Skip navigation

ryan

Weird little Icelandic gnome…and friend of Damn Ugly Photography…Ryan Karazija is finishing up the second Low Roar album and he’s got a Pledge Music page up and running to him with the costs. If any of you remember how amazing the first album was, then you’ll probably wanna get in line for his new music. I don’t need to go on and on about how talented Ryan is…I’ve said it all before…but he always manages to take my breath away with his musical ability, his lyrical phrasing, and how he can turn your head inside out in five minutes through one of his songs.

The new album is called “0″ and will be released this summer, but please…head over to his Pledge Music page and lock in your purchase today! Only 12 bucks gets you the download, but for $25, Ryan will personally scribble his name on an actual Old Skool CD…and lick the stamps himself to get the thing off to you…all the way from Reykjavík!!!

Ryan’s apparently too bloody busy to send me anything downloadable from the new record, but here are a couple of videos of new music, including ‘Home From Home’, a killer song he did with Neil Davidge…the mega-producer behind Massive Attack’s album Mezzanine…on Neil’s new record, ‘Slo Light’, as well as a performance recorded on a street somewhere in Poland…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Click on any image for Full-Size

Ricky Gervais. In New York. For the London Sunday Times Magazine. And it was one of the most fun shoots of my entire career.

Adam Hearn is the photo editor of the London Sunday Times Culture Magazine and some of the other folks I work for at the Times recommended he give me a call next time he had a shoot on this side of the Atlantic. I am so happy he did, cuz not only am I a BIG fan of Ricky, but I had just lost out on a shoot with him for another client only a week before Adam called. The story was tied to his new film, “Muppets Most Wanted”, and would feature the other star of the movie, Constantine the Frog, the world’s “Number One” criminal and a doppelgänger of Kermit the Frog. Adam kept it fairly open-ended as to what we could do…he just needed fun interaction between Ricky and Constantine for the cover and left the rest up to me. With that in mind, I went on a mad tear of propping…

_DSF0309

…dragged my crew down to Industria on a Saturday morning and let Mr. Gervais and Mr. Frog do all the heavy lifting. Here’s how it went…

Ricky and I talk to Matt Vogel…the Muppeteer behind Constantine…about a few ideas…

_DSF0306

…and even before we start, the fun begins…

_DSF0308

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots of how you photograph a Man and his Muppet…

_DSF0312

_DSF0316

_DSF0313

One of the best things about the whole day was having Ricky’s input as we went along. He came up with so many great ideas of what would look good, that I just had to keep my finger on the shutter and wait for things to happen!

_DSF0319

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Then Ricky suggested they each pose with sunglasses…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

…and our cover was in the bag!

STI23Y1GA_01_COVER.indd

After a quick background & wardrobe change, the two A-Listers were suddenly at each others throats…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

…but a left-cross from the Frog ended that argument…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

…and gave us the opener to the story!

STI23Y1GA_04_RICKY GERVAIS.indd

I also wanted to to shoot Ricky, sans Frog, but had picked up a few Froggy bits and pieces to stick with the theme, including a t-shirt with strategically-placed eyeballs…

Ricky Gervais

…and a very special pair of Kermit Adidas that Ricky put to good use…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

STI23Y1GA_04_RICKY GERVAIS.indd

Finally, I wanted to cool things down a bit, so I had Ricky get into his trademark black…and accessorized him with some very blingy fuzzy Frog Slippers…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

Ricky Gervais

Then we both kicked back and enjoyed a Green Drink…

Ricky Gervais & Constantine the Muppet

And yes…that is a Karl Pilkington t-shirt. I told you I was a big fan!

_flagtest_001

UPDATE – 3/14/14 10:30AM…

Somebody just got in touch with me and it seems Gregory’s photography career might have actually ended years ago…

Gregory Boyd – LinkedIn

Could it be that the last thing he did in an attempt at salvaging his failing photo business was to copy my photographs…?!!

.

.

.

You have undoubtedly noticed the posting frequency over here at Damn Ugly has dropped off precipitously lately, but that only means that I’ve been too damned busy to tickle the keyboard, knocking out my updates about what I’ve been doing. But…things are slowing down a bit and I can prolly fill y’all in fairly soon with what I’ve been up to, but to tide you over until then, I thought I would share this little news item. I’m sure you’ll get a chuckle over it, as I certainly did…

The other day my friend Axel Dupeux was trolling the interwebs and came across a site he thought I might be interested in. He sent me a couple of images that struck him as being remarkably like two of my own shots. They were done by some guy named Gregory Boyd and I gotta say, he must be a BIG fan of my work cuz these two images don’t even make an attempt to hide their origin.

Click on any image for Full-Size

Here is my portrait of Bahmann Mossavar-Rahmani…

mossavar_rahmani_full

…and here’s what my new protégé spit out…

gregoryboyd_screenshot1

Greg…ya couldn’t even change the color of the seamless?!!

The next image of mine is a shot I did of investment manager Peter Siris…

peter_siris

…And Gregory’s homage

gregoryboyd_screenshot2

Now some might argue that this second example could maybe be a coincidence, but given that I’m convinced he straight-up ripped me off on that first shot, I’m not cutting Mr. Boyd any slack. He stole the idea. Period.

So if Gregory Boyd wanted to get noticed for his photography skillz, I’m more than happy to send a few eyeballs over to his site to check him out. You can view all of his work at www.gregoryboyd.com and who knows…you might even spot some photos he’s taken using the ideas of other photographers, as well!

And while you’re over there, you might want to drop him a line to tell him what you think of his work. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the input!

gregory_boyd_ripoff1

gregory_boyd_ripoff2

Penn Jillette

Click on any image for Full-Size

Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to shoot some very nice features for the Wall Street Journal, including today’s entry…Penn Jillette…the larger, more vocal half of Penn & Teller. He was in town promoting the move he produced and Teller directed called, “Tim’s Vermeer”, a documentary about inventor Tim Jenison’s quest to duplicate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer.

The Weekend Confidential section of the Journal typically uses a portrait shot on seamless for the lead art, but I really wanted to do something a bit darker and mysterious as well. I originally thought of doing a Vermeer-like set, but limited time (and budget) kind of made that impractical. However, I did have a classical muslin backdrop that would create the mood I saw in my head. I had it painted about 20 years earlier and pull it out every few years when the need arises. With a few decks of cards, a beat up table and a World-class magician, the photograph almost made itself…

Penn Jillette

There is something truly liberating about shooting portraits on a seamless drop when your subject is as expressive as Penn. I basically threw up a big, soft light (a 47″ Rime Lite Grand Box) and we just had a conversation that I recorded with my camera. My only props were an old chair and one perfectly chosen playing card…

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

And here’s how it turned out…

2013_12_07_cmyk_NA_04

Just a couple of Jokers…at your service!

Penn Jillette

EDIT:

Cuz some of you guys won’t leave me alone about how I lit the shot on the muslin drop, here’s a lighting diagram that should spell things out quite easily…

penn_lighting

As you can see…it’s pretty simple. The ring light had the diffusion reflector on it…

bt_resident_eye

…and was about two stops under the main light, my modified Desisti 10″ Fresnel spotlight…

desisti

The Desisti (powered by a Profoto Acute 2400 pack) was placed to the right of the camera and was flagged off by two long, black cards that threw the shadows onto both Penn and the back wall. I like the Fresnel spot for a couple of reasons. First, it’s very easy to place the shadows exactly where you want them because of the focused beam of light. And secondly, the light quality is much nicer than a bare head…it just has an open, sunny look to it. To get the overall color looking the way I wanted, I added about 3/4 CT filtration on the Fresnel and then adjusted the white balance back so the skin tones weren’t too warm, which put a slight blue cast onto the background and in the shadow areas.

Tony Bennett

Click on any image for Full-Size

Tony Bennett

Yes…Tony Bennett…!!!

I have a very short, unspoken list of people that I would never presume I would have the opportunity to meet, let alone get to photograph. That list has included Jacques Cousteau, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Reeve, and a few Presidents. But a couple of weeks ago, Kat Malott at the Wall Street Journal gave me the call. Tony Bennett. Tony sketches or paints every day, and Kat…the Photo Editor for the ‘Mansions’ section…wanted me to shoot Tony the Artist, at home with his paintings. The idea was to show him in his studio and keep things as ‘real’ as possible. Given that it was a painting studio, I kinda hoped the available light would make things easy in that respect. I wasn’t disappointed. Here is how things looked…

location_scout

The big wall of windows next to the easel face North onto Central Park and the east-facing windows would act as a nice fill, but I would still have to pull out my DIY Ghetto-Flo’s to to act as a main light, while still keeping the natural look of the scene. I didn’t need too much front light…two of the Ghetto’s should do it…

photo 7

photo 2

photo 1

The two strip lights added just enough soft light to mimic the existing light without looking like we faked it…

photo 5

And away we go…

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

It was natural enough that even with a camera angle change, we didn’t have to move the lights…

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

And even more extreme angle change for a still life of his easel and a bronze of Harry Belafonte let us use that North window light as our main source…

Tony Bennett

With the ‘Artist’ portraits in the bag, I pressed for a few extra minutes to do a quick portrait using the wall opposite the windows…

photo 3

As you can see, the setup couldn’t be simpler…just a mini-octa bank and a soft ringlight. We put down the Canon, and pulled out the Hasselblad and the Macbeth chart…

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

2013_10_18_cmyk_NA_02

2013_10_18_cmyk_NA_02

Thanks Tony…that’s one more thing checked off my Bucket List.

Tony Bennett

1amlaw_cover

Click on Any Image for Full-Size
______________________________

Maggie Soladay, Photo Editor at American Lawyer, recently had us shoot the cover feature for their annual Associates Survey. The cover image had to convey the rather subtle idea that female associates gave their firms lower marks than the male associates did in many areas on the survey. Here’s a little taste of how it went…

For the cover, I wanted to use a color that immediately grabbed the reader’s attention and Art Director Morris Stubbs was on board, especially after seeing what I did with Bill O’Reilly a few months ago…so we pulled out the orange seamless and went to work.

2_associates_00002

3orange_lighting

As you can see in the lighting diagram, I kept things fairly simple, but I wanted to light our models (Jo Quiles and Johnny Tyrone) with two separate main lights…20″ Profoto Beauty dishes with 25 degree grids…in such a way to add to the drama. The male associate had to be in a hero light…something that would make him more prominent in the photo, while the female associate was lit slightly from below to give off a more menacing vibe. Not exactly ‘monster lighting’, but just enough to not come off as a wash of soft light. Other than the dish reflectors, I added a ringlight with the soft reflector to give a sheen to their suits.

American Lawyer - Associates

Then we backed up the orange set with a similar look on blue…

American Lawyer - Associates

Next, we moved on to the inside look…

American Lawyer - Associates

7blue_bts

To illustrate the idea of a law associate moving out of the shadows and stepping into the spotlight, I literally pulled out my modified Desisti spotlight for the task…

desisti

8blue_lighting

I positioned the Desisti directly behind and above my camera and cut the light with two cards on either side that gave me a exact slash of light I wanted. A little pop from the ringlight filled in the shadows just enough without throwing a ringlight-effect shadow…

American Lawyer - Associates

The resulting image opened the story…

10Associates_Survey_opener

…and all was right with the World…

American Lawyer - Associates

LEWIS & KAREN ALTFEST -  ALTFEST PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Click on Any Image for Full-Size
______________________________

When people ask me what it’s like to do what I do, more often than not they think the life of a photographer is some kind of a Holy Grail job and how great it must be to rub elbows and frolic among the people I get to (briefly) hang with. I try my best to convince them that it ain’t all Roses & Butterflies, but most have a hard time believing me. Which brings us to todays little waste of time. This isn’t gonna be glamourous. There will be no talk of Rock Stars or Celebrities or Fabulous locations. The following is a pretty honest representation of what an average shoot for your typical business magazine is like. It’s all about photographing real people in real situations in very little time and still coming away with interesting images. To the best of our knowledge, no one was harmed in the making of this post…

Scott Valenzano sent us to Park Avenue to shoot a cover for Financial Planning with the Altfest’s…Lewis & Karen, who run Altfest Personal Wealth Management…as our subjects du jour. And as is often the case, we had to alter the reality of the location just a touch to get things to look good. Here’s a little rundown…

The Altfest offices aren’t that large, but within minutes of my arrival I knew where we were gonna shoot the cover shot…

altfest2

I figured that if we backlit the frosted glass wall and used just the right wide angle lens, that grid pattern would make for a nice, graphic background. But that big wall of glass took a lotta light before it blew out nicely!

altfest1

You can see that we used four heads just to cover the frosted glass, and another big umbrella to fill in the background on the far right side. With all that light bouncing around, all we need up front was the Mini-Octa bank positioned high and to the right and we were good to go…

altfest4

LEWIS & KAREN ALTFEST -  ALTFEST PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT

With the cover in the bag, we very quickly moved to shot number two…on the other side of that glass wall…

altfest1

The classic sofa was a perfect posing bench for the couple and it would be relatively simple to relight the scene using the lighting from the first shot. The four background lights were now placed on the other side of the glass and the Mini-Octa would again be our main light, but we added a ringlight for fill…

alfest2

LEWIS & KAREN ALTFEST -  ALTFEST PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Finally, we decided to move in a totally different direction and pulled out the Canon to do an almost-available light portrait in Lewis’s office…

altfest3

With large windows on two sides streaming in all that light you might think we wouldn’t have to add anything, but the bright backlight was just too much to overcome without looking like a blown-out fashion shoot. My DIY Ghetto-Flo Lights would be just the right thing for the task…

altfest3

With one light each aimed at Lewis and Karen and another two positioned off to the far left to act as a kicker that mimicked the window light, we were able to bring the ambient light down just enough to get the subjects to pop and also white-balance the ambient light down to a nice, cool blue cast…

LEWIS & KAREN ALTFEST -  ALTFEST PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Three shots in about an hour…like I said…easy as 1, 2, 3…!

stop_the_cloud

As any of the regular viewers of the Damn Ugly Channel can attest (and by regular, I mean those who have stuck with me through this past Summers marked lack of action in here!), I have been a rather vocal opponent to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription scheme. I made my feelings about their plans to charge $20/month to use Photoshop (and Lightroom, Behance, and have access to a 20GB Cloud Storage account) very well known, as I saw it for what it was…a blatant money grab! The smart kids in class realized very early on that moving to a subscription-based pricing scheme wasn’t about innovation and the seamless transfer of upgrades to its end-users, as Adobe claimed…no, the writing was on the wall that in order to keep their business going, Adobe had to do something to lock in a steady cash flow since it was obvious they weren’t gonna stay profitable forever relying on periodic upgrade fees alone. There are only so many new gizmos and filters they could add to any piece of software before the end user wouldn’t care and bail on paying for upgrades. Now comes word that all that screaming from the mountaintop by those of us in the Photo Community may have have a positive outcome as Adobe just announced a “New” Photoshop Photography Program…only $10/month…forever…if you’re already a Photoshop user (minimum CS3) and you sign up buy the end of the year.

Now by lowering the subscription price to $120/year, it kinda brings the cost down to what have been historically what users paid if they were fastidious about sticking to the Adobe upgrade path. But as good a move in the right direction as this might be, I’m not exactly ‘rejoicing’ at the news, as the PetaPixel Photo Blog suggests all photographers should be doing just yet. At ten bucks a month even I can’t come up with too many arguments for not joining…except one…why isn’t Adobe addressing the biggest issue with their plan for an ongoing subscription model…the lack of any viable exit strategy for loyal users once they get off the subscription track?!! I mean, I’m not planning my retirement party just yet, but there will come a day when I won’t wanna fork over even $10/month for occasional access to a program I will use sparingly at best! All Adobe would have to do to win over the entire Photo Community would be to say that after you’ve paid into “The Cloud” for a period of time…say three, four or even five years…the end user can end their subscription and their software will be locked in at that level of upgrade. This would ensure the user could still have full working access to their work and Adobe will have made a healthy profit over the subscription time frame. And best of all for Adobe, should that user decide at a later date that it is once again necessary to get back on “The Cloud”, then they would have to pay whatever the going rate was at that time to re-subscribe and build time credits towards the next allowed jumping off point.

See…very simple…why can’t everyone just listen to Damn Ugly Photography?!! But let me know…what do you think of Adobe’s price drop?

bert_marilyn

Bert Stern was one of the first photographers whose work turned me on to photography. His ‘Last Sitting’ of Marilyn Monroe made him famous, but even as a kid, I can remember being drawn to his images in magazines. Advertising and editorial pages in the 60′s and 70′s were plastered with his work. His portfolio could be used to illustrate just about everything you see on “Mad Men”. Later, when I become more and more involved in photography, I learned who he was. I bought a book of his early work that I have to this day. Looking at the photographs in that book brought back all those memories of my early childhood and like a lightbulb going off over my head, it was then I knew I was meant to be a photographer. For me, he defined what a photographer was all about. He was single-minded in his passion for creating memorable imagery. His work transcended commercial photography…he was seen as a cultural hero…a straight-up Rock Star. And for more than a decade he was the most sought-out guy in the business. But the excess, copious amounts of drugs, alcohol and failed relationships took its toll and he quite literally burned out and disappeared from the business. He resurfaced in the late 80′s as a kinder, gentler, Bert, but the World had changed and the days of jetting off to Egypt to shoot a martini glass in the sand were long gone…

Bert died Tuesday. He was 83.

bert_martini

Bill O'Reilly

When I got the call from Dave Baratz at USAWeekend to shoot Bill O’Reilly, I immediately could tell from his voice that this was probably when was of those quick in-and-out gigs, and I was right. Bill had extremely limited time available and wouldn’t go to a studio, so the only place we could shoot him was on the set of The O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Oh yeah…we were told we would only have about ten minutes with him…immediately before he taped his show!

I figured I had better go check the place out…

It was small…really small! My wide-angle lenses were gonna get a workout! The only place I could drop a seamless for the cover would be in a back corner behind the cameras…

scout2

For a second shot, the only other possibility seemed around his desk…

scout3

But when I saw the Stage Manager sitting in a nook to the side I had an idea…

scout1

Because of the time constraints and the fact that I was going to shoot him against that backlit set, I made the decision to light Bill with a couple of 1′ x 1′ BiColor Litepanels. The BiColor variator made it super easy to dial in the correct color temperature and the output variator allowed me to match the intensity of the backlit blue wall in seconds. I’ve really come to appreciate the WYSIWYG aspect of shooting the the Litepanel system.

Bill O’Reilly…on set in 3…2…1…

_MG_0008

Bill O'Reilly

That took care of the opener…

oreilly_inside

Now, on to the cover.

I took a subjects-eye-view of the cover setup…

bill_oreilly_00009.mos

…which sort of shows how tightly backed into that corner we really were…

bts1

Since the story was about volunteerism, Dave and I thought it would be nice to play off the old Uncle Sam, ‘I Want You!’ poster…

uncle_sam

And Bill got into the whole Uncle-Sam-pointing thing which made my work that much easier…

Bill O'Reilly

And here’s the cover that came out yesterday

oreilly_cover

Bill and I hope YOU enjoyed todays behind-the-scenes look!

bill_oreilly_00065.mos

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Even though I’ve lived in New York since 1982, if someone asks me where I’m from I immediately say, “Edmonton!”, so when Terri Belley…the Art Director at Avenue Magazine…asked me to shoot a feature on another ex-Edmontonian, actress Catherine Mary Stewart, I jumped at the chance. I mean, this was the hot chick from “Night of the Comet”, “The Last Starfighter” and who can forget…“Weekend at Bernie’s”!!! And designer Michael Kaye…another native son of Edmonton now calling New York home…was gonna be providing the fashions.

But then reality kicked in. Avenue ain’t Vanity Fair, and as such, the production budget was very tight, so we decided to shoot everything at Michael’s design studio. The only problem, he just moved in and when I went by to take a look at what we might have to work with, the place was still under construction. Even so, there were a few things that caught my eye…

These mirrors…
mirrors

A Knoll Egg Chair…
chair

A wall of dress forms…
dressform

And something all Canucks have on their walls…a really cool mounted head!
antlers

Michael assured me the studio would be completed in time for the shoot, and a few weeks later Kaz and I hauled a thousand pounds of gear uptown and went to work, starting with those mirrors…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00001.mos

Well, that sucked…gotta get that color balance right…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00014.mos

Much better. Let’s do it…

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

And here’s how it looked in the magazine…

ave_4

Now…the dress forms…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00139.mos

Way too much ring light and too little drama…gotta bring in the Mini-Octa…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00145.mos

Perfect!

Catherine Mary Stewart

So good, it ended up on the cover…

ave_cover1

Michael had a black pony area rug on the floor that I thought would look good from above…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00331.mos

The high angle was great, but the day bed wasn’t working, so we went with the Egg Chair instead…

Catherine Mary Stewart

And as the only horizontal I shot all day, it fit right in as the opener for the story…

ave_1

Since I had been to the studio on the scout, Michael had added some shelves that showed off his collection of fashion illustrations on either side of the Antelope head. Catherine was going to wear one of his signature Tartan dresses that he designed especially for her, and I originally thought it might look good with a stark ringlight effect…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00241.mos

But it came off like a Terry Richardson rip-of and was too different from everything else we were doing, so I brought back the drama with a spotlight on her…

Catherine Mary Stewart

Catherine Mary Stewart

ave_2

We had already shot a lot, but Michael had one more gown he wanted to include and although we had pretty much shot every angle of his studio, after wracking our brains for one more idea we thought it might be fun to offset the stunning beaded dress against a haphazard pile of chairs…

Catherine_Mary_Stewart_00458.mos

Works for me!

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

ave_3

After a very long day in a very small studio, we were three very tired Canadians! And the June issue of Avenue magazine is on the stands now!

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart

bobby_flay_00247.mos

Click on any image for Full-Size

This past weekend was the unofficial start of Summer and to kick off the season, Dave Baratz at USAWeekend had me shoot Iron Chef Bobby Flay for a Summer Grilling cover. He wanted BBQ…he wanted smoke…he wanted fire…and he wanted it shot in a studio.

So we obliged.

We set up shop at Milk studios for a couple of reasons…first, Studio #3 was wonderfully huge and second, it had tons of windows that we were gonna need to clear out all the smoke I knew we would have. But fake smoke is one thing, fire is something else! Since we couldn’t exactly light a real fire, I called upon Sarah Oliphant for a flame backdrop

_Bobby_Flay_000001.mos

Next came the smoke. I kinda knew the standard Rosco smoke fogger wouldn’t be the way to go because all it does is spew out a huge blast of very hard to control smoke and I really wanted to have very precise, wispy smoke curls. We did tests using Superior smoke pellets

smokebomb

…but at $7 a pop and only lasting 20-30 seconds each, they weren’t the ideal fit. But then we found something new to me at JMFX out in Brooklyn…the Tiny F07 fogger

tiny_f07

Not only is it small…about the size of a deck of cards…so it’s easy to hide on a set or maneuver in and out of the shot on the fly, but since it has a wireless remote control, it’s extremely easy to control the output. About the only downside is that the damned thing costs $1850.00!!! Thank God for rental houses.

But after firing up a couple of the Tiny F07′s, this was literally our first test with the smoke..

_Bobby_Flay_00001.mos

Not bad at all…all we had to do now was add an Iron Chef…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

…and the cover…

bobbyflaycover

With the cover in the bag, we moved on to a second shot with another Olpihant backdrop

bobby_flay_00021.mos

After slapping a couple of steaks on the grill and both mini-smoke machines hidden inside, Bobby went to work…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

So that was our day with the Iron Chef…and the best part is that now all of us at Damn Ugly Photography are certified special effects technicians!!!

Kaz, Brad & Ben

ktsos_2013

KATE TUCKER & THE SONS OF SWEDEN
Hangover



DOWNLOAD: Hangover

It should come as no surprise to long-time SOTD listeners that with me being back in the groove of kickin’ out free music for you guys, a new song from Kate Tucker wouldn’t be long in coming. Since ditching all her of dear, dear friends in New York for Nashville a couple of years ago, Ms. Tucker has been bouncing between her solo work and the K+NIKKU project with Nic Danielson, but she recently decided to reform The Sons of Sweden with a new group of Sons…Matthew Thompson on bass, Wes Chandler playing guitar and Ethan Place on drums. Kate and the Sons have been recording new material for a while and have just launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help them release “The Shape, The Color, The Feel”, described as a collaborative audio/visual venture to record the album, release it on vinyl, complete with music videos or short films accompanying each song. ‘Hangover’ is the little tease she’s dropping to get you interested, so give it a listen, head on over to the Sons of Sweden Facebook page and hit the ‘LIKE’ button, and if you have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, don’t waste it on a Powerball ticket…why not help them out on the Kickstarter campaign?

Click HERE and donate until your wallet is empty!

ees

ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK
Metal Man



DOWNLOAD: Metal Man

Electric Eel Shock… a three-piece garage metal band that have been kicking around Tokyo since the late 90′s…are self-described as being “the BEST Japanese Metal Band”, and since my experience with Japanese Metal is pretty damned limited, I’m gonna hafta take their word for it. But I was trolling the Daytrotter site this morning and came across a live session they just did and figured it was just the kind of fun, exuberant thing I needed as a ‘Welcome Back!” to the Song of the Day!

Let’s not kid ourselves…these guys ain’t exactly Van Halen…but without any kind of significant record label success, they’ve still managed to plug along all this time and put together a pretty impressive fan base outside of Japan, and I kinda like that. So enjoy the song and when you’re done, give ‘em a look over on their website.

baron_pano

A few weeks back, Adrian sent me uptown to the GM Building for a feature on Jeff Kolitch, the manager of Baron Capital’s Real Estate Fund. Since the focus of the article was Real Estate, they kinda wanted to see Real Estate, so on the scout, even thought they had a lot of fish tanks that might make for some fun portraits…

baron_fish

…I still had to make sure to come up with something that might actually relate to why Jeff was being interviewed…

baron_view

Adrian really liked the window and its view, so Ben and I figured we could turn it into a ‘frame’ that would hold our photo…

jeff_kolitch_00078.mos

jeff_kolitch_00097.mos

And the final images…

Jeff Kolitch

Jeff Kolitch

2013_05_06_cmyk_NL_

But we weren’t done yet. When Jeff walked me around the offices on the location scout, I really liked the space-age, floating glass staircase that joined the 48th & 49th floors…

baron_stairs

…and after a bit of lighting…

jeff_kolitch_00004.mos

Jeff Kolitch

…we ended up with this…

Jeff Kolitch

Sharp eyes will notice that in the final image I cloned the wall on the right side of the photo onto the left side to make things more symmetrical, a technique I used once before on another staircase shot for Businessweek.

I just LOVE this…


fuck_the_cloud

It’s Friday afternoon, and to close out my week-long rant against the proposed Adobe Creative Cloud, just in case there are any of you out there who still don’t believe that what Adobe is doing amounts to a straight-up money grab, I offer you this to chew on…

Quoted from a Goldman Sachs research report on the subject:

With the announced update of Adobe’s flagship content authoring tools Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign the company rebranded them Creative Cloud instead of Creative Suite and stated that the new editions would only be available on a subscription basis. Further, the company stated that going forward all new features for these apps would also only be available with the subscription offering. Adobe will continue to sell and support CS6. While our conversations with Max attendees indicate that most found the timing of the move surprising, we view it as likely accelerating adoption of Adobe’s subscription offering…….We believe the lack of VIABLE ALTERNATIVES to the Creative Cloud apps along with the productivity enhancements in the new editions will drive the majority of CS users that are ready to upgrade to migrate to Creative Cloud despite what will likely be a vocal but small backlash.

That was followed with this little nugget:

In a report published Thursday, Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini upgraded the rating on Adobe Systems from Sell to Neutral, and raised the price target from $34.00 to $48.00.

In the report, Bellini noted, “We upgrade ADBE from Sell to Neutral with a 12-month $48 price target. Since we added ADBE to the Sell List on 7/12/11, the stock is up 47% vs. the S&P up 21% (LTM ADBE is up 37% vs. the S&P up 17%). The stock’s relative outperformance comes as investors have given the stock credit for a more normalized operating model post the transition. At around $44 the stock currently trades on 30X consensus’ NTM EPS forecast vs. the three year historic average of 14X on compressed earnings (consensus is at $1.45 for FY13 vs. $2.36 in FY12).”

Adobe Systems closed on Wednesday at $44.70.

So…knowing they have the creative community by the balls because of the lack of “viable alternatives” to their applications, Adobe moves forward with the subscription only pricing scheme…and the biggest investment bank in the game upgrades their stock outlook by more than 40% on the news. And yet there are still those who think Adobe has OUR best interests at heart. If this isn’t a wakeup call, then what is?!!

Yet another unhappy Creative Suite user, Charles Reilly of Lime Productions, posted some very well thought-out observations about The Cloud on his YouTube Channel…

Remember…make sure to head on over to www.change.org and sign the petition to get Adobe to offer us users a choice…they only need a couple hundred more names to hit the magic 15,000 mark!!!

bron_move

So this morning, Broncolor just sent me an email titled, “10 Things You Should Know About the Broncolor Move 1200L Outdoor Para Kit”, and I hafta say, I’ve been fascinated with this spendy bit of kit since they announced it last year, so I wasted a bit of time and clicked the link. Here’s what you get:

The Super-Dooper-Fast Move 1200 L power pack…

bron_pack

One MobiLED lamphead…

bron_head

A Para 88 reflector with mounting adaptor…

bron_para

And a nifty Outdoor Trolley Backpack…

bron_back

…but after reading the 10 things Broncolor feels we need to know about this light, I came up with the only thing I needed to know…THE DAMN THING COSTS OVER $10 GRAND!!!!!

Actually, to be fair to Broncolor, it’s only $9,354.10…but toss in the tax in New York, and that’ll set you back $10160.89, and that is a stunning amount of cash for a battery powered light and an umbrella!!!

But before you all pile on to tell me how great the thing is and how fast it’s flash duration might be and how it has NO competition out there (How about an Einstein, a PLM and a Vagabond for about $800 bucks?!!), believe me, I know it’s kinda cool, but $10 Grand worth of cool?!!

I dunno…unless I had a winning Powerball ticket in my pocket, it simply seems like a tremendous mis-allocation of funds to me…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 539 other followers