New video from Wanz!

So over the last several weeks I have been working on a video with Wanz, a fantastic funk/R&B singer and songwriter who come up in Seattle and gained fame recently singin the hook to Maclemore and Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop." I can tell you it is nice when a guy who has three Grammy's in his house calls to get you to do a video for his new song. 

 

Well here it is! I had great help from Wanz himself as well as some great clutch assistance from my son Julian on the video captured in the office. What a fun project to work on!

Some new images!

If you take a look around the site today you'll notice a new set of images! There is even a whole new section in here. Take a look at the Aerials and Aircraft section for some amazing shots of and from planes.

 

Special thanks to my great friend Scott Kanlyn of Rainier Flight School for taking me up and getting me totally hooked on aerial photography! He is an amazing pilot and instructor and an all around great guy. 

Our new demo reel is out today!

Hey there guys!

 

Long time no hear from, i know, but here it is... A brand new video reel for the new year!

I am really happy with the great projects I have been able to do in the last several months. Take a look at some of the great looking video pieces I have been a part of lately!

I'm like a proud papa!

Love is like a magic penny...

For years I have been working with a group that I literally just fell in with through random chance and I have come to know the people who organize the main event as well as one could. I am talking about the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk. It happens near the end of the summer each year and has been steadily growing since it started 6 years ago.  

I have been mighty blessed to have met and worked with the people who created the walk. My insurance agent Kim Hogle began it with a very special doctor from Swedish Hospital, Greg Foltz. 

Dr. Foltz passed away this last year from another form of cancer. His energy will be dearly missed but his vision lives on with more and more patients being helped by the walk that gives 100% or their donations to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute.  

Here is a link to the gallery where you can see this years images. Please feel free to make a donation here. 

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Some fun with the neighbors...

Many of you may not know this but Carrie and I live on a boat. Some of our neighbors are really fun and amazingly creative. When one asked me to photograph them the other day I thought "Why not?" but when they said they wanted to do it pirate themed and on their perfect pirate boat I said "Hell, yeah!"  

Having fun on the high seas is easy. In the marina we sometimes have to make our own fun. 

Having fun on the high seas is easy. In the marina we sometimes have to make our own fun. 

Trip to Leavenworth with my girl

Yesterday Carrie and I took a little road trip to Leavenworth Washington just because we wanted to get away and didn't want to spend too much money. Well there was a lot of great stuff to see and we ended up having a swim in the Skykomish river and getting lots of great photos. See more on my SmugMug site. 

The water of all of the rivers we went to was clear, clean and oddly warm. I wouldn't have thought it would be. 

The water of all of the rivers we went to was clear, clean and oddly warm. I wouldn't have thought it would be. 

A small alpine lake formed by a dam along the Skykomish. 

A small alpine lake formed by a dam along the Skykomish. 

The sunset through the clouds of a thunderstorm at the end of the day.

The sunset through the clouds of a thunderstorm at the end of the day.

Road home.

Road home.

New ad that we just created for Safe Money Smart

This was a very fun and exciting project that I got connected with in a hurry over the last week. On monday we headed to Portland to the KGW studios and shot the four founders of Safe Money Smart financial services. By Tuesday evening we had created the :30 ad complete with graphics and ready to go. It was a real "turn around quick" kind of project. 

 We had great support from Genesis Marketing in making this a big success and my friend Kevin Cooney over at NWCN was instrumental in making it happen. To the guys at the SMS home office, You might just have a good career in television if you wanted to keep it up! 

July 11th

This video is something Carrie made to honor the memory of a dear friend of hers who passed away on this date. The entire thing came from a spur of the moment idea to have a spray of Hydrangea flowers sent out to the sea. The way it happened was quite unexpected, and beautiful.  

Maxon House

My good friend is building a new house for his family and not just any house will do. He is having noted architect Tom Kundig design it. The house is going on a large wooded plot in the Snoqualmie valley near Seattle. There is going to be a lot of interest in this project and you are likely to see it in a lot of places like Dwell and other magazines. It's truly going to be a showplace. 

For now, while the land is being cleared and molded into what is needed to build the home, I have had a chance to go the the site and take some photographs and grab a little video. It is truly a beautiful location.

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Urban Float

Working for some companies can be a very rewarding and enriching experience.Take for example my new client Urban Float. They are a local Fremont based company that provides float tanks for their clients to experience sensory deprivation and a great deal of relaxation. If you haven't been, it's truly an experience. I have been working with them for a few weeks now and the business is booming. Here is a walk through video I made as the first phase of their video series. Look for more info about this great company coming soon.

Marketing by walking around...

It's an axiom in business that the best way to get in the door is to know someone inside it. To that end I have begun the arduous task of contacting as many people as I can that I know in almost every business and asking them for meetings. This is one of the things my dad taught me and one that I have resisted until now. It's hard, is why. It feels like I'm imposing on my friends and acquaintances. It's not fair. Does everyone have to do this?

Short answer: Yes. Getting in front of people is what makes business work. I've been working on other things like this website for weeks and I have exactly one thing to show for it. This website. No jobs. At the same time I have started in the last few days to get out of my office and talk to people. It's amazing how much it has paid off. I may not have jobs flying into my inbox but the connections and contacts are helping me to understand my world and market better than the Internet ever could. You can't google for that. You have to get out and see people.

Right now I am waiting for a meeting to start. I'm sitting in a parking lot and getting ready to meet with someone who has no budget for a job that will in all truth take hundreds of hours to complete. It's my job to find a way to offer what I can and try to win some actual paying business from them. It's a tough job, but one that is made easier by my enthusiasm and passion for what I do for a living. It's all a matter of persistence and passion that goes toward converting a client from one who is "just looking" to one who is willing to spend money for a project. That and a good relationship with the producer.

So it's time to get off the couch and walk into those businesses and talk to people.

Transient

When you think you've done it all...

As soon as I say I have shot just about everything, along comes a day like today where the client calls and says "Yeah, there's this Pre-School Break Dancing class we'd like to feature in the next issue..." Awesomeness ensues. Thanks to Seattle's Child Magazine for proving that I still have not seen everything yet.

He's got the Pop-n-Lock, He's got the footwork, he can do the "Roger Rabbit." At 5 years old he pretty much owns the dance floor. 

He's got the Pop-n-Lock, He's got the footwork, he can do the "Roger Rabbit." At 5 years old he pretty much owns the dance floor. 

What makes a great photo? (Composition!)

Lots of people want to know the "secrets" of photography. They think that there are things that are some kind of professional trade secrets that we photographers use to make great pictures, and you know what? They are right.

The truth is that there are a few very basic things that any good photographer does to make their pictures better. The most simple and powerful of these is composition. 

Actively deciding on what you want in the frame and where to put it is fundamental to making pictures and having a few simple concepts to tell you where those items go can be a huge advantage. Have you noticed that most people who are taking pictures just put the subject in the center of the frame and snap the shutter? For some photos that can be a great way to get good drama, but sadly, for most pictures, it's nothing but boring! Here are a few things to think about when you are trying to make more interesting pictures. The first part is "Get the subject out of the center of the frame!"

The best place to start is with a simple idea called the "Rule of Thirds." Simply stated it suggests that you break the frame into thirds on both the horizontal and vertical axis. It would make the frame look like this: 

The frame broken into thirds with the intersections of the lines as "Anchor Points" for placing a subject. 

The frame broken into thirds with the intersections of the lines as "Anchor Points" for placing a subject. 

The red circles in the above diagram show "Anchor Points" where a subject might be placed to great effect. Think of putting some single point of interest in one of these imaginary circles. It can really make a great impact in how you see it. Take a look:

The tree in the photo is set in the lower left anchor point in a rule of thirds shot. 

The tree in the photo is set in the lower left anchor point in a rule of thirds shot. 

Giving the tree the space to stand against the background makes it more pleasing to the eye. By placing the subject on an anchor point or having the horizon line fall along one of the "thirds" lines you create a good perspective and give a pleasing balance that more matches what most people perceive as a "real" horizon.  

All of this was actually thought about way back before the era of photography in the late 1700's by people who were trying to understand the fundamentals of painting. These folks also used another standard way of breaking up the frame. They tried using the "Golden Ratio" as a method to compose frames and it works nicely as well.  It goes like this:

A Diagram of the golden ratio. Note how each rectangle breaks into a square with the remainder leaving yet another rectangle of the same proportions as the original. 

A Diagram of the golden ratio. Note how each rectangle breaks into a square with the remainder leaving yet another rectangle of the same proportions as the original. 

The above diagram shows the golden ratio frame as it is broken into smaller sub frames. Your own camera probably doesn't start at the golden ratio framing but it is probably pretty close so you can think about placing a subject at the point where the large square in the frame is, to make a good classical composition. That would look like this to borrow once again from a painting.

Note how the tree in this shot "Squares" the frame from the left side. 

Note how the tree in this shot "Squares" the frame from the left side. 

Even though the horizon in the above painting is in the mid line of the vertical axis, having the tree placed at the point where the frame would be "squared" from the left side makes for a pleasing feel to the overall image. This is the concept of the golden ratio at work. 

 As you can see there are many ways you can compose a frame that give it much more impact than just placing everything dead center. Try playing around with some of these ideas next time you go out. It might just have you seeing things differently! 

How to get an education in basic photography for cheap in Seattle (And learn about the city's history at the same time)

So just recently , like in the last few weeks, I have started working with a tour company in the Pike Place Market that gives photography tours. That's right we teach you how to take better pictures and tell you a bit about the market and some of the surrounding areas as well. It's called Shutter Tours and its the brain child of a guy named Terry Divyak. 

Terry was in NYC and tried to find a tour that catered specifically to photography geeks and amateur photo auteurs. He never found one. Instead, he came home to Seattle and developed one right here. He has been running for the last few years and things are going great. The tours are fairly inexpensive and you get three hours with a professional photographer who will talk about the basic things that make any photo great while at the same time watching what you do and offering suggestions and encouragement as you get better. Its a blast to lead and really fun to be a tourist!

If you have the time take a tour! I may even be your instructor...

Chandler was my instructor/tour guide when I took my first training tour. He made it fun and informative. 

Chandler was my instructor/tour guide when I took my first training tour. He made it fun and informative.