In April, AGD Creative Director Andon Guenther and I flew out to LA to photograph a couple of rock drummers for Sick Drummer Magazine. The first was Ray Luzier from the band Korn. We drove to Ray’s house and shot in his practice room. Not knowing exactly what we were going to get, it ended up being very photogenic after rearranging a couple of items. Andon and I had sketched out a few shots and lighting setups beforehand so I setup my condensed travel lighting kit to get the shots.
When we finished up in the rehearsal room, we wanted to get something very different. After noticing his young son’s mini drum kit we got the idea to have him sitting at it, then to just up the “rock star” factor we put him in front of a rose bush in the back yard. Ray was a super cool guy and ready to do whatever we asked him for a good photo.
Camera Nerd Info: Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens Inside shots: 2 gelled PCB Einsteins with reflectors. Outside shots: 1 PCB Einstein through umbrella
Last month I flew to Florida with AGD to shoot images for Beast Sports. It was a grueling few days with call times starting at 5:30-6am and usually lasting editing and planning for the next day past midnight. We shot mornings on the beach and afternoons in the gym. You can see all the photos in action on the new amazing website http://beastsports.com/ designed by Andon Guenther Design.
Camera Nerd Info:
Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 55mm & 80mm LS lens Gym shots: 3 PCB Einsteins with reflectors & soft box. Outside shots: 2 PCB Einstein with reflectors & soft box.
I was contacted by Spirit Magazine, the inflight magazine for Southwest and AirTrain Airlines to photograph Andrew Skurka, a professional backpacker and tour guide who lives in Boulder. We shot in a makeshift studio in his garage and went through a few looks for his article. If you are flying Southwest in June be sure to look for the photograph!
Recently I got the opportunity to do a bit of a dream shoot. I was commissioned by SPACE Magazine to photograph none other than THE Darth Vader for his recent cover story. The logistics of making this happen were by far the most complicated production I have undertaken. It was decided that I would photograph him aboard his Star Destroyer Executor while it was stationed outside of the Corellian system. I was picked up in an Imperial Shuttle and taken to the ship, which was 40,000 light years away (thank God for hyper drives). We were greeted by a whole squadron of Stormtroopers which of course required the obligatory Stormtrooper selfie.
We found a quiet out-of-the-way hallway to set up lights and a white seamless for our shots as well as a few around some of the nooks and crannies of the ship.
Lighting Vader’s black dome was a significant challenge in itself. It reacts very different to light than the average human face. I was hoping he would be comfortable enough to let his guard down for a few shots without the mask but that was probably a bit overambitious on my part. I did get to play with one of the backup lightsabers though!
We ran through a few different poses and ideas and fit in as much as we could into our allotted 10 minutes. I have heard horror stories of photographers who overstepped their bounds and ended up doing labor in the Spice Mines of Kessel. Luckily I only lost one assistant who unwisely questioned the ways of the force.
In the end they chose this one for the cover and a few more for the feature article. Very excited to see this on stands across the galaxy!
Camera Nerd Info: Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens.
3 PCB Einsteins with various gels, soft boxes and reflectors.
Earlier this year I flew to Boston to photograph some portraits for an advertising campaign. My client Clear, Inc out of NYC hired me to shoot a few professors all located in the Boston area. I got a suite room and converted a room into a makeshift studio.
I photographed three people over a day and a half and got different looks and emotions that could match up with quotes pulled from their interviews. It is always fun and challenging to strip all the decoration and pretense away, leaving just a face and the emotion of the subject.
Every once in a while I go through my archives looking for any good photos that I missed after I made selections. I usually find one or two overlooked gems that sometimes I like more than my original selects. With these shots, I was anxious to try some new post techniques as well and give a new look to some older shots. I found this Colin Kaepernick image and it was just the look I wanted for my idea.
And just because I’ve always wanted to do one of these process gifs.
In March I had the chance to shoot a feature assignment for National Underwriter magazine. Nahua is a Hawaiian native that now lives in Denver so I wanted to shoot him somewhere noticeably Denver. The Hamilton building at the Denver Art Museum seemed like a great place to get some nice angles and modern architecture. It was quite a chilly early Spring morning, especially in the shade where we shot. My assistant Stephen braved the cold, standing in for a lighting test.
I stopped at the grocery store on the way in and picked up a coconut and pineapple to possibly use as props, which luckily Nahua was fully cooperative and into the idea.
Nahua was a really great guy and incredibly natural which makes my job all the easier. The story made the cover and I’m really happy how it came out.
Camera Nerd Info:
Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens, 1 PCB Einstein through softbox
A couple of weeks ago myself and Andon of AGD went up to Keystone to experiment with some slope-side portraits up at the beautiful Keystone Resort. It had been a few years since I hit the slopes so skiing down the mountain with my big Phase One camera in hand was pretty intimidating to start.
Once we got used to the elements, we started having fun and getting some great shots. The 1/1600 second sync speed on my 80mm Schneider leaf shutter lens was invaluable in freezing the snow and darkening the background while keeping the depth of field nice and shallow.
At the end of the day the snow started coming down hard and we rushed out to get back to Denver. Andon took home an awesome ice beard.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to photograph the talented musicians CSO violinist Allegra Wermuth and pianist Hsing-ay Hsu for their upcoming duo concert. I came in to the shoot with this very specific idea in my head so I didn’t stray very far from it. The tricky part came in trying to make the individual double exposures work separately and together as a whole. After much trial and error I found a solution that I thought read well and complemented rather than taking over the composition. Thanks to Allegra and Hsing-ay who were both took very little to make look good and were wonderful to work with!
Camera Nerd Info: Phase One 645DF+/P40+, 2 PCB Einsteins