Black and White Photo Challenge


I shot this photo yesterday in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico on the last day of my honeymoon. It is my first entry into the Black and White Photography Challenge. I shot it with my GoPro Hero 3+ in time lapse mode taking a photo every sec as I chased the pigeons around the plaza with the camera on a 2ft extension selfie pole. Later in the day I connected the GoPro to my iPhone via wifi picked the best image edited it in snapseed and there it is the final image. When I got into photography processing a photo like that was science fiction but now it is part of our daily lives.

If you have any photographer friends you’ve probably seen this Black and White Photography Challenge trending through your Facebook feed.  Heres how it works, someone nominates you to post five Black and White photos in five days and with each photo you have to nominate someone else. To get the full experience and use the magic of Facebook every time you post a photo tag the person who nominated you as well as the person you are nominating so that by the time you post your fifth photo you’re tagging at least six people and by tagging those six people their friends and your friends can all see the photos and if the people you’ve tagged follow this same protocol all you’re friends can see all of their posts.  It’s really a beautiful thing and allows us to connect with people and see images we would regularly have not seen. I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s photos and the stories behind them. I’ve especially enjoyed seeing the photos from all my friends friends whom I have no connections to.

It’s been a great experience switching my brain from the saturated HD colors of everyday life to slowing down and seeing things in black and white. Thanks to my friends Kelly Conway  and JA Castillo for nominating me and thanks to all my friends who participated with me Linette Messina Kielinski, Chris Hinkley, Gosha Weivoda, Mike Froio, Brian McCloskey, and Jess McCloskey.

This is my second entry into the Black and White Photography Challenge. 

Photo Oct 27, 2 19 46 PM

Todays entry goes back a few years to a time when photography was a lot different than today no Instagram or Facebook, no iPhone or Gopro not even an affordable quality digital camera readily available especially for those of us still in college. If you wanted instant gratification in the form of a photo you had to shoot polaroid.

I took this photo in 1998 with my Cambo/Calumet 4×5, 90mm Caltar f5.6 on polaroid type 55 posative and negative film. This is a photo of the Howard Johnson’s in Asbury Park, NJ. This poalroid was shot as a test shot to check my exposure and composition before I shot a few sheets of film. If you ever shot type 55 you know that if you dont coat ththem with that smelly sealer stuff they fade to nothing. So Im glad I took the time so many years ago to save this one from fading.

I shot this photo with my very own view camera during a time when I was just discovering my love for large format and its ability slow you down and make you very aware of your composition and subject matter. Asbury Park with its urban decay and ghost town feel was a perfect playground for me and my giant camera. For me the view camera became the camera that I felt defined me as a photographer so it was a hard decision to sell it a few years ago but it was time to move on.

This is my third entry in the Black and White Challenge.

legrandphoto--6865This photo has a fun little story. Two summers ago on a little solo road trip through Florida I was headed west just barely out Florida’s armpit and almost in the panhandle on a secondary road hunting for some weird roadside stuff to photograph when I realized that it was getting dark and I wasn’t really in civilization and that I should start looking for a place to spend the night. I was ion the middle of literally nowhere there were no Motel 6, Holiday Inn, or anything recognizable with in a reasonable distance but what I did find was a small cabin in a state park run by the woman in the photo. When she showed me the room I handed her my credit card and she said “Oh no I only accept cash or check” so I arranged to drive the 10 or so miles in the morning back to the closest ATM. I’m not sure how it came up but we started talking about photography and then she suggested that I photograph her and her dogs in trade for staying in the room. It doesn’t get much more perfect than that.

This is my fourth entry in the Black and White Challenge.

delair 091314 -bw v1

For this entry I chose an image created with my latest photography passion (or obsession deepening on who you talk too) my DJI Phantom with GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition. Some call it a Drone or a UAV even a toy and yes it is all of those things but I like to refer to it as my Flying Camera. I shot this in North Philly right on the Delaware River a place I got pretty familiar with over two weekends last June and September. I flew over 100 flights capturing aerial footage that was incorporated into a large timelapse project documenting the restoration of the Delair Train Bridge. This image was shot on Saturday Evening after pouring rain all day the front had finally passed and we had some good weather to get a few more flights in before the sun set. This image is a composite stitch of two photos shot from about 150 ft up in the air looking west towards the shut down Richmod Power Station on the left of the frame, the Delair bridge in front of that and the ramp to the Betsty Ross bridge all the way on the right of the frame with the staging area and construction zone nestled in-between. The ability to shoot photos and video like this still blows my mind. something I never imagined when I got into Photography. Can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring us.

This is my final entry in the Black and White Challenge.


I was at a stump for this last photo wanting to post something actually shot in black and white not posting something that I’ve shared in some other shape or form before….. so this is what I came up with. I shot this today at the halloween parade at school. I got a ton of cute pics of all my kids in their cute little costumes and I also got this couple looking all goth and weird. Not sure who they were but I saw them walking towards me and I knelt down framed up the shalt and got this. I shot it on my Olympus XZ-1 with eye-fi card connecting it directly to my phone. I processed it in snapseed on my iPhone and then proceeded to upload it to Facebook. Like my first post the process is s a lot different than shooting Black and white film but the end result is still the same.

With that I end my black and white challenge. It was fun coming up with these 5 images and the stories behind them. If you read this blog post you are unofficially challenged in the unofficial Black and White Challenge.

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Legrandphoto Taking to the Air

Lighthouse St. Augustine, FLI’ve been having way too much fun recently.  At the End of 2013 after months of research planning and going back and for the I finally Purchased the DJI Phantom.  This thing is awesome. I’ve been stitching panoramic photos together from a few hundred feet of the ground and dabbling a bit in some moving images as well.  With a lot of gray area on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for commercial purposes I’m using mine just for fun (for the time being anyway).  Check out these few photos I’ve shot recently around the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area.  When I figure out how to edit video I’ll post a few short clips too.

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Website REFRESH coming soon

New website on a larger screen

We all have things that we’re good at. Not to “toot my own horn”, but photography is one of those things for me, and it’s an awesome feeling to be able to make a living doing what I love. While the photography stuff comes pretty easy, the particulars of running the business side of things had a pretty big learning curve. There were certain things I chose to out-source, like accounting (yes, I fear the IRS), and there were things I chose to do in-house, like Marketing and Website Design. I made the decision to design and implement on my own, making a lot of mistakes along the way, but learning valuable lessons and techniques.

My decision to go DIY on the website was two-fold. I definitely wanted to keep costs down, but I also wanted to have total control over content, editing, and design. I used consumer grade software (Apple iWeb), which included customizable templates useful in creating the site. My goal was to customize it as much as possible so it didn’t appear store bought. Over the last few years, there have been a few shifts in the layout and functionality, but the overall design has remained relatively the same.

Recently, there has been an explosion of web-based companies into the market like liveBooks, PhotoShelter, WordPress, and Squarespace, all of whom provide services that include a lot more bells and whistles. These companies provide users templates to design sleek portfolio type sites, as well as the ability to track analytics, optimize for search engines, and update content seamlessly. Not one to ignore updates in technology, I chose to go with Squarespace for the website re-design. They have some pretty awesome templates resizable to any computer screen, browser window size, or mobile device, making the new ready for the 21st century. I will have the ability to update the new site from anywhere, such as my iPhone or iPad, with just a few clicks or swipes. This is very important for a business like mine, where I am constantly on the run or working remotely, and will allow me to keep fresh content flowing.

While I’ve added Website Design to my skill set, I’ll still be outsourcing bookkeeping to my accountant. A broken link on a webpage is one thing, getting audited by the IRS or thrown in jail for tax evasion is quite another.

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Blood, Sweat and Tears (actually no Blood or Tears either)


Recently, I saw a completed  project I worked on with the Marketing and Publications team and the Admissions Team at the University of North Florida. A fair amount of blood, sweat, and tears…actually, probably only sweat…went into this project, and I am very pleased with the outcome.

In the Fall of 2012 UNF, a long-time client of mine, approached me to work on a new admissions book. I took on this project with much excitement. I though what better way to see my work than in a series of images printed together in a single piece of collateral.  The plan was to tell different student stories (AKA Student Journeys), and shoot them at different locations throughout the campus. At first, the overall scale of the project was intimidating (a shot list on a whiteboard with over thirty squares to fill… yikes!) To make the project seem less overwhelming, I decided to take a deep breath and take on the project one image at a time.

After a few strategy meetings, we kicked off the photography with a few afternoon shoots of students on the green, floating in the lazy river at the dormitory building, and hanging out on the beach. With a shot list full of portraits in the School of Education, Nursing, and Engineering, group photos of scholarship students, and Greek life on the quad, more portraits and more we scheduled a full day shoot. The good news was that with the exception of a few leftover photos to shoot, my part in the project was almost complete.

Winter break came and went, and after the Spring 2013 semester began, the Admissions Team reached out to complete the project. After meeting and going over the rough layout of the book, we were able to identify the holes, and, as a team, come up with a plan of attack on how to best fill them. Another full day shooting Students stories sprinkled with an afternoon or two highlighting campus activities and we were done. Now, all that was left to do was edit the Hundreds of Gigabytes of  photos, and hand over the images to the designers and staff at UNF to work on the final piece.

I understand I’m a little biased, seeing that the book is full of my photos, but I am overwhelmed with how great the project turned out. But you should be the judge of that: Unfold Your Wings Viewbook 2013 University of North Florida The view book is an extremely persuasive and critical admissions  tool for new students and a recruitment tool for new staff and faculty. As a team, we were able to shoot and select images that represent UNF as a premier facility for higher education. I can’t wait to see what we work on next!


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Challenging? Yes. Impossible? Never.


UPDATE 11/08/13: After almost a year after wrapping up shooting I finally got a chance to check out the finished photo wall and it’s AWESOME!! Here’s a few photos I shot with my iPhone yesterday.

In August 2012, I got a call from a client inquiring about photographing their board of directors. All in all, a fairly straightforward project for me, and exactly the type of work I enjoy. As I started to plan for this shoot “straightforward” turned into something a little more challenging. My client was working on an “interest wall” in a public space  at their location, that would, feature an individual photo of each of their 32 board members photographed at a prominent location in the Saint Augustine highlighting their connection to the community. This meant 32 photos at 32 different locations, juggling not only my busy schedule, but the busy schedules of 32 other individuals. Challenging? Yes. Impossible? Never. Below are the three main challenges I faced with this photo shoot, and how I addressed them:

  • Time Management. Since I was dealing with 32 local business owners, educators, physicians, and other prominent Saint Augustine residents I tried to do most of the communication and scheduling via email. For about 70% of the individuals, this worked, and I was able to photograph them within the first few weeks. However, the remaining 30% were a little more challenging. There were many reschedules, time crunches, and missed opportunities, but I kept (politely) chipping away at the final few individuals until all 32 portraits were completed in February 2013
  • Location selection. To highlight each board members connection to the community I selected a different location around Saint Augustine for the their portraits turning the small side streets into beautiful backdrops. Even with constant scouting and careful planning, when it came time to shoot I was still at the mercy of the mother nature and other variables. I didn’t let those variables ruin a singlr shot: if it was raining we found an umbrella, if it was sunny we found shade, if it was crowded we went somewhere else, and if the board member was unable to leave work, I used their office as a location for the shoot tying them to the community through their careers instead of the Saint Augustine Landmark.
  • Equipment. To maximize my time with each board member I relied not only on my creative vision for the portrait but was also very selective about which lens and lighting equipment I used.  In most cases I was trying to make the subject stand out from the background with the use of longer focal length lenses and wider apertures to create shallow depth of field.  For the outdoor portraits I have 2 small Photoflex soft boxes that hold my Nikon speedlights, and are great for filling in harsh shadows, creating backlight, or adding a little bit of drama. In the situations where I was shooting inside and needed more power, I used my Calumet 750ws Travel Lights in strip softboxes extra softened by a translucent scrim.  The last lighting tool I used were LED panels.  I have 2 larger 500 watt AC powered square panels and 4 smaller 160 watt battery powered LED units.  These are great for indoor shots softened by bouncing them into walls or used in the background to add highlightights or add some warmth.

While it had its challenges, this project was fun and provided me the opportunity to flex my photographic muscles, and strengthening my people and time management skills. For some people, getting photographed is worse than going to the dentist, so any chance I have to help people feel at ease and even enjoy having their photo taken is a great opportunity to me.  The photos are set to be installed some time in April.  I’ll post an update as soon as I have some images of the final product.  In the meantime see below for a selection of the portraits shot for this project.


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Why is it so hard to keep a blog updated?


Ok so I’ve got a great idea… I’m going to start a blog… I’m going to post behind-the-scenes images from my photo shoots, interesting images I find, photography tips, new gadgets useful in my business, my travels, blah blah blah…  It’s not that hard to do right? WordPress makes it very easy to create a blog, and post it to the web.  What they can’t help you with is uploading new content on a regular basis. If you want to reach out to new potential clients and keep the ones you have interested you must do this. After a few posts and the novelty of having a “BLOG” wears off the inevitable “blog complacency” sets and in next thing you know its been over a year since your last post. Well as we approach the end of the first quarter of 2013 I am setting a new resolution my self to post to the legrandphoto blog at twice a month.

So for the first post in the my new era to end “blog complacency” I’ll start with some of the highlites from the past year. 2012 was a busy one for me I worked on a wide range of projects with fun and creative people.  I continued to produce the work my regular clients have come to expect from me and I’ve also built relationships with new clients that I hope to have for a long time. Check out these select images from 2012 and the links to some of my clients sites below:

Stay tuned for regular blog posts in 2013!!

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Part 2 – Decision 2012: “UNF Republican Debate”

Last week, the nation’s eyes were focused on Jacksonville. News media outlets consisting of large and small converged on our town for the final debate before todays primary, and its clear that this Republican primary and general election are going to be close.  I had the unique opportunity to shoot this event for my client, The University of North Florida.  My main goal for this project was to show the student and faculty involvement with the many guests on campus.  My secondary goal was to capture images that show the historic nature of this event in relation to the UNF campus.

The CNN army transformed the Lazzara Performance Hall (the site of the debate) into an amazing set of light, shapes and color, and turned the student union into a media bee hive. (There were more iPhones, iPads and Macbook Pros than a shipping container from Foxcon)  With classes still on schedule for the day, the campus was a flurry of activity from the students and protestors gathered on the green, trying to get on camera in the background of Wolf Blitzers, “The Situation Room“.  There was security personel in their bright yellow shirts littering the entrances to the venues.  Reporters and satellite trucks set up in any free space on  campus doing what seemed like one continuous live interview.

No still photographers from any media outlet were allowed inLazzara during the debate. They were however allowed in for a short period, (about 10 minuets) after the candidates took the stage but before the debate started, which is appropriately called the “spray”, because they are all in the front row, spraying the candidates and anyone else within reach of their lenses with rapid fire, trying to get “The Shot”.  I, on the other hand had clearance to shoot during the entire debate, with a few small requirements:

1. I had to stay in one prearranged spot.  (No problem)

2. I had to wear black so that I blended in with the background. (Those that know me personally know that wearing black is part of my trademarked “look”)

3.I had to be discrete and respectful of the audience. (Also not a problem, discreet is my middle name)

I took my spot on the balcony level of the auditorium, to the left of the stage, about 15 minuets before the start of the debate. I was all set up camera was ready, extra lenses and memory cards out, fresh batteries, in the camera, the iPad was up and running connected to the Eye-Fi card and ready to stream real-time photos to the UNF social media team.  As the audience was taking their seats a CNN staff member approached me with another man carrying a camera and camera bag, and says to me “this is David Kennerly.  He’s going to be shooting here with you.  You guys are a team so stick together” I thought that’s cool, I can share my spot with an amazing, well traveled, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer (as long as he doesn’t get in my way).  This arrangement worked out great, he stayed out of my way, I stayed out of his.  I learned that not only is he an accomplished photographer, but he is also a super nice guy.

As the debate wound down, the candidates headed over to the spin room to give their synopsis on the night’s events and why they thought their candidate did better than the others. I followed suit, packed up all my stuff and headed over there for a few more photos, but not before I got a few shots of Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer together on stage for the start of “Anderson Cooper 360“.

The Spin room was bustleing with activity, but emptied out and quieted down almost as fast as it filled up.  This left just three local Jacksonville news channels in extremely close quarters broadcasting the nights news from the balcony outside the spin room.  If it was a scene from “Anchor Man” the movie, there would have been some serious antics going on.

All in all it was a great night.  I filled up a few 16GB memory cards to get all the shots I needed.  I packed well, using all the equipment I brought and carried on my back (it was heavy no joke). I got out of there before midnight but was pretty wound up from all the caffeine and excitement.  Thanks to the PR staff from CNN who gave me the access I needed to create the photos that I created.  Additionally, a special Thank you to Cathy Cole and the whole Marketing and Publications Department at The University of North Florida for recognizing my talent and seeking me out for this amazing shoot.

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Decision 2012 “UNF Republican Debate”

Decision 2012 is here.  The political ads are rampant, the signs are starting to litter the sides of the road, and I’m starting to block more and more people on FaceBook who think differently than me. (just kidding) This week, I’ll be shooting the CNN Republican debate with Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul here in Jacksonville at the University of North Florida. Whats particularly interesting about the four front runners is that of the three primaries already held each has been won by a different candidate. This puts next Tuesdays primary here in Florida in spot to give the winner enough momentum to carry them through  the primary to the Republican nomination.

My job on this shoot is to capture images that show the role UNF students are playing behind the scenes in the debate. Hundreds of students are volunteering, performing all kinds of jobs to ensure that the debate runs smoothly.  What a great experience for the Political Science majors to see a big part of the American election process happening right before their eyes, on their campus. With an army of CNN staff on campus, Communications Majors are getting awesome real world experience as well.

Last Saturday, January 21, 2012 as the polls closed in South Carolina a CNN focus group of 40 undecided Republican voters was on Campus at UNF doing live polling, as they watched the candidates give their victory and concession speeches. UNF student volunteers were there to help the CNN army with whatever task needed to be done, and I was there to capture it. Attached are a few photos from that night and after tomorrow’s debate, I will update this post with a few more. So turn on the TV Thursday January 26, 2012 and don’t worry about the candidates; look for me somewhere up front taking Photos.

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“Relish the transitions in your life they will happen regardless”

2011: What a year!!

“Relish the transitions in your life they will happen regardless”: This little bit of wisdom made its way to me via a fortune cookie, and has come to take on real meaning over the last 12 months.  The year brought about change that I wasn’t expecting or ready for, but as I make my way through it I am realizing that it will make me better at everything I do.

In the meantime it was business as usual shooting doctors, musicians, business men (and women), kids, animals… I’ve worked all over Florida and the Southeast, and traveled to the Midwest and California to create lasting images for my clients. I am the first to admit that I have neglected the blog and my Facebook page with the current stuff I have been working on. So to kick 2012 of to a great start, I promise to keep you updated on my happenings. And to prove to you that I was as busy as I said I was in 2011, I have included a few images from last year and will share a link to my 2011 year in photos in a future blog post.


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Art for Art’s Sake

So its been a few weeks since my last post.  I have some pretty good excuses why but you dont really want to hear it you just want stories to read and photos to look at. You have my deepest apologies and I will try harder to post on a more regular basis.

My everyday work doing corporate and commercial photography allows me to be creative and I am very grateful for that, but there are boundaries that I must work within. Every once in a while (like everyday) I try to break out of those boundaries and take pictures just for me of whatever I want. Whether I’m walking down a familiar street with a camera over my shoulder or riding in the car snapping away with my iPhone I’ve always got my eyes peeled for interesting juxtapositions.

A few weekends ago I saw a short documentary on Sally Mann.  Regardless of how you feel about her work and if she exploited her children or not, when she started talking about “Art for Art’s Sake” I got inspired and went out the next morning just me my camera and a 50mm lens wanting to create. What a freeing experience. Shooting like this brings me back to the time when I was discovering photography and becoming aware of light and shadow, architecture and interesting people all around me.  For someone who draws or paints they must constantly sketch  to stay on top of their craft. As a photographer I take a lot of photos with all kinds of cameras, store them and share them in all sorts of places and use them as a visual sketchbook to stay tuned to my craft.

My instagrams I keep on my tumblr site (I love instagram except for the fact that there is no web interface to it iphone or iPad only.) Ive got more photos on my twitpic site.  Some older stuff is here on this photoblog.

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