Sometimes you don’t get everything; but you get what you need. Narragansett beer has come home to Rhode Island after a 20 or so year hiatus. We were out capturing it for Providence Monthly a few weeks ago – and it didn’t quite go as planned.
The brewery is going at full tilt trying to get ready and we were trying to squeeze into their schedule somewhere. The basic problem was they weren’t brewing yet and they were doing a ton of tests that kept pushing back the production date.
As for me – well we were going on a scouting visit so I brought along stuff I wouldn’t always use. Namely the Hasselblad H with a CF lens. The CF lenses were the mainstay of the Hasselblad film cameras and over the years I’ve been collecting CF lenses here and there. When I finally sat down and looked at them a few weeks ago I realized that I have a fairly significant set of focal lengths for the film Hassy. So, why not get an adapter and bring them back to life?
Hasselblad branded things tend to be… well not inexpensive (I think the adapter is around $1600). But, seeing as it would bring a whole set of lenses to life it seemed worth it to acquire one.
What happened wasn’t a technical problem – it was a logistical one. The brewery ended up closing their site to the media. I had gotten in once to scout and once to get some filler images. I can only speculate as to why they closed but it’s an industrial environment and having people photographing things may be a distraction in what is an already tense time.
One lens that looks pretty but I’ve never had much use for is the 50mm F4. 50mm F4 just doesn’t sound exciting. Not fast, not wide. Nothing to write home about on the film camera.
But, on the digital camera it is a beauty. I was handholding the combination down to about a 1/15th of a second and getting acceptably sharp images – important in a dark warehouse. These cans didn’t look so light and shiny by the naked eye.
It ended up that we didn’t get to shoot the production and the scout trip was the primary time we had to photograph anything. So, my odd test shots ran as key images in the article. You never know. Good fun though and thanks to BJ and the Providence Media crew for making it happen!
We are starting 2017 with a bang. Last year was the best year that we have had by all the measures I can think of. If you follow us on instagram you will know that we had an early Christmas present this year with the birth of our son, Daniel (大). It has been so much fun to introduce him to the world (also more than his fair share of drama but I’m not going to dwell on it today).
Before we move forward I am taking a moment to look back at this year in pictures. I’m starting with a wedding. Michelle and Connor’s wedding in Stonington, CT at Saltwater Farm was incredibly beautiful. They were just so upbeat and happy that it really came through in the photos of the day. Also, I think they have some control over the weather because both their engagement and their wedding were idyllic (albeit a touch cold for the engagement).
As often happens there are so many photos I want to post. So many moments and laughs and just beautiful scenes. But, let us just say that it was a party and many party things happened. From start to finish what a great day. Thanks guys!
We’re just getting started on catching up on last year. The reality of having this blog is that the less I am posting – the more it means we are out shooting. We had some serious adventures and experiences to share (the year of the Monkey by the way – our little guy is a Monkey).
Happy New Year – and let’s hope this year of the Rooster is even better than the last.
In 2015 I spent about a week covering the Quonset Airshow in Rhode Island. This is really just a taste. We were given access to everything from the multi-branch security meetings to the field hospital and more. But, it’s a bit much for this blog post that really just started because I wanted to post some of the portraits.
Rob Holland is a local kid, sort of. In New England we’re all in it together most of the time. Unless you are from Connecticut. We view CT with a bit of distrust due to the proximity to New York. So, Rob being from New Hampshire we’re pretty sure of his allegiance to all the right sports teams.
Sean Tucker is a legend. So, he gets to fly a bright red plane and be sponsored by Oracle. When he isn’t climbing in planes he’s apparently climbing mountains. I’m not sure how old Sean is but it’s older than he looks. Something about that California sunshine does a body good (at least it looks good) .
These guys (and gals as of 2015) do things in these monstrously powerful machines that make you think they are just pulling strings on puppets. The precision is unbelievable. I wasn’t able t0 post photos of the pilot that was lost earlier this year because the photos were under embargo. But, this post is dedicated in memory of the young father and extraordinary Marine aviator I had the privilege to photograph last year. Capt. Jeff Kuss (photo at end).
Nothing happens in a vacuum and these swift boots make everything happen for the Blue Angels.
It’s a party.
These nice people had the best food I saw that day and they shared it with me. It was delicious.
All those colored dots represents a lot of sunscreen and funny hats. Tens of thousands of people attend each day.
This WWII vet and his grandkids (great grandkids?) were having a great time. That old fella stood the entire time I was at the show and he was wearing a coat. I think my shirt had melted onto my back before the midway point. Unbelievable.
Boyscouts were there camping too. And this little guy – he just makes me smile.
Major Mike Martin is the guy who directs the whole affair. He also doesn’t like being in the spotlight. So, if he reads this he may be mildly annoyed that I put a big picture of him in.
But, at the end of the day this is a huge logistical project and it needs a dedicated leader. He has been coming to this show since he was a kid. His dad was a performer. On the left is before the show and the right is during the peak of the show. Tens of thousands of people, tons of ice, over a hundred rental cars, hundreds of porta-potties, and thousands of man-hours go into the making of the show. State police, local fire, hospitals, national aviations groups, the FAA, the Air National Guard and many more bring their time and expertise to the table.
Volunteers from the military and elsewhere use the event to raise funds for charity. It’s a great gig but damn hot.
We even had flying Canadians.
And the French (or at least French pilots on a British team).The guy on the right may be my favorite for his general disdain for having his photo taken (thus on the phone) but still having his hand on his hip. The Breitling team is all former french military pilots and these guys look ready to be cast in a movie.
Marine Captain Jeff Kuss (pictured here when he served as announcer in 2015) lost his life earlier this year flying with the Blue Angles. From what I have read he threaded an extremely small needle – after suffering a mechanical failure he purposefully flew his plane into the ground in a tiny patch of land between apartment complexes and a historic home to avoid casualties. My heart goes out to his young family.
A lot has happened in those 10 years. For one thing Photography RI is not just a vague idea – we are a commercial photography studio with offices and a coffee machine and everything. We are grateful for every client that has given us a chance. There are probably a lot of ways to measure our progress. We have won awards, we have captured some of the most important moments in peoples lives, and we have built this business one job at a time. At the end of the day maybe the metric that has mattered most is that we’ve never had to do a reshoot because we messed up.
I hope everyone who has worked with us knows that we treat your business like we treat our own. When we photograph your staff – we treat them like they were ours. When we photograph your family – you often make us feel like we’ve known you for years – and we probably photograph you better than we photograph our own families.
A dear friend to this business is very ill. We signed a card to him today and it reminded me that we wouldn’t be here without the help of many people. I hope you all know how much we appreciate you.
10 years and a day. We’re looking forward to what tomorrow brings.
(there is a story behind these early test shots but that’s a story for another day)
I have a book sitting next to me called “Regarding Heroes.” It’s the gallery book for a show of Yousuf Karsh’s work. What it makes it incredibly dear to me is that in it is a note from Estrellita Karsh. It was a unexpected gift from Mrs. Karsh and one that I treasure.
I can’t say that it is pristine. It’s starting to get a little worn around the edges. That’s what happens when you don’t leave it on the shelf I suppose.
We have known Kate (Kate has known us?)… well we’ve been friends for a while. She reminded me yesterday that it has been 11 years. That’s a long time. But, I’ve never photographed her solo.
The other day I started getting a pang of something. Something emotional, something that I had to put together, something I had to explore. Karsh, but something else.
For me Karsh is more than a style or an image. It is an approach to photography, an approach to interacting with your subject, and a certain amount of self respect. If you know his history you know he is a survivor of the Armenian genocide. An immigrant to the United States he learned his craft in Boston. I don’t know if it was the same neighborhood I used to live in but it may have been (near the MFA). From the interviews I have seen he was known for his demeanor and style during a shoot. He was a craftsman and an artist.
In many respects I feel as though we are at the beginning of the road of our work. We have reached a level of technical competence. But, now is where we practice nuance.
Yesterday Kate stopped by in the afternoon. We sat across from each other and tried not to laugh too much. This was the most time we’ve ever spent looking at each other. Well, mostly me looking at Kate and her looking alternately at me and an imaginary point.
There are number of technical things that I did differently in this shoot than from other shoots. Nuances of change. I started with something I liken to Karsh (take no offense – I know it’s sort of like saying I started with a dutch master) and move through light and shadow to something I had been trying to picture in my head.
Since this is something we were just doing for us there is no real beginning or end. It wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong. I haven’t really absorbed it and these are just the images that jumped out at me. There is something more here to explore. So, I guess it is a beginning. Thanks Kate!
If you know Kate and didn’t recognize her in the earlier photos this last one on the left is sure to ring a bell. That’s Kate.