Behind the Scenes: A Journey Ended in A Land Unknown

A few weeks ago I attend one of The Wild Ones workshops, this one was held in D.C.. I was really happy that we had a very overcast sky to work with that day, though it was a bit more damp than what we had anticipated, but we didn't let it get to us. A light drizzle never hurt... much, haha. 

After introductions and demonstrations, we headed off to a shooting location we scouted out earlier in the day. It didn't even feel life we were in the same park anymore, the tall jagged cliff's looked so amazing. If you seriously ever get the chance to visit Great Falls Park, DO IT! This park is enormous and has so many things to offer for almost any photographer! 

The day before The Wild One's workshop began, my friend Julie Belton came down to Philly, and I helped assist her on a concept that she wanted to shoot in a nearby park (her photo turned out amazing, just so you know). After we wrapped up her shoot, I decided just to have a little fun while we still had a little time to spare before traveling down to D.C..

Steph absolutely loves this dress, and I've never used in an image before, so why not give it a go. We walked over to the nearby skate park underneath the overpass in F.D.R. Park, and picked a spot to shoot in. I decided to shoot something totally different, so I had Steph lean up against this broken TV, and we gathered all the trash surrounding us and setup this little scene (don't worry, that french fry was something we brought from the diner beforehand, haha). I call it "Trashy Glamour."

Julie had a whole bunch of smoke bombs with her, so we chose to use this huge one that was called The Chainsmoker. Steph posed and we lit that sucker up! It was kind of crazy, the smoke bomb had 4 chamber, each lasting about 15-20seconds and went from purple, blue, green, to yellow. A bunch of nearby skaters came by to see what was going on. An audience is never bad, right?  

Well, here in this image we have the wonderfully kind soul, Joe (The Boy Wonder) Robinson - a true world traveler and creative spirit. I've been following Joel's work for years and he was one of the first photographers I found who introduced me to conceptual photography. I decided to use Joel for the first image I shot during the workshop that day. 

Down near the river, the cliff had a deep depression in one spot and could easily be mistaken as a cave. It was definitely a spot that me and a few others knew had great potential for a bunch of different concepts to be shot their. We each took turn shooting images there. 

I used an extra smoke bombs that Julie gave me to set off for the shot. It was larger than others I've used in the past and I was excited to see what it would really do. We got everything setup and Joel lit the bomb and got back into position. Slowly the smoke rose up from the depression and said straight up because of the windless air. It must have produced smoke for at least 45seconds, and there was so much! Joel got caught in it for a minute, and these things never smell pretty... ever. It's more like suffer-y eggs, yep. 

After shooting Joel in his pose, I began shooting the rest of the scene by panning the camera around. This is pretty tricky when it comes to smoke bombs, and I always will have to manually blend and stitch each image for the composite together. This is because as I'm shooting, the smoke is still constantly moving up and through the air. It's necessary to shoot a whole bunch of extra shots and making sure you've captured images of all the edges of the smoke plumes for the best believability. 

Stitching this image together was trickier than others I've done in the past, but I'm so happy with the final result of the image! 

As a special treat, here's a close-up of the next image I'll be releasing next week! 

Behind the Scenes: Daydreamers

The weekend before last I had a wonderful time with new friends and old. Two of my friends, Marisa and Jessi, and I attended The Wilds Ones workshop at Great Falls Park. There we shared stories, helped one another with creating new and awesome conceptual images, and definitely got some interesting looks by some of the other park visitors that day. We had a perfect overcast day, and I loved scaling the cliffs and watching others create.

An interesting fella I met that day was Weston, who happily modeled for me for this image. We wondered off aways from the group towards the end of the day to check out a different location and the fall colors against the rocks just looked too fantastic not to use somehow. Since he was already half naked shooting self portraits already, I grabbed him quickly for this shot. 

Featuring Creatives - Interview No. 4

The Monster Within

The Monster Within

Fly Away

Fly Away



The World Below

The World Below

Little Boxed (boy)

Little Boxed (boy)

The Nox 2

The Nox 2

First, tell me as much as you can about yourself in a haiku.

I am an Artist
I am a Missionary
I am a Mormon

How did you get your start with what you do?

James- I started out taking photos at age 15. I began to experiment with photography by taking photos of practically everything. I then took two photography classes at a college in my town. I learned a lot, but where I believe my talent really comes from is learning from my own mistakes and always wanting to become better.

How have you seen yourself grow as an artist?

James- There are a few ways that I have seen myself grow as an artist. I begin to become bored with my photography and I see that I need to do something new. Also, when I look back at my work and I suddenly realize how much I have changed.

What's one art-related memory that sticks out in your mind?

James- I guess the only thing that I can think of is the moment when I realized that artistically; dodging and burning (lighten/darken) a photograph can make an image so much more.

What have you currently been up to? 

James- Lately I have been experimenting with what I can do, how far I can push myself, and how I can become better. I have lately been looking at others work which is far from mine in experience and try to see if I can do it. Which then gives me inspiration for my own unique work. 

What fuels your artistic soul? 

James- Cookies. Just kidding, but sometimes it feels that way. Honestly it’s an outlet for my passion and something I can do to become better at and challenge myself. That is why I do what I do. 

Who are three artists you're either inspired by or look up to?

What would a 'perfect' day for you be like? 

James- Going to a beautiful location with a few friends and a model (which would pretty much be a friend too) and waking up early to explore the location, it should be overcast and then after the exploring and shoot we will watch a corny movie at home and have pizza and play games.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

James- As of now I am headed off on a Church Mission for two years to Uruguay. I will not be doing my usual Conceptual photography work but I will still be taking photos of the people and the landscape.