My self portrait-mom just loves it.

At what we first thought was going to be the end of phase 3 here at Hallmark, we got a few more assignments or "additional personal submissions" to do before we leave on spring break. A chance to break free, dust off our creativity that we may have left neglected in the corner, and shoot whatever appealed to us, keeping our final portfolio in mind.

My combo sports/action and portrait kept me fairly busy, waiting for the weather to break, which it fortunately did, and scheduling in some people to play the sports I really wanted to photograph. While it's always interesting to go find people online that will follow directions (i.e. please have the equipment required for the sport you want to portray), I did manage to find some great shots, in and out of the studio.

Another big thanks goes to Bob at Bikes Unlimited for continuing to let me borrow equipment to shoot at school. Here's some of my favorites after the break.

This shot was a rehash of my first attempt at shooting a bike in the studio. Going in the opposite direction for the background and then throwing in some props to support it. The first bike was held in place with 20lbs fishing line, which mysteriously disappeared, only to be replaced by 4lbs line for this shot. A whole lot of fishing line was used to make this shot stand up straight, as well as hold the helmet and shoes in their individual shots.

With my career plan wildly adjusted at the last minute to consider job prospects in LA instead of NY, I figured movie posters and celebrity portraits would be a good idea to have in my portfolio. A decidely Max Payne feel to this portrait inspired some cool art and graphics for other shots, but this quietly insane portrait of my buddy Wojo was just right for what I wanted to turn in.

A not so quiet shot, or series to shoot, Mike Esposito got angry for this and had the chance to practice his evil eye. The lighting for this was super simple, just two profoto striplights on the side, and a grid on his face to bring him up a little. I've been trying to avoid doing all low-key shots, a habit of mine from working in areas with less than attractive backgrounds, but I wanted a villain shot to mix things up a little bit.

And since I wanted to show versatility in both indoors and outdoors photography, with and without lights and equipment, this au-natural picture from the Mountain Dew Tour is getting put into the mix. This was during a practice run, when the athletes were more concerned with hitting the spot right in front of us for some face time than getting huge air. This was taken on a borrowed Nikon D3 and a 70-200 f/2.8, the lighting was provided by the curve of the halfpipe reflecting the sun right behind him, giving me some blisteringly fast shutter speeds and perfect sandwich lighting.

The self portrait way at the top was shot with four lights, two striplights on the sides, gridded background light, and beauty dish high right. The $1.20 grape flavored cigar from the Exxon station was lit in photoshop, and the hammer and sickle pin added in as well in post. The love of Vodka was not added in photoshop.

Next is spring break for a week, where I'll be shooting some video in Aspen, CO. and then trying my hand at Final Cut Express to learn editing techniques for an upcoming promotional video I'll be shooting at school on the 5dMKII, so be sure to keep checking back for more posts on what's in the pipe.