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?
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.
While on assignment for the Roanoke Times to cover the Radford Highlanders Festival on Saturday, David and I thought we'd take a strobe along and grab some portraits of folks donning their Scottish garb and perhaps of some of the athletes participating in the Scottish games. We ran into several members of various pipe and drum groups who were happy to pose with their instruments and even play some for us, including this young lad, Ian. Read the story that ran in Sunday's edition of the Roanoke Times and see some more of the photos there too.
This is an outtake of the George Wythe High School football team from an assignment I did for the Roanoke Times a few weeks ago. The story should be running in the Extra section in the next week or so.
Testing some new equipment last week.
A couple weeks ago, while in Wilmington, NC for our friends' wedding, we took a morning to slip down to Carolina Beach to check out Britt's Donut Shop (we'll have another post specifically about those donuts soon!). After chowing down on a half dozen donuts, we wandered around the Carolina Beach Boardwalk and stuck our feet in the ocean. Morning time at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk was quiet and still and it felt as if you just stepped back into time where the physical structures still exist, but all the life has moved on. But I imagine that feeling only lasts a few hours. Later in the day the boardwalk will begin to fill with the hustle and bustle of shoppers, families, high school couples, the whirring and flashing of amusement park rides, and screaming kids running around with cotton candy.
Just on the other side of the sand dunes though, beach goers were already strewn on the beach with umbrellas, chairs and towels. Little heads bobbed up and down with the waves in the water and whole castles were being built with plastic shovels.
Every now and again, David and I do photobooths as a side gig--but I wouldn't call them "photobooths". Instead, they're more like "instant portrait studios". "Instant" in that we provide on site printing of 4x6 prints, and "portrait studio" in that there is no box, we have professional studio lighting and a photographer who takes the photos--not automated software. Over the last several years we've really enjoyed doing these--for events, street fairs, parties--and we just recently decided to get more aggressive in marketing this service. In doing so we thought it was high time to separate Random Found Objects Photography from the photobooth, and give it a name and brand all it's own. Enter Swell Booth. Swell Booth made it's first official appearance at the Fork & Cork Wine Festival in April and at The Creekmore Law Firm's (aka The Artful Lawyer) quarterly art opening in the beginning of May. I love the different ways people interpret the booth, interact with it and they way their personalities come through in each photo. Here are three of our favorites from the last two booths we did. The third photo is of our good friend Jeff Greenough. He's an awesome photographer and wonderful mentor. Thanks Jeff!
We went to Brown Farm (a.k.a. Heritage Park) not too long ago, an open-space in town that provides nice walking paths, trails, and a place for Eastwood to run around and pee on all the things. Going out on short trips like this, I tend to forget or leave my camera at home and usually end up regretting it. Thank goodness for the continuing advancement of camera phones. Perhaps I shouldn't still be amazed...I mean, new astounding technology has just become the norm these days. But the camera on my phone has come to mostly replace our little Canon point-n-shoot, and is a fine fill-in for times just like these, when I notice the lovely things around me while on an afternoon walk. It's been an unusually warm winter for the most part here in the southwestern part of Virginia, but the landscape is still stark and quiet as it always is this time of the year, allowing us to really appreciate the contours of the land.
While I was documenting our business cards being printed at Appalachia Press back in October, owner John Reburn let me roam around his awesome space and take photos of all his super neat-o stuff to my heart's content (I'll post those photos soon, honest!). I spent a good amount of time marveling at his sliding drawers of neatly organized vintage letterpress blocks, but I really loved this one cabinet that was filled with extra large antique (mostly wooden) type blocks and the graphic quality they created in each drawer.