Last Saturday my friend Steven and I hosted what I think was our fifth Historic Mills Photography Workshop. This one was rather special. We brought about 10 eager and talented photographers through five buildings at three different mills in Lawrence: The Pacific, the Everett and the Stone. With all that space to shoot it soon became clear that this workshop was going to be heavy on shooting.
Steven and I had both shot in the Pacific Mill before but this was the first time we were able to hose a workshop there. It was a big hit with our participants and Steven and I even got to join in on the shooting fun. This is one of my shots — not your typical mill shot.
Like most of these buildings, the Pacific has a mix of raw space that echoes back to its 19th century prime and space that has been renovated to accommodate specific needs of the tenants. This is empty offices on one of the renovated areas.
I loved the pastel colors, the light from the windows and the simple shapes. And I especially love the “lighter” feeling of abandonment I got from the scene.
This is Rocky Gorge, the most easily accessible waterfall along the picturesque Kancamagus Highway that links the towns of Lincoln and Conway, New Hampshire. I shot it last summer during a weekend visit to the White Mountains.
Rocky Gorge is also a pretty popular swimming hole, so getting shot of it that is void of people can be challenging (not that there’s anything wrong with people).
I lucked out in the timing of my visit. Though it was a warm summer day, the people who were bouncing around the Gorge were few and they were pretty spread out. And the 10-stop filter worked really well in ghosting out any souls roaming on the rocks above these rapid falls.
I took advantage of a local Facebook photography meet-up to get my ass out to shoot this past weekend. The location was Pawtucket Falls in Lowell, MA. The falls run over a dam on rapidly flowing and particularly rocky section of the river.
While I got a few shots of the subdued sunset over the falls that I am happy with, this is my favorite from the night — a tight shot of water flowing over the dam. I went with a contrasty black and white approach using NIK SilverEfexPro 2. I leveraged a preset and applied a couple of tweaks.
I shot this with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the fantastic 12-40mm Pro Zoom lens with a B&W 10-Stop ND filter.
Here is a reprocessed version of an older image. These are the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado. I shot the image about 5 years ago when I was there to run the Bolder Boulder 10K — the biggest Memorial Day Race in the country. It features an incredible post-race Memorial Day tribute.
I think I need to go back to central Nevada to do more shooting. Since my original trip in 2012 I find myself contemplating the things I would do differently or lamenting the opportunities I missed — like not shooting the ghost town of Berlin because I got lost!
But until I pull the trigger on that trip I have the images I shot in 2012 — I am still finding images that need processing from that batch. This is one of them.
I woke early one morning, well before dawn, and decided to head up through the pass to try to catch a shot of the town at dawn. Well dawn was a bust, but the images I grabbed in the pre-dawn blue hour held promise. And time. Evidently I needed some time to mull around how exactly to process this one.
I took some liberties in processing this (my photo, my rules). I underexposed the image overall in Lightroom then brought up the town a little more. I wanted to draw the eye to Austin a bit more, so I used a tilt-shift blur, then masked the blur out along the ridge of the surrounding hills to separate it even more from the expanse of Reese River Valley.
Back in December I got a call from Chris Hamer, Art Director at Smuttynose Brewing Co. asking if I was available to shoot the images for the packaging of their new beer, Bouncy House IPA. The answer was, of course, a very enthusiastic YES!
I’ve long been a fan and consumer of Smuttynose’s fine craft brews and I’m also thrilled to call them a client, having shot employee portraits and some of their Big Beer product shots. So, naturally, the thought of shooting a beer label was very exciting. It was also challenging.
Chris and Smuttynose’s Director or Marketing, Joanne Francis has a basic concept in mind. They wanted the labels to be light and fun. They wanted to feature models who represented a cross section of their customers and they wanted to feature (naturally) a bouncy house.
With that in mind Chris, Joanne and I met at Jump On In in Portsmouth, New Hampshire late in December to “audition” a few bouncy houses and do some very rough test shots. After a few minutes of bouncing around (and a mild case of whiplash) we concluded that we needed to shoot down on the bouncy house as our models jumped up into the camera.
A plan quickly came together.
Chris arranged for a rental bouncy house to be delivered to Smuttynose’s new location in Hampton, NH. With construction at the facility still in progress, there were several pieces of construction equipment on site, including an articulating boom lift — perfect for lifting someone (me) above the center of the inflated bouncy house.
Lighting it was another challenge. I rented two Alien Bees 1600 strobes from Lens Pro to Go. I lit the bouncy house with one of the lights with a soft box and secured the other light with the umbrella on it’s stand to the bucket of the lift (gotta love Duck Tape). The lights were triggered by the Pocket Wizards. After a few test shots we were ready to go.
We wanted the character of the models’ faces to be the heros of the shoot, so my fish-eye lens was really the only choice. It provided some fun distortion and an exaggerated sense of perspective to the images. In order to convey a sense of motion in the images, I used a slower shutter speed and rear curtain sync.
As happy as I was with the images we got that day, I was thrilled to see how Chris and Joanne’s plan came together in the final packaging
I could tell you how much fun the day was, but you can see for yourself. I brought my son John Lussier along to assist on the shoot and to capture the day on video (using the Olympus OM-D E-M1). John then put together the video below. Check it out. It is as much about the beer as it is about the shoot.
Many many thanks to Chris and Joanne at Smuttynose and to all of the bouncers (watch the video to meet them).
And be sure to pick up a six pack of Smuttynose Bouncy House IPA for your summer barbeques. It will be available in stores and bars at the end of May.