Happy New Year!

Canon 7D with 40mm f2.8 lens

Now that it is 2014, I’m proud to present to you:
A new website!
A new camera!
A new blog template!

How exciting my tech life is these days.

New Website
I created a new website, HaleyMBrown.com, to showcase my photo and video work and provide an official way of contacting me, since now I have a new business email address (haley@haleymbrown.com) through the website. The website has been live since summer, but I haven’t made it known through this blog yet, so I thought now is a great time to share. It’s very visual, very media and I like it. Teal, turquoise and red are my favorite colors and I used an image that incorporated those colors from the background of a teleprompter that I had photographed on a prior shoot. I thought this photo represents what I do professionally very well: photography, video, teleprompting, production, all of that and then some.

New Camera
I have craved a new camera for quite some time now, especially since I’m a videographer and editor at my job. Since I work on high quality equipment at my job, I thought I should also invest and incorporate comparable gear into my freelance/hobby life as well, which will benefit me in the long run anyways. I felt like I pushed my older camera’s functions to many extremes, and it was starting to limit what I wanted to do such as more low-light and night photography, as well as time-lapses and VIDEO! Right before 2013 ended, Lorne, who I work with for Perfect Cut Productions, offered me a great deal on his Canon 7D + 40mm f2.8 pancake lens + accessories and I felt like the deal was too good to pass up, even though it was all of a sudden and right after Christmas. It was time to upgrade my equipment. And fun fact, I’ve actually used this camera many times on set with his crew so I knew it was in good hands prior to me buying it which tends to be a fear when buying (gently) used gear. So the deal worked, and now I’m able to offer photo and video services at an even higher quality than before! Plus, it’s a new toy for me and I’m eager to work on new projects, of course.

New Blog Template
Lastly, to round out my media upgrades, I unveil the new blog template that I just recently changed. To me, this layout feels fresh and bright and coordinates well with my website. Some of the previous blog posts may not be formatted well with the new layout, since I designed the original posts to work well with the former layout, but I’m doing my best to update those. I get to figure out how best to display my images within posts and what works well with my new layout. If you find any bugs with my blog or my website feel free to email me or drop a reply on here; I’m pretty quick about finding the solution.

More Projects
My tech life is always a work in progress, which reflects how much media shifts and evolves over time, but it’s something you can always use to improve your skills, challenge yourself and achieve creative results, which keeps media exciting! My New Year’s Resolution? To take more photos and video!

I know that later this month, I will help out on set of a featurette produced by Tugboat Pictures, and I also have a couple of photo sessions in mind for portraits/headshots. So I look forward to shooting more and in turn posting about my experiences and projects, accompanied with photos from my new camera!

Thanks for keeping up to date with my work.

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Gobinon

Peter faces the smoke monsters in Gobinon.

In November, my co-worker and friend Byron Wolter asked me to help out on set of his independent feature film, Gobinon. I knew that the film had been a production-in-progress for over a year. Byron even joked to me about how he has used up almost every resource in town to complete the project. Byron wrote, directed and starred in Gobinon and I know he is treating the film like his child. He is caring and tending to it over a long time while undergoing the hardships and pressures of producing an independent film. Seeing that his film is really important to him, I wanted to help his production come to a close by assisting with camera, lighting and general production labor.

Just a few more action scenes needed shot for Byron’s film. These scenes alluded to the mysterious sci-fi movie that Byron had described to me before, shots where his character, Peter, has dream-like episodes where he portrays a janitor chased by smoke monsters.

A shot of Byron Wolter as Peter on the roof during the first night.  Instagram: @brown300

A shot of Byron Wolter as Peter on the roof during the first night. Instagram: @brown300

On the first night of shooting the last shots for the film, the smoke monsters chased Peter across rooftops. The temperature at night dropped really low and we had to shoot the rooftop scenes in harsh, biting winds. The crew persevered and kept working through the cold as we got the needed shots. Byron had wide jumps to clear from structure to structure on the roof. We got to incorporate the given architectural elements into the scene, such as Byron running through these big, pyramid-shaped skylights jutting upwards from the roof, which added unique visual interest and light. He also had to run and abruptly stop at roof edges and peer over them while staying balanced and cautious, which is unnerving at four to five stories high off of the ground.

Matthew Levandoski, Director of Photography.

Matthew Levandoski, Director of Photography.

Thomas Greenwood as a smoke monster.

Thomas Tiggleman as a smoke monster.

On the second evening and after a few takes of a continuous shot of Byron running through the town square, we condensed to shooting in a tight alleyway. We knocked out shot after shot with ease, as it was a closely shot, stare-down moment between Byron and smoke monsters. I had more time to shoot production stills while we kept filming, as set up time for each shot was minimal. Later that night, we wrapped the film. Byron had felt very bittersweet about this, since it was a film he was shooting for over a year but it was finally coming to a close—the beginning of the end of the Gobinon journey.

Recently, I was able to see a rough cut of the film, and I discovered it was layered with more mystery and ambiguity than I had imagined, and was way different from what I had thought. From what I interpreted from this edit—and without spoiling in detail—the dream sequences that Peter experienced shaped his graphic novel as well as complemented the life’s work of his significant other, Rachel, but Peter doesn’t piece this together until the end. Yes, that’s right, it’s also a love story of these two characters, a love story paralleled with the subject of Rachel’s work: the evolution of the species of fish called the Gobinon.

It’s almost no wonder that the quote, “You may change direction, but your heart keeps its bearing,” is central to this film through its story and in its characters and writer.

Now with the production wrapped, Byron can focus on editing and completing the film. He anticipates the night of the big premiere in town, knowing it will feel bittersweet to see the filmmaking process end for this story but remaining hopeful about the future of Gobinon and the film festivals he plans to enter with it. For him to finish the film and submit it to festivals is a huge accomplishment, and I wish him the best of luck saving the world with Gobinon.

Gobinon Official Trailer from ByronWolter on Vimeo.

U.S.S. Indiana

An article in The Herald-Times back in June reported that the U.S.S. Indiana prow would reside at the Indiana University Memorial Stadium in the near future and join its mast and guns that currently live there. The prow of the U.S.S. Indiana was delivered to the stadium on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

USS Indiana in front of Memorial Stadium.

U.S.S. Indiana in front of Memorial Stadium.

The inside of the prow's shell.

The inside of the prow’s shell.

Before Thursday, the prow sat in a restaurant parking lot in California. Now, it sits in the stadium’s parking lot in Indiana awaiting restoration, preservation, parts added onto it, and its final placement amongst the mast and guns. It arrived around 4:00 p.m. on the back of a hauling trailer, and nearly all of the university student’s cars were gone. Nearing the end of business hours, there had yet to be any fanfare that I noticed from my porch outside my apartment.

I planned to capture photos of it after my dinner plans and during sunset. The evening was hot but the light was great during this golden hour. Being an IU alum and living by the stadium gives you plenty of nostalgic, historic photo ops that are hard to pass up. This one was special, because it was still early in the scope of its new life at IU.

During the time I took photos, only a couple of people drove by to take a look, a quick snapshot, and drove away. Bicyclists passed by on their routes elsewhere. For the most part, its arrival went unnoticed. The prow awaited for the new care that IU would put into it as they include it as part of a memorial and a symbol. But before all of that happens, I was able to capture how it looked at the very beginning of its transition.

Bicyclists are an icon to IU, much like the USS Indiana.

Bicyclists are an icon to IU, much like the U.S.S. Indiana.

USS Indiana

U.S.S. Indiana

A busy year.

I admit I haven’t been updating this as regularly as I need to, but that is because I have kept busy working on lots of projects. However, I do want to post an update of what has happened during this busy time.

For the past year, I have worked for the Kelley School of Business as a Multimedia Specialist where I am currently deep into the world of video, which I hadn’t been before. I shoot photos and videos of panel discussions, case competitions, guest lectures, marketing projects and school events.

Most of our videos are created for the Global Leaders Network, which is an academic resource for Kelley faculty, students, alumni and guests. Some videos are uploaded to the school’s YouTube accounts, which I help manage, and here are a few examples of videos that I have edited:

I have also blogged for BtownMenus.com, a Bloomington delivery service, and reported on area restaurant’s deals on food.

I have worked with BloomingtonOnline.net and had the opportunity to photograph the 2012 Homeward Bound Walk for Homelessness as well as the Monroe County Fair.

Then there is the greatest melodic death metal band, Starkill. I say the greatest because they’re the only band I listen to in that genre. I photographed on set of a couple of their videos produced by Perfect Cut Productions this past winter. It was a bitterly cold, long weekend in January but shooting these guys with the PCP crew was worth it.

Earlier this spring, I photographed a musical produced by the Edgewood High School’s theater department.

Finally, I must showcase the portraits that I have taken of my friends that they requested of me for professional or personal use.

I’ve certainly learned a lot in each experience and hope to see more challenges and opportunities, as long as it encourages growth. Here’s to another year of more fun places and people to document.

. . . Pt. 1

[Dot Dot Dot Part One]

It was the fourth of December and I was with some friends at a bar, The Bluebird, for Dot Dot Dot’s concert; I think I have seen about five of their shows on various occasions. Chicago-based Dot Dot Dot plays a set that includes original songs such as “All Be Alright,” “Smile” and “Stay,” and covers current and past hit songs like “Poker Face,” “Yellow,” “Footloose” and even Nintendo ditties; their punky stage style balances out their charming pop songs and personalities. Dot Dot Dot performed a great show, which paired nicely with a couple of blue Dirty Birds down the throat and a couple of good friends dancing along by my side.

During the concert, one of my friends had tweeted Dot Dot Dot and tagged me in the tweet as well. When Dot Dot Dot read it later, they approached me on Twitter for an opportunity to photograph their “winter formal”-themed show at The Bluebird on January 28, a show planned and pulled together since. [Plog coming soon]

Friends enjoying 15 cent beers at The Bluebird.

In preparation for that show, although I will mainly be taking fan portraits, I went to The Bluebird to see Dot Dot Dot again to basically practice photographing inside the venue and check how my Sony DSLR works with the rapid, colorful changes of stage lighting. Luckily they had a show January 11 before the winter formal, and it fell on a day of two friends’ 21st birthdays and they both wanted to go to the concert. Also, it was on a Wednesday and no one can beat 15 cent domestic beers!

And so I went to the show and chatted with my friends and photographed the band. I always feel like I have a “warming up” period of shooting where I am adjusting to the environmental conditions and testing out various methods of shooting such as longer exposures, fast-action speeds, etc. For me, this shoot was experimental and new.

Little Lisa.

Concerts are difficult to photograph because of many factors: the stage, the lights, the fog machines, the crowd and the angles of everything. The Bluebird is dark and dimly lit but has overpowering, bright, saturated stage lights. In order to switch it up I took photos at various spots surrounding the stage, including from the room that looks onto the stage, the middle, elevated platform, and atop benches against the walls. I was not going to barge my way and intrude upon anyone that drunkenly claimed their territories by mounting themselves front and center of the stage. But for the second set that Dot Dot Dot played, one kind person moved and offered me his spot at the front brink of the stage, where I was able to capture photographs directly under Little Lisa as she kicked in her knee-high boots.

It takes as much preparation to plan to get shots or it is just luck. When I say preparation, I mean everything from charging batteries ahead of time and bringing extra memory cards, knowing how the lights will move and change at certain parts of certain songs, to seconds-before-the-action-knowing what apertures and shutter speeds to set for predicting a performer’s physical movements. Since I am mainly photojournalistic in how I shoot, it works to my advantage in this case because I know I do not have control over the elements of the scene, much like in photojournalism, and that is where I am beginning to see the difference between photojournalism and photography. Concerts are tricky to shoot, but working around variables adds to the challenge and the fun of shooting performances.

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> More DOT DOT DOT photos on Flickr <