The shot above is sort of a new thing for me, shooting more indoors rather than outdoors. I would have thought it to have been simpler, even much simpler, than the normal struggles that I have shooting things outdoors. I never realized just how demanding shooting in a studio can get to be. I guess it's one of those "Grass is always greener on the other side", sort of moments. There were several nights I was still up shooting at 2 and 3 in the morning. I did find that there were some benefits to shooting indoors. I could just look out the window and watch the snow fall, or the rain, or the wind blow, or the temperature drop, and just chuckle and bump up the thermostat a degree or two. Indoors was also the reason I was still able to be shooting into the wee hours of the morning. And too I was fortunate enough to have outside work as well to beat down the cabin/studio fever thing. Below is another shot I liked from a multi-day Realtree shoot at the farm in Kentucky. I've come home for about 5 days now for Easter and will head back out right after Easter. The first couple days will be for a Realtree editorial shoot in Western KY, then it will be back to the farm on the east side of the state for a few days of shooting with an optics company and then quick shoot with a company that makes deer mineral products. At the same time, a couple friends from home will be in putting a roof on my porch using some 10 foot tall cedar trees that we cut to use as supports. It's going to be hectic for a while. I hope someone knows whose making the donuts! About the time that all winds down, we'll start getting into turkey season in KY. A couple friends will be joining me there to hunt and we'll even have a couple TV shows in to film a couple hunts. I am so looking forward to this spring!
For the last several years I have been shooting Realtree's effectiveness images for their Max4 waterfowl camo. Each winter just before Christmas I would get to head to Mississippi for a week to shoot some new images for them and even get in a morning or two of hunting with my buddy Chris Jennings with Ducks Unlimited. Part of the fun of this trip was staying at Harrahs Casino in Tunica and having a lease right across the street to shoot pix all day long. Some of the images from that work has appeared on the back cover of several waterfowl hunting magazines each month for the last few years. Now I have been fortunate enough to have a chance to shoot their new patterns, Xtra, and Xtra Green. The image above and the one below are among my favorites from the days of shooting here at my farm in Kentucky. We wanted to shoot turkey hunting set-ups using the slightly less turkey traditional Xtra. It's amazing how well this camo blends in! I'll be shooting some more deer hunting stuff very soon and then next month or May Ill be shooting more traditional, Xtra Green iamges.
I've spent a very enjoyable week with some good friends from the Dominator 365 group, including D R Harrisson, his wife Laura, Phillip Vanderpool, and Joanne Conley, as well as their producer Dave Voisey. We spent several days shooting some print ads and commercials for their Ghost ATV. We were all pretty satisfied with the results. Above is the image that I believe is the final choice for the cover of the Ghost catalog. It had never crossed my mind that I could get wet until they were about two feet from the water, at which point my mind went into overdrive and went through about 100 scenarios, none of which ended well. I was soaked head to toe! The photos turned out good so it was worth the discomfort. We also created a mock cemetary for both a photo shoot as well as for filming a commercial. We looked at the possibility of using a real graveyard here on the property but opted out for several reasons. Besides, I can't help but think there isn't going to be any good karma coming out of the use of a very, very old cemetary. Several of the stones, which even had markings, were from the 1800's. The night shoot was a blast. I love doing the larger production stuff. The video shot of this is going to be totally off the hook! I can't wait to see the final product air.
The last month or so has been pretty hectic as I've whined about before. Over the last few weeks we've been shooting more stuff for Realtree, gone to photo school, shot some work in Kentucky for the Ghost vehicle, pulled together two presentations for the POMA conference in Columbia South Carolina, and made plans to get to MIchigan this coming weekend for our annual RMEF banquet that Stacy and I are on the committee for. Above and below are a few of the images shot for Realtree of some goose hunting from a week ago or so. Very soon I will post some photos from an album shoot I did a while back in Nashville, and also some photos that are floating around Facebook from the Ghost shoot here in Kentucky. Hope you like them!
It seems like forever since I took a moment to write anything here or show any new photos. The double image above was used as the top of a booth at the SHOT show in Vegas by a company I started doing work for about a year or so ago. I think it was about 6 feet tall. They are now producing broadheads in addition to their sights.
In what I hope will be a pretty short time, I will be able to post some work I did recently for an album and a decoy company. I think they both came out cool! The remainder of the winter and early spring looks to be rather busy with a lot of travel. I'm anxious to get started. Early summer I will be shooting a few different jobs out west in Colorado. That is really exciting! I might even be making it to Montana for a bit, but that's not certain yet. I can see some fishing happening while I'm out there as well.
There will also be a shoot coming up soon for another group out of Nashville... More later.
A little while back a friend of mine who owns Game Plan Gear, (http://www.gameplangear.com/), dropped by the Kentucky farm to shoot some photos of a new back pack he was planning to introduce this winter at the ATA show. As luck would have it, another friend, Brandon Wireman had come around with a really tremendous deer he took the previous evening. We managed to put Brandon and his buck to work right away. To light the above shot, we used a pair of Elinchrom Rangers with just reflectors to add some hi-lights and open a few shadows. The sun did the rest. For the shots below we used a single Elinchrom with a smallish umbrella to soften the light a bit but to also keep a hard edge on it by moving it a bit further back than what would normally be optimal. The fog rising from the pond in the early morning, which is a relatively unfamiliar time frame for me, along with being able to shoot nearly directly into the rising sun, hence the flare and apeture spots, really make the photos for me giving a really cool, dramtic feel. Mike from Game Plan Gear tells me that some of these shots are being used larger than life on his ATA booth and will be on both the front and back covers of their 2013 catalog. I'm looking forward to seeing it all in about a week at the Archery Trade Assoc. show in Louisville!
Every year about this time I spend the better part of my day working on stuff for the ATA, (Archery Trade Assoc) and SHOT show, (Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trades). Sometimes the work is for me picking and chosing what to show and what to leave out of my presentation for each show. The majority of this part of the year is spent shooting last minute stuff for the majority of my clients. I guess sometimes production pieces take longer to create than expected, a new product is just reaching final development, or maybe the product has been kept under tight wraps till the last moment. I really enjoy this time of the year because of the constant change and pressure to perform, but it also is sort of a bummer because I'm wanting to show off some of the work but can't let it be seen by anyone... So that is the case right now. Although I have some really, really cool stuff to show, I can't. However, here are a couple out-takes from a recent shoot for a totally different project. Hope you like them.
While doing a couple other things on my computer this morning, I came across that mysterious folder that seems to be always there called, "New Folder". I get in a hurry and just create a new folder to dump a card full of files into, just to get them off a card. The most recent new folder I found was one in which I dumped a card into recently because I wanted to use the same card for something else. I never paid any attention to what was on it. As it turns out, the card held photos from a waterproof camera I used on Beaver Island in Michigan a couple years ago while fishing with the guys from Indigo Guide Service, (http://www.indigoguideservice.com/). As I recall, I wasn't a big fan of the camera, but a couple of the photos seemed cool, thus here they are. Long story short, I've not posted here in a bit and this seemed to be perfect timing.. Hope you like them.
The last couple of weeks have been a little hectic. And some of the pace has been carried over to home work. Last week I shot the first couple days of the week in Nashville for a singer. Had a blast! Came home for a day or two then headed off for a shoot with the crew from Dominator365, http://www.dominator365.com/. The shot above was one of the pix we did for Dominator365. Managed to get the whole team in the tree. Got home again the next day and shot for a few other clients here at home, and I'm still at it. Dogtra, a regular client of mine has me working on a new project for them, DU has provided me with a bit of work that got me to drag out my waterfowl gear, and I'm shooting currently for a scent company, and getting ready for a shoot for a decoy comapany later this week.
Looks like the next couple weeks will allow me some time to make the rifle opener in KY, as well as the firearms openers in MI, and IN. TOnight is a big night as my wife got me tickets to the Bears game against the much hated Deroit Lions! I can't wait!
Below are a few more form the DOminator 365 shoot.
As usual, it doesn't seem as though it's been as long as it has been since I last wrote here. Fall has become pretty busy, which I both anticipated and looked forward to. Several trips to Tennessee as well as Kentucky, and I even had my first, private photo workshop at the KY farm. It was a BLAST! I'm really looking forward to doing this again as well as more frequently. Immediately after that weekend, A friend who happens to own Game Plan Gear came by to work on some images for his 2013 catalog. One of the images below is from that shoot, but the best shots were for the cover of his piece and are not yet ready to be made public. I gotta tell ya, I love the shots we did for this and I'm chomping at the bit for everyone to see them. I really think they are some of my best to date!
The last couple of days I have been in Michigan which is so beautiful at this time of year, shooting hunting dogs for a client. My friend Mike van Tubergen was only too kind to volunteer his German Shorthair and his home for the shoot. His dog, Indy, has got to be the best looking dog I have ever seen. He is a monster of an animal! We spent an afternoon and a morning shooting with Mike and Indy and got plenty of cool pix. Several more are below. Another talent that Indy has, being the total athlete he is, is his ability to literally fly! WIth a very short runway, this dog could launch himself practically to the middle of the pond.
Today I'm doing a quick shoot for a client of a female archer and preparing for an outdoor family portrait sesion a couple hours from home. I'm realy looking forward to seeing some of my family and spending a bit of downtime with them. Monday mornign it's back on the road to Nashville for a shoot on Tuesday for an upcoming country singer. The set-up for this shoot is going to be awesome, utilizing trucks, creeks, and log barns, it's going to be a hoot! I'll get some pix from it posted as soon as I can.
Sometimes nothing is better for the spirit than a little bit of just plain goofing around. The perfect opportunity for some
screwing off "play" came recently while shooting with Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen, co-hosts of Brotherhood Outdoors, outside of Nashville. It's always a pleasure shooting with them and I know we can get to exactly what they need in pretty quick order because of their professionalism, creative thinking, and willingness to try something a bit out of the ordinary. So after a little bit of work, we started coming up with some ideas for some unique photos. One photo that I always liked was the cover of the European Vacation video cover. So with a little lot of inspiration from the original, we came up with a somewhat more pedestrian and outdoor take. Although it might need a bit more refinement to be actually used for something, I believe there is a bunch of potential in it. I kept the lighting as simple as possible using a single Elinchrom in an Octabank, and a rflector low and opposite to kick a bit of light back up in the faces. A second Elinchrom with a narrow reflector was placed well below their feet, thanks to a draw, and fired straight back at them for a bunch of rim lighting. If nothing else, it felt good to shoot just for the heck of it. The second shot we did for no particular reason was another take on the American Gothic image. The devilishy playful look on Julie's face is what makes the photo for me.
The shot immediately below is a favorite of mine from a shoot with them a year or so ago. Again, it's another shot done for no real reason but turned out to be one of my all time favorites.
I love fishing! Some of my earliest memories go back to fishing with my parents and my uncle. My wife says it's all made up memories because I can't even remember to lower the toilet seat after using it let alone from my pre-k days. I think it's more like selective memory. I mean I believe that you only have so much brain space and I don't want to waste any of it on toilet seat etiquette, ya know what I mean? Anyhow, Within the last year or so I have become somewhat obsessed with flyfishing. I can directly blame Brandon Butler, http://www.driftwoodoutdoors.com/ and Kevin Morlock, http://www.indigoguideservice.com/. How could you not fall in love with the romanticism of the long, sweeping casts and clear waters in A River Runs Through It? Pulling trout out of virgin pools of water beneath boulders the size of small cars deposited there by some glacier about 3.2 million years ago? Flyfishing here in Northwest Indiana is nothing like that or like any of the covers of flyfishing mags on the shelves at Gander Mountain. Here it's more like guerilla fishing in an urban jungle. Here you spend your time walking through 12 foot weeds behind a trucking facility to get access to a small trickle of water from a storm sewer that's spewing water from a rain 3.2 days ago. Instead of the long flowing casts you're forced to use pinpoint, slingshot type casts or the ocassional sideways rollcast, if you're lucky to even have that much room, to make your presentation. The fish here aren't the same either, they're bigger! All these tiny tributaries are at some point connected to Lake Michigan, and Lake Michigan has monster trout and salmon. Local chef and flyfisherman extrodinaire, Scot Hinkel, http://www.bistro54main.com/, has taken mercy on me and included me in a few fishing trips near home. Now although I have not caught anthing here on a fly yet, I have seen steelhead cruising waters that might not even cover their dorsal fins. I've seen kings pulled in from creeks here that even I could jump across. My day will come and when it does I promise I'll have some really awesome pictures of my fish, but til then, you'll have to settle for a few photos of Scot trying his best to ignore the "urban', and concentrate on the dorsal of that steelie 8 feet in front of him, right there next to the discarded spare tire...
Recently I have been shooting a bunch of headshots for various reasons. However after looking at them all together, I'm wondering what actually constitutes a "headshot". Several of the photos here were shot during full shoots, while some were set up and shot for headshots, period. Typically they are all pretty much one light and one or two reflectors tucked in tight. Shooting this type of photo I really like using a single Elinchrom lite in a large octabank about 90 degrees to one side and a relflector just out of the frame oppopsite the lite and maybe a second reflector, particularly for women, up under the chin. It is nearly impossible to get a bad headshot with an octabank! My question I guess is when does a portrait become a headshot, or is it just different terminology for the same thing? Anyhow, here are a few more from recent weeks. Let me know what you think about them please.
A good friend of mine, John Bond, is in the process of starting his custom firearm business, J and J Precision Firearms. It should be ready to go about any time now actually. It seems as though most of the things he will be utilizing for his new endeavor is shiny, which means it catches my eye as a photographic target! From the bullets to the casingfs, to the machinery, and even the final products, everything screams to be photographed. I oofered to shoot a few photos for him that could be used in the design of his website, and after a lot of what I'm sure was gut wrenching introspection, he allowed me to do it. (I'm really just kidding.) For whatever reason, I wanted to try and shoot as much as possible with the variety of available light, and/or a single, small Speedlight. I was pretty happy with the results, but I'm really looking forward to what will be done with the images when the designer is finished with them. Here are a few more...
I just returned from a week of workshops and hands on events at the annual POMA conference, which this year was in Tunica Mississippi. One of the things I wanted to do was shoot a portrait of a couple people that would be there that are part of a project I began work on a while back. I managed that just fine, but I also shot a handfull of portraits of some of the other attendees/friends that were on hand. I will include a few of them here. They were all shot simply enough with a single Elinchrom Ranger head in a standard Octa Bank modifier. Far from standard, the Octa light is awesome! A 3×4 foot soft gold reflector was used on the opposite side. However, I met a man at this event that I think deserves all the attention and recognition and help he can get. His name is John Annoni and he is a teacher, a mentor, and a hero in my book. Please look at what this one, single person has accomplished for the betterment of our world. wwww.twomillionbullets.org and www.campcompass.org His is the first photo below.
I finally had the chance to shoot with some friends of mine that are in the process of preparing their new show for the Outdoor Channel. Scrap Yards and Hunters, (http://scrapandhunt.com/), hosted by Will Simmons and Mary Daniels Mitchell. We had been discussing the shoot and trying to set it up for quite a while and finally had the chance to pull the trigger, so to speak, this week. I had not ever been to South Carolina before and didn't really know what to expect. Seems like a great area but DAMN its hot! One day it was 98 in the shade. Unfortunately we were not in the shade. As a side note, I have discovered that eastern Tennessee closes at 9pm. Thats it, 9pm, shut the door, nothing is open. Here are a few shots from my time there with them. (I'm not sure why, but the lower images seemed to be dropped way low on the page, so you might have to scroll down to see them. Maybe its just my screen)
I hadn't plan to write this blog, actually the thought never crossed my mind until I had sent these, and several other pix to a client this yesterday. There is something that is just so enjoyable about photographing dogs, whether they're the main subject or not. They add so much to every shot. DU had just purchased these and a bunch of other photos made last year in Mississippi just before Christmas. These dogs belong to Chris Jennings who works for DU and was gracious enough to allow me to not only photograph on his waterfowl lease, but also to do a bit of hunting with him. The dogs are his. I hope you enjoy looking at my photos of man's best friend and also get the opportuninty, quite regularly, to watch them work up close in the field in person.
I seem to be spending a bunch of time away from home the last couple of months. One reason is all the work involved in getting the Kentucky home up and running, so to speak. The second reason is that work has been a lot steadier this year than the same period last year. That is a real good thing! The pup above is Luke the Drifter. He belongs to a buddy of mine that I spent some time with recently, Tony Smotherman. Otherwise known as the Travelin' Hunter. While I was there in Nashville with him we shot some images for his new upcoming project, and a few "just cuz" pix. I'm thinking that ol' Luke here will make some sort of apearance in my Dogtra work soon. The image below is one of the other images I really liked that came out of this trip.
The rest of the summer is booking up pretty quickly as well. Looks like at least one or two more trips to Nashville for work, a trip to Mississippi for the POMA Conference, some fishing photography in Michigan and perhaps Florida, and of course more personal work and payoing work in Kentucky.