"For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human, himself nature, part of nature within natural space." Paul Klee

Monday, February 29, 2016


Here are a couple of snaps from yesterday's "Heirloom" shoot showing the set up.

Collapsed umbrella overhead - collapsed so as to not use the full width of the fabric and to have more control over pointing the light from the strobe to the subject...here the tomatoes.

 On the left is the Arri (blue and silver thing) 300w fresnel with an attached snoot (black thing)
Again this allows me to aim a stream of light right at the subject. I held a split filter in front of this snoot when firing the camera. VS Yellow and VS Red as explained yesterday.

I used 2 C-stands, one you can see holding the back drop cloth, the other is out of frame but holding the strobe/umbrella combo over the set. This C-stand is counterbalanced with two heavy sandbags.

A shot from the left. You can see the tilting mirror, foamcore with silver material, and the gold sheet which pushed a little warm light into the right side of the image. The gold sheet is just a chocolate bar wrapper.  I like to play around with various shiny reflective surfaces so if it's shiny I'll collect it and stick in a box in the studio for future use.

The magenta thingy almost in the middle of the picture is a Rosco Swatch book with samples of Vittorio Storaro filters.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016


OK, I've got this thing for Heirloom tomatoes. OK OK, I've got this thing for vegetables.

"Call any vegetable and the chances are good that the vegetable will respond to you" sayeth Frank Zappa.  

The colors, the shapes, the forms, the way the light develops spectrals and wraps around....

..and they make pretty good eatin' too.

These images took up my Sunday afternoon and you can tell that they did end up on our dinner table along with the pulled pork and rice...and a glass of  Pinot Noir.

The top set up was pretty elaborate, I'll have a behind the h-looms shot tomorrow.

Tech Spex: Camera Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens. Camera set to manual, which is my preferred way to shoot anyway...anything.  Camera set to ISO200 f6.3 1/100th Tungsten balance.

Top image.
Lighting (here's where the fun was) Above the set is an Alien Bee AB800 shooting through a partially collapsed white satin umbrella laying down the overall tone. ABee was set to lowest power as it was in very close.

Light from the left was an ARRI 300w fitted with a snoot using the 1.5 inch hole. This was aimed directly at the maters. This is still the top shot. I used two filters side by side - Vittorio Storaro* (the great Italian master of light) VS Yellow VS Red filters by Rosco that were made to Vittorio's specifications. The filters were hand held in front of the snoot.

To the right of that was a 6X6 inch silver reflector which hit the first Heirloom on the left. On the right just out of frame is Lowell silver reflector with a large piece of gold foil (cannibalized by one of the fancy schmancy chocolate bars) You can see the effect on the far right Heirloom.

A make up mirror on a swivel stand was used to push light back into the background cloth. And that was the top image.

Bottom image.
The bottom image shows the maters on an Acculight light table fitted with a sheet of chocolate filter and parchment paper. I used the umbrella again from the top but this time it was fully open.

The colors look pretty good on the computer I'm using. By cross referencing with other computers in the house I know the colors can vary as can the resolution. But on mine the selected colors are there and the image is sharp. Also no coloring was added with Photoshop all the colors and tones were created in camera. A digital camera is basically a light sensitive computer. You just have to take the time and learn to paint with it.

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All images are copyright protected. ©2016 Andy deBruyn
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*Vittorio Storaro won three Academy Awards for cinematography: Reds, The Last Emperor, and Dick Tracy. He also shot Sheltering Sky, Apocalypse Now, Tucker, and so many other superbly lit pictures.

Monday, February 22, 2016


The shapes and luscious curves of the callalily reminded me of Imogen Cunningham's work.
Imogen started photographing around 1907 when she was 24 and continued photographing until just days before she died at 93. 

I took what I thought were the best examples of light separations and shape from my porch shoot and work some black and white dials, knobs, and sliders in post.

When printed on quality paper these images are really very nice.

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With this beautiful weather we're having I'm starting to work the gardens and flowers around the house.  The two posted images are from a couple of potted flowers that are on the front porch today. The calas I'll take in for the evening. 

The light on the porch was perfect. Cloudy but bright day. Just a touch of sun.

Top image: 50mm lens (DX) with a +4 close up glass. ISO 100, f5.6, 1/25th ss,-0.7 exp comp.
Bottom image: same except 1/80th ss and no exp comp.
Camera was in manual mode with aperture priority of f5.6, manual focus. Cable release for shutter.

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Friday, February 19, 2016


                                                Dandelions Still Life                                ©2016 Andy deBruyn

This image was made in the last hour in my little office/studio.

Tech spex: Nikon D7000 with the 35mm Nikkor, UV filter removed. Program mode, ISO 160 with the camera choosing 1/30th of a second at f2.8. I brought down some hot spots with -2.0 exp comp.
Manual focus using LiveView.

Very little in post. Just a bit of sharpening. Color tone done in camera using flash setting with tungsten lighting. Lighting is just one Arri 300W from the left thru a sheet of Lee 216.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016


If you walk around my house at any given time you might find a different guitar in each room. Sometimes a six string sometimes a bass. I tend to pick one up, strum a few bars and put it back.

This morning as I walked around sipping my am espresso I noticed two of the instruments and I liked the light, the shape, and the atmosphere.  

I didn't touch anything just grab a camera.

The closest camera was the Nikon D80 with a 50mm lens. I set it to P mode and fiddled with the
exposure comp a bit until my highlights were under control. Since the shutter was around 15th of a second I used a tripod.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Here's a bts image from yesterday's dada shoot. There are three fresnel lights pointing only at the white board behind the subject. The blinds were shut for the shoot.

You can't see the one off camera left but at the top is an Arri 150w, to the right is an Arri 300w and the one not seen is another Arri 150w. I played around with the lights and intensities until I found something I liked. Sometimes you'll see the white background lit uniformly so the subject is in a limbo state but I felt it was too clinical- like a makeup ad or something. I like the shadows, gives the object a soul. 

The fresnels were fitted with full CTB (Rosco blue gels) to match the color temp of the strobe unit.

The white box with silver reflector is an Alien Bee 800 studio strobe. What you don't see is the 10 degree grid inside the reflector to focus the light just to the subject.

The glove, brush, and shovel were hung with 28 guage steel wire suspended from a boom held by a C-stand. The wire was then attached to the items with a push pin and Museum Wax was used to aim the wire and item and keep them in place.

The wires were removed in post.

The camera was fitted with a Nikkor 35mm f2 with the UV filter removed. Camera set to manual, ISO 160 and pretty much f6.3 @ 1/160th throughout. Shutter tripped by cable.

The shoot took about two and a half hours.

Background music was Jefferson Airplane, entire After Bathing at Baxter's album from youtube, then I switched to the turntable (yeah, vinyl!) for Getz/Gilberto, and finally Julian Bream's Greatest Hits.

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Monday, February 15, 2016


Tzara, Duchamp, Jarry, Ernst....dadaists all. 

All images ©2016 Andy deBruyn
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Behind the glove coming soon.
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"By my green candle, I don't understand."  Pere Ubu

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Yesterday I had a shoot in Georgetown and I planned to get there a little early to check out what was happening at the Sunken Garden. Here's what transpired at 7am as the sun was rising...visually speaking of course.

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©2016 Andy deBruyn

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


This morning I went to the new photography exhibit at the Ransom Center called "Look Inside", there's also an exhibit called "Shakespeare; In Print & Performance." Both worthwhile for a looksee if that's your kind of thing.

                                                                    Garage Graphics.

"Yes, sir, that red door there, just take the red door and go down...go on...don't be afraid..."

Hidden message.

                                                                 A meeting of materials.

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                                                                      Sky Scratchers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


 I made this image last year around the end of May when I was visiting my son in Burbank, California. I only shot the front and around one side.

I went back last week end and here are some images nine months later including one from the rear.
 Blue skies repeated themselves.

You can see that there's a rather chunky boxy style going on with heavy emphasis on triangles (possibly religious reference),  unopened circles, and soft use of the arch.  

The church was designed by architect Kaaren Khoudikian based on Saint Hripseme Church in Armenia. Again, the cross strongly supported by a triangle.

To me, it's a very masculine church if you will, unlike say the lyricism of many Italian counterparts where the lines are more flowing and sensual. No Andrea Palladio columns or spiraling Bernini touches here. Perhaps these lines and shapes are meant to underscore a sense of rationality. A reasoning of the spiritual experience. ?

                                This is from the rear. The cathedral is new having opened in 2010.

                                                       1915 refers to the Armenian Genocide.

 ©2016 Andy deBruyn
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Monday, February 8, 2016


Last day of last week's vacay was spent at Universal. It's been a long time since I've had little ones so a lot of what I saw was not within my understanding.
So here are some things I did notice.

I was fully expecting this guy to talk to me. But evidently it has another function. 

              This lady was actually on stilts and stood about ten feet tall...and could run that way!

                                                              Colorful thingamabob.

                Standing on the corner of Minion Way and Baker Street. Minions are those                                           yellow things that look like Vicks Inhalers.

                                                                            No idea.

                                                              Red chairs Composition #37

                                                  Oh Lucy, you got sums  'plaining to do!!

                                              Reflections with colorful people. ROYGBIV without the G.

 I believe this has something to do with the show called The Simpsons, I've never seen the show so I'm not familiar with the characters other than the main guy whose name is Homer. (I think) ...and the only reason I know that is his face is on everything from undergarments to dish towels to pillow cases...go figure. But the crowds around me seemed to be delighted and that's what matters most in this world.*

                                                                          Parting shot.

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All images ©2016 Andy deBruyn
*apologies to Simpsonphiles if this isn't from the show, heck when I was a youngun my heroes were Howdy Doody and Mayor Phineas T. Bluster.


Actually, I was hoping to have spaghetti at the Getty...but couldn't find a yeti.
So I ended up having a portabello sandwich - which was excellent. The cafe at the museum
was really top notch. One of the best museum cafes I've experienced.

Inside the museum are the Rubens and Monets but I didn't take any pictures because
I just couldn't do them the least bit of justice. Besides there's some great high rez images on
the internet.  

The grounds are peppered with stand-only statutes which I love. 
                            You can see that the museum staff really gave thought to placement.

 How do these works of art occupy space? Do they push or pull it?

A little bit of linear vertical poetry. Will the top portion collapse or float away?

        A Henry Moore - you cannot call yourself a fine museum unless you have at least one Henry.

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©2016 Andy deBruyn

Sunday, February 7, 2016


So going forward with our Los Angeles vacay from last week, one day we reserved for visiting the J Paul Getty Museum.  
The Getty is situated high up in the Santa Monica mountains, if fact, once you've parked you take a tram up to the top.
                    As one can see the day we were there, the weather was wet, windy, and chilly.

       The museum puts out plastic garbage barrels stuffed with umbrellas for the unprepared guests.

                         Inside the main rotunda looking up at the circular design.

              Designed by Richard Meier, the spaces are open and full of light. The warm tungsten                           lighting blends nicely with the higher cooler color temps from the outside.

                              A group huddles together braving the walk between exhibits. A number of  umbrellas caught the wind just right and flew right out of hands and tumbled down the passageways.

My take on French impressionism. It reminds me of Gustave Caillebotte's "Paris Street, Rainy Day" which I got to experience when it was at The Art Institute of Chicago.  

       The misty pelting rain finally blew away and the surrounding landscape began to reveal itself.

 The exterior skin of the museum is made of Italian Travertine and reflects the sunlight making the
plazas seem even more spacious.

                                             As the clouds parted the Getty became alive.

This image is from one of the balconies. The view is looking toward Westwood home of UCLA. Not too many people braved the view, I think I was the only out there. The wind was so fierce that my jacket, which I didn't zip up, was flying behind me parallel to the ground. I braced the camera on the railing and held it down as best I could while tripping the shutter. The wind was also bitter cold.

More from the Getty tomorrow.

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All images ©2016 Andy deBruyn  Click any image for black background.