Here's our personal Christmas card from 2013! This has been posted on social media for quite a while now, but we wanted to blog it for those that haven't seen it and for archival purposes. This year's card is a drastic departure from the goofy composited cards of year's past (see them here: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). We photographed these images on location at about 10:3opm in a field off of 13th st in Ames. The tree and snow are lit up by a flash behind us, and our faces are spot-lit by a gridded flash to camera left. Contrary to speculation, this isn't a photoshop composite - it was really snowing and really cold! We had to take frequent breaks to jump back in the car and warm up before continuing to shoot, but it was absolutely worth it. We had help from our friends Nathan and Elena (of Dust Studios) and had quite a fun time playing in the snow with them. We hope you had restful holidays and are kicking butt in 2014!
This year we celebrated our 5–year wedding anniversary! It's hard to believe that much time has elapsed since we embarked on our marital journey, but we decided it was a milestone worth celebrating. We had the opportunity to fly to Seattle to photograph the wedding of our friends, Bjorn and Lia, close to our anniversary (there are some cool images of Bjorn and Lia part way down this post) and we decided to rent a car after the wedding and spent a week driving highway 101 south to San Francisco. Because we founded McClanahan Studio shortly after getting married we haven't had much time completely unplugged to focus 100% of our attention on one another. We viewed this week as an opportunity to do just that and it was AWESOME! We highly recommend that all married couples schedule time to unplug and have an adventure once in a while. It re–calibrates your unity and is refreshing to the soul! The following post is a hodgepodge of Instagrams taken on our iPhone and photographs taken on a Canon 5dMkIII. Our self portraits were lit with a speedlight and some of the fine art photographs were captured using neutral density filters to slow down time (sort of like Hermione in "Prisoner of Azkaban"). Our journey started in Seattle paddle boarding with friends and visiting the infamous bridge troll. Then we headed south along the Oregon coast, spent an afternoon sand–boarding some epic dunes, ventured through Redwood National Forrest, toured a couple wineries in Napa Valley and concluded with a day of biking through San Francisco and a sunset overlook of the Golden Gate Bridge. We would encourage adding the NorthWest to your bucket list and taking the time to experience these views for yourself! If you have specific questions about where we stayed and what we did, leave a comment and we'll fill you in. We hope you enjoy our images!
Having a cold weather wedding? Make sure to remember a jacket so you can still embrace outdoor photos. We loved Holly's choice of a faux fur that matched the lace of her dress perfectly. You'd never be able to tell is was under 30 degrees F with the warmth in her genuine smile (opposed to chattering teeth). To see more of Holly & Jay's "Christmas in NY" themed wedding, click here!
This year's poster was a fun challenge for us to create. The concept was to capture the excitement of a fast–break sequence inside Hilton Coliseum. Since last year's poster was so bright, we wanted to embrace a darker vibe this year while still utilizing the edgy lighting style we've been using since we started working with the MBB program. The trickiest part of the concept is that we didn't have access to photograph the court inside Hilton Coliseum because it was set up for other sports. As a work–around, we used a live game–shot from last year's Texas game as a starting point for the background elements of our frame: Dan photographed the basketball court and the hoop inside the Sukup practice facility using flashes to create controlled lighting (for better blending later) with a deeper depth of field than a live game shot. We used these images as the top and bottom elements to our scene:
The next step was the fun part! We brought the team into our studio to photograph them with precisely controlled lighting. This year we ended up using a six light setup to give the illusion of Hilton Coliseum lighting the players from above and behind, while providing plenty of dimension and sharpness to the texture of their jerseys and limbs:
The large wooden floors and 16 ft ceilings in our shooting space proved to be a great location for photographing full–speed basketball players! Here are some images straight out of the camera:
After each player was photographed, Dan did a rough knock–out and dropped them into the poster to make sure the correct lighting and perspective was achieved before moving onto the next player. The guys got a kick out of watching themselves get drug around in photoshop! Seeing how they looked in big-picture context helped them get into the zone and brought authentic energy to the shoot:
Now the tricky part: combining all of these elements into the finished product. For the sake of making dozens of photoshop hours more easily digestible, I made an abridged gif of the process for your enjoyment. (If you're a gif lover, this is the second gif we've made and the fist can be enjoyed here)
And here's the finished poster! If you're an avid Cyclone fan and don't want to wait until this weekend, we have a limited amount of pre–release posters that we're giving away at our studio Today through Friday from 10am–6pm each day! 210 5th St in downtown Ames (right across the street from the library under construction).
We hope you enjoy this year's poster as much as we do... Go Clones!