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Senior Shoot

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20140422-_DSC9544 20140422-_DSC9653 20140422-_DSC9676 20140422-_DSC9537 20140422-_DSC9494 20140422-_DSC9454Senior Shoot

This was from a very rushed senior shoot. The mother of these two twin seniors called me and told me that she had less than a week to get her senior photos taken. She had two twin boys, and the evening of the shoot she had to be at work in an hour! lol

My normal assistant wasn’t available, so my teenaged daughter lent me a hand with the shoot.

All things considered, I think that they came out fairly well!

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Faith and Josh’s Wedding

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_DSC2119b_DSC2032_DSC2107 (2)    _DSC2190 _DSC2462-Recovered _DSC2665 20140523-_DSC2129bFaith and Josh's Wedding

I had the privilege of photographing a beautiful wedding last week, and captured some amazing moments. The bride asked me to start the morning by meeting her at the hair salon (the amazing “Pin Up Salon,” in Springfield, MO.) We took some candid shots as she underwent her transformation. The wedding had a 1930’s vintage theme, which was perfectly suited to my preferred style of editing… so I was very happy to be a part of it.

After the bride’s hair and makeup were completed, we drove to a nearby location and took some shots with a couple of vintage cars. We then drove to a wonderful wedding venue near Marshfield, MO. It’s called, “Venue 481,”

I’ve really only begun to edit the photos from this wedding, so I’ll try to update this post with new photos as they become available, but I haven’t updated the blog in a while, so this seemed like a good chance to do so.:)

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Wedding: Marlena and Kyle

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20140309-DSC_0077-45_color 20140309-DSC_0044-14 20140309-_DSC8744-81 20140309-_DSC8647-73 20140309-_DSC8444-57 20140309-_DSC8376-48 20140309-_DSC8304-39 20140309-_DSC8245-20 20140309-_DSC8233-17 20140309-_DSC8223-16 20140309-_DSC8216-13 20140309-_DSC8212-12 20140309-_DSC8205-11 20140309-_DSC8164-9 20140309-_DSC8157-6 20140309-_DSC8140-5 20140309-_DSC8131-2Wedding: Marlena and Kyle

I shot a wedding yesterday afternoon, at the Executive Conference Center in Springfield, Missouri. I’d agreed to photograph the entire day, from set-up until after the reception ended, so it was a long (but enjoyable) day. My fiancee assisted me, and acted as a second shooter.

I generally try to shoot weddings without flash in order to remain as discrete as possible (especially during the ceremony) but the bride had informed me that no one minded if I used a couple of speed-lights, and due to the subdued interior lighting I ultimately opted to go with the flashes. That said, my primary camera is a full-frame Nikon d600, so it does really well in low-light with high ISO. In the future, I may even crank up the ISO a bit higher, as I was very happy with how the non-flash photos turned out.

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Wildlife Photos

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Wildlife Photos

Now that the Winter weather is beginning to subside somewhat, I decided to take a hike through the local nature center trails. I’d just experienced a depressing night (a child was kidnapped and murdered way too close to home) and had just completed a long shift at work, so I thought maybe a little zen-like stroll through the woods would help lift my spirits.

Before I’d even gotten to the Nature Center, I saw this woodchuck crossing the street, so I pulled over and got some photos.

I then continued on, and photographed several animals and birds in the woods. After I was done, I felt much better, and stopped for some fajitas on the way home. Mission accomplished!

Springfield photography Springfield, MO vanstry photography

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Wedding Announcement Series (Faith and Josh)

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Wedding Announcement Series (Faith and Josh)

Braving some pretty cruddy weather (cold and rainy), I accompanied Faith and Josh to “Venue 481,” in Marshfield, Missouri. It’s a fantastic wedding venue, run by a very nice gentleman who went out of his way to accommodate us. (I’ll provide a link to their website at the bottom, if anyone from Southwest Missouri is looking for a rustic-themed wedding location.)

Faith was a trooper, despite the cold, rainy weather. We only spent about a half-hour taking photos, but I think her feet were frozen by the time we were done!:) (I know my hands were).
As for Josh, he had the flu and had dragged himself out of bed, where he’d been nursing a cough and a fever. I offered to postpone the shoot until a different day of course, but the graphic designer who was in charge of their wedding announcements really needed the photos so she could print up the announcements on time. So the couple bravely endured the conditions, and despite the illness, rain, and cold… we managed to get some pretty good photos! (Warmed up a little in Photoshop😉 ).

On the subject of rainy, overcast days: I will take an overcast day ANY DAY, over bright and sunny. Almost any photographer will agree with this. The overcast sky acts just like a giant soft-box (the large, softly flattering light which fashion photographers often use) and produces a very flattering diffusion. In contrast, sunshine produces very harsh shadows and unflattering light. Portrait photographers typically prefer to diffuse their light. That’s why we generally shoot through umbrellas, or bounce flashes, or use various other devices and tricks to avoid harsh shadows. Overcast days naturally achieve this same diffused effect!

I’ll be photographing Faith and Josh’s wedding in a few months, along with several others, so stay tuned!

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A Happy Accident

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A Happy Accident

I was testing out a new lens by taking some shots of the moon a couple of days ago, and caught this shot. I took six shots of the moon, and had no idea that there was a plane passing in front of it until I imported the shots into Lightroom. I have no idea how I missed it, except to say that I was using Live Mode, and zoomed in very, very tightly on the moon so I could adjust focus. It was still fairly bright out, so I was struggling a little to see the LCD viewfinder. Between this, and the fact that I was zoomed in so tightly, I guess I forgot to actually look at it with my naked eye and somehow never saw the plane. :p

Anyway, it was a very cool accident!

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Cats!

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Cats!

For a year I’ve been uploading photos to various photography sites, trying to establish my name as a photographer. These days, it’s all about Google ranking, and a person unfortunately has to play the game by establishing a certain “fan base” of followers through various social media sites, in order to convince Google’s search engine that your business page is indeed worthy of appearing when people search for things such as, “Springfield MO photographers” or, “best wedding photographer in Springfield.” Unless you want to show up on page 48 of Google, you just have to saturate the internet with photos, and build a fan base, create link-back traffic to your website, et cetera.

Which brings me to my point. For a year now, I’ve been posting my very best work. These range from carefully lit macro close-up shots, to highly Photoshopped glamor shots of professional models, to daring shots of tornadoes and lightning storms, to aerial photography, to weeks-long CGI projects. All in hopes of earning a difficult to obtain, and highly coveted score in the high 90+%’s on the website where I primarily post my work.

So yesterday I happened to take a quick, unplanned snapshot of a stray cat, who quizzically popped his head out of a storm sewer. I uploaded this silly photo and almost immediately scored (for me) a record-breaking 96.5% score. And it’s still rising, with a half-dozen “likes” per hour pouring in.

I’m not boasting. It’s not a great photo.
But I think it proves a point:
People like cats.

No, they LOVE cats.

This same photo is also spreading on Twitter via retweets, and Pinterest via shares.

It’s ridiculous. So henceforth I’m done taking photos of humans, tornadoes, close-ups of insects, commercial products, babies, et cetera….. from now on, I’m going to be a cat photographer. There’s apparently no quicker way to achieve recognition. Hence this shameless cat-exploitation post, and the subtle peppering of “cat” related keywords throughout this post.

*Please contact me with all of your cat-photography needs. I do cat graduations, cat weddings, baby kittens, cat engagements, and all other cat photography.

#cat #kitten #feline #meow

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Snowed in!

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Alice Wonderland looking glass fairytale fairy tale Springfield MO photography Jason Vanstry Vanstry Photography

I upgraded my equipment this Winter, from a Nikon d5100 to a Nikon d600. I also upgraded one of my lenses. Consequently, I’m really itching to get out and take some photos! Seriously, I feel like a junkie who’s Jonesing for a fix! (Well, actually I have no idea what a junkie feels like when they’re Jonesing for a fix, because Diet Coke is my biggest vice. Then again, I’ve been a paramedic for twenty years, so I have seen my share of junkies; but I digress….)

“All good and well,” you say, right? “Quit blogging and get out and take some photos!”
Great. I’d love to. Except that we got 6-9 inches of snow, with -20F windchills for the past few days! Blah!

Today is finally a bit warmer (32F) but I’m expecting a FedEx delivery, so between the snow and the delivery (signature-only), I’m kind of stuck here.

….Which brings me to my point: Since I don’t really have anything new to take pictures of, I decided to revisit some older ones from this Fall, and do some editing in Photoshop. The photo up above is yet another from my fairytale-themed series (which is essentially a promotional shoot in order to attract attention to my website, thereby gradually increasing my visibility on Google. Ssshhh. Don’t tell. Let’s just pretend I created this series purely out of artistic drive.😉 )

Anyway, not much point to this post, except to show off the new editing techniques I’m learning in Photoshop. I recently watched some of CreativeLive’s amazing video seminars, by photographers such as Lara Jade and Brooke Shaden. These photographers and their training seminars are truly phenomenal, and I highly recommend checking them out. Some of the techniques involving methods of color-grading, texturing, and dodge & burning that I’ve been studying were applied to this photo. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m beginning to evolve my artistic style. Another of my earlier influences was photographer Jaime Ibarra. I spent days “reverse engineering,” his methods of color-grading. (He offers an instructional video which would have saved me an enormous amount of time, but I hadn’t yet started my business and was too broke at the time to purchase it. :p )

Anyway, I have some big projects planned for 2014, so keep an eye out!

On a side-note, I hope everyone had a happy New Year, and of course a wonderful Christmas!
-Jason

Before and after:

jasonvanstry vanstry photography Springfield, MO Jason Vanstry

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Macro Photography

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Macro Photography

When I sometimes find myself in the mood to take photos, yet unable to find an interesting subject, I turn to the world of macro-photography.

It’s amazing what you can find when you start flipping over rocks and looking in dusty corners.

I will eventually upgrade to Nikon’s 105mm macro lens, but for now I’m shooting with their 50mm. For lighting I generally use a couple of SB-700 flashes, placed to either side and remotely triggered with either an SU-800 or in-camera flash commander (depending on what camera I’m shooting with.) Focus is the trickiest part, and is made far easier if you use a mini-tripod and shoot with a very small aperture (around F/22 or smaller). This is essential because with macro photography, the depth-of-field is extreme. Even a difference of a millimeter or two can throw the focal-point out of focus.

I use the LCD viewer and zoom in as close as I can until I am focused… and then instead of turning your focus ring, slightly nudge your tripod toward or away from the subject until it’s in perfect focus.

There are techniques in which you take multiple exposures of varying focal depth and then stack them using software compositing. This lets you increase the depth of field beyond what would normally be possible. I’ve tested this method once or twice, but have not seriously employed it on a shot.

 

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