Portrait of 500 – No Problem

Here we are at the Panama Hotel in, guess where – Panama, photographing a conference called Cumbre.  It is an educational event held every 2 years in different countries of Central America.  This is the fourth one we have attended.


Nice place, isn’t it.  Here is the view from our room.


The important part of this picture is the balcony above the patio area at the far end of the pool.  Fortunately someone from the conference was in that room so we were able to use the balcony to make the image.  Some testing ahead of time with the Indra light and some cardboard boxes marking the corners of where we needed the people to stand led to creating this image in 10 minutes.  Its a little difficult to see in this size but there is light in all the eyes, it is perfectly balanced with the surrounding area and evenly lit from front to back.  From ground level the group was in the shape of a trapezoid – wider in back than in front. Using the elevation of the camera and it’s perspective, we ended up with a rectangular group.

Cumbre 2016 Group

Minimal processing in Photoshop and we had 525 8×10 prints ready to be handed out that afternoon.  The sun was playing games with us going in and out.  Even if it had been out at the minute we took this we could have balanced the lighting using the high speed sync capabilities of the flash.

We get hired for this job because we can create this image in a short amount of time.  Of course we left them with 400 other images of their event also but each attendee really values this picture.


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Mary Jo Allen

I've been a professional photographer for 30+ years. My degree is in microbiology and I did research work in that field for 3 years which sounds glamourous and exciting but in reality I found it to be repetitive and uninspiring. It does explain my interest in the tiny world and my desire to understand how things work. I've always said I could be a professional student as I love to learn new things and photography certainly does provide that opportunity. Even after all these years I continue to learn new things every day. I find photography to be the perfect blend of science and art. Most recently, some of my favorite work has been in the area of macro photography, especially the beautiful world of flowers. I'm looking for not only the documentary recording of what a flower looks like, but also taking a closer look and finding ways of expressing a more artistic and abstract view using color, curves, lines, lighting and softness to create interesting compositions. I love finding beauty in simplicity: just the edge of a rose petal, the sensuous curve hidden inside a flower, the way the morning dew clings and shimmers in the sunrise, a synthesis of color, light and softness, blending the magnificent with the minute; these are the things that make my soul sing a soaring melody of thanks to the Creator.

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