Well, the time has finally come. After months of waiting, the new studio space is complete and we are all moved in! The space is a brand new buildout inside an older building in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, just a couple of minutes south of downtown. With 800 square feet, there’s plenty of room for 4-5 of us to work, store gear, and shoot against a 12-foot seamless. Combine that with heated concrete floors, a garage door for load-ins, and a kitchenette, and we have a very comfortable space for shooting. We’re still putting on the finishing touches, but are already booking shoots and working out of the space. If you’re in the neighborhood and want to stop in to say hi, shoot me an email!
A few portraits shot for features in recent issues of Gray Magazine. Pick up a current issue of Gray now, or check out past issues online to read more about what these amazing folks are up to.
Luly Yang – A local fashion designer currently heading up a redesign of Alaska Airlines’ flight attendant uniforms.
Joey Rodolfo – Clothing designer, Buki Brand.
Louie Gong – Artist and owner of 8th Generation, a Seattle shop specializing in Native American inspired artwork and products.
Matt Aalfs – Seattle architect in charge of a large scale redesign of one of Seattle’s most historic buildings.
What do a Dodge Dart, a Chevy Astro, an Oldsmobile Cutlass, a Subaru Legacy, and a Ford Crown Victoria all have in common? Not much other than four tires and the fact that they all ran in the Gambler 500 this past weekend. And I got to chase them around while they did it.
The Gambler 500 is timed, but it’s “not a race”. It’s simply a somewhat-organized event in which participants,navigating barely running, hardly roadworthy, semi-modified, sub-$500 cars and trucks through the woods, travel 500 miles over two days, entirely off-road using only GPS waypoints (received on the day of the event) for navigation. Participants encounter all kinds of obstacles and terrain along the way, so the “gamble” is whether or not their car will make it through the entire course. Costumes and themed vehicles are highly encouraged. Side note: if your vehicle is particularly amazing or unique, the $500 part of the equation can be overlooked – such was the case in Oregon for a group driving a 6-wheeled Austrian military vehicle known as a Pinzgauer.
On this particular Saturday, the Washington chapter of the Gambler 500 was doing a short trial run – only 150-ish miles from Ellensburg up to Chelan – all on Forest Service roads, of course – most of it along a route known as the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. This route also happens to wind through some of the most scenic views in the state.
At 8am, participants met at the start, received their GPS waypoints, and were on their way. The rest is a bit of a blur, but we managed to keep up and capture a few highlights along the way. There were breakdowns, stuck vehicles and leaking fluids along the way, but I’m pretty sure everyone made it to the end in one piece…even if that one piece was a little rougher than it was at the start.
There is certainly more than one route to Fort Union Trading Post, a national historic site on the border of Montana and North Dakota. Back in June, I, along with some of Montana’s finest re-enactors of the mountain man and fur trading era, chose to take a path that included a 5 day, 30-mile excursion down a section of the upper Missouri River in a 24-foot Mackinaw called the Brass Turtle. Once at the fort, we spent another three nights with a hundred or so more re-enactors.
The rules are fairly simple for these trips. Dress the part and play the part. Almost all modern materials and devices are left behind. This means trading in your Gore-Tex and fancy hiking boots for oil cloth and leather moccasins, exchanging your matches for flint and steel, and cooking only on open fire and/or dutch oven. Water is stored in smelly old wooden barrels probably growing a plethora of bacteria, and beer is left behind in favor of rum and whiskey in period-correct jugs. The morning’s coffee is brewed filter-free in a large pail, and scooped out with your mug. Showers come in the form of a quick dip in the silty waters of the Missouri. Of course, with a group of guys who aren’t getting any younger (and for newcomers like myself), exceptions are made to allow for safer food handling (coolers are allowed, but disguised well) and more comfortable sleeping arrangements (Therma-Rests) for those who choose. Oh, and cameras are allowed, of course. I persisted. And bacon…lots of bacon (about 16 pounds came on the boat with us and was gone by the time we reached the fort).
On the open plains of Eastern Montana, storms quite literally materialize out of nowhere, and with only a canvas lean-to (that’s one wall instead of four) providing protection from the elements, things can get interesting. And wet. We were lucky to encounter minimal hail, rain, and thunder storms, all of which came once camp was set up and we could take shelter in our tent.
We ate well (bacon and eggs every morning, fresh bread baked in the dutch oven, rabbit and venison cooked over the open fire) and drank plenty, sometimes even water. We explored the river and its banks – part of the very route once traveled by the fur traders and settlers of the 19th century – staring straight in to the same hills and trees painted by Karl Bodmer back then.
Click photos for a larger view
To say it’s been “awhile” since I last posted would be an understatement. It’s been a damn long time. But I’ve returned! I want to update you on where I’ve been, so let’s start here.
Where I’ve been since April:
Coachella – two weekends!
Sasquatch! Music Festival
A 10-day trip down the Missouri River
…And so much more.
Photos, you say? I’ve got a few. Let’s kick it off with some frames from the Hasselblad while cruising through Joshua Tree with my buddy Luke and one of his famous quilts:
Last fall, I worked with Tactile, Inc., photographing their entire staff team for an upcoming website update. Lately, I’ve been working with them to shoot some of the products they’ve designed. Our most recent shoot was with the latest product line from Clarisonic skin cleansing devices, including a new device aimed at use by men. Tactile wanted to show the products in use, highlighting the interaction the user has with the product, but also get some clean, stand alone environmental product photos. Check out our work below.
Excited to see that Pocock Racing Shells recently debuted their new website and it features some of my most recent product work with them. We spent a total of four days shooting boats in their warehouse this past year. Most of that time was spent 40 feet up in the air, hanging out of the basket of a cherry picker lift, camera in hand. I overcame my fear of heights real fast working with these guys. The site looks fantastic and I couldn’t be happier to have worked with them on this.
Head over and check out the site at www.pocock.com, or just take a look at some of the screen shots below:
I recently teamed up with locally-based company Evil Bikes for an around-town photoshoot with rider and company product manager, Billy Lewis and his friend Darcie. The guys at Evil wanted to get some laid-back, fun lifestyle shots with some of their bikes and new clothing. Laid back and fun are the key words here – that’s what Evil seems to be all about. These guys build some truly incredible bikes, so they defintely know when to get serious, but they really know how to make a photoshoot fun, too. (There may have been tacos and beer halfway through the day, which didn’t hurt). We hit a local skatepark in the morning, then spent the afternoon shooting in downtown Seattle, as well as some parks in the area later in the afternoon. Our goal was to show off the versatility and flexibility of a couple of Evil’s newer bikes – the Faction and the Chamois Davis Jr. We didn’t get too crazy with lighting and the art direction was kept pretty simple, which kept the shoot moving smoothly, ensuring we didn’t stop having a good time the entire day.
Evil is a rapidly growing company making high quality carbon fiber frame bicycles for all styles of riding. It’s obvious they take their work seriously, but love to have a good time doing it. Their team is made up of a bunch of really great people – they even have an indoor BB gun range in their warehouse. Who else has that?? Check out some of my favorite frames from our shoot below: