So What Do We Do Now?

Like most all of us in the creative fields, we were asked to put our careers on ‘hold’ for a bit and stay home while the world tries to figure out how to handle the Covid 19 pandemic.

Hmmm, looks like some well-needed time off.  Recharge the batteries!  Stay home, cook, clean, finish projects that we never have time for.  Read, listen to music, relax, sleep in, and watch TV.  The possibilities are endless!  

Then comes day two.  What now?   Well, day two passed weeks ago and here we are.  Home.  

I am reminded of a time several years ago (remember 2008) when things here were slow and I was talking with a fellow photographer who was experiencing the exact same thing at his shop.  The difference was, is that I was beginning to exhibit obvious signs of stress and he was a cool as a cucumber.  So I remember asking him, why wasn’t he in a panic like everyone else?   He responded by saying that work always seems to come in cycles.  When things slow down, he takes that time to do all the things that he doesn’t normally have time for, like marketing his business through blogging and social media and giving his gear much needed cleaning and maintenance.  He had such a positive attitude that it was absolutely contagious. 

That is what we have been doing here, although mostly by remote home offices. It really is the perfect opportunity to concentrate on freshening things up.  We can stay busy writing and archiving blog posts to use now and for the future along with FaceBook, LinkedIN and Instagram feeds.

We can add too our websites, switching up and changing out the images in our on-line portfolios.  Most of all, we can keep in touch with our clients and workmates, using Face Time, Google Duo or Zoom for meetings, making plans for when activities open up again.  What we need to remember is to stay focused and positive by continuing to move forward with our businesses.  Make the most of this time to catch up and plan ahead.  

With that, be sure to carve out some time to do things that can keep our creativity and minds sharp.  For me, that’s been writing, enjoying music and breaking out the film cameras.   This pause in our work isn’t going to last, but while it does I am making the most of it.

Creative Spotlight: Hilary Bailes Design

We received a call from Hilary Bailes a couple of years back.  Her current photographer was out of town and she needed a project photographed on short notice.  Could we help? Absolutely.

I remember fondly meeting Hilary at a near North Shore Chicago home.  Her wonderful accent, big smile and enthusiasm were the perfect recipe for a fun day of shooting.

Hilary’s work really carries a European flare to it. Custom designed handmade furnishing, exquisite window treatments along with fine art that would not at all be out of place in London flat.

Hilary is available for both residential and commercial projects.  I would imagine as with most all-fine interior designers there might be a bit of a wait to get into her schedule.  As you can see below, good things come to those that wait.

Creative Spotlight : Marsha Jones Interior Design

Back in late 2017 I received a call from Marsha Jones office.  They were looking to have a few projects photographed.  I of course had heard about Marsha over the years and had always wanted an opportunity to photograph some of her work.

Marsha is soft-spoken, witty, funny and a joy to work with.  We met at one of her projects on a late summer afternoon. The home was beautiful and every space had a comfortable elegance about it.   It’s was one of those projects that you go too and realize that you could just move right in and not change a thing.   Such seems to be the case with most all of Marsha’s work. 

Marsha walked me through the house and said to shoot whatever I want.   There was no staging needed anywhere.  Soft inviting colors, warm spacious rooms and cozy elegant niches.  Outstanding in every way!

If you’re looking for elegant comfort in your home design, Marsha should definitely be on your short list.

Film Cameras: Leica IIIf

Back in 2015, I was picking up some prints from chemical and digital lab guru Bruce Starrenburg at his Light Box lab, when I noticed a couple of old Leica IIIfs on his desk. He said they were given to him recently and that there was some history attached to them.  They previously belonged to artist/photographer/journalist Florence Arquin.  I picked one up and was impressed by the solidity of the camera and the smoothness of the controls.  I asked if I could borrow one for a bit.  Sure his said, take your time with it. 

When I got back to the studio, I Googled Florence and was able to find quite a bit of information on her.  Several old black and white and color photographs of her travels through South America and even a few shots of her taking pictures with a Leica IIIf.  It had to be one of the cameras that I borrowed I thought to myself.  

The Leica IIIf came mounted with a series one Leitz Summicron 50mm f2 lens.  Some of the most famous images in history were made with this combination.  I was eager to try out the lens and wondered if it had the same character as my vintage Carl Zeiss 50mm f2 Sonnar?  I had owned and used a Leitz Summicron 50mm f2 with my Leica M6 and liked it very much.  I imagined however that the early version of this lens would give a softer image, with more character and color in the bokeh.  This was my experience with my Carl Zeiss 50mm f2 Sonnar, and the main reason that I still own it. 

Sadly, the Leitz lens was stiff and nearly frozen.  No doubt years of neglect and lack of use had caused the grease to hardened making the lens inoperable.  Nothing a skilled camera technician couldn’t take care of. 

I did take a couple of weeks using the Leica IIIf with my Carl Zeiss Sonnar and realized that using this camera made me think about my compositions.  Framing and focusing are done using two separate finders.  Setting lens speed and aperture requires taking incident readings with a hand held light meter, or relying on your knowledge of light and the Sunny 16 rule. I imagined as I walked around using the camera how different and deliberate photography was back in the 30s, 40s and 50s.  How one had to not only have framing skills, but also complete knowledge of how shutter speed and aperture will affect the final exposure.  Patience was also needed as no one was going to use this for grab shots. All of the controls worked smoothly, precisely and effortlessly.  An experience I have never forgotten. 

When I returned to camera to Bruce I let me know what a gem it was.  He smiled and said that he would likely never use them, as they do have quite a bit of historical significance.  Here are a few iPhone shots of the camera taken back in 2015. 


Random 004 : Mason Miller

This shot is from a photo shoot done for architect Mason Miller back in 2014.  Mason had done a fantastic job designing a complete, modern remodel of this 1940s home, opening up spaces and finding useful storage in the most creative ways.  Really, it was a total transformation.

Finishing up the shoot, we invited the homeowner and her daughter to pose for a few shots. This shot was captured by my business partner Mary Price. She used a Sony Alpha 7, with a Carl Zeiss designed 11mm lens. Lighting was a handheld SunPak 555 flash bracket bounced off the kitchen ceiling.