Thursday, December 28, 2006

behind the scenes

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a commercial photo shoot? Maybe you don't; like movie sets, it's kind of boring. But fun. And silly; but serious.

I recently had the opportunity to assist a friend of mine on a stock shoot of two couples in the SF area. This was a December day, but we were lucky enough to get lots of gorgeous blue sky and sunshine - until the wind picked up around noon and threatened to blow us away!

She had the models, a stylist for wardrobe finessing, and me to hold the reflector all day. That is pretty much the life of a photo assistant - carry the gear, hold the reflector. The photos she took were AMAZING and look way more glamorous than these behind the scenes/ documentary shots. And I like to think part of that is due to my exceptional reflector-holding skills. Well, not really, but, it was HARD to keep that thing from blowing away! : )

You may notice a lot of self portraits (it can get boring); an encounter with the police (no one was arrested); models huddling for warmth and goofing around. It was a gorgeous day, very fun and inspiring (I am always trying to make time for more shoots myself but get so busy with weddings); but COLD!

Enjoy the slideshow, it's short.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

crafty girls

My friend Ona (you may recognize her from our recent Vintage Radio shoot) hosted a craft party back in late November. Although I didn't feel crafty and had nothing specific to work on, I stopped by for delicious snacks and visiting with friends. I love that crafts are making such a revival these days, and all of my friends are so creative and lovely.

Girls sewing:


Spring's baby girl is so sweet:

But apparently has some little devil horns too!

best spam mail yet

Unless you're a wedding photographer, you probably don't already know that there are a lot of email scams directed towards us... it's weird. I've tried to figure out if other service-oriented professionals are doing this, but I really don't know. I do know it's something all of us wedding photographers have to put up with, and (like the Nigerian princes that try to send us all millions of dollars, and dying children who want you to forward their email, and other such scams) usually they are very transparent and easy to ignore.

The scam is basically that they send you a check for more than the contracted amount; then you cash it and it appears to clear into your bank account; the scammer asks you to return the overage to them; it takes your bank a few days to realize it's a bad check; you are then out whatever you have been foolish enough to refund to the "client". Gross all around, but they do occasionally make for some entertaining reading (please note: I'm not trying to make fun of people who don't speak English as their first language... just at email spammers in general):

"hello, how do you do?
My name is angela,I am 26 years old female and I work full time, Monday through Friday. I was born in canada. toronto, but I was brought up in England,I work in Mildmay HIV/AID cure, so we travel alot through this because am one of the perfect workers of the company , now i am now in Africa i will be coming over to the states soon to start my new job with my company branch, and i'll be getting married just before then to my lovely guy named andarson in the states.....So i need a wedding photographer for my hotel reception.
I will like to find out what your plans are for the month of january, jan-27 which is the date of my wedding. Please kindly let me know your availability for this date and also the cost/pricing of your service to be rendered. I will need to know as much information needed so as to futher with the wedding arrangements.I am not really a sports person, BUT I do love Hockey Games. I am a very out going person and fun to be with,like bike ridding, swimming, and I love to travel. I am presently in LAGOS SATE IN WEST AFRICA Waiting to read from you soon.
Thanks and God bless you.

angela jones"

christmas with the in-laws

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas weekend (and enjoyed an extra day off!). Ours was spent rushing from family to family - enjoying it all, but totally wiped out at the end. Has anyone solved the mystery of how to share ourselves amongst all our family units without driving ourselves crazy? I can only imagine it gets more hectic once there are grandkids involved...
We have a lovely Christmas Eve with Devon's mom, his sister, and his sister's boyfriend. That said, they are all three some of my best friends and I adore them! Gifts were exchanged but, even better, we got time together to eat, drink champagne, chit chat, and listen to music. That doesn't happen often enough!

On Christmas morning we went to be with my parents and my brother. A lovely eggs benedict breakfast (at noon) stuffed me for most of the day, then we opened more presents and hung around the tree until our eyes started glazing over in a nappish way. Too bad, off to Devon's dad and step-mom's to see that side of the family (two stepsister's and Dev's sister and her b.f. once again), hang out, enjoy a delicious turkey dinner, open still MORE presents, and take some family photos (which did turn out pretty well for a one shot thing, if I do say so myself!).

Devon's dad Dan and stepmother Rhonda:

Devon's sister Alyssa and her boyfriend Brian:

Me and my colorfully attired husband (thanks for taking this Alyssa!)

It was a lovely day, and when we came home to enjoy our own teensy Christmas tree and be with each other and the cat, I could barely keep my eyes open.

Every year I grumble, "let's skip presents this year so we can just be with each other" (even though I do love both giving and receiving), but I must admit that I got some GREAT stuff this year. I am very spoiled! Thank you one and all.


Devon and I were fortunate enough to spend 8 amazing days on the island of Kaua'i for our first anniversary. We had a quick, rainy honeymoon in SF when we got married in 2005, then a lovely 5 day vacation in May 2006 in Mendocino, ... so our third, and by far most mind blowing, was this lovely tropical adventure.

The only bad part was having to leave/ come home!

We went ziplining in the jungle, snorkeled with green sea turtles and crazy tropical fish, hiked up slippery roots and cliffs, ate at lots of great restaurants, relaxed as much as we ever have, and fell more and more in love with each other with each moment.

I don't think I've ever spent so much intense time with one person before, and we didn't fight or get sick of each other. It was just what we needed and I can't wait to go back and keep traveling!

The slideshow is long, but I did my best to pare it down to the bare essentials. If you'd like to take a look, I hope the beautiful beaches and sunsets and views relax you even on this rainy, cold December day.

We couldn't believe our luck at where we were, and kept looking at each other in shock. So THIS is why people take vacations! I love my work, but this kind of thing is so necessary; and this had been our first vacation in almost 8 years (our first "real" vacation ever!). From now on we are doing this kind of thing at LEAST once a year, if not once a quarter, and I am not hearing otherwise!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vintage Radio Photo Shoot

Last weekend my friend Ona and I went over to my parents' house to take some silly photos with my dad's vintage radio collection. Sometime I'll post some photos of his FULL collection, but as it's spread over 2-3 rooms of their house, and some are too big to move, others too delicate or easily scratched, I didn't get them all this time (just some of my favorites). I would've loved to have shown a huge stack of them with just Ona's face peeking out but I can understand the collector's heart - everything must be as pristine as possible!
Most of these my dad, Tom, has fixed up and made as good as new! He doesn't collect pieces prior to the 1950s (let's not be silly), and kept insisting we plug them in and get reception for the shoot... even though, you know, these cameras don't capture sound.
It was pretty cool!

Old timey gent and digital photo with contract/ saturation dropped out a bit:

Listening to the smooth sounds of 1940s high-def AM radio (a girl's best friend):

The "Little Jewel" (very cute, but does it look like a radio? Or a space age something?):

And some misc. other props:
1880's mother-of-pearl Opera glasses that belonged to my great-grandmother:

Mona Lisa half mask a friend gave me for my birthday (so creepy!):

Not sure who this is a mask of? But my mom was going, "take it off, it's too weird!":

Monday, December 04, 2006

good-bye, sweet and talented friend

After a long and brave fight with brain cancer, our friend and former roommate, Logan Whitehurst, has passed away. Everyone is so sad that he's gone, but of course it is also a relief that he is not in any more pain.

Logan was in several bands, including The Velvet Teen, and his own solo project, Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club. Both bands have huge fan followings, who will undoubtedly be broken hearted. The latter, LWatJSC, was featured on the Doctor Demento show, and were something similar to They Might Be Giants. Logan churned out songs by the handful, and although he had all kinds of musicians collaborate with him on recordings, he was the Jr Science Club, flanked only by Vanilla the Plastic Snowman.

We shot these press photos in 2003.

Logan was also a supremely talented visual artist - he drew cartoons, and did etchings when he had the chance. He also did graphic design for bands including his own and others. My favorite artwork of his was this beautiful series of a bird's life in the city and the sky. He spoke of getting back in the printing studio to make up some more copies of that series, and I am so sad that he never had the chance.

His silly cartoons and songs were well loved, and were balanced by the beautiful, poignant songs he played and sang on, as well as some of the most amazing etchings I have ever seen. Although it was a long time coming, there were all kinds of ups and downs with his illness - one minute cancer free, the next receiving a fatal sentence, and back and forth for years. We were living with him when he initially got sick, and we all thought and hoped that it was something much, much more benign.

I am happy that he is no longer in pain or struggling to speak or otherwise move; but I can't believe he's really gone.

He leaves behind a very loving family, friends, fans, an amazing and astoundingly prolific collection of audio and visual arts, and one very very sad snowman.