Ever since I moved my studio to Little Italy I've heard about the Stickball tournament on India Street. And every year it seemed like I missed it. In fact I couldn't have told you when the tournament actually took place. All I knew was it was one of those events I wanted to check out. Well this Memorial Day my son tells me he's playing in a stickball tournament in Little Italy. "The" stickball tournament in Little Italy I replied? He didn't know... but he did let me know I should check it out. Well it turns out this is not "The" tournament, that one is on Labor Day weekend and attracts teams from both San Diego and the East Coast. It is, however, the same organizers and most of the same guys, but just local teams. The games and tournament were as cool as I expected - a bunch of guys hitting a racquetball with a broomstick on a city street. What's not to love. And it's been a long time since I've seen a guy dive head first on asphalt to score a run! Can't wait til Labor Day!!
The DJ Trump circus rolled through town last Friday. Madness ensued.....
I’ve been a member of the SDX Board of Director for several years now. I was recently tasked by the Communications Committee to create portraits of my fellow Directors for use on the SDX website. The board has grown in recent years to 30+ members. It's a strong group of passionate individuals from the San Diego advertising, marketing and media fields. Given the large group of creative individuals I wanted to present the individual portraits as a complete, stand alone portfolio. I presented a mood board with candid black and white portraits. My approach was a theme that is popular with my corporate clients right now. I call it the "Moment between the Moments". It is that split second when the subject has let their guard down and is no longer "posing". Many of my corporate clients are looking for something a little different for their executive and staff portraits. The standard headshot is out. The environmental office portrait is waning. This candid approach has proven quite popular. I was pleased the Communications Committee approved the creative direction. All of my subjects bought into the concept as well. Everyone arrive inspired and ready for anything. In addition to the website, SDX created a series of ads featuring select portraits to run locally. The above ad features fellow Director Miguel Fenton, VP of Sales Local at Entravision. Below are the other portraits.
Dedicated to the hard working men and women that build ships and ultimately send them off to sea. Keep up the great work in 2016!
I had the pleasure of taking over the Wonderful Machine Instagram account for 3 days last week. I used the opportunity to feature some of my favorite and lesser known San Diego landmarks. I ended up posting about 36 images. Below are several of my favorites. To check out all the images visit the Wonderful Machine Instagram stream. To explore futher follow me on Instagram - @feriiiphoto
You’d think the group shot is a pretty straight forward endeavor. And it is, with the right amount of pre-production, an attention to detail, and an enthusiastic group.
“Just grab a shot of the class….”
I was recently tasked (okay, self tasked as part of a school fund raiser) to do a group photo of my son’s 7th grade class. Thirty eight 12 and 13 year-olds - piece of cake. But the last thing I wanted to do was line them up and shoot them “straight”. It had to have a certain flair. I work toward an unbalanced compositional randomness in my group portraits. Much easier said than done. I've always admired the group portrait work of Annie Leibovitz and Mark Seliger for Vanity Fair. And for this project I drew particular inspiration from Irving Penn. All 3 have created beautiful, seemingly effortless, compositions in their group portraits. Little do we know how much thought and pre-production go into those images.
However, looking at their work for inspiration, I was hard pressed to find any groups over 20, let alone 38. The size of the group would be a compositional challenge. So my approach was to break up the large group into 5-6 smaller more manageable groups and then get those groups to work together. It worked great as each group tended to mingle together and give me some much needed space within the composition.
Lighting had to be beautiful, the location had to be very open and support the space needed for the kids. I scouted the location ahead of time and found that the school stage was perfect. It was large and the lighting system had just been upgraded. I could use those lights to highlight my lighting scheme and give me the theatrical look I was envisioning.
For wardrobe I was leery to have the kids show up in their “Sunday Best” It would be too formal and wouldn’t have the fun factor I was looking for. My wife came up with the idea of All-Stars, the theme of the fundraiser. The kids were told to show up for the shoot as though they were going to the Academy Awards. That was completely open to interpretation. Whatever that meant to them. Some showed up dressed to the nines, others a little short of that, but every one of them put some thought and effort into it and showed up in what they thought looked cool and fancy.
For propping I brought in a couple of ladders and apple boxes. We also had a floor stage and the upper stage to work with. And just in case, I brought in some of my old fedora and pork pie hats which the kids jumped on right away.
I had about an hour with the kids, but I knew they would never last that long. Realistically I figured I had 30-40 minutes of their attention, maximum! Most of the time was spent selecting and composing the small groups and then arranging those groups to work with each other. We moved kids around a lot to get the best chemistry and composition. We wanted it to stay loose and fun, both compositionally and stylistically.
The actual shooting time was about 10 minutes.
I was thrilled with the initial results, but it still took a great deal of post production to create the final image. One girl was absent on the day we shot so she had to come into the studio and be shot by herself and dropped into the composition. The final image is a composite of 4 different images - 2 main images for the kids, our absentee shot separately and one image to reconstruct a dress. All in all it was wildly successful. The final image turned out great as a result of the pre-production, everyone’s attention to detail (Composition, Lighting, Wardrobe and Styling), and the post production.
And we raised a bunch of money for the Parents Association.
Time Lapse of the shoot with the Warren Walker Middle School 7th Grade All-Stars.
Saturday afternoon was the first screening of Gone Doggy Gone in San Diego. The turnout was light, but the crowd was warm and enthusiastic. Cinematographer Garrett O'Brien, Shaina Vorspan (who played Jill), Edward Winters (who played Devon), all joined Kasi and Brandon (and of course Laila) at the screening. The film looked great - sound was fantastic. I had only previewed it on my IPad so it was great to see it with a live audience on the big screen. Nothing beats the experience of watching a movie in a theater. It was nice to see it a second time in it's entirety. I picked up on a number of things I hadn't notice the first go around. I was starting to feel like an insider....Kate Conner (who played Kat) joined them after the screening. She was planning to be at the Q&A after the film, but Los Angeles to San Diego traffic is brutal on Saturdays. After a little down time in the VIP lounge and a quick dinner it was off to the Filmmakers Awards Show at the US Grant Hotel. The event is typical with various honors and awards to the best films of the festival. The US Grant's basement ballroom and the scripted format made for a much better show than in years past. There was a nice rhythm to the night that had been missing poolside at the Palomar. Even so, it was a big disappointment for the Gone Doggy Gone group. They were not included in any of the awards or recognitions. I think that ultimately surprised them. I'm sure the fact that they had a photographer following them around for 3 days had set them up for something big. I regret I may have contributed to their higher expectations. I too was disappointment they didn't win, but not surprised. I loved the film and thought it deserved recognition, but there were other filmmakers that seemed to be the darlings of the show. Still, Kasi and Brandon made a number of connections while they were at the festival. And they made a fantastic feature comedy, which is no small task.
Friday was pretty chill. Lots of down time. Brandon and Kasi dealt with the nagging issue of syncing up their movie with the theater's projection system. They had been less than successful getting that done on Thursday. They finally got with the projectionist at the Reading and were able to sort it out. It was also party night! Almost Famous party at the Tin Roof - mostly drinking, schmoozing, and playing life size Jenga....sorry, Tumbling Towers.
For the last few years I've gone Behind the Scenes at the San Diego Film Festival. This year, in order to keep it fresh, I decided to follow one of the filmmakers during their time at the festival. Festival producer Stephanie Inscoe gave me a couple of movies to screen ahead of time so I could see who might make for an interesting follow. I watched several films and wasn't too inspired until I saw Gone Doggy Gone. It's a small indie film by Kasi Brown and Brandon Walter. The premise is simple. A childless couple with a dog they love "too much" and what happens when that dog disappears. It's not an epic tale like the other films I watched tried to be. It's just a well crafted comedy written, directed, and starring Brown and Walter.
I knew through Stephanie that the 2 filmmakers would be in town for the festival. She also said many of the cast and crew would be in attendance. It sounded like a perfect fit. My first contact with the Gone Doggy Gone folks was a couple of hours prior to the Night of the Stars event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. So at the last minute I grabbed my cameras and met Kasi, Brandon and Laila (Kasi's real dog and co-star in the movie) at their hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. From there we headed out to La Jolla for their debut at the festival.
While they were not officially on the list of celebrities in attendance for the Red Carpet they made the most of it. After all that's what an adorable Yorkshire terrier is for, right. After a brief stint on the carpet they lined up with the rest of the VIPs and waited to enter the theater. And waited....