Nick Coury: Blog https://www.nickcoury.com/blog en-us Nick Coury nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Wed, 03 Feb 2021 05:04:00 GMT Wed, 03 Feb 2021 05:04:00 GMT https://www.nickcoury.com/img/s/v-12/u685635754-o759089113-50.jpg Nick Coury: Blog https://www.nickcoury.com/blog 120 80 Lookin' out My Back Door https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2021/2/lookin-out-my-back-door

 

If you are a certain age, you will remember the CCR song, "Lookin' out My Back Door." July of 1970 this song made it to the #2 position on the charts. The only reason it may not have hit #1 was possibly that we didn't have any idea of what they were singing about. But, it was a catchy little Country Rock tune, so we sang along.

Today is February 3, 2021, and this is the view out our back door. Shot through the glass so I wouldn't bother the little guy. Birdseed and a feeder provide hours of entertainment. 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) birds feeder fuji x-t4 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2021/2/lookin-out-my-back-door Wed, 03 Feb 2021 05:03:37 GMT
Fun with Architects? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/10/fun-with-architects This isn't intended to be a slam against architects, but if you know any at all, the word "fun" typically isn't the first word you would use to describe them. These are complex individuals. They are super creative but forced to work within a strict set of factors and principles as they do their jobs. Gravity, load-bearing, esthetics, physics, and budgets all have to work together when they take to their CAD programs.

CDP Architecture

The team from CDP Architecture  Nashville

When I got a call from Whitney about working with them, my initial thoughts were not that this would be a fun session. In fact, I knew I should dress up a bit and not show up in jeans or shorts. Was I wrong! Everyone was totally into what we were going to create and we enjoyed the time we were working together. (OK, it was a little warm in the building with no air conditioning but other than that it was great!)

We did a few variations of a group photo. We also did one for fun to remember 2020 with masks on for safety. :)

I intentionally processed this with a "dark" feel

On a serious note, it always pays to be prepared. The fact that all my Profoto B10 lights are battery or AC saved my bacon. This was a borrowed location that had zero electricity available. If I were dependent on power, I would have been scrambling to pull this off. Since I wasn't, I never missed a beat and the session went as planned.

CDP Architecture

Individual portraits should be fun. You never know what reaction you will get from people.

I think it's fun to share recent work. In today's uncertain time that we live in, I never really know where I'll be shooting. Tomorrow morning I'm working out of our home, the next day I am photographing on location at a bank. I enjoy the new unpredictability of what I'm doing from week to week. This stage of my career is really enjoyable and I am blessed to have enough work to sustain us.  

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B10 Cameras environmental Fuji Fuji X-T4 Fujifilm Lighting location Nashville portraits Profoto working photographer https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/10/fun-with-architects Sun, 11 Oct 2020 22:44:37 GMT
Fuji 50mm f1.0 WR lens! Pre-release test images https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/9/fuji-50mm-f1-0-wr-lens-pre-release-test-images I was given the opportunity to try one of the fastest lenses on the planet this week. Fuji is introducing a 50mm f1.0 lens, and I've never shot anything like it! In the mirrorless line, I'm not aware of any other company offering a lens anywhere near this fast. At minimum focus, it is a bokeh machine.

Sharp where you want it to be, and then a nice fade. 

I thought the best way to see what this could do was to shoot at night. I'm sure a primary use will be for portraiture, where you want a subtle fade from the focus points, typically for me that would be the eyes. If it's too much, too close, the tip of the nose gets blurry. No bueno! It becomes something your eyes are drawn to even if only subconsciously. The above portrait was shot wide open at f1.0 and you can see her eyes and nose are perfectly sharp, nothing distracting at all. Even her hair that frames her face looks great, and then a very gradual fall off that is a characteristic of this lens. It is beautiful and natural, you just can't replicate this in post-production.

In this photo, I am a little farther away. Notice the increased depth of field.

When I first started to release these images I was amazed by some of the comments. Some of them took me by surprise, but this one comment seemed to keep coming back, and I don't for the life of me understand it. Several people questioned why would you want to buy this lens if you already own the Fuji 56mm f1.2 lens? That is a valid question. Several made the statement that there is no way they would upgrade to this lens, it would be a waste of money. Really, based on what? If you haven't shot this lens, how did you get there? There is nothing in my life that I use price alone a basis to make a decision. Cooking over a charcoal grill was fine until I bought a pellet smoker. Maybe your first camera included "kit" lenses. So why did you replace them with the same focal length and pay two to three times the amount of money to do that? All glass is not created equal, and if you think it is then this lens probably isn't for you. But, if you are a working professional and you have to shoot no matter what the weather is, then the weather sealing on this lens is reason enough to own it. The night of this shoot it rained off and on right up until we started the session. I told everyone involved that we were shooting rain or not. I only had the lens for a few short hours. I believe the price of the lens is remarkably affordable, coming in at under $1499.00. This lens will be shipping at the end of September. (which is also my birthday if anyone is looking for a way cool present for me)  If you think that's high, do a quick search for lenses with the same speed. First of all, there aren't many available. The ones that boast the same aperture are over twice as much money, some many more times than that.

Even wide open and handheld this lens is sharp with plenty of DOF

The above photo was taken at 8:30 in the evening. There was very little ambient light, but the moon popped out from behind a cloud just long enough to create the image above. This created a super contrasty image, but it held nice tones through the models. Notice the area behind her long hair, just enough shadow detail to provide some separation and interesting depth.

In the good old days of pre-Covid Nashville had lots of great music performances and active venues. Not many have great lighting so a fast lens was a necessity. Since there aren't any concerts, the next best thing was to photograph at my church. Typically I shoot 1600 ISO and wide open on the Fuji 50-140 zoom. If I'm lucky I can get 1/60 shutter speed. Mathematically going from an f1.0 to the f2.8 doesn't sound like that big of a deal. But check this out, look at my shutter speeds. I can now stop action with little to no blur in low light!

Lit only by the stage spotlights and handheld with X-T4 I love the depth of field this lens produces

BTS Shots

Look at the lack of shadow detail at 10,000 ISO!

It takes a team to make this happen! Walter White (L), and, my incredible wife (R)

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 50mm f1.0 Benro beta bokeh couples female Fuji Fuji 50mm f1.0 LED lights male models Nanlite Nashville Pavotubes pool pre-release samples Sirui swim suit test torch https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/9/fuji-50mm-f1-0-wr-lens-pre-release-test-images Sat, 05 Sep 2020 13:03:22 GMT
New Position announcement! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/7/new-position-announcement

Bruce Pallman, me, Corey, and Meredith Reinker!

Nashville has a full service photo buying option again!

I can finally announce that effective immediately I am representing Roberts from Indianapolis. Established in 1957 as a store that sold most everything but cameras. That all changed in 1968 when they added a few cameras to see what they could do. And now the only products they sell are photographic imaging related*. Roberts doesn't just sell to photographers, they also distribute products to other camera stores all over the United States.

My relationship goes back years with Roberts, in fact, I was a customer there before I moved to Nashville 10 years ago. When I found out that Dury's was closing, I started exploring other options in the industry I've known and worked in for decades. I knew that my options were limited. The Corona Virus was hitting every person and every market segment. Camera stores were no exception. I sent an email to Meredith to let her know of my interest and she was very receptive. We started discussing what it might look like if I were to work with them. A few emails, a few trips and it's now official!

What does this mean to camera buyers in Nashville? You can still buy all your camera equipment from someone you know and trust...me! I'm still here and a phone call or text away. (see below) My Nashville friends have been working with me for over 10 years. But, I've been working in this industry for over 25 years and have met thousands of photographers from all over the US and Canada. I have instant access to their actual inventory and can get your items shipped to you freight free. The inventory that is in their building is impressive, plus they have a second store they can pull products from if needed. Well known and respected by photographic vendors, there are even options to drop ship some items directly to your home if it's not available in the store. This all means the service and support you deserve and have always received from me.

What if you shoot film? Roberts has the largest inventory of film, black and white paper, and darkroom accessories in the Midwest!  Ilford, Kodak, Cinestill, and designer films are available along with Paterson developing tanks and trays.

What's in the future? Events that we've all enjoyed in the past like "Photo Walks" will be coming back! We've had people ask for these for years and we weren't able to do them. Not anymore, vendors are excited to be networking with us and we are working on other vendor sponsored events for the near future. Because of Covid, most companies have travel restrictions for their sales and marketing staff. We are brainstorming on how we can create some fun for photographers and still be socially responsible. Fun is one thing we are all missing in our lives, so let's make it happen!

I'll also be working at the incredibly successful "Cash 4 Cameras" events. UsedPhotoPro, a division of Roberts has been buying used camera equipment in Nashville for several years. I will be at these events so you can turn your unused cameras into something shiny and new. Not sure what you want? That's why I'll be there, we can discuss what you like to photograph and what makes sense. Come see me this weekend at the newest photographic lab in town, Safelight Imaging. The owner Meredith is not only my friend, she is an incredible printer! She is a graduate of SCAD and has great skills. She ran the lab at Dury's and really outgrew what they could offer, so she took her vision and created this new business. Wait till you see what she's up to! Just click the link for all the info on her new lab.

To say I am excited is an understatement! Please let me know how I can help you, here is my contact info:

Email: ncoury@robertscamera.com. Cell: 615-294-4652  (of course text is fine too)

I hope to see you and talk with you soon! Accepting pre-orders for all the latest and greatest gear, like the new Sony A7S Mark III CALL ME to preorder this long-awaited camera...or any other brand. (The new Canons arrive later this week)

*(with the exception of Klipsch audio, a high-end audio manufacturer located in Indianapolis. They ship and distribute for them because they have a well developed distribution network)
 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Canon cash 4 cameras classes consulting Dury's Fuji fun Godox learning Lighting mentoring Nashville Nikon Panasonic photo walk photographic photography presenting Profoto representing Roberts Safelight SCAD seminars teaching trade in trades Used Photo Pro Westcott https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/7/new-position-announcement Tue, 28 Jul 2020 16:12:08 GMT
Family portraits in the summer https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/7/family-portraits-in-the-summer

The Yuppa Family in 90-degree heat with a very active 2-year-old!

We visited our family in Ohio last week, it was a great time! Our daughter asked if we would update their family portrait while we were there, and of course, we said yes. Call me sentimental, but the idea that our grandchildren will have family portrait memories that their grandparents took for them makes me happy! Not to mention that Grandma is the best at getting everyone to look their best. 

We tried to get out before it got too hot, but it was still oppressive even in the early morning. The next best thing was to find a somewhat shaded spot to pose the family. Once we found that it was a matter of getting everyone posed, happy, and smiling.  

When one of the subjects is a very active and animated two-year-old you have to work quickly! Their attention span is short and they are easily distracted. (I may have just described myself!)

There are a couple of different ways to approach a shoot like this. Some believe this is an "available light" session, no need to supplement it at all. If you were to do that, you would expose for the shadows where they are standing and the background would be "blown out" white! If you are old enough to remember the TV show, "Touched by an Angel" you know what I'm talking about. You can almost make it look like a high key portrait except for the distraction of faded white/green grass and trees. If that's your style, who am I to judge?

My thoughts on "available light" photography: When someone defines themselves as this type of photographer, I immediately wonder: If there is no light available, or the light isn't flattering at that exact moment in time or location, are you still a photographer? I think the answer is obvious, so I will resist typing the two letter response. Seriously, there aren't many locations or times of day that you can predict the light to be perfect. Most situations will benefit from skilfully adding or subtracting light. I know, lights are expensive. Lights are inconvenient. Lights require math to make sure the balance is correct. All valid thoughts. I would rather have homemade bread that takes time to make, than grabbing a loaf at the store. If there's an option to eat it warm right from the oven with real butter, no contest. You get my point, it takes time but worth the extra effort.

Correct Balance? I feel adding light outdoors is like a recipe when you are cooking. I think of a recipe as a starting point to get close. Once that is done I taste it and then add whatever it takes to make it taste good to me. It's the tasting and adding that makes the dish stand out. Our tastes may not be the same, and that's perfectly fine. As long as we all have enough people that like the way we prepare the dish we will both do great. For me, my outdoors fill flash I target the strobe exposure to be between 30-40% of what the ambient light level is. Higher than that and it is no longer "fill flash", it has become your primary light or at least equal to your surroundings and it will make the photograph appear flat. I use a Sekonic L-858-D-U flash meter because it is the only meter that will give you both readings at the same time! They make several models that will do it, and they are worth the investment! Here is a link to the model I use. I'll be glad to help you get one from Roberts, just give me a call.

I decided to use the incredible Fuji GFX 50S medium format camera for the session. She told me it would be printed larger than 16x20 and I have the camera, it just made sense! I selected the GF32-64 f4 zoom and if anyone thinks by owning a zoom lens you give up sharpness, I would offer this image as "Exhibit A" to say that's not my experience at all. My preferred lighting brand is Profoto. I own Profoto B10's and they are the bomb! Small, light, travel well, lots of power and most importantly, they are consistent in output and color. I switched several years ago and couldn't be happier! I know, there are many less expensive brands out there. But, lighting is everything! An inconsistent light is worthless. If it's not consistent, then you are stuck in front of your computer tweaking every single frame. In this session, I shot over 100 files because of the "variables." (read small children) I also did smaller groups of us with the kids. Adjusting 100 files to get close enough so they can pick what they want? No, thank you! That is a huge time savings and time is money!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B10's balance families family fill flash Fuji Fuji GFX GFX lighting medium format Ohio portraits Profoto Sekonic Sirui https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/7/family-portraits-in-the-summer Thu, 16 Jul 2020 17:50:19 GMT
10 years in a tote https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/5/10-years-in-a-tote

10 years of working at Dury's is right here in this tote. The walls are picked bare, sad sight!

It was a great run, in fact, it lasted 138 years. Dury's, one of the original 8 stores opened up by George Eastman is now nothing but a memory. We served thousands of photographers and their families, in fact, we served generations!

I packed up my desk and belongings yesterday. It was a sad day, that no one wanted to see come. The handwriting was on the wall, and we all thought this day might come, but like the death of a sick loved one, you are never really prepared. You think you are, but you aren't.

I had to turn in my keys and credit card. All that's left is a stack of shirts that will end up at Goodwill. There is a certain "finality" to all this. Reminds me of all the medical shows I've watched just waiting for the Attending to call the "time of death."

I worked upstairs in the "crows nest." It provided a great perspective where I could see what was happening below on the sales floor. If they needed help, I could run down and jump in. 

Gary Giles is a great photographer and a valuable employee. Everyone that shoots film loves Gary!

The unique thing about working at Dury's was we all got along well. I don't want to come off like we spent holidays together but we did and do care about each other. I'm sure that these relationships will live longer than the store did. I'm hopeful that we stay in touch, only time will tell.

Tilly worked a few desks away and did our purchasing. If you know anyone looking for a purchaser, give them her name!

This isn't intended to be an all inclusive article on our demise. It would take more time than I am willing to devote to this and I have to find a job! That is my number one priority right now. In all seriousness, when you've survived cancer, a job isn't that big of a deal. If you know me at all, hopefully, you know about my relationship with Jesus Christ and my total trust in Him! He healed and sustained me through chemotherapy and radiation, He can provide a job

I wanted to take a few images to document what I saw my last few hours in the store. The last photo is my desk area. This was where I worked 5 or 6 days a week. I scheduled the staff, answered emails, and entered customer's orders from friends all over the United States.

We had some of the most knowledgeable staff of any camera store I am aware of. Each of the employees had a specialty so we could answer most any question that came up. There just aren't many places left like this in the US. Nashville is an incredible photographic market and the absence of our store will leave a huge void. No place to pick up a roll of background paper or learn about the newest offerings.

My final thought is this. I moved here from Ohio 10 years ago to work at Dury's and my guiding sentiment is the fact that "people don't buy from companies, they buy from people!" I know whatever the next step is in my life, it will probably include selling photography equipment and teaching others how to use it. The relationships I've made here will continue so don't be a stranger!

If you'd like to stay in touch please add nick@nickcoury.com to my contact information. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) cameras Canon demise Dury's Fuji it didn't have to end this way legacy Nikon no more Profoto since 1882 Sony stores the end https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/5/10-years-in-a-tote Wed, 27 May 2020 21:22:51 GMT
Photograph what you have available! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/4/photograph-what-you-have-available

 

We have lived in this house for over 5 years, and I don't think I've ever taken the time to photograph these flowers. Have I thought about it? Sure. Did I do it? Not that I can remember. 

Now I have time to photograph them whenever I want to. It was raining and the lighting looked different. I knew the raindrops would add interest to the image. 

One really good thing that has happened is I've literally taken time to smell the roses. (not literal roses in this case) I own the Fuji 80mm f2.8 macro lens for my X-T3's. I use it for portraits a lot, especially corporate headshots. But this, this is what it was made for! It focuses super fast and is beyond sharp. 

This photo and the next were taken with the medium format Fuji GFX camera and 120mm f4 OIS lens, handheld.

A few days earlier I experimented with the GFX and Profoto A1X and Connect. I just added a subtle amount of flash to stop the movement. This was my first attempt using the medium format camera for macro flowers. I've used it for product photography and it is fantastic!

Just a subtle difference in these two shots, but I love the top of the images! The creamy blur of rich purple hues is beautiful. I am enjoying the freedom to create images that make me happy. All the above images were post-processed in Capture One for Fuji. One of my quarantine activities is learning new software, and this is my current project. I love what it does...but it is not the most intuitive software I've used. That said, they have great learning tutorials on their site. No, I am not sponsored by them and I've paid for my copy just like everyone else. I will always tell you what I like and what I don't like, and Capture One, I am beginning to like very much!

Stay safe! If you are interested in purchasing any of these for your home or office, just let me know!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 120 macro art covid-19 flowers for sale Fuji GFX macro medium format pandemic quarantine raindrops smell stay at home wall art x-t3 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/4/photograph-what-you-have-available Tue, 28 Apr 2020 15:01:58 GMT
This was us then, and now. https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/4/this-was-us-then-and-now 19741974

I'm not sure what we were looking at?  :)

Just look at that face! You see why I fell in love with her. Then, look at my hair...wow! It was nice while it lasted, and before you ask, it was all natural. No perm.

It has been great having this time off. It's been very strange for me as I've only had two weeks off in a row one previous time in my adult life! (Well, other than the 8 months I had off for my cancer treatment. But that was totally different)

My bride and I are high school sweethearts. We came together at an important time in our lives as individuals and then as a couple. The most important detail I would want you to know is that it was soon after we both became Christians that we met. It was a time when we were making all kinds of life and lifestyle changes and meeting lots of new friends. Keep in mind we were still teenagers and made some mistakes. But, we grew with those choices and moved on. Most of them we didn't repeat more than once or twice.

Decades later, and in the middle of a Pandemic, we have lots of time together. I am so thankful for this time and the way we spend it. I have come to the understanding that I am a visitor here during the day. And that isn't a bad thing at all. She has had the house to herself for many years. She has patterns, schedules, and tasks that fill her day. On the other hand, I would be gone by 8:00 and not home till after 6:00. We would also have the weekends when I didn't work together that we looked forward to. Now it is, "six Saturdays and then a Sunday." It is an adjustment, but one we are enjoying.

I would encourage you to make the most of this time together. Consider it a gift. We are finishing home projects that need to be done. I am helping with the cooking and enjoying it! We take walks. We talk. We dream about what we want to do when we can get out and about again. We chose to consider this time as practice for retirement. It's not that far away, and I have to tell you, I am thankful for it!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) convid-19 coronavirus future high school plans quarantine retirement sweetheart us https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/4/this-was-us-then-and-now Sun, 19 Apr 2020 14:30:17 GMT
CamRanger 2 First Job Review https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/3/camranger-2-first-job-review

I recently photographed two entire days of headshots on location. About 250 employees and 1500 exposures for the two days. Just think of how many hours it would take you to do your initial sort. Not with the CamRanger 2, the subjects pick their favorite, give it a star rating and you move on to the next person. When it was time to post-process I only had to deal with the 250 frames that they had already selected, what a time saver that was! But, that was just the beginning, this is a game-changer for so many reasons.

Here are a few of the advantages I've discovered so far:

  1. The client picks their favorite photo on the spot. If they don't like it, you shoot a few more. You don't have to narrow it down to three or four, send them to your contact, they would have to distribute to all 250 people for them to pick their favorite and then they would send you a list of their "selects", back and forth until eventually you know what they want. Many hours of sorting and multiple uploads later, you are finally ready to finish the project. I saved many hours...possibly a full day with this system! Time is money as we all know. 
  2. No more reshoots! They leave happy and excited about their new photo. We heard it time and time again, "oh my gosh, these are great!" 
  3. Everyone "buys into" the process. There is a positive buzz and they sincerely appreciate the fact that their employer-provided this for them. Almost everyone asked if they could have a copy of the file, and several people took phone photos of my iPad!
  4. They have a professional portrait for social media and speaking engagements...that THEY picked!
  5. Workflow simplicity. Initially, the setup is a little time-consuming and finicky, but I'll point out a few of the workarounds I've incorporated that should save you some time researching and resolving.

CamRanger 2 with Fuji X-T3, 50-140mm lens and Profoto Air Remote transmitter on Sirui Tripod

CamRanger 2 works with most camera models. All the current "players" are supported: Canon, Fuji, Nikon, and Sony. I have been a happy Fuji shooter for 7 of the last 8 years. My reason is simple, I make a living photographing people. Flesh tones SOOC (straight out of camera) are incredible! My goal is to always use JPEG's when possible, and in a studio situation (for me) that should be every single time. I know, that statement divides a bunch of people. Many photographers are passionate about one or the other, and it is a personal preference based on your style and experience. Personally I still shoot RAW plus JPEG on almost every job. It is a huge safety net providing peace of mind in case I make a mistake. RAW allows me to save the job IF I need to. (and we have all needed to at some point) The CamRanger unit will accept an SD card internally. But, it will only record JPEG's so for some of you that may be a problem. If that's you, then just use your cameras SD cards to write your RAW files to. If you use the code NCOURY20 on their website, you will save $20.00!
 

I shoot a pair of Fuji X-T3's I use for 99% of my photography. It is pretty important to understand the inventors of the CamRanger aren't photographers, they are just super smart people that set out to solve a problem. There is a real advantage to this when you hit an obstacle, they typically are able to resolve it quickly. There are a few quirky settings that are different on Fuji and Sony, but they have addressed them on their website.

One of my early discoveries is that depending on your camera brand when you plug in the cable, the USB connection may attempt to power the CamRanger from the camera battery. This will drain your camera in a hurry! You can opt to buy two batteries and a charge when you purchase it and unless you are shooting for 8 hours straight, I doubt you would have any reason to plug into a power source. Because of that, I have several friends that are using these in action sports situations. Shooting and sending the images in real-time to the client. In fact, you can send it to multiple feeds that will allow someone from the school to post to all social media feeds almost instantly!

There is no way your camera battery can keep up with the demand for establishing a WiFi connection all day. No worries, there is a charging option on the CamRanger and it works like a champ! I should also mention that my iPad was on all day and running the CamRanger app with a single charge, so it doesn't need much to keep running. That was powered up, connected to WiFi...impressive! It worked the same both days with power to spare so I'm convinced it does the job very efficiently.

Having a talented HMUA on the scene makes my job so much easier!

Here is an overall view from the fill light position.

 

The client views and approves their selection on the spot!

I don't think there is a more customer-friendly way to offer location headshots. If there's something they don't like about themselves or the image, there isn't a better time to hear about it. And when they have selected the image, they have approved the image. It is the ultimate win/win for you, the subject, and your customer.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B10's CamRanger2 corporate executive Fuji X-T3 head headshot iPad lighting location Nashville Headshot Profoto shot https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2020/3/camranger-2-first-job-review Tue, 17 Mar 2020 19:25:00 GMT
Fujifilm GFX 50S portrait session https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/12/fujifilm-gfx-50s-portrait-session

 

A month ago we had a demo day at our store for Hasselblad and Broncolor. I will always carry a special place in my heart for Hasselblad. When I bought my first Hassy, I thought I had "arrived" and there would never be another camera in my future. That was a true statement for over 20 years, but time brings changes. In those days there wasn't even thought of digital capture. (you have to remember that Dick Tracey talking into his watch was complete science fiction)

This portrait of Ann Michael was taken with the Hasselblad and a macro lens. It is sharp and beautiful. The lighting is totally different so it's not fair to compare the two images, but I thought I should include one from the day that started my mind thinking about "medium format digital capture."

As I reviewed some of the files I shot with the Hasselblad I wondered how the Fuji GFX 50S would stack up. I contacted my friends at Fuji to ask if I could borrow a camera for a while to do some testing and they graciously agreed. Timory is a young lady that is both beautiful and very talented. We had been talking about a portrait idea of her with her guitar and this would be the perfect time to try it.

For the portrait today I dug out a favorite Les Brandt Backdrop that I have owned for years...maybe decades. It is a beautiful hand-painted, low key canvas that photographs like nothing else. I had to break out the steamer to get rid of wrinkles but other than that, I was good to go.

I am using five Profoto B10 lights in this setup. The main light is a 2'x2' OCF Octabank with grids. There are various other lights used as fill and accent lights and most of them also have grids to control spill on the background. Each light was individually metered and adjusted throughout the session with a Sekonic L-758. I've used Sekonic meters for many years and while TTL is nice to have available the control available in manual is unmatchable. I always have this meter with me when I am using lights.

Rudolph Staged

My goal was a very low key feeling with a nice, peaceful mood. Here her darker top pulls the image into key where I want it and also shows off the guitar nicely. I am considering burning the left side down to more closely match the right side, but I haven't decided if it needs done or not. Sharpness is there all the way through the image, incredible sharpness! But, the dynamic range of the larger sensor is where this camera shines. The Fuji GFX is 1.7 times LARGER than a full-frame camera. The sensor is huge and can carry a lot of data, that's the medium format difference. The camera size is surprisingly small for what it does and is easily handheld if you want to. I use a tripod whenever I can. I feel it allows me to communicate better with my clients and adds sharpness and safety.

Timory's dad is a good friend of ours and he drove her over. While they were here, I took the time to do a quick portrait of them together. One thing I've become aware of is that as image-makers we have a certain responsibility to make portraits that show relationships when the opportunity presents itself. It's natural for many people to not get excited about being photographed, or wish we were better prepared. But, the fact is, it's always a good idea to make the image. The day will come when you (and they) will be glad you did.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) b10 b10 plus classic control fuji gfx grids guitars Hasselblad les brandt low key medium format profoto Sekonic strip banks timeless https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/12/fujifilm-gfx-50s-portrait-session Sun, 29 Dec 2019 06:04:13 GMT
Smoky Mountain therapy 2019 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/11/smoky-mountain-therapy-2019 Fall in the Smoky's is a beautiful season. There are a few variables that determine just how colorful it will be like the amount of rain, cold weather or just the timing of your visit. You can come too early or too late...occasionally you may even hit it at peak season. I've never been lucky enough to hit the last one. But you know what? It really doesn't matter, it's the mountains in the fall! The air is crisp and clean. The views are beautiful and you have your camera along.

Thanks to Dury's I was able to attend the annual Great Smoky Mountain Photo Summit again this year. It has become one of the yearly events we anticipate and enjoy. April from f32 in Knoxville has put together one of the best photo workshops available in my opinion. Just take a look at the speaker line up, and it is hard to beat. Small classes with one-on-one time with these superstars...why wouldn't you? One of my best friends on the planet hosts this event and he takes it seriously. Bill Fortney and Jack Graham put on a bunch of workshops all over the United States. If you enjoy creating beautiful images for the sake of creating beautiful images, you owe it to yourself to make time for one of their events! Fujifilm is a major sponsor and as a Fuji shooter, it is a great place to try the latest and greatest camera bodies and lenses for free! These images were my Fuji X-T3 and the 50-140 f2.8, one of my favorite lenses!

This year Marlene and I didn't get out until the last day as we headed home. We decided to take the road from Townsend over the mountain into Gatlinburg. The views on this road are breathtaking. We weren't in a hurry so we stopped a few places and were able to get a few wall hangers.

Sunrise is a bit of a wild card this time of year. It could be foggy and that's not bad if you are above it. It may or may not lift before the suns breaks through and that will affect your image. This was quite a while after the actual sunrise, but still a beautiful, majestic site.

I find it best to do sweeping wider angle views and some close-ups. There are plenty of both to focus on. This applies to scenic overlooks or waterfalls, it's the same principle and practice for me. The big picture, maybe a low angle with super wide lens and then a macro close up. I like this approach. 

It really doesn't matter how you shoot it, just get out and shoot! It's great therapy and you may even create some images you will be proud to share!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) breathtaking clouds color Fuji Fuji X-T3 General Stuff scenic Smoky smoky mountains Travel and road trips views wall art https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/11/smoky-mountain-therapy-2019 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:12:23 GMT
"Seeing" takes practice https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/10/-seeing-takes-practice I've been blessed to make a living in photography since 1972. That was the year I photographed my first wedding for money. I was only a Sophomore in high school, but someone trusted me to capture their big day. I knew then that this was a great way to make a living and I've been doing it ever since.

I attend Hermitage Hills Baptist Church and gladly volunteer to use my photography skills for the church. I would be lying if I told you that it was easy to keep the content fresh. I mean think about it. I'm in the same building, with pretty much the same lighting, photographing the same people...doing the same thing! This past week I gave myself a challenge. I limited myself to using just one lens. The lens I selected was the 80mm Fuji Macro lens. The image above is one of the two Shure SM57 mics that are used on my percussion instruments. I've never had that lens with me so this perspective was fresh and new for me. I didn't turn it in with my weekly images because nobody else would care about it. (except maybe the tech team) But for me, it was fun to see what I could do in just a few minutes using what I had available.

Using the same lens, I decided I would frame Poly looking "thru" the mounting lugs of my congas. Focusing on him made the extreme foreground blurred and created little colors of distortion. I like this "in camera" effect and again would have never thought of this application for the 80mm lens.

When I owned a bike we rode with our FAITH Riders Ministry and these are some dear friends. I love highlighting their "colors" in the foreground of this photo.

The light from her phone provided interesting light on her face

I will be on the schedule again in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll just take an extreme wide-angle lens and see what I can create. One thing is certain, no matter how many years you've been shooting, the "seeing" takes practice. And perfect practice makes perfect!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) environmental Faith Riders Fuji X-T3 Hermitage Hills Baptist Church lighting macro portraits vision https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/10/-seeing-takes-practice Thu, 10 Oct 2019 03:44:29 GMT
When you think you have it bad https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/9/when-you-think-you-have-it-bad

As humans, we are all tempted to complain about how bad we have it. Sometimes we will preface our remarks by saying, "first world problem" like that makes it more understandable. Most of the time what we are complaining about is an inconvenience, not really even a problem at all. At least not a serious problem. When it is medically related and we are totally out of control, that changes things. But, when it is a small child, that will change your perspective immediately!

Kay is holding her precious son Joey. Joey is beautiful and has already fought harder to be alive that many of us could even imagine. In the last months of her pregnancy, they discovered that Joey had a rare disease called Trisomy 18 and the odds of him being born alive were very slim. Kay and her husband Daniel are friends from church. When I heard about this I offered to be on call whenever he was born. I wanted to make sure they had photos of them and Joey whatever happened. Late one evening I got a call that they were doing a C section and they asked if could I come to Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt? Absolutely!

 Joey is four-pounds of fighter!

Good news, he is alive and fighting! I have never seen so many tiny wires, probes, and hoses. There were machines everywhere and they all had their own specific sounds and alarms. The nurses were taking such loving care of Joey and the good news was, he was responding. Kay had not been able to see him as she was recovering from surgery so after doing these and taking a little video I went back to her room to share these with her. Although groggy, she was relieved to see how well he was doing.

Fast forward about 10 days. I was making plans to leave town for business and I was going to be gone an entire week. The Lord was prompting me to run over and take some more photos for them but, I was busy getting ready to be gone. Sometimes when we aren't obedient to that still small voice, He will use people to help us fulfill his plan. Saturday afternoon I got a text from Kay saying she would be able to hold Joey later today and asked if I could come over again? This was no accident and I knew I had to go. I was looking forward to seeing his progress and all that the Lord was doing in his little body.

  An intimate moment as Kay is able to hold Joey and see him open his eyes! (he did not like my strobe at all) We were able to do their first family portrait right there in NICU

I am asking all my friends to continue to pray for Joey and his family. He is a living, breathing miracle! 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Children's hospital documentary fighter HHBC Joey NICU prayers Vanderbilt https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/9/when-you-think-you-have-it-bad Sat, 28 Sep 2019 17:01:43 GMT
My next mirrorless camera system is... https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/6/my-next-mirrorless-camera-system-is

I know there has been a lot of speculation as to what I was going to do. It may seem like I change systems a lot, but I really don't! Here is the breakdown of my last 10 years. I started at Dury's with two Canon 5D's now called "classic", they were the original model and they served me well. But, the focusing was not good so I switched to the Nikon line and shot their full frame D700. That worked for me until this whole mirrorless camera system showed up.

As you may know, I went "all in" to Fuji and it was my only camera for about 6 years. I started when Fuji had one body, the X Pro 1 and only three lenses to offer in the entire system. But, the color was incredible and worth the aggravation of waiting for the development of additional lenses. I liked the size and portability and it just seemed to suit my shooting style. In six years I owned the X Pro 1 and 2, the X-E1 and 2. The X-T1 and 2 and a nice collection of Fuji lenses. I had 8-10 batteries and chargers everywhere I may need them: at home, at work, and in my camera bags!

Life happens and time marches on, but your eyes don't get better, they get worse. It seemed like everyone was improving their focusing but Fuji. I don't know why they didn't but they seemed more interested in launching a camera with IBIS (in body image stabilization) than they did addressing the real issue which was us older guys that couldn't see to focus.

Sony heard the complaints and knew that the struggle was real. They set out to not only fix it but fix it in a way that had never been done before! And if that wasn't enough they continue to up that game to unprecedented performance. I often say their eye detection is like science fiction, it just works really well...every single time! So I sold all my Fuji cameras, every single one of them, all the lenses and batteries and moved to Sony. But I didn't just buy a Sony A7RIII, I also bought a Panasonic G9 and then another one plus four Leica lenses and 2 Olympus Pro lenses to go with the two bodies. I shot these systems for about 1 1/2 years and I made a lot of beautiful images with them! I was pretty happy except for one thing, the color science wasn't great. Sony's color is more neutral than anything, I would describe it as "vanilla" and there's nothing wrong with that. Panasonic makes an incredible camera and I enjoyed shooting it a lot. I feel it has the second best color that I've experienced. For me, something was still missing... 

It's all about the color. My opinion is that a JPEG SOOC (straight out of camera) should be beautiful and 90+ percent of your image. Why you may ask? Because you are letting the camera manufacturer determine how to interpret the 1's and 0's that make up the binary file your camera creates when you take a photo. Adobe Lightroom is a pretty incredible product and it does an OK job of developing RAW files. But it can't come close to the manufacturer's ability to create a photo from the RAW data! In my opinion, no one does this better than Fuji! Several weeks ago I requested a few cameras and lenses from Fuji. My rep Jackie has been a friend (and a former boss) for over 20 years. She arranged to get me my wish list sent it so I could see if it met my expectations. I can tell you with zero reservation, that the Fuji X-T3 is a game changer for me and many other photographers! 

My initial concern was the focusing system. It was the reason I had to take a vacation from the Fuji system. The following image was done in a low light room, with modeling lights only and "eye detection" as my focusing selection. Spot on. Not only is it sharp, but the flesh tones and dynamic range are exceptional! My first session with a test camera and I am very optimistic. Note: I recognize he is a little magenta. It's what happens when you golf in the summer without sunscreen and your complexion already leans that way. See the difference between his white t-shirt and neck? They are totally neutral!

I may be ahead of myself so let me back up to some of the "why's" of any camera system. When people come into the store shopping for a camera I ask a lot of questions about them and what they like to take pictures of. Once I have that info, I can start to place a camera in their hand and see how it feels to them. Once comfortable with the size we look at the layout of the camera. Is it menu driven or are there actual knobs and dials that make sense? Another big win for Fuji! I started this journey into photography in 1972 with film cameras and there were no menus at all. Film cameras had three controls: a shutter speed dial, an aperture ring, and an ASA dial to set the sensitivity. Many Fuji models are set up that way today. It's like an old pair of slippers, comfortable. It also is intuitive when you are making a quick change. No need to remember how your Custom Functions are set up, just reach for the dial and take your photograph.

Lens selection and affordability: Fuji has been known for its glass for decades. Cinema folks knew about them before many still shooters did and still use them heavily in the images you and I see on TV or at movies. This glass is excellent. It is very affordable, in fact, there just aren't any other manufacturers offering compatible lenses for the X system because they can't make them better and cheaper. There isn't a market for what they offer. Sigma and Tamron make great lenses but the only "non-Fuji" lenses that make it to my X-T3 bodies are Zeiss Touit lenses and that's because they have either a unique focal length or that Zeiss look that can't be replicated. Here are a few images to illustrate what I mean. I am especially fond of the 12mm lens, it is incredible!

 

Beautiful color, sharpness and practically no noise at 3200 ISO!

Our past Governor Haslam and Senator Marsha Blackburn at a recent Republican fundraiser. X-T3 with 18-55 and bounce strobe

Beautiful (child) flesh tones, sharpness and handles extreme contrast well. That's great lenses and a great sensor! 

Fuji X-T3 with 80mm macro

Fuji black and white out of the camera is awesome and lends a timeless feel to this portrait

There will be more written and more images, but for now, I am so happy to have the ability to be freed up from my computer in "the black hole of post-processing." Delivering beautiful work that was created in the X-T3 is awesome and saves me hours of time that I really don't enjoy and don't have available.

Some of you may be wondering how I can live without the awesome large files that I got from the Sony A7RIII and this is my answer:

It is the Fuji GFX! 50 Megs of beautiful file with Fuji color science!

 

Like John Denver said, "Hey it's good to be back home again"!

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) camera guru Cameras Canon change Fuji Fuji 80mm macro Fujinon General Stuff journey mirrorless Nikon Olympus Panasonic Sony timeline Travel and road trips X System X-T3 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/6/my-next-mirrorless-camera-system-is Mon, 01 Jul 2019 02:18:01 GMT
What about Canon and Nikon full frame cameras? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/3/what-about-canon-and-nikon-full-frame-cameras

I only know a handful of photographers that have bought either of these and are absolutely in love with them. I have read plenty of reviews and  accolades from the Canon "Explorers of Light" or Nikon "Ambassadors." (these are their "sponsored shooters") Why do you suppose that’s the case? I propose because they are not quite ready for prime time. (see what I did there..play on words with prime as in lenses...) I also don’t have many clients that are converting their shooting systems to either of these full frame options.

Even though there are many Canon and Nikon photographers that own thousands of dollars in quality, big dollar lenses, you still need to use an adapter of some type and that is very much hit or miss with both systems. I should mention that adapters on Sony full frames still leave a lot to be desired. They do work...kinda. You will pay a price for not investing in native designed glass mostly in the performance area. Slower or spotty focusing is a common complaint. Speaking of glass both companies have a very limited initial offering of native lenses for these cameras. I suspect this will be a sticking point for the new Lumix full frame camera line too, limited and pricey lenses. Beautiful, sharp, fast performing and pricey.

One clear advantage Sony has in this market is lens choices. They are adding to their own line monthly and they seem to get better and better. If that isn't enough, Zeiss and Sigma Art lenses are available and Tamron is even jumping onto the Sony bandwagon! Making your lens options within the Sony line exponentially larger and with enough price points to satisfy all of us!

Many customers have voiced disappointment in waiting for the "big two" to come out with a full frame mirrorless camera bodies and then discovering these first models are just not good enough. 

One example of a glaring omission is a single card slot. This is true in both Canon and Nikon models. What other pro cameras have just one slot? None! It makes no difference if you shoot RAW plus JPEG on two cards, you mirror back up or assign the second slot as overflow, it is unacceptable to eliminate that option. In addition, the Nikon Z6 and Z7 only accept XQD cards. There are a very limited amount of camera models that utilize those cards so you know the mass production isn't there making them unaffordable. And in Nikon's case to make that single slot anything other than an SD UHS-II seems just silly. At least Canon stayed with a tested and affordable SD slot. Nikon can talk about dependability all they want and a very limited fail rate, it is still a card that has not been embraced by many other manufacturers and its future is uncertain at best. This "second slot" rant is not just my opinion. It is the single biggest reason I hear given by pros that they will not consider either of these camera brands.

For me, the most disappointing fact is I think we all expected more from firms that were arguably the top of the pro camera pile for years...no, decades! They were the last ones to market with their "legit full frame pro camera bodies". For their first attempt, they are lackluster and missing key components. I would have guessed they would have looked at the leader in this market segment, (undeniably Sony) and made "me too" models or at least specifications. They did not. 

There are many great technical expositions on these cameras. If you want the techie stuff, I suggest you go read them. As I've stated, this is an opinion piece. My opinion. In this case the slow sales of all three of these models confirms what I've said. If you've stayed with me this far, thank you! I have some more thoughts coming on micro 4/3 cameras and lighting. It should be fun and most likely controversial too.
 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Battis cameras Canon digital Fuji full frame Lumix mirrorless Nikon Panasonic reviews SD Sony specs Tamron UHS XQD Zeis https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/3/what-about-canon-and-nikon-full-frame-cameras Tue, 12 Mar 2019 04:08:44 GMT
One of my current systems...Sony A7RIII https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/2/one-of-my-current-systems-sony-a7riii

 

This is my "full frame camera" the incredible Sony A7RIII

Right off the bat, I let you know that I own multiple camera systems. Why? It's all about using the right tool for the right job. I don't feel there is a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to digital capture. If a client is only in need of digital assets for a web site, then full frame is potentially overkill. There are of course situations where you need something the full frame does better, maybe a wider angle of view or less noise at super high ISO's. Other than that, there aren't a ton of advantages in my opinion. I've owned full frame Canon, Nikon and now the Sony. They are great but I don't need them for every job.

I've been mirrorless for 7+ years. I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't be at this stage of the game, it just makes so much sense. Here are a few things that mirrors add that are not good contributions!

  1. They "move" or flop up and down. That causes vibration which can cause movement and that makes for unsharp images. Not good.
  2. They "move" or flop up and down. That limits the "frames per second" you can shoot at. There is a physical limitation to how many times and how quickly it can flip up and return. Mirrorless doesn't have that limitation. Not good.
  3. A mirror and viewfinder restrict how low of light you can see and effectively focus in. Not good.

Reason #3 is what attracted me to Sony as a brand of camera. If you had asked me a few years ago to try Sony, I would have laughed out loud! In my opinion, they are the most improved camera company in the last few years. They went from the worst (my opinion) to absolutely killing it! I am in my 60's and that brings lots of changes. I'll spare you any other details, but let's say my eyes aren't what they used to be. Focusing became problematic for me. Sony has perfected "eye detection" to a level that no one else even comes close. Once their system grabs onto a pupil, it is like a pit bull! Their next generation that will be offered as a FREE firmware update takes it to an even higher level! This is a game changer and every other camera company better take note and move this direction sooner than later.

I pride myself on getting it right in the camera. Composition, lighting, and expression are variables within my control. But, if I can't see to focus or the focusing system is lacking, I'm in trouble! The focusing system was what pulled me into the Sony line of cameras. I need to also mention that it was what initiated me leaving the Fuji system I loved and promoted for over 6 years.

Fuji failed to admit or address their focusing was sub-standard. It was possibly the single largest complaint of most Fuji users. Fuji ignored it and pretended that it didn't exist. Instead, they gave photographers a camera not many asked for and again my opinion, their largest "fail" since they entered the digital market with the X-Pro 1. When the long-awaited and highly promoted X-H1 came out, they quickly discovered that IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) wasn't as big as they thought it was. Also, the IBIS feature made the body significantly larger which I don't understand based on the size of other camera companies that have it. Just look at the physical size of the Sony A6500. It offers a 5 stop/5 axis image stabilization. So do most bodies in the Panasonic Lumix line. They have it and they are super small. This camera should have come after the X-T3 that was long overdue if it came at all. And although they may not admit it, just look at the current price on the X-H1 body only. It is $1299.00 and it includes a free battery grip. (at the time of this release) That is an additional $329.00 incentive. Oops!

The introduction of the X-H1 was what pushed me to look for a new line of cameras. I sold all of my Fuji and bought into the Sony family and Panasonic Lumix line. I will address that transition in my next blog.

I'm sure you would like to see some images from the Sony, so here are a few of my favorites so far.

Sunrise at Myrtle BeachSunrise at Myrtle Beach


The Sony eye detection focusing assures tack sharp images when I'm photographing a person. That allows me to concentrate on all the other variables I need to control knowing the focusing is handled! The end result, sharper images! Photographed with the Zeiss 135mm f2.8 Batis lens.

Adrian Belew, front man for King Crimson, toured with David Bowie and one of the all-time guitar greats with his custom SKB Case.

I am fortunate to have SKB Cases as a client. In 2017 I photographed their images with the Fuji GFX, 50 MEG camera. This year I used a combination of the Fuji GFX and Sony A7RIII. This image was from my Sony with the Zeiss Batis 18mm lens. Just look at the sharpness and detail! This is a combination I use quite a bit and have never been disappointed.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) a7III a7riii a9 Batis be alpha camera digital digital photography free agent Fuji full frame GFX IBIS Lumix sony X-H1 X-T3 Zeiss https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2019/2/one-of-my-current-systems-sony-a7riii Fri, 08 Feb 2019 13:10:43 GMT
Nick Coury, photographic "Free Agent" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/12/nick-coury-photographic-free-agent

I have lots of photo swag and plan on showing it off over the course of these next blogs.

free agent | frē ˈājənt | noun a person who does not have any commitments that restrict their actions. • a sports player who is not bound by a contract and so is eligible to join any team.

I’m not even sure there is such a thing as "free agent" in photography. What I do know is I am a free thinker and always willing to look at new equipment or a new way to do things. For the past 45 years, I’ve learned from my many mistakes. I've tried to not repeat any mistakes and I warn others if I see them heading into one of those I've already learned from. If someone with more experience tells me it won’t work, I no longer try to prove them wrong. Unless of course, I have a reason to believe that it can be done a different way. 

Disclaimer: These blog entries contain opinionated and potentially divisive statements. These are my options written on my blog. You are my guest and welcomed to your own opinions, in fact, you are encouraged to have them! Please don’t state them here, but consider writing them on your blog. 😉

Why I consider myself a “free agent”

Change - I’ve changed camera manufacturers many times throughout my career. It has never, not one time, been because someone “bought or bribed" me. Because of my job and long run in our industry I’ve been able to borrow or test shoot most any brand of camera, lens or lighting I've had a desire to try. Some were good, many were not. I have even been able to Beta test some equipment for manufacturers, and that is an entirely different subject, but still enjoyable. For a few years, I was the editor of a great online newsletter called ShootSmarter.com, it was owned by a man that taught me much in our profession. Will Crockett encouraged me to not take anything for face value and if I didn't think it was right....stand my ground and question it. I was responsible for the accuracy of the editorial content provided by very well known and established shooters. Many times I questioned what they submitted and would work with them to clarify the data or withhold the posting. For some authors, this wasn't acceptable and caused friction. For others, it strengthened our relationship and I count them as friends to this day. 

I buy my own gear so when I change I experience the same pain you do when you make a change. I love that part of my job, suppliers make it very easy to test and even own if I decide it needs to be in my arsenal of tools. The downside of this is the actual change process. You need to get rid of the gear you own and invest in the new line. Depending on how you bought it, new or used, waited for rebates or spontaneously, you will lose some money. Many of my pro shooter friends know this is a part of the process now that we are digital. Gone are the days of buying a Hasselblad and using it for 20+ years, it was a great run for decades, but those days are over. Technology improves at an incredible rate and we need to stay somewhat current or pay the price by adding time to our processing times or frustration level. A friend that is a great shooter recently made the transition from Canon to Sony. He was reluctant because he had been a Canon shooter for so long and he knew the system inside and out. After shooting the Sony he knew it had to be done. He also knew it wouldn't be cheap replacing two pro bodies and half a dozen incredible lenses. As we walked through the process we talked about the financial impact of his decision. He explained that his current system has allowed him to make a great living for the past decade. It has allowed him to make exponentially more than it cost him and that it owed him nothing. To continue using it because it was paid for or because new it cost him $15,000.00 was not even in his thought process. That system was causing him frustration and missed opportunities, he had to make the investment in his business to remain viable.

There is a lack of freedom to change direction or allegiance when you are “sponsored” by one company. In fact, it is almost impossible to experiment with other gear to see if there may be a better mousetrap. That only hurts you and your ability to produce great images if you aren't willing to experiment and try new gear or new techniques. We know who the "sponsored" shooters are. We also know there are writers that change their allegiance to whoever will give them the newest, latest, greatest ________. I've heard these people referred to as "photo hoes." In other words, they can be bought pretty easily. They exchange their integrity for free gear. I don't understand that and never will.

I plan on taking a few pages to talk about some of the changes we've seen recently and not so recently. I will explore changes in cameras, lenses and lighting. There are trends and there may be some surprises. There is also fact and there is fiction. There are people that will accept whatever a certain YouTuber presents as fact because of the number of subscribers they have. I think that is a pretty dangerous policy. Numbers can give you some validity, but they don't make you infallible! God gave you a brain, use it or lose it! I'll include some images to demonstrate why I like what is available and how it's working for me.

I hope I've told you enough that you will want to check back and read my impressions and look at some images that will demonstrate why I feel like I do. Thanks for coming by, I hope you'll come back.


 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Adobe author Canon Fuji Godox Lightroom mirrorless Nikon Olympus Panasonic Photoshop Profoto Sony https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/12/nick-coury-photographic-free-agent Mon, 31 Dec 2018 01:08:03 GMT
Testing the Zeiss 135mm Batis lens https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/12/testing-the-zeiss-135mm-batis-lens

 

Yesterday I was working with a client that was purchasing a new Profoto B2 kit. They specialize in pageant photography so they wanted to try it on a model using the new equipment. Betty, our model, was so patient as we experimented with lights, settings and all things techie.

At the end of the session, I was able to take a few images with my Sony A7RIII and the Zeiss 135mm f2.8 Batis lens. This was my first time shooting this incredible lens. Like all Zeiss lenses it has, it's own "look" and I was not disappointed with the results. I hope to work with Betty on future projects, she certainly makes my job a lot easier! (I also plan on adding a few Zeiss lenses to my full frame kit) I have used the Zeiss 85mm f1.8 Batis and the Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Batis in the past, so my expectations were already pretty high. As anticipated, it delivered and exceeded what I hoped for!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) a7riii batis headshot lens location portraits nashville headshot photographer pageant portrait sony zeiss https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/12/testing-the-zeiss-135mm-batis-lens Wed, 19 Dec 2018 11:40:01 GMT
Joe Bonamasa at The Ryman https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/8/joe-bonamasa-at-the-ryman This was a "bucket list" concert for me. Joe sold out three nights at the incredible Ryman. This is one of the best music venue's in Music City. Personally, it is my favorite and I rarely pass up an opportunity to see a concert there.

My good friend Steve Lowry is the house photographer there and we were given a choice of balcony left or right. We decided the right side would be best since that's the direction he would be looking. 

This was a good decision and allowed us to capture some nice moments during the concert. 

When an artist "buys the room" his people totally control what you can do. How long you can shoot and where you can take them from. It may sound unfair, but it really isn't. In fact, it's like most photography assignments, the client dictates what they want and you have to deliver no matter what. It was a good exercise in making the most of what you have to work with. The bad part is you know you have limited time, so you tend to overshoot. Good news is, you know you will get something cool...Joe Bonamasa is an incredible musician with a band that is super talented and tight as they come.

Geek notes: Panasonic G9 camera, ISO 1600. Olympus 75mm f1.7 lens that equals a 150mm field of view! Steve introduced me to this lens and once I shot it, I had to own it. My friend Mike Amico is the Olympus rep and helped me find it. It's small, light and super sharp. It also focuses really well even in low light.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) blues concert concert photographer concert photography G9 Joe Bonamasa Lumix Music City Nashville music Olympus Panasonic pocket The Ryman The Ryman Auditorium https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/8/joe-bonamasa-at-the-ryman Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:35:54 GMT
Vacations are for memories https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/vacations-are-for-memories Let's face it, we never have enough time with those we love. We are too busy "providing" for them that we forget to make time to do the "living life" with them.

This week is our family vacation: 

No email. No voice mail. No texts.

Nothing personal, it will just have to wait. I want to make memories, make some pictures and love on my kids and grandkids.

Next week I'll be back at it, 100 mph and nearly round the clock. But for now, we are riding waves and eating ice cream!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) beach family memories panasonic g9 vacation waves https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/vacations-are-for-memories Wed, 30 May 2018 02:22:14 GMT
Finding shots at events https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/finding-shots-at-events

Sometimes these images just "happen." Most of the time they don't.

I really enjoy covering corporate events! I always meet the most interesting people and discover lots of great things to do in our city. We've lived here for 8 years and I've documented dozens of events, but I still find places I've never been too.

Topgolf was one of the places I planned on visiting and Saturday turned out to be that day. It's not uncommon that one of the venue's I'm photographing turns out to be a cool spot that is now very high on my to do list. We've found great restuarants, museums, food and desserts while working a job. This place is awesome. I've always heard that it is fun but expensive. I can tell you it isn't expensive, in fact, it is really affordable. If you go with two other couples it will cost you less than $10.00 per person to golf. Can it get expensive? Yes! They offer lots of food and beverages and a staff that will keep them coming until you stay stop. The basic golf requires a one time, $5.00 membership that you can use anywhere in the US where they have a location. The magic happens when you see how the micro chipped golf balls track your shots and keep score. It is big, big fun and I can't wait to go there on a date night.

So, back to the image. Once you've photographed nearly every individual there at least a couple times driving the ball. You need something a little different, something visually exciting. This was what I came up with and all because the ladies wanted a picture of them toasting their "red and white" wines. Just add a blue sky and you end up with, "Red, White and Blue!"

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) event golf healthcare nashville nashville event photography photographer" sports summer team building toast topgolf wine https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/finding-shots-at-events Tue, 01 May 2018 05:20:46 GMT
New Sony A7RIII cover shoot https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/new-sony-a7riii-cover-shoot Timing is everything! Waiting for the wind to stop, or catching it at its peak, provide two different results. My single favorite function of the Sony A7RIII is the autofocus. It just doesn't miss. That is huge and one of the variables I have struggled with recently. Quite possibly my single biggest complaint with most other camera lines.

 

It was a very windy day. There were 20-30 MPH winds and they didn't stop long at all. Here is one that may remind you of the famous Marilyn Monroe image.

I continue to work with this camera. I will admit that I'm not totally "in love" with it, but there are many features I am blown away by. The autofocus alone is a real game changer for me.

It's been said, "the only thing constant is change." Thats never been truer than the time we live in. Technology and time keep marching on. We can keep up, or step aside. I choose to try and keep up the best I can. Testing new cameras, lenses and lighting keeps this industry fresh and exciting for me. Occasionally I come across a product I really like and adopt it into my workflow. The Sony A7RIII is one of those items.  

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) b2 city corecivic downtown hss magazine nashville profoto profoto b2 river skyline sony 24-105 sony a7r iii https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/new-sony-a7riii-cover-shoot Sun, 22 Apr 2018 11:45:35 GMT
Dancing for Safe Haven Tennessee https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/dancing-for-safe-haven-tennessee

For the second year in a row, I was one of the photographers for a great charity event. This evening close to $500,000.00 was raised for Safe Haven! That is a good nights work! The reality is, it takes months of planning to pull of something like this and make it look easy. Enter, Rachel Wilkins. She works tirelessly to make sure everyone has a great time and an enjoyable evening.

This was a very busy day. After working a full day, I then went to photograph a wedding for a photographer friend. I consider this a very big honor. As a photographer, we have many friends involved in our industry. When another photographer asks you to be theirs, it is a huge compliment.

This event was the same time so I had to hire some help to make the night flow. First up was the "Red Carpet" couples photography. This year we provided the 4x6 photographs immediately by printing them on site!

 

This would not have been possible without the help of my wife that moved them in and out in near record time. We have done dozens of these types of events. (Think of it as a prom for adults) Micky Bernal manned the camera and Meredith Webb made the printing and delivery flow like butter! Could not have done it without them. My good friend Steve Lowry was also there to do anything else that could have slipped by. I'm glad to report that nothing did!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 24-105 ballroom celebrities dance dancing" entertainers event event photographer events formal fujix hilton mefoto nashville nashville event photography nashville hilton performers print on site prints profoto red carpet safe haven site" sony sony a7riii talent tuxedo https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/dancing-for-safe-haven-tennessee Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:25:39 GMT
The camera you have with you https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/3/the-camera-you-have-with-you  It wasn't that many years ago that I was in an unusual minority of people that had a camera with them. With the incredible advancements in phone cameras, now you are in that group if you don't have one! The phones of today take better pictures than my first digital camera!

Still, there is something about having a real camera available. A few weeks ago I was an attendee at a dealer meeting and training hosted by Panasonic. The location was a beautiful California resort! I had a little free time and it looked like there may be a chance to take a nice sunset image. My travel camera is actually my wife's camera. The Panasonic FZ1000 with an incredible 25-400 Leica zoom lens! This camera is the absolute perfect travel camera for most anyone. Because I had a camera with me, this will be a beautiful print on my wall. I can print it as large as I want and it will still be beautiful. I'm glad I had this camera with me as opposed to a quick picture with my phone that wouldn't be good for anything but social posting. With the built in Wifi, I was still able to "share" it right away in my social feeds.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) #fz1000 #wherelumixgoes california california dreaming lumix panasonic peaceful road trips sunset super zoom travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/3/the-camera-you-have-with-you Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:00:26 GMT
Blast from the past with the camera of the future-Fuji GFX and SKB Artists https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/12/blast-from-the-past-with-the-camera-of-the-future-fuji-gfx-and-skb-artist My beautiful picture

The year was 1972 and I was a Sophomore in high school. It was a pivotal time in my life, in fact, my entire life was forever changed that summer.. It was the year my best friend invited me to a bible study. In itself that was weird for a lot of reasons. First of all, we were drinking buddies, so those two things seemed kind of mutually exclusive. Second of all, I was a devout Catholic and really had never read the bible on my own. So the idea of going to a "study" just didn't make sense. David was relentless and eventually, I went just to get him to leave me alone. One time, that's all it took! Jim Lotz aka "Reverend Jim" took a few minutes to explain that God was holy and I was not, and a Holy God could never allow unholy in His presence. He also explained there was nothing I could do on my own to "earn" my way into His presence. Not a very good message up to this point, but then he shared the really good news. God loved me so much he sent his only son, Jesus to die in my place. He took all my sins, past, present and future and satisfied the payment needed to satisfy a holy God. So now when God sees me, he sees Jesus payment and me as righteous. If you know me, you know that just isn't possible. Not on my best day! This was a great trade but unfair in everyone's mind...but God's. By the way, the phrase, "but God" is one of my favorite phrases in the bible. After those words, everything changes!

So, I am a long haired kid with an afro of unbelievable size. I am carrying my bible to school every day and wore an awesome wooden cross around my neck suspended by a leather strap. Summer is coming and Campus Crusade for Christ is having a giant rally in Dallas Texas called "Explo '72" and I'm invited to go along with a bunch of kids on a bus. (take a look at the Wikipedia link) My parents were super cool and said if I earned the money, I could go. I've worked my entire life, so the money would not stop me and I was headed to Dallas!

This was awesome! There were 80,000 people crammed in the Cotton Bowl nightly with an estimated 100,000-200,000 for the last day. An 8 hour concert and messages by Billy Graham. Newsweek called us "militant Christians" and referred to this week as "The Christian Woodstock." 

This is my good friend Tommy Coomes. His group "Love Song" played at Explo '72 in Dallas

I was 16 years old when I heard them play in Dallas. We've become friends 40 years later when I met him at my job at Dury's. Like most musicians, he enjoys photography as another creative outlet, and he's good at it! Recently I had the joy of photographing him for an SKB Cases ad campaign. (the best travel cases on the planet for musicians AND photographers) Tommy brought along this "United Artist" store promo from their first album. He asked me to take a picture with it for posterity and I was only too happy to do it. When I first met Tommy he gave me a copy of this album for my collection. The music that was presented during this week would change Christian music as it was then known. This was the foundation and creation of what is called today "Contemporary Christian Music."

The portraits from this session are some of the best work I've done. More important than those images are the stories behind the people. Photography has opened doors to many places and relationships I could only imagine. I am blessed to earn a living doing something I love. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me. My past and my present, that have given me a promise of a unbelievable eternal future...whenever that happens. 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) . b1x b2 billy graham christian music contemporary christian music explo 72 fuji x lighting location photography musicians nashville musician photography portraits profoto sir skb skb cases https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/12/blast-from-the-past-with-the-camera-of-the-future-fuji-gfx-and-skb-artist Sat, 02 Dec 2017 12:02:20 GMT
Fall family fun at Lucky Ladd Farms https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fall-family-fun-at-lucky-ladd-farms Every fall we try to take the grandkids to a farm to enjoy the activities. This year we went to Lucky Ladd Farms just south of Murfreesboro. This has been our favorite. Great slides for the kids, a giant corn maze, and tricycle racing.

Jade and Scott being super competitive. I'm not sure where she gets that from. (her Mama!)

I was the official "popcorn holder." Gigi can eat her weight in this stuff!

A girl has to keep up her energy. Seriously, she can eat this stuff until we cut her off. (She is just like her grandma)

This could be the last family of "5" portrait we take. There will be a new addition around Christmas day. The Yuppa tradition is to not find out the gender. There really is an element of fun and surprise. As a side note, Gigi is sure it is NOT a boy. We will see, Gigi. We will see.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) corn fields family farm fz1000 maze murfreesboro panasonic popcorn pumpkin pumpkin patch road trips https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fall-family-fun-at-lucky-ladd-farms Tue, 31 Oct 2017 04:27:23 GMT
Fuji GFX and Profoto lights at Hemmingway's "Drink and Click" event https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fuji-gfx-and-profoto-lights-at-hemmingways-drink-and-click-event We had over 100 people come out to Hemmingway's on Houston Street to play with all the Fuji cameras, and everyone had a great time. They could borrow any camera body or lens that Fuji makes and the event was totally free! We had three of Fuji's best reps working this event with us to make sure the event flowed and everyone got to shoot.

Fifty megapixels! That is a lot of data. What do you get with all that information? The obvious is super sharp images but the dynamic range is unlike anything I've ever shot. You can pin point a highlight and it will hold. Do you want subtle shadows that aren't blocked up? Then I would suggest this is your camera. Dury's has this camera system to rent by the day or week, you may want to do it just for fun. I have a couple of suggestions for you if you are considering it:

  1. If you don't think you can afford it, you may not want to rent it. This camera and the files it produces are addictive.
  2. You will want super fast, UHS-II cards as large as you want to own. The speed that it writes these files is impressive IF you don't skimp on the card speed.
  3. Fast computer and large hard drives. These are not options, they are a necessity to move this much data, but it's worth it!

Beautiful black and white images with one of the many Fuji film simulations. This is Acros with a yellow filter.

You can zoom into this image as far as you like. The detail is kind of unbelievable, it just keeps going. But if you miss the focus, just delete the file, there is nothing you can do to bring it back.

I brought along a few of my Profoto lights so we had a controlled lighting situation. We used a B1X that had the Westcott Rapid Box mounted as the modifier. The accent light was a Profoto B2 with one of my favorite and most used modifiers, the 12"x36" strip bank with grids. I brought multiple Profoto triggers so people could shoot the models on their camera or use their SD card in the GFX. Most people chose to do both and I don't blame them.

The feedback we've had has been incredible. Most are asking when we will do our next event and how they can sign up for it. Keep checking our web site, we will update it with all the fun things we have planned.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) all about the light b1 b2 drink and click dury's edgy fuji fujix gfx lighting nashville photography workshop photo workshop profoto seminar westcott workshop https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fuji-gfx-and-profoto-lights-at-hemmingways-drink-and-click-event Fri, 13 Oct 2017 04:22:25 GMT
The "Hilton Way" keep the floor clean, it's everyones job! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/the-hilton-way-keep-the-floor-clean-its-everyones-job I was photographing at the Hilton in Nashville yesterday. Here is my lighting set up. Take a close look on the floor where you see two small pieces of black tape so the subjects hit the same spot. I put these down, turned around to work on something else and when I looked back they were gone! The "Hilton way" is if it doesn't belong there pick it up, especially the floor! I didn't see anyone scrape them off the floor. It was quick, now you see it, now you don't

This seems so simple, but how many times a day do we step over or go around something that doesn't belong there? Do you think, "it's not my job?" I was talking to my friend Brad who is a Sales Manager there and I told him what happened. We laughed but he then explained, "the floor is a high priority, especially the lobby. If only housekeeping did this, they wouldn't get anything else done." It is everyones responsibility from Management down to make this place immaculate. 

Speaking of Brad, here is his portrait I shot using the lighting you see above. I like the dark to light contrast of this composition and was able to utilize the existing windows and drapes to add some background interest. The mood is casual but very professional.

This is a simple but effective lighting set up. By blending the studio lights and available light, I achieved a dimensional look. You can't create this with available light only. That image would have been very flat and look more like a snapshot. It could work, but not for the Hilton, that is not the message they are sending. Nothing is accidental and almost nothing is impossible. Top notch in every aspect. I am blessed to be able to work with this company and their excellent staff in Nashville.

I love my job! I have access "behind the scenes" of many businesses and organizations. I am a better photographer and business person as a result of these exposures. I want to be learning constantly and improving how I perform at my job and in my life.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) convention city event events fuji fujix hilton lighting mefoto music city convention photography nashville nashville event photography portraits profoto profoto b1x the event venue https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/the-hilton-way-keep-the-floor-clean-its-everyones-job Wed, 30 Aug 2017 11:46:25 GMT
Total Eclipse 2017 - Once in a lifetime https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/total-eclipse-2017---once-in-a-lifetime In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

It's a good thing a picture is worth a thousand words. There just aren't enough words to describe what we were able to see this week. Nashville was right in the direct path of the total eclipse. Most of the world was not. Many people planned this trip for years coming from countries all over the world. All the time, planning and expense for a light show that lasted approximately 2 minutes. I was wondering if it was all hype, or would it be some super show. It was a show!

Working in the photo industry, I read a lot about this event weeks before the date it happened. We anticipated that during the eclipse the store would be empty. The owners suggested we head outside and take it all in, they even provided the glasses for us! I was able to get the filters we needed to shoot pictures from Breakthrough Filter Company, they generously offered them to the staff free of charge! The filters were needed for all the pictures except totality. I had my Fuji X Pro 2 set up on a tripod with 16 stops of ND. (The total eclipse images were taken with my Fuji X-T2, the 100-400 and no filtration at all)

I have to admit that the weather was looking uncooperative. The clouds were moving in and out leading up to the moment of "totality." When that happened, it was cloudy initially, but then it opened up for about a minute. That was all I needed to get a few frames. The opening image is called "Diamond Ring" for obvious reasons. This last one is the moment of totality. (Check out the cool sun flares at 3 and 5 o'clock on the sun)

I hope you were able to see and enjoy this event. This was potentially a once in a lifetime event. I am so glad I was able to experience and photograph this incredible display of God's majesty!

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 16 stops of neutral density breakthrough diamond ring eclipse eclipse central fuji fuji 100-400 fuji x pro 2 fuji x-t2 light show nashville events nashville total eclipse solar flares total eclipse https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/total-eclipse-2017---once-in-a-lifetime Fri, 25 Aug 2017 03:37:40 GMT
Good help is hard to find https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/good-help-is-hard-to-find The funny thing about photography, like many businesses, is that it's feast or famine. Seems like either you are waiting for the next job to quote or trying to figure out which jobs to say "no" to. The only solution that makes sense is to have a few photographers that you trust enough to work with you. I feel I am blessed to have several photographers I enjoy working with. These are guys that will deliver...no matter what happens.

Why trust is important

  • Will they show up early and treat your clients like you treat them?
  • Will they be dressed appropriately?
  • Will they promote you or themselves?
  • Do they own the right gear?
  • Do they have backup gear?
  • Are they flexible enough to think on their feet and be able to create the challenging images that the client will ask for?

Matthew Jordan Smith and I at his recent seminar in Nashville

Recently I've made a new friend. Actually, I became reacquainted with him at an event I was working for Dury's. Matthew Jordan Smith had a tour in the US that both of us were at. It was providence that we would both be there. Ron Pollard and Matthew are friends. Ron has shot with and for Matthew so I knew he was good. Even more important, he was fun to be around and had great people skills. For some reason, I was impressed to pursue more conversation with Ron and I'm glad I did. In the top photo, he is working with me at a recent event on the roof of Acme Feed & Seed in Nashville. He is showing Ben from MP&F some of his images and this is important. It lets the client know what we are doing. It also gives them the chance to offer more direction to us. More of some images, less of these...it helps assure we deliver what they are expecting. (MP&F is one of my favorite clients to work with, I probably shouldn't say I have a favorite, but everything they do is first class. It's no surprise they were recently voted one of the best places to work in Nashville for the 5th consecutive year)

I am thankful for this friend and work associate. I am concentrating on building my photography business like never before. I really enjoy event photography! Meeting new people at cool locations and giving them a photographic record that they can use immediately on social media or promote their brand is satisfying and challenging. With the addition of Ron, I can offer more extensive coverage or provide coverage at multiple events. 

If you need event photography or have a friend that needs coverage, please send them our way. We will take care of them and they will thank you. I thank you too!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) acme feed & seed b1x b2's friends fuji x pro 2 fujix jack daniels matthew jordan smith mp&f music city nashville nashville event photographer nashville event photography nashvilles premier event photographer photography profoto ron pollard rooftop skyline uncle nearest https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/good-help-is-hard-to-find Sat, 05 Aug 2017 12:47:36 GMT
Fuji GFX demo at Dury's https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/fuji-gfx-demo-at-durys It's hard to even understand what a 50 meg file looks like. Even when you view it on your computer, it's just unbelievable! Once you've shot it and looked at the files, you are ruined for most everything else!

We had a day where customers could come in and shoot the camera here in the store. I brought in my personal Profoto lights and modifiers so they could experience the best of the best. This combination of lighting and camera is as good as it gets in my opinion.

Enough text lets see some images!

This young lady was in the store as a customer, not our model. She has such a beautiful look that I asked her to model for a few shots. I'm glad I did, this turned out beautiful. This may look like just another nice image to you, so here is a 100% crop sized to 8x10 of her eye.

I know this is kinda weird, but just look at that detail! This is cropped from the JPEG out of the camera with no post processing. I don't know about you, but please never photograph me with this camera and show this much crop.

Michael Bulbenko from Fuji has been a friend for many years. He is one of Fuji's best tech guys and a great shooter too. When I offered to set up a studio and get a model, he was all in. I don't think there is anyone in the US with more hands on time with the GFX than Michael, so he was the best possible person to show it off.

This is one of my images of Daley that I shot during the day. I rarely get to shoot very many because I am helping the customers and that's fine, it's what I'm paid to do. I can tell you this camera will absolutely ruin you for whatever you currently own. This camera is 1.6X larger than a full frame sensor! But, the physical size of the body is deceiving. It weighs the same or less than a Nikon D5 and it costs the same too! The Fuji lenses are second to nothing I've ever used. They are super sharp and very affordable. 

Lisa Johnson and my good buddy Steve Lowry have been friends for years. You have got to see some of her beautiful guitar photography. Here is Lisa's website. While she was in Nashville, she rented this camera for a few sessions. After a weekend of use she was a believer. She is now the proud owner of her very own GFX and a couple lenses that I shipped her this week. I am super stoked to share with you some of her images and I will as soon as I get the OK from Lisa.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 101 rock guitars b1x" profoto "profoto b2 b2 creative portraits demo day dury's fashion fuji fuji professional fuji x gfx guitar incredible lighting it's all about the light lisa johnson profoto s" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/fuji-gfx-demo-at-durys Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:31:06 GMT
If the service is good, say so! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/if-the-service-is-good-say-so

Do you know that statistically, people are more likely to go online and write a negative review more than a positive review? People love to complain and tell everyone that they've been wronged. But when they receive excellent service they remain silent. Don't believe me? Just look up a Yelp! or Amazon reviews, you'll see what I mean.

We were traveling back from Savannah on the 4th of July and we stopped at a McDonald's in Dublin Georgia. I was blown away, so much that I went online and wrote the following review:

This is the absolutely best McDonald's I've ever been to. The manager runs a very tight and SUPER FRIENDLY crew! It was more like a Chick-Fil-a than a McD's! Every staff member greeted us with a smile. It was immaculately clean and they were cleaning. It was the 4th of July, who wants to work on a holiday? You couldn't tell it from this crew. They opened the door, said hello, asked how we were...impressive. This manager should train managers for you! She is teaching life skills to her staff and they may not know it. She is investing much that they are not getting anywhere else. Initial perspective was rural Georgia, lots of kids, ho hum attitude. I was so wrong! Motivated, happy and enthused about their jobs. Reminded me more of  Job Corps situation (I photograph their facilities for advertising) WELL DONE. I called her over to tell her it was a highlight of our road trip and that she had the best crew I've ever experienced. I have never filled out a McD's review, I HAD to do it this time.

I probably eat at McDonald's half a dozen times a year, it is not my fast food of choice. This was more than a food stop, this gave me renewed hope for these young adults. We all have the opportunity to invest in the next generation. They are looking for role models and sadly they may not get it at home. I want to be that positive model to those I have a chance to impact.

Speaking of "fan mail" I don't receive it all that often. That same day, the morning of the 4th of July I received an email note from an event client I just worked with a few weeks ago. She represented a large Association from Illinois and she wrote me this on a holiday morning:

Hi Nick, thank you so much for your professionalism and fabulous photos taken at our conference – we have never gotten our hands on them so quickly and appreciate it!!!  If we make our way back to Nashville, you will be my first call!  Thanks,

This made my day! Look, we all enjoy being recognized when we go above and beyond. Many bosses fail miserably at this and miss opportunities to say thank you for a job well done. Thank you for coming in early or staying late. Thank you for covering the unexpected need that popped up. Two little words, "thank you." It can change your day and your attitude. Don't miss the chance to say that phrase!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) amazon bankers chick-fil-a convention dublin georgia mcdonalds fan mail nashville event photographer nashville events reviews speak up yelp https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/if-the-service-is-good-say-so Sat, 08 Jul 2017 11:55:29 GMT
Make sure you're having fun with photography too! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/make-sure-youre-having-fun-with-photography-too

 

When you've been taking pictures for as long as I have, it is easy to lose the "fun and creative" aspect that got us hooked on this incredible art form. I am not saying that most of what I produce is art, in fact, it is not. It is marketable and has value, but not from an artistic perspective. 

Every time I photograph a job if I'm able, I try to produce something special for me. This image may have zero value to the client or relevance to the job they are paying me to do. It does help nourish my creative side and keep me "looking and creating."

My friend Nathan turned 40 this year and I offered to photograph his party. He is one of the most incredibly talented people you will ever meet. Even more than that, he is one of the nicest! We were doing some portraits of his artist friends and he was doing most of the photography, it is what he wanted to do. I was watching him and I thought this would be a good chance to make an image of him doing what he loves.

He is photographing his friends on a huge white cyc wall at Westlight Studios. The light illuminating his face is reflecting off that wall. I love the way it lights him from the front and gently falls off his face. The back wall was lit independently and the hot spot was intentional.

It is also worth mentioning that I was experimenting with a new camera that a manufacturer had provided us to test shoot with. I tossed it in my bag and used this evening as a testing ground. I didn't fall in love with the camera, but I did produce an image that I like a lot. I only shot a few dozen files with this camera, so getting one I like is a pretty big deal, especially while working a job.

Keep on playing, it will prevent premature burn out!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji Fuji XT-2 Lighting NPC Nathan Chapman Panasonic Studio Westlight Westlight Studio birthday birthday party lighting party party photography, portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/make-sure-youre-having-fun-with-photography-too Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:11:59 GMT
HSS with Fuji camera system, what is the hold up? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/hss-with-fuji-camera-system-what-is-the-hold-up

I have been a very happy Fuji X-shooter for nearly 5 years. I started with the X Pro 1, and have added each new model as they have been introduced. I have sold dozens, maybe hundreds of customers Fuji cameras and lenses, and they are happy with their decisions too. They are making great images and documenting their families growth and milestone events. Fuji cameras allow me to focus on the creative process and not get bogged down with the technical side of image capture.

In my opinion, there are two major features that are keeping Fuji from converting more pros to their brand.

  1. They need to figure out TTL in a way that really works every single time. It works fairly well with their 500 flash, but still not up to par with Nikon and Canon. It also works in a few Nissin speedlights, but your choices are much less than other lines.
  2. The biggest missing feature is HSS-High Speed Synch. It must be added to the mix, especially with the addition of the incredible GFX medium format system. This missing feature will hold back many pro commercial photographers from making the switch to Fuji.

In 2017 with all the resources that are available globally, there is no reason Fuji can't accomplish this. I have to believe there is someone, somewhere that can write the protocol to make this happen. When Olympus beats you to the punch, you have a very real problem. Based on market share alone, that shouldn't happen. Even Sony who has typically been the last company to "share information" has given Profoto what they need so TTL works flawlessly with (most of) their cameras.

I shoot Fuji because I like most everything about their "look." It is the only camera I've found that I can deliver JPEG's SOOC (straight out of camera) and spend zero time in post processing. The flesh tones and color are superior to any other camera that I have tried. In my job, at Dury's I get to try every major brand of camera and test it in my working environment. Most recently I tested the Panasonic GH5, it is an incredible camera. I would say that it does many, many things exceptionally well. The 5-way image stabilization is unbelievable. The way it focuses and tracks, unmatched. In fact, it has some unique features that have me thinking about this camera as a new system. It's major holdback to me, the JPEG's just aren't the same look that I love with Fuji. One other problem is that the Profoto solution isn't available, yet. It should happen soon because it is similar to other cameras protocol.

That said, I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process. Do I stick around and cross my fingers hoping that Fuji will fix this issue? If they won't address it and see the need for it, chances are they aren't going to fix it. Do I just admit it's been a great run with Fuji and move on to another camera line? (that is really the last thing I want to do!) If so, what line do I select? Having been mirrorless for 5 years, I don't see myself making a move back to a DSLR for many, many reasons.

The most difficult thing for me is my transition to Profoto lighting has me wanting more from my camera system. I've never entertained these two features, I just resigned myself to the fact it wasn't possible. The reality is, my lighting was keeping me from considering these options. That isn't a problem anymore, so now it is solely a camera issue.

What to do...?

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dury's Fuji Fuji X Pro 2 HSS High Speed Synch Panasonic Profoto Sony TTL cameras lighting portraits problems https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/hss-with-fuji-camera-system-what-is-the-hold-up Mon, 19 Jun 2017 03:02:55 GMT
Power to spare for location portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/power-to-spare-for-location-portraits Until recently, I would have rated all "battery powered lights" by their watt second, (Ws) rating only. I admit it is a great place to start so you are comparing "apples to apples." What I can tell you is, the numbers can be deceiving. What exactly is a watt second anyway?

For the Techies out there, I visited Wikipedia to get a definition: A watt second (also watt-second, symbol Ws or W·s) is a derived unit of energy equivalent to the joule.[1] The watt-second is the energy equivalent to the power of one watt sustained for one second. While the watt-second is equivalent to the joule in both units and meaning, there are some contexts in which the term "watt-second" is used instead of "joule".

Does that make it clearer? If not, maybe this will help. This is the following statement offered as if to make it all more easily understood: "The energy rating a flash is given is not a reliable benchmark for its light output because there are numerous factors that affect the energy conversion efficiency. For example, the construction of the tube will affect the efficiency, and the use of reflectors and filters will change the usable light output towards the subject. Some companies specify their products in "true" watt-seconds, and some specify their products in "nominal" watt-seconds."[2]

Enough! Let's look at some images to see what all this has to do with photography anyway. I mean, if you can't make a beautiful image, what good is all this knowledge?

I love outdoor portraits! To quote Paul Simon, "I love the greens of summer..."

What is better than adorable kids? Nothing! 

If you stood the West children in that super bright light, you would have them squinting and complaining, so would I if you stood me there! Placing them in open shade is a great idea, but you have a couple terrible outcomes. First of all, too much of a good thing. Green is great, except when it overtakes the flesh tones and then it looks terrible. By adding a proper amount of fill light from the B2, my colors are beautifully neutral. If you don't do this, or you subscribe to the "I'm an available light photographer" club, you can not pull this off. If you open up to expose them properly, it will look like a scene from "Touched by an angel." They will glow and the background will be blown out, pure white. You may as well take them inside and photograph them on a white cyc wall, it will look the same minus the green grass.

(I know, I know, I should have used a faster shutter speed to knock down the background and blur it out a bit. Shooting above f11 is not my preference. I am a proud Fuji X shooter, but they are missing the boat in one area specifically. There is no HSS available. How can this be? it is 2017 and almost everyone else has it. I have been putting my thoughts together on that and it will be the subject of a future blog)

Just another image, taken on another day with a much larger group. This is our family and it is lit with just one Profoto B2 at full power, 250 Ws pulled way back, maybe 15-20' from the group so I could get even coverage from left to right, and top to bottom.

Our son-in-laws are 6'4 and 6'5 tall. (we are not standing in a hole) Something about the design of the Profoto built in reflector, it is super efficient and gives great coverage. We took about 130 images this day of all the sub groups here. The B2 was full power for many of those exposures. I still had over 50% of the pack left when we were done. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't need my back up battery.

I have been able to do more with less Ws. Comparing the Profoto B2's that are rated at 250 Ws and my former light that was 400 Ws, there is just a difference in the way it translates into output. And at the end of the day, that is what really counts. Great light, great coverage, consistent exposures and efficient use of power.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 50-140mm adoption available light b1x b2 clover bottom mansion family forever home fuji fuji x photographer fuji x-t2 great light hermitage hills kids kodachrome location portraits nashville family photographer parents portraits profoto https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/power-to-spare-for-location-portraits Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:53:22 GMT
Location "Head shot" lighting made easy with Profoto https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/location-head-shot-lighting-made-easy-with-profoto Switching to new equipment is never really easy. In fact, most of us hate change! We get so used to whatever it is or was that we know all the "work arounds" to make less than great stuff, just get the job done.

Someone introduces us to a new way or a new tool and we are typically skeptical. I'd like to think I am not that guy when it comes to photography gear. In the last 40+ years of doing this, I've seen a lot of changes, we all have. Some of them are good and some not so good or even bad!

I admit that I love lights and I love lighting. I enjoy making a good image better by adding some additional controlled lights. I also enjoy location corporate head shot photography. Going to my client's place of work and setting up in their conference room means their staff is only away from their desks for a minimal amount of time. This also means they are in familiar surroundings and it doesn't feel quite as sterile or even weird for them. They just walk down the hall and are done in short order.

Headshots according to Nick: I use a four light set up. I like the look and I like the control it allows. Could I do it with less lights? Sure, but why would I? With Profoto B2's I am able to take what I need in just a couple of small bags.

 

Here is my location lighting gear:

  1. Two Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location Kits
  2. One B2Air TTL Extension Cable
  3. One OCF Softbox 1x3' with grids
  4. Medium Deep White Umbrella with optional translucent cover
  5. Softbox 3x4' RFI
  6. B1x 500 for larger groups or outdoors if needed. I take two units, just in case

It really doesn't take much room to set up a location studio. It does take great gear that is easily transported. I believe I have this down to a science and I'm super happy with what I'm using right now. Here are some shots of my last location job. View from my Fuji XT-2 camera position: A single head B2 kit is powering the OCF 12x36" strip bank with grids. This is my "go to" separation light and has been for years. I will be adding another B2 head so I can use it as a "grided" background light behind the subject. 

I use a 60" fill light in most situations. Because of the distance, I added an extension cable to the B2 head and used the same pack that powered my main light that was an umbrella with diffusion cover. 2 lights, 200 ISO at f11, no problem. The 250 watt second rating on these units is a little deceiving to me. They seem to put out much more energy than that, for sure they are the most efficient battery lights I've ever used! In addition, you can split these packs 50/50 and that is huge! I have never had that option in the past, this opens up many more possibilities.

My location lighting kit is much smaller and lighter, and it is more efficient. I personally prefer the 4 light look and this makes it more compact and quick.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 50-140 AirTTL B2 CPA Fuji MeFoto Nashville head shot photographer Profoto X-T2 actors corporate head shots deep umbrella head lighting location photography professionals realtors shots https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/location-head-shot-lighting-made-easy-with-profoto Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:38:19 GMT
Old dog, new tricks? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/old-dog-new-tricks

 

1956. That was the year my wife and I were born. I am on my 61st trip around the sun and thankful for every single one of them. Fourty five of those years I've been involved in photography! I photographed my first wedding in 1972 as a Sophomore in high school. (I still can't believe someone trusted me with that responsibility) Hundreds of weddings and events later, it is still what I do and love.

The only thing constant is change. As you know by now, I have officially changed my lighting system to Profoto. This has been a decision I've considered in the past but never could see the reason to do it. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the details about such a big change.

A few weeks ago I reached out to my long time friend, Mark Rezzonico who is the President of Profoto. I told him I was considering making a move. This started a journey that included comparing what I have versus what I would need. This process was a great exercise and very much like moving your home. You can get rid of items you no longer use and buy what you need. I've already decided that I made excellent decisions in my gear mix. I do want to tweak one selection. I bought one single head B2 kit and one two head kit. This should have been two of the two head kits. I'll have some images to demonstrate why soon, but this is a very easy fix. I'll just add another head and cable and it's done!

Since my first post about this change, I've had several emails and calls asking for more specifics. Most are friends that own other brands of lighting and are interested in how it's going and what is the big difference. They are photographers that feel the same way I do, it's all about light!

The best light you can own, is one you will use and you don't mind taking with you.

Size and portability - check

Self contained units (battery powered) - check

Quick recycle and lots of power -CHECK!

Pretty much sums up how I feel about the B2's and the brand new B1X units I own.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 1956 B1x B2 Elinchrom Profoto change great light innovative lighting lights location location lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/old-dog-new-tricks Tue, 30 May 2017 12:17:23 GMT
Making the transition to Profoto lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/making-the-transition-to-profoto-lighting After a 20+ year run with Elinchrom, I made the decision to switch to Profoto lighting. This decision was not taken lightly and without the help of Mark Rezzonico, Eric Replogle and Chris Fain, it would not have happened. When you are considering making this kind of change, there are many things to weigh out. It was a substantial investment in time and research. I watched many of the excellent videos on the Profoto site and read blogs by their featured photographers. I have to say this was a decision based on where Profoto is now and where they are heading into the future. I will elaborate on how that came to be at a later time, but for now, I want to illustrate some of the results from my maiden voyage with the incredible Profoto B2 system.

When I buy any new product, I try to spend as much time as I can getting acquainted with it. The more I use it, the more familiar I am and when I'm out on a job there are usually less "unknowns" to throw me off my game. You never want to be fumbling with your gear in front of your client.

First stop is a golf outing for the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Hermitage Golf Course was our beautiful venue on a bright and sunny Spring day. I had an idea that just may make my life simpler. What if I mounted a Profoto B2 light on the cart canopy? I would have 250 watt seconds of power...all day long!

This is a close up of the Super Clamp that held it firmly in place all day long The power pack rode in the basket behind my seat

My thought was, I would drive up to the foursomes, hop out of the cart and take their picture. The light was mounted on the "drivers side" so I could simply stand up and shoot. It is worth mentioning that I have been shooting exclusively the Fuji X camera system. High Speed Synch (HSS) or High Synch is not an option for this camera. That said, I needed a lot of power to fill in for the sun since shooting at higher shutter speeds was just not an option. I was maxed out at 1/250 for my max shutter. How did it work? You be the judge.

There was no way could I get this even of lighting on a group with a speed light! Light under the hat brims and matching the back light on the subjects, I was impressed. The best part of this is, I did not run out of power and had super consistent files to work with, minimizing post processing time.

I am very impressed by the Profoto B2 for several reasons:

  1. It went all day long on one battery. That is super efficient power management.
  2. The standard head reflector was perfect for this situation. It matched the quality of sunlight and looked very believable.
  3. The head is rugged and sturdy, it never moved. (you can believe I checked it from time to time to see how it was riding)
  4. It did not overheat or shut down, even in the bright sun.
  5. Although it is rated at 250 Ws, it performs much better than that in my opinion. I was concerned it may not be enough but that was not the case at all. 

At the end of this long day, it was a very welcome surprise to see that my experiment worked. I am the first to admit this was overkill for a charity event. Or was it? I love the results and it made post processing much easier, it took no more effort than a speed light with many batteries. If I had tried that solution there is no way I would have achieved the same coverage and quality of light.

I will say this is the best equipment purchase I've made since my decision to go mirrorless with Fuji nearly 5 years ago. The ability to deliver JPEG's straight out of the camera with accurate flesh tones is still my first priority. This event was photographed with the 18-135mm lens on a Fuji X-T2 camera.

I've been busy shooting so I'll have more to share soon. 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) b2 event photography events fuji x fundraiser gnar greater nashville association of realtors habitat for humanity lighting nashville nashville's favorite event photographer old hickory golf course profoto https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/making-the-transition-to-profoto-lighting Tue, 23 May 2017 06:04:07 GMT
Event Photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/4/event-photography I've been blessed with a lot of event photography this first quarter. I don't know that I ever gave much thought to this area of photography, but the truth is, I enjoy it!

Many times there are "team building" events like this one at Nashville Karting downtown by Nissan Stadium. This looks like a quick snap shot but the truth is it's far from that. It takes a long zoom lens, lots of portable powerful light and a fair amount of training to get these guys having the time of their lives at up to 35 mph indoors!

It is pretty hectic at times. Clients occasionally need the images right away and they may not be sure how to communicate that to you. Be prepared! If you own it, you better take it with you.

"Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!"  Unkn

Do you need portraits at your event? No problem, we can bring lighting and even backgrounds to provide staff head shots while you have all your employees together at one time. In fact, providing head shots on location is one of our specialties and we have a great client list to prove it.

Dancing with the Stars Gala Fundraiser - Hilton Downtown, Nashville                        

                             Chances are you will need portraits at a step-and-repeat backdrop

Family Care Services 75th Anniversary

  Smaller venues like the George Jones Museum, Nashville allow for one on one meetings Senator Frist addressing a group at Nashville Healthcare Fellows

We are available for events wherever they are happening. All of our equipment is "travel ready" at a moment's notice. Just tell us where to be, and how to dress, you can confidently leave the rest to us. If you have an event coming up soon, just send an email to nickcoury@me.com or use the "contact" button on our site. We will be glad to quote it for you and get it scheduled.

 

 

 

 

                                                       

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) country music hall of fame event photography events freeman fundraising hilton nashville nashville's event photographer omni on location portable portraits pro-bono stealth thinktank travel venue westin https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/4/event-photography Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:53:10 GMT
Led lights, the wave of the future? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/2/led-lights-the-wave-of-the-future

One of the things to look out for is the "light source itself." Here the many LED bulbs are visible, it may work for you or be distracting.

If you have been to my blog before, you know that lighting is something I am passionate about. It has been a part of my photography that I have practiced a lot and continue to improve on it every time I do a job. I am a strobe guy, in fact a manual strobe guy. Specifically, Elinchrom has been my personal light of choice for over a decade. I have never blown a job because those lights haven't performed as expected. When something works, you stay with it! Their modifiers are some of the best I've ever used. Expensive? Sure, they aren't cheap but they sure do work consistently!

Recently, there have been a lot of innovations in constant lights. Specifically, LED lights have come a long way. They are bright, affordable and even fun to work with! I was working with a client teaching her how to pursue her passion, food photography for her blog. She has an incredible art background so I expect to see great images on her blog very soon.

These are a few tests on my camera to make sure we were getting close to what she envisioned. They were!

Just move a little to change your angle and the light sources are gone. The choice is yours and only takes a second to adjust your tripod.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Fuji Fuji X-T2 LED LEDGO Nashville food consulting flexible panels food food blog foodie lighting lights https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/2/led-lights-the-wave-of-the-future Wed, 08 Feb 2017 06:12:05 GMT
Networking and Party/Event Photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/12/networking-and-party/event-photography We have a beautiful skyline! It just worked out that this particular angle gave me a seasonal image and our city in the background! The trick is to blend the exposures so they both show up.

These parties serve multiple purposes. It may be old friends getting together one more time before the end of the year.

The business card exchange is a critical part of networking

I couldn't have posed this photo any better. This was a combination of being at the right place at the right time and ready when the moment happens.

Some attendees may ask you for a group photo because many of their "key players" are represented during this event.

Mixers, Networking Events, Holiday Parties, no matter what you call it we would be glad to work with you at your next event. By making these images available to your guests, you provide one more value added service to them. Email nick@nickcoury.com or use the "contact" button on our site.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) event mixer batman christmas party event jack daniels music city music city events nashville event photography nashville health care council nashville's networking nick coury nissan stadium photographer" photography premiere skyline titans https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/12/networking-and-party/event-photography Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:43:02 GMT
Happy "Cancerversary" to me! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/7/happy-cancerversary-to-me

 

EIGHT YEARS AGO TODAY: I was getting prepped to spend an afternoon in surgery with Dr. Kurt Garren. Kurt did an incredible job and has become a good friend. Thanks, Kurt!

4th of July breakfast at Loveless Cafe4th of July surprise visit with all the family! 4th of July breakfast with our family at Loveless Cafe


July 31, 2008: My day started off meeting a great group of friends heading out on a motorcycle trip we were supposed to be a part of. But, when you get a diagnosis of cancer, everything else goes on "hold." We met at Sheetz, prayed for their safety, and God's intervention in my life. (and I did ride my Gold Wing 20 miles down the road leading them out of town)

 
I headed home, got a shower, and went to the hospital where I would start my journey as a cancer patient. After a 4 week rest, I started 9 weeks of chemo and daily radiation treatments, which seemed like an eternity! Eight months off work spent getting through the "next day.” When you are in the middle of this battle, it’s all about the day you are living. It is overwhelming to consider anything but the day in front of you.
 
First of all, all praise to the One True and Almighty God. Not the "man upstairs" or any other cute name. His name is Jesus and He healed me! Secondly, my incredible wife that drove me to and from every treatment, tried to find foods I could eat and made me eat when I whined like a baby. She never let me quit. She did let me feel sorry for myself for a few minutes, then helped me back to a place of trusting in the Lord. Tough love in action, and I am blessed daily by her!!! Our children that dropped everything to support us, words can not express my feelings and love. 
 
What has happened in the last 8 years? As a result, I've been able to walk Sara Campos down the aisle, place her hand in our incredible son in law Hugo's and enjoy their children, Mateo and Lucia. I've enjoyed many hours with Christin and Scott Yuppa and their three children. They live the closest so we get to hang with them more than all the others. Aaron met his beautiful wife Cleo and they have now been married for nearly two years. I enjoy shooting pictures with them and just hanging out. As a bonus, I get to spend the rest of my days until Jesus comes back with my high school sweetheart, Marlene Graban Coury. October we will celebrate 39 years of marriage.
 
I have to give a special shout out to my siblings, Tina, Tony, and Bobby. Up till now, cancer had never been in our family, so we all traveled this road together. They cared and they were very present in the journey with us.
 
To all of you that supported us with visits, prayer, anonymous cash donations, and other things I did not even know about, THANK YOU!
 
God is good!
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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) cancer cancerversary celebration children family God is good grandkids survivor travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/7/happy-cancerversary-to-me Sun, 31 Jul 2016 11:41:00 GMT
Mansfield State Reformatory filming location of "Shawshank Redemption" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/6/mansfield-state-reformatory-filming-location-of-shawshank-redemption

This image looks more "Art Deco" than a former State Penitentiary

I will admit it, I am an Ohio boy and proud of it. When you spend the first 50+ years of your life in one state, it kinda grows on you. I have Ohio State t-shirts, bumper stickers and hoodies. All worn at appropriate and to the dismay of my SEC friends, inappropriate times. I love cheese from Sugarcreek. Graeter's Ice Cream is simply THE BEST EVER! Skyline Chili, and Quaker Steak and Lube, just round out my menu preferences. Yes sir, there is no place like home.

When the Professional Photographers of Ohio invited me to be a part of their "Mansfield Mayhem" event this year, I jumped at the chance. I've been seeing great images from here and had to experience it myself. So, I packed up the Dury's truck and headed north...500 miles north! It was worth every mile and I will gladly do it again.

I was asked to take up lighting, so I provided Westcott Ice Lights and Elinchrom Quadras. I also took a variety of modifiers to loan out and it was a giant photo play date. The only problem is, I was pretty much tied to my table with lots of expensive gear so I wasn't able to get out and shoot like I had planned. But next year...it will be different. Still, there is so much to see and feel here. We gathered in the "Bull Pen" all 50 photographers and I don't know how many models there were. It acted as a general assembly and staging area. I was able to drift down a hall into one of the cell blocks and I saw this:

This image is a pretty good representation of what you see. Even with over 100 people there, you could still feel very alone, even isolated. In the quietness you think about what it must have been like to call this place "home" for the length of your sentence. Was it cold in the winter? Was it unbearably hot in the summer? It was cramped for sure, housing two prisoners to a cell. The guides said right before the new prison was completed, they had to cram three to a cell! Unbearable. This image was taken with a Fuji X Pro 2 camera and 50-140mm lens mounted on a MeFoto tripod. The details and texture helps tell a story. The colors are important to me as I view this. On the left the very cool blue/gray color of the paint peeling cells. in the middle area, the brown, rusted, steel floor and even darker brown shadowed ceiling. Gradually it transitions into a warm yellow glow from the outside world. A world you would only see and experience for a short time each day, if you were lucky. You could see the blue skies if you got in the right spot. The beautiful, blue Ohio sky with white puffy cumulus clouds. Almost like a post card except it was a federal prison. And who wants a post card from there?

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Fuji Mansfield State Reformatory MeFoto PPO Shawshank Redemption Travel and road trips X Pro 2 classics lighting movie movies prison https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/6/mansfield-state-reformatory-filming-location-of-shawshank-redemption Fri, 17 Jun 2016 06:10:43 GMT
One of my favorite assignments in Nashville https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/5/one-of-my-favorite-assignments-in-nashville We moved here 6 years ago. How we arrived here is a long story, maybe I'll elaborate on that sometime.

It was our first or second year here that I met a friend that asked me to help him with a project he was doing. The idea was to take a morning and photograph some of Nashville's homeless people. That turned out to include couples, sibling's and families.

 

Homeless in Nashville from Nick Coury on Vimeo.

We photographed this outside. I set up a white paper sweep for my backdrop. It was windy and the paper ended up getting a little roughed up. I think it adds to the look of the images. Once we met them and chatted for a bit, I photographed them. They then submitted the word or phrase that they felt best described them. I find their choice of words, incredibly interesting. I wonder what word I would use if I was living their life. A life on the street, with no place to call home? Most of these people were incredibly thankful and friendly. I was blessed to be a part of this and hope that in some small way I gave them a portrait that they may even still carry.

Our church is involved with Room At The Inn. Just today in a small way recognized the volunteers that serve in that ministry. For 26 weeks a year, when the weather is at it's worst, these people serve some of the homeless community. Picking them up, bringing them to the church, feeding them, giving them a place to shower and personal supplies. The volunteers give up their time, spending the night and moving them back and forth. Until today, I didn't even know who some of them were. I love the fact that this is serving a group of people that can in no way ever reciprocate. It's loving them the way Jesus would love them. Unconditionally. 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B&W Elinchrom HHBC Lighting Nashville ministry Room at the Inn homeless portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/5/one-of-my-favorite-assignments-in-nashville Mon, 02 May 2016 06:14:57 GMT
Hermitage Hills Concert with 3 great bands! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/4/hermitage-hills-concert-with-3-great-bands

Concert Highlights from Nick Coury on Vimeo.

 

I wanted to share some of my favorite images from the concert. I used Pro Show by Photodex which is the best way I've found to make entertaining slide shows on the Mac platform. Turns out Vimeo works well in sharing the video format. So, this is my first attempt and hopefully it will work well. I hope you enjoy it.

The concert was at my home church, Hermitage Hills Baptist Church. Three awesome bands were there: Hawk Nelson, Tenth Avenue North and a newer band called, I Am They. A super fun, uplifting and encouraging evening.

I'm sure some of you wonder if I ever get to enjoy the concerts I photograph. In a word, yes! Although I am plugged into my viewfinder, all my senses are enjoying the concert. I love music, especially music that ministers to our souls. Lots of great lyrics, mixed in with sound, lasers, bubbles and talented musicians. Enjoy!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) HHBC Hawk Nelson Hermitage Hills I Am They ProShow ProShow Gold ProShow Producer Tenth Avenue North share vimeo https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/4/hermitage-hills-concert-with-3-great-bands Thu, 21 Apr 2016 12:22:49 GMT
Still amazed by the X Pro 2! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/3/still-amazed-by-the-x-pro-2

Acros setting is unbelievable for portrait sessions!

I was helping my friend Keith Miles on a personal project this week. Keith is a multi-talented guy, there are many sides to his personality. He's a great businessman, a song writer and musician. Even more than that, I'm proud to have him as a friend! We had a great time experimenting with different sources and styles of lighting.

Our incredibly patient model. Brittany Smith, did a great job. She is one of the best models I've ever worked with when trying out new gear.

Please view this image as just a "test" because that's what it was. Keith was shooting medium format digital and "old school" Hasselblad with film! I'm anxious to see the differences between the three mediums.

I'd like to encourage you to get together with some of your photographer friends, clear off a few hours and have a photo play date! I know it's hard to find a few extra hours, and it takes time to commit to do it. My guess is you will learn something and have a great time.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 2 Hasselblad Nashville Nashville portrait photographer Pentax cosplay lighting portrait https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/3/still-amazed-by-the-x-pro-2 Sat, 26 Mar 2016 12:30:35 GMT
Fuji X Pro 2 test shots https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/3/fuji-x-pro-2-test-shots WOW! The new Fuji X Pro 2 is incredible! To tell you the truth, I didn't want to like this camera. I am very happy with my X-E2 and X-T1...that is until I gave this a short test drive at 12,800 ISO. This is unbelievable and if I hadn't shot it myself, I would be skeptical. This is the file as it came out of the camera with no post processing at all! I'm a believer and I will own this body as quickly as I can get my hands on one.

This is my very close friend Bill Fortney speaking at this years. PhotoProExpo in Kentucky. I was able to borrow the camera and 100-400 lens from my friend Jackie the Fuji Tech Rep. (she was also my former boss at Buckeye Color Lab in Ohio) This was an incredible test, but my day to day work is portraiture. So the next time Jackie and Cy were in the store, I asked a friend, Brittany Smith  to stop by so I could try a quick portrait with it. Again, WOW! 

This is only 200 ISO with very controlled Elinchrom lights and modifiers. I can't believe the sharpness in this larger sensor. I haven't missed my "full frame sensor" cameras in the past 3 years, I sure don't miss them now! There is just so much rich, beautiful information in these files.

I just have to get one of these for my own soon! I have another awesome commercial shoot coming up in a few weeks and I would love to have this to shoot with. If anyone from Fuji is listening....PLEASE!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 50-140mm Dury's Elinchrom Fuji Fuji X Pro 2 Rotalux X Pro 2 cameras lighting portraits testing thebrittanyjsmith https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/3/fuji-x-pro-2-test-shots Thu, 10 Mar 2016 23:39:18 GMT
Sometimes at lunch https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/1/sometimes-at-lunch

One thing I enjoy about my Fuji X cameras is that they are small enough to have with me. When the lights just right coming from the window, through the water bottle and the sweet tea, you can create a nice image. 

We went to lunch with our son and his wife at Sweet Auburn Barbecue. This was our last stop before our 4 hour drive home.

Sweet Auburn catered their rehearsal dinner last year and killed it. If you're in town on a Sunday and want an awesome buffet, stop in after 11:30, you'll be glad you did. I met Howard the owner and told him I was "stealing" cookies for the trip home. (he is friends with the kids) So he got me a "to go" container. What a great guy, it's no surprise he operates very successful restaurants and food trucks.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 18-55 Atlanta Buckeyes Fuji XE-2 FujiX OSU Sweet Auburn atl chrome family food photography foodie go Bucks ice tea road trip weloveatl window light https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2016/1/sometimes-at-lunch Tue, 12 Jan 2016 05:52:59 GMT
The heavens declare the glory of God Ps 19:1 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/11/the-heavens-declare-the-glory-of-god-ps-19-1

What a beautiful sunset today. I was glad I had my Fuji X-T1 camera with me at work. I put on the 50-140 and switched to Velvia film setting. I removed the power lines and this was our view.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) AT&T Batman building Nashville beautiful fujix skyline sunset https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/11/the-heavens-declare-the-glory-of-god-ps-19-1 Thu, 19 Nov 2015 03:57:31 GMT
It happened on the way to church https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/10/it-happened-on-the-way-to-church

 

It was a Sunday just like any other Sunday...

I leave my home most Sunday mornings at 7:30. My route is the same as always. I obey the speed limit and I use the device placed in all cars to signal my intentions of changing lanes. (In your owners manual it may be called a turn signal) So what happened next was a bit of a surprise to me.

As I turned off Central Pike and headed North onto Old Hickory I noticed a Police cruiser pulled in directly behind me. No worries, I'm driving safe and responsibly. But, he stays behind me all the way up to Juarez, (that's 1.5 miles) where I turn to go to church. Still, no worries, we are just heading the same direction. In fact, maybe he is the officer that directs traffic at the church crosswalk. Then, I signal to turn into the church parking lot and he follows me in...and hits his blue lights!

To say this is embarrassing is an understatement. Still, no worries, I wasn't doing anything wrong. I pull into my spot, jump out of the car and greet the officers. I should probably mention that now there are TWO cruisers and three officers...blue lights on full! Ok, it's gotten even more embarrassing. This is my church, my friends, my people and I have three of Nashville's finest interrogating me. What could be the problem? It must be huge! 

Me: Good morning guys, whats up?

Young officer: May I see your drivers license please? 

Me: Sure officer.

Officer: It's your license plate.

Me: What's wrong?

Officer: We couldn't see the tag on the bottom, and thought you may be driving on expired plates.

Me: Seriously?

Officer: Yes.

Me: Oh, I get it. You must be a 'Bama fan, right? Still a little upset about last seasons loss. (slight chuckle)

Officer, not smiling: No.

Other officer, silent up till now: I'm a Blue fan. (for you SEC folks this refers to Michigan, the hated enemy of all things Buckeye!)

Me: Sorry for that.  (still not much laughter and I must say I am shocked, I feel like I'm on a Roll....get it? A Roll!)

The lead officer returns my license, finding out I am squeaky clean and have been for decades. I must say he looked a little disappointed, but I'm not sure.

His parting words to me are, "you need to get that taken care of so it's visible right away."

Me: Yes sir, I will. You guys have a great day. Go Bucks!

Them: Shaking their heads they return to their cars, turn off their lights and leave the lot.

Me? I am now left to walk across the street and answer the questions of what was going on over in the parking lot. It's a long story.

O-H-

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Go Bucks MNPD Roll Tide SEC football oops sore losers https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/10/it-happened-on-the-way-to-church Thu, 15 Oct 2015 05:07:20 GMT
Problem solving: Taller woman for couple portrait https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/10/problem-solving-taller-woman-for-couple-portrait

Cathy is maybe 6" taller than her husband Joe. While they were both here for individual updated publicity photo's I offered to photograph them together.

To make this look balanced and believable, I had her sit on the stool, then brought him in at a good height. I prefer his mouth equal with her eyes. I think this looks believable and balanced. His words, "you've saved the best for last!" Mission accomplished.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) couples couples portrait elinchrom fujix lighting portrait problem solving rotalux taller women https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/10/problem-solving-taller-woman-for-couple-portrait Thu, 08 Oct 2015 12:02:24 GMT
Stop a bee in flight? Good luck, good timing or good equipment? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/9/stop-a-bee-in-flight-good-luck-good-timing-or-good-equipment

The short answer is, the gear made the difference. 

Imagine the ability to shoot in 4K video, and grab a single frame that is up to 8 megs! What could that mean to you? What if you could film a sequence of your athlete and selecting the single frame that shows them at their very best. Yep, it's almost like magic. A really fast DSLR shoots 11 frames per second (fps). This camera is shooting at a blazing 30 frames per second! No more good luck or timing required. So, what does this technology cost? How about under $800.00! 

The Panasonic Lumix line of cameras is my only non-Fuji camera. For walking around Cummins Falls today with one body and one lens, this was the right selection. The Lumix G7 with 14-140 lens, around $1,000.00. That is a pretty small price for making incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cummins Falls Fall hike G7 Lumix Panasonic bee bumblebee freeze stop action https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/9/stop-a-bee-in-flight-good-luck-good-timing-or-good-equipment Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:30:42 GMT
Concert Photography with Fuji X Series cameras https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/8/concert-photography-with-fuji-x-series-cameras My previous post was to illustrate what can be done with today's "P&S" (point and shoot) cameras. This market of camera is rapidly disappearing and being replaced by cell phones. Don't get me wrong, phones are handy to have but they still can't replace a good camera, at least not yet. I'm sure it won't be long, but until then I don't want to miss some great memories.

There are times when I get to take in my professional cameras, and there is just no substitute for the flexibility that offers. Here are a few images that show what can be done and why I'm such a huge fan of the Fuji X Series cameras and lenses.

Unlimited high ISO's, this is 6400!

This may not sound like a big deal, but the above image wasn't possible until I hit that number. It was my first time trying it, but it was what I had to do to get the shot. The Basement in Nashville is pretty intimate and very dark. If you can't shoot at 6400, just leave your camera at home!

 

Incredible color SOOC (straight out of camera)

Once you can nail down the color temperature, there isn't much left to do. Even in these situations AWB performs better than most cameras I've used. Music City Roots is taped at The Factory in Franklin. There the lighting is much better because it is both a video and radio broadcast. That makes it much easier to get good images.

Ability to use some the best, fast glass I've ever used. The Fuji 50-140 f2.8

I know, I know, what about the Nikon and Canon version of this lens, their 70-200 f2.8? Both of those lenses (version II's) are really great lenses. However, I can hand hold my Fuji at 1/15 of a second if I can't use my tripod and that is huge! Also, the Fuji is about 1 pound lighter and almost $1,000.00 less money! Those are two huge factors to consider.

Doobie Bros at Fontannel Low key or high key? With a great camera and lens it doesn't matter!

I love music, period! I enjoy most musical styles and there is nothing like a live performance! Since moving to Nashville in 2010, we've made friends with some people that just happen to be incredible musicians, that share of love of photography! As a result, We've been able to enjoy some great concerts and events.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Chapman Doobies Franklin Fujix Music City Music City Roots The Factory banjo bluegrass concerts country music guitar sax' https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/8/concert-photography-with-fuji-x-series-cameras Sun, 16 Aug 2015 12:32:15 GMT
Smaller is better for concert photography. Fuji X20 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/8/smaller-is-better-for-concert-photography-fuji-x20

 

I love live music! I also enjoy taking pictures there but it isn't always possible to get a pass to carry in my big lenses. It seems to be an accepted practice that if your lens isn't interchangeable, you are good to go. That is one of the reasons I still own my Fuji X20, it has a 28-112mm zoom lens and that is long enough in most arenas, at least it was in Bridgestone this week!

Other than a long, fast lens, you need to be able to shoot at higher ISO's, in this case 800 was no problem at all. A little Perfectly Clear Noise Reduction, and I'm very happy with these shots.

This proves once again the best camera to own, is the one you have with you!

Camera phones are fine for most situations. Not in a concert with lasers and tons of darkness, they just don't cut it...yet. I'm sure they will one day, but I plan on seeing a lot more concerts before then, and I'm not missing my chance at some great images.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) #fujix20 #send2015 Bridgestone arena Casting Crowns concert concert photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/8/smaller-is-better-for-concert-photography-fuji-x20 Sat, 08 Aug 2015 04:27:40 GMT
A rainy wedding day. Perfect in every way! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/6/a-rainy-wedding-day-perfect-in-every-way I've photographed lots of weddings where rain was involved, but not many when it was an outdoor wedding. And in 40+ years of doing it, never have I worked with a bride and her family that was oblivious to the elements! That is a huge compliment, because little things that are totally out of our control are usually the things that change the mood of everyone there. Weather is certainly one of those "things."

Totally happy, totally cute!

The father of the bride has been a friend for over 20 years. He's more than just a friend, he's like my little brother. He was fairly new in photography when I met him. The bride was only a few months old. At that time they lived in an apartment over his studio. Now besides having a great business, he has invested wisely in real estate is in a position that he can say "no" to jobs he doesn't want to take, including limiting the weddings he accepts. I only photograph a few weddings a year, and this is one I looked forward to. Terry photographed both of our daughters weddings and did an incredible job! It was our turn to reciprocate, and we looked forward to being with his family in Ohio for a few days.

The family bond is obvious in this portrait

This is the first time I've had to shoot my new camera of choice, the Fuji X series in the rain. I was a little concerned, but didn't say anything to anyone else about it. I had 3 Fuji bodies with me, plus a brand new Panasonic FZ1000 that Marlene was using. I was very impressed that all the cameras worked perfectly and never missed a beat. My wife is a much better photographer than she even knows. She has a great ability to see something thats about to happen and get the photo. Here is one of my favorites that she did as they were about to walk down the aisle, in the rain.

Photo by my wife with a Panasonic LZ 1000

The guests and all family members had umbrellas because it was going to rain that day! The location is the grooms grandparents farm in Hartville, Ohio. Just two days before this a terrible storm ripped through the area and was listed as an EF1 wind speed! There were trees uprooted and spit apart all over the place, it was a challenge getting to the venue.

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) FujiX Ohio wedding Tennessee photographer family friends lighting location portraits rain road trips wedding https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/6/a-rainy-wedding-day-perfect-in-every-way Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:47:33 GMT
Why you should hire a professional photographer for events https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/5/why-you-should-hire-a-professional-photographer-for-events We enjoyed photographing this rehearsal dinner for Randy and Kim at their beautiful home. What a great place to have a relaxed dinner with friends and family! A little "in camera" adjustment and you can create a dramatic, blue sky. I did that so it would compliment the warmth of the lights and makes the overall image very peaceful. The colors you see here were created in camera, but they didn't just "happen."

Why would you hire a professional photographer for a party or special event? Here are some of my thoughts when I'm covering an event.

I think a good analogy might be compared to what a great a chef does.

There really isn't any magic in what they use. Their skillets, pots, pans and ingredients are available to all of us. They cook on gas or electric stoves, just like we do. So what's the big deal? Why do we pay them to create a delicious meal? We could do it ourself and save a ton of money! The fact is, we can't do it as well as they do or we would. Most of us wouldn't dream of attempting to cook a gourmet meal for a super special occasion. Why would you trust your photography to document it. It would be awesome to have a chef cook all our meals, but practicality dictates that we make most meals at home for ourself and the fact is, there are some pretty good cooks out there. Day to day, what we make is absolutely perfect and I've had many delicious meals that friends have prepared.

So why do we accept "good enough" when we are celebrating a special event or milestone?

You've invested a lot of planning, effort and money in the event, but snapshots will be just fine? Large corporations don't do this! When they have National Corporate events, even training they wouldn't dream of doing it without a professional photographer there to document it. The mileage they get from our images will be used immediately in slide shows, many times later that evening! I've transferred files from my camera to my  phone so a client could get an image out via email as it happened. They will also use them in training materials, blogs, websites, newsletters and other applications.

I wish I could take credit for this, but I can't. I don't know who said it, but I love the phrase: "beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder!"

It doesn't get much better than after you deliver the images to your client and you get a text or a call thanking you for what you did for them. Here is my text from this event, and I quote: "Nick, these photos are so much more than I could have hoped for! You captured the night beautifully! Thank you so much!!!!"

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) FujiX Nashville event photography Nashville photography ReallyRightStuff colorful event photography events nighttime tripod please https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/5/why-you-should-hire-a-professional-photographer-for-events Mon, 25 May 2015 15:18:32 GMT
Lessons from cooking dinner https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/5/lessons-from-cooking-dinner This may look like a well planned dinner. It's not. In fact, it was a near disaster. When Marlene is away I don't usually cook for myself. I'm spoiled, when I walk in the door, irregardless of what time it is, she always has a great meal ready! It's not that I can't cook, in fact I enjoy it when I finally do. I hate the clean up and as you can see from this quick iPhone snap, there was lots of that!

Here are some quick lessons I learned, in no particular order.

  • Always check to make sure you are buying peel and eat shrimp if that's what you want. If not, you may be forced to do something different, like cook them. (I'm too cheap to throw them away)
  • If you do buy the wrong type, there are lots of instructional YouTube videos on how to clean, devein and prepare shrimp. Many of them will be over your head and require condiments you didn't even know existed. (caper brine, who knew?)
  • The olive oil has to be extremely hot. The shrimp must be washed well and rinsed in clean water. You then must, and this is an absolute MUST dry the shrimp off BEFORE you drop them into the hot olive oil. Just take my word, you will want to do this. If not, it can get really ugly quick. Think, "oil and water don't mix."
  • If you don't have all the ingredients they list, just fake it. Chances are you'll find something that will work really well. If not, it's just you, nobody else needs to know.
  • It's pretty hard to ruin shrimp and that is a fact. They cook quickly and turn color when they are done. Simple enough.
  • Oil splatters are not easy to clean up. I'm sure all the ladies have some secret way to do this, but I've not needed to know these tricks, until tonight.

This turned out pretty good despite the challenges. Kind of like some life decisions I've made without totally thinking them through. The Lord is always so gracious to pick me up, set me back on the right path and let me go about my life, hopefully wiser and more attentive to His still small voice.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) cooking dinner lessons humor lessons shrimp thoughts wisdom https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/5/lessons-from-cooking-dinner Thu, 14 May 2015 11:53:13 GMT
At the end of the day... https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/4/-at-the-end-of-the-day Do you remember the feeling when you were young of swinging? There were several different stages, and all of them were fun. This photo represents the first stage, where someone, typically a parent or in my case, a grandparent is providing the power. They are yelling, "higher grandpa, higher" and you carefully add a little more "umph" to the next push. That's followed by giggling and possibly even squeals of delight from them and you! Testing out a new Tamron zoom lens gave me a great photo and some greater memories

While reviewing my images from the test shots, I saw this and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I started thinking about my own time as a kid. I can vividly remember many, many visits to Cambridge City Park and the swingsets there. We would get them going so high, it was a little scary. I remember the hesitation at the top of each arch as you would stop traveling in one direction and start back the opposite way. I remember thinking how cool it would be to experience weightlessness. Hovering, suspended above the ground, looking down...and it all happened in a fraction of a second. Isn't funny how these memories come flooding back? So real and vivid, you might even remember the smell of fresh cut grass while you were there.

I've been talking to my bride about the memories we are making with our grandkids now. I don't ever remember running into my grandparents bedroom to wake them in the morning. But our grandkids will! They will remember us pulling them into the bed and asking them how they slept and if they were ready to get some breakfast. We are conciously talking about the memories we will make with them. The things they will remember if the Lord tarries his return. These are the stories they will share with each other and their children. We are too busy when we can't take time at the beginning or end of the day to spend it with them. It's hard, I know, and it takes some doing, but it will be worth it all as we "make memories" with them.

A common phrase you hear a lot is, "at the end of the day..." Well, at the end of the day, this was very important and I feel blessed to have had this time with all of them.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Family Fun Ohio Road Springtime Tamron playtime swinging trips zoom lens https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/4/-at-the-end-of-the-day Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:43:27 GMT
Nathan Chapman CD release party https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/4/nathan-chapman-cd-release-party When you are a multi-talented musician like Nathan Chapman, you can get pretty amazing "back up" vocalists. You may recognize this guy, he's Charles Kelley, or 1/3 of the group Lady Antebellum! They are good friends and he joined Nathan on a song. 

If Nathan is not a household name, I understand. I had known him for over a year before another customer told me who he was and what he did. He produced Taylor Swift's first three albums and has worked on all of them! He is super humble but has produced tons of great artists. He is only 38 years old, so he was super young when he started. I can tell you that I've yet to hear anyone in this town say anything negative about him, that is saying a lot. He has great music roots, his parents are Steve and Annie Chapman who have written some incredible Christian music through the decades, and they too are wonderful people! No surprise. Nathan is humble, fun and totally in love with his wife and family. If you would like to learn more about him, jump on his website by clicking this link.

L to R: Steve and Annie, Nathan, his wife and his sister Heidi

The album titled "Revival" is a very personal project for Nathan and his beautiful wife Stephanie. They wrote and produced the album together, one listen and you can hear how much thought went into these songs. They both introduced songs and told a few stories, this project is personal and that is one of the things that will make you love it Nathan even said that his wife is his "producer" in many areas of his life, and I for one, totally get that!

This was my first time at "The Basement" and let's just say it is a very small venue. Maybe intimate would be a one word description. The place was packed and jumping with the mutual admiration of the guests. Most of them were well known artists and they were absolutely enjoying the music. It was so well done plus the band was a "who's who" of Nashville players.

It was super dark. How dark? Everything I shot was 6400-12,800 ISO on my Fuji! That in itself was scary but unbelievable. Just a few short years ago images of this quality wouldn't have been possible digitally, now it's really not difficult at all. Sure there's some noise, but nothing that can't be easily cleaned up with a tool like Perfectly Clear. One click...done!

Nathan is a passionate person. He is also a gifted photographer. (see the Hasselblad shirt under his coat?) If you want to see some of Nathan's photography, just click here.  I believe that when you are involved in the arts, any of the arts, you are probably very passionate. That passion overflows into everything you do, and that can be good and bad. There isn't room for some middle ground of involvement or commitment, it's almost an addictive tendency, something you need to guard against. I've always felt this way and it has been a blessing and a curse at times. But if you are aware of it, you can guard against it.

This was a great night, and I was blessed to be a part of it with my friend!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 12 800 iso 35mm 50-140 zoom cd release country music fuji fuji x-e2 lady antebellum music music city nashvegas nashville nathan chapman revival taylor swift the basement https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/4/nathan-chapman-cd-release-party Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:02:37 GMT
First shots with Fuji extension tubes https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/3/first-shots-with-fuji-extension-tubes Spring is finally here. What a long winter it's been! Today it was in the 70's and that is a very good sign. They also had snow in Chicago today, no fun.

I finally got out to test the new Fuji extension tubes and they work great. I had to use my 18-55 lens because I didn't have any of my primes. Still, the results are very good. I will shoot more a little later, but this was a great start. It was windy, so I used the Nissin i40 strobe in manual and very minimal power to freeze the movement. Because of the shallow depth of field, I shot stopped down a little so I'd have a better chance nailing the focus. This was ok for the first attempt. The daffodil remained very patient throughout the process. 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Canon Fuji Nikon Nissin Panasonic daffodil extension tube flowers spring yellow https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/3/first-shots-with-fuji-extension-tubes Tue, 24 Mar 2015 04:10:19 GMT
What are you committed to? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/3/what-are-you-committed-to "Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way they will define you."  Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

 

As I read this it made me stop in my tracks. It was a real "gut check." What drives me? Am I more committed to be a devoted follower of the Cross and what it represents or more concerned with being the best photographer I can be? Sadly, I have to admit that I spend much more time on my craft than the cross. I spend most of my waking hours talking about, reading, researching, teaching and doing photography. There's nothing wrong with that, it's my job and I understand that's pretty normal. But what about when I'm not working? How do I spend or invest that time?

Our time on earth is so short. I know this statement may weed out some of my friendships or relationships, but in no way do I believe that this life is all there is. No, I'm not coming back for round two or three, possibly as some other life form. And thank the Lord I'm not going to live forever on this earth, in this body that is slowly dying every single day. I believe there will be eternal life for all of us. We will spend eternity somewhere, it just won't end with the grave. If I didn't believe that, my life would look a lot different, and I'm sure I wouldn't be "better" because of that.

What about you? We are probably friends or you wouldn't have landed here on my blog. As a friend, I care about you and your life...now and later! I'd love nothing more than to chat with you about this. Let's grab a cup of coffee and talk about it. It's not my intention to "sell you" on anything, just to let you know how much the God of the Universe loves you and cares about you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/3/what-are-you-committed-to Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:44:21 GMT
Snow day photo fun https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/2/snow-day-photo-fun The day started off nasty. But, when you are from Ohio and you talk about how folks down south can't drive in this stuff, you have to make the trip in. I will admit that on ice, it is not a good situation and that most anything can happen...especially with the "other drivers" that are out there.  that said, I've been driving in this since I was 16 and I do know what to watch for, it served me well today. Like the guy in the pickup truck that accelerated over the bridge and fishtailed nearly out of control. I saw his lack of control, backed off the gas and moved two lanes to the right. He regained control and then (out of fear) backed off to a reasonable speed. Way to go Buck-o. 

Counting the two owners, there was one other employee at the store. After nearly two hours we had two customers, so the decision was made to close early, in fact, at noon. Around 11:00 Ron told me to wrap it up and head home. 

I decided that I should at least go out and see if there was anything worth photographing in the back yard. Thinking ahead, I made some fresh coffee for when I came back in, it would be great with the Biscotti Marlene made this morning.

It turned out that I didn't have to leave the deck. Check out the cool ice hanging off the Weber grill. I love the contrast and ice encrusted handle.

Walking out into the yard, I saw some cool ice formations on the shrubs

This was my favorite shot of the day. All of these images with done on my Fuji  X-T1 and the new 50-140mm f2.8 zoom? Both of these are weather sealed so the icy rain was no problem.

Calling for more ice tonight and plunging temperatures. May be back at it tomorrow. Stay warm!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji 50-140 zoom Fuji X cold ice ice storm snow snow day https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/2/snow-day-photo-fun Tue, 17 Feb 2015 02:48:10 GMT
Lighting basics https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/2/lighting-basics

 

I have a customer that drove 4 hours to get help with lighting. Although he hadn't planned on being photographed today, I think this turned out really nice.We started with one light, and added a light at a time, eventually having this 4 light portrait. If you look at almost everything that can be mastered to some level of consistent execution, it demands solid basics. Sports? Yep. Cooking? Absolutely! I can't think of anything right now that doesn't include basics.

I believe that we are experiencing a "dumbing down" of portraiture. And at the very same time, there is a resurgence of classic, timeless portraiture by some great shooters. I love the portrait works of  Tim and Bev Walden in Kentucky and Tim Kelly to name just a few. Please understand that I am in no way comparing my work, or this image to the likes of these incredible photographers. What I am saying is that we will never be able to create beautiful portraits like theirs without complete control of your lighting tools...modifiers.

I have a passion to help pass on these basics to others. I will be teaching a lighting class at Professional Photographers of Ohio "Photo Blast" on March the 13th. I'd love to have you join me. We will use great equipment and get to photograph models in a studio setting. I hope you can make it!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Gossen head shots lighting perfectly clear portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/2/lighting-basics Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:10:30 GMT
Midweek reminder, it's all temporary! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/midweek-reminder-its-all-temporary

 

Isn't it super easy to get caught up in all the "things" around us? Newer, bigger, better, faster...it never ends. So, this is directed at me for today and every day I can consciously remember to think about it. One day, it won't matter who had the biggest, fastest, or best. No one gets to take it with them when they die, so let's stop killing ourselves just to "get it!" Let's invest our lives into the things that matter and relationships with others.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Caddy FujiX HDR Old Car City Perfectly Clear midweek road trips temporary travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/midweek-reminder-its-all-temporary Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:07:55 GMT
I shoot commercial too! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/i-shoot-commercial-too

 

Although I don't talk about it much, I have been photographing commercial images on location for years. When clients have custom needs, and very specialized, delicate or extremely large products, going to them is the best solution.

 

That was the case on Wednesday. International Tower Lighting makes the lights and equipment you see on cell towers. These are very sophisticated lights and the boxes contain a lot of electronic equipment. There is much more to this than meets the eye and as is always the case, I learned a lot about their products.

 

These images were shot on a white sweep with Elinchrom lights on a Fuji X-E2 with the new 50-140 zoom. Everything went great, thanks to a hand from my assistant Otis Toussaint, we were done in the quoted time for the job. It is also helpful to have someone that knows and understands the equipment. In this case we worked with Andy, one of the Engineers. Great guy and super knowledgeable. When the lights wouldn't fire up inside the box, he knew what to do to fix it, and he did! 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) FujiX ITL drag that shutter high key location photography stainless white on white https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/i-shoot-commercial-too Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:08:42 GMT
Fuji 56mm APD - Is it worth it? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/fuji-56mm-apd---is-it-worth-it

 

Fuji 56mm f1.2 APD Lens

There has been lots of hype about this lens, is it deserved? I'll let you be the judge. When Aaron was home for Christmas, we wanted to compare the two side by side. He owns the original lens, and wondered if the new one is worth 50% more. We can't tell you how to spend your money, beauty is as they say in the eye of the checkbook holder, you judge for yourself.

The top image is the "new" lens. You can see this is one super sharp, great contrast lens. So what's the big deal? As you look at the out of focus light, just concentrate on the edges. Compare the roundness of those to the original lens below:

Fuji 56mm f1.2 original Lens

Same exposure, same distance, as controlled as we could do it in the store. Those subtle differences, plus more that I'm sure are beyond my pay grade are the reason for nearly 50% additional cost. While I wouldn't throw this out if they shipped one to me, I sure wouldn't invest the extra to own it.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 56mm Bokeh Fuji Fuji 56mm APD Fuji X Fuji X-T1 bokeh lens lens test orbs https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2015/1/fuji-56mm-apd---is-it-worth-it Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:30:47 GMT
Fuji 55-200 An incredible value lens! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/12/fuji-55-200-an-incredible-value-lens

 

I know, I know, its a variable aperture. And...it's not very fast, so what. When I can do some quick grab shots of my very active grandkids, lit only by a window at the end of the hall that look like this, I'll take it all day long!

If you don't have $1700.00 for the new 2.8 version, don't sweat it. There are many great images to be made with this under $700.00 lens! This has been my primary portrait lens since I bought it and it has a great look to it. Plus, it's small and light weight, one of the things that attracted me to mirrorless cameras to begin with. 

This image and the following were all shot at 1000 ISO, wide open and about 1/50 second hand held. If there is lack of sharpness it's because they moved. AND these are all SOOC, only cropped to fit this blog.

Vinny is a little tougher to keep in one spot but he is only 3 years old. When I can get him slowed down, I try to get something quick. This may not be my best attempt, but it shows what the lens is capable of. This lens is sharp enough for anything I need to do, in fact it's too sharp most of the time and I have to do some image softening.

Last but not least, the baby. Her eyes are gorgeous and yes, that is a marshmallow in and around her mouth. Whatever it takes for cooperation, right?

If you need a longer lens, and want to take beautiful images, I'd jump on one of these lenses. The only reason mine is for sale is because I've ordered the new 2.8 version. That being said, I could shoot this lens for years to come with no regrets and no loss of beautiful images.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 55-200 Family Fuji 55-200 Fuji. Nashville Travel and road trips great glass great lens https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/12/fuji-55-200-an-incredible-value-lens Wed, 31 Dec 2014 21:08:10 GMT
First shots with new Fuji 50-140 f2.8 zoom! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/12/first-shots-with-new-fuji-50-140-f2-8-zoom

 

Unbelievable and worth the wait!

When I first heard about this, I wasn't even interested because I have the 55-200 and have taken some of my favorite portraits of the past year with that lens. Then I tried it yesterday...not a good thing to do. It is incredible!

Let me tell you that I've owned the Canon 70-200 version one, and BOTH versions of the Nikon 70-200 2.8. And those were all on a full framed sensor camera for you "pixel peepers". So, I've had 3 of these to compare my results against, and my opinion is this is an incredible lens and a great value at less than $1599.00!

100% crop of this image, hand held

Is it heavy? Compared to all the other lenses in the Fuji system, yes. But compared to similar lenses, no! It has an incredibly robust tripod collar ring that offers a stable mounting system. I do wish they would have machined the bottom of it to fit in an Arca Swiss mount, that would have been genius.

I don't know how Fuji designs their image stabilization, but it is unlike any other I've used. So, there is no argument this lens is sharp, but take a look at the capture data:

Yes, 800 ISO, at 1/18 of a second...handheld! I've never been able to hand hold that long of a focal length lens at anything less than 1/60 or possibly 1/30. So this is one additional stop of usability for me. Needless to say, I have a 55-200 for sale for a bargain price if you are looking to add a starter long focal length lens that is a great portrait lens too.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 50-140 Fuji fuji magic lens review unfreakinbelievable https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/12/first-shots-with-new-fuji-50-140-f2-8-zoom Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:00:19 GMT
Lumix GH4 with Leica 42.5mm lens https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/lumix-gh4-with-leica-42-5mm-lens

 

I was done preparing the turkey and stuffing and dinner was a few hours off. What to do? Snack on some Swiss cheese and crackers of course! I love Guggisburg from Sugarcreek, Ohio and we try to have some here all the time. Aaron was here so we were talking cameras and I was able to show him some of the cameras and lenses I have on loan from my long time friend Tom Curley at Panasonic. I've been shooting these for the last week and quite frankly I'm very impressed with the image quality from this line!

The Leica 42.5mm Nocitron f1.2 lens is unlike anything I've every had the pleasure to work with. I am super excited about scheduling a portrait session with this lens. Since we didn't want to take the time to set up for a session, I used the kitchen counter. So this isn't as controlled of an experiment as I would typically do, but it shows pretty nicely how much difference a few stops can make. The work "bokeh" is overused and used incorrectly possibly more than any other "buzz word" in photography. If you read my blog with any frequency you know it is a sore spot with me. I know I can't right all the wrongs, but I'll keep trying to illustrate in my own little way what I see.

What do you see right away? I think its pretty obvious that by stopping down just a little, the entire look and feel of the image changes. If this were a close up of a person, with a background a few feet behind them, the look would be beautiful! That is my goal for next week. But for now, this will have to do.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 85mm f1.2 DOF GH4 Leica Lumix Thanksgiving baby swiss bokeh depth of field say cheese https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/lumix-gh4-with-leica-42-5mm-lens Sun, 30 Nov 2014 03:38:44 GMT
Fuji X-E2 vs Lumix GH4 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/fuji-x-e2-vs-lumix-gh4

 

This was not as scientific as I intended, partly because of a flash issue. I planned to shoot with my Elinchrom Quadra on all the shots but couldn't get it to trigger from the Lumix, I still need to find out why it wouldn't. I was forced to shoot available light only, just used reflector to help. Thankfully it was a moderately overcast day so it worked out. I still wanted to get a look at how the GH4 looked right out of the camera as a JPEG, zero post. One of the selling features to me of the Fuji has been sellable images with no post time. That being said, the Lumix is as close to useable as anything else I've seen. I can't get this from any Canon or Nikon cameras and I've tried them both. 
 
I prefer the flesh tones from the Fuji better, but just slightly. The overall colors are more saturated and accurate on the Fuji X camera. The Lumix may be able to be adjusted or tweaked in settings. My goal has always been to get the best files possible right from the camera. I'm not into hours of post production. That robs me of time and profit, and I don't enjoy it.
Other initial impressions:
  • The iA setting is stupid accurate! 
  • The focusing is super quick. 
  • Lenses are excellent.
  • Controls are easy to understand and very intuitive.
  • The video is incredible and I've only dabbled with it.
More testing to do, but I'm having a blast! 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji X Fuji vs Lumix GH$ vs Fuji GH4 Lumix Nashville X-E2 music city https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/fuji-x-e2-vs-lumix-gh4 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:21:22 GMT
James Taylor at The Bridgestone https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/james-taylor-at-the-bridgestone

Sweet Baby James and his All Star Band

It was another "bucket list" check off, James Taylor in concert. We moved here a little over 4 years ago, and at that time J.T. was touring with Carole King. We decided to buy tickets to see them in Cleveland, and we bought pretty good tickets too. Then, all of a sudden, we moved to Nashville and couldn't go. I sold the tickets and that was that.

This past weekend we were booked to go to Gatlinburg, where we spent our honeymoon 37 years ago. Marlene ended up with a nasty sinus infection and we had to cancel. Now we had a rare weekend off, in fact 4 days in a row, and we wanted to do something. She remembered that this concert was happening, found out tickets were available and I'm so glad she did!

There is a reason the concert is billed as his "all star band" it's because they are all stars! Steve Gadd is a legend in recorded drumming! I made a comment to Marlene that the percussionist was incredible, and it turns out he was Luis Conte, another legend! If you love music, check out the links to read about who these players are. And if you get a chance to see this show, do it! You won't be disappointed, in fact you will be very entertained!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Bridgestone Fuji James Taylor Nashville Nashville Music Sweet Baby James X20 bucket list concert https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/james-taylor-at-the-bridgestone Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:19:34 GMT
Fall is a season of life https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/fall-is-a-season-of-life
 
I just turned 58 years old, and I’m okay with that. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and if we are honest we all have. I want to share a thought with you that may help you from making this same mistake that I did 30 years ago. Even if you have grandchildren there may be a "take away" for you.
 
Monday I worked a trade show all day. Even before the show started, I did a lighting class for the Professional Photographers of Ohio. It’s called a “Photo Safari” but its really not a safari. The concept was walking around and sharing how to look for light and then how to make it work for you. We had a great time and got some nice portraits. This isn’t about that at all, its about what happened after I drove the nearly two hours to our daughter’s home. 
 
It was a beautiful fall day, temperature was in the upper 60’s and bright sun. As I parked in the driveway I noticed the back yard needed raked. Scott is so busy at work and church, he hasn’t been able to keep up with it, so I decided to knock some of it out. It would be great exercise and I could enjoy the Ohio fall afternoon.
 
I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it but someone in the house noticed I was out there and decided to send the kids out so they could play in the leaves. There were lots of leaves to rake and I just wanted to get this job done. As soon as they came running out, giggling and laughing, the “work” part was officially over. They just wanted to do what all 3 and 5 year olds would in that situation, run and jump in the leaves. In past years, that would have been a source of great aggravation. It would be interfering with my plans of knocking this out. Something happened that was not my idea at all. We are told that the Lord speaks to us in a still small voice, and He did right then. 30 years earlier, our own children were that same age and I was their dad's age. We lived in Ohio and raking leaves was a part of life several days a week for longer than I cared. The last thing I wanted was anyone jumping in my piles and making more work. This time was different, it didn’t matter. In fact, I loved it! That still small voice was telling me to “redeem the time” be thankful for this time with the kids and enjoy it. What if I didn’t get done? Who cares? It didn’t matter, what really mattered was that I could rake up piles of leaves so they could do what they wanted to do, just be kids! For a long time I piled them high and they ran and jumped in them, dragging my neat piles all over the place. I enjoyed the entire process. I was reminded how 30 years ago I wouldn’t have had the insight to just enjoy this time and forget about the task at hand. They didn’t care if I finished or didn’t finish, they just wanted to play. So we played and it was great!
 
If you have time to turn a project into playtime, don’t miss the opportunity. Don’t get so caught up in the work that you miss whats really important. It’s those spontaneous times that can become teaching times or just memories that they will carry for years to come long after we are gone. Do you have a memory of your grandpa raking leaves and letting you jump in them? I don’t. What about your dad? I don’t have that either. The point is we are always making memories, let’s choose to make them great ones.
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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Ohio fall family leaves older man thoughts play time reflecting road trips seasons https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/fall-is-a-season-of-life Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:38:41 GMT
PPO PhotoU https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/ppo-photou

 

I had a great time teaching in Dublin, Ohio last weekend at the Professional Photographers of Ohio PhotoU, Fall show. This is Logan Brazzell and she works for my good friends at Jones Photography. She patiently modeled so I could demonstrate some lighting techniques. This cover image is window light and a reflector. One of the easiest ways to pull off a flattering portrait in a hurry. It rounds out the shadow side of her face and makes her eyes "pop."

This is the Westcott Ice Light blended with some available light. She's sitting on the steps, just leaning into the landing. I am on laying on the floor with my tripod all the way down. Fuji X-E2 and 55-200 lens.

Same lighting set up as above, I'm just not laying down. This image is unusable without additional light. It didn't need much so the Westcott Ice Light was perfect. This is my second time working with that light, and admittedly it is pricey, but it sure is handy and a beautiful source!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) PPO PhotoU light" lighting, window https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/11/ppo-photou Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:17:15 GMT
Nothing like a sister https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/nothing-like-a-sister Focused with the Focus 2 app

 

I know from watching our own daughters grow up, there is something very special about the bond between sisters. I have watched them grow and interact through all the stages of life and it has been amazing. Today as beautiful, mature women, wives and mothers, it's still awesome to see them interact and hear how much they care for and love each other.

These two young ladies are no different. We've been allowed to spend time with them and their family, and what they have is very special too! I know that as time goes on, their bond will grow stronger and even closer. Hopefully this portrait will serve as a reminder of this season in their lives, and maybe even make them smile a little.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) BFF Centennial Elinchrom Ranger Nashville Park" Quadra Sekonic best family life friends park sisters https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/nothing-like-a-sister Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:22:22 GMT
Anniversary #37! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/anniversary-37

It just happened that I had yesterday off and it was our anniversary. As residents of Nashville for 4+ years, we still had not made it to The Loveless Cafe. Our plans included a late breakfast (to beat the crowds) and a big breakfast. Mission accomplished. No waiting, a great server and food that exceeded our expectations. 

We decided to try a little of everything. The country ham is super salty and incredible. Sausage gravy, casserole and home made biscuits with home made preserves. There is a jar of  blackberry sitting in our refrigerator even as I type.

After 37 years I love my wife more than I ever thought possible. Like all honest couples, we've had our good times and not so good. I can tell you that there are now far less "bad times" and many more "good times!" Some have asked what our secret is, there really isn't any secret. There is a certain peace in accepting each other and not trying to change them into something or someone else. Fact is, I love her as she is and wouldn't change a thing! Jesus talked about it years ago when he told us we need to die to ourselves, and live for him. The same applies to our marriages, it's about putting the others needs before yours. It also helps if you marry your best friend. The real truth is that you will probably put up with more "stuff" from your best friend than anyone else on the planet! I thinks thats a good plan for your spouse too, don't you? 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) anniversary biscuits and gravy breakfast country ham good eats jams the loveless cafe travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/anniversary-37 Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:59:34 GMT
A great weekend! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/a-great-weekend

What an incredible time we had in Atlanta! Aaron and Cleo had put together a super enjoyable wedding.

I'm a veteran of many, actually hundreds of weddings, and this was one of my all time favorites. Thats a big statement, but it's the truth. I think my conversation with one of the guests pretty well summed it up. He said, "I felt like I was able to witness something really private and intimate, almost allowed to be there." Thats certainly not the case with a lot of weddings, it's all about the "production" or "wow factor." The setting was down a rock covered path, in the woods, by a like with a breeze blowing in. Nobody sported perfect hair and nobody cared! In fact, I don't think anyone noticed! This was all about their sacred union and exchange of vows (that they wrote themselves to each other) and their family and friends as witnesses.

The above quick portrait was taken the night before at the rehearsal party. There really wasn't a rehearsal, we just had a party with some of their closest friends. At the end of the night Blake (our incredible host and the best man) spoke encouraging words about them. That was followed up by many others who did the same thing and then we prayed over them. All in all, I don't know that it gets any better than that.

Aaron waited a long time for Cleo to come along, his mantra was "don't settle." He didn't and he will tell you it was worth the wait. She is perfect for him and we are blessed to include her in our family!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Aaron and Cleo Atlanta Family The Courys cousins grandkids kids road trip travel wedding weekend https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/a-great-weekend Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:40:16 GMT
The Wedding Ride https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/the-wedding-ride

We were invited to ride in the car that carried Cleo, her mom, maid of honor (Megan) and us to the wedding venue. You may ask, "why a car?" Well, it was down a steep, rock lined hill in the Georgia woods. Not a very good combination for a wedding dress and fancy shoes. 

I was not taking photographs for any other reason than for us to have. Aaron had lined up shooters, and they were doing a great job. I had my Fuji X20 and saw this in the back seat. The light was perfect and the anticipation and happiness on her beautiful face, this had to be documented!

After studying it, I converted it to black and white using MacPhun Tonality Pro and love the result! More than that, we love our daughter in law and pray for them a lifetime of happiness!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) a wedding in the woods Cleo Family MacPhun Megan Tonality Pro wedding https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/the-wedding-ride Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:51:49 GMT
The Doobie Brothers in Nashville https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/the-doobie-brothers-in-nashville

This is exciting! As you probably know by now, Marlene and I are high school sweethearts. There are lots of advantages to that and love for the same music is one of them. We love the 70's and all the great music from that era! Living in Music City has many benefits, and excellent concerts is one of them. But sometimes you just can't get in to certain events no matter how much money you have. Last night was one of those nights. We've loved the Doobie Brothers for decades and they were playing a private event. The only way I knew about it is one of the drum techs is a friend and he let me know. He even offered to get us in if it were possible. In itself, just the thought of that was pretty cool. Then early afternoon I got a text from Jeremy saying to call him, he had tickets for us later that night!

After a few calls, it was on and we were in! He met us there, gave us our passes then went way beyond what we could have guessed. First stop, sit behind the drum set. What? Who wouldn't want to do that, especially if you are a drummer?

Yes, that is a big cheesy smile and it was very, very cool!

Then he took our picture in front of the kit, Marlene looks great (as always) and I'm taking (as always) telling him how to set my camera, bummer for me.

Next stop was to meet the band...all of them! Jeremy took us backstage and introduced us to most of the band and support crew, it was awesome and totally unexpected. Everyone was super friendly and engaging, we really were out of our element but it sure was fun!

The concert was great and they sounded as good as ever. The Sax player is an animal, has played with most everyone including one of my all time favorites, Tower of Power!

I really like the diagonal symmetry of this image, couldn't have asked for cleaner lines!

The acoustics in the Country Music Hall of Fame Theatre are incredible! The mix was great and the lighting was easy to work with. A music loving photographers dream night!

I owe Jeremy a huge thanks! This was a night we won't forget and will talk about for years to come.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) CMA concert date night family hall of fame the Doobie Brothers https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/the-doobie-brothers-in-nashville Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:19:22 GMT
Date night with Mateo https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/date-night-with-mateo

 

Tuesday night is kids night at Chik-fil-a, so usually we stay away on that night. But when your grandson is in town, that is the place to be!

All along the plan was dinner and then ice cream, that was it. A few nights earlier I learned he loved milk shakes but doesn't get them very often. (he's not quite 4, there will be lots of time) but when you are out with "Bapa" nothing says he can't order one and share it. Thats exactly what we did, and loved it!

Everything was near perfect until I realized that I left "Tiger" his travel companion on the table. Mama called, and they had him safely secured behind the counter, so a short trip back and they were reunited.

This was a good night. Thank you Lord!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) APB chick-fil-a dinner family ice cream man date https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/10/date-night-with-mateo Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:58:14 GMT
Birthday lunch and a paper toss https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/birthday-lunch

 

We have a family tradition, the birthday boy or girl gets to pick what they want for dinner. When the kids were home, that meant Marlene would make whatever they wanted. As they got older, that meant they picked the restaurant. Sunday was my day to pick and Outback just sounded good to me, so that's where we went.

Its easy to forget how much fun it is to have children with you at dinner when you don't have them around all the time. They add laughter, fun and sometimes just a little embarrassment.

It wasn't super busy, so we got waited on fairly quickly, and our server was great. But, when you aren't quite four and the adults are still talking, you can get pretty bored. What to do? Just toss a piece of your napkin over the top of the booth into the next booth. We had no idea there was anyone over there...until it came sailing back onto our table. Yep, kids will do that sometime. We laughed...really quietly.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Outback birthday dinner dinner fun kids https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/birthday-lunch Tue, 30 Sep 2014 04:11:26 GMT
Let the fun begin https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/let-the-fun-begin

This is the beginning of a week we have been waiting for, for what seems like forever. Next weekend our son Aaron will be marrying the woman he has been praying for. This is an answer to his prayer and all our family. He waited (most of the time, patiently) on the Lord. The Lord heard his prayer and answered it in a supernatural way, just like you might expect him to. Cleo is an incredible young woman that loves the Lord and Aaron. Together they will do much for the kingdom, and have many adventures.
 
So, to get things started, Sara and Mateo made the trip here from San Diego today. What should have been uneventful, turned into a bit of an adventure. Delays getting out of SAN because of rain in Phoenix, where it only rains about 30 days a year. Because of the delay, the connection into Nashville would be close, almost too close. They assured her they would hold the plane for them so they could make it. When they landed they had 10 minutes and several gates to run to. Run they did! When they got there, the lady told them the flight had left, and they will have to reroute her. Sara doesn't really enjoy traveling (who does anymore?) and the thought of extending this already long day did not make her happy. The lady offered to get her started right away since they were the first ones there. As she started looking for alternatives (another flight to Texas and then here) others started showing up that had the same itinerary and became vocal about them holding the plane. Believe it or not, they called the plane back to pick up the passengers! When have you ever heard of that? I haven't! As they were walking down the ramp into the plane, Mateo kept saying, "praise the Lord" repeatedly and louder. Other passengers responded with "amen" and or, smiles. His attitude was contagious and helped bring it all into perspective, nothing happens without the Lords knowledge and consent. They got in late, but Mateo was a trooper and came running with a smile on his face. Who cares what time it is? In fact, what time is it? It's celebration time for this family, so let the fun begin!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Mateo Sara Aaron Cleo wedding wedding week airplane flights delays travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/let-the-fun-begin Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:53:19 GMT
Knowledge is a powerful thing https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/knowledge-is-a-powerful-thing

 

Knowledge is power, or so they say. I believe that knowledge is a powerful thing to have at your disposal and that used correctly it will save you time, aggravation and simplify your life.

I frequently shoot photos at our church for special occasions. This was a celebration of Dan Arteburn's 30 years serving on our church staff. 30 years is a long time for anyone to work anywhere and a church is no different. In fact, it may be more challenging than many other jobs, but that is just my opinion.

So, when you have mixed light sources, floods, LED's and daylight coming in from a window, how do you set your white balance and exposure? I've landed on settings that allow me to get near perfect, SOOC. This image is a jpeg straight out of my Fuji X-E2 with zero post processing. By nailing down the degrees Kelvin, and compensating for the severe lighting, it is a pretty nice image just as it is created. 

Not only is knowledge power, it will also make you more profitable. By spending less or zero time in front of your computer "fixing" your images, you can spend that time doing something else. Please don't forget that every additional minute you spend is also less profit for you from that job.

It's a message that has been preached for years, get it right in the camera. You'll be happy you did!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Kelvin celebration color temp nailing it white balance https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/knowledge-is-a-powerful-thing Tue, 16 Sep 2014 05:29:38 GMT
Teaching happens all the time https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/teaching-happens-all-the-time A lot of my day is spent talking about photography, specifically new equipment purchases. When I'm in the store, a lot of the time it is theory or hypothetical discussion. It may be talking about the latest buzz words they've read and want to achieve that same look, or after real, thoughtful research on their part.

One of those words is "bokeh." We hear it most every day, and sadly most use it incorrectly or with limited understanding. Bokeh, like gravity, just happens. I'd rather discuss what makes it happen. Focus point, aperture used and placement of your subject.

On our Photo Walk the other night, there were a few ladies that were intrigued by why I carried my tripod with such a small camera. It certainly weighs more than the camera, much more. To illustrate it I set up the following shots. These are not intended to be beautiful pictures, but they do show what happens by just switching your lens opening.

I've focused on the decorative gate in the foreground. As you can see even with my subject very close, there is a lot of depth here. I am close to the minimum focus to illustrate this effect.

This is a game changer, it makes this image totally different. Suddenly it's all about the decorative iron. You can't tell anything about the building, but it sure has a gate around it.

I know this is basic stuff, but I've stopped taking this fact for granted. The ladies I was with simply couldn't believe the difference. I hope this will be of help to others too.

This illustration reminds me of the bible verse that talks about our earthly vision. Here we don't see things as we will from God's perspective. He views all that is going on through an "eternal filter." I Cor. 13:12 For now we see through a glass. darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also am known. We see all the bad things that are going on daily, just turn on your TV or a news feed on your phone, we just don't understand it. Some even question God or his existence because it is allowed to happen. It's just a by product of our fallen world we live it, sadly it's going to get worse than it is. The only hope that's for sure, is not trusting in yourself, your bank account, your friends, even your church! Jesus said he is THE way, THE truth and The life. He's got this life AND the next!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) aperture bokeh eternal life f stop fuji photo walk vision https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/teaching-happens-all-the-time Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:42:09 GMT
A redo of a favorite shot https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/a-redo-of-a-favorite-shot RymanRyman

I've never been a fan of reshooting a previous shot. But when we did the photo walk this past weekend, I had a new light to use. The great folks at Westcott sent us an "Ice Light." I've never used one before, so I was looking forward to trying it out. I thought it would only be in portrait applications, but I found another use for it. As you can see above, the difference is subtle, but I think it is worth the effort. The plaque in the foreground now pops, and the detail is amazing. The detail is all thanks to the incredible Fuji X sensors, shots that were not possible before are now no problem. I don't think twice about using a super high ISO's whenever I need to.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B&W Dury's Fuji photo walk Nashville Ryman The mother church high ISO music city https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/9/a-redo-of-a-favorite-shot Mon, 08 Sep 2014 02:36:31 GMT
Longevity in marriage? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/8/longevity-in-marriage

DISCLAIMER: I'm the first to admit this isn't a very good shot to stick on the site of a professional photographer. But, this wasn't taken by me or any of my friends, it's just a snapshot. What this photo represents is something pretty incredible in today's economy of disposable...almost everything!

This was taken at our 40th high school reunion. And by chance, most of us ended up at the same table, or very close. This group of classmates have all been married for a minimum of 35 years! Doesn't that seem incredible to you? We had about 275 or so in our graduating class in 1974. In Cambridge Ohio, there weren't many of us with dreams to change the world. Not to say that we haven't made a difference, because some of us have. The "small town mentality" that was taught to us by our teachers, and modeled to us by our parents, made a difference! I'm talking about the fact that you take your time and find a person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It was obvious that most of these couples were still good friends, that is a game changer.

I've said many times that marriage is so much easier if you marry your best friend. It's my opinion that you will put up with more "stuff" (read crap) from your BFF than almost anyone else. Sometimes that friendship may be all you have to carry you through the bad times. More important than that it helps if you both have a deep faith that you practice together. For Marlene and I, it is our bond with a Savior that demonstrated a selfless, loving example of how to love. A love that cost him his very life, but that he freely, lovingly, and gladly laid down so that we could live. That is the ultimate self sacrifice, the extreme picture of what real love looks like. Our spouse will probably never ask us to die for them, but sometimes it would be easier than "giving in" to what they want or need, wouldn't it?

So glad to see these friends again. To celebrate with them and catch up on their lives. If the Lord allows, we'll go back in another 5 years and do it all over.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) BFF CHS Cambridge family friendship long time longevity marriage travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/8/longevity-in-marriage Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:44:36 GMT
Another big weekend https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/8/another-big-weekend Moth and rustMoth and rust

 

Wow, we have been non-stop for the past week or 10 days. After our moving adventure last weekend, every night has been spent doing projects or putting stuff away. My wife has been hard at it even more than I have!  Last night, new locks on the doors. If you know me, that is not my strength. I did get it done with zero left over parts. Success!

I'd like to think it will slow down, but I doubt it will. For sure it won't this weekend. We are off to Ohio after work tonight. Then we are driving to visit friends Friday and our 40th High School reunion on Saturday. I remember photographing those as a young man thinking, "wow, they are old!" I was right! Now it's our turn! but we look way better than they did (for sure Marlene does!)

Sunday will be lunch with my siblings, and then we pick up the "grands" to bring them back to Nashville with us. (More details on that soon)

Sorry for the absence, I'll try to do better! 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) "Class of 1974" CHS Cambridge High School Moving Ohio adventure grands road trip https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/8/another-big-weekend Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:59:54 GMT
Moving again https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/moving-again

We lived in our home in Ohio for about 30 years. We raised our family, entertained tons of wonderful friends, laughed, cried, celebrated milestones and just lived life there. Four years ago, we moved to Nashville. We rented a home for two years, built our first home ever and now we are moving again. 

As you may know, we bought in a "55 and older Del Webb community." Promoted as an active lifestyle community, it just ain't us. I am no where near retirement, so as of mid July I've been to the pool 3 times.  Long story short, our HOA fee has increased $100.00 a month in the last two years, so we decided to sell our home. The Lord turned this into a huge blessing!  Our house sold for cash in a little over a week and we've found a new place to call home!

So, Friday August 1st we will close on both homes. Pack up that afternoon and Saturday morning, we will drive 7 miles to our new place. The house is about 10 years old, has a nice little fenced in back yard and a very open design. We will be able to entertain friends again without restrictions. You can park in the yard, we don't care. You won't need to go through any gates, just drive on up. We love to sit by a fire in the evening, so I'm building a fire pit. It's the little things right?

We are thankful, but it's now the home stretch. Marlene is packing up boxes and there is much to do. Hopefully it will all come together and the move will go smoothly. We hope to see you soon in our new place, drink a cup of coffee and share some conversation about our lives. And if you find yourself with nothing to do on Saturday morning August 1, come on by and carry a few boxes. We'll have donuts and coffee ready for you.  :)

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Davidson Greg Cooley U Haul Wilson County family house for sale moving day https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/moving-again Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:13:39 GMT
The difference subtle post processing makes https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/the-difference-subtle-post-processing-makes If you know me at all, you know how much I hate post processing! One of the reasons I transitioned to Fuji cameras is because I can deliver the files straight out of the camera for most assignments. Weddings are not that kind of job typically, at least the portraits aren't. Weddings are portraits of people, lots of portraits. I take my job of recording this seriously, trying not to miss any family or friends that are important to the day. As a result, there is going to be some help needed. I can tell you at 57 years of age, I want (need) help on my own images.

So, here is what you would have seen if you were standing alongside of me, or if you took this with your phone. I think it's a nice image, thanks to awesome quick posing help from my friend John Walters from Amelia (Cincinnati) Ohio.

But this is the finished image after just a few minutes in Photoshop. I prefer the blurred background, and when I saw this backdrop, this was already my plan for finishing the shots. In fact, I lit it specifically so it would look like this when I was done. I also knew I would want a quick vignette around the edges, about a minute to burn that in. Finally, everyone's friend, skin retouching done with one click of my preferred plug in. Voila! A beautiful, traditional, bride and groom portrait.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 4th of Jly Elinchrom Fuji fleshtones Mr. and Mrs. X-E2 bride and groom formal lighting portraits wedding https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/the-difference-subtle-post-processing-makes Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:43:24 GMT
A friend in need... https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/a-friend-in-need Focused with the Focus 2 app

 

Last Saturday I was able to help a friend of a friend. My friend, John Walters is a great photographer from Cincinnati, Ohio. John taught me a lot of what I know for formal photography, posing and lighting. He also allowed me to teach with him for my first PPA class that earned me a Merit towards my CR Photog. degree. It was only fitting that when I received my degree, he presented it to me. You can say we have history.

Johns friend, Bill Smith of Nashville had a daughter getting married and he needed some help making the images. John asked me if I would do the formals with him. I was there for the "first look." I kind of enjoy doing this, but it always feels weird, kind of like you don't belong. But, we were invited to document it and this was my view.

Super sweet couple and their bridal party was lots of fun. It was great working with John and a handful of other great photographers. I told them if I had that kind of help at every wedding, I would photograph them all the time!

Camera Nerds: Fuji X-E2, 35mm 1.4 lens and 3200 ISO.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Nashville dream team first look weddings https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/a-friend-in-need Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:41:58 GMT
Craziest road trip ever! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/craziest-road-trip-ever

Note to self: "you are no longer in your 20's, 30's, or 40's. In fact, you are barely in your 50's. Please act accordingly.

 

This is no major revelation to most folks, but it sure is a needed reminder after my last "great idea."  Living in Nashville is unlike most any other city. Because of the creative aspect, many musicians...even very famous musicians share a love or passion for photography. Working in one of the best camera stores on the planet, we meet many of these wonderful people and have even become friends. That's the case with Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player and writing genius behind Journey's amazing success. Jonathan has become a friend through the store, I was talking to him about this concert and he offered me tickets to which I quickly said YES!


OK, it's not a great picture of me, but I was talking the person through how to use my camera

I was driving back from a visit to Ohio a month or so ago, and heard of an amazing concert in Cincinnati. This didn't really interest me because it's a 4 1/2 hour trip one way. But it was three groups that I like a lot, Journey, Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power, all in one night!


Yes, that is the incredible Joseph Wooten over Steve's shoulder. He was fantastic as always!

The plan was simple: figure out who to invite without hurting anyone else's  feelings. They have to appreciate great music and be crazy enough to drive 600+ miles in one day! I thought the most difficult part would be not leaving anyone out. Turns out, Wednesday nights are terrible for long road trips. I had a short list of about 6 folks I really wanted to go with me, but for one reason or another, none of them could go. (I have to add that all of them hated they couldn't make it!) In fact, I almost had to ditch the entire trip. But on Tueday I got a visit from my friend Tommie Coomes, he's been a TOP fan for decades and heard them when they started out. (He's from California, and a great musician/producer) it was spur of the moment, but he was in and the trip was on! The plan was simple, I would work till 12:30, he would meet me at the store and we would be off. 

We had a great time talking all the way up and back. We logged over 600 miles, drank coffee, ate some junk food (including Graeter's ice cream) and had a great time!


I have to say this is probably the best concert I've ever been to. The sound was great and the bands were tight. Tower of Power was playing as we walked in and it sounded like their 40th Anniversary CD! Ironically, I didn't take any pictures of them because I was walking in and out for various reasons. Bummer.

Jonathan tossed out many picks to fans and I did get one in flight

I told many friends this was so good I would do it again...but not right away.

Camera Specs: The incredible Fuji X20! I have not owned a better "point and shoot" for concerts. The results rival using most bigger cameras and it handles high ISO's incredibly. It has a 28-112mm zoom and it's super fast, plus it doesn't attract attention of the camera police.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Coney Island Fuji X20 Journey Riverbend Steve Miller Band Tower of Power bands concert funky music road trip rockin' https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/7/craziest-road-trip-ever Wed, 02 Jul 2014 05:07:27 GMT
Tennessee Airshow with Fuji X-E2 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/tennessee-airshow-with-fuji-x-e2 I love air shows!

When our children were young, we attended the air show in Cleveland many times. It is every Labor Day and a great time to be by Lake Erie. Nice temperature, lots of sun and great performers. After four years, we were finally going to make it to Smyrna. We did, and it was hot! In the 90's all day long with no relief from the sun at all. Water, iced tea whatever you want was $5.00 each!

In years past, I had typical DSLR equipment and shooting these types of events was simple. This year, as you know I am totally mirrorless and it proved to be more of a challenge. In fact, my "keeper" stat was way off. That said, this camera is not designed with this in mind, but it can be done. Here are a few of my favs from the day, there aren't many because I just didn't shoot that much.

This is a much smaller show than we are used to, but it was still fun. The Navy Blue Angels were incredible, as always. We love watching them or the Thunderbirds perform. Watching their precision flying makes you wonder what enemy pilot in their right mind would choose to go head-to-head against one of our guys? I believe the key is they aren't in their right mind! You would have to be some degree of crazy. These guys are 18" away at 300 MPH...on purpose! Just look at this, four jets occupying the same air space!


If you want to see some great images from the day, head on over to my friend Bob Wheaton's site, he killed it!

All things considered, it was a fun day. I spent it with my wife who kept me hydrated and sunburn free! Take away the nearly two hours it took to exit the parking lot, and you have an enjoyable time. They had twenty or more people taking your money and parking you, and maybe four directing traffic to get out. 'Nuff said, you can imagine the bedlam and mass exodus.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 55-200 Fuji Fuji X-E2 Singh Ray filters Thunderbirds US Navy air show https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/tennessee-airshow-with-fuji-x-e2 Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:19:03 GMT
Nashville Health Care Council https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/nashville-health-care-council The beautiful, Noah Liff Opera Center was the venue for this meeting of Health Care Professionals Friday evening.

Typically meetings like this can be mundane, and the lighting options very limited. This evening was an exception, and a lot of that had to do with the venue. These beautiful windows made it possible to blend some existing light that was coming in with my flash, that made for much nicer "mingling or networking" photos. I won't post those because I don't have releases on the individual subjects. It was a very y gray day, so I altered the color balance and did some post processing to make this look more interesting. Yes, I should have moved the car, but this wasn't a shoot for the Center so we went with what we had.

There were several dignitaries that are very involved in this organization and they have a passion for a healthier Nashville. Our Mayor, Karl Dean addressed the audience. He has taken many initiatives during his term to help make exercise more readily accessible to our city. You may notice the light is straight on, not from my camera position. I think this is much more flattering and gives some dimension to the shot, not a typical "speech at the podium" image. Although a little more trouble to set up, I prefer the end results.

As with any graduation ceremony of sorts, there is the group shot. Senator Frist was so easy to work with, he made it very easy to get what they wanted. I think this works out better because of planning. You can see the tape on the floor for position. I also asked for permission to reposition the banner prior to this portion, and that make it work much better.

There are the unsung heroes that make this appear to be a simple process, but lots of planning is necessary to make it appear that way. The group photo took about 5 minutes to shoot. The set up and planning? Much more time, but worth it. Making sure name tags are removed, and that you can see everyone is huge. Then making it look like the light was perfect that night for a photo, but it typically isn't. That's why you have to be over equipped and prepared. Here my Elinchrom Quadra supplied enough fill light bounced out of a 60" umbrella. I adjusted my shutter speed, allowing the available light behind them to record and provide separation.

Thanks to Paul Wharton for trusting me to shoot this important assignment for his client!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Fuji X-E2 Karl Dean Nashville Healthcare Council Fellows Paul Wharton Photography Senator Frist https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/nashville-health-care-council Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:00:42 GMT
Sigma Macro class at Cheekwood https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/sigma-macro-class-at-cheekwood

Life is so different close up. When I break out my 60mm Fuji macro lens, something different kicks in. I have this urge to get down in the dirt and take a closer look at just about everything. I've discovered that some of the sights we see all the time, we may not really be seeing at all!

Blossoms are more beautiful, greens are much different and depth of field becomes a playground of the  color palette for your cameras sensor!

Sometimes the absence of color is more effective, like with this bloom.

Cheekwood is a photographers paradise, especially if you are in a "macro mode." That time that seems to be more clearly defined at a one to one ratio.

You may also fine a beautiful flower growing contentedly in open shade...perfect when that happens!

NOTE: None of these images would have been possible without a great tripod and head. Here I'm using my Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber sticks and the Really Right Stuff medium ball head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cheekwood Dury's Fuji Nashville Sigma X-E2 classroom macro workshop https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/6/sigma-macro-class-at-cheekwood Thu, 05 Jun 2014 18:37:40 GMT
Looking close https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/looking-close On some occasions our shots are really obvious, but other times we need to poke around and see what we can find. When you go to a smaller event, like a reception only, you may have to see whats no so obvious.

At a recent event, we had arrived to do some formal photographs for the bride and groom. We weren't there to document the evening, but still I didn't want to miss anything they might enjoy. The gift table was small, off to the side and really pretty plain. But, the light was coming in from the front of the bird cage creating this really nice pattern of light on the card. Once I saw this, I knew I had to have it.

This was the overall view of the table. The bird cage is on the left side of the table behind the portrait

As photographers we should always be looking for great images. This is what separates us from the rest of "them." Just having a great camera is no more effective than owning a great instrument, if you don't practice.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji X-E2 I am a pro learning to see love reception sweet light wedding https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/looking-close Mon, 26 May 2014 19:00:24 GMT
Pocket Wizard is like a Timex. "It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin!" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/pocket-wizard-is-like-a-timex-it-takes-a-lickin-and-keeps-on-tickin

 

Warning: Do not try this at your studio!

While teaching a lighting class I made several brand new discoveries.

1. You can trigger Elinchrom flash units with two separate triggers simultaneously. The built in Skyport AND a Pocket Wizard.

2.  If you aren't careful about the placement of trigger #2, you will melt it much like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.

But, the biggest news of all could be the next one.

3.  If you don't discover you've melted it until the end of the day, and the display isn't working, and it shut itself off, never fear, it may be OK!

Yep, as hard as it may be to believe, this unit stills powers up and works as intended. As you can see, this isn't a minor melt, it was pretty serious, but it's just fine.

There was a mixture of nervous laughter and a few hushed, "oh my's" in the class. I just figured it would have to go back to Pocket Wizard so Rameesh could work his magic. As bad as it looks, it is refreshing to know that it isn't fragile at all and a serious working trigger.

Phil is the Product Manager and an incredible resource. He's always ready to help you get the results you need. When I sent him this image he enthusiastically responded, "I must have this for my collection!" There is a lot to say about a company that gets excited when they find out their customers accidentally tested them beyond any reasonable usage, and helps get it back to normal. Thanks for a super rugged trigger and great customer service guys!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Fuji X Oz Pocket Wizard Rotalux Timex heat damage indestructable oops super trigger https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/pocket-wizard-is-like-a-timex-it-takes-a-lickin-and-keeps-on-tickin Wed, 21 May 2014 11:01:58 GMT
Nashville Farmer's Market https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/nashville-farmers-market

 

What says "comfort" more than fresh baked bread and an open fire? To me, nothing I can think of! When I walked inside the Market, I saw this on the counter and I was immediately drawn to it. Since I was out shooting with the class from Jeff Johnson's Soul Road Trip seminar, I had my Fuji around my neck. Quick image SOOC and I am very happy with it. In fact, I may want to go reshoot it more intentionally in the future.

It's not too late to register for his Old Car City workshop later this week, just jump on his link above!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fresh Fuji Fuji X-E2 Nashville Farmer's Market bread" comfort food fire pizza https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/nashville-farmers-market Tue, 20 May 2014 00:23:52 GMT
Wedding's can still be fun! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/weddings-can-still-be-fun

 

What are you saying? I've been photographing wedding for 4 decades, and I still enjoy them...on my terms. The days of small events are pretty much gone for us unless we decide we want to do it. 

This wedding was one of those occasions. Kim has been a friend since we moved here, and she just found Dennis the man of her dreams. They got married a few months ago but just had the celebration. When we received the invitation, we wanted to be a part of it! This was our first time photographing at Hermitage Golf Course, so we had no idea what to expect. But, when we saw this location, we stopped and composed this first shot of the couple. We are super happy with this one, and so are they. There are a few more that we like, but this is my favorite by far.

Technically mixing daylight with strobe is always a challenge, and I know I couldn't achieve this "natural look" with anything less than the Elinchrom Quadra and my Sekonic 478DR to accurately measure the two light sources and nail the balance.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Hermitage Golf Course Quadra Ranger sunlight weddings https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/weddings-can-still-be-fun Sun, 18 May 2014 11:30:35 GMT
Lighting Class at Westlight Studios https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/lighting-class-at-westlight-studios Westlight Studios in Franklin is quite possibly the best rental studio in Nashville. There is so much more to a rental studio than just gear, although depending upon the equipment you own you may be more dependent upon what they provide. I've rented this for our last two sessions, and the students love it. My MUA and models love the dedicated space to get ready, and the fact that it's right next to the camera room. Michael Gomez is an incredible photographer and an even better friend and host! I'm super thankful that this space is available.

Our model, Jasmine is absolutely beautiful. The first time she modeled for us she didn't wear any make up at all, and truthfully she doesn't need it. But for this day, her mom agreed to let Brie our fabulous MUA do her work. 

This shot is available light, SOOC with the Fuji 56mm 1.2 lens. That is the same as an 84mm lens on a full frame sensor. This focal length has always been a favorite of mine. Fuji sells this lens for $999.00, that is incredible for a lens this good! (Canon's 85mm 1.2 is $2,200.00, just as a comparison)

As you can see, with just the smallest bit of retouching, this is transformed into a "wow" portrait! Imagenomic "Portraiture" has been my retouching tool of choice for years. I am pretty Photoshopped challenged, I just don't know how to do that much. I can get done what I need to, beyond that I farm it out to trained professionals.

Soon, I will post some images from the students. I don't really take time to shoot that much, it's all about them having a great experience and getting some keeper images. I've received emails or texts from almost all the attendees and this was a huge success. I've already seen some fantastic images that I'm anxious to share with you.

Teaching lighting is something I'm passionate about! I don't want to see our profession turned into a bunch of folks that don't know how to create light that flatters their subject, or creates the proper mood for their session. If you'd like to know how you can get involved in our next class just drop me a note letting me know your interested, and I'll send you information.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Pocket Wizards Sekonic Skyport Westlight Studios education lighting lighting guru https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/lighting-class-at-westlight-studios Thu, 15 May 2014 00:58:44 GMT
Quick promo shoot https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/quickie-fashion-shoot-at-durys

 

How do you spend your lunch time? Rarely do I take my full hour that's allotted to me, unless I run to Fork's Drum Closet to do some shopping.

Cecilia and her husband Stan are friends of ours from our church, Hermitage Hills. She has done modeling in the past and wants to explore the possibility again. It all starts with a good head shot, so we knocked it out while I ate lunch.

I really enjoy helping others with my photography. It is one of the few professions that what you do will be around for a long time. You may help someone land a dream job, or you may document their advancement and achievements. It may be as simple as documenting what their family looks like at this exact moment in time. If you are the client, those are all good reasons to invest in professional photography. It really does make a difference.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji X-E2 head shots headshot living the dream modeling professional photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/quickie-fashion-shoot-at-durys Tue, 13 May 2014 00:34:10 GMT
Meet Donald Holmes, an incredible man! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/meet-donald-holmes-an-incredible-individual

 

This week marks our 4 year anniversary here in Nashville. We moved here two days after the devastating flood 05/05/10. What a terrible thing to see as I moved into our beautiful city, but as the posters said, we are back!

I've been blessed to make many new friends here in town, one of those men is Henry Hamman from Sewanee. A few years ago he asked me if I would be interested in being a substitute photographer for the college there. You see, they already had a GREAT photographer, in fact he works for a little magazine called National Geographic! Yep, he is the real deal for sure.

Now I'd like you to meet a brand new friend, Mr. Donald Holmes. To say this was the most enjoyable session I've photographed in a while would be an understatement. I enjoyed everything about the short time we spent together, and I feel like I made a friend in that time. He came in wearing this hat, and I loved the way it set off his suit and provided a final touch to his outfit.

What I need to explain is that typically I wouldn't have selected a black velvet background, but this is the spec for the college and their "Wall of Fame" where his official portrait will be displayed. I sure am glad that's what they like, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have ended up with this beautiful image. Technically there were some challenges, but these were all solved by simply adding a light at a time and metering them with my Sekonic 478 meter. This image is out of the camera, no exposure adjustment at all. A little skin retouch is all that's been done. There is just no substitute for incredible lights and an accurate, calibrated meter!

Tech Specs: Fuji X-E2 camera with Fuji 55-200 lens, Elinchrom lights, Rotalux soft box and Interfit Strip bank with LightTools fabric grids. Sekonic 478 meter and my Manfrotto 055 tripod with Really Right Stuff ball head.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) light control', low key portrait right tools", "wall of fame", Elinchrom, anniversary, Sewanee, "college of the south", "after the flood", Nashville, https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/meet-donald-holmes-an-incredible-individual Wed, 07 May 2014 04:38:09 GMT
Happy birthday Gigi https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/happy-birthday-gigi

It was a fun day of celebration! One year later you would have never known the physical challenges she had gone through. It wasn't long after her birth the doctors discovered some abnormalities in her kidneys. It was a year that kept us praying for a miracle that Almighty God provided for her! After a minor surgery, she is good as new and as they say, "growing like a weed!"

 

Our son-in-law Scott is more of a perfectionist than I am. So, when it was time to add this decal to the wall and he asked for help, I knew it wouldn't be quick. I will tell you this, it is absolutely evenly applied to the wall. I was glad we got it done before lunch...I wasn't sure we would!

I love this verse, it is one we have quoted as a family for decades. It looks like it has been adopted into this next generation and we couldn't be happier.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji X-E2 Ohio birthday cake food owls https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/5/happy-birthday-gigi Wed, 07 May 2014 04:22:43 GMT
Classic Cars are back! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/classic-cars-are-back The Classic Car Cruise In at the Mount Juliet Chik-Fil-A!

Red is my favorite color, and if we ever own any kind of fun "sports car" it will be red if possible. Doesn't this bring back some great memories. I'm sure it will for my friend Bill Fortney. His dad worked for Coke as he grew up, and this logo was a part of his and Homer's every day life. He tells great stories about all the "Coke give-aways" that were stacked in his parents garage he one day got rid of as "junk." Hindsight is 20/20 and it would be worth a small fortune today.

Then there was my high school friend Harry Eynon. He had a Ford Falcon and I remember taking his picture with it many, many years ago. When I saw this car, I had to take it just for Harry.

Do you like it better in black and white? Or.... ...color?

Saturday's will include regular trips to see these beauties and many more. If you want a fun evening that doesn't cost any money, you may want to come to Mt. Juliet and check this out.

All shots are with Fuji X-E2 with 35mm lens

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 35mm lens Car show Ford Falcon Fuji T-bird X-E2 cars classics summertime https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/classic-cars-are-back Tue, 29 Apr 2014 00:47:22 GMT
Friends in the Smokies https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/friends-in-the-smokies These images are long overdue. I have had a nightmare with my home PC. This is a good time to go on record to say this will be the last PC/Windows machine I ever see me owning. Darn viruses, just can't get rid of them. Pop ups happening all the time and I spend more time closing widows than getting work done. Rant is over for now, here are some images:

This tree is in Cades Cove and one of the most photographed trees I've seen, thanks to my friend Bill Fortney and his amazing videos on Kelby Training, now Kelby One.

Here is a "selfie" done with my camera, not my phone

Paul stopped for a photo op at our very first stop on the side of the road

And here is one of my favorites that I did with my point and shoot, Fuji X20. Keith reflected in his Tahoe.

It was an early morning, one mile hike up to Tremont Falls, but it was worth it.

The boys are happy we made it, broke out the gear and got some great pictures! It looks like Bob is welcoming us to "his place." He was our guide and did an incredible job keeping us on task and planning the trip so we would get to all the places in the short time we had.

And now some pretty shots from the trip.

There are lots more to process, and I will get to them as I have some time. This was a fun couple of days and I can't wait for our next adventure!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cades Cove Fuji Velvia Fuji X-T1 Smokies Tremont Falls reflection sunrise sunset trees waterfalls https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/friends-in-the-smokies Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:33:28 GMT
The Smoky Mountain Photo Trip https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/the-smoky-mountain-photo-trip

 

It's been over a week and I'm just now getting to processing some of my shots from last week. It was Easter week and that meant lots of fun preparation for music at church, and I loved doing that.

The frustration happened when I finally had time to work on them on my aging, outdated, virus infected PC, it couldn't do a thing. This will be the last PC I own! I will be buying a Mac workstation soon, possibly a Mac Mini just because of affordability, and I hope it is soon.

This is the result of an early morning hike of about a mile, but it was worth it! Fuji 14mm lens was used on a Manfrotto tripod resulting in nice long exposure and super sharp image.  Enjoy!


More beautiful images coming soon!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 14mm Fuji Smokey Mountains X-E2 hate PC Mac in my sights waterfalls https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/the-smoky-mountain-photo-trip Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:52:09 GMT
Friends - Tommy Coombs https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/friends---tommy-coombs

 

Tommy is a great friend and incredible musician. What a great smile and humble spirit this man has. Tommy and his band "Love Song" is credited with being a catalyst in changing the course of Christian music back in the 70's when my life was dramatically changed by meeting Christ. I heard of their group and knew their songs, little did I know that 40+ years later, we would become friends.

We also have the love of photography in common. He shoots Canon and Fuji, so last time he was in I showed him the new 56mm 1.2 lens, and this was a quick shot that I did of him. Great smile. Great guy!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dury's Fuji 56mm 1.2 Love Song Nik https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/friends---tommy-coombs Thu, 10 Apr 2014 12:13:51 GMT
Who remembers "push button transmissions?" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/who-remembers-push-button-transmissions

My wife and her sister Marsha fondly remember their old Plymouth Belvedere. The one thing they always mention is the transmission, it was actually a push button. Maybe that explains the resistance I faced when I told Marlene she needed to learn to drive a standard shift. She wasn't excited but she learned to clutch with the best of us. And all of our kids learned how to drive one, just in case. When I saw this car a few weeks ago I wanted to take a few minutes to capture a memory for two very special ladies, my wife and her sister.

While many of you readers are far too young to even imagine such madness, hopefully some of you will. And maybe it will being a smile to your faces too. I hope so, I don't know how many more of these you will ever have a chance to see. I'm glad I did.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Belvedere Fuji HDR His LIght Workshops Old Car City Plymouth Plymouth Belvedere X-E2 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/4/who-remembers-push-button-transmissions Thu, 03 Apr 2014 01:27:57 GMT
Marietta, Georgia - Farmer's Market https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/marietta-georgia---farmers-market It was a busy and fun weekend. We left Friday afternoon to teach a lighting class at Peachtree Camera Repair. The McKever family is second generation and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. To get to work with them is a special treat, and we are looking forward to more trips there.

Aaron knew of a local shop called "Cool Beans" so that's where we met. Any time we get together with our family, usually coffee is involved. The coffee was great and the atmosphere super casual and friendly. Right behind us is their roaster, so I had to buy a bag of beans to bring home. You will note that there are two cameras on the table plus the third that took this photo. I was a scout and still subscribe to the "be prepared" moto.

What a cute and quaint, kind of "old fashion" downtown area they have, we loved it! Saturday's they have a "farmer's market" and there were many locals with beautiful, colorful veggies for sale.

Many people brought their dogs along and bought their fresh veggies for the week here. I know that if we had the option, we would too.

The water was already there, I just shot it in macro and cropped it tighter

Sometimes it pays to have a good camera with you. This would have worked on my phone, but it wouldn't have looked anything like this.

After this we had lunch together at a fantastic restaurant called "Jerusalem Bakery." This city has lots to do and many great eating options. I didn't take pictures of our dinner the night before at Marietta Diner, but take my word for it, you won't leave hungry!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family General Stuff Travel and road trips X20 farmers market fresh veggies https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/marietta-georgia---farmers-market Sun, 30 Mar 2014 20:08:31 GMT
A cold day at Old Car City https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/a-cold-day-at-old-car-city

33 degrees, brrrr! It doesn't make any difference, we are here to shoot and learn. Its a good thing I brought several layers of clothes, I needed them all. We shot outside all morning and now we are in the classroom taking a look at what we got. This is the first series that I decided to take a look at and I like it! It is supposed to warm up tomorrow, but I'll be back in Nashville tonight. It has been another great workshop and I've learned a lot more what to do and not to do. We are heading out again in a bit, and I will reshoot some of what I shot this morning...because I need to!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Old Car City Fuji cold His Light https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/a-cold-day-at-old-car-city Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:37:13 GMT
Anticipation - Old Car City 2014 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/anticipation---old-car-city-2014 In just a few days I am off to White, GA for my second trip to Old Car City. 34 acres and over 4,500 cars 1972 and older. While this may not sound all that exciting to you, I can't wait! In fact, this post drives me to shoot a stock photo of a ketchup bottle. Many of you are old enough to remember the upside down bottle, waiting for the ketchup to appear while Carly Simon's song "Anticipation" played in the background.

One of the best things is I get to spend two days with one of my closest friends and mentors, Bill Fortney. The fact that we are shooting together is just an added bonus. Add to that the fact that Jim and Snake will be along...double bonus. When I did this trip last year it had been ages since I shot just for me, I was just not interested and truthfully didn't have the time. The few days I spent with them revitalized my desire to take pictures that make me happy. That's what got me into this hobby over 40 years ago! Ever since then, I'm taking photos again just for the sake of having fun. I couldn't be happier with what I'm shooting and I've added lots of post processing tricks to make them look like I saw them. Add to that, I have some nice images people are buying to decorate with!

Ford F100 one owner, super clean, low miles

One of the great things about this trip is there is no agenda at all. Walk around until you see a subject that interests you, set it up and shoot till your happy! No time constraints and no expected results, just you, your tripod and camera. Another benefit of this time is that you can shoot a lot or a little, it's up to you. By shooting as much as you like, you end up with a ton of files to work on later in the year when you may want something to do. You can play till your hearts content, process, and reprocess, it's all good!

Get ready, there will be more images like this coming in the next few weeks. This is one of the few times I get to shoot just for me and I am excited. Taking along the Fuji X-E2, a Manfrotto tripod with Really Right Stuff head and L bracket, some reflectors and nothing but time. Come back soon and see what I found, it's going to be fun.

Here is one of my favorites from last year. The more I looked at it, the more I thought this verse needed to be added to the image. The Cadillac logo has prided itself on being a measure of success. Guess what, just like everything else it eventually ends up in a place just like this. Funny how the bible although written centuries ago seems to nail this reality.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji Fuji X-E2 Old Car City White, Georgia art" macro wall wall portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/anticipation---old-car-city-2014 Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:22:40 GMT
Ready for Spring https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/ready-for-spring

Will this Winter ever end? It has been unusually cold this year. I am looking forward to the promise of Spring. Walking here at home or on the foot bridge downtown, just getting out. (with a camera of course)

Stay warm and rest in the fact that it's just around the corner now!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) spring summer Nashville footbridge skyline winter https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/ready-for-spring Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:54:31 GMT
What a difference a few days makes! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/what-a-difference-a-few-days-makes This was lunch on the grill less than 48 hours ago!

Nothing beats real charcoal for grilling out. Brats on the Weber and all is well! Today, I am working from home because the roads weren't safe to drive on. Sleet and ice and crippled the city and there isn't much happening at all.

 

Thankful that Ron decided to close the store so we didn't have to travel the roads. The state requested that there was no unnecessary travel because of the road conditions. I may make fun of the way Southerners drive here, but no one and I mean no one should try to drive on ice!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Weber Weber Kettle bratts charcoal cookout picnic snow day https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/what-a-difference-a-few-days-makes Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:59:01 GMT
Fuji XT-1 first shots https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/fuji-xt-1-first-shots I couldn't be more excited to get my hands on the newest camera from Fuji. By now, I'm sure you've read dozens of reviews on this camera. There is nothing like getting it in your hands for yourself and loading the images into your computer. This week was crazy, I worked nearly 50 hours not including my "other" projects I have going. The first night I got it ready, I just didn't feel like moving out of my chair, so I didn't. You shoot what's close from where you are, in this case the lens shade to the 60mm macro I was shooting with.

Not impressed? What if I told you this is 12,800 ISO SOOC? Does that work for you? It works for me, I couldn't believe how clean this image is. Next up is the remote for some selective focus and wide open black areas, same setting.

In the store I was showing the camera to a customer. Her daughter was all happy in her stroller, so I took a picture. OK, again it ain't art, but it is hand held at 1/8 second! (400 ISO f4) I am 57 years old and there is no way I should be able to get this shot, but with the fabulous image stabilization in the Fuji lenses, it is tack sharp. Again, SOOC, zero post production. I'm not 100% sure, but it appears they've tweaked the Astia Film setting, it is super neutral and has a beautiful look, that's what I chose here.

As the sun was setting I noticed that beautiful late afternoon golden glow. I grabbed the camera and ran across the street to photograph the buildings there.

I am super stoked about this camera and there will be one in my arsenal in the very near future! They are short supply and probably will be because of the super reasonable price of $1299.00 for the body only!

I was able to shoot this thanks to the kindness of a customer that let me use his before he took it home! Thank you so much Bill, I appreciate this more than I can say. (my wife may not be quite as appreciative)

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 12 800 Astia Fuji Fuji XT-1 ISO macro super color https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/3/fuji-xt-1-first-shots Sun, 02 Mar 2014 04:45:43 GMT
Lighting Instruction https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/lighting-instruction One feature that the new Fuji X-E2 has is built in wifi. This is a pretty cool deal, you can quickly send a few or all the files right to your phone! That's how this image was added, from camera, to phone, to blog. No cropping or post production, just the image.

We spent the day teaching an aspiring photographer, Kim Swift.  We were hired by her to teach her what we love to do...light portraits. Kim provided two models, a wonderful hair and makeup artist, snacks and enthusiasm. We brought along everything else including a ton of lighting equipment with almost every possible light modifier.

I am encouraged that there are still people that want to take the time and effort to "create" portraits. I'm all for finding kight where you can, but sometimes you just have to, or even want to build it yourself. 

I only shot a few at the end, because it wasn't about me getting great images. It was about Kim getting hers, and I know for a fact she did. I experimented with a new beauty dish set up that I want to play a bit more with. I've not seen this exact look before, but I think it has some real potential. 

This is one of her shots that she did all the post production on, including retouching. This is so beautiful, I wish I had shot it myself! Kim brought along a fan that we used to get some action in the image, this whole thing just works. You may be interested in knowing that this is a Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II lens on a Canon 60D body. Don't get all hung up on the latest and greatest cameras, you can make great portraits with most any camera today. I will mention that there is a noticeable difference in flesh tones, and there isn't a right or wrong. That said, we all do have preferences. If you want yours warmer or cooler, you can always fix it in post. I prefer doing as little post production as possible and that's what helped me land on the Fuji X camera system. When I get the files from my camera I will post a few for you to see the differences, just to compare the differences.

A great day that produced some beautiful images! Mentoring is what I love to do, and maybe even what I do best. Looking forward to working with more motivated individuals.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Elinchrom Lighting instruction mentoring portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/lighting-instruction Sat, 15 Feb 2014 13:25:02 GMT
Fuji X-E2 - 2500 ISO high key https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/fuji-x-e2---2500-iso-high-key This past weekend at the Photo Pro Expo in Covington, KY it was cold!  I mean single digit cold and snowy, so why even venture outside? I did because I had to get to the trade show, and it was pretty busy.  Always thankful when there are lots of people to talk to and hopefully sell to!

Across from our booth were our friends from Westcott. They always have a great set up to show off their newest and hottest stuff. There were lots of photographers taking advantage of a free model shoot. I decided to see what the X-E2 could do with their Spyder Lights, I had to shoot at 2500 ISO, but it looks great! As I showed our customers how noise free these images were, they couldn't believe it. As a result, there are more "newbies" in the Fuji family!

Interesting concept, not something I've ever done before. But, there is no arguing that this camera can deliver killer flesh tones and great, noise free images at very high ISO's!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Covington, KY Fuji X-E2 PhotoPro PhotoPro Expo Westcott high key https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/fuji-x-e2---2500-iso-high-key Thu, 13 Feb 2014 13:18:11 GMT
First portrait session with Fuji X-E2 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/first-portraits-with-fuji-X-E2 I think that one of the most awkward ages for all of us are the early teens.  I mean, you don't really feel like you fit in anywhere specifically.  You're not a kid, your not an adult, it's just a weird time in your life.  But hey, we all lived through it and most of us aren't the worse for wear.  I do remember watching our kids go through those years, thankfully they pass pretty quickly.

My good friend Bob has a co-worker that wanted to have her daughter photographed in a beautiful dress.  When I contacted the mother, she explained that they just haven't had any success in getting good images of her.  She told me a few of her concerns and asked if I would be willing to photograph her.  Absolutely!

I wasn't sure what equipment I would need or how much room we would have to work in, so I took it all with me.  The back of the van was full of gear.  Once there, it turned out that our possible shooting locations were very limited, in fact there was pretty much one spot I could put up my gray background paper.  Whenever I'm not sure what I'll have to work with, I always take gray.  Either paper or a muslin, but you can't go wrong with gray! 

We rearranged the living room, set up the gear and waited for Miss Erin to come downstairs.  Erin is 13 and a beautiful young lady of Asian ethnicity.  Her parents adopted her on her 1st birthday and brought her home to middle Tennessee.

A few concerns were her beautiful, beaded dress.  They just didn't show up in their pictures.  Also, their living room is a bright yellow color, this was not good for her complexion, it just threw it way off.  Once I was set up and metered the spot she would stand, I did a Custom White Balance in my brand new, just out of the box, Fuji X-E2 camera!  Just like that, everything was neutralized and the color was spot on.

After a while, we were laughing and she loosened up enough to start having fun.  She liked the way I demonstrated how I needed her to stand, (I am totally in touch with my feminine side for those demonstrations). You have to be OK with showing them what you need them to do.  It is much easier for them when they can copy your stance.

All in all, this was a very successful session!  I am super happy with the images and they loved looking at them on the back of the camera.  First job with the X-E2 gets two thumbs up!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Elinchom Fuji Fuji X review Fuji X-E2 X-E2 location portrait https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/2/first-portraits-with-fuji-X-E2 Sun, 02 Feb 2014 01:02:14 GMT
Portraits on location, the finishing touch https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/portraits-on-location-the-finishing-touch Debbie was our only woman in the group.  No, she isn't a pastor, but she oversees all our children's ministries and has lots of responsibilities and people she directs.  Marlene and Sherry found a bright red door that would make a great backdrop. It wasn't however without challenges, like glass in the surrounding area that would reflect my lights plus we could see through to the vacant room behind her.  Too fast of a shutter speed and it turned black over there, too slow and it almost blew it out.  That was a problem because I couldn't totally eliminate that room.  We landed on an exposure that made sense for Debbie.  The finished image is fun and I think a good example of her personality. 

Fuji X Pro 1

It was cold in the common areas of the building.  The first thing Marlene and I did was buy a coffee to warm us up while we scouted locations.  We noticed this restaurant had a great little table out front and some pretty glass by the doors, this was our spot for Johnny Gonzalez.  We think it looks warm and inviting, that is accomplished by allowing the color temperature of the lights inside to affect the overall exposure by dragging the shutter.   Johnny loves working with kids, and they enjoy hanging with him!  Coffee is a part of those meetings, and here's the shot:

Last up, is Mark our pastor at Rayon City.  This is our Hispanic church located about 5 miles away from our main campus.  Jokingly referred to as "the pretty pastor" we knew this one had to be great.  He was last up and brought several wardrobe options, so we had time to play a little, but our existing light was fading fast.  That wasn't a problem, in fact we were now looking for spots based entirely on the look we wanted to create.  The challenge is that we would have to use our own lighting for main and fill sources, that's why we carry so much expensive gear.

I like this location and image best of the several spots we photographed Mark

I decided that the "hard light" gave me great shadows and the effect I wanted.  The main light is a Quadra with standard reflector, high and camera right.  The rear accent light, a gridded Dynalite providing great separation and contrast.  I like this a lot!  I did think I could improve on it a little in post by using my favorite filter in Nik Software, vignette blur.  This time I modified it, something I typically don't do.  It was a bit of experiment in adjusting opacity of the filter gradually as it worked in.  I think it works really well and makes this an even better portrait.

So, these are my favorite shots.  I said initially they needed them the next day, and this is what they received.  I also gave them a DVD with every shot I took, right out of the camera.  Interestingly enough, they didn't pick all the same shots I did, here is the a link to the Hermitage Hills staff page so you can see the actual use of our portraits.  Our job as a photographer is deliver great files.  Sometimes because of the needs of the clients, we don't have the luxury of days in post production.  Plus, remember that every minute, hour or day you spend in front of your computer drastically affects your profit margin in a negative way.  My good friend Will Crockett taught me years ago to "kill it and bill it!"  That means, shoot it right in the camera, deliver it to the client, collect the check!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Hermitage Hills Nik Color Efx location portrait lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/portraits-on-location-the-finishing-touch Mon, 27 Jan 2014 13:26:26 GMT
More location portrait lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/lighting-location-portraits-part-2 Next, my friend and our Pastor, Poly Rouse.  Poly is a great guy that is a lot of fun to hang with.  We ride bikes together (yes, he rides a Harley)  Plus his wife Julie, who as he says is "the best part of him," and my wife are close friends. 
 
They wanted a brick background for this portrait.  Marlene and Sherry scouted out this next spot while I finished the previous one.  I brought the Elinchrom Quadra in from my left, his right.  One of the advantages of this powerful light is it's total portability!  The battery weighs 9 pounds and the head only a half pound. Lighting location portraits are made simpler because it has it's own power, no electricity needed.  Two considerations, it needs to be soft so I don't blow out his smooth head.  I also wanted to create a shadow on the wall for effect.  To make sure that happens, pull the light away from your subject.  The further the distance from the light to your subject, the more specular it becomes and you will get a shadow.  Here it is a soft shadow because it is a larger source (the soft box).  I am really very happy with this portrait and he is too.
Fuji X Pro 1
Fuji X Pro 1 and the 55-200 lens, mounted on a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with Really Right Stuff Ball head
Fuji X Pro 1
Dynalite with grid, same camera with 18-55mm Fuji zoom lens and tripod
 
Ed Ollie is our new "Senior Associate Pastor," but isn't that a stuffy sounding title?  I mean, who wants to hang with someone that has that has that position?  It's OK because you wont ever hear that come from him.  You will hear him laugh a lot, and he will be wearing some unpredictable bight color of shoes.  Look at this portrait, now wouldn't you want to hang out with him?  This is a pretty low key image, in a very dark spot of the building. In fact, I kind of laughed when they took me to this spot and commented that this might be a bit more challenging.  I knew we could make it pop with the right light sources.  There was next to zero light here, so I used a tight grid on the Dynalite from high camera left to separate the shadow side of him.  I brought in the Quadra from camera right and it was done!  Take a look all the way down to his brown shoes against a brown wood floor, its all there.  When Sherry saw it come up on the back of my camera she said, "Wow, that is incredible, it looks great!"  You've heard it said before, beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder! 
 
Come on back tomorrow, I have a few more location portraits to show you.  Thanks for stopping by!
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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Elinchrom Sekonic available light portraits battery power control" light lighting location lighting location portraits meter" https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/lighting-location-portraits-part-2 Sat, 25 Jan 2014 14:44:04 GMT
Lighting Location Portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/lighting-location-portraits---byol BYOL - Bring Your Own Light
 
My wife and I just completed new staff shots for our church, Hermitage Hills Baptist.   I've got to say, I am very pleased with our finished shots.  The assignment was to photograph 5 individual staff members on location plus a group.  As with many of these projects it was birthed out of a need for newer, up to date images.  And oh yeah, they need them tomorrow...literally. The new web site is going live and these need plugged in right away. 
 
We went to The Mill in Lebanon for our venue. If you've never been there, picture a place very much like The Factory in Franklin.  It is a beautiful old building that is in a constant state of remodeling. There are beautiful wood floors, open ceilings, wood beams, everything you need to make great portraits except...wait for it...LIGHT!  Surprise!  There are windows and some skylights, but they are in the wrong places for portraits.  
 
I know, you are thinking, he here goes again, he's going to beat up the "available light" photographers. Nope, I'm not going to do that I just have a simple statement:  Without additional lighting I don't know how you could have done this job.  At least, not yesterday with the light we had to work with.  You also probably couldn't have done it today, because there wasn't much light either.  The fact is that wintertime in Nashville there just aren't that many days you get to shoot.  I'm also not sure how you would do an inside environmental portrait with available light, in color.  Many different color light sources, too many to use to your benefit in my opinion.
 
We packed two different light kits and used them both. My trusty Elinchrom Quadra battery powered light and our Dynalite 800 with built in Pocket Wizard receiver and two heads.  I needed all of these to deliver what the Art Directors vision was for the shots.   If I had time I would have taken some available light shots to show you a best case scenario, but we had a pretty full plate. In fact, we ran out of God's light halfway through the staff shots.  No problem, we finished up after 5:30 and used only our lighting.  You can be the judge, but I think we nailed it.
 
First up was Dan.  It was 3:30 and the sun is setting on the opposite side of the building, so I decided to use that as my edge light to keep him from blending into the background.  By adjusting my shutter speed I'm able to get the right combination of flash and available light. 
 
 
Fuji X Pro 1
Tomorrow I will show some more portraits, all shot in this same building, but different locations.
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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 Hermitage Hills Baptist Church Lighting Portraits available light location lighting portrait lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/lighting-location-portraits---byol Fri, 24 Jan 2014 06:27:34 GMT
Jonathan Cain from Journey and the Oak Ridge Boys, Make A Wish https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/make-a-wish---nashville One of the unexpected things that has happened since we moved here is the "famous" people I've met.  Most of them through the store, because they are also passionate about photography.  Several of them were so modest, I didn't know who they were until someone told me.  I'm not going to list them here, it wouldn't be appropriate and it would violate the trust they've placed in me.  One of those people I now call a friend is Jonathan Cain, yes the same singer of Journey fame.   Saturday night at the Omni Hotel, I saw a totally different side of Jonathan.  He is also VERY passionate about Make A Wish and supports this organization every chance he gets.  In Nashville because it is his hometown, he is very involved and has been since it's start here.

He not only addressed the guests, he got involved in bidding on auction items and donating incredible time and talents up for bid!  My intention is not to make a huge deal out of this, but to give a well deserved "thank you" for all that he did and continues to do.  Make a Wish certainly goes well with one of his best known songs, "Don't Stop Belivin'."  If you would like to donate to Make A Wish, just click here, and it will take you to their donations page.

I have to include at least one shot of him by his keyboard

 

Another good friend that may not be a household name was also there.  Ron Fairchild is an incredibly gifted keyboard player.  He is the man behind the magic for the Oak Ridge Boys.  He and his wife Kim are great friends, and it was their invitation that allowed me to experience this incredible evening.  Ron has long admired Jonathan's keyboard work and song writing.  On this night, they were going to play together.  I was able to photograph that for him.  You might expect a picture of that right about now, but there isn't one.  Why?  Because I shot them on his Nikon D800 camera and he has the files!  I did look at them and they looked pretty good, you'll just have to trust me on that. 

I made sure I got a picture of them back stage after the event

And one of the Oaks with them

What an awesome night.  A lot of money was raised, we listened to some great music and it was fun!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji X Pro 1 High ISO Jonathan Cain Journey Make A Wish Nashville Oak Ridge Boys Omni Hotel fundraiser lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2014/1/make-a-wish---nashville Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:17:48 GMT
I'm a "Natural Light Photographer"...NOT! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/im-a-natural-light-photographer-not There are two sayings we hear at the store multiple times every single day.  Nearly every phone call starts with, "Hey Nick, I just have a quick question for you."  I want to respond, probably not, but go ahead anyway.  The next statement I hear in the lighting area is, "I'm a natural light photographer."  My translation of this statement is:  I don't want to invest in lights and a light meter is way beyond my comprehension.  You are probably thinking that sounds so mean.  That isn't my intention but I would suggest it is probably the truth.  

Lights, good lights are an investment.  We've invested nearly $3,000.00 in lighting in 2013.  This investment will last many, many years and the dividends it pays in beautiful images you could not get with natural light are in fact, priceless! 

Who doesn't like Christmas portraits?  We all take them and so many of them are just not good.  The tree is often a blocked up mass of dark green or black in most images.  The lights are either barely visible, or too bright and the color balance is typically orange, not flattering at all.  Not to make it sound more difficult than it is, but trying to pick the time of day, distance from any available window and blending the ambient light with the background of the trees...difficult at best. It is much simpler taking a studio light and picking the direction that makes sense compositionally, place your subjects and go to work,

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about.  These shots are all right out of the camera, jpegs that have had ZERO post production done to them.  I simply cropped them to fit this blog, and reduced them in size.  I did throw a copyright on them because these are some seriously cute subjects.

First up, our grandson from California.  He is a natural, I love photographing him!  He is animated and adorable, how can I not get a great picture?  Simple, I could try this available light or use an on camera flash, just a little bit better than no light at all.  Both options will be an absolute fail in most cases.  This is one light to my right, and above his head.  Look how beautiful his face is, it looks like there is a light coming from behind him, but its a window way across the room and I'm dragging my shutter just enough to get it and the lights on the tree to work for me.  Shooting wide open with a 60mm Fuji Macro lens to get shallow depth of field and out of focus lights.

Next up, the oldest cousin, also the "Little Mother" to the rest of these guys.

Trying to get the kids to hit the same mark is like herding cats, it's tough.  But thanks to Grandma, they did great.  Exact same light, and predictable results.  I wouldn't change a thing technically on this image.

Next, the middle child, and the boy in the family, Vinnie.  Spirited, ornery, hyper and fun! 

Here the shallow depth of field almost hurt me, he starts to fall out of focus, but trying to focus on this moving subject is no easy feat.  I've had lots of people question how the Fuji X Pro 1 does with fast moving subjects, overall it does pretty well.  In dim light (like this) and super fast action, it still has a ways to go.  But, just look at these creamy, beautiful flesh tones!  Any issues I have with focus, are totally forgotten by the files I get from my camera.  I am a people shooter, so flesh tones are where it's at!

Finally, our newest addition to the family.  She is just about 8 months old and still has the most beautiful blue eyes ever!  Don't believe me?  Take a look...

...I told you so!  This helps me illustrate one of my pet peeves about "natural light photographers" We've all heard the expression, "The eyes are the light of the soul."  If that's true, how many photos have you seen of people that have deep set eyes and they look like Abraham Lincoln?  I am talking total lack of light, just two dark holes.  Please, use a reflector, bounce some light off a sheet, use a lamp, something to get some light in there?  Look how these eyes sparkle, and there is absolutely no post production on any of these!  Which beings me to another issue.  All the "actions" and Photoshop "magic" that can be done, is usually overdone!  Yes there are "Eye Pop" actions, along with every other band aid to make a terrible image kind of acceptable.  Call me a purist, or Photoshop challenged, but I think it's hard to beat jpeg's right out of the camera.

If you would like to know how to get images like this, how to gain control of your lights or better yet, where to start in buying lights, drop me an email.  I've taught many, many people how to use a meter, what makes for a good light and how to build up a great, lighting system that will work for your specific application.  I offer small lighting classes that are hands on, guaranteed to make a difference or you don't pay!

Technical Info:  Fuji X Pro 1 camera, 60mm macro lens, Sekonic L-478D meter (killer), Elinchrom Ranger Quadra with Skyport transmitter, one head with Rotalux Deep Throat Modifier. 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 60mm Elinchrom Fuji Fuji X Pro 1 Grandchildren Rotalux Sekonic Meter available light lighting macro natural light studio light https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/im-a-natural-light-photographer-not Tue, 31 Dec 2013 20:44:19 GMT
Christmas in Ohio - 2013 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/christmas-in-ohio---2013

I love Christmas for so many reasons.  It's the one time of the entire year we all get together!  Our kids have set aside this week and travel to wherever we decide, so we can all be together.  The fact that we can all hang out, is all I need or want.  Aaron is coming from Atlanta, so it's a plane trip away.  The Campos Family all the way from San Diego, and they are able to stay for nearly two weeks.

Our "Christmas Day" is somewhat flexible, one of the things you can do when you don't have anyone over 4 in the house.  We drove up on Christmas eve, and the kids started arriving at 11:00 Christmas Day, with the last ones in after several delays, and 11 hours of travel in Cincinnati late that night.  No problem, I'm off till New Years so I can rest when I want.

Opening presents is fun, because it is so simple.  This was our second year with a $5.00 per person limit (kids are exempt) and bought at a resale or second hand store.  It takes a lot of time to find a present that you want to give, and it takes multiple trips to different stores to find the right gift.  It was fun and removes the bigger better gift syndrome.

Aaron loves playing with the kids, and they love playing with him.  The bounced on him, ran at him, and climbed all over like a McDonald's play area.  While I was driving Aaron back to the airport and he said it was a blast and he was glad to have all that time with the kids.  He let them watch videos over and over on his iPad or whatever he had at the time.  Played in the toy room, watched Thomas the Train videos, and just had fun!

The rest of us had a great time cooking, eating, and hanging out.  We still are.  Here are a few more images from the past few days.

Christmas in Columbus with more family!  No shortage of great food here

Marlene's idea was that we would go bowling in our PJ bottoms...so we did.  A 15 minute ride to Richmond, IN and no one even stared at us, we seemed to fit right in.  We had fun, made a memory and have a family shot.  (not sure what we'll do with it, maybe next years Christmas card?)

I love this week!  I'm trying to unplug from all the hectic running around that led up to this time.  So far, so good.  Lots more fun to come!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Travel and road trips bowling mullet portraits self portrait https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/christmas-in-ohio---2013 Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:41:13 GMT
Freedom of Speech (unless your opinion is different than mine) https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/freedom-of-speech-unless-your-opinion-is-different-than-mine From Wikipedia:

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. The freedom of speech is not absolute; the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are excluded from the freedom, and it has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech.

Just one of the many freedoms we enjoy in our United States Constitution.  It separates us from many other Countries in the world, and as a Christian, I am so glad we have this right.

Unfortunately the media today has become a police force of sorts, trying to silent people with opinions other than agendas they want to champion.  Someone at A&E made this statement:  "His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely." (bold emphasis added by me)

When I first heard of this I didn't believe it was real.  Seriously, this is happening in 2013?  I didn't want to blurt out with a "knee jerk response" so I decided to do a little fact finding on my own.  How many people are we "protecting" here?  It's a difficult number to nail down, I've heard the LGBT community in the US is as low as 2-5% and as high as 35%.  Really?  We don't have better numbers than that?  I find it hard to believe that in a group of 100 people, 35 people would fit into this category.  The 35% figure came from Gallup Poles in case you are wondering who provided that.

I  have many friends, good friends that are a part of this group.  I care about them and have enjoyed their friendship for years.  Several of them for decades, and I still do!  They don't force their lifestyle and opinions on me, and I don't "Bible bash" them.  We are friends.

Here a few of my thoughts on this.

  • Phil is allowed to voice his opinion in GQ or any other forum.  He is a public figure, so it is also subjected to public opinion.
  • It's America folks, people have died for years to protect this right.  Some are fighting for it right this second, do not let it be in vain!
  • Vote with your voice and your wallet.  Especially your wallet, it's the advertisers that make the real decisions.  I've emailed the network to let them know what I think, it is my right.
  • Someone at A&E will be without a job very soon, they will "fall on their sword" so that the network can save face...OR
  • Duck Dynasty, Phil and his family will be on the air on some network.  I'm sure they will still have a voice because of their incredible popularity.  Does anyone believe that they weren't approached by other networks within hours of this statement?
  • Is anyone really surprised by this comment?  He is from Louisiana, admittedly a Redneck, 67 years old and a loudly, professing conservative Christian!  He wasn't attacking anyone, just his views as written in the bible for many, many years. (Remember the story of Soddom and Gomorrah?)

I don't have a crystal ball, and don't know where this will end.  My wife and I have talked about how everything points that we are living in the last days.  TV ain't what it used to be and it's hard to find many decent shows that you can watch for sheer entertainment.  The LGBT has an agenda and they are making progress.  It's hard to find many sitcoms that don't promote or accept this as "normal" family.  I do not accept that and feel sad for our grandchildren and the world they will grow up in. 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Constitution Duck Dynasty GQ Phil Robertson United States freedom freedom of speech rights https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/freedom-of-speech-unless-your-opinion-is-different-than-mine Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:18:42 GMT
Been gone too long, sorry! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/been-gone-too-long-sorry 'Tis the season...retail that is.  I worked 6 days last week and it was super busy.  In addition to that I had "other duties" nearly every night, I wasn't home before 9:00 once.  Needless to say, some things didn't get done and my blog was one of them.

I haven't been shooting that much, but there are some fun days ahead in the next few weeks.  So, here is an experiment I did last year with my then brand new Fuji X Pro 1 camera.  I wanted to see how the lenses looked at various apertures, so I nailed it down on a tripod and shot away.

All images are taken with the Fuji 60mm Macro lens.  This first one is f8

I opened up a stop at a time, so 5.6 is next

Then, f4

Finally a shot at f2.4, wide open

What's the "take away" from these images?  Depending on your focus distance, and the aperture, you can get some interesting effects by just controlling or altering your lens opening!  Look at how the overall image changes.  Take a look at the lights on the tree how they seem to get larger, yet nothing has changed but the aperture.  You will also see in the top image, you can make out the ornaments on the tree, at least their shapes.  On the last files, they are invisible.

I hope this encourages you to play with your settings and get to know your camera as best you can.  These settings are the way to spice up your images and make them look the way YOU want them to!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Christmas Fuji X Pro 1 bokeh depth of field lights macro ornaments selfie tripod https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/been-gone-too-long-sorry Tue, 17 Dec 2013 01:14:34 GMT
Ice Storm Advisory in Nashville? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/ice-storm-advisory-in-nashville

 

When I hear the words "Ice Storm" these are the visions I have.  This was taken about 6 years ago in Ohio, but look how much ice is around this tiny branch!  Ice can be beautiful, especially when viewed from the warmth of your house. 

Stay safe my friends!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Ice Nashville Ohio ice storm winter https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/12/ice-storm-advisory-in-nashville Fri, 06 Dec 2013 13:51:17 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving From Lookout Mountain https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/happy-thanksgiving-from-lookout-mountain

 

We wanted to get with family for sure, but because I work retail a road trip of any distance was out of the question.  Our son lives in Atlanta, so Chattanooga is halfway for both of us. 

After a little research, it appeared that Cracker Barrel would be our dining choice.  I want to give props to them for NOT taking advantage of people like us that want to get with family out of town for a predictable meal.  They provided a $9.99 meal with turkey and ham, great sides, a beverage and pumpkin pie!  The service was very fast and our server was super friendly.

The best part was a few hours with Aaron to catch up on his life.  What an incredible blessing to hang out with your adult son and hear what's happening with him.  To also let him hear what's going on in our lives, and how the Lord is working.

After dinner, we went up Lookout Mountain to Point Park, one of his favorite places.  The weather was cool, but very tolerable because of the sunshine.  We got a little hiking in and even scaled this rock for a group shot.

Plans are underway for Christmas Week in Ohio.  Everyone will be there for an entire week!  We are all excited and looking forward to that in just 4 short weeks.

I hope you had a blessed day.  We reflected on how much we enjoyed the view from "above."  How much smaller everything appears, even our problems.  That will be our perspective when we get to Heaven with Our Lord!  All the "stuff" that was huge here, will seem insignificant in His presence.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cracker Barrel Lookout Mountain Thanksgiving X Pro 1 family heaven perspective son https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/happy-thanksgiving-from-lookout-mountain Fri, 29 Nov 2013 12:57:30 GMT
Tractors are beautiful! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/tractors-are-beautiful

Mahindra display in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The assignment sounded pretty simple, try to get a great shot of the tractors on display at the Mahindra National Dealer Sales Meeting.  They were parked out front...in a line that stretched between two buildings.  I looked around, moved my camera all over the place finally deciding to do a few cameo shots.  With the help of some Nik Filters, I was able to make them more interesting than they appeared as they sat there on the street.  The tractors are far from boring, but the presentation was more about showing off how large and complete their line is.  After all, this company is number one in the world in tractor sales, crazy isn't it?  There is a lot larger buying pool out there than just our United States, and capturing that market is obviously a game changer.

I like the custom graphic on their truck and thought it looked good against the building.

 

One of the things I enjoy most about this profession is the ability to go "behind the scenes" of places I would never be invited to.  I've been able to hear motivational speakers, Presidents and CEO's of top companies share their visions for the future.  Because of what I do, I've then had a chance to talk to them and speak one on one just like we were old friends.  Funny how a little thing like a camera opens doors to more opportunities.  Ross Bernstein gave one of the most interesting motivational talks I've EVER heard!  He was beyond interesting, he was challenging and real in the material he presented.  It was polished, had super graphics and supporting data, and all of it presented "upbeat" with a "first person" feel to it.  This guy is a prolific sports writer with over 50 books to his credit.  If you know me, you know I don't follow ANY sports at all. (except The Ohio State University football team)  For me to be that intrigued is saying a lot.  I am looking forward to reading some of his books and learning all I can from Ross!

There was a brand new model in the trade show area their advertising agency Richards/Carlberg needed an image of immediately.  It was incredible to see their marketing plans unfolded for the attendees to see what is coming in 2014.  What media they are planning, print ads, it was laid out like a well designed battle plan.  I did say they are number one in the world, and Richards/Carlberg has helped them get there!  Here is a very quick shot I did with a new Canon 70D, 24-70 f2.8 lens and 600 flash.  I have to give a shout out to my friend Chase Reynolds from lensrentals.com  He helped me rent the Canon system so I could give it a try to see how it worked for this low light, fast action situation.  The money I spent on rental went a long way in making this assignment go much smoother.  The equipment functioned perfectly and it was a breeze to return too.   

After a little post in Nik Color Efx, it turned out fine.

I worked a ton of hours over the 3 days, but it was a lot of fun plus Marlene was there to help me.  I haven't mentioned that I lost my voice for most of this assignment, so she was there to make sure we still delivered what our client needed.

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Canon 70D Country Music Hall of Fame Fuji X Pro 1 Hatch Show Prints Mahindra Tractor Nashville Music City Center Nik Software Really Right Stuff lensrentals.com lighting night shots https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/tractors-are-beautiful Tue, 19 Nov 2013 12:22:03 GMT
More like family than friends https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/more-like-family-than-friends I think the word milestone could be over used. So at the risk of being guilty, we just hit one of those in our lives. I have to go back in time to my high school days in Cambridge Ohio.  This is where two very important, life changing things happened to me.  

The first and most important item was that a friend introduced me to the fact that there is a God, He has a name, Jesus, who loved me and paid with His life so that I could spend eternity with Him and live a happy, fulfilled life here on Earth!  That changed not just my life, but my life ever after. 

Next, I met the love of my life.  We are one of those very rare high school sweetheart stories. Shortly after number one above, I met my wife in choir.  Five years after graduation, we were married. We just celebrated 36 years together, and I am so blessed by all that she brings to me daily!  I don't deserve either one of these events, but I'm thankful they both happened!

So, what do the following pictures have to do with this?  There was a man that was instrumental in my new life as a Christian. A man that took me under his wing and "discipled me" before that was a common buzz word in Christianity.   Secularly we call it mentoring, same concept and invaluable in my opinion. 

The above image is of our good friend Jim Lotz, his wife Dianne and their family. Jim and Dianne let us invade their home and play LOUD Christian music all through high school. To his right is his daughter Debbie, I was at their home the day they brought her home as a baby.  And, we photographed her wedding in Pennsylvania about 20 years ago!  That is her husband and their family, things like this really make you feel your age.  Just a few weeks ago, we were able to photograph his sons wedding at the Tennessee State Capitol building.  Jim was the guy that performed our wedding ceremony 37 years ago!  (Ironically just two days after this wedding!)

Steve and his beautiful bride Christin were a joy to work with. She works at the building for Governor Haslam that performed the ceremony. He was incredibly friendly and cordial, but that's no surprise.  Total attendees...19, one of my very favorite weddings to be involved with. I guess because it was like photographing family because that's how we were treated.  Congratulations Steve and Christin!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Quadra Tennessee State Capitol Building Thoughts Travel and road trips Wedding bride groom lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/11/more-like-family-than-friends Tue, 12 Nov 2013 03:28:26 GMT
Holy Happy Halloween Batman! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/holy-happy-halloween-batman For me, memories of dressing up for Halloween will always be fun characters like Batman, Robin, Superman or some other costume.  I'm not too fond of some of the characters that are out today.  Whatever happened to Quicksdraw McGraw and all the Hanna Barbarra cartoon characters??

When Johnny Gonzalez called and asked me if I could photograph a 1966 Batmobile, the little boy in me got pretty excited.  The photographer part got really excited about what could be done!

This was a lot of fun!  Admittedly it was a lot of work, but I had great help to pull it off.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the night.

I like this image a lot.  We are in a church parking lot on a busy Wednesday night

Big shout out my own "Superheroe's" that allowed us to pull this off in a very short time frame.  Jeremy Bashan is to my right, a great guy and managed to get the fog machine for us.  Miuki Sora came to work hard, I don't know if she knew how much we would be moving stuff around but she never slowed down.  Howard Ezell is just one of the nicest guys I know.  He will always be there to help, offer his own gear and do whatever it takes to make you look good.  This would have never happened without their help.  You can bet that if I have to do something of this size ever again, these are my first calls.


 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Batgirl Batman Dynalite Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 Halloween Lighting Robin Superhero fog night spooky https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/holy-happy-halloween-batman Thu, 31 Oct 2013 12:37:58 GMT
Awesome Aumtumn Photography Fun https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/awesome-aumtumn-photography-fun

 

Chalk up another fun day with the Faith Riders at HHBC!  I really don't know who has more fun, us or the kids. 

 

This years beautiful bike was graciously loaned to us by Tom "Tumbleweed" Gibbons.  You have to understand, kids are getting lifted on and off this bike for two solid hours.  That means hand and shoe marks all over this bike and it will detailed again.  Tom doesn't mind, because it was used with a perspective that it isn't his bike anyway.  Gladly donating the use of it to give kids, young and old, a great time.

 

Not to make a big deal of this, but how do you feel about your treasured possessions?  Are you really the owner or just a steward?  As it started to sprinkle, I was worried about "my" camera gear and brand new lights.  Bottom line, I did what I could and trusted the Lord to take care of "His" gear!  He did just that and I am thankful.

 

The pictures are ready to be resized so the team can email them to all the families.  Some may end of as Christmas cards, some just for laughs and a memory of how our church is reaching out to our community, right where we are planted.  Good times!

Photo techie info:  One of the things I appreciate about my new Dynalite's is the built in Pocket Wizard receiver.  I only need to use one of the group that I own, so it simplifies set up.  One power supply cord and I have 800 Ws of power between two heads.  200 ISO on the Fuji X Pro 1 with the 18-55mm lens.  The camera gear was safe in my Think Tank Security V2.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Faith Riders Fuji Fuji X Pro 1 HHBC Harley Davidson Hermitage Hills Pocket Wizards Think Tank Ultra Classic https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/awesome-aumtumn-photography-fun Mon, 28 Oct 2013 11:39:59 GMT
No friends like old friends! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/No-friends-like-old-friends This was a great weekend.  I didn’t have to work, so I actually had a two day weekend.  What can make it better than that?  A visit from our friends in Ohio, that’s what.  Doug and Pam have been friends for over 25 years. Doug and I worked together and we attended First Baptist Church.  Doug has a beautiful custom Harley Davidson so we’ve ridden together too.  He called a week or so ago to let us know they would be in town, and see if we would be available.  We were all excited about the possibility of getting together.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Franklin was our lunch stop

Pam has family in Gallatin, and they had a reunion this week.  We had the pleasure of meeting her two brothers and sister.  We went to lunch as a group and then just walked around Franklin enjoying the many shops and each others company.  

Doug asked if there was anything from “home” that we missed?  I told him that the cheese we’ve found here is not good at all.  He asked what our favorite was and then brought us a 5 pound wheel of Guggisberg Baby Swiss!  I’m telling you good friends, and good food make for some great times.  We are blessed to have friends like this.  Friends that ask about each of our children by name.  How they are doing?  Where are they living?  Friendships like this are built over decades and will never be replaced.

We have many friends here in Nashville too, friendships that are just a few years old, but still great friends!  Later in the evening we went to Sherwood’s to celebrate Laurie turning 50.  What a great evening that was.  Great food, fun gag gifts and cards, cake and a bonfire.  Yes, it was a great way to spend a Saturday off!  

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Family Franklin Fuji X20 General Stuff Nashville TN Thoughts cookout couples friends fun outdoors pizza swiss cheese https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/No-friends-like-old-friends Sun, 20 Oct 2013 20:54:35 GMT
Fun with food photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/fun-with-food-photography I had the great pleasure of working with an up and coming entrepreneur in the food industry.  Virginia is an accomplished chef with a vision and drive to do what she loves to do and share it with her city.  I was invited to her mother's beautiful home to photograph some of her creations for use as advertising and promotions in Virginia where she lives.  This would be a fun and challenging evening and I was looking forward to it.

We had lots of room to set up my temporary studio in their lower level entertainment area. 

Quick look at the set up taken with my Fuji X20

For the overhead shots, I used a ladder to position myself high over the products.  This gives you a glimpse of my brand new Dynalite's and my trusty "go to" Elinchrom BXRi with a strip bank.  This was just my second job with the Dynalite's and I wasn't sure I would like going back to a "pack and cable" unit.  But, the power and recycle time is incredible!  PLUS my existing grids fit in their grid holder and that is huge.

Virginia had been prepping these dishes for several days.  They were beautiful AND delicious. (yes I was able to sample a few items)  I was able to use my 60mm macro lens for most of these including the portrait below.  This is one of my favorite lenses!

This is a fair representation of what we did.  Main courses and desserts were photographed like this.

 

Vistro has beautiful packaging designed for their carry out or catering services.

I love the texture on this dish.  I used a strong side light with tight grid and overall fill from soft box. 

Before we finished, we did a really beautiful portrait of Virginia standing in front of the appliances.  This is a little more difficult to pull off because of the stainless steel surfaces.  But, as you can see it worked out great!  As we say,..."it's a wrap!"

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dynalite Elinchrom Food Fuji X Pro Nashville Commercial Photography Nashville Food Photography macro https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/fun-with-food-photography Thu, 17 Oct 2013 12:28:30 GMT
Tennessee Baptist Children's Home with Faith Riders https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/tennessee-baptist-childrens-home-with-faith-riders Last Saturday was a great day.  First of all, I had the day off and that is always good.  Even better, we were able to go with our Faith Riders Motorcycle Ministry to the Tennessee Baptist Children's home in Brentwood.  Our bike is not running (very sad!) so we rode in the car.  We volunteered to take pictures, because that's what we do.  Two years ago we were able to take the kids for rides, and that is a lot of fun.

I have to say that this is always a great day.  I really don't know what group of people enjoy this more, the kids or us?

Poly is snugging up her helmet before the ride.

Look at the smiles on the kids faces, but I think the adults are even bigger!

While most of the people from 5 or 6 Faith Rider groups fitted helmets and saw to the safety of kids, our very own Matt "Smoke Eater" Grace was busy cooking up hundreds of hamburgers for everyone.  You have to love a group that has a trailer with a built in grill and the inscription, "If we're meetin'...we're eatin"! proudly painted on the side!

The single most touching moment for me is when Jeremiah gets to take his ride with Shrek.  It takes a community effort to get Jeremiah out of his "wheels" that he lives in.  (A motorized wheelchair) and safely secured on the back of Shrek's Harley.  I can assure that it is worth every single second.

It takes many folks help to make sure he is safely in the bike.  Check out all the smiles.

This is a very moving part of the day, big, burly Shrek takes this responsibility to heart and knows that this is more than just another ride.  Most of the rest of the groups aren't even aware of this, because they are busy doing their jobs.  What a great picture of the body of Christ.  Many members all doing their part, some of us are legs, or feet, or eyes...each one of us important and make up the body.  Without any one member, we just aren't whole!

Encouraging words, touch and prayer before the ride.

Just look at his smile once they get underway, awesome!

 After the rides, we met for a great lunch prepared by our group for the kids and staff.  What a great way to spend a Saturday, it really doesn't get much better than this!

Over $7,200.00 was happily donated to the Children's Home from the represented groups and their churches.

Pastor Ed Ollie gave an incredibly touching and heartfelt challenge.  He related some of his own personal experiences and told the kids and staff how much they are loved and matter.  What a great way to spend a Saturday, it really doesn't get much better than this! 

 

FUJI X PRO 1 camera, 55-200 and 18-55 lenses. JPEG's right from the camera,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) 18-55 55-200 Baptist Children's Faith Riders Fuji HHBC Harley Harley Davidson Hermitage Hills Baptist Church Home Pro Saturdays TN ThinkTank X bikers fun ride https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/10/tennessee-baptist-childrens-home-with-faith-riders Wed, 09 Oct 2013 12:07:09 GMT
The Dog and Pony Show Festival https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/The-Dog-and-Pony-Show-Festival So yesterday I celebrated my 57th year here on planet Earth.  Not in the usual way you think about a celebration because I had to work.  When you work retail, that’s just they way it goes sometime.   Two of my co-workers, John and Tilley brought in some treats and that made it a very nice way to start the day.

Mike and Laurie chillin’ on the lawn

Our good friends Mike and Laurie invited us to go to a brand new (first annual) festival in Thompson’s Station.  What a fun venue this is!  It is in the city park, bring your own chair and eat off the food trucks.  (hint: go early because most of them had sold out by the time we got there)  Local artisans set up tents to sell their stuff and lots of folks brought their dogs with them for the day. 

They had heard a musician that they really liked and wanted to share with us.   Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythym Review was the final act of the festival  First up, “The Wood Brothers.”  For only three members, they made a ton of great music.  How good are they?  The are on Zac Brown’s label and he produced their latest CD due to be released on Tuesday.  I’m not sure how to describe their musical style…maybe Americana?  Whatever you want to call it, I call it great!  

The Wood Brothers in a relaxing venue

Fun filled, action packed and a solid groove that did not quit!

Yes sir, that is a B3

The keyboard player was incredible!  I admit that I am a sucker for a Hammond B3 with Leslie cabinets, I just don’t think any other instrument can reproduce that sound.  As y’all know, the instrument is just a small part of the equation, there is the musician and this guy was off the charts!  I wish I knew his name, in fact all of his group was rock solid.  This dude played it hard, and was fun to watch too.  This is a group you don’t want to miss.  Check out his tour dates on their web site and make it a point to see them later this year when they are back in town.  Mike is a former rocker that overdosed a few times and was at deaths door.  After his last time, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and now plays “gospel music” like you’ve probably never heard.  Even if this isn’t your preference, if you like funky music played by great musicians, you don’t want to miss this band!

We celebrated with Gigi’s cupcakes, good music and great friends.  It was an awesome way to spend my birthday after all!

 

Fuji X100 (not S model) 2500 ISO

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Dog and Pony Show Fuji General Stuff Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville The Wood Brothers Thompson's Station Travel and road trips concert couples festivals friends lighting music outdoors travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/The-Dog-and-Pony-Show-Festival Sun, 29 Sep 2013 18:07:14 GMT
No substitute for a professional head shot https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/No-substitute-for-a-professional-head-shot Someone said, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” 

That is true, but yet many people don’t do anything about it.  How many times have you looked at a web site or business card that had someones portrait on it, met them in person and said, “wow!”  That isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Here are some examples of strong, well executed head shots (in my opinion).

Harder to execute.  Two people on black dressed in black. It is the two “kicker lights” that make this work!

I have to give a special shout out to my good friend Will Crockett that taught me this particular skill many years ago.  There is just no substitute for great lights, an accurate meter and the knowledge of how to make them work for you.

It is the separation light that makes all the difference in this one too

These examples aren’t saying that they have to be on black, in fact most of mine aren’t.  These are the most time consuming to pull off, and I believe some of the strongest images.  I also understand that black doesn’t work for everybody. 

Sometimes a company has their own preferences so they all look a part of the same team.  I think Realtors and auto dealer sales people are possibly the worst offenders of continuity in their look!  They spends thousands of dollars on, their vehicles and promotional freebies.  But, when you see all their associates in one ad, their image can be several years or several decades old…and on a rainbow of different backgrounds!  I have suggested they consider buying their own background, keeping it for their next batch of new associates.

I was at my dentist and noticed that in their framed staff portraits, I had never seen many of them.  That’s because they no longer worked there.  I offered to come in, set up and photograph all of them in a few hours.  As I carried all the gear in, they were surprised by how much “stuff” it took to do some simple portraits. (Only if you want to do them well)  The reward is a portrait that anyone would be proud to display, not simply a staff head shot!

 

Beautiful image, done for my Dentist office!

 

My friend Jamie needed a shot for his Crush Drum endorsement

Most busy executives are far too busy to take time out of their day to drive to a studio and have a session done.  That’s why it makes sense to set aside a day and have your staff photographed at your location.  Scheduling is done on your time and each session can be done in as little as 15 minutes per person!

This was photographed on location, not in my studio

Our good friend Kevin Cook photographed in a conference room at Manheim Auto Auction

 

Feel free to drop me an email at nick@nickcoury.com and schedule a session for yourself or your company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Portraits Thoughts Workshops head shots headshot lighting location portrait model portraits power promo https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/No-substitute-for-a-professional-head-shot Mon, 23 Sep 2013 04:31:03 GMT
Sensous Steel at the Frist https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Sensous-Steel-at-the-Frist Sunday was the last day of this exhibit, and we were determined to make it downtown to the museum.  Right after church we headed there, and arrived an hour before it opened.  Turns out that was the right thing to do, we were in the first “wave” of visitors and we could actually move around pretty freely.  One of the first cars was an indication of how the day would go, beautiful cars with names we had never heard of and incredible history.  Part of the fun is reading about how they came to be rescued or salvaged.  Some had a lengthy list of investors with very familiar names like: Firestone and DuPont.  This particular car is a “Delahaye.”

The beauty within. I love Marlene’s reflection in the door

 

Go Bucks!

As you know, we are from Ohio, home of The Ohio State University.  When Marlene saw this car, she totally loved the design and the color scheme.  She thought this would be a fun car to own, maybe even drive it to an OSU game.  Easily worth more than our total net worth!  Hey, you can dream.

For the informative, cultural contribution to today’s blog, here is the history behind this car.

 It was a great day and I’m glad we made the effort to see this exhibit.  I think we will add the Lane Auto Museum to one of our winter visits.  It’s far too nice to be stuck indoors, there will be months of that ahead right around the corner.  I’m not going to worry about that, I will enjoy the beautiful days we are having right now.

Fuji X Pro 1 with 18-55 lens, all hand held (no tripods allowed) and 2500 ISO

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cars Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Landmarks Nashville Sensous steel The Frist antiques collectible museum https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Sensous-Steel-at-the-Frist Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:05:25 GMT
Grandchildren are fun! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Grandchildren-are-fun I remember when our daughter gave birth to Jade, the first grandchild. it was indescribable!  Jade was our daughter’s daughter, where had time gone?  Marlene and I are high school sweethearts, we’ve been together since 1972.  When I stop to think about that, it really doesn’t seem like all that many years.  It’s really OK, thank the Lord we have our health and He provides for all our needs.

After 35 years of marriage and kids in their 30′s, you eventually may be blessed with grandchildren.  If you have them, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t, when you do get them you’ll understand.  No matter how terrible your day may have been, when you see these guys it’s all better again.

Sunday after church a quick group shot

Jade is a mini Marlene, just look at those smiles!  Vinnie is my little buddy, yes we even wore our plaid shirts together.  He’s all boy and brings a whole new dynamic to the family.  While he was here he bumped his head and ended up with stitches, this picture is the “before” shot.  Didn’t slow him down a bit, got to love how resilient kids are.

We are already planning for our annual Christmas week.  This is the highlight of our year, not just because of the holidays but because we are all together for a solid week!  The Campos family will fly into Columbus and Aaron will get to Eaton somehow.  It is a great time and we can’t hardly wait for it to get here.  When the cousins get together, watch out!  It will be a blast watching Mateo and Vinnie play together, both are big, solid, active boys.  Not really a fan of winter, but excited for the holidays.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Faith Family Fuji General Stuff Nashville Thoughts babies baby children grandchildren mom outdoors portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Grandchildren-are-fun Wed, 11 Sep 2013 04:52:04 GMT
Lighting Class at Westlight Studios https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Lighting-Class-at-Westlight-Studios Saturday was a great day of learning at Westlight Studios!  Eight photographers and three assistants gathered for a full day of image making and instruction.  First of all, a huge thank you to Michael Gomez and his beautiful rental studio!  What a super productive working environment, as Michael said, “it has great energy.”  Part of that comes from how well it is designed, it allows for the place to be busy and private all at the same time. 

There is a really nice area, adjacent to the two largest camera rooms for your models to hang their outfits and for your hair and make up artist.  A super big thank you to Chrissy Marie Nix that worked her magic for us!

Our model Kelly before

Our beautiful model Kelly after MUA Chrissy Marie did her thing

Most models are pretty enough to begin with, not to mention they have an understanding of where the camera is and put up with indecisive photographers that change what they want from one second to the next.  This is a pretty good illustration of what a talented MUA will do for you.  Basically, they make you look better and save you tons of post production time!  They are easily worth their fee many times over, if you aren’t using one you are hurting yourself, your models and your clients!  You can find Chrissy Marie on facebook or  just send her a note to chrissymarie@gmail.com

Beauty dish, large reflector and 12×36 strip light with grids on her hair

Notice the nice soft background?  That is the new Fuji 55-200 zoom at 148mm and f8.  Nothing done to blur it out, just the “look” of that lens, and it looks very nice!

Two of the processes I like to teach at these are simple, but so important.  First of all, we calibrate our flash meters.  This is something I learned from my good friend Will Crockett maybe 10+ years ago.  It is still as necessary today as it was then, possibly more!  That plus taking a few minutes to show how to properly do a Custom White Balance.  Most folks are not using the ExpoDisc correctly if they choose to use it at all.  Some are trying to use other commercially available products that have multiple patches.  Nothing beats plain old grey or white…just like your camera manufacturer called for on their “how to” page!

BONUS:  One of Michael’s assistants was not only a great help, but agreed to let us photograph her too.

A fan adds some movement to the image

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Brentwood Classes Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Gossen Lenses Lighting Nashville Portraits Sekonic Westlight Studio classes lighting portraits seminars teaching https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/9/Lighting-Class-at-Westlight-Studios Thu, 05 Sep 2013 04:59:54 GMT
Too busy to blog? It’s called, “grandchildren!” https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Too-busy-to-blog-It-s-called-grandchildren I’ve been lack on getting any blogs up this week.  It’s not because I’m not shooting or have given up on this.  I still really enjoy these updates.  But since last Friday our family has been in from Ohio.  The worst part of that is I’ve never been busier at work and my time with them is absolutely miniscule.  So I take advantage of every minute I can.  Plus, Vinnie is using the den as his make shift bedroom, leaving no time to work on the computer at my usual times. (early in the morning or late at night).

Ice cream and balloons!  Anthony totally understands the “free enterprise” system, great guy!

Where the kids live there isn’t a Chick-Fil-A anywhere close.  So you can imagine the fun of seeing the cow and all that goes on there.  Kudos to them for creating a wonderful, fun, family atmosphere.  Great food and a staff that makes you feel like you are not in a fast food restaurant.  That they genuinely appreciate you and your business.  These kids are different than what I see at many other businesses that fall in this category.  Great kids that seem to enjoy their job, there is something to learn from this business model.  It is really about happy employees, too many employers don’t care about their employees and treat them poorly, or are just plain unappreciative.  The kids working here are the same kids you hear about on the news…you just aren’t hearing about THESE kids or their friends.  I’m done…for now.

Nap time for Gigi

You scream, I scream….

A boy and his cone, it’s a beautiful thing!

Lots more to do, but I have to go help pick up toys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Chick Fil a Family General Stuff Nashville Thoughts cream ice https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Too-busy-to-blog-It-s-called-grandchildren Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:10:05 GMT
Concert Fun: NewSong https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Concert-Fun-NewSong

Back to basics instruments

 I remember when the thought of shooting digital above 400 ISO was depressing.  That meant a lot of time in post production trying to get rid of or hide all the noise that was there.  Not just in the shadows, but all through the file.  Forget those days, they are long gone.  Since I’ve made the switch to Fuji X Pro 1, shooting at 3200 ISO like all of these shots is a common occurrence.  Even better than that, they look great with NO post production for noise!

I don’t really have a lot to say about this evening other than it was a lot of fun.  The fact that NewSong brought in all the rigging, lighting and sound like it was a major concert was a total surprise to me.  I you would like to learn more about NewSong, here is a link to their website.

A great night of worship and more time to hone my concert photography skills.  After all, I do live in Music City!

 

An incredibly touching story about his adorable daughter

A little “Sweet Home Alabama” played well!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Equipment Reviews Faith Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff HHBC Lighting Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville NewSong concert friends lighting music https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Concert-Fun-NewSong Wed, 21 Aug 2013 04:36:21 GMT
Nashville “His Light” Workshop HDR Images https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Nashville-His-Light-Workshop-HDR-Images We live in a beautiful city that has so many places to go and things to photograph.  Daytime, nighttime, it really doesn’t matter, just grab your camera, a great tripod and head on out.

I’ve been so busy the past few weeks, I am just now getting around to processing these files from the workshop 3 weeks ago.  I hate not having great images. but knowing there are some just waiting for you to get to is even more frustrating!

 

Sunrise at the Marathon Building

It all fits together

I remember Dino the Dinosaur “soap on a rope” – do you?

When you sign up for a His Light Workshop, you better come rested.  They start early and run hard all day long, typically not finishing up till after 9:00 pm or even later.  It is a great investment in yourself as a photographer and individual, the benefits far outweigh all other factors.

Aaron staking out a spot in the front for a shot at the beautiful pipe organ

HDR allows you to hold the otherwise blown out highlights in the stained glass and the beautiful surrounding woodwork

On Saturdays from 9:30-12:00 you can take tours of Christ Church Cathedral with or without a guide.  They are very friendly and gracious hosts, even allowing our entire group to come in with tripods and gear.  This is my attempt at this view, I saw many, many more that blew this away!

I was as involved as I could be in the workshop but I still worked at the store.  Other than a lighting segment they asked me to teach, and a late start one morning all of my involvement was early or late, making for some really long days.  It was so worthwhile, spending time with some great shooters and even better friends!  I’ve said it before, Bill Fortney and his staff are very possibly the best workshop staff I’ve ever been exposed to!  In my 40 years of photography, I have attended many, many classes, schools and seminars.  I believe these are some of the best priced seminars I’ve ever seen, try it one time and you’ll see why so many of the students attend multiple times.  Some are even groupies, hitting every one they can, making it more like a family than a class.

Here is a portrait of a really incredible guy that I am blessed to now call my friend, Ricky Skaggs.  Bill asked me if I would take a few hours to show them something about studio lighting.  If you know me at all, you know that studio lighting is a passion of mine and I love teaching others how to take their work to the next level.  They asked that we do something dramatic and simple, so I used a large Elinchrom Beauty Dish and one gridded kick light.  Here is the resulting portrait:

An incredible friend, musician, photographer and brother, Ricky Skaggs

If you can come away with one or two great shots during a week of intentional shooting, I thinks that’s very good.  Here is my favorite shot of the week, it is our incredible city skyline at night.  The General Jackson is streaking by during the long exposure, painting its beautiful lights into the image.  Yep, it was a great couple of days and I am looking forward to the next time I can hang with these guys!

Music City Skyline with the General Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Classes Fuji X Pro 1 HDR His Light Workshops Marathon Musicians Nashville Scenic Travel and road trips Workshops friends fun lighting outdoors portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Nashville-His-Light-Workshop-HDR-Images Mon, 12 Aug 2013 05:20:33 GMT
Macro fun, It’s own “little world” https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Macro-fun-It-s-own-little-world

Jade taking a look at the cool “bug”

This little guy jumped up on my shoulder while I was sitting in the lawn chair.  I had my Fuji X20 with me which has an AMAZING macro setting, it will focus 1 cm away just by flipping a switch.  I grabbed a stick to see if he would get on board, sure enough he did!  This shot was what  was hoping for, since he was in my hand, I could place him anywhere I wanted to.  Jade was totally intrigues by this guy, so she stood right there and kept her eyes glued on him.  Vinnie, well he wasn’t quite as interested, but he did take a look.  There was a huge yard to runaround in and balls to throw, that was a lot more fun!

Bug on a stick

None of these were great shots of the bug, I think he may be a “Praying Mantis” but I don’t know for sure.  So here is the best image of the bug, just in case you care.

Ready for my close up Nick

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X20 General Stuff Lenses Macro Ohio Portraits Travel and road trips backyard children grandchildren outdoors portraits travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/Macro-fun-It-s-own-little-world Fri, 09 Aug 2013 03:41:36 GMT
5 Year “Cancerversary Party” Columbus, Ohio https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/5-Year-Cancerversary-Party-Columbus-Ohio

Always a challenge using the self timer, but not too bad for this many folks!

It was a beautiful Saturday in Columbus, Ohio!  Unfortunately, our son Aaron and the Campos family were not able to make the trip.  Other than that, it was the first time we’ve all been together in over two years.  We had a great time and ate absolutely incredible food.  Everyone made their specialty, so it was delicious.  If you aren’t familiar with Middle Eastern food, I’m so sorry for this great vacuum in your life.  But, if you know what I’m talking about, imagine: tabouli, shish kebob, kibbee, lebane, pita bread, humus, baklava and even more foods all at one fantastic meal!   I was going to include pictures, but that would just be mean.  Trust me, it was a good as it sounds!

Fun at Uncle Tony’s – his backyard has something for everyone!

Me, Tina, Tony and Bobby

They had one of my favorite desserts (beside baklava), Kennedy’s Bakery cake with a sweet (no pun intended) message in incing.

 

God is so good…all the time!  Not just a cute saying, but a day to day reality.  It makes no difference if you are celebrating your anniversary, or just received the news that you are entering a battle you didn’t volunteer for.  It doesn’t change the reality of who God is, and how He loves you!

In Sunday School today, Jim walked us through the 23rd Psalm.  To some of you this may seem boring and mundane, but to me it was a memory from the days following my surgery.  Actually, the 9 weeks of chemotherapy and 5 day per week radiation treatments.  Your body is so whacked out after living through the treatments, nothing works the way it should.  I spent many sleepless nights, living on an average of 2-3 hours of sleep during the night.  I also read this Psalm almost daily, it was my encouragement and my promise.  My full time job was to get through that day and live to fight another day.  So listen to the first few words of this very familiar Psalm.  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  That is a promise from him, that we will not want for anything!  If we want, then we aren’t allowing Him to provide the true needs of our lives, the way a shepherd does for his sheep.  Especially as men, we have lots of trouble separating needs from wants.  We think that because they both have four letters, they are interchangeable.  They are very different!

I want to encourage you to find the rest and contentment that only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Trusting Him to lead you day by day and to do as He promised to conform you into the image of Himself.  Phil. 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:  Amen!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Family Food Fuji Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Landmarks Ohio Travel and road trips Tributes children grandchildren meals portraits siblings https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/5-Year-Cancerversary-Party-Columbus-Ohio Sun, 04 Aug 2013 19:56:38 GMT
“His Light Workshop” Nashville https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/-His-Light-Workshop-Nashville Last week was a lot of fun.  It’s hard to say that when several days started at 6:00 am and ended after 10:00, but they were.  We shot inside, outside, studio and available light.  It just doesn’t get much better than that!  Long days with people that love photography, sharing their faith and eating well.

Bill Fortney is one of my dearest friends, I count him as a real treasure.  You should make an effort to read his blog as often as you can.  You will be encouraged, challenged and see some of the most beautiful images you’ve ever seen.  Bill also has some of the finest, best trained seminar staffs I’ve ever been exposed to.  They are caring and always glad to help you with any questions.  There are no secrets and their techniques are all shared freely.  My son Aaron learned a lot from spending time shooting along side them and in the classroom.  He especially enjoyed the critiques, just listening to Jim Begley and Snake was invaluable to him and will form the way he thinks before he pushes the button in the future.

An incredible friend, Ricky Skaggs

Bill asked me to do a lighting demo and allow everyone to have some studio experience.  I met Ricky through Bill, and as a result he has become a friend and dear brother to me.  Besides having incredible musical talents, he is a great photographer and loves learning more about it.  Ricky was kind (and patient) enough to let us photograph him with one of his instruments.  I was able to demonstrate how I build a lighting set up depending upon the subject and “feel” that we are going for.  Bill and Ricky wanted to do something dramatic, preferably with one light.  I set up Elinchrom lights (my light of choice for over 12 years now) with assorted modifiers so we could show that they do.  We had a very limited time, and tried to do in 2 hours what I typically take 6 hours to teach.  The request was for “dramatic” lighting, possibly even one light.  I used a large Elinchrom “beauty dish” as a main, with no fill at all.  The only additional light was a gridded kicker from the camera right/rear location.  Ricky has great hair, and I wanted to add light to separate him from the background and add a little drama to the image.  If you look at many of my studio images, I tend to use a kicker, usually gridded in some way to achieve this signature look.  Every single person in the class was able to photograph Ricky, now that is patience on his part.  He is one of the most humble people I have ever met.  He loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to talk about it to anyone and everyone that will listen, even at his concert we went to later that evening at the Ryman.

Bluegrass Night at the Ryman.  Ricky and Kentucky Thunder, amazing!

I have to say that it doesn’t matter if you are a Bluegrass fan or not, Kentucky Thunder is one of the most talented group of musicians I have ever heard!  Incredible. Unbelievable.  Enjoyable.  I am looking forward to hearing them again.  One of our favorite songs of the evening was, “You Can’t Hurt Ham.”  Look it up on YouTube, you will laugh out loud!

Nashville at night

Because we were short staffed at work, I didn’t get to shoot as much as I hoped to.  I don’t have that many “killer HDR” images like I did from the Old Car City workshop.  I did see some incredible images from the rest of the group, you always come away with some at a His Light workshop.  All in all, it really doesn’t matter for me, I had some great fellowship with friends old and new.  Our son was here for a few days, so we all got to hang together and that is awesome by itself.  The shot above was possibly more fun waiting on than the actual image.  We were all set up on the foot bridge, tripods everywhere, pointed at the city.  Lots of people stopped to ask us what we were photographing?  This crew made up all kinds of stories, none of them true.  Laughter is like a good medicine!

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Classes Elinchrom Faith Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff HDR His Light Landmarks Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville Portraits Ricky Skaggs Scenic Thoughts fun lighting model portraits workshops https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/8/-His-Light-Workshop-Nashville Thu, 01 Aug 2013 19:14:02 GMT
5 Years cancer free! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/5-Years-cancer-free

Last years “Relay For Life”

FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY: July 30, 2008 I was getting prepped to spend a few hours in surgery with Dr. Kurt Garren at Union Hospital in Dover, Ohio. Kurt did an incredible job and has become a good friend. He was thorough in his surgery, and very supportive in the following months more than most doctor’s would probably be.  Thanks Kurt!  By the way, sonce our move to Nashville I have had the privilege to meet the surgeon that taught Kurt at Vanderbilit.  I can now call Dr. Jim Netterville my friend too!

Actually that day started off meeting a great group of friends heading out on a motorcycle trip we were supposed to be a part of. But, when you get a diagnosis of cancer, everything else goes on “hold.” We met at Sheetz, prayed for their safety and God’s intervention in my life. (and I did ride my Gold Wing 20 miles down the road leading them out of town)

I headed home, got a shower and went to the hospital where I would start my journey as a cancer patient. After a 4 week rest, I started 9 weeks of chemo and daily radiation treatments, that seemed like eternity! Eight months off work spent just “getting through the next day”, but it was worth the battle!

First of all, all praise to the One True and Almighty God. Not the “man upstairs” or any other cute name. His name is Jesus and He healed me! Secondly, my incredible wife that drove me to every treatment, tried to find foods I could eat, and made me eat when I whined like a baby. She never let me quit. She did let me feel sorry for myself for a few minutes, then helped me back to a place of trusting in the Lord. Tough love in action, and I am blessed daily by her!!! Our children that dropped everything to support us, words can not express my feelings and love. As a result, I’ve been able to walk our daughter Sara Campos down the aisle, place her hand in our incredible son in law Hugo’s and enjoy their son, Mateo. I’ve enjoyed many hours with Christin and Scott Yuppa in Ohio and their three children. I ‘m loving shooting pictures with our son Aaron and spending time with him! Plus I get two spend the rest of my days until Jesus comes back with my high school sweetheart, Marlene!

To all of you that supported us with visits, prayer, get well cards/notes, anonymous cash donations, and other things I probably did not even know about, THANK YOU!

This weekend we will travel home to Ohio to celebrate with my siblings! They all played a significant role in those days, I love you all and we’ll see you soon. Let the party begin!

Moving Forward!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Faith Family General Stuff Landmarks Ohio Thoughts Tributes Walk for Life bike cancer kids miracles support survivor thankful https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/5-Years-cancer-free Wed, 31 Jul 2013 03:57:34 GMT
Location portrait challenges https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Location-portrait-challenges I rarely have the luxury of working in a spacious studio.  When I teach classes I have all the room and toys a photographer could want.  Typically though, I am going to my clients to work inside their house or yard.  When we arrive we scout it out for the best location, one that will allow me to place the lights where I want them.  Sometimes its obvious and works well, other times you just have to roll with what you have.

Saturday we went to our friends Kevin and Mary Cooks to photograph their beautiful daughter Shelby.  Their home is awesome with a really nice foyer, that’s where Marlene and Mary thought would be the best place to work.  After looking around, I agreed.  Here is a look at how we set up, as you can see we didn’t have a lot of extra room.  (we’ve certainly worked in much smaller places)

A look from the dining room into the foyer

Here is my view from the camera at my “shooting alley.”  Interfit 30′x40″ softbox and 60″ Westcott umbrella for fill light.

My view from the camera, you can see my Manfrotto tripod on the right edge

One final view from Shelby’s perspective.  She did great even though I was directing her from the next room.  I always use a tripod every time I can.

OK, so it looks challenging, and it was a little.  But all things considered, I am really happy with the session!  Here’s an example of what we were able to produce set up just like this.

I love working with people who enjoy being photographed. Shelby was a blast!

Cropped so you can see the light stand lower left corner, and pillar on the right edge

These will all be fine photographs for her and her family.  But her very favorite outfit was saved for last, her ballet or “Princess” outfit.  For this, I really wanted to do something special.  The challenge was that we were edge to edge on what space we had available.  I thought it was worth taking a look from the top of the stairs, just in case it could be used.  Wow, there it was, a beautiful overlook straight down to the backdrop.  All I had to do was figure out how to light it so it looked as good as the perspective did.  Marlene could tell I was working on something, but she didn’t know what it was.  She told Mary, “I don’t know what he’s up to but this is what he loves to do, find something and make it work, he likes the challenge.”  I was determined that I would do this last series for me, so I would have a shot or two that I like.  Here is what we ended up with:

My favorite image of the day

I totally changed the lighting, I moved the fill light upstairs and bounced it off the ceiling, that worked out perfect.  (it was probably 15+ feet from Shelby!)  So glad I had a 500 Ws Elinchrom light to work with, I had power to spare.  No speedlight or available light tricks would work here.  Plus, I was able to work at the native 200 ISO setting on my Fuji X Pro 1 camera, so if they want a wall portrait, I can print it as large as they want!  By making this drastic of a lighting change I did have to remeasure my light.  Easy enough with my Gossen Starlite 2.  I could measure her from my “upstairs” position with the spotmeter function to get close.  Then, I went back down to my subjects position and placed the softbox where I wanted it.  Here are the last shots I did keeping the overhead fill light position.  I simply moved my main to the right side and ended up with this classic pose.  Beautiful young lady and a beautiful portrait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Classes Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Gossen Starlite 2 Interfit Lighting Nashville Portraits Thoughts Tutorial dance dancer female friends lighting lighting guru magic portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Location-portrait-challenges Sun, 21 Jul 2013 05:11:27 GMT
Into the future https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Into-the-future Fly Like An Eagle Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle

I am so excited about the upcoming His Light Workshop that is here in Nashville next week!  If you aren’t aware of what that is, do yourself a favor and take a look at what is offered by clicking here.  I am blessed to call Bill Fortney one of my dearest friends, and brother in Christ.  Rarely does more that a day or two go by that we don’t talk on the phone.  It is something I look forward to and always a refreshing time.

Next week Bill and his team are coming to Nashville for what will be an incredible time of learning and encouragement.  I can honestly tell you that the time I spent with them this Spring has revolutionized and revitalized my personal photography.  (That is a pretty big statement considering I’ve been shooting for 40 years)  It was during that workshop that I started taking pictures again for me, just because it’s fun!  Looking, seeing then shooting.  It’s how this all began for me but I got away from it.  I was at a place where I would only pick up my camera if someone was paying me to photograph.  That is a bad place to be if your business is photography, it just makes everything mechanical and mundane.

The picture above is from just about 1 year ago.  I had just bought my first Fuji in many years, the x10.  That camera started me down the path of taking pictures again, because it was small, handy and fun.  I had fallen into the iPhone camera trap.  I can honestly say that I have never printed a photo from my iPhone, they were just for show and tell or social networks.  Because of it’s size, incredible glass and many features, I started carrying it with me. Unlike my phone, I have printed these images and they look great!

Bill, Jim, Snake and guest Rickey Skaggs will all be here sharing their love and knowledge of photography.  They have asked me to help put together a class on studio lighting, so we have some awesome plans for that!  There are still a few spots left and I’d love to see you there.  I am stoked about another time of learning to see better and how to make better images!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Classes Fuji X10 General Stuff Landmarks Lenses Lighting Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville SMB" Steve Miller Band Thoughts friends fun music outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Into-the-future Tue, 16 Jul 2013 04:56:14 GMT
Metamorphosis https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Metamorphosis Who doesn’t remember learning that word early in life?  It may have been the first really big and challenging word that I had to understand!  It all started with the illustration of a butterfly for me.  Webster in the 1913 dictionary describes it like this: ( Biol.) A change in the form or function of a living organism, by natural process of growth or development: as the metamorphosis of the yolk into the embryo, of a tadpole into a frog, or of a bud into a blossom.

Butterfly metamorphosis

I was reading this morning in the “In Touch” devotional published by Dr. Charles Stanley about a lady that serves as a prison Chaplain in Georgia.  It was interesting how she ended up working in the job and how much she is loved by some of the people we might describe as unloveable.  That made me stop and consider who I am, and but by the grace of God I didn’t end up in some kind of prison.  If not one made out of brick and mortar, potentially a prison of addiction.  I certainly had many opportunities over my life and experimented with “things” that could have controlled me or taken me over.

The difference was the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ.  A new, unexplainable, “spiritual metamorphosis” took place in me.  2 Corinthians 5:12-21 describes is like this:  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This transformation isn’t immediate, like the butterfly above, it takes time!  Philippians 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:  I am a work in progress and according to this verse I will remain that way until He comes to take me home or I pass from this life to the next.  Either way, it is going to happen…eventually!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Faith Fuji X20 General Stuff Thoughts outdoors travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/Metamorphosis Fri, 12 Jul 2013 04:57:51 GMT
L’ Angelus It’s a family affair https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/L-Angelus-It-s-a-family-affair There is nothing like sibling vocal harmony!  Every generation has enjoyed groups that achieved popularity because they were family.  Sometimes it was because of the drama associated with their siblings, but for the most part it was because of the blend of their voices.  Let me name a few for you:  The Andrew’s Sisters, Allman Brothers, Bee Gee’s, Jackson’s, Everly Brothers, Carpenters, Judds, Jonas Brothers, Mills Brothers, Neville Brothers, Osmonds, Pointer Sisters and the Smothers Brothers…there are lots more but I’m sure you get the point.

I’ve become friend with John Rees, affectionately known as “Papa Angelus.”  He is a very likeable guy that takes the job of managing his family of musicians seriously and pours himself into them.  Sacrificing much, he is always working to try and help them achieve the next level musically and as a family.  Their family values are admirable and they seem to have a lot of fun doing what they do best, making great music!  Their love for each other and the Lord is evident the more time you spend with them.  L’Angelus is a dynamic high energy four piece band, featuring Katie, 27, Paige, 26, Johnny, 24, and Stephen, 22.

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L’Angelus Family backing up a CD intro artist for Curb Records

John invited me to come hear them at this event last week.  I thought it might be a great opportunity to try out the new Fuji 55-200 zoom lens.  It was a great idea but the venue was very challenging for photography.  As with many smaller, more intimate clubs here, the lighting is not that good.  My friend Terry Wyatt photographs all the huge, high profile, beautifully lit stages.  I tend to end up in smaller clubs that have a great feel to them, but probably don’t have $5,000.00 total invested in their lighting plus they don’t employ a full time tech to run them.  So, you get what you get and you press on.  Slow shutter speeds, high ISO’s and wide open, pray for the best and try to time it at the “peak” of action.  This was my first concert shoot with this lens, and it performed better than I thought it might.  Fuji continues to release firmware updates improving focus issues and other glitches, just another reason I am so happy with my transition to mirrorless cameras, specifically the Fuji X line.

Stephen Rees working his fiddle

Stephen Rees working his fiddle

I have to tell you  that I pretty much enjoy all kinds of music when it’s done well, and these folks do it better than well!  Plus, they are some of the sweetest and most humble people you will ever meet.  It is no secret that in music you have to “pay your dues” and this family has done it and continues to do it.  But, don’t be surprised one day when you discover them as some “overnight sensation.”  Know that they have been working at this for a long time and they are overdue for the recognition they will eventually receive.  Personally, I don’t think it will happen to nicer group of people.  If you would like to find out more about L’Angelus, you can visit their website here.  Hopefully L’Angelus will one day be added to the list of great family bands.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Americana Cajun Country Curb Records Equipment Reviews Faith Family Fuji 55-200 Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff L'Angelus Lenses Lighting Motown Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville blues mirrorless camera music https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/7/L-Angelus-It-s-a-family-affair Sat, 06 Jul 2013 04:37:46 GMT
Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 Like a Leica? 2500 ISO! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/Zeiss-Touit-32mm-f1-8-Nashville-Night-walk-Like-a-Leica

Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 “Super Prime”

I was so excited when Tom Tingle dropped of a few of the brand spankin’ new Zeiss X Mount lenses from their Touit series.  I have evolved into a “zoom lens shooter” and not too proud to admit it.  Primes were the way I made my living for many, many years.  They were work horses and never missed a beat.  The glass of today is every bit as good in zooms, possible better than some primes.  This prime is a thing of beauty to look at and to shoot.  It focuses quickly and accurately, what more do you need?

Disclaimer:  These images are out of the camera utilizing the Fuji B&W conversion.  The first image is as shot and has beautiful contrast, some of the other images could benefit from some contrast addition or even post processing in some other software, but for illustrating the lenses performance, I did none of that.

I walked just a few blocks away from our parking spot and stopped by the Ryman Auditorium, affectionately known as “The Mother Church of Country Music.”  The Tennessee Historical Commission has a plaque commemorating the birth of bluegrass at this spot in 1945.  I’ve seen the plaque before, and it was OK, basically it was just a plaque.  But last night, I was looking for visual designs and elements that would test this lens out.  I looked left, right, up and down…that was the right perspective!  By moving a little to the right and looking up, the “Batman Building” was placed beautifully in a sea of black sky.  After a few adjustments to my Fuji X Pro 1 I was totally and completely blown away!  Here is what I saw, and you won’t believe my exposure information.

The Mother Church of Country Music – Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee

The above image is a JPEG right from my camera with ZERO post processing!  This is huge.  Look at all that is happening here with contrast, sharpness and total lack of noise.  You may wonder why all the excitement, right?  This is hand held and 2500 ISO, 1/105 wide open at f1.8 and -2/3 EV compensation.  This is a fantastic lens on an incredible body.  I am so happy with the black and white I get from this camera, I prefer it over most methods.  If I do need to make a file B&W after the fact, I use NIk Silver FX, but with results like this, that is a wasted step.

So we walked down the street and just looked for subjects or things that were visually interesting.  One of the best street shooters in the known world is Zack Arias, man that guy can just kill it.  I have never ever tried my hand at this, but what the heck.  I took off  with two of my friends from Fuji, our rep Cy Franks and X Product Specialist, Mike Amico.  They were in town working at our store, so I invited them to go for a night photo walk.  I also opened this up on short notice to some of my photo friends here in town.  Kim and Keith agreed to meet us downtown, they just happen to shoot Fuji too.  Kim has some incredible images from the X100S and Keith from his X Pro 1.

We saw these kids hanging out from a window on Broadway.  They were too cute to pass up and loved posing for the camera.

Kids on Broadway

I love the way this shallow depth of field directs your eye.  2500 ISO, f2.2, monochrome setting with in camera processing. 

We walked down the street and just like always, there were a few motorcycles parked.  There was a great looking Victory and Cy was admiring it, I caught his eye in the mirror.

This one worked especially well in color

It wouldn’t be Nashville without live music on the street.  This band was talented and a lot of fun to watch, their instruments, especially the drummer were…interesting.  See how many home items you can identify on this kit.

Love the exhaled smoke and the bar “WannaB’s behind him

Here is a fun parting shot.  I think this could be called “horse-power” for pretty obvious reasons. 

I am happier than I’ve ever been with my switch to the Fuji camera system!  I walked around all night in nearly 90 degree temps and never broke a sweat or complained about all the extra weight I was carrying.  Shooting with the Zeiss 32mm lens was like a trip back in time for me.  When I started taking pictures all I owned was a 35mm camera with a 50mm lens, this is nearly the same angle of view.  I didn’t know what other lenses would do for me and could only dream that one day I might own more than one.  This lens is super sharp with beautiful contrast.  The camera focuses faster (especially after the recent Fuji firmware update) with this lens.  A fixed prime is not my preferred way to shoot when I’m doing a job.  But, street shooting it forces me to move to different angles and explore more of what may be there if I stretch myself.  This lens will be in the $900.00 range, approximately $300.00 more than the Fuji lens and a little faster.  This lens has much different characteristics than the Fuji prime and for some shooters it will be worth the slight additional investment.  As for me, I can possibly see one of these in my future!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Broadway Cameras Equipment Reviews Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lenses Music City Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville Scenic Thoughts Zeiss Touit lens test music outdoors portraits prime https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/Zeiss-Touit-32mm-f1-8-Nashville-Night-walk-Like-a-Leica Fri, 21 Jun 2013 03:24:00 GMT
Pictures within a picture (your mileage may vary) https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/Pictures-within-a-picture-your-mileage-may-vary Timing is everything, well almost everything.  Composition is a pretty big part of what we do as photographers too.  I thought the following shot is a good illustration of the two components working together.  Here is the first group shot, and overall a pretty nice image I think.

Duck Dynasty at Lipscomb University, “Meet and Greet.”

I’m pretty sure this lady was happy with her shot.  But if you look just at her and Si, it makes another pretty nice shot, all by itself, look…

Duck Dynasty at Lipscomb University, Uncle Si

Now if we look to the far left, I believe it’s one of the nicest images of the day of Phil and Miss. Kaye!

Duck Dynasty at Lipscomb University, Phil and Miss Kay

So there you have it, a three in one shot!  They work together and stand alone as individual images.  This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does…magic!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Duck Dynasty Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Landmarks Lenses Lighting Lipscomb University Miss Kay Nashville Tutorial Uncle Si friends lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/Pictures-within-a-picture-your-mileage-may-vary Wed, 19 Jun 2013 19:02:35 GMT
A Close Shave https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/A-Close-Shave Old Spice

What’s old is new again, tools of the trade

I’ve been watching the light in the morning hit this cup and as Spring has progressed, it’s gotten prettier and prettier.  Last week I grabbed my Fuji x20 and snapped this shot, immediately a flood of memories came back to me.

I’ve been shaving for more years than I’d like to admit to.  The fact is, I had a full beard in my sophomore year of high school.  That beard was my access into places I shouldn’t have even been allowed to go, because it made me look older tha I really was.  Which is totally different from what I do now to try and look younger than my 56 years!

The Old Spice shaving mug you see, sits in our bathroom.  For years it was my dad’s shaving mug and used daily.  A few years before he passed away I saw this stored in the “linen closet” and I asked him if I could have it.  I was making the transition to a badger brush and old school safety razor, all the magazines said this was the only way to get a really close shave.  What you are looking at isn’t a decoration, it is used nearly daily (I still don’t like to shave and skip a few days each week if I can).  If you watched “Skyfall” you saw 007 lather up with a similar brush, and I remember Tom Cruise in one of his recent roles using this to knock down the stubble.  For me, it’s the only way to shave.

I’ve had several of you tell me that this image reminded you of your dad or grandpa.  That’s cool, because I’m a dad and grandpa too, really “Bapa” to my grand kids.  My dad was called “Gidi” by our kids,and that’s what my siblings and I called his dad.  No matter who you knew or what you called them, chances are this was part of growing up.  I guess it will be for the next generation at our house too!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X20 General Stuff Landmarks Nashville Old Spice dad flashback lighting memories shave shaving https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/A-Close-Shave Mon, 10 Jun 2013 08:43:40 GMT
“Thank You” Two simple words https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/-Thank-You-Two-simple-words Thank you!

A home made “thank you” from the heart

Chances are, these are two of the first words your Mama taught you to say.  I’ve watched our daughters spend time working with their children over and over, teaching them how to share and say "thank you."  Why is it that as adults we don’t say it often enough?  Have we outgrown the importance of telling someone that we appreciate what they’ve done for us?  I think that possibly it’s even worse than that.  We may “assume” they know we are thankful or possibly that their kindness or whatever was expected of them, certainly it wasn’t appreciated.  How did we get to the place where we don’t say these words?

Recently Marlene and I were able to help out a person with some photography they needed.  We were glad to do it!  The delicious cinnamon loaf you see above, was her hand made, personal, thank you.  She took her time, effort, labor and money to make this for us, just to say “thanks.”

How about you?  Is this simple phrase common in your daily life?  If not, why isn’t it?  No matter how old we are, or our position in life, we never outgrow the need to say, “thank you!”

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Fuji X20 General Stuff Nashville Thoughts Tributes friends home made thank you https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/6/-Thank-You-Two-simple-words Mon, 03 Jun 2013 05:05:53 GMT
Sweet job! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Sweet-job

Fuji X Pro 1 with the Fuji 14mm lens.  Nice!

One of the perks of being an event photographer is all the (usually) great foods you get to eat!  Seriously, I have had lots of incredible meals but especially desserts at events.  This past weekends wedding was no exception.  The above, delicious cupcakes were provided by Derrick and Nycole Donelson Of Short Cakes Cakery in Mt. Juliet.  Not only were these delicious, but their attention to detail was incredible.  Sometimes it’s just nice to recognize people that go above and beyond in their job, so thanks to the two of you for the beautiful and delicious treats!

This beautiful image taken by my wife. Great job, Marlene!  (Fuji x20)

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji 14mm Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Nashville Weddings celebrate cupcakes sweets weddings https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Sweet-job Thu, 30 May 2013 05:07:29 GMT
Fuji X100S or the camera you have with you https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Fuji-X100S-or-the-camera-you-have-with-you

The entrance to Del Webb in Mt. Juliet, TN

This past week I was able to borrow the new Fuji 100s camera from our Fuji rep Cy Franks.  He left it at the store for a few days so we could get some experience with it.  I thought I would take it home on Thursday, just in case I saw something worth photographing.  I was running a little late Thursday, but it turned out that the sun was setting and the light was really nice.  Instead of my usual entry, I decided to ride up to the main gate to photograph the entrance.

The light was just right.  I picked an angle that allowed the text to be readable by the reflection in the sky.  The 100S has a fixed lens that is a 35mm angle of view.  This awesome wide angle lens is sharp, contrasty and beautiful!  All built on a super solid body that is light and easy to hold.  The view finder is bright and the focusing quick and accurate.

I can tell you that this is an incredible camera and I now understand why so many people love it!  Every single person that owns this camera absolutely raves about it.  One of my friends took her 100s to Europe, leaving her Leica here in Nashville.  I’ve also heard of several others making the same decision and confirming that is was the right choice.

I am a huge fan of the entire Fuji X line of cameras.  I personally own the X Pro 1 with a few lenses and carry the x20 as my travel camera.  I’ve also owned the x10 and loved it.

No matter if you like this image or not, Del Webb does.  In fact, they are going to use it to promote the property.  All because I had a great camera with me at the right time.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Del Webb Equipment Reviews Fuji Fuji 100S Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lenses Lighting Nashville Scenic lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Fuji-X100S-or-the-camera-you-have-with-you Sun, 26 May 2013 17:48:36 GMT
Duck Dynasty at Lipscomb University https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Duck-Dynasty-at-Lipscomb-University It just occurred to me that I never blogged these images.  I got them out on facebook, but not here.

One of the keys to moving a lot of folks through an event like this is having good help.  On this day I had GREAT help!  Marlene is always my right hand when I shoot, and on this day I asked my friend (and co-worker) Terry Wyatt to help.  This duo made it all happen, Jack!  They stayed positive and happy, happy, happy while getting the guests quickly on and off the set.  It never ceases to amaze me how many folks want to stop and “small talk” with the celebrities.  The talent is always polite, but do you really think they want to now minute details about you or your family?  Oh well, people will be people and we all have our little quirks.  (Like telling the same stories over and over, that would be one of mine, just ask my wife)

Marlene making it all look “pretty” in just a few seconds

Meet the unbearded Robertson.  Occupationally he is a pastor of a church and not involved in the family business.  He and his wife were extremely friendly and they will appear next season.

 

 

My younger brother Tony drove down from Ohio just to be here. He has been a fan since before it was cool.

A very special thank you to Scott Ellis that asked me to cover for him on this day.  He photographed the Friday night and Saturday afternoon events but because of a wedding conflict needed some help for Saturday night.  Nashville is a big city with lots of photographers, so I really appreciate him selecting us to photograph this job!  This was one of the really fun jobs that don’t come along all that often.

Photo gear:  Top photo Fuji X Pro 1 with 18-55 zoom, Elinchrom lights, Manfrotto Carbon Fiber tripod and my trusty Gossen Starlite 2 meter.  Remaining images, Fuji X20.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Duck Dynasty Elinchrom Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Lipscomb University Nashville Portraits T.V. Tributes group portraits lighting meet and greet portraits volume photo https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Duck-Dynasty-at-Lipscomb-University Sat, 18 May 2013 06:12:49 GMT
29! The secret to a Ronnie Milsap smile https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/29-The-secret-to-a-Ronnie-Milsap-smile Last week I photographed the annual Del Webb concert for residents.  This years guest was the legendary performer Ronnie Milsap.  With a career that spans over 40 years and many hits, he is destined to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Because of weather we were chased indoors and that is never as beautiful as the outdoor setting around Lake Providence.  Last years concert with the Oaks provided some incredible concert images with the late afternoon sun setting and illuminating the group!  But, you got to roll with it, so we ended up at The Mill in Lebanon.  It was my first time there and it is a nice venue, but you have all of your typical challenges.  Terrible access to the artist on an elevated stage so you are shooting up at them.  Thick, black velvet curtains to soak up any possible remaining light from the over intense floods so they appear to be in a cave at best.  It is what it is and you do the best you can!

 

When you are stuck with a low angle, you shoot what you got.  In this case, boots!

I always try to document the concert the best I can for Miss. Shari.  She is the super energy, driving force behind all the fun, recreational activities that are offered here in the community.  I think of  her as the “cruise ship director” from Love Boat days, some of you may be old enough to remember that.  She always does her job over and above anything that would be expected and she is a joy to work with!  If only every client were that easy to work for…

So, you need some typical concert shots, that’s what everyone wants to see, even if they were there.

 

The entire group did a “finger popping, do whop” song with some mad vocal harmony!

Maybe another close up, detail shot or two.  Hey, Ronnie and I both like Yamaha’s!  He plays his and I ride mine.

Have you ever wondered how so many entertainers look almost the same in every single photo you see of them?  I’ve photographed quite a few, and they are able to just “turn it on” and it looks totally natural.  As a photographer, most people are anything BUT that when in front of the camera.  This is what they do and get paid for.  (they actually do get paid to do it)  If you think of it, how does a vision impaired person know where or when to smile?  I admit, I wondered how this would happen, but it did, flawlessly, time after time.  The results are the same smile you see in every picture of Ronnie Milsap.  A big, happy, beautiful smile!

Every single time, the same wonderful expression. How does he do it?

The secret is…29.  That’s right, his band leader and he have worked out a system that works perfectly.  With his band leader/guitarist standing right next to me, Ronnie knows to listen or tune in to his voice and look in that direction.  He counts to three and Ronnie says, “29″ as big as he can.  At the right moment, you just snap the shutter.  Now, the other folks are somewhat surprised initially, so they may not look all that great, (timing is everything) but the artist?  Awesome!

So, the next time you have to take a group shot and don’t want to go with the typical “cheese” smile, why not try 29?  It just might be what you are looking for!  Thanks for the tip and a great concert Ronnie!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Del Webb Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville Nikon Ronnie Mildap Thoughts Tributes friends fun lighting music portraits w https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/29-The-secret-to-a-Ronnie-Milsap-smile Fri, 17 May 2013 05:06:07 GMT
Welcome Gianna Rose! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Welcome-Gianna-Rose We were all here to welcome Gianna home from the hospital today!  The kids were especially glad to meet their new sister and see their parents for the first time in a few days.  Thanks to Aunt Ori Ori for taking great care of them until we could make it up here!

What a great job the kids are doing adapting to her!  Especially Jade, who just cannot get enough of her!  Vinnie, is still not sure what to think, I’m sure she will grow on him.  He is now the boy between two girls, just like his Uncle Aaron was growing up.

Here are all “the girls” together.  Geemaw, Mommy, Jade and Gianna

Daddy and Jade counting her toes to make sure they are all there. And yes, she does have feet like her mommy!

I’ve already warned Scott that girls will wrap you around their little finger and you will let them!  It doesn’t matter if you are warned or not, it just happens.  I am speaking from experience and yes, it still works today.

One of the advantages of being the grandparents and the photographers is that you do get included in the photographs!  (and you can retouch yourself if you want to, and why wouldn’t you?)

Photographed with the Fuji 60mm macro lens on my X-Pro 1 and just a hint of fill flash, I do love this image!

“Sisters”  Every now and then we get a shot that we just love, this is one of those images!

The final shot is just the 3 of them, but there will be more with the entire family very soon.  This was a great day and I thank my Lord that I am alive and healthy enough to make the trip up here for the weekend!  I’ll head back tomorrow and Marlene will stay here for a few weeks to help them get settled in.  We are blessed that because she doesn’t work outside the home, she can take this time to help out and enjoy the family.  She is a huge blessing to many people because of that flexibility.  I am no doubt the most thankful and biggest recipient of all she does!

 Great job Sis and Scott!  What a blessing she is.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Faith Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Landmarks Lenses Lighting Macro Ohio Portraits Thoughts Travel and road trips babies baby children dad grandchildren lighting portraits travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/5/Welcome-Gianna-Rose Sat, 04 May 2013 19:16:14 GMT
My camera is like a “Golden Ticket” https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/My-camera-is-like-a-Golden-Ticket I was talking with my friend co-worker Terry Wyatt recently and he brought up this thought.  It’s something I’ve said before, just not in those words, I like that description a lot.  I don’t take for granted the people I get to meet and the places my camera has allowed me to have access to.  I would be lying if I told you I had the foresight to plan these events 40 years ago when I started in this profession.  I have been blessed to meet and photograph  people I would have never dreamed of meeting, let alone now call many of them “friends.”  I don’t want this to sound as if I’m bragging, because I’m not, it has absolutely nothing to do with me.  It’s about what I have trained to do with my camera.

L to R: Ricky Skaggs, Phil Keaggy and my good friend Tommy Coomes

My two son-in-laws are HUGE guitar fans.  They are talented at their instruments and have one thing in common, they have followed Phil Keaggy for years and admire his incredible skills.  Tommy Coomes is in the group Love Song.  In fact, Tommy and Phil are best friends.  I asked Tommy to do me a favor at Christmas, and as a result our boys have autographed instruments from Phil.  Again, no way that just happens.

Recently we were able to photograph some of the cast of “Duck Dynasty” at Lipscomb University here in Nashville.  Another unbelievable opportunity just because I am a photographer.  (Here are some pictures from that event)

Living in Nashville in unlike any place else I’ve ever lived so there are more opportunities for this type of photography, and I really enjoy it.  So, I am a bit reflective right now about this aspect of what the Lord has allowed in my life.   I guess it all comes down to one word, “thankful.”

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji General Stuff Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville Nikon Portraits Scenic Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes drums friends fun portraits road trip travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/My-camera-is-like-a-Golden-Ticket Sat, 27 Apr 2013 08:28:08 GMT
First ride report: Cool but worth it https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/First-ride-report-Cool-but-worth-it First nice trip on the bike was yesterday.  I don’t know if we hit 50 degrees or not, but that didn’t matter.  After the week I had, I needed to get out for a ride.  Destination was unsure, we left that to our good friend Tom “Tumbleweed” Gibbons to decide.  Beside being an incredible friend, he is a great rider and Road Captain when we ride with our Faith Riders group.  He and his wife Barb are the first people we met at Hermitage Hills which is now our church home.  We are there partly because of them, but that is a story for another time.

Marlene and Babs chillin’ after a great meal

Yes, chaps were necessary! Wind chill on the legs was pretty brisk

Tom and Barb are also our neighbors here at “The Webb.”  It’s easy to catch up with them when we are out on a walk or just to drink a cup of coffee.  Note:  Barb now owns a Keurig so it’s OK to drink her coffee.  :)   (Another story there)

Officially we logged about 125 miles of wonderful roads.  That is with the exception of “the mile long yard sale” we happened to ride into.  Not fun.  Lots of clutch and brake work there, but it ended up OK.  Tom planned a return route on the Old 96 which is one of our favorite stretches of road here in middle Tennessee.  Scenic and twisty, just the way we like it!

Joe’s Place, Woodbury, Tennessee

What’s a ride without dessert?  Incomplete!  Snow White Drive In was our final destination before we headed home.  All in all, a great ride with wonderful friends.  A perfect way to start the 2013 riding season!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Yamaha FAITH Riders Fuji X20 General Stuff HD Harley Davidson Landmarks Motorcycles Scenic Travel and road trips Woodbury bikers bikes couples fun outdoors road trip travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/First-ride-report-Cool-but-worth-it Sun, 21 Apr 2013 05:35:20 GMT
Georgia Road Trip for SEPPA https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Georgia-Road-Trip-for-SEPPA My Saturday started by being at the store for an 8:30 load time.  We had a 6 hour drive PLUS we lost an hour.  In other words, it was going to be another long road day.

One thing I’m looking forward to is playing with my newest camera, the Fuji x20!  This is the newest version of Fuji’s advanced point and shoot and I just got it yesterday.  I loved my x10, so I’m sure I will be really happy with this one too!

Wrapping up the trade show season is always a good thing.  By this time of the year, you are just ready to be done.  I believe I’ve been working photographic shows nearly 20 years.  I have had lots of fun and met a ton of great people that are now friends.  We enjoy going out to dinner and sharing the places we know about.  If you are in a new city and want a suggestion, just phone a friend and they will come through!  Lunch stop was just outside Atlanta at the OK Cafe, this was suggested to us by our good friend Brett Wells and he was right.  Robert, Johnny and I all had great meals here!

This is a classic diner that is super affordable with quality food.  The best, super thick chocolate milkshake I’ve had in a long time.  Old fashioned metal blender cup and a spoon to scoop it all out!  The decor is fun and the service was exceptional.  Look at the detail in the “burger and fries” shot. Hand held close up that looks good enough to eat.  (pun intended)

Next stop was Athens, GA.  Turns out that beside being the home of the Georgia Bulldogs it was also the place where Luke Bryan and Jason Aldeen were having their concert on Saturday night. This was the first ever concert at their field and it was a huge success.  We heard estimates of over 60,000 people at this concert.  There were cowboy boots and hats on most of the folks we saw.  To say the city was busy would be an understatement.  It was more like crazy!

It was awesome that Aaron’s show and our event were in the same city!

This was the high point of my weekend, getting to take some time to visit Aaron at the event he helped curate and assemble.  He also taught a class and was a featured artist.  So great to see the man he is and the gifted photographer he is becoming.  I love his creative eye and he has a gift for teaching too!  Not everyone can teach, it takes a very special talent and a LOT of work to make it understandable.  He nails it!

Now that I’m back home I can report it was not a great show at all.  Very sad for some of the turmoil going on in this association and others.  Poorly promoted and attended, sadly unless they recover well, this could have been the last SEPPA Convention.  I wish them well and hope they can regroup in the next two years.  Really nice folks that just have fallen onto some hard times.

As for me, I’m just glad to be back in Music City with my bride!  We just took at great couple mile walk and got caught up on all that I missed while I was gone.  We have a lunch date planned and then it’s back to business as usual.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Athens Atlanta Cameras Classes Equipment Reviews Family Fuji X20 General Stuff Georgia Landmarks Road food Thoughts Travel and road trips dad diners son https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Georgia-Road-Trip-for-SEPPA Tue, 16 Apr 2013 08:17:43 GMT
Another “Bucket List” Check Off! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Another-Bucket-List-Check-Off

Bucket lists.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually written it down or not, most of us have one.  If you’ve ever stated something you would like to see or do before you die, that’s on your list!  For me there are just a few bands that I would really like to see, not many at all really.  But, at the very top of my list was Tower of Power!  (click this link and you can listen to some of their music)  I first heard them either in high school or shortly after, it doesn’t matter, I’ve always wanted to see them live.  Seriously, there aren’t many groups that can boast of a 44 year track record!  I think that 4 of the original members were playing last night.  (May 11th they are in Cleveland, OH in case you are interested)

One of the standout performances was by world class drummer David Garibaldi.  He is literally in the Percussion Hall of Fame, how cool is that?  Rock solid beat and a wicked left hand that hit every “kick” with incredible precision.  Sure I admit I’m partial to drummers, but this was really, really solid!  My only complaint was that from our seats he was blocked by “Doc” so we didn’t get to see him as well as we would have like to.

That said, they are all super talented musicians that exceeded my expectations.  It’s really gratifying when you’ve looked forward to something for that long and it turns out to be everything you hoped it would be.  Money well spent and a night that I won’t ever forget.

I won’t bore you with the rest of my bucket list, because it is pretty short.  I think that as a cancer survivor, there are fewer “things and places” that are that important to me.  Sure, I’d love to take the love of my life to Hawaii sometime before we are too old to enjoy it.  I also have a really ambitious motorcycle ride that I’d like to make too, it will take about three to four weeks.  Realistic?  Who knows.  Part of the fun is dreaming and planning these things irregardless of the outcome.  It’s biblical too, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18  When I was recovering from my cancer nearly five years ago, I started watching shows that featured different restaurants.  There were a few that really interested me and I would tell Marlene, “when I get better I want to take a bike trip there.”  She would always agree and encourage me to plan it out and make it happen.   I literally made a list of a few of those places, and I can tell you that I’ve been able to cross a few of them off!  It’s not about the actual meal, it’s just reaching a goal.  One little thing to look forward to that would help take your mind off of the treatments and reality of all that meant.

By the grace of Almighty God, I am very much alive, very healthy and very thankful!  I’ve been able to see our youngest daughter marry her husband and am now the “Bapaw” to three (soon to be four) beautiful grandchildren.  None of them were born when I was diagnosed.  That is a huge blessing in itself.  Add to that, the many, many blessings the Lord has given us, far too many to list.  His mercies are new every morning. Lam. 3:23  I can tell you that without the promise of eternal life with my Savior, I don’t know that I would have made it through those months of treatments and recovery.  All praise and glory belongs to Him!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Bucket List Cameras Fuji X20 Funk General Stuff Landmarks Music/Musicians Musicians Nashville Thoughts Tower Of Power fun music https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Another-Bucket-List-Check-Off Sat, 13 Apr 2013 20:56:26 GMT
A Beautiful Mistake (my exposure *faux pas) https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/A-Beautiful-Mistake-my-exposure-faux-pas

I’ve shown this before, but I was reviewing some images and realized I made a very amateur mistake on this photo.  Before I confess to what it was, take a look at a 100% crop.

Right out of the camera from the Fuji X Pro 1

And now the final image that I am very pleased with:

Beautiful window light at the Marathon building

OK, so what was my big mistake you might ask?  I saw this beautiful light and got so excited that I forgot to check my settings.  When I saw this image I was blown away by the sharpness.  I also thought the depth of field was more than I expected…until I looked at the meta data.  We were in extremely low light before we found this spot so my camera was still set to ISO 2000!  That wasn’t the stupid part because as you can see, this camera looks great at that ISO.  My 18-55 lens was at 27mm, still no problem, but that helps explain the depth of field I saw.  The real surprise was that I didn’t pay attention to the basic settings and I shot this at 1/16 and f9.8!  That is way too slow (but it worked) and I could have opened way up to get a more shallow depth of field.  I wouldn’t select that slow of a shutter speed intentionally for this situation, but the optical stabilization worked really well.

This is a great example of always taking time to execute the basics properly, which I didn’t.  However, in this case it worked out just fine and I now have a great portrait of my wonderful son!

*”faux pas” The term comes from French and literally means “false step”.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) B&W Cameras Equipment Reviews Family General Stuff Landmarks Lenses Lighting Marathon Village Nashville Nik Portraits black and white lighting son window light https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/A-Beautiful-Mistake-my-exposure-faux-pas Fri, 12 Apr 2013 04:04:02 GMT
Men who helped me become the man I am today https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Men-who-helped-me-become-the-man-I-am-today Thanks.  It’s a simple word that we may not say often enough.  If we don’t, one day it could be too late for us to say thanks to those that may have mattered most.  I’m sure I’ll miss some if I start naming all the men that have invested deeply into my life.  There are however two in this picture that had an impact that lives in me to this day, and a third that lives on in our children.

Bob Valles, Mark Trotter and Frank Par-Due

I want to say that this was July of 1999.  We were in Moscow, Russia on a missions trip called the “Volga River Campaign” with about 200 men from First Baptist Church of New Philadelphia, Ohio.  Our goal was to pass out thousands of New Testaments in the Russian language to anyone that would accept it.  It was awesome to have my son along with me on that trip, we were even room mates.  We got to see and experience a lot together.  It was great for me as the dad, but maybe not quite as great for an 18 year old.

Aaron was there because his youth Pastor Bob Valles encouraged them as young men to make this trip.  Bob and his wife invested in our children for most of their high school years, we are grateful for the impact they had on our kids.

The trip had great impact on all of us, but I think especially for those young guys.  For many of them it was their first time out of the country, so it was a real eye opener.  Long flights, customs inspections, terminals with not much to choose from, food that was “unusual” to say the least, corruption at every possible intersection of life.  We were all fighting our bodies that resisted the time change and pushing beyond what we thought was possible (or reasonable).  There are 20 hours of daylight in Russia in the summer…unbelievable!

One of my life long friends Randy Meese posted this quote on his facebook page the other day, and he reminded me that we had to memorize it before this trip.

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here too, Heaven is opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.

It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Unfortunately we don’t know exactly who said this, some say it was Samuel R. Boggs, others would argue and I really don’t know if it matters.  What we do know is that the Gideons place it inside every New Testament they distribute.

The other two men hold a very special place in my heart.  Mark Trotter was my friend and pastor through most of my 30′s and 40′s.  We were learning how to love our wives and raise kids together.  He was helpful and transparent, never acting like he had it all together and admitting that he was just a few weeks ahead of us in the journey.  He taught us to love the Bible and how to read and study it.  Tools that I use to this day as I read or study, and the “filter” I view biblical statements through to discern if they are true and accurate.

Last but not least is Frank Par-Due.  I owe so much of what I used in parenting to what Frank taught me.  I didn’t just get it from his sermons, although he had an incredible ability to take the Words of God and make the light go on in your understanding!  Mostly, I learned from watching him as he loved and served his wife and kids.  He personified what it meant to teach them at all times of the day and to watch for “teachable moments” and take advantage of them!  Frank went home to be with the Lord as a young man, however his words and teachings live on in me and many others.  We have passed them on to our children and soon to our children’s children.

This is in no way an attempt to “deify” any of these guys, they would all hate it.  I doubt if they will even see this, but if they do, they will know that I am forever thankful for their investment in our lives.  I hope that in some small way, I will be able to pass on some of what they taught me to future generations.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Faith Family Landmarks Russia Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes children friends grandchildren missions trip tribute https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Men-who-helped-me-become-the-man-I-am-today Sun, 07 Apr 2013 13:01:32 GMT
Seeing Again – Mail Pouch Barn https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Seeing-Again-Mail-Pouch-Barn

I’ve driven past this barn dozens, maybe even hundreds of times through the years.  But the other day while I was in Ohio, it caught my eye for possibly the first time as an interesting image.  I zoomed past it and thought to myself, that might have been a nice picture.  I was in the car alone at this time so I decided to turn around and take another look.  I’m really glad I did!  Even though it still has a wintery feel, I like the look and the way the bare trees frame the barn.  I could see this as a multiple season image, from green grass through fall leaves and finally the snow of winter.  That would take a considerable amount of work since it’s several hundred miles from Nashville, but it would be awesome.

This is also shot at preserving a passing part of Americana.  There were hundreds of these advertisements in Ohio and West Virginia at one time.  Now, they are a rarity and slowly fading away.  Either the paint is nearly gone or the barn is falling down, there just aren’t many left.

I think the point is that I am shooting for “me” again for the first time in many years.  The joy of making beautiful photographs is what started me in this profession over 40 years ago.  Somehow, it became a job and I rarely shot for my satisfaction or self fulfillment.  I have to say thanks to my great friend Bill Fortney Jim and Snake from His Light Workshops for rekindling that fire that started me seeing again.  There was nothing “magical” about what they did, they just offered a time to look around for a possible photograph then take the time to shoot it.  After that in a classroom setting or at times one on one, they offered valuable feedback as to what looked good or how it could be improved.  Constructive criticism is valuable in every aspect of life!

This is the Fuji X Pro 1 with 18-55 zoom lens.  200 ISO, 1/250 at f10 handheld. (it was cold and I was too lazy to set up my tripod)

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Americana Barn Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff HDR Landmarks Lighting Mail Pouch Ohio Scenic Software Thoughts Travel and road trips road trip travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/4/Seeing-Again-Mail-Pouch-Barn Fri, 05 Apr 2013 03:34:04 GMT
Easter Weekend in Ohio https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Easter-Weekend-in-Ohio I love spending time with our kids and grandkids.  But the cold, hard fact is, it takes 5 1/2-6 hours to get here.  So on any given weekend that we are heading up here, I run home and pick up Marlene.  We jump in the car and drive north until we arrive.  Typically it is 12:30 our time, 1:30 here.  That may not sound bad, but when your day started early and after you’ve worked a full day, we are both ready to get in and off the road.

Scott made a great breakfast and Christin baked delicious muffins, what a way to start the day!  We loaded into the van and drove to a small church that was hosting the egg hunt.  Scott ran into a man there that he knew as a young man.  He went to this church with one of his friends and played in a band with this guy’s son-in-law, how cool is that?  To meet up with someone from your past and let them know that you are still walking with the Lord and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lunchtime was Skyline with Scott.  Need I say more?  I think not, other than it was great as usual.  After that Scott and I headed over to Jacob’s Well Fellowship so I could do some pictures for them to use on their site and for promotion.  They came out great and I’ll post some of those soon.

The sun was out and it was in the mid 50′s so we spent time with the kids walking and pushing them on their toys.  Here they are on their little “Indian” motorcycle.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and we will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ with this church family here.  Then we’ll have lunch and head back home.   We have a few days of work planned here with Sis and Scott.  Our assignment is to get the house ready for the arrival of the next Yuppa!  It will be a labor of love. (no pun intended)  Of course it will be fun watching the kids open their Easter goodies from their parents and us.

Happy Easter everyone!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Easter Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Ohio Travel and road trips babies children friends fun grandchildren outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Easter-Weekend-in-Ohio Sat, 30 Mar 2013 18:59:01 GMT
An overdue “Thank You” to His Light Workshop https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/An-overdue-Thank-You-to-His-Light-Workshop

Above photo by Bill Fortney

As many of you know, I’ve been taking photos for more years than I like to claim.  I photographed my first wedding for money in 1972 as a high school Sophomore.  What were they thinking hiring someone that young to take their wedding pictures?  40+ years later, it is how I’ve supported our family and I have been blessed to do what I love.  That said, I haven’t always loved every job.  In fact, it became just that, a job or work.  It got to the point where I really didn’t pick up my camera any longer for fun or to make me happy.  If there wasn’t money involved, I pretty much didn’t shoot.  How sad, I started this because I loved it so how did I end up here?

Early this year as you know I made a huge switch from big, heavy (but wonderful) DSLR cameras to the Fuji X Pro system.  Something happened, all of a sudden I no longer dreaded carrying my cameras because of weight.  Another great discovery, I also had a great camera with me more often so I was able to take some nice pictures I may have missed.

So, to my great friend and brother in Christ Bill Fortney, thank you for inviting me to this life changing His Light Workshop!  This was literally the first time in over 20 years that I have been to any kind of workshop or class solely as a participant.  It was liberating to simply get back to taking pictures that interested me.  No assignments or agendas.  No expectations.  Time with new friends and all by myself.  Saturday at Bill’s invitation, my son Aaron was able to join me.  The entire two days were a breath of fresh “creative” air, and for that I am very thankful!  Bill would be the first to say that this doesn’t happen all by himself and that without his team, it wouldn’t be possible.  Jim Begley, Snake and RC were invaluable and so very giving.  Quick to share and spend time helping all of us understand how to get some images we would be proud of.  Because of their selflessness, I did produce some!

If you are stale and in need of some inspiration.  Or if you are bored with what you are turning out day after day.  Chances are all you need may just happen at one of these exciting workshops.  There are a few more really exciting ones scheduled for this year.  One of them will be right here in Music City in July and it is going to be great!  There is a very special, surprise guest attending that you won’t want to miss.

Left to right at table: Snake, Jim and Bill

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Equipment Reviews Faith Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff HDR Lenses Lighting Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes friends learning lighting outdoors thanks travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/An-overdue-Thank-You-to-His-Light-Workshop Thu, 28 Mar 2013 18:58:50 GMT
The “Nash” in Nashville? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/The-Nash-in-Nashville

The Nash automobile, forgotten by many but still alive in some auto bone yards.  1916-1954

If it weren’t for the fact that we live in Nashville, I may have walked right by this grill.  But it kind of called out to me, a reminder of a vehicle either forgotten or not ever known about.  Until we moved here I had never heard of the Marathon car line, but I sure do love that old building!

Color or black and white? Decisions, decisions.

What’s so great about the Nash automobile?  Check this out: Nash started selling an optional air conditioning/heating system, using Kelvinator knowledge; it was the first car heater powered by hot water to work with fresh air. The next year, a thermostat was added, creating the Nash Weather Eye heater, the first thermostatic climate control system.  I researched and got this info from the Nash at this link and it is very interesting reading.

The moral of the story is, that as photographers we have a duty to document some of these fading facts for future generations.  If you are out walking around and you see something brand new to you, take a picture of it.  You may not need or want it now, but one day you may be glad you did.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cars Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff HDR Macro Nashville Nik Old cars Travel and road trips historical outdoors vintage https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/The-Nash-in-Nashville Tue, 19 Mar 2013 04:36:59 GMT
More HDR Images from His Light Workshop https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/More-HDR-Images-from-His-Light-Workshop

My first car was a hand me down Plymouth Valiant station wagon, a real “chick magnet!”

 

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!  Here are some of my favorites from last weekend.  I feel the key to HDR is not over doing it, making the images look more like “cartoons” instead of an expanded dynamic range photograph.

I appreciate the ability to at the flick of a switch go back to my composition of choice, the square.  25 years of shooting Hasselblad will do that to you!

What a great antique fire truck.  Fuji X Pro 1 with the brand new 14mm fuji lens, incredible sharpness!

Look at the detail in the floor board area of this truck, it was in deep shadow but salvaged with this technique.  I see this as a real life saver in some situations.

One of my favorite images from the weekend. I love the feel of this “kitchen car.”

Not a lot of words this time, just some of the images I was able to take with the help of the Workshop team.  Bill, Jim, Snake all made this a weekend to remember.  I will do one of these again as soon as I possibly can.

One of the things that made this time extra special was that my son Aaron was able to join us on Saturday.  We found this car and thought it was a great place for a portrait together.  I love this picture and I love my son.  It is incredible shooting together, one of the most enjoyable times I’ve spent behind a camera.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Cars Fuji X Pro 1 HDR His Light Workshops Lenses Old cars Portraits Scenic Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes decor friends outdoors son https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/More-HDR-Images-from-His-Light-Workshop Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:50:56 GMT
His Light Workshop at Old Car City, USA https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/His-Light-Workshop-at-Old-Car-City-USA I can’t remember the last time I’ve had this much fun!  What an incredibly fulfilling day, and I owe it all to my dear friend and brother in Christ, Bill Fortney.  He invited me to this workshop a few weeks ago, and as much as I wanted to attend, I wasn’t 100% convinced I would be able to make it.  The store manager and my friend Terry Wyatt was able to give me the time off so I could come and play.  (Terry by the way is a great photographer too, go take a look at his work, you will like it)

So, we are in the “world’s largest known old car junk yard.”  That’s what the sign says anyway.  I don’t know if it is or isn’t, what I do know is it is truly a photographers playground!

So, here is my first image, out of the camera with just a few tweaks.  I like it a lot and the sharpness of my Fuji X Pro 1 is blowing the other attendees away!  It rivals much larger, more expensive, full frame sensor cameras.  In fact, it looks even better that some of them.  Not my words, theirs.

I really like this image a lot.  In fact, if this is all I came away with I would be very happy.  One of the incredible workshop staff team members is Jim Begley. Like all of them, he is an incredible photographer!  He shoots unbelievable HDR images all over the world.  Some of the very best I’ve seen.  He offered to show me how he works an image from start to finish using one of my files.  He uses Photomechanic as a starting place, and it was pretty slick.  I just looked and it is a $150.00 program so I’m not sure I’ll be getting it right away.  Here is the altered file after Jim showed me some of the ropes.

This is the final tweaked image, Thanks Jim!

If you are looking for a “photographic refuel” I can totally endorse and recommend you do one of these workshops.  The staff is top notch and makes it so easy to understand the process!  Here are links to a few of the other guys that help with the workshop.  Each of them could easily do this on their own, but as a team they are incredible!  R.C. Concepcion works on Scott Kelby’s staff, enough said about him, right?  “Snake” is an incredible outdoor shooter who produces drop dead images with ease. Like all “staff members” they do the behind the scenes stuff that often goes unnoticed.  Since I am often that person, I appreciate so much all the attention to detail for smooth days.  Thanks to all of you for all that you did!

After shooting all day we went to dinner and then came back for some classroom time.  Bill shared an excellent, challenging devotional with us.  That may sound very simple but it is what separates this workshop from any other I’ve ever been to in 40 years of photography.  As photographers it is all about the light.  In our lives, it centers around “His” light to make it from day, to day and into an eternity with Christ!

I’ve met many incredible people this weekend.  We have a common love for photography and enjoy sharing what we know.  This has been a breath of fresh air to me, and very relaxing.  Tomorrow we are off to a Railroad Museum where more HDR imaging will take place.  Aaron is meeting us there and we will get to hang out together shooting some great scenes.  I’m anxious to see how he “sees” the same subjects I do, I know it will be different and I will probably like his images better than mine.  He has such a great compositional eye, plus I’m excited about he and Bill finally meeting in person.

Off to bed, early morning breakfast.  Kick stands up at 8:30!  I hope I can sleep, it’s just like Christmas eve!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Classes Faith Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Georgia HDR His Light Workshops Lenses Lighting Macro Old cars Scenic Thoughts Travel and road trips junkyard outdoors road trip https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/His-Light-Workshop-at-Old-Car-City-USA Fri, 08 Mar 2013 21:10:24 GMT
College Class with Fuji X Pro and Elinchrom https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/College-Class-with-Fuji-X-Pro-and-Elinchrom

 

Wednesday I went to Nossi at their invitation to expose them to Mirrorless cameras.  This is Natalie Nicole, an actress and model.  She got the short straw and worked the high key set with me today.  I love the fact that her Native American heritage gave us beautiful olive flesh tones and super black hair.  The outfit was perfect to show what the Fuji X Pro 1 sensor can deliver and how easy it is to do a great lighting set up with a minimum of equipment.

Look at this detail and beautiful flesh tones.  Perfectly white teeth…it just doesn’t get much better than this!

 Here is my simple two light set up with one giant flat reflector on the opposite side.  So easy but yet so beautiful.

 

My reason for this trip was to expose the students (and faculty) to a couple of brand new thoughts.  Mirrorless cameras, they are not a passing fad.  Chances are very good that before they graduate, many of them will have transitioned into these or own at least one in their camera arsenal.

First a very sincere compliment.  Nossi has some of the finest studio facilities I’ve seen in all of Nashville!  If I ever needed to rent a large studio, this would be my only call.  The main studio is beautifully designed with a large garage door you can drive vehicles into and a huge cyc wall.  Nice sound system you can bring your own tunes if you want.  There is an extensive rail system in place to make hanging lights very simple and that is a good thing, herews why.  My next comments aren’t anything I haven’t said to the Administration many times, the most recent was during this visit.  Like so many colleges, Nossi hasn’t for whatever reason committed to buying superior quality lights.  They buy very inexpensive units because of the abuse their students  wage on them.  Not a great decision in my opinion for several reasons.  My Elinchrom lights are over 12 years old and at this point have served me very well!  Because of that I don’t consider them expensive at all, in fact just the opposite.  I offer this same information to every person that asks me about lighting equipment.  Buy quality and only buy it once.  You’ll save the aggravation and down time of repair after repair.  You will also save huge amounts of time in post processing that is necessary because of the inconsistency in output of those lights.  All the effort that goes into a shoot shouldn’t be made more painful by hours of post processing time to fix exposures that are all over the place.  Remember, the time you spend fixing exposures is time you are deducting from what you made for the job or you are typically paying someone to fix them for you.  Either way, great lights mean more money in the bank and the ability to spend time doing what you enjoy doing…shooting!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Classes Elinchrom Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Nashville Portraits Thoughts high key lighting model portraits teaching https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/College-Class-with-Fuji-X-Pro-and-Elinchrom Thu, 07 Mar 2013 21:33:53 GMT
Looking into “The Future” https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Looking-into-The-Future

Aaron’s Toyota van affectionately named, “The Future.”

March 24, 2010 I went on a several day road trip with my son.  We headed south to Florida just so we could take pictures and enjoy some time together.  It was fun, random and spontaneous.  We didn’t even make hotel reservations because we didn’t know where we would end up at.  I found these files yesterday when I was looking for an image to add to my post, I just needed something “pretty” that represented stillness, and that’s where I found it.

So, I’ve been thinking about the uncertainty of the future recently and how quickly life changes.  You can’t watch the news, read a paper or open up your browser without seeing some horrific accident, murder or life altering event.  It happens every single day.  Someone’s lives have been changed forever in an instant!  It may or may not have happened to you, but you can pretty much be assured that it will at some point.

I don’t want this to be depressing or seem fatalistic, instead, I want to remind you that there is someone who knows all the future before it happens.  He cares for you and wants to provide your every need.

1 Peter 5:7 KJV  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Comfort during a loss.  Help when you are hurting.  Encouragement when you are depressed or healing when you are sick.  No matter what your need is, He is bigger than that and has all the answers.  However, we don’t always get the answers we are hoping for, or it seems like our prayers may have gone unanswered.  In reality, we can know that they haven’t.

No matter where you find yourself today, in a state of all is well, or your life is turned upside down.  I want to remind you that there is One who cares for you, and loves you.  He will see you safely through whatever you are going through.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cars Faith Family Florida General Stuff Lighting Portraits Scenic Sunset Thoughts Toyota Travel and road trips portraits road trip son travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Looking-into-The-Future Tue, 05 Mar 2013 04:51:55 GMT
Be still…so simple, so hard https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Be-still-so-simple-so-hard

Be still

I was able to meet up with a very dear high school friend this past weekend.  I’m sure he would want to remain anonymous, and I want to honor that.  We met and went to dinner together, catching up on our lives in the 10+ years it’s been since we last met.

As with all of us, life just happens.  He and I both have had a similar kind of cancer in our throats, and as a result, we battle some of the same side effects.  Not dwelling on that, but rather choosing to be reminded of how very blessed we are to still be alive and enjoying our families.

I told him that I had a difficult time finding him.  I “Googled” him and he did not exist.  He wasn’t wasn’t even on facebook.  What?!  How could that be in 2013?  He told me that he lived at the end of the cul-de-sac on the information super highway…by choice.  Wikopedia defines a “cul-de-sac”:  a dead-end street with only one inlet/outlet.  Interesting choice of words don’t you think?  It was worth the effort because we had a great visit and promised it wouldn’t be too long before we got together again.

At times I just want to “check out” of all the technology we have.  I am typing this while sitting in the truck riding home from our another trade show.  70 mph, out in the middle of Kentucky, and able to have access to all the information I would want.  That leaves very little “down time” or time we aren’t readily available to others needs, (percieved or real) whims and wants.

This brings me to a thought from Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God:  I will be exalted (not I might be) among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  (all within His time frame)

Like many who have accepted the free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, I believe we are living in the last days.  That is the days before He returns to earth to take all of those who have simply trusted in Him and His free, redemptive work on the cross to take away our sins.  Not good works, you see we could never be good enough.  No “random acts of kindness” will give us enough “God brownie points” that will count when we draw our last breath.  Simply by grace, through faith.  Amazing grace really is a great definition.

I am looking forward to Thursday this coming week.  I have been invited by my dear friend and brother in Christ Bill Fortney to attend one of his “In Light” workshops a few hours away from Nashville.  You would be blessed to add his blog to one of your daily visited websites.  The photography is beautiful, but the insights are invaluable!  So, I hope to take a few days to learn how to be a better photographer from some of the best and most creative people on the planet.  More than that, I get to be among people “of like faith” that I will spend these treasured hours with and in the future all of eternity!  I am looking forward to that more than anything.  A “rest stop” in this very busy life we live.  A short time to intentionally “be still.”

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Faith General Stuff Jesus Christ Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes eternity friends travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/3/Be-still-so-simple-so-hard Sun, 03 Mar 2013 09:46:34 GMT
CamRanger, Westcott and Elinchrom at the PPO Show, Dublin, Ohio https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/CamRanger-Westcott-and-Elinchrom-at-the-PPO-Show-Dublin-Ohio Like Little Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home.”  Ohio has been home most of my life, until nearly 3 years ago when we moved to Tennessee.  This past weekend was one of my very favorite shows to work for Dury’s!  This years Professional Photographers of Ohio show was the best it’s been in recent history.  The PPO is growing again and the attitude was both positive and encouraging.  I have been concerned about the PPO for many years, just watching it slowly decline was painful.  This year it was different.  From the time we pulled in and all through the show, staff stopped by to see if we needed anything at all.  How refreshing and helpful that was!

I was asked to do two little “mini-seminars” in the gazebo area.  It was pretty tiny, and I’m sure we have outgrown it for next year.  We decided I would show the  CamRanger in action.  This has been a very exciting product for us and our customers.  Finally, the ability to shoot wirelessly to an iPad and it doesn’t take an engineering degree to make it happen.  If you email me directly, I can save you some money on your purchase, but you have to call or email me to get the savings.  nickcoury@durys.com is the easiest way to get in on this.  If you want to see it in action, here is a video .

The CamRanger works on most any Nikon or Canon camera.  So I had to borrow a camera from my boss since I don’t have one of those in my current arsenal.  This was shot on a Nikon D3s and 24-120 zoom lens.  I shot both RAW and JPEG on my card and sent small jpeg’s to the iPad.  This image was taken right from the card, no exposure adjustment, just some Nik Software Glamour Glow and Imagenomic Portraiture.  Lighting was a couple of Westcott Spider lights that were in soft boxes.  The separation light was about a 12×36 strip bank with fabric grids, I use a similar lighting set up for a lot of my personal work.

This was the first time I’ve ever used a background by Serendipity Backgrounds.  I was blown away by how nicely it photographed and reacted to a simple lighting adjustment.  I was shocked to hear that these average right at $100.00 making them super affordable!  I’m glad I was able to shoot on these a few times and had super favorable results both times.

This is a couple to watch!  

I’ll wrap this up with a quick “one light” portrait I did of my friends Willard and Shawn Jones.  This was a 53″ Elinchrome Deep Inverted Rotalux.  No other light, not even a reflector!  I have never used any light source like this other than it’s big brother, the 72″ Octabank.  In my opinion, it would be money better spent to buy this box and a $400.00, 200 Ws light over the same amount on an inexpensive, multiple light set!  Keep your eyes on this couple, they are real up and comers, plus a wonderful couple.  They have built an incredible business in a short period of time.  If you listen to them speak its obvious why.  A lot of  hard work and extreme customer service.  No secret there, but not many are willing to do it either.  This past week was their first program at PPO, and I was super impressed by the amount of information they presented in a short period of time.  You two rock!  Very proud to call you friends.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) CamRanger Cameras Elinchrom Equipment Reviews Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Glamour Glow Lighting Nik Nikon Software Travel and road trips Westcott iPad lighting portraits travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/CamRanger-Westcott-and-Elinchrom-at-the-PPO-Show-Dublin-Ohio Wed, 27 Feb 2013 04:20:59 GMT
Last Weeks “office” – Sewanee Archives Building https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Last-Weeks-office-Sewanee-Archives-Building

This was my office last Tuesday, and it was a beautiful place to work.  Wood floors, spot lighting, high ceiling and lots of outlets.  Nothing missing at all.  This room is a gallery that was being taken down, but they let us use it anyway.  As you can see, my standard 3 light set up modified slightly for the client’s specifications.

The drive down was beautiful.  The sun was bright and if the wind hadn’t been blowing the temps would have been great too.  Marlene and I enjoy our road trips a lot.  If we want a coffee we stop and get one, if we see something that interests us, we can take it in.

Pocket Wizard Plus III’s firing Hensel 500 Ws lights. My trusty Photogenic Posing Stool that I’ve owned for many  years.

Finally, a view from the “hot seat.”

My friend Henry watching it all come together

Soon, I will have some of the shots posted up for you to take a look at.  First look, I am pleased with the way they were executed.  Oh yeah, all of these were quick snaps with my Fuji X10, I sure do love that little camera!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji X Pro 1 Fuji X10 General Stuff Hensel Lenses Lighting Photogenic Pocket Wizards Travel and road trips lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Last-Weeks-office-Sewanee-Archives-Building Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:28:50 GMT
Sewanee, The College of the South https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Sewanee-The-College-of-the-South

Let me introduce you to my friend, Henry Hamman.  Henry is a talented writer, great guy and a lot of fun to hang with.  (he also is super smart and loves photography)

Today I am driving to Sewanee, which is about 100 miles South of Nashville.  We’ll meet Henry there and set up to photograph some VIP that is an alumnus of the College.  This is the second job I’ve been hired to photograph for them, I did one last summer too.  The assignment:  Create a portrait that will match a wall full of portraits they have previously commissioned through the years so it fits seamlessly into their design.  No room for my private interpretation of the subject, just replicate what’s already been done.  To some, this may not sound like fun, even boring.  I consider it a challenge to hone my skills and get it right for the client.

So, my gear is tested, packed and ready.  We will drive a couple hours, set up the studio and photograph our subject.  When we are done, we will have completed our task in about 5 minutes!  I will post our final portrait in the next few days so you can see what we ended up with for our client.  Last year this was shot with a Nikon D700 and 70-200 f2.8 lens.  This year I will be using my Fuji X Pro 1 and the 60mm macro lens.  This is my first actual job with this combination and I can’t wait!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras College Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lighting Nikon Portraits Sewanee Travel and road trips Tributes lighting low key portraits road trip https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Sewanee-The-College-of-the-South Tue, 19 Feb 2013 04:19:42 GMT
What’s the best camera to own? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/What-s-the-best-camera-to-own People ask me this all the time?  We all know that it’s the one you have with you.  We are seeing better pictures from more people all the time because our phones are capable of such great images.  I’d like to ask you a question.  How many of you have printed many of those images?  In fact, I bet not many of us have printed ANY of them!  I agree it is really easy to share them by email, message or post on a social media of your choice.  Plus, it will be seen by countless individuals.  I love using my iPhone to let you all know where I am and what I’m eating.  :) But for great images, you have to use a great camera.

I’ve made a conscious attempt to carry my camera to every event I’ve traveled to this year.  So far, so good.  As a result, I’ve been rewarded with a few nice images.  Last night was our last night at the Photo Pro Expo in Covington, KY.  We had a great time and I’ve always wanted a shot of the really pretty Cincinnati skyline.  Last night was the night to do it.  I like the dramatic sky and the appearance of texture it gave.

Cincinnati Skyline (not the chili)

I hope this illustrates that there just isn’t any substitute for a “real” camera.  Not that you couldn’t pull this off with a lesser camera, you could get something close for sure.  But, the better your camera/sensor, your willingness to nail the exposure and use a tripod, the better your final image will be.

For those of you that care about the specifics.  This was a JPEG right out of my Fuji X Pro 1 with the 18-55 zoom lens.  I would have never carried my huge DSLR camera…either of them.  Last year when I did, I hated the weight and typically left it in my room.  But with the X Pro, it weighs less than my 70-200 f2.8 VR II lens did!  I am also carrying a small, very portable tripod called a MePhoto.  As you can see, it does a great job even on this 30 second exposure.  A little post processing with Nik Software to kick it up a notch and this is the final image.  I am really glad that I took the time to do this last night.  The weather cooperated and the long exposure timer on the camera display makes it easy to duplicate your exposures while bracketing.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Cincinnati Fuji Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lenses Ohio River Scenic Travel and road trips outdoors skyline https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/What-s-the-best-camera-to-own Mon, 11 Feb 2013 17:42:39 GMT
Groundhog Day at Marathon Village, Nashville https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Groundhog-Day-at-Marathon-Village-Nashville

The window light was incredible for this portrait of Aaron

We were pleasantly surprised by a visit from our son!  Out of the blue he called yesterday and said he was heading up after work.  Good thing he left last night because he missed the snow this morning.  It’s not that he can’t drive in it, because he can.  But the rest of the city, well lets just say they are challenged by even a trace of the white stuff.  We thought we would wait for the roads to be cleared (of all the accidents) before we headed out.  So, about noon we took off for downtown.  After a quick stop at Dury’s we went to Marathon Village just a few miles away.  We’ve lived here for nearly 3 years, and this is the first time that we made it there.  We have tried a few times, but always seemed to get distracted.  Aaron and I thought it would be a great chance to shoot together again.  I love shooting with him, it never ceases to amaze me as I watch him photograph what I just walked by.  You should keep an eye on his work, it is getting better with every passing day.  He is enjoying his Fuji X-E1 camera and getting some killer images from it!  You can follow him on his blog.

It was kind of cold, so the first stop was for coffee.  We found Garage Coffee Company to be a friendly place with great java!  They actually roast their own beans and their house blend (named “Road Rage”) is very tasty.  They sell creative mugs and T’s with really catchy names.  It is well worth the stop!

Marlene and I enjoy watching the show “American Pickers” every now and then.  We naturally wanted to stop by the Nashville location of Antique Archaeology.  Like most places in Nashville, they had live music there.  It was great having music while you walked around looking at the vintage and reproduction items they have for sale.  I thought a sepia look might be right for this particular shot.  I love being able to make that decision on the fly, in camera and see if its really the right feeling for the situation.

Take a look at the sign on the ceiling, “No dancing in this Room”

I wish this were like the movie “Groundhog Day” because I really would like to do it again, and again.  I’m sure we will go back, it was a great day!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X Pro 1 Fuji X-E1 General Stuff Lenses Lighting Marathon Village Music/Musicians Nashville Portraits coffee lighting son window light https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/2/Groundhog-Day-at-Marathon-Village-Nashville Sun, 03 Feb 2013 05:35:59 GMT
Under The Sea https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/Under-The-Sea

Calming and beautiful

I don’t know about you, but I love water.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the relaxing sounds of the ocean, a babbling brook hid deep in the forest or watching all the life in the oceans depths.  There is something very calming about water.  As we walked through the aquarium in Atlanta, it was awesome to look at the variety of life found in the depths of the waters.

This looks like you are on the ocean floor.  In reality, you are safely behind a 2 foot thick piece of crystal clear plastic!  While we were looking at this scene, we listened to the narrator explain that these all lived together because of the way they were designed.  Designed by who or what?

I believe in one Intelligent Designer, Almighty God!  I love the simplicity of how God narrates what He did and makes it seem so simple.  Genesis 1:3 starts with the words, “And God said” and from there on it is a series of God’s commands and all that we know came into existence!  To think that these were just a part of the thoughts of God is incredible.  Look at this small snapshot of how varied the fish are in this image.  There are hundreds, possibly even thousands more sea creatures that aren’t represented here and some that aren’t visible to our eye from this vantage point.  Verse 20 talks about the life within the water.  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.  V21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind…and God saw that it was good.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Aquarium Atlanta Georgia Family Fuji Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Scenic Thoughts Travel and road trips lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/Under-The-Sea Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:06:47 GMT
The Lord’s mercies are new every morning! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/The-Lord-s-mercies-are-new-every-morning Lamentation 3:22-23  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed , because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

As I woke up early this morning, I took a look out my window and this was the beautiful sunrise.  It made me think about this verse from Lamentations and that how each day we experience the Lord’s mercies in a brand new way.  I was reflecting on some of the many, many, (too many to name) blessings we enjoy.

I always start with my family as they are such a joy to me!  Marlene is at a women’s retreat with over 100 other ladies from our church.  This will be a time of refreshing for her, and I am excited that she is there!  Our son lives here in Atlanta and we are going to get to spend time together, that is a highlight for sure.  He is involved in a two day meeting with people from his church where he is very active.  Our eldest daughter and her husband are involved in ministries at their home church.  Our youngest daughter and her husband are serving the Lord faithfully in San Diego.  One of Marlene’s favorite verses that she has prayed into the lives of our children for their entire lives and continues to pray for them is 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  And now, she prays it for our grandchildren too.  I have to mention that one of the things I am most thankful for is not just the love of my wife, but her prayerful, and encouraging support for the last 35 years!

I hope this doesn’t come off as bragging on Marlene and I at all.  Rather, we are bragging on the Lord and his faithfulness!  The fact that He can be trusted and will never leave you or forsake you.  He is truly friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24  I hope you know Him the way our family knows Him!  My prayer is that you will find His mercies new today and every morning.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Atlanta Faith Family Fuji X10 General Stuff Scenic Sunrise Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes faithful morning https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/The-Lord-s-mercies-are-new-every-morning Sat, 19 Jan 2013 05:42:17 GMT
Bokeh – Photography Buzz Word? https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/Bokeh-Photography-Buzz-Word You can’t read many photography related blogs or forums without that word appearing somewhere on the opening pages.  In my opinion, it is the most incorrectly used word I hear on a daily basis.  The fact is, very few people understand the word or its origin.  Hey, let’s see what Wikipedia says about it.  You want to?

Bokeh: pron.: /ˈbk/ BOH-kay The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze.”

Please note right off the bat that it has nothing to do with any specific photographic lens.  More specifically a Canon 85 f1.2, or any other “magical” tool.  (that lens does have a wonderful look, but so does their 85mm 1.8 or the Nikon equivalent at roughly at 1/4 the of it’s price!  The Sigma 85mm 1.4 has a beautiful bokeh at under $1,000.00.  It’s just the appearance of the background in the final image.

Additional info from Wikipedia:  The English spelling bokeh was popularized in 1997 in Photo Techniques magazine, when Mike Johnston, the editor at the time, commissioned three papers on the topic for the March/April 1997 issue; he altered the spelling to suggest the correct pronunciation to English speakers, saying “it is properly pronounced with bo as in bone and ke as in Kenneth, with equal stress on either syllable”.[4] The spellings bokeh and boke have both been in use at least since 1996, when Merklinger had suggested “or Bokeh if you prefer.”[10] The term bokeh has appeared in photography books at least since 1998.

Christmas week our son was home and this came up in conversation.  He is a very creative photographer with a bit of a twist.  He also wants to understand the technical part of it so he can control his image in camera without a lot of post production.  We had time to set up this little scenario and see how different openings affected the final image.  So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few images that illustrate the effect.

 

f8 You can pretty easily see it is a tree with ornaments in the background

f5.6 You can still see the outline of the ornaments, but they are fading

 

f4 Going, going, going…

f2.4 Gone.  (and in a beautiful way!)  Wide open on the 60mm Fuji Macro lens

Let me muddy the water just a little bit.  There are so many variables that control what your background will look like.  Not only does your shooting aperture affect the appearance, but so does your focusing distance, specifically the distance from camera to subject.  The closer you are (like with a macro lens as above) the depth of field is greatly reduced and the effect emphasized.  Two lenses that have shallow depth of field characteristics are macro and telephoto, so the effect is best with those.  You want to see it for yourself?  Simple, just fill the frame near minimum focus as close as you can get to your subject, take the photo and there it is!

One final addition from the Wiki site:  Bokeh characteristics may be quantified by examining the image’s circle of confusion. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light becomes an image of the aperture, generally a more or less round disc. Depending how a lens is corrected for spherical aberration, the disc may be uniformly illuminated, brighter near the edge, or brighter near the center. Lenses that are poorly corrected for spherical aberration will show one kind of disc for out-of-focus points in front of the plane of focus, and a different kind for points behind.

Conclusion:  Bokeh is real and beautiful when it happens as a result of using the right lens, the right way.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Classes Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lenses Macro Thoughts Tutorial bokeh lighting https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2013/1/Bokeh-Photography-Buzz-Word Wed, 16 Jan 2013 04:09:18 GMT
Everything in one place: Think Tank Security V2.0 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Everything-in-one-place-Think-Tank-Security-V2-0 I’ve owned one of these Think Tank bags for over two years.  But before I changed camera systems, it was referred to as, “The Mother Ship” in other words, where all my DSLR gear lived until I needed it for a job.  If I were traveling anyplace far away, I would use this to transport it all safely on the plane with me.  Never any farther away than over my head.  I could put several bodies, 6 lenses, two strobes, batteries, chargers and other miscellaneous stuff in this bag.  This allowed me to be prepared for most anything that I’d come up against without running off to the nearest camera store in a panic.  That was then, this is now.

A place for everything, everything in it’s place!

  • A=Fuji X Pro-1 with zoom lens attached (this used to be a D700 with 70-200 and extended nearly to “F” compartment!)
  • B= 60mm macro lens (cute isn’t it?)
  • C=Cable Management Bag filled with every synch cord and cable imaginable.
  • D=Quantum 2+2 battery
  • E=Quantum T5d-R flash
  • F=Gossen Starlite Meter
  • G=2-Pocket Wizard Multi Max’s
  • H=Harbor Digital Ultimate Light Box and Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket card holder
  • I=TTL off camera cable and charger for Q Flash Battery
  • J=Rocket Blaster for nasties that can infect your sensor
  • K=Vacancy, which is where I put my Fuji flash
  • There is storage in the lid with see through, zippered compartments that hold camera batteries and other necessary items like chargers, etc.

Today, I can actually transport everything I need to do a simple one to two light job, including the lights.  In this case a Quantum T5d-R and Fuji speed light. The Q flash requires a dedicated Quantum Tubo battery pack and charger.  I also have in here: Pocket Wizards, Gossen Starlite meter, and an assortment of synch cords that will cover most any application.  All neatly stored in my Cable Management 30 bag, that easily fits in the side panel.   My favorite modifier for the Quantum is the Harbor Digital Design Ultimate Light Box.  My biggest complaint about this is that it takes up too much room, it doesn’t collapse or get smaller, but that just may be the secret to it’s efficiency at distributing light.  That was a concern when my space was limited, I had to make a choice between what I would carry and what I wouldn’t.  I really like having options for lighting, sometimes a box, or Rogue flash bender, maybe even a simple bounce off a near wall.  I can also carry gells, allowing even more possibilities.

Here is the best part, as Fuji introduces their 55-200 zoom lens, it will easily fit in this case.  And, when the successor to the X Pro 1 comes along, that will also have a home here no problem.  I still have tons of room to add those without eliminating anything that I’m now using.

My biggest current challenge:  What camera bag to buy next?  I own three Think Tank bags and have to say that I have been super happy with them.  That said, do I want a Retrospective 5 or 10?  I think the 5 will be large enough for 1 body and 2 lenses, but I don’t know about my Fuji flash.  Any more than that and I think that I may have to go larger.  Having a smaller camera system is spoiling me, I don’t want anything larger than I need to carry.  A month ago I was happy to have everything in my StreetWalker Pro backpack, now it’s just sitting in my equipment closet.  It is just too big for my needs now.  What a great problem to have right?

So what can you do with just one light?  That’s a legitimate question so here are a few examples of a one light set up.  If you are wondering about coverage from one source, my son-in-laws are 6’4″ and 6’5″.  As you can see,  no worries!  Our family group with the Quantum and a 60″ umbrella.

Not bad for 7 adults and 3 kids under three years of age.  (and a self timer portrait too!)

Here is one with the Harbor Design Ultimate Light Box.  I did this of my wife and I at a corporate Christmas party we photographed for clients a few weeks ago.

I hope this helps you see some of the benefits of thinking small.  If you have an open mind to change, it just may simplify your life…a lot!

Need to buy some camera gear?  Just send me an email to nickcoury@durys.com and I’ll be glad to help you get what you want!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Equipment Reviews Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Gossen meter Lenses Lighting Pocket Wizard Portraits Think Tank Thoughts Travel and road trips babies children grandchildren lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Everything-in-one-place-Think-Tank-Security-V2-0 Mon, 31 Dec 2012 21:28:17 GMT
Snowing in Nashville! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Snowing-in-Nashville

It doesn’t happen that often in Nashville, thankfully.  But for the sake of our visiting family from California, I was glad it did.  Besides, I am on vacation and I didn’t have to drive out with all the crazies on I-40 heading home tonight.  The few times I’ve seen it snow here, have not been pretty.  Nothing personal, but it is “amateur hour” on the roads at it’s absolute worse!

But for a photo op, it was super fun.  We just ran across the street and played in the little park area!  Here is Mateo out with his Uncle Aaron having some fun.

Uncle Aaron is lot’s of fun to play with!

One of the things I have always liked about Fuji are the creamy flesh tones right out of the camera.  Look at these JPEG’s with nothing done but a quick crop to size!  I have been working with the settings and am getting much closer to what I like to see.  With 6 camera presets, it is pretty easy to pick the right one for your shooting situation and be ready to rock and roll.

Got to get one with Grandma and Grandpa (note the matching Yamaha hats)  Sweet!

If you’ve never photographed in the snow, you may be thinking I should have used fill flash.  That is a mistake you will only make one time.  The snow flakes catch the light and end up HUGE in the photo. (rain can produce the same results)  If you don’t have a reflector handy, just expose the best you can toward the shadow side and hope for the best.  On this last one I had to use Nik silver reflector to lighten up our flesh tones a touch.  You can see a color shift from the use of this filter, but it helped open us up.  Still learning what ISO is optimal for the camera, but loving the results I’m getting.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Del Webb Equipment Reviews Family Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Lenses Lighting Nashville Portraits Software Thoughts baby children fun grandchildren portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Snowing-in-Nashville Thu, 27 Dec 2012 05:32:50 GMT
First job with my Fuji X Pro 1 and 18-55 zoom https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/First-job-with-my-Fuji-X-Pro-1-and-18-55-zoom

Our traditional “self timer pose” that will be our Christmas card portrait

Some of the concerns I’ve read about are focusing in low light.  This was a very dark corner of the room, in fact this is a 1/4 second exposure to get some light from the tree lights to show up, ISO 400 and f9.  I won’t say that the camera didn’t struggle, but I would also say this is a very extreme situation!  I literally unboxed  my camera at 2:00 in the afternoon and was shooting this event with it at 7:00 that night.  OK, so I never said I was smart.  I typically adopt a “burn  the bridge” attitude when I buy new equipment.  No way to retreat!  I will make it work no matter what.  This event was a Christmas party for an investment firm, they are giving these portraits to each of their clients.  What a great way to say “thanks” for your business!

My lighting set up was simplicity at it’s best.  One Quantum Q Flash T5dR with my favorite modifier the Harbor Digital Design, flash set to manual and rocked the set all night long.  I use Pocket Wizards as my trigger of choice with this lighting set up.  They are bullet proof and work every time.  My Multi Max’s are over 10 years old and they still work like a champ!

Look at the incredible detail in the blacks

Since this was the maiden voyage of the camera and lens, I shot in RAW + JPEG, just in case.  As it turned out the exposures were OK, but I didn’t like the look of the JPEG’s out of the camera.  So I post processed these in Lightroom 4 and am super pleased with the results.  I will tweak the many optional settings on the camera and come up with a look I like.  The X Pro 1 has parking spots for 6 Custom Settings.  At the push of a few buttons, you can alter the “flavor” to be exactly what you want it to be!  Now that is professional control at it’s best.  I am not delusional, there are some shortcomings in the system, but it is very early in development.  I’ve had a few questions for the folks at Fuji and they are some of the most supportive support people out there.  If they don’t know the answer, they will tell you so and get back to you.  I can live with that.

Bottom line, this was a great decision and I am super stoked to see what I can do with it next.  I am planing on attending a concert Saturday to see how it does at high ISO’s and tricky lighting.  Then, all the family will be here for Christmas.  My sons are all into photography so that means we will be making some intentional outings to see what we can come up with.  I don’t know how quickly I’ll get them up here on my blog, but I’ll do the best I can.

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Equipment Reviews Fuji X Pro 1 General Stuff Harbor Digital Design Lenses Lighting Nashville Pocket Wizard Portraits Quantum couples lighting portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/First-job-with-my-Fuji-X-Pro-1-and-18-55-zoom Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:20:33 GMT
Fuji X-E1 with 18-55 zoom https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Fuji-X-E1-with-18-55-zoom We had a beautiful day Wednesday, so I went out to test the new lens at close focusing.  After all, we want to see what shallow depth of field looks like and expected bokeh.  Well, without a portrait subject I had to improvise with some landscaping outside our home.

AllX-E1 with 18-55 at f4 and 41mm distance

 

I am very happy with the sharpness and subtle tones in the background!  This was the day before I received my X Pro 1, I was experimenting with the X-E1 I had borrowed from a friend.  Based on this test and some other shots, I purchased the zoom as my primary lens.  Along with that, I bought the 60mm macro.  This was hand held at a very quick shutter speed 1/3875 and 400 ISO at f4.  Love the look!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Equipment Reviews Fuji Fuji X-E1 General Stuff Lenses Lighting Scenic Thoughts lenses lighting outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/Fuji-X-E1-with-18-55-zoom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 05:02:45 GMT
First Images From Fuji X-E1 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/First-Images-From-Fuji-X-E1 First of all I would like to say thank you to the nearly 4,000 people that have read my previous post on the Fuji X Pro1 vs Nikon D700.  I’ve never had so many visitors to my blog and am still shocked that there is that much interest in this information.

I feel like I need to apologize for this image, but I just couldn’t wait to give this camera, more specifically, this brand new 18-55mm f2:8-4 lens a test.  So, any subject would do, like my little metal drummer sculpture that was a gift from my daughter Sara and sits in our den.

This is the full frame image from the camera

I wanted to eliminate as many variables as I could, so I shot with a Quantum T5d-R flash, bare bulb, manual 1/4 power.  Camera Settings:  Manual exposure, ISO 400, 1/125 at f11.  The 18-55 lens was fully extended to 55mm.  This lens features optical stabilization  so these shots were hand held, not tripod mounted like I would typically be shooting in a portrait situation. I was impressed right away by the way it focused in extremely low light and the overall look from the lens.  I love the bright colors in the edges of the image from the flash bulb and vase.  Still maintaining a clean, neutral black base under it all.

This is a close up cropped at 100%

Not only sharpness, but look at the subtle color and surface etchings. (truthfully I had never seen them before this shot)  There are no “blow outs” on the highlights in the metal.  And no noise at all with this 400 ISO shot, I will obviously check out it’s capabilities at much higher ISO’s before I make any final conclusions.  Based on this, for what I do photographically, this is super promising.  As an event and portrait shooter, I don’t “need” the super high speeds required in low light photography.  Still, I occasionally photograph weddings and social events that are low light so it needs to be thoroughly tested there.  So next week I am shooting a Christmas party and guess what I’ll be using?

Same 100% crop, just a little lower to show some of the depth that is visible.  (oops, I should have dusted the inside)

To say I am impressed with these initial shots would be an understatement.  My hopes are that I can purchase this current available zoom and the upcoming 55-200 and have a simple, extremely lite, 2 lens kit.  My next decision is which body to buy first?  The X Pro 1 or the X-E1?  There are pluses and minuses to both bodies.  The X Pro 1 body is currently on sale for $1399.00.  But, the X-E1 is only $1399.00 with this fantastic, super sharp, great resolution zoom lens.  Eventually I will most likely own one of each body, I just don’t know which one will be first.  Feature wise there are some cosmetic and functional features to consider, but those are discussed on a dozen different forums all over the internet.

I am now more convinced that selling my DSLR gear in favor of this move was the right thing to do!  My next planned tests include comparing the two camera models with the assortment of lenses.  However, that will have to wait until there is a lens update allowing me to shoot the zoom on the X Pro body.  That brings up another first.   The ability to do firmware updates for the camera bodies and specific lenses is an incredible step in the right direction.  Don’t be intimidated by the update process, it is simple and straightforward.  I want to shoot this lens wide open against the 60mm Macro at the same setting and see how it affects the bokeh produced. There is about 1/3 stop difference between wide open on these two lenses, still I’m expecting stunning images from both.

I bought the Fuji EF-420 flash today and will hopefully get to use that in the next few days.  I should mention that I triggered the Quantum with my trusty old, (over 10 years) Pocket Wizard Multi-Max’s.  They just keep on working and it proves that using this camera in any studio situation will be no problem at all.  There is a little pop up flash that could possibly serve some purpose, like triggering other lights optically?

Finally, a special thank you to my boss Ron Rice that has let me use his camera more than he has used it himself.  And an extra special thanks to my friend Henry Hamman that has allowed me to use his X-E1 before he has even put his hands on it!  I appreciate the trust and confidence these men have placed in me!

All I have left of my Nikon gear is my 8 month old, 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens, everything else is sold and gone to good homes.  Now I need to get serious about replacing this stuff pronto!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Equipment Reviews Fuji Fuji X-E1 Lighting Pocket Wizard Quantum Thoughts lens test lighting testing https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/12/First-Images-From-Fuji-X-E1 Wed, 05 Dec 2012 04:14:51 GMT
Fuji X Pro 1 vs Nikon D700 Initial Test https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Fuji-X-Pro-1-vs-Nikon-D700-Initial-Test I’ve been wanting to do a head to head comparison of these cameras for several weeks.  I was hired to do some portraits on Thanksgiving, so it was a good chance to see how they stacked up.  Before you look too critically, these will be finished in Lightroom, yada, yada.  I am not excited about showing you unfinished files, but I’m trying to be as subjective as possible.  By doing it this way you can see what I actually got from the camera and now have to work with.

First of all, these are pretty much out of the camera.  I did a very slight exposure adjustment to each of them, just to try and get them as close as possible.  Nothing more was done.

This image is from my Nikon D700 with 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens tripod mounted VR off

 

This is from a Fuji X Pro 1.  No tripod and a tad over exposed.  I still like the flesh tones here as a starting point.

Aside from the obvious saturation differences, I think they are pretty close.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • I’ve owned my Nikon for almost two years, and I have had time to tweak the internal color settings to be the best they can be, according to my preferences.  As you know, I am not a big post processor, if it can’t be done in Nik and Imagenomic, I am out.
  • That said, I am very optimistic that given the opportunity to tweak the X Pro 1 I will be able to get just as close, possibly closer.  My favorite skin tones from any digital camera I’ve ever owned were from a Fuji S2.  What if I can get it close to that look?  If so, and with the savings in weight, I am “all in!”
  • Some call the Fuji “pricey” but there is a $300.00 instant rebate on the body when bought with a lens.  That makes it not quite so bad in my opinion.
  • I will reduce the amount of weight I carry considerably.  I will also reduce the amount of money I have invested in my current system.
  • The decision to switch is not a Nikon vs Fuji vs Canon vs whatever.  It is about what makes the most sense for ME and me alone.  Just like you, I have to buy my cameras, no free gear for me.  So I want the most bang for my buck!
  • Last step I need to do in my opinion is a studio comparison.  That would allow a totally controlled situation, doing custom white balance with non-fluctuating exposure variables.  But what I see up to this point I am super stoked about the possibilities this camera system has to offer!

CAMERA GEAR FOR SALE!  Yep, I am putting all my stuff up for sale.  (I’m pretty sure anyway)  If you know me, you know how I baby my stuff!  It has spent every day of it’s life in a  ThinkTank bags when it isn’t being used.  My camera probably has less than 15,000 shots on it, and the 70-200 f2,8 VRII lens was bought just this year.  All boxes and original everything is included.  You can send me an email from the blog site here.  If it’s easier, just send it to nickcoury@me.com  I also have an SB900, SB800,  Tamron 14mm fisheye and Tamron 28-75 for sale.

Nothing terribly conclusive, but this may inspire you to look a little more closely at some of the emerging technology that I (along with many others) think is the future of our industry.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Elinchrom Equipment Reviews Family Fuji X Pro 1 Lenses Lighting Nikon Portraits Tutorial babies children dad fill flash mom outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Fuji-X-Pro-1-vs-Nikon-D700-Initial-Test Tue, 27 Nov 2012 05:27:32 GMT
Peaceful Scene from West Virginia https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Peaceful-Scene-from-West-Virginia A beautiful old mill in West Virgina

Sometimes I get into just poking around on my archives of images and wonder what they might look like with a few modifications.  When I found this one, I thought the color needed punched up a little.  I always liked it, but didn’t really love it.  A few “clicks” in Nik Color Efex and here is the finished picture.  This was taken on a  bike trip with my good friend Bud Warner July 6, 2007.  Almost one year to the day before I would have my cancer surgery.  Who would have even known?

Yep, there I am at about 175 pounds, on a 950 pound bike!

This is me at 175 pounds on my 950 pound Honda Goldwing.  To this day the best handling bike I’ve owned.

I want to thank the Lord Jesus that I am still here today, and healed from cancer!  My friend and surgeon Kurt Garren was incredible and thorough.  He walked me through that valley every step of the way and we stay in touch to this day.  I hated the journey, but am so thankful for all those that prayed me through those months!  I am convinced that without the faithful, fervent prayers of  my friends and family, I wouldn’t have endured all those months of treatments.  In the four short years since all of this I’ve seen so many blessings.  To name a few: Sara’s wonderful wedding to Hugo, the addition of our three grandchildren, and a new start in Nashville.  Although we miss our friends and family in Ohio, God has given so many more friends that we have grown to love right here!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji General Stuff Lighting Motorcycles Nik Portraits Travel and road trips West Virginia bikes friends fun travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Peaceful-Scene-from-West-Virginia Thu, 15 Nov 2012 05:32:20 GMT
Graduation day for my father-in-law, see you on the other side! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Graduation-day-for-my-father-in-law-see-you-on-the-other-side My favorite portrait of George

My favorite portrait of George. Shot on a little Fuji FinePix camera a few years ago.

As many of you know, George was a few months away from his 93rd birthday.  How incredible is that?  He comes from a family blessed with longevity.  We were just in Cambridge to see him on Tuesday morning, sadly his health was rapidly failing and he didn’t recognize Marlene or I.  We even brought two of his favorite treats, Kennedy’s donuts and bananas!  I was able to help him get a few bites of the donuts down, but not many.  We drove back to Nashville on Wednesday, and got a call on Friday that he was failing.  Before we could get back to Cambridge, he had comfortably slipped off peacefully into eternity.

I’d don’t want to show you how he was this week, I want to show you how we choose to remember him.  George had three daughters and one son, Ron that lives in South Carolina.  I think Marg may have described it best as we worked on his obituary, she said, “he had an impish smile.”

As with most dads, his girls held a special place in his  heart!

Marlene and I have been married for 35 years.  No matter how many times I’ve seen him over the past decades he always asked me the same questions:  Are you still working?  Are you doing photography?  He just couldn’t understand how I could support his little girl and grandchildren “taking pictures.”  I think that is absolutely hilarious, sometimes I still can’t believe it either!  If you didn’t know George, this man could play almost any musical instrument by ear!  He was incredible and loved to play many of the old hymns from memory.  I’m sure he will be playing them now and for all eternity for our Loving Lord!

This was about a year ago spending time with him at breakfast.

He also loved his grandchildren.  I don’t have a shot of all of them together, but I do have this one from our family Christmas Caroling at the nursing home where he lived.  (This is one of our family traditions, going to nursing homes and singing carols for the residents)

This was a few years back, but it

 Admittedly this is  a few years old, but it’s still a great memory for us.

 I wish I had the photo’s with me from taking both of our dads fishing about 5 years ago.  I was playing parent, baiting hooks and helping with fish they caught.  It was my dad that taught me how to do those all important life skills for fishing, now I was able to pay them back just a little.  It was a great time and we made some memories.

So, when we have his memorial service on Monday, it won’t be goodbye, just goodbye for now.  We know the promises of the New Testament are that “absence from the body is presence with the Lord” to those of us who have accepted his free gift of eternal life!  That’s doesn’t mean we won’t be sad for our loss, but we know that given the chance he wouldn’t come back now for all the money in the world.  Sure, we’ll miss you now, but we will see you again!

Thanks for your calls and messages, they mean a lot.  Please pray for the family over the next few days.  We won’t sorrow as those that have no hope, because we know where he is and will be for eternity.  Still, it’s always hard to say goodbye, even if it is just for now.

Here is one more photo that I really like of him, I want you to see him as I’ll remember him.

George Graban January 1920-November 9, 2012

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Faith Family General Stuff Ohio Thoughts Travel and road trips Tributes dad friends fun grandchildren https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/11/Graduation-day-for-my-father-in-law-see-you-on-the-other-side Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:12:05 GMT
Halloween Party Photography https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Halloween-Party-Photography This is what it takes to work outside on a super windy, not many clouds in the sky day.  Our great friends Mike and Laurie Sherwood brought over their bike and created this really nice fall scene set.  Mike was so cool, picking up most of the kids, letting them sit on his beautiful Harley and not freaking out about them dragging their shoes over it.  Laurie wrote down every email address and Mack made sure each child took at least two pieces of candy.  I’m sure their parents are very appreciative of that.  ;)

I wouldn’t have attempted using any other stand than a Manfrotto C, it weighs a ton.  Then, you hang the Ranger on it, and it isn’t moving.  I’ve previously had a really bad experience working in the wind and lost one of my lights, so I don’t take any chances now.

Other essential gear includes a reliable trigger, and I’ve used Pocket Wizards for years!  I do love the Elinchrom Skyport for all that it does, especially the output control.  For this shot, I thought the Wizard’s were better suited based on the conditions.  A great tripod, that I love to use is shown, it is lightweight and durable.  Never moved an inch and helped me to not miss any shots.  With children, you can’t be glued in the viewfinder, you need eye contact.  Your tripod allows you to do that, frame the shot and fire when ready.  Saves you a ton of time, and makes editing super easy too.

As you can see, this was a challenging day for photography.  The set is almost totally backlit, a little to camera right.  Black bike, shadow side of the hay, all the decorations will be a mere silhouette without supplemental lighting.  This is an example where you could not do this same shots with one or two speedlights, it would be impossible.  Plus, consider the fact that I took over 150 shots.  You would spend more time changing batteries than taking pictures!  It would also take many of them, strategically placed to even come close to this lighting quality.  I’m not totally convinced you could do it at all.

The set up shot is from my Fuji X10 camera.  It handles the wide exposure latitude really well, but you still need to be able to control the constantly changing lighting when you shot for a few hours from mid to late afternoon.  There just weren’t any short cuts that would have worked.

Our church does this an an outreach to our community every year.  Hundreds of kids and families come to the parking lot where they can play games, get some prizes and candy, and be loved on by our people.  Sure, it was cold, took some planning and a little hard work, even cost some money.  But, it gives us an opportunity to show our neighbors what Jesus would do.  To let them know that there is a place they can go where they will be accepted, welcomed and loved.  There are a lot of people that care about them and their families.

This was a lot of equipment to take to give photos away!  We are emailing all the images to the families this week so they can use them any way they want.  Our example is Jesus of course.  He freely gave His life, so we can have eternal life with Him.  Not a fair trade for the Son of God, but He gladly did it for us.  Do you know Him and the gift He has for you?  He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.”  He is waiting to introduce you to his Father as a friend of his.  How cool is that?  I hope you do, because it will not only change your life, it will change your eternity!

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Elinchrom FAITH Riders Family Fuji X10 General Stuff Lighting Motorcycles Nashville Nikon Tamron bikers bikes children couples dad fill flash outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Halloween-Party-Photography Mon, 29 Oct 2012 05:03:53 GMT
A Great Day Off https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/A-Great-Day-Off

82 Degrees in late October…we used to call that “a gift” when we lived in Ohio!  It was a day meant to go out and enjoy your bike before the long, non-riding months of winter set in.  We had a list of things we needed to get done, and if we did we were going riding.  The list was done by noon and we were on the bike by 12:30!

Tom and Barb Gibbons are two of our dearest friends in Nashville!  They are the first people we met at Hermitage Hills Baptist (our church home).  They introduced us to Faith Riders, our Sunday School class and the people we love to ride with.  They live here in “The Webb”  just a few streets away.  We have laughed and cried with them, these are great people who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

First stop was Watertown, a quaint little village we’ve ridden to several times before.  Right across the street is a pretty good Mexican restaurant, when we were there before I thought this old service station might be a fun place to photograph bikes.  I think it worked out pretty nicely.

Our goal however was a beautiful fall scene, and we looked all around but couldn’t find anything that would work.  Barb suggested a route called, “the Old 96″ heading East toward the mountains.  It is about a hundred mile loop, and it was beautiful.  As we started to gain altitude we finally started to see some color from the Maple trees, just what I was hoping for!

 

Tom let me take the lead in case something jumped out to me, Marlene tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to these tree tops.  Just what I was looking for!  We found a spot to locate the bike for the picture, in retrospect we could have moved a little farther off the road.  But, it worked out well for what we wanted and we got the shot!  This will be a portrait for their living room that we are excited to see hanging there when we go over for coffee.  (if you ever visit them and Barb offers you coffee, make sure it isn’t the “Mr. Coffee” that just isn’t good)  Trust me.  :)

Photographer Stuff:  Simple equipment, it had to fit in Tom’s trunk.  Nikon D700 with 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens.  That’s it!  Wish I had room for more, but I think it worked out pretty nice with what I had.  Post processing, a little Nik Software Color Efx 4.

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Del Webb FAITH Riders Fall Family General Stuff Lighting Motorcycles Nikon Portraits Scenic Travel and road trips bikers bikes color friends outdoors travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/A-Great-Day-Off Tue, 23 Oct 2012 05:14:15 GMT
Chihuly Glass at Cheekwood https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Chihuly-Glass-at-Cheekwood I was looking for an image on my hard drive and came upon this one.  I had forgotten I took it last year, but it caught my eye this morning.

Chihuly Glass at Cheekwood

This was my Nikon D700 with a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens.  I still think this lens is one of the best value lenses we have for sale.  Less than $500.00 and sharp as a tack!

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras General Stuff Lenses Lighting Nashville Nik Nikon Scenic Tamron lighting outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Chihuly-Glass-at-Cheekwood Thu, 18 Oct 2012 05:45:52 GMT
Fall Fun with the Family https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Fall-Fun-with-the-Family

Vinnie and his family came down for a visit.  We had planned a trip to Honeysuckle Farms so the kids could see the animals and play outside all day.  The weather forecast was terrible for the weekend, but God provided a beautiful, crisp day for our field trip.

“Little Christin”, aka, Jade and her dad played on the self propelled carts.  Jade wasn’t feeling 100% so she didn’t have as much fun as she normally would have.  Still, it was a great day to be out and enjoy being together!

 Family Photo Op:  At the exit right before we left.

I was able to babysit Vinnie for a while, just the two of us.  We crawled around on the floor and had a great time!

 After days like this that are busy, and action packed.  I become very, very thankful to my Heavenly Father that healed me from my cancer.  To have these family times are the most special thing in the world to me.  Four years ago, there were no grandchildren and Sara wasn’t married yet.  All these things that I’ve been able to see and share in, only made possible by the healing hand of Almighty God!  I praise Him for that daily.  Do you know Him as your personal Saviour and forgiver of your sins?  He is more than just “the man upstairs,” he is a loving, caring, personal God that wants to be your friend too.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Family Fuji X10 General Stuff Honeysuckle Hills Nashville Nik animals babies baby children dad farm fun grandchildren outdoors https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/10/Fall-Fun-with-the-Family Tue, 16 Oct 2012 04:31:27 GMT
Memphis Tennessee and Gus’s Fried Chicken https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Memphis-Tennessee-and-Gus-s-Fried-Chicken

On our way to Texas, we make a planned stop at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.  This is not a fancy place, let’s call it eclectic in it’s decor.  A very simple menu, but everything you order will be delicious!

Here is where the magic happens, right inside these doors:

I love the Fuji X10′s ability to switch from a variety of aspect ratios to black and white with just a few menu selections!  It can totally change the “feel” of an image.

The main attraction, hot sauce is optional but suggested!

Check out the old fashioned juke box, but note that it is “digital.”

Located just off famous Beale Street, this is a must stop destination.  Do yourself a favor and don’t get there right at lunch time, maybe a little early or a little late.  Otherwise you will be waiting for one of the few tables.  It will be worth it, that I can guarantee!  While you are waiting, check out the “decor” it is entertaining.

Don’t you just love the Elvis bumper sticker on the window?

A selection I suppose many would be proud of?

Good news Nashville, we have one either opening or already open!  If you like fried chicken, you have to put this one on your to-do list!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji X10 General Stuff Music/Musicians Road food Travel and road trips travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Memphis-Tennessee-and-Gus-s-Fried-Chicken Sun, 30 Sep 2012 08:30:17 GMT
I Love The Morning! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/I-Love-The-Morning

Morning is my favorite time of day.  I’ve said before I love the entire new beginning!  This time of year it is brisk on the back patio, and the steam rises from my coffee mug as I wait for the sun rise.  I don’t sleep all that well, so sunrises are a part of most everyday for me.

This photo was taken Wednesday morning, it was supposed to be a day off from work after a dentist visit.  Turned out that I ended up working all day.  I do want to mention that the Lord has really blessed this past few weeks with some awesome sales and many brand new clients.  I am so thankful that we are commanded to be faithful,work hard and that He will give the increase.

So, once again as I get ready to pillow my head, I’m thankful for the safe travel He allowed.  I’m ready to rest, and do it all over again tomorrow if He allows it.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Fuji X10 General Stuff Lighting Scenic Sunrise Thoughts https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/I-Love-The-Morning Thu, 27 Sep 2012 20:30:01 GMT
Centennial Park and The Parthenon https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Centennial-Park-and-The-Parthenon One thing I’ve come to love about Nashville is the fact that there is always something going on.  Not just concerts, but a huge variety of activities, and many of them are totally free.  Last weekend was an event called, “Made in Nashville” at Centennial Park.  This has become one of our favorite places to hang out at.  It is located right across the street from Vanderbilt football stadium, so on game day there is a lot of activity!  This particular “theme” was made up of local businesses that operate and manufacture their goods here.   This wasn’t a particularly large group of vendors, but they were interesting.

One of the summer features here is an area called “Musicians Corner.”  This is a very cool, open area of the park where you can lay on the ground or bring a chair and listen to a wide variety of music, all for free.  Various food vendors are lined up around the perimeter offering a variety of food, water or ice cream.  Families with their kids or dogs are everywhere!  I must add that the sound mix at most of these events is usually quite good.  We are after all in “Music City.”

Another attraction at this park is a building called “The Pathenon.”   It is an exact replica of the Greek building that is centuries old.  It is big and beautiful, and there is always something happening in or around this building.  It’s a popular place for weddings and concerts.  This was a great spot to try out the different film simulation modes on my Fuji X10.  Here are two shots of the building, only change is the effect of the film type selected.

As you can see one appears pretty normal, while the second one, shot on the Velvia setting is super saturated in color.  It is an amazing difference and a great tool to use when you are shooting scenics.  If this appears a tad too much saturated for your taste, it is easy enough to back it off a little.

But, my absolute favorite shot of the day was this great portrait I took of my wife!  It was her suggestion that we go up and shoot around the columns, something I’ve intended to do since we first saw them.  At first I almost wished I had my Nikon camera, but now I don’t know that I could have gotten a better portrait than I did with the x10.

I am very, very happy with this portrait of Marlene!  I used the tiny little built in flash to give me a wink of light in her beautiful blue eyes!  I love this camera, but way more than that I love this woman!  Next month we will celebrate 35 years together and at times that seems unbelievable to me.  Proverbs 18:22  He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.  I can tell you that I have found the favor of the Lord and have been blessed beyond measure!

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X10 General Stuff Music/Musicians Nashville fill flash mom music outdoors travel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Centennial-Park-and-The-Parthenon Sun, 23 Sep 2012 05:13:24 GMT
Belmont University Lighting Class with Fuji X-Pro 1 https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Belmont-University-Lighting-Class-with-Fuji-X-Pro-1 I have to admit that I’ve been a Fuji fan for many, many years.  I loved their film and all their cameras and lenses.  Recently I bought the X10, and it is one of the most fun cameras I’ve owned for many years!  When photography is both your profession and a passion, you just don’t often use the word “fun” when describing a “tool” that you use.

I’ve been looking really closely at the developments in mirrorless technology.  Prior to spending some time talking about this with Will Crockett, I hadn’t given it much thought.  It really looks like this is going to be the “next big thing” and that we will all eventually end up here possibly sooner than we think.  I’ve been getting some great, super sharp images with my X10, but I really wanted to shoot some with the Pro version, the X-Pro 1.  (This is the big brother to the X1o)  The camera system includes three lenses now, but more are on the way.  Including some great super fast, incredibly sharp zoom lenses.  My boss Ron Rice owns this dream machine and was kind enough to let me play with it in the studio as I taught yesterday.  Price is always a concern, so you should know that the camera and 3 lenses can be bought for under $3500.00.  These lenses are sharp, inexpensive and super fast.

This image is from a Lighting Class I teach for Belmont University.  Trevor Hinelsey was our patient, and easy to photograph model.  Our class has 16 students, so he stood there for a super long periods of time letting each one of them take the same photograph, over and over again.   Take a look at the incredible flesh tones from this jpeg right out of the camera!

Great flesh tones, black blacks and white whites, what more could you ask for?  This was with the 60mm macro which gives you the equivalent of a 90mm lens.  I think it looks incredible!  Would you like to see what it looks like enlarged 100%?  OK,  here it is:

This camera is a 16M camera, but the file I am showing here was taken from a 3.4 MB JPEG right from the camera!  I’m not ready to sell my Nikon and lenses…yet.  I do see this as a very possible transition in the future.

I’ve carried large, heavy and expensive cameras for 40 years.  I enjoy what the cameras do for me, and the images they allow me to capture.  I love my 70-200 2.8 VR II lens, it is incredible and has helped me make some wonderful images.  I will post some images from my D700 too, I think you’ll see they have some similarities and some specific differences.  I DO hate the weight of it, even more now that I am not in my 20′s or 30′s or…well, you get the idea.

I hope to be shooting this camera a lot more, and the new camera that will be here in a few weeks the X-E1.  When I do, I’ll be sure to post them here.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Classes Elinchrom Equipment Reviews Fuji General Stuff Lenses Lighting Tutorial lighting model portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Belmont-University-Lighting-Class-with-Fuji-X-Pro-1 Sat, 15 Sep 2012 18:38:48 GMT
My Wing and a prayer https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/My-Wing-and-a-prayer I found this shot today while I was working on some other files.  This was my 2001 Gold Wing that I owned for a few years.  I really enjoyed this bike!  It was big…really big.  950 pounds, and I had to have my shoes built up like “Herman Munster” to even ride her.  But, she rode like a dream with lots of features that made a long day painless.

I do miss this bike and would like to own another “land yacht” of some kind in the future.  After my bout with cancer I lost over 40 pounds, at 128 lbs. I was no match against gravity and this behemoth.  But, it was a great ride while it lasted.  Marlene encouraged me to get a smaller bike and I’m glad I did.  For now this is a great memory and I’m glad I found this photo.

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) General Stuff Gold Wing Motorcycles Travel and road trips https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/My-Wing-and-a-prayer Fri, 14 Sep 2012 11:45:00 GMT
Happy Birthday, Vinny! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Happy-Birthday-Vinny

9 Months old!

Today we were able to take the Vin Dog’s 9 month old portrait.  This couch is the same place they have been doing it since he was born, and it just works.  Grandpa or as Jade calls me, “Bapaw” loves the drum on the side.  He is the happiest “little” guy ever!  We are able to stay for the entire three day weekend, and it is a much needed rest.  I’ve worked well over half the weekends this summer, so we haven’t been back to Ohio since Memorial Day or earlier!

 

Jade and Vinny love to spend time in the toy room.  So we crawl around on the floor as long as our aging bodies will allow us.  Then we sit on a chair for awhile, stretch it out, and do it again.  Sometime we chase Jade around the house, laughing or singing all the way.  The house is loud and full of life, just the way we like it!  We’ve taken walks, rode the bike, pushed the stroller and had great meals at home.  (There just isn’t any reason to eat out when the girls have access to all they need in the kitchen)

Yes sir, we are so blessed to spend this time with our family!

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Cameras Family Fuji X10 General Stuff Pocket Wizard Flex Thoughts Travel and road trips babies baby grandchildren portraits https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/9/Happy-Birthday-Vinny Mon, 03 Sep 2012 04:48:55 GMT
You meet the nicest people on a bike! https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/8/You-meet-the-nicest-people-on-a-bike

It’s that time of year again!  Spring is finally here and it’s time to get out on our bikes.  Today will be our first of hopefully many rides this summer.  Last summer was the worst season since I’ve owned a bike for riding.  I don’t think we made 5 group rides all year.  This year will be different, I am committed to log more miles, spend more time with friends and use our bike to get some “down time” from my daily responsibilities.

I was looking through some of my past road trips, some were short day runs, others covered a few states and multiple days.  They all have a few things in common…fun, food, and lack of stress!

A Fall ride in Ohio with lifelong friends!  Mark, Sue, Pam and Doug

We’ve been riding for a little over 10 years now, that seems hard to believe.  I’ve never really had a hobby that I enjoyed until riding came along.  For some reason, I am so focused on making it all work together and keeping Marlene and I safe, that concentration is relaxing to me.  I’m not thinking about much of anything else but my surroundings and how the bike is running.  Seems weird right?  All I know is it works!

Tony’s I 75 in Michigan with Super Dave Maylen and Will Crockett

Above was the ride we called “The Bacon Run” all this to get a BLT sandwich with 1 pound of bacon!  What’s not to love about that?  Best of all, we made some memories that will last a lifetime.  No one needs a sandwich with that much bacon, but we laughed uncontrollably when we saw the size of that thing!

So today we will head out with our Faith Rider friends in Nashville in the search of good times and a new place to eat.  I do know this, it will be fun, we will eat well and I will be better rested as a result of it.

 

 

 

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nick@nickcoury.com (Nick Coury) Michigan Motorcycles Nashville Ohio Thoughts Travel and road trips friends https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/8/You-meet-the-nicest-people-on-a-bike Fri, 24 Aug 2012 03:24:00 GMT
Steve Miller Band Concert at Fontanel https://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2012/8/Steve-Miller-Band-Concert-at-Fontanel This was a super fun evening!  My