Wednesday, November 21, 2018


     It has been another very rewarding year for our photography.

Stochl Imaging craft show photo booth
     We basically started off with the usual bevy of Rochester NY area craft shows, including the LILAC FESTIVAL - CORN HILL ART FESTIVAL - PARK AVENUE FESTIVAL - CLOTHESLINE FESTIVAL.

We are already planning on adding several new shows in 2019 including the November arts & craft show at the Henrietta Dome Arena and the 4 weekend show in downtown Rochester NY during the month of December. We are also considering the Letchworth Craft Show for October of 2020. Only time will tell if we indeed pursue these new ventures. Doing these shows give us a chance to meet both previous customers and new people. It is a great way for us to present our photography, both past & new work.

     Folks that visit us at any of the above craft shows not only get to see a sample of our fine art but in addition can visualize the product, be it matted / framed / or in a Plak-It format (the print is sent to Canada, mounted on fiberboard, sealed with a satin finish, then mounted onto a finished box frame).

For 2019 we do plan to continue, on a limited bases, some portrait work for our clients including high school seniors and families. We utilize both a home studio & on location photography.

The lovely Erika in Rochester NY

We also provide photography, again on a limited basis, for area commercial clients.

Client request of an hdr pano of the new chapel at St John Fisher campus

     We look forward to the chance to meet with you in the near future. That said, let us all hope for a happy and healthy 2019 ...


Saturday, March 29, 2014

I hear wedding bells ...

Perhaps it is because Spring is in the air, although you would never know it here in Rochester NY. It is a time when we all get just a little bit encouraged that nicer times are just around the corner. It is a welcome time of year for many of us. The temperature starts to warm up. We begin to see flower buds getting ready to emerge from a long winter's sleep.
Just maybe this is a time of inspiration, especially for young couples that have fallen in love. I happen to know of just such a couple. There names are Nick & Sae. Nick is currently stationed in Japan and is serving a stint in the U.S. Navy. It is there that Nick met the very beautiful Sae. Just like Spring is in the air here, so is love in these young people's hearts.

Nick's dad, John had already hired us to photograph their daughter Adrienne's wedding which will take place this August of 2014. However one problem lurked in the shadows. Nick, brother of Adrienne, was not scheduled to be here in the U.S. in August. He would not be able to attend his own sisters wedding. John quickly approached Stochl Imaging asking that we procure a photo of Nick prior to the August wedding. In this way we could digitally place him at the scene of the above wedding as if he were actually there along with his own bride to be, Sae.
It is then that the engagement wheels began to turn. We thought, why not do an engagement shoot of Nick and Sae while I was to photograph Nick anyway.

As fate would have it, Nick and Sae were to arrive in the U.S. in late March of this year, 2014, for a brief family visit. It was also Nick's intention to introduce, at this time, his future bride to his eagerly awaiting parents. John and Ann were indeed very much looking forward to meeting the lovely Sae. She is indeed a very beautiful lady, as is Nick a handsome young man. The more I photographed this loving couple, the more I thought they could have a career in modeling. They were also great to work with. Sae has a lovely smile and is most patient with pesky photographers. Nick was a lot of fun, especially when Nick and I (Canon camera users) would tease his dad, John regarding his association with the "dark side" .. a Nikon user !!! Easy now Nikon users .. I was only kidding.

So on that fateful afternoon of March 27th, we welcomed Nick and Sae into our newly constructed home studio. The bulk of the time was spent posing the future newlyweds in front of one of my favorite portrait backgrounds. For you photography buffs, I used a four studio light system, including a key (main) light, a fill light, a background light and a hair/accent light. It truly helps to sculpt the faces of the couple, adding texture and depth to the photo. The background light helps to separate them from the background. The camera had already been exposure and color profiled for accuracy. If you are curious, I used a Canon 6d with WiFi which enabled me to send the photos instantly to a tablet for previewing. It is why I choose to use this over my 5dMarkIII in the studio.

Everyone involved were very happy with the photos that we captured. I do believe Nick and Sae had a fun time doing it. They were certainly good sports about the whole process. I certainly enjoyed working with this wonderful young couple. I also find working with younger folks helps me to think young too. It is when I look in the mirror in the morning that I quickly realize .. I really, really need to work with more young people !!!

If you are interested, please head over to my website to see a few more of the engagement photos of Nick and Sae. We can be found at:
Look under Galleries .. Wedding samples.

In addition I have posted a brief sampling on my business facebook page.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Senior On Soccer ...

When we became aware of Caledonia Mumford High School senior .. Kenna .. being labeled as the 5th ranked goalie in all of Western N.Y.'s Section 5 Division, the "wheels began to turn".

Kenna's parents had asked us (as they did with their older daughter two years ago) to capture her class of 2014 senior photos, both candid and a formal closeup for the yearbook. We naturally obliged as we love working with the family and high school seniors in general. One of the things I love about high school seniors is their level of energy as well as their enthusiasm for what lies ahead for them.

As it turns out Kenna, a very cute and energetic young lady is indeed a highly gifted soccer player at the high school level. So what happens when the "wheels begin to turn" .. you ask? How about placing a call to the Rhino's organization regarding the use of their field, Sahlen's Stadium. At the time it seemed like a long shot but I figured, what the heck. The worst they can say is no.
After reviewing their website, I realized I needed to place a call to their PR specialist, Colleen Brown. She and the Rhinos could not have been more obliging. After checking their practice schedule, the organization came up with a date that we could use to fulfill our candid, senior photo project.
That project was to capture Kenna in her soccer uniform, both in and adjacent to the goal situated directly beneath the Sahlen's Stadium scoreboard. We had our date, we had our time, we had everyone's permission and we were ready to go.

So what kind of gear to you bring for a photo opp such as this? Of course the grand papa of my dslr's comes out of the bag .. the Canon EOS 6d .. a superb, full frame camera with excellent features including WiFi. With some sessions, we send the photos, as captured, over to a tablet for immediate client approval. Such was not the case here as seeing the tablet's screen outdoors is very difficult. For those camera buffs out there, the 6d is not really designed for action photos. It is more a portrait / landscape type of camera. On this day however, it was mostly posed photos we were interested in, so the 6d was a fine choice.

We did however procure a few photos of Kenna in action in the net, sometimes with the more action styled Canon 7d.

With her back to the popping in & out Sun, her side facing us was of course shaded. To fill that in we utilized a pair of Canon 580 EX II flashes.

No diffuser is necessary when filling in against a overly bright sunny background.
You camera folks would appreciate the fact that we needed a somewhat faster shutter speed.

Knowing I would exceed flash "sync speed", I set the flash units for HSS. Power is thus greatly reduced so this was another reason for no diffusers and maintaining a closer flash-to-subject distance. Fill flash is somewhat of a challenge when you have a bright sunny background with which to work against.
As you can see in the 3rd & 4th photos (down from the top) her mom was throwing the ball into a planned position while I tried timing the photo capture. In the cropped close up of the same photo you can see the twin flash units lighting the area. Both flashes were attached to radio receivers. They were signaled to fire from a radio transmitter atop my camera.

For the grand finale, we posed Kenna, now outfitted in her Caledonia Mumford High School soccer uniform, alongside the goal directly below the Sahlen's Stadium scoreboard. Besides the Sahlen name, there was another great reason for doing so. To our surprise, our PR specialist & Rhino representative, Colleen had arranged for a little surprise for Kenna .. look, in this final photo, up onto the scoreboard .. there in big lights is her full name, school and senior class !! Speaking of class, what a great organization the Rhino people are. Kenna, her mom, my wife and I were stunned to see that up there in lights. WOW .. what a great thing to happen to a fine young lady & great soccer star.

On behalf of Stochl Imaging, Kenna & her parents .. we would like to thank the Rhinos & Colleen Brown for providing this young lady with a great experience.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Down By The Creek

There is nothing better than having the chance to capture family photos in the great outdoors. Just being outside in a beautiful location with loads of trees, rocks and especially a cascading creek is all it takes to get those creative juices flowing. Such was the case on June 25th down in Arkport NY at the lovely Sun Valley Campsite. It was here that a Fairport NY family hired us to capture them in a location that, while picturesque, was also a place that held special meaning for them. This is where they spent many a summer day enjoying the great outdoors. It doesn't get much more relaxing than this.
We were most fortunate that the threat of inclement weather held off. The sky varied between times of partly sunny and moments of mostly cloudy. It is this kind of variable sky that can drive an outdoor portrait photographer to want to stop & grab a glass of wine! The important thing is that we were rain free, and with digital equipment, this is a very good thing. We also had the pleasure of working with such a fun family.

Our photo session began with my wife, myself & our family of four following a trail down to the creek, to be specific, the Canaseraga Creek. This creek is what I would aptly call "a hidden treasure". I can only imagine what it must look like in the Fall. We will definitely want to return here in October.
 That said, we began to scout various positions along the creek so as to capture our family with some great vantage points. Mom & Dad were up first and why not. They are the "leader of the pack" as a former great 60's tune once noted.
 We proceeded to arrange our family in varied groupings both in and along side the creek. The water, though cool, was actually pretty shallow & moving along at a relatively modest pace. Our family has often walked in this creek without worry of being safe, so we felt comfortable obliging their wishes. Along with a number of posing ideas that we suggested & implemented, we of course asked the family to contribute any posing ideas that they too wanted to come to fruition.

While photographing a family outdoors, there are several factors that the photographer must take into account. Keeping the family's front side, out of direct sunlight, is a must. Keep the sun somewhat behind and/or off to the side of the people. For one thing, this will help achieve accent lighting on the back and/or side of the hair. It also keeps the face from bleaching out & the eyes squinting. In doing so you must (or should) fill the now shaded face in with additional light, either via a reflector or flash (the better choice). This will effectively brighten up the face, make the colors more vivid and add that sparkle (catch light) in the eyes. Reflectors can be cumbersome and bother the people's eyes. Utilizing flash is, in my opinion, more controllable & the more effective choice here. While on camera flash can be used, the lighting can appear somewhat flat. However there are times when that is the easier choice to work with and is still better than no flash at all. The more creative choice here is to use off camera flash. Angled away from the camera, the light now becomes more directional & can add depth & texture to the photograph. However you need to watch that you don't create overly large shadows cutting across the faces. Outdoor flash can either be diffused (light softened & scattered) or used "bare bulb". The latter can be a bit more harsh but is sometimes the choice when the background is overly bright. Below, you can see we were able to use a diffuser over the flash, which by the way was triggered by radio transceivers.

If you are going to keep your flash on camera (or use the pop up flash) consider purchasing a diffuser to cover the flash head. Yes, they even have them for the pop up flash. There are many brands so perhaps you may want to "google" or "bing" the topic on some rainy day. Also check out the stores below. These diffusers are especially helpful when doing portraits in shady areas.
Time & space here does not permit some of the more technical aspects of flash photography, which include camera & flash settings along with metering challenges. I do hope, however that I provided you some insight (and motivation) as to how you might want to improve your own, future outdoor family & friend photo shoots. If you already own a dSLR camera & external flash gun, you might want to visit Adorama or B&H photo stores regarding purchasing flash gun diffusers and radio triggers. Their are a number of models that don't have to be that expensive.
If you should ever have the desire to learn more with your camera gear, please check out the link immediately below.

Perhaps in a future blog I will have the opportunity to expand on the intricacies of flash photography. I hope you found our story both interesting & informative. In the meantime, enjoy YOUR family .. get out there & get some great shots .. they'll love you for it ... Ron

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Letchworth Photo Workshop

On a very warm but beautiful day, Saturday June 22, 2013, 4 adult students braved the heat and humidity for an opportunity to hone their photographic skills while traveling through various sections of Upstate NY's gorgeous (no pun intended) Letchworth State Park.
We chose to meet at 9 AM just inside the Mt. Morris park entrance at the Mt. Morris Dam Overlook. It is there that I offered a brief introduction, along with an information packet, as to our goals for that day. It was to be a fairly intense four hour (9 AM - 1 PM) photo session for these 4 brave souls. Topics to be included were (but not limited to) depth of field, outdoor fill flash, panoramas & a brief discussion on hdr (high dynamic range).
After the introduction, off we went - first stop - Wolf Creek. This is a beautifully serene setting with plenty of shade, vegetation and a graceful, flowing creek of water cascading downhill over a random series of rocks, branches, etc. It then quickly sneaks under a small, man-made bridge, eventually flowing over a steep drop off as it plummets down into the base of the gorge.
It was here that I instructed the group to indulge themselves in an exaggerated, landscape depth of field experience. To do this, the students were asked to get down low to the creek bed and, with use of a wide angle lens setting  (ex: 24mm), while focusing just a short way out into the scene, compose and take the shot.
Utilizing this technique can really exaggerate your feeling for depth in the scene in which you are in.
Camera settings often include at least an aperture of f16. Why not f22 (for you veteran photographers)? The reason is that a typical dslr camera has a "cropped sensor" (it is smaller than a 35mm negative) for photo capture. Using a very tiny aperture hole can cause "diffraction" which in turn leads to a slight softening of the photo captured. In fact in most typical landscape scenarios the average, cropped sensored dslr owner should consider not setting their aperture for any smaller than f11 (unless the photographer needs the smallest aperture possible for dimming incoming light while trying to capture a blurred water (slow shutter) photo. Typical cameras falling into this category would include the Canon t3 / t3i / t4i / t5i / 60d / 7d .. the Nikon d3100 / 5100 / 7100 etc. Full Frame owners (Canon 5d thru 6d series & Nikon 600 thru 800 series) can consider a smaller aperture such as f16 for their typical landscape photos. Full frame sensors (the size of 35mm film) suffer from less diffraction at the smaller aperture hole size settings.

Our other task while at Wolf Creek was to engage in a typical outdoor fill flash scenario. People are often surprised about using outdoor flash. Actually it is very often needed for outdoor portraits. Typically it is best to pose the person in bright shade or with their back/side to the sun. You then "fill in" the front of the body with an appropriate amount of flash. That said, the students were instructed on the typical gear used for such an endeavor along with proper procedure.

For the amateur photographer wanting to keep it cheap & simple, you can leave your flash on top of the camera, set it for Av (Canon) .. A mode (Nikon) .. select an appropriate aperture & iso .. let the camera select the appropriate shutter speed .. then take the shot.

In keeping it simple, you can keep your  flash in "TTL" mode although this is not always the best way to use flash. However this article will not attempt to explain other, more involved alternatives.

The concept of fill flash photography was also pursued at Letchworth's "Middle Falls" across from the Glen Iris Inn restaurant. The lighting was much more contrasting (very bright background) & offered the students a much greater flash challenge. It was here that students learned to set their camera first for the background lighting (using the camera's on board metering system), keeping the exposure just a bit underexposed. We then did test shots for proper flash fill on the model's face. I also demonstrated the use of a handheld meter (Sekonic) to help ascertain the correct flash exposure for the particular scene (for those who might tire from frequent testing).

We wrapped up our day with a few brief stops .. one at Archer's Overlook for a chance to do some panoramic photography ... the other at Upper Falls for a brief discussion on HDR photography. I will endeavor to talk more about these at some point in the future, perhaps via another future workshop.

Hope you enjoyed the brief story of my wonderful day with four great fellow photographers. Please feel free to stop by my website for a collection of more diverse landscape photos.We are located at:  I truly hope you enjoy the website.You will also find us on Facebook ... There you will find links to other interesting blog articles we have published, amongst other things.

Thanks for stopping in ... Ron

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Junior Prom for 2013 Fairport Students

The weather could not have been better if it were "ordered". Sunny skies and warm temperatures, a slight breeze in the Spring air .. what more could a high school prom goer ask for. This was to be the day, the beautiful day of Saturday May 4th, bestowed upon our illustrious Fairport High School Juniors.
Many of the well adorned students meandered about at various homes treating their friends and families to a grandiose moment. And what a moment it was. The girls were gorgeous in their flowing dresses and gowns, complimented by beautiful hair styling, nails nicely done and topped off with the infamous corsage. The guys strutted about in their handsome suits and tuxedos, shiny shoes and of course the boutonnier.

Parents, relatives and friends swarmed in on them .. cell phone and point n' shoot cameras at the ready. At each home, the young stars were treated to all kinds of delicious foods, deserts and non-alcoholic beverages. In the midst of all this, there I am desperately trying, at each home, to find an outdoor location where I could photograph these well adorned students without having them covered in mottled sunlight. Being early Spring, not all of the trees were fully covered with well grown vegetation.

The sky was virtually cloudless which, often times, is a photographer's nightmare. This type of setting can lend itself to very harsh lighting. The solution was to place the bubbly couples in light shade, wherever that happened to be. After setting the camera's exposure for the background, the happy couple was "filled in" with supplemental flash. The flash gun lens was covered with a diffusion device so as to help spread out and soften the light.
Otherwise it would have been a bit too harsh.

After the home festivities it was time to move on. Midvale Country Club was kind enough to have the junior prom participants, with the aid of golf carts (1 per couple), travel out and around the golf course for a few, well chosen locations for professional photographs.
Myself and another photographer (we had a golf cart too) were allowed to follow along. Family and friends were asked to wait back by the clubhouse for the final group photo. The prom group was then guided to several picturesque locations. One was along a fairway whereby the lady was carefully positioned atop a lower branch while the gentleman kindly stood below and by her side.

A step stool was provided along with a towel so as not to dirty the gown. Every safety precaution was taken. Once again, lighting was sometimes harsh, so we had all we could do to get the picture. Several were taken with a telephoto lens. The couple was then filled in with a remote radio controlled flash gun perched nearby. Without the flash, and with a bright background, the couple would have appeared somewhat dull and lackluster. Their faces would surely have been dimly lit. Also, without the supplemental flash, the bright colors would have appeared somewhat muted.

We then happily moved on to a beautiful fairway location. It was there the prom goers, with guidance, were asked to pose for more formal and somewhat playful photographs. One of my favorite photo opportunities was to photograph several of the joyful couples as they sat along the edge of a fairway bunker. A towel was provided so the participants would not soil their garments. This situation, as I recall, was in bright shade with a gorgeous, well lit background. Once again we exposed for the background (so that it would not be too bright in the final photo). We then filled in the couple with a remote radio controlled, diffused flash gun. The goal here is to brighten the faces and maybe even have them match the background lighting. Once again, this will prohibit the faces from looking too dimly lit and the colors muted. The beauty of a radio controlled flash is that, as the photographer, I may then step back with my telephoto lens and get that somewhat close up shot I'm looking for. This also helps to soften the background a bit.
It was then that the organizer came up with the idea of having the participants stand, couple by couple across the fairway BUT each of the guys was to stand perched atop the golf cart! Wow, what a photo opportunity this was. I was in my glory. It was so much fun and the students really had a great time with this.
For this shot I had to use another camera fitted with an ultra wide lens. Had I needed to use the telephoto, I would have been back too far and would have suffered some light fall off. This ultra wide allowed me to stay relatively close to the group and yet fit them all in. I was also able to keep the light quality up where I wanted it to be. As you can see here, most of the students are fairly well lit considering a remote flash gun was virtually useless here.

We then proceeded to head back towards the clubhouse where family and friends were anxiously awaiting their star studded prom goers. It was a beautiful location for the final photograph. All the students were found to be straddling a wooden bridge and facing family and friends. We were able to grab one more final shot. It was quite shady so I somewhat desperately aimed a flash gun, with no diffuser cap so as not to cut down on the light, across the front of our group. We aimed the light about 1/3 of the way down the group and therefore "feathered" the light.
What a fabulous end to a beautiful day. I was truly blessed to have the pleasure of working with so many fine young people. The really do represent Fairport's finest. Their family and friends must surely be very proud. Congratulations to the 2013 Fairport Junior Prom participants !!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Photographing Rivers, Streams & Waterfalls

In scenic photography most photographers will prefer to photograph moving water in such a way that the water appears very smooth and silky .. almost like a veil if you will. It might even take on a misty or cloud like appearance. Others might prefer to capture the moving water as if frozen in time .. very bubbly looking in it's appearance. The way in which you choose to photograph such a scene is of course up to you and how you want the viewer to perceive it. On occasion I will photograph the moving water as if frozen but most often I prefer the photograph with a smooth, silky, mist like appearance. For me it provides a bit more dreamy look if you will. And in this hectic age, having time to dream is a good thing, is it not?
My intent, in this article, is for the amatuer outdoor photographer to explore ways in which to capture that water as he or she wants the watery scene to appear to the viewer. That said I will help you to explore several such approaches in this article.
To start with, let us take a look at perhaps the simpler method of the two .. that is .. photographing the water as if frozen in time. To do this we need to think .. FASTER shutter speed. A typical dslr (digital single lens reflex) camera today, such as a canon T4i or Nikon d5100 to name a few, has inside the camera box, "two" shutter curtains. During picture taking the first curtain opens, the scene is captured on the digital sensor, immediately followed by the closing of the second curtain. At this time, both curtains reset and prepare for the next photograph to be taken. A typical amount of time these 2 curtains are open, exposing the sensor, is about 1/60th of a second. The faster those curtains open & close, the better is the chance of moving water appearing to be standing still or frozen in time. As an example, the first photo here shows a recently photographed waterfall (in NC) with the shutter curtains operating at a somewhat faster rate, in this case 1/80th of a second. Again, the faster I achieve or set the shutter speed, the more still the water appears. You can let the camera chose the shutter for you (set your Canon in "Av" mode or Nikon in "A" mode) .. OR .. you can select the speed yourself (set your Canon in "Tv" mode or Nikon in "S" mode). If you set it yourself, the camera will then choose an aperture for you. I will not get into depth of field or ISO settings in this article as time & space does not permit it. I will assume you are familiar with both aperture & ISO functions. Photographs such as these can be taken "hand held", especially if your lens features image stabilization (IS for Canon or VR for Nikon). A tripod is not necessary in spite of what you may hear. All of this assumes you are familiar with proper focus & exposure techniques.

The second method I mentioned above is a bit more tricky .. making the water silky & dreamy. For this technique you will most definitely need a tripod / a remote camera trigger / a ND (neutral density) filter. Other options include a split neutral density filter and/or polarizer but I will not pursue that here.
The main goal here is to get that shutter speed way down slow. Typically I like to have it work at about 1/2 second or so in duration. That means the time between the 2 curtains is indeed a full 1/2 second of time in which the curtains are fully open. It is in this extended time frame that the moving water will appear as a blur on the camera sensor. This next (second) photograph shows the same scene but with a shutter time of  0.6 seconds exposure .. slower than 1/2 a second. You can clearly see the difference in the first 2 photographs here.
Once again I am going to assume you are familiar with proper focus & exposure techniques for a scene such as this. Moving on, the camera should be setup on a tripod. If the lighting is bright, you will need to add a ND (neutral density) filter onto the face of your lens. It's purpose is to block some of the incoming light which will in turn allow for a slower shutter speed. It will NOT change your color so don't worry.

TURN YOUR IMAGE STABILIZATION OFF on the lens. Most lenses, when tripod mounted, get fooled with regards to stabilization & can actually cause the photo to become blurry. If you focus with your shutter button, be sure to turn the AF off (after focusing) so it doesn't refocus when shooting. This is one reason why I truly recommend back button focusing. Go into your camera's menu & be sure to activate "mirror lock up" (some cameras have an external button for this). In this way, when taking the shot, the mirror swinging up won't jiggle the camera while photographing. In most cameras this means first pushing the remote trigger button to get the mirror up (you can use one wired or wireless - plugs into side terminal of camera) to get the mirror up .. THEN .. pushing the trigger button again to take the actual photograph. You do NOT want the camera vibrating during the shot or it will cause blurring of the photo. Just remember to deactivate mirror lock up when done with this project !!!

By the way, you can see in this 3rd photo that I am using a wired remote camera trigger. I do NOT touch the camera during shooting as it may jiggle the camera! Your resulting photo will resemble the 2nd photo above in this article.

If you are a novice/amateur photographer looking to improve your outdoor photography (or indoor too if you are interested), please go to my website, to learn more about private or group tutoring and/or workshops.

You might also like to visit our Facebook page:

I hope this little article has helped in some way and inspired the budding photographer to go out and explore these ideas. Time & space kept me from providing more detail but at least it will give you an idea to start with and perhaps encourage you to do more research (or contact me for tutoring).

In the meantime, I wish you the best in your future photographic endeavors ... HAPPY SHOOTING !!!