Environmental Portrait: Longmont Welder

JOAN_OF_ARC© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I made this picture for a story on a local welding company owned by the woman in the photo. It was an idea I had for a while but didn’t have the opportunity to shoot. To create it, I used the cutting torch as the main light and a variety of gelled speedlights to shape the rest of the environment around the subject. It turned out more or less how I had envisioned and it ran at a decent size in the printed edition. Click through to see the final page.

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Death Race Competitor Portrait

© Matthew Jonas 2012/Evergreen Newspapers 2012

Yes. You read that correctly. There is an actual event called “The Death Race.” It’s a 24-48 hour endurance race that features some unique challenges. These can range from carrying a 20 lbs stump for several miles, crawling through mud under barbed wire or memorizing and reciting bible verses after climbing up a mountain. Yeah. I’m dead serious about that last one. (Get it? You’re so smart!) If you are looking for more info on the race, check out www.youmaydie.com.

Fall Football Preview Portraits

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

About 6 months ago our sports editor, Michael Hicks, came to me with an idea for the fall. He wanted to put together a multi-page, pull out section filled with previews for the fall high school football season. I was immediately on board. It has been a long time since we had tackled anything this big. Newspapers with a circulation size as small as ours do not get to work on projects like this often. As everyone is well aware, the newspaper business is a little unstable right now. With that instability comes budget cuts and physical page count and size reductions. Getting a full color, multi-page section is a difficult pill to swallow for most publishers, especially if there is a lack of committed advertising to offset the cost.

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Using Big Lights on Location

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

If you have read any of my posts about lighting you know that I was raised on the lighting traditions of David Hobby. I worked with him during the filming of the DVD he put out on lighting 101 when I was living in Delaware. I have been a small light shooter since I started working in newspapers. It was a necessity born out of portability and speed. Lately I seem to bringing a lot of gear with me to do the job of one big light. So I have made a change.

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Pocket Wizards, oh how i love thee


Pocket Wizards. Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny their popularity and functionality. I bought my first set of these a couple years ago and I have been adding a couple each year since. I knew that I needed a wireless solution when a dog tripped over a sync cable and pulled my lightstand with a flash into a pool. That was the last straw. Previous to the wireless revolution I was using DIY screwlock sync cords. They worked great…about half the time.

My PWs work ALL the time. I have never had a problem with them. You pay for what you get with these and they are expensive. At about $189 apiece, you need 1 per device you want to trigger so with 1 camera and 1 strobe you need 2 PWs. 2 x $189 = $378 just to use a little off camera flash. If you have 4 strobes and a remote camera you want to trigger, 5 x $189 = one arm and possibly a leg. You get the idea. Pocket Wizards are an investment. If you earn a living shooting the decision should be a no-brainer.

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