Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fashion Show (Ecuador, South America)

After finishing the shoot at the Casa Ceibo Resort I was invited to stay on a few extra days to just relax and lay back (with no work). I wanted to (needed to) but had to get back to the states. Maria Susana had also invited me to attend a fashion show she was having in Quito, so I flew back up into the Andes Mountains.

I got checked into the hotel and found the venue for the show. The crowd was larger than I’d expected; around eight hundred to a thousand I estimated. I soon located a cute girl walking around with a clipboard (the sure sign of a coordinator or handler). I introduced myself and she took me back stage where a production assistant and a magazine writer were waiting for me. The models were getting prepped for the show so Maria’s assistant escorted me through the crowd to the edge of the stage and seated me.

I looked around. TV cameras and photographer were everywhere. I found out later that twenty-five of the media outlets over Ecuador had come. The music began and out of the ceiling a platform lowered the first models to the runway. The show was great. I’m still amazed at how beautiful the people of Ecuador are and the models are world class.

(Sorry for not taking photos of the show.) I know I should have brought my camera but I was off duty and just came to enjoy the show and spend some time with my new friends. I’ve found that if I carry a camera with me all the time, I end capturing too much of life on film/disk and not living it, experiencing it. Now days I choose which moments are more important to live.

At the end of the show Maria walked the runway to the applause of the crowd. She took the mike and spoke for a while and then stayed on stage while the media photographed and filmed her. That’s when I got a tap on the shoulder. The clipboard girl was standing beside me. In a cute Spanish accent she said. “Come whit me. Maria Susana wants you to join her.” I didn’t know what she meant but followed her to the entrance to the stage.

The next thing I knew Maria walked to the edge of the stage took my hand and brought me on stage with her. She introduced me to the crowd and we stood there while the cameras clicked. After a few minutes we began to exit but the photographers called us back for more photos. It’s always interesting for me when I'm on the other end of the lens.

When we did exit the stage it must have taken us twenty minutes to get through the autograph signing and well wishing crowd to where the media would be waiting to interview her. In Ecuador she is a true national celebrity. I would equate her to a cross between a rock star and a popular actress here in the states. Everyone on the street knows who she is. After the interviews Maria Susanna, Isabella (one of the models), Maria’s mom (not bad herself), Maria’s primary assistant and I all went to dinner.

It had been a full ten days to say the least. I flew back to the states the next day and took it easy for a day or two before I began the weeklong task of post-production. Digital makes post so much easier. If it had been film I would have been over a light table the next two weeks.

Like I’ve said, travel is one of the best avenues to education one can experience. Each trip to a new country or place opens my eyes and expands me. I simply love it and especially if the people as genuine as are my new friends in South America. They invited me to return in November for the bi-annual unveiling of Maria’s new collection. She said that show will have well over 2,000 people.

I hope I can make it. This time I plan to enjoy a bit more time away from the work scenario.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Location Ad Meeting

Talbot Wilson, our marketing guru, out by the Casa Ceibo pool holding a one-on-one meeting for our new advertising campain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Part of our South American crew

These two shots are the core of our photo crew. Gabriella (far left) is makeup. Lali and Isabella are models, then myself and Maria Susana the designer & model. Melissa, my assistant and Charlie the owner of Casa Ceibo (far right).

Daniel, owner of Casa Ceibo (far left), Talbot, advertising (next) and Katie, travel writer (center left) got there early and had to leave before the shoot was over. Myself, Melissa and Charlie (far right) stayed on with the models and makeup. Daniel was off the the Galapagos Islands. Talbot left for an assignment in Bermuda to cover sailboat races and Katie was on her way back to Colorado to write travel articles and have her new baby.

More of Ecuador's Beautiful People

I don't know when I have felt so much genuine innocent love from so many at once. These kids took my heart away. My few hours with them was more than money could buy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Melissa & Maria Susana

photo by: Isabella Gonzenbach
My assistant Melissa with clothing designer and model Maria Susana Rivadeneira. (click Susana link to see video)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Viewing Images

Showing Isabella images after shooting.

A Quick look at Ecuador

photo by: Melissa Salter

A quick lesson on Ecuador in case you’re not familiar. It’s located on the West Coast of South America south of Columbia and north of Peru. It basically has four regions. Running north and south down the middle of the country is the Andes Mountain Range with many volcanoes some active. This range is higher than the Rocky Mountains in the US. To the east is the Amazon Jungle, to the west the Pacific Coastal region. Six hundred miles out into the Pacific are the Galapagos Islands, a separate state like the Hawaiian Islands are to the US. As you know this is where Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was birthed. The people are beautiful in every way, physically and of heart.

An interesting tidbit, here because we are on the equator the sun sets every day, 365 days a years at 6:20 give or take 5 minutes. The temperature is a constant mid 80's every day of the year.

I have at least one more shoot scheduled for Ecuador. There I'm to shoot in the Andes, the jungle and the islands.

Shooting with Susana

photo by Isabella Gonzenbach

A bit unlikely but after landing in Ecuador, I spent the first night in a Japanese hotel and had sushi with my client Charlie Van Diver and singer Felipe Jacome. Felipe is the lead singer for Ecuador's number one rock band, Tercermundo.

After dinner we went to a local club in Quito where some fans spotted Felipe. A band was playing in the club and when they took a break the crowd persuaded Felipe to get on stage for a song or two. Everyone in the club came to the stage waving hands, taking photos with cell phones and singing along with him. A great start to the trip.

The next day we flew to the coast. An old vintage jungle style Land Rover picked us up and drove us the hour drive to the resort. The ride was straight out of a James Bond movie. Taking whatever lane they wanted to at 60 MPH or as fast as the potholes would allow, cars and trucks going both directions were weaving like wild men from one lane to the other dodging potholes and oncoming traffic. Headed straight at you, at the last second before we hit head on, they or we would swerve back into the correct lane to avoid collision. This roller coaster ride lasted the entire hour. It was great a classic for U tube but I needed my video camera.

The next day Susana and the other models showed up. I can’t tell you how professional this group was. After a five hour trip to the location they jumped right into makeup and we squeezed out the last bit of daylight. I was impressed with them right off the bat.

Here are a few shots. More to come….

Over South America

June 10, 2009

At 39,000 feet somewhere over the northern Columbian Coast of South America.

Experiencing far away places via TV or movies does expand the viewers knowledge, but one of the many things I love about actually ‘being there’ is that it expands the person. Every time I travel it thrills me, inspires me, changes me alittle and I get to meet wonderful new people along the way.

Right now I’m on an American Airways flight from Miami to Quito, Ecuador, which rests atop the Andes mountain range. We land at 9,000 feet with Cotapoxi Volcano rising above us to 17,000 feet. Tomorrow I fly to the Pacific Coast to meet my crew and begin photographing two projects. The first will be the new Casa Ceibo resort 30 miles south of the equator and near the coastal town of Bahia de Caraquez. The second project will be a fashion shoot. We'll be photographing part of the new collection for designer Maria Susana Rivadeneira. Maria Susana, the sweetheart of Ecuador, won Miss Ecuador and went on to win 4th place in the Miss Universe.

Just when I was trying to learn Italiano in hopes of photographing in Italy, I get a job in South America and need to switch to Espaniol. I did take some Spanish in college. My teacher was from Germany. I could hardly understand her English, let alone her Spanish. I suppose I’ll be speaking to the locals here in Italispaniol with a German accent. More to come…

Monday, June 1, 2009


"The question is not what you look at but what do you see!"

~ Henry David Thoureau

Hi and welcome to my new BLOG: 

A while back I was traveling extensively.  Clients and friends were always asking where my crew and I were off to next and what were we doing.  (One year we photographed twelve ski resorts, eight golf resorts and six beach resorts not to mention several fashion shoots)  I had hoped to ski, golf and swim each; I also wanted to share a BLOG.  As it turned out there was only so much energy and only so many hours.  At the end of the day it was all I could do to prepare for the next mornings sunrise shoot and stagger to the bed, much less write a BLOG. 

Here it is, my latest venture.  I’ll try to keep things interesting and reasonably brief. 

What to expect: 

  1. Next week my crew and I travel to South America to photograph a resort on the Pacific coast of Ecuador.  We'll try to take you with us on some of our more interesting shoots like this one.
  2. Behind The Scenes:  Photography has afforded me the opportunity to meet and photograph many interesting people and places and to have access beyond the velvet ropes.  I’ll share some thoughts on those experiences past and present. 
  3. Upcoming Projects: I'll keep you updated on new projects, workshops and assignments. 
  4. Photography tips and 'How I Did It' on certain photographs.
  5. You’ll get to meet my friends, old and new, that ride these rails with me. I’ll share some of my thoughts about this ‘LIFE’ and my journey through it. 

If you’d like to know when we add new posts or comments please signup (look to the right) and become a member of the BLOG.  Also feel free to say ‘Hello’ and to join in with any comments or questions whether you're registered or not. 

You’re invited to climb on board and join me for the rest of the trip.  The view promises to be grand.