Earlier this summer I photographed Marc Meyers, Four Grace’s new winemaker in Dundee, Oregon. Marc previously worked for Gran Moraine and La Crema in California before coming to Four Graces. The winery wanted portraits in a variety of different settings, so we started at 5 in the morning to capture the best light. Mid-day in the Willamette Valley on a very sunny day in the middle of the summer can be a bit harsh. This was my second shoot at the winery and I was familiar with the setting. I knew that we would have to start early for the outside shots. We then ended up at a shared production facility because I wanted to create some images of him with barrels. They have since finished their own new production space. I am looking forward to trying some of Marc’s Pinot Noir.
I was really excited to work with Beth Eriendson of the FAB Marketing Group on a website makeover for Blakeslee Vineyard Estates. We first started with portraits of Bill and Sheila Blakeslee, both in a production context as well as outside in their vineyard with it’s stunning views of Mt. Hood. I have to admit that I love creating portraits on-location, so I was very pleased when they agreed to work with me at two locations. The portraits taken with their wine barrels are a bit more formal in how they are posed. I thought that doing something a little bit more relaxed and loose would be nice to reflect their warm and engaging personalities as well. So shortly before sunset we headed back to the vineyard to finish up with the portrait session.
The following week, it was time to style images that showcased the beauty and hospitality of the the wine tasting experience at Blakeslee Vineyard Estates. Beth did a wonderful job in organizing the “models” and clothing colors. The day was beautiful and very sunny, which of course for a photographer brings it’s challenges. While hoping for overcast, to make my life easier, I was prepared for full sunlight bringing my strobes and battery packs. In the end, I was happy that it was sunny because a cloudy day would not have created the happy ambience that come across in the photographs. As I write this, the new website is not yet finished. I can’t wait to see the website when it is finished.
It was time for updated portraits of the executive staff at the headquarters of SAIF Corporation in Salem, Oregon and Mike Watters, the communications and design manager, whom I had met several years ago, contacted me. He believed that my portrait style was exactly what they were looking for. They wanted images that presented the executive leadership as professional but yet portrayed in a relaxed manner. While I often shoot business portraits in the studio, I actually prefer to work on location. I enjoy the challenges of lighting and posing that setting up on location presents. I think portraits especially business portraits can be more compelling than those done taken in front of the standard grey background.
I have been working with David Goldblatt to create new images for his website that will put more focus on his work as a composer. He is a brilliant musician and has worked with some of the major players in the music industry including Mark Isham, Stanley Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter and Madeleine Peyroux. Without realizing it you may have already listened to his compositions and arrangements. Some have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, EZ Streets and The Defenders as well as others. While setting up for one particular shot, David played one of his pieces, a tribute to Christopher Reeves. It was achingly beautiful. To listen to David play piano was certainly an added benefit to the portrait session.
Back in February during the Portland Jazz Festival, I documented his solo jazz performance at Classic Pianos. I was totally captivated by the music. Working with David to create images that he can use to complement his marketing was a great experience for me. Not only is he very talented but a very warm, humble and engaging person.
My Client Brian Austin of Portland,O regon and his business partner, Scott Foster who is based in Los Angeles, just launched a really fascinating company called Script Hop geared toward the movie industry. A recent article in the Hollywood Reporter, best describes it as a platform that “analyzes volumes of screenplays to determine Oscar bait, minority characters or that all-important screen time.” Brian and Scott created an artificial intelligent system that can breakdown the characters in a script into key components, including physical attributes of size, gender, and ethnicity. The software of course does so much more.
Before the website of their new business could go live, Brian needed a headshot. He wanted the session to be outdoors and of course we chose one of the coldest days of the winter.
Last month, I spent a couple of weeks visiting a friend who lives in the tiny village of La Candelaria in Baja California Sur. Because of it’s location in the foot hills of the Sierra de la Laguna and poorly kept dirt roads it is somewhat remote and literally off the grid. The village receives about 3 hours of electricity every day from a generator and I found it quite lovely to be distanced from my cell phone and social media. I at first thought it would be a hard adjustment, but I quickly adapted. It was actually a welcome break. Being a photographer, I of course took a ton of photographs, with a focus on traditional cuisine. My friend Lorna Hankins a resident of about 25 years and potter asked her niece and nephew to cook empanadas and coyotes for me so that I could photograph them. What made the project special was using her pottery to showcase the food.
Lorna had decided to adopt this tiny village of approximately 85 residents as her new home about 25 years ago. Initially she came down from the northwest to improve her Spanish and then fell in love with this beautiful oasis in the desert. With a masters in fine art in metal work and jewelry, it was not a stretch for her to learn a new craft. When she made the decision to stay, a local villager taught the traditional method of creating pottery that can actually be used for cooking and serving. Each summer she returns to Portland to visit family and friends, and I would ask if I could buy one of her pots. She would respond that I would have to go down to Mexico and get it myself! So I took her up on her offer and as an extra bonus she actually taught me how to make some pots as well. However, I have a long way to go before my pottery looks like hers. Today, tourists visiting Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos often take the journey to come especially to La Candelaria to buy her work.
My friend Bondi Nyary has a company called Many Weathers where she sells her designed and sewn recycled polyester fleece neck warmers and skirts in an array of beautiful colors. Not only are her products made in Oregon, the fleece is made in the USA as well. I own a couple of the skirts and scarves myself. I especially love the skirt to wear hiking in cold weather. A couple of years ago, I actually wore the skirt on a rafting trip when the weather turned cool and rainy. When Many Weather’s launched last year I did some photography for her then, but recently she worked with a creative team to rebrand her business using Samantha Yatovitz for branding and Kim of Pixelovely for her website and asked me to be a part of her team again.
In the end, it turned out to be four separate photo shoots. For the new website, the team wanted both product and lifestyle images of models wearing her fleece neck warmers or skirts. I loved working with this team of wonderful women. For the models, Kim Donohue did a fantastic job with the makeup. Kim is one of my favorite make up artists in the Portland area. What made the “lifestyle” shoot so much fun was that Samantha wanted the images to have a soft look and I used one of my favorite lens to achieve that. I usually use the lensbaby for my personal work and rarely for commercial photography.
Located in the historic downtown plaza in Sonoma, California, Sebastiani Vineyard and Winery, has long been recognized as a leader in the California wine industry going back to the 19th Century. While a long established winery, Sebastiani, never to become complacent with their popular success the winery continues to evolve and produce the most elegant wines. Sebastiani is committed to sustainable farming methods, primarily utilizing natural methods and applications such as natural fertilizers and using cover crops to enhance the solids to further reflect the unique terroir of their wine. I of course was both thrilled and honored to photograph the wine tasting experience at this winery.
Chalk Hill Winery wanted some new lifestyle images of wine tasting at their beautiful winery in Healdsburg, California. The tasting room is really quite special, with beautiful views of the vineyard and elegantly appointed inside. They also wanted to feature Chef Ryan Freebern, who prepared a lovely pate and accompanying dinner that was actually being served for a special event later that evening at the winery.
The wines are as elegant as the spaces used to serve the wine at the various locations in the winery.
Portraits of Geoffrey Hall, Vineyard Manager and Karl Weichold, the Assistant Winemaker for Erath Winery in Dundee, Oregon.November 2, 2015
This past August, I photographed Geoffrey Hall, the vineyard manager and Karl Weichold, the assistant winemaker for Erath Winery in Dundee, Oregon. To catch the best light we started a 5:45 am. I was grateful that they both agreed. Both the lighting and setting were beautiful. It was also a lot of fun working with the two of them. Erath Winery produces wonderful wines and it is always lovely to know those who are responsible for the the delightful results.