I was scouting out locations for an upcoming photo shoot next week; I visited a local beach park suggested by a friend and I was pleasantly surprised. The park is small but offers ample opportunity for great photographs. There is a beach area with a nice high sandy seawall, a couple of narrow docks, benches, small re-servable pavilions, grassy nooks, and crisp white sparkling sand. Wild sea oats and yellow flowers grow randomly in small patches near the seawall.


A trio of kids playing there caught my lens. They were walking and hiding from each other in the grassy patches.

002-20130126_27They were digging in the sand, climbing the sandy seawall and otherwise have a fabulous day at the beach,


while their mother sat nearby at the shore line with an infant in her arms. I took way too many pictures of these kids and truly regret not having gotten the mother’s contact information so I could get these images to her. They were great!


Kids at Play Gallery

Along my journey to find cool shooting spots and just a few minutes from major highways, and urban life, I found a secluded  place  where my imagination ran wild. My mind wasted no time transforming this locale into a myriad of mystical scenes.


The area is thick with trees making it an ideal spot for playful poses, and whimsical compositions.


It is absolutely secluded, as I believe the property is up for sale. What a shame that some corporate purchase will transform this delightful place into yet another cookie-cutter extension of the cement jungle.


The way the light filters through the trees adds interest and mystique.


The shadows cast as a result of this affect are dramatic and can be used to effect the mood of the final photograph.  I can’t wait to place my subject in this setting and let my lens play with the images. 

Images posted below:)

Thursday Shutter Clicks

  • Woo Hoo! Another Thursday evening shutter click get together. This evening we did re-shoots for a couple of the girls from last weeks session. While the girls were busy with make-up, I warmed up by taking some shots of Daiana. One word to describe them BEAUTIFUL! Daiana is quite comfortable in front of, or behind the camera. She understands what a photographer is looking for, and how to project into the lens. This makes her a great inspiration for the photographer she is working with. She is very easy to photograph and extremely photogenic. . . lucky girl!

    I like the over all composition of each of the images, and I felt Daiana’s personality was reflected in every shot. I am most pleased with the ways I photographed her eyes. The only edits I did to the images was to crop, desaturate, and add a little softening. Images shot with high ISO settings, were adjusted to make them less grainy. I did nothing to enhance her eyes in any of these images. Yet, her eyes pop! They look alive and on fire in every shot.
    “Nailed it,” she says with smug self-satisfaction!

    What I like least about some of the images is that they are a bit grainy, and a few are not as sharp as I like, but those are minor details and in my opinion add effect to the final photographs.

    Daiana by Mo Garcia

    These shots were all taken with my Nikon D7K, here are my favorites:

    MOT_0594 MOT_0593 MOT_0589 MOT_0586 MOT_0587 MOT_0576 MOT_0568 MOT_0574 MOT_0554 Daiana


    Enjoy the Gallery

  • More Noir Practice

    Classic Black and White
    Classic Black and White d7k, f5, 400 iso, auto wb, nikkor 18-200mm, shot in low light, softbox and umbrella lights used, Post processed in picasa, applied light hogla-ish, adjusted infra-red, applied pinkish filter.

    Between chores and a trip to Polk City for lunch, I managed to get in another self-portraiture session. These sessions are challenging because it is difficult to focus in low light. It is even more so when I am trying to focus on an imaginary spot where I will position myself, once I come out from behind the camera.  The slightest movement throws my focus off. In this series I am once again trying to achieve a certain photographic style. The images posted here have been edited by me simply using picasa. I cropped, desaturated, softened, and used infrared techniques, along with a few other photo effects to achieve the looks I was going for. Here they are:

    Dark Mystique

    Trying for a George Hurrell Style
    d7k, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, shoot in low light. I was going for a 1940’s dark mystique. I envision shadows of blinds angling across in the background, and cigarette smoke to make this shot “vintage detective magazine” worthy. I love the dark lips and the way the eyes and teeth pop! This was done using picasa’s infrared effect. I created another version of this with applied soft duotone filters. You can view that version in the gallery below.
    dk7, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, 18-200 mm nikkor. Edited in Picasa retro 1960 and cinemascope
    d7k, f5, 1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, umbrella light, soft box, 18-200 mm nikkor.

    Edited in Picasa applied retro 1960’s effects, adjusted down and applied cinemascope, cropped for effect. This is an example of the difficulty I encountered in trying to maintain a continuous focus while trying to mix up the poses a bit. I went for a caught by the Paparazzi flash effect. Notice the blown out light from the soft box at the lower right corner.

    Duh – perhaps next time I’ll set the camera on continuous autofocus!




    Nailed it!

    dk7, f5,1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, soft box and umbrella lights. Edited in Picasa . Desaturated, and cropped for effect.
    d7k, f5,1/250th, 400 iso, auto wb, flash used, soft box and umbrella lights. Edited in Picasa . Desaturated, and cropped for effect.

    All I had to do to the image above  was crop and desaturate it to black and white.  I nailed the light, the energy, and the feel of the George Hurrell style.  I  still need to work on the Noir dramatic shadow effect.  Notice the lights in the eyes. The eyes no longer look small and squinty. They are well proportioned and sparkle with light. I learned to avoid lifeless shark eyes by having my subject look into the light. This way the eyes will catch and reflect the light. The face has contour without harsh shadows, and the chin line is well-defined. The neck appears elongated. This was achieved simply by tilting the head to look up at the umbrella-light. This also lowers one shoulder which adds definition to the neck. The skin tone is smooth and even. The age spots are minimized.  This is the left side of my face — note to self —left is the more photogenic side of my faceLOL! This perspective hides the scar on the right side of my chin. You can just see the mole over my right eye, just under the eyebrow. It, along with my dimples, are my signature features. However, these features present a challenge when photographing my face because of the shadows and deep creases they create.  Looking up and into the light also maintained the detail in the hair  — all the way to the grey highlights framing the forehead. The hair separates the face from the background adding a layer of depth.  Although the background is not entirely grey or black, this shot works.

    My face is extremely difficult to photograph for the very reasons it is also a great test subject. I have the typical sagging and bloating effects of aging, especially under my eyes, and around my jowls, neck and chin line.  These present a challenge for lighting. If I light my under eye baggage, I may blow out the forehead, or lose the nose to too much light, making my face look large and flat. If I light for the jowls I may deepen the eye baggage and unintentionally accentuate an already prominent nose . . . I’m a challenge:)

    Conclusion: I was able to accomplish this great shot  merely by using proper posing  techniques and strategic lighting effects — the only post processing I used on this one was cropping, and desaturation. I could have just shot it in black and white by setting the camera control to monochrome, and cropped in camera by zooming but that is hard to do from in front of the camera:) In the end I shot it in color. My next challenges will be to recreate this effect before I get the girls in to pose for me, and introduce GOBOs for that noire effect. . . maybe even cigarette smoke . . .

    Yay me!  Enjoy the Gallery below.

    Shooting at Safety Harbor and Philippe Park

    I am always surprised when I think I know everything about a sight that I’ve visited often, and then find historical data I knew nothing about.

    Who knew Odet Philippe invented the GRAPEFRUIT? Yes, invented, that’s what CULTIVATED means. It wasn’t here before him because the Grapefruit is a hybrid! He also is credited with introducing CIGARS to Tampa???? Really? I thought the Cubans did that…LOL! Viva La France!!

    It’d been a while since I visited this  area and I was impressed with how little things have changed.

    Other than the Kapok Tree Restaurant being gone, and Safety Harbor Spa taking it’s place,

    and a few new art shops. . .

    Like “Funks Way!” (note the play on “Feng Shui“) Anyway, little else has changed.

    Funks Way’s cool eclectic benches!

    We really enjoyed visiting the local eateries, and had lunch at the Athen’s Restaurant.

    The staff is marvelous, and the food authentically good! We had Gyros and hot Baklava, and the best Iced tea.

    And, after all the walking you are sure to do, treat yourself to a sweet delight here.

    Or stop here to quench your thirst.

    Everything is as I remember it.

    Quaint, cozy, and friendly.

    There always seems to be some artsy event taking place. On this trip we happened upon a Birthday Celebration for the United States Marines,

    Yes, more food,

    All kinds of people, and plenty of vendors selling their wares . . .

    Sailing Yachts to make you dream . . .
    Prepping for Photos!

    The Pin-Up Girls of Pin-Ups America were great!!!

    The Park seemed smaller than I remember, but I didn’t venture into the bicycle trails, I just stayed close to the bay.

    Visit the Gallery for this post: