March 28, 2013 - There is a boom going on in an area of the oil patch known as the Eagle Ford Shale - comprised of 20 counties just south of San Antonio, Texas. We have seen a substantial increase in work at epic because of this boom, and earlier this week I had a chance to go and see it firsthand. I was sent on assignment to photograph a mobile water testing lab on a working drill site about 30 miles east of Cotulla, Texas.
While you might think that is the middle of nowhere, you couldn't tell by the truck traffic and hustle and bustle of what was surely a sleepy South Texas town just a couple of years ago. In 2012 the Eagle Ford Shale supported over 116,000 jobs and a $61 billion impact on the Texas economy. At this time 5,400 Eagle Ford wells have been permitted and that number is expected to grow to over 24,000 by 2022 as estimated by the Texas Railroad Commission.
February 27, 2013 - Once a quarter the wonderful people at The Aveda Institute bring over their graduating cosmetology students to the epic studio to participate in a fashion photography shoot. These students show up with a model and a storyboard concept. They work with a photographer whose job it is to bring their ideas to life in still images. Usually epic handles the photography for these shoot in house, but this time we received a little help from the outside.
Our first guest photographer was Maurico Ramirez. Mauricio is a photographer specializing in corporate, advertising, and editorial portraiture. For more than 20 years he has worked for the most important business magazines, for many multinational companies, and for several public relations and advertising agencies. He has also been part of the MTV Networks staff for over 4 years.
May 24, 2012 - More students from Aveda Institutes prepared for a professional fashion shoot with epic photographer Joey Mouton in order to display their skills. Such a shoot allows the graduating students to pick the best shots as material for their portfolios. This provides them with valuable real-world experience before they leave school and an advantage in the job market.
May 14, 2012 - epic software group teamed up with Aveda Institutes to help their students get a real world photo shoot experience. The mission of AVEDA is to care for the world we live in. This includes the products they make and the ways in which they give back to society. AVEDA strives to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility – not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.
Aveda’s Spa Director in The Woodlands, Texas is Crystal Cormier. She and Instructor Mylinda Graves helped us set up the shoot. The students were excited to be part of a high energy photo shoot and spent several hours preparing for it. This experience will help the students understand what is involved in a photo shoot, and the work load ahead. This knowledge and experience will also put them in a better position to find a job after graduation. These students now have several great head shots to use in their personal portfolios.
March 5, 2012 - For over 30 years Ross Foldetta. CPM, has been involved in all facets of commercial real estate in the greater Woodlands area.Ross is the President of Woodlands Commercial Realty, a firm providing comprehensive commercial real estate services, and part of the Foldetta Group. Their philosophy is simple: "...Provide excellent service and deliver optimum property solutions to all our clients".
As a personal friend and client of Ross (he helped me with a listing for the epic Creative Co-Op), I can attest to the commitment he and his agents have to listing and leasing/selling a property or finding a suitable home for a company in need of space. So, when Ross asked me to take a look at his site, and help him improve it, my first suggestion was a short corporate video introduction.Ross liked the idea, and what follows are some photos from a series of on-location shoots we did in late February.
October 18, 2010 - If you've been following the blog over the past few months, you'll know that epic has been exploring the various potentials of panoramic photography. One recent test we did in the studio was to combine a time-lapse sequence and a full 360 pano of "The Cave".
May 6, 2010 - As the school with the third largest statistics department in the U.S., Texas A&M University has a history and tradition of graduate education in statistics that dates back to 1963. The school has produced over 700 Master's and Ph.D. graduates since it's inception, and now has a goal to aggressively promote the TAMU Distance Learning program. This department has a strong tradition of theoretical and interdisciplinary research with an internationally recognized faculty. In addition to their on location courses, the statistics department now offers an online distance learning program. The online courses provide the same course materials and exams with the flexibility to fit a schedule that may not allow for in-class instruction.
January 10, 2010 - Over the past two days, Houston has been experiencing a cold snap that has plunged temperatures into the low twenties. My blood must have thinned out over the years because twenty degrees here feels far colder than the same temperature up North. I learned to take the cold seriously after a pipe burst in our kitchen wall in 1999, causing several thousand dollars in damages. So, as we watched the cold front move Southward on the TV weather map, we insulated the pipes on the outside of the house and relocated some potted plants indoors.
By Sunday afternoon I thought the worst was over. It wasn't. When I returned home at 3:00, I found water bubbling down the exterior wall of our home. I shut the water off and went inside, where I found the laundry room and my study flooded. Over the next two hours we moved everything outside to dry, and mopped up most of the water. A couple of small circulating fans did most of the drying.
December 22, 2009 – Earlier this month we got a call from an international oil field services company asking us to bid on a virtual photographic tour of their new offshore workboat. This is no ordinary ship. It is the world’s largest coiled tubing vessel, and is truly spectacular in both the size and the technology it employs to service deepwater oil wells. The virtual tour sample they sent us showed a traditional 360 degree panoramic photography, best known as a “QuickTime VR Tour”.
These panoramic tours have been typically used by real estate agents to provide prospective homeowners with a better understanding of a property. I have never been a big fan of this type of photography, because the quality of the images are usually poor, and it seems more of a gimmick than a truly immersive experience. Some tours may require a plug-in be downloaded, which can reduce the size of the viewing audience as many people just won't (or can't due to company policies) do it. I decided to use this bid opportunity to see if anything new was happening with panoramic photography. I was blown away by what I found.
November 28, 2009 – When the Nikon D5000 debuted last summer it looked like the perfect camera for me. It has the image processor of a D300, along with a 2.7” title/swivel LCD screen. The fact that video can be recorded at 720p, it allows for interchangeable lenses and can shoot at 4 frames per second were just icing on the cake. Since I like to shoot both down low and high over head, I have come to rely heavily on the tilt screen in my Panasonic FZ50. So I felt the D5000 (on paper anyway) should give me everything I needed for just about any shoot I would have to do.
Besides, my Nikon D200 was starting to show its age, and a quick review of recent sales on eBay confirmed I could sell my D200 outfit (body, winder and a couple of accessories) for about the same price as a new D5000. I listed it, and seven days later sold it for $55 more than I needed for the new camera. Amazon was among the first online stores to have the new Nikon in stock, so I bought it just slightly under its list price (shipping was free).
Over the next several months I had a chance to use the camera, but in each case, it was usually an important shoot and I didn't want to risk any problems. I just did not feel confident enough with the D5000, so it came to each shoot as my backup camera, and typically saw only light duty. The Panasonic did all the heavy lifting. I have used the FZ50 so much over the past two years, I don’t even have to think about it – it has truly become an extension of my hand. What I really needed was a full day with the D5000 in a real world, non-critical shoot.