Showing all posts tagged #photography:


Create something beautiful today

Posted on March 20th, 2017

Create something beautiful today. Whether a photograph, a spreadsheet, performance art, or leadership moment. Make sure to care...

Four basic elements of lighting that enhance story

Posted on January 8th, 2017

When lighting a scene, you need to consider the emotional message that you wish to convey.

1. Color - Choose a white balance. This is key to both mood and helps clue the viewer to the time of day. The opportunity to experiment with saturated light can provide seemingly countless options to get creative with steering mood.

Do you want to have a realistic scene in an office or do you want to break reality with musical theatre? What about concert lighting?

Remember that some scenes benefit from deep saturation, while others require the realism of only minimal color correction. Either way, color is extremely important.

I typed it first, here because yes it can be key to setting the scene, but more so is the foundation of subject light:

2. Intensity - Light’s intensity denotes how subdued or blown out the light is. Intensity can denote such differences as mid-morning sunshine in a field or the mood under a street lamp in the middle of night time.

The later example not only would likely use significantly lower intensity to create the scene, but would likely use two colors, the cool blueish moonlight, and the warm sodium colored lamp light.

3. Angle - This refers to the direction of light and how it strikes your subject. There are many terms, both from theatre and cinematography (ex. three-point lighting, special pool, key light, fill light, back light, side light, shin-busters, footlight, hair light, rim light, etc.)

Many of us are familiar to such terms as Rembrandt lighting or a butterfly lighting setup - those simply are two common setups that photographers use when shooting portraits.

The unique mood of each scene is steered in dramatically different ways by the angle of the light source or sources on the subject.

4. Quality - The softness or hardness of the light plays another role in the mood. Do you want defined shadows or smooth even light that seems to wrap around your subject. A large source of light is soft. A small source of light is hard. A source of light far away from your subject will produce strong shadows—an example of hard light. The closer the source of light that to your subject, the less pronounced the shadows that are produced.

Imagine difference between a 5º spot light from the corner of a theatre’s catwalk vs. the look of a model posing next to french doors with sheer drapes.

In addition to hard or soft lighting, consider the mood enhancement that can happen when a breakup pattern is between the light source and the subject.

With breakups we return to the hard or soft lighting. Is there a defined shadow of a bare tree branch or is there soft texture from an abstract theatrical breakup? So much can be done with texture. Perhaps another post should be written about texture alone!




New Zealand Highlights

Posted on February 23rd, 2016

I spent the past week driving through New Zealand with three of my friends. It was an incredible journey both with the chance to fellowship with my travel mates and certainly an amazing treat to experience such a beautiful country!

Here are a few of my favorite images I captured. The first set are from our first two days on the North Island; the second collection is from the remainder of our trip through as much as we had time for in the South Island. I have the rest of my images up on my Facebook page. If you're interested in prints of any of these (or any other of my photography) please do contact me.



Dealership Production Design

Posted on October 29th, 2015

Last night we transformed one end of the dealership to celebrate momentum. Red, silver, and white branding is maintained for this main event stage and the rest of the dealership.

VIPs are enjoying catered small plates. The president and others just completed their speeches. Guests are about to experiment the main event.

Pre-show look. Lights are slowly strafing across the ceiling above the “stage" that we made. Truss warmers are twinkling white on the silver sticks of vertical truss and anticipation is in the air (or is that haze?)

I prepared myself in position at lighting control (my Jands Vista S1 - I and/or my console are available for hire/rent) back stage. I transitioned the lights as the intro video played and encouraged the talent to break a leg...
Actually, I took this shot well after the event just before we tore down - through the veil of the CrushedBlack fabric, you can see the car already on stage - in the moment I was too busy firing off a barrage of lighting effects; as well as cuing dancers, actors, and a driver for their moments of the production.
I’m really bummed not to have any photos to share of the live number we performed. Hopefully I can get some shots or video from one of the guests. I wish I had thought to set up a GoPro or few to record.

After the event, I hurried to offer photography to guests as they all wanted to pose with the cast. I managed even to get a #castandcrew shot taken of me (in the coveralls that was part of the branding) with the performers. These guys are great, by the way. If you’re looking for actors and/or dancers (and/or hamsters?) contact me and I can refer you to some great Metro Detroit talent.

One of my other responsibilities was to take photos of the president and leadership holding their awards at the corporate stage for earlier speeches at far end of the room. This is my view walking back toward the main stage. I share it to give context of the space. Even at the end of the night, the mood still feels good in the transformed dealership.
Interesting to contemplate that two hours later, everything is packed up and the morning crew will be able to bring cars back into the space for normal operations.

I think this image is hilarious; this pair of hamsters remained at the ready long after every guest had taken photos and the catering had been cleared.

It was a fun event. It always is when a producer tells me they want to drive a car on stage!

Desktop Wallpaper

Posted on January 20th, 2015

"foggy dock in the morning sun"

I stopped at a park by my boys’ school on my drive in to work this past fall to photograph this image. A few people have commented on it which prompted my sharing this post. I love the placid hope that I get when seeing this image. You can’t tell for sure what is on the horizon, but you can take a few moments to bask in the glow and be thankful for the beauty of now.

I have my desktop set as my default for all downloads and saved PDFs while I’m in process with them. While I maintain my encouragement of keeping your desktop clean, I should note that files look particularly nice as they load on the right side of the screen!

If you’re interested in using this or any of my other images on your desktop, please ask. I am willing to share certain works for free with watermark - and I sell rights to use digital images as well. I should also remind you that I do also sell limited edition numbered prints of various works as well.

christmas tree 2014

Posted on December 24th, 2014


Travel Light

Posted on October 6th, 2014


Last week I took a three day trip to Chicago for the Story Conference. As per normal, I choose to travel light. A few people commented on my setup so I figured I’d take a photo and share about the contents I carried on my back.
  • Arc'teryx Axios 25 Daypack - I love this backpack. I have had it for 4 years and could not be more happy with my choice to purchase it. Ask me more about this and perhaps I can dedicate a post to it…
  • One pair of pants is all you need, otherwise a complete change of clothes for each day. Additionally a pullover for chilly mornings.
  • Toiletry bag is a nice little bag from REI. Tootbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, aftershave lotion, hair wax, q-tips, bandaids, etc. My lip balm I always keep in the pen pocket for easy access.
  • I carry my Moleskine journal with me.To write in this, I use my Uni-ball 207 black .38 tip pen. I rarely ever use paper; but for the discipline of journaling I enjoy my good pen on Moleskine. I also write longhand notes to people from time to time. My wife got one from this trip.
  • I have my iPad Air. I take all my conference notes in GoodNotes with my Adonit Jot Pro.
  • My Moo business cards were in the easy access hip belt pocket.
  • Attached to the inside clip, I had my card case (swag from Story2010) for collecting business cards and receipts.
  • Attached there as well is my key fob for returning to my car on the way home.
  • In that same outside pocket, I keep my headphones and sunglasses.
  • Buried deep in the bag were my charging plugs/cables. I also have the Jackery portable charger. I was on Twitter all through the sessions and was tethering often; therefore this was a great safety net to make sure my phone stayed alive.
  • My Fugi XE-2 is a fun addition. I love using this mirrorless camera! Not able to be seen is its case which I used to prop up the backpack. I have a great portable tripod, but choose not to take it on this trip. I knew I’d be struggling for time to use it and therefore made the choice for a slightly lighter pack.
  • Finally, my Contigo Thermos. I have owned this for 7or8 some years. It’s so durable. It doesn’t spill. It keeps coffee hot through to the afternoon. When I’m done with coffee, I use it as my water bottle.
Everything I need; nothing I don’t. Travel light; enjoy the journey.

Perspective of life is revealed in beauty of nature and people

Posted on July 11th, 2014

I read this prayer this morning and have found encouragement in it. I've been contemplating it as my morning moves along.

"Heavenly Father, our lives are full of distractions and our focus on you is sometimes lost. Today, let us stop to behold your majesty, revealed in the beauty of nature an in your children. Amen."

Here are a few photos (that help me consider those thoughts and remember perspective) from last week's camping trip with some dear friends of ours.



Live Production and Landscape Photography Similarities to Study and Apply

Posted on March 10th, 2014

Last night, I watched a video presentation* about landscape photography. There were many great thoughts that I certainly consider beneficial for me to consider as a photographer. Some is a little boring with how basic it is - but always good to remind myself of the fundamentals. Some I knew (and can actually say that I've been attempting to apply) intuitively and is encouraging to me that I've been on the right track. Other ideas totally make sense as I think about them; and leave me itching to test them out...

One of the greatest takeaways is something that I can't help but doing in any field of my artistry: Never settle for a good shot; a great shot is there if you look for it. I know I often can drive my friends and colleagues nuts with my constant unrest as I search for the greatest degree of beauty. It's inherent to my personality and strength mix I think - an "unconscious competency" is a term that may be applied. Well, the presenter spent some time in the middle of the presentation discussing shot composition and I couldn't help but hear brilliant articulation of what I strive for in every artistic discipline I am involved in. Never settle for a good [mix or lighting look, or typeface, or whatever] but keep experimenting through rehearsal and find the great.

I'm often asked (actually more and more, I am blessed to be hired as a consultant for) my thoughts for how I approach production design. If you have been around me for a while, you have probably heard me talk about the "2° and the 2%". I am most concerned with the beginning of an idea - where there's the opportunity to point the concept in the exact direction where I see it having the greatest opportunity of becoming something amazing. This is the vision and the design stage. If you start the project in the right direction, you'll succeed more often than not. 2° of difference in compass bearing may not seem like much in the short term, but it can be miles away from the ideal finish line when it's time to open doors...

I also am charged up by the opportunity to finesse the final tweaks that give the magical touch. This is the 2%. It's the difference between good enough and inspiring; the difference between bland and profound. I'm often cited as having the eye for it. Perhaps I do have a special aptitude for the artistry of seeing what works and where an improvement could be made. However, I believe most of it is my work ethic. I hate settling for less than excellent. Excellence is making the most of our resources. If we have more time to give, we should use it to make the product better.

The analogys of "taking in the scene" and "seeing the light" are so great. We all have the potential to create something amazing. What resources do we have? How can they be focused on to help tell the story that is there? See the potential and figure out the best strategy for highlighting it. Then, never settle for a good [mix or lighting look, or typeface, or whatever] but keep experimenting through rehearsal and find the great.

I was actually running sound last night and one of my students asked me during run-through, "it sounds amazing, why are you continuing to make adjustments?" Two reasons: First, it's live audio; therefore the variables are always changing. The mix engineer has to constantly stay focused on how to best reinforce what's coming from stage. Second, if I'm going to be in the chair during a rehearsal regardless, why settle for a B+ when I could find the tweak that takes it to an A- or perhaps even an A? To me, the idea of settling for mediocrity is detestable. If you're going to be involved, be all there... Anyway, the difference between some of the really good photos and their amazing counterparts are the patience and persistence exhibited by the photographer who is disciplined enough to pursue capturing the epic image that we want to hang on our walls.


*The entire video was really good:
http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/how-to-take-dynamic-landscape-photographs/
40-45min is the location that inspired this post.

A Real Camera Really Can Make A Difference

Posted on March 4th, 2014

So thus far, I have only posted #iphone5 photos to @instagram. It has been a good exercise for me...

I'm going to break the streak in the days to come though by posting some images from our recent vacation to Hawaii.

This #latergram is a good segue as it shows my new camera (Fugi X-E2) preparing to capture a pre-sunrise exposure.


Eric Wolfe

Visual Artist. Production Designer and Consultant. Developer of Ideas. Maximizer of Resources. Strategic Thinker. Creative Innovator. Husband. Father. Philosopher. Photographer. Backpacker. Athlete. Cook. Artisan. Catch Eric’s sporadic musings at egwolfe.com or follow him on social media platforms as @egwolfe