BLOG

I'll try to inform how I do things, why I do them, and the experiences I have along the way. Hopefully, you can learn from my pursuit of learning how to create images and enjoying all the aspects that it brings.

The Cloud Gate

I got to spend some time in Chicago this month. I was showing a friend around the city and he wanted to spend some time in the Millennium Park and view the Cloud Gate or as it is known, the Bean. We were there for awhile and I wanted to capture some images. I started to watch all the tourists and realized the amazing experience that one or many go through as they photograph themselves in front of this amazing piece of art. I find as a photographer at times difficult to capture a true person's expression. As I watched these people photograph themselves, they were more open to being real or expressive on their own accord. This was quite profound to witness such a moment. So, I started to ask people if I could photograph them photographing themselves. At first, the question seemed confusing to them but quickly realized what I was doing after I showed some examples on my camera.

Here is what I captured. You can view all of them at here.

Gold Addy's in Pennslyvania

This year, Sodexo entered some of our work into the Addys. We were excited to hear that they won Gold in the photography category. Although, it's nice to get these awards, it's even better to share it with the team that helped create the images. Sodexo has a great team of art directors and brand leaders who understand not only the food but their market. They spend endless hours talking about recipe development, visual propping, layout, etc. I especially have to give a majority of the credit to Brett Dill for managing the creative direction and to Erica Milios for her managing the whole creative team, and of course to Dan Macey and Sharon Sharp for their amazing styling work. Without these people, these images would not have come together to create such a great campaign. 

A TAILORED PARTNERSHIP - UPS + J. HILBURN

 

We recently teamed up with Rizon Media on a shoot for UPS, part of their "United Problem Solvers Campaign." It was an excellent chance to show off our latest upgrades in equipment along and the evolving talents of our crew.

US based custom menswear brand, J. Hilburn, imports luxury fabrics and materials from all over the world and counts on UPS to manage their shipping logistics. This required UPS to custom tailor their services for J. Hilburn with an onsite manager to facilitate a streamlined delivery to it's clients. It's a fine partnership and we were called in to tell the story.

The high-end RED DRAGON camera system, which delivers one of the highest standards of video and stills in the industry today, was primarily used to capture this project.  Among it's many great features is the ability to pull extremely high-quality still images from video. DxOMark, a comprehensive RAW-based image quality measurement database recently evaluated RED's new 6K DRAGON sensor. The result measured the DRAGON as the best overall sensor they've ever tested, breaking 100 points on their scale. Considering that DxOMark has tested all sorts of cameras (some even more expensive than the DRAGON like the medium format Phase One IQ180), the results are indeed impressive.   All told, It is simply an amazing camera.  It is a goto camera for many top Hollywood productions and allows us to deliver high budget, cinema quality video and stills to our clients.

We enjoyed traveling to the home office of J. Hilburn in Dallas, TX for this shoot and used several locations as our backdrop.  From showcasing the delicate work of the seamstresses in the company warehouse all the way to hearing the stories of success from it's leaders in the corporate office, the RED DRAGON was able to beautifully capture it all.   

Great footage and stills are only half the story, though. This project really came together on the editing table thanks to the remarkable talents of Chris Dellapace with Rizon Media. His experience and know how combined with his ability to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in industry trends and standards all came together to deliver a amazing product for our client.  

We are very proud of this one.  Be sure to check out our finished work for UPS and J. Hilburn here or click the photo above.  

Palm Beach Tan

We had the honor and opportunity to shoot for Palm Beach Tan last January. It was a big production with 30 models, 10 locations, and land and water shots over a 5 day period. We needed to provide enough stills for print campaigns for the next year and enough video footage for a multitude of uses. We had three shooters. Steven Veach was the still shooter, Chris DellaPace was the videographer, and I shot the RED in hopes that it would provide both video and stills. Now that the shoot is over, I'm quite confident that the RED does provide beautiful video and great still images. The images are quite different than what my Canon provides. They are softer and have a more realistic look. The RED is geared more toward making movies which is what the industry desires, soft and a bit grainy. However, still photographers desire to have crisp images. Rumor has it that RED is developing a filter (called an OLPF) that will be geared toward sharper images for still photographers. Until then, I am enjoying and warming up to softer and realistic images that the RED provides. Even with all the new gear coming out, great video and photography come from the  efforts of the production crew and great art direction from the client. Thanks to Chris, Steven, Louise, Brooke, Justin, Steve, Amanda, Wally, Tom, and Diane for a great shoot!

The RED Scarlet Dragon

Okay.. So, I thought it was time to step it up a bit. I have been very disappointed with Canon and it's relaxed approach to updating it's technology. I think they've been riding off on the purchases of all the 5D series and didn't think they really needed to make big jumps in technology. However, I hope they have seen all the competition making leaps and bounds around them. So, I decided to jump ship and purchase the beast, the RED Scarlet Dragon. Up to this point I was looking at my camera as a camera that primarily shoots stills and happens to shoot great video too. Now, I have to look at my camera that shoots video and happens to pull some great stills from the footage. I thought the learning curve would be quick and easy... oh how I was wrong! I have learned to hate the word NOISE. Yep.. all I got was NOISE in all my images or footage. I have stayed up for two weeks into the wee hours of the night learning how to use this thing. It's taken me countless amounts of hours and testing to finally get something I deem is worthy of print. Even with all the learning and reading forums and testing and stress, I have gain an appreciation for the images that this camera produces as well as the people in the film industry who use this camera. I still have a lot to learn and many more tests to conduct (getting a new low light OLPF to help with noise, for all you curious new RED users out there). I have realized with this new camera that you need to have a lot of light and to overexpose the images unlike the canons, keep your ISO at 800 or below, black shade the most common used shutters, keep low compression, make sure the temperature on the sensor is within optimum operating performance, and to take it for walks on the beach (yes... you got to treat this thing like a fine woman). I feel that the images that come out of the RED are more real and warm. I feel like it portrays life in a way canon use to. Perhaps its the newness of it or that it adds a certain amount of grain that feels like the old film days. Either way, I'm very happy with my new camera and am very excited about the possibilities for documenting life and to use it as a new tool for my clients.