Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Office Portrait

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Environmental office portrait from a recent website redo for a local Greensboro company. This was an interesting job because I was allowed and encouraged by the art director to look for unusual and different angles. It's great to have the opportunity to think outside the box.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Barack Obama and Joe Biden in Greensboro

Coming off the first presidential debate held in Mississippi on Friday, Barack Obama and Joe Biden held a rally in Greensboro yesterday and it was an unbelievable event. Thousands of people (the police said 18-20,000 plus, it looked like a lot more to me) crowded in front of the Depot to hear the candidates speak. The diversity of the crowd amazed me. The skies threatened rain all morning but everyone remained and as Obama spoke people were lined up for blocks. Maybe there still is hope for North Carolina.

Yesterday's event gave me a lot more respect for full-time photo-journalists. I am primarily a commercial photographer, though I do editorial work for magazines. Normally when I shoot, I am in complete control of what I'm shooting, or at least close to it. The logistics of working around such crowds and security as there were at the rally and being able to come up with good coverage and good photos are extremely difficult. 

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Portrait

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Portrait of Devin.

A question that often comes up is how much post-processing should be done to images. For me, it is as "much as it needs" to give the effect I am after. I shoot in raw format, which is basically like using a digital negative. Every file I shoot is processed in raw conversion software (I use Adobe's Raw Converter) and corrected for color and contrast. If I'm doing editorial work, I pretty much stop there. If I'm doing commercial advertising or art, I may do a lot more. I am not in the least bit opposed to manipulating an image in Photoshop to create a feel that I'm trying to create, such as producing a gritty or poloroid type effect. I try to be subtle, but I can push things pretty far. Do I ever overdo things? Sure, sometimes; but usually I try to keep things under control. How much post I do usually ends up being determined by what mood I'm in that day. I will say that very seldom have I seen an image come straight out of a digital camera that didn't need at least some basic post.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ASMP-NC Presents Blake Discher's "I Stink at Negotiating"

ASMP/NC through ASMP national is proud to present an evening with Blake Discher, popular speaker at ASMP’s SB2, for his seminar, "I Stink at Negotiating".

November 6, 2008 (Thursday)
Social: 6:00 PM
Program: 7:00 PM

Country Suites
3211 Wilson Drive
Burlington NC 27215

For more info, go to http://www.asmp-nc.org/DischerASMP0811PR.php

Scottish Castle

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

If there is one place I would like to be right now it would be Scotland. My family is of Scottish descent (circa 1750) as is my wife's. It is said that there are more people of Scottish descent in North Carolina now than there are in Scotland itself. During the "Clearances" of the 18th and early 19th century, thousands of Scots left Scotland and many settled here in North Carolina. Names such as Chisholm, McMasterss, McCallum and Wallace are prominent in our genealogy. We attend highland games. In fact North Carolina has the world's largest such games at Grandfather Mountain each summer. My older son is a piper and my younger son plays the flourishing tenor drum. When my older son was married recently, the males wore kilt.

One of my favorite spots in Scotland is Eilean Donan Castle near the Kyle of Lochalsh on the western coast near the Isle of Skye (where my family originated). It's a misty place that shouts "Highlands" and is near the Kyle Bridge that leads over to Skye. The day we were there, it was a normal Scottish day, slightly cool and rainy or as they say, "fresh". The BBC produced a television show back in the 1990's called "Hamish Macbeth" which was filmed near there.

Postscript: I got an email from Peter Hunter from Fife just north of Edinburgh. He had some very kind things to say about my blog. If Scotland interests you, check out his website at http://www.scotlandinoils.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fiddle Player

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Scottish fiddle player from a local highland games.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Yancey House

I recently had the pleasure to shoot and eat at the Yancey House Restaurant in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Owners Michael and Lucindy Willis operate a wonderful establishment in a beautiful Victorian house that was the home of Bartlett Yancey, US Congressman and UNC Trustee, and the namesake for Yanceyville. The hospitality is exceptional and the food is to die for. Loved the sea bass and the crab cakes. For more info, go to http://www.yanceyvillage.com.

Lucindy is a retired English professor and does all the cooking.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Packhouse Window

I went for a walk yesterday afternoon and passed an old tobacco packhouse on our farm.

A packhouse is a structure with an attic for storing cured tobacco and an earthen basement for adjusting the humidity of the leaf, or to get the tobacco "in order" so that it can be graded and packed for market. I spent a lot of my early youth watching my grandmother and the other women in my family grade tobacco leaf by leaf. My grandmother also used the packhouse to hang her quilting frame and I can remember the ladies gathering there to work on their quilts.

Not far from the packhouse is an old curing barn, where the harvested tobacco was hung and cured, first by wood heat and later with oil or gas-fired heaters. As you can tell, neither structure is in use today, but both stand testimony to another time.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taggart Lake

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Taggart Lake in the Grand Tetons, Wyoming.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nobel Prize

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Dr. Oliver Smithies, Excellence Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine. Dr. Smithies shared the prize with a UK scientist “for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells." Smithies has been at UNC for 19 years and is the first full-time UNC faculty member to win a Nobel Prize.

At age 73, Dr. Smithies is also an avid pilot. He owns a Grob 109B motorglider that he often flies out of the Chapel Hill Airport. It's sort of like a Piper or Cessna with really long wings. You can fly it like a small plane, or if the conditions are right, cut the engine and use it to soar. Dr. Smithies told me, "It's not a great sailplane, nor is it a great airplane, but it is a lot of fun."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Knee Board

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

A knee-boarder catches some air at High Rock Lake in North Carolina. A fast shutter speed does two things; it freezes the water spray and allows me to deal with the boat movement underfoot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shifting Gears on Location

Sometimes flexibility is the key to getting a job done. Yesterday is good example for me. One day, one model, one client, and two different product lines, with two different looks and very different locations.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Monday, September 15, 2008


(Image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

American bison on the range near Morman Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


(Image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Wilkes County waterfall, North Carolina.

Friday, September 12, 2008


(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Revolutionary War reenactors do their thing in Greensboro at the annual reenactment of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birdcage Maserati

A birdcage Maserati runs in anger at Virginia International Raceway. Called a birdcage because of it's frame style, cars like this ran at VIR during the late 50's and early 60's. They run again at various vintage events at the track. For more info on VIR, located in southern Virginia near Danville, go to http://virclub.com.

Below is a Maserati 450S. Carroll Shelby won the very first race at VIR in August 1957 in a similar car.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Native Dancer

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Native Dancer
Devin Routh

The earth blurs beyond his skin as the drums pulse.
Lines of light trail in the black and white and
Gray of his bustle and vestments, a ghost behind the breeze.
His face is a stone on a riverbed, motionless beneath the torrent.

Borrowed feathers crown his head, drape
Down his back like quills on a porcupine;
The sullen eagle feather perches above his eyes,
Sovereign of the skies, impetus of his movements.

Is he a son of Crazy Horse? Is he Lakota? Is he a warrior?
Look for a lightning bolt across his face and hail stones over his torso,
Symbols of the Shirt Wearer at Little Bighorn when he killed Honska.
No, all I see are tracks and claws on his sleeve, beaded totems in his hand.

When brothers are dead, movement becomes memory.
Chief Joseph told his Nez Perce, the real people,
“From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever,”
But the dancer will always feel the wind beneath his feet
And hear the whispers of all the tribes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Loading Hay

Catalog product photography with people can become visually boring if you are not extremely careful. Too many times you end up with models that look out of context or stiff. When directing models for still photography, I try to operate more like a video shoot. I try to come up with something for the talent to do, a simple scenario, and let them go through it at normal speed. More like acting than modeling. It seems to make them more comfortable and hopefully gives a more natural and realistic look.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fishing on Lake Jocassee

(Photograph copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Shot on Lake Jocassee in South Carolina. This was one of those mornings that you remember as a photographer. There was a light fog hanging over the lake at sunrise. As the sun came over the mountains, the fog lifted slightly, and the light that played on the water was spectacular but subtle. What's the old saying? "F/11 and be there." Usage was for an intro shot for an outdoor catalog.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Old Greensboro

My studio is located on South Elm Street in an area called Old Greensboro. We are in the midst of downtown redevelopment which started up Elm in the middle of downtown and has moved our way. Downtown Greensboro has changed tremendously in the last few years. Fifteen years ago if you walked downtown on a Saturday, it resembled a ghost town. Now there are shops, restaurants, clubs and local residents. It's become much more vibrant and safe. Our end of the street is the older section and still maintains some of the texture. It is an area of antique shops and art galleries and a soon to open Mellow Mushroom. An old feed mill is being converted into studios. Condos are sprouting up everywhere. Yesterday as I walked to lunch, I snapped a few images of those textures. As we redevelop, I hope we do so without destroying some of these details.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Image of the Day

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)



(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

I spent the day yesterday teaching a class at Randolph Community College on digital workflow and post-processing. I enjoyed it very much. Hopefully, I was able to impart some useful information to the students. I had the opportunity to look at some of their work and I can honestly say that I was impressed with what I saw. The students are progressing nicely with digital imaging and show a remarkable understanding of workflow, retouching and image manipulation. There were some nice images on the computer screens. I want to thank the Photography Program for inviting me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oriental Lily

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

I got my start in commercial photography shooting still-lifes, primarily products. I believe if you have a good background in lighting still objects and know how to design a studio photograph, that translates into shooting everything else; people, location or whatever.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

It's that time of year again. Summer is ending and the kids are heading back to school. Though schools start up in August now, the day after Labor Day was traditionally the time children began their new year of study. These images were shot for a local school system reading program.

Tomorrow I get to go to school myself. I'm covering for an instructor and teaching digital workflow and post-production at Randolph Community College in their Photographic Technology program. I'm looking forward to it. I really enjoy the opportunities I get to teach. RCC has a 2 year Associate Degree program in photography that is second to none. The Photography Department blog is http://rccphoto.blogspot.com/.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

From the US Dept. of Labor website:

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

Yes, Labor Day is the traditional last fling of summer, the last chance to get away and relax before fall. My son and I spent the day working on a chicken coop.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)