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Posts tagged ‘Photographer’

Bb: Nikon Ambassador

If you think there is a chance that I typed the title of this blog without laughing with excitement like a child, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just reading it draws strong emotion… it is an honor, it is a privilege, it is not deserved and I will forever be humbled to announce that I have been chosen as an ambassador to Nikon. With all the composure I have to have on sets of great responsibility, I had none when I got the call with the formal request to be a part of the Nikon family. I was choked up in the brief conversation that proceeded, and after I hung up I just sat on the couch staring blankly out the window.

Being an ambassador to Nikon means so much more than having my name and picture on their site. It represents validity that what I am doing has been enjoyed by others, and for that I am grateful. Money removed, I would still do this job because it excites those around me, it gives us something to talk about. Recently I learned that the father of a man, for whom I have great respect, is going through a very tough health struggle. The father, in the hospital, asked that one of the photos I took be displayed above his bed. This man, is the reason why I create. He and the many of you like him are my pride and my inspiration.

It is for this reason that congratulations to you all is in order. For without you I would not be a Nikon Ambassador. This honor rests on the shoulders of you that wrote me an email, tweet, text and said you enjoyed a photo. It is because of the people that picked up a magazine that had my imagery on it or showed a friend my website because it had a cool car or famous person on it.

For all that you guys do, Thank You so much.

How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb

Catchy title, huh?  That’s exactly what I thought when I saw a short review on the book by Peter Kuran titled, wait for it…. “How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb

To understand me, you must first know that I have a lot of free time, whether it be on planes or just sitting around the house, I try and spend at least a day each week reading about random hobbies/interests.  One such interest is nukes… go ahead and say it, “Blair has lost his damn mind.”

I promise I haven’t, but rather find them and how they were created thoroughly interesting.  Then I happened upon Mr. Kuran’s book and the world of nukes and photography collided, I was smitten.

Images such as this one captivated me:

Which brings me to my reason of this post…  I have only one piece of art on my walls where I edit (painting of Michael Schumacher), and need to spruce up the place.  When I saw this print of the men who built the bombs, lit by a nuclear bomb, I decided I must have it!

So with that said, if anyone can help me find where to order a print of this, I will get a print (of one of my photos) out to you…

1 of 1 Maserati

Today’s post is a truly special one. Before we chat about the specs of the Maserati Birdcage 75, let’s break down how rare this car is… For comparison, the Michael Schumacher Ferrari I photographed was one of almost 20 that he used in 1998 alone. The McLaren F1 GTR, like the F1 car was one of about 5 that exist from that team. Heck even the > $30,000,000 Ferrari GTO has at least 15 brothers and sisters. There are not many cars from Ferrari, McLaren and Maserati that can be preceded by the word “THE”… this is The Maserati Birdcage 75

Maserati Birdcage

Pretty, isn’t she?

While it looks like a current car, or even a future model, the Birdcage 75 was made in 2005 by Pininfarina (the company responsible for many of Ferrari’s greatest cars ever made). It resembles autos seen on the Jetson’s more than those we see on the road. If your asking yourself the same question I did, the answer is no, it does not have any doors. But why should it? I mean if you are going to make a car that is batshit crazy, it only makes sense that the top should lift off like a fighter jet for it’s pilot to enter. Speaking of drivers, the guy sitting behind the wheel better know his driving before giving it the beans. Like the insane styling, it also has an insane engine, a v12 that produces 700 horsepower… making it ever so easy to be the owner and the guy that wadded it up while telling the passenger, “hey, look, no doors.”

Which brings me to my general thesis, “at what point does the line between car and art get crossed?”

At some point the photographer of such automobiles becomes close to an old school art reproduction shooter. I mean there is a definite skill in lighting one of these beauties, but so often I walk on set with a car like this or the F1 sitting in the middle of the studio thinking, “damn, my life is going to be easy today.” What is ironic is how tough a shoot of one of these cars is, not out of technical challenge, but from pressure and responsibility that I tend to put on myself. I feel that I need to show the car’s absolute beauty, and anything less means that I will have let the car and its creators down. Perhaps it is unneeded stress, but it has to exist for a shoot to come together.

Life is perhaps an existence of controlled stresses, and the ability to use self imposed pressure to drive creativity. If you could only see how nervous I am sitting in the passenger seat on the way to a big shoot. Headphones on, I am not thinking about lighting or the image that I need to create, as all of that was planned far in advance. In all honesty, my mind is blank, focusing more on the music from my headphones than the world that exists around me. The drive to set is the last moment that I will exist as myself, and not the photographer.

Graphis Advertising Annual 2014

Just a quick post today while I try my utmost to adjust back to my regular work routine after one crazy weekend.

I wanted to say a big congratulations to the team at Mekanism, Cytosport and the crew guys and gals that helped us create the Muscle Milk campaign. I got the call this morning that they were featured in the 2014 Graphis Advertising Annual. The imagery only exists because of the planning and support of the entire team, and I am grateful to be the person to have pressed the shutter button.

For the behind the scenes (including RAW images) from some of the shoots, click the link here

Congrats again guys!

Graphis 1

Graphis 2

Bb: Maurice Lacroix Ambassador

I have to admit, after writing the title for this blog, I am still in disbelief. The emotion of it falls somewhere between shaking my head and giggling with excitement.

maurice-lacroix-ambassadorWhen I wrote my first blog piece about my first watch, never did it cross my mind that someday I might be associated with the maker of it. The words were genuine appreciation for the timepiece and level of regard in which I held the brand was authentic. The watch was the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Petite Seconde, and it is and will always be my favorite watch.

Over the years, there have been many additions to my watch collection, as well as many subtractions. There have been great watches that I have owned for only weeks because once removed from the flashy environment of the watch store, they failed to inspire me. However, my Maurice Lacroix pieces will never leave. You see, watches bought for luxury or acquired persona will fade, but timepieces that mean something to their owner will not. Call it odd, but the way I judge how much a timepiece means to me is not based off  its movement, what shape it is or how many jewels it has; I judge it based on how much the day I purchased it meant to me. Every watch I have can keep time, but I buy Maurice Lacroix to celebrate the time.

Recently I was doing an interview with Maurice Lacroix and they went through a gauntlet of questions about watches, life, and photography. However, there was one question that captivated me…

“What does Maurice Lacroix mean to you?”

I can’t even remember what answer I gave during the interview, but the question has been running through my mind a lot lately, so I will attempt to answer it now. The issue is that Maurice Lacroix exists in realm beyond the easy flattering words like “perfection,” “timeless” and “excellence.” Maurice Lacroix exists in at a level where coatent similes can’t be found and where language fails me. When I pick up an ML timepiece, I don’t rattle off opinions or even try it on. I just stop and look at it and let the world around just fall away.

While I was writing that, it struck me how I can describe this…. As kids, my brother and I would bug my dad ruthlessly on the weekends to see if he would take us to the local Ferrari shop. Sometimes, he would. I can fondly remember spending hours looking at a single car. There wasn’t a chance of owning it as a kid, there wasn’t any ego or self-importance attached to it, and if given the opportunity, I wouldn’t have even have known how to drive it. I spent hours looking at the car because of one thing…. I admired it.

blairbunting-maurice-lacroix

Watches are much the same. There are many watches I own that have historical significance to other people, the Speedmaster to the astronauts that used it on the moon, the Monaco that was used by McQueen at Le Mans. While captivating to imagine, the significance of the watch is to another person. A Maurice Lacroix timepiece is that car I spent hours looking at as a child, for it is significant to me.

It is with much pride and honor that I can announce that I have partnered with Maurice Lacroix as an ambassador to the brand. Over the last eight months I have been privileged to meet the family that is Maurice Lacroix’s US team as well as some of the Swiss team from their headquarters. Every person has been incredible, and the conversations that have been had about watches are amongst those I hold most dearest. They are watchmaker with a very bright future, and I am grateful to be apart of it.

Wine, the other white meat…

Since I was young, I had passions rather than hobbies.  Now that I have grown up, nothing has changed.  With this said, I have a profound fondness of wine.

Pouring wine into a glass

I have seen in movies the romantic scripts that follow the main character as he retires at home, the beach, yacht, etc. to a glass of wine to calm the day’s last tensions and enter into the evening’s silence.  Sadly (or with much pleasure) my life often mirrors such cliches as an evening is often defined by its vintage rather than the meal that it accompanies.  I will say that sitting down with my wife to a glass of wine is one aspect of my life that I treasure the most.

Ironically I have few significant moments that I can define from the wine alone, but many significant wines that I can trace back to moments.

So with Thanksgiving tomorrow, here are my recommendations (red and white) to take you away from that one family member that showed up unannounced to the family dinner:

The red wine that I favor after a long day’s photoshoot is Caymus Cabernet (2011).  This is a very smooth Napa Valley red, that is relatively dry, yet starts and ends calm, just as one needs after a day with set designers that show up late and lighting equipment that doesn’t feel like working.

The white wine that fits any daytime meeting, resort on the beach, or salmon is Conte Fini Pinot Grigio Alto Adige (2012).  It is a dry white that starts like water only to present its flavor a small time after actually drinking it.  Pair it with an aged parm with some proscutto and you are in for a good day.

Le Mans: A Shoot that nearly Ended Me

Some photoshoots we love, and others we merely get by…..  this is one that I loved that almost ended me.

To say that racing is an important aspect of my life would be the equivalent of saying that I enjoy breathing air.  I love the speed, the sounds that the cars make at speed, and just for the intention of using the word “speed” in a sentence 4 times, speed.  This is why when a phone call came in with a photoshoot at the 24 heurs du Mans in France (better know as Le Mans), I decided that in no way would I turn it down.  With this said, I had already scheduled a week in the Caribbean that would get me home the day before I needed to fly to Paris.  On top of this I had a photograph in Texas two days after the race.  Most people in their right minds would cancel on one of these, or skip the race all together, sadly I am not like most in this regards.  In hoping to make life easier while in Le Mans I brought my assistant Mike with me to cover in parts where I needed a break, after all, the race we were to photograph is 24 hours long.

 Peugeot 908

After a great trip to the Caribbean I returned home, repacked, and went to bed, this is the last time I would sleep until I returned home………….

In the morning, Mike and I flew out to Philadelphia, excited, but already loathing the flight that would come next.  We both knew this would be a demanding photoshoot, but when tested, I always photographed better.  After about an hour in Phili we boarded the plane that would take us to Charles de Gaulle in France.  Now sitting on a plane for an extended period of time is bad, but when your seats are broken and don’t recline, and your in flight TV’s don’t work, and your laptop plugs are the wrong size…..well you see where this is going.  Needless to say, no sleep.

When we landed, it was 7:30am and a day later in France.  Wanting to have an idea of what we were getting into, I decided it would be best to go straight to the track from the TGV station in Le Mans (after sitting for so many hours, I needed to walk).  We checked in, got our credentials, and walked the track most of the day trying to think where we would photograph the coming morning.  Afterward we retired to the Novatel to rest, for a 24 hour long photoshoot awaited us.  Unfortunately with this rest came no sleep for someone (identity hidden for protection) has the ability to shake paintings off the wall with his snoring, impeding any chance that I had at sleeping.

dunlop

Then came race day, and for no sleep, I was surprisingly sprightly, it was though I was able to walk on adrenaline alone.  I felt the excitement building as the teams readied, and the track was cleared, and as expected, was photographing well.  As time went on, and the light fell I got a bit tired, but started a regiment of double shot cappuccinos to keep me awake.  I would say “alert” but in all honesty I was like a wired drunk that was very coherent, but not really comprehending much.  I could take a picture, but not much else, and thankfully my camera will not let the shutter fire without a memory card to write to, for I found this out once every hour or so.

Silk Cut Jaguar

With the light returning in the morning after a long rainy night I thought the motivation to stay awake would also come back to me, and I was horribly wrong.  With only a couple hours left in the 24 hours race I started collapsing, quickly followed by the shakes, and then, cherry on top of this pile, throwing up.  My lack of French (even after 4 years of it in school) didn’t help, and my assistant and I decided it would be best if I got back to the hotel.  With only an hour left in the race, Mike acted as a crutch getting me to a cab and it was off to the Novatel, for my condition was getting worse quickly and walking the track wasn’t helping.  I can remember little of this time, but know that halfway back to the hotel I asked the driver to pull over so that I could be sick outside of the cab, and he did.  The next thing I remember was being woken up by the cab driver after being sick and passing out in a random rose garden in the front yard of someone’s house on the road home.

Fortunately I was able to keep some fluids in my body after a while and when the race was over, Mike and I headed back to the airport to return home.  Oddly I was genuinely happy, for it was like escaping a nightmare, the irony in this statement being that I would of course had to sleep to do so.  Nonetheless we made it back, with great images and a story to boot.  That evening I would retire at home for a good night’s sleep, in my bed, the last place I slept a few nights before.

Le Mans Pits

PurePhotography: The Nikon DF

I can still remember taking my first photos…

It was a beautiful spring morning in Arizona and the light was coming down through some trees and hitting a little gathering of water from a previous day’s rain. A friend of mine was across from the water and the reflection, water and light struck me a beautifully symmetric. I held up my Nikon F and shot only one frame. Yet to this day I identify that image as one that began to steer my path into photography. There was no money involved, no fame to be had… it was Pure Photography.

nikon-df-camera

Ask any photographer their earliest memory of photography, every one of them will have a different yet impactful story. In all of our careers, there is a moment, not the one that deals with being a professional photographer, but one far more simplistic. It is the moment when we fall in love with photography.

Like any relationship, photography is a journey. There will be times when we struggle through the feelings that we have lost our creative visions. However, there is balance in times that we feel the clarity from producing imagery that matches your mind’s eye.

nikon-df-top

What Nikon has done by releasing the new Nikon DF has allowed us to step back in time. For me it is being able to approach subjects and life differently. They have given me the key to creating images, not as Blair Bunting the professional photographer, but as Blair Bunting that kid that thought the light looked nice.

Now there will be a lot of reviews of this camera that will nitpick it for technical details or price. But a word of advice if I may.

Don’t ask what this camera will do for your photography. Ask what the camera can do for your love of photography.

It all started with a 1972 Nikon F

So many people have asked what camera I use and what photos were photographed with what cameras.  All valid questions, but equally as true is the notion that one’s eye will truly express itself through whatever body and glass lies before it.  The one thing that holds true in my situation is that no camera will ever replace the the 1972 Nikon F’s place in my heart.  It was my first camera, and before that, my father’s camera that he gave me along with a 50 1.4 Nikkor.  The images I created with that camera will probably never reach the eyes of most of my viewers, but the freedom of creativity it taught my will.  For fun I decided to create a time line of my cameras as I have owned them.  I have linked the names of the bodies not to their website, but to random sites that I feel are appropriate for the bodies, so please enjoy…..

Nikon F –   Canon A2E –   Canon D30 -   Canon D60 -   Canon 1D -   Canon 1D mk2 -   Canon 1Ds mk2 -   Canon 1D mk3 -   Canon 1Ds mk2 -   Canon 5d -   P30 on 645 AFD -   P30+ on RZ67 ProII D -   Canon 1Ds mk3 -   Leica M8 -   Nikon D3 -   Canon 5D mk2 -   Nikon D3 -   Nikon D3x

 

 

Matt Forte of Da Bears

First of all, Happy Halloween! Go out and have a good ole time dressed as a naughty nurse, naughty secretary, naughty doctor, naughty librarian, naughty paleoclimatologist, naughty executive assistant, yadda yadda yadda (a naughty yadda that is). But be safe.

For those who have not joined my Movember team, GET ON IT ALREADY!  For those already on my team and growing the mo, tomorrow is Shave the Date, so get your best razor out and start clean. Also, it would be a good idea to take your significant other on a date before than mustache gets too big and she starts recommending that you cook at home a little more often.

A random blog? Yes.

Matt Forte

So periodically I get photos of my work on display that friends send over, and for that I am grateful. The most recent one comes from a photoshoot I did with Chicago Bears player Matt Forte. Perhaps the easiest going guy on set ever. We photographed him in New York at Milk Studios during a day that saw multiple athletes in and out of the studio. What made Matt so cool was that he was the first athlete of the day and one of the last to leave. He was so easy going that he just hung out with the crew and friends on set and was very much one of us. No ego, just a cool humble guy with the world’s coolest iPhone case.

One moment of humor, from the shoot stands out more than anything else. As is customary for athletes, I put on the Pandora station “Rap Strength Training” while we do the active portion of the shoot. With Matt we were shooting a continuos series of running shots (like the one seen here and on my site). Suddenly he stops and looks at me. I asked if everything was alright and he points to the speaker and says, “wait for it….”. A couple seconds later the song playing has the line, “Matt Forte got the bitch running back”… Everyone from the crew, clients, and friends just lost it… it turned the set into a damn near party and was almost ten minutes until we resumed shooting.

In the meantime, head to the website to see the shot and go sign up for my Movember team already…