Being a Photographer.

Two weeks ago our wonderful incredible friends Megan and Robert had a beautful little baby girl and we got to meet her this past weekend. As you may have guessed I took a photo...or two. We also went to my brother's baby shower, he and his wife are due later this summer. It's pretty incredible to meet a little person like this, or think about my brothers son who we'll get to meet soon, and know that I will be taking pictures of these people for a very long time. May be that sounds like a silly way to think about it, but that's what it means for me to be a photographer. I can't really separate that part of me from the rest of my life, they're one in the same. It means I'll take their pictures the first time we meet. And it means I'll be there to see them toddling around in diapers, maybe when they're riding their first bike. I might take their senior portraits, get a photo of them at college graduation, maybe even shoot their weddings. I might take photos of each of their first children. Pretty crazy.

I love being a photographer, but I struggle with the business end of it. I don't like the invoices, and the e-mails, and the spreadsheets. Taxes don't necessarily come naturally to me. And really, I could take or leave some of the more mundane marketing photographs that I take. But all those other things pay the bills. They keep lenses in my bag and a camera on the table. And for that I'm grateful. They make it possible for me to be a photographer, and be there with a camera for moments like this. So, they're worth it.

More from Marvin.


I've really been getting into this new technique over the last week or so. Here are a few more images from Marvin, the 1949 Kodak Dualflex II. I've been honing this style a little, figuring out which configurations of equipment and settings seem to be working the best. I've even been making some custom pieces for the camera to block out unwanted light. I'm sure I look relatively insane trying to use this two camera contraption, but I don't care. The results are worth it.  There's still more tweaking to be done, but, for the most part, I think I have it figured out. Now I just need some people for a few photos; models if you will. But not the prima-donna "I simply won't work without a bowl of peeled grapes and bottle of san pellegrino" kind. I need the northwoodsy, down to earth kind. Potentially, the kind that come with their own massive beard and shotgun accessory package. I have a couple ideas. Also, anyone have a classic three piece suit? Send me an e-mail and we'll set up a time. ((**WARNING: If no one volunteers, I will be forced to continue posting random images of myself and other inanimate objects. And nobody wants that, people. No body.**))

Senior Portraits-Kylie

Had a great senior portrait shoot this past Wednesday in Ashland with Kylie. It was a fairly chilly out, but we still got some really nice things outside and Kylie did an awesome job looking warm and happy on a cold day. Then, after we lost the sun, we headed indoors for some more formal portraits. This was probably my last senior session of the season, and it was a great way to wrap up a busy year. It seems like everyone's images are due into the yearbook in the next week or two, so if you had a session with me earlier in the season and still need to choose an image to touched up for submission, let me know ASAP.

Back Home.

Wow. It's been a busy couple weeks. But I'm home again from shoots in Georgia and then Michigan. Here's a random sampling of images from the last couple weeks. Some catalogue photos, some portraits sessions, and finally some dive photos on a couple of shipwrecks in Lake Huron. All in all a pretty random assortment of shoots, but what is it that they say about variety being spicy? Or is it life that's spicy. I always forget. You get the idea. Either way, I love this job. Stay tuned for more.


This post could also be called Breaking Sh*t...and then learning how to fix it. Okay, let me start by saying that I had two shoots scheduled yesterday. The first one early in the morning got rained out, which is fortunate because while I was setting up for it (pre-cancellation), I totally smoked an important piece of equipment on the ground and busticated the power switch. Bummer. This is where being a little handy pays off. (P.S. the top photo is from the second shoot yesterday, that's Nori, keep reading to find out more about her.)

So, this thing is the battery pack for a portable mono block light that I use pretty much all the time for outdoor portraits. It's not super expensive, but it's expensive enough that I don't really want to buy another one. Not to mention, I couldn't buy another one in to time for the evening shoot; It's not exactly a regularly stocked item. Case in point, when I brought it in to Radio Shack I had to first explain what it was before they could help me out. Explanation complete, there was some chin scratching and some rifling through drawers before they hooked me up with the switch that I needed and I started playing mad scientist for a little while.

Now, the new switch wasn't exactly the same size, shape, or orientation as the old one. In fact nothing about it was the same except the voltage/amperage something rating, but I set about fanoogling it all into working order. After a few blue flashes, some quiet cussing, and a little bit of quality time with a screwdriver, I managed to install the new switch. Is it pretty? No. Does it work? Yes. Did I need to cancel my second shoot for the day? No. Mission: Successful. Now I just need to remember not to drop it again. Here are the extra/broken parts I had left after I put it back together: (I don't even know what the zip tie was doing in there before I took it apart. Hopefully nothing important, cause it's not doing it anymore. Weird. But not bad considering I had no idea what I was doing.) I'll say it, I'm proud of me.

Okay, so Nori. Nori is a totally rockin' fiddle player from Ashland, Wisconsin. She's just starting to hit the regional music scene and she was needing a few head-shots. She's also working on a new album which will also need some photos and judging from what she was playing during the shoot, it's going to be awesome. So, we put together a little shoot down by the lake that gave us several different settings in one little area. Combined with a perfect evening it worked out great. Here are a few more:

On the Road.

Everything's packed up and ready to go for a whirl-wind tour of the west coast (even remembered to clean out the office coffee pot this time, see Coffee Vs. Time). I'm on the road until next Wednesday doing shoots in California, Washington and Oregon. I'm pretty excited, this loop should hit some really iconic places and I'm meeting up with some cool people along the way. I don't want to give away too much, but this trip may involve a helicopter ride if I'm lucky (I probably just jinxed it by saying that, but I'm too excited to keep it to myself). Keep an eye out for some rockin' new photos next week. Take it easy out there people.

Okay, I lied. One more senior portrait.


 I thought the portrait season was all over, but I ended up having one more senior portrait session Monday evening with Brooke. Again we got really lucky with weather. We started with a few shots in Prentice Park and then went down to the lake front right before sunset and got some great shots with a little bit of color in the sky. It was a beautiful evening; warm with just a whisper of breeze. Honestly, I think this was the last senior portrait of the season. It looks like I'll be on the road for most of the rest of the month, one round of shoots in California and another in the Pacific Northwest. Should be a fun, stay tuned. (If there's anyone else out there who still needs portraits, give me a call. If we're really sneaky we might still be able to fit you in.)


More Portraits and Even More Mosquitoes.


Here are a few of my favorites from Tatiana's senior portrait shoot on Sunday. We started out inside for some shots on white seamless, and then moved outside as the afternoon light got nicer. Another day with great weather, but the mosquitoes were absolutley epic. Seriously, I need to get an industrial fogger for these shoots or something. Tatiana got eaten alive. In a couple of the photos you can actually see mosquitoes hovering around her. It was ridiculous, but she managed to keep smiling through all of it.

Day Two.


A few more photos from day two of the senior portrait shoot with Andrea and Allison. This time we hit some locations in Ashland, and then headed up to a section of the Souix River near Washburn. It was another beautiful afternoon for photos and not nearly as buggy. These two were supposed to be my guinea pigs for the underwater portrait experiment, but we had to bail out on that plan because the bay is too full of silt from all the rain we've been getting. Not to mention, really freakin' cold. Such is life. We may give it a shot on another warm afternoon in early fall if mother nature cooperates. Plan B was using the local pool, but I just found out that it's closed until mid-October for repairs. That leaves us with Plan C...and once I figure out what Plan C actually is, I'll let you know...In the mean time, more shoots this weekend. Busy busy.

Bright Sunshiny Day.


We had beautiful weather yesterday evening for a senior portrait shoot with Allison and Andrea. Instead of booking each of their sessions separately, these two decided to do their shoots together split over two days, so we have more photos tonight too. Yesterday, we drove down to Mason, Wisconsin, to find some locations out in the country. It was a bit of a haul, but we found some great spots and the sunlight was perfect. Aside from a new hatch of mosquitoes it was a great shoot. Keep your eyes peeled for more in the next few days.


Senior Portraits and Travel.

Had a great senior portrait shoot this weekend with Amy. Above are two of my favorites from the afternoon. Haven't had much of a chance to process the other images yet and I probably won't until the end of the week. I'm in Vermont today for a photo shoot, another in Maine tonight, and then flying out of New Hampshire tomorrow afternoon. Kind of cool to check out the East Coast a little, never really been here before. Everything is so close together. Watch for more photos in the next couple days.

Camera + Airplane = Awesome-tacular.


Ring, Ring. Hello?... What's that you say?... You'd like a few aerial photographs? I'd love to but I don't have an airplane...Oh. Well, if you have a private, luxury airplane and an excellent pilot I can borrow, that should work fine. I suppose I could make a little time in my busy schedule to do that. Let me see when I'm available to do something like that...How about... any second of any day..Ever.

Let me sum up of the rest of the experience this way: TOTALLY FRICKIN' AWESOME. Special thanks to Pilot Dave Mauer for giving me some great angles over the City of Ashland and the Apostles Islands.


Wow. Okay. I just had my first chance in three months to take a deep breath. It's been a busy spring. Good, but busy. Between shooting, editing, and some other projects at home, pretty much all my time has been booked. I just got back from Milwaukee late friday night, was home for two days and now I'm in Grand Marais, MN for another project. I'm getting to meet lots of cool people though, and getting some good images along the way. I haven't even had time to toss up a few of my favorites from recent shoots, but I promise they're coming soon. Today and tomorrow are the last of my spring editorial projects, then senior portrait season is right around the corner. I've already gotten the first few e-mails about sessions during the summer. Should be a good year. Have a great week and stay tuned for a few new photos in the next week or so.


Inside for a Change.


After lots of shooting out in the cold lately, it was nice to shoot some indoor portraits late last week. I haven't worked with any children's photography in a couple months and Finn, the model for this particular shoot, reminded me of two very important things: (1) toddlers are way faster than you think and not predisposed to staying exactly where you put them and (2) kids can look good in a photo regardless of what they're doing. Smiling is cute. Crying is cute. Drooling is fantastically cute. Kids can't lose. Pretty much anything is free game. This is not true in all types of photography, like bridal photography for example. While a sobbing bride may be heartwarming in some specific contexts, drooling is almost always a no go.

Anyway, this was my second shoot with Finn and both times we've gotten some really good stuff. Here are a few more of my favotires from the most recent shoot:



Okay, try not to look cold. Ready...Go.

Had my last Senior Portait session of 2009 this past weekend. Stephanie and her mother, Penny, drove up from Drummond for a shoot on Sunday afternoon. It was a clear, beautiful day here in Ashalnd. It was also about 8 degrees. That, if you're not aware, is cold. Real winter weather makes photo shoots a lot harder. Things freeze up, parts break in the cold, fingers get too cold to push the shutter button. Winter shoots are hard on the camera, they're hard on the lights, they run batteries dead in no time flat, but, most of all, winter shoots are hard on the subject. Stephanie was a trooper. 

Now, keep in mind, I was wearing long underwear and about 42 layers of polyethelene and fleece for this shoot. Stephanie on the other hand was wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans. Afterall who wants to look like they're on an arctic expedition in their yearbook photo (Okay, okay. I would have loved to look like I was on an arctic expedition in my yearbook, but I've always been a little ...abnormal, shall we say.). She would sit in her car while we got a shot set up and then hustle out, peel off her winter coat, and try to look warm for a few minutes while I snapped away. Then back to the car to warm up for a little bit. Not a perfect system, but we got some pretty cool photos. After about an hour and half outside, we went inside for a couple studio portraits. Here are a few of my favorites: