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Bella Notte Linens hand towels and guest towels


I recently had the pleasure of working again with the Bella Notte Linens team on a photo shoot for their Spring Style Guide. I’ve worked with them many times and every time I’m struck by how well the shoot goes and how much we’re able to get done—which is pretty amazing given that the stylist for the team, Juliet, works on the shoot remotely….from a cattle farm in rural England.

It’s a phenomenal feat and one that can only be done thanks to technology. We communicate with Juliet via Skype and she “sees” everything on the set via the video feed from my camera.  On site are four amazing, creative, and communicative women—Kathleen, Bella Notte’s President and Lead Designer, her daughter Taylor, the company’s Visual Media Director, Michelle, Director of Sales & Marketing, and Leeta, Textile Designer. These women have been collaborating for months on the design, layout, sourcing, and construction of each of the sets.Everything is “story boarded,” sourced, and lined up ready to go, from props to product.

Then there’s me, shooting, working to capture the Bella Notte feeling, and doing most everything in Adobe’s Lightroom. The Bella Notte shoot runs for a number of days and the sets are amazingly inventive and incredibly rich visually. And while technology helps us accomplish a lot in a little time, none of it could get done and done so well if the team weren’t who they are.

According to a recent New York Times article, good teams have three distinguishing characteristics:

• “First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.”

• “Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.”

• “Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men.”

The two characteristics I’d add to this list are respect for each other and lack of ego. By the end of the shoot, we’re all ready to move on and tackle new projects, but we’re also incredibly proud of the work we’ve done and looking forward to the next shoot.

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We were in San Miguel de Allende when I got a challenge from a Facebook friend to photograph and post one new B&W photo a day for five consecutive days. I was in the land of color and trying to interpret it in B&W was a real challenge. I’ve posted the color shot and its B&W interpretation to show you the selects for the five days. Being able to add B&W filters to the images after the image was taken gives you endless variations on tone, contrast and texture to express the vibrance of color in the drama of B&W. Ansel Adams would have loved Lightroom.

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A new addition – our cabin on wheels allows us to take road trips easily year round. Bad weather not a problem, so-so campground not a problem. The view keeps changing and that’s a good thing for photography.

  • Lyn - October 30, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    Where can I get one of those cabins on wheels?
    How much does it weigh?

  • Jay Graham - November 8, 2014 - 11:03 am

    It’s an Aliner Ranger 12 and dry weight is about 15060 lbs. I think it’s close to 2000 when fully loaded.

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The Art of the Road trip and the importance of photos

I had grand visions of showing you a few select photos of road trips I’ve taken from age 16 until now but there have been too many trips and not enough photos – I didn’t photograph the first two. How can that be? … no photos! These five photos are from recent trips – the last one being a trip through the Southwest early this year testing the CRV Campmobile that I designed and built. Cameras used: iPhone 5s, Canon 5D, and Canon 5D Mark III.

Road trips are the best!

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A prairie wave near Calhoun just north of Omaha, Nebraska

Prairie Wave, Omaha, Nebraska

A few hours of photography in the heartland, near Omaha, with my brother-in-law reaped many rewards. This is the first black and white I’ve done for a long time but this view was calling for shades of grey.

I’m writing this post as I fly back to the Bay Area and gear up for a busy week. My prairie interlude was wonderful but I’m looking forward to seeing the ocean and you, if you can make it, to Winter Open Studios, at the ICB Building in Sausalito. Here’s more information:

Come see us at Open Studios, Dec. 6th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and the 7th and 8th, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at the ICB building in Sausalito. Drop by and say hi. There will be three floors of artists’ studios. Eileen will be showing some of her photography and she’d love to see you too. Directions below to my studio and Eileen’s.

Directions to my studio: Directions to the ICB Building – Studio 106 @ 480 Gate 5 Road in Sausalito. From 101 take the Sausalito / Marin City Exit. Head South on Bridgeway. Left on Harbor Drive. The ICB Building is the 3rd building on the left. Park in the lot on the side of the building closest to Bridgeway, not the side facing the bay. The entrance to my studio is from the deck on the west side.
Directions to Eileen’s studio: 2nd floor, right above West Marine, Studio 200

Friday night December 6th from 6 pm to 9 pm and
Saturday and Sunday, the 7th and 8th, from 11 am to 6 pm

480 Gate 5 Road, Studio 106, Sausalito, CA 94965, 415.999.6434


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