Category: Prototyping

New Zealand Catalogue Photo Shoot Details – Part 2: Lighting

As you can see from our last post on traveling and packing the majority of our traveling burden can be blamed on our lighting equipment. What we choose to bring on any given trip depends on the goals outlined by the story and the shot list (on an editorial shoot) or the creative brief (on a commercial shoot).

The creative brief for this trip included outside sculpted portraits at night with gells and light painting, lit daytime action, product focused environmental lifestyle, and a variety of studio set ups. We’ll break these post down into 4 categories: On hill action, improvised studio, lifestyle, and creative (light painting etc.).

Unfortunately we can’t show any of the final imagery until Spyder’s 2012 product is launched.



Red Bull Cold Rush Video and Texas Trip

We already posted about designing, building, delivering, and installing the branding for the 2011 Red Bull Cold Rush in Silverton as well as shooting the event. We promised a video in that post so here it is:

We also just headed to Texas with a trailer full of infrastructure goodies to deliver.

We designed and built this DJ booth is for Red Bull account Rich’s Bar. It is fabricated from powder-coated steel and fixed with color changing strobing LED lights side lighting the front branding.

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Alaska Online Editorial

Ian Fohrman wrote a 3 part series for on his trip to AK during the worst snow year in 30 years as well as some coverage of WESC and Tailgate AK for ESPN.

Part 1
“I already had my plane ticket and a deposit on an RV when the news started trickling in. It didn’t take long before my entire crew had bailed and the event I was going to cover was rumored canceled. Just like that, I was on a solo mission to Valdez in the worst snow year in recorded history with a 29-foot RV and nothing to do.”

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Red Bull Open Ice

We recently got the call to shoot the Red Bull Open Ice finals on Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over the past 8 weeks qualifiers for the international pond hockey tournament have been held around the world. 32 teams were scheduled to compete throughout the day culminating in a final matchup under the lights.

Having never shot hockey, or any traditional team sports for that matter, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I did a ton of digging around on the intramanets and found that the majority of the stick and ball (or puck) photography felt pretty generic and stock. After I arrived in the twin cities and did a site walk I was even more convinced that I’d need to do something a little different to keep the shots up to Red Bull’s high standards of creativity. Though the event was well branded and the 9 rink set up was impressive, it was still happening on a flat featureless pond with the skyline far in the background.

Since the day I got the call to shoot the event, I was envisioning some sort of protective casing that would allow my camera to mount in or behind the goal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to build anything beforehand and the need for a unique angle felt even more urgent as I stood on the ice during our pre-production walk… so I headed straight to the hardware store.

I picked up a Rubbermaid garbage can, a piece of lexan, some hardware, and a piece of scrap 2×4 for $10.54 and headed back to the hotel.

Luckily my good friend and fellow photographer Bill Hickey lives close by and was willing to help. He brought over some tools and a few delicious home brews and we went to work creating a first round ghetto prototype on the hotel floor.

Here’s what we did (really simple):
-Cut the Rubbermaid in half (just deep enough for the camera with a Nikon 10.5 fisheye to sit behind the lexan)
-Drilled a hole though the bucket and the block of wood for a 1/4 20 bolt to fit through and thread into the bottom of the camera
-Hammered a t-nut into the wood for the super clamp mount and drilled a corresponding hole in the bucket.
-Used sticky velcro to attach the lexan to the bucket (pretty ugly but a good quick solution).
-Velcro on side for Pocket Wizard
-Hole in top for Pocket Wizard antennae
-Tested with a hammer.

At about 1:30am we were satisfied that we had created something that would protect an expensive piece of glass attached to an even more expensive piece of electronics from an errant puck.


Test shot on the ice

Couple of the shots:

Overall I was pretty psyched on what I was able to put together for almost no money and within 12 hours of the event but there are a number of things I’d like to change on the next round:

-I think black gaffer tape or some black rattle can on the inside would kill the glare/reflection from the inside of the rig.
-A quick release camera mount of some kind (maybe off my Gorrilla Pod) would be a huge timesaver while shooting.
-Access to the camera would be nice… maybe some a hinged door on the back of the box as long as it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the box.
-Viewing window in the back of the box.
-Some kind of rubber block instead of wood would be nice for dampening in case the box took a hard hit.
-Trim the corners of the Lexan so there is no leverage point for it to get forced off the front of the box.

Here’s a couple more stock shots to give you a feel for the event:

Obermeyer’s 90th Birthday Present

We recently embarked on another big project built almost exclusively from colorado beetle kill timber.

The project started with biodiesel fueled voyage deep into the woods in the trusty old plow truck. The beetle kill is almost all standing dead that amounts to a huge fire hazard so all removal is fire mitigation. After a some scouting, a few hours of wielding the Stihls and pretending to be lumbjacks we had a truck packed with timber.

We then headed into the shop to begin milling the raw timber into building material. For this project we wanted to maintain a rugged log cabin finish so we left the edges with a fair amount of bark and imperfections. We fabricated the joints and interior framing for the images and headed out to Aspen for their first display.

After their stint in Aspen, we delivered the walls to the Convention Center in Denver for the first ever Colorado SIA show.

Check out the video:

SIA Post

SIA Left Las Vegas… Any big change, especially to a long standing tradition or embedded routine can be difficult to deal with but it’s part of life. If you can be open to new possibilities usually you can find solace in moving forward… Good bye Nobu, 4% looser slots, circle bar, yards of booze, and no last call… BUT… Hello fresh air, drinkable water, and city that isn’t a disgusting shit-hole in the desert. I couldn’t be happier.

A lot happened this year for The Public Works at SIA. We picked up some new clients, parted ways with one big client who’s vision differed from ours, got to check out some of our infrastructure and imagery in use, and met a ton of great people.

We’re beyond excited to continue building our network and becoming a bigger part of the Colorado business community. There are a ton of great companies here doing interesting, creative and progressive work and we’re thrilled to be building relationships with many of them.

Check out some of our work at the trade show:

Custom signage for the Helly Hansen Booth getting loaded into the truck.

Helly Hansen signage being installed.

Looking pretty good!

Beetle kill image walls for Obermeyer

Imagery in Spyder booth shot by Ian Fohrman and Mike Arzt

The launch of “Business of Fun”

We have been brainstorming this event for years. A week ago it was finally time for a beta run. The general idea is to gather a panel of action sports experts from different fields of expertise and let it be known to college and high school age students that if you let your passions lead the way, there is probably a job that will make you happy.

We worked with the Colorado University Freeride Club which is the largest college club in the country to kick off this 1st event. Many industry partners kicked in time, promotions and product to also light a fire under the event. There was catered food, plenty of free Red Bull, TONS of give away product from all the involved companies (snowboard, bindings, outerwear, hoodies, magazine subscriptions, shoes, etc. etc.), and a poster signing by Chris Davenport.

The event started off with 4 short films and then the panel introduced themselves and explained how they were able to get their current jobs. The most consistent themes were “chasing what you want without ever giving up” and “being unique”. Got to love Steve “Stix” Nilsen and his stories and antidotes. He told a story about a potential hire telling him she was way to overwhelmed as her house burned down the night before. So he sent her a smoke detector. Persistence with humor.

Then things transitioned into a Q&A session with the students asking about everything from how to become a pro skier to how to sell photos to a magazine. The panel was amazing and provided insight from all different angles.

We look forward to the next Business of Fun and keeping the conversations going here in this blog and also on the Facebook site. Always open to any and all feedback.

The panel was:
Chris Davenport – Helly Hansen Pro athlete
Jake Knigge – Helly Hansen regional athlete and current CU student
Shay Willams – Freeskier Magazine photo editor
Mike Basher – Snowboard Magazine editor
Deric Gunsor – Aspen Ski CO marketing
Trent Bush – Brand Base (Technine, Nomis & Sound) co-founder
Steve Nilsen – Pabst Blue Ribbon marketing manager
Ian Fohrman – Helly Hansen sports marketing
Marily MacDonald – Outdoor Divas marketing manager
Frank Phillips (moderator) – The Public Works, LLC

Huge thanks to all the people that made this first event a huge success. Video of the event coming soon.


Lucky winner of an autographed copy of Chris Davenport’s book


Our newTrailball table seeing its first action



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