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Friday, February 18, 2011

After every trauma; there is a ray of sunshine that meets the eye

Last night, everything was pointing to "just stay in the bed tomorrow". I did a quick prep of the lights to make sure that the shoot tomorrow would go a bit smoother than the last shoot. Once I had my strobes set up just as I wanted them, I test fired and got a pretty nice picture. A few minor adjustments and I fired another one; Bullseye!!! One more just for shits and grins, and as I began to shut off the power to the strobes, one of the background strobes started screeching and then without warning the capacitor blew, sending white smoke bellowing into the air and a smell that told me immediately to get this thing unplugged from the wall. Dead at the scene. Nothing to explain why this happened?? Frustrated, I began my drive home, and I called my "keygrip" person to make sure I would have some help with the lighting, and he confirmed that he would not be available for the shoot. "No problem I thought", as I was expecting a male model who wouldn't mind giving me a hand. Got home, got showered, got to bed. Got up the next day, and something told me this isn't going to be like any other day, but I wasn't trying to hear it. I called the model to let her know that I had arrived to the meetup location. Got her voicemail. "Don't panic" is what my conscience told me. Sent her a text message. Waited a while, called again, still got voicemail. Then I got a text from her. She thought the meetup was at 9:00 A.M. I reminded her that makeup was at 9:00 a.m. She was out the door and on the road in no time. However being a new transplant from another state, she had not yet met Seattle morning traffic on a friday. Concerned about the makeup artist (MUA) arriving to a locked studio, I called her, and got her voicemail (this is not happening). I called the male model (the husband of the MUA) and got his voicemail (can I panic NOW?). Text message comes to my phone from the model: "traffic is moving verrrrrryyyyyy slooowwwwllyyyyy" I laughed so hard I cried to camoflauge the real tears of panic that was starting t0 swell up. I texted the model back and asked her current location. She was only a few miles away at this point, and I sighed. 15 minutes later she tells me she took an exit to try and find a back road. Right at that time the male model calls me, and I smile a little because this had to be good news. He informed me that he would not be there today with his wife, but she was on her way. This was bittersweet news because I can live without a male model/keygrip but I cannot survive without an MUA. If you don't believe that, then just ask the gods and they'll tell you not to try it without a MUA. But wait, my model was still lost in Seattle, and time was ticking. My hairstylist is a bit touchy when the clock strikes twelve and his client isn't in the chair at said time. "I NEED MY MODEL NOW". I wanted to drive off and see if I could find her but I thought that would be a very bad idea so I waited it out. My phone rang, and it was my MUA, she had arrived. I briefed her on the current status and she decided to go have a latte (that's fancy for coffee here in Seattle people). 15 minutes later I get a message that she is still waiting on her latte to be served from a place I had recommended. Suddenly, my model have me in her eye sight and is racing across the parking lot. We arrived to the studio in a reasonable amount of time. The hair stylist was still working on the hair of another one of his clients, so nothing was ruffled in his corner. The MUA had her latte and was smiling, and I had the model safe and secure. Within minutes my very best friend and business partner came walking through the door after deciding to take the day off and attend the shoot rather than work his normal job. Things went from bad to better, instead of bad to worst. At the end of the shoot the model was exhausted and starving. Funny thing is that I took her to the same place the MUA had complained about bad service with lattes, and the model had a HUGE cheese burger, fries and FRY SAUCE (People please, this is Seattle. Fry sauce is not ketchup; it's fry sauce and it's pinkish in color and taste better). So at the end of the day, our team had pulled it together, and pulled it off beautifully!!!! The photos speak for themselves, and these will be hard to disagree with. No misfires, no real fires, no one missing in action. One thing for sure "this day wasn't like any other day. It was so much better".

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Expanding on my blog about blowouts, there will be times when you might wish you had more light. During the same shoot, I had a pocketwizard glitch, resulting in my strobe not firing at all. It resulted in an underexposed photo that was too dark. DO NOT DELETE! You won't be able to save everything, but sometimes what you find in the dark, can be enlightening. I have posted the underexposed photo which I again, in LightRoom 3, increased the exposure, which will result in quite of digital noise ( a compilation of dark spots that resemble droplets or spots all over the photo). This situation is also corrected in LightRoom 3, by reducing the noise, increasing the luminance and tweeking the detail until you have it pleases you. Remember that photography is subjective so as long as you are pleased with your results, there is no right or wrong as to how much or too little you need to do. The main thing is that a photo that you may have deleted could have resulted in beautiful useable photographs used in various ways as I did with this one. Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and keep on clicking. Now that is Bluestilling 101.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creative Advertising

Boy oh boy, this is Valentine night. A night when most people are spending it with someone they love. I'm wierd, I am spending it doing things that I love, so I am posting two blogs instead of my normal one entry. Today I read a blog that was sent to me about being "creative, caring and time to vision to beat a budget". This is my interpretation of that blog. Tonight I recreated my wheel on how I want to advertise. My studio have huge windows on both sides of the building. One of those sides face the freeways running through and pass Downtown Tacoma. I was thinking about the best way I could display my work that will get it a lot of attention and keeping it cost effective. Then it hit me. I decided that I will hook up a laptop to a projector and project my images in a slideshow off those huge windows facing the freeways. After setting it all up and turning on the projector, the view was amazing and breathtaking from the interior side. So I grabbed my umbrella and went out to the backside of the studio to see how it would look if I were driving up that highway "HELLO SWEETHEART', it is totally amazing, secure and cost effective advertising. I wanted to include one of the photos from the backside also but due to the really heavy rainfall, I decided I just didn't want to haul the equipment out into the rain since I have done that already once this weekend. I'm Bluestill, and this is my expression of love on this Valentine night :) Happy V Day everybody driving up or down the I-705 freeway in Tacoma. I still have to tweek a few things and I'll improve it as I go with powerpoint advertisements and short videos and such, but for now. I am loving my budget :)

I had a Blow Out

A blowout on the highway while driving could be a bad thing. However, a blowout anywhere else involving a camera, a light source and a subject, can be quite interesting. I recall listenting to Chase Jarvis during an interview, and he stated that he never deletes anything. The first thing that came to mind was blowouts and underexposed photos. During a photoshoot this weekend, my first click resulted in a very bright picture due to my forgetting to adjust my ISO setting and shutter speed, after shooting some night photography. I opened the photo in Lightroom and brought the exposure down quite a bit. What I saw before my eyes really did not cause me any discomfort. The low shutter speed had aided by giving the photo a bit of motion blur. The over exposure had exaggerated the off white frilly sweater to look like anything but a sweater and blended it with the blown out background which consumed most of the photo except for the darkest of shadow areas. What more, is that the photo now even appears to be taken overlooking a cliffside rather than the rocky edge of the Puget Sound, where it was taken. I would be willing to bet that if I had to use the photo to sell something, the skirt would have definitely made the fashion statement in this shot. I think back to that comment from Mr. Jarvis and only wonder had I not heard it, would I have immediately hit the delete button on my camera right there on the scene and never found out why accidental blowouts are sometimes a good thing.