing. So, here's a collection of stuff I've done recently.

I got a 30D about a month ago, and one of the first things I did, naturally, was take photos of Caitlin. She found my fedora and we did a portrait shoot using a reflector and natural light from my window.


Kinda looks like "A Clockwork Orange".

I keep saying that I'm working on a photo essay over Hissom, a center for the treatment of the mentally disabled that was abandoned 20 or so years ago, but I really can't find the time to conduct the interviews. Until then, here are two photos from the shoot.

Negative Space

Falling Down

I used a D3 last weekend to shoot some stuff for my meter calibration/copy test assignment. Here's one of the photos I used... it's in black and white here, but it was shot (and turned in) as tungsten-balanced.

Low Register

This was shot with a 70's Vivitar 70-210 f/3.5 Series 1 lens... I am just totally blown away by this thing. It's very unique... it almost feels like it's designed to be a soft-focus lens when wide open, as it's mostly sharp but has this kind of soft distortion that makes portraits really, really nice. The lens was Caitlin's, but I own one in OM mount (and I bought an adaptor for my EOS after using hers for maybe 3 shots).

I do a lot of messing around with astrophotography, and that weekend was no exception. This is somewhere around a 20 second exposure.

Sky, Again

I included parts of my house for perspective.

Finally, I went out yesterday to shoot the sunset at a lake on the MKT trail. It had just been pretty cloudy, so the light was doing some cool things coming through the clouds.

(That photo's definitely best viewed larger on flickr)


I rarely get landscapes I'm happy with, so it was a pretty nice day, overall.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Welcome to Advanced Techniques

For all of you who read this that aren't MU Photo-J kids, I'm in a class this semester which focuses largely on lighting. It's called Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism, and posting images on my blog is requirement for the class. Which means, you're going to be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing.

Mood lighting

Credit: Dorothea Lange


Credit: National Geographic (photographer not listed).

We decided that the lighting on the second one was likely a single strobe with some surgery lights, accounting for the blown-out hand and directional shadows.

Expect a post with more of my work soon. Adios!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scenes from rural Oklahoma

Due to the holiday weekend (and my own laziness) I didn't update the last Thursday or Monday. To make up for it, here's a huge post of cool stuff. I got a new 35mm camera that can use all of my Canon lenses (an EOS 3), so I shot a few rolls of slide film (Provia 100f) through it.

Over the weekend, Caitlin and I went up to meet my family at the lake. Our house is near a town called Zena... the town itself consists of a church, an abandoned store and a similarly vacant gas station. There's literally nothing there. There are, however, plenty of trees.


This was just the first part of the most eventful walk I've ever had up at the lake. People pretty much just throw their trash everywhere... there's even a large pile of various random trash right next to a "No Dumping" sign.


This puppy craves attention. She belongs to a local farmer who used to raise fighting cocks before the State banned cockfighting. Now, they raise goats (I think?). Anyway. This and another dog followed Caitlin and me throughout our walk. After getting about halfway back to my house, we saw that the puppy had raw, nearly bleeding skin on its paws from the hot pavement. Seeing as this alarmed both of us, I ran back to the house and grabbed our ATV while Caitlin stayed with the dog. We eventually took them back to their house and drove off.


These were everywhere. The vibrant yellows really drive home the point that this is finally summer.


If you were ever curious what 90% of the midwest looks like, here you go. This was taken on a highway between Grove and Miami (pronounced My-am-uh). As boring as it looks, this is often my absolute favorite scenery, if only because of its familiarity.


After going down highway 59, we intersected Route 66 outside of Afton. This car was part of a huge lot of classic cars in various states of disarray and rust just on the side of 66. Some of them looked recoverable, but most looked like the typical Oklahoma classic car: outside on blocks and rusted over. Kind of a shame.


This was one of the ones in better shape.


When we got to Afton, I stumbled around the downtown area's many burnt and abandoned buildings. This place was likely some kind of school in the past. The building looked like a disaster scene, but with elements of the surreal. This random overturned desk wasn't the only odd part of the two-story wreck; in the next room over there was a huge swastika spray-painted on the wall. Scary, for a town with only 1,100 residents.


I found the single most interesting place in the town after climbing through a broken window into what used to be a TV repair shop. Old, broken TVs and electronics were scattered across the entire shop... or at least what was left of it. The ground was covered in broken glass, pieces of wood and other debris.



Apparently, a bunch of the buildings in the town burned down and were left abandoned. I can't say when or how, but the burn marks on the files here make it apparent that this TV shop was a victim of the blaze.

As we left, a man sat in front of one of the buildings downtown, smoked and played with his dog. His building was connected to the destroyed TV shop, so I would guess he lost some of his business in the fire as well. Regardless, we petted his dog for a bit then left the town, headed back home to Tulsa.

Watching The Long Shadows

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chronicles of a bored photographer, pt. 4

So, two days late. Admittedly, that's pretty much par for the course with this blog. I'm pretty sure there aren't too many people sitting there, refreshing their browsers on Mondays and Thursdays anyway.

About a month ago, I was asked to take photos of a program the National Fiddler Hall of Fame was doing in order to expose kids to western swing music. Here in Tulsa, western swing music makes up a significant part of this town's cultural history. The Cain's Ballroom (Tulsa's primary music venue and an overall really cool place) was the site of nationwide broadcasts by musician Bob Wills and his band, The Texas Playboys. In fact, this was what gained the Cain's its notoriety.

As a living demonstration of our town's musical past, local musicians Rick Morton, Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner (left to right, below) dressed up as Bob Wills and his band and put on a show at a local elementary school similar to those broadcast from the Cain's in the 1930's.


That "Cain's: Home of Bob Wills" is a replica of the one that's currently in the actual Cain's Ballroom downtown.


Mark played the voice of KVOO, the local station which hosted the original Bob Wills broadcasts.


Whenever I've seen these guys play together, whether in an elementary school or a nice restaurant, it's apparent that they absolutely love what they're doing. It's really cool to see people who care that much about the music they make.


How To's

After the show, Shelby and Rick took some kids aside and showed them the basics of their instruments. Here, Shelby shows a few kids his violin, which is somewhere in the range of 300 years old. Needless to say, it sounds pretty nice.

It was really interesting to see so many kids being exposed to music that would have otherwise likely slipped far under their radars. Even in a town where western swing was a dominating cultural force, that force has since faded. People like Mark, Shelby and Rick remind us that this music is more than just relevant, it's a style that has major historical implications for both the development of modern music as well as our city's cultural building blocks. Plus, it's a lot of fun to listen to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chronicles of a bored photographer, pt. 3

This one is technically not a post on my blog. I've started a blog for found photography. Basically, if you find any old negatives/prints/slides that you think are cool, scan them in and send them to me. I'll post them at the blog, which you can find at If you could tell me a bit of history about them, so much the better.

Right now, I've posted a 122 negative and a Kodachrome that I scanned in. Also, being the huge photo nerd that I am, there's a bit of info about the film type and how the photo would have been taken.

Samples? Of course:

122 neg crop

Check it out. Look for photos. Post them on the blog.

If you want to send me a photo, my email is dondeesten AT gmail DOT com

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chronicles of a bored photographer, pt. 2

Well, I'm at least trying to keep this up, even though I'm a day late...

There was a meet-up for Tulsa-area strobist folks, and while I'm not an avid reader of said blog, it's at least cool most of the time. So, I decided to go.

3-2-1 Smile

Corey (, the guy who set all this up, brought a few models for us to shoot. This one was shot outside, in natural light, with a reflector.


That would be Corey. He built a beauty dish out of a CD case and an old floodlight, and stuck his 580 in it. It created a really, really cool catch light in his eye.

Little Light

He then crawled into a drainage tunnel where there was a bit of concrete missing from the roof. We tried to do things with lights in here, but I was never really able to get a good one.

This whole experience makes me want to start building some kind of lighting setup. Maybe I will soon, who knows.