Soundset 2017

I went from wondering when Pusha T would ever perform at a location close to Iowa, to learning that every year Minneapolis hosts one of the most incredible Hip Hop festivals known as Soundset. The catch however was only point and shoot cameras were allowed. So I sent an email to a friend who is the head editor at www.djbooth.net (DJ Z) and pleaded for the opportunity to cover the event. At the time I had no idea I would be biting off more than I could chew. As May 28th got closer I assembled an array of instant film, and even rented the 70-200 GM for my trusty Sony A7. The lineup was incredible and featured many newcomers to the industry as well as some top shelf talent from multiple styles with a performance from Lauryn Hill and Travis Scott billed as the headliner. 

The Sunday event had me pumped, I left Saturday afternoon so I could locate my hotel that I rented in an effort to avoid departing from Des Moines at 6am and being exhausted from covering an all day event. I checked into my hotel and then walked around downtown Minneapolis with my Instax, I snapped photos of the local building artwork and made my way 3 miles to the Hip Hop store Fifth Element. Once I arrived at the shop, I noticed many customers buying tickets for the festival as well as a variety of apparel and albums. I elected to purchase the only vinyl available of Pusha's most recent release. I then headed back to the hotel and observed where the before party for the festival was being held (First Avenue).

I washed up and rolled through the venue and was given a photo pass. DJ's spun songs as the venue became packed. I elected for a few overpriced beers because I was eager to be surrounded by so many individuals who enjoy hip hop and curious as to who the special guests would be. The event got underway and performances from various local artists occurred. At this point I had already placed my protective ear plugs in however the delivery of each individual seemed impeccable and smooth, the cadence and breathing patterns were as if each one of them had been in the industry for a decade at least. It was inspiring to see such young talent able to move such a large crowd. The hosts held it down and didn't let the party simmer. Then a familiar face graced the stage, he goes by the moniker of Modsun and 2 weeks earlier I wouldn't have known anything about him. Hailing from Bloomington, Minnesota his tattoos and overall flair make him hard to miss. He managed to get the entire crowd moving with his eccentric stage presence, from drop kicks to telling everyone that he would be giving a pound of weed away at the festival, he really had me eager to see if such a claim would come true. Once Mod left the stage the venue slowly cleared and I made my way back to the hotel. 

<This is where I slept, despite being more excited than a six year old on Christmas Eve>

I didn't set an alarm, I figured the first chance my eyes had to open, they wouldn't let me go back to sleep. Slightly hungover I packed up the remaining charged batteries and got everything packed. I realized the possibility of having Pusha sign the vinyl was slim so I placed it with my clothes from the previous day and headed to pay my $40 parking ramp fee and head to the State Fairgrounds for my first experience of Soundset. I've attended and shot rap concerts but never have I attended a festival, so the for the next two hours I was the child in a candy store without adult supervision. I arrived at 10 am, went to the check in window, received my VIP & Photo wristbands and then mingled with some of the local photographers. I was surprised to see so many shooting Sony and the number I noticed throughout the day continued to grow. We ended up getting in the VIP line which was 1/10th the length of the general admission line. After a thorough inspection by gate security of my camera bag and declaring film pack after film pack and my phone setting off the metal detector, I was finally in the gates. No more than 3 minutes upon entering the facility, the smell of marijuana began to linger and it remained for the remainder of the event. At times passing through the crowd fellow hip hop heads would offer me their poorly wrapped joint asking if I wanted to take a hit. I had one job, and that was to take stunning imagery, again I don't smoke pot, so I smiled and declined time after time. 

DJ's started to spin at the individual stages, skateboards were thrashing the ramps as festival goers watched from bleachers, and every type of low rider you could imagine was present at the car show included in the festival. If you're still reading this I did manage to get photos! 

I made my way to the two main stages which were placed next to each other as festival attendants slowly made their way to the area. In fear of never getting food, I quickly grabbed a quesadilla which was $7 or 7 of the 20 tickets I initially purchased. I consumed some of the water of the 1 allowed water bottle and then proceeded to the main stage to assess where the photo pit access was. From there I managed to shoot a variety of acts, break the A7 (After T.I. performed I tripped over an individual laying down on a towel...as a result my viewfinder ceased to function and I couldn't fix my LCD screen, towards the end of Gucci's performance I figured the issue, and as a result achieved nearly 0 photos of Gucci. I do however have about 50 of the ground and his jeans as I worked to render a quick solution) I struggled shooting via the LCD screen against the sun glare the remainder of the evening which ended up just being the set of Lauryn Hill as I wasn't allowed to shoot Travis Scott as he basically caused attendees to riot (as usual) and heavy rain started. As I proceeded to my vehicle for some reason the rented 70-200 dismounted and smashed into the ground. So as if being frustrated wasn't already enough I just smashed a lens that fortunately I picked up insurance on. If you're still reading this congratulations here are some photos of my first festival experience! 

 

 

 Modsun 5.27 Pre Party

Modsun 5.27 Pre Party

 DJ Qbert (LEGENDARY ON THE TURNTABLES) W/ Dr. Octagon&nbsp;

DJ Qbert (LEGENDARY ON THE TURNTABLES) W/ Dr. Octagon 

 Kool Keith of Dr. Octagon

Kool Keith of Dr. Octagon

 Brother Ali

Brother Ali

 Dem Atlas

Dem Atlas

 P.O.S.

P.O.S.

 Pusha T

Pusha T

 Modsun

Modsun

 T.I.

T.I.

 Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane

 Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

 How to riot with 29,999 other people

How to riot with 29,999 other people

Shouts out to DJ Z & DJ BOOTH www.djbooth.net

Modsun and Mgmt @modsun

The countless photographers who helped pass the time

The random moron who I tripped over and ruined my pride and joy

My local camera store Christian Photo for having an A7ii available to get me through the remainder of the season. 

Every individual who has helped fuel my passion and continued to help this not be a hobby but a way of life.

This is me continuing to do what I love, and if Soundset comes back for an 11th year, I'll make sure to be there and make up for missing so many amazing artists. (In my defense the stage for up and coming artists was beyond out of the way and mainstage acts didn't show (lil uzi vert, or were hours late). 

 

Until next time

 

 

////Isaac

@IAMCFOOT

We are all photographers

The title of this entry can't be argued with, it is a fact.  The line however is anything but thin. It's 2016 and everyone has access to a camera, the grey area is where and when it is acceptable to utilize it. The past two months I have dodged more Ipads, cell phones, and entry level DSLR cameras than I had to endure 5 years ago. I'm all for people attempting to capture memories but when I wake up on the morning of a wedding day I shouldn't have to consider how many devices I will dodge or have ruin a potentially award winning shot. 

The cell phone market is making advances left and right and I'm not here to boast as to which phone you should buy or what is the superior device. I'm simply stating that the longevity and capabilities of your cellular device will not outlast or outperform the flagship cameras in which so many people in the professional field utilize. I could simply write leave your damn phone in your pocket but there are so many more problems at hand. Yesterday my LG G4 got stuck in a boot loop and then decided to permanently die. I lost countless photos and videos, all of which are lost forever, not backed up to a cloud or external drive, I'm not in shambles as anything that I truly wanted documented is diligently backed up from SD cards that I captured with other cameras and proceeded to store on to an array of 5 drives. It's more than megapixels folks, your images are special to you, they are special to all of us, if we didn't feel the need to document things would any of this really matter? 

The primary issue at hand is similar to the recent string of comedians who have requested no cell phones allowed at their performances, if I had the funds to lock away all electronic devices at weddings I would invest in such an avenue however it isn't practical and you will always face the rebels who elect to go against the grain. At every wedding this season I have experienced what I will refer to as "vultures" they are individuals who to an extent exhibit the same level of passion that at one point I started with. They will piggy back off of every shot and only cause in increase in difficulty of my job. They take up space in small quarters where couples get ready, they interfere with shots, their pop up flash fires my slave strobes and at times has lead me to not even get strobes out. I'm all for people being passionate and trying to document things but when you show up with 6 lenses and tripods that scream unnecessary i'm not at all intimidated but simply wish you had somewhere else to be. I'm all for people pursuing passion, indulging in photography and trying to perfect their craft however "vultures" tend to simply leave their camera in auto, snap an excessive amount of photos with no real artistic intention and then posting the images to Facebook the moment they conclude celebrating. Keep in mind they were so busy preying that they didn't truly indulge in celebrations because they were so busy touting their camera and seeking attention in an effort to make memories. Perhaps I am the only person who feels this way, however I don't think I am alone. 

I could go to the extent of posting images from the Samsung S7 that I purchased yesterday and compare them to the raw files from the A7 and a few people would appreciate it (the genuine pixel peepers) while the rest of you would simply ignore it. This entry could be a mile long and a handful would read it, if anything this is the medium in which I can vent and stress an issue that manages to be never ending.

The worst offenders are when the "Vultures" sit in the aisle of a wedding, I have planted my knees on the ground positioned in a prime location between the groom and the bride as she proceeds down the aisle when suddenly, a point and shoot camera manufactured 6 years ago all of a sudden takes up two-thirds of my framed shot. Immediately in my mind I say "Are you fucking kidding me?" It is at this point in time I wish I had super powers. I would pause time and remove the individual from the ceremony. However when a "vulture" decides that nobody else down the aisle needs to witness something so pristine it causes me to face palm. If I can see your arm extended then without a doubt it has taken the groom's focus off his soon to be wife to count how many charms are on your Pandora bracelet. Please be considerate, if you want to rattle off photos then please sit in the back or out of arm's reach of the aisle. There are people who are being compensated to do exactly what you're attempting to do. I think a snapchat is acceptable as long as you don't find the need to stand up mid prayer to do it. 

In an ideal world, everyone who isn't being compensated to document the day would leave their cellular devices out of reach during such memorable moments. I'm absolutely confident the bride and groom don't want to sit and watch their big day from the perspective of your iPad. I also am confident that you don't plan on downloading the footage from your iPad into a linear editor so please make an effort at not looking obnoxious and make an effort at finding a more appealing case for that piece of under-powered hardware. 

I've attempted to keep this brief but for those of you too lazy to read this entry, it comes down to one thing, enjoy the celebration and stop doing what you think you need to do.

Thanks!

 

-Isaac

 

 

I'm almost wrapped up with wedding season and have overhauled the PC, details of my build as well as what to expect in the coming months will be detailed next week! 

 

Here's to a fantastic Fall!

2016 wedding season

With the season in full swing it was time for some updates!

 

New to this years camera bag is the Zeiss 55mm which is the sharpest lens I've ever owned.

 

New to the super computer is a 750watt power supply and the Nvidia 1070 card which was just released earlier this month. 

 

The new graphics card supports 4k, and is 5 times more powerful than my outdated card. This in turn equals better videos, faster rendering and quicker final product!

 

 

Which at the end of the day makes for higher quality productions and happier clientsI!

 

 

 

 

 2017 Audi R8 (Zeiss 55mm)

2017 Audi R8 (Zeiss 55mm)

 Nvidia 1070

Nvidia 1070

 I'll update rendering stats later this week!

I'll update rendering stats later this week!

0 to 100 real quick

I have been missing in action but that is because I have had so many projects on my hands! At the beginning of the year I said good bye to cubicle life and took up holding the camera full time. I accepted a position with the local Hyundai dealership as the photographer for the used car lot and love every minute of it. I not only get to drive some entertaining cars (this is a statement that doesn't include the Mitsubishi Mirage or the Toyota Yaris) but I get to continue to use my own Sony gear and photograph at my pace where at any point there are 125 - 150 cars on the lot. 

 2016 Nissan Maxima

2016 Nissan Maxima

So if you're in the market for a new or used vehicle and need a place to start I definitely recommend dropping by Stew Hansen and checking out the inventory. 

 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

The 2016 wedding season is almost here for me, 13 couples from May to November! It should be an exciting and memorable year with some gorgeous people! 

With working regular hours I have had more time to shoot. Boudoir and Product photography have been the primary focus over the last couple months as I slowly get into photography with male subjects!

 

 Blend Liquid Product Shoot  Company Based out of So.Cal

Blend Liquid Product Shoot

Company Based out of So.Cal

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I recently picked up a 24mm 2.8 lens for the A7 as it performs better in low light conditions over my 20mm 3.8!

More updates will come as time permits as well as the new site layout and full galleries going live!  

 

 

Thanks for your support!  

Finding the talent (Wedding Guide)

In the last five years I've taken mental notes of what I have encountered and hopefully my experiences can help guide you to what you deserve. I have under charged for my services and those times are soon to be distant memories. I was strapped for cash and rather than charge the rates I should have. I accepted jobs strictly for a few dollars and treated the clients like they just paid me thousands. It has granted me knowledge and experience but delayed the process of purchasing new gear, and other things necessary for the jobs before me.

So whether or not you elect to utilize my services I have compiled a list of questions and concerns you should address when selecting the photography and videography for your special day.

 

COST

Cost happens to be the first thing on anyone's mind when they begin the search for talent. If you pay too little it may be a huge red flag that you're potentially dealing with someone who may not deliver a high quality end product. Unless you're friends with the individual the price of the services should be questioned if you receive a bid far less than expected.  Some circumstances may help in a lower final cost such as travel fees,  lodging, assistants, etc. So it's a wise idea to analyze the whole picture before you pull the trigger.  It also doesn't hurt to shop around, you don't necessarily want to go with the first talent you find,  however you want to make sure you get your date reserved so if a deposit is required definitely address that as soon as possible. 

 

EQUIPMENT

You don't want to cut corners on identifying the right talent for the job and equipment should be the second thing on your agenda. You should familiarize yourself with what you have in mind for an end product and research what the talent has to offer. Will back up equipment be present in the event of failure, are the SD cards new or formatted, if you want to be truly anal request that the talent utilizes new cards. Sometimes you don't recognize a card is damaged before it's too late. I have one card I recently retired as it's nickname is "old blue" it will enter the VG20 without any force but due to a missing piece of plastic it refuses to enter the A7. I wouldn't trust the card on your wedding day so it only sees action when im shooting personal projects. A good memory card isn't $20.

 Tipping

I've never once been tipped, I'm not sure if its because the couples are strapped for cash or are completely unaware of how amazing of a deal they received. You tip at a restaurant so why not tip the services that helped capture your timeless moments. Of the 70 or so weddings I've assisted in capturing or captured personally I believe I've received 5 thank you cards. I don't look for the thank you card because in the 12 - 16 hours spent with the couple I've built an everlasting bond. My sole objective is to capture the day to the best of my abilities.

 

Follow the Contract 

One of the grey areas for me in my experiences is couples claiming to mail the check and it never arrives. I wait for checks just as anyone else waits for a paycheck so there are reasons why my contract states to be paid in full two weeks before the date of the ceremony and failure to do so voids the contract. Im baffled at how people are still sketched out by it and concerned that I won't show up to their wedding however it is so I can have a full gas tank , new batteries, accessories and other expenses covered. The contract is the lifeline, mine answers all questions and concerns as well as all lines of available contact. 

 Be Patient 

Your wedding just happened, your antsy for the end product. I completely understand, however your wedding isn't the only wedding in the queue. Yes your best friend's veterinarian got their photos back a week after. That's great, however I'm not building a snowman I'm creating timeless memories, I don't throw a preset on your photos and call it done, I meticulously analyze every image to verify that it meets my standards whether that's coloring or giving the fine details of an individual's skin the attention it deserves. You want to appreciate the photo, not the acne of a groomsmen in every image. When your venue failed to properly provide functioning microphones it causes me to have to scrub audio in an attempt to salvage your vows as you softly exchanged them with airplanes overhead.

 

Final Observations 

  1.    The client that pays the least complains the most 
  2. Drunk brides will tell you that they reserved you a hotel and to not get crabs
  3. I live on PayPal because no matter how much a client tells you that they mailed the check it never arrives.
  4. If you haven't received any of the payments for a wedding don't show up, it only ends up with you getting sued. 
  5. Don't entertain lowball offers unless the couple is borderline celebrity status. 
  6. Always take a chunk out of pricing for a unique venue.
  7. Know your worth
  8. As often as you want to stand firm there are times the customer is always right. 
  9. Frustration is inevitable, you can only control what you can control.

Find yourself

2015 has been an amazing year for me, I'm not trying to boast but the individuals who know me personally know it started rough but where I'm currently at is on top of the world. When you think you're at rock bottom things get better and in order to see the light you have to remove the clouds even if it includes people who you thought were supposed to be in your "happy ending." This year has been the type of year I will forever reflect on, I've further found myself, and continually dedicate myself to my talents rather than sulk about the irrelevant troubles in my past. My art has displayed that, I won't point out the details but my instagram had 240 photos removed but if you pay attention you can see where I stopped worrying and started loving. When the camera is in my hand everything else stops, I have one objective and it's to document until the battery dies and the card fills.

ISCN   

In moving back to Des Moines I got back in the loop with the crew at the Iowa Storm Chasing Network. Zach, Brennan, and Dan are three individuals I would take a bullet for as they completely understand me and were present when I was at my worst. We've been doing a lot of things lately many of which I don't have permission to discuss but as always tornado chasing was a thrill and I finally witnessed one with my own eyes in August while in southeastern Nebraska. The image was used to confirm tornado touchdown by the national weather service and was also shared by storm chaser Reed Timmer. I've never done cocaine but finally witnessing a tornado and documenting it has easily been the most surreal experience in my life. The tornado dropped after sunset so with the A7 and a tripod I achieved some long exposures to actually capture it in a still. Sure it would be nice to have had an A7s2 but that's on the wishlist for next year. I've taken on numerous roles in regards to social media for the group and it's overwhelming yet simultaneously rewarding. Be sure to like the Facebook page and visit www.iowachase.com 

 August 2015 - Nebraska - Tornado

August 2015 - Nebraska - Tornado

NORTHERN LIGHTS  

On October 2nd I made the trek to the North Shore of Minnesota for the first time in years with Brennan Jontz. A photo adventure weekend we planned on a whim, I took a day off from my job so we could leave Thursday night. We left the Des Moines metro at 11pm with Duluth as our destination. Brennan got us to the Iowa / Minnesota border and then we swapped seats as I channeled my former private investigator overnight driving skills to ensure we were in Duluth photographing the sunrise by 6am. We arrived at a rest stop overlook of the city around 5:15 with some time to spare we grabbed the tripods and cameras with the intentions of shooting the city in its peaceful state. After one still I noticed something off about my image, I removed the lens to check the rear element and everything seemed fine. I put the lens back on and attempted to take another image, some unwelcome messaged flashed on the LCD screen telling me to restart my camera. I was flustered and shocked, my trusty A7 had become a brick. I drove 6 hours to find out I'm on a photography trip without the camera I've become so familiar with over the past two years. I figured surely I have the VG20 in my camera bag so all hope isn't lost. In our hastily rush to get out of town the VG20 was left behind in my vehicle back in Iowa. So without any clue on what to do I did what any intelligent person would do. I reached out to an individual who came through when it counted. Jimmy Ton a representative for Sony answered my message within minutes and within 3 hours I had received news that a loaner A7 would be overnighted by a Sony representative stationed in Minneapolis. It was a relief, in the 24 hours of being without a camera I accompanied Brennan and shot on my recently upgraded cell phone, the LG G4. It is the first camera to offer complete manual camera controls and shoots 16 megapixel stills and allows for images to be saved as raw files. With an aperture of 1.8 it was truly tested as we explored the North Shore. We made the trek to further north and camped on the side of what I would call a mountain, however Brennan had just returned from climbing 14,000 foot mountains so for the sake of my story we will call it a large hill that required us to climb 1.5 miles to get to the top which included all of the gear and a tent. The results were sleeping under the stars with the Northern Lights over our tent. Sure it was near freezing, however the Northern Lights were amazing and the scenery with nothing but water and trees accented it perfectly.

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WEDDING SEASON  

 2015 has hands down been the best year yet in regards to various locations throughout Minnesota and Iowa for weddings. I've seen multiple parts of both states as well as met some pretty amazing couples. I had the opportunity to second shoot for my only friend that lives in Boston, the great Andrew San. We converse when we have downtown and he was in a pickle and managed to allow me to meet two more incredible couples this year. I'll cover further into details about the weddings in another post for the sake of this diatribe. 

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As the year comes to a close im thankful for so many clients, friends, family, and cameras. Things are in the greatest forward motion of my life and I can proudly state I've never been happier. I will dive into details on the new pricing structures, my new vehicle, the never-ending wishlist and what's around the corner! Multiple boudoir events will be announced soon as well as a few collaborations with local talent.

If you made it this far congratulations you're either a stalker or a genuine supporter and either way I'm going to say thanks.

 

-Isaac

Home is where the heart is....

It is with great pleasure that I announce I have returned to Des Moines! Life is unpredictable but you can always count on your friends and family to show support when necessary. A lot has happened since I last wrote an entry. I picked up a GoPro and a variety of accessories in December and am eager to utilize them during the upcoming wedding season! I elected to go with the GoPro Black and paired it with a stabilizer allowing me to capture the smoothest results when the bride walks down the aisle as well as document the entire day from a different perspective with such a versatile unit.

In March I will be working on getting certified as a Professional Photographer, after reviewing the practice tests I question why I didn't get around to it earlier, the process isn't overnight by any means and there are image submissions and the whole nine yards but it will help me further advertise and demonstrate my capabilities in the profession I enjoy so much.  

I released an updated demo reel earlier this month and have enjoyed the insight from so many people in regards to it. I feel I consistently evolve in being multifaceted and willing to document any event. I will always love weddings but it's the other instantaneous events that truly put the icing on the metaphorical cake. 

I'm booking weddings for 2016 and dates are filling up so it's a positive feeling to know that my work is appreciated and desired. 2015 is a year full of growth and I look forward to documenting every step of the way! I have new products being released as well as a  few collaborations this spring. Starting  in April I will be releasing tutorials as planned and will have tier options for membership in regards to the pace individuals want to learn.

A few big announcements are on the way! So stay positive and seek nothing but success! 

 

-Isaac

New Layout - 800 Likes - 3000 photos - Dog Vs Camera

Things continue to improve! I absolutely love my job and the people I work with. For the first time I am in a job where I feel I truly belong. I assist people everyday who are continually improving! I see hundreds of images a day and get a general idea of what everyone else is photographing it's pure bliss! If this is your first time visiting the site in a while then you've noticed I'm in the midst of a complete overhaul, the store is in it's early beginnings! I will be charged 3% on all transactions so that will be accounted for in prices, and I'm in the works on calculating shipping prices etc. Page for wedding clients will go live next week allowing them to access password protected pages linking them to more files available to download! I've granted the lovely Marlyssa Admin privleges and we finally cracked 800 likes on the Cfoot Productions page! It's a powerful feeling to know that 800 people appreciate what I envision and am passionate about. The twin cities feel more like home everyday and am looking forward to making an impact in the market with weddings being booked regularly! Today I booked another wedding at my favorite Iowa venue "Bessie's Barn" in April of 2015. 

 

I breached the 3,000 photos benchmark on Instagram and continue sharing everything from company products to pieces of my personal life it's a steady dash of both! The ability to network with other photographers and avid social media gurus is endless, if you're not on Instagram I highly recommend you make an account and send a follow my way @C.Foot

 

If we're friends on facebook or you follow me on twitter or Instagram then you are aware that over the weekend Rhone the obnoxious bulldog got a little fiesty while I was working on the website redesign and decided to see how edible the Sony A7 was.......

Luckily Rhone is still allowed to sleep in the comfort of a warm home as the camera is Insured with Mack Diamond protection so accidental damage and handling is covered, He decided to test the structural integrity of the LCD screen as well as the SD card cover....... needless to say he won. He spent the remainder of the weekend avoiding me but when you're so cute and furry how could anyone be mad at you! 

I leave for the Virgin Islands in just a little over a month and will have the camera back within two weeks so you can count on countless images of the clear water, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful landscapes. I will have several prints and canvas options available in the store of the images I capture so feel free to support me and my art and purchase one when they go live!

I have started tutoring in Photoshop again and it's going great! To see the results of my teaching being put into action is wonderful. Everyone deserves guidance when they display such passion. I wish I had the guidance and teaching when I first started but at the same time I'm thankful that I taught myself my own ways and created a style that was "me"

A Minneapolis Boudoir Bash is in the works for January once we get back from vacation, we are seeking talented hair and make up artists to help make the day a success in time for Valentine's Day gifts!

In the mean time I will be training Marlyssa to shoot video and handle the Sony cameras as well as familiarize herself once again with her Canon. She will be diving in head first into editing and hopefully help make things smoother and lead to faster turn around times. It helps having a second set of eyes when editing and she brings another perspective that I don't currently have. Sitting next to her editing is something I look forward to at night as she makes brilliant suggestions and it's another opportunity for us to bond! We will do a shoot together soon and you can count on several selfies as we bask in the Virgin Island sun.

We're headed up to northern Minnesota for Thanksgiving this weekend and headed south to Des Moines for Thanksgiving with my family Wednesday. Happy Holidays early from us! Stay warm, stay safe and look forward to the new material, new products and upcoming events!

There will be a Black Friday coupon available for purchase on Friday that will allow you huge savings on future purchases so be sure to take advantage of it as there will only be a limited supply available in the store!

-Isaac

 

Change of Scenery and Occupation

If you're a loyal follower you are aware of my current location, but if you're just visiting then you probably are not familiar that in the last week I have transitioned from residing in Iowa to the lovely state north of the border in Minnesota. I have finally moved everything in as well as my editing gear, I'm still behind on changing the presets in my car but I am more than happy to announce that I have accepted a position with White House Custom Colour in Eagan, Minnesota.


I am currently training as a customer service representative for one of the top printing entities in the nation with clients worldwide. I have worn many hats in the past five years and participated in various industries but to finally be involved in something that completely involves my profession is a blessing. I will be helping the very people who appreciate and participate in the realm of photography! The opportunity has allowed me a channel to finally offer prints and products to customers which will increase my profits as well as enhance the overall experience for my loyal customers. In the past two days I have envisioned the path that I am headed down over the course of the next few years to truly culminate into what I have dreamed of over the last 5 years. The move to the twin cities also allows for a larger market for both videography and photography as well as the opportunity to reconnect with old friends who I haven't seen in years that are already heavily established in the region. I will still visit the Des Moines metro and my family as well as entertain clients in Iowa when necessary, Iowa will always hold a place in my heart and a Polaroid of Des Moines hangs over my desk and every time I glance away from my monitor is see the skyline that I will never fall out of love with.

Minnesota is also the home of my best friend so to get home from work and see her face everyday has been a blessing for the past week. Living three and a half hours away from an individual that holds your heart was difficult to do for a year and a half. So Marlyssa is just as happy as I am to finally see one another on a regular basis. She has so much to show me and I couldn't have asked for a cuter tour guide. I could go on for paragraphs about our personal lives however I will refrain. 

So you can expect to see a shop opening up soon on the site that will list the variety of options that I will be able to deliver to clients at an affordable rate with outstanding clarity. All products will be produced by White House Custom Colour and I will personally overlook each order and verify that it meets my standards before I ship it to the customer! I look forward to further developing the brand and increasing the audience one person at a time. 

Finally the incentive program is almost finalized for couples to utilize word of mouth to refer potential new clients. Once a deposit has been made by a new customer, the referrer will be credited which can be redeemed for products, sessions, or cash! 

Big things are coming! 

Off to take a brief nap before filming the second and final blood moon of 2014!


Be a nice human 

-Isaac

Unfamiliar places with unfamiliar faces

On September 9th I joined a local photographer based out of Des Moines on an early morning adventure utilizing the light from the sun. Previously I observed him successfully chasing the low setting fog with the sun shining ever so slightly as it greets the horizon. He posted one evening that if anyone was interested in joining him on one of the whimsical adventures to contact him and so I immediately did. He was a very reserved and from what I gathered honest individual so the chance of getting abducted and chopped into sausage seemed impossible. I set my alarm for 5:30 put the A7 on the charger, made sure I had a clear memory card and got some sleep.

I woke up on the 9th doing my normal rituals before exiting the house, ill prepared for the tall vegetation we would experience I decided to wear shorts. I sweat and unless it is 60 degrees I refuse to wear jeans, this would soon get the best of me. We met at the meet up spot, I located the photographer Justin Meyer (http://www.justinsalemmeyer.com) (https://www.facebook.com/justinsalemmeyerphoto) and the silohuettes of what I presumed were the subjects for the day, unsure of what was about to happen I hastily grabbed my camera bag and indulged in small talk as I made my way to the vehicle. Moments later we departed! 

So I introduced myself formally to the two females in the back of the vehicle and instantly conversation took off as if the four of us always got coffee and set out on adventures. Instantly I felt like I was in the right place at the right time, as a majority of people were just crawling out of bed we were set out to do magical things with no true results in mind. It was something that I had not done in a while, I was so overwhelmed with weddings and work that I had failed to find the time to shoot without a true purpose and to just experiment and see where I was taken. We arrived at a small spanish church that if you asked me to show you on a map where it was I would point to the South side of Des Moines and say "there" we then crossed the street and entered a wooded area that is a portion of one of the many parks in Des Moines. Remember my genius idea to wear shorts? This is where I regretted that decision, Justin the genius that he was wore boots that screamed adventure as this was no doubt not his first rodeo. Kadira and Amina instantly followed behind Justin as I hesitantly tried to recall what poison ivy looked like, Justin shoots with Nikon so I tip my hat to him as he donned a single lens which I believe was a Sigma Art but I can't be certain as I was too busy noting his tendencies and very few quips he was agile and very attentive to detail as he composed his shots, rather than firing the shutter 15 times every 30 seconds you would sparingly hear the shutter fire knowing that when he elected to push down on the button to capture what he envisioned. He didn't even question whether or not to join Kadira atop a fallen tree that laid horizontally 10 feet above the ground. 

We moved further into the woods and the adventure continued, overwhelmed and happy to finally be awake at sunrise I timidly continued to follow the clan as they proceeded on as I questioned if we knew where we were going. Justin however had scouted the area the evening before and noted that he discovered an epic tree. It was a majestic tree with numerous branches that definitely would tell some amazing stories if given the opportunity. As we proceeded on we encountered 3 deer that were not even startled by our presence it was a moment of tranquility to see wildlife fearless and minding their own business as we proceeded to mind our own. I stopped briefly as Amina gently crossed off the beaten path towards the deer and for a moment I felt that she was almost able to touch them. Sure enough they finished with their early morning feast and slowly headed in the opposite direction. If the sunrise didn't already induce a smile the presence of wildlife surely did. 

We eventually made our way to an open area with a pond and freshly cut grass where a few more portraits managed to occur including one of myself despite have all sorts of seeds on my lightly dampened shirt. I followed a few swift instructions from Justin and then once again we were off. We made our way back to his vehicle and would make a journey to what seemed like a giant petting zoo. He told me about the donkey farm, pointed out camels, peacocks, and we even observed a zebra (again if you asked me to take you to the location I would spend hours trying to remember where it was, all I knew was that we were on the southern side of Des Moines which appeared even more remote). We would make two more stops to shoot, although brief as the bugs were atrocious and mosquitoes were out in full force we still managed to have an enjoyable morning. I made three new contacts, got out with my camera, saw the sunrise and enjoyed studying and casually taking photographs in a pressure free atmosphere. I look forward to another adventure with Justin and the opportunity to work with Kadira and Amina again as I will feel less timid and more comfortable with the adventures once again. I always enjoy the unexpected and the results were quite successful for such a brief outing. Hopefully you enjoyed my post midnight story telling and at least understood some of it, if it didn't make sense then just admire the photos. Justin is a very talented individual and brings a unique aesthetic to the photography realm when the number of photographers is constantly on the rise. 

Everything doesn't have to be about competition or jealousy, sometimes it is even more pleasant to embrace the work of another individual and just enjoy their company and engage in meaningful conversation. I am always willing to join others for such adventures and hope to bring you more stories of my collaborations with other artists both in the Des Moines and Twin Cities markets. 

More to come soon! 

I promise!

=Isaac


State Fair Results - Out of State Weddings - New Gear

First I would like to announce if you weren't already aware that I will not have any photos on display at the Iowa State Fair this year. At first I was baffled but after conversing with colleagues who had remarkable entries and were not selected either I felt more at ease. You never know what a judge is looking for, given the short unprepared time frame I had to work with I felt my entries were suitable. Nonetheless I will be pleased to have them to hang on my walls! The card arrived in the mail and informed me that none of my photos were even selected for display at the 2014 Iowa State Fair Salon, I had viewed the PDF posted online a few days earlier and figured perhaps they had missed my name. The positive light of the situation is I will get my photos back earlier and not have to wait for the fair to finish. I still encourage everyone to venture through this years exhibit as all entries are in black and white. I love color and it's vivid ways so to take something I viewed as beautiful and transfer it to black and white wasn't my strong suit I'll continue to pursue story telling and I will definitely enter again next year! Look for the works of my close friends Riley Briggs, Brennan Jontz, and Daniel Auel if you happen to venture through the salon, you wont be let down as each of them have a unique way of capturing an image and telling a story that is beyond a simple photograph. 

 

Next week I will be photographing my first out of state wedding, I photographed the couple's engagement photos in May and am eager to break the ice and start in the Twin Cities. I figure if I intend to move there I should at least start drumming up business. I will be making new business cards that feature the new website as well as my new phone number! I will return to Minnesota for another wedding at the end of August in Rochester! So things will slowly start to take off. If you're one of the closet readers who hasn't interacted with me quite yet or expressed an interest in booking, have no fear! I won't be quitting the wedding scene in Iowa. There are too many gorgeous venues to let slip through my hands and I've built some strong bonds in the past few years and I look forward to only seeing them flourish! 

 

Lastly I am pleased to announce a new item in the camera bag that seems to be shrinking as I manage to cram more lenses and filters into it every day! I decided to pull the trigger on my first true wide angle lens. I got a second hand lens circa 1976 and it is beautiful! I decided to go with a 20mm as going wider has a tendency to make the viewer feel like they are a fish and the barrel distortion gets very distracting. I picked up the Vivitar 20mm F3.8 for $100 off of KEH. It had an excellent condition rating and I couldn't pass up the opportunity as it was the only one listed. It has been a year since I last purchased a lens so I figured I needed a true wide angle as 28mm was previously my widest capability and for small rooms the lens will allow me to remain close and capture more. After all the secret to any wide angle lens isn't to be far away but to be right in the center of the action. The lens allows me to focus at a minimum distance of two inches and it's mammoth diameter makes the A7 look like a toy! I'll post photos taken with the lens in my next post but so far I have been very impressed! 

Return to Bessie's Barn (Lee & Bre) [VIDEO]

On June 28th I had the pleasure of returning to one of my favorite venues accompanied by a good friend and 3 cameras. Ta'mone Williams graduated from Wartburg College earlier this year and has had a knack for videography and photography for longer than I have actually known the guy. I elected for trying a second shooter in an attempt to have less tripod shots, twice the creativity and someone to converse with during the down time of the wedding day as well as the long drive. 

We arrived at Bessie's Barn located just outside of Centerville, Iowa and everything was like I had never left. The last time I was in the venue was in December for the wedding of Haylee and Niles. The only difference this time was the absence of snow which was placed with warm humid air. We arrived and quickly met the bride (Bre) and her mother! We quickly ran through a list of questions and then started our day which was immediately greeted by mimosas thanks to our new friends. Yes mimosas take the edge of excitement off and are always delightful when starting a long day, trust me this isn't my first rodeo.

The couple had painstakingly decorated everything just as such a beautiful venue deserved, they didn't cut corners and had addressed every detail. They even had cheese wheels and glass bottles of soda on hand at the snack bar. Sure they were twist off bottles but at this point my glass for mimosas were endless. 

The hair and make up artists controlled the brides room as each bridesmaid went through the ropes of getting prepped for the glorious day. Each wearing a kimono like piece as they waited for their turn. The groom (Lee) patiently waited in his room, as he dawned his suit for the day, suspenders accompanied by a bow tie that would entice any fashion maven. He opened gifts shedding the occasional smile as he placed the new watch on his wrist replacing his old one you could tell he knew that in a few short hours he would finally get to marry the woman of his dreams. 

 Lee opening gifts before the first sighting

Lee opening gifts before the first sighting

Luckily Bre had not yet written her letter to Lee yet so we were able to orchestrate where we would like for her to do it, considering both the surroundings and ideal lighting we led her to the second floor of the barn and  Ta'mone elected to utilize a corner lit only by a single window at waist level. Bre sat down and we started to film her as she wrote the final letter as a single woman to the man of her dreams. It was absolutely silent as she moved the pen against the paper assembling the note for Lee. 

 Bre writing her letter to Lee next to a window located on the second story of the barn

Bre writing her letter to Lee next to a window located on the second story of the barn

They bridesmaids vacated the room as the bride climbed into one of the most luxurious dresses I have witnessed. Add in the fact that it was accented with a veil that featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress and the overall value of the dress and overall day is elevated to another level. 

 The veil being placed on the bride featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress

The veil being placed on the bride featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress

The first sighting was magical and the groom managed to not shed a tear. The two held each other for a long hug before starting wedding formals. Before wedding formals could start they were temporarily interrupted by the DJ who interjected that his name was Mike. The two just saw each other for the first time and the guy had to choose the least opportune time to give an introduction. It was quite comical and the wedding party had quite the chuckle as they witnessed the event from the second story of the barn,

The day was magical as was the evening but the real reason anyone is here is so that they can watch the preview video so without anymore delay you may watch the preview of their magical day.




Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Selections

Its 3am and I have finally wrapped up selecting my entries for the 2014 Iowa State Fair. Not only do I enjoy the assortment of food but I love overpriced food and photography! There aren't too many competitions locally for photography so i always get excited for when June finally rolls around and allows me the opportunity to spend a few dollars and get some prints mounted. It's not about the ribbon really, okay part of it may be about the ribbon or the potential for money. However I just enjoy having physical copies of what I feel are my most unique pieces of work. They may not be the best but as I sift through thousands of photos they are the ones that speak to me the most.

 

The first image has been stuck in my head since I assembled it in March, I kick myself in the head for not staying downtown and being present when the fire erupted but you never really know when a historic landmark will be engulfed in flames unless you're the one who started the fire. I have decided to title the image "losing a landmark" as it truly speaks about the devastation that Des Moines experienced when the historic Younkers building became engulfed in flames overnight. The dynamics in the image were really what compelled me as I framed the shot, I wanted to capture the billowing smoke as the firefighters attempted to maintain the smoldering building, while a firefighter gave a moment of his time for a brief interview in the foreground.

Losing a Landmark.jpg

The second image I captured during the "BROad Trip" with 3 fellow friends at the Omaha Zoo. It's a family of primates in a rather depressed state as they are held in captivity. Nobody wants to see animals in such a frame of mind but the image really holds a deeper meaning. As the mother nurtures her young and the father figure sits close by. The image is further enhanced by the harsh lights of the sun directly overhead. There is emotion in everything and this family of prisoners still managed to prove one thing and that one thing led to the title of this piece "family is forever"

Family is Forever.jpg

The final image was captured last month during a day of tornado chasing. The tractor was located in a field and appeared to have last seen life more than a decade ago. It was rustic and aged to perfection the stories it would tell if it could speak would be marvelous. I hunched down as if I were a lion in the Sahara and snapped a few images in the tall grass so that I could capture both the once majestic tractor with the fluffy clouds behind it. I decided to title this piece "rustic relic"

So those are my three entries into the 2014 Iowa State Fair and I will hopefully receive a card in July noting the preliminary results as to whether or not I have any of the 3 on display and the potential of winning another coveted ribbon! Stay tuned for the results and prepare for the onslaught of upcoming wedding materials! 

 

Until next time!

 

-Isaac