Monday, December 24, 2007

Sledding - Merry Christmas

Nothing says winter in Grand Rapids quite like true fear on the sledding hill near our house...

My daughter Maddie and nephew Owen white-knuckle it on a Red Torpedo.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Living in West Michigan Video

I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it. But a few months ago my friends at The Right Place were shooting a promotional video geared toward attracting professionals to live and work in West Michigan (ahem...Grand Rapids!).

So when they called and said "Hey, will you be part of a video talking about how great it is to live here?" I had to say they were licensing a TON of still photographs from me to appear in the video!

Check out the well as my photographs of the region in the video. I think the production value is really good (despite my mug being in it). Don't blink or you'll miss me...I appear a couple of times in the last third of the video. Here's two links:

Or on YouTube

Monday, December 10, 2007

Aerial Photography

I shot a lot of aerial photographs this summer for a variety of's one of my favorite things to do on a nice day. I have to admit that there are times on every flight where I have to ask myself, "I'm getting PAID to do this?"

As fun as it might sound, aerial photography certainly has a myriad of challenges to achieve great images. The high cost of flying is one and you won't get any "mulligans" on your client's dime. You have to have the right gear and pick the right weather in which to spend your client's money.

An experienced pilot (preferably flying a very shiny, clean plane with no visible dents or scratches) is a must. You can't be afraid to ask the pilot to fly over the target at various altitudes or ask him to bank sharply to get just the right angle. The photo above of the new soccer field at Aquinas College is a result of good communication between myself and the pilot in fleeting took a couple of passes before I felt I had "the shot."

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I've followed Jorg Colberg's weblog Conscientious for the last few years...Jorg has a keen eye for interesting contemporary photography from all over the world.

It's a fascinating site and one I check out every couple of weeks to see what's peaked Jorg's interest on the web.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wonder Woman

I'm not sure how often I'll be posting personal photos on my blog, but as I was backing up one of my hard drives tonight I came across this little gem from Halloween this fall.

My daughter Maddie is in 1st grade and her class had a parade through Clark Retirement Home on Halloween...she was dressed up like Wonder Woman. I grabbed this quick shot of her running down the school sidewalk as her class was walking to the retirement home.

Maddie is an incredible little girl and has a great sense of humor. She's our (very) free spirit. This photo has me chuckling every time I look at it. It sums up how she approaches her life...full speed!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rick DeVos Exhibition at The Photography Room

Our current show at The Photography is called Hover and features incredible aerial photographs of Grand Rapids by Rick DeVos.

This is our second major exhibition of Rick's work and it's been very well received...sales have been brisk!

Rick has manipulated the photographs to some degree...some of the aerial views make the cityscape look miniaturized or like architectural models.

Stop in to see the exhibition and say's a great show!

Brian Vander Ark plays The Photography Room

If you were at our gallery (The Photography Room) this past Saturday, I don't need to tell you what an inspiring performance Brian Vander Ark put on for all of us. I've been getting email and calls all day from people saying it was one of the best shows they've ever seen!

A curious side note; this show quickly sold out by mid-November! The gallery is arguably the BEST venue in Grand Rapids to listen to music in an intimate setting. Capacity is only 140 people. I spent a good amount of time last week deflecting calls asking for tickets (people were begging and there was nothing I could do!).

Enjoy the hand-held video doesn't really do BVA justice. Let's hope he plays the gallery again soon...if so get your tickets FAST!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Web Site is LIVE!

Ahhhhhh....can you feel it? My new photography web site is now live!

I turned to my good friends at Plenty Creative to come up with a new site design that highlights my commercial photography. I couldn't be more pleased with the results...check it out!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Brian Vander Ark - short film

Just got back from NC late last night...a mind-numbing 14 hour drive. Over the next day or two I'll be posting some quick photos of Brian Vander Ark as he put the finishing vocal touches on a new record with legendary producer Bill Szymczyk. Bill's worked with The Eagles, The Who, Bob Seger...Brian Vander get the drift.

My brother Brad (that's him with the camera) also shot hours and hours of film footage to be cut into a redBrick short film documentary that will debut before the album is released (target of February). Brad drove back to Boston to start cutting the film together. We've got really interesting interviews with Bill, Brian and tons of North Carolina scenery to hype the new record...

My first impressions of Brian's new album...his best yet...both lyrically and sonically. It's fantastic.

It's exhausting work. Here BVA takes a combat nap next to James Brown (who apparently still isn't buried and is staying at Bill's home).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Brian Vander Ark - North Carolina

Here's a couple photographs I took with Brian this morning. We had to scramble down a small ridge and dodge some hunters with dogs (and shot guns) to get to this location. The large rocks and morning sun peaking over the ridge made this particular shot work well.

Here's another shot close to Bill Szymczyk's house...there's a cool old mine near there. We tried a few things with the mine in the background but we both weren't really feeling it. So instead I put the sun right behind Brian's head to create a dramatic portrait.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Varnum photo shoot

I was working today all around the state for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett. I've been shooting for them for years and always love working with them.

I was shooting attorneys (figuratively speaking) at their Novi office as well as the Lansing office. By the time we hit Lansing in the late afternoon, the weather was as beautiful as a fall November day can get....with that perfect raking light photographers drool over.

I noticed this tree in front of the Capitol Building while parking the car and decided to photograph one of their enviromental lawyers on the Capitol lawn. Here's the shot:

I'd like to take a moment to thank our inept Michigan Legislature for leaving on vacation today even though they've been unable to pass a budget agreement in the last 6 months. It's politics as usual in Lansing and in the meantime the clock keeps ticking for the citizens and businesses of our faith is government is gone.

They don't rake leaves there apparently this case it worked to my advantage!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Shooting Brian Vander Ark

Exciting news! I just got confirmation this morning that I'm going to North Carolina next week to photograph Brian Vander Ark while he records his new album. We'll shoot some cool portraits and hang out in the recording studio. It'll be fun to watch the creative process of a great singer/songwriter.

I've been fortunate to work with Brian in the past and he's just the best...he'll do whatever it takes to push the envelope and get something outside the box. Here's a shot from a session we did in 2006 for his last album, Angel, Put Your Face On. This shot didn't end up being used but it's still one of my favorites from that shoot.

My brother Brad (who is a killer cinematographer) is coming down as well and we'll also be shooting a mini-documentary/short film of Brian as he records the album. We'll be doing interviews with Brian as well as his legendary producer, Bill Szymczyk. We'll cut and edit this footage into an EPK (electronic press kit) to promote the release of the new record.

Brian tells me the new album is targeted to be released in February...lots of work to do for all of us!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Via Design photo shoot

Here's a couple of shots from a recent photo shoot I completed for Via Design here in Grand Rapids. They are an absolutely incredible architectural design firm with projects going on all over the country and the Caribbean.

This shoot incorporated both architectural shots of Via's offices as well as portraits of their was a blast!
And here's a portrait of one of Via's interior designers:

In Boston for Josh Rouse Concert

I flew out to Boston for the weekend to hang out with my brother Brad and take in a Josh Rouse concert...incredible show.

If you're unfamiliar with Josh's music, your life is most likely sad and incomplete. Pick up a copy of Nashville, 1972 or Country Mouse, City House and feel the Love Vibration.

Brad snapped this photo of Josh and band mates at the Somerville Theater. I didn't really get permission to use it from him...but I did pick up dinner before the show.

Caution - New Blogger onboard! blogger here! I'll try to not to step on any one's line (golfing term) while I get the feel for this. The catalyst for this giant leap into the matrix is that within the next couple of weeks I'll have an entirely overhauled photography web site (

Thanks to my good friends at, it's going to be a fantastic looking pressure PC!!

Part of the new web site enables me to link to my new blog. I'll be sharing photo highlights from recent shoots. It's also likely that I won't resist spilling some of my opinions about my home city of Grand Rapids, MI.

G-Rap is jammin'...and I'm lucky to have a front row seat with my camera in hand. Check back often...