Families and photographs

Since the last post was delayed by a month, I'll add another one to the mix.

I've been doing all kinds of things with a still camera lately, but one of the more important ways has been family photographs. Most families are looking to get a great photo of their immediate family to share with other family members and friends for the holidays.

Well, the weather in the Denver Metro area hasn't really even threatened to be winter-like. It's the middle of December and I have yet to see even a skiff of snow around here. The mountains have been getting hammered, but we've just been getting blown around. All that being said, not having much of the white stuff on the ground doesn't make for too many "holiday moments," if you know what I mean. Dead brown grasses and leafless trees don't scream out winter wonderland and Santa. So it's been a bit of a challenge to shoot photos in a nice setting. But the fall colors were fantastic this year, holding out for several weeks and offering up some great backgrounds.

Have a look at these, and if you or someone you know is still scrambling to get some photos together for their holiday cards, let me know. I'm pretty sure we can make something good happen.




From the sounds of it, we are in for a round of the long lost flakes this week. Which will be good, it might make me feel like we're closer to Christmas. I've been riding my bike and running outside so much, that I thought it was still October or even September. But one things for certain, in January we – well Joshua & Co. Photography anyway – have a couple of engagement sessions to be shot on the slopes of a ski resort. So at least I'll get a chance to feel like I live in a climate I'm supposed to be in. And maybe I'll get in a few turns.

Well, until next time...which hopefully won't be as long as it has been. I know I say that a lot, but it's almost a whole new year!!

A fall wedding

Meant to post some photos of my great friends, Ryan and Melora, getting married at Chautauqua Park in Boulder a few weeks ago. Just got wrapped up in...you know. Some things.

Anyway, here's a few of them but pop on over to Flickr and look at the few dozen of them. I didn't shoot all that much and was kind of limited in where I could go. You see, I was an usher for the wedding so I had other responsibilities.






Engagement session

UPDATE 12-14-2010: How bad is this, I never hit the publish button when I built this post a month ago. You'd think I've never done this blogging thing before.

Ran up to Glenwood Springs, Colo., last weekend to shoot some engagement photos of a couple that will be getting married next June. The challenge was that the fall colors had fallen off the trees and the white blanket of winter has not yet arrived, so finding interesting backgrounds for a couple that is very active in the outdoors was a bit of a hurdle. Luckily happy couple, Audrey and Chad, made it easy on me. All they did was play around Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon and in an alley in town and I just had to try and stay dry while making simple frames.

The happy couple liked what we were able to capture and now they are on to ironing out the many details to come for their day next summer. Now I just have to make sure that CF card I dunked in the creek has dried out...








Freedom to play

We (Joshua & Co. Photography) were downtown this weekend to shoot a wedding at the Curtis Hotel. I was a little stressed when first hearing about some of the challenging lighting conditions – candlelit ceremony and an all blue ballroom – along with logistical issues in getting the wedding party around downtown before the wedding.

All those worries were quickly erased from my mind after embracing it all and playing around with what the situation presented. A little mishap ripping the crotch of my pants climbing up on a pickup truck helped lighten the mood, and cool me down. Pictures to come of that debacle later.

After it was all said and done, I look forward to the next "difficult lighting situation" and I really can't wait to shoot just about anything at The Curtis again. Wow, that place is fantastic.

Anyways, here's to the happy newlyweds Maggie and Lou!Thanks for letting us do pretty much whatever we wanted with the cameras.








The future looks bright

So I have begun a new venture with a great friend and now partner Joshua Buck called Consortium Productions, LLC. We've been talking about starting our own visuals company for some time, but never actually did anything about it. Life seemed to always generally get in the way. Now that I've finished grad school and he sees the writing on the wall with newspapers as employers we decided to ball ourselves up and jump off the ledge to see what we can do. Having the freedom to seek out the kinds of projects that are of interest and have potential for great things is a refreshing notion.

We don't intend on only doing photography. We've already lined up some multimedia work and some video projects as well as a website development assignment. Thus the "Productions" part. We plan to help create just about any kind of visuals needed. In knowing how important branding is we set up a separate division for our wedding and portraiture work with Joshua & Co. Photography. Essentially, we are going to do anything we think is possible. Now, if I could only get going on truly learning After Effects for some fun motion graphic ideas....and I'd really like to do some VJ performances too. So many things we want to do, just have to figure out ways to make time for it all.

I have to say, setting up a business the proper way from the start is difficult and sobering. But it is becoming more apparent that in doing everything properly from the start we will be in a better position to succeed. Though it's only been a few weeks, we have been able to drum up enough work over the next several weeks that there won't be too much time sitting around staring at the monitor and Lightroom tagging our enormous archives of images with searchable meta data, yet.

If you haven't gotten it yet, I'm really excited about what we have already accomplished and some of our visions for the future. It's going to be some fun. Stay tuned, I'll be sharing some of our adventures in visuals. Have a look around our sites when you get a chance. Thanks for looking


Lofi Fun

While I was in Minnesota I broke down and picked up a Holga and a couple rolls of FP-4 to shoot while at my brother's wedding. I was inspired by a good friend of mine who had shot her pimpin' gold Holga at my own wedding earlier this summer. I'm still working out the variance of the viewfinder to the actual film framing as well as the focusing guesstimations. There's something refreshing about taking a step back from technology and being forced to lose absolute control.

Holgas are funky little plastic cameras that each have unique quirks like light leaks and vignettes that are never the same from one camera to another. You get either f/11 or f/16 at 1/100th for a shutter and little icons that represent distances for the manual focus lens. Since this was the first roll of film I had run through the camera, it was all going to be pretty much a surprise. All in all I think the results were fairly to be expected. Now I'll try some color film and some different exposure tricks to see what else I can come up with. That's all for now.

Steve & Steph Wedding Weekend

Steve & Steph Wedding Weekend

Steve & Steph Wedding Weekend

Steve & Steph Wedding Weekend


Summer of weddings

So I know it's been a while since the last posting. I can only say one word: weddings.

First was a couple friends the first part of July. Next was my own wedding on the 23rd. The following week was another good friend's wedding, but it was on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. After that wedding my wife and I took a bit of a trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington on our way back from BC. Then after a couple weeks of trying to put our selves back together from back-to-back weddings we left once again for my brother's wedding in Minnesota. Needless to say, it's been a jam packed summer.

Hopefully I'll be able to get back in the groove and start posting more here again. There's a bunch of new projects and ideas to create visual goodies in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here's a few photos from the weddings of our friends and my brother and couple from the Northwest.












Graduation and beyond

So today I walk across the stage at the University of Denver in the commencement ceremony for my Master's of Arts degree in Digital Media. It's been a quick two years and at times difficult, but a pretty rewarding experience. I'm not really sure what the future holds in store yet. It's been so busy finishing my schoolwork and degree that I've had little time to focus on job searching. I feel pretty confident about my skill set and the possibilities, it's just a matter of finding an employer that understands what I can offer and they have a position. It'll all work out, soon.

So now with a bit more free time and living in a playground called Colorado, I think I'll be doing some fun stuff for a change...for a few weeks anyway. Fun stuff like this!!


The Thesis Project

Well, it has been a difficult last few months.

But now I can say my thesis project is nearly complete and been launched on the web. http://cyclorado.us/

Weeks of collecting content, be it video, audio, photos or information, to editing said content to then constructing a complete interactive multiple-media website – all of it very time consuming and stressful. But I feel like I have learned a great deal about how to go about the process of building a unique project. One of the greatest lessons being that doing this as a one-man-band is not ideal. It takes a village. Thankfully I was able to benefit from the help of several very kind folks to complete this proof of concept.

That has been a rather difficult notion to get a grip on as well. Knowing that I intended to build a very interactive portal that was complete enough to support my argument yet maintain a manageable level of expectation. There were so many potential distractions or tangents pulling the project away from the main theme of siloed presentations of content impairs the storytelling, I was struggling to keep the train on the tracks. When a publication or organization proposes to generate a similar concept, there would be much more planning and many more resources implemented over a longer period of time to create a polished piece. I had no such luxury. I knew of several issues going into the development of the portal that would be better served using a few different technologies, but I had already invested hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours into understanding Flash and ActionScript 3 more effectively. I know that if I were to run with the idea and continue with the project I would have to learn some new tools and invest an enormous amount of time creating a much more sustainable portal.

After using several weeks up trying to focus on an entirely different topic for my project and then resetting on the topic of cycling, there was very little room for error or fine tuning, regrettably. Having to learn on the fly with my hair on fire was a challenge in and of itself. Doing constant searches for tutorials online on how to fix or do something while peppering people willing to help with emails at all hours of the day just to squish one little bug - only to inflict another bug in another area of the project. All of this while attempting to maintain classwork in a full class load and adapting to a challenging schedule in my personal life as well as fiance's long distance work schedule. The entire project and process has been a big learning experience...but a very difficult one.

I'm nearly done with my program at DU. Assuming my thesis is approved and I pass my last two classes, graduation is June 4. It's kind of odd to think it's been nearly two years since I started and left the newspaper. I left the paper to learn how to be a better storyteller using new ways of storytelling. I won't say I got exactly what I intended to get out of my program. But I will not say that I have not benefited from it either.

I feel that my video editing skills have truly grown and developed more in the last year. Shooting has always been fairly easy, be it stills or video. Assembling them in a structure or sequence of effectiveness has taken some time. I can develop standard to simple websites and design, but some of the higher level syntax still is very challenging. I will admit that I wish I had learned much more through my classes on a technical front, but I am also realizing that the technology changes so rapidly I wouldn't necessarily benefit from being an expert at one programming language. My perception and understanding of media literacy is vastly different from when I entered the program. That is a fact. In many ways it makes me worry about the future of media-for-profit. How technology is developed and how we adopt new technology has a great impact on what the future of media holds.

As for what my future holds, I honestly haven't the slightest idea. My background and skill set is so wide and varied, there have been but three job postings that really match up with what I can do and what I would like to do as a media creator. I may have to just go out there and make people aware of my abilities in an effort to basically create a position for me. But first I think I should see what I can do about finishing the written component of my thesis. Considering it's due tomorrow.

So have a look at the site and feel free to let me know what you think about it. Be sure to read the About page to get a better understanding of what the general argument is, as I'm sure I haven't been very clear here.

Until next time - which hopefully will be something visual rather than a ramble on the random thoughts of a post thesis stress fest.


It's Hip to be Square

No Flag to Fly


Springing up

Just been trying to make at least one photo a day considering I stare at a computer nearly 10 hours a day. So I've been using my phone to capture aspects of creative freedom. The phone is limiting but it is also great being forced to make the best of the situation. Don't know why, but the square crop has really been a new way of thinking. Shooting and editing so much 16x9 video, it takes a minute to compose in a different aspect. Besides, it's fun.

Trying to get all of the content done for my thesis project. It's close, then I have to start building the portal. It may just wear me out. T-minus three weeks and counting....


Apps and Apps

Been playing with several different camera applications for my phone lately. It's been funny to see all the different digital apps trying to emulate traditional film processes. There are a few that get close, but as we all know it rarely gets close to the original ways of visual making. That all being said, the three apps that I've found the most fun on my Moto Droid are Vignette, FxCamera and PicSay Pro. There's advantages and disadvantages to them all, but in the end it's all about having some fun. Besides, lately my phone as been the only still camera I've been using. And it might be that way for another month or so as the thesis project and new classes combine with the rest of life's busy schedule.

Made with Vignette

Made with PicSay Pro

Made with FxCamera

Made with PicSay Pro


Pup and a pivot

Pup's Glide Shop from Joshua Lawton on Vimeo.

In my hunting for storylines for my thesis project I found this small shop in Breckenridge after roaming around for a few days. Pup and his circle of ski bums from the late 1970s and early 80s figured out a way to find work and ski as many days as possible every season all while trying not to get posted on the police blotter having as much fun as they can. I wish the richness of these characters was more evident in the video, but every time I pulled out the mic, the vibe wasn't as strong. I also did not get nearly enough photos. This was nearly a daily assignment approach. Go in and collect content for a few hours and produce it. Would have been much better had I had the opportunity to go back a few more times. But those are all typical excuses, and we all know about excuses.

The topic of skiing lifestyle for the thesis project has ultimately, been temporarily been abandoned in favor of another unique and rather fun sport lifestyle. I was struggling to find stories of interest and themes for the piece and burning up precious time. I still have to learn to build the interface and interactive aspect of the project, all while producing the content for the portal. With time passing me by faster than Pup skis the Horseshoe Bowl, I had to make a pivot. The new project will fundamentally be the same in my argument that a true interwoven multiple-media piece is better storytelling than the siloed approach of most traditional media portals. The topic of lifestyles is about the only change, other than collaborating with another photographer, with an excellent personal visio, who has lots of ground work already done to get everything going. It will be pretty fun and hopefully really good when the time comes for the launch sometime in late April. Until then, enjoy Pup and his crew.


Barista Arts

Shot a series of images for The Laughing Goat coffee house out in Boulder this last weekend. Here's a compilation of some of my favorites from the morning. Gotta love a couple Speedlights and an umbrella. No reason to make things overly hard, when simple is effective.

Too bad I don't drink coffee either. There were several cups that needed a belly to call home and a brain to over-stimulate. Enjoy.