I really enjoy capturing images in less than perfect weather.. rain.. snow.. fog.. and a couple days ago I had a bit of inspiration with a beautiful foggy morning. This is pretty much my commute to St. Louis’ NewsChannel Five every morning. This was totally a spur of the moment so all I had to shoot with was my old iPhone 5s – no fancy 4k footage here
You never know when you’ll find something really cool… and today I was driving around Saint Louis simply looking for something.. cool.. something.. visual. And the flood wall that protects downtown from the Mississippi flood waters is indisputably cool AND visual (at least once you combine the really large spaces with graffiti artists).
Meet Saratoga Sake:
I wish I would have had more time to hang out and document this project. Follow this link for more about Saratoga Sake. And be looking out for Paint Saint Louis 2016!
Never Miss An Opportunity To Be Awesome – Pretty cool slogan right? THIS is just a sample of what the Belleville East Marching Lancers go through to build their competitive field show! I hope to update portions of this as the season goes but thought this is too darn cool to not publish. NMAOTBA!
We left our little girl in tears as we drove away today… a couple hugs… a last hug… nope… one last hug… no maybe just one more… I left the big camera at home. Took a few snapshots with the phone/cam. This moment was too big to squeeze into a photograph (although I did overlook some shots I really wish I had taken).
Her room couldn’t be more set up if we had hired Martha Stewart’s IT department to coordinate it. All the gear that any college student hopes for… and I’m pretty certain it’s there to comfort us as much as her. Sure. She’ll enjoy printing from her laptop while streaming Netflix on her big TV… I didn’t even know a college room needed curtains. That of course is what the Mom is for. And cute lights streaming from the ceiling? Who knew, right? At College Church, Pastor Quanstrom speaks meaningfully and eloquently about choices, prevenient grace and gives us a heads up about the quiet drive home.
Finally at some point we have to do it. At some point the car has to head home. Time to stop the purchasing and decorating and planning. Time for all the pent up anxiety and fear to slowly make itself known… one tear at a time.
Hugs and tears.
She walks away quietly as we drive away. Quietly.
THIS is why I’m gonna do my best to insist that ALL my seniors end up with an up to date family portrait before they move away. As I’ve told many of my current clients… having just gone through the whole senior year and now this… I have a whole new perspective on how I should be guiding you as my clients. This is my family. Our last Friday night together before Rachel headed out on her brave new adventure. Love my wife. Love my girl. Love my boy. Live is good.
It has been a pretty good competition season! The Professional Photographers of America just wrapped up 4 days of judging (aprox 5200 entries) and three of my four images were “merit” worthy this year with one of them being accepted into the prestigious loan collection after a nail-biting judge’s challenge! All four images were of human subjects which was a first for me as well as client images.
“Poof” was one of many images made during a shoot with Belleville Elite Dance Academy last year. Dancer Elisha Lamm will be added to the PPA’s Loan collection which will be published this winter by Marathon Press [available here].
“Big Guns” is tattoo model, Hanna Hetz and was certainly the image I had most fun working on She came to the studio to work up some portfolio images for her budding modeling career. Hanna will working for Always Late TV producing programming for next year’s season and is currently on season 4 Local Ambition.
“Smooth” was done for Traveon Westbrook, a local guy looking for some PR images.
“Senior Squeeze” was a senior client a couple years back and the only senior cool enough to bring his accordion along for his photo session!
I’ll throw in one other item as this was a big week on my ‘day’ job as well… TWO Emmy nominations for news promos at KSDK where I spend all my weekdays. A promo I edited for KSDK’s Ferguson coverage was produced by former colleague and friend Kim Sherman who is currently working at WFLA in Tampa, Florida. A second KSDK promo launching a newly branded Show Me St. Louis was created by Jeff LoGrasso, Joe Eickmeier and myself along with custom music by Jerome Gilmer, performed by Nicole Pettker. [both spots linked below]
This promo for NewsChannel Five was created shortly after the unrest in Ferguson, MO as part of KSDK’s coverage.
This promo was created to help re-launch KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis brand. Shot by myself and coworker Joe Eickmeier.
Yes! That was big fun! Sunday afternoon we had a swimmer and group of dancers over to create some exceptional images…
Not your every day, run of the mill snapshots many of these will be showing up in area photographic competitions this next year!
After basically plastic wrapping the studio we were set to splash some very cool and talented athletes.
Ultimately we dumped nearly 20 gallons of water! The dancers posed and jumped and we dumped, poured and splashed anyone willing to take it! YES! I’ll be doing this again! I’ll streamline the setup a bit and refine it but THIS concept is simply too cool to let go.
Thanks to my friend Barb Adleman from Elan Studios/Bloomington for coming down to assist, my many moms who appreciate my weird ideas and sense of humor and of course Jake for schlepping 20 gallons of warm water and helping clean up!
My son Jake, and a lucky group of guys from Belleville’s Boy Scout Troop 553 are leaving tomorrow for a trip they will never forget. Along with two adult supervisors, they are boarding the train in St. Louis and riding west, then transferring to a bus which will take them to the Boy Scout’s Philmont Ranch, the BSA’s premiere high adventure camp near Cimarron, New Mexico. Jake and his crew will spend about 7 days hiking through some of New Mexico’s very beautiful and mountainous countryside. They’ll carry everything from clothes to water to tents and sleeping bags as well as several days worth of food rations which they can restock at predetermined lock boxes every few days. Jake and crew will come back with plenty of stories (I doubt if we hear even a fraction of them)… Of course I hope and pray for their safe travels, but maybe even more important, I hope for them to come back stronger, more confident and if possible even more independent: Prepared to take on whatever the future has in store for them. Don’t tell them I said that… they think they’re just gonna have fun
Jake and his carefully selected gear for his trek.
Fabulously fabulous! Working with experienced models is the best… and when they’re patient, can interpret bad direction, AND have that indescribable quality that somehow helps images jump off the screen… you’re in a happy place!
I needed a model for a photo session with friend and fellow master photographer, Paul Rogers who was gonna be visiting for a weekend of image making and Becca McFly was my first choice to lend a hand. Becca has helped me with a few ideas over the last few years as I’ve worked toward my PPA Master degree.
“Flying Lady” Earned a merit from the PPA’s 2013 international image competition:
The venue chosen was also one of my favorite places to shoot: The Lemp Brewery. A short call to Jimi Gunn and we had the grungy old dark and creepy place to ourselves (with the exception of a few musicians who use portions of the ghost ridden warehouse as practice space).
This is seriously my favorite space to shoot in here at the Lemp bottle works building.
Big dirty windows create wonderfully soft light!
In the image above Becca is rocking the top of Jimi’s baby grand in one of his many music studio spaces.
For you photo techies we were both shooting with Nikon D800s paired with all 2.8 glass. From wide 12mm to the tightly compressed end of my 70-200mm or Paul’s 300 prime we worked with a mix of low ambient window light and my Paul Buff Einstein with beauty dish powered by a Vagabond. Almost exclusively shooting tripod mounted helps you be more thoughtful and allows you to be more meticulous creating the feel of an image (this is where a patient, self motivated model is critical. Thanks again Becca).
I can’t wait to schedule a senior shoot day over at the Lemp Brewery and make some seriously cool images for some exceptional seniors! STAY TUNED for booking information!
Anastasia came to visit yesterday! As a young model in the St. Louis area it’s tough to get a portfolio developed… and Kevin Long’s The Edge Agency does a great job of doing just that. Kevin has always been a supporter of the local and state photography groups trying to supply models for various functions while getting these up and coming young models some valuable camera time.
Anastasia has a fabulous physique and a killer smile so with the right connections and a bit more studio time she just might show up in one of your next magazines or catalogs! Thanks to Anastasia & her mom for making the long trek to visit my studio!
This guy shows up today almost an hour early for his model session! That’s cool. He is READY. Traveon is working toward a recording deal… producing a CD… hoping to make a splash. We only spent a couple hours in the studio but you get a quick feel that Traveon just might be THAT smooth operator… I’ll share his progress as things develop but keep your eyes and ears tuned in for the name: Traveon.
I’ve not had the opportunity to shoot many maternity sessions so I was super excited when Autumn asked me to work with her and Ryan to document their family to be. She did some Pinterest searching and sent along a few ideas that she wanted to emulate which I’m sure required a bit of shopping for those super cute tennis shoes!
After finishing a big bunch of these super cute images I grabbed a few of my favorites and made this short sample video to share with mommy and daddy to be
Many of you have seen the cool movie created with a ton of our images from the Florida trip and MANY of you have asked how to get your copy…. here’s the breakdown.
Marching Lancer’s 2015 Outback Bowl Trip
$15 – Highlight DVD (preview below)
$25 – Highlight DVD +Outback Bowl Performance
$50 – Highlight DVD +Outback Bowl Performance +Over 500 images
Here’s a link to a preview the video (not the finished version though)
SATURDAY – Travel Day
Today we’re aboard four tour busses headed to Florida with the Belleville East Bands. Almost 150 band members along for the ride, we’re headed to Tampa for the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl.
First we’ll hit Universal Studio Theme Park for a couple days of play as well as a concert band workshop.
I’ve traveled with these kids a few times over the last few years and I’ve always been impressed with just how good this number of kids can be. I look forward to a fun trip and will post more as our trip progresses.
One among many tables of kids waiting to board.
Hoping we find our real driver soon!
Mr. T and his fleet.
SUNDAY MORNING – Universal Studios
Who knew “sleeping” on a bus could feel so little like sleep?!? After several stops overnight for restroom breaks and oh yeah.. so the driver could buy a fan to clear the window so she could see! We’re almost to our breakfast destination.. maybe if a booth is available we’ll sleep better at the Golden Corral
Here’s the bus in “sleep” mode.
Today our Bellevillle East concert bands got to participate in a pretty cool workshop being offered by Universal Studios. The STARS program introduces high school musicians to the music & foley recording process.
Playing along with an old Frankenstein movie the bands were recorded by Universal sound engineers. Along with the full musical score, soloists and small groups added tracks to the music bed as well as a few band members were selected to accent the soundtrack with maniacal laughs and evil zombie groans.
The Universal STARS recording technicians will polish the soundtrack then provide a downloadable version for the students to save and share online.
After the recording sessions we finished up our visit to the Universal parks before heading to Tampa for more musical vacation fun!
TUESDAY – Competition Day
WHEW! Today was pretty action packed! ALL of Belleville East’s bands performed in competition/workshops today! We heard from the Symphonic Band • Symphonic Wind Ensemble • Wind Ensemble • Jazz Ensemble • Concert Jazz Orchestra
AND we finished with a Marching Band field show!!!
It rained and sprinkled and misted and rained some more pretty much all day… [and the bands had to walk about a block from the hotel to the concert hall in this lousy weather]. They plodded through the rain, prepared and performed with a level of excellence that we have all come to expect from these groups. Most every performance ends with a critique from each of three highly experienced judges. These guys not only critique though… they suggest alternative ways to interpret, play and hear the music. They have the students re-play sections of their music incorporating these new ideas and insights – just as if they were working with professional session musicians – the kids really seem to dig being mentored in this way, treated with such respect…. and my admiration for this group of kids and the Belleville East band program grows with each and every performance!
Maybe best of all we were able to finish this evening with a SENIORS only group shot! This is a superb group of young people that we are very fortunate to have in our program!
WEDNESDAY – Rehearsal & Parade
Imagine trying to coordinate 26 band units totaling nearly 3000 members into one monster halftime show! Luckily that was organized by the Outback Bowl folks and it was obvious they’ve done this before.
Drums. Brass. Winds. Flags. All sections set up and rehearsed separately then combined on the practice field. It is mighty cool to experience 26 drum lines up close! Twenty-six bands worth of trumpets!
The real kicker is that all 3000 kids and pit equipment and props have about 60 seconds to get in position on the field before the show… then again to get off the field after the show. After 60 seconds two football teams will be seriously wanting to use the field again!
That was this morning’s practice. Now we’re heading to The Outback Bowl parade. Again… imagine a parade where just about every other unit is a large marching band. If you enjoy marching bands…. THIS should be one heck of a show!!
Finally tonight, we get to go to Busch Gardens with our 3000 newest friends! We’ll ring in the new year with a fabulous fireworks display… then hightail it back to the hotel.. sleep.. wake.. checkout.. perform at the bowl game and enjoy our bus ride home to a very cold Bellevillle… but more on that and photos from today tomorrow.
Finally we made it to stadium and it really was pretty cool to watch the kids perform and imagine the behind the scenes coordination that it takes to pull this off!
We loaded busses and started the long 20 hour drive home AND the Belleville East Marching Lancers came away with a ton of awards from the week!
-Parade Grand Champion
-Jazz Band Grand Champion
-Second Concert Band -3rd Place
-Jazz Band Category 3 -1st Place
-Parade Category 3 -1st Place
-Field Show Category 2 -1st Place
-Jazz Band 2 -1st Place
-Concert Band Category 3 -Honorable Mention
-Outstanding Field Show
-Crowd Pleaser Award
Yup. That’s a lot of hardware to bring home!!! It’s been a pretty fabulous week… We’re really fortunate that these kids are so decent when traveling (who knows what they do away from the group
I’m so very happy to have the opportunity to join in on these trips and can’t wait to see where else we can go with this very large family – even if we are rather dysfunctional sometimes
Recently I reached out to Shiloh’s Anytime Fitness manager Ruth Riley… she liked the idea of creating some portfolio images as she continues to work out and fine tune her body… and I’m launching a new program with a few local gyms and other locations are in the works as well. Ruth did her homework and brought all the right pieces to make her session go well… classic fitness apparel, a couple bikinis and a sassy dress or two. She even brought a few Pinterest ideas and admitted to practicing a few of the poses at home to be sure we could work them out in the studio easily.
So whether you’re a competitive body builder or simply want to document your self looking your best give me a shout and I’ll do my best to highlight all your favorite things about yourself!
Met up with a friend recently over a fine Denny’s breakfast. We don’t talk much these days. See each other even less. So of course it was good to catch up. He’d been a working professional photographer for most his adult life but a few years ago hung it up mostly and took on a different line of work completely out of the imaging business…
Jokingly (sort of) he’ll say that talking about photography makes him itchy… even being around other photogs makes him itch and scratch.
So after all the pleasantries of chatting about family and work and such (we actually skipped the weather talk). He told me I need to invest in a good porcelain sink. Yes. Our conversations tend to… drift… significantly. Of course I wonder why a sink. And a porcelain sink at that. Then without so much as a flinch or a scratch or an itch he told me about the amazing Light that comes through his bathroom window of a morning.
It seems Light pours through the little window and fills the bright, white, porcelain sink. But unlike the morning’s first splash of water, the sink cannot hold the Light. It becomes luminescent and bathes the subject before it with a refreshing glow… that kind of glow that supermodels love to see applied. Instant wrinkle remover and much much more
If you start shopping for reflectors and modifiers you’ll find hundreds of things folks have devised to make Light more controllable… but the mother of all reflectors just might be the humble bathroom sink. White and clean of course.
We discussed using this as a light shaping tool. Think of the beautiful headshots. Hard for anyone to figure out such an exotic, secret recipe! I imagine actors and models would be flocking to our bathroom sink studio to bask in the glory of its luminescent glow!
The interesting thing here is not a new lighting solution. Image makers have probably been using all kinds of make shift solutions since the first caveman broke his printer and had to blow ink through little grass straws.
What I found interesting is the unconscious recognition of Light.. with direction… and qualities too yummy to ignore. I remember hearing guys talk about Light – about seeing Light. The wrap of a soft light. The triangles and shapes. I didn’t get it. But once the mind’s eye is trained to really see Light and it’s even more interesting counterpart, Shadow, it continuously evaluates the yummy factor in pretty much every scene it encounters. For me, I’ve just started seeing Light and Shadow… a couple years ago a couple brain cells clicked and I started taking note of it as I pass by random people on the street or watch folks on the train ride into work.
Light. Such an obvious thing to see… so easily taken for granted… and even harder to capture it’s infinite qualities.
Boy Scout Troop 553 has a pretty proud tradition of ‘graduating’ an Eagle Scout every year or so. Yesterday we had the extreme pleasure of celebrating three scouts earning their Eagle rank. It really is quite impressive to hear the accomplishments of these
boys young men. Between the three of these guys, hundreds of miles of hiking, scores of nights camping, trips to the BSA high adventure camps with more hiking and camping and canoeing… and lots of leadership.
It’s not just the accomplishments on display that are impressive… we get to hear from these young men themselves… speaking words of gratitude to their leaders, mentors, parents and fellow scouts. They receive gifts: Flags flown over the White House. Letters from Senators and other dignitaries… and they give gifts of appreciation to their mentors and parents.
It really is hard not to get choked up every time one of these young men moves to the podium and addresses the group in attendance. These young men should be proud of their accomplishments. They generally don’t like to be the center of attention though.. they’d rather not hear their leaders and mentors talk about them and what they’ve done… Humility isn’t officially a requirement of an Eagle Scout… but it always seems to come quite naturally to these young men.
Congratulations to Sean, Andrew & Jason!
What’s it take to be an Eagle Scout?
Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. To earn the rank, a Boy Scout must: Progress through the all ranks from Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle • Earn 21 merit badges, including: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Camping, Family Life, Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming. They must serve six months in a troop leadership position. Plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Well it’s happening. Rachel is now seriously into her senior year of high school and we did her senior portraits (part one) as our trees started showing signs of autumn.. We’ll do part two of her images soon as some snow flies. Maybe even a part three and four when she or her mother suggests another venue
I could go on and on about how proud we are of Rachel. Great student. Wonderful kid. Good sister to her brother. Great helper to her mother. Fabulous character all around… but I’ll save most of that for later when her senior year is wrapping up… for now enjoy autumn Rachel.
This was waaay better than my average day at work. I’ve been employed as a video editor for about 15 years now. Working weekdays at KSDK in St. Louis. Most days we create commercials – for local car dealers, mattress stores, doctors, lawyers OR we make promos for the newscasts – tempting viewers to tune in and sample what at one time were the nation’s highest rated local news programs.
I decided to put some of that experience in the sharing mode and offered to teach a class on DSLR video and editing. With a few folks signed up through the PPA’s Super One Day education program I asked one of my favorite high school seniors to be our subject…
After a couple hours of
lecture random thoughts on video systems and videography, Meghán sang through a couple selections – each time beautifully. Then came the really exciting part – watching me edit! Ever watch paint dry? Yup. That’s kind of like watching somebody edit… BUT… hopefully my attendees gleaned a bit about the process while we enjoyed a beautiful Sunday together in my comfy edit suite…
Thanks to Meghán, her driver/mom, the PPA for this invaluable continuing education program and the folks who drove quite a distance to attend! AND here’s the finished version of our in-class edit… enjoy “The Call” by Meghán McGarrity.
es·prit de corps
: feelings of loyalty, enthusiasm, and devotion to a group among people who are members of the group.
See also: Marching Lancers
I tagged along yesterday to watch my son and daughter perform at the Collinsville marching band competition. They were of course joined by a couple hundred of their closest friends: The Belleville East Marching Lancers. I enjoy hearing them play. I enjoy watching their show. I most enjoy watching them get ready… warming up… preparing their uniforms… practicing… and just being band geeks
Photographically I prefer the evening shows where the light is more dramatic. Then there’s the challenge of being in the right spot at the right time to watch and enjoy all the visuals of their intricate performance – which of course necessitates being high up as you can in the stands…. or buy the video at BOA in a few weeks…
You may not ‘get’ marching band. You may not even like them. However one thing is for certain.. you simply have to appreciate these programs for the discipline and structure and camaraderie they bring to the kids. Hard work only tolerable because of the shared experience. Espirit de corps.
For the full set of images visit Marching Lancers at Collinsville