Not much personal photography the past few weeks, due to a mix of work and play.  Well, work and work is more like it…business work and at-home work.  In the wake of August’s Ikea run, Mandy and I decided to refinish some of our existing furniture, which as resulted in minor power tool purchases and a lot of elbow grease.  I finished up with the first of these DIY garage projects today, when I finally assembled my new desk.  Seeing as I haven’t had a shop class in 11 years, had no plans to work from, and am using a mix of Ikea, Lowes, and recycled parts, I’m pretty damn pleased with how it came out.  It’s both larger and nicer that the piece of junk I had before, and there’s that element of pride that comes with having made it myself.

On the business work side of the coin, I’ve been doing a lot of portrait work the past few weeks.  You’ve already seen the posts (Sometimes it all comes togetherThrowing a car into a senior shoot) from part one of Lauren’s senior portraits.  I shot part one of her cousin, Kristen’s, at the end of last week and am working through the editing now.  I’ll be shooting part two for both young ladies a few weeks from now, when autumn sets in and the leaves start to turn.

Also grabbed a few shots at a 50th wedding anniversary party the other night.  Since it was Mandy’s grandparents, I was there as a part of the family as much as for being the photog.  This is your basic down and dirty event shooting: a dark restaurant banquet hall, about 25 people, and neither time nor room to setup lights even if I’d brought them.  This photo is brought to you by the Canon 430EX, hotshoe-mounted and bounced off the ceiling at full power.  ISO 800, f/7.1, 1/50 combined with a full-power flash was just enough to get both lighting and focus.  It’s not fancy, but it got the job done.  A panormaic crop made the most sense, and I’ve got a 18″ x 6″ print on its way already.

{Click for a larger view!}

On the Photoshop end, it’s a bit more complex than it appears.  You’d never know – which is the point – but this is actually a composite of two separate shots taken seconds apart.  Two people blinked in the first photo, which was otherwise the best.  But it was a simple matter of aligning the photos in separate layers in PS, then erasing away the blinking faces to reveal the better ones underneath.  Since the settings were all the same, the two blended seamlessly.  Whenever I shoot a group, I shoot multiple frames as quickly as possible for this very reason.

My sporadic and random posting will continue at least another week, although at some point I’ll have a mix of portrait, fair, and wedding photos to share.  Well, at least if everything keeps going well.  Here’s hoping!

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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