Archive for the Personal Projects Category

A detective in a fedora lights a cigarette at night in front of glowing street lights in a dramatic portrait.

Hiding the Light Source: Night Detective

By Scott Holstein


I’ve previously written about how to have flashes visible within the frame. In this post, I’ll discuss hiding the light source within the frame. This image was shot in downtown Tallahassee, Florida, using traffic lights and other street lights to form the background. These lights are turned into glowing globes by using a large aperture (f/4.0) and a longer focal length (200mm) while keeping the subject (and focus) close to the camera. The ambient lights dictate my exposure. I used four speedlights to light James, our detective model. The trick to this shot is that his cigarette “lighter,” which is…
Water splashes as a horse and rider jump over a fence in a water feature during the Red Hills International Horse Trials.

Jumping Horses: Cross Country at Red Hills International Horse Trials

By Scott Holstein

Filed under: Personal Projects


Red Hills International Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida The Red Hills International Horse Trials is a wonderful event in Tallahassee, Florida. It’s outdoors in the capital city in the spring, the season of perfect weather in northwest Florida. Resurrection fern-covered and Spanish moss-draped Southern Live Oak trees create a picture-perfect backdrop for the equestrian event, held in beautiful Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park on the north side of town, near Lake Jackson. Cross Country The Cross Country course, designed by Hugh Lochore, is my favorite, mixing adventure, athleticism, risk, and triumph. Plus, spectators are close to the action; rider and horse together…
Creative photography of a woman’s face reflected in the pupil of her own eye.

Portrait Reflected in One’s Own Eye

By Scott Holstein

Filed under: Personal Projects


One day back in college, I realized I could see my reflection in my own pupil while looking into a mirror. I thought it might make interesting and creative photography so I enlisted fellow photographer Joel Fluty to endure some pretty strong off-camera flash blasts to the face. After sacrificing Joel’s vision, I determined that it was theoretically possible to make a portrait of someone’s reflection inside their own eye, but it would not be easy to accomplish. I recently revisited the idea with some better equipment and a handful of patient models. This was indeed a very technically difficult…
Creative photography of a warrior woman emerging from the water while firing a machine gun.

Rambabe: Warrior Woman with Machine Gun – Rambo Parody

By Scott Holstein


“Rambabe” is my latest personal project, done just for kicks as a creative recharge. It is, of course, inspired by the Rambo movies; I own the ’80s trilogy. While watching it one day I decided it would be fun to make creative images that change it up a bit and have a beautiful, tough woman as the “one man army” instead of a sweaty dude (no offense, Stallone). And since I’m from Florida, there was never any question that she would be in the water. I scouted several places in the Tallahassee region, originally looking for something swampy that might…
Landscape photography of a dragonfly at sunset over Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, shot with an iPhone.

Scouting at Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, Florida

By Scott Holstein


A few evenings ago I was scouting a location for an upcoming photo shoot. I had already scouted a half dozen locations, none of which were really working for me. This particular evening I was scouting at Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, Florida. I had been to this particular spot before but I really didn’t think it would be ideal for this shoot. I was wrong. This spot had water that was the right depth, it had some nice vegetation to work with, and best of all, it had a great view of sunset. In fact, the sunset was so amazing…
A beautiful woman holding a lantern peers out into a swamp at dusk.

Photography Tips & Tricks: How to Hide Flashes in the Photo

By Scott Holstein


I had this narrative image in my head for some time – a beautiful young woman in a boat, deep in a Florida swamp at dusk. She’s holding a lantern, peering out into the darkness, searching for something. But what? I enlisted McKenzie Burleigh, a model with whom I’ve worked several times in the past, to pose for me as the beauty in a cypress swamp outside of Tallahassee. Accompanying her was Ed Tiley, a local actor, posing as a drunkard with her in the boat. I positioned them in the boat among the trees in the evening and shot…

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