The First Time I Saw Haiti

Comment

The First Time I Saw Haiti

20180113_RBGL_3023.jpg

Hi all! It's Jamie here. 

On my first day of work, Jim asked me if I'd go to Haiti to capture images for Rebuild Globally. He stated that it's an odd request and that he couldn't make me go but I quickly responded, "I want to." With six days left in my twenty sixth year, I had my camera and snacks in my lap as we descended into Haiti and the mountains came in view.

Jim has been partnering with Rebuild since they started in 2010, right after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. They are a nonprofit that provides education and work training programs for Haitians, empowering them to take charge of their future and end the cycle of poverty. With that in mind, I hopped off the plane with eyes wide ready to take in all that I could in just three short days.

20180113_RBGL_3042.jpg
20180112_RBGL_1048.jpg
20180113_RBGL_3048.jpg

I rode in the back of a pickup truck with some of the team as we headed to the workshop on the bumpy backroad that avoided traffic and overloaded my senses. Every building covered with the richest colors you can think of, the sounds of horns and motorcycles zooming by, and games of dominoes happening beneath the shade of the trees on the side of the road next to piles of trash. The harsh reality of the developing country hit me. Such beauty and such poverty all in one place. But there they all were, looking so content sitting down, or strolling by on their way to live another day.

20180113_RBGL_2053.jpg
20180112_RBGL_1942.jpg
20180112_RBGL_1873.jpg

The island breeze blew as Marco opened the gate and we pulled into the workshop. It felt like a hidden oasis. Every tree creating a bright, green canopy over this place that felt like a safe haven for all who entered. Smiles were on every face as Julie, the founder, and the team hopped out of the car and into the arms of the people that they've provided hope and employment for. We spent our whole time here interviewing and capturing images of the life of Rebuild. Whether we were capturing the artisans making products in the Deux Mains workshop or being a fly on the wall in the Work Training Program, it was beautiful to see hope in their smiles and hear it in their interviews. 

20180112_RBGL_2317.jpg

I would step foot into the workshop, the sounds of the sewing machine mixed with laughter and music greeted me. Deux Mains is the sustainable fashion company that Rebuild has developed. Each person working with their two hands on a different part of the shoes, bags, earrings and more that Deux Mains creates. Talent filled the room and these hardworking individuals were inspiring me with each stitch sown and sandal made. 

 

I can't remember this boy's name but he made a moment for all of us during lunch. He loves math and says he'll be a doctor one day. His favorite song played as he stole everyone's attention with each of his smooth dance moves. All those surrounding were filled with joy, laughter and a desire to move right along with him. Nothing else mattered in that moment and it'll stick with me for quite some time. It was an honor to work alongside Rebuild and capture the little moments that make up the dreams they are developing in these children and adults. I only wish I knew French or Creole so I could have done more than point at my camera when they wanted photos.

20180113_RBGL_2541.jpg
20180113_RBGL_2450.jpg

On our last day at Rebuild, the students came in for their Education Training Program. As they were taking notes during their tutoring session, this girl looked up at me and asked if taking photos was my passion. Shocked that she knew English, I paused before saying that I love capturing moments. She laughed and said, "It's all you seem to do." I quickly agreed. Filled with curiosity, I could see her desire to seek out her passion and follow her dreams with every question she continued to ask. 

 If I learned anything in my short time in Haiti, it's that you can make a comeback. This country has struggled through so much, but I believe that with the help of companies like Rebuild Globally, their comeback is happening now. 

Thanks for recapping my trip with me! I hope that you're inspired to keep dreaming and keep doing. If you'd like to support Rebuild Globally head on over to their site to learn how you can help end poverty.

Comment

A Dog Blog

Comment

A Dog Blog

 Not every Tuesday is this furry.

Our friends at Curley & Pynn came to us with a request for portraits of their team's pets for their holiday card. Their hope for the cards was to share some PAWsitivity with others during this holiday season. We're big fans of puns and paws, so we agreed.

So in walked Brooklyn, Nitro, Jack, Dolce, Sierra and Moo. Normally we get handshakes and sometimes hugs from clients after a shoot, but this time we got lots of kisses too. And with faces like theirs we couldn't turn them down. 

20171128_CURL_0183.jpg
20171128_CURL_0044.jpg
20171128_CURL_0197.jpg
20171128_CURL_0090.jpg
20171128_CURL_0266.jpg
20171128_CURL_0322.jpg

But wait there's more.

20171128_PORT_0041.jpg

Years ago at a fundraiser, we photographed Roberta and her 5 Shelties. Last week she emailed us asking for an updated portrait with herself and those same five pups. The oldest is now 14 and Roberta is unsure of how much longer she'll have with all of them. Remembering the photo we took of them years ago, we said yes! She brought the whole crew downtown for a quick shoot. They pups were so friendly, obedient and made for great models too. There's also nothing like riding down the elevator with five furry friends. We definitely saved the best for last.

Moral of the story: some requests are just too cute to decline. 

20171128_PORT_0050.jpg

 

 

Comment

Meet our new Studio Apprentice!

Comment

Meet our new Studio Apprentice!

Hey there!

I’m Jamie Thompson, the newest addition to the Macbeth Studio team.

I’m an Orlando native that loves light and capturing moments. I graduated from UCF with a Studio Art degree in 2014 and moved to Atlanta six months later for a major contract job. I was fortunate enough to be paid to work and travel across the country, even into Alaska and Canada. After my year contract in Atlanta was up, I decided to move back home and be close to my family and friends. Orlando is something special and I guess it took me leaving to realize that.

As the Studio Apprentice, I’m given the opportunity to truly be a jill-of-all-trades.

 

I’m excited to dive into multiple areas around the studio, learn new things and have a good time while doing so. It’s a small team and I am grateful for the chance to grow and work alongside some of Orlando’s best.

When I’m not working or being cozy at home with my family, East End Market is to me what Central Perk was to Friends. You can often find me there working on my own personal projects, or just catching up with pals. I love traveling, creating photo magazines, and connecting with the other creatives in this city. It's good to be a part of a team that is so loved by so many and I'm excited to see where the Macbeth road will take me. Thanks for reading a little bit about me, maybe I'll meet you along the way!

Best,

Jamie

20171106_COKE_0001.jpg

Comment

Add Some Sparkle To A Party

1 Comment

Add Some Sparkle To A Party

Late this past summer, Macbeth Studio was invited to provide a photo booth at The Dinner Party Project's 2-year anniversary party (our booth was sponsored by Yelp Orlando).  The venue was a gorgeous event space on West Church Street, with a ton of natural light. 

 Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The venue had this great wooden wall already in place, the TDPP team provided the plants/balloons, and we set up our gear for shooting and live-posting.

Dana Marie Roquemore, the owner and operator of TDPP, asked us if we could use some sparklers in our photos. This adds a whole lot of fun for the party-goers, and also a whole lot of complexity for the photographers.

So of course we said yes, and that we'd make it work.

All that natural light in the venue presented a problem, so we waited until after the sun set to break out the sparklers. Then we got to control all the variables, which studio photographers love. The trick is to keep the ambient light to an absolute minimum, so motion-blur isn't too much of a problem. 

The strobe fires, freezing the faces and background, then the shutter stays open (in the dark) for as long as needed to capture the fire-trails. A tripod keeps everything still during the long exposure.

Once we got the camera settings dialed in (see bottom of post for tech details), it was a matter of giving each group a quick how-to lesson on sparkler photography, which we did with mixed results, as you will see.

The ground rules we explained to each group were as follows:

  • Hold all your sparklers together, touching at the tip, so we can get them all lighted at the same time (these were the small ones that only burn for about 30 seconds, or long enough for about 2 photos).
  • Once your sparklers are lit, get into position, and I'll give you a countdown to the start of the shot. The strobe will fire, and that's how you will look for the photo (so smile at the beginning).
  • After the strobe fires, you'll have 5 seconds to draw in the air, which we will count down. At this point, you don't have to keep smiling, as only the sparkler is registering on the sensor.

  • Don't put the sparkler between your face and the camera, or you will be blocked by a shower of sparks.
  • Keep the sparkler moving, or you'll get a white-hot dot
  • If you want to write words in the air, remember that you have to write in reverse, so think about how the letters would look in a mirror.
 Don't put the sparklers in front of your face, unless you want to remain anonymous.

Don't put the sparklers in front of your face, unless you want to remain anonymous.

 Timing counts... If you're going to write "MOM," you need to plan enough time for all the M's. Fortunately, MOM reads the same way in the mirror.

Timing counts... If you're going to write "MOM," you need to plan enough time for all the M's. Fortunately, MOM reads the same way in the mirror.

 It's easy to get carried away... 

It's easy to get carried away... 

 "We want to make a triangle."

"We want to make a triangle."

 Again, don't put the sparklers between your face and the camera.

Again, don't put the sparklers between your face and the camera.

 It's difficult to stress this enough.

It's difficult to stress this enough.

 It's ok to move them around a little... just not in front of your face.

It's ok to move them around a little... just not in front of your face.

 Writing backwards in the air is hard, even when the letters look the same both ways. 

Writing backwards in the air is hard, even when the letters look the same both ways. 

 It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.

 Bonus points for penmanship.

Bonus points for penmanship.

Let us know how you think we — and our subjects — did, and if we can help you with your holiday party shenanigans.

Learn more about our bookable hand-painted and live-posted photo booths here: macbethstudio.com/book-a-booth

TECH DETAILS:  Canon 5DIII, Canon 24-105 f/4, 50mm, 5 seconds at f/16, ISO 400, strobe fires on first shutter curtain open.

1 Comment

Paws for Peace

Comment

Paws for Peace

Jim and Tommy the Dog took to the park to participate in the 6th Annual Paws for Peace Walk, put together by Harbor House of Central Florida. 

Harbor House is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent and eliminate domestic abuse in Central Florida by providing critical life-saving services to survivors, implementing and advancing best practices, and educating and engaging the community in a united front. domestic violence in Central Florida.  They help to empower women and children in these situations by creating safety, security, and shelter.  87% of Harbor House fundraising goes directly to the victims of domestic abuse.

The Paws for Peace walk is an important fundraising event for Harbor House as well as the community because of its stride to raise awareness about domestic abuse and its effects on pets and their owners. 48% of survivors don’t leave their abusive situations because they are fearful that harm will be brought to their pet. The Paws for Peace event donates 100% of its proceeds to the survivors and their pets staying at the Harbor House.  

If you would like to learn more about Harbor House of Central Florida, or just want to know how to get involved with them, you can find all of their information at www.harborhousefl.com.

In the meantime, check out this dogumentary shot by Tommy. Jim strapped a camera (the Tommy Cam™)  to him to capture this adorable video. 

Comment

[Tilt] Shifting Gears

Comment

[Tilt] Shifting Gears

Architectural photography is a peculiar specialty niche. 

The gear is different, the subjects are different, the lighting is different from most other kinds of photography. We recently purchased a new piece of kit for our architectural photography: a Tilt-Shift lens.This is a magical tool that does not one, but two different tricks (tilting and shifting) that the average lens can't.  The shift trick is what I'm going to talk about today (I'll get into the tilting component another time).  'Shifting' refers to the lens moving up/down or left/right, while remaining in the same plane as the sensor.  

 Canon 17mm TS-E f/4.0 L (photo credit: Canon.com)

Canon 17mm TS-E f/4.0 L (photo credit: Canon.com)

 Antique bellows-style camera (photographer unknown)

Antique bellows-style camera (photographer unknown)

The origin of this strange behavior goes back to the early days of photography, when the lens was attached to the film holder (and light kept out) by a "bellows" -- kind of an accordian-shaped black flexible connector.  This allowed the front lens to move independently from the film-holder (but critically, in the same plane as the film).

The advantage of this shifting action becomes clear when you want to photograph a tall building from ground level.  As anyone who's wandered the streets of Manhattan knows, the only way to see (or shoot) the top of a tall building is to tilt your head (and your camera) back and look up. This perspective immediately creates the familiar converging-lines, making a tall, rectangular building look more like a pyramid.  

 (Image: designyourway.net)

(Image: designyourway.net)

However, a shift lens allows you to slide the lens upward, parallel to the plane of the sensor, meaning that the camera is looking up without tilting up -- a little bit like how a periscope works.  This means that the vertical lines remain truly vertical and parallel, and don't converge.  You may recognize this iconic photo of the Flatiron Building (almost certainly shot with a bellows camera), which is an excellent example of this phenomenon.

 (photographer unknown)

(photographer unknown)

We've only had our tilt-shift lens for a few weeks, and we haven't had many assignments yet that can take advantage of this powerful tool.  However, when I went to New York a couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of hours to play.  I was visiting a friend's office in midtown, so I shot a photo of her company's new building, which is across the street from the New York Public Library. 

  Photo: ©MacbethStudio.com

Photo: ©MacbethStudio.com

I also had time to walk a few blocks to the iconic St. Patrick's Cathedral.  The scaffolding had recently come down after a multi-year, $175-million renovation project, so this was a good time to capture it.  I was all the way back against the buildings on the other side of the street to get this shot, and needed every bit of the 17mm wide-angle to get the tops of the spires in the shot. But you can see -- even though the spires come to a point -- how everything remains vertical and non-converging.

 Photo: ©MacbethStudio.com

Photo: ©MacbethStudio.com

Comment

From Club Member to Volunteer

Comment

From Club Member to Volunteer

Learning how to go from club member to volunteer one event at a time. 

Do good day happened for me twice this month with Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida. The first opportunity was my photography class at the Taft Branch. I think the word that sums it up the best is "nervous."  I was nervous, my teens were nervous, we were all nervous.  I have five teens participating in this class, most of whom I have known for many years. They were trying to be respectful but still learning how to see me as a volunteer, and I was trying to lead them while still trying to figure out how to take on this new role.  We ended up going out on a 10 minute “field trip” photographing around the club, inside and out. Sitting in a room is not the way to learn about taking pictures, it's about experience. Giving the teens this opportunity seemed to loosen everyone up, and when we came back, I was able to understand what they wanted learn more about.  I used the time to learn a little bit about Osmo and learn how to take selfies with him like this one.

 I showed Ms. Anna, the Service Director of the Taft Branch the selfie mode on Osmo.

I showed Ms. Anna, the Service Director of the Taft Branch the selfie mode on Osmo.

I’m really happy about how the class went.  It is honestly just really cool to give these teens who have an interest in digital art a place to talk and ask questions about it.  I wish I would have had this as a club member, but during my time at the club there wasn’t a lot of interest in this area yet.  Now times are changing and there is interest, I am glad I can help facilitate it. 

The second event I volunteered at was their annual Celebrate the Children Fundraising Event.  Celebrate is the one time a year everyone gets together, and I mean everyone. You have about 1,000 club kids dressing up and engaging with donors. You have donors, old and new, coming back to this event or coming for the first time. There is a silent auction before the dinner event and entertainment put on by the club members, and the keynote speaker is the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida Youth of the Year. The event is to celebrate the members of this organization and all that they can and will do today and into the future. This was my first year volunteering instead of attending as a club member. My job was to help Ms. Martha, a staff at the Tupperware Branch (who, fun fact, used to be a staff member at my branch when I was six years old) with the green screen Photo Booth-something most of the Macbethians are familiar with, I’m sure. It was a fun time to take what I had learned from Macbeth Studio and apply it to an event I have been familiar with. 

 The calm before the storm.  Setting up for all the donors and club members who will be dinning here tonight.

The calm before the storm.  Setting up for all the donors and club members who will be dinning here tonight.

I’m really thankful to have these opportunities to come back to Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.  And I can’t wait to do more.  Tah tah for now. Next time I'll be discussing class number two with my teens. 

Comment

Lox Farms

Comment

Lox Farms

Lox Farms is a ten acre organic micro farm located in Loxahatchee, Florida, just outside of West Palm Beach. 

Comment

A Positive Place for Kids

1 Comment

A Positive Place for Kids

Boys and Girls Club is a nonprofit organization that helps to inspire local at-risk youth between the ages of 6 and 18 by giving them a safe place to do, well... anything. 

1 Comment

Speed up to slow down.

Comment

Speed up to slow down.

I first discovered this particular technique when I was in high school in 1983, when I saw the video for "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police. 

Comment

The Times, They are A-Changing

Comment

The Times, They are A-Changing

It has been quite an exciting few weeks here at the Macbeth studio.  To recap: Hillery, our studio manager, prepared to leave for her honeymoon, we scrambled to cover her position, finally brought Justine back from the west coast, and now we've hired two new interns!  The Macbeth staff continues to grow both creatively and in numbers - brace yourselves Orlando, we're a force to be reckoned with.  

For those of you who were a part of our very short application and interview window,  we thank you so much.  We were impressed with all your work and blown away by the response we got. You are all truly talented individuals, and we hope to see you again in the future!  Without further ado, we are so excited to announce the two newest members of our team, officially starting March 14th!  We thought we'd let them introduce themselves...

- - - - - - - - - - 

ELYSE UGALDE: Studio Management Intern

  The reason I chose this photo is because I am smiling and surrounded by friends (they are not actually in the photo). Plus, I'm wearing a wicked leather jacket so everyone can tell right away how cool I am. (Joke!)

The reason I chose this photo is because I am smiling and surrounded by friends (they are not actually in the photo). Plus, I'm wearing a wicked leather jacket so everyone can tell right away how cool I am. (Joke!)

Hello friends!  Jim is allowing me to indulge my narcissism through a short introduction, so here goes nothing: the year was 1987, it was an unseasonably warm November morning - Oh, what’s that? That’s too far back? Ok, fast-forward.

I am a first generation American and I was raised by my sweet mama and my grandparents. I’ve got two brothers, two adorable nephews and one precious niece. I love my family so much that I avoid talking politics with them.  I consider my Cuban heritage to be a major aspect of my identity.  I grew up in Miami, but after moving to Orlando as a teen, I quickly learned that Orlando is a diverse group of awesome people who are working together to elevate our city.  My ultimate goal is to contribute as much as possible to our community.  I am an MBA student focusing in marketing who enjoys coffee, writing, Pho, fantasy novels and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.  But, mostly I like to surround myself with creative and kind people.  That’s where Macbeth fits in!  I am beyond thrilled to work with such an accomplished team and I am looking forward to learning as much as I possibly can before they realize how annoying I am and ask me to leave.  I might get to meet you, too!  So, please say hi and compliment me on my nails.  Yes, I did just get them done, thank you for noticing!  But enough about me, let’s talk about you.

 

SARAH TATUM:  Photography, Videography, & Editing Intern

It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce myself to you as one of the new additions to the Macbeth team.  My name is Sarah and I am an Orlando Native.  I grew up here, learned to drive here, spent my free time at the local Boys and Girls Club here, and went through my awkward high school phase here.  When I turned 18 I wanted to experience a new place, a new culture, so I applied and was accepted into Florida State University (Go Noles!). I packed my bags and went off to college leaving the beautiful Orlando and my awkward high school phase behind.

I studied Journalism at FSU but have always had a passion for photography and videography.  I was a club photographer for one of the more popular areas in town called the Strip.  It was the place to be your freshman year of college, and I saw many stories unfold before me.  I also had the amazing opportunity to work on the sci-fi web series "Chronos" with IronZoo Productions.  I even got to study abroad in Spain and write articles about the culture I was experiencing.  I loved my time spent in Tallahassee, but as graduation approached it was time to figure out what was next for me in the post-college world, so I came home.  Now I get the amazing opportunity to learn from the Macbeth Team.  I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to start in March!

- - - - - - - - - - 

There you have it!  The times certainly are "a-changing" here at Macbeth.  We can't wait to have you ladies on board in a few weeks! 

Comment

Guess Who's Back?!

Comment

Guess Who's Back?!

Temporarily, that is.  

Hello Macbethians!  My name is Justine.  Some of you may remember me from a couple years ago; I was Jim's pre-Hillery assistant until my restless soul brought me all the way across the country to San Francisco.  I figured I should re-introduce myself here (and say hello to some new faces) since I will be covering for Hillery while she is on her honeymoon.  If you happen to come through our studio or need to contact us over the next few weeks, I'll be your gal!  

Since saying an emotional farewell to Macbeth and the city of Orlando two years ago, I have been pretty busy to say the least.  Even though California was a greater experience than I could have imagined, my wanderlust is still stronger than my love for the west coast.  I spent last year chasing music festival season from Washington to Tennessee, hiking the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, and just recently got back from spending two months traveling from South Africa to Zimbabwe (you can catch some of the Africa action yourself in the video below!).  I once again put all my belongings into a backpack, began travel blog Words from the Wild with my favorite adventure partner/love of my life, and have been spending lots of time both in front of and behind cameras... although most of them are GoPro's!   

And now I get to temporarily resume my "old life" here in Orlando before heading off to the next big adventure!  Although, working for Macbeth is an adventure in and of itself.   Even with the distance, Hillery, Morgan, and Jim have remained great creative influences in work and even greater friends in life, and I am so excited to be part of the team again - even if it's only for a few weeks.  I've only been back one day so far, and I can already see Macbeth has grown so much since I left in 2014.  That being said, I cannot wait to work with all of your familiar friendly faces, and meet some new ones! 

 

 

 From left:  Morgan, Hillery, me, and Sarah Peerani celebrating Jim's AAF Silver Medal Award back in April 2014.  This was also one of my last days in Orlando before moving!  

From left:  Morgan, Hillery, me, and Sarah Peerani celebrating Jim's AAF Silver Medal Award back in April 2014.  This was also one of my last days in Orlando before moving!  

A look inside my most recent trip to Africa, spanning across seven countries in two months.

 

 

 

Comment