Sharing experience, advice, and photos to all with the shutterbug.

Posts tagged “photography

Faerie Worlds 2013

Last week I went to an interesting event in Portland near Eugene called “FaerieWorlds” which is essentially a renaissance faire with a heavier emphasis on fantasy. I had gone to their previous event in february called “FaerieCon” in Seattle with my friend who is an artist and vends at each event. I met so many interesting people and there were so many crazy costumes that I just had to go to the big event and see how the ante would be upped. I didn’t want to just photograph costumed vendors in their appropriate setting, like faeries in the woods or fantasy creatures in a stream… I wanted to make a little commentary on where they stood with the rest of the world. It was a very fun and interesting time, you can see my edited story at my website but I’ll be posting the majority of my selects below. Let me know what you think!

edit: I’ll post the pics I shot in february at FaerieCon soon as well.


Staying Connected

Recently I got to shoot some lifestyle images for an agency that wanted to showcase modern technology being integrated into different lifestyles. The tagline was “Staying connected” and I had some time to think about what this meant. Being someone that’s grown up in the midwest with it’s green forests, cold winters and open spaces I wanted to take an approach to the subject matter that said “staying connected” in 2 ways. The first being a reference to technology, smart phones, tablets etc and the second one referring to staying connected with our roots in nature. We shot right here in San Francisco believe it or not and within a few hours we walked away with some awesome images.

What does “Staying connected” mean to you?

Western Circle Sword Fighters

Last week I took a drive to Half Moon Bay with an assistant and a trunk full of lighting gear to check out the Western Circle Sword Fighters’ annual “Best of the Best” tournament.This organization is focused on the martial art of sword fighting of all styles, fighters build their own wooden or steel swords and craft their own leather and steel armor and compete
in full contact one on one fights.
It was interesting to work with because everything was so shiny and metallic and all the fighters were wearing black leather. I wanted to them to have a very dramatic “lit” look, so we
set up a black background with a strip box on either side for a rim light, we used a 5 degree grid to highlight the face and an on-camera speedlight for fill.
We did half body shots of the fighters with their armor and swords, and then tight head shots. The photos were typically taken between fights so everyone was still pumped up on
adrenaline and sweaty. We got to watch a bit of the competition and I can tell you, these guys do not mess around.

Overall I was very satisfied with what we got and I will definitely be working with them again. Don’t miss the BTS video at the end!


1 Minute with Thora Birch

About 2 weeks ago I was asked by Iron Clad Productions out of New York if I would shoot some portraits of the cast and crew of indie film “Petunia” at it’s Debut at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I happily accepted  and upon arriving at the scene, it was packed with reporters. The green room was very small and intimate, with nothing more than a small couch and a coffee table. The director of the film was seated next to Thora Birch (of “American Beauty” and “Ghost World” fame) and was being interviewed by an independent reporter.

When the interview concluded I introduced myself and told them what I was there for, but they of course were very busy talking with other reporters, producers etc. When I had been informed that the theater doors had been opened I was told that I would have one minute with person. That’s it. I had never been in the Castro Theater green room before, was not allowed to bring supplementary lighting and there people and fluorescent lights everywhere. I found a window and plopped everyone down. The director was up first, Ash Christian:

Everyone was very nice, obviously in a hurry but they were sincerely grateful that I had been able to do this for them at such short notice. Thora was cast in her star roles very well – her personality is very similar to her characters, only she seems much nicer.

The whole shoot took less than 10 minutes and the cast was thrilled with their portraits, as was the production company. This just goes to show that you must know your lighting – I was working on very little information and very little time but I still pulled off a successful shoot and the client was very happy. Of course, it’s best to plan as much as possible but sometimes improvisation is the only way to go. So you’ve got to practice improvising, learn what works, know what you like.

GLIDE Springlicious BTS and updates

Wow, it’s been wayyy too long since I updated last, hopefully there won’t be anymore of that for a while I’ve been terribly busy this past month.
To kick off this blog post, here’s a commercial shoot I did for the San Francisco local non-profit GLIDE promoting their annual fund raiser Springlicious:

This is my 2nd year in a row working with GLIDE and it’s always a lot of fun. The models are all drag queens/kings and the shoots are always a blast. An extra bonus is I always get a couple VIP tickets to the fundraiser which includes free food and drinks as well as a drag show. Waaaaayyyyy too much fun for a Saturday night.

Here’s a little BTS video that they used to promote the event:

In other news, the “Portraits of the 99%” project is still going strong and recently received a 500.00 grant to help out with the mounting of images. I’ve got a dozen or so ready to show and I’m in talks with a few galleries and collectors about doing a show soon including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the financial district. Also, this guy won me an Outsanding Documentary photography award. Very exciting!

And speaking of which, you all should know that IndieGoGo has been integral in getting this project funded and they recently asked me if I would be an ambassador for them! Of course I humbly accepted so if you go to an IndieGoGo meetup in San Francisco expect to see me there as a speaker. And as an added bonus, they want to furnish their office with a few of my Occupy Portraits.

I’m working on a number of things over the next few months so stay tuned, I promise to update more often.

Instagram – My thoughts

I’m an Android user. I see no reason to spend several hundred dollars on an iPhone that will be replaced in 8 months and most of the apps that I use are available cross platform.
When I first heard about Instagram I had the reaction that I think most photographers had: “Oh boy, an app that lets your shitty camera-phone take your shitty camera phone pictures and put a less than shitty filter on it.” I admit, I was on the train of “This app is ruining photography” for a brief period and the millions of users annoyed me to no end with their “artistic” photos of their food and coffee and every day household items. But then Instagram came out on Android 2 weeks ago.

And I *LOVE* it.

To me it harkens back to when I discovered photography for the first time. I was using a point and shoot, and the camera would do all the work for. I would simply push the shutter button and get the photos developed. Easy.
It all came with this sense of wonder, of not knowing and the excitement of seeing those images for the first time was palpable.
These days with all of my digital equipment, computers and photoshop taking that snapshot isn’t as simple as a task as it once was. Part of that is me, wanting to put out a polished finished photo is part of who am, it’s what makes me “professional.” So when I want to upload some photos I took to facebook it’s a bit of a pain. I plug in the card to the card reader, download to the computer, open in photoshop, process, downsize and export and then finally upload them to facebook. With Instagram I point, shoot, select a filter and I’m done. It goes to my followers primarily, but it can share them on Facebook and twitter if I want. And it’s so easy and fun.

If you are simply interested in sharing your day to day life with your friends in photographs, I would highly recommend Instagram. No need to lug around big cameras and laptops, all you need is a smartphone. It came out just in time for my big trip to the Salton Sea last week and I shot the road trip, the locations and the shoot days and they were promptly shared.

You can follow me if you like, my user name is what_an_ahtist. I think my favorite filter is either Hudson or Sierra. I have yet to take a photo of a meal, but I have taken a picture of my morning coffee.

Film production stills

For the last several weeks I’ve been involved in a film project. Having just returned in January from traveling the country shooting the Occupy Wallstreet protestors for nearly 4 months my one-off assignments and small personal projects just hadn’t been giving me the fulfillment that the Portraits of the 99% project did. I really wanted to make movies when I was kid and now that photography and video is overlapping I decided I wanted to work on a film project. I called up several friends in the film industry and some who are still in film school and told them I had no idea what I wanted to make – but I wanted to make something awesome. So we meet once a week for several weeks in a row and discussed concepts, wrote stories and worked out characters. We decided we wanted to make a web series based in the desert with a theme of isolation. The webisodes would be short, 3-5 minutes each and jump back and fourth between several characters.

On Monday, April 9th all six of us piled into a van full of food, scripts and equipment and drove out to the Salton Sea where we had 1 scout day, 1 shoot day and 2 driving days. We recruited local actors and despite some setbacks we got some amazing footage. Once it’s completed we plan to enter it competitions and just get it seen in general. Then we pitch it for crowdsource or other funding and shoot an entire series. We want to surpass the typical quality you see on youtube or web series, taking a dramatic approach rather than comedy which there seems to be a lot of out there. I can’t talk too much about the project, we haven’t even started post-production yet. What I can do however, is share some of the behind the scenes production stills of the shoot. Enjoy!

The film crew at Bombay Beach near Salton Sea, CA

We hope to have it all finished this summer. Keep an eye out for it!