Behind-the-Camera of Photojournalist Nic Coury in Monterey County, California.

January 29, 2009


A fire burned out a salon downtown tonight. I grabbed my camera and posted a story

Most of the shots were at 6400 ASA and my D700 performs flawlessly.

Stay tuned for a full D700 real-world user review...

~ nic

Nothing To Wine About.

Here's the setup I had for a wine bottle shoot today at Figge Cellars in Marina.

SB-600 shot through a 43" umbrella at 1/4 power with a fluorescent green correction gel. My D700 was set to fluorescent WB and I was holding an SB-800 via an off-camera cord that was gel'd yellow through a 4" all black snoot to warm up the bottle. I was shooting my 28-70 f/2.8 at around f/10.

Here's one of the final shots.

Now if I could only figure out how to cut those damned reflections in the glass...

~ nic

January 27, 2009


Monterey "serial artist" Ed Leeper at his home in Pacific Grove. (Fuji Neopan 1600).

I still shoot a handful of film and I like to. It's organic and forces me to consider my shot in its framing, composition and exposures. This line of thinking transfers to my digital shooting too by forcing me to re-look at my shots every time.

This is my film setup: A Nikon F100, 50mm f/1.4 in my favorite brown Domke shoulder bag. It's completed with  handfuls of black-and-white film, usually Fuji Acros 100, Neopan 1600, Kodak Tri-X and T-Max 400 and various color films. 

I think especially with some of the high-contrast black-and-white films (I like to push 400 to 1600 for an extra punch) helps create a starkness to the look and helps gives a certain emotion to the photo.

Below are a few shots taken over the last year.

A saxophone player at the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival. (Fuji Neopan 1600).

A local poet reads during open mic night at East Village Coffee Lounge. (Kodak T-Max 400 pushed to 1600).

Friends outside of East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey, Calif. (Kodak T-Max 400 pushed to 1600).

Miriam enjoys a laugh inside her cafe in Monterey, Calif. (Kodak T-Max 400 pushed to 1600).

~ nic

January 25, 2009

Flash Light.

So I bought a small single shoot-through umbrella kit for my strobes. I did a few test self-portraits last night. I think they turned out pretty cool.

This was one of the first umbrella shots I did.

I cranked up the f-stops between f/8 and f/14 and gel-ed the main light (to the right of me) at 1/2 power with a grey tint and snoot-ed a strobe on camera at 1/32 power.

I went for a "weathered news photographer" look in my standard fedora. 

~ nic

January 24, 2009

The 5-Minute Portrait.

On Thursday and Friday I went over the the Eco-Farm conference to shoot some photos for our annual "Food and Wine" cover.

Deborah Koons Garcia is an author, movie producer and organic food advocate. Oh and she's Jerry Garcia's widow.

Nikon D700, 20-35 f/2.8D @ 30mm, ISO 800, f/5, 1/200 sec

Annie Somerville is the executive chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. 

Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 1600, f/8, 1/250 sec

For both of these portraits, I had about 5-10 minutes of walking about with them while two reporters from the Weekly interviewed each for their respective stories. I had to location spot as we walked and we would stop if I found a place and nice background. The D700 really performs nicely for the constantly changing scenes and lighting I come across on such short notice. My D2H definitely doesn't handle it as well, though I know that camera well enough to make do.

Also, my 28-70 f/2.8 arrived yesterday. Sweet.

~ nic

January 21, 2009

Well Spoken.

At the Boys and Girls Club in Salinas today, actor Edward James Olmos spoke to a a nearly full gym of local politicians and community members in order to raise money for the Club. Olmos gave $5,000.

Olmos, who went to to the Boys and Girls Club as a youth, has a presence that is a mix between Joe Biden and James Earl Jones. He spoke out against the recent escalation of gang violence in Salinas.

(Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8)

(Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8)

(Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8)

~ nic

January 20, 2009

Learning the Craft.

I forgot to mention that yesterday I had an intern of sorts. Gabby, this local high school senior, is doing that project that everyone has to do about interviewing someone in the career path you maybe want to pursue. So she calls me up a few months ago and did an interview and then needed to spend some time in the field with that person. Yesterday she followed me along to a few photo assignments and learned my day-to-day work flow and I showed around the office and we even used one of her photos on the website that she took during an MLK parade. Speaking of which, here's one of mine from said parade. All of these Obama supporters had paper masks of him and wore them. It made for an interesting portraits, especially the woman wearing it...

Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8

Also, Gabby spent other assignments shooting photos of me for her presentation. I rarely have photos of me shooting, so here's one.

I'm using a D700 with a 60 f/2.8 macro lens and an SB-800 flash and shooting a photo of an acupuncturist.

~ nic

New Era.

A few shots from a local Democratic inauguration party in Salinas this morning.

Nikon D700, 70-200 f/2.8

The emotions were very electric as people watched the newest President speak in Washington. In a time of economic crisis and low morale, it was a nice sight to see folks so hopeful for change in our country.

~ nic

January 19, 2009

Welcome to the Machine.

Welcome to the blog of professional photographer Nic Coury. 

Here I will detail the behind-the-scenes of my 
job as both a news photographer and a wedding/portrait shooter. It will include photos with explanations, shot setups, personal work notes and so on and so on. 

I graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. in 2006 with a B.S. in journalism, emphasis in print media. I currently work as the staff photographer for the Monterey County Weekly and it's a great job consisting of 85% photography and 15% website management and photo editing duties. 

A brief equipment list includes:

Nikon D700
F100 (film)

Lenses (all Nikkor):
20-35 f/2.8
28-70 f/2.8
70-200 f/2.8
50 f/1.4
85 f/1.8
60 f/2.8 macro
70-210 f/4-5.6

SB-800's (flashes)
Domke F2 and ThinkTank cameras bags
SanDisk Ultra II 2gb and Extreme III 8gb cards
Kodak and Ilford film

Carmel Sunset. 2009 Nic Coury.

~ nic