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You can spend lengthy amounts of time and funds conceiving new personal projects to keep your creative energy going and to produce new work to show clients. Last week was a different story for us! Working away in the studio, we heard the approaching sound of sirens, closer, closer still, then atop us. At that point Eszter opens the front doors and enthusiastically says you’d better get out here – pronto!

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The commercial/residential space across from us was well ablaze and there had been a 2 alarm alert sent out, and trucks were arriving from everywhere. As any good assistant would do – Brian De Simone instantly replaced the iPhone in my hand with a more professional approach and told me to get to work.

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Being right in the middle of the action before the first responders arrived saw me with unfettered access as the SFFD men and women got to work tackling this huge fire. Police lines were getting drawn all around me but somehow they couldn’t work out who I was or where I came from, opting to leave me on the playing field as it were. Within minutes there were 12 fire engines plus emergency vehicles surrounding me. Here’s some of the collection of images I made of the SFFD heroes getting the job done.

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Thank you to all who gave their service that day. You bravely saved the property from total ruin and protected nearby residents from a catastrophe. Hats off to you.

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The FALL 2016 issue of Workbook has landed on the desks of creatives across the country. Very happy with our current spread. We cant speak highly enough of how effective this marketing partnership has been for our business and look forward to the results that again may lie ahead. A big thank you to Heidi Goverman for the way she treats us and the professionalism of her whole team. The next round of Face Time meetings in LA are coming up and we are excited to see the team from Workbook again.

Thanks guys.

Check out our work on the Workbook site.

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Feels like we’ve been living out of state for most of the last few months. Having multiple trips back and forwards between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas has seen us continually chasing the sunshine and warm weather of late summer. No complaints from us!

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We recently had the opportunity to collaborate with San Francisco agency Nice&Company, spending several days creating a library of assets at various outdoor locations in Los Angeles. This would have seemed like a fairly simple proposition, accept for the fact that there is a severe drought in California and an ideal lush green grassed outdoor space is becoming increasingly hard to find. I flew down from SF a week before the shoot, spending a full day of pre production visiting somewhere near 20 city parks and reserves as well as a host of large scale private properties with most parched to a very un-photogenic shade of tan. We lucked in at the final location on scout day, Whittier Narrows Recreation Area  in South El Monte, an area of LA I had never visited. Discovering this venue saved our backsides as we are literally out of options with the clock running down, and ambassadorial talent flying in from all over the country. Our second location was made a little easier as we found  an exclusive private property in the hills of Thousand Oaks that had no water restrictions at all due to its private well offerings, it felt like we had been transported to the English countryside.

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It was great to work alongside Doug Finelli, Sunni York and Val Beckwith from Nice&Company – thank you for having faith in us. Our ace producer Michael Mattes rocked out in all aspects of the shoot, most notably assembling a great crew of around 20 folks who delivered more than they were asked for.  A big thank you must goes out to all of them- too many to name. It was a long and arduous shoot incorporating sunrises and sunsets each day and little sleep in between.

But then again isn’t it always this way!!!

See you soon LA.

 

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It’s great time to be in Northern California, the home of the Napa Valley. Right now it’s the beginning of the harvest season. Seems every year around this time, a shoot or two arises that will invariably involve some aspect of documenting the harvest. This week we are awaiting the decision of Trinchero Napa Valley’s winemaker Mario Monticelli to make his call on when he feels is the perfect time to pick the fruit that will best articulate a vineyards terroir. We have been involved with several shoots this past year with this marquis Napa Valley vineyard and eagerly await the chance to rise at 4.00am over multiple days in a row!!

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This exact time last year its was Peter Heitz from Turnbull Winery to make the call. It’s a solid 90 minute drive to get there from my home in SF, so a double espresso became my best friend when heading out the door at 4.30am each morning – but it was well worth the effort. Here’s a small selection from our early mornings.

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I thoroughly enjoyed hanging with the boys as they went about there business. Damn they work hard and fast. Hats off to all the pickers in the Napa Valley. If you are up that way check out my two favorite wineries Turnbull and Trinchero.

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I was recently asked by a potential hotel client if I could explain how “eszter and david” work together on shoot days, and how are our images produced. My response was to pull up a few examples of our work and take them back to their essence – before and after scenarios.

As a duo we collaborate intensively on shoots for start to finish. My general roll is that of photographer and all that that entails, with Eszter’s role a little broader, encompassing pre production, overseeing digital technicians, on set producer and ultimately retouching all our imagery. Hotel work is fast and furious, generally with lots of hurdles along the way, in most cases we are working with a partially built and sparingly furnished construction site. In order for our clients to have a marketing campaign and print ads out as a lead up to hotel opening dates we usually shoot during final stages of construction and have to be fast, nimble and accommodating to construction workers, designers, staff training, management and a host of hourly visitors all with their own agendas and looming deadlines. We will always start with a pre production walk through on arrival and begin to scope and build a library of potential shoot angles with a hand held camera trying to create a cohesive narrative that best showcases the property. This then gets edited and built into a document we present to our client to showcase our vision. From there we begin creating a shoot schedule based around accessibility, talent, weather and host of other variables.

Following I have collated a selection of initial scouting snaps, followed by the final images. What a difference a little production, lighting, talent and retouching/ post production can do.

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This week the tree came down, much to the disappointment of our 2 daughters. Just to elongate the process further I thought I’d post some pre Christmas print ads we did for Williams Sonoma and the Pottery Barn brand. Thanks to a great crew over those couple of days.

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I continue to pinch myself at my luck in life – having found an occupation that I truly love and never really seem to feel I’m working for a living. On this recent assignment for ViTRO agency out of San Diego, we got to work with an amazing team, everyone from the agency creatives and clients, to my photo crew pitched in where ever was needed to pull of this epic 14 day shoot that saw us travel to a new location each day. Outside the challenges of delivering all things photographic, we had had to endure trying weather conditions and an ambitious travel schedule that on occasion saw us on location at 7.00am and not reaching the hotel room until midnight, before another 6.00am wakeup call.  Somehow severe exhaustion just didn’t matter because we were constantly surrounded by the awe inspiring beauty of the landscape of remote Alaska and it unique and exotic animals regularly present. It seemed every day another “did you see that”,  moment occurred. From Moose, Brown Bears, Black Bears, Wood Bison, Antelope, Musk Ox, Elk and even Bald Eagles, the wildlife was stunning. Here’s a few “on the road” snaps from the trip.

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A big thank you to all who worked on the shoot from pre to post production.  A great job and a very happy client. Alaska we will be back!

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They certainly breed them tough in Alaska!!

No matter where we ventured across this epic landscape it became apparent that you needed to be a special breed of person to really enjoy your life here. Before arriving I had no idea there was a surfing culture so far North of the equator – sheer madness if you ask me. From the frigid water surfers of Homer to the Bore tide riders of Turnagain Arm, we salute you.

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Another amazing place we had the pleasure of shooting at was Mt Denali, and Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge  this rustic wilderness lodge over looks the Nenana River, it’s precariously perched atop a cliff with the beauty of Mt Denali as its backdrop. As would have it on any shoot something will always pose as hurdle, in this case it was a power outage due to an immense storm that left us with our power for our entire shoot day!!!  Not to be deterred we found ways to make things work including the use of car headlights and a cache of Profoto 7B battery packs (sure worth the excess baggage costs to travel with 6 of these babies) and good deal persistence.

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Did i mention that it hovered around 30 degrees F most of our trip…..

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But we had a hell of a time. David

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The call went something like, “not sure you guys would be interested in this!” followed by, “tentatively 3 weeks working remotely in all corners of Alaska to chronicle real Alaskans, living real lives and showcasing how it all intertwines with a technology platform”, then came “change of plans a little, as we would like also to come away with 5-6 TV spots”. Told you it was a dream job.

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First stop saw us landing in Anchorage, which would become our base and infrequent home away from home as we toured Alaska. Several days were required to scout the area for shoots taking place later in the trip. From here we headed south to Homer, located on Kenai Peninsula. We sure started of on the right foot as our first case study was eco tour operators Hallo Bay Bear Camp ,an adventure travel operation specializing in intimate bear viewing tours along the Pacific Coast of Katmai National Park.  Boarding 2 single engine 4 seater planes the crew flew across to Katmai and landing on the beach at Hallo Bay. From there it became a game of wait and see……

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Yeah it was one hell of a place to visit but work did have to start and time was going to be of the essence as we were not sure if the famous local brown bears would show or not and we had a story board to cover. With a sand beach landing at low time for our planes the clock was against the moment we landed – the planes had to leave before high tide!

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And so ended the first of many adventures we were about to partake in. I will never forget being up close and personal with 8 brown bears and watching that mother haul salmon out of the river and feed her hungry cubs – all without even batting an eyelid at our crew. A truly breathtaking experience. More to come. David.

 

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Had the great pleasure of spending the week shooting at the home of good friend and designer extraordinaire Patrick Printy. Always a joy to be marooned on this property and revel in the sights, sounds and tastes of the small village of Glen Ellen in Sonoma County. Thanks to a great crew, Digital Tech ace Joseph Antonetti, Stylist Jesse Silver, Producer Jennifer Vannetta, Art Director Tim McGuire and a host of helpful hands and a few very cute models. A successful week all round. Pat and Dan thanks for the location. See you again really soon.

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