Quapaw Mural Dedication

October 18th, the National Park Rotary Club dedicated the mural they commisioned of a Quapaw Indian, from a Charles Banks Wilson painting, as realized by muralist Pepe Perciavati. The parking lot was closed down to cars to make way for tents, hamburgers and hot dogs, music and tribal dancing from a group from the Quapaw tribe in northeast Oklahoma. Pepe was not present as he is in the Phillipines, but he got a round of applause anyway!

Quapaw indian poses in front of mural.
Rotary President Don Gooch speaks

Rotary President Don Gooch speaks

little indian girl at the festivities
Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe  

Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe


And in case you missed it, here is the official mural video, 23 days in under 2 minutes!

Standley and Velasquez Wedding

September 28th at Anthony Chapel in Garvan Gardens, I was fortunate to photograph Steve and Mauricio's wedding. The date they picked was Steve's parent's 60th anniversary, and mom and dad were present as well. The weather was perfect, the chapel beautiful and the reception at Brick House Grill was charming and relaxed.

Mauricio and Steve prepare at the Groom's Quarters at Garvan Gardens.

Mauricio and Steve prepare at the Groom's Quarters at Garvan Gardens.

Steve, nephew and Mauricio.

Steve, nephew and Mauricio.

Family portrait at Garvan Gardens www.bgwphoto.com
Anthony Chapel www.bgwphoto.com
Anthony Chapel officiant
Steve repeats his vows
Maurice repeats his vows
I now pronounce you....
Small child in pews at anthony chapel
Gay couple walking the aisle at Anthony Chapel
The official portrait!  

The official portrait!



Funny thing about this business. Work blows hot and cold, unpredictable and unexpected, fun and frustrating. So when the phone rang at 8am with a froggy voice asking if I was available for a shoot TODAY, I said yes of course, but did not know what would be walking through my door.  Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise,  four members of a Fleetwood Mac cover band! We had fun and I think it shows! Thanks to Dale, Carl, Kimberly and Shari for the experience. And you can see them perform at Silk's inside Oaklawn August 25th!

Fleetwood Mac Cover Band "Dreams"
Kimberly and Shari of "Dreams"
Dale and Carl of "Dreams"

Rickley Family Reunion

I shoot weddings and portraits and headshots. Yes, I do engagements and bridals and surprise proposals. But this month somebody must have appointed me "Family Reunion" dude as I have had four bookings this month with extended families. Tonight was the Rickey family, who were adorable, the setting was a Village lake house on Coronado. The kids bought the session for mom who posed with her EIGHT grandkids!

Grandmother with eight grandkids!
Family reunion photography session
silly face reunion photo
Family reunion photography session
Family reunion photography session
Family reunion photography session

Goodnight, y'all. I'm tired!



Today saw a surprise proposal in Garvan Gardens with Logan popping the question to Emily. Fortunately, Logan had me discreetly capturing the event for posterity. Oh, and Emily said "Yes!"

Logan proposing to Emily
Garvan Gardens marriage proposal
Garvan Gardens proposal by Arkansas Wedding Photographer Brian Wilson
Couple on park bench at Garvan Gardens
Emily dips her toes in the water

These Eyes Have Seen Project

These are some portraits of some lovely seniors I was hired to photograph for the These Eyes Have Seen Project. As their website describes it:

These Eyes Have Seen® is a celebration of our elders. It’s a project rooted in the simple idea that by documenting and sharing their stories, we can provide joy, inspiration and guidance to people everywhere. What experiences impacted them most in their long lives? What do they reflect upon with the greatest happiness, or regret? What wisdom can they share with us?The stories are as diverse as the faces of the subjects themselves and, taken together, they offer a unique perspective on what it means to lead a life well-lived.

These Eyes Have Seen® lives on the web and on Facebook. We hope you’ll join our community and help us to share these amazing people and their stories with the world. These Eyes Have Seen® is a passion project of Sunshine Retirement Living and is produced in partnership with Moon Tide Media.

Nina Pelegrino, 84

Nina Pelegrino, 84

Dojelo Russel, 91

Dojelo Russel, 91

Garl Neel, 91

Garl Neel, 91

Helen Sheenan, 90

Helen Sheenan, 90

Natalie Tolman, 86

Natalie Tolman, 86

Sharon Yarbrough, 78

Sharon Yarbrough, 78

It was truly an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this project, and to meet all of the lovely people involved. Special thanks goes out to Stacy Drennan Whittaker for her assistance.

Wedding at Timberlodge

Here is a set of photos from a recent wedding at Timberlodge Ranch in Amity, Arkansas. The couple, Cameron and Kirsten Wyatt were kind enough to ask me to photograph their sweet wedding in the woods. It was a beautiful, low key event with friends and family.

Flower girl at Wyatt Wedding
Bride and Groom first kiss
Bridesmaids Boots
Groom and the Girls
Groom shoos the donkey out of the shot
Glowing portrait of the bride
The wedding party portrait
Groom and Bride and Daughter
Groomsman on the Wall
Groom and Bride kiss at Timberlodge Ranch

Flavor of the Park

Tonight was Flavor of the Park in downtown Hot Springs. 25 different vendors from Pizza to Barbecue to cupcakes under one (parking garage) roof! I wandered about the grounds and just photographed the sights around me. Hot Springs has something for everyone every week of the year!

Viking Girl from Superior Bathouse Brewery
Serethia Crawford
Flavor of the Park crowd Hot Springs
Trejo's Mexican Restaurant Coupon Girl
The charismatic Porter Montgomery

The charismatic Porter Montgomery

Food food and more food
Guy with shades having a great time
Lady insisting I take her picture and make her famous
Little girl in a buggy
I though you were someone else but I'll take your picture anyway... :)

I though you were someone else but I'll take your picture anyway... :)

12th Annual Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs

Here are a few shots taken today in downtown Hot Springs at the Running of the Tubs, the annual Bathtub Races. My first time to attend, and at my side is the Sony a9 camera sporting the Sony G 70-200mm lens. And yes, it got wet...

Video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NZQSFi5RQc

Pretty Viking Girl in Hot Springs Arkansas
Bathing Beauties  at the Tub Races in Hot Springs
The lovable Maxwell Blade, Magician! 

The lovable Maxwell Blade, Magician! 

This is a $6500 camera rig kid... Make sure the balloon stays in your hand!

This is a $6500 camera rig kid... Make sure the balloon stays in your hand!

I promised them I would post this.

I promised them I would post this.

Bill Solleder hands out the trophies

Bill Solleder hands out the trophies

Man with a shark fin helmet
The Tub Team From Austin, Texas

The Tub Team From Austin, Texas

Next year I'll know to wear a wetsuit and bring an underwater housing for the Sony!

Lakeside Middle School Career Fair!

When I was a senior in high school, we had a career day featuring members of the community in various professions. I went to the photography lecture, naturally, and the speaker was really down on photography as a profession. He talked about how little money there was in the business, and how it was easier to be an artist with a camera rather than learning how to draw or paint. That talk haunted me for years, and might have kept me from pursuing a fulltime career in photography. So when Jennifer Carlton at Lakeside Middle School asked me to participate in their career fair, I jumped at the chance to speak the truth to the young minds about my career of choice. 

"What are the pros and cons of photography?" "Fun and no money."

"What are the pros and cons of photography?" "Fun and no money."

I really enjoyed encouraging the class to go beyond photography and get a degree in business, and to take art courses to learn composition and structure. 

Student at career fair.
Students posed for impromtu demonstrations of how my Boomerang Flash with MagMod deflector worked.

Students posed for impromtu demonstrations of how my Boomerang Flash with MagMod deflector worked.

The student below asked me how to get that blurry background effect, so I took two shots of her, one at f/2.8 aperture and another at f/13:





And thanks to my helpful volunteers who got me signed in at the office and set up in the gym, sorry girls, I forget your names because I'm old and senile... :)

My trusty volunteers

I had dispensed literally tens and tens of dollars worth of valuable advice to these aspiring artists! I look forward to the opportunity to speak again at the next event. I was actually sorry when it was time to pack up and go. 

Fox Luttrell Wedding

Here are a few highlights from the Fox-Luttrell wedding held May 6 at the 1890s Williams House in Hot Springs. Beautiful weather, beautiful bride, beautiful everything!


$99 Dollar Head Shots in May ($249 value)

Starting today, I'm offering the Hot Springs community top quality headshots for only $99. The only difference between this offer and my usual $249 price is there won't be a print included and we ask that you stick to one outfit change. We'll get through the shoot in about 30-45 minutes instead of 60+ minutes, and you'll get your proofs the same day.

Curtis Rougeau with State Farm came by for a headshot today, and I talked him into letting me take a formal portrait of him. He's a handsome lad, he is...

Curtis Rougeau of State Farm Insurance

Contact my studio at 501-538-0810 for an appointment, or email at me@bgwphoto.com for more information. Look Sharp!

Full Circle on Prom Night

Last night I had the pleasure of shooting portraits at the Cutter Morning Star High School Senior Prom, which was held in the Hamp Williams builing (where my studio is upstairs) in Hot Springs, Arkansas. When I was a junior in high school, I was assigned to shoot the senior prom because the senior photographer was attending prom, without a camera, of course. Now I've come full circle 43 years on, and I felt like a teen again. I am really proud of these great kids that I have come to know this year, and what a bunch of cuties! Check these out!

Full gallery at http://clients.bgwphoto.com/gallery/4340446/

Cutter Morning Star Prom 2017

Wedding in the Park

Friday (4/21) I had the opportunity to shoot a destination wedding in Hot Springs for Randi and Waylon Gibson, from Stigler, Oklahoma. The afternoon started off with a session in my studio, and a quick trip a mile away to the park across from the Arlington hotel and spa. Shooting in the dappled sunlight beneath the trees was an exposure challenge, but the results were pleasing. What a great way to close out a busy week! I must admit I woke up at 4:30 this morning editing the pictures in my head... I got out of bed at 5:00 am and got after it!

I've never understood why some photographers state they'll have the pictures ready in 4-6 weeks... I want them done ASAP! Hopefully, you do too!

A Day at The Races

Thursday my friend Tim Metcalf and I were treated to a day of photographing race horses at Oaklawn Race Track in Hot Springs. Most surprising to me was the size and scope of Oaklawn's photography department with up to nine photogs on staff. A very well oiled machine, and quite professional. Thanks to Jennifer Hoyt, their staff, and especially Keely, our guide for the afternoon. Keely took us from the rooftop to the infield to the starting gate, and much more. Interesting note, in each position, you have about 10 seconds to get your shots, and then it's 40 minutes until the next race. Better have your settings right and your focus on AI Servo...

Melissa Etheridge Portrait

     In 2012, I was asked to shoot some publicity shots and event coverage of Melissa Etheridge who was rolling out her new radio show on Cumulus Networks. As often is the case with celebrities, your window to shoot is 2-3 minutes so you have to be ready. Melissa, however, was warm and friendly. Standing before me was a woman who had endured many struggles, including a recent breakup, a battle with cancer and new motherhood. You could see it in her eyes, she still had a fire inside her, she was a survivor, a fighter.

     On my first shot, the strobe didn't go off and the image was totally dark. I was mortified! I was afraid she was going to up and leave while I looked stupidly at my flash, but she waited patiently. Once the problem was rectified, we took several pictures until I felt I had "the shot". Afterwards, she went into a reception with a few hundred cell phone selfies waiting for her. I am grateful that I got her first, while she was fresh and in a great mood. Love her.

In recent weeks I have been revisiting some of my earlier works and reimagining them. This was taken with a Canon 5D Mk III w/ 24-70 mm 1/50th @ f 6.3, digitally painted.

Blog Index

One Light Portrait? HAH! Try Six....

Today we are lighting Jon with a six light array, will cut his image out, composite with a new background, make visual adjustments and then digitally paint the final image.

First, we start with a single 22" beauty dish, upper camera left. The light spills onto the backdrop, which is less than desirable.

The light spill on the white backdrop appears to be grey, thanks to the inverse square law.

The light spill on the white backdrop appears to be grey, thanks to the inverse square law.

When we clip on a grid over the beauty dish, the light is focused on our subject in a narrow beam that does not reach the backdrop.

To give separation from the backdrop a pair of strip lights are added at a 45 degree angle from behind the subject. I used 3' Westcott Flex Kit lights mounted in a Scrim Jim with diffuser to accomplish this.

Next, a 2' Flex Kit light was added in the front, lower camera right to light his shadowed side of face.

We could stop here with just the four lights. But no, we can't leave well enough alone...

Now, to make cutting Jon's image out for a composite background easier, we throw two flashes on the backdrop, one on each side.

Jon is beginning to look a little annoyed.

Now we back out for a long shot, mask this image and prepare to send Jon to London.

Using a photograph of Notting Hill Station in West London I shot last September...

I placed the train station on the layer under the cutout mask of Jon.

Time to add some dodging and burning...

The background and subject now have similar qualities that marries the two together that (hopefully) makes the total picture believable.

The final touch is to digitally paint over the image using different textures and brushes, and render this final product.

A closer look~

Finally, it goes to print. Because, it's not a picture until it's a print. That's what we do.

Till next time!