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Archive for December, 2012

And the Workroom was Quiet….

Dec 24

In Thanks at 10:26pm

Very thankful at the end of this long year. Snowing outside. Home with Annie. Cameras on the shelf for a couple days, and shutters are silent. Computers are shut down. No downloads, uploads, curves or layers.

Merry Christmas, and joy for the holidays. Wishing a safe and wonderful 2013 for all, and hopes for peace, and wonder, renewed, all over again. Our best to everyone! More tk….

Slides, Like Socks….

Dec 18

In In The Field, Memories at 10:55am

Here’s a handy thing about blogging. I wrote about Bo Jackson last week, and mentioned a bunch of our original material from that long ago take seemed to have vanished. I likened chromes to being like socks that sometimes just don’t make it back into the drawer. I talked about getting into a batting cage with him and feeling like a decoy duck at a carnival shooting gallery, but we had no slide from that encounter.

Lo and behold, our intrepid studio manager Lynn, contacted SI, just to check, and somehow a bunch of these images had gotten stuck in one of their drawers, inadvertently. Years had passed. Never thought about it. Got ’em back. Happy about that. More tk…

That’s A Wrap!

Dec 16

In Seminars & Workshops, Videos at 11:44am

Heading to Houston. Last trip of the year, and the last of the 2012  One Light, Two Light Workshops. Just want to say thanks to the nearly 5,000 folks who have come out to seminars this year, to spend a day knocking about with a couple of flashes. Everyone has been incredibly gracious, receptive and patient throughout the teaching stints. Not to mention courageous, such as the gentleman below at the Tampa stop. Audience members were called on regularly to do double duty, and join me onstage for a portrait. Not the easiest thing to do, getting up there to have your image flashed on giant screens in front of several hundred people, and I really am indebted to those folks who took a flyer on a picture with me.

Also want to thank folks for their patience while we pulled together a downloadable version of the Language of Light DVD. We have gotten lots of emails, especially from photogs overseas,  encouraging us to do this, so the cost of shipping, taxes, and tariffs on the physical DVD could be saved. We logged a lot of road time this year, so it took a while, but thanks to Drew’s perseverance, the link is now live and you can either ship the item from Adorama, or download it direct here.

All the best to everyone as the year winds down…..more tk….


Bo’s 50th!

Dec 10

In history at 6:05am

Bo Jackson just turned 50. That’s hard to believe. As a photog, you mark time not just by the calendar, or the ages of your kids, like many folks, but also by assignments done and pictures made. As shooters, we have the good fortune of creating a massive, ongoing scrapbook of our life and times, and getting paid for it. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that had “scam” written all over it.

It’s a noteworthy birthday for Bo, to be sure, and I wish him well. It’s a bit of a marker for me, also. Photographing him was my first big gig for Sports Illustrated. I went to Auburn, and spent a few days with him in the year he won the Heisman. Nice guy. Fun assignment.

The thing I really remember from the job was being scared outta my mind. You see, he was quite simply the best athlete I’ve ever been in the same room with. A triple threat in baseball, football and track, his physicality was so extraordinary, that, even when he was just plain walking around, he exuded strikingly supple grace and physical confidence. It was an unspoken announcement that this particular human body was, you know, a Ferrari. Most of the rest of us drive Hondas, Subarus and the like. In my case, it might be a Studebaker.

My mandate from the editors was to construct a typical set of feature pictures, from portraits to activities and interactions. One thing they were adamant about was showing his baseball prowess. It was off season, but he was practicing his swing in the batting cage. So, I got into the batting cage with him. Hence the aforementioned fear.

I was truly nervous, as he was hitting frozen ropes, and I was inside with him, firing bursts as I ducked behind a net. Couple times I coulda swore he took off a piece of my ear. I kept wondering what they would say at the SI equipment locker when I came back with a 300 f2.8 with a baseball stuck in the barrel.

Sadly, quite a number of pictures from this take have disappeared. That’s the way of it, occasionally, when your slides would swim through the maw of a big magazine, get shipped here and there, handled by your agent, and picture people unknown, mostly while you were on the road, doing something else. Slides, like socks, sometimes never made it back into their drawers.

I do have a few chromes left of the effort. Got to make portraits with him doing his trademark move at the time, chewing straws. Went to a grammar school with him, as well. As fierce a competitor as he was on the field, he was equivalently gentle with kids. When we walked into the classroom he turned to me and asked, “Which one do you want me to beat up first?” I pointed to a quaking youth and said something like, “Maybe start with that one.” Nervous giggles resonated throughout the classroom. The kids adored him.

It was like photographing a small town mayor. He knew everybody, and was greeted and waived to about ten times per block. We went downtown, and had a po’boy together, and I saw a giant painted Auburn tiger on the wall of a gas station. Drove in, said hi, set up studio lights right by the pump and shot it.

His birthday was a marker in another way for me, as well. SI contacted me the other week and told me they were building a special feature about Bo’s fiftieth on, and could they use my archived pictures—for free? The gentleman doing the arranging for the feature was quite a decent sort, and did his best to explain that the biggest sports magazine in the world had no money to support this article. I was sympathetic. As a lone freelance photographer with a mortgage and kids, I’ve experienced that condition myself, more than once. I demurred.

Time has certainly flown for all of us….more tk…





Onstage in Guanajuato

Dec 7

In Lighting, On Location at 11:44am

It’s been a while since I’ve shot anything of the dance world, but being able to work in the Teatro Juarez, a truly magnificent structure in Guanajuato, was so inspirational, we sought out a beautiful dancer to place in its environs. It was a twenty minute shoot, squeezed in during the lunch hour, but very worth the hustle it took to put the pieces together. Again, thanks to the PhotoXperience team in Guanajuato for helping me out.

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