Allen Mowery is a lifestyle photographer, pseudo-philosopher, and wannabe documentarian killing time amidst the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him. You can check out his work on his website or follow along on Facebook, Twitter (@allenmowery), and 500px.

Shooting a Commercial Image With Trash and Walmart Gear

The heart of DIYP is about creating much from little, using what is on-hand or can be cheaply fashioned to achieve quality results. That is exactly what this post is about. Not gun control, not gun rights, or even the timeless tradition of hunting. As we know, there is no better way to send a conversation with an American into verbal bloodshed than by mentioning the Second Amendment, socialized healthcare, or the fact Tampa Bay actually has an NFL team.

allen-mowery-commercial-photographer

I attribute a great portion of my rekindled interest in photography to the late Bill Simone, a phenomenal commercial photographer whose work for one of my previous employers was dynamic and emotive, especially to a young adult whose previous exposure to photography had primarily been relegated to a 35mm camera. Some of my favorite images from Bill were simple, single-light setups that seemed to draw the viewer into the photo, and they looked great in a glossy catalog!

[Read more...]

Quadcopter Racing and the Future of Cinema

quadcopter-racing
It seems like as soon as quadcopters came onto the market, photographers began adapting them for more than just disastrous fun on Christmas afternoon. Since then, hobbyists, photography enthusiasts, and even corporate giants (let’s hear it for Amazon!) alike have been putting them to multiple uses, both business and pleasure.

AIRganoy, a “quadcopter racing fanatic association” based in eastern France, holds regular events for remote control pilots, including races like the one below that would seem more at home on a Lucasfilm set. The contestants race through the forest along a pre-marked course where, as seen in the video, “eating dirt” is a bit more reality than euphemism. Each copter is equipped with a video camera which sends a live feed back to the pilot, allowing them to navigate the treacherous, obstacle-laden course.

[Read more...]

The Downfall of Photography Blogs

downfall-photography-blogsThere is a problem plaguing photography blogs, waiting in the wings, ready to ensure their demise. And, as all of you armchair pundits are excitedly clicking to the comments section to inform me of my blatant hypocrisy, allow me to save you the effort and admit right here: I know there will be multiple examples of hypocrisy throughout this post. Good…I saved you thirty seconds of valuable input. [Read more...]

Hiring An Assistant Without Jeopardizing Your Business

hiring-photograph-assistant

Sooner or later, most of us photographers find ourselves in need of an extra set of hands or feet for a particular project, whether it’s a second shooter (no JFK jokes, please) at a wedding, managing gear and lighting on a commercial shoot, or stabilizing the flower balanced on top of a rocking horse sitting inside an adorable bathtub for that oh-so-cute newborn shoot. Most new photographers and sole proprietors, myself included on numerous occasions in the past, think nothing of pulling in a friend or relative to help out in their time of need. And while that may be fine for personal projects, having that modus operandi in your business can get you into some hot water. I’m not talking about how nice it is to have someone to share the work or how cool it is to refer to someone as “my assistant” (which, admittedly, is pretty awesome…until they break something); I’m talking about, when you DO pull someone else in to help out, making sure that all legal ramifications are met and you do not sign your business’ death warrant.

[Read more...]

Documenting War: Matthew Brady on the American Battlefield

While the American Civil War was not the first armed conflict to be photographed, it was by far the most bloody and gruesome up to that point. Considered by many to be the father of photojournalism, Matthew Brady was a studio photographer in New York who began cashing in at the outbreak of the war by specifically marketing portraits to families whose sons were leaving with no guarantee of returning home.

"Havoc". Effect of a 32lb. shell from the 2nd. Mass. Heavy Artillery, Fredericksburg,Va.

“Havoc”. Effect of a 32lb. shell from the 2nd. Mass. Heavy Artillery, Fredericksburg,Va.

Eventually, Brady secured permission from President Lincoln himself to travel to the battlefields with the express purpose of documenting the conflict. Armed with a wet-plate camera and portable darkroom, he set out to immortalize the realities of a war that not only shaped the course of American history but, de facto, the course of modern history. Brady’s exhibits and galleries, often filled with graphic images of rotting corpses on the battlefield, brought the realities of war to the home front for the mostly-untouched North. [Read more...]

The Misconception of Perception – Documenting the Gap Between What We See and What Is Real

It began with living in the real world, a place that drives me to perpetual curiosity. Humans are a fascinating study, even for the layman like myself. These subservient minions of biology seem hardwired for utter chaos, and, like receiving an ambulance dispatch to a freshman sorority at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, not even God Himself can predict what you will see next.

Little-known fact: In a previous life (before a wife and kids), I was one of those people they would call out to pick up the drunken pieces after a college bash. But, it wasn’t all fun and games…there were also those times of trying everything in my power to revive a loved one who just died in my hands as their family screamed in anguish around me. But that all seems so long ago…

The cynical phrase, “Nothing is as it seems,” rings especially true. As humans, we naturally perceive what we want to perceive, and, no matter how much we sometimes like to convince ourselves we’re being truly objective or non-judgemental, we are constantly making subconscious judgement calls throughout our daily life. [Read more...]

Capture First-Person Video of Your Shoots with a DIY Hot Shoe Adapter

diy-hot-shoe-adapter-titleI am slothful. I am impatient. And, above all else, I am cheap…a beautiful trifecta that led me to this little project.

For the longest time, I have been wanting a way to easily capture point-of-view (POV) footage of my shoots as a way to document the exact moment an image is taken. This serves a variety of functions ranging from satiating my own vanity to allowing me to show others the “big picture” that eventually became a final image.

Essentially, I wanted something like this adapter from B&H that would allow me to attach a small camera to my hot shoe for documenting a shoot. However, I never really felt like buying one, buying one would require me to wait for it to arrive (like it was going to be THAT much longer than the year I’ve already sat on this), and, why buy something you can make yourself, right? So, I set about pulling odds and ends I had laying around to make my dream finally come true! ::snickers with excitement:: [Read more...]

Fast & Curious: GoPro captures biker’s near-death collision

jack-sanderson-bike-crash-titlePerhaps it can be said that I simply like to toy with death a little less than the average person, but you can never accuse biker Jack Sanderson of that. While out for a relaxing, spring-time ride (okay, so he’s weaving across both lanes of traffic at high speeds on very winding roads, and I’m totally confused as to which vehicles are coming or going), the 21-year-old Knutsford, Cheshire resident passed two other bikers, dropped around a turn, and missed a potentially-deadly 60mph head-on collision with an oncoming car by inches, flying off the road and tumbling 40 feet down an embankment. [Read more...]