November 15th, 2012
I had waited for 15 years from the first time I composed this shot until the day I finally shot it. Some times good things come to those who wait. Since so many things need to happen in order to produce a beautiful ski photograph it sometimes takes years to see a vision to fruition. The ridge these skiers are skiing on usually had bumps the size of VW bugs and so it never looks smooth and untracked and pristine. For years I would ride the chair over the very spot this shot was taken from and dream of it in a state of un-skied perfection. Last year the snow depths were so pathetic in the lower 48 that my time had finally come. ??? There was so little snow that no bumps ever developed. I waited for a storm….some snow at all……
Skiers ski a ridge in perfect, powder conditions.
and finally Ullr delivered. 11 inches was all it took. I haven’t yet sold this photograph but after 15 years that’s not what its about anymore. Now, finally, I can start obsessing about my next vision (there are dozens).
June 11th, 2012
I’ve been sitting on this post for a month now at the request of my client who wanted this cover to be a surprise.
It’s been a great spring for me and it all culminated with this shot of Top Chef judge and critic Gail Simmons. Gail Simmons was kind enough to give me a whole day of posing and great attitude, and big smiles. The day wasn’t so much a photo shoot as it was just a fun day with a great team. It’s when all the pieces come together like this that the real magic can happen.
The assignment was another cover for Aspen Magazine and the magazine wanted something very special. I set my sights (and internet search engines) on really understanding who my subject was. What I learned, and what inspired me, was not only Gail Simmons’s striking smile but her dominating presence and no bullshit style. Remember the bit in this post about “fun day with a great team,” well that’s all good but it doesn’t always get the assignment done.
So far, I had created plenty of images of Gail Simmons with rosy cheeks and big smiles but those weren’t the images I wanted. I wanted that tough girl and I found her. We were in between locations and most of the team was taking five when Gail Simmons got a phone call. Something or someone on the line wasn’t right and out came the attitude, that tough girl. I saw her body language change and I knew that that was my chance. When she got off the phone I think I screamed at her, “that’s it!” “Don’t move!” She knew exactly what I was up to and responded perfectly. Magic! We really played it up I had her throwing popcorn at the camera. Magic!
A great portrait can take all day, a strong rapport with the subject and never letting that perfect moment slip away. How’d I do?
Thanks again to Mando-Matic.
Top Chef's Gail Simmons on the cover of Aspen Magazine
March 21st, 2012
In today’s super competitive photography market you gotta step up! Photographic retouching can be a great way to get your clients the images they need. This is not to say that you don’t need to start with great photography because you absolutely do. Even the best photo retoucher can’t output their art without solid, creative, technically accurate photography.
This assignment was a generally simple one: Grab 4 time X Games gold medalist Gretchen Bleiler and create a straight up, smiley girl, cover portrait. The client, Aspen Magazine, wanted an iconic mountain back drop. Sounds easy enough. Well, the weather never quite cooperated. Here’s a short “how to” on the creation of this cover.
First, the subject, my assistant and I boarded the chair at Aspen Highlands at 7:00am (on the originally scheduled shoot day). If the light had been nice this would have been the perfect time to create the perfect cover portrait. I’d done the scouting earlier in the week. However, a weak storm was hanging in the air and although the weather wasn’t horrid it wasn’t great either. I had two hours with Gretchen and so the shot had to go off on that morning. Okay so there was bad light for the shoot time and what did I do? I switched into retouching mode using the a strobe to create the light on the subject that the sun would have created if it had shown up for its call time (see photo 1).
Second, having noted the location of the portrait shot, I returned to the location to shoot the back drop with the iconic mountains that the client was hoping for. Once again the weather wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great. There was fresh snow and beautiful cloud patterns on the peaks but the sky was grey with another approaching storm (see photo 2)
Finally, on the third trip to the location the sky was exactly what I was looking for. I chose a piece of sky just 4 degrees to the Northwest of the original location because I liked what the clouds were doing (see photo 3).
It’s really important when you shoot with post-production in mind that you use special care to matching (if that’s your intention) the natural feel of the sun with your artificial light and staying consistent with your lens choice and aperture selection. If you want the final product to look “real” all of your pieces need to fit together. Each of these photos was shot between 7:30am and 8am on each occasion.
Need Class A Retoucher: Mando-Matic is your guy! See the final product (photo 4)
March 15th, 2012
Every now and then the universe (or perhaps the master of the skiing universe) treats you to something really special. In late February my great friend and professional ski mountaineer Chris Davenport called me with the question, “do you want to drive Bentleys and go heli skiing?” If it took me 3 seconds to answer I would be surprised. I of course answered yes and at noon, the next day, two 2012 Bentley Continental GTCs drove into Chris’s driveway where he and I stood, grinning like kids in a candy shop. We were both handed the keys to our cars and off we went. The project was to be part of a Bentley promotional video that would feature Chris and I racing these incredible automobiles to Dunton Hot Springs near Rico colorado some 6 hours to our southwest and then heli skiing with Telluride Helitrax. The cars were outfitted with all sorts of POV cameras and I’ll have to admit that I felt like some kind of rock star. Or maybe just a little bit like (long pause) Jeremy Clarkson.
Bentley Motors, Inc. Head of Public Relations and Communications, Graeme Russell was in charge of the crew which included Austin Reza of Reza & Company and Foo Fighters: Back and Forth Cinematographer Harris Done.
Check out the video by Reza and Company and a few stills that I grabbed along the way.
Bentley: In Search of Snow
Chris in the Bentley
Chris skiing in the San Juan Mountains
The Bentley Continental GTC at the Dunton Hot Springs
February 27th, 2012
Check it out! I busted out the seamless (yup, I do that too) and shot some product for local entrepreneurs at Strafe Outerwear http://strafeouterwear.com/ Check them out, they make great, waterproof, breathable, snowsports clothing.
February 7th, 2012
I’m lucky enough to be one of less than ten ESPN staff photographers. I shoot thousands of images, these are my favorites. Torin Yater-Wallace, Russ Henshaw, Chas Guldemond and the family of Sarah Burke during a tribute to the fallen skier.
Torin Yater-Wallace takes home the bronze. ©Tomas Zuccareno
Russ Henshaw at the Winter X Games 2012 ©Tomas Zuccareno
The Burke family. ©Tomas Zuccareno
Chas Guldemond ,Winter X Games 2012, Aspen, Colorado. ©Tomas Zuccareno
February 2nd, 2012
Selections from the taco bar at Su Casa Aspen
I live in the Aspen, CO economy. When it doesn’t snow (which it hasn’t this year) our little economic bubble can really tighten up. One of the smartest things that I’ve done to stay busy in a shitty economy is, stay open to all things photography. This week its food.
Selections from the taco bar at Su Casa Aspen
Photographing food can be fun and eating it tends to be one of the perks!
The Plate de Carne Asada at Su Casa Aspen
November 15th, 2011
I’ve been busy! Check out some of my new projects, they all represent a new working relationship with www.Mando-matic.com: The first is a series of ad shots I did for a small boutique in Aspen, CO. The second is a shot of local phenom Torin Yater-Wallace that I shot for an Aspen Skiing Company’s ad on the back cover of Freeskier Magazine. The third is a portrait of Lance Armstrong that I shot for the Cover of Aspen Magazine. Thanks for looking.
High fashion produced in Aspen!
High fashion produced in Aspen.
High fashion produced in Aspen.
May 24th, 2011
Wow, I’ve been gone for a while!
Check it out, I produced a music video. From start to finish, I formulated a budget, found the location, built the sets and acquired the props. I directed the talent, shot the footage, worked with the editor and the color guy. It’s finally done. I stayed under a very modest budget and completed it on reasonably tight schedule. I took on the project to teach myself (about) the process of producing a moving image. My favorite parts: Set building and cinematography. My least favorite parts: Post-production and post-production. I dig it! I hope you do too.
August 7th, 2010
I’m growing a little tired of posts about the photography I get paid to do in a weak economy. But since that is what I’m currently doing with my camera, that is what is creating the ammo for my blog posts. I guess I’ll be grateful to have any work at all.
Luckily for me I have a great client and friend(s) in the folks at Kissaneviola www.kissaneviola.com. Kissaneviola is a regionally based and nationally recognized website design firm. They use me for just about anything they need a photographer for. Thanks guys! My last assignment for them was to shoot a restaurant. WAIT! food photography, ambiance, the chef? Really?
Now, I use artificial light from time to time, generally to add a little extra something to a natural light scene, but this particular restaurant is in a below ground location and this would be an ALL artificial light scenario. Well, someone has to pay the bills, and I approached this shoot as a particular challenge, that I could learn from. A challenge that would push me as a photographer. Sure, I studied photography in school and yes I learned all sorts of artificial lighting techniques but I’m in my 40s and that was 20+ years ago.
What a blast, once again I was using my camera, to make a living (how cool is that) and loving every minute of it. Food photographers get to eat everything. Here are a few samples of the work. How’d I do?