Great Scott! The 2012 Christmas Card!

Some of you know that each year I do fun Christmas cards for clients over at AustinChristmasCards.com. While working on those client’s cards, I have to squeeze in a shoot for our family too. This year there was much deliberation over what to do. We usually have some sort of a running list of ideas that we keep from year to year. I have misplaced said list. In the end, we decided on doing a Back To The Future themed card. It’s a pretty good movie. Ok I’m kidding – it’s the GREATEST of ALL TIME. You will not find a bigger fan than me.

We knew instantly that Trevor had to be Biff. It just fits his personality. He probably could take Biff right now in a MMA cage fight. That meant Brandon had to be Marty, so we scored him a Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary life preserver. The car is an interesting story. Originally I tried to track down one of those fan cars that are all decked out to look like the film. When that didn’t work out, I went to my backup – an 8-inch long toy DeLorean.

There’s a power line running from the car to the tree. We’ll leave it up to you whether the car is powering the tree or vice versa. The mall is Barton Creek Mall here in Austin – always a pleasure to shoot at late at night while wearing a dark hoodie.

Here’s the front and back. Click the first image for a larger version:

Back To The Future Card #1
Back To The Future Card #2

By |December 22nd, 2012|Photography|1 Comment

2011 Christmas Card

I have a deep affection for fun holiday cards. In fact, I’m usually pretty busy this time of year creating holiday images for my clients. I love the whole process – discussing ideas, doing the shoot, and the post work. My goal every year is to create something that will stay on the refrigerator past New Year’s day.

This year, we went with a CSI theme. Specifically, CSI: Miami. That show is so over-the-top. Extra credit goes to Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso), as he somehow manages to open each show with a ridiculous one-liner. This video on YouTube, showing over 7 minutes of his poetic dialogue, will probably have you in stitches. It inspired us this year. Here’s the front of the card:

Some people might not get the CSI reference right away, so we included an image/tag line on the back:

We had a great time producing this year’s card, and are already thinking of ideas for next year. In the meantime, I’ve posted new work that I’ve done for my holiday clients at austinchristmascards.com.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and an incredible New Year!

 

Italy, Part One: Places

I’m back!

We recently returned from an incredible trip to Italy, and this is the first post (of at least 3) about it. Both my wife and I have relatives there (mine are in Sicily, and hers are in a small town a few hours from Rome). I think we started planning this trip last year, and for the most part everything went very smoothly! Besides our family, my wife’s sister-in-law and her 2 daughters came along. And, before I go any further, a big thanks to my wife and sister-in-law for all of the hard work they did planning! My oldest son turned 6 during the trip which was way cool. My 3 year old was fun too, considering that we had several long days of sightseeing.

We flew into Rome and stayed for a night, and then headed to Sicily, followed by Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Venice, Fabriano, Assisi, Orvieto, and finally Rome again for one night before we flew home. I also drove in Sicily and from Venice through the end of the trip, which was insane! In parts of Italy, things like traffic lights and stop signs are more recommendations than requirements.

I travelled with a very minimal kit – just a camera body, a 580 ex flash, a 50mm lens, and a 16-35mm lens (which I hardly ever used, especially once something startled to rattle on the inside of it). I ended up shooting about 2,000 images, which worked out to about 35 GB (I was shooting plenty of images at 21 MP for a project I want to do later). I probably could have shot more, but it’s the classic tradeoff between shooting and seeing things with the family. I had a couple ‘I am going to shoot for an hour’ opportunities though, so it worked out well. I didn’t have a laptop, so I backed up everything to an Epson portable drive.

Let’s start off with a few Rome shots:

In Sicily, we visited my relatives plus got a chance to drive halfway up Mt. Etna. It’s a cool volcano – still having eruptions every now and then. Here you can see some older lava flows:

After Sicily, we took an overnight ferry to Sorrento. Here’s a shot from the hotel:

You can see Mt. Vesuvius here:

Capri is an incredible island off the coast of Italy. Besides having a lot of cool stores and restaurants on the island itself, you can have a lot of fun around the island, checking out the rock formations, the fabulous colored grottos, and more:

They have a cable car that goes to the very top which is awesome! The view is incredible and peaceful:

Here is the famous Blue Grotto, which is a cave on the outside of the island. To get in, you literally have to lay down in a boat while the boat driver maneuvers into a little hole. Once inside, the water glows blue because light is coming underneath the entrance:

After Capri/Sorrento, we headed up to Venice:

I got lost quite a few times walking around there. Thankfully, a cool navigation app saved me (more on that in a later post).

Leaving Venice, we drove down to the Fabriano region (where my wife’s relatives are). We came across this cool castle museum that had an incredible view out the front door:

Who wouldn’t want to walk out to that everyday?

Our last stop was in Orvieto, which has an absolutely incredible church. It’s also massive. Here’s a shot looking at the entrance:

So there you go – the first post on the big trip. Next up, I’ll show you some of the fun times we had (including an incredible birthday party for Brandon), and later on I’ll post some iPhone pictures.

 

The 2010 Christmas Card

Click for larger version

After last year’s production, Lisa and I weren’t sure how we were going to top it. We kicked around ideas all the way up until early November. Then, it hit us (Lisa actually): let’s do a Lost-themed card. This would be the only year we could do it. Plus, we had an extra bonus: my sister, Rayna, is currently in Hawaii with her husband. He’s in the Air Force and they just got assigned there. She’s a great photographer, and was excited to have a project to work on.

So, we set out to begin production. We researched some of the actual shooting locations for Lost. My sister captured some great background images. Originally, I began hunting down aircraft boneyards. I couldn’t find anything in Texas that had exactly what I was looking for, so I headed to istockphoto.com and found this plane wreckage. Perfect.

We photographed each family member in the front yard. For the compositing work, it was pretty straight-forward: match the lens, aperture, angle, etc. In fact, I will be teaching all of this at a Master Class at WPPI in February.

Vincent was heroically portrayed by our dog, Queso. Brandon and Trevor stood in as Jacob and the man in black (no, they aren’t missplaced jedis from another card).

Here’s a video with the layer build-up in Photoshop:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9afmU8cFDU

Overall, we are really happy with how it came out. I have no idea what we will do next year.

Be sure to check out some of the other holiday card work I’ve been up to here and at AustinChristmasCards.com.

PPA 2010 Cover Contest

Just found out that our 2009 Christmas card won an honorable mention in the 2010 PPA Magazine Cover Contest! Yay for the Doggetts! There were about 5,000 entries, and kudos to Anthony Roslund for taking home the top prize!

Here’s the image below. ¬†Also, if you are interested in getting a cool Christmas card this year, now is the time. Head on over to AustinChristmasCards.com and check out the samples.

The Best of 2009 Slideshow

2009 is a wrap! Here’s a slideshow of some of my favorite images from the year!

As always, a big thanks to all the clients, family, friends, coordinators, editors, photographers and more that have helped make ’09 truly memorable! Rock on in ’10!

This is a flash movie – if you are viewing this on Facebook, head here to see it.