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Shot on Film: Catfight Band 2005

Back in 2005 we were photographing a series of bands at Bruce Starrenburg’s Light Box Studio in East Dundee. Remember, 2005 were days of film, and Light Box was the finest processing and printing lab in the business. 

We would shoot upstairs in the studio loft, while Bruce processed the film downstairs in the lab.  Not digital fast, but still amazing service for 2005.  


We had recently photographed a couple of bands, and were looking at proofs with one of the band members and his wife Lori, when Lori said, “I wish we could do a photo shoot like that for my band”.  ‘You’re in a band?” I asked?  “Catfight”, she replied, “we play every week.”  I had no idea.  Before we knew it, we were scheduling a shoot for Catfight, which appears to still be playing regularly here in 2023.


The band worked hard and we all had a blast, going from several set and costumes changes. We photographed nearly 200 proofs, all on Fuji Astia 100F color reversal slide film.  Studio lights used were four Photogenic Machine Studio Master II’s, firing through a couple of Calumet 48” soft boxes, a Westcott 40” umbrella, Photogenic Machine Studio Kick Lights and a Photogenic Machine Hair light.  Cameras used were a Minolta XE-7 and a Minolta X-570 mounted on an MD-1 motor drive.  We shot with Prime lenses consisting of a Kamero 100mm f2.8, a 58mm Rokkor F 1.2, and a 35mm Rokkor F1.8 for wide shots. 


Below is a small sampling of the slides.  These were all scanned full frame using a Minolta DiMage 5400 Scan Elite dedicated film scanner, with no enhancements or retouching.  The final images did include some minor retouching, i.e., fixing wrinkles in the back drops, and small clean up.  I could have used those, but I wanted you to see what the film looked like before any corrections were made.  There is a magic about film that digital cannot reproduce.


Trust me, if they called, I would do this all over again.  We had so much fun!

Creative Spotlight: Stephanie Nickolson Design

We had a fun shoot earlier this year with Stephanie Nickolson Design.  Stephanie's talents cover a tremendous scope, from residential to commercial and hospitality.  You may recall reading about Stephanie back in June 2020, when she was previously featured in our Creative Spotlight.

This lake front condo in Chicago is an excellent display of Stephanie's work.  Clean lines, inviting spaces, with custom furnishings throughout.  I especially love the open floor plan which is perfect for entertaining, yet has personal spaces to cozy up in. 


If you are looking for a high-end makeover of your existing space, give Stephanie a call.  Below are a few of our favorites from the shoot.

Creative Spotlight: Benvenuti & Stein

Having worked with the team at Benvenuti & Stein for over a decade, we have seen them create some of the most stunning spaces we have ever photographed.  As mentioned here in our blog in times past Geno is meticulous and creative.  The photos below are of a mid-century home.  Mid-century homes have a certain charm about them and this character can easily be lost when wanting to update or remodel.


This doesn’t happen when Benvenuti & Stein are doing the renovation.  I’ve seen them move walls, raise ceilings, lower floors and add space where you didn’t think it was possible.  The beauty is that the finished result seems to be what should have been done in the first place, and the update integrates perfectly with the original architecture.


In these images a second story common bathroom was updated as were the master suite and bath. Looking at them, they appear to be period correct, yet they are modern and functional as they can be. They also added a hallway powder room in a space I don’t think existed before, along with a walk in closet complete with custom cabinetry.   


Below are a few photos from the shoot.


For those curious, all images were photographed using a Sony A850, with a 20mm Minolta and a 24mm Zeiss lens.  The images were processed individually by hand. 

The Headshot:

Back in 2012 we were doing a series of headshots and lifestyle photos for Marietta Calas at her home.  We seem to do this every few years which keeps the images up-to-date, and provides a nice selection to pull from for her various marketing materials where a headshot and or other images might be needed.

This past weekend I was editing a recent video for Marietta and wanted to add in a few stills.  I keep a folder of outtakes from shoots for just such occasions when I need to use something that I know the client doesn’t already have.  


This was a test shot to verify the lighting I wanted, and I am sure I said something like ‘think of something pleasant’ just before I fired the shot. I think this photo caught Marietta off guard, which is why it made me smile.


This was photographed using a Canon 5DMkII and a EF100mm lens at f/4.  Lighting was one single Larson 22” soft-box mounted to a Photogenic Machine Studio Master II speedlight with a 48” gold reflector to add warmth to the shot.

Creative Spotlight: JMD Builders

We were photographing a few projects for Jerry Dardick last year in Chicago's Gold Coast.  We met Jerry on sight, and he took us through the challenges that had to be overcome in this particular remodel, which was overlooking Lake Michigan.  

The extensive redesign involved moving walls, opening spaces, re-routing HVAC, and updating all essential systems. JMD has extensive capabilities and are specialist when it comes to high-end custom projects.  The installations, finishes and furnishings are all of the finest quality.  The end result as always with JMD is superb. 


For those curious, these images were shot using a Sony A850, Sony 7RII, & Sony A700 cameras.  Minolta, Sony and Carl Zeiss lenses were used.  All images were individually hand processed.


Below are a few of our favorites.

Random 013 : Walter E. Smithe

Walter E. Smithe  called us December 23rd 2016.  They were needing to book a photoshoot – right away.  Were we available?  For Walter E. Smithe… are you kidding?  Yes!  

The homeowner had used one of Walter E. Smithe’s designers to decorate and refurnished their home.  The look was beautiful and inviting.  We photographed several rooms but when it was time to shoot the dining room, Colleen Smithe-Parker insisted something was missing.  Then she said, ‘I know’, and invited the home owner’s daughter to sit in the scene.  Perfect!


This is my favorite shot from the photo shoot.  For those curious, this was photographed using a SONY 7s at 1/15 of a second f5.6 using a 24mm Carl Zeiss lens.  The lighting is by Photogenic Machine, Studio Master II, through a single Calumet 48” soft-box, mounted high and horizontally then angled down towards the scene.  The flash did not fire and only the modeling lamp was used to add warmth to photograph.

Creative Spotlight: Lenore Weiss Studios

I received a call from Lenore a couple of years ago asking if she could book a shoot for a Chicago condo overlooking Navy Pier.  I had been a fan of Lenore’s work for years and was excited to work with her.


Often, when someone is in need of an architect, they will also seek out a good interior designer to work with.  There is such an advantage to using an architect and an interior designer in the early stages of your project to make sure that the finished product comes together perfectly, as the two fields can’t help but intertwine.  But imagine if you will, working with an architect who is an interior designer?  That’s Lenore.  She is a master architect and a phenomenal interior designer.   When I asked Lenore about this, she told me “To be a good architect, you need to understand interior design, to be a good interior designer, you need to know architecture.  My mind just can’t separate the two.”  I was floored.


We shot two projects nearly back-to-back.  Looking at the photographs, you will notice attention to detail that is out of this world.


Lenore was recently featured in the fall edition of Licensed Architect magazine.  An excellent read, and one that will have you reaching for the phone the next time you need an architect (and an interior designer).  One call to Lenore covers both fields.

There is so much to talk about with this project, but we will let the photography tell the story.  By the way, we could have easily added another 25 images or so.  Stay tuned as we select some highlights from another project by Lenore Weiss Studios. 

For those curious, all images are hand processed and were photographed using a SONY A850 and A700 cameras with Minolta and Carl Zeiss lenses.