About Me

I am a photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact Info:
Wedding season is full-on, and June kicked off with a fine mountaintop wedding in the North Georgia Mountains, near Helen, Georgia.

Helen is a quirky little Germanic alpine town about 1.5 hours north of Atlanta. Mountain bikers know it for awesome trails like the NORBA race courses at Unicoi, and climbers might pass through Helen en route to Yonah Mountain or Tallulah Gorge. 

The more adventurous do what the locals do for fun: monster truck rides, a dip in the river, beer and putt-putt... A huge downpour signaled good luck and cleared the skies for the beautiful ceremony, which was held at Lucille's Mountaintop Inn 

Congrats to Vanthan & Adrian, June 5, 2010:



My indefatigable assistant Sharif Hassan and my intern Brett May. I try not to leave home without them. 

Here's one reason why: shooting at the reception, my Nikon SB800 flash started doing unholy things to the exposure, so I grabbed Brett's brand new SB900 and shot away. It worked, the SB800 did not. 

I'm pretty sure the critical difference here was that the SB800 shoots TTL at a maximum ISO of 1000, where the SB900 will work up to 6400. The controls on the 900 are way more intuitive. These together mean better performance in the trenches. I bought one immediately.

Your crew should all shoot the same gear and have it ready to go. It also helps if they can assemble a grease a new racing bike with a multi-tool and a can of mustache wax.

In the Lowepro bags:

- Nikon D3s
- Nikkor Lenses: 16mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 AFS, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
Westcott strip banks, octabank, eggcrates
- Profoto 7b strobe
- All kinds of unmentionable grip and assorted contraband

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Scott Chebegia:

Thanks for all the info Andrew! Absolutely love the concept and execution on this project. Amazing!

(07.26.10 @ 03:30 PM)
Shamima Sultana:

pleased to see the photos...its wonderful

(08.02.10 @ 05:06 AM)
Jaimie Dee:

Love the one with the bride in front of the car!! Great vibrant colors and overall nice composition! :)

(09.05.10 @ 11:30 AM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: North Georgia Mountain Wedding . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/57
I have recently been using the new Lowepro Pro Roller x300 bag, for location stuff, studio shooting, and everything in between. It's way more than just a rolling camera bag. It has TSA-approved locks, pimp new wheels and a wider wheelbase for offroad rally, a removable "Reserve Pack" that carries as a backpack (or in case your main chute fails), and an ingenious tripod/light mount at the top of the handle. Yes, a light mount on the handle. Akorn Likes. Check out this video review I did from a recent shoot in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Big thanks to Will Eccleston for video footage and Andy Scott on the assist!
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Michael Clark:

Looks like you are making good use of the new studio space - nice job on this vid. Did you get the new D300s? Or was that the D90 you were shooting with in the video?

(09.01.09 @ 08:32 PM)

Thanks Michael - I was actually shooting the video on the Sony EX1 but we were also using it to shoot my review... so I used the Nikon D5000 for some footage :)

(09.01.09 @ 10:13 PM)
Andy Herbick:

Cool work...really digging the "vids" esp. the still motion work. I'm curious about the stabilizing gadget you're carrying into the woods and then using to shoot the guy bouldering at the end - is it a diy solution or something that's commercially available?

(09.06.09 @ 08:40 AM)

Thanks Andy-

The gadget is a Glidecam, basically a counter-balanced platform that helps keep the camera on a steady trajectory as you are moving. This one is the Glidecam 4000. http://glidecam.com/product-4000-pro.php

(09.07.09 @ 10:47 PM)
Sarah Diebold:

Good stuff, Andy. Great to see your new space, too. Now would you usually carry more gear than your assistant? If so, I'll assist you any time you're working in Cincy. :)

(09.08.09 @ 02:33 PM)
Andy Mann:

Great stuff as usual Andrew! I'm lovin' the new blog!

(09.08.09 @ 03:06 PM)

Great review. Just came across this on the lowerpro site. I have to say that bag is AWESOME. Pricey, but AWESOME.

(09.14.09 @ 12:42 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: On Location with the Lowepro Pro Roller x300 . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://theblindmonkey.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/27
It wasn't easy.

I had a chance to try out an Olympus E-3 DSLR for a while last month. Among other things, the magnesium E-3 body and Olympus Zukio lenses are known for their ruggedness. The whole system is billed as "splashproof and dustproof". The 10MP camera has been out for awhile, but it has a ton of other attractive features: in-camera image stabilization, automatic sensor dust cleaning, a built-in flash, live view, and the speed and responsiveness you would expect from a modern DSLR.

Thumbnail image for e3views_front.jpg
It was perfect timing because I had some climbing shoots lined up at some new areas near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the conditions were perfect for this camera: rain for a solid week. 

The thing about climbing in the south is that much of the walls are steep enough to allow climbing in even a downpour. If you are willing to hike out in the conditions, chances are you can climb dry rock once you get there. Still, tromping around and rigging ropes in the rain is usually hard enough on cameras to call off a day - or week - of climbing photography.

I was hoping the E-3 would live up to its reputation, and I could salvage an otherwise unproductive week of shooting. 

The Zukio lenses are all fantastic. The build and optical quality is at least as good if not better than any DSLR system out there. I tested out four pro-quality lenses: The 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, 35-100mm f/2.0, 50mm f/2.0, and 300mm f/2.8. 

Olympus has committed to the Four-Thirds sensor on all its DSLRs. This is a smaller sensor than the "cropped" APS sensor of Nikon and Canon, and has an aspect ratio that is closer to square than rectangular. The Olympus sensor and processor has a reputation for great color and image quality, and it's definitely not hype. I shot some portraits and kids in the neighborhood before heading up to Chattanooga, and the color and skin tones were remarkable, right out of the box, on auto white balance. I was looking forward to seeing what I could do to this camera in harsher conditions.


The climbing areas we explored over the next few days - which shall remain nameless - were deep, and rugged, and beautiful. In classic southern style, access involved 4WD roads, river crossings and long hikes in the rain. In these conditions I would normally keep my camera in a housing, or just leave it in the bag, but with the E-3, I could shoot and even change lenses with impunity. I spent a good part of one afternoon 80 feet in the air on a rope, under a small waterfall and light rain. Nothing seemed to give the camera pause. Not only that, but yielded great shots the whole time.


By the end of our trip I was getting ... reckless. We explored a river under one cliff 
and the fun began. 







Uh, Oh!

That last shot was probably the camera's last shot, ever*. The E-3 is obviously not an underwater camera, and it's not meant to withstand immersion, but before it died I DID get a good number of "underwater" shots. Not many cameras would have inspired me to go for a shot like that... I think gear that can encourage you to take your craft one step further - thats money!

Olympus just released a new mini four-thirds camera, the E-P1, and its gotten a lot of attention, but with the excellent Zukio lens lineup, and the features the E-3 already has, I'm excited to see what Olympus has on deck for its next flagship DSLR.

I'd love to break it in!

* Note: I've learned that the camera actually survived and is happily taking pictures somewhere in Aruba. Guess it really isn't that easy.
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James Davidson:

So that's the half & half shot you were telling me about. That's awesome, almost as awesome as being allowed to destroy a camera! :)

(08.13.09 @ 10:49 AM)

That's amazing! I honestly never expected such great results from an Olympus (I generally avoid products from companies other than nikon and canon because of a few previous experiences). I'm curious to learn what your rig is when you are photographing on a rope - something that has given me headaches (and leg pains) time after time. thanks

(08.14.09 @ 01:47 PM)

Thanks Michael - My rig is usually pretty simple - on a single statc line, a Petzl GriGri and Ascender are the basic components, along with a good beefy wall or rescue harness (Petzl makes some great ones) and a Black Diamond 5-step etrier. Rig the ascender (which is leashed to you) above you, attach the etriers to the ascender, GriGri at your harness, pull in on the GriGri while you step up in the etriers, repeat. I like this setyup because it uses minimal gear and you can lower quickly. It's not the most efficient setup - you can increase the efficiency with a pulley at the Ascender - but with practice (and fitness) you can go pretty quick on this.

Maybe a video demonstration is in order - stay tuned.

(08.14.09 @ 03:10 PM)

I actually own an E-3 recently took to Morocco, I agree is rugged but I actually felt that at 54C or 138F the autofocus was a little slower..

(09.01.09 @ 12:25 PM)

They're Zuiko lenses, not zukio and the E-P1 is part of micro Four-Thirds, not mini unless of course, you just meant small. ;-)

No, you're not supposed to put the equipment underwater, but after shooting outside in 3 hurricanes, I can attest to the weatherproofing.

(09.04.09 @ 02:08 PM)

Superbes images inspirées et qui montre le potentiel d'un E3

(09.05.09 @ 01:50 AM)
Greg Funnell:

Just discovered your blog - great reading. That last shot of the dog is fantastic - almost worth trashing the camera for!

(09.12.09 @ 09:10 AM)
Bruno Axhausen:

Fantastic shots! Very courageous to use your camera like that, but I'd say the images are worth it! What about the lens?!


(09.14.09 @ 02:39 PM)

bousozoku: Thanks for the spellcheck.

I'd love to see your photos from shooting during a hurricane!

(09.14.09 @ 03:03 PM)

Thanks Bruno - The lens was fine, no fogging or anything afterwards. They are all weather sealed to a high degree.

(09.14.09 @ 03:08 PM)
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In late 2008, Lowepro introduced the Classified AW series of camera bags designed to "conceal photographers gear (and their mission) with a discreet and slim profile, contoured to be comfortable, move easily with the body and help navigate a busy street in Prague or a crowded subway in New York."

Pfft. I'm a professional. I don't spend my time sipping lattes in Chelsea. A well-appointed satchel, yes, but I needed a hardcore bag to schlep a bunch of camera crap around miles of mean streets, full of crazy characters and people constantly trying take my money. That's right, I was headed to Disney World.


iBlivious. You would be miffed too, if you knew how much this character lunch cost.

The Classified is sort of like a Magnum AW (my other favorite camera bag) sewn onto a laptop bag, with a top zipper for camera access and a giant flap that conceals a bunch of other pockets. The styling is sleek and understated. I opted for the largest size Classified (250), big enough for a pro DSLR and a gang of lenses, or a medium format rig. It also fits a 15" Macbook Pro, and the odd hidden beer, not that I would have brought either of those things into the Park.

Eating the D3 for dessert after a belly full of Hasselblad.

This bag looks dynamite. Discreet and stylish. IMO the best looking bag to come out of Lowepro. Enough said about that. Let's talk performance.

The perfect bag?

A few things I liked right off the bat. The bag is very well-balanced and contours well on your body, but the inner sanctum is still well-padded for camera gear and keeps its shape. It's deeper than the average camera bag, which is nice when you need to stack lenses (I always do anyway) or through your saddled-up DSLR back in the bag real quick with the lens hood still attached. The main zipper, with big, stiff pull-tabs on either end, is smooth and easy to use one-handed. Since the zipper is on the flap rather than under it, you aren't in danger of the whole thing turning over or falling open if you pick it up by the carrying handles with the zipper open.

One-handed operation is essential in high-stress environments.

My 15" MBP fits perfectly in the inner sleeve, and those concealed pockets I mentioned are well-designed. A key ring and plenty of velcro and overlap keeps necessary valuables save and hidden, but still easily accessible. The 250 in particular, even full of camera gear, is cavernous enough to stuff a jacket, a change of clothes, or say, another camera inside.

Well-designed details and generous pockets for valuables and other shit that you are crazy for carrying around all day.

They nailed some details on this one, like built-in lens cloths on the dividers, and a great ID sleeve which will fit oversized cards takes the place of the standard annoying slipknotted hangtag. One side panel is soft and fuzzy inside for an iPhone or Blackberry. Then of course there is the ubiquitous waterproof condom hidden inside the back to cover your bag when you just had to bring it on the water ride.

I usually cut off or immediately throw away anything non-essential from my bags. The Classified suffered only two casualties.
The included CF card pouch is a nice touch, but those hard cases Lowepro makes are so much better as to render this meaningless. The 3-point stabilizing strap hanging off the shoulder strap is useful of maybe you are running or biking with the bag, but other than that it just gets in the way. I think I lost it already. The shoulder strap has a small flap that is supposed to help keep your camera's strap in place. It doesn't work, even if my strap were thin enough for it. I didn't cut it off though, since it looks nice.

Do yourself a favor and buy a few of these Lowepro CF card holders. The soft one that comes with the Classified can be reused as a Redbull cozy.

I'm a little mystified by the lack of end pockets. With the bag over one shoulder, that's the quickest place to store essential gear, spare change, or especially a water bottle, which I don't like throwing inside with the cameras. I think the shoulder strap, though comfortable, could be improved. I am a fan of shoulder strap pads that "float" along the length of the strap. That keeps the bag stuck to your shoulder even when you are swinging it around your body. The zipper pull-tabs can interfere with the shoulder strap when you pick it up, causing it to tilt slightly. It's never caused a real problem, but it bugs me.

When you can't afford to miss a moment, the Classified 250 handles it all: Hasselblad 500c and lens, film backs, Nikon D3 and a fixed lens, SB800 flash, and extras for full days in far-off kingdoms.

Overall the Classified lives up to its billing as a "hardworking bag specifically designed for the hardworking photojournalist." It's a nearly  perfect bag, and right now it's what I keep my working gear in the majority of the time, for both assignments and casual shooting. I might even get another smaller one for that next trip to Disney.

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David Cooper:

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh........... if only I had a Hasselblad!!! Fantastic pics!

(05.06.09 @ 02:33 AM)
Damian Brown:

Great review, just spotted this bag and i'm very tempted...

(07.12.09 @ 05:55 PM)

You took a Hasselblad 500c with you into Disney World?


(11.05.10 @ 12:31 AM)
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