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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High School Football Portraits

© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I’ll admit it. I used to hate my speedlights. The first one I bought sat in my camera bag for 6 months before I even turned it on for the first time. I didn’t understand how to use it, when I should use it or what it was capable of. I got over my hatred but only after a lot of experimentation and studying the work of other news and editorial photographers. Once I understood what could be accomplished using speedlights, modifiers and a solid knowledge of lighting, I never approached a portrait the same way again.

Click through for to learn about how the picture above was made.

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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.

Work From the Workshop

© Matthew Jonas 2011

Whew! My apologies for the lack of new posts lately. I have been busy recharging. Last week I attended the Rich Clarkson Sports Photography Workshop in Colorado Springs. What an experience! Here are a few of the pictures I made on a self-assigned shoot during the workshop. Special thanks to “Billy” Blair for taking time out of racing to shoot a few portraits and for allowing me to strap an unwieldy remote rig to the fork on his bike. I promise I will use a lighter camera next time!

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Hero

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

I made the picture above during an interview the other day. No artificial lights were used. Sometimes you just can’t beat the natural light coming from a great, big, window. I usually stay away from doing the black and white conversion with my pictures but I in this case I felt like it fit the mood well.  You can read the full story about U.S.M.C. Lance Cpl. Marcus Uribe in this weeks Columbine Courier.

The Gallery Owner and the Speedlights

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

I shoot a lot of environmental portraits and have written about it before. Generally I choose to light a portrait and not include the gear that I use to do it with in the actual picture. I’m not sure where I got the idea or what I was looking at that gave me the inspiration but this time I decided to leave it in. I’m still not sure if I like it or not but think I am going to run it this week as the main photo in a supplemental publication we have called Upslope.

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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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Portrait of a firefighter

I shoot a lot of portraits. Unlike some of my colleagues, I actually like shooting portraits. This is a portrait of firefighter Scott Martin who helped to save the life of 3 year old Joshua Johnson who was run over by a car in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Evergreen. I called him in the morning to schedule a time to shoot the portrait but I didn’t hear back from him. My deadline was approaching fast and my editor told me that this story was going to run on the front page. So I did what anyone in my situation would have done, I drove to the fire station and rang the door bell.

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