On March 14 my friends Eric and Claire hosted a Pi Day party to celebrate everybody’s favorite mathematical constant. We all baked pies, because who doesn’t love puns and dessert? Eric and Claire’s ranch is full of fantastic little “sets,” so I brought my Hasselblad to photograph each of us with our pies. These are some of my favorites from that day.
Bill Ostrander is the director of the 2014 Citizens’ Congress, a national gathering of legislators, academics, and advocacy groups working to combat the influence of money in politics. Bill was featured in this month’s SLO Life Magazine, and the images above and below are a couple that I especially liked from our cover shoot.
The cover session was shot on Portra 160 film in my Hasselblad, and processed at Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles.
Bill is also a rancher, growing hay and raising cattle on his ranch in the hills above Los Osos Valley, and was generous enough to show me around his ranch for a few outdoor images.
Over the past few years, in tiny fits and starts, I’ve been working on a portfolio of still life compositions (still 90% a work in progress). I must have bought these #2 pencils in 2011 or 2012, thinking that they might make an interesting visual arrangement. It took me the better part of two years to get around to photographing them, and even though I’m not sure how interesting the end result is, it was inexplicably satisfying to create a backdrop with exactly the “right” tone of blue, and then to measure and space everything out in order to make a picture of… some pencils lined up just so.
The more I shoot, and the more I review the images I’ve shot, the more I am coming to understand that a lot of my interest in photography stems from a strong desire to organizing things visually. Functional OCD is my special sauce.
Most regular folks don’t necessarily enjoy the process of being photographed. Terri Kurczewski is no exception, but it was her turn to grace the cover of this April’s SLO Life, and it was my pleasure to meet her and photograph her for the magazine. Terri runs the Child Development Resource Center of the Central Coast (CRDC) as well as the Sm(ART) Studio, a community art studio, gallery, and classroom that benefits the CRDC.
Terri and I worked through a number of different scenarios, to see what might work best in the magazine, including some images of her in the Sm(ART) Studio, an outdoor setting with a small studio backdrop behind her head, and even an off-the-wall idea where glitter was raining down on her from above. But in the end, my favorite were these simple portraits on white, shot for the magazine cover. The final image that ran on the cover was made with one of my digital cameras, but these frames – from the two rolls of film that I ran through my Hasselblad that afternoon and developed at Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles – are my favorites.
Usually I make these blog posts after the latest issue of SLO Life hits the stands as a way of sharing some of my personal favorite images that, for one reason or another, didn’t make it into the magazine. Recently, I’m more and more confident shooting and submitting fewer, [I hope] stronger images. For me and for the magazine, that’s great news. The negative side, for the blog anyway, is that most of the images I select make print. Those two portraits of local baker Dan Berkeland up top are outtakes, but other than them, I think most of the rest of the images that I’m proudest of were featured in the issue. The only added value that I can offer here is a little backstory…
Dan invited me to come over to the bakery to see him in action – he would walk me through the whole process of preparing the baguettes that he and his team make for 16 local restaurants. The “catch” was that he wanted me to be there at 7:00 in the morning, because, as he promised, “the morning light coming into the bakery is incredible.” I’m not usually out of bed by then, but I wouldn’t be much of a photographer if I weren’t willing to roll out early to chase a lead on some nice light. Thank goodness Dan wasn’t messing around, because I might have been grumpy, otherwise.
The details of the rest of my time with Dan, including the making of the image that made the cover, was already documented pretty thoroughly in the issue. A big thanks to Dan for this time and willingness to entertain even the craziest of my ideas, and to Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles, who processes all of my film. Since all of the above images are from my digital cameras, I’ll close with one from the cover session, shot on Kodak Portra 160 film in my clunky old Hasselblad, and processed at Richard Photo Lab. Cheers!