Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding Vivian Maier - Street Photographer - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Many will recognize the name of Cartier Bresson as a street photographer but very few will recognize the name of Vivian Maier.  Until recently, her amazing collection of over 100k images were not seen publicly. In this amazing story of how she captured over 100k images in Chicago and around the world as an unknown street photographer is amazing.

A link to this information was sent to me by a friend and since reading the behind the scene story and admiring Vivian's work, I felt I must pass on this information.  It appears that Vivian accomplished what many photographers aspire to achieve.  "Capturing life as it happens."  There are some street photographers that talk to their subject prior to the photograph and others capture the photograph with little to no interaction.

This is not a story about her gear (although there is some discussion); it is a story of a woman who was an outstanding street photographer.

The sad part about this story is that Vivian died before her work was on public display and unfortunately never was able to participate in its public showing. There is a blog dedicated to her work which is linked on the side of this blog.  In addition, there is a documentary being made about her work and life.  Vivian was a nanny as her day job but it is apparent she was passionate about photography and capturing life as it unfolds.

Please take the time to review the video below as well as visit the blog which contains more images from her collection.

This link will take you to a good article on her too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Living on the Edge Peter J. Daniels - Autobiography discussion - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers

First - This is not a review of the book.  How do you review an autobiography of one of the most influential, giving Christian businessman of modern days?  Until a few months ago, I never heard of Peter J. Daniels.  Then my wife and I began reading his books and attended a workshop he conducted in a nearby town.  One of the most amazing things that I want to state from the workshop is that it was entirely free and on his dime.  Many might think, no big deal, except for the fact that he flew in from Australia and he has done this for years.  This plus the fact is that he in his late seventies.

Peter J. Daniels is a multi-billionaire and was not raised in riches.  He was raised in poverty, 'graduated' high school as an illiterate, and was told that he would amount to nothing by a school teacher.

It has been stated by those that observe him that "he could motivate an Egyptian mummy to walk".  He has an amazing business mind and to paraphrase him; "Our businesses do not sell junk to kids that rot their minds or teeth.".  He has many goals in his life and one of them is to give more money to the work of the Lord than anyone else.  Known as a genius for creating business formulas that not only solve difficult problems but are in terms that most will understand.

During one of his lectures, I remember him stating that he was not hindered by going to university.   I highly recommend not only this book but every book that he wrote.

Below is one part of a lecture.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

D300s Video - Christmas - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers

A few months ago, I added the D300s to my camera arsenal.  I added it for a variety of reasons and this post will discuss the video reason.  Although the camera has been on the market for 'awhile', I waited for multiple reasons.  I read too many reports stating the video quality on this camera is poor.

Will this camera become the end all for video work?  No, but in many cases, it will surpass your basic video camcorder.  With this thought - below is a video I shot of my daughter singing during an event I photographed.  Since the event had 4 showings, I was able to capture the video in one show and photographed her and the others during other showings. 

1. This is directly out of the camera with zero modifications by me.  Vimeo does do some encoding but other than this, nothing was done to the video.

2. ISO 2000-2500 - auto white balance - f/2.8 - Tamron 17-50 non VR lens on a induro Monopod

3. Manual focus and exposure set prior to starting the video

4. Hand hurt after from pressing down on the camera to ensure it didnt move (but it did move some) :-D

5. Eyes blurred from tears - watching - hearing my daughter sing

6. I have used the video setting during a few recent weddings, receptions,  and other events.  I added some of the video clips to the shows.  (My plan is to present them on this blog and discuss them for your use.)

Should you buy this camera just for the video?  It depends.  Since this camera was released, Nikon released the D3100 and D7000.  Reports show the video on both of those cameras are better than the video on this camera.  However, if using CF cards and a few other features that the D300s has that the other two do not, then I would purchase this camera.  With the rebates Nikon is offering now combined with tremendous lenses, the price is very good.  However, the D3100 is less than $1000 and will do a great job for most folks.

Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

Victory Christmas 2010 Stacey from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Photography Plans Pittsburgh Wedding and Portrait Photography

What a tremendous spring, summer, and fall we had for photography!  I apologize for the lack of posts here and the only reason is an excuse.  - Busy, Busy, Busy with weddings, portraits, and some personal items.

This will be a quick post but as we go into the winter, I plan to return to at least one post per week.

The holiday season is upon us and many photographs will be taken.  Take the time to capture the memories your family will want to hold and cherish.  However, do not forget a few important items.

1. Have fun! - Do not make taking pictures a chore or hindrance to your family events
2. Include YOU in the photographs
3. Print the photographs

Too often the images are posted on-line to Facebook and many other social networking sites.  However, they are never printed.  It almost appears to me that folks believe that these places will be around for our viewing pleasure 20-50 years from now.  Although there is a chance they will be around, I doubt that they will be in the same format that we see them now.

My concern is that many of these memories will be lost if they are not printed.  Please take the time to make prints.  My favorite print for this year is the thin wrap with satin metallic finish (other than albums and brag books - more on these items in the future).  Typically, I use Bay Photo for my prints (both professional and personal work) and ACI labs for my albums and brag books.

The second point is that WE (that take pictures) are not included in the images.  Take the time to have someone else get a photo of you or put your camera on a tripod and fire away.

Below is an image from a recent wedding engagement session.   The great looking background is the interior of a building at a local park.  I constantly look for new places to take portraits and I am amazed how many are available at local parks.  Do the same thing in your area.  As you drive around, notice the lighting, textures and other areas that might make a great family photo. 

I plan to post more over the next few months with ideas and tips for photographing your family at these locations.

The couple was lit with a combination of available side light (camera left) and some fill light from an off camera flash (SB800) through an umbrella mounted on a light stand (camera right).

For many of my portraits I am now using two different lenses.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8.  The sharpness and speed of these two lenses have made them my favorite portrait lenses.

Typically, shots of more than one individual I am using the 35mm (unless I want the background to blur out and disappear) .  Recently, I did a group photo of over 15 individuals using the 35mm with great success.  I plan to discuss this great little lens in future posts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nik Software - HDR Efex - first impression - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

This is not a full review of the software but it is my initial impression.  - Outstanding piece of software!  Download the trial today and play with it.  The software is well worth the fun time involved and is unlike any of the other HDR software products I attempted to use.  I tried nearly every HDR software on the market from Photomatix to Photoshop CS5's HDR blend mode.  None of them were very intuitive nor did they create a look that I wanted.  For most of my 'HDR' work, I used Topaz Adjust (until now) with good success. 

Over the weekend I had the privilege of photographing an engagement shoot in Seven Springs, PA.  The  weather was perfect and the sky was beautiful.  I could have spent all day photographing the scenery (and I am not a typical landscape photographer so this is not my normal photo routine)

The software works seamlessly with Lightroom and all of Nik's other plugins.  I used HDR Efex Pro with the complete collection and added a little touch where needed.  My first recommendation is to download the 15 day trial and watch the many free webinars hosted by Nik Software.

The first and third image is the inside of a beautiful living room owned by 'groom' to be.  Both images are made up of  a five image bracketed shot and processed using the 'realistic' preset.  I added control points on the windows, doors, and a few other places to bring out the outside scenery.

The second image is processed with some stronger controls taking it to the next level in viewing pleasure.  I loved the textures and overall look of the scene.  This image is 7 bracketed stops. Nikon D300 - tripod for stability. (standing on the side of the road wasn't very secure.  :-D )

If you own the collection, call Nik Software and inquire about their upgrade package deals.  HDR Efex pro might even be free, depending when you bought your collection.

So why is HDR important for indoor room photography?  In the past, when I would shoot these types of shots, there were always many challenges.

Lighting - something would get blown out in the scene and getting the windows to look 'natural' was almost impossible under 'normal' circumstances.

Either extreme dark or light spots would be present in the scene and it would be nearly impossible to correct. 

I plan to experiment more with indoor architectural type shots using accent lighting and other methods to enhance the scene. 

All of these were done on a tripod which makes for a nicer, crisper image.  Shoot with the lowest ISO possible and ensure you utilize either manual or aperture priority, keeping the aperture constant throughout the bracketed images.  Changing only the shutter speed or the exposure compensation.  Do not change the ISO or the aperture. 
Before you run the bracketed shots through HDR Efex, I adjusted the white balance and cropping to be the exact same for all 5-7 images.  This will help with the overall image. More of these type of shots to follow.

Get out and enjoy the beauty of God's creation!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mixing available light and strobes - Cory High School Senior Portraits

When photographing outdoors, it is critical to take into consideration the available light (ambient) even when using strobes.  In this photograph, I positioned Cory in the shade but utilized the fast setting sun that was behind him.  Since he was in the shade, if I didn't use an alternate light source to light his face, it would have been underexposed.  

There are multiple ways to obtain the proper exposure on the face (when back lit) and my favorite is to shoot in manual exposure.  Although it can seem very daunting at first; shooting in manual exposure isn't as difficult as it was many years ago.

In this case, I metered for the background but overexposed it slighting to eliminate some of the unattractive far background that couldn't be avoided from this angle.  In addition, I wanted the middle ground (barrel and part of the porch post) to be partially scene and not underexposed by too much.  (I was using the pole and side of the house to frame him too and I didn't want it to be too dark.)

Sean's mom held the strobe on a pole camera left.  I adjusted the output of the flash to light his face but not overexpose it.  I used the Nikon SB800 set to TTL and modified the light output of the flash from the commander mode in the camera.  This setting enabled me to dial down the flash output by 1 stop of light. 

The light from the sun acted as a hair light and gave some separation from the rest of the scene. 

If a helper isn't available, then a light stand is an option which works well normally.  (When using a light stand, I use my camera bag on one of the legs of the stand to keep it from falling over on uneven surfaces or in the case of a windy shooting environment.)

Get out and enjoy the fun of capturing God's creation!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The most important picture part 1 - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

The most important picture is the one you take and is kept cherished for many generations. This is a picture of my mom and dad from over 50 years ago.  (This post is not to be morbid but is meant to encourage each of us to take photos, share photos, and understand their value and importance in the lives of generations to come.)

My mom died last week (Sept. 2, 2010) at the young age of 73 and this is one of hundreds of photos she kept from our family's history.  She kept photos from her childhood and of people that unfortunately, I will never know.  Sunday, I spent a few hours scanning and cleaning images of her life.  Why did it take so long?  Because I spent hours looking at and crying over each one cherishing their value.  The actual time it took to scan and clean the images (remove dust, scratches, etc) might have been 1/10th of the time I spent with the images.  I could not take my eyes off each image.  It is a part of my families history and I will do everything possible to preserve the images for my children, grandchildren, and future generations to come.  We have pictures from their wedding nearly 56 years ago and other images dating 65+ years ago. 

Although we have hundreds of images that my mom and others took and thousands that I took, I am looking for more.  Images that never were taken.  Images that I wish we  I insisted we take.  

My sister asked that I create a table top album of our parents lives.  Although it will be a daunting (not because of the work involved but because of the tears involved) task, it will be a work of love.  I encourage everyone that reads this post to understand the value of pictures that we take today for future generations.  No doubt when this image was taken, my parents like the image.  However, there is little doubt in my mind that this image was looked at for years by my parents (their wedding picture is still on their wall) and its value today is thousands times more than the few cents it cost to print this image over 50 years ago.

The walls, shelves, refrigerator door, and any other holding place, is filled with photographs of our lives.  It includes pictures of when my sister and I were growing up, my children, grandchildren, relatives, and people I don't know.  

Many of the images are 'poor' quality that were taken with a Polaroid with a harsh flash or instamatic camera and no flash.  However, there are many excellent images taken with better cameras and by professional photographers.  Regardless of the quality of the image, they are a treasured image and a part of my families heritage.

I am sure I learned the value of a photograph by observing the collection of images (but its complete value was manifested last week when my mom died) growing up and living in a household that took pictures not stop. 

When I cover a wedding or other significant event, I do everything possible to take pictures of everyone that wants or doesn't want their picture taken.  The value of the image might not be known until 50 years from now when their child or grandchild sits with the print in hand (yes print not digital file) and cries with tears of joy laughing at the outfit worn today.  They might sit and be thankful that someone took time to preserve a little piece of their families history by pressing the shutter, preserving a fraction of a second that will have value years into the future.

The value of a print is why I encourage families, couples, and everyone else to make/purchase prints and albums of their special day.  The wedding album isn't just an album but it is an heirloom that will have value thousands times its current value years from now.  

After I complete the album of my parents/grandparents, I will print a copy for each of our children.  Its value to them and their children (my grandchildren) will be priceless.  I can only image what will be said of the images 50-100 years from now when my grandchildren, great grandchildren, sit and look at the albums.  

I lost count of the times that I attempted to photograph someone but they didn't want their picture taken for one reason or another.  I get comments like, "I don't take good pictures".   That's okay.  I am taking the picture (is what I want to say) and the picture is for (fill in the blank - bride and groom, your mom, dad, sister, aunt, etc).  

I was talking to one of my wife's sisters over this past weekend and we both agreed on the same thing.  Regardless of what anyone else says, each family event will conclude with a group/family photo.  We will not care if the kids (big or little :-D ) don't want their photo taken.  There will be no one safe from the camera.  

For the funeral, I went through thousands I images that I took over the years and cried and laughed.  I looked at images of my father in law who died a few years ago.  I looked at images of my grandkids when they were just born or when my grandchildren were dedicated to the Lord.  I looked at images of my bride nearly 32 years ago and how young we were and marveled at my hair.  Where oh where did it go?  :-D

Mom, we will love you forever and a day!

What is the value of a picture?  In some cases, it is priceless. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Memories Live Forever in a Picture - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

This is one of the best videos I ever watched that fully illustrates the power and value of photography. Regardless of the photographers skill level or experience, every photograph is a memory.  Although the primary focus of the images on my blog are weddings and portraits, I enjoy capturing life's memories and viewing the work of others who capture life's memories.  

In my opinion, this video is a classic for every photographer.  

Many will say that after the family, pet, etc, the pictures are next to save in the event of a disaster.
Pittsburgh Wedding and Portrait Photography

Monday, August 16, 2010

Christy Matt - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

 Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Christy and Matt were married at Victory Family Church in Cranberry Twp, PA.  which is located north of Pittsburgh.  The first image was taken outside the wedding reception in front of One Oxford Centre.  I attempt to create a unique artistic image for each bride and groom and when we walked around the front of the building the interesting light in front on the display immediately caught my attention.  I wanted to use the light to create an interesting shadow with a wild color.  Notice in the middle of the image is a heart.  I wish I could say I planned it but I didn't.  :-D

The second image was taken at the church prior to the ceremony.  For months, I studied this area of the church and thought about the many ways to pose a bride to capture her beauty with the magnificent light that comes through the windows.  The window frame acted as a natural frame and the shiny floor accented the photo.  

The lighting on the second photo is a combination of back lighting from the window and front lighting via an SB800. 

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
Spot Metering 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Montour Heights Country Club - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

 These images are from a recent wedding at the Montour Heights Country Club in Moon Twp, PA.  It is located north of Pittsburgh, PA and is a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding ceremony.  There are hundreds of possible portrait locations located on the golf course and within the facilities.  In fact, it is a photographers dream but it is very easy to enter into information overload.

These images were shot after the festivities for the day ended.  We traveled to an area of the golf course that had a tunnel under the main roadway and is mainly used for golf carts and maintenance vehicles.  Therefore, it was clean and dry.  We wanted a very unique and interesting look to end the day and utilized different lighting sources to help create the look.  One of the country club's employees took us to this location in their SUV and we positioned it at the entrance of the tunnel. I had him keep the headlights on to backlight the couple.  This effect separates them from disappearing into a black hole from the lack of any source of backlight and created a hair light which helps make them glow.

The second light used was a video style light called the Doug Gordon Tourch Light.  I had our helper hold it on the subject's face from a 45 degree angle on half power.  This provided two items.  1. Enough light for me to focus on the subject.  2. Basic fill light.  He held in his other hand a Nikon SB800 which I fired from the camera.  I utilized Nikon's creative light system (CLS) and TTL to fire the flash remotely. 

These were taken with the Nikon D300 and Tamron 17-50 f/2.8.  ISO - 1600, f/2.8, 1/60 second, hand held at various focal lengths.

When I do not have a helper, I utilize lightweight light stands that fold to less than 30 inches from Manfrotto.  These lightstands fit neatly in a large duffel bag and has room for umbrellas and other lighting tools.

Lighting is only one part of this equation.  Posing is critical to make a very unique look for each couple.  The most important element, the subject.  It is critical to create a fun and interesting situation that will enable you to make images the subject 'loves'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sarah and Mark - Montour Heights Country Club - July 30, 2010 - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Sarah and Mark were married on July 30, 2010 at the Montour Heights Country Club in Moon Township, PA.  This is located north of Pittsburgh and is a perfect location for an outdoor wedding. We took wedding portraits throughout the facility and at various locations on the golf course.

The weather was perfect for a wedding in Pittsburgh which made it possible to be even more creative for their wedding portraits.

The following show contains many of their wedding portraits.

Sarah and Mark Wedding Portraits from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Visit for more images from their wedding.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography - Images from Mt Washington

All of the guys in Andrew's wedding were long time friends and softball buddies.  Therefore, the gift from the groom (Andrew) to the guys was a softball bat with their names engraved in it.  A very nice gift and touch.  Something they can keep for years and look back on with a smile.  We were on one of the observatory decks of Mt. Washington, overlooking the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.  It was mid day and the sun was hot (100 degrees +-).  However, the groomsmen, best men, and groom, were all very cooperative and we were able to create this fun shot with a beautiful blue sky in the background.

Next up were the ladies.  We wanted to add to their beauty with a landscape shot of Pittsburgh as a backdrop.  The sunglasses helped to cut down on the strong sun glare (and no doubt glare from my head).

The third image is an entire group shot of the ladies and guys.  Again, we utilized sunglasses to reduce the strong glare from the sun and create a fun look for the group shot with the city of Pittsburgh as a backdrop.

The wedding was held in Munhall, PA (images from the beautiful church will be posted in future posts) and we stopped on Mt. Washington for wedding pictures before heading to the Double Tree hotel in Moon Twp. PA.

Images by Frank Kendralla - Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lindsey and Andrew - Wedding Prep at Double Tree Hotel

Lindsey and Andrew were married on July 3, 2010.

I had a tremendous time photographing the time prior to the wedding ceremony of Lindsey and Andrew.  Everyone laughing and getting ready at the Double Tree Hotel in Moon Township.  The guys were on the same floor but the opposite end of the hotel compared to the ladies.  This made photographing them less like a sporting event.  :-D

The ceremony was held at St. Therese Catholic Church in Munhall, PA.  We made the trip around the city of Pittsburgh without any delays.  Although the city was preparing for the holiday weekend with boats in the water and temperatures rising near 100 degrees, the ladies were very comfortable in their limo bus.

This short multimedia show is the first of others made to cover the wedding day of Lindsey and Andrew.  All the ladies looked beautiful in their gowns and the guys wore some of the fanciest shoes ever.  Look for them in the shows and check out Andrew's shoes as he rested and waited.

Lindsey Andrew Wedding Prep from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Check out more images at under weddings.  Part two of this series will include some of the images from the ceremony and the group photos we took on Mt. Washington with the city of Pittsburgh as a back drop.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fun Tasty Mango Smoothie

Another fun summer recipe that is easy and fast to make.

2 Champagne mangos - pealed and cut
1-2 strips of pineaple
2-4 apricots
1 cup almond milk or coconut water
1-2 cups ice
additional if needed for extra sweet
1 banana
Agave syrup or Stevia

You can use precut mango and pineapples to save time and aggravation.  Use enough almond milk or coconut water to make the smoothie as thick or thin as you enjoy your summer treat.  I like mine thicker but others enjoy a 'thin' smooth treat.  I like lots of ice to enhance the flavor and usually when I make mine, it borders on a sorbet looking and tasting desert.  I find that champagne mangos are better tasting but if you cannot find them, regular mangos are excellent too. 

Put them in order in your Vita-Mix or Blentec and this will make a tremendous summer drink.  Pour this mix into Popsicle holders or something similar for a quick treat. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alissa & Tim Wedding Engagement Show - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers

I had the honor of photographing the engagement pictures of Alissa and Tim.  As always, I had a great time.  The pictures were taken in Butler County in a quiet beautiful park off 228 near Mars, PA.  Their wedding is later this year at Victory Family Church in Cranberry Twp.  A reception will follow at Shadow Lakes in Aliquippa, PA. 

Untitled from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

James Centre - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers

James Centre - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

Recently, I had the privilege of photographing (documenting) a ten year anniversary celebration. The event was held at the James Centre in Pittsburgh. The evening started with family portraits of the couple and their two children. After the portraits the couple recommitted their lives together through a renewing of the vows. It was a beautiful ceremony followed with a first dance and toasts from many different friends and family. The D.J. gave an amazing toast and tribute to the couple followed by a tear jerking toast by their daughter. The toasts were followed by a beautiful dinner and an amazing looking cake.

Throughout the night, candid shots and portraits were taken to document the family’s event. Instead of a typical photo booth, we took portraits and images of folks enjoying themselves in different parts of the James Centre. No evening would be complete without dancing from all age groups. This evening was no different. The dancing ending with a fun filled ‘soul train’ dance. I have photographed and attended many events but this was one of the best ‘soul train’ endings ever. In fact, it looked like so much fun that I wanted to join in. However, if you ever saw me dance, you will know why I don’t dance and I stick to photography. It started with songs from the original soul train to modern songs that kept folks hopping, skipping, and dancing into the night.

James Centre - Pittsburgh PA Wedding Receptions

The evening was very similar to a wedding reception with the cutting of a beautiful cake. Guests had the opportunity to enjoy beautiful looking fruit, pastries, and other snacks while we completed the family portraits. The James Centre offers an impressive looking reception area with a nice dance floor and a “U” shaped balcony that has extra seating and photo opportunities. The west side of the facility is lined with windows that enabled beautiful lighting well into the evening. The James Centre is located minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and is very close to many photo opportunity areas including the West End Overlook, Mount Washington, Station Square, North Side, and many others.
Beautiful Pittsburgh Wedding Receptions

There is no doubt many Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers have shot and will photograph many fun filled events at the James Centre in Pittsburgh.  I am sure there are many brides who do not know this beautiful facility exists for their wedding reception or other event.

If you would like to contact me to photograph your Pittsburgh Wedding, please complete this contact form.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hummus recipie - Vita-Mix or Blentec

Image by Frank Kendralla

 Hummus recipie

You might ask, why should I make my own hummus when I can go to the local store and buy a large tub for around $7. First, I like to experiment with flavors without contending with the extra cost associated to it. Second, although I love good garlic in my humms, it does impact life outside the home. :-D  Therefore, I reduce the amount of garlic normally called for in some recipies.  Unless of course you can find the odorless garlic in your local store.

In this recipie, I reduced the amount of garlic and added a few other ingredients. I used roasted peppers that can be found in most local stores. I purchased a large jar from Costco. We love the taste of toasted sesame oil and used it to add a very unique taste to the hummus. It is amazing how fast and easy it is to make great tasting hummus. If you use a vita-mix, start on slow and gradually increase to the fastest speed and stop when everything is mixed to a fine consistency. On the blentec, I used the juice setting but experiment with one of the other settings if the consistency of the mix isn’t smooth enough. All total this took less than 10-15 minutes including the time to find everything in the pantry.

Below is the basic outline for the recipie. Modify according to what you enjoy.

 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, one drained and one with liquid
1-2 large roasted red peppers

1 - 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 clove garlic

1 teaspoon cumin
A whole bunch of love.  :-D
I served this on a millet and flax flatbread with a few baby spinich leaves and slices of locally grown tomatoes.  Wow! Is all I can say. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Drew - High School Senior Portrait - Class of 2010

These images were near the Beaver Heritage Museum. A Civil War era home is located at the edge of the property and presents many tremendous photo opportunities. The rustic nature of the building is a tremendous back drop and setting for Drew's High School Senior Portraits. As you can see from the images, Drew has a large frame and a rugged setting was appropriate for his session.

The evening was perfect, overcast skies with enough light to cast some fun shadows.

I used off camera lighting with no difuser or umbrella on a light stand, camera left for most of the images in his shoot. A few of the images, I underexposed the scene by 2+ stops and filled the image with directional light to create a sunset look. This technique is critical to learn, especially living in an area where we go days and maybe weeks without any great sunsets. However, when shooting portraits, I would rather have a dull sky and create my own sunset with either an off camera flash or video light.

I used Nikon’s wireless CLS to fire the remote flash but in bright sunlight it might be a better choice to utilize a radio trigger. (Pocket wizards, Paul Buff’s, radio poppers, or the many varieties on ebay.)

These tricks can be used in many portrait settings and not only outdoors. Experiment with underexposing (use manual exposure on your camera) the scene and filling just the area you want with directional off camera lighting. With this technique you can create many different and interesting looks in your portraits.

Contact Me to photograph your Wedding or High School Senior Portrait in the Pittsburgh area.

As always, get out and enjoy the beauty of life.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vanessa's Bridal Shower - Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Vanessa's family and friends joined her to celebrate her upcoming wedding to Andrew.  The bridal shower was held at the Bravo Italian restaurant in Cranberry Twp. Pa.  which is north of Pittsburgh, PA.  I had the honor of photographing this fun filled event.  It was filled with laughter, giggles, and love.  A short time ago, I shot their engagement pictures in Mt. Washington (Pittsburgh) and Station Square.  The images of their engagement shoot are here.

 As a wedding and portrait photographer, it is always an honor and pleasure to participate in this event.

Vanessa's Bridal Shower from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lemons to lemonade!

There is an old saying - "If life throws a lemon at you, grab it and make lemonade!"  I say, grab it, throw a few strawberries, grapes, water, and ice in your blender and make a tremendous strawberry lemonade.  One of my favorite mixes for a summer treat is this mixture:

Handful of globe grapes with seeds
1 Lemon
4-5 large strawberries
2 cups water
2 cups ice
stevia to sweeten or your choice of sweetener (some use Agave Nectar)

Put them in order in your Vita-Mix or Blentec and this will make a tremendous summer drink.  Pour this mix into Popsicle holders or something similar for a quick treat.  

Drew - Beaver County High School Senior Portraits Class of 2010

Pittsburgh Wedding and Portrait Photography by Frank Kendralla

Drew is a 2010 Graduate and was fun to photograph.  The images were photographed in Beaver, Pa adjacent to the Beaver Heritage Museum.  The textures and powerful detail in the majestic Civil War era home made for a tremendous setting for Drew's High School Senior Portraits.  Drew, we wish you the best in life!

Drew - High School Senior Portraits from Frank Kendralla on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New blog design and layout

I hope you like the change to the blog design.  I was playing with a few different looks and wanted to incorporate a three column design going into the summer.  It enables me to put a few new links on the left and hopefully make the navigation to my other items easier.

Below is an image I captured from the west end overlook.  It is an amazing area to view the city and all three rivers merging in front of the triangle.  When I shot this image, there was a line of bridal parties waiting to take their wedding pictures with the city behind them.  There is no doubt many wedding photographers use this area to take beautiful pictures with the city behind the bridal party.

This image was shot with the Nikon D300 and 70-300 VR.
Lightroom, Photoshop CS2, Topaz Adjust

Handheld and a polarizer used to cut through the heavy haze from the humidity.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer veggie smoothie recipie

You might know that I have been a “health nut” for over three decades (actually over 35 years).  Since my late teens, I have studied and researched nutrition and other health related items.  In fact, we (my wife and I) became a Certified Nutritional Health Professional (CNHP) many years ago in an effort to learn more about health related subjects.  Although we do not practice as counselors, a few tips a few times per month might be in order.

Today’s tip is my favorite veggie smoothie.  We own both the Vita-Mix and Blentec Each has advantages over the other but either machine in their own right are outstanding and I recommend you buy the one that you feel comfortable with after testing.  It comes down to a few differences.  I compared both machines on a previous post.

Summer – Veggie – Smoothie
Put the ingredients in the container in the order listed:

1-2 Roma Tomatoes
Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes
1-2 Stalks of celery
Handful of ‘baby’ carrots or 1 large carrot
3 small peppers (orange, red, and/or yellow) include the seeds
Baby spinach (as much as you can fit :-D)

Tex-Mex or South West spice to taste
1 Cup water
1 cup ice

If you want a different taste or do not like Tex Mex spices, try a vegetable bullion cube or use a spice combination that you enjoy.  I like lots of flavor but you might want to add an Italian spice.

If you are using the Blentec, use the juice setting.  If it isn’t smooth enough after blending then select smoothie after the juice cycle finishes.  Vita-Mix users, start on the slow then slowly increases to the highest speed.  Taste and share (maybe :-D).

If you want your veggie drinks to have more tomato taste then add more tomatoes, if you like more green, then add more spinach.  

For a different flavor and more kick, add a dash of hot pepper or small jalapeƱo. 

This is a tremendous drink for any meal.  This is similar to the warm you up soup version which I will share at a different date.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pittsburgh - Point from the West End Overlook

This image was shot from the West End Overlook and it presents an amazing view of the city of Pittsburgh.  Most of the other views are from either side of the triangle.  However, this view is directly at the point.

Prior to this journey, I never was on the West End Overlook.  All I can say is Wow!  The view is amazing and it presents multiple amazing photo opportunities.  No doubt many Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers have the same opinion of this area.  While I was there, at least four photographers and four bridal parties had some of their wedding portraits shot from this angle.  In fact, at one point, there was a long line of people waiting for their photos to be taken by a myriad of Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers.  

There are many posing and scenic opportunities for individual and group shots from the West End Overlook and I am positive hours could be spent here and never the same image shot.

There is a beautiful tunnel of pipes and ivy that greets the visitor from the West End entrance.  It presents tremendous group and individual posing opportunities.   One of the amazing (funny) parts of this day is that I asked many different folks in the West End for directions to this viewing area and not one knew how to get here.  Everyone said they heard of it but no one knew where it was exactly.  It proves that there are many great areas in every locality that people do not know exist.  I was told that the city put many dollars in renovating this vantage point and it is apparent that the dollars were used.

Both images were taken with the Nikon D300.  The first was shot with the Tamron 17-50 and the second with the Nikon 70-300vr.  If you look close in the second image, you will see a helicopter flying around the point.

A circular polarizer was used to bring in the details of the sky and cut through the slight haze in the air. Some post-processing was done in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."  Tommy Lasorda

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Capturing the beauty of your home town - Turn Around

When I visit Memphis, one location I enjoy photographing is the Crystal Grotto.  Located within the Memorial Park Cemetery. Yes, in a cemetery.  This image looks like something from a theme park but it is from a cemetery.  On this trip, I didn't have much time before it was dark and I was attempting to get a unique sunset.  However, the sun kept moving behind the clouds and I decided to turn around and I noticed this amazing looking scene.  Typically, I would put on a circular polarizer to bring in the clouds.  However, I did not have time and I exposed for the sky/clouds and underexposed the subject.  I wanted the clouds to accent this great looking scene.  Since I shoot in raw, I was able to bring up the exposure in the main part of the scene while keeping the detail of the beautiful sky.  

This type of scenery helps create very unique looking images when used as a base for portraits.  I can image a couple standing on the walk with the beautiful sky as the backdrop to an eerie scene.  Convert this scene to a black and white and the mood changes.  Darken the image more, place a subject near the door with a small amount of light on their face and the scene changes even more. 

I can image many different light and scene combinations for this one setting.  This image looks as if it is a very scary image from a horror film or children's adventure story.  My hint and suggestion for today.  Turn around and look at each scene in a different manner.  In this case, I was looking for a sunset but found unique lighting angles for this amazing setting.  When you see a beautiful sunset, turn around and look where the light is falling.  You might find an interesting view that you never noticed before.

In this final image, I pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and turned around to see this beautiful twilight image.  Very little modification was done in the computer for this image.  The skies were amazing.

As always - get out and enjoy the beauty of life!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Printing Images Pittsburgh in Color

After spending the day photographing your child, family event, or your favorite scene, you find the perfect image you want to print.  You go to your favorite frame store and find a beautiful frame for the photo.  The frame matches your decor perfectly or it has a great saying on it.  Immediately, you know exactly where to hang the photo.  However, when you attempt to print it as an 8x10 or 16x20, you notice that the image doesn't fit in the crop line for an 8x10 or 16x20.  Why?  Without getting too technical, images out of the camera will fit 4x6, 8x12, 16x24, etc perfectly.  In the past, images would print as 4x5, 8x10, 16x20, etc.

What should/can you do to get the image to fit in the 8x10?  This is what I do.  First, if I didn't shoot the frame loose (with plenty of room around the subject to crop as an 8x10) and I do not want to cut off any part of the image, I crop the image in post production.  One method that I do is to create a digital mat in either Photoshop , or Fotofusion.  Normally, I use Fotofusion (Extreme) and utilize templates I built previously and modify for the current image.

Within Fotofusion, I create a black canvas set to either 8x10 or 10x8 and use the tools within the software to mat the image.  After creating the canvas, bring the image onto the canvas and adjust accordingly to the size of the mat you want.  In this image, I used 3/4 in on the top and both sides with 1.25 inches on the bottom to include some text.  By using post production software such as Photoshop, Fotofusion, or Photoshop Elements, you maintain control of the cropping and type of mat you would like for your image. There are many plugins and templates available for all three of these products but I will reserve discussing them for a future post.

This method is an easy way to get nice looking matting for your images and have them still fit in your standard frames.  By using post production software, you can create many types of matting and designs.  In the first example, the layout is very simple.  In the second example, I have more than one image and added more text. Software enables the photographer to design many interesting creative images.  Regardless if you are just starting or an a seasoned photographer, there are many creative options for today's photographers.  

Images and designs by Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer Frank Kendralla

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pittsburgh Engagement Photography - will you marry me?

The question is asked, "Will you marry me?"  Tears flow and the guy has a tough time speaking.  Maybe a few hours or days before, he met with his future bride's dad.  Do her parents like me, will they accept my request to marry their daughter?  He was scared, what if I am turned down, what if she laughs, what if she says yes?  So many questions and thoughts flow through the young man's mind as he walks with his future bride to a quiet place to 'pop' the question. 

Then they are at the perfect place, a place where he thought about many times before.  The young man gets down on one knee and - "will you marry me?"

She shouts with passion and love in her voice, "yes, I will marry you!"  And a new entry in the notebook of love and romance is written.  Reminding me of the great movie, "The Notebook". 

Images taken during an engagement shoot are one way to recapture that special day when the groom to be, asked the love of his life, "will you marry me".  Andrew and Vanessa were engaged on the walkway to the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Yesterday's post provided a few more details of the engagement session as we walked through the streets of Station Square and rode the incline to Mount Washington. 

Engagement images by Frank Kendralla
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Nikon D300