Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holidays at home...

Well, I survived Christmas. Each year I go into the holiday season praying that I come out the other end in one piece. It's great to be home with the family, my little brother came in Monday from Chicago and it's always a blast having him around. I got two things that I really wanted, a small luggage roller for my carry-on camera bag and a GorillaPod. I got the SLR-Zoom model of the latter so that I can use my own tripod head with it. Everyone I know that owns a GorillaPod says the same thing, they LOVE it... so I'm super excited about getting out and playing...

I'm driving my brother back to Chicago on Monday or Tuesday, crashing with him for a night or two in the Windy City, and then heading up to Minneapolis for New Years. At least, that's the plan for right now. I'm debating small project ideas to keep the road trip interesting... and I've always wanted to do a study of (what I lovingly call) "BFCs" (Big F%*#in' Churches). You know the big huge auditorium-style laser-light-show 'new' churches. If anyone knows any BFCs between Detroit and Chicago (I know ONE!) or between Chicago and Minneapolis (I could go through Madison or Milwaukee) let me know! I'll do my own research of course...

I'm really excited about getting back to shooting after a month of website coding, assisting on an automotive shoot, and tutoring! I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and that New Year's is fun and safe.

And just because I really shouldn't post without at least one new image, I present to you two frames from Monday Funday:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An old friend - and a new one!

Amy, one of my best friends, is always complaining that I shoot 'everyone but her.' Of course, that's not true (that'd be a LOT of people!) The truth is that with someone THAT close to you, it's harder to have perspective... and there's a lot more pressure to get a really great shot. It's kind of like how you can buy scented candles as a gift for an acquaintance, but for a close friend you would definitely need something ... deeper. So I finally decided to give it a try and I'm pretty pleased with what I got. Here's just one frame from the shoot...

Also, another very good friend of mine, Maria, gave birth today to her first child: Olivia Grace. I was at the hospital along with her 'entourage' of almost 20 people for hours, but it was worth it to meet little Liv...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So long, NYC!

So I just arrived back in 'the mitten' after a VERY exhausting and exhilarating month in the big city. First of all, my apologies for not posting while I was there - it was indeed a very busy and crazy month, and I had very little alone time. I was staying with one of my best friends, Nick Rapaz, in an extremely tiny and cramped apartment in Brooklyn. He made a huge sacrifice to help me out and I'm forever in his debt.

While there I worked four days a week at Platon's studio in Soho, and on Wednesday I traded out with another intern and worked at Art Department just up the street. It was a blast. I learned SO much about the industry from both places, and everyone was so warm and open. I really feel that I made some great connections there on both a personal and professional level.

We made it out to Coney Island one weekend to shoot and I brought along my newest toy: a 21mm extension tube for my Hasselblad. Combined with my 80mm lens I was FINALLY able to get in close (read as: REAL close) for some portraits of my new friend Franziska.

Later in the trip I had the opportunity to go to the Lucie Awards, which were held at Lincoln Center. They're basically the 'Oscars of photography,' and there were a ton of big names in attendence. It was great to see some old familiar faces, and also a lot of fun to get all dressed up (black tie optional) and go out for a nice 'adult' evening!

The PDN PhotoPlus Expo was also a great experience. On the first morning, Thursday, I helped out my old friend Joe McNally with his seminar class before rushing off to an afternoon shoot with Platon. I won't bore you with all of the details, but I will say that 50 Cent is not only amazing good looking but also ridiculously insightful and well-spoken. I learned a lesson that day in preconceptions. The next day, Friday, I had a class in the afternoon about websites and self-marketing for emerging photographers, which was great. I also had the chance to meet up with some old friends from the Workshops, Mike Sakas, Mike Donnor, Sarah Law, Leah Tepper-Byrne, Sara Stathas, and of course Nick. We teamed up with Jamey Stillings and Andrew Eccles and went out for nice dinner before a contingent of us hit a very cool bar on the east side. It was so great to see everyone again. The next morning I arrived at the Expo early to help out at the Workshops booth on the exhibitor floor and then went to another class with past winners of PDN's '30.' It was a great weekend!

Now that I'm back 'home' for awhile with a lot of free time on my hands, I'm going to try and shoot more. I was lucky that my good friend Maria did not go into labor while I was away, and I got to take some shots of her and her belly. Those negatives are drying as we speak, so I'll post them soon if they turn out. I'm trying to arrange to shoot people coming out of the polling place on Election Tuesday, and I'm in the middle of researching my rights to shoot there and the things I'll have to watch out for so that I don't get shut down. Hoping to get a few shots of some 'first time voters.'

That's all for now, it's a long enough post as it is. More to come, as usual...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NYC tomorrow, Santa Fe in January!

So it's almost zero-hour. I'm leaving tomorrow evening for NYC! I'm incredibly excited about the opportunities I'm going to have while I'm there, including working for Platon and Art Dept.

I also just got the call that I will be returning to Santa Fe in January for another season at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. I'll be working in the studio, offering me the chance to work with some great photographers. I'm excited to work for the first time with some great people, such as Gregory Heisler and Max Vadukul, and also to work with some old favorites of mine like Alan Thornton and Joe McNally.

If my blogging slows down for the next 28 days, it's because I'm unsure of my Internet access in the city. But, per usual, I will do my best to keep up.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Greenberg / McCain debacle

I really should just keep my mouth shut about this - but I'm going to vent anyway. Briefly. And then I'm done.

Just in case you don't know which DEBACLE I'm referring to... just Google the two names together and you'll get more information than you could ever want. 'A Photo Editor' (a really great blog, if you're into blogs) has a great post on it here.

You want the Cliff's Notes version? Jill Greenberg (the photographer who shot the controversial 'shiny crying babies' awhile back - see her image at left) was hired by Atlantic Monthly to produce a 'hero' cover shot of John McCain. She got that shot. Nailed it, even. But while he was there, she also took a lot of 'less hero-esque' photos of him. Now those pictures are loose, and she hasn't held back on the manipulation and monster-lighting.

Making a political statement? Fulfilling her vision as an artist? Whatever.

One mission she DID accomplish was make life even harder for emerging professional editorial photographers. I mean, it was already an impossible industry to get into. Day rates are becoming laughable & our former clients are buying the same DSLRs that we shoot with and claiming they can do the same work. The Internet has made it easier for anyone's work to be seen, making it hard for the good work to shine though. And my biggest pet peeve - other 'emerging professionals' who are willing to give their time and work away for peanuts, bringing down the standard for us all!

As if that wasn't enough... NOW we have to deal with people DISTRUSTING us?

Further proof that we wouldn't do this unless we REALLY loved it. That, or we're insane.

(both images above ©Jill Greenberg)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

website updated!

I've been back in Michigan now for just over a week and I've been getting a lot of work done: things that I'd been putting off for a loooong time...

The good news? I just finished my new website! I am uploading it to the server right now.

PLEASE check it out and you can post feedback here. It took me awhile, but I designed the whole thing myself, from scratch, so it's fully customizable.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McNally Fest '08

So... I spent the last week assisting the great Joe McNally on a handful of jobs that he had out here in the Santa Fe area... It was a blast! I mean, I'm in desperate need of prescription painkillers and the world's longest nap right now, but it was totally worth it. Working with him was truly inspiring and I honestly would have paid HIM to let me observe him working for six straight days. But if I'm paying, someone else can haul the equipment!

I had the pleasure of assisting alongside my good friend Norah Levine and also with Copper Perry and Jesus Zapata - our hair and makeup squad.

Here's some snaps from the first and last days of shooting - the only times I had enough 'down' time to grab my camera...

Copper, our amazing makeup and hair guru, powdering Joe so that he's not all shiny on the video.

Here I am, striking a pose for Norah...

Copper, doing Deserae's makeup.

Deserae, waiting for her time in front of the camera. Deserae is already one of the most beautiful girls I know, so by the time that Copper was done with her, watch out...

Joe, showing the hole in the flag that he was shooting through for the shot of Thomas.

Jason, the videographer that was on set with us for two days, with Norah sneaking up behind...

Jason filming Joe while Copper touching up the model's makeup.

Norah, getting ready for her five minutes as a super model during a shoot at Fusion night club.

Ciera, our model for Tuesday, getting the finishing touches put on by Jesus, Copper's assistant.

Norah, showing us how to REALLY make an entrance at the club. :o)

Copper doing Ciera's hair at Fusion.

Me showing off my "Tell Your Mama to Vote for Obama" shirt (and fancy tiera) in the green hallway at Fusion. These shirts are handmade by my friend Jennifer.

Copper, making a funny face under an amazing sky-light inside Fusion.

You can check out Joe's blog to see some images from the week and to hear more about how he's a total genius and can make speedlights (small strobes) look like full studio lighting (if not better!) We used Nikon SB-900s as our ONLY artificial lighting source all week and you'd never know from looking at the amazing pictures he got.

On a separate note, I'm moving back to Detroit for the fall. I leave this Saturday the 6th from Albuquerque, and I won't be back in Santa Fe until January. While I'm away I'll be spending a month in NYC doing some internships, as well as time in Chicago and hopefully Minneapolis visiting friends and family. It's hard to say goodbye to beautiful New Mexico (the 'Land of Enchantment' has definitely 'enchanted' this girl!) but I'm very excited to see my loved ones and to have what is sure to be an adventure in the Big Apple.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Draggin' my feet...

It's kind of hard to stay motivated as soon as the season ends. I've found that the "two days" of sleeping in that I was going to treat myself with has turned into a whole week! I think I may actually start to be canceling out the lack of sleep I experienced over the last three months!

I'm staying busy doing other things besides sleeping, though. Assisting gigs, mostly. Piecing together a living, per usual! I am looking forward to working with the great Joe McNally next week when he ventures back up to Santa Fe for a few days, he's always such a blast.

As soon as we wrap I have to get packing for the trip back to Detroit (on the 6th) and then to the Big Apple! I'll be in the city for the better part of a month doing some internships and making some contacts. I'm very anxious to get out there and start hitting the pavement! I also can't wait to see my good friend Nick, who I've been missing dearly since he moved out there in April.

No new pictures for right now, been too busy lately with other things... It's amazing how much of being a 'photographer' does NOT involve actually taking photographs! I promise the camera won't gather dust for too long, I'm already having withdrawal symptoms!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kacie Comly, aka RAMBO, has a new site up!

You gotta check it out! Kacie is not only an amazingly talented photographer but also one of the sweetest and funniest people I know...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Last week of the season...

We just finished up the last week of the summer season today. Kind of sad, but also totally exciting. Mostly I'm excited for nights with more than 4 hours of sleep. :o)

This week Kevin and I worked with Paul Elledge and Leasha Overturf from Chicago. I'd been in that workshop last summer as a Work/Study, but I suppose I'd forgotten how amazing it really was. They have this knack for bringing out the super-creative side in the participants, and the slideshow last night was amazing. Black and White Contemporary Portraits. I'll post the link to the slideshow when it's uploaded early next week.

I also did a portrait of Leasha this week that I'm loving...

Shot on a Nikon D3 with a 50mm lens at f/1.4.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

First off, I just finished watching an amazing documentary called "Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light" and something that Avedon said in that movie really struck home. I can't remember the exact quote but it was something to the effect of:

I realized that I was tired of observing when I wanted to be CREATING.


Also, I want to point out that the ever-amazing Joe McNally has included a 'quick bit' about Kevin and I in his blog. You should for suresies check it out. He'll be back in town toward the end of the month and I'm super excited to work with him again!

Tomorrow is our last slideshow of the season. Keeping with (very recent) tradition, the seasonal staff will be presenting a very small portion of the work that WE made during the season. And, per usual, I had to do a self-portrait to lead my portion of the show. So, without further ado...

I call this one "Baby Jesus I Hate Shooting Self-Portraits."

Monday, July 21, 2008

More new(er) work...

It's been quite the roller coaster this season, but as usual, I'm loving it. Today was our first workshop day with Joe McNally in the studio and it was amazing. He's such a down-to-earth, funny guy that I found myself constantly forgetting that I was in the presence of one of the greatest shooters alive.

Here's some new(er) work of mine. Some of it is from earlier in the season but it takes me awhile to get film processed, scanned, and pulled through the digital ringer...

A shot I did of one of our models, Robin, at the sleazy motel shoot during Andrew Eccle's workshop week.
Shot on my Hasselblad (80mm lens) on Kodak Tri-X 320.

Here's the 'final select' of Maddy from a shoot earlier this season.
Shot on my Hasselblad (80mm lens) on Kodak 160NC.

More 'feet' for my little 'feet' project. This fine pair belongs to Leah, one of our work/studys.
Shot with a Nikon D300 w/ a 20mm prime lens.

Another 'feet' shot.
Shot with my Hasselblad 500C (80mm lens) with a Phase P30+ digital back.

As always, comments are appreciated.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm famous...

Well, not really. But I am on the workshop's blog!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Catching up, 2 of 2 - Alan, Maddy and Art

The instructor in the studio for the first week (and the third week) was the great Alan M. Thornton. What a great guy! We had a ton of fun both weeks and Kevin, Alan and I made one hell of a team!

Alan and his "Angels."

Kevin and Alan goofing around...

One of our locations the first week was the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe. Mawgie, one of our models and a good friend of mine, brought along her daughter Maddy and she agreed to let me steal her away for a few minutes to grab a few shots.

A new edition to my "feet" series!

Week two our instructor was Art Streiber. What an amazing week. He co-taught the class alongside Brenna Britton, a photo editor from People Magazine. I learned more about the world of editorial and magazine photography in one week then I ever thought possible. Also, Art was a great sport about sitting for a portrait. Maybe he felt bad that I'd spent about an hour getting the lights just right...

Catching up, 1 of 2 - Carnival

Inspired by my awesome coworker, Kevin, I decided to try my hand at a little documentary work.  Here's some shots from the midway carnival that came to town for the Rodeo de Santa Fe...


All of these were taken with a 20mm prime lens on a Nikon D300.

Three portraits, five minutes...

Today was our first day with Andrew Eccles in the studio. It was intense, to say the least. We had five amazingly complicated lighting setups going all at once. We were tripping breakers and rerouting extension cords all over the building just to power it all. It was such a great learning experience!

After all of the participants took off for the day I dragged the studio manager, Kevin, around to each setup to snap a quick shot. The idea was to document WHAT the lights were doing, so that we could pair the shot with a diagram of the setup as a tool for the participants. But I ended up getting some really great shots of Kevin...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First post...

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'll be periodically posting here with updates on my life and my work, so be sure to check back.

Tomorrow is the first day of the setup week at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, where I work seasonally. We start classes next Sunday, and those continue for eight straight weeks. Then we have a cleanup week to wrap up the season.

I'm saying this because during this period (June 9th - August 15th)) I am unavailable for assignments and assisting work, and I will also be pretty slow to respond to any calls or emails. I do my best to keep up but with 17 hour work days and 7 day work weeks, it's near impossible to stay totally on top of things.

I will be available for freelance work again beginning on August 16th. I will be posting here on this blog during the season.

Take care!