New Project

What makes an athlete? as described in the dictionary an Athlete is; a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise. In the modern American mindset an athlete is a member of a team or participates in an organized sport with points & flags, winners & losers; but what about the lone athletes all around us. In the woods and waters around us a revolution is brewing.

The threat of a silent spring has led to a cacophony of silent protest. A revolution of the outdoor athlete is coming, a time where a kayak or bike is mode of transportation back to basics.  A pair of shoes is a crucible to overcome the threat of entrophy. Over the hills and through the streams people are heading back to nature. 

These people walk amongst us dreaming of the trails and rivers. They train and hone their skills, prepare their packs and racks waiting for time away.  

Over the course of the next twenty weeks I will work on creating a body of work highlighting these athletes among us. My goal is to provide a look at these incredible people in their native habitat. 

New year new Revelations

Over the course of the last term I was able to push my work further then I could have ever imagined from where I began last year. It's crazy to begin to imagine that I've been pursuing my dreams full time over the last year and a half. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was wasting away in a career I didn't want.   Photography for me was always a means to unwind and flex my creative muscles. Now that I'm working at it full time I find that I'm tired but happy. 

Passion pursued is purity of purpose personified. Without the support of my fiends and family this path would have been closed to me forever. As the holidays approached I was reminded of the strength of family through events of love and loss. 

Reflection1.jpg

With the new year upon me I was able to create images to show my sensibility and my sense of reflection upon all that I have been honored to receive. Photography is a means of mirroring the outside to an internal idea or emotion. Reflections in nature act the same way by showing an imperfect distorted image on a malleable surface. It is my hope and desire in this new year to increase the clarity of my vision as transcribed in my photos. Thanks for reading and please remember to like, comment & share. 

Advertising Final

Good Afternoon all, Again in keeping with yesterday's post I am letting the work speak for itself. Please let me know any comments or critiques. Pay special attention to the captions below the photos for a special event. Thanks and please like, comment & share!

Salomon Speedcross

Old fashion Jack Daniels

Sushi for one

A moment's pause

Love your Body

Get The Gear

Necklace 1

Zero horizon

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Portraiture Final

Good Evening in the interest of keeping these posts up to date I'm going to provide a brief overview and let the pictures do the talking. Over the last ten weeks I've found that my passion and technique for shooting people has grown hand in hand. With week ten now behind me I'm proud to introduce my best work of the last term. Please let me know what you like and more important what you don't. Please pay attention to the captions as they may play a part in a special event coming soon. With that being said, hold on and enjoy the show.

The Dude Abides gone vogue

Pools of meaning

A moment's rest

Thoughts in the abyss

Sub Aqueous  1

Sub Aqueous 2

Amidst the leaves of gold and green 1

Amidst the leaves of gold and green 2

Amidst the leaves of Gold and Green 3

Neon Dreams

Bodyscapes 1

Bodyscapes 2

Bodyscapes 3

Self Portrait 1

Hollywood Glam 1

Hollywood Glam 2

Living down below

Living down below 2

Dreams of memory past

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Hollywood glamour

As the first term of second year winds to a close I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog. In my efforts to catch up to speed I want to share a number of images that were taken using glamour style lighting with the use of tungsten or hot lights. 

The technique of using hot lights gives a modern photographer a greater appreciation of the modern usage of studio lights and speed lights. There is less control in terms of power due to the continuous nature of the light.

I asked a good friend to model for me and had her plan for a golden age of Hollywood style shoot. The nature of the lights dictated that I operate in looser mode then I'm usually in. This space actually allowed me to relax in terms of technique and work from my instinct. It was an interesting experience and I hope that you like the resulting images below. 

One of the images gave me an idea and I attempted a technique which I have been practicing lately in order to learn more about alternative processing of digital images. I applied the steps that I had practiced And the resulting image is below. This style of processing gives a similar feel as the tintypes of olden days. 


Please like, share and comment and let me know what you think. Thanks and have a great day. 

Shoot with Mothergreen

Sometimes we as photographers need to take risks in order to push our art and talents forward. With the common perception of photography as easy we are continuity asked to provide our talents for free or exposure. Nowhere else is this as prevalent as in photography. I have a friend who is an experienced and talented electrician. Never in a million years would I expect him to push his years of schooling and the investment in the proper tools of the trade to the side to do something for free. I only bring this up because there are some times as a creative professional where a collaboration between creative individuals goes beyond a financial transaction.  

 

So spiel done I wanted to circle back to the idea of risk in photography. Over my experience as a photographer working with new people and posing them has always been a challenge and an opportunity for me. As I've expanded my portfolio I've strived to take risks by reaching out to strangers to work with. Hayla "mother green" was one such case where I saw someone looking to add to their portfolio and I decided to approach them.


Let me say that the images captured during this session were some of my favorites in a while. Hayla has natural talent and body posing allowing me to work on conceptual ideas with minimal adjustments to posing. We first shot a high key lighting situation which was gorgeous but I wanted to pull a darker mood from my subject. We switched gears to a low key setup and with a change in wardrobe, magic started to happen. 

As we worked through the session the mood and lighting helped to tell a story of a beacon standing against the abyss. Overall I loved all of the captures from this session and can't wait to work with mother green again in the future. So to wrap up I believe that every risk has a reward if you just reach for it.

Thanks for reading my latest blog. Please feel free to like, comment & share. Thanks! 

The Falling waters trail.

Fall is a time of transition for all things great and small. In the northern lands the shift is succinctly visual in nature. The mountains are   First subjected to the chill of the New England climate. As the season waxes the transition becomes more evident in form and function. 

View back to Mt. Lincoln

 

As I posted earlier this year the mountains hold deep meaning for me in terms of memory and thought. So it was an immediate affirmation that I gave when asked to join my friend and his brother on a hike up in the white mountains. 

Jon

Josh

The plan was ambitious in scope with us leaving Boston the night before and hiking first thing the next morning. It was decided that we would hike the falling waters trail which would put three summits under our boots. The first summit was little haystack, followed by Mt Lincoln and then ascending the ridge line would carry us to the summit of Mt lafeyette. 

The view of the trail ahead

 

We started early climbing in the early morning light with frost surrounding us. The chill in the air was deceptive lending itself to a refreshing feeling as we moved. When we stopped for a moment to rest the cold would plunge itself into our skin like needles. Traveling light and with camera in hand I was constantly looking for images to document our journey. At one point this would lead to me choosing the wrong rock to stand on during a river crossing. As can be expected I slipped and fell into the icy water, just managing to save my camera from a swim.

The Ridgeline Trail

The trail up Mount Lafayette 

Luckily I was able to keep myself from getting to wet and continued hiking allowing myself to dry on the way. From this point on I was doubly cautious to checking my footing while the sun hung, hidden over the valley wall.  

Summit silhouette 

 

Once we sunmited the first mountain peak we were treated to the Beatuy of the ridge line trail. As we traveled along the ridge line to the next summit we were treated to an incredible view of the difference between the slope in sunshine and the slope in shadow. In the shadow zone ice and frost could be seen covering the rocks. This created a painterly feeling while enjoying the view.

 

When we sunmited the final peak we were embraced by powerful gusts of wind screaming across the exposed granite. We were able to eat our lunch behind a windbrake and enjoyed watching a couple of people attempting some elaborate yoga poses on a rocky outcrop on the summit. 

yogis on the summit

The descent led us through the rock gardens and turf of the alpine zone. As we climbed down the air got warmer and the wind lessened. At this point my shoes had long since dried and fear of losing a foot was long gone. As we tracked down the ridge line of Lafayette back down to the trailhead we anticipated the end goal of burgers and a variety of beers at the Woodstock inn! 

The descent


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My first commercial project

In the tail end of September I had the pleasure to sercure my first advertising job. The job was to shoot various products for a local chocolate company. They were revamping their website and needed new images to add to the new site. 

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Over the course of this project I would learn a lot of valuable lessons in managing customer expectations and want it takes to do product photography. I'm very thankful that my client was a pleasure to work with as I readjusted to meeting her expectations. The biggest lesson I learned was the importance of the first meeting and maintaining dialogue throughout the project. As I shot for the project I diverged from the clients vision and had to redo a number of shots.  

This was an important mistake that I made and a lesson that I will try to remember with each client going forward. As a photographer my job is to deliver on the clients vision and in this trust I faltered. Again I'm thankful that I was able to work through this with my client and once I realized my error I got back to work.  

 

Going forward I was able to simplify the imagery and get back in line with the clients vision and expectations. From there I was able to quickly turn around and re shoot all the necessary items. As one of my teachers explained to us, as creative professional our job is not to think outside the box but to push against the boundaries of a specific box. As an aspiring commercial photographer it was important to remember that the box is defined by the client, not the photographer.

 

Overall this was a great experience, because of and defined, by the mistakes I made and the corrections I undertook to satisfy my clients expectations. At the end of the day I'm glad I screwed up because it humbled me and showed me the importance of communication with my clients going forward.  

Commericial (1 of 6)pietroski_151002-0036-3(ps1).jpg

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Topsfield fair

What an amazing day yesterday was. It has been many years since I have gone to a fair and topsfield was a fair to the nth degree. Having never been there I was overwhelmed with the sheer size of the grounds and the multitudes milling through it.  

 

To to put this all in perspective I have to start at the beginning. The night before I had the chance to assist a fellow photographer at an event up at Harvard. The event was the annual induction for the Harvard academy of arts & sciences. The participants and inductees were from around the world and covered a variety of different disciplines. From professors of chemistry to deans of colleges from around the country, all were in attendance at the sanders auditorium. The venue was impressive with three stories of Mahongney columns and benches.  

 

There were a variety of speakers and after the ceremony we wandered the cocktail party afterwards capturing the various alumni and new inductees. The experience at this high society event was great in learning how to navigate and document an event like this. It was thus ironic that within little more then 24 hours that I would go from the solemn atmosphere to the cacophony of the topsfield fair. 

 

The topsfield fair was part of an assignment for one of my classes and a treat for a photographer in terms of the multitudes of humanity packed into an event that means many things to many people. The fair can hold many memories for people of varying age. From the neon lights to the stuffed prizes and fried dough, we each hold different feelings. My assignment was to approach people and pose them against the backdrop of the happenings of the fair. 

 

In order to do this we had to approach complete strangers and explain who we were and why we wanted to capture an image of them. In essence it could be called photographic speed dating as our teacher explained it. Over the course of the day admit the chaos of the skeeball and rides I found my subjects. I found myself drawn to certain indiuvals, and just like dating I had to have a pitch with an idea. Rejection was always at the front of my mind but to be honest nine times out of ten people were receptive and willing to have their picture taken. 

Centrifugal Force defined

Centrifugal Force defined

Overall the experience was very eye opening to the publics view of photographers and their willingness to have their picture taken. I went into the fair dreading assignment but now I understand and can't wait for the next event to use what I learned. The fair itself was amazing In scope and uniqueness harkening back to a day in the past with the country fair experience. 

Patterns in Neon

Patterns in Neon

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Summit of Mt. Liberty

Over the last couple of months I haven't had a lot of time to catch up on my blog posts. I completed a summer course on photoshop, got married, and went on a honeymoon. At the end of the this whirlwind of activity I celebrated my birthday.  Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to try to catch up by working backwards. I'm going to start with my hike up to the summit of Mt. Liberty in celebration of my birthday.

The celebration of my birthday is a day of mixed emotions. Over four years ago my mother Christine Pietroski lost her battle to cancer the day before my 29th birthday. As such my birthday is always complicated. The following years I would attempt to start a new tradition to reclaim this event. The first year after her passing I would hike mt. Washington with a dear friend. The next year I would hike a mountain in Hedeliberg, Germany with my now wife. 

This year was a bit different then most. This year I had just returned from Tulum Mexico from my honeymoon with my wife Genevieve. I wasn't able to hike on the day of my birthday due to weather complications, which let up the next day.

I woke up early, packed my backpack and grabbed my camera. My plan was to summit and return home in one day. Once I got to the base of the mountain it was close to 9:00am. As I hiked I was constantly looking for a place to set up my tripod topractice composite landscapes. 

After I reached the summit I again set up my tripod and created a 360 panorama. I tried to choose the best vantage point the result is below. This was taken on the ridge line leading to the rocky outcrop on the right which is the summit. 

As I reached the summit after a brief rain shower I was greeted by the beauty that is Franconia notch.  Over the course of my hike and as I surveyed the notch laid out below me I felt a sense of peace. As I hiked I had thought about my mother but the closer I got to the summit the more it became about the moment. This year with all of the good things happening in my life I was able to have a different perspective. This was different then most years as I didn't just hike for my mother but I hiked for myself.

Please like share and comment if you liked this post. I'm going to continue to catch up on my blog by working backwards in the next couple of weeks. Next up is our honeymoon to Tulum, Mexico. Please stay tuned for more.

 

 

 

 

Creative self portrait

As the summer winds on, the assignments in my creative imaging class continue to push me in terms of technical skill and creative design. My latest assignment was a creative selfportrait and it was a challenge from concept to the final image.

 

I started out playing with textures and another self portrait from months ago. I then started playing with using water to add more complexity. I ended up shooting my upper torso in a bath tub with a precariously placed tripod. From there I found some images of birds that I had gathered while scouting a location on the south shore for another assignment. In conceptualizing this image I had a thousand ideas swirling around in my head. It was from this chaos of ideas that I decided to use the birds as symbols for my thoughts. From there I worked on showing the final idea springing forth and flying off.

My finished image was a lot different from where I started and I love the way it turned out. One of the things that I love about Photoshop is that with the right skills and knowledge you can create anything that you can envision. I am very pleased with where this project took me and where it ultimately ended up. Please like, comment, & share this if you enjoyed my image. Thanks!

The whirlwind in my head

The whirlwind in my head

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Playing with leviatation

In the 2 weeks off in between the end of my first year of Nesop and a summer course I tried experimenting with creating images of leviatation.  In preparation for my summer creative imaging I began to experiment with using photoshop to create the illusion of floating. 

image.jpg

The basic idea is to create two plates from which to work from in Photoshop. The first plate is the empty scene to serve as a background. The second plate would be myself in the frame balanced precariously on a stool. Once I had two frames they would be carefully combined and alined in Photoshop. The final step was to carefully mask out the stool and the illusion was complete. 

The background

The background

Balancing on the stool

Balancing on the stool

I discovered that while techincally some of the images worked they weren't as interesting to look at. It was in one of my final composites that I came across the image below which was more abstracted and worked better.  

 

Leviatation over biomorphic lines

Leviatation over biomorphic lines

Please take a look and let me know what you think. Please like, share and comment if you have any questions.

 

The steampunk project Part 1

It all started with a shot in the dark, a message to a photographer that whose work I admired. I loved the detail on the costumes and the sense of beauty and grace of the subjects. I was thumbing through posts in a photography group and noticed that a photographer, Steampunk Chuck Coleman, was coming to Boston to shoot more of his Queens of Steam project. I decided that I would take a chance and she if I could see how these images were created. I've gotten used to taking more and more chances in my life so this was right up my alley. 

 

On a whim and without really expecting a response I messaged him to offer my services as an assistant. Within a half hour he not only messaged me but we had a quick phone interview. From the interview Chuck expressed a need for assistance with a multimedia project showing behind the scenses. From that point on my focus became documenting the photo shoot.

 

I enlisted the help of another talented photographer and fellow student, Duncan Luther to help me to capture the audio and video components to creating a short documentary of the project. 

 

Over the course of the weekend I was able to learn a lot in terms of a successful fashion photoshoot and Chucks unique style. The Queens of Steam project is driven by the women who have access to all of the custom clothing and accessories which Chuck is able to provide. They work together to create the distinct looks as evidenced in the photos produced.

Behind the photographer

Behind the photographer

The women I met and worked with over the course of the shoot and through interviews we conducted were some of the strongest and interesting people I've had the honor to work with. The message from the project was    that beauty and strength can be found in everyone no matter your age or background.

 

As of now I'm currently pulling all of the audio and video components into a cohesive look at this wonderful project and these amazing women. Stay tuned for the completed video next time. Please like, share and check out www.queensofsteam.com and Chuck Coleman on Facebook. 

Image of Jamille Webb

Image of Jamille Webb

The panAFRICAproject:Part 3 The Namibia kickstarter campaign

In this third installment I will briefly talk about the editing process to achieve the final product. Over the course of the last 3 weeks I went from an idea to a finished product. At the beginning I only knew of Lou Jones by his reputation and never dreamed that I would have the chance to meet him let alone interview him. He is one of the nicest and approachable photographers I have had the pleasure of meeting.

 

I was able to get a behind the scenes look at the studios kickstarter planning meeting. From this opportunity I was able to secure the necessary b roll footage for the final cut. The day after I was able to sit one on one with Lou to talk about the goals and steps to get a successful project going forward. 

 

After I had all of the footage obtained I was able to spend the next 3 days editing the footage to about 20 mins. I would then spend the next day trimming it down to a 10 minute promo project. 

 

So without further ado here is my promo  for the panAFRICAproject, please like & share this blog and please visit www.panafricaproject.org 

 

Promo video for PanAFRICAproject

The dilemma of the modern photographer

In the future as the camera becomes smaller and more invasive in everyday life which do you choose. As a member of the Nesop community I have access to some amazing equipment but how can I choose.  

 

With this dilemma in mind I was able to create a stock style image using one of my fellows to illustrate the paradox of too much choice. Sometimes there needs to be restriction in order to promote growth.  

 

Which tool will you choose?

Which tool will you choose?

Like the bonsai tree sometimes beauty comes from a subtle subtraction and refinement within restrictions.

The panAFRICAproject part 2- the eye behind the project.

As a continuation of yesterday's blog regarding the upcoming kickstarter from the talented Lou Jones for his panAFRICAproject; today I got a chance to sit one on one with Lou to talk about the goals of the project. 

The eye behind the lens

The eye behind the lens

We talked about the mission of the project in creating a respository of images showing the uncensored reality of one of the largest continents on earth. The western notions of Africa are driven by the images of war, poverty, & disease depicted by multiple media outlets. With more than a billion people living across more then 54 countries it can't all be images of starving children and rebel groups fighting. To view Africa in this context takes a very narrow view of the existence of the people of the continent.

 

As Lou stated in our interview there is an abundance of art, cultural, and commercial enterprises that gets overlooked when we view Africa. The mission of the project is to wider our understanding and create a resource available to educational outlets as well as to build bridges between those in tune with Africa whether at home or abroad. 

 

For my promo video I was able to talk with Lou about his goals and the support structure they have built and continue to build as the project evolves. They plan on using resources that have bodies of work from within the continent as well as social media outlets in each country and region. The project is inclusive in nature for helping to tell the true story of modern Africa.

 

From the interview and the B roll I captured during the kickstarter planning meeting I hope to be able to have a good outside perspective of the project. I hope to provide a resource to them, as they begin the launch of the kickstarter campaign, to fund the next leg of their journey. 

The editing begins... 

The editing begins... 

Please like or share this blog and check out www.fotojones.com or www.panafricaproject.org to find out more about the project and how you can become a part of the future of Africa. 

 

 

The panAFRICAproject: an interview with Lou Jones

As I wrap up my first year at Nesop I was given the final assignment of creating a promo video for my storytelling with multimedia. At first I struggled with an idea of what to work on.

 

It was through chance that I had noticed that a friend of mine was recently in Africa shooting on assignment for another photographer.  I initially reached out to him to see if he was interested in being interviewed about the trip. He then explained that the trip was part of a larger project.

 

It was then that I was put into contact with Lou Jones and educated on the panAFRICAproject's mission and the goal of using kickstarter to fund the project going forward. From talking with Lou I was excited to have the chance to create a promo video highlighting the creation of their kickstarter campaign. 

 

Today I was able to shoot B roll for a planning meeting focused on getting the campaign going. I was given access to see some of the equipment and prints that Lou has used over his lengthy career. As a photographer this was an amazing experience to have a Nikon legend let me see behind the curtain.  

 

As my promo takes shape I will be shooting an interview portion with Lou tomorrow. I hope to have the promo video edited and up on my website by next weekend. Please stay tuned for more to come. If you're interested in Lou jones work please visit www.fotojones.com & to learn more about the panAFRICAproject please visit www.panafricaproject.com thanks and please share to help this project get the finding it deserves. 

The kickstarter planning meeting

The kickstarter planning meeting

The household robot part 2

As promised before,  I have finished the household robot project and I'm currently talking with irobot to get a consumer model constructed so I can roll these out in time for the holidays. 

 

There are many times when you think, if I just had another arm life would be so much easier. So then you decide that two extra arms would be even better and then from there an idea for a mechanical assistant is born. As the construction began to take shape it seemed to get to be a larger and larger project. That's what ended up happening to my files as I began to work on them as well.

 

I started with a tiff file and as I added layers and groups I got to a point at 2 gigabytes that the file just wouldn't save not matter what I did to appease the photoshop gods. I then switched to a psd file sure that I wouldn't hit any limits on file size. Sure enough as I hit 4gigabytes I was again chastised by photoshop. I was then allowed to save finally when I promised Adobe my first born and jumped up to the newer file type of psb.

 

After handling the largest file I've ever created so far I find myself with a finished product albeit a massive one. This assignment was a great lesson in handling large photoshop files with layers upon layers of detail. Shown below is the first version of the bike mechanic 3000 or as I call him "Hal." Please take a look and feel free to leave me comments below. Thanks!

The Hal 3000 in beta testing. 

The Hal 3000 in beta testing. 

The household robot Part 1

For our last studio project we were given the assignment of shooting a scene including ourselves. The catch was then that we needed to create a robot to help us out with whatever task we were doing in the background scene.

With the return of The beautiful Weather I was finally able to carve out some time to participate in one of my favorite activities apart from shooting, that of mountain biking on the south shore. Taking this as inspiration I chose to create an image depicting an invention that every at home bike mechanic could use. My invention is the wrench procurement robot, good for handing the tool you need when you just need that extra hand. 

I shot the background plate with my bike and myself in the environment with the idea of shooting the pieces of the robot in the studio. The framework of the robot is shown in an early configuration below. 

The robot begins to take shape. 

The robot begins to take shape. 

Now that all of the pieces are shot, the next step is to composite all of the pieces and then build the robot and place it into the scene to create a finished shot.  I will update as the robot build progresses and showcase the finished product. Stay tuned for more updates and have a great day!

Biomechanics and the future.

Initial proof of concept  

Initial proof of concept  

The assignment was to shoot and composite an editorial concept using the skills and the studio lights we have developed. I choose to do a what-if advertisement for a future apple product placement based on the rise of wearable technologies. I created a rough proof of concept image using an existing image and gave it the blacked out look from the earlier days of the iPod. This rough edit can be found below. 

In order to successfully complete this concept I needed to picture the completed shot in my head and work backwards. Once I had the idea I then went about gathering any prop pieces for use in Photoshop. I went to a thrift store and grabbed a VCR and a DVD burner. After some careful application of a screwdriver and a hammer I was able to free a couple of the key components. A couple of transistors and circuit boards later and I had the pieces I needed for illustrating the concept.

 

 

In the studio I matched lighting and set up my models to serve as the foundation of the image. Using a grid and soft box to create fill and hair lighting and I had all of the pieces that I needed. I was able to pull together the pieces together into the image I had in mind. Below is an earlier edit of the final composition.

Mid proccess draft

Mid proccess draft

Then the final part was the compositing of the pieces into a coherent and well executed final product. With the male model I was able to line up of the components with an actual plate in his shoulder. Found below is the final image with the standard font used with iPod ads of the early 2000s.  I decided against using the blacked out idea from earlier in order to show a more surreal take on typical shots featuring athletes. Overall I'm happy with the overall idea and execution and may pursue this as a series going forward. Please let me know what you think by commenting or sharing this blog. Please subscribe to my website for updates. Thanks!

2025 the iPerson

2025 the iPerson