30 December 2011

The Mix One Week, Lake Las Vegas the Next

Mandalay Bay and The Luxor, © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Luxor and Vegas Srip shot from The Mix,
© 2011 Terrell Neasley
Shooting for fun with some friends can be an exceptional experience. This is when you get out and try some new things and get mixed up in situations where you ordinarily may not have ever tried on your own. My Las Vegas Photographic Society has some events all the time where we go out for specific purposes to get a particularly desired result. Sometimes these are training workshops and seminars. Other times they may be opportunity excursions to far off locations. And then there are times where a small group just meets up and you just wing it! Last Wednesday was one of those nights. We just went out on the strip and took some shots. We at least had an initial "guiding" goal to shoot Mandalay Bay in that golden hour of sunset. Trying to find a spot to set up proved tricky, as we all desired to be up in high vantage points, but there's nothing across from the Mandalay Bay to offer such perspective. The street becomes the only option, but you have to contend with the electrical and phone pole wires, trees, and other obstacles that trash the composition you see in the viewfinder. 

© 2011 Terrell Neasley

Lake Las Vegas, © 2011 Terrell Neasley
On this night, we split up. Unintentionally, we ended up dividing up between the Canon shooters and those with Nikons. Of the 5 of us, it just worked out that way. We all had tripods and cable remote shutter releases. I loved what I got with the long shutters using a wide-angle lens and going Black and White. We eventually moved inside where I got to do some more interior scenes. I don't think I got to rattle off 10 shots before security was on our butts. At this point, we were not inside Mandalay Bay. We were on the side with the Four Seasons. They were the one's who nabbed us. We tried to argue, but of course to no avail. We left, but came right back and went just outside to the pool area and got some shots. Our troubles returned when we came back inside and were asked to leave once more. We did. 

Frank Zapata, © 2011 Terrell Neasley

But when we got to The Mix (64th floor, Mandalay Bay), a classy bar/lounge, the experience was a total 180. The Mix has an outdoor seating area overlooking the stip. A 5 foot high glass wall keeps you from falling over the edge, but it was off limits at this point due to high winds. I asked for permission anyway. What we got was an alternative. On the restaurant side, which has an identical balcony, the rules were a little more flexible. We got an escort to take us through to the opposite side and she stayed with us patiently in the cold while we got our shots. She was a real trooper shivering in her short black dress. I put my coat on her, gave the guys a few more minutes and told the big chief that we needed to head out and let this girl warm back up. We tipped her for her kindness, thanked the manager who approved it, left some business cards and left. I promised to come back to dine there real soon as I had not known the restaurant part of the Mix even existed. They really made our night. 

Yesterday, just a week later, my friend Heather and I took a ride out to Lake Las Vegas to experiment with her new camera. I had just gotten a new lens and so I put it through its paces. Our initial plans were to head over to the Las Vegas Strip and just play, but I asked to change the plans at the last minute. I hadn't been out to Lake Las Vegas in quite some time and decided it might have some better scenes to test our new gear. It was fortuitous for us that we also got there right about the time a very interesting show/exhibition was beginning. Champion Water Skier, Franky Zapata had come out to showcase his new water jet-pak that allowed him to fly through the air on jets of water. I almost started to describe it, but you can see the pics. He looked like Iron Man, just without the iron, or whatever type of alloy Iron Man's suite is made of. I'd never seen anything like this before. It was fabulous and we had an excellent time there. We spent a good chunk of the day shooting and then hanging out in the local cafe. Marvelous day.

27 December 2011

Looking Out for Little Miss Mercy!

Model Extraordinaire, Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley
This has definitely been an interesting month. Its been a slow month, but I've at least been able to work on some of my personal projects and found my final model to cap my 2011 book of nudes due to come out in early January. I hadn't been doing many books just for me and my own work, but I've done several for private use for others. Miss Mercy, from Albuquerque was my feature model and we finally hooked up to do some collaborations. We didn't get to do everything we had initially planned, but I gotta say I'm happy with the results. We did a bathroom series and then several hotel nudes in a suite I booked for a couple of nights. The girl was fabulous and had the weather cooperated, we'd have also done some more outdoor urban stuff, but how often does rain kill a shoot in Vegas? Well, this was one of those rare days.

Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley
Mercy was simply way fun to work with. She's bold as hell and I felt like she was determined to make sure I got the shots I needed. These were public bathrooms and needless to say we were not always alone. We had to do some major adjustments and remain flexible to make it happen, but we had fun. There was also another girl, Panda, who helped make the shoot happen. She's somebody you're gonna see a whole lot of coming up, but I'm going to save her for the next post. She'll be the first one of the new year. Panda was a big help in assisting Mercy and I. It would do you well to check out Mercy on Model Mayhem and Zivity, as well as follow her on Twitter. You can also see her posting regularly on Tumblr, Oh, Have Mercy! Be sure to keep an eye out for the book! She'll be on the cover.

Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Mercy. © 2011 Terrell Neasley

19 December 2011

Back with Selena Bree

A little while back, I interviewed a fascinating woman (Part I and Part II) who was getting into modeling for the first time a little later in life than what most people do and she's been successful with it. Her new career is taking off and at 58, she's really taking off. This has become such a serious endeavor for her that she's constantly on the road. Hailing from Arkansas, let me again introduce Selena Bree. *Applause*

Selena Bree, by GBI Graphics 
1. So how have you been doing since our last interview earlier this year?

Uh...modeling? I quit the belly dance group to concentrate on modeling. Trying to get back to doing my art. Will do a workshop on dancing with a sword. Will choreograph my own solos. I am now more of a “life dancer” or “tribal fusion dancer” and I like rehearsing a lot before I perform and enjoying the “process” more than “performance” so particularly since I have my own studio I enjoy the idea of going back to working that way. It suits me better.

I turned 58; ouch Getting close to that sixty....EGADS! Let me start off by saying that what made the difference the most is that I have worked with so many really wonderful photographers and a few make-up artists that have so generously helped me with each shoot I have done. I can not thank Wayne Madison of Wayne Madison Photography enough for getting me started in this and so wish I had done it three years before when he first mentioned it.

Some people do enjoy working with someone that is older for what we bring to the table as far as knowledge and life experience. Especially the eyes...the window to the soul and what we have survived, loved and lived through. Some see me as forever youthful. I got to work with several female models and tried to encouraged one by being helpful and it being a comfortable and fun experience and she took the leap and got on OMP. My husband came along way concerning me doing nudes. He knows I do good tasteful work. We don’t talk about it and I don’t show them to him but when I told him my calendar has a few nudes and how did he feel about that; he just said don’t sell them here in the small town I live in.

What is interesting is that more and more photographers have been contacting me to work with them without the standard model first step “I would love to work with you.” or have asked me when I will be in there area or when I am in there area please stop and see them. In the spring I have already booked one photographer driving from North Carolina to shoot me here and another is providing me travel, food and lodging to bring me to Utah for a week of desert shoots. This year I have been housed, and feed and treated extremely well. I hope to work at Great Lakes Workshops in Milwaukee several times a year where I can do the workshop, stay a while, and easily access the Chicago and surrounding areas. Richard Pickert is a great guy and has accommodations for models where I can stay a few days to pick up paid work.

2. Have you found your niche yet?

Not really. Geez...fine art nudes would be good this time of year since I have put on my winter weight. LOL But actually I look healthier by pulling up the nutrition, water and getting lots of sleep.

Selena Bree, by GBI Graphics

3. And how about your personal mission to help society redefine the concept of beauty?

As far as the fashion industry not a dent. I am probably the wrong person to do this with being petite and tattooed. (And I perfectly understand why photographers don’t like tattoos; it is extra and more complicated work for them). Amazing models like Michaela (OneModelPlace#6858) who have the physical requirements and outstanding modeling skills is already doing that. She is still my hero and has already battled the age barrier in my opinion.

I have seen changes already. Commercial ads don’t necessarily need a gorgeous run way model (and they are so stunning and already show fashion off so beautifully) but who knows....maybe more people could relate to an ad if they felt that model was more like them? Then we get back to the baby boomers...we are a huge population with leisure time. And what about expensive gowns and other merchandise...can that 20 year old really afford that? Would it be more realistic for someone in their 40's, 50's or 60's to be seen wearing a designer’s best?

4. So you've also started a new genre of nudes. Tell us about your decision to explore erotica.

I have only done one so far but I really like it. I would love to do more if they are quality as far as concept and photography. I have seen some really stunning erotica which is tasteful, and leaves much to the viewer’s imagination...I would like doing that sort of work. There is a distinct difference between gallery edition upscale erotica and pornography.

5. Will you continue on this adventure or is this just an experience it once and done sort of thing?
Selena Bree by Artistic Expressions 
I don’t know at this time. The only thing I regret in my life was not taking the offer to model shoes. I was approached at 17 by an agency but my parents didn’t like the idea. I wasn't smart enough or didn’t have the self-esteem at the time to simply go back at 18. Also due to illness and dying (or so we thought) I missed again doing more fine art nude photographic modeling which I did at about age 36 to 39 because I had to quit at 39 and spent most of my time in bed for the next two years and then two more to get back to the ability to work a part-time job. So I missed out again...but hey, better late than never! Even if that is like, twenty years later.

6. How far would you like to take it and what do you think you bring to the erotic arena?

You know I have no idea. I do have some “hidden” photos under wraps until the photographer and I decide where and how to use them. Truth be know we never have control as to how our endeavors go. That is the universe’s job. I do believe in opportunity meeting preparation so this winter will be spending time in my studio nailing poses that not only work well on my body but should have ones that work well with what wardrobe I have. I need work on facial expressions.

7. What other new and interesting projects are coming up?

Me working out and getting back to a pattern. This last year I spent so much time on the computer and traveling I lost a lot of what I feel my strengths are: a killer body for my age and the flexibility and versatility of other venues I have done in my life (the dancing, etc.)

The next exciting project  is something that I'm collaborating with another photographer on that will benefit models and photographers of all skill levels.  I can't go into details just yet, but you can all share the surprise and excitement as we get closer to completion.

Selena Bree, by Secret Drawer Photography
with post by Shen Garden of Suiy

8. How has your overall impression of modeling changed since the time you got started?

It is like anything else. Hard work, consistency and determination. I recognize the amount of work I am needing to do. I am starting today with many outfits that are out in my studio right now preparing for a shoot with Cajunpix2. More planning/less photo shoots/better photographers who would like to work with me. Images that are as good or better than I already have in my portfolio. I plan to work several times a week in my studio with my mirrors. Reminds me of doing dance improvisation. I will work it for poses, facial expression, different ways to put the items together, etc. I see it as rehearsal and practice time. I have been so looking forward to this time of year. I am thinking of this as my “off season” time...October/November through March where it is more about working the craft, getting healthy, organizing wardrobe, working out more, etc. What is ironic is that I spent decades getting my body aligned because I was so knock-kneed, sway backed and pigeon toed that I find it very painful to do the posing That perfectly straight back and strong core strength from years of Pilates and that upright pelvis from ballet training now make it hard to “stick my butt out”, twist and move body parts where they don’t want to go.

9. Has your goals changed any since the last time we talked?

Selena Bree by Beach Photo

Yes. Like I stated earlier: I plan to work less with more planning for a shoot and doing less shoots with more quality photographers. I think working with a smaller group of photographers is a very smart move especially when I am not any where close to being the typical modeling concept at all. Find those that believe in what the goal is and stick with them. So many wonderful photographers that have been so very generous with teaching and instructing me. Frankly some of that has had less to do with modeling and photography and more to do about people skills and how to present yourself.

10. What's next?

Modeling as Zen. Part of one’s every day life. Getting to where I am doing poses and am “on point” where ever I go...I need to be putting gas in my car and working on poses. My modeling mentor will get me going with this when we work in January where I will have set routines that I will be working all the time. Oh and I keep saying I am not going to buy any more wardrobe and then I find this new piece to add to that outfit...a belly dance outfit from Nadia who worked in Las Vegas for 20 years that she is selling...a cool vintage hat on ebay or at the local flea market I go to frequently...hmmmm....is there a 12 step program for people obsessed with putting together concepts with clothing and accessories? :-)

Selena Bree Calendar, by Fashion Figure Fantasy

No crystal ball today...just a very positive and excited attitude and great optimism regarding my future.

Be sure to check out more of Selena Bree on Model Mayhem, Model Brigade, and OMP. The Selena Bree 2012 Calendar is available for $19.95 + $4.95 Priority mail. You can send inquiries on where to send checks to: selenabree@hotmail.com.

04 December 2011

Thanks Trixie!!!

"True friends are hard to come by...I need more money." - Calvin, The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, p86

Having to say it once is really once too many. Good-byes are definitely not pleasant, especially when its with a model you've come to appreciate because of her willingness help you be better. This day last week, Trixie moved off the Mainland and over to the Big Island. She corrected me at her Aloha Party last week. This was no a good-bye but rather an "until we meet again", kind of deal. Then a friend of her's, Gwen, highlighted the fact that I now have an excuse to travel to Hawaii! Sweet. 

I gotta say Trix is one of the main models who have been in my corner since I arrived in Vegas. She bears some of the weight in forging my development as a photographer and has been my partner in crime in expanding my skill with my nude art. She also helped when I ran my Las Vegas Art Models Group for not only my photography workshops but for my drawing sessions as well. When I needed to experiment for my own personal growth, (which often required someone of patience), I knew who I could call and that was Trixie. The news of her departure was somewhat stunning. I don't know what its like to have a man-hole cover dropped onto your head, but that's what I would imagine it was like, except maybe without the searing pain and unconsciousness/death part, that is. But you're left shocked all the same. 

So I just wanted to do a post to say Thanks Trix for all your help, love, support, promotion, encouragement, (I could go on....) I also extend a thanks out to your family for being so cool and understanding. "I got a pig on me!" will ever be ingrained in my psyche now. 

See you in Hawaii!

15 November 2011

Joseph Watson and the Joseph Watson Collection

Las Vegas Artist Extraordinaire, Joseph Watson. Photo by Ryan Reason

"My art turns bad experiences into something good. Its a tool for happiness, a reminder of potential and a recipe for success." - Joseph Watson

Sometimes its not all about photography and most certainly this blog is not all about me. So for a little twist, I thought I'd do an interview with another artist, who's doing it big here in the Vegas scene. Maybe about 2 months ago, I was down at the Arts Factory just perusing through some of the new galleries and came across a fella I hadn't seen before. I loved the style of his art. And the overall vibe you get from his studio is that of something refreshing, new, and different. THEN... out of the corner of my eye, I spotted MY PIECE! I gotta say it connected me with this artist because it so resembled what I do. I bought a print on the spot.

"The Color of Women", The Joseph Watson Collection
Folks, let me introduce you to Joseph Watson of The Joseph Watson Collection. The piece I so identified with is his magnificent creation of "The Color Of Women". I identified so well with it because it embodies what I do in my photography of nude women. I shoot all different sizes, shapes, ages, and ethnicities of women. My nudes aren't just about glamour and fashion, but real women with flaws and imperfections who are just as beautiful. Mr. Watson embodies that same spirit in this work and I had to have it.

"Shopping on a Gloomy Day",
The Joseph Watson Collection
Joe personifies cool, better than most artists I know. The man is confident and he knows he's talented, but a forensic scientist would not find in him even a hint of ego. Fifteen minutes after meeting the man, he's already schooling me on his iPad about ways I can expand my own art and showed me different websites that can help with that. He's big on promoting the Vegas art scene and  other local artists. I think that's what I like more than anything else about the guy. I can appreciate his sense of community and his altruistic approach to art. I knew I wanted to get his story and share it with you guys.

1. So when did you go "all in" as an artist as a profession? And do you think you'd still be in this had you not started with those T-shirts long ago?
I went "All In" with the art profession back in 1989. This was when I was in high school and desperate to get a new job. I was employed at a snack bar at a local swapmeet at the time. My daily wage was just enough to fill my tank with gas. One day I was offered the chance to display and create airbrushed T-shirts on a busy street. I called in sick one day, set up on the busy street, and made over 10 times my daily wage...... off of something that I loved to do. If I didn't start off with shirts, I might of taken another career path.
2. Did you always have family support? You weren't ever encouraged to "get a real job"?
I always had family support. Everything from my folks critiquing my art to my brother helping me run an airbrush business. I don't think that I was encouraged to get a real job after everyone discovered my true talent. Even now, my wife supports me to the fullest.
3. How many times in that first year did you ask yourself whether or not you should do something else and what made you push through anyway?
Not many times at all. I believe that my level of confidence was a little high in my early years.
4. No man is an island. Who mentored you early on in this career choice and why were they particularly effective in inspiring you? 
Fortunately, I had excellent mentors. Here are a few: Mister Cartoon (world famous tattoo artist), Jon Davis (designer), Donavin Howard (Disney Layout artist). Mister Cartoon gave me golden advice in high school. He was a direct connection between who I was as an artist at the time and who I wanted to be in the future. These mentors are responsible for all of my success and determination. I do plan to pass the torch when the time comes.
"Something from Nothing", The Joseph Watson Collection

5. On the flip side of that, how did you deal with naysayers? A poor economy? And other challenges you may have faced?
Believe me, there were many people against me that tried to break me down. It just made me stronger. The best thing to do is to prove them wrong. The challenges that I faced during my college years (Art Center College of Design) were financial, long commuting, lack of sleep and absence of a formal art education. Being a student at Art Center was a life changing experience. It gave me the conept that nothing is impossible. Dealing with today's economy is quite challenging. I like to provide an experience for everyone who visits the gallery. Whether they buy or not, they will leave the gallery enriched with a creative experience. Believe it or not, I was quite shy during my early years. Explaining the concepts of my art to many people enabled me to overcome shyness.
6. There are a lot of good artists out there who have no clue how to market themselves. Where did you acquire your business sense? Where you always entrepreneurial-minded? 
I acquired my business sense from my mentors and just pure mileage. Many mistakes were made along the way. With every mistake that was made, I gained knowledge on what not to do in the future. My commerce maintains my creativity. It's not all for the money. Its about getting my ideas out there to as many people as possible and letting my ideas fuel their ideas. It's one big chain reaction. You never know who you inspire. The people who inspire you might actually be inspired by you.

7. What do you regularly read to help keep you inspired, driven, and current on the latest art trends? 
"Elements of Success",
The Joseph Watson Collection
Honestly, I don't get to read as much as I like. I read many random things on the internet, etc. As far as current art trends go, I go to different conventions such as Art Expo, Liscensing Expo, and other industry conventions to see what is current. My biggest inspiration is everyday life. The dynamics of ups and downs is enough for me to work with and develop into a marketable work of art. Everyone goes through good and bad times. My art turns bad experiences into something good. Its a tool for happiness, a reminder of potential and a recipe for success. I guess that you can say that my art is an investment in yourself.

8. Who do you mentor? Are you involved in any community projects that help young Las Vegas artistic hopefuls? 
I mentor anyone who desires to get mentored. Usually, people that I mentor are trying to break into the art profession. These are various students from many different schools that come to my gallery. I am involved in many community projects. ZAP project, children's book readings, etc. One of the projects that I am focused on now is called Go, Go, Greta! This is a children's book that author Dana Satterwhite and illustrator (myself) created. We now have a huge local following and sell these wonderful children's books at the gallery. It's a book about encouragement and accomplishment. You can check out what we are doing at http://www.gogogreta.blogspot.com/

9. Here's a little rapid fire for you:

a. What was the last movie you saw? Tourist
b. Favorite two places to eat in Vegas? The Burger Bar, and  Bar and Bistro at the Arts Factory
c. A quote that often comes to mind? Never underestimate the Underesimated
d. Monet or Manet? Monet
e. A particular charity or cause you like to support? St. Judes & March of Dimes

10. When are we going to see some international urban scene inspirations like an authentic Italian or Asian cafe/market? (Just a suggestion, but I'd like to see what characters you might come up with from spending a little time at Wal-Mart at about 2 a.m. on the weekend!) 
Hopefully soon! I'm working on a chef series now.
11. Outside of the art scene, what else fascinates you about Las Vegas? 
Radio controlled airplanes, restaurants, theatre, my wife and KNPR.
12. How long before things pick up in Vegas again? Will the new First Friday concepts make a splash?
The wheels are spinning faster now. I assume that the Christmas rush will boost the economy. The new First Friday will be a great thing to participate in. I beleive that new opportunity will arise. It's all about adapting and finding out how and where you fit in. With our current exhibit 'Oh...Nature' featuring artist Shark Toof, we have really raised the bar. Shark Toof is an internationally recognized artist that has a "must see' show at our gallery. It deals with human personna and nature.
13. If Mayor Goodman pulled you to the side and asked you to give her one good idea to help downtown Vegas, other than "Buy lots of my art and exhibit it everywhere!", you'd say what? 
Keep up the good work!
"Blue Soul", The Joseph Watson Collection 

14. When my daughter said she wanted to become a photographer, I was like, "Why in the world would you want to do that?" What if you had a kid that wanted to become an artist? 
I would give full support.
15. What's next for the Joseph Watson Collection? And where would the ideal place be for a new public Joseph Watson Gallery? The Airport, maybe? 
The Joseph Watson Collection has a great plan for the future. Our messege is universal. We are taking steps to become a nationally respected gallery. Our artist roster is growing and our integrity is rising. Thanks to all of the supporters, fans and followers for making this possible. I would like to see our gallery on every television screen in America and beyond. I would also like to expand the gallery into every major city in the US as well as a location in Canada and Switzerland.
Check out more of Joseph Watson and the Joseph Watson Collection by visiting his website. Oh, be sure to take a look at his video below. You can see how how he creates a masterpiece a digital drawing of a St. Bernard/Chiuaua mix! And feel exceedingly free to BUY some of his artwork! You'd be doing yourself a favor! That's why I bought it. Follow him on TWITTER / TUMBLR / FACEBOOK / RSS !

"I guess that you can say that my art is an investment in yourself." - Joseph Watson

13 November 2011

Photo Contest Win

Photography Master's Cup 2nd Place, Americana Category "Desolate Road"
Earlier this month, I was notified that one of my photos had taken 2nd place in an international color competition and 2 more of my shots made the final cut as a nominee selection. Its taken a while for them to jury all of the selections. This was supposed to have been done back in July, but I guess there were several delays. This was for the 5th Annual Photography Master's Cup. I placed in the Americana category with my "Desolate Road" shot and had one other shot to nominee in that category. My other nominee shot was in the Nude category. I gotta admit, I can't say that I feel like my shot was the best one. I think there were other nominee shots that were better than my 2nd place win. I'd even say the 3rd place winner could have beaten out mine, but for DAMN sure, I can't agree with the shot that took 1st place with the plastic flamingos!

Photography Master's Cup Nominee, Americana Category "Dragons"
Contests are very subjective which is one reason, I don't really participate in them so much. As far as I'm concerned, if my model likes what I've done, then I'm happy. If someone wants to part with their hard-earned cash in exchange for one of my shots, I'm happy and this is what keeps me going. Having a panel of judges gather around to jury a pool of images of which mine is hoping to be noticed, is not that appealing to me. However, I do realize that to be recognized by a group of your peers can be quite satisfying. I felt really good to see one of my shots place. I know it can mean more exposure and help get my work out there, but I also don't know of anyone who's career took off like a rocket because they won a photo contest.

"So even if you don’t win, they can still use your photos without any sort of compensation whatsoever. THAT is the real reason most companies run photo contests. They get a large portfolio of decent images for basically nothing. If you read the contest closely, they only say the the winner will end up on a cover. They don’t say the non-winners will not end up on a cover. (that’s a triple negative)" - Gary Arndt

Photography Master's Cup Nominee, Nude Category "Katherine's Hawk"

And aside from maybe local competitions, there are only a select few I think I would even consider. Some of these things are just too expensive to submit an entry. I remember reading a segment "Why I Don't Enter Photography Contests" by Gary Arndt mainly because of usage rights. This particular online competition easily netted a couple mil and they are not awarding out near that in prize money. I get nothing. The 1st place ticket got $500 for the category and the grand prize winner got maybe a grand. So why did I do it? I just thought I'd give it a shot. Plus its a good stocking filler to say you've won an award as a professional. A client can see that and be impressed, I guess. Maybe they'll offer you more money than you charge or something. I do get some exposure in the new magazine coming out soon, "The PHOTO Paper". Not sure when the 1st issue comes out, but its supposed to be nice. So basically, I'm going to give a few of these things a shot, but the only time you'll hear of it is if I win!

What's upcoming? A few interviews. Waiting on several interview questions to get back to me from both models and photogs, a writer and even an artist who does some remarkable paint work. Gotta give mad props to TopazLabs for donating the Topaz Bundle to me. I didn't realize they did so much other stuff than HDR. I've been using a few other plug-ins for most of my work, and can now add the whole Topaz bundle to my repertoire. I mainly use Topaz Adjust, Clean, and Simplify for most of my stuff, but I'm getting to the other 7 different photoshop plugins. Topaz B&W is new and I'm eager to see how it stacks up against Nik Silver Efx.

23 October 2011

Get Well Soon Faerie!

I think I may have mentioned earlier this Summer that you were going to get to see Faerie again. Well, it didn't happen, but we're working on it again. Initially she left town for a little while gallivanting all over the country. Can't hate...only envy. But she back now, and we're trying to put get to shoot again, but now I just have wait til she's feeling well enough to shoot again. You might think that all she'd have to do is just sit and look pretty, but Faerie tends to put a little more into a shoot than that. That woman can naturally bend and contort that make you have to stop and look over the top of your camera to make sure you're seeing things right through the viewfinder. She's definitely a pleasure to work with and lends some excellent talent ideas to a shoot. 

But I think its been about TWO years since I've worked with her! She was one of my first models after arriving in Vegas that would shoot on a whim. In fact, I am certain I recall her once calling ME up telling me to come over and lets shoot. What can you do but grab your camera and walk your ass out the door and go shoot. She and her whole family have been the best people you'd want to know...great kids and a really cool husband that can grill a mean steak. In fact, that just reminds me of why I was doing this post to begin with. I was telling another model just last night about Faerie and her hubby's steaks, when it came to mind that one thing about Faerie that I really appreciate (I mean, other than the fact that I get to photograph her naked...) is the simple fact that she always remembers how I take my coffee. I never have to add anything after she makes me a cup. Sometimes its just those little things that make the difference. 

Now she'll be all good to go in a little while, so I don't suspect you'll have to wait too long. But I'm oddly enough finding myself slightly creatively challenged on what I think I'd like to do with her. (If only all my problems were so nice...right?) We've done a lot of things together already, and I feel like I want something uniquely new with Faerie and I just hadn't quite put my finger on it just yet. My initial idea this Summer was going to be my Nude Ball of Light gig, but she wasn't available and I had to go with another model. So I'm trying to find the next great concept that fits Faerie like a glove. Granted, I'm going to run this past her for some ideas, as well. Public nudes are out. She doesn't need that sort of heat. Pregnancy nudes are out. They're already waiting on the youngest to finish school and move out, so I know she won't ask the hubby to make another kid just for me to do a photo project. What else...?

She's way too young for my mature model project. Erotica? I'm still experimenting with that. Or how something in water. Actually, I've just done that. Nah, I think its gotta be something original maybe in some unique location, that's at least unique to me. Its either that or I'll start out with a simple, no-concept shoot and make it as easy as 1. Get naked, 2. Take pictures, 3. Repeat as necessary. It almost never fails that I come up with something more tailored to a particular model after I do a simple shoot with her. The mind just gets to rolling after you burn off a few rounds through the shutter.

So get well soon, Faerie. Take your time. I'll have something fun to do and we'll make some great pics again.

07 October 2011

DaveL, Brooke, and Kat... Part Deux

Photographer Extraordinaire, Dave Levingston

Okay. You got me on this one. I promise I won't go this long without a post. That's about 3 weeks since my last musings and I don't really want that. So what I have planned are more model/artist interviews. Upcoming will be Q&A time for Selena Bree, Brooke and Kat, and local artist Joseph Watson. You're going to really love Joe's work. In fact, let me just give you a preview of some of it with this link.

BUT, Back to the point of fact:

"The Road Warriors"
Very interesting evening! I say interesting because I got to finally meet some of my favorite people, but nothing quite worked out as planned. When does it ever, though? Dave Levingston, Brooke Lynn, and Kat finally arrived to Vegas after almost 3 weeks on the road!! What didn't quite work out is some of the events they had planned when they got here. Yeah, Dave hit a dear back in Nebraska. That slowed things up a bit. The muffler ended up coming off. That slowed things up a bit more. Fortunately, he was able to get it fixed because Vegas is not the end destination for these guys. They've still got a long way to go and THEN they gotta head back. A mode of transportation in good working order facilitates that objective rather well. So needless to say, we didn't get to spend much time together, much less shoot! By the time things calmed down for them, my schedule picked up to where the last two days they were here, I was pretty much unavailable.

Until, that is...the Party!

So we finally meet! It was cool to get to see them all and I got introduced to another top notch model whose actually a local model. Any of you ever work with Jolene Hexx? Well, get on that. Jolene was supposed to shoot with DaveL Wednesday morning, but since the new priority became fixing the muffler issue, that got held up. Jolene being the super-duper trooper that she is, was totally understandable and sympathetic to their plight. She stopped by to visit for the party and the girl was the baddest thing walking on two legs in the entire hotel. I loved her dress. I'm saying stunning, as if to not use the word too loosely. You're literally left stunned at that initial glance. Everybody else was way more casual, but I'm glad Jolene didn't get the word on that.

Terrell, Brooke Lynne, Jolene Hexx, Kat, Dave Levingston

And getting to meet two other famous art models was quite a grand treat in itself. Kat and Brooke are some of the nicest people you'll meet. I can tell you from my personal experience, that they don't let their celebrity status go to their heads. These are really down to earth girls when you meet them and not intimidating in even the slightest sense. Modeling is in their blood though. I didn't bring my serious gear, but I do have a handy-dandy S-95. So even with this point and shoot, the mere fact that a lens is pointed in her general direction cause Kat to immediately focus in on the barrel of my camera and instinctively morph into, not anything that was overly dramatic, but in fact it was the most subtlest of gestures...an elbow to the table; a hand under the chin.  And a gaze that reminded you of a cold drink with a twist of lemon in it. *SNAP* ...and the moment was gone.

DaveL and Art Model, Jolene Hexx
Brooke was no different. Though more known for poses sans any articles of clothing, she sat comfortably, albeit, I dare say swaddled in the sweater she was wearing. This wasn't like any Wal-Mart sweater. It had no bearings of anything you get for Christmas from your Aunt Thelma who incorrectly flaunts herself as a  fashionista. No this was style. And when I say style...I'm dragging out the "Y" for added effect. The sweater seemed to be tailored for her except for in the sleeves, as was able to easily tuck in her hands. As I said, she was swaddled in this sweater. It was adorable. I should not have passed up the opportunity to tell her so, myself. Every woman appreciates a compliment on her wear. [My mistake.] With Brooke, there was no pose to assume. She was just already there. You can photograph this woman from any angle at any time, with clothes on or off and its like something that was just supposed to happen. All you have to do is just get the shot. Is it in focus? Chances are its a good shot.

Art Model, Kat
And the grandest moment... Dave. Mr. Modest Levingston, himself. The man was the perfect host. He could have easily sent one of the girls down to retrieve me, but he came down himself to get me from the lobby. He served me beer and pizza. Which reminds me, I need to ask him where it came from. It was damn good. We got to swap stories all night and regale the ladies of military adventures, which I am certain they enjoyed! I can see why Dave Rudin appreciates Dave Levingston so much. DaveL is the man. Simple as that. I've joked that I want to be like him when I grow up, but even in jest, I am every quite serious. The dude is road-tripping a thousand miles with the company to two of the hottest and most respected mods in the business. So I ask you... Have you done this recently? Would you like to? I rest my case.

Art Model, Brooke Lynne
I know Dave might think I have a propensity to embellish a bit. Okay, maybe. But ask me about any specific element of my tale and inquire as to its validity. I will affirm every word of it. My thing is that I want to make sure I let those whom I appreciate know this very fact. I applaud their life's work in a field that's relatively not well-understood and sometimes not well-received. I admire the commitment and dedication to a form of art that has been in existence since charcoal drawings were first done on cave walls. They do it with class and distinction. And you should honor their efforts too. Ovations...