Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How I got into photography....

When I was growing up I had a couple Kodak Instamatics cameras. This was probably in the late 1960‘s. Not having any family members who were into photography I was never exposed to it. Although I do remember many Polaroid pictures being taken around my grandparents house during the the holidays.

It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s when I bought my first SLR. It was a Nikon N70 with a Tamron 28-200 mm lens. I bought the camera to mostly document my wilderness canoe trips. This was the time I began to return to the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area. Back in the early 1980’s I worked out of Isabella, MN with the US Forest Service so I was familiar with the area. 

Not sure what year I bought my first digital camera...maybe 2005. This was a Canon PowerShot G3 with 4 mega pixels. Again, this camera was used mostly on my solo canoe trips. Just point and shoot.

December 2006  I bought my first DSLR...the Nikon D80. Again, to document my solo wilderness canoe trips, but I also took this camera on my vacations to Florida.The 18 - 135 mm was the kit lens that came with the camera. I already had a Tamron 18-300 mm lens that I was using with the N70. My other Tamron lens, 28-200 mm, needed to be sent off for repair so I bought the 18-300mm lens while the other one was being repaired. Basically, I just pushed the shutter button to take a picture.

When people asked me what I took pictures of I would say...Trees, Rocks and Water. Because that was just about all I would see on my canoe trips.

In the summer of 2007 I did a solo canoe trip in Quetico Provincial Park that included most of the “Hunters Island” loop. This was about a 161 miles canoe trip. Now that I had a digital camera I could post my images on the internet. When I wrote my trip report I named it...”Quetico’s Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey”.

Toward the end of 2008 I was thinking of getting more into “Winter Camping” or learning more about my camera with the thought of upgrading my camera gear. I spent some time trying to decide. I went to a Winter Camping Symposium to see the new designs in “Hot Tents” , titanium stoves, etc. It came down to this… I had a hard time trying to find people to join me on my canoe trips let alone now thinking I was going to find someone to drag a sled through the snow, set-up the tent, cut enough firewood for the entire evening, before it got dark around 5:30pm. If I decided to go the “winter camping” route I knew all my trips would probably be solo ones like most of my wilderness canoe trips. When traveling solo it’s obvious you have to do all the work yourself…also, I’m on the move everyday, weather permitting, and paddling many miles…I always wanted to see more area. I was never one to make a base camp and just sit around. So with winter camping I realized I might have a problem with just sitting around. Besides who is going to go winter camping everyday… with a camera I could actually use it everyday if I wanted.  

My decision: On 12-31-2008 I signed up for one of the camera clubs in the Minneapolis area.  About a week later I attended one of their meetings that discussed the future of the club and met a few of the members. 

About one week after that one of the members of the group held a lighting / model workshop at his studio. This meet-up was with about 10 to 15 other people attending. It was my first time with studio lighting...and with a model. I had no idea what I was doing, but watched as the guy explained the lighting setup. 

When it was my time to photograph the model...I put the Pocket Wizard on top of my camera, looked into the viewfinder, and instead of seeing...Trees, Rocks and Water...I saw a pair of big brown eyes and a smile that filled the viewfinder....Wow...I had no idea what I was doing, but from that point on I was hooked on studio lighting. To this day I remember going through my images. I kept looking through my images to see if I could find some without the reflections  in the models eyes. I thought I was doing things wrong! Little did I know these catch lights were supposed to be in her eyes. This shows you I had no clue what I was doing.

 The next month, February 2009, I went to my first Minnesota Strobist Flickr event at the Minneapolis Photo Coop. This reinforced my initial thought that I enjoyed working with flash and I found it a challenge. Although I still had no idea what I was doing. Now was the time I needed to find some basic camera courses so I could learn more about my camera.

During the first part of 2009 I took a basic and a intermediate camera class..

I continued to do the monthly Minnesota Strobist Flickr shoots and attended some other informal lighting workshops. I upgraded to a Nikon D700, three SB900 speed lights, light stands, umbrellas, pocket Wizards, etc., etc.  Once I thought I had everything I needed there seemed to be something else I wanted...always something else.

The monthly Strobist shoots lasted until about mid way through 2010. There was a bit of lull in my shooting after the Strobist events ended. I didn’t photograph too many models during the summer of 2010 because what if I failed and didn’t get some good images. I would have tell a model that I didn’t have any images for her because I did something stupid. Then one member from the Flickr Strobist group and I would get together on a few Saturday mornings in one of his conference rooms at his work to shoot some different models. We also shot at a school that he access to and in his garage.

I eventually started buying Elinchrom monolights, Manfrotto and Avenger lightstands, different Elinchrom modifiers and everything else that I thought I needed for studio lighting.

In October 2010 several of us from the Minnesota Strobist group got together and we began renting a 4,000 square foot area studio that we called..Second Street Photography Studios. The reason because it’s located on 2nd Street. There were 5 of us from the Strobist group with another pair of photographers that we counted as one, since they were always together when shooting. Autumn Lee was one half of the pair of photographers.

It was in 2010 that I also started shooting live music. It was convenient for me to grab my Nikon D700 and go shoot. For the next year I shot a lot of live music both indoors and outdoor “Blues Festivals”. I continued to shoot some in the studio, but most of my photography consisted of live music. Photographing so much live music I really learned how to work my camera and on my low light shooting techniques. 

In October 2011 also was hired by the Minnesota Salon & Spa Association as their photographer to photograph their INsalon 2011 and Runway Event. 

I really didn’t have too much training on how to properly light a model other than to fully light them with my speedlights. Most of my lighting was flat lighting.

 I don’t exactly remember how I came across Frank Doorhof from the Netherlands, but I really liked his work. I bought some of his earlier videos to watch. In fact, I had a question on something related to the CD’s and my computer, so I e-mailed Frank. He answered my question and he must have looked at my work and made the comment…something to the fact that I had some nice images but it was mostly flat lighting…some people like that :)

Afterwards I began learning more about using shadows in my work. 

This brings me up today… I am the last original member in the studio that I began in October 2010. Besides doing stuff in the studio I photograph Night Photography, Combat Sports, live music events and other low light events… I am even a 2nd photographer for weddings. Everyone keeps telling me that I always told them I didn’t shoot weddings.

Here is how that happened…Autumn Lee who used to be in the same studio where I’m at contacted me by phone in the summer of 2013. She asked if I would be interested in shooting weddings with her. I told her I didn’t shoot weddings, but if she needed someone to help her out at the last minute and if I was available I would help her out. About a month went by and Autumn called me again and asked me to meet her in Minneapolis after she got done doing some family pictures. We met…this is what she said, I decided that your shooting weddings with me!  

Here is where some of my work has been seen in print: 

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys “Shake your Boogie” Images on the front and back of the CD as well as some images inside

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys “Live at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon” DVD cover image

Blind Pig Records-Promotional image of Sena Ehrhardt 

Becky Barksdale Poster

Becky Barksdale Limited EP…

Rich Poor Men featuring Bruce McCabe...promotional images

Crow- the band. Images for their short video, their poster put together by House of Tone Graphics

Pat Hayes (Lamont Cranston) Famous Dave’s Music Poster by House of Tone Graphics

Rochester Women Magazine...Nov/Dec 2010 issue...cover and inside images of “Blues” singer Sena Ehrhardt

Blue Review Magazine...Sena Ehrhardt

Vintage Guitar Magazine....Image of Mark  Williams aka “Good Time Willy” (I’m aware of a couple different months) advertisement for (Custom Guitar Straps)

The Walleye...Thunder Bay’s Arts and Culture Alternative magazine...image of Clay Brieland (November issue)

Rochester Magazine- July 2012 inside images of “Blues Singer” Annie Mack

Kalamazoo Gazette- a couple different issues....images of Carl Weathersby and Scott Holt

Silent Sports Magazine- What is Marathon Canoe Racing Article 2003 and images from canoe race in 2008 

Ana Popovic- my image for promotional use

The Steepwater Band- images of the members of the band on the inside of the CD

Vintage Boudoir Magazine- Footlocker Dames 2 Special Edition- one image on the inside of the magazine

MN UPS Magazine- Winter 2014 Issue. Cover and inside images

Kako Smo Propevali by Ivan Ivackovic- another image of Ana Popovic.

Famous Dave's BBQ Party Cookbook- several music images

I know there are other places, but this is what I can remember right now…and probably not in order.

Chuck Ryan

Chuck Ryan Photography

Charles W. Ryan II (Facebook)

CIIcanoe (Blog)

Chuck Ryan Photography (Model Mayhem)

MMA: Driller Promotions Presents: Chaos at Canterbury VII

On Saturday, 12-20-14, I was cage side photographing the MMA event, Driller Promotions Presents: Chaos at Canterbury VII at the new Expo Center at Canterbury Park. When I walked into the new center I liked what I saw at the start... the venue was very well lit by all the overhead lights. Then I noticed light cans on four different post around the cage. My thought was oh, no... I had a feeling when the fights started that the house lights would go down and the lights surrounding the cage would go on. If that happened I knew that the lighting wasn't going to be sufficient. There weren't enough lights surrounding the cage for even lighting. There would be bright spots and there would be dark areas... then in some cases I knew from experience in similar lighting situations one fighter would be fully lit while the other would be in the darker area. Because the cage wouldn't be lit completely there would be more shadows to deal with or another way to say it...I won't be able to use those images.

I shoot with a minimum shutter speed of 1/1000 for my combat sporting events. It looked like I would be able to shoot with an ISO of 2500 if the house lights stayed on. I would be very happy shooting at that ISO. I wouldn't know until shortly just before the first fight what I could actually shoot at when the house lights go down or off.

When the fights started I needed an ISO of 10,000 for the dark areas, but in the other areas that would blow out the skin of the fighter. Eventually, good or bad, I changed to Auto ISO with the maximum of 12,800.

MMA: Chaos at Canterbury VII

Chuck Ryan Photography

Charles W. Ryan II (Facebook)

CIIcanoe (Blog)

Chuck Ryan Photography (Model Mayhem)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Penny Barthrop...Winter theme photo shoot without the snow.....

On Sunday, 12-14-14, Penny Hope Barthrop and I got together to do a photo shoot that was planned a couple weeks earlier. Originally I planned to do this shoot outdoors when there was snow on the ground. A few days before the planned shoot we experienced unusually warm temperatures and basically all the snow melted. Since it was misting and raining the few days before the shoot I thought it was best to get a few shots in the studio before heading outdoors. Here are some of the shots from our session...

Penny Barthrop

Chuck Ryan Photography

Charles W. Ryan II (Facebook)

CIIcanoe (Blog)

Chuck Ryan Photography (Model Mayhem)

Dez Hoskins and Tony Morano

On 12-07-14 Dez Hoskins and her friend, Tony Morano, came into the studio for a photo shoot. This was the first time photographing Dez in the studio, although I've photographed her many times while she performed at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival...

Dez Hoskins


Chuck Ryan Photography

Charles W. Ryan II (Facebook)

CIIcanoe (Blog)

Chuck Ryan Photography (Model Mayhem)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tali...last minute photo shoot

On Friday, 12-05-14, Tali contacted me in the morning letting me know she had the afternoon off from school and if I wanted to do a last minute photo shoot. Luckily, I was a available in the afternoon , also. A few hours later we were in the studio... here are the images from that shoot.

Here is Tali on Model Mayhem ...  


Chuck Ryan Photography

Charles W. Ryan II (Facebook)

CIIcanoe (Blog)

Chuck Ryan Photography (Model Mayhem)