Been a while! Anthrax!
It's been a while since I posted an update - just been so incredibly busy... anyway, went to see my favourite band in action on the weekend - Anthrax! Got some nice pics and hung with them discussing TV series backstage afterwards. Hoping to see them again soon, what a great bunch of guys!
I haven't seen too many other shows in the last couple of months but Red Fang at Arena were great and on stage shooting of Limp Bizkit at the Rock in Vienna was also pretty cool. Did some promo for Red Fang and also for Wes Borland:
Making the most of our holiday
As some of you may have gathered, I was lucky enough to spend a week with my family on Bodu Hithi, an island in the Maldives, recently. We had been there once before in 2013 and it was the start of a huge change in our lives. When we travelled there the first time, we met Chiara, the marine biologist on staff at the resort. She spoke to us about conservation, the need to protect the coral reef, the incredible diversity of wildlife and the wide paths of destruction humanity is leaving in the ocean.
We stayed in contact with Chiara and it was a great pleasure to see her again this year, as well as meeting Lisa - the marine biologist intern at Bodu Hithi (http://www.cocoboduhithi.com/). The whole family had been looking forward to this holiday for a long time and the week far surpassed our expectations!
The coral reef around the island is amazing - and what is even more amazing is the effort put into rebuilding it. Corals are living animals and as such they need a particular environment to thrive. Unfortunately, parts of the reef easily break when careless swimmers and snorkelers connect with them. One of the things the marine biologists there have done is to have scrap metal structures sunk into spots where the reef has died and then tied pieces of broken - but still alive - coral to them. My son did this in 2013 and we had the great pleasure of seeing the massive growth of "his" coral over the past 2 years, photos courtesy of Chiara Fumagalli:
Because of the success of the program, more structures have been added and we were super happy to be able to "plant" some more coral this year, thanks again to Chiara for the picture:
After having met turtles in 2013 and one of them even being named after my daughter, we felt a connection to the important work the great people at the Olive Ridley Project (http://oliveridleyproject.org/) are doing. Ghost nets are a huge problem in our oceans and a small donation can really help to enable the search and removal of them. You can donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/oliveridleyproject.
One absolutely incredible thing we did was snorkel with reef manta rays. We were very lucky to be in the area during the season in which the rays were coming to a cleaning station and managed to do a snorkelling visit there three times. Again, they are not bothered by snorkelers as long as you don't touch them (and in fact touching them can be quite bad - for the mantas! Bacteria in our skin can cause problems for them so - as always - the rule is keep your hands to yourself).
The Manta Trust (http://www.mantatrust.org) is committed to conserving mantas and I was pleased to know that this kind of snorkelling trip is actually helpful in two ways: first by helping to ID the mantas if you are able to take a picture of their bellies and secondly by paying for the privilege to see them - as they become more valuable economically alive than dead, governments will work harder at conservation.
I can't begin to explain what it feels like to be in the water next to these magnificent creatures. With some of them reaching 5 meters wingspan they are gentle giants that glide effortlessly through the ocean and it is a privilege to get so close to them. As they swim around the cleaning station with little cleaner fish nibbling away at them you can get a good look right at them and you really notice them looking back at you through intelligent eyes.
Another thing we did as a family was to help in the weekly lagoon clean-up. Guests don't usually get involved but we found it was a great way for us to lend a hand and for our kids to get a feeling for the problems that non-biodegradable garbage in the oceans cause. My son and I joined the snorkelers in removing garbage from the shallow water while my daughter and wife walked the entire length of the beach picking up things. After working hard to unravel a few meters of fishing line from a coral I still found a battery and a knife handle while plastic items and even a ghost net were found by the others. Pictures courtesy of Chiara and Lisa.
What can I say - another fantastic holiday for the whole family and combining it with some learning and making new friends is just amazing. And, because I couldn't resist just one sunset shot... here it is:
Corporate portraits aren't something I do very often, but I do enjoy it when a company is willing to be a little different and take non-standard pictures. Cloudwerkstatt provides consultancy and feasibility checks on cloud projects - I was asked to take some photos for profiles and their soon-to-be-completed website. We had to move the date twice and ended up with a mid-December time... and I woke up on the day to find all of Vienna clouded in thick fog. We had planned an outdoor shoot and I got a call asking whether we could still do it with the horrible weather - my answer was that we should definitely get out there, the fog would probably create an interesting mood after all...
As usual I provided a couple of different processing options and let them choose:
My favourite is the Desaturated Split Tones processing. I realize it's off colour but I just love the mood it provides. We went for a group shot straight after the portrait pictures and again it's so nice to get a team who is willing to do something a little different than your standard corporate shots:
Happy New Year!
Last year was interesting for me in photography as I did more business-oriented shoots and unfortunately had a little less time to cover live music. I hope to get more music in this year! With a bit of luck I should have some nice stuff in store for you in 2015!
Anyway, in 2014 one of the main things I did was to start working with Virginia Ernst. She is an incredibly talented singer / songwriter and after meeting her by chance we hit it off and so I covered a bunch of her gigs as well as shooting the cover pictures for both of her 2014 hit singles!
I shot a couple of international bands such as Napalm Death, Biohazard, Ignite and Helmet...
...as well as my friends from Dog Eat Dog and Iced Earth in 2014:
Of course I also shot a bunch of local bands and also branched out into other types of shows:
Obviously, I also did some promo...
... and then there were all the shots of Archetype Apparel clothing, the various Fitfabrik gyms, the company image shots, the nature and landscape pictures and all the other stuff... so I guess I was prolific in 2014 and I hope to bring you lots more in 2015!
P.S. don't forget: I'm open for bookings and you can buy prints of my photos - just let me know what you want and we can sort something out!
Archetype Apparel Group Shoot
Once again my good friends from Archetype Apparel asked for some pictures - this time there were no particular instructions except for "do whatever you want". Well, I didn't need more and finally got to use my new (old) Zenza Bronica (medium format) for a proper shoot as well as finishing a roll of old black & white 35mm film in my Minolta SRT.
All the film shots are natural light using a gold reflector and pretty much unedited. I love the feel of the Bronica shots and the colour film I am using. A lot of people go black and white on medium format and I understand why, but this gorgeous colour is just too good to miss out on in my opinion!
Of course I had the digital camera with me as well and there were a bunch of other takes, of which the ones under the bridge were lit with a single speedlight or a reflector:
Unfortunately, this was also my first shoot that had an injury. I egged everyone on to jump off this stage and it led to a broken bone... at least I have the shot of it though:
Helmet @ ((szene))
Helmet is currently on tour for the 20th anniversary of their legendary album "Betty". As such, I had the chance to shoot them at ((szene)). There were no support bands and they started quite early, however the hall was quite full of die-hard Helmet fans and the gig really satisfied their needs!
Chaos Beyond @ ((szene))
For their only show in Vienna in 2014, Chaos Beyond performed a long set with some of their own extra lighting which made it a unique event, not to be missed by fans! Openers for the night were Thesis, Legion of Bokor and The OverAlls:
A minute before Chaos Beyond went on stage, I met with them at the entrance in order to take a quick picture:
...and then of course their gig - it was really a great show, unfortunately I was not able to stay until the end as I had been away from home all week and needed to sleep... getting old I guess...
Fitfabrik has a promotional offer for their 8th anniversary and I was asked to produce a shot to use on the advertising material. Since the offer includes a drinks subscription it needed to have the Fitfabrik bottle in it somewhere. We came up with the idea of water being shot out of the bottle at someone while exercising.
The most difficult thing about shooting at a gym is having mirrors on every wall! I spent most of the time while setting up trying to get everything into a position where the flashes wouldn't be visible - often only to find that suddenly I was in a picture (try shooting in a spot that has mirrors on three walls). We moved around until we finally found a spot in the cross-fit section where the bench and dumbbell don't really belong and then managed to set up all the equipment so that it would work.
One test shot with the water to make sure that our model knew how hard to press the bottle and off we went! Of course, after having messed around for such a long time and having kept the area clear until the actual shot could be taken, someone went and started training in the background, completely oblivious to our activities - see below. The shot was just right though, so we decided we would cut him out in post. I had a test shot which was used to overlay and Robert's your father's brother.
Cannonball Ride is currently presenting their new album around Austria (all the album photos are by your favourite intrepid photographer) and as such played a set at the Disasterpieces show at ((szene)). Disasterpieces are a Slipknot tribute band that have gone all the way and look and sound as close to the real thing as you're going to get. I will admit that I have never been a Slipknot fan so I guess I was able to listen and watch to Disasterpieces' gig from a neutral position and I have to say they were really impressive. The energy and movement on stage is massive and everyone plays their role perfectly. And the clown scares the crap out of me.
Virginia Ernst @ ((szene))
((szene)) Wien has a series of summer events called Chill and Grill which utilizes the garden and the outdoor stage. As part of that, Gini Ernst played a set with her band and once again showed why she is one of Austria's favourites at the moment! I went lightly equipped with just the EOS M, the 22mm 2.0 pancake lens and the squishy Lensbaby Spark. It's not always easy to focus quickly but with a bit of practice I think it works quite nicely!
Just a place to log my photographic activities and share some thoughts.