Wednesday, May 25, 2011


    I have really been hoping to use the "hypersync" feature of the PocketWizard Power ST4 with the Elinchrom Ranger for some of our shots, but it doesn't work as I had hoped (according to all the hype anyways). Not like the sync speed of Speedlights and the Flex TT5, which by the way we use frequently right up to 1/8000 sec with no problem at all. Except for the lack of power. Thats where the Ranger comes into play.  

    After trying in vane to get 1/8000th sec sync speed to give usable results using the Ranger (I had been trying to figure it out with a photog in Seattle who has the same setup), I finally settled on the fact that, using the "A" head, it is just not possible, unless you have a camera with an electronic shutter (Nikon D70, Nikon D300s, Canon 1D-ancient!) .  I've been talking with a photog in the UK who is shooting with the "S" head, 5D markII, 50mm f1.2l and syncing clear up to 1/8000. You can check out his post on sync speeds here

    However, I was able to achieve usable sync speeds using the "A" head of 1/320 and 1/500 using the Power ST4 on the Ranger. I was going to post a shot at 1/1000 just to show the results, but suffice it to say that it's not usable in my opinion.  Anyhow, enough talking. Except one more thing- I did throw some speedlights into the mix too.

This shot was taken at 1/500th of a second. If you look at the right side of the frame you can see some shading happening from the camera shutter. It's less noticeable on the sky and more noticeable on the foreground. But 1/500 sec on a full frame camera using a Elinchrom strobe is pretty awesome!

Shot at 1/320 sec- you can still see the banding on the right side of the frame in the foreground, although it is much narrower than at 1/500.

Yup, you guessed it- 1/300 sec sync.  Those are four Canon speedlights firing at full power, zoomed to 70mm, about four feet away. If you look at the rim light they are creating on Kenya, you can see they are only lighting from her arms up. They have to throw a tighter beam of light to even be usable in direct sun. The Ranger was about seven feet away and had power to spare and it was throwing a MUCH larger spread of light using a white wide angle reflector....

The light is a little hot in this one- the ambient changed because of a cloud and I didn't adjust the Ranger's power for it in this shot. The Speedlights didn't even fire here- they hadn't recharged yet.  The AA batteries just can't keep up with full power firing, which makes the Canons kind of a let down compared to the Ranger RX- which is why we have some new battery packs on the way for them (: Can't wait to try those out!

1/320 sync, Ranger RX camera right, Canon Speedlights camera left at 90deg to me.

Here is my disclaimer- this is not the way things are, just my opinion, so take for what it is. With some cropping I believe that 1/500th sec sync speeds are very usable with the Ranger RX and A head combo. Some day I hope to get an S head so we can sync even faster and maybe shoot wide open during the middle of the day. If anybody has any questions about this, feel free to post them below.

Southern Oregon and Medford Photographer

Monday, May 23, 2011


It happened toward the end of the evening. It had been one of the happiest days of my life.  The day I married my better half.  The cake cutting was the last event of the evening before we headed out.  While our guests watched and snapped photos we sliced the cake, tres leches cake to be precise. I being the sweet wife that I am, gently fed my new husband our wedding cake.  What followed left me in shock.  Mr. Burch took his cake and smashed it right on my face. The eye area to be exact. I stood there trying to figure out if he really did what I thought he did.  He laughed. He thought he was hilarious.  Yes, that was the man I had just married.

Two years later, as I bake my own tres leches cake this is the memory that comes to mind.
I found this recipe at the food network and is by far our favorite recipe .Here is link to the original recipe



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Place the rack in bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with the shortening. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour to the greased pan and shake it around to coat the entire pan with the flour. Shake out excess flour. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sugar with the mixer running, beating until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg is added. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour and baking powder.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in stages, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. (Do this quickly so that the batter does not lose its volume!) Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 cups of the heavy cream. Cover and blend on high for 45 seconds.
Remove 1 1/2 cups of the milk mixture, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.
Pour 1/2 of the remaining milk mixture over the warm cake.
When the cake has soaked up most of the liquid, pour the remaining half of the milk mixture over the cake, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, beat the remaining cup of heavy cream in the electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners' sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled cake.
Serve the cake with the reserved chilled milk sauce.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Personal: Lesson learned from hiking Smith Rock

My thighs were burning, muscles I didn't even know I had were making themselves manifest reminding me of my lack of condition. I stopped to catch my breath, mostly because my lunch was threatening to see light once again. I was so done, there was no way I was climbing higher. Why did I ever let Peter talk me into this in the first place? I should’ve known better.  

Sitting there feeling half dead I looked up. I had been so afraid of tripping and falling that I had not noticed the scenery around me. I stood there mesmerized, taking it all in. Somehow contemplating the huge mountains and the river running through them gave me a second wind. I had to make it to the top. I had to see what was up there.

Slowly I draged myself up.  You’re close, you can’t give up now, I kept repeating to myself every time I felt like collapsing.  A few painful moments later we made it to the top. In front of us stood a majestic view. Standing there, at the edge of the cliff, made the anguish dissapear. It was worth the pain.

If I had stopped when the pain kicked in, I would have missed out. I was so close, yet I was about to give up. The lesson learned can be applied to all aspects of life. Sometimes we work so hard towards something and go through the struggles and the effort but when we are about to reap the benefits we give up. We quit without realizing how close we really are to the majestic view, to success. I'm not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it. Climbing the mountain was hard work, there was pain, struggle, doubting wether I could do it or not, and the list went on and on. I had to constantly remind myself of the prize.  As long as we keep our eyes on the prize, we can climb any mountain, no matter how big it is.


Monday, May 16, 2011

PERSONAL: Finding my happy place

Every once in a while we all get the tired-burnt-out feeling that most of us are unfortunatly too familiar with. It’s like we poured out ourselves so much and forgot to fill back up. Eventully we dry up and are left to replenish.

I’ve been having one of those days, more often than I care to admit. You know the kind where all you want to do is lay in bed and forget about work. Fortunatley I have a wonderful husband that pushes me thorough it.

Last weekend he did just that. You might or might not have noticed the blog has been a little neglected. A creativity black hole so to say. I satdown many times to try and write, but nothing happened. Zero.Nada. It annoyed me, quite a bit.

“Get dressed and let’s go” Peter said. I was sitting in front of the computer feeling frustated.
where are we going? I really need to get this done”  I sighed and got dressed. There was no point, writing at the moment felt worse than a root canal.

We drove to the location of our last session. “I need some photos for the background of the album I’m desinging.”  With that he left me standing there with my camera in hand. I was so not in the mood for it. I walked around. Reluctanly snapping a shot here and there. Then one shot turned into two and three and I was hooked. I felt alive, content, replenished.

It is behind the camera that I find inpiration once again. I find my happy place :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Grants Pass High School Senior: Brandon

This session made Peter’s  little heart flutter! Along with senior portraits Brandon wanted some action shots with his bikes (ok, mom wanted the portraits and Brandon wanted the action shots). So he loaded his bikes and hauled them around for his session. We couldn’t have been more excited! Of course, we were a little nervous as well since we hadn’t done these types of photos before. Brandon and his dad were very supporting. We love clients like that! We had tons of fun and got some awesome shots to prove it.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Children: ELLA

She's back! Ella is back for her one year pictures and we're stoked. We have been Ella's photographers since she was 12 weeks old. It is amazing for us to see her grow over the past months. We can hardly believe she turned one already...sigh...

For her session we headed to the park since she loves the swings! But we can’t say the same thing about the sand. She didn’t like the Nevertheless she posed for us long enough to get a few  shots. Then we headed to the swings and she loved it!

Look at those eyes!