Mar 14 2009

desert sun

Many photographers only want to shoot in the “golden hours” at sunrise and sunset. I recall being in a workshop with one of my heros Ernst Haas and hearing him talk about “looking for the light”. He believed that there was always good light at every part of the day. You just had to know where to find it and more importantly – how to see the great light.

What is fabulous about the desert is that even the high noon, burnt-out light that I often avoid looks right in the desert. The subject matter lends itself to that hot and desolate look that goes with the harsh light. Here is a blooming occotillo cactus positioned against an open sky.

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Near high noon show the empty expanse of the desert

You can then revisit the same subject matter later in the day to achieve a completely different look. This time it was close to sunset, with the help of my friend Martin who helped to flag the sun off my lens, I was able to shoot right into the sun and place the tall occotillo cactus against the mountain instead of the blue sky.

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Late afternoon lighting shooting directly into the sun

Different treatments of same subject shot with very different light. It is all a matter of of telling the right story at the time of day you are shooting.

Mark Harmel

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Oct 04 2008

financial worklife

Just before our current financial crisis entered possible meltdown territory I had the opportunity to spend a day in my financial advisor’s office taking what I call my modified candid photos of their office worklife that will be used in a company brochure and website.

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I love doing this style of shooting. Part of the process is being a fly on the wall and capturing spontaneous interactions that happen in the hallway.

The other part involves going into specific offices and work areas, doing some improvements to the existing lighting and then direct the people to act naturally instead of posing. I find that the best method for this is to start with my staging and lighting and then help the person become reengaged with their job. Interacting with a co-worker on a real issue is often the best approach.

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The client likes this because real work is accomplished in the process and my normally camera shy subjects return to using their real gestures and become engaged.

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I’ve also learned the art of doing nothing. When a person is already looking natural and engaged I can concentrate on improving on the existing light and searching for interesting angles through gaps in monitors or in reflections.

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Whether shooting on the street or in an office I always love how the environment can add to the story. In this case I get to use my fine art photo of the old Pacific Stock Exchange building as a way to tell the financial story of my client’s firm.

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The original Pacific Stock Exchange photo. The San Francisco build is now being used as a Equinox fitness club.

Here are some page samples from one of the finished brochures:

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Mark Harmel

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Jul 01 2008

iPhone3G as a marketing device

Published by under iPhone,marketing,process,teaching

I was part of the hoard that was lined up at my local Apple Store to get me hands on the new iPhone 3G. One of my discoveries is how handy the phone is as a marketing device. It now has become my mobile portfolio that is available to pull out to communicate concepts with clients and to show work at parties. Initially I just loaded all of my main collection of finished images onto my phone in one big folder and used that to scroll through to find a specific photo. I have now added multiple folders that will allow me to show more coherent collections.
iphone 1 iPhone3G as a marketing device

I have taken the categories from my website as well as other custom galleries that I have created for other purposes. At a recent party I was introduced to a couple. The woman was an art consultant and the man was in the wind energy business. I had to scroll though my entire collection to first find some fine art images and then the wind turbines. 
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iphone 3 iPhone3G as a marketing device

I’m now prepared to show a sub-group that fits with the interest of my audience.If you want to do the same I found that the iPhone prefers to talk with the iPhoto program. I place my thumbnail jpegs into different folders inside iPhoto and in the iTunes software that sync’s my iPhone I select the folders that are desired to add to my walking portfolio.

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