Happy 2016 and a new film short!

Happy new year everyone! We've been terrible at getting our work up here on the blog, but we can tell you it's been a busy year and we're glad to be starting fresh in 2016! We just finished up with a recent project we filmed over Thanksgiving--a bike race in Pittsburgh called "The Dirty Dozen" that takes competitors up 13 (it's a baker's dozen) of the steepest streets in the city. We filmed all of our shots with the frame level to the grade of each hill, essentially flattening each arduous climb. It was a cold and rainy day for a race, but we had a great time cheering on the riders with the rest of the crowd that migrated and gathered at each street. The energy was amazing and so much fun--especially along Canton Avenue, which with a 37-percent grade, may be the steepest city street in the world. Are your legs burning yet?

The (Flattened) Dirty Dozen from RandomFoundObjects on Vimeo.

Rescued and rehabilitated, feathered symbol of America

This little guy was laying unresponsive from poisoning in a local landfill, but fortunately for the 7-month-old bald eagle, landfill workers discovered him and rescued him. He was treated by a team of veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators for a full a recovery, allowing the folks of the Wildlife Center of Virginia to release him back into the wild less than two weeks after he was found.

The release was open to the public and a crowd of about 75 showed up to hear about the history of the bald eagle in the United States, the conservation efforts to bring them back after their severe decline, and of course, to see this symbol of America be released back into the world. Seeing this powerful and large bird of prey up-close was pretty magnificent, and the release was quite dramatic and moving. Ohhhs and ahhhs and gasps came from the crowd as the bird was thrust into the air, finally able to spread it's huge wings to fly away and over the trees.

Many trips to Mountain Lake

We've been up at Mountain Lake several times this year for different jobs and were just there again this past weekend. The last time we were up there it was Labor Day weekend--it was sunny and we were wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts and sweating a lot. What a difference a month and a couple thousand feet in elevation makes! At nearly 4,000 ft, the temperature up there was already like winter, and all the vegetation is well into the autumn season. Mountain Lake, formed 6,000 years ago, used to be a lake that covered 50 acres and one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Due to natural occurrences, the lake has been slowly draining since the 90's and is now just a fraction of the size. A lot more info about the lake can be read here: http://www.virginiaplaces.org/watersheds/mountainlake.html

Reminders of a once full lake and the summer recreation that went along with it are still strewn about in what has now become a pretty gorgeous meadow--old paddle boats, canoes, docks--abandoned with hope that the water might return. But the meadow and new ecosystem that has sprung up in place of the lake is spectacular and lends itself to lots of exploration and general traipsing around.

We'll be posting more photos over the next week or so from our many trips to Mountain Lake from the last year.

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Personal Work | Kenn

We photographed our friend Kenn back in March for the heck of it, and because he's such a cool dude. He was super kind in letting us use him as a model and his awesome shop as a backdrop while we had some fun with different lighting set-ups. Kenn is a gear head, rocks out to good music--and gives a great haircut. He just opened up his own barber shop in downtown Blacksburg and has done a bang up job inserting his personality and vision into it, outfitting it with old car and garage signs, a retro radio he restored, a steel tool chest for all his hair cutting tools and a glass jug filled with "moonshine" in the corner. He even has hair products that are packaged like fuel cleaner. His place has a warm nostalgic feel--it really isn't like any other hair salon you'll go to, and Kenn backs it up with haircutting skillz. If you are in Blacksburg and need your do done, stop by his place for the best haircut in town.


The Annual Shaving of the Beard

It's the end of March, and that means Dave was itching to remove the five months worth of manliness he's grown on his face. It also means it's time for a beardy (or not-so-beardy) photo shoot. Not sure if it was the Beatles 50th anniversary, or Elton John's 40th anniversary, or all that Oscar-nominated costume design in recent films (American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club) that inspired this year's photo, but there is no question that Dave looks like his Dad from the early 80s in that third photo.

I'll post a few more of my favorites from the shoot over the next few days.

Portrait of the new Jax E.D. for The Roanoke Times

I got a call to take a super quick assignment for The Roanoke Times this week to photograph the new, incoming executive director of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd. For the last decade, Jeff Liverman has been the executive director of the Danville Science Center, a division of the Science Museum of Virginia. Originally coming from Richmond, Jeff has a background squarely in science with both a BS and MS in Physics. I figured I'd use the opportunity to try a nice one-light portrait, but once I got on-site, setting up the gear was a no-go and time was extremely limited. When I asked him which part of the facility he liked the most so far, he mentioned the pottery studio and metal smith studio because those are places where you can really form and create things with your hands--physics of another form I suppose. So we headed around the back of the main part of the building into the pottery studio, where the sun was spilling through two single windows onto the pottery wheels and light concrete floors and bouncing light back into the room. Seeing a stool in front of a chalk board and not having too much time, I went with it. You can read the Q&A with Jeff in The Roanoke Times here: Connecting with community’s ‘creative culture’Jeff Liverman for The Roanoke Times

Fashion & Film Short

We took a flying leap into the realm of video recently by creating a short film to submit to Charleston Fashion Week's first annual Fashion + Film contest, and we're happy to announce our piece was selected as one of the winners! It was a ton of fun to make, was a great learning experience, and will hopefully lead us to doing more video work in the future. Thanks to David Verde and Kaili Crumpacker for being awesome and being good sports about standing out in the cold without coats as we tried to make it look like not-winter. Thanks also to Jessica O'Connor for lending a hand on one of our shooting days.

So here it is, enjoy!

The Black Twig Pickers

Way back in 2012, December to be exact, we photographed The Black Twig Pickers for their latest album release, Rough Carpenters, on Thrill Jockey Records. We'd been trying to get together for this shoot for a while, and finally, after playing a local show on a freezing Saturday night, we dragged them outside with no coats on. They were up for anything--which was pretty amazing since they had just played for several hours and it was after midnight--and they kept warm by continuing to showcase their energetic talents out on the sidewalk. Fully expecting our group (of under-dressed musicians, photographer on a stool, guy holding a 5-ft octa box and friend holding a tree branch out of the way) to be gawked or yelled at, passers-by and drunk college students instead stopped to listen with genuine appreciation of their music, nodding, clapping and dancing along. The whole night was a ton of fun, even though the shoot itself was quite a whirlwind.

If you haven't heard The Black Twig Pickers, definitely check them out. They serve up a boisterous and energetic collection of old-time music that will get you up and moving and listening to their albums over and over again.

Here are some others we took that evening--including a couple taken during their show and in the beer shop next door.