Any reader of this blog will know that I have a wide variety of interests and that I photograph a diverse range of subject matter. One area where I feel that I particular excel photographically is in creating lifestyle image libraries. I'm not sure if it's my training as a photojournalist at the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!) or if it's my many years of photographing for higher education and independent schools, but I enjoy exploring angles and turning what might be one single image into a series of images that help to tell a story.Read More
One of my earliest experiences getting paid as a photographer was shooting for the University of Idaho student newspaper, the Argonaut. When I started working for the paper, I was still shooting film and went through the digital transition while I was there. It was an interesting time to be working for a newspaper.
I learned a lot working for the Argonaut. When handed an assignment to photograph a student government meeting in a poorly lit room in the basement of a 100 year old building, you have to get creative. I shot everything from meetings to protests to basketball games and more. This job taught me how to find a way to create a compelling image regardless of the subject and lighting. I'm still awestruck by talented photojournalists who are able to create brilliant images out of nothing.
My early education as a photojournalist still plays a large role in how I shoot today. Even when the budgets are bigger and the shoots are produced on a higher level for advertising, I still shoot with a photojournalistic approach. This approach paid off on a recent shoot for Under Armour. I was asked to shoot alongside a film crew and would not have many of the normal lighting resources that I often rely on for commercial assignments. For most of this 2 day project I would literally be shoulder to shoulder with the DP. My directive was to get the shots, but do my best to not interfere with the TV production.
Over the course of 2 days I shadowed the flim crew shooting with mostly existing light while utilizing their light sources whenever possible. There were numerous occasions when my assistant and I could grab the talent and get our own shots elsewhere with a little more time for experimentation. This project required my assistant and I to be nimble and efficient. We needed to stay out of the film crews way, but still needed to be aggressive enough to get the shots the client needed. It was a delicate balance at times, but in the end resulted in some incredible photographs.
As much as I love shooting in controlled environments, I get an even bigger thrill when shooting in situations where controlled chaos can happen. I think the uncertainty of shooting photographs and not knowing the exact outcome is what originally got me hooked on photography. There is still room for that bit of unexpected magic. This is the place where surprises happen and images that might normally be missed have the opportunity to see the light of day.
In an age where things are measured in bits and bytes I think it might be best to explain how much video footage we captured over 4 and half days of shooting in data speak. We recorded and downloaded over 500 gigabytes (GB) of video footage. This isn't even 4k footage. We were shooting in 1920x1080 HD with the exception of the aerial footage, which was shot in 4k to allow room for movements in post of necessary. While that's nowhere near the amount of data that a large commercial production or movie might create, it's still a lot of information to organize and to sort through.
The image above is just one small leg of the organization structure in my post production software. We had 4 cameras in total that we used and multiple subjects where we shot with more than one camera across 2 separate campuses. Not only did we have 2 separate campuses, but it made sense to try to organize all footage into lower, middle, or upper schools. Organization of all of this information was crucial. Our organization structure looked like this:
Subject > Campus > Class/Location > Camera > Video File
Once we had everything organized in a logical way, I started going through all 9 hours of video footage and pulling the best shots to be included in the edits.
Beginning The Edit
I began with the edit for Honor & Character, followed by Diversity & Inclusion because I knew these two videos would be the most difficult to pull meaningful clips for. I wanted to make sure that we were using original footage in each video so I decided to use clips that related to diversity and to the honor code exclusively in these 2 videos. When starting an edit, I have a basic vision of how everything should fit together. I start with the voice over and adjust the pacing of the narrator's voice. I edit the narration so that it feels authentic, with natural pauses throughout. I then start layering music options onto the timeline and experiment with different genres and moods until I have a music bed that amplifies the kind of emotion I want to convey.
Building the Rough Cut
Once I have the narration and music bed in place, I start building the rough cut. The rough cut is really fun to work on because it's the first time you get to see all of your work being put together to form a cohesive story. While I'm building this I'm looking for shots that complement the narration and flow with the music. I do a lot of mixing, cutting and re-organizing during this stage. I try a wide variety of clips until I get the structure that I like.
Once I had the rough cut built for each video I would send it over to Pingry for feedback. Typically, I plan for 3 rounds of notes/revisions per video. This gives the client plenty of options for making changes to the video without giving an unlimited number of revisions. I've found that unlimited revision options without any additional charge delays the delivery date and adversely affects the final video. It's basic human nature to want to contribute, but unfortunately most people like to wait to give their 2 cents until the final version is ready to be shared. It's at this point that criticism can get a little nit-picky. I don't like the color of that shirt. Or, that student doesn't look happy enough. It's these kind of changes that need to be stated early on if they are really a problem. By limiting the number of revisions, it forces the client and myself to be more thoughtful about each version. Each edit takes time after all, and time is money. For those on a set budget, keeping your edits concise, thoughtful and detailed is the best way to watch your bottom line. Fortunately, the communications team at Pingry had a clear vision and knew what kinds of visuals they needed to avoid. They were aware from the very beginning that these videos needed to show a broad view of what the school was like and they were very clear in communicating that with me through each version.
Before we began post production, I set up a shared google calendar with deadlines for my delivery dates along with deadlines for feedback from Pingry. This allowed all of us to be on the same page and to have a clear picture of the timeline for delivery. My first deadline for Honor & Character was May 18th. Most times, we would have a week between my delivery date and when feedback/notes were due from Pingry. For 5 videos, the post production took the better part of the summer with all 5 final videos being delivered on August 23rd.
The final version is where all edits and changes to the timeline have been made and each individual video clip has been color graded. It's also where all audio is mixed for optimal sound quality. Each video is then rendered (which can take up to an hour depending on color adjustments made) and encoded (another 1 - 2 hours depending on length) for web delivery. This is the final video. It's the deliverable where all the planning, money, creative energy, time and hard work come together into a tangible product. It's why I do what I do and hopefully will encourage prospective students and their parents to take a closer look at the Pingry School.
Originally posted on InspirED School Marketers
Eight months. That's how long we worked on this 5-part video series. Actually, from the time I put together a proposal it was just under 11 months. In October of 2016, I was approached by the communications department at the Pingry School about putting together a proposal for this project. I had worked with Pingry before on a 3-part video series as well as providing them with still photography so we already had a good working relationship.
Pingry is a private K-12-day school just outside of Newark, New Jersey with two campuses and over 1,000 engaged and energetic students. I love this school. I really do. I work with a lot of different education clients and each is unique in its own way, but Pingry is the kind of school that I would have attended if the opportunity presented itself all those years ago when I was in high school.
The video below is an overview video for Pingry and I'll explain how we got here.
The goal of this project was to create 5 videos that could work independently from one another or together as a series. The topics were to include arts, athletics, honor and character, diversity and inclusion, as well as a general overview video. My first step was to develop an approach and vision for the best way to tell these stories and then to determine how much it would cost. The original proposal included an approach that would rely heavily on on-camera interviews with students, faculty and administration. After some careful consideration, we decided that this might not be the best approach for these videos. Instead of showing on camera interviews, we decided to perform Skype and phone interviews with students, parents, faculty and administration and then to write scripts based off of these conversations. I did more than 30 hours of interviews over the course of about 6 weeks. From this, I was able to build the basic components of a script for each video.
Writing the Scripts
I used the information I received through my interviews along with direct quotes to build each script. Once I had the foundation for each script, I began to fill in the gaps to make each script flow nicely and to fit within a 1 - 2-minute video. After revisions from the Pingry team, we settled on our final scripts and began looking for our voice over narrators.
Step 3: Find Voice Over Talent
I knew that I wanted each video to be about the visual experience of Pingry School, but the voice over had to communicate the right message. In reality, the voice overs were going to be the lynchpin through which each story could be told. Without a solid voice over, the videos would fall flat, no matter how beautiful the visuals were.
We wanted to use actual voices from Pingry and not hired voice over talent. It was important to us that these stories be in the words of the people of Pingry. During my weeks of interviews I made notes on potential readers. I was looking for two things; quality of voice and ability to take direction. We identified a few people to be our readers based off of my initial interviews and found the rest based on recommendations from the Pingry drama department. Once we had identified our potential readers, I did additional phone interviews and asked them to read the scripts I had written for each video. With each reader, I had a script in mind for them, but occasionally asked them to read additional scripts as well. After I had all the initial tests recorded I spent quite a few hours listening to them and making my decision on who I thought we should record on the first day of production. Even though we only needed five voice overs, we ended up recording script readings from 8 different people on our first production day. I wanted to have backups in case someone couldn't make it or a performance just didn't work as well as I anticipated.
I worked with a 3-person crew. My audio tech was only on site for the first day to record our voice over narrators. This helped minimize our crew budget and travel expenses. I'm always looking for ways to streamline my productions and save my clients money. My second camera operator would be shooting along side of me as well as filming separate events when we had to be in two places at once. Lastly, I hired a producer to manage the logistics of this shoot. Each crew member is invaluable and well worth the money it takes to bring them along. Each brings with him/her a unique set of skills that can add value to the end product.
One of the biggest challenges of this project was scheduling. My producer worked closely with the communications department to craft a schedule based off of their wish list. She gave direction to a shoot that would require a massive amount of subject coverage across two separate campuses. Without the hours of pre-production work she did with the communications department, there is no way we would have been able to walk away with all the footage we needed in 4 days of production. I'm a detail oriented person and used to wearing many hats, but I knew there was no way I would be able handle all the technical and creative aspects of this shoot as well as managing the schedule on my own. My producer took this monumental task and made it seem easy. She had to marry the expectations set forth by Pingry with the reality of shooting videos such as these. Video production is not easy. An incredible amount of planning and resources go into making a 2-minute video. Sometimes it can be difficult for a client to understand why we can't shoot everything on their list. In most cases it's a matter of time combined with budget. We can't do everything and that is why it was important for me to have a producer who could manage this aspect of the project.
We planned to shoot everything over the course of 4 days with a 5th day as a backup to pick up any additional shots we thought were missing. While I was confident that we could record all the voice overs and film everything we needed in 4 days, we wanted to have the 5th day available as a backup in case of bad weather or some other element that was out of our control. It turned out that we needed that backup day. From Monday through Thursday the sun refused to show its bright face. I knew that we needed some establishing aerial shots and the truth is that aerial shots just don't look that good on cloudy days. Really, all I needed were two shots on a sunny day. The forecast for Friday looked good so I sent the rest of the crew home and stayed one more night with my fingers crossed that Friday morning would bring good light. After a dense, foggy morning the clouds finally parted and I was able to get the shots I needed before hitting the road. I was able to pick up a few extra shots that I hadn't planned for as well so the extra morning was well worth it.
Learn how we managed the post production in Part 2.
Check out the other 4 videos below
Fall and Spring are the busiest times of year for me when it comes to photographing and filming education. This makes sense because it coincides nicely with the school year. Fall and Spring also happen to be the times of year when the campus looks the best. So why then am I photographing education in the summer?
Well, technically speaking I was photographing a summer camp on the campus of one of my clients. Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana has been hosting magnificent summer camps since 1902. With over 1,400 students from around the world attending and experiencing everything from aviation to horseback riding to sailing, this was an action packed 3 days of shooting.
Culver needed updated photography for their Summer Camps marketing. Since I had worked with them previously in shooting admissions materials it was an easy choice for us to work together again. I was thrilled to go to summer camp for three days! I went ice skating and skeet shooting, threw hatchets and more. It was a pretty epic three days of photography in the heart of Indiana.
After roaming around campus for 12 hours a day in the heat and humidity of an Indiana summer, it's easy to feel the strain of the elements on your body. Luckily, I'm accustomed to shooting in these conditions and was prepared with everything I needed for a mostly outdoor shoot. We shot in 90 degree heat, rain, and wind. It was hard work, but it was also a blast. I have hundreds of images that I really like from this shoot, but these are a few of my favorites.
And here are some behind the scenes photos.
I like beer. Seriously. I really like beer. That seems kind of ridiculous because at 150 pounds, I'm what you might call a "lightweight," something my friends love to remind me of any chance they get. No worries though. I can still enjoy good beer.Read More
I don't usually use this blog to discuss the work of others, but occasionally I see something that I feel warrants my sharing on this site.
I have loved Sally Mann's work for years. Her work has always felt magical to me and despite her numerous detractors, I think her work is beautiful. It's not often that I find a book about photography that really inspires me, but Sally Mann's book, "Hold Still" really got me excited about the still image once again. She discusses her relationship to photography and she shares some of her families most intimate stories in her memoir. Stories that are both good and bad. Her writing style is genuine and engaging. Her artistic sensibilities inform her writing style and help make what is already a fascinating life even more enthralling to read. For example . . .
"The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware. It means "beauty tinged with sadness," for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay. For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing."
So I know what you’re thinking. If you’re a child of the 80’s like myself you are wondering if I photographed Sylvester Stalone as the troubled Vietnam Veteran that was John Rambo in the Rambo film series. Let me clear that up by saying absolutely not. That would have been cool, but this story is much more interesting in my opinion.
I photographed a remarkable man named Ron Rambo for a story in USGBC Magazine. Besides having a wicked cool name, Ron is a wonderful man. I rarely say that about someone I have only spent a few hours with, but Ron left an impression on me. He has what I can only describe as “good vibes” and it’s apparent by the people he surrounds himself with.
Ron was born with cerebral palsy which limits his speech and body movements. He uses a wheelchair and has 2 aides that help him around the clock. He faces mobility challenges on a daily basis, including moving about in his own home. He is an advocate for the disabled community and is well known in the city of Lancaster, PA. Ron had an idea to create a totally independent and fully accessible home on a piece of property owned by his mother in Lancaster. He nicknamed the project “Ramboland” and it has since attracted the attention of Jesse Pellman of Longview Structures and Max Zahniser of Praxis Building Solutions. His project has also gained the support of Mayor Richard Gray of Lancaster.
I had the opportunity to meet and photograph all of these people on a mild February day in Lancaster. I love shooting these kinds of stories because I get to meet amazing people and learn about inspiring projects. Ramboland is in the planning stages, but this home will be cutting edge in every way. Not only will it be fully accessible for Ron, but it will also be totally energy and water independent. This is why the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) sent me to photograph this project.
The scheduling for this shoot was challenging because I was trying to coordinate with so many people for one day of shooting. All were very accommodating and I was able to shoot this story over the course of a few hours starting with the Mayor. I photographed the Mayor in his office and then met with Jesse Pellman at the building site. After photographing Jesse I met with Max Zahniser who was traveling from Philadelphia at a coffee shop where Ron hangs out on a regular basis. I photographed Max in the back courtyard and when Ron arrived I photographed the two of them together. Once Max hit the road I had some time to get to know Ron. We spent a few hours at the coffee shop and around the streets of Lancaster.
Making portraits of people can be such a daunting challenge if you let it. It’s difficult to capture a person’s personality in one frame after only spending a few minutes with them. For every assignment I shoot there are different goals with how the images should be used to tell the story. Sometimes I have the freedom to put my own spin on how I feel about a particular topic. Other times I am hired to merely make someone look good on camera. Most of the time, my job is to discover the true essence of the person in front of the lens and to show at least a little bit of that essence on camera.
If you'd like to read the entire story, you can find it online HERE.
This past fall I had the good fortune of being assigned to photograph Police Officer, Rob Capezio just outside of Pittsburgh, PA for Men's Fitness Magazine. Men's Fitness has a success story in each month's print edition and Rob was chosen for the work he did to transform a bare bones gym at his department headquarters into a well-equipped training space for himself and his fellow officers.
I was hired to photograph Rob working out in a variety of scenarios with his fellow officers as well as to make a few portraits of him. My assistant and I started the day by grabbing a few shots of Rob running outside before moving into the gym. Once in the gym, we prioritized getting shots of Rob working out with fellow officers. Both Rob and his fellow officers were very gracious with their time on their day off of work and were happy to help me get the shots we needed. The gym is well-equipped but fairly small and covered on one side with mirrors. While the mirrors are great when you're working out they are problematic when shooting and lighting a space. This limited me to only a few angles and I chose a shot that had a bit of depth to it for the group shot.
Once we had the shots we needed of Rob with his fellow officers we moved on to focusing on shots of just Rob. Since we were shooting for a fitness magazine it was important to highlight Rob's physique. Rob has some wicked looking arms so we thought photographing him doing some dips would give him the arm definition we were looking for. For this shot, I wanted the image to be focused solely on him so I didn't mind shooting against a plain white wall. I used two softboxes slightly behind and on either side of him to add definition and used a 36-inch Octabox with a grid attached to light in his front.
After we had the shots we needed for the story we spent some time experimenting and grabbing a couple extra options which you can see below along with tear sheets from the January/February issue of Men's Fitness.
I get hired to make portraits on a regular basis. Portraits are one of my favorite specialties and I always enjoy photographing interesting people. Regardless of whether I'm photographing my kids, a CEO, an ordinary person on the street, a musician or a doctor in a hospital, learning about different people makes me a better artist.
I was recently hired by Virginia Heart Cardiovascular Group to photograph some of their doctors in various settings at their offices in Northern Virginia. Over the course of 2 days, we photographed 10 doctors as well as nurses and staff. The images will be used in a new website design and in marketing materials that will be distributed throughout the region.
One of my favorite things about photographing doctors is getting to learn about what they do on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to learn a little bit about cardiovascular disease, treatments, and surgeries is fascinating stuff. Most of it is over my head, but getting to hear these men and women talk about the heart and the human body is incredibly inspiring.
I've been lucky enough to photograph cardiac ablation procedures as well as pacemaker installations. It's with this great respect that I approach each portrait because I want confidence, dedication, positive energy and approachability to radiate from each of these professionals.
Here are a few of my favorite portraits from the shoot.
"And life needs to be more than just solving problems every day, you need to wake up and be excited about the future. Be inspired and want to live.” - Elon Musk
In a recent speech at the 67th International Astronautic Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk gave a speech about Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) plans to put humans on Mars. Whether you believe this is possible or not is irrelevant. The important point is that someone believes it is possible. Instead of simply talking about it Elon Musk and SpaceX are actually working toward achieving their goal. This is a private company who is building rockets and sending them to space. And while they are doing it, they are driving down the cost of sending rockets into space. Occasionally, they have problems, but they are doing it.
Because of this vision and a relentless drive to achieve it for the good of all humanity, SpaceX is actually doing the impossible. The reason I'm writing about this on a blog that mostly talks about photography projects I have done or am working on is because this is just damn inspiring shit. If you are an aspiring or professional photographer you need to have the same drive that Elon Musk has. Well, maybe not to the extreme extent to which he lives his life, but at least sharing a bit of that enthusiasm for the future will be helpful.
As an aside, I recently finished 'Elon Musk,' a biography by Ashlee Vance and highly recommend checking it out. If you're like me you will find Musk to be equal parts inspiring, equal parts despicable. His vision for humanity is incredible while the appearance of his personal relationships seems quite dismal. Of course, I don't know him, but from Vance's reporting it doesn't seem like he will be winning any awards for greatest husband or father. But, I suspect he will be looked upon as one of the greatest industrialists of our time in the years to come.
His ability to think on a timeline well beyond his own lifespan is very humbling. How many of you can actually say you think about the state of humanity 1,000 years from now? I think about what the world will be like for my kids, but beyond that, it becomes hard to fathom. Just try for a minute to imagine humanity in 1,000 years. Will we still be here? Will Earth still support us? How will we evolve? What will society be like? Will we be traveling around the universe in space ships? Will we still argue about which bathroom people use?
I'm trying hard to bring this post back to photography, but honestly, I'm forcing it a bit. I just like this quote and I like talking about space exploration and the future of humanity. Let's leave it at that. I hope it inspires you in the same way it does me.
Oh, and here is the video about making humans a multi-planetary species.
10 years ago, with a passion for photography, a strong work ethic and just the right amount of naiveté, I struck out as a professional photographer with the support of my wife. I haven’t had a real job since. There have been some major highs and major lows during the past decade, but as my 11th year in business begins I feel as if I’m finally on solid ground.Read More
I feel that I should give a warning before you dive into this blog post. It contains a lot of links to other websites where you will likely spend a good deal of time watching, looking and listening to great art. If you're at work, you may want to wait to read this until you're on break.
I recently stumbled upon a documentary on Vimeo On Demand called “Make” and have been thinking about it ever since. The film is expertly produced and well shot. It’s a beautiful film that tells the stories of multiple artists and really reminded me of why I do what I do.
I’ve been in the photo industry long enough that sometimes I forget why I got into photography. This is my job. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes it’s just a job. One truth that continues to hold up no matter what my day is like, is that I get to make things on a daily basis and that makes me happy. Sometimes I get to make pictures that I want to make. Most of the time I get to make pictures that other people want me to make. Other times I get to make my own rules and that feels pretty good too. Regardless, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to make photographs for a living and I try to remind myself periodically not to take it for granted.
When I watched “Make” I was reminded of the drive that creators have to make things. Artists are compelled to bring new things into the world over and over again. The film features artists that I am familiar with like Miller Mobley, the band Sylvan Esso, and Elliot Rausch. Each person has something interesting to say about their lives and their art. After I researched Elliot Rausch a little more I was excited to learn that he was the director of a music video of a song that had a dramatic impact on my adolescent life, “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. The influence of Pennywise on my younger self cannot be understated and to hear from the director of a music video of the song that defined my youth is particularly inspiring.
Just a quick warning. If you go to Elliot's website and watch "Last Minutes With Oden" you are going to cry. If you don't, then you are a heartless bastard. If you want to be inspired and moved without crying, you can do it for only $3.99 this weekend. Rent “Make” on Vimeo and enjoy this honest look into what it means to be a creator.
The title of my post might be a little misleading, but it sounded cool so I went with it. This post is really about traveling to Jackson, WY for a few days with good friends over the 4th of July weekend. There were definitely guns, but I'm not so sure about guts or glory. Although catching cutthroat trout in the Snake River while drinking a beer with a bald eagle flying overhead made me feel pretty glorious. Seriously. That happened. The beer was none other than “America”, aka the beer formerly known as Budweiser. Maybe the glory I felt was simply unadulterated American pride in the situation. Regardless, it felt pretty awesome.
The trip was for my friend Dan’s bachelor party although there has been talk of late that the trip was actually for me. I guess we’ll never know will we Dan? Anyway, we had an awesome time. I won’t argue who had more fun, but let’s just say I did pretty much everything I had hoped to do in only 3 days in Jackson. I went fishing. Twice. I climbed. Twice. I drank a lot of beer and even lost the jumbo margarita race. I went hiking and running. I went biking and watched the sunrise on the Tetons. And, I even got to shoot a wide range of firearms. All in all, it was a pretty epic 3 days.
Now, I should mention that the majority of my life is not epic. Unless of course you consider being woken up at 3am by a 4-year-old regularly because his blankets fell off as epic. I’m a dad and husband and that comes before anything else. I'm working from home this afternoon and my son has actually interrupted me 4 times so far while I've been writing this blog post. I get enough thrills from having a family and running a business that I am quite happy in my day to day life.
Every once in a while though, I have the itch and the opportunity to branch out and pursue the activities I love to do, but seldom have time for. I get paid to do some pretty cool things (see this post), but it’s different when you are simply on vacation.
Here a just a few highlights from my trip to Jackson.
Having just returned from a climbing trip in the New River Gorge of West Virginia, I'm eager to share some images I shot while there. Check out this blog post to learn more about the Gorge. I was hired by Mercersburg Outdoor Education to be a 2nd climbing guide for 7 students. We climbed for a total of 6 days and had students who had never climbed in their life leading 5.7, 5.8 and 5.9 climbs by the last day. For the non-climbers reading this, that is a pretty tremendous feat. If you want to fully understand climbing grades check out this explanation.
It was exciting to see everyone improve so quickly and to watch them push each other to step outside their comfort zones. I didn't have as much time to hang on the rock to photograph everyone this year, but I still was able to come away with some fun images from the trip.
A lot has happened since my last blog post. Hell, it's been over 3 months! I've gotten pretty bad at updating this blog, but I'm going to keep trying whenever I can find a few spare minutes.
Anyway, for this post I want to share some images from a recent test shoot I did with a model from SLU Agency. I have shot a variety of sports and lifestyle over the years, but I've been wanting to narrow my focus a little more in this genre and decided I'd like to do a combined fitness/running shoot.
There is an old apparel building in my hometown of Mercersburg, PA that I've been obsessed with for years. I've been looking for ways to utilize this space for a shoot and finally found a concept that would work for it. I know the owner and he was kind enough to let us invade the space for a day. Once I had the location dialed in, I worked with SLU to find the right talent for this shoot. Shelbye Schlange is based in Baltimore and is a talented fitness model. Check her out on Instagram. I got her to come up for the day and also brought stylist, Brooke Leidner on board to help with wardrobe, hair and makeup.
My assistant, Quinn shot an awesome behind the scenes video which you can see below. It will do a much better job of describing the shoot day than my rambling blog post will so I'll share a few pics and leave it at that.
I thought it would be fun to share a little glimpse behind the scenes of a recent editorial assignment in Washington DC. This portrait was part of a story about green building within the DC marketplace. The story took a look at some of Washington DC's most iconic monuments and buildings through the eyes of the GSA and The Capitol.
I photographed LEED Program Manager for Design Excellence Architecture + Sustainability Lance Davis at the GSA building on a hot, sunny day in September. I was forced to go it alone on this particular assignment and had to improvise a sun block on the fly. Fortunately, a large softbox can double as a shade in a pinch and even add some extra fill light if necessary.
In the image above you can see my key light is my 36 inch octabox with a grid on the left. The large softbox on the right is blocking the sun off of my subject. While I want the sun to illuminate the background, I did not want it putting harsh shadows on the side of my subjects face. This was a simple workaround in a pinch. Had an assistant been with me and we had a little more time we may have been able to throw up a large scrim instead. But since I was working alone I opted for a simple and less likely to fly away solution.
All in all, I think this was a pretty elegant solution for a situation where improvisation was needed. You can see the final shot below. I loved Lance's boots and wanted to make sure they were included in the shot. I feel that it gives a little more information about his personality. In Texas, it's common to meet businessmen who wear boots with their suits, but this is not the case in Washington DC. It seemed out of place which made it all the more interesting to me. Lance is a really nice guy and we had a good time working on these shots together.
Back in June I had the pleasure of photographing a rock climbing trip to the New River Gorge in West Virginia. The 10-day trip was put together by The Mercersburg Academy Outdoor Education program and I was hired to document it. I love climbing so it was a thrill to climb and photograph in one of the greatest climbing destinations in North America.
The book above was created using my photos from the trip and quotes I collected from each student during short, informal interviews. It was written, photographed and designed by me and published through Blurb.
I've been climbing for 15 years and have been to some really great climbing destinations. One of my all time favorites is the New River Gorge in West Virginia. It's a 5 hour drive for me and boasts over 1,400 established rock climbs. It's all sandstone and it's wonderful!
Back in the summer of 2002 I lived there and worked as a whitewater photography on the New and Gauley Rivers. I lived in my tent at a climbers campground and spent all my free time climbing. It was one of the coolest summers of my life. I've been there numerous times since, but it's been almost 5 years since my last trip.
This June, I had the pleasure of working in the Gorge as a photographer for Mercersburg Outdoor Education. My good friend and client hired me to photograph a 10 day trip with the Outdoor Ed program from Mercersburg Academy. I was part of a 9 person trip. Six students, two guides and myself. The Mercersburg Outdoor Education program is incredible. They take students all over the world and teach leadership skills that can only really be learned in wilderness situations. These kids are great. Not only are they technically proficient, but they are bright, thoughtful, eager and polite. It was an absolute pleasure for me to be a part of this climbing trip.
I'm currently in the process of designing a book for the program based on this trip. I'll share that here once it's complete, but for now I'd like to share a few of my favorite images from the trip.