About a year and change ago, I started a meetup group called the Tampa Bay Strobist. The idea was to just get together with like minded peeps and go out and just play with lights in a relaxed environment. I figured – if we got 20 people to go out and try some shooting with, hey.. be great.

Fast forward a year and the group’s swelled to over 340. My buddy Kathy Porupski runs the group (some local photogs freaked about me having a group and cutting into their ‘business’ – I didn’t even know Meetup was a business) . One of the things she does is every month, she has a Shoot Out. Bunch of Photographers get out there and bring their gear and practice on willing models for a few hours, then get back together at a pizza place and chimp.

As everyone is scrambling about to get their speedlights ready (they were like 50 people.. 6-8 groups in different locations), I wondered to myself. “It’s 7PM. Sun’s not going to go down for another hour.. maybe more. Why shoot with Flash at all?”

As everyone dilligently worked their units to the ready, I saw my buddy Stephanie posing for some people by a car someone brought. People shot from the sidewalk of the car, which clipped both the wheels and Stephanies feet. Not only that, it was shooting into a series of cars across the street – each of them newer and less interesting than this one. The shops on that side of the street were covered with paper on the windows as they are all closed.

Instead of shooting against that, I went to the street and talked to the photographers there about changing their angle. I postulated, if they shot from -this- vantage point they may be able to get some of the wall colors, and make it a little “old Havana” ish (I mean, it’s Ybor, right?). Hey.. with so much sun out, you could even try for a little HDR and mix in some portraiture.

Truth be told, I didnt know if that part was going to work. That generally doesnt stop me – and totally shouldn’t stop you. If you’re out there, and you’re shooting brackets (which I think you should be), you owe it to yourself to blend techniques together. Normally everyone poo poos HDR in people, but I have to say it’s growing on me. A lot.

Keep open minded.. Only go for the gear that you -need- for a shoot. If it doesn’t call for a light, don’t use one. Experiment. Those are the meditations i’d love to leave you with for the weekend.

Thanks for stopping in guys, I really do appreciate it.



  1. Ken Toney

    Awesome shot RC. I also like how you pick the fonts for these boxes, the email box is different!

  2. Edouard Montfort

    Beautiful image !
    Nice Blog layout…
    See u soon on D-TOWN…

  3. Nice post, RC.

    Still an amateur and learning, I find I easily slip into a “point-and-shoot” frame of mind: See the subject, fire.

    When I do manage to stop and evaluate my options for the scene, that’s when I get my better shots…so, good post 🙂

  4. Cool and interesting shot!

    We all enjoy the way you teach and encourage us to be the best we can be. Thanks!

  5. 1. I really wish their was such a group in SW Ohio. Forget the bad and learn from the good. sometimes my wife teases me about all the books, dvd’s, etc. I use, when I should be out shooting.
    2. On that note, one of the best investments I mad in a book was your first “Get Your Photography on the Web.” Although, thanks to you, I have a site up and running, and now need to publicize it (Chapter 10). Working on that.
    3. How can I send you an image? I so loved your “Mommy and Me” image I tried to copy it while attending my granddaughters Irish dance competition. Unfortunately it was at the end of a long day and their cousin wasn’t too pleased. About my grandson http://foxhayesart.com/?p=532.

  6. Kathy Porupski

    Love this shot RC and it was great to have you out clicking some shots and mentoring to the group! The Tampa Bay Strobist ROCK! As local photographers we are blessed that you had a vision to provide a platform for folks to gather and share their like minded passion. I am honored to keep the vision and spirit alive as well as growing with the Tampa Bay Strobist. We thank you for all you share and do! 🙂

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