I think I’m done editing them. You can only play so much until you’re either happy with what you’ve captured or you set the photos aside until your skills improve.
I desperately wanted to make a killer panoramic print that has the entire gate complete with graffiti and teddy bears, but after many attempts, I gave up. For one, I shot it handheld and thought I could match it up myself (I couldn’t) and two, I took too many photos. I should’ve put my 24mm on and took fewer photos, but I wanted a certain look and opted for the 70mm-200mm and shot at 100mm. Bad decision. Oh well, learn for the next time.
It’s really two sets, the crucified puppets and graffiti, but I added them together. The stuffed animal photos are heavily saturated to give it a visceral effect. I wanted them to feel angry. I think it comes through. I put in the panoramic’s to show how they looked in their environment. If only I could’ve stitched them together….ugh!
My friend, Brian, has exquisite taste in art and many years ago he procured the rights from Sylvia Shaw Judson’s estate to recreate her statues. He had the foresight to know that almost everyone would love to have a Sylvia Shaw Judson statue in their yard or garden (we have several). Using state of the art laser mapping?? (I don’t know the technical aspects – but I know it’s state of the art) he searches out original Judson statues and has casts made so the statues you buy from him might as well come straight from Sylvia herself. If you’re interested in checking out his statues, stop by his website.
Recently, I went to Atlanta to a market show and stopped by his booth. I took some photos.
This past April, I drove from North Carolina to Kansas to pick up my mother and move her to Michigan to take care of my father. It would have been exciting if my father’s health wasn’t so poor, because my mother hated living in Kansas. It’s a desolate place where there isn’t much to do. My mom doesn’t have many hobbies, but she likes to play bingo and the nearest place to play was a half an hour away and she had to rely on friends to take her because she had no car.
I’ve been there numerous times to visit her over the past decade, but I hated going. Really, there’s nothing to do. There’s maybe two stores in town – a grocery store and a pizza store – and only the pizza store had VHS tapes to rent. Yes, VHS. And some DVDs, but their selection was very small and I’d mostly seen everything they had to offer. And most of the time, the store was closed – either seasonally or in transition of ownership; I didn’t care to know why, I wasn’t staying.
But there’s a weird thing about towns like this – they’re ripe for photo and video opportunities. I could shoot thousands of fantastic things out there if I had the time. Of course, you have to be careful; there are many people there that grow weed or make meth and they don’t like it when photographers start taking photos of their homes – as I learned. If I didn’t have a business card on me showing my website, I may have been in trouble.
Below are some photos I took while I was there in April and a short video I made to remember the town by. Most likely, since my mom moved, I’ll never be going back.
I told myself I wouldn’t do the movie/music reviews anymore (I used to on an old blog), because there are so many people out there doing that already (I recommend James Berardinelli), but I get asked a lot because I’m in the industry. So I thought I would just post a list of the best movies/music I saw/listened to this year. And these titles aren’t limited to release date, but what I actually discovered this year.
I just spent the weekend in Atlanta. Had a great time hobnobbing with the locals while watching the exciting Falcon/Seahawk’s game. Being a Detroit Lions fan, I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in a bar watching the Lions win a playoff game. And I’ve had 16 years of opportunities to do so. How sad. What was I talking about? Oh yeah…..
I also had some time to look for photo opportunities and there were many. The graffiti in Atlanta was great. I wish I had more time to spend there. I haven’t finished editing my set yet, but here’s a little preview of what’s to come:
Towards the end of the year, you often run into people you haven’t seen in a while at holiday parties and events and the obligatory question always comes up, “what have you been up to this year?” I never know how to answer that question. I rarely think about what I’ve done, but always what I’m going to do next. But this year, I started thinking about that question and decided it would be cool to answer it with a video. So I ran through my files and started pulling little clips of what I shot and put it together.
This past September, two of my closest friends got married and I was able to attend the wedding. I brought my camera to take some photos, but when I noticed she had two photographers there, I decided to capture some video. It ended up being a good thing because apparently, in this age with everyone having a video camera via phone on them, I was the only one that took any video. They were very grateful.
It took me several months to edit it together. I didn’t plan on shooting video, so I didn’t have a tripod or anything to stabilize my camera with and it took me a long time to find the right song. This is actually my second video that didn’t come together until I finally found the right song.
I recently made a short film for a local film festival here in Greensboro, North Carolina called the Fruitcake Film Festival. My friend Mickey approached me and said we hadn’t done a claymation in a while and he was right, so we decided to do it for the festival.
The festival does have several restrictions: all videos have to be either 10 seconds, 30 seconds or 60 seconds (not including credits), they all have to be family friendly and have a holiday theme.
I came up with a couple of ideas and this was the one Mickey and I liked the best. I called my talented friend Marie Stone van Vuuren to help us, because she’s been wanting to work with me on a claymation for a long time. She then incorporated her friend Sheila Duell to help and the four of us got to work.
Of all the short films I’ve done up to this point, I feel like this was the least amount of work I put in. It’s nice when you have a talented crew. I just told them what I was looking for and that was it. Marie built, selected and placed almost everything you see in the video. Sheila painted the wall to make it look like a real wall instead of the cardboard it actually was, and she hung the paintings and Mickey did what he does best: animate. I just came over, built the Santa Claus, lit the scene and shot it.
Here are some stills of production:
This is the room before it’s lit.
After lighting. I wanted it to feel like midnight and lit by the moonlight.
Mickey fixing Santa’s hat.
Mickey swapping eye balls to make Santa look like he’s blinking. Oh yeah, Marie made the beard. I don’t think I could’ve done one that well.
Last Monday, Jeremy Messersmith stopped by our house to perform for his Supper Club Tour. We had some great food, great wine, made some new friends and had a great time. Oh yeah, and he played some music.
The first thing he did was give us a nice gift for us offering our home for the tour.
Apparently, he’s a mushroom hunter. I verified that he knew what he was doing (I’d hate to die from eating a poisonous mushroom. I’d rather die from spontaneous combustion). He assured me that he did, but I’m still waiting to hear news from a killing spree by mushroom toting musician. If I don’t hear anything soon, I’ll take a nibble.
He was also gracious enough to sign my albums and take a few photos.
My girlfriend* took this photo, hence the soft focus..
I’m happy that I got some new photos for the portfolio:
I love music. I love concerts. But I’m not particularly fond of large concerts. I don’t like being a half mile away from the act and barely being able to see them. And most large venues have horrible acoustics. So I like to discover great bands/artists early, see them when they’re in small intimate venues and not bother when they get too big to play the small clubs anymore. So when one of my new favorite artists announced a house party tour, I jumped right in.
Recently, Jeremy Messersmith announced he was going to do a supper club tour. It’s going to be a house party where guests have to make a dish and pass it around like a potluck, but with Jeremy performing in the house. How freaking cool is that!? So when I saw he was coming to North Carolina, I got excited and offered my home for the supper club tour. After a few e-mails with his manager, it’s been finalized and he’ll be playing in my home on November 19th. If you’re in the Winston-Salem area, you should get some tickets and swing by. It’s going to kick ass.
If you have some time, check out his music on his website and check out this song on soundcloud. Below is one of my favorite music videos.