Tuesday, December 27, 2011

David & Goliath - a Christmas Story...

... not just a little cute squeak of a sneeze. No, this one was wet and very wild and came with a force that could just as well have parted the Red Sea! Even though my camera took most of this broadside, with my face being only 2 feet away from the extremely functional nostrils and opened mouth of this suffering little 2 year old, I still found my face bathed in a warm wet soup of Picornaviruses. I smiled while wiping down my face before drying off my camera and Lens

The weekend before Christmas, I had been hired to shoot a 2nd birthday party at Ghiradelli Square when this incident happened. For a moment I thought, "I hope I don't get ill", but quickly shrugged off the thought. I even attended a "Grown ups" party later that same night and felt great. On my way home I realized that I was probably being silly to think that one tiny little boy's sneeze could take down someone as strong and healthy as I thought I was.

Well, by Christmas Eve I was a miserable sniveling shell of a being and struggling to breathe through my nose. Goliath was fallen, again.

The story does have a happy ending though. Even though my head was still a little cloudy, we enjoyed all the Christmas festivities and still managed an afternoon walk along Ocean Beach.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No pixels were harmed in the publishing of this photograph

I had another fitness shoot today with a model named Rico. We've worked on a project before so it was a fun and relaxed shoot with the opportunity to try a few shots for a few things I had in mind too. This shot is a single exposure from my camera and is presented here with no retouching at all. These are the pixels as captured by my camera.
Obviously, I'll have to give out a prize to the first person who correctly tells me how I did it!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Joy of Yoga

Model: Wataya         Corset supplied by Dark Garden http://www.darkgarden.com
I've completed a fair amount of yoga shoots this year but this one had exactly the kind of twist that I like. Wataya is an independent Anusara-inspired Yoga practitioner and among other places you can take one of her classes at Yoga Kula in San Francisco. Dark Garden supplied this gorgeous corset and bra.
While she dressed and had her makeup done, I built the set in my studio. A few light checks with my mannequin and we were ready!

Even though Wataya insisted that she wasn't very comfortable in front of a camera, we soon created a mood where it was fun for everyone and I was able to capture a lot of successful shots. There are also some pure fun shots when we did a costume change which will probably pass through my online portfolio at some point :)

Here are my first and last stock image sales for the month of November.

Monday, November 28, 2011

One Wedding and no funeral

The weather turned out to be really nice for the wedding shoot in Castro Valley on Sunday. It was a small wedding with a really lovely couple getting married. I wish them every possible good wish for their married lives!

I had arranged to be picked up by another photographer so that we could drive down to the address together. Coming From San Francisco, I took the BART to West Oakland to meet.

I arrived a few minutes early and stepped out of the station. It was Sunday morning and still overcast. I had felt the BART ride was a little esoteric and now I found myself standing in a kind of concrete wasteland, looking better dressed than felt comfortable for my surroundings. As I stood there attracting glances from the people who passed by me, I became very aware of the fact that I was standing in this exposed location with close to $10, 000 of gear in my bags!

All I had to do was stay calm and look confident, but to give myself a tiny bit of reassurance, I found a surveillance camera and took my position in full view of it.

As 15 minutes passed, my ride came and whisked me off to more familiar environments...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fame? And Fortune?

When I went to my computer this morning I discovered, to my delight, that someone had made a rather large purchase on one of my stock images. In the image as you can see, I've included myself as one of the models.

From the rights purchased I can see that the image will be used at a large size and also will be printed across multiple media.

Does this mean that sometime soon I might confront myself in poster form while out on the streets?

Well it has happened before when I was featured on large posters that were part of an ad campaign that was placed all over the London Underground. So if you do come across this image, let me know. I'm very curious to see what I'm promoting :)

Maybe I caught some celebrity dust after shooting at Cirque du Soleil last week! I had a great day with the tour coordinator and met every single member of the touring show "Totem", as I photographed each one of them. It's quite an insight to see how this "family" of artistes and support teams manage to create some sort of normality out of their very "not normal" lives. For the artistes I would also add, their "not normal" abilities!

They tour with 3 teachers so the kids get schooled everyday. I spoke to one of the performers who told me how life had been for him these last four and a half years of non-stop touring!

As it got closer to showtime, it was quite surreal to see people in various stages of costume and make-up making the whole site resemble an extension to the bar scene in Star Wars.

Everyone was a delight to meet. Even when we couldn't communicate in sentences because of the many language differences, I could still feel the warmth and welcoming of their characters. They do a great show, but I can see that it's a tough life they have all chosen in their quest to push the boundaries of what we think is humanly and physically possible.

Anyway, I was there to work. If you want to know how it went from a client perspective, scroll down to "Customer reviews" HERE

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Into the final quarter

The title is far more dramatic than this posting is. I've recently returned from a trip to Jamaica where I was fortunate to meet up with my father and also siblings and other relatives, who had flown over from the UK. But now that the tropical sunshine slowly becomes another memory, I am once again focused on completing the fourth quarter of 2011. Where has the year gone?

As is usual from me at the end of each month, below are the 1st and last stock image sales of September.
I almost didn't submit the coconut shot since it was more of a test than an actual set shot, but I'm glad I did now because it is making sales. Since coming back from Jamaica I've been busy with more product work and finished off the month with a portrait session.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2000 Shots and Counting

Celebrating shot number 2000 almost at the end of a week of product and showroom photography!
It's been a very busy week. I was busy shooting all the images that are to be used on my clients website. They are a Marble, Stone and Tile company with 4 locations in the Bay area. So far I've shot over 2000 items and you can see me celebrating in the shot above during my 2000th exposure of the job!

All those individual items had to be taken down of the wall by me, photographed and then put back in place. Then each display area of each showroom had to be shot. Luckily for me, all the locations played music that I love throughout the showrooms so I just got into the zone and wiggled a little to the music from time to time. By the way, marble is heavy!!

I managed to also learn a lot about marble and stone products and the owner even commented that he should hire me to join his sales team. But for now I just need to check all the images and get them all delivered.

Shooting the larger pieces of granite and marble involved a crew with a fork lift truck with clever adapter that allowed it to be used like a small crane and position each sheet of stone so that I could get the shots needed. You can see how it worked in this video clip.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

And that was September

First and last picture sales for the month of September
For some reason I had been thinking that September would be a little quiet for me giving me time to concentrate on getting more new content uploaded to the stock image libraries I contribute to. But, and I'm not complaining, the work kept on coming.

I did extend my work days anyway because I felt it was still important to increase the images I have with the stock libraries. Sales are consistent and so it makes sense that the way to keep sales increasing is to increase the quantity of images I have on the various sites. I currently contribute to 12 stock image libraries! Microstock, Royalty Free and Rights Managed are all catered for and I have seen sales every weekday of the month and increasingly at weekends too.

Included in the work I'm shooting for clients is a regular creation of portraits. I keep on looking at ways that I can make the portraits more than just a picture and am currently having success exploring a take on occupational/recreational portraits. To show you what I mean, here is an image from a portrait session I shot in September of a woman who is exploring her expression through art.

Tomorrow I'm leading a photowalk in the Castro as part of Worldwide Photowalk 2011 And then on Monday I kick off October with a full week of Product photography.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shiny Trinkets is now live

Version one of this site is now up and running at http://www.shinytrinket.com
All the photography on the site is done by me and shot in my studio. I've just finished another shoot for this company and the images should be integrated into the site shortly.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shiny Things

A few weeks ago I shot all the product for a new jewellery site - jewelry if you're in America. In total I shot 60 pieces and some additional shots with pieces being worn by a mannequin.
   This week I will be doing a second shoot for this new San Francisco based company.                                                     

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sport - T

This is "T" who was the model for a very recent sport and fitness shoot on location in San Francisco.
We started with a studio session  before going out on location to do the running, stretching and general fitness shots.

"T" is a lot of fun to work with and has a really infectious laugh which she never lost - even after having to repeatedly jump into the air, run up steps and pose in all kinds of strenuous positions. She's impressively fit and as a model, a real joy to work with.

Also many thanks to the 2 lighting assistants and the grip who assisted on what was a very smooth shoot!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooking something up in the kitchen

I had lots of fun shooting this dress with a really fun model. We shot in a kitchen using an umbrella and 2 speedlites. The model is Carla. She's based in Wisconsin but I've worked with her before here in San Francisco.

We really worked the dress which is really a one-piece shortie outfit. But very cute! The shoot was about an hour and everyone was happy with the final images.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sites In The City

A page from the Bleuflamme site
I've just shot 3 websites for 3 different Clients in the city. The Bleuflamme site is up and running now and, except for the "Bleuflamme Live" page, all the photography (including all the fabric swatches), and videos on the site were shot, retouched, and edited by me. The 2nd site I shot is a jewelry company and hopefully they will be live in the next few days. Once they are live then I can show the work I've done. And the 3rd site is for an Artist based here in San Francisco. Again, once the site is live I will be able to feature the work here.

I continue to submit and sell stock images through various photo image sites. In August I also began submitting to Alamy. I will be doing another big push of stock photography over this coming month to ensure I have fresh images to keep the sales turning over. Here are my first and last stock image sales for the month of August.
            First                                                                                    Last
I have a few more shoots I'm still processing right now and will share them with you as each shoot is processed and delivered.

Finally, a reminder that I'm leading a photowalk in October as part of the Worldwide Photowalk Event. The walk is free and you can get more details and sign up here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

4th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk 2011

TAMPA, FL – August 24, 2011 – On Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, the whole world will be walking again with Scott Kelby, president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and #1 bestselling computer and technology book author, in his Fourth Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ — the world’s largest global social photography event in the history of photography.

This year, the Photo Walk will take place over two days in October giving more photographers from around the world a chance to participate.  In 2010, more than 30,000 photographers walked in over 1,000 locations taking 6 million images in just one day. We anticipate that this year’s Photo Walk will be one of our biggest events.

Local photographer Roi Brooks is helping San Francisco take part in this worldwide event by organizing a Photo Walk in The Castro on October 2 at 1:30pm. For more information, visit http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/san-francisco-ca-united-states-the-castro/, where you can also sign up to participate in the Photo Walk.

The Photo Walk is free and open to anyone who owns a camera. More Photo Walk details are available at: http://worldwidephotowalk.com/ or visit the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk Facebook page.
The 2011 Photo Walk is co-sponsored by Adobe. Additional sponsors include Wescott, KelbyTraining.com, NAPP, Peachpit, Mpix, Wacom, Manfrotto, onOne Software, Tamron, Tiffen and B&H.

About NAPP
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) is a dynamic trade association and the world’s leading resource for Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop® Lightroom® training, news, and education. An award-winning team of Photoshop and photography experts, authors, consultants, and trainers lead the association – keeping its members on the cutting edge of Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography techniques and technology. With 72,000 members in 106 countries, NAPP is the largest digital imaging and graphics association worldwide. Visit http://www.photoshopuser.com for more information.

Media Contact:
Mary Laurinaitis
NAPP/Media Manager
813-433-5005, ext. 162

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hair I Go!

I had a great shoot on Saturday at a Hair Salon in the Castro.

It was a great space with a fabulous hair stylist and some great models. I also had the pleasure of working with a make-up artist I really enjoyed working with in the past.

Once I've processed the shoot I'll share more details with you but in the meantime if you want a great hairstyle, just contact
Chanin Murphy, Follicle Hair Salon
540 Sutter St. (Union Square), San Francisco
(415) 402-5277 www.folliclehairsalon.com
and ask for Chanin Murphy.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Jamaican Winter Sports Hero

Just a quick post with some of the shots from my Errol Kerr shoot. These images were all shot at Lake Donner in Truckee, CA.
You can read the story behind the shoot here.

Errol is the sole member of the Jamaican Ski Team, living in Reno, and training in Tahoe. He is also a successful X-Games competitor.

He made his World Cup debut in January 2008 with a twelfth place in Les Contamines, then in March followed up with an eighth place in Meiringen-Hasliberg . In the 2008–09 season he was thirtieth place in St. Johann in Tirol and fifteenth place in Lake Placid, going on to tenth place worldwide at the Skicross World Championships 2009 in Japan.

Errol finished ninth overall at the 2010 Winter Olympics. This is the best placing by a Caribbean athlete at any Winter Olympics.
At the recent X-Games he finished fifth in Ski Cross at Winter X Games XV.

We had beautiful weather the whole weekend we were there for the shoot which in itself was lots of fun to do!

Errol Kerr head to head with Filip Filsar of the Slovenia Ski Team

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bollywood to Hollywood

I recently had the pleasure of shooting a portrait session for Dipika Parmar. She's an actress and entertainer and has had recent successes in the Bollywood film industry. Her latest release was PAPPU - Mr Intelligent.

Dipika has also done a host of TV and film shorts, commercials and modeling.

At the Crown & Crumpet
I first met her when I took some candid shots for her and some of her friends. At one point they decided to have tea at the Crown & Crumpet and I did a whole series of shots for her at the location. I met the manager there who turns out to be British and had a royally delicious pot of tea during the proceedings. If you find yourself in Ghiradelli Square and you yearn for a real cup of tea - with all the trimmings, I recommend you drop in.

Dipika is set to do some film work on these shores too and is busy back and forth to Hollywood at the time of this writing. She's a really bubbly, fun, individual and I wish her continued success!

And so we reach the end of another month and so as usual, here is my first and last stock image sale of July.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick off the mark

I was out walking and taking photos with Jazzluv on Ocean Beach a couple of weekends ago. At first it was quite dull and hazy but being San Francico, we knew that the weather and light could change at any moment. And it did.

As the sky turned blue along came a brand new Beach Patrol unit. It stopped on the beach about 50 yards from us and screamed out to me,
"I'm a stock photo opportunity, please photograph me."

So I did. The driver watched me as I approached and seemingly ignored him to go and crouch by the front of the truck. I didn't want to miss the moment so I said hello to him after I had got my shot. I submitted the photo to a Stock Image library and was please to see that within an hour of it appearing on their site it started selling. I found it interesting that the very first sale was in India.

Below are some of my other images that I know started to sell within an hour of being available online.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pride and Roijoy

Dykes on Bikes traditionally leading the parade
The San Francisco annual Pride Parade took place in June and I made my way to line Market Street in good time to get a front row position to the parade. I managed to get quite a few shots which have been taken up by image libraries for their editorial content.

Unfortunately the great shots that I could see coming together in the street often got ruined by the very zealous and enthusiastic security guy who kept stepping out into the center of my camera frame so that he could either, cheer, collect freebies, or see what was going on in the distance. Moving would have meant losing my front row advantage and I suppose he wanted to have fun too while he was doing his job.

Anyway, I did manage to get enough usable shots and was able to get them accepted into the image libraries. While on the subject of stock imagery, here are the first and last images I had sold for the month of June.
As well as regular family shoots and portrait sessions, I was also busy with headshots for all types of people. It's great to meet all these people and hear about the amazing and diverse lives, inventions, or occupations they experience. 

 It's quite inspiring and refreshing to hear how diverse the world is from talking to just 10 or so individuals who have no obvious connections with each other. 

Some people come from out of the city and for others I do the traveling. I also really enjoy seeing people become relaxed in front of my lens and remark how enjoyable they have found the experience of being the subject of one of my shoots.

I've also completed a range of product shots this month including these shirts for Bleuflamme Clothing.

June also resulted in the making of 5 more videos too, some of which I'm still busy editing. Which is what I'm getting back to right now...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lakes and mountains of the Olympians.

Donner Lake
Last weekend we had the pleasure of driving up to Reno to spend time with and photograph Errol Kerr of the Jamaica Ski Team. When we arrived at his home we were also introduced to Filip Flisar who is a member of the Slovenia Ski Cross Team. Both these athletes competed at the last Winter Olympic games and competed against each other recently at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. As friends as well as competitors, Filip was spending some time visiting the USA.

Before reaching Errol's home, we had spent an afternoon lounging around and picnicking on the shores of Lake Tahoe, before continuing on to spend the first night at a hotel in Downtown Reno. An experience that was balanced by a surprisingly pleasant walk by the river and tea at Java Jungle. There was even an incident during the night when someone, a little worst for wear, fell down the hotel stairwell and landed on the 8th floor!

But, the real fun was hanging out with Errol and his friends and meeting his mother and his girlfriend too. Errol also shared with us an amazing dvd that showed how he had built jumps in the yard of his mother's home in Truckee to practice and hone the skills that have eventually allowed him to become an Olympian. It's an amazing thing to watch as the young Errol literally flies through the air around the house. At one point his mother even allowed him to build a snow jump from the roof of the house!
Sharing a Jamaica Ski Team Jacket with Antonella

For the shoot we drove down to Donner Lake and had a session by the lakeside using speedlites to tame the glorious sunshine in the clear blue sky. Filip was also happy to assist with the lighting and was a real sport allowing me to address him as tripod 2. For speed and flexibility I allocated a speedlite each to Antonella and Filip making them into human tripods so that I could verbally and instantly change the lighting as I shot.

In the next few days, I'm going through the shoot to pick out the best shots and once done and approved, I'll post some. The last thing I have to say here about Errol Kerr is, he is deeper and wider than you would ever have imagined. At his present young age, he probably already has the experiences of 2 or 3 lifetimes of someone twice his age! A great and really genuine person to know.

We had a nice easy drive back to San Francisco on Monday to complete a really fun and worthwhile weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's all good!

I've just had a wonderful time in the tiny Central American country of Belize. The weather was great and the beaches were wonderful making the whole experience worthy of being called Paradise.

A tree whose branches are right up by the house, regularly plays host to many birds. Especially a flock of green parrots who visit it 2 or 3 times a day to eat the fruit buds that sprout from the trees branches.

We stay at a fairly remote location when in Belize which allows us the possibility of encountering all types of wildlife. So as well as pelicans, herons, frigates, hawks and all kinds of other birds, there were armadillos, snakes, raccoons, and many other animals including a visit from a puma one night.

My stock images sold well and here you can see my first and last image sale for the month of May.
Finally, I'm also happy to report that my Tamron Di lens is repaired and back with me after 2 months at the repair center. I had dropped the lens onto a wooden floor and the auto focus and vibration controls no longer worked correctly. Also manual focus was only accurate within a limited focal range. I contacted United Camera Repairs, got a quote and boxed up the lens and sent it off to them. The lens got back to me just in time for my trip to Belize and actually works a little better than before it was dropped. They had to strip the unit down and rebuild it so I had the benefit of my lens being carefully reassembled by hand.

They have an excellent online tool for tracking progress and when I was getting anxious about timing, Jennifer Tarpening, from their customer service center, was fantastic and personalized the experience for me, including having the lens flown next day delivery to me at no additional cost. I do recommend United Cameras if you need a repair.

Ok, time to do more shooting now!