Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Conversation With Daniel

This blog post is long overdue, and due to the hectic nature of the last few weeks/months, I won't have enough time to go into full detail. However, there's something very important happening tonight that I want everyone to know about.

I'm sure almost everyone remembers Daniel, the beagle that was put, with other dogs, into a gas chamber in an Alabama shelter to be euthanized, and came out alive. Late last year Daniel made headlines for surviving the gas chamber when all the other animals in with him died, proving that user error was not a factor.

Shortly after, he was taken in by 11th Hour Rescue in NJ, and then adopted to Joe Dwyer of Nutley, NJ. I had worked previously with Joe when I filmed some footage of his pit bull rescue Shelby for a music video that I was asked to make for Monica Richards' cover of the song "Like Animals." Joe contacted me in late January, along with a mutual friend of ours, multiple award-winning director/producer Steven C. Crowley, to ask if I would help create a short film that outlined Daniel's story and explained what lies ahead for him.

I was honored to help and was brought in as Director of Photography and Editor of the film. We shot over 2 months time and I edited along the way to speed up the process. We hit a few minor speed bumps, but I feel we were very blessed to have an incredible team of people on the project that worked well together. It also helps that we all shared the common goal of telling Daniel's story and using it to save animals in the future.

Tonight at the Pets & Heroes Awards Dinner, the film will premier to an audience of over 200 animal advocates, as well as premiering online via Daniel's Facebook profile and fan page, and later tonight on his official website

If you have not yet joined the event on Facebook, you can do so here.

Around 5PM EDT, we will be making the video public and posting it to various pages associated with Daniel and this project.

Please join us tonight. If you don't, or if you're reading this after the event/premier is over (my fault, no time to blog lately) please know that you can access it any time, as it will be available indefinitely on YouTube after tonight.

More soon,

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Think Inside The Box

A long-time friend of mine got in touch recently and asked me if I could take some new head shots for him to use with his resume and LinkedIn profile. After working out our schedules, I realized this would be the perfect chance for me to try out my new pop-up softboxes from LCD4Video.

I bought a field monitor for shooting video some time back from LCD4Video, and as usual with any catalog/website/vendor, I routinely get emails with special deals. They recently had a sale on their hot shoe pop-up softboxes, which were already a steal to begin with. I'd been looking into the same item, but from Lastolite, for some time, and just couldn't justify the cost for the amount of times I'd use it, so when these showed up in my inbox for a fraction of the cost, I figured, even if they were garbage, it wasn't a total loss. Well, much to my very  happy surprise, when they came in I noticed the build quality and portability I needed was there, and I didn't have to spend hundreds on a pair. When I do location portraits, I'm a two-light kinda guy, most of the time, unless I need to blast the background with some light or color (in the studio, that's a whole other story).

They provide the perfect amount of softening while not losing too much power. I was able to shoot at full power, and half or quarter power, and get a very nice ratio between my main and fill.

Enough geek talk, back to the shoot. Since we both have very busy schedules, it worked out best for him to meet me at my 9-5 at the end of the day, that way neither of us had to fight crazy amounts of traffic getting home. Since I work at a print shop, it's very cluttered, so finding a place to actually shoot the photos was enough of a challenge, never mind needing room to set up lighting. The lack of space is what made the hot shoe softboxes perfect for this. I slapped some white paper in front of the vending machine and got my Canon speedlights up on some stands with the softboxes, dialed in what I thought was a good ratio based on the distance to the subject, and then just tweaked my in-camera settings to get the right exposure.

Here's a pull-back view of the setup:

You can see the main light up high on the right, and the fill to the left side just behind the supply rack.

Then we just went through the usual range of faces, positions, etc. 

Here are a couple fun photos from the session:

I call this one, the Politician

This one is known as the "Buddy Christ" (if you've never seen the movie Dogma, you might not understand)

These are un-retouched photos right out of the camera, all I did was crop in. I usually leave any retouching requests up to the client, and will take care of the photos as per their instruction.

I'm running a special throughout the month of March for all NY or NJ clients. $50 head shot specials. Travel costs may apply depending on your location. Get in touch for more details or to book a session.

I'll have some more news coming soon on another project I've been working on since late January, so keep an eye out for that.

More soon,