The Blog for Swordfish Photography

Wallace Wynn Willams, Jr.

_DSC5786I met Wallace a few years ago when looking for a tailor to repair some clothing. I went to him often over the years as his rates were reasonable and the quality of his work was unmatched. Sometimes I would come in and just hang out and watching him work. His deft hands ran a sewing machine that looked as old as he did with the skills of a master. He designed and made his own clothes, and was always well-dressed in his self-made garb. Designing was his real passion, and he had racks of patterns in the corner of his small shop waiting to be used._DSC5770

It was always interesting to go and see him. Walking through the door of his storefront was like walking into a time machine. Everything in the place was aged, and the clothing that hung in the windows was bleached by the sun. Two racks of suits hung behind his work table and plastic crates full of thread and fabric were scattered around the shop. I’m sure he knew exactly where everything was, too._DSC5802

Originally from Atlanta, he joined the Army and served in the Korean war. During his time in the Army he met Elvis, which probably fueled his desire to make it big as a singer. Even in his old age, he loved to sing, and would sometimes break into song when I’d come in. _DSC5810

The day of my friend’s wedding this past October, I needed a last-minute alteration on a pair of suit pants I had just purchased.

“How soon do you need them?” he asked.

“Well, the wedding is in 5 hours,” I replied. And Wallace was happy to help. He put a temporary hem in place until I could come back and have him spend more time on them later. We made small talk while he worked and he told me of his Thanksgiving plans to go see his family in Akron. It was during this visit that I took this photos of him. A half hour later I was on my way._DSC5826

A few weeks later, I tried to get Wallace to finish the hems on my pants, but his shop was closed. The door sign said he would be back at a certain time, but I had to work that evening and figured I’d just stop in later. A week later it still said the same thing, and the next day and the next. It was then I did a Internet search and found out he had passed away.

Rest in peace, friend.


Clyde in the rain with Melissa


Finally convinced a high-school friend of mine to model for me. A few weeks before while scouting locations for another shoot, I stumbled upon Clyde, Ohio. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been there before, but the first thing I noticed was the really cool street lamps adorning the main street. They had an oldy-timey feel to them, with three or four big globes sticking out from a pole, and one more globe on top. Excellent place to get some neat bokeh, I thought._MG_9482

The weather was starting to turn sour here in Sandusky, but the radar was clear for a bit further south, so I convinced her to come along and make the most of it. With the outfit picked out, and a backup dress borrowed from Tiffany in case it really started storming, we drove to Clyde and set up shop.


Since I was working alone and didn’t have anyone to hold my light stand, I opted to use only one small softbox and rely on the ambient light to balance out and fill in the shadows. This meant I had to match the color temperature of my daylight balanced flash to match the color of the surrounding lights, which was coming off pretty orangey-yellow. A full-CTO gel later and some exposure compensation and I was good to go.


Melissa was a bit nervous at first, this being her first time in front of a camera, but after a while she got into the groove and we got some great pictures! I’m really looking forward to working with her again. To relax a bit and to get out of the rain that had started, we decided to take shelter inside a bar and have a drink. I think we found the only bar that doesn’t accept credit cards, and I was short on cash, so she bought me a shot of tequila. Or was it two? I forget. She ordered food but it took forever to cook, and by the time she was done eating it was getting pretty late and I was getting tired so we called it a night. Until next time!

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Stranded (titled by the folks at Adorama)

OK. So. A lonnnnnng time ago (April 2014), I set out with my good friend Tiffany to talk some pictures. She wanted to do a photoshoot with balloons. She showed me some picture of a girl hugging a teddy bear in the middle of a forest. Sure, we can do that.

Also around that time, I had a final project for my photography class due, so I figured we could get two birds with one stone and shoot all day. We went to a local shop and got some balloons filled, and I managed to snag some black ones while we were there. Balloon shoot went ok, but it was a really dreary day. This ended up working out really well for us later on.

After some much needed warmth (and pizza) from Fazoli’s, we got a hold of her boyfriend and he agreed to come out with us to a beach I sometimes shoot near. Thankfully, as the wind was picking up and I always like having someone to hold my lights for me.

The beach is right on the open part of the lake, and that day the wind was from the North East, blowing straight at us. Made for some pretty good surf (as far as Lake Erie is concerned), and the pictures weren’t too shabby either.

Accompanying me on this trip was my trusty Olympus EM-5, and I decided to use the 75mm 1.8. The lens has so much reach that I had to stay almost twice as far away as with the other camera I was using, the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 85mm 1.8. I was a little worried about rain and sand, but nothing ever happened.

stormy beach

Anyway, I submitted this picture for part of my final, and got some sort of grade for it. I don’t think I ever found out or checked. I posted it to 500px.com and it was picked up by the Phoblographer and they did a piece on it, which you can read here.

Afterwards, I submitted it to Adorama’s Twitter account, and they retweeted it! And came up with the title “Stranded.” Super cool! Anyway, here are some selected images from the shoot that day.


Swim Suit

Sooo two weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing my awesome and talented friend Frank Anthony. I had been working out ideas for a sexy women-in-bikinis swimsuit calendar, but then somehow got the idea of having a male swimsuit calendar. Except take the word swimsuit and split it up. I pitched the idea to Frankie because he’s so damn photogenic and he loved it. Finally we had a free day (a modeling gig he had canceled so he was all mine for a few hours), and we went to work.

I made a post on Facebook to see if anyone could help out with holding light stands and other odds and ends (I take a lot of gear with me usually), and Sean, an old friend from high school, replied that he would help out if I bought him pizza. Hell yeah, it’s on now!

So the date is set, and on my way I had to stop at Dodd camera because I needed ND filters for my lenses since I can’t find any of mine. Sadly most cameras nowadays have a really slow flash-sync speed (the Canon 5D Mark II happens to be 1/200th of a second), and I wanted to balance the ambient sunlight with the flash. I took a quick reading and saw I needed to shoot at f/7.1, ISO 100, and 1/200th of a second with just one ND4, which is all the one Dodd store had. Nope, not enough. The look I was going for meant I needed to shoot at a much wider aperture to get that nice creamy blurred out background effect. This meant letting in more light, and since the ISO was basically the lowest it could go, and the shutter speed was the highest it could go, I had to make another trip to a different Dodd store that had an ND8 in stock. This allowed me to shoot pretty much wide open at f/1.4 at ISO 100 and 1/200th of a second, so now I could use all my flashes.

ANYWAY! Frankie got all dressed up in his suit and tie and we had him march out into the waters of Lake Erie at Huntington Beach Metropark, near Cleveland. There were some lifeguards but no one bothered us. A few people came over to watch and see what was going on, and one guy asked a couple of questions but other than that we were left to our own devices and imaginations. This is what we came up with._MG_9461 _MG_9483 _MG_9488 _MG_9503 _MG_9533 _MG_9540 _MG_9542 _MG_9544 _MG_9552