New Blog

October 15, 2013

The new blog is underway and almost ready! I’ll keep you all posted. Until then check out for updates.


May 30, 2013

I’ll be moving over to a tumblr format pretty soon, get ready for some awesome content.

Wedding: Graham and Lauren

October 27, 2011

Graham and Lauren are one of those couples that the second you meet them, you feel you’ve known them for ages.  Wonderfully warm, genuine, and downright gorgeous to boot, they were a joy to work with.  For them, it began with a crush on each other in High School, going to college, and eventually living together in France.  The couple was wonderful enough to accept my offer to shoot an engagement video that you can see here.  Through both the video and the wedding they were so accepting and trusting; it made my entire experience a wonderful, exciting shoot.

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Lighting And Set:

As you would expect, most of the outdoor shots were shot in natural lighting; it was a beautiful day.  Again, I feel that while strobes can be a great asset, they really detract from the environment and interrupt the ceremony for those attending.  Therefore during ceremonies I rely quite a bit on natural light and my f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses.  In the church for the family portraits I used a 4 light set up with a strong backlight to provide a dynamic set up, spicing up otherwise typical shots.  Finally for the reception, I set up two lights on each side of the dance floor, one with a beauty dish, and 2 more at the back of the hall directed towards the dance floor.

Photo Notes:

This wedding was shot nearly 80% on the 35mm f/1.4 L lens.  I absolutely loved it.  Mixing this lens with the 85mm f/1.8 and my tilt-shifts made it so easy to play with focus throughout my entire focal length set up.

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L lens

Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E lens

Canon 24mm f/3.5 TS-E lens


Swapped out photographs for larger resolution.  I think I may keep this format for future posts.

Wedding: Jenn & Tyler’s Wedding

August 30, 2011

Jenn and Tyler’s wedding was my first in Greek Orthodox shooting.  The event was absolutely beautiful.  From the location near downtown Chicago to the ornate details of the church inside, it was a spectacle to be amazed by.  After pushing through the most torrential downpour I have ever driven through (as an aside, it was one of the rare times that I felt genuinely happy with the folks on the road as everyone put on their hazards, then proceeded to drive slowly and carefully) I arrived at the Church and everyone seemed cool, calm, and relaxed for the gorgeous ceremony.  I had to give it to the couple,  even when three quarters of the way through the ceremony it was announced that their outdoor reception was not going to happen despite having tents available due to flooding in the area, they remained calm and happy.  It was a beautiful thing to see!



The lighting in the church was rather standard for places of worship, there was plenty of light to see but just on the low side that you had to make the choice of strobes or high ISO.  During private, intimate events such as weddings I almost always choose high ISO settings so I don’t interrupt the service with obnoxious flash bulbs goin’ off.  With the f/2.8 and below this was not much of a challenge.  Now, as I mentioned, the reception was no longer located outdoors under canopy outside but rather located in the attached school’s basement.  Unfortunately this left me with only two strobes for a large, enclosed, dark area.  I took the light mods off of one entirely and bumped up the power to full on the beauty dish modded strobe.  All in all they were a bit stylistic but turned out rather well and fun.

Photo Notes:

As this was my first Greek Orthodox wedding, the priest(s) took me through a quick run through of the ceremony and gave me places to be for specific shots.  That’s not something I’m typically used to though it worked out for the most part.  Knowing it was going to be in a massive place such as this with a ceremony I was not accustomed to, I did make sure that I had the 70-200mm on me at all times.  This was a life saver.  There were a few shots were I probably would have set up differently for had it been on my own but I was happy with the results given the circumstances.

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L Lens

Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L lens

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L Lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Graham and Lauren: Engagement Video

June 16, 2011

Graham and Lauren Engagement Video from Adam Arcus on Vimeo.

Lighting And Set:

This video was done all in natural light on a perfectly cloudy day.

Video Notes:

I have been dying to use my 5D’s video capabilities more. Seriously. I have been burning more to do this than I imagine the basis of Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire does. Film is truly where my heart has always lied and photography has been a great way to slowly get into it. I approached Graham and Lauren – as I am doing their wedding and they were opting out of engagement photographs due to their being engaged for a while – and presented the idea. I asked if, as a favor, they would like to star in a video shoot free of charge as long as I got to use it on my website to promote my future endeavors with Engagement videos. Luckily for me, they concurred and here we are (to take a line from Lauren).

Graham and Lauren were an absolute joy to work with. They obeyed every awkward virgin directorial command I had, with no questions. It was as perfect, other than a slightly gloomy Saturday, as you could get. The two of them obviously love each other very much and showed it with such enthusiasm it made my job quite simple.

Perhaps a mic that possessed a large windmuff and if I had the braincells to utilize the low pass filter on the mic would have been more beneficial . And that damned airplane was barely audible when we were there from my memory so I’m flabbergasted at how loud it is when Lauren talks. Other than those small gripes, it was sublimely ideal.

This was edited on Windows Live Movie Maker, which to say the least is not exactly the most powerful film editor out there. However, at the moment it is what I have. Honestly? If you do enough right on camera, there’s not much need for tweaking later. Much like photography. Sure eventually I’d like to be able to edit the colors and visual style of the film but at the moment it’s a decent tool just to piece together the clips in a pleasing way. I assure you, the future holds much more advanced editing software and a computer capable of handling it.

All in all I am very happy and proud with the result. I think it showed Lauren and Graham’s love in a very positive fun way and I think that it was a great jumping place for me to get more into shooting in motion.

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Canon 45mm TS-E f/2.8 Lens

Redrockmicro eyeSPY camera rig

DIY glide dolly

Behind the Scenes:

All the following photographs are taken by and copyrighted to Karen Benda. A ginormous thank you to her for documenting the event!

The Arrival of the 45mm TS-E

May 20, 2011

Introducing the Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E Lens for all your tilting and shifting needs!

The first shot from the Canon 45mm f/2.8

The obligatory ”first shot of Arwen with a new lens” photograph.


Photo Notes:

I am in serious love with this lens.  Major.  Despite it apparently scaring Arwen (see above photo).  It arrived beautifully packed in it’s box from BHPhotoVideo.  Despite not being listed with a lens hood and case, they were there.  These were just a few really quick snap shots before I go and clean for my birthday girl’s (Elena turned 25 yesterday!) party.  Interesting tidbit:  despite off and on rumors there is no clear update for this lens coming soon and it is actually not part of the Canon L series despite it’s amazing glass and wonderful colors.   I am looking forward to a last, loving relationship with this one and you can expect a full on review soon!

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 45mm TS-E f/2.8 lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Concert Photos: Alex Wilson Band Live at Milwaukee Ale House

May 13, 2011

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A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to shoot The Alex Wilson Band at the Milwaukee Ale House.  It was truly a great time and Alex certainly knew how to woo the audience, the stage, and as the photo suggests: the mic.  Check out the photos below and feel free to drop a comment or response at the bottom.

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Alex is an 8 time nominated WAMI musician and won the 2011 Blues Artist of the Year Award.  He truly deserves some crazy awesome recognition as his abilities are staggering.

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When I took photos of Milwaukee’s own Alex Wilson I had no clue what I was about to get witness. The show was at the Milwaukee Ale House on Water street and had a pretty packed crowd before he even got on stage. After a rushed introduction – his flight was delayed coming into Milwaukee – Alex and the band got the show started. Alex had amazing energy and the ability to engage the crowd for the night wjth his blues rock.

Lighting And Set:

The lighting at the Milwaukee Ale House is rather difficult to shoot in.  The set-up is great for a live band, but the venue does double as a pretty fantastic bar.  It is extremely hard to get the lighting bright enough for a band but dim enough for the bar feel.  The Ale House does a fine job at balancing the two but it does leave a bit to be desired on the amount of light for the stage.  It is certainly not an arena but some more white/blue lights to balance out the tungsten and reds that are prevalent would make the photographer’s job a bit simpler.  That being said, the bar with it’s vaulted wooden ceilings and exposed ductwork is an awesome feel.  I absolutely loved shooting there compared to bigger venues I have shot in the past.  It was definitely a great time and the folks at the Ale House could not have been more accommodating.

Photo Notes:

It was really a great time getting to know Alex and his band mates during and after this show.  They are all top notch guys with Eric being an editor at a music magazine and his uncle, Marc Wilson, as the drummer.   The energy they all had was at times subdued compared to the hailstorm of rock ‘n roll blues they were pumping out of their instruments.  It was kind of surreal to see them playing such complex songs with great ease and smirks.  Alex’s energy was perfect as a frontman, pushing the audience to pay attention and to take note.  He really was able to contort the guitar, his sound, and even himself to put these guys in another category.  There is a lot of talk about the Alex Wilson Band in Southeastern Wisconsin and it is certainly easy to see why.

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 17-40mm f/4 L lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Check ‘Em Out!

Alex Wilson Band

Alex Wilson: Twitter

Fashion Show: La Moda Processa

May 9, 2011
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Anna Turner's Award Winning Project Displayed on Gallery

This past weekend Elena and I went to visit the University of Wisconsin-Madison to see the fashion show, La Moda Processa, that her sister was featured in.  Anna’s kind of a big deal in our humble opinions – well not just ours but a few others as well – so it was a blast being able to see her pieces on a runway first hand.  She has a truly unique but practical style.  I say practical in the sense that what she has on the runway looks like runway clothes but the second it comes off you can see someone dying to wear it day to day.  The girl has a brilliant business mindset which she displayed in her “Library” project above.  It was pretty humbling to see so much of the awesomeness on display.  Anna interned with Lara Miller last summer and is interning in a design position with Kohl’s this summer.  Next year she will be finishing her degree at F.I.T. in New York and after that I am positive that we will be hearing a good deal about her progress in the industry.  La_Moda_Processa (29)

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The show started off with some models and then broke out into some male clothing design which was pretty interesting.  Turns out one of the designers (not shown below) actually modeled some of his own clothes as well.  Having just watched Zoolander the night before, the male model concept was hard to brush off until you see one of the designers on stage.    La_Moda_Processa (6)

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La_Moda_Processa (10) The piece below is one that Anna had designed and wore  as well.  The model nailed the showing, wearing it with the confidence that one would as they paraded it with pride on the streets of their local city. 

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Not a great shot but I kept it in because it’s the closest view of one of Anna’s project.

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La_Moda_Processa (16) I’m sure you see it too but the center girl’s “look” froze me solid when I took the photo.  The dress and shawl(?) fitted perfectly for the mood she was displaying.  Almost felt like she was acting in a play rather than displaying garments in a show.  Though I do suppose if you do it right then that is the feeling to be portrayed upon the audience.

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La_Moda_Processa (19) Another of Anna’s pieces in the center.  It was a hand painted pattern she deemed Butterfl-eyes.  It was pretty astonishing.

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There even was a bridal line that someone designed.  This was rather surprising to me as that seems like a pretty huge undertaking but it was a pretty interesting line up. 

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Anna’s final piece in the show was this velvety dress that shined beautifully on stage.  Wonderful textures and I loved the way the light hit off of it.  Since I know little of fashion or fashion design most of my thoughts related to the photography of such pieces and how the light interacts with the pieces.  This one was fantastic for that, really showed the model’s curves and form in something that a texture/fabric that I feel rarely accomplishes that in such a flattering light.  Truly something special and something I would love to take into a studio and photograph. 

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 The ladies from “College Fashionista” actually help sponsored the event and gave out prizes for the most fashionable student at the show.  Pretty interesting blog, and apparently a huge hit amongst fashion bloggers.  It is refreshing to see something like this; the recognizition of fashion and style outside the standard fashion community.  I applaud these girls’ efforts to go and photograph their subjects, who are unaware that they are about to be featured on their blog when they start their day (that is, until they are interviewed and let known how awesomely stylish they are).  Side Note:  Anna was just recently featured on said blog just prior to the fashion show – she really has her stuff together. 

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Lighting And Set:

There were two types of lighting for the show.  The gallery lighting and the runway lighting.  The runway lighting was a bit dimmer than I thought it would be so I had to crank the ISO and stay “low-ish” (1/100-200th second) on the shutter speed.  It seemed to change a bit as the show progressed, getting lighter at a few instances unexpectedly, though that could have just been the light fixtures.  The gallery lighting provided a stark and interesting light source for the artwork themselves.  However, this top down hatchet lighting provided quite awful lighting for people when used without flash.  One of the few times I wish I had a flash on me – with a diffuser of course.  I am looking into getting one that was mentioned on the strobist a few weeks ago and I saw in action at the WAMI awards.  It is not ideal but certainly good for group/people shots on the spot. 

Photo Notes:

This was my first fashion show that I have attended and while my main “telephoto” portrait lens is a bit low on the zoom side (at 85mm) I was still sitting in a good enough spot to get some fun photographs of the clothes and the models.  I think it would be a ton of fun to actually bring the 70-200mm out with an off camera strobe and get some dynamic shots of the pieces.  Hopefully I will do that sometime in the near future. 

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L lens – for some fun gallery shots

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens – mainly used during the runway shoots

Check ‘Em Out!

La Moda Processa

College Fashionista

Twitter: @CFashionista

Anna Turner featured on College Fashionista

Concert Photos: Fever Marlene Live At Turner Hall Ballroom

May 5, 2011

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Fever Marlene ended the night at the 2011 WAMI Awards at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI.  After a night of great performances they wrapped everything together extremely well.  I had a great time meeting all sorts of talented musicians, bands, and folks involved with the music industry.  It was a fantastic time (which I have to thank Alex Wilson – Blues Artist of the Year – for inviting me!).

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I broke out the tilt-shift, which I am becoming a huge fan of doing so, at the concert and I loved the results.  I feel it adds that extra bit of focused emotion to the shots to replicate the feelings the band is portraying and imposing on the audience.

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Lighting And Set:

The stage was set up for the WAMI Awards so not necessarily ideally positioned for the artists.  You can see in the last photo here that they’re a little further back and that the WAMI Award slideshow is in fact still up.  However, Turner Hall is a brilliant place to shoot and the awards were for the music artists so they definitely had the positions done pat of where they can ideally set up for an awards show and concert on the same stage.  The lighting was brilliant.  A bit on the dimmer side but plenty of light to shoot with lower amounts of grain from the ISO settings.  I felt comfortable enough to shoot with the TS-E 24mm which is a f/3.5 rather than having the freedom to stop down to the f/1.8 of the 85mm.  This was a stroke of luck for me as these were the only two lenses I had at the time.  They had some serious reds going on during their sets but it was nothing completely terrible and I ended up having some fun with it during the tilt-shift period.

Photo Notes:

I did not go to the show intending to shoot a band.  I went there to meet people in the industry and give support to Alex Wilson, seriously go check out his link above; he’s a phenomenal blues artist and has his own post coming soon.  I actually ended up approaching one of the coordinators I met on previously in the night and asked if I could take photographs of Fever Marlene after their first song.  They really blew me away and had a great energy that I felt my trigger finger itching to snap a few good ones.  Looking back I probably could have just started shooting as there were a couple of other photogs, namely using flash, shooting away but I was erring on the side of caution and not burning bridges.  I had a great time and wanted to continue my relationship with WAMI, the bands, and the people behind the scenes.  Fever Marlene only played a few of songs and I only shot for two of them but it was a blast nonetheless.

Gear Used:

Canon 5D MKII

Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5 L lens

Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

Check ‘Em Out!

Fever Marlene

Fever Marlene: Twitter

Fever Marlene: Facebook


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