A Week of Promotion - Thursday / NEON Tower for Smithsonian.


NEON Tower for Smithsonian Magazine

On a hot mid-July morning, I drove out to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to photograph a tower being built deep in the woods. To give some context, as we approached the site, a brown bear ran across the trail about thirty feet in front of us.

The NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) tower rises 170 feet and its top disappears into the tree canopy. When completed, sixty of these towers around the country will record temperature, carbon dioxide and other measurements in real time, allowing scientists to have study and interpret an incredible amount of data from around the country.

The challenge was figuring out how to get the tower to stand out against the dark, shadowy leaves and I decided it was worth lighting. The results were some of my favorite photos in awhile, and I'm also happy to have a photo run that demonstrated correct use of a tilt-shift lens in fixing the verticals.

The article can be read here and below are a few more I liked:


A Week of Promotion - Wednesday / Sheila Bair for HousingWire


Sheila Bair for HousingWire

Sheila Bair was the former head of the FDIC which played a prominent, outspoken role in the 2008 financial crisis. Having watched some of her testimony, I felt a little intimidated going into this shoot.


The challenge came in the single conference room I was given to set up in. With ample time to work out all the lighting, I had no less than five different setups to work through and she very amiably got through all of them, making for a nice variety of images in a very small space.


A Week of Promotion - Tuesday / David Jameson for Residential Architect


From the beginning of this shoot, it was clear that architect David Jameson was going to be an active participant, not just a portrait subject. His strong ideas about architecture also carried over to how he thought spaces should be photographed and what resulted was a challenging, but very satisfying collaboration.


Jameson's work is gorgeous and rigorous in its execution, yet the spaces we shot in also felt inviting and comfortable. At his insistence, we ventured to another of his houses, which was currently under construction. In all honesty, we had been shooting with him for three hours and packing up to move to a half-finished house wasn't very appealing or necessarily what we were looking for visually. But we went there anyway, and the quick shoot there as we were losing the sun resulted in the cover image as well as the first image below.

The give and take of the shoot was so atypical of most of my work. Most photo subjects tend to either give themselves over to the photographer or regard the whole process with disdain and subsequently just mentally check-out. Without collaboration, the development of the photo can be one-sided and limited by the photographer's eye. Despite some initial discomfort with giving up a bit of control, it was clear that we accomplished something better together than I would have done on my own and somewhere in there is a lesson to be remembered for future shoots.