Before Dawn

Austin Nevada

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.

Hope you like it.


Bouncy House IPA


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.

Rachel and Steve
Micah and Jaime
Liberty and Catherine
Matt and JT
Peter and Janet


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.

Bouncy House IPA labels

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.

You like the music in the video? Check out the Ryan Taylor Band.



Happy Mother’s Day

If you have kids or if you’ve ever been a kid, you have some of these. Take a school photo, add some creativity, construction paper, macaroni, or a simple frame and you have a classic ornament! As the years go by they become reminders of past Christmas and the passage of time. 

My wife Jean was away visiting her mother after Christmas through New Years this past season. That left my sons, John and Ryan, and me with the duty of taking down the tree and putting away the decorations. Among the ornaments we’ve collected over the 30 years we’ve been married were a few of these classics.  So I took advantage of the fact that Jean was away to shoot some portraits of the passage of time. I needed my son Thom (who is out of the house) to complete the picture. I finally got to shoot his portrait in late January when he was over for a visit.

My original intent was to give these to Jean next Christmas. But Mother’s Day seemed more appropriate. So today she got these portraits grouped on an aluminum print.

Happy Mother’s Day!  



Here is another shot from my brief weekend shoot in Rockport.

At first glance I thought they were a series of changing lockers for a beach or pool area. But upon closer inspection, there was neither a beach or a pool on the other side of the gated area these were in. In fact the area faces a dock, so my best guess is that these locked doors secure storage areas for local fisherman.

Whatever they are, they make for a great graphic subject for a black and white image.

Motif #1

Motif #1

It would seem the shooting drought is finally over. At least until the next one.

My friend Steve Perlmutter and I hit Rockport, Ma for an afternoon of shooting. The day seemed perfect for long exposure, so that was the primary purpose. We also dabbled a bit in time lapse and whatever we could do to get the creative juices flowing.

We picked Rockport simply because we knew we would immediately find a good subject — albeit a popular, frequently photographed (painted, and sketched) subject in Motif #1. So the challenge was to get a somewhat unique take on it.

So here is mine — a long exposure shot with a touch of cross processing in Lightroom.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

It has been forever since I’ve posted an image here on the blog. Well, maybe just a week or so. But it seems like forever. Not by design, though. Life has been very hectic — My free time over the past couple of weeks was consumed by final preparations for the Boston Marathon and my oldest son’s wedding. Both were wildly successful and went off without a hitch. But I have to say my son’s wedding was way more fun. I didn’t have to run a step and the recovery was a lot quicker — If you know what I mean.

Anyway, now that marathon training and wedding preparation is over, I am now photographically rejuvenated. Back to posting on the blog and back to shooting.

That last bit is key. New shooting this winter and spring (so far) has been lacking. My goal is to turn that trend around.

But until I shoot something new that is worth posting, here is an old image from my trip to England in 2012 — A shot of Warwick Castle.

Damn. What a cool castle!

Fire Station

Fire Station

This is my first blog post in over a week. I’ve been a bit under the weather and any normal-feeling time I did have was spent on more urgent matters, like work and getting shit done for my son’s wedding, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.

Since I am feeling better, I thought I’d reach into the archives for an image to post. I chose this one from Ireland, taken back in 2007.

Nothing too fancy or exotic.  Just a simple fire station in the Irish Countryside.


Dead Horse Point Panorama

Dead Horse Point Panorama

It is hard to believe it has been a year (almost) since the Utah version of North by Northwest (NXNW) last spring. No, its not a rock festival. It’s a gathering of a few photo bloggers who got to know each other only through the wonders of social media. Images were shared, comments exchanged, friendships forged then NXNW was born.

For three days Michael Criswell, Mark Garbowski, Chris Nitz, Rick Loius, Justin Balog, Dave Wilson and I fueled our creative juices with sleep deprivation, Folgers coffee and craft brewed beer.  We shot our way through Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We also hit this Dead Horse Point State Park, which brings us to this image.

Even though it wasn’t our original destination for the dawn shoot (we got lost trying to get to Marlboro Point), it became an instant hit with the NXNW crew. We were in complete awe as the sun rose behind us and brought Canyonlands to life. I shot this panorama a few minutes after sunrise. It was somewhat of an afterthought. In fact, I completely forgot I had this set of images until I want back through the catalog a few days ago. So I processed it.

To truly appreciate it click here.