A shoot with Blue Cat Groove

It's always a good idea to have a "plan B" when you schedule an outdoor event.  As a photographer, you quickly learn that it's also a good idea to have a "plan C, D, and E" too.   Then when none of those work out, you need to be ready to improvise on the fly.

Blue Cat Groove was scheduled to show up at 9 a.m. Saturday morning for a shoot.  They are working on another album, and they wanted updated pictures for the cover artwork and promo materials.  I knew it was likely to rain, so I had scouted a couple of indoor alternatives just in case.

I try not to over think things too much, but I do spend a little time mentally planning what I think will be at least a starting point and direction for a shoot to take.  It was indeed raining out, so I prepped a room that had a piano in it, and even though it wasn't my ideal location, I knew I could get something there.  

We spent a little time working that space.  I experimented with light set ups, and a few posing options, and the pics were ok, but I wasn't excited.  I kept looking out the window at the light rain coming down, and finally thought "what the heck."  It really wasn't raining very hard at all, and Canon says my 5D mark ii is suppose to be "weather sealed."  

I usually haul around a lot of gear on location shoots, and I like to use off camera fill flash for nearly everything I shoot, but I just grabbed one camera with my 24-70 mm lens on it, and headed out into the drizzle.  Kim had a big umbrella, so we went out and played in the rain.  Here are a few of my favorites.  If you look close, you can ever see the rain falling.

The Acoustic Trio Project Photo Shoot

Sorry that it's been a while since I blogged.  I spend part of my time as a producer and engineer in a small recording studio, and it's been busy lately.  I love the creative process, and I believe that if you're an artist, then art envelops every aspect of your life.  Just like with photographs, the best, most creative songs tend to take on a life of their own, and become so much more than the artist ever envisioned in the first place.  It's inspiring.

That also means I get to do a lot of photography for album art.  It's a challenge to be able to capture the personality and character of the band, as well as the concept of the album in just a few frames.  I like to tell stories with my photographs, and that's easier when you have a lots of images in a slideshow or album.  It's more difficult in a single image.

I've worked with the band Never Forgotten for a long time now, and we've done quite a few album projects together.  They are currently working on yet another, and it's turning out to be a great project, but right in the middle of it, Jordan Heersink, founding member and primary songwriter, decided to do a "quick little side project." 

Jordan has been working on an album of traditional hymns on solo piano for a while, but decided to step it up a little by adding two other members of the band.  Adam Marengo plays acoustic guitar on most tracks, and Ari Carney adds vocals.  They are calling it The Acoustic Trio Hymn project, and plan to do a tour to promote the album when it's finished.

With just piano, guitar and vocals on most tracks, it has the feel of almost being recorded live, so that's the direction I went at first photographically.  I created a set to look and feel like a live concert stage.  I think this first shot will be the album cover.

We also needed a good publicity shot for posters and promos to send out, so I wanted to keep the live feel, but show the individual members more clearly.

Then we decided to head outside for a few fun "just in case" shots with a completely different feel.

Not that it's likely to ever be used, but I decided to get a little nostalgic and make an album cover that has the feel of an old 70s era vinyl LP record album cover.

It was a fun shoot.  I'll post a link to the album when it's done and up on iTunes.

Bethany and Devon

Well I'm finally finished the post processing on Bethany and Devon's engagement shoot.  It's a good thing, because the lack of sleep over the last few days is starting to get to me, but I can't help it.  I tend to get obsessive when it comes to my children... I mean pictures. 

But it's really like that to me.  If I do my job well, each frame takes on a sort of life of it's own.  It's a collaboration between the subjects, the location, and my own vision.  When everything lines up perfectly, the result is much more than a snapshot or photo record.  We have cell phone cameras for that.  It becomes art, and I labor over each one as lovingly as if it were my child.

Working through these pictures was pure joy.  I couldn't have had more beautiful models if I had hired them from an agency, and I hope that the love and respect that they have for each other shines through in these photographs.  We explored Newport and Providence, and the beauty of the location, the couple, and the mood was inspiring.

I hope you enjoy the results half as much as I enjoyed creating them.  A few of these may have to become canvases on my own wall.



Experiencing History

I love history.  Especially the realities of what it was like to live during different periods of history.  I'm particularly drawn to the early years of our country.  My church just celebrated it's 275th anniversary.  To put that in perspective, George Washington was 4 years old when my church was founded. 

A walk through the cemetery brings history a little closer to home.  There are graves from every war this country has ever fought in.  It's humbling to me to read the gravestones of men, many really boys, that died during all the various wars.  The ones I tend to linger a little longer over are the ones from the American Revolution. 

In the early 80s, I worked for a few years at Old Sturbridge Village.  It's a living history museum that represents the period roughly from 1790 to 1830.  When I worked there, once you passed the gates, you were immersed in what it was actually like in that period.  I was a farmer and blacksmith.  We ran the farm exactly as it would have been run during the early 1800s.  I was in the best shape of my life.

Today, due to difficult economic times, the village has changed somewhat.  Now there are more static exhibits, modern signs, and less emphasis on having costumed employees actually "living" the life of a person of the time. (We never actually lived there.  Everyone went home at night and returned the next day.) But you can still get a feel for what it must have been like to live in a small New England town in the early 1800s.

The village puts on a lot of special events during the year, but my favorite is Redcoats and Rebels weekend.  Over a thousand revolutionary war re enactors recreate life on the field of war.  Encampments spring up all over the village grounds, and for a weekend, people can experience that event "up close and personal."

At last summer's event, I gave myself a photo project.  I wanted to make pictures that captured the spirit and feeling of the event.  Not just battle scenes, although those are cool too, but I wanted to find the deeper emotion of it.  Here are some of the results.