Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seasons Greetings

The CTL elves have been working overtime this week. A three + day architectural assignment at one of the west side resorts kept us going from dawn until well after dark for the past few days. Unfortunately, far too much of that time was spent waiting for weather to clear. Yes, it rains in Hawaii. Usually, it rains in Hawaii during winter. The past few years have, however, brought us mostly drought conditions and very little rain or other bad weather. This year is another story entirely, at least so far... La Nina conditions in the Pacific have brought back what I remember as typical winter tropics weather, rain, thunderstorms & lightning, light to nonexistent winds, big surf... less than ideal conditions for resort photography on a deadline. Wait... be patient... what else can you do? Patience ultimately paid off and most, if not all the work was completed as we watched newly arriving resort guests flocking to our shores for the holidays basking in the clouds & mist poolside, quietly grumbling under their breaths about the rain... Selah.

That wraps up the last gig before Christmas. Now there's massive amounts of editing to complete and several assignments waiting to begin next week before the year ends and several on the books already for afterwards. Ctl would like to extend a special thanks to first assistant Jeffrey & new, second assistant Jeff (yes, it gets confusing on the set) for their hard work and diligence in keeping me organized as we attempted on several evenings to capture 3-4 different interior/exterior views in the very limited dusk time when rooms were best lit and looking awesome.
Friend & Coffee bar gal, London, (seen here in her Lesbian Safari Guide uniform) kept us fed, caffeined and laughing

Jeffery applying his telepathic powers to change the weather

Jeff thinks he may take up cab driving given the current state of the photo industry

Santa came early this year and brought me the new iPhone4 and, as you can see, I am loving the Hipstamatic camera feature. Can't wait to play with the video feature. Thanks Santa!

So now we can set the editing aside for a couple of days. The mainland gifts are all on their way, cards are sent thanks to the tireless efforts of the Missus. There are a few more gifts that need to be grabbed & wrapped, a feast to be prepared for Saturday's banquet (prep begins tonight) a few year's end business odds & ends to be handled and I'll be ready for the big day. Celebrity rock star guests will be joining us again this year to share the food & holiday cheer. At our advanced ages, debauchery will, no doubt, be at a minimum.

A very Merry Christmas to all CTL readers & followers. May the best of this season of joy follow you into the coming year.

We'll be back at it next week...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Things I Love About Morning...

  • The wet, liver-tongued puppy love that wakes me
  • The scent of dew, wet grass, ginger & jasmine drifting through the windows
  • The silent darkness
  • The first whiffs of dark, fresh-brewed french roast
  • The sound of birds waking in the trees
  • The first cup of coffee
  • The first rays of sunlight crawling over the dark ridge of Haleakala
  • The glowing blue laptop screen that brings me new photography posted overnight in the blogosphere
  • The clucking parade of roosters, hens & chicks that march across my lanai to empty the cat's food dish.
  • The sounds of grazing cattle in the pasture next door
  • The feel of hot water washing over me
  • The ripe promise of another new beginning
  • The LIGHT

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Celebrations & Other Stuff...

A Permangku Prepares Holy Water During A Temple Odalon (Birthday), Pura Taman Sari, Bali, Indonesia
As we enter the final laps of Holiday preparations here in the USA and elsewhere, there is a great, joyous celebration of another sort entirely unfolding on the tiny Agama Hindu Island of Bali in the Indonesian Archipelago. Galungan is today (or was it yesterday with the time & dateline difference). Sometimes referred to as the Balinese New Year, Galungan is the time when the deified ancestral Gods are invited down from heaven to visit their living progeny and bestow their blessings upon the faithful. To further entice the Gods to linger in the earthy plane until the celebration of Kunigan ten days later, great feasts, mounds of colorful, elaborate offerings are made, elegant performances of music & dance are held, visits to family & village temples take place and nearly everyone takes a few days for to return to the villages of their birth to pray and celebrate with family & friends. The streets and family compounds are decorated with intricate bamboo poles with dangling bits made of woven palm, symbolizing the great Holy Mountain... or so I'm told. Galungan is Bali at it's most elegant best. Selamat Hari Raya Galungan to all my dear friends and adopted Balinese family. I hope to see you all very soon...

Closer to home, the sudden uptick in assignment work has been inspiring, uplifting but not without challenges. A three day resort shoot supposed to be wrapped up yesterday has been postponed due to construction incompletion at the site. My assistants & I arrived at the property at the designated time on Tuesday, began setting up to work on the first shot of the day, only to find it impossible to continue due to workers busily finishing up the punch list, cleaning up the construction mess, etc... The photography assignment was a rush deal needing to get in and get the place photographed before the scheduled soft opening supposed to happen last night. While at the site, we're informed that the opening has also been delayed until December 23rd, giving us almost a week to allow for the finishing touches before photography begins. Quickly regrouping and conferring with everyone's availability, the shoot has been rescheduled to take place beginning Sunday. Big thanks to First Assistant Jeffery & new, 2nd Assistant Jeff for your flexibility.

There's another advertising gig for an housing development scheduled to begin immediately after the resort assignment wraps up and a press kit and new promotional images for musician Willie K and his various musical projects scheduled for the first of the year.

In addition to all of that, I'm beginning to get a handle on the fine art sales thing during my weekly sittings at the Four Seasons Wailea Beach Resort & Spa... just in time for the onslaught of holiday guest arrivals. Work was sold again last week. Yesterday, the studio large-format printer was running on overtime getting new work ready for the framers and for shipping out to patrons.

Saturday, I'll be sharing a booth with Renee & Tony from Photographics Maui at the Art Faire being held at Whole Foods at the Maui Mall in Kahului. We'll be there from 10-4 so be sure to drop by & say Hi if you're in the neighborhood finishing up that Christmas shopping.

This morning's first email arrived from Island's Magazine PE, Lori Barbely, informing me that two images I shot the day after Thanksgiving have been green-lighted to run in a feature spread on BBQ'ing Hawaiian Style in the upcoming issue. Lori sure knows how to make someone's day right at the outset...

Also got word from my stock agency that two more sales were logged this week and royalty checks will be forthcoming soon...

Roundup From This Weeks Blogoshpere:

Over at the Reciprocity Failure Blog, today's entry was the simple, yet elegant statement:
"WikiLeaks exists because media has failed..."
Are you listening CNN?

As the latest crop of DSLR's are featuring the ability to shoot High-Def Video, still photographers are increasingly being asked by clients to provide moving images in addition to still photography. As if figuring out the estimated costs & license agreements for a standard still production aren't mind boggling enough, now we have an entirely new quagmire to negotiate. Fear not... our trusty Photo Editor, Rob Haggart, of the blog APE jumps in yesterday with a post that can shed some illumination on how to handle this new set of skills without giving up the farm. In the post Shooting Motion With Stills - How To Do It, What To Charge and What Rights To Give, Rob gets responses from five, count 'em, five established professional photographers now adding video production to their arsenal of tricks. Well worth a read....

And speaking of video production, photographer Vincent Laforet has been producing slick, well-produced video for some time now. His blog always features outstanding information and insights into the nuts & bolts of production, editing, camera configurations, essential gear and much more.

David Hobby, the brains & muscle behind the popular Strobist blog, gets his hands on the new, yet to be released Nikon SB-700 Speedlight. You can find his review here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

The holiday season is upon us & the elves are busying themselves with no time to spare. And, as is typical of this time of year, this elf is also busy... preparing estimate quotes, sending confirmation contracts, scouting locations for coming projects, shooting assignments already confirmed... It's been a mad rush here at the studio this week. Santa has already delivered a sleigh load full of assignments. There's a chic resort dining venue project of architecture & interior design occupying several days next week, a luxury confectioner's ad shoot the following, marketing images for a new housing development, another potential resort collateral campaign and a newly remodeled hotel in Waikiki to shoot in the early days of January.

Thanks goes out to all of those of you that have contacted me with interest in the Holiday Print Sale. The sale runs thru Dec. 20.

Holiday lights, chilly evening and morning temperatures (58 degrees yesterday morning at sea level, even cooler at my lofty mountain perch. Brrrrrrr... ), the smell of pine wreaths at Costco, the arrival of a couple of late, outstanding checks in this morning's mail and a fat deposit for next week's gig have put me in the mood this year. I was certain it would escape me this holiday season until I woke this morning to another of Santa's early gifts... perfect North Shore surf conditions. Big, glassy, perfect, 18' waves were pounding the coast as I drove into town this morning. Stunning power & beauty and the usual suspects in the line-up shedding it Maui style.

The new pup, Chester, is coming along nicely. He's beginning to develop some manners, no longer relieves himself on my fine bamboo floors, knows all of his toys by name and will get them when asked, sits on command most of the time, has begun to learn "heel" on the leash and has developed a tongue bath technique that the cat finds most pleasurable. He's almost got the instinctive puppy biting under control and the scars on my hands are beginning to heal nicely. Most of the credit for this remarkable progress goes to the Mrs., who working at home, by default, has become the primary enforcer. A fine job she's doing too!

If all this holiday spirit & good cheer continue, I could very well sprain my bile gland or end up playing Christmas songs on my weekly radio program. Should that happen, the tunes will most likely come from my favorite seasonal recording, John Fahey's The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Solo Christmas Album, Vol. II


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Print Sale

Looking for that unique and special gift for the art lovers on your list? Decided to get Dad something besides a tie this year? Is there empty space on your wall just screaming to be filled? 

Here's your opportunity to put a smile on that someone special's face or fill that puka in your decor. Chase the Light is offering a limited number of signed, limited edition photographic prints now through December 20, 2010. See below for prints available, print medium, edition quantities & prices. You can contact me either here at the blog or through my website at

Horizon Obscured #1 / 2010
Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin 310gsm.

Edition of 20 / 10"x10" -  $300.00
Edition of 20 / 16"x16" -  $750.00

We Walked Here Together / 2009
Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 10'x10" - $300.00
Edition of 20 /16"x 16" - $750.00


Blue Window, Lanai City / 2010
Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Satin Rag 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 10"x10" - $300.00
Edition of 20 / 16"x16" - $750.00

Jacaranda Tree, Upcountry Maui / 2006

Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Satin Rag 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 16"20" - $750.00

In the Key of Z / 2010

Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Satin Rag 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 16"x20" - $750.00

Pura Taman Sari, Bali, Indonesia / 2006

Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Satin Rag 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 16"x20" - $750

Empat Tersenyum (The Four Smiles), Bali, Indonesia / 2006

Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Satin Rag 310 gsm.

Edition of 20 / 16"x 21"  - $750.00

All orders received by December 20th are guaranteed for delivery before Christmas. Orders received for mainland delivery must be received no later than December 15, 2010.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Faces of Hawaii Vol. III Just Released

Faces Of Hawaii 2010 Portrait Submissions
Artist, Ceramic Sculptor & Educator Stephen Freedman left the glitz & glamour of the international arts scene a few years back to transform a plot of lava & scrub in Kurtistown on the Big Island into an exotic botanical Garden of Eden complete with home, working studio, classroom and gallery in miniature known statewide as IdSpace. And, as if all this wasn't enough to occupy most of his waking hours, Stephen has been busy breathing new life into the sleepy arts community in East Hawaii... that breath now reverberating within the arts circles statewide. 

Stephen is the impetus, along with other collaborators, behind the online art 'zine Hi Art Magazine, perhaps the most comprehensive glimpse into Hawaii art & artists published in the state. Each new issue brings focus on the best in writing, poetry, fine art, photography and a comprehensive list of Call to Entries for exhibits & art competitions both in Hawaii & beyond. 

HiArt Magazine & IdSpace have come together to host what is becoming an annual tradition; a statewide portrait challenge competition. Now in it's third year running, Faces of Hawaii, solicits the best in portrait photography from around the state, curated by a different notable from Hawaii's art world and cumulating in an exhibit at the IdSpace Gallery and the publishing of a lovely book available in both hardcover & paperback. This year's curating duties fell to Oahu based photographer, mixed media artist, author & educator Kapulani Landgraf, Instructor of Photography and Hawaiian Visual Art at Kapi'olani Community College.

The exhibit opened last weekend with a gala at IdSpace on Sunday evening. All three images I submitted to the competition were selected for inclusion in both the exhibit and the book Faces Of Hawaii Vol. III. Sadly, I was unable to attend... busy with Practice Aloha book signings and the premiere of the Maui focused & locally produced feature film Get A Job (you can find an excellent trailer for the film by clicking the link) in which yours truly has a couple of bit, walk-on parts and contributed photography to set props used in several of the film scenes. 

Today, Faces of Hawaii Vol. lll, the book was made available for purchase online. You can find it here.... a perfect Christmas gift for the artists, photographers and art enthusiasts on your shopping list (wink, wink, nude, nudge).

Mahalo to the folks at IdSpace, HiArt Magazine, Stephen & Kapulani for all that they do to keep the enthusiasm going for artists working outside the commercial gallery structure in this state. Your every effort is much appreciated by all.

"The Fabulous Haoles" from the new movie Get A Job

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On Artists, Eccentrics & Madmen

 "Bukowski is the laureate of the Los Angeles underground, an eccentric who sees the world with a clarity of vision possessed only by artists and madmen." - LA Times
While driving to yesterday afternoon's gig, I had the opportunity to catch a friend's radio program where, among other topics, the writer/poet/lowlife/eccentric Charles Bukowski was briefly discussed. Paul, the announcer, read the quote above. It got me thinking. 

I have never been comfortable with the label "artist" when attempting to describe what it is that I do. "Observer", "Voyeur", "Illustrator" or any number of other descriptives that attempt to convey the act of visual story-telling within a single image frame seems far closer to the meat. 

Then I go to the dictionary for the definition of the word Artist:
1  a) obsolete : one skilled or versed in learned arts
    b) archaic : Physician
    c) archaic : Artisan
2  a) one who professes and practices an imaginative art
    b) a person skilled in one of the fine arts
3 : a skilled performer; especially : Artiste
          4) : one who is adept at something

Definition 2a seems to fit, at least for the work of Bukowski, and perhaps to photographers like myself. "... Imaginative art..." hovers close to world where we, or at least where I, live. Engaging the imaginations of other who might view the work we produce. Attempting (often poorly in my case) to clarify complex ideas with a single photograph, never certain of how close or how far we get to the bone of the idea, never satisfied with our attempts to convey our thoughts in pictures. These are the motivations behind the actions of picture making and the frustrations that accompany the final viewing of the results afterwards. I often tell friends & colleagues that I really like my work for the first five minutes of viewing the final image... and then I hate it. I see the flaws, the shortcomings, the little details that I missed in the process of of the capture, the limits of my ability & skill...

And it is exactly these failings that drive me on... to always be try and do things better, to pay closer attention, to see the extraordinary in the ordinary in ways that the eventual viewer's imagination might be engaged in ways that might never happen were they to stumble across a particular scene themselves.

These are, perhaps, the occupations of artists and of lunatics, to see the world in ways that others miss or are somehow incapable of seeing. For me... and for most of the other artists and lunatics I know... this is not a choice or conscious decision. We are wired this way, whether the wiring comes at birth or is modified along the way. All that I know for sure is that I am most comfortable in the presence of the artists & madmen. We often speak a common language, share common perceptions of the world around us. In my earlier life, I worked intensely in the field of mental health and would often tell my clients that madness was not necessarily a handicap. It's what you did with that madness that made the difference between getting through each day or being always overwhelmed by it.

So, before waxing philosophically any further on the subject of art, artists and insanity, let us take a moment to praise the visions put to words & images by the artists, eccentrics and madmen like Bukowski, for it is they that peel back the skin of the onion for the rest of us to reveal the layers of good flesh and yes, sometimes even the rot within. 

And speaking of artists, the December issue of Modern Luxury Hawaii hits the stands today and contained within it's pages is a profile and photograph by yours truly of friend, contemporary artist and gallery operator Alejandro Goya, the man behind the Paia Contemporary Gallery.

About a month or so ago, I had the exquisite pleasure of spending some time with the artist in both his loft studio and within the minimal gallery space capturing images to illustrate his profile for this issue. Alejandro and his wife were both welcoming, cooperative, collaborative and a whole lot of fun. The resulting tear sheet is below: