Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category
Drew is leaving the studio. (His account below.) As I always say, Drew grew up as a drummer in a rock and roll band, but abandoned that unstable lifestyle to embrace the security of freelance photography. And we here at the studio are certainly glad he did. He stayed with us for five years, and was a mainstay as a first assistant, constantly troubleshooting, solving problems, handling the mysteries of post-production and generally being a great road companion, and we certainly saw a lot of road together. (When he joined the studio, he was just another Delta frequent flyer. As he leaves, he is Delta Diamond, having logged easily a half million air miles during his tenure here.) He was a great team player, a talented shooter, and he fit right in with the twisted humor and irreverent conduct of the studio. (FYI, we have no human resources department here.) We will miss him. I will miss him, as beyond all the stuff listed above, he became my good and true friend.
Today’s blog is about Joe. And me.
A real life bro-mance, dream job come true, happily ever-after, fly me to the moon kind of working relationship I’ve experienced over the past 5 years.
He’s one of the few people I know in the industry who’s stayed afloat for 35+ years, has maintained a huge level of respect within the industry and – through it all – has kept a good head on his shoulders. He’s truly one of the most decent human beings I know. Full of integrity, courage, wit and an ongoing quest for pasta and red wine, Joe has taught me much more than just ‘the ropes’.
(My first ever tear sheet, accompanying Joe’s Power Grid story in National Geographic)
We all know the life of a photographer isn’t a 9 to 5 gig, but working with Joe is one of the more all-encompassing workplace scenarios one could imagine. Joe and I have spent a lot of time together, and by that I mean an average of 70% of the year on the road, and sometimes a good deal more. That means not only working in the field, but traveling together, eating together and often seeing more of each other than our significant others and families.
(The Flash Bus crew)
Working with Joe has been a major turning point in my career. Prior to joining Joe I was a young photographer/musician living in a relatively small town and earning a living shooting mostly weddings and events. I didn’t have a whole lot of clarity of where to go from there. I started applying to graduate schools for photojournalism – and in the midst of all that – Joe’s former assistant (Brad Moore) was leaving and Joe offered me the position. My game plan was to work with Joe for two years. As time went on, more travel came upon us and I just couldn’t help but to sign on for more adventure and experience. I got to climb the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; I had my own helicopter and pilot while on assignment for National Geographic; and was once lead by a heavily armed militia through traffic in Nigeria. That’s just a glimpse into the countless extraordinary, hilarious and sometimes dangerous tales I have from the past few years.
(Cali and I surrounded by drones, on-location for National Geographic. By the way, Cali’s a great guy, and an incredibly talented shooter. He’s done an amazing job transitioning into the first assistant position, and I can’t begin to say how excited I am to hear about his travels.)
But even at the highest points in my time with Joe, Lynn and the entire studio family, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of an inner struggle. As amazing as things have been, all I’ve wanted is to be a full-time photographer, and I’ve felt the itch to go out on my own more recently, especially in the last year. The thing is, I’ve had the absolute best apprenticeship I could have ever hoped for: Joe has been an amazing mentor, Lynn has balanced me with business smarts, and I’ve been immersed into the culture of the best and brightest photo talent in the World. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel around the Globe and back again. The thing is, if I didn’t want/need to be my own photographer, I could work with Joe happily for a very, very long time.
(Rolling Stone tear sheet, from the March, 2013 issue)
But the time has come for me and I’m now officially off on my own: with more clarity than I had five years ago, lots of contacts in the industry, tons of technical know-how and hands-on experience from working with one of the best guys out there. If there was ever to be a good time to make that move, it feels like this is it, and I’m incredibly excited to create a body of work that’s all my own. Even with all that, i’m just as scared as I am excited to embark on this journey into the world of freelance photography. Yes, I’m absolutely going to figure it out, like all things I do. I am more passionate about photography than anything else. I know it’s going to take some time to gain traction and that my future may hold nights of Ramen noodles and Hot Pockets. But I’m ok with it.
(John Butler of John Butler Trio)
I became interested in photography at a young age through a love of live music. Back then I just wanted to capture live moments from my favorite bands. Over time my work has improved and a true passion towards music, photography and their marriage remains to this day. Most recently I’ve been trying to evolve my work away from live music and into a fresh perspective. I’m not changing the world and I’m not reinventing the wheel, but every now and again I feel like I’m onto something really good. It’s in those moments I feel as though I’ve moving a step closer towards crafting a unique aesthetic that’s my own.
(Tyler Glenn of The Neon Trees)
Choosing to work for Joe was the best career decision I had made up until that point, and I’m certain that i’ll be able to look back upon this transition in a few years, and say the same thing.
(My incredibly patient girlfriend, Jessica)
Joe, Lynn, Cali, Lynda, Annie: You’ve all been the best friends, colleagues and family one could ever ask for, and I’m grateful for the time and memories we’ve shared.
It’s been a blast to meet and get to know lots of you out on the road, and I invite you all to keep in touch.
You can find me at any of these places:
And leaving the crystalline night skies of South Africa. Shot the above the other night, one of three frames I gave a try at, at the Sabi Sabi Reserve, really, truly one of the most serenely wonderful places I have ever been blessed to visit. D4, ISO 400, 14-24, 20 minute exposure. Little noise reduction in PS, and done. Will be writing more about the place in future blogs. For now, a long grind home. Land on Tuesday. July 4th week, and a couple days off!
All the best….more tk…
Just a quick note from NIPHEC, in Lagos, Nigeria, which is definitely a whirling dervish of a city. There is an amazing energy here in the burgeoning photographic community. Fly home on Friday to an assignment in DC this weekend, and then Denver, and, by the end of next week, I’ll be teaching at the Julia Dean Workshops in LA for the first time. Lagos to DC to Denver to LA–that’ll be a bit of a head spin.
For the technically inclined, Udoka is facing off with a new Lastolite umbrella box, which has a really deep parabola shape. I’ve stuck a ratcheting Tri-flash in it, and then caught a little glimmer of the light for the back of her orange scarf with a gold, reflective version of a Tri-flip, which is just a really handy relfector/diffuser that pretty much goes with us everywhere.
This December, we’ll be hosting a series of workshops and seminars, for the first time ever, in beautiful Guanajuato, Mexico. These workshops, known as PhotoXPerience, have been organized by the very talented Leon-based photographer, Hector Segovia (who shot all of these photos), and are sure to be an amazing time.
We’ve been fortunate to build local partnerships with Nikon Mexico, Manfrotto, and yes, even Corona Extra, amongst others. I’ve done a bunch of assignments in Mexico and Central America, working for Nat Geo, Travel and Leisure, and the Mexican Tourist Board, but I have to admit, I’m kind of tickled by the prospect of at least partial sponsorship from a beer company. That’s a first for the studio!
Here’s the basics of what we’ll be doing:
– December 3: We’ll be putting on a full-day seminar at the Guanajuato State Auditorium, demonstrating everything from making the most of one small flash, through multiple light setups.
– December 5 (limited to 15 participants): In this one-day workshop, we’ll be using the beautiful streets of Guanajuato as our backdrop, have dedicated subjects to photograph, and we’ll be working with you to produce great photos throughout the day.
– December 6-7 (limited to 15 participants): In this two-day workshop, you’ll get to dive in deeper, crafting your own photos each day, work with multiple models, and get plenty of feedback along the way.
The combination of the swirl of life on the streets of this wonderful town, the intensity of the colors, and the light of Mexico (occasionally harsh, occasionally beautiful, but always a challenge to work with) will push us as a group to accelerate skills in terms of shaping, tweaking and bending light to our purposes.
For the full scoop on all that we’ll be doing, take a look at the PhotoXperience website. One cool thing that’s been added to the week, as the workshops are filling up, is a day of Photo Safaris, in these wild ass looking Mercedes things called Unimogs. On Dec. 4th, we’ll go out for for four hours at a clip, departing the center of the city for nearby destinations, which will be ready for us with characters and models. Live shoots and demos ensue. These things look like a blast. Again, hit the link above for full blown info. Hector is amazing at getting right back to you on questions, etc.
Lots of air miles lately. Was out at PhotoShop World in Vegas last week, and had a blast. It’s become a bit of a tradition now that, Dr. Russell Brown, the wonderful genius from the planet Post comes by my lighting class in or as his latest incarnation. This one, as he said, resulted from a too energetic use of the burn tool.
His madcap visage was in stark contrast to another subject, Marshal Joe of Bonnie Springs, who is the strong, but not so silent type. Joe, as opposed to the traditionally laconic Southwestern lawmen, is pretty chatty, and always ready with a zinger. That, I suspect, is because he’s not from Bonnie Springs, Nevada. He’s from Brooklyn, New York.
Dr. Brown was photographed with big flash, a Quadra light source to camera left, running through an Elinchrom indirect 53″ softbox. There’s a green (what else?) gelled SB900 behind his head, and another off the white seamless. For the marshal, there is one SB900 to camera right firing through a Lastolite 3×6 panel which he is standing very close to. The light is maneuvered so it is low and scoops under the brim of his hat. Another SB900, in Group C, is very lightly firing into the back wall. Only shot one frame. That’s all the marshal will give ya:-)
We were out at Bonnie Springs on our regular Photo Safari, organized by the legendary Moose “Dances With Clouds” Peterson. Moose ran this amazing session where he lead the class through exactly what he would do when confronted with the array of clouds, light and mountains out there in the desert. Without looking through a camera, he knew all the settings, the composition and then, each and every move he would make in post to bring the scene to life. I tell ya, the guy’s a walking zone system. One of these days, Nikon’s gonna make him a D6 or a D7 with his own custom menu item, M2, called simply, “Moonrise.”
Then, red eye back to New York. Annie picked me up at JFK, and up we went to Cape Cod for the wedding of our niece Katie. What a great way to end the week! Katie and Michael are an amazing young couple, so filled with happiness and love it just overflowed the whole day.
Now, I was not the shooter of record for the wedding. That job was entrusted to the very capable hands of our own Mike Cali, who assembled a terrific trio of shooters. But, neither could Annie or I sit still during this wonderful day, so I just took one lens and wandered to some offbeat angle and looked a little bit. I managed to get a couple moments, including a relatively astonished flower girl, and the ring bearer, relaxing after performing his rigorous duties.
Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts to Katie and Michael, and their families. It was a beautiful day on the Cape. Now, looking at Luminance 2012 in NYC tomorrow, and then Phoenix for Kelby Training on Thursday. Then, a few days off before the fall really starts.