El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

Start of another work week (0)

4:35 AM by , under

Start of another work week by ElDave
Start of another work week, a photo by ElDave on Flickr.

Start of another work week. #Chicago

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We've moved! (0)

5:32 AM by , under

Over the 2011 Labor Day Weekend, we packed up the studio and moved into new digs. This blog will stay up for as long as Blogger will let me keep it, but all new posts will be happening over at:


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Atrocitus the Red Lantern (0)

6:04 AM by , under

When I heard that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps, had booked a session, I admit that I had my doubts. No, that's not entirely true. When I heard that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps, had booked a session, I started crying, told my assistant to cancel all of my appointments and started boxing up the studio to start a new life under an assumed name. I have worked with crazy people before, but when you're working with someone with super-powered anger issues, it's time to pack it in.

So I was scrambling, trying to board up the windows when he got there. "Excuse me, are you guys open?"


"I have an appointment for some portraits this morning. Do you think I could just come in and wait?" My assistant nudged me to the side and let him in. I retained my death grip on my death hammer. I have had enough of these guys coming in here, wrecking my studio, stealing my stuff, and stiffing me. GOOD MORNING, MR. ATROCITUS. SORRY FOR THE MESS. WE ARE REMODELING.

"Uh, yeah. No problem. Look, can we get started? I'm kind of booked tight today."

Back in the studio, I had him stand in position and started lining everything up. He didn't seem impressed with the radiation burns, holes punched in the walls, or the bullet holes. Some days I can't spackle the walls as fast as my clients knock them down. "You seem stressed out, man. When was the last time you had a vacation?"

I was still holding the hammer.

Atrocitus the Red Lantern
(Click to see larger)

Model: Heroes of the DC Universe Blackest Night Atrocitus Bust by DC Direct

On his way out, we shook hands. "Hey, if the whole photography thing doesn't work out, give me a call."

I need a vacation, I think.

Be good,

You're holding me back again

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Kang the Conqueror (0)

5:24 AM by , under

In business there is a lot said about repeat customers: finding them, recognizing them, and making the most out of their patronage. As has been previously noted (in nearly every post here), I am not a great businessman. Many of my clients are destructive to my studio and many more have a real problem with paying for my services. So, yeah. I'm kind of a crappy businessman.

That said, however, there is one thing I do right, and today I'm going to let you in on my little secret. That secret, my friends, is time travel. Not for me, of course. Here, let me explain.

Every August 20th, my calendar is booked up by Kang the Conqueror. This is a guy who claims to be master of space and time, right? But when there are SO MANY instances of him running around at once, it makes keeping appointments tough. You never really know if you're talking to the Kang from yesterday, or the Kang from two weeks from now, or a Kang from forty five million years ago! So what I did was, every time Kang the Conqueror (or Rama Tut or Immortus, et all) called for a photo session, my assistant told him August 20th. That way he could just dial his time machine to that day and that time and get his headshots in. While it saves me a lot of headache, it also leads to days like this:

"BEHOLD! I, the master of yesterday's tomorrows, have arrived for my 9am!"

Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

Kang Mini-Bust by Bowen Designs

Then we do it again at 10. "BEHOLD! I, time's monarch, have arrived for my 10am!"

Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

And again at 11.

Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

And so on, and so on.

Be good,

Are you alive?
I'm alive

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The Fences are Down (0)

5:16 AM by , under

Shooting on location is something that has never really come easy for me. I spend the majority of my time in the studio where the lights shine exactly where I want them to, the models are posed, and there are generally very few surprises. I'm not known for my landscape photography, so getting a call inquiring if I would like an all-inclusive deal to document a tropical island, I was understandably surprised. The deal was pitched to me as part of an ecological cleanup expedition where foreign species had been introduced and we were going to assess the changes the island had experienced since then.

Upon arrival, the rest of the crew put on those orange... biohazard suits? I think that's what they are called. When they saw my concern, I was assured that the first team out was wearing them solely as a precaution. Standard operating procedure, they called it.

The team reported back and I grabbed my gear and started shooting the island. Off in the distance you could see big things. I mean big things. Loud things. Howling, hooting, stomping. And me without a biohazard suit.

Suddenly there was a commotion at the edge of the clearing. Everyone was shouting into their radio (I didn't have a radio). Some guys pulled out rifles (I didn't have a rifle). I saw the orange suit of one of the first team running back towards us, with a Triceratops hot on his heels!

Hazmat Guy by LEGO
Pindown the Triceratops by Xtractaurs

I've got to raise my rates...
The Fences are Down
(Click to see larger)

Be good,

All of your life you've been led
To believe your nothin'

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Bizarro #1 (0)

5:39 AM by , under

Another week, another studio session with a superhero. This time is going to be different. No more supervillains. No more wrecked studio. No more not getting paid. This week, and you're not going to believe this, I had Superman come in for a shoot.

Model: Bizarro by DC Direct

Ok, so he looked rough, but who am I to judge? He's Superman. I mean, come on, the guy's an alien, so that may be how he really looks. He was very direct and straight to the point, which is greatly appreciated. "Me am ugly. Me am having LOT of money for pictures." Awwww yeah. Dave's gonna get paid.

To be completely honest, the mask (?) and the weird voice were throwing me off. I mean, it's obviously Superman, but something wasn't quite right. I couldn't put my finger on it until I remembered that Superman has a reputation for being a jerk. I've read those Silver Age comics... It's alright though. I mean, it's Superman. Truth and justice. He's just having a laugh at my expense and I'm cool with that.

"Ok, Superman. Let's do this. Stay put and we'll do this in 3-2-1." Click.
Bizarro am #1!
(Click to see larger)

Afterwards he shook my hand (which was a huge thrill!), "Me am very happy with photo. Me will put payment in the mail right away. Hello!"

Be good,

Didn't you wake to see the light
Couldn't you hear the truth

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Trophy 1

5:29 AM by , under

Maintaining a photoblog is my way of practicing photography. Oh sure, I take lots of pictures. I edit some of them. I post even fewer. But what does get posted is what I feel is the best work I have at the time and it is usually something I am excited to show off. Whether I'm trying to tell a story with the photograph, writing a story about the photo, studying lighting or color or composition, every post is focused on being a better photographer.
Inbetween posts, I've been working on a secret project that has me looking at all my old photos and I've noticed that I almost never take a picture without someone or something's face in focus.

In my head, it seems like the only thing that matters is the face. The eyes; the expression (Which is funny because most of my models have masks that obscure their faces or cover their eyes). So I really need to open up my idea of what and how to photograph.

Model: Poacher 2 by McFarlane Toys

(Click to see larger)

Be good,

You can break from everything that confines you

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