Cool Pakul

Cool Pakul


Mountains vs Models

When people ask about my career I generally respond that I am a photographer. That at least is my latest reinvention and since it’s stuck for the past 3-4 years, I’m going with it. I don’t make my living this way; I make myself and a few others happy in this pursuit, so perhaps it’s more accurate to characterize as an avocation. Whatever. I spend a lot of time behind a lens and increasingly enjoy exploring the myriad nuances associated with using it.


“So, you’re photographer” she says. “What do you photograph?”

Fair question, to which I usually respond “things that don’t move or that have four legs,” meaning for the most mountains and trees and rocks and rivers – ok, water moves – and architecture and, of course, dogs and horses. I suppose what I’m trying to convey is I rarely deliberately and seriously shoot humans. Portraiture ain’t my game.

Until now.


I recently had the opportunity to shoot an old friend of mine whose photogeneity I’ve admired for years. Her name is Renée and to most people’s eyes she is quite comely.

Well, OK. She’s gorgeous.


She’s also uninhibited in front of a camera and, I came to discover, fun to work with. I figured that given those circumstances I’d have to work hard to screw things up. So, we met at Lake Anne in Reston one late afternoon several weeks ago and gave it a try.

I failed to get it entirely right in the camera for the most for lack of the correct lighting, which is more important than dealing with the model, which in this case was a breeze. Fortunately I’m better at post-processing than at portraiture (at moment) and managed to correct the lighting issues. I also discovered that I liked the processing more in black and white than in color although this might have been because of the lighting dealt us. I was more than a little anxious about how the images would be accepted but since they met my standard of publishable, I was happy with the work. And my anxieties aside, Renée was very pleased as were both our respective audiences.

The positive feedback heartened me and that encouraged me to spend some time studying lighting techniques. I concluded lighting was an art unto itself but for my purposes could probably be sufficiently mastered to engage in exploring this channel of photography further. I doubt it will ever supplant landscapes in my portfolio but if most of it is as uplifting as the first venture it will boost the happiness meters of everyone involved. I’ll be back in LA by the end of November and there is no shortage of lighting experts in that town. Should be easy to track down a mentor.


Maybe next time it’ll be a model with a mountain backdrop.

Thanks Renée!


Red Tide – Malibu

IMG_6798 - red tide


Paper Flowers

2013-03-13 19.28.27

Just A Cottage In The Hills


Frisco the Cocker Spaniel


Nap time for Frisco.


Night Shooting – National Mall


I was on The Mall to attend a friend’s Solstice celebration near the Washington Memorial and so decided to collect  few shots of the surrounding area.


The Avalon – Bill W.

Dropped into the Avalon Theater today to catch the last showing of the new documentary “Bill W.”

Steve Jobs


At the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium for a talk given by Walter Isaackson on his biography of Steve Jobs.

The Coming Storm

Sunset Experiment

I’ve been playing with using both polarizing filters and HDR post-processing and this is one of the first products. I took this shot on the sourtheastern end of Lake Thoreau in Reston a couple of days past



We stumbled into Longstreet’s after a long day of running and shooting to end the Memorial Day Weekend 2011. Mo just couldn’t resist one final shot. A year later it came back as a thank you card. MOZ.

Making Bourbon

Along Potomac Street

Taken at Harpers Ferry

Beginning To Fade





A great idea and an alternative wedding cake



A Rose By Any Other Name


….. Or is it?

A Frosty Morning On The Course


A Wintery Mix of Sky


At The Mall


Paint Strips


Shadow Print