Machu Pichu

Well this is it. I've spoken to some folks about how this shot required trekking 30km, narrowly avoiding a guard who was closing the place down, and finding my inner calm and steady long enough to take the 30 shots that make up this stitched panorama.

The full size version of this is 50 inches long by 20 inches tall. And as this was taken just as the park was being closed, it's nearly empty. By my count, there are only 15 people making their way to the exit.

Click the photo to view in a lightbox.

Machu Pichu by Greg Inda

Buy me a drink some night and I'll tell you the whole story. *Preferably an Inca Kola

I'm back-ish

Things have been pretty dead around here the past couple months, with good reason.  I was out riding my bike early May and I got doored.  I flipped over my bike, flew like superman, and then broke my wrist during my crash landing.  It's been incredibly tough.  I never realized how much I took my left hand for granted.  

Things could have been a lot worse, and I count myself as very lucky to come away as I have.

All that said, the break is almost over.  I'm recovering in a splint.  If all things go well, I should be back in the swing of things for August.  See you soon!

The shoot that was a year in the making...


fop |fäp|
a man who is concerned with his clothes and appearance in an affected and excessive way; a dandy.


It all started Valentine's day 2009.  I was hired by the Belmont Burlesque Revue to set up a photobooth for patrons, and also to photograph the show.  This was a special show titled "Broken Hearts Burlesque Ball" and was held at the Abbey Pub here in Chicago.  For those of you not familiar with the Abbey, it's a larger venue than the BBR normally plays, making this show more of a rock concert than a vaudeville theater experience.  Burlesque performers from around the city came to perform.  Chris, who usually plays Second Cousin Joe in the show, wanted to do something different since this was a "Ball."  He wanted to come in as a fancy gentleman.  Top hat, tux with tails, cane, etc.  But when he went to Chicago Costume, the owners son had a very different definition of "Fancy Gentleman."

Chris made his grand entrance as Lord Toppenbottom.  A mask wearing fop, prepared for decadent fun.  He was an instant hit as he walked around the floor playing with the crowd.  It was the ultimate in audience participation, patrons would walk over and spank Lord Toppenbottem.  Ask to have pictures taken with him.  He would cap any encounter with a laugh straight out of Amadeus.  It was a HUGE hit with the crowd.  Chris really owned his character and made a big impression on all of us.

Ever since that night I had been thinking of ways to capture the Toppenbottom experience.  But what would I do?  Period shoot?  Burlesque shoot?  What tells the story?  I decided that the only way to tackle this was to charge in and hope the dice sing (D&D expression).  The initial thought I would riff on was "Party like its 1710 in 2010."  I'd need a fop and modern girls dressed like they were going out clubbing.

I talked to Chris about models and gave him the ultimate decision who he wanted to work with.  He came to me with Natanya and Elise.  Both of whom I hadn't worked with, but have known for a long time.  Chris explained the basic concept to them, they'd need clubbing dresses, and that we might strip down to bra and panties.

I arranged to meet with Chris at Chicago Costumes.  I arrived before Chris and really had no idea what I was looking for.  It was close to closing time and we were having some trouble finding Chris' costume based on my rough description.  After about 20 minutes of me pulling pirate costumes that could work, Chris came in, walked right over to the rack and pulled the exact same costume he had for the Abbey show.  Chris regaled the clerk and I with stories from the year before, being made to look like a fop by the owners son.  Everything came together when the clerk found the poofy horn wig that ties the whole outfit together.

Chris and I left with our rental and met up with my girlfriend, Shauna, for pizza.  I tried to explain what I was going for in the shoot.  A few basic ideas, but nothing fleshed out in the slightest.  I could see Chris getting a little nervous that maybe this wasn't such a great idea getting involved in this... what would I make him look like?

That night I put some more thought into the shoot.  A few more ideas to riff with.  My new take on things was "One of these things is not like the other."  Lord Toppenbottom, in all his decadent glory, would be mirroring what the girls did and exaggerating what the girls were doing.




We shot everything on a white background, with the lights close to the subjects to gray it out.  I shot mostly with an 85mm 1.8 lens on my Canon 5D MKII.  This shoot was an absolute blast to work on.  I recommend Natanya, Elise, and Chris as excellant models.  Shauna was an excellant assistant and DJ.  I can't wait to work with this crew again.

As always, I'd love to hear your feedback.


 EXTRA TIDBIT - The following photo is not safe for work, but I'd feel awful to not post it.  It was one of the last set ups we shot and was Shauna's idea.  If you were wondering what Lord Toppenbottom has in common with Mine That Bird...







Not at work? Click for larger version.



So I've been very pleased these past couple weeks to be working hand in hand with Katherine Hart of Hartfelt Communications on some images for her new redesigned webpage, which should go live early 2010.  In our last photoshoot I decided to try something a little different with her and went for a Matrix Terminator kind of look.

What prompted this look?  Well, Katherine is a lively women.  She has the kind of personality that fills a room.  And she's never really had her photo taken like this before.  I used a kind of split lighting technique.  Her glasses blocked the light from her eyes, which was the look we were going for.  After a few initial edits I sent the file over to my friend Alan Hawkins, who I've worked with before.  He added the textured background, text, and red dot.

We go into one of our final review meetings tomorrow to discuss the images and how they will play into her site.  Once it's live I'll link a couple of the images.  In the meantime, here's one more for the road.

Peekaboo Portraits

So I got called in this week by my good friend Chris Biddle to take pictures of his new burlesque show Peekaboo.  Thursday evening was their last dress rehearsal before the show and he really needed to get portraits of 4 cast members who did not have a good Halloween headshot.

So here are those 4 shots in no particular order...



















It's awesome to get asked to do black and white.  I learned photography on black and white film, and most of my favorite images are black and white (I know its cliche, but works from Weegee, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson).  When I'd work in the dark room I used to love the photos that had true blacks and true white, grays are important but I really like to emphasize the extremes.

This show looks great, I hope you get a chance to see it.  I'll post some show pics soon after the show opens and is into it's run.

New Gear.


Pylons in Lake Michigan. Click to see a larger version.Well the day has come.  After a lot of researching and debate I've finally gotten a Canon 5D Mark II.  I'll spare you a lot of technical jargon and simply say it's a very nice camera.

So we've had such a lovely weekend here in Chicago that I've had a lot of time to try out the body as well as what is quickly becoming one of my favorite little lenses... the Lensbaby Composer.  This lens is what you'd call a "selective focus" lens.  That means you can select a single focus point in the image and from that point, everything blurs outward.  Some of you may be familiar with a Tilt-Shift lens which acts similarly.  However, a tilt shift lens will give you a line of focus, the lensbaby gives you a circle.

I took a lot of photos this weekend, three more you can see here after the break.

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Puppet Throw Down

I did a shoot with a good friend of mine, Noah Ginex.  He will be in the upcoming Chicago Improv Festival leading his self titled Noah Ginex Puppet Company into battle vs. Felt, another improv puppet company, in an improv grudge match called The Cagematch.  I won't go into any more details about the show since, well, this is a photography blog.  But if your interested visit the links.

Left to right: Amanda Rountree, Fuzzy Gerdes, and Noah Ginex

The photo was shot against a white background with the subjects filling the frame.  In photoshop, I replaced the white background with the gradient blue and widened the whole thing to accommodate text to advertise the show.

The hardest thing about shooting puppets is getting the eyes to look where you want them to look.  Even with just one puppet, the puppeteer has no idea if the puppet is actually looking into the camera.  So it's a combination of directing the puppeteer's hand movements and as the photographer, moving around to find the right angles.

With 3 puppets and 3 puppeteers, its an uphill battle getting all the eyes focused on the same thing.  When I was a kid I went to Space Camp, and truth be told I never thought I'd need to remember terms like roll, yaw, and pitch.  But boy did it help with directing hand movements.  But even then, you have to be clear who your talking too.  At one point I was directing Amanda to get closer to Fuzzy.  She kept moving the Pig closer and closer, but hadn't realized I was directing her.  That got a nice laugh out of everyone and after that I was sure to be very clear about who I was talking too.

Overall I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  If you have any questions about the image, feel free to leave me a comment and I'll be happy to answer.

Thanks for stopping by,
Greg Inda

Finally here!

I'm very happy to open my photography site.  It's been a long time coming, but I feel very good about what we've built and I look forward to what we're building towards.

This blog will be my little space to post pictures from recent shoots, photography how to's, upcoming events, stories from the road, and opportunities that you can take advantage of.  Hope you enjoy!


And now for the first photo...

Took this photo of Harz as he was working box office for The Sickest F***ing Stories I Ever Heard.  Harz has always been a great subject.  Lets face it, he's not pretty.  Which makes him strangely compeling.  I've always felt he'd be a good candidate for a marketing campaign similar to "The Most Interesting Man In The World."  Something that pushes structure over polish.  And lets face it, not many could pull off the striped shirt, striped tie, and a hoody.

Thanks for stopping by!
Greg Inda