When life hands you lemons...

It was Thursday January 4th, I was printing liability waivers for the weekend of aerial portraits I had coming up. When I get a text from my studio mate that our studio was on fire. My reply. Call the fire department! turns out it was the suite next to ours that caught fire. For years the space was rented by a church, when they moved out a carpet recycling company moved in. The new tenants hired an electrician to work on their power needs, when the breaker box arched and caused the piles of carpet to ignite. The fire department arrived and started to fight the blaze. They smashed our sky lights and pumped enough water to saturate the cinder block wall that divided our space.

The fire damaged the building and I had to reschedule the aerial shoot. I was a giant stress ball. I had another aerial rain shoot coming up in two weeks. I was without a studio and a plan. I racked my brain on my options, cancel this one too? What studio is available and affordable? How will I build my rain set? Can I pull it off? I was stretched. With the help of my wife and a few close friends and a ton of A clamps it worked out. I built my rain set, photographed 17 strong women, and learned I can do anything with hard work. I gained more confidence in my ability to produce under pressure.


Mouth Sounds

Daniel Howie is a multi instrumentalist and all around good guy. We met when we both played in local bands during the mid to late 2000s. I remember hearing his band Sugar Glyder on 90 minutes the local music radio show hosted by Divakar. We ended up playing a lot of shows together and supported each others as audience members. It was a great community of people and players. Now many of the venues we played have been torn down or have called it quits.

Daniel’s new project is a solo effort called mouth sounds. While Mouth Sounds instrumentation finds its foothold in electronic elements, Howie’s cutting vocals soar free and clear from vocal processing typical of the genre.

We had the chance to create branding images for his upcoming record. His rose colored glasses are a homage to his Aunt who taught him how to play the piano. This instruction and support set him on his musical journey.

Testing... Why I do it.

If you don't use it, you lose it!

I love testing with local creatives in the same way I love to jam or improvise with my musician buddies. You are free to create and change things instantly. You brush with hard light and the shadow sharpens. The stylist adds the perfect element to still life scene and your image comes together. That is a rather romantic way to look at the process. However without continued practice and performance you will lose your chops. It ok to get frustrated during the process you will learn what works, what doesn't and when to apply it.  Which is why I test. Practice makes perfect!

Last week the fabulous Stylist Jessica Anderson and I had a little jam session. I got some sets and surfaces together. We used our personal props and few extras to make 6 images in an half day of shooting. We chatted and caught up on life while exercising our creative skill set, no spotlight or stress from a AD or Client. We walked away with pride and made new work to showcase out talent. 

BTS of the last set up for the day. 


“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” 
― Johannes Brahms


Kurt Leuschner- Friendship at 36,000 feet

Friends since middle school Kurt and I have had years to make memories together. Kurt is a Pilot, veteran, a trustworthy friend with a sometimes dark sense of humor. In the almost 20 years of friendship we have played rock shows, partied, laughed at our own stupidity and supported each other as groomsmen. He now occupies the sky in a A321. An office at 36,000 feet getting you, your mom, and friends everywhere they want to be. He is based in NYC, Lives in another state and it always on the move. My first question is always.. Where are you now? When I am lucky enough to see him in person, we always get dinner or coffee. Any chance to catch up and weigh in on how life is treating us. Being friends for so long it is like talking to a brother. We can talk about the realities of our lives, not the Instagram life. I am glad we still keep in touch and the last time he stopped by I made a few portraits of him after dinner. 


Questions with Shago Elizondo

Still keeping with the friendship series, just in a slightly different form. Shago and I have been friends since high school. He is a few years younger, however you get to know all the musicians in a local scene. We would always catch each others band live or I would go see him compete in the king of blues competition at Guitar Center.  We sat down and had a little interview about his journey and life as a working musician. You can catch him tearing up the guitar on tour with Fantasia Barrino. 


Friendship Series

Chan man the chandy-gram. Another Tour brother and frontman of the now defunct band The Verdict. Chandler Martin is currently the director of the non profit Road to Hire. Offering technology & Sales career training, professional development and job placement for recent high school graduates in the Charlotte metro area.

I remember first photographing Chandler in high school, for a documentary project for my photo class. It was the battle of the bands and my band was playing as well. We became friends later on and he too was on the breaking the news tour. Jason was his drummer. He is an extreme talent with an incredible voice and knows how to make a catchy melody.  

Fun fact I introduced him to Thai food while in St. Louis, we had time to kill before for a show and went walking around town. 



 What makes it work? I often think how did it get so lucky to have truly great friends. All friendships are forged with different materials or experiences. For me, music and bands played the biggest role. Dreams of being a rock star with a new hit band, veins of competition and lots of late nights. Out of that time I met some wonderful people and made a lot of memories.  As I got older and priorities shifted I felt I needed to start creating moments with my friends. So a portrait series seemed fitting, sort of my own personal "where are they now". 


First up. Jason Howie. He is my unofficial big brother and a fellow drummer. We first met in Boy Scouts. Later we played in the local music scene and did a joint tour. Our bands teamed up and hit the road for a month. I was 20. Now 11 years later. Jason is still the same super talented, funny, smart and caring gentleman. Only now instead of rocking behind the kit, he is saving lives and fighting fires. It was great hanging out at the fire house to make this portrait, the rest of the squad joined after some jokes about "Howie" the male model. 

Lighting Test With My Lovely Wife.

On my days off I try to experiment with lighting tools and control for use in upcoming jobs. I had been meaning to use my Matthews standard reflector for sometime. I used a C stand to hang a weathered canvas and a medium roller to hold the silver reflector. I used my canon 5d and 50mm 1.4  as well as a 24-105mm f4. The sun is the key and I positioned Andee to be back lit for some images and then bounced the sun in to area of open shade for one. I used the reflector to simply bounce some light her way. Varying the distant and angle of the reflector gave me some different qualities of light. I would say it was a success. 

Still Life Test

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of doing a test with Matt Tuttle. A very talented stylist based in NYC but a North Carolina fellow like myself. We talked for a few weeks about doing our spin on a golden age dutch masters still life. Matt found some amazing props and after a trip to the fish market and grocery store we had everything we needed. I was using a sinar X 4x5 studio camera with a rollei 100mm lens and a leaf 75s digital back tethered to Capture one pro. Lighting was one extra small chimera soft with grid, powered by a broncolor A4. I used a mixture of flags, fingers and fill cards to shape the light.  Images coming soon. retouching is always the time consumer. 

Kit Walters

Mr Walters and I go way back, like high school photo class. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many talented people. Music has been apart of my life since I can remember. Playing in bands is what defined us in high school. Kit has gone on to accomplish a lot since those days and I was glad we could still collaborate in a slightly different way. Kit had a vision for a promo shot and this was the result of a few weeks of back and fourth chatting. Check Kit out at www.kitwaltersmusic.com

Mark Eckert. Drummer, Engineer, Producer

I had the privilege of helping Mark create promotional images for his brand.

Mark Eckert is seriously talented. You would be hard pressed to combat that statement. So, let me introduce your new best friend. Mark has an uncanny knack of wanting more out of life then the average person. He is sometimes to hard on himself but for good reason. This kid is on fire. Can't stop won't stop. check him out on instagram @markeckert.