Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 08

Last day of the month ... this went by quickly.

Set out for a short urban decay shoot this morning only to find out a couple of homeless have taken possession of the building. I did shoot for a while but left ... didn't feel comfortable with the idea of invasion of privacy although no one was there.

*   *   *
Sarah Ellis and Betcee May in a fun and not so controlled moment ... priceless !

*   *   *

I was asked recently when I picked up photography and what the appeal was at the time.  I had to think about that one. 

As long as I can remember I was fascinated with camera's and I owned at various times during my childhood and teenager years a couple of cheap plastic film camera's that never performed.  (110 format and 6 x 6 ~ Diana I believe ...)  In those days I didn't have the money either to buy film and process it.

Fast forward to 1978.  I started collaborating with Peter Beyls, modern artist extra-ordinaire ... computer music, computer graphics ... I developed a ton of hardware for our joint projects over the years and Peter was crucial in my development as an electronic music medium artist.

Peter always documented his work with the camera and I've seen a ton of great B&W images in his studio.  I used to have quite a few of his pictures of him and me taken during various concerts or interactive collaboration efforts.  Unfortunately, I lost all of these during the various moves I went through.  For sure Peter made me take attention of the power of B&W photography and also the various cultural modernist movements in the US.  Peter was already well traveled and extremely well spoken in the 70's.  (I recommend reading his short bio)

In the 1982-1983 time frame I developed a digital image capture interface that connected to a analog video camera and we were able to digitize analog video signals and come up with a digital, monochrome, image on the computer screen.  There were no printers in those days that could handle the output of the Seiko multi-processor unit (pre-PC) we were using ... so I had to buy a 35mm film camera to capture the output of the screen ... hilarious if one thinks about this in 2008 technology.

The rest is history ... I've always owned a camera since then and I've been tremendously active in the full digital imaging processing chain.  Developed computer hardware, camera's and software in the field. 

Both our 8 channel computer controlled synthesizer Peter talks about in his bio and the camera system above were featured in the television program "IJsbreker" for the Belgian and Dutch National Television in 1985.  There's somewhere a video excerpt floating around on the internet of Peter and me taking down an environmental art installation in MOMA Ghent in 1985.  Would love to get my hands on that segment.

Continued ...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 08

Didn't get to do any edits last night after all ... got sidetracked ... in a good relaxing way ...

Today is shopping & cleaning day. Getting ready for a shoot tonight ... concept, accessories ... filling in two storyboards ...

Working on shoot prep for an October concept.  Called April ... She's good to go for that concept ... need one or two more models for that shoot ...

Long night ahead, still need to make up for the edits from last night ... these are fun ones ...
*   *   *
Betcee May and Lauren Warner arrived on time and got to work after quick introductions ... it's always good to see how professionals "click" in no time.  It's my third shoot with Betcee May  and my fourth with Lauren Warner.  They both know by now what I'm looking for and I trust Lauren will do a stellar job on Betcee.   I'm shooting Betcee May today with a beauty make up accentuating her mostly blue eyes while keeping the long curly flowing hair.

The first concept is shot outdoors.  There's a hill across my studio and that hill overlooks Alameda creek all the way till Coyote Hills at the bay.  Magnificent view but it takes a half hour climb to get there, a little over a mile with 800 feet of altitude difference.

Before we left for the hill, Sarah Ellis arrived and it was wonderful to see the mutual respect between the two models and the excitement for a duo shoot.  What a team !

The pictures to the left feature Betcee during the climb ... something she did with flying colors on sandals.  This girl truly grew up in the outdoors and I had the pleasure seeing her in action on steep riverbanks a couple of months ago.

When we got back Sarah Ellis was in the Dior make-up chair and Lauren was finishing off with the hair.  In the meantime I shot a couple of new backlighting set-ups with Betcee.

Soon both models were interacting in front of my lens in a splendid exchange of looks, intertwined arms and ... of course ... laughs.

Finished the evening with some Sarah Ellis solo work.  Black leggings, black heels, ethnic jewelry and my wrought metal iron chair.

Never got to do my edits ...  talked with Nicole in preparation of our next shoot ...

More pictures later.

Continued ...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Busy day at work ... not surprisingly, the last day before the long weekend ... solved some sticky customer issues to everyone's satisfaction ... life is good.

Went shopping for some new toys ... I'm a guy after all ... lol

Posted the Newbie Model of the Week composite on Newbie Model of the Week 
... I'm the OP since a couple of months for this forum thread, all a part of giving back to the community at large.

Working on more edits, planning on doing a couple of retouches tonight ... April, Nicole, Betcee, Sarah, Tiana ... plenty of it to go around.

Thursday, August 28, 08

Working on shoot edits and posting them to the client section of my website at Amedeus Photo

Send some candid shots off to a friend ... lab prints are on their way ...

Enjoyed some great feedback on my latest shoots.  I'm a bit behind in the editing process but waiting is well worth it as I'm kind of meticulous in my retouches.

Worked on an image of Betcee May in a creek in my backyard ... this is the first image in a sequence of ten ... enjoy ... this is from a sequence in my "Flashback" story

Evening was filled with  phone calls with my team in Singapore ... late night calls with editing in between.  

Last call from N. ... priceless ...

Continued ...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 08

Isabelle Reneaux graced my studio.  Tiana Hunter sent her my way.  Thank Tiana.  Lauren Warner for make-up and hair.

Isabelle got directed on the wrong BART train ... slow start, rocky start ... but that changed quickly after the first ice was broken and connection was established between the three of us.  The Dior make-up chair from Lauren does miracles ... lol

A crocodile and banana SMS cracked me up.  Don't be jealous.  Prop for the day: artichoke.

No pictures to share yet, that will take some time.  Happy though with what I've seen through the view finder.  Isabelle was on fire in the outdoor shoot on Mission Boulevard.  A 15 minute concept.  

We just stopped shooting and I had removed my memory cards out of the camera just in case ... yep ... a red and blue light cruiser rolled up and the officer walked up to us.  Totally ignored me when I tried to intercept him.  Walked right up to Isabelle and Lauren with a grin and a smile on his face.  I knew we were OK.

Isabelle and Lauren handled it perfectly.  Couldn't have done it any better.  The officer was totally professional and understood the boundaries and the law.  Expressed his concerns for the situation.  Promised to be more discrete in the future.  Be polite, be courteous, don't argue.  Thank God for understanding officers.

Back in the studio at 7:00pm ... dealt with a minor disturbance ... concisely ... don't sweat the small stuff ... peace of mind is so much more important ... good night ... I'm exhausted.

Continued ...

Tuesday, August 26, 08

Meetings, phone support for Europe and Asia and fielding little distractions in life ... sending some travel money to Amarilla (my daughter) for her trip to Belgium next week ... 

My friend Greg sent a model my direction and I agreed to do beauty shots for Katie.  Picked her up from BART, Rachelle Dalton did her usual make-up magic and we got some great images that will definitely be an addition to Katie's portfolio.  Happy.  

Just checked Greg's online portfolio and it seems we shot Katie in a similar outfit, similar pose ... ohh well ... great minds playing here ... lol.

*   *   *

Beauty shots have taken on a different dimension since my duo shoot with Sarah and her friend Rachel a couple of months ago.
Sarah had asked me to shoot her friend Rachel.  Rachel had never done a shoot before.  I had never shot a model "virgin" before.  

I was totally honored by the request as I'm not the only photographer in the area ... so ... this was very a very special occasion to start with.  In addition, I was blown away by some of the make-up work Lauren Warner did on a Paige White shoot with Sarah ... so, I hired Lauren Warner for the job ... another first.

Rachel left, Sarah right in this image of the shoot.

This shoot was a blast.  we started out with a more natural look for starters but I gave Lauren free range in regards to the beauty look.  Rachel got comfortable within 20 minutes with the idea of being in front of a camera.  She is beautiful and exudes confidence ... a radiant presence to be reckoned with ... just can't wait to see what develops over time.

The duo images from this shoot are over the top ... the friendship and love between these two models is showing through ... a connection I'm afraid only women know how to share.  

Granted it was my first duo shoot, maybe I'm a bit overly sensitive optimistic ... nevertheless, this shoot once more changed my perceptions of what can be achieved ... and that's a wonderful feeling in itself.

Continued ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 08

Busy day ... business demands attention ... morning flew by ... SMS cracked me up ... you have to watch what you're reading during a meeting ... crocodiles are hilarious ...

Working on edit of my photo shoot with April in London last week.

Picture of the day:

April is wearing vintage fur with a vintage bustier.   The Leica rangefinder is a 1946 model ... I just love how this camera looks.  Fully functional with a 5cm F1:2 lens but only used sparingly as a prop.

We got quite a few great images out of this look.  Shot in the late afternoon on Wellington Street in downtown London, ON in front of an antique store.

Quite a few onlookers and cars honking in support but April handled the distractions well.  Make-up and hair by Joy, wardrobe by April

This image is part of a sequence that was shot photojournalistic style.  I don't like posing this type of shots.   I rather explain the concept and let the model run with it.  More natural looking images.

Continued ...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 08

Making back up of the wedding pictures.

Slow day ... laundry, dishes, food shopping

Editing and posting the images from my Marliese Leitner shoot from August 12. Marliese responded in fastest turn around ever with her selection of pics she wants retouched ... great choices.

Got a phone call from a like minded friend ... broke the afternoon ... always good to chat and exchange thoughts on the things that keep us busy ...

Working on an edit from a candid shoot I've done ... love what I got ... hey ... it's candid ...

Evening ... dinner, reading, emails, getting ready to deal with some customer stuff ... updating the blog ... watering the plants

Continued ...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 08

Assisted shooting a wedding today.  All went smooth ... great shots and a fun couple.  Still don't understand why so many photographers have issues shooting weddings ... challenging, yes ... fun, yes ... got this whole series of a 9 year old hula dancer and her 3 year old nephew break dancing ... fun ... hilarious
Got back to the studio around 3:45 pm ... checking emails ... backing up files ... following up on my next shoots.

My picture of the day ... Sarah Ellis, make-up Lauren Warner ...

Slow but productive post-production weekend ...

Continued ...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Busy day at work and still dealing with the fall-out of a broken BlackBerry the other weekend.

Trip to Finland is cancelled.

Working on more pictures and a multi-shoot story-line.  Wardrobe selection in SF for my next LA shoot ... is going to be something different than what I normally do ... planning to shoot multiple models in the same space ... vintage alluring fashion ... meeting of the minds with N. ... more candid shots.

April sent me another pic from the previous weekend ... me ... as seen through the lens of my model ... lol ... no one ever takes pics of me.

Getting ready to shoot a wedding tomorrow, has been a while since I shot one but I love them ... challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Continued ...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 08

Busy day today with business matters.

Received a picture today from my shoot last weekend.  From left to right; Amanda (MUA), me and Lucinda Wedge in Lu's studio.  (Thanks April !)

Lu is moving to a new studio.  Air-conditioned.  Last time I worked in this location ... this location served me wonderfully well.  

Will be back in Los Angeles soon.

Continued ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home, August 20, 2008

Editing shots from my shoots with Carolin Sofie Lafleur.  

Unpacking, taking care of business.

Busy day at the office, new trip to Finland in the make.  September 10 ?

Backing up the shoots from LA and Canada.  All 44 Gig of data.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Los Angeles, August 16-18, 2008

Have a business meeting on Monday. Flew from Toronto to LA, staying with my daughter Amarilla. Shooting in the weekend in Lus's studio before she moves to her new one in September.

Worked with Elley, Starlett, NevaehlleH, filledevega. Expanding my portfolio, expanding my range.  Met Philip'e.  More friends.

Images later.  Shoot first, edit, retouch, storyboard later.

Blackberry got busted. Major inconvenience. We forget how quickly we depend on technology. Starbucks bailed me out. Long story. No Cliff notes.

Planning two more trips to LA in September. One more international trip in October.

*    *    *

Safe sex is good.  "Safe" living is not.  Take risk.  Risk rewards.  Safe = vanilla.   I like vanilla ice cream.  I do not love plain vanilla ice cream.  Maybe French vanilla with lots of topping ... just not plain vanilla.  You know who you are.  Where is the "safe" button.  Flip it.  Live.

There is coconut, cherry, pistachio and mango ice cream.  Try gelato.

To be continued ...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Canada, August 13-15, 2008

Travel to Toronto on the 13th. Early flight but I have these down. Home to gate in SFO in the early morning in 55 minutes. New personal record I believe.

Flight was uneventful ... just annoyed by the scrutiny my camera equipment gets at security each and every time I travel. Funny. TSA needs training.

Had dinner with April ... she selected a very nice restaurant in London ... the Black Trumpet ... the weather was nice, the patio was delightful ... food was good.

First business meeting with a new customer. Good to see a couple of my peers again. Meeting was successful.

August 14, afternoon shoot with April and Joy, the MUA. Fashion, definitely fashion. Vintage mink. Love it. Pictures later

August 15, morning meeting with the engineering team of a customer ... going in alone this time. Developed a test and measuring roadmap to assist the customer with their application problem. Solution is evident, need to follow up with data.

Out at noon. 1.5 hour drive to the airport, more security, more swabbing of camera and lenses, more stares, more questions. Boring.

Thank God for lounges with Wi-Fi. Writing this. Following up on email from friends and loved ones.


Home, August 12, 2008

Quick noon photo shoot with Marliese Leitner. She's based in Florida but travels the West Coast. Atletic, toned body ... beauty shots ... some editorial fashion ... trying out a different lighting technique.

Getting ready for my Canada / LA trip.

Business as usual, suppliers, customers, new projects. Love doing this ... the thrill of solving problems, discovering new technology and providing solutions for new projects and meeting like-minded people.

Continued a personal project in San Francisco with N. and had an incredible and very memorable dinner ... life has challenge but life is good. I'm working on my "Sogni d'Oro" storyboard. Pictures to follow. Visited a couple of galleries. I love seeing new artwork and follow the evolution of up and coming artists. So much more enjoyable in good company.

It feels like ages since I worked on images ... just not enough time. Shoot first, edit later

Working on four story boards and a number of composite prints.

Ordered a new template for a new website. Separating commercial from personal work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back home, jetlagged ... Sunday, August 10

Jet lagged but I'm managing well this time ... Melatonin and going to bed at the right times definitely helps.

Sunday ... quick shoot with Arjun Shah at the Mission San Jose in Fremont.  Shirts and suits ... fashion ... definitely fashion

Spend some time shooting head shots also ... the light was harsh and I was shooting against a white wall ... we'll see

*   *   *
I'm interested in extreme crops of faces lately ... it's hard to describe but I've always had a sweet spot for this ... I crop in camera so I know what I'm shooting and what to expect ... it is purely a matter of composing and framing and letting the light do the magic.

Love shooting with my Nikon 105mm F2.0 DC on my D2x ... the crop sensor makes this an extreme portrait telephoto lens while the defocus control let's me choose how soft I really want the image while producing an incredible bokeh ... same lens on my D3 produces excellent results but I'm constantly switching between two camera's.  D2x with the 105mm F2.0 DC lens and my D3 with the 28-70mm F2.8 AFS lens

The above image from Nicole is toned for print ... intend to print this one at 20" x 30" ... like these larger than life-size. This image is again about connection ... Nicole is glued to whatever is going on ... connection, not posing ...

Continued ...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Travel, August 8

Travel back home ... this visit to Singapore was short but successful ... mission achieved.

Departing from the new terminal ... what a difference ... there are a couple of nice flowery sculptures at the entrance of this terminal ... don't miss them ... great texture ... snapped a couple of images before going through security

Duty free shopping was calling ... looked around ... nothing affordable that caught my eye ... or maybe not ... lol ... La Senza had the most amazing new collection of lingerie I've seen in a long time ... think French black lace in an Asian style ... the manager allowed me to take pictures for personal use only ... not for publication ... she insisted and I oblige ...

Chilled in the SATS lounge ... checked emails and got back to my loved ones

7 hours later I'm in Narita ... different airport ... different lounge ... emails again ... updating this blog and charging the computer so I could continue working on the pictures from my last shoot

Flight to SFO bit bumpy ... got some zzzz's

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Singapore, August 7

Got caught in a rain storm ... pouring down on me ... like a warm shower ... it felt good

Check out the fashion book section in Borders and the Kikokuniya bookstore in Takashimaya ... incredible selection of "unobtainable" signed limited selection boxed publications.  At anywhere form $1000 to $1800 one can hardly call these "books" anymore ...

This brings me to the last Orchard Road slogan from this trip ...

... makes you feel good ... doesn't it ... if you're not into shopping ... avoid Orchard Road or keep the CC locked up.

Since it was still raining when I went back to the hotel, I took the MRT (underground) and admired the LED lit art wall at the Wisma Station on Orchard ... color changing patterns because it is beautiful ... this is not about functionality ... it is about art !

I'm writing this from the Changi airport ... leaving today from the new terminal ... beautiful building and well laid out.  Breezing through it was easy.

More shopping ... duty free ... what an excuse ...

Continued ...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Singapore, August 6

Singapore cuisine is international ... the variety is enormous, from ethnic food stall in the street for a quick snack to intimate dining establishments for a true feast for the palate and eye ... the image below says it all

Last night I was guest in the Oosh restaurant at Dempsey Street.  This new hot spot is housed in an old colonial army building ... great atmosphere and fabulous dining over a couple of bottles of Domain Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape (2003)

The weather was perfect for outdoor dining, great service, excellent food  ... an experience to remember and this is what's it is all about ... memorable experiences.

Continued ...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Singapore, August 5

Almost sleepless ... not really ... got 5 hours tonight ... yeah ... we're making progress !

It's 3:30am ... checking and responding to emails of dear friends ... work ... assignments ... back to my catch of the street ...

This is why photography is such a passion for me ... creating beauty and art as a ravishing combination ... 

Back to  CS3 ... editing an image from my shoot with Nicole barely a week ago ... nothing is sharp in this image except for some strands of hair, the eye ... mouth ... Nicole pulls me in and that is what hit me when I snapped this ... that split second of connection ... it's not about posing ... it is about connection ...

It's 4 am ... better try to get some more zzzzz's ... it's going to be a long day ...

 To be continued ...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Singapore, August 4

Last night I got to admire this fun car in front of the Hyatt ... always a place where one can spot an exotic thing or two ...

Monday ... meetings all day long but I was able to break around 4:00 pm ... jetlag is setting in ....  Orchard Road is full of construction this time ... plenty of shops are renovating for a September re-opening.

What caught my eye today is the use of panels to shield the construction sites from plain view.  Not just OSB or plywood ... no, beautifully designed artwork, slogans or ... yes .. you guessed it ... creative advertising !  The bamboo panel and other nature scenes are quite popular on the street as a shield ... the image is a crop from the full panel ... remember, I love tight crops.

And yes, there is graphitti in Singapore ... just not much ... the slogan is part of an add campaign on Orchard Road again ... fitting for me ... lol ... my whole life has been around the convergence of art and technology ...

Continued ...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Singapore August 2-3, 2008

I've made the trip to Singapore many times and I'm always looking forward spending time in this multi-cultural living city.

Yes, some have called the city "too clean" with "too many laws" but this city is living, hustling and bustling. there are a ton of things to see on this small well organized island. Language is not an issue as most speak English well. The beauties are the people ... friendly,helpfull regardless of origin, creed or religion

I always take the opportunity to photograph when I'm traveling and this trip is no exception. When I was making the layover in the Narita airport my eye caught this glimpse of detail and color of a kimono ...

The trip from SFO to Narita takes between 10-11 hours and the second leg from Narita to Singapore takes another 6-7 hours. Invariably, you arrive around midnight ... the immigration lines are short and there are plenty of taxies to take you to the city.

The airline lost my suitcase ... again ... lol ... no panic, usually arrives first thing in the morning.

I got to the Royal Plaza around 1:00am and the lobby display brought a big smile on my face ... Singapore advertising has a different feel than what we're used to in the States or Europe ... somewhat exaggerated, forced ... no holds barred ... but stimulating and challenging

Oh la la ... Chocolah ... yes, this F1 car is reportdly made of mostly chocolate ... I'll find out ... eventually as I'm staying till the 8th this time.

After a short night of trying to sleep I ended up deciding on an early breakfast and going for a walk on Orchard Road. The main shopping street with emphasis on luxurary goods. My favorite shopping complexes are the Paragon and Takashimaya. All major expensive brandnames are represented there. Got to Takashimaya and photographed some of the store displays. Security was shadowing me but didn't stop me. There's a strickt no-photography policy but I guess they don't care before opening hours.

I'm always looking for color, photography challenges and ideas for my own shoots. I love to do tight crops and often I recrop existing advertising collateral just for fun or to check if I can improve on the message.

Less is more.

To be continued ...