1-18-2015 - Clare Bowen editorial shoot for "Cowgirl Magazine".
On October 19th, 2014 there was a knock on my hotel room door. I was staying at the Hermitage Hotel, in downtown Nashville, across the street from the Great State of Tennessee's capitol building. I got up, opened the door and there was a slim and very attractive young woman. As we shoot hands she said that she was Clare Bowen and thanked me "for doing this" (the photo shoot for "Cowgirl Magazine".) I replied that I was delighted that she was here and proceeded to show her my producer's hotel room where the festivities would start.
Clare's make up and hair styling crew were waiting to begin the light work that Clare needed. I say "Light Work" because she look pretty good to me as she was standing barefoot in the hotel hallway. While Clare was being attended to by her wonderful crew, my wardrobe stylist then looked at both what Clare brought plus what "Cowgirl Magazine" had sent and put together ideas of what went with what. It was ultimately up to what Clare wanted to wear and we went with her decisions. The reality is Clare could have closed her eyes and no matter where she pointed, that look would have been just fine. Clare has good taste in clothes and the magazine send some stunning wardrobe too.
In the mean time my assisting crew started to assemble the items I thought I might need for the shoot. When I got a call from Vicki letting me know that the hair and makeup team said there was about 30 minutes left before Clare would be ready, I asked my crew to move all of the gear downstairs to the grand lobby in the Hermitage Hotel.
I went to the lobby and showed my team what I wanted and then went back upstairs to Vicki's room because she called me to let me know I could look at the hair and makeup to be sure it was what I was looking for, which it was. The first image we shot was at the grand piano. I elected to shoot this first due to a wedding being conducted in a room just past the piano. I had about 25 minutes to set up, adjust, modify the light and shoot before the wedding guests were to start arriving. So everyone had to get the hitch out of their get-along... and we did just that.
The next look was on a dark green couch in the lobby. We then shot another look on the mezzanine, next to where Minnesota Fats, who lived in the hotel for years, had his pool table set up while he plied his trade. After this shot we went to lunch followed by a short drive to where Clare had her horse boarded to finish the day's shoot.
9-14-2014 - This fashion editorial was shot for "Cowgirl Magazine" in and near Milan, Italy. We started shooting on the side of Stazione Centrale, (Central Station) Milan's main international train station. It is the B&W image with the model standing in front of a large metal door with a sign "Passo Carrabile" (Driveway). We are actually beside the tracks about mile from the station. When the station was constructed they elevated the tracks so they could have under track passageways for traffic. It is actually a series of arches making up the bridge. The Italians put doors at each end of these arches, closing them off to people, and they rent them out as raw space. This was in front of a fresh fish delivery garage.
From there we moved to a farm that has been allowed to lie fallow. It is a great location with many different "Looks" just by turning around or walking a few feet.
7-21-2014 - Cruise ship image/video. As an advertising image maker, I am frequently called on to create something interesting and memorable, even if the scene and light is less than memorable. This was one of these times. I arrived arrived at the Naples train station from Milan with my crew and we were on our way to Sorrento, where we were booked for a 4 day video shoot. The client later expanded this to 6 days which we all were happy about, more great food from the Sorrentine Peninsula! Part of what they wanted us to do is to shoot a cruise ship in the Naples harbor.
Fine, except there was no way to get to where I needed to be due to security. I started to look around and I saw something on the opposite side of the dock. I asked our driver if he could drive us there. He said he would try so we got into the van and off we went. As soon as we got as close, we jumped out of the van with my gear and while I started to set up I pointed to where I wanted to be and asked Emiliano, my lead assistant in Europe, to find out if he could get there. I started to shoot and in 2 minutes Emiliano is calling for me, standing where I want to be. He shouts how to get there so I grab all of the gear and start walking toward the spot. Emiliano doubled back and met me about halfway there to help with the gear and the first thing I do is grab a few shots while Emiliano sets up the other tripod close to the water. He then sets up another body with a 24-70mm Canon zoom lens and plugs in the intervalometer set to one frame every second and calls me over to set the framing. After I look and make a slight adjustment, I start the intervalometer I then go back shooting other imagery and video. Go here to see the video and other imagery with explaination of how I got these images.
7-17-2014 - This video was shot for an Italian tourism client in Sorrento, Italy as apart of their marketing campaign. This is a bakery in the town Piano di Sorrento. It is operated by 2 brothers and a cousin and in the 30 minutes we had to shoot they were working non stop. In the opening photo is a loaf of bread with a couple of handfuls of finely chopped ham and the entire crew enjoyed this delight. They also brought out cinnamon rolls, and something they call a Cartucce, (Cartridge, as in shotgun) which is a small round pastry, about the size of a U.S. quarter or a €1 coin, with lemon zest baked into it.
While we are packing up and chowing down on these delights, they brought out a long slender Almond pastry which they then took a knife and cut up into finger sized slices. That was wonderful too. It is Bisscotti, but only cooked once. Bisscotti is crunchy and crumbles when eaten or dropped, but in order to cut it into a bite sized morsel, you need to remove it from the oven to cut it into the proper size and then return it to the oven to finish baking it. The crew consumed this too with equal delight and when we left, only a few small crumbs were left.
7-14-2014 - This 1935 Caproni CA 100 biplane on floats was shot over 2 different days, both in late afternoon. The still images not taken in the water, were shot inside the hangar with the aircraft positioned just out of the direct sunlight, allowing Steve to use the sky as a giant light source. When the sun started to get too close Steve just pushed the plane back into the hangar a bit.
The lake photos were shot about 2 weeks later and Steve waited until the sun was covered by clouds. The Como Aero Club provided the man power to launch the aircraft and then position it with the angles Steve needed.
3-21-2014 - This aviation image of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 was shot using a Canon digital camera and a 400mm f2.8 Canon lens with a 1.4 extender. With the jet engines running plus at this time of day it is close to 80 degrees, the tarmac is heating up, giving the mirage shimmer. The long focal length of 560mm, compresses the field and helps to separates the plane visually from the background by having a narrow depth of field, or in other words, having a limited area that is in focus.
3-14-2014 - This fashion editorial style image was shot on a chilly and windy February afternoon. We had an assistant just out of frame with the model's coat so we could try and keep her warm when we were setting up, changing positions or changing batteries on the Hensel Porty pack. We used all 1200 watt seconds (Joules) of power and was pumping this light into a Broncolor Para 88 focused for maximum distance. Due to wanting to get the model warm, I only shot 50+ images in 20 minutes, having to wait for the pack to recycle to full power and this included having to stop and dispatch a fleet footed assistant to locate and retrieve a freshly charged Li-on battery from the equipment van. One of my assistants "Volunteered" to carry Annabell to and from her perch, such gentlemen I am surround by!
2-4-2014 - Eiffel Tower, Tour Eiffel, Paris, France - Shot on a cold January night. Gear: Canon 5D MKIII camera with a 8mm to 15mm fisheye f4 zoom lens.
1-29-2014 - This editorial lingerie image was shot inside the Marriott Hotel on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris, France, room number Four Twenty something. (I know the number... I'm just trying to protect the innocent.)
12-4-2013 - This multimedia personal project is a light and shadow study of a date palm's stripped fruit cluster. On some of the video you can see where the dates were attached before being picked. The easiest is in the opening image, on the left, all of the round "buds" are where a date was growing.
I was just outside of Palm Springs, California on a portrait project, both still images as well as video, and one of the locations I used was in a date palm grove. After shooting Ronnie in his recording studio, we loaded the required gear into the car and we drove to the location, the sun was about 30 minutes away from dropping behind a mountain. We got the gear out of the rental car and set up quickly. In addition Ronnie's publicist wanted three changes of wardrobe, meaning everyone had to hurry.
After the session was over the crew & I dissembled the gear and packed up. After everything was packed and in the car, I performed my "Idiot Check", this is a phrase I use that means after everyone thinks we have packed everything, someone, or several some ones, will walk everywhere we were to be sure we did not leave anything by mistake, this includes any cans or paper we dropped.
When we first arrived I was totally focused on setting up, balancing the sunlight with the strobe light, getting Ronnie on his spot, shooting images quickly and making the necessary wardrobe changes. So I did not have any extra time to do any "sight seeing". On my walk looking for forgotten equipment, I noticed this palm fruit stalk laying on the ground and thought it really looked very cool, so I picked it up, put it into the car and brought it back to LA that night. I had shot a project for a boot manufacturer a few days before and I had an empty boot box left over, so I put the stripped fruit stalk into the box, which went into the suitcase and home it went.
12-3-2013 - The hardest part of shooting this Cowboy Advertising image was finding a spot to set my camera bag down. It was hailing pea sized ice and raining so hard that anywhere flat was 1" deep in water and on a slope it was a river. I finally found a tree root I was able to balance the bag on.
The downward streaks you see are not likely rain, but the hail, due to their large size, being white and not transparent. I am glad I had my cowboy hat on because we both are getting pelted. With the exception of the rain in a hurricane, mostly running sideways, this is the most rain and hail I have been in. We shot 67 images in 5 minutes and quit when lighting started to get too close for comfort. We then went back and I went into the office where they had a wood burning stove to not only dry myself off, but to dry off the camera bag, the camera and the lenses.
11-20-2013 - Editorial Aviation and Aerospace imagery - Steve was contacted by a European aviation magazine to take a photo for the cover. The magazine contacted a large MRO facility for permission to shoot and Steve, along with his lead assistant, traveled there and then were given a tour of the facility. Both of them brought cameras to capture "Scouting" photos. This way they could be reviewed to generate a shot list of ideas to be considered.
10-3-2013 - Advertising Aviation and Aerospace imagery: Unlike other photographers, I always try to look at an item with an artistic eye. It is my Vision which allows me to take an item and transform it into something the engineers never thought about. In this image of a compressor blade, I tried to show that even though this is made from a block of metal, that due to it's shape and form it can be photographed in a way that renders it as a piece of art and not what it really is, a compressor blade.
10-2-2013 - Steve, along with his styling and assisting crew, shot this Fashion editorial project video in Milan, Italy 10 days ago. This location is about one half a mile (800 meters) from the Milano Duomo, the main cathedral. The video was shot both on a tripod and using a Steadicam. Steve had shot 2 other projects in the morning and had scheduled the model used in this project to arrive at 12:30 p.m. But she was about 2½ hours late due to the job she modeled for in the morning running long.
7-16-2013 - This Fashion Editorial Project is a mix of video & stills shot on an abandoned farm just outside of Milan, Italy. The normal challenge of any mixed media project is get enough still images to choose from & then have enough time to also shoot video. The "Problem" with creating the still images is, I am creating a slice of life at 1/1000 of one second. So eyes can be shut, the mouth could look strange, the hands may not look pretty, the feet might be in transition etc.
On this "look" I shot a total of 110 images plus 5 video clips having a total of 1 minute 5 seconds run time. Some of the video was shot with the camera on a tripod, the others were shot using a Steadicam. Including the occasional pauses for hair and makeup corrections or the wardrobe stylist making adjustments, the total time on set, shooting stills & video, was 15 minutes. If you have ever been on a shoot where a Steadicam is being used, you know there is a fair amount of time "Trimming and re-trimming" the apparatus, even a mild breeze causes issues and now you have a situation where not just the talent is moving but also the photographer is moving.
In this case Samara relates, projects to the camera and moves so well it was easy because there were so many great images to choose from, and I knew this just by watching her work through my cameras. A lot of clients just do not get why a model is so important, they think they just need a pretty person (male or female) and that is it. Even within professional models there are exceptional models next to average models, just like lawyers, hairstylists, doctors and photographers. When I get a great model to work with, I spend less time on each look allowing the client to get a lot of great images to choose from as well as getting a lot of production in a day, or allowing my team and me develop an idea and not to be concerned if we "Got the Shot".
If I had an "average" professional model, I may have had to shoot for an hour, or more, and still not get what I did with Samara in 15 minutes. This is the difference.
4-19-2013 - This Underwater Aviation image is an assembly of 2 images, the water, palm tree & condo is one, the plane, sky and clouds is the other.
2-16-2013 - This Editorial Fashion style image was shot in the Southern California desert about a 90 minute drive from LA. This image contains non-graphic female nudity shot from her back, if this will be offensive to you, please do not look at it.
1-16-2013 - This Advertising Fashion Image was shot in downtown Denver, Colorado on a cold (6° F - minus 14.5° C) windy night. I had scouted the area the morning of the shoot to find a steam vent that was not in the middle of an intersection or in the middle of the street. This vent was off to the side of the street in a bicycle lane in a part of town with a low amount of traffic. I also asked Carol to watch my back in case a driver somehow missed seeing the model & me.
The “Great" "Problem” was the wind. I say “Great” because without the wind I would have never been able to have this image with the steam swirling around the model. The “Problem” was most of the shots just did not work due to the steam being blown out of the shot or totally enveloping the model or me or the both of us.
12-11-2012 - Every good Advertising Professional Photographer creates personal work. This is where we go out & photograph something just because. "Because" can be we're testing a new idea, because something caught our eye, because we the liked the moment, because the wind changed direction - but really... any "Because" will do. Take a look at these images of the inside of a hard drive.