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If you’ve followed this blog, you know we love to do our annual holiday film.  This year is no different!  From all of us, to all of you…  We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

 

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recently I have realized that the videos we post here on the blog do not show up in the RSS feed. To watch it on Vimeo, click here:

I think one of the things that gets me the strangest looks as a photographer is the section on the website we affectionately call “Road Kill.”

If I had a nickel for every time an art director asked me about it, then I’d have a lot of God Damn nickels.

I really do forget where the tradition started, but it started, and for the most part, I just deal with it.  Without much self exam, I can say this:  I love the exploration of color, I love the intersection of man and nature, and am truly interested at how the images affect individuals in different ways.  After much thought I can say this… it’s not done for shock value…  just for me.

Regardless of the reaction, the conversation always seems to come back to the Why.

“Why,” is really where it’s at for some, but today, God willin and the creek don’t rise, will leave it behind.  The discussion is really one to have over beers where all involved can wax poetic over the heady art-school platitudes.  For now, here on the blog, we are just going to have fun and accept it for what it is…  Some kind of interesting, twisted, but beautiful mysterious malady.

Here are three new images we shot whilst on location in New Zealand. They are some of my favorite from this series.  I hope you enjoy!

Back from another trip…

I can’t seem to help myself, and please… don’t ask Rabbit his opinion Re: my roadkill obsession cuz he was perturbed when he had to wait for me again as I laid on another roadway shooting God knows what.

This time I made Rich hold the SB900 and snoot the light.  I never use flash on these shots, so I thought I’d give it a try.  It isnt portfilio material, but alas, its good blog content.

I’m off again to the West Coast next week, so maybe I will see something good whilst driving… Keep an eye out.

(for more of the Roadkill series, check the website under personal work)

Enjoy!

Paul from Panopticon

This year for the holidays I decided to have a bunch of my fine art images from the archives  printed as gifts.

Hillary is flumoxed after all the photoshop work I had her do...

To do so, I needed to find a new lab (as the economy has wiped out most of the good pro labs here in Boston.)   About 10 years ago, I had a company called Panopticon do some B&W work for me.  At the time, they were located in Boston near Boston University.  Our paths drifted apart, until sometime in the summer when the owner Paul stopped me on the street after seeing the truck.  He told me that they had moved, and that they were now only about 3 miles from my house.

Printing both color and BW images...

I have been looking for a  project to try them out, and this seemed like a good fit.  Paul is a master printer, and specializes in museum quality large format digital as well as traditional printing.

Large test prints from my colored clay series hanging in their shop...

Working with Paul and his crew has been an outstanding experience.  They bent over backwards in order to fill all the last minute prints I kept asking them to do.  Not only did they do my printing, most of which was at least 36″ wide, but they matted and framed it as well.

Mark can't quite figure me out...

Over the years, I have never really been interested in the fine art side of photography, always tending to look at myself as a commercial artist.  But I have to say, working with Paul on this project, and seeing some of my work (especially the large panos) has really inspired me to look with new eyes at what it is I do for a living.  Who knows  where this new perspective will take the work….

Thanks to everyone over at Panopticon!  Looking forward to doing more work together!

Paul finishing some last minute matting from my order...

Dominican Highway...

Dominican Highway…

I was begged me not to post this… but its just too darn sick not to share!

In the Dominican, I shot another photo for the “Road Kill” series.  It’s getting pretty gross, but hey, what the hell are you gonna do?

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Some of you may or may not know this little trick… but if you dont, it is a must have for your camera bag.

The circular polarizer is one of my FAVORITE filters of all time.  I will let Wikipedia explain it better, but in a nutshell, it basically increases the contrast between the sky and the clouds.

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Below are a couple of images that I made whilst traveling through Iowa this past summer.  For each of these images I used the circular polarizer.  Even in the case of the image with the crop duster (with no clouds) the filter darkened and saturated the sky.  I did this as I wanted  to play a deep blue sky against the bright yellow fuselage.

I tweaked the saturation very slightly in post, but for the most part, the images are out of the camera.

The effect is very cool, and worth the space in your bag!  Give it a try!

Good luck-

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Just watched this film made by my colleague Zack Ardias down in Atlanta.  The points he makes later on in the film couldn’t be more right on!

What is so funny, is that just the other day I was bitching to my friend and fellow photographer Lou Goodman here in Boston about a lot of the same things…. Am I a good photographer….. what constitutes good art….. what makes as an artist…… AM I an artist……. who gives a f#&k about what we are doing…. Is anyone paying attention!

Great job Zack!  Thanks figuring out how to put these questions into words and getting them out there!  Make sure you also check out his workshops….  Lots of cool stuff!

I dig it!

Not really photo-related… But it is the weekend! Happy Valentines day!

shot with my iPhone...

Be creative today...

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We all I’m sure have heard the old quote… “To those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Recently, we shot some photos for a local fire department in our area in order to provide them with some artwork for a new web site.

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Gary Hedrick of Elefantworks (our in house creative) will be doing the design.

Here are some of the selects from the days shoot.  There are a mix of motion blur as well as some strobe stuff..

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

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As I posted briefly, last Thursday we had the opportunity to photograph our friend Shepard Fairey.

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Shepard is in town for his show at the ICA or Institute for Contemporary Art here in Boston.  If you have a chance to come out to Boston to check it out… you will NOT be disappointed!  You can also watch him on the Colbert Report, listen to his interview with Terry Gross of NPR, and catch him on Feb 2nd on the Charlie Rose Show. Shepard’s Obey Giant work can be viewed at his site, and his commercial work can be found at Studio Number One.

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For those who are unfamiliar with his work, Shepard has been influencing pop culture since 1989 when he came onto the scene with his early Andre the Giant screen printing.  Personally, Shepard’s work has influenced my own artistic direction since high school when my good friend Eric Freedman (now at Modernista) gave me one of the early “Andre The Giant Has A Posse” stickers.  Since then, I have followed his work and have purchased several of his original pieces.  Recently, the buzz around Shepard has been associated with his Obama Hope poster, which then lead to a commission and then donation by art collectors Heather and Tony Podesta to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

Read the rest of this entry »

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We had the great opportunity to shoot some portraits of our friend Shepard Fairey from Studio Number One and of Obey Giant fame yesterday.

Shepard is in town prepping for his show at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, or ICA which opens on Feb 6th, and he was kind enough to give us an hour out of his insanely busy schedule.

I will post more about the shoot once we can catch our breath…

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Our good friend Gary Hedrick of Elefhantworks (who has also been working with the studio as our in-house designer) played a show the other night at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA.  Richard and I went in to cover the show, and I thought I would talk briefly about the “down and dirty” lighting with SB-900 Nikon flash in tandam with the Nikon SU-800 Commander.

This is a trick I was exposed to when I taught down at the DINFOS workshop from my colleague Joe McNally and has been discussed at length by both Joe, and also David Hobby of Strobist.  Both of these guys have posted many many great articles about how they approach this technique with far better skill than I, so I wont get too into the process other than to point out how easy it was to use the system.  I must admit, if I am working on a commercial job and need portability, there is no question that I would much rather be working with my Profoto‘s for many reasons.  But for this instance of wanting to work casually in a bar setting late at night with minimal gear, the Nikon Creative Light System fit the bill.

(I must also give credit where credit is due and admit that even after Joe explained how to work the 900 and Commander together, I totally spaced and had to call up my friend and fellow photographer Tom Sperduto and have him remind me of just how simple it is to use.  Thanks Tom….)

You can learn more about using the Nikon system here at Joe’s blog, and also here at David’s blog.

Anyway… With the SU-800 on top of the camera, I was able to set the SB-900 on its side resting on an amp up on stage.  This allowed me to walk wherever I wanted and shoot freely.  Great set Gary!

SB-900 loosly placed on stage

SB-900 loosley placed on stage

I just wanted to take a second out of today and wish everyone a happy holiday!  There is so much to be thankful for this year.

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For me, this year has been a year of good friends, good memories, and good times.  On a professional front, there are so many people to be thankful for.  So many people got behind our effort this past year to help it be one of our most successful yet.  I do however want to make one thing perfectly clear.  Absolutely NONE of it could have been accomplished without the help of both Richard “The Rabbit,” and Chris.

They are not just co-workers, but my closest friends.  Thanks guys!  Happy Christmas!

Here are some of my memories of these two from this past year…… Read the rest of this entry »

PART I

PART II

Since we started this blog, we have found that the absolute, singular most popular page viewd on this blog is the page about my gear.  So that got us thinking….  We have also been influenced by our fellow colluges and friends like Joe McNally and others who have done similar things.  And since the blog world is all about giving whatever you can, we decided to give it our own spin.

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That said, Rabbit and I finally took the time last week to sit down and film our first in a series of Informational videos.  We are calling these videos our “Info Sessions.” Read the rest of this entry »

gh2_2465Over the weekend, we got the whole crew together and shot the principal footage for our first annual holiday video.  The short is basically a going to be a spoof of an early 90’s music video where we all sing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” by the Eurythmics.

The entire film will be in slow motion whilst singing the song in real time.  To do this, we imported the song into Final Cut, sped it up %200, and made an audio film with time code.  To make it easier to listen to, Richard then decreased the pitch so Annie Lennox’s voice was close to normal, but sped up much faster.

The first step was to do testing so that we could figure out how to do the effect.  By the third test, we had it down pat.

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The .mov file was then uploaded to our server so we could all practice singing the lyrics at a faster rate.

You can see that clip here… Give it a second or two (actually 10 sec as we needed a blank leader to work with)

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Of course, the day had to start before the sun came up, so Richard and I met at the studio at 6AM to prep and gather gear.  At 7:30 the rest of the guys showed up, and we headed over to the playground in Cohassett, MA.

All told, we had six of us.  Richard (runs our video post production department and assists,) myself, Chris (my first assistant,) Andy Locke (a good friend and client from Linear Air,) Chris Hren (my brother) and Gary (our newest member (co-founder of Elefantworks) and is now our in-house designer and creative director.)

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Richard came up with a pretty cool idea.  We exported the song in a .mov file with time code to the iPhone.  I ran over to Walmart and picked up an Orbit-MP3 by Plantronics.  This is a battery operated speaker, and the idea was to have the music come right from the front of the camera in a portable fashion as we filmed.  To do so, we stuck some industrial Velcro to the top and side of the matte box of the Sony HVR-Z7u.  The speaker was stuck to the side, and the iPhone was stuck to the top.

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At the beginning of each take, we placed the iPhone screen in the shot, captured the time code, and then shot the take.  This allowed us to easily sync up the music in the timeline.

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From there, it was just zaniness.  We each sang the song 3 or 4 times into the camera, and then ran around playing in the playground for some “B” roll footage.   Keep an eye out for the final film.

Its not like we have the time to devote 40 hours to editing a holiday film, but I thought it would be worthwhile, and that our clients would get a kick out of it, so I put Richard on it!

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Chris Hren (R) and Andy Locke (L)

Chris Hren (R) and Andy Locke (L)

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Stay tuned!!!!

I just got a sketch from our good friend Gary Hedrick from Elefantworks.  He is going to do one of his crazy cool paintings based on a photo I had shot out at Burning Man.

Thanks Gary for choosing one of my photos to work from.  You rock!!!

Here is his sketch and the photo it was based on…

Preliminary sketch by Gary

Preliminary sketch by Gary

My photo from Burning Man

My photo from Burning Man

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