Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Holiday Gift To You

Flourless Coconut-Pecan Macaroons


  • 4 cups (approx. 10 ounces) sweetened bakers coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups (approx. 8 ounces) coasely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place oven racks in center & top third of oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly butter surface.

2) Combine coconut & pecans in a large mixing bowl, mix well and set aside.

3) Combine sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, vanilla & almond extracts and salt in a saucepan (thick bottomed ones work best for even heat distribution). Stirring constantly, heat over low heat just until mixture is hot to the touch. Pour miixture over coconut & pecans & mix well.

4) Using a clean table spoon, drop rounded scoops of mixture onto prepared baking sheets, spacing roughly 2 inches apart, Bake until golden brown (15-18 minutes). Transfer to cooling racks.

5) In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until a pudding-like consistency, then dip the tops of each macaroon in chocolate.

Macaroons can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Enjoy & a very Merry Christmas to all!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When It All Comes Together

There are many factors that fall outside your control when producing an assignment... weather, tight budgets, unfamiliar talent, unfamiliar locations... 

When the pieces all fall into place and the shoot comes together in such a way that gorgeous images are the result... when you can feel it with each pressing of the shutter button, it's like floating on air! 

Many thanks to Michael, Nina, casting agent Cynthia, commissioning client & resort guest traffic controller Scott, assistant Niki for the opportunity and assistance in a somewhat complicated poolside shoot. Could not have produced results like these without your exemplary efforts to the cause. Mahalo!

It's been a busy, creative & productive week yielding good results. I sense the recent move to the new studio has ushered in a brand new era of creativity & efficiency to end the year. May the coming year allow the pace & creative juices to continue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blade(s) Runner

View From Room 4814

Thus far, the holiday spirit has managed to elude me. With the past 8 months of studio & office construction now wrapped up, save for the building and painting of a set of steps, attentions have been fully focused on working through the wave of assignments suddenly flooding in. There has been no time to deck a hall or trim a tree. Holiday shopping has been put on hold until at least next week... so, I offer all apologies now should your gifts arrive a little late this year.

Just returned from another two day stint on the Big Island where we photographed restaurant & retail outlets. The day prior to departure spent doing the same in the south shore resort area of Wailea. A straight thru, 10 hour marathon of post processing immediately ensued, occupying all of monday. Now invoiced & ready for delivery. 

The travel was not without incident. While checking baggage at the airport, photo ID was dropped on a bag. Attendant quickly whisked said bag from the scale before I could retrieve ID, tossing both onto the conveyor belt. A futile (so it seemed at the time) search for lost ID ensued, panic set in. Without ID, I could neither board the plane nor pick up reserved rental vehicle at destination. Panic worsened as time slipped away, flight boarding call was announced and lost ID remained lost. I finally insisted that baggage be retrieved and my check-in canceled, planning at this point to slink away in defeat. Attendant retrieved bags and... there it was... the ID, sitting on top of the tripod/stand bag. Quickly reinstating the check-in cancelled just minutes before, it was a dash through security checks and a sprint to the boarding gate, just before the doors closed. Crisis averted!

Big Island location was decked in holly upon my arrival. As the work to be produced was intended for more than seasonal use, all holiday bling had to be removed, hidden or otherwise obscured from view.

Took note that both airports were extremely busy, unusual for this time of year, just before the holiday season, when the islands are usually quiet & slow for the two weeks prior to the Christmas tourist onslaught. Most hotels in Wailea currently running at near capacity and it seemed the same on the Big Island. The view of Hapuna Beach from my room revealed an unusual number of visitors enjoying the early morning stretch of sand as soon as the sun had cleared the volcano. 

Yesterday morning spent behind the microphone fulfilling customary on-air music host duties, followed by a clandestine parking lot meeting where where large slabs of exotic woods needed for props for another assignment where exchanged. Then it was off to scout for another shoot scheduled for mid-next week.

Returning to the new studio just after mid-day, it was time to set up & photograph two sets of exotic, very high-end, custom cutlery made by a local craftsman. So amazingly sharp were the blades of these knives that, quite accidentally, a bit of blood was spilled in the process of setting up the still life. This may have inadvertently appeased the lower gods as the set came together quickly... the second frame committed to pixels was the keeper. It can now be said that we are willing to give blood for our clients!

Casting now completed for the resort lifestyle shoot later this week. In between now & then, another two gigs to shoot, edit & deliver...

By the end of next week, I should be able to begin wrapping my head around the idea that Christmas will be only a few days away. At this time, I remain clueless as to what & how to gift friends & family. There have been a few furtive hints from friends that my world-famous, flour-free pecan macaroons might be appreciated. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Had the pleasure of spending several hours yesterday lighting, photographing and retouching suspending monofilament line from this lovely hand-crafted classical guitar by local luthier John Decker and his latest enterprise guitarmasterworks. As soon as I unlocked it's protective case, I could see that this superbly crafted instrument would be a challenge with it's rich Ziricote sides hand-polished to a mirror-like  finish. A large 6ft. softbox placed left-front and feathered to barely rake across the spruce top provided the main light. Large black cutters were used to prevent spill from the softbox onto the black paper sweep. An Arri 350W Tungsten Focusing Fresnel provided the background light while another 650W Fresnel place behind and to the left of the guitar provided just enough of a rim light to give the guitar a little separation from the dark background. A third Fresnel, this time a 2K was placed high, behind & to the right of the guitar, lighting the neck, headstock and tuning pegs. Several sheets of white foamcore to the right side of the body provided fill and a relatively clean reflection to the dark wood grain of the body. Monofilament line suspended from an overhead boom and carefully looped thru the top set of tuning pegs kept the guitar upright, it's base resting on a small piece of black velvet. The monofilament line was later removed from the final images using Photoshop.

Afterwards, I got to tune up this fine guitar and take it for a test drive... it plays and sounds just as good as it looks, with deep, resonate bass-tones.

The opportunity to work meticulously and meditatively in the still relatively new studio on this still-life was a welcome break to the activity of the last month... activity comprised mostly of shooting kids - kids in winter blizzards, kids flying kites in remote areas of the island, kids running on beach paths, kids learning about dance & theater, kids in art classes... kids, kids & more kids. 

Friday, we're off to Wailea to spend a day shooting lifestyle & architectural images for the Tommy Bahama Company, saturday & sunday it's off the the Big Island again to shoot more TB. Next week, it's editorial portraits of a leading local fashion designer, lifestyle shoots for another national resort company - a project we are currently in the middle of casting. 

After all of that, I'll be busy editing & retouching right up until Christmas Eve, that evening to be spent in the customary heavy metal fashion Brit Guitar-God mate & crew.

I also just realized that Christmas Day, this year, falls on Tuesday, meaning I will spend four hours that morning flogging Christmas music on the airwaves at 91.5 FM Manao Radio. To that end, I've been searching the intertubes for some of the newest, hippest, indie carols I can find... so far, I've turned up some real treasures. Tune in if you can from 6am-10am Central Pacific Time. You can get the live streaming anywhere in the world by clicking HERE.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29, 2012

The countenance is the portrait of the soul and the eyes mark it's intentions. - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Forecast Calls For Snow

It's been brisk here on the mountain for the past several days. Rains, strong winds and the first signs of winter in Hawaii have kept things on the cool side. So cool, in fact, I was forced to wear shoes on two consecutive mornings and you know how much I hate that.

Yesterday morning, a seasonal snowfall occurred in-studio. The outtake above an avalanche, in fact, brought on by some overenthusiastic family members enlisted as snow pelters. 

Many thanks to JC (no not that one) for the snow! You turned a young man's morning into a winter wonderland and added yourself to the Honor Roll.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday. November 7, 2012

In a matter of just over a week, so much has happened. So much has changed. Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest sent a small tsunami straight at my island home, forcing the mandatory evacuation of coastal dwellers island wide... across the entire island chain. Early predictions warned of the potential of tidal wave surges as high as 5 ft. Sizable enough to get serious about protecting life & limb, pets and a handful of valuables. In the end, a small surge arrived at our shores, moving a visible waterline of debris a foot or more along certain beach areas, no damage to be reported. Evacuations to higher ground, for the most part, conducted in an orderly & timely fashion. Another bullet dodged.

Three days later, the East Coast is ravaged & flooded by Sandy, leaving millions without power, homes & businesses either destroyed or badly damaged. In a matter of days, two humbling reminders that life is precious, sometimes fleeting and that security is a transitory state of being. Word from family & friends back east is that recovery is underway, most of my closest escaping the worst eventualities.

Other than the brief scare & excitement generated by the tsunami potential, island life goes on unabated. Inundated at the moment with projects to occupy the bulk of my time until year's end and then some...

A wave of island & mainland support alike, perhaps not of tsunami proportions, swept over the national political scene, leading to some serious nail-biting moments last evening as the first few returns began rolling in from closing polls in the east. I was certain we were in for a long night, probably having to wait until this morning or longer for the final results as the presidential candidates swapped leading positions almost by the minute until the polls closed on the west coast. By 8pm it was all over, the sitting president handed another four years as conservative pundits gnashed teeth, snarled, denied, broke down, soiled their panties and continued shaming themselves well into mid-day today. Definitely MUST SEE TV!

Spent most of last week hunkered down in a semi-luxury Waikiki Beachfront hotel photographing remodeled suites & amenities. Assistant Niki proving to be a valuable, not to mention enthusiastic accomplice, fine traveling companion, independently motivated and low-maintenance. What more could I possibly ask for?

Subject guest suites etc. nicely appointed and fun to photograph. Resort staff very much on the program and very helpful for this outing. Weather held gorgeous throughout the three day shooting, providing crisp, blue ocean views thru each portal to the outdoors.

Adjoining architecture from Waikiki's glory days

Instantly upon arrival home, I assumed the new mantle of official Program Director at the small, listener-support non-commercial FM radio station where I have been a weekly volunteer program host for going on ten years now. I am now referred to as Herr Direktor by a handful of the staff after immediately beginning to institute some much needed ship-tightening policies. Overall, support has been surprisingly, well... supportive, given that for at least the past five years, we have remained in operation and on the air with NO management. Just getting up to speed with staffing & scheduling issues consumed the better part of the weekend. You can tune-in here on the island at 91.5 FM. Those of you unfortunate enough to live elsewhere can tune-in via live streaming over the intertubes here:

Preproduction in full swing for the ongoing print campaign for an island tourism authority, a pro-bono shoot for a a young wish recipient for the Make-a-Wish Foundation is in the planning stages, an outreach campaign for the island's arts & performance center begins on Sunday, next week monday we shoot new wines & products for the island's only vineyard and begin planning for the Maui & Kauai legs of the same resort project that took us to Waikiki last week. Tomorrow it's down to a south shore resort for an afternoon of scouting for another print campaign - a new client also providing a complimentary night of luxury. The Mrs. will be quite happy to join me on this one and she deserves it after bearing down through all the disruption, noise & dust of Project Phases I & II. 

In between all of that, it's back to the Big Island and another Maui location to capture the visual essence of two Tommy Bahama island outlets

Back at the farm, Phase III of the construction project is coming to a close. Interior is now taped & mudded, primed & textured and the first coat of paint goes on tomorrow. By early next week, I should be installing the flooring & baseboards. My better half should be in the position to take up occupancy by the following weekend, just as childhood friends & family arrive from the mainland and descend upon my home to assist in the annual turkey massacre. 

Best wishes & thoughts going out to east-coasters still suffering from storm ravaging. Congratulations going out to our president for handily winning another four years to continue the monumental tasks at hand. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

This May Be The Best Advice For Organizing Your Portfolio Yet

Photographer, blogger and master self-promoter Chase Jarvis conducted this video interview about a year ago. It was recently reposted at his blog. Allegra Wilde, visual strategist and founder of spends about an hour and a half talking about ways to organize your work that may really help in holding the attention of art buyers while not only showcasing your work but allowing them a glimpse into your personal vision when it comes to making images. 

Over the years, I have spent considerable time talking to clients, designers, consultants and art buyers about how to best represent my own work. This video contains some of the best advice I've heard yet.

Thanks Chase. Thanks Allegra.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kona Stories

Arrived in the quaint, seaside town of Kailua-Kona late sunday afternoon and headed straight to the waterfront drag in search of photo-ops. 

Checked into our lodgings for the next few days, only to find that miscommunications between mainland corporate offices and local property management meant that two of three scheduled resorts were as yet unfinished. As the multi-day assignment also called for a day of shooting iconic Big Island scenery, we quickly regrouped and spent Day 1 driving around under thick skies laden with volcanic smog emissions in search of sun & scenics. Though the skies were uncooperative for the most part, the effort was not entirely in vain and yielded a handful of good imagery.

Kailua-Kona Waterfront

Our arrival coincided with the arrival of a late season south swell producing waves all up & down the south-west coast. Body surfers, body boarders, surfers & SUP enthusiasts were out en-masse taking full advantage of the sizable surf.
Drop-in @ Magic Sands Beach
After our stop to shoot surf at Magic Sands, we headed further south towards towards to coffee growing district of South Kona & Capt. Cook. The smell of fresh roasting beans filled the air as the volcanic fog thickened the further south we traveled. Stopping for a quick lunch in Capt. Cook, we decided to head towards what appeared to be distant blue skies in the upcountry regions of North Kohala & Waimea. Ascending the mountains, the air grew cooler, the skies clearer and the views spectacular as we made our way roughly two hours northward, all the way to the small community of Hawi. Stopping here for caffeine replenishment, it was back on the road along the Kohala Coastline thru Kawaihai, Hapuna, past the mega-resort destinations of Waikaloa & Hualalai, stopping occasionally to make photos at scenic vantage points.

The Road to Hawi

St. Peters By The Sea
Finally making our way back to the Kailua-Kona District just in time for sunset, it was back down to La'aloa Beach to capture images I wanted to make during my last trip here but was thwarted by rain... the ruins of Haukalua Heiau and ceremonial platform, an 800 year old temple, originally  situated nearby but demolished & rebuilt at it's present site to make way for a parking lot. This time, luck was with us... conditions were excellent for photography!

The following day was spent completing the architectural & interior portions of our asssignment, repacking the gear for travel and then speeding back to the airport to catch an early evening flight back home.

Ceremonial Platform @ Haukalua Heiau

Sunday, we are off again, this time to the island of Oahu to shoot a newly renovated property in Waikiki.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meet Niki

Organizing the gear curbside in Kona after successfully negotiating check-in at OGG, Niki undertakes her first trial-by-fire as new first assistant on a four day Big Island architectural assignment for Wyndham Resorts. 

Arriving late yesterday afternoon, we immediately headed to the Kona waterfront to shoot scenic stock as the last rays of sun melted into the horizon. Later, we shared a fine meal of spicy Indian offerings, loaded up on provisions for the morning and checked in to our lodgings for the week. Niki checked out the hotel hot tub while I organized the schedule for our time here.

Today will be hectic with two resorts to cover... a third will fill tomorrow's daylight hours while our final day's agenda will be to capture iconic scenics & points of interest here on the Big Island. 

Welcome aboard, Niki!

Friday, October 19, 2012



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Scout

Annual production budgets have apparently been accumulating for the past 10 months and have suddenly been cut loose & put to use, needing to be spent before we say goodbye to 2012. 

This is all good news, of course. It's been an almost overnight opening of the floodgates on confirmed & potential advertising assignments over the course of the past couple of days. The pressure is on... with four MAJOR projects lasting several days and a few other smaller projects now requiring completion sometime around the end of this month. Travel plans to three islands are being finalized for the next two weeks with two other assignments to be completed closer to home. Next month will also involve more inter-island travel for two final architectural gigs requiring several days each.

Yesterday, met Oahu agency folks at the airport for a long day of scouting the island one end to the other. On the lookout list were rustic, old town store fronts, trees with enormous gnarled roots, friendly domesticated goats, pastoral panoramic island scenics, dusty mountain trails and the obligatory pristine beach or three...

A mid-day refueling of ramen noodles & spicy kim-chee, dramatic big surf and humorous shop-talk made the hours pass quickly & pleasurable as we checked off each item, one-by-one, on our must-find list. 

Arriving back at the airport with my passenger cargo just as darkness began to fall, there was just enough time for agency CD to make her flight back to H'lulu, she having the foresight to pre-print the requisite boarding pass. Sadly, the AE for this gig didn't... missing her flight and being forced to wait an hour for the next Oahu plane.

Now it's onto the scheduling, logistical and casting tasks at hand.

Phase III of land-fort construction project began bright & early this morning. Framers moved in at 7:30am to dig out massive Bird of Paradise plants now in the way and in need of relocation. A short time later, three pallets of lumber were delivered. A couple of hours later, the crew had the foundation piers dug in and set. An hour after that, floor beams had been set. With any luck at all, we will be all framed in by the weekend. I am seeing the light at the end of the construction tunnel coming and look forward to the end of the cash hemorrhage of the past 7 months.

After several days of breathless, windless, hot & humid days, the weather has taken a sudden turn. By late morning, prevailing tradewinds have slowly returned and a light mist has begun to fall. Temperatures have returned to cool & comfortable. 

Now... it's back to work for me. Here's a couple of glimpses of yesterday's journey:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Waiting

Wednesday... mid-day to be precise. A morning filled with early (6am) conference calls with clients in Florida as we prepare to embark on another series of architectural assignments around the state on their behalf. Plans are now underway for four days each on the Big Island & Kauai at the end of this month to capture that leg of the assignment. Maui & Kauai properties are being tentatively scheduled for early November. Dates for Oahu & Big Island now waiting confirmation so that flights, car and accommodations can be booked. With any luck, confirmation should come early tomorrow and the making of travel arrangements should occupy a substantial portion of the day.

In the meantime, besides the arranging of travel plans, there is a new potential first-assistant to bring up to speed, get familiar with the gear and workflow & get to know a little better before we fly off together. This will be her first time out with me and my hope is that she will learn quickly and bring a new enthusiasm to all present & future assignments. New blood is a good thing. As she came with outstanding references during our first meeting a couple of weeks ago, I am optimistic that all will work out for both of us and she will become a permanent fixture to the team for the next two or three years.

Now waiting for a second conference call with Oahu clients scheduled for 2pm to go over creative briefs for another series of advertising campaigns that will see national, perhaps even international exposure. Plans are underway to squeeze this one in sometime towards the end of this month. 

W called a short time ago with constructive criticism which is always welcome. W also sent one of her photographs for reciprocal comments, along with inquiries regarding another potential assignment which will have us traveling again back to the Big Island & Kauai. W's feedback is always most useful and thanks go out in the biggest of ways for her efforts in keeping me on track. Thank you... I know you're reading!

Work now completed on Phase II of construction with the delightful new "conference room/screen porch" trimmed, painted and partially furnished. I continue to scour CL daily for odds & ends to compliment the minimal decor presently filling the space.  Re-landscaping is well underway with the massive paving stones moved into place (not without considerable effort and some heavy machinery) and some plantings now established. Recent steady rains will assist in giving new roots a healthy head start.

For the past two days, the Portagee Wrecking Crew has turned up to completely dismantle and haul away an old, exterior outbuilding here at the farm. This clears the way to begin Phase III, the final bit of construction... a new & detached office space for B. She will be ecstatic if it is completed before Thanksgiving and there is every reason to believe that it could be done even before then. Materials should be ordered sometime tomorrow and delivered next week so that framing can begin almost immediately. Once B's space is completed, all that will be left is the scraping together of funds for a new fence to keep Chester the Wonder Dog from being squashed by speeding traffic as was his predecessor. 

Chester gets a grooming

Last Saturday, I took in the annual Maui County Fair, dishing up delicious BBQ pulled pork to the hungry throngs. Each year, Manao Radio, the local, non-commercial radio station that allows me time at the microphone each Tuesday morning, raises the bulk of it's annual operating funds by serving up heaping plates & buns of this southern delicacy. Business was brisk as soon as the gates opened that morning. The day was brilliant, weather-wise... perfect for riding the rides, wandering the midway, taking in the agricultural & 4H exhibits and downing a pork sandwich or three, all set against a magnificent back-drop of brilliant blue skies and emerald mountain peaks.

And now, the appointed hour has almost arrived. Time to sign off and prepare for the next conference call. The waiting is almost over...

Monday, October 1, 2012

No Swimming

More than a few childhood summer days spent breaking the law here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Health Care Campaign Is Ongoing

Despite the challenges of scheduling multiple physicians, nurses & hospital staff to gather for photography sessions (hey, they have lives to save after all...), the community relations campaign for the newly revitalized Maui Memorial Medical Center continues. 

The latest work to see the light of day below. Superior and heroic wrangling efforts by Karey Kapoi Oura. Clean, communicative design by Saedesign.

Very grateful to have had a hand in these. 

More to come...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hawaii Architectural Photographer

Here is just a handful of the architectural & interior design projects we have had the honor of producing during the past twelve months. Clients trusting us with their imaging needs include Prince Resorts Hawaii, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Resorts, Maui Architectural Group, Island Design Center, Maui No Ka Oi Magazine & Modern Luxury Hawaii Magazine to name just a few.

In addition to architectural assignments, specialties also include food & lifestyle portraying your properties & products always at their best.

See more at our online portfolio:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumnal Equinox

The first day of autumn arrived and nearly passed me by. Exhausted from a big night on the town, joining friends at Lahaina's newest eatery & entertainment venue for dinner and a show kept me out until well past the witching hour. Already tired from an early morning zipline shoot, several cups of strong java were required to make the drive to the west side. Being a consistently early riser, these rare (for me) late night outings take their toll.

Joined for the show by mad Scotsman and bagpiper, Hamish, fully dressed in formal piping gear complete with kilt & "codpiece" made of newly born Badger pelts.

I did manage to crawl out of bed to retrieve the latest craigslist score... a nearly new Weber kettle BBQ grill, purchased for the measly sum of $5. The deal was it had to be picked up before 9:30am (along with the handing over of a crisp fiver) to consumate the transaction. With that in mind, Chester & I piled into the red pick-up, retrieved our treasure, headed to Pukalani to stock up on grilling provisions and then on to a walk at the dog park as is our morning custom.

Limping home after the pup walk and since it was raining anyway, a good sunday nap was in order in celebration the arrival of autumn. (That's my excuse & I'm sticking to it....)

Rumors of the impending arrival of the seasons's first big winter swell had the island buzzing yesterday. As promised, consistent yet sloppy 8-12 ft. surf began pounding the island's north shore just about the time I was pulling the covers up to my chin early this morning.

After naptime, headed down to Hookipa Beach Park to check out the swell, running into occasional dog-walking companion and mad videographer Santi & his son Tosh, also down to check out the surf action. Solid 8-footers were rolling into the lanes with good consistency but sloppy form. Only a couple of kite surfers were out, along with a solitary long-boarder trying to make his way through the inside slop and contenting himself with just playing around well out of reach of the thundering waves hitting the outside reefs.

Welcome to the arrival of the winter water-sport season! It's been a long, dry summer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bad Blogger!

Despite all good intentions to add regular update posts to this thing, the past two weeks have gotten away from me as we finished up Phase II of construction. Most of the painting now complete & trim nailed into place, there is only some minor touch-up work and a final permit inspection standing in the way of commencing the demolition of a small perimeter building and start of Phase III. Once completed, this will provide my better half with a proper, detached office space... something she keenly wishes to occupy before the holiday season is upon us. 

So, updates may continue in spotty fashion for a bit longer yet as I take up hammer, saw & paint brushes over the next few weeks, all while dashing to & fro between assignments, studio and construction site. 

The end is near... there is light down the tunnel and all has, so far, exceeded expectations. Now, onto the meat...

Got a call yesterday from a Seattle based fashion photographer inquiring about the availability of seasoned and competent photographic assistants here on the island. Oddly enough, I find myself conducting a similar search. After wading through a multitude of responses to my search, nearly all of them falling short of the mark, interviews were granted to two candidates with some potential to make the cut. But that is another story for another time...

Said photographer just happened to be in the neighborhood when she called. After a brief and hopefully illuminating phone chat, arrangements were made that she drop round the studio for coffee and further dialog. A short time later, Rachel Olsson pulled into the driveway on a shiny new, italian-designed crotch-rocket, grabbed her backpack, peeled out of her leathers and we sat down to swap lies and war stories about the declining state of the industry. Charming, funny, engaging and above all, talented, I liked her immediately and loose plans were made to collaborate on something and to keep in touch.

I enjoyed the rare opportunity to engage with a colleague well-versed in the commercial/editorial realm and look forward to future opportunities to engage.

And, while we are speaking of chatting about photography... another rare opportunity presents itself on the evening of September 27th when David Ulrich - fine-art photographer, author, former island resident and current Program Coordinator of the Pacific New Media Center at University of Hawaii, Manoa will present a free lecture at Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center in Makawao. David has been an old friend, teacher & active photographer, with over 75 exhibitions under his belt & a book titled THE WIDENING STREAM: THE SEVEN STAGES OF CREATIVITY published several years ago.   

The free lecture begins at 5:30pm in the Hui's Media Lab. Be sure to mark your calendars.

Following the lecture, on Friday, September 28th, David & his partner will be conducting a workshop titled:

Creativity & Yoga: Exploring the Creative Process

The workshop runs from 10am-4pm. You can find more details HERE.

"Shelby Falls MA"  ©1975 David Ulrich

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Outlook: Rain

Rain indeed. Deluge, downpour, afternoon drenching. 

Finished painting & porching just before the opening of the heavens. Pleasant dampness and cool air creeps thru newly installed screens. Much welcome relief to still, hot, humidity of the earlier part of the day. 

RG dropped 'round this morning to discuss visual elements to grace the cover of a forthcoming musical project. A change in album title comes about after some photo idea riffing.

Once the rains set in, nothing left to do but retreat inside to continue the ongoing emptying of boxes and thrusts at a sensible
organization scheme. 

Intermittent emailing of stock licensing negotiations and eventual agreement by all parties enriched the coffers significantly or at least enough to pay off Backhoe Gary who, amidst the torrential downpour, just dropped off his Bobcat to be put into use early tomorrow morning resetting massive walkway stones. 

500 promo SPAM sent out early yesterday yielded a couple of good response inquiries today. 

And now the day has ended. Tomorrow brings new adventures...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

One for all the great men & women that DID build it..

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Move Completed, New Month-Era Begun

Yesterday - finished up the final clean-out of former studio of the past 19 years, dropping off keys & hauling the final load of accumulated life's work to the new image factory just before sundown. 'Twas a monumental task of going thru boxes & boxes of old chromes, transparencies, equipment and equipment bits- amassed and stored in the dark recesses of the old studio loft. Things that had piled up... kept because someday I just might need this. So far, someday hasn't turned up and I now hold no illusions that it will, so off to the dump with much of it. We are scaled down now... mean & lean. 

Still unable to part with the two Sinar 4x5 cameras, the two Hassies and fortunately, there is a huge box of film left. 120 Chrome, B&W, several boxes of Fujichrome & TriX 4x5 sheets, 35mm. chrome, B&W, Infrared, several boxes of Polaroid 59, a few coveted sheets of 55, lots of medium format Polaroid 669. These WILL be put to use & soon as the missus says there's no room in the fridge to store them. 

The previous week or two has been filled with tasks of organization of the old space, cleaning and repainting the former darkroom and all the little details required before the handing over of the keys....

And now it is done.

There has also been a flurry of assignment work to attend to... 

A trip to the Hospital & OR to capture promotional images for local crack cardiovascular surgical team really highlighted the collaborative nature of portrait sessions of any sort. When surgeons usurped their PR handler, suggesting that we delay the group shots until a real OR was available a couple of hours later, I believed (and rightly so as things turned out) that if this team felt they were involved in the decision making in regards to their photographs, things could only work out for the best because they would really be on-board with getting good images. Two hours later, I found myself "suiting-up" in blue scrubs outside the Heart, Brain & Vascular Center wing only to find that lighting gear had to be removed from cases, cleaned and prepped before entre' into the surgical arena was allowed. This complicated things just a bit as we were very limited in time for this shot. The prepping of the gear would be time consuming. 

And this is were the use of digital photo technology far exceeds working with film... 

Once I was clothed in scrubs, I entered the OR to scout for exactly what I would need in terms of lighting. In the end, I opted to wing it, dispense with lights altogether. Cranking up the camera's ISO to almost max, aiming the overhead operating lights so that they bounced off a white sheeted gurney and placing subjects around said gurney yielded excellent results and a really beautiful, wrap-around light. Had I been shooting film, such a shot would have been nearly impossible with mixed lighting of florescent & incandescent requiring complex & multiple filtration and long-long exposures where subjects were sure to blur.

There were also meetings with the powers-that-be controlling sugar production in the state. I have been negotiating with them for several months now to gain access to pre-dawn flaming fields of sugar cane, personnel & access to photograph inside the mill... access that is, I'm told, routinely denied. Final word came down last week. Access & full cooperation granted.

The there was a full day of food, interior and lifestyle images for the north shore's preeminent tiki-themed eatery and a trip to Superstar Chef Allan Wong's newest island venue for an editorial shoot for Northern California's Via Magazine. 

Odd for me, there was even a wedding thrown into the recent assignment mix with a lovely couple, husband-to-be a talented graphic designer, referred to me by another colleague. I was hesitant, though the income produced would certainly aid in defraying the ongoing & mounting studio construction costs. Reluctantly, I accepted due to their insistence that they in no way wanted anything looking like anything they had seen on the websites of our many island wedding photographers... which is a good thing due to my cluelessness about how to even approach shooting a wedding.

All went well in the end with the happy couple turning up at the new studio a few days later, bearing bottles of lovely wine to toast, view & approve the results from their happy day.

Wyndham Resorts empire continues to expand throughout the islands. Last year they kept us busy traveling around the state and it suddenly appears that they will do the same this year with 8 new properties on four island's now waiting for photography. 

And there's more zip-lining to shoot in coming weeks with another course to cover for previous clients along with a new operator's course to photograph for the visitor pubs. 

The move and multiple assignments have left me knackered. Fortunately, we have a three-day weekend as we celebrate the official close of summer months. Art-Buyer vacations will soon be over and it's time to organize and distribute a new email promo-spam which I plan to begin in the next couple of days.

Happy Labor Day to all! 

I leave you with one of the videos from a six part series called Capture, produced by the always brilliant Mark Seliger of Rolling Stone Magazine fame. Conversations with notables... revealing, inspiring & humbling; this episode with photography icon Albert Watson. Other episodes include portrait master Platon, photographer, director & actor Dylan McDermott & other legends of the industry.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"I think They All Suck..."

"I think they all suck. The picture I was hoping for is never the picture I get, but yeah, I think they fail all the time."
"It’s amazing, but it’s weird to be on the far side of a learning curve. And it’s always like that. If you learn how to use a Deardorff, you’ll always know how to use every 8×10 camera. You’re good to go. But if you learn how to use the 5D and then the 5DMKII, each one is a little bit different. They have different focus points. If you want to switch from Aperture to Lightroom, you have to learn how to do all that stuff. It’s a constant learning curve which I hadn’t signed on for. I wanted to grow in terms of making pictures, not adapting to new software and technology. But that’s the game now."

- Gregory Heisler in an interview with Grayson Schaffer
Find the entire interview HERE

It's always nice to find that your heros feel the same about their work as I feel about mine most days. Thank you Mr. Heisler.

It's been a week of weird here at the farm... weddings... suicides.. comings... goings. Two mornings spent archiving fabulous free-form wood vessel-sculptures created by reknown artist Derek Bencomo, an afternoon spent documenting the nuptial bliss of strangers (we are nothing if not versatile!), several hours spent lashing together estimates and the ongoing reorganization of all things transported from old surroundings to new. 

In between shots it was running errands for builders & painters, pleading and cajoling with county building inspectors over on-the-fly structural permutations to architectural plans for the new screened conference room, multiple runs to & from the old work digs to the new and the sad discovery that neighbors took the final exit using the shotgun route. 

But today is another day... structural permutations receiving initial approval as of this morning just as nuptial retouching was wrapping up, priming and painting begun on the conference room, which should, with any luck and decent weather, wrap up tomorrow. Roof, screening and door installation should finish up next week, bringing to an end PhaseII of construction. 

Inside PhaseI, what once seemed an immense space is filling up quickly as old studio is emptied & valuables transported to new. Gallery installation genius Uncle Darrell dropped by and lent a hand to the hanging of the flash and the place is beginning to shape up nicely. 

Entrance & Command Console

Gallery & Shoot Space