Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dylan Day

Dylan is our nephew. He’s also one of the best subjects to photograph. Begin with a bright sunny day, add a football and some snacks, and we’ve got a photo shoot.

The conditions were perfect. I was able to play with depth of field, wide and zoomed lens settings, and even subject position within the image. It was a good day.

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A New Attitude

How was your holiday weekend? Ours was fabulous!

We’ve been doing some minor rehaul in the design and branding department. It has become pretty apparent that we’re uber busy doing lots of things but it really comes down to two parts: art and photography (with lots of sub categories under those umbrellas). We’re happy to nail down the nitty gritty of what we do and we drew it up in a slightly new design.

This will be for our updated business card later this summer, similar to the square orientation we’ve been using all along but with pared down text. We wanted a striking aesthetic in the first two seconds we handed them out. People don’t let the fact that it’s not the standard 2″ x 3.5″ orientation throw them off. In fact, they embrace it and give us smashing reviews.

What do you think?

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Event: Art Lecture at Ann Arbor District Library

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Ann Arbor District Library last night about the ins and outs of starting a collection and what to look for when purchasing paintings, prints and drawings.

Collecting should be an art unto itself, pieces thoughtfully chosen for their content rather than for their complementary qualities to the furniture in the room. My main points included looking at genre (style) of art, mediums, value and how to make collecting relevant for you. Attendees had great questions and seemed to have a firm grasp of the direction of the art scene. We also got to speak with a few collectors about the things they were wondering about in their home.

By the end of the evening, I was happy to share my personal collecting mantra:

Thank you, Ann Arbor District Library and Cecile for your partnership and efforts!

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Ralph 101

Ralph Williams is a retired English professor from the University of Michigan, and one of the most interesting humans I’ll ever know.

In winter of 2004 I took Williams English 401: The English Bible (Its Literary Aspects and Influences). It was there this young photo student watched one of the most animated lecturers alive and focused more on the logistics of a photo shoot than his studies. A few short weeks later I had chosen a venue, secured the lighting and, most importantly, scheduled Ralph Williams for the shoot.

This was before I knew much about lighting and long before I had worked with and directed many subjects. For many reasons this shoot shouldn’t have taken place. But it did. And it could not have gone better. The reason for my success was that I didn’t know I couldn’t do what I wanted to.

There are many ideas that go to waste because people get bogged down with what they think is needed for a project. Not enough money or not enough time are such examples. Whenever I feel limited, I look at these images of Ralph Williams and remember that a broke, ambitious photo student took these pictures.


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Edward: A Working Man

Our great friend Ed is full of personality. When he asked to have a new professional head shot taken, we jumped at the chance to shoot him in his element: jacket, button up and a whole lot of panache.

Pretty dapper, wouldn’t you say? So we veered a bit from the typical corporate shots but we got those too. If you need professional photos and aren’t afraid to laugh and kick back, give us a holler.

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Larger-than-life: A sculpture by Tim Péwé

Saturday morning we met artist Tim Péwé at our home. He brought along a friend that he needed N to shoot.

From the cherry head to the pine appendages, Armature of a Giant was larger than life and stopped traffic. Literally.

Tim’s been working in wood for the last eleven years and shows his work regionally. This particular piece will be highlighted at the upcoming exhibit titled “Creature” at The Gallery Project in Ann Arbor and is available for purchase. We can’t wait to see it at the opening and see people’s reactions. Thank you, Tim for sharing your exceptional sculpture with us!

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Ramen, Tako and Kara-Age: Photo shoot at Tomukun

Tomukun Noodle Bar is one of the most popular restaurants in town and for good reason. With their diverse menu of Asian specialties such as pork buns, pho and green curry udon, it was hard to focus on shooting without gobbling all of it down. The owners, Noe, Tom and Victor were on hand making sure that their food was represented in the best light (no pun intended). We brought our equipment set up and got started right away, capturing some spontaneous shots in the front kitchen.

And an unusually quiet moment in the dining room.

We got warmed up with a few apps.

Seafood pancake

Pork belly buns

Lychee soju

Then came the main acts.

Spicy seafood ramen


We had a blast shooting. Thank you, Tomukun, for a successful and high-energy shoot. Make sure you check out their menu and their selection of Asian beers and sake. See you there!

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Crafted Caffeine: The Espresso Bar

We had the pleasure of meeting Sandy and Foster, the owners of a new local espresso bar, aptly named The Espresso Bar, in the last couple days. My first experience there was a heavenly affogato, a delicious espresso topped with a dallop of Zingerman’s gelato. But all of their drinks are carefully crafted with keen attention to the details. There’s no rushing the experience here. And believe us, you wouldn’t want to.

From the deliberate temperature of the steamed milk (if done properly, it lends a sweetness with no need for sugar) to the thoughtful designs of the froth, a visit to The Espresso Bar is to be savored.

If you’re at Kerrytown, cross the street over to Braun Court and treat yourself. Thank you, Sandy and Foster. We’ll be back soon!

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Painted Glass DIY: Customizing Bud Vases

I do some product development for a company on the side and sometimes I get really inspired by the product. Such was the case tonight with these gorgeous, jewel colored bud vases. Who says you need flowers or water?

Here’s what you need:

A small, detail paint brush

White acrylic paint

Tenereze bud vases

Acrylic gloss or Mod Podge (optional)

Large flat brush (optional)

1. First, gather your materials. The gloss medium or Mod Podge is optional since it depends on whether you’re going to get the vases wet or not. They’re not totally waterproof but they give it a nice glossy finish.

2. Mix the paint with just a few drops of water to give it a nice, workable consistency. You want it to be easy to work with but not become too thin. You’ll know it’s too thin if it gathers and pearls on the glass surface.

3. Holding the neck of the vase, start on the bottom with a pattern. Acrylic paint dries quickly so working efficiently is key. Don’t fret about individual marks, it’s the collective shape and design that matters. If you feel like you messed up, take a damp paper towel and wipe away the mistake. If you need to start over, you can wash the vase with soap and water.

4. Once the bottom is dry (after 5-7 minutes), stand the vase upright to get the finishing details on the top.

5. Let your vase dry completely, another 10 minutes. This is where you would apply a layer of sealant to further protect your pretty work. Experiment with different color paints, patterns and layers of paint.

The arrangement I made here was simply to add to my studio. I may or may not add flowers to them but I really do think they look handsome without. What do you think?

This is a great project to do with kids for an hour or all afternoon. Enjoy!

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Delicious Photography

Just a quick one today on a much loved aspect of our business for many reasons – food photos. We can’t always eat what’s stuck with toothpicks, sprayed or been sitting out for hours. But we do love scrumptious looking results. Food photography is an entire genre unlike product or editorial. Each crumb has its place and each noodle has to sit pretty. And we get to shoot some more very soon.

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