Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Carbon Neutral

This year's Christmas card was shot at the NC State climbing wall in Carmichael gymnasium.  It was combined with Gillian's drawing of a Christmas rat on my previous post.
"Santa is having a tough time going carbon neutral this year!  So in these last few days... try to be good."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Best Wishes to Everyone!

Gillian, my 10 year old daughter has become quite the artist.  The artwork here she contributed at the last minute for this year's Christmas card which went out this week.  We had joked that she hadn't done anything this year after which she disappeared for 10 minutes and came back with a pencil drawing of the rat which she asked me to scan.  She then asked to get into Photoshop which she does from time to time, not allowing me to guide her.  She just plays.  An hour later she came in and said she was done.
Obviously I was quite inspired by her drawing and came up with the ode to Dr. Seuss.
Gillian has a pet rat called Skabbers (Harry Potter fans understand) that I'm not exactly thrilled about, but it is a smart animal and a good companion for her.  She just needs to clean the crate more often...but she does try.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate.  Don't forget Boxing Day!  

Click on the card for a larger view.  :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Traffic Jam Recipe

Traffic Jam Recipe:

Start with one small very hot coffee with cream and sugar from any McDonalds drive-thru...
and proceed to spill into lap.
Combine 2 cellphone calls with 2 misbehaving children in the backseat.
Throw in two fighting dogs.  (Corgi's seem to do pretty well but any breed will do...females work best.)
Add one lead foot and one blue haired lady on her way to an eye appointment.
Mix in 1 fender bender with 10 adults rubbernecking and 2 kids just necking.
It is imperative at this stage that a missed deadline is included along with an important Fedex package
that is supposed to include important documents.
Blend in 1 pothole with one flat tire and a screaming baby.
Change both with appropriate tools, however a spare tire in the trunk is not recommended
as it will shorten sitting time.
A long sitting time is very important for a proper jam.
At this stage is is important to mix in the main ingredient of 1 or more VW beetles on their 
way to a Star Trek convention.  The older models work best, but the newer
version is acceptable, just not as reliable.  A gas guzzler should be set directly in front to provide the 
necessary noxious fumes.  Chill the above in 18 degree temperatures making sure the heater
is not working and the windows don't close.
Other ingredients for the ultimate experience:  
A pack of cyclists need to be in all lanes of traffic.  One 15 year old with a restricted license.
One 26 year old with a revoked license.
One Japanese tourist with no license.
One broken traffic light.
On irate police officer.
1/2 mobile home parked in the median.  
The other 1/2 parked across all lanes of traffic.
Seven DOT workers standing around a man in a hole and
one man in the hole working for DOT.
A little freezing rain with a snow storm on the way.
Make sure that no bread or milk is in the refrigerator at home.
It is best that it be Christmas Eve and you should be on your way to the mall at closing time.
Heartburn and upset stomach represent the makings of a good quality mix.
Throw in a migraine and you have a great traffic jam.


Monday, December 14, 2009

A black hole no longer!

Finally our house is adorned with lights after braving the wet roof today to finish the last sections.  It now looks somewhat like a gingerbread house and was described as such by a passerby. 

If you get a chance come by and check out the neighborhood of Harvey and Aycock streets.  Most of the houses have lights again this year and has certainly got us in the Christmas spirit.

Now if it will snow, I can have next years Christmas card done!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas Cards that didn't make it.

"Marionette Christmas to you!"  
We shot this card in 2000 when we invited Santa in to pose with Gillian.  Getting Gillian to hang like this was really difficult.  She really resisted attaching the strings... especially gluing it to her head.  :)

"Christmas Carols"

I had the bright idea of getting Wafflehouse name tags done all with the name Carol, so we could have three waitresses at the restuarant  all be called Carol.  It was fun to do, but didn't quite make the cut.  Sent it out with a promotional card that included Santa at Pullen Pool.

"Santa may not be visiting this year.  He's been confined to his room."

I never got far with this card, since everyone that saw it felt a little disturbed by the imagery.  It was a quick shot we did while we had Santa at the studio and he actually enjoyed playing the part.
Sadly this Santa's helper passed away around 2005.  He loved being Santa.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12 Years of Christmas Cards

While trying to come up with another Christmas card for this year, I decided to take a look back at some of the cards we've come up with over the last few years.  Prior to 1998, we didn't have scans of the work, so we've started this listing in 1998.

1998 Card:

"for some children a present of a used Teddy bear is the best present they have ever had...
think about it."

I pulled out a 37 year old teddy that my father made for me back in England.  I loved using polaroid.

1998 Card:
"Having hobnobbed with St. Nicholas in Christmas Cove, Maine this past summer, we thought it was our obligation to inform you that Santa plans on staying in warmer climates this winter in order to avoid problems associated with the Y2K computer bug.
Should you experience delivery problems, please contact Willam Gates, c/o Microsoft....
otherwise Happy Holidays!"

This was a fun card to produce.  We actually did go to Christmas Cove that summer and many of the little boats in the harbor were named after Santa.  Santa was photographed in the Pullen Pool in Raleigh.
This was also the year we announced that we were having a baby by putting a sonogram on the back.

2000 Card:
"Suddenly, Miss Gillian realizes that her meeting with a man in a RED HAT does not include stock options.

May these Holidays exceed your expectations!"

We brought back Santa from Maine and brought him into the studio to play with Gillian, but her demeanor didn't lend itself well to what we expected, however it is one of my favorite cards.   It also perhaps foreshadowed my interest in the stock market.

2001 Card:
"Don't get stuck in a traffic jam this Holiday season...
Get my present early."

Had great fun with this card and actually had a great poem that went along with it.  I'll have to pull out the poem.

2002 Card:

2002 Card:

"Looks like rain.....dear!"

2003 Card:

"Doughnut tell us it's the Holiday Season again...
Don't forget to give your loved ones a little sugar!"

This was when I should have realized that Krispie Kreme was in trouble, since we got 500 free doughnuts given to us from KK when they got their returns from the outlet stores.  They apparently were claiming the returns as income.  Gillian ate 10 that day.

2004 Card:

"Like Father...Like Daughter!"

One of my all time favorite photographs.  Of course now most kids wouldn't know what a polaroid camera is these days.  It's a shame.

2005 Card:

"Got Milk?"

"Santa doesn't anyway!...
at least at 502 Harvey Street."

2006 Card:

"Although we thought our neighbor had kicked the habit, unfortunately, we caught her lighting up again...

...so of course, we decided to join in."

Our neighbor Beth and I had begun a competition to see how many lights we could put on our houses.  She was relentless in her pursuit of top house in the neighborhood and I was relieved that the pressure came off when they moved.  However, the neighborhood now has become a Christmas lights fantasy land in December.

2007 Card:

Trying to come up with a new card in 2007 was like a ball and chain hanging around my neck.  So that's what I photographed for the back of the card along with a recap of various cards I had done in the past, while Gillian contributed her first drawing for the front.

2008 Card:

"Santa realized his terrible mistake after hiring the Blue Dragon to help deliver presents.  When asked what happened, Santa's only response was "But he said Claus was his middle name!""

Gillian was into her dragon phase and came up with a drawing at the last minute that was too good not to put a fun caption with.

So this year we have to come up with something different...or maybe we can just recycle.  Merry Christmas.

The Cypress of Raleigh at Sunset

Although architectural photography is not my forte, I sometimes bike ride with the marketing director at the Cypress here in Raleigh.  The Cypress is a incredible retirement community modeled more like an exclusive country club.  Joe brought the General in to give a talk at the Cypress back in the fall and he invited me along to sign a few books as well.

More NBS Gym

Gillian has been fencing for almost two years now at NBS Gym in Raleigh.  They were sorely in need of new photographs for their website.

I've been spending some time photographing the fencing at NBS Gym in Raleigh.  Here I created a poster of many of the youth fencers.  My background was just barely big enough.  :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Secrets of Success: NC Values-Based Leadership

Last year I worked on this coffee table book by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Hugh Shelton.  It was an opportunity to photograph 35 of North Carolina's most notable citizens.   It was a great project and was published to great reviews back in the Spring.  It is available at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh as well as many Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the publisher.  Makes a great Christmas present.

To Purchase SOS click here : Please note, the book has sold out.
All proceeds go to support the Hugh Shelton Leadership Center.

Drip, Drip, Drip, Drip......

When you are sitting inside on a rainy day, there is always something to shoot, like the water droplets outside my office window falling from the patio umbrella.  I'm fascinated by the 15 or more increasingly smaller droplets that drag off the main drop of water.  A fraction of a second later, these are all falling independently.   It reminded me of a job that I did many years ago photographing glass being drawn off to make glass fiber.

Leta designs a new cowl.

Leta, my beautiful wife is an knitting teacher and designer.  Her latest design is a cowl, something that I had never really heard of, but apparently it's the latest thing!  If you are a knitter and would like to buy the pattern,  let me know...I think it's $4.50.

Raleigh at 6:30am

Recently got up early to capture the skyline from a new vantage point where the morning Amtrak train leaving the station helped to light the tracks.

NBS Gym-Raleigh

Test shot of Chris at NBS Gym in Raleigh.