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Andrew + Jamie | McCall, Idaho | 09.06.14

Andrew and Jamie brought me out to one of my favorite areas in this state — McCall, Idaho. Not only does this town share the same name as yours truly, it is one of the most scenic slices of land in the entire Pacific Northwest.

 

The wedding screamed Idaho, and reminded me of why I love calling this state home.

 

Congrats guys; it was a privilege documenting your day!

 

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Jake + Mariah

Jake and Mariah’s wedding at the Hayden Lake Country Club was spectacular. Awesome couple, beautiful venue, blue skies and great company and made it one for the books. Thanks for having me along Jake and Mariah, and congrats!

 

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Sammies and Pies

I love having the opportunity to photograph food. It’s something that takes a real special set of skills that differs from other sorts of photography, but the results can be really amazing. (Check out Francesco Tonelli and Penny De Los Santos for proof.)

Caruso’s Pizza and Sandwich Co. had me come out to shoot some of their tasty pies now that their kitchen has a brick oven! It was a fun shoot and thanks to their quality ingredients and attention to detail the products looked awesome. I can testify that they tasted as good as they looked, as Chelle and Vince sent me home with a few boxes of goodies.

After viewing these photos again, I see a trip to Caruso’s in my very near future.

 

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Jeff + Nina

Jeff and Nina were brave enough to meet up Saturday morning in what felt like about 10 degree weather with the wind chill to have their portraits taken. These two lovebirds get portraits done each year at their anniversary, so it was a privilege to document their continuing love for each other. We stomped around the downtown Coeur d’Alene area finding a spot here and there to snap a few frames. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day and it was fun to incorporate the warm, morning sunlight and shadows in some of the photos.

 

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Odds & Ends and Recent Work

The blog is back from the dead!

 

A while back my web hosting was interrupted for a few days which unfortunately resulted in the loss of some of my content and settings, leaving me unable to upload to my site. Everything has been restored and I’m finally able to upload photos again and make new blog postings, so you’ll notice many of my galleries have had some fresh stuff added.

 

I’m going to cover a lot in the blog post to get back up to speed.

 

WEDDING PACKAGES & PRICING UPDATES:

 

I think I speak for most photographers when I say that photography is ever changing – and that goes for the business end of it as well. I’ve taken note of what my past wedding clientele have been looking for in their wedding photography and have molded my packages more closely around what I’ve learned from you guys.

 

I believe that simple is better, and with that philosophy I’ve overhauled my wedding packages, offering three distinct packages based solely on coverage amount and the subsequent amount of final photos delivered. I’ve left enlargements, second photographers, albums and any extras along those lines separate of the packages with the ability to add them on an a-la-carte basis.

 

Here is a link to my updated wedding photography pricing: 2013-14 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING.

 

In addition to weddings, I’ve also provided a little more info and insight into my engagement, portrait and event pricing, all of which have their own price guides linked to the info pages on my site.

 

Speaking of weddings…

 

MEG + PAT’S WEDDING – BOZARTH MANSION – SPOKANE, WASHINTON

 

Spokane has some really great historical buildings to get hitched at, and the Bozarth Mansion is no exception. Add Meg and Pat to the mix — an awesome, easy-going couple  — and I couldn’t ask for a more perfect wedding to shoot. I really have the best clients in the world.

 

Thanks Meg + Pat for being so awesome and for letting me hang around for the day; it was a blast! Best of luck to you two!

 

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REAL ESTATE

 

The folks at Tomlinson Sotheby’s International Realty here in Coeur d’Alene have been keeping me busy shooting beautiful homes throughout North Idaho.

 

One thing that keeps photography fresh and exciting for me is the ability to shoot a variety of assignments. Architectural photography is something I had little experience with a few years ago, so it’s been fun gaining expertise and honing my skills in that area of photography.

 

If you or someone you know is a realtor and in need of professional photography for their listings, I have more information and a pricing guide here: REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY INFO

 

Here are some favorites from recent property shoots.

 

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COMMERCIAL/EDITORIAL + MISC.

 

I’ve been working up an appetite lately shooting photos for some area pubs and restaurants, including Black Diamond Billiards, Syringa Japanese Cafe & Sushi Bar and Tony’s On The Lake.

 

It was also great to hear from Al Hurt of Silver Bullit Cafés again to shoot his latest restoration, a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 café racer. We headed up to Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in the Spokane Foothills and had a pretty epic shoot of the two-wheeled beauty.

 

The folks down at Alpaca Direct in Hayden make some seriously awesome (and warm) hand-crafted clothing and it’s always fun shooting their new products. We headed down to Honeysuckle Beach this time and braved the cold to get some fresh photos of hats, gloves and scarves.

 

The Copper Mountain Band came back to Coeur d’Alene to play at the new Country Club and had me photograph their show. It’s always a lot of fun shooting these guys and the new establishment has a pretty nice stage and lighting setup which was a pleasant surprise.

 

I did my first-ever golf course shoot, photographing each of the 18 holes at the Black Rock Country Club on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Black Rock is truly a unique and amazing golf course and reminds me of why I love it up here in the Inland Northwest so much.

 

I had an abosulute BLAST covering the North Idaho Fair & Rodeo in Coeur d’Alene. The Kootenai County Fairgrounds handed me a small shot list, an all-access photo pass and turned me loose. It was truly a visual playground and a lot of fun stomping around the grounds making rectangles.

 

Here’s a little variety of the aforementioned stuff, along with a few snaps from a recent trip to Glacier National Park.

 

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Nick + Eleese’s Wedding – Trego, MT

I love Montana.

 

I was lucky enough to document Nick and Eleese’s wedding in a beautiful setting in Northwest Montana. The town of Trego really doesn’t have much — no cell service, no grocery stores or fast food restaurants. Eleese grew up in this area and if I remember right they did not have running water at her home until she was in the fifth grade.  But what Trego lacks in modern conveniences it makes up with its breathtaking beauty — typical of Western MT. The area Nick and Eleese chose for their big day lies just North of Whitefish and is truly a great place to make some photographs.

 

From the waterfront home the bridal party got ready at to the ceremony on the shores of Dickey Lake and the reception out in the woods, you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop for making some photos.

 

I will sadly admit that spending a day without cell service was sort of hard. But it was also refreshing and was a good reality check. I think it’s great to get out in the country from time to time and simplify things for a weekend or even a day. I’m glad Nick and Eleese gave me the chance to do that while being a part of their special day! Congrats you two!

 

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Jeremie + Katie’s Wedding – Spokane, WA

I’ve been slacking.

 

By the looks of my blog lately you’d think I haven’t been busy at all. Truth is, this summer has really taken off and I’m averaging close to one wedding per week since my last blog post! It feels great to have my cameras in my hands so often and every wedding has been simply awesome.

 

So, I’m going to take the time to post some of my favorites from each wedding I’ve had the chance to document since my last blog post.

 

I had a blast being a part of Jeremie and Katie’s wedding in the Bigelow Gulch area of Spokane. The sun was shining, skies were blue and it was a perfect July day for an Inland NW wedding! I think my favorite part about the location was the tall pine trees covering the reception area. It made for some shade and some nice shadows to work with. I also have to commend these two — Katie especially — for trucking through some gnarly brush to get my favorite portrait of the two out in the wooded area near the reception.

 

And to top it all off, there was even a proposal at the end of the wedding. As these two were about to head out, one of the guys in the audience got down and one knee with a ring in his hand. It made for some awesome frames and was a really cool moment to capture in my photographs. And most importantly, she said yes!

 

Congrats Jeremie and Katie and thank you for being such a pleasure to work with!

 

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Music and motorcycles

Well, it’s been an insanely long time since my last blog post. But I have a (pretty legitimate) excuse.

 

I got to experience my first broken bone in the beginning of January this year. I broke and fractured my leg, went through surgery and was destined to spend the next couple months on my couch, bed and eventually crutches. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to do what I love for quite some time. But, I picked up a few photo books and furthered my education and inspiration in photography while I was making my recovery.

 

I’ve since been back on my feet and have made an excellent recovery. I can’t express how great it feels to have a camera back in my hands again. I’ve had quite a few shoots lately, so I’ll share a couple of my favorite ones in this post.

 

Last weekend I got to work with one of my favorite groups of people again — The Angela Marie Project.  I’ve photographed these cats a couple times previously, one of those times being at the Annual Earth Day celebration in Downtown Spokane. They contacted me and arranged for me to shoot the Earth Day gig again.

 

But that’s not all.

 

I was offered the amazing opportunity to provide them with a shot for their upcoming album to be released this summer! You’ll have to wait in suspense on the album shots, however, as I won’t be posting them until after the album is released.

 

Here are some of my favorites from their Earth Day gig. It was a bloody, good time — literally — their guitarist sliced his finger open on a broken string halfway through the show, toughing it out and playing through the rest of the set without skipping a beat.

 

It’s always a blast to photograph these guys and you just can’t beat shooting outdoors in 70-degree sunshine in April. I want to give a huge thank-you to The Angela Marie Project for continuing to provide me with awesome opportunities to work with them. They’re a great group of people and terrific musicians. Give them a listen sometime if you haven’t yet!

 

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I also had a really cool shoot recently with Albert Hurt of Silver Bullit Cafes. Al builds “cafe-racer” style motorcycles and hired me for a shoot of his pride and joy he just finished up – a Kawasaki KZ1000. I can’t describe just how awesome of a job Al did with this bike so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. His attention to detail is incredible and this is truly a one-of-a-kind bike.

 

The photos will eventually be used to help sell the bike to its lucky new owner; however, since the bike is so rare and unique it is being featured in various online motorcycle publications. I feel very fortunate to not only take part in such a cool photoshoot, but to also get worldwide exposure with my photographs on top of it is just simply amazing. So far, the bike is published in Pipeburn magazine and Silodrome.

 

Here are a few shots of the bike taken at Industrial Park in Spokane, WA:

 

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Ansel Adams for a weekend

Ansel Adams had the coolest job ever.

 

Although shooting landscapes and scenic shots doesn’t do anything for paying my bills (outside of selling a few prints here and there), it is pretty fun.

 

I took a trip back home to Western Montana for Christmas and stopped at several places to grab some shots. It’s amazing the beauty you realize outdoors when you pull off the freeway and just look around. As I motored down the interstate early Thursday morning, I kept my eyes open for photo opportunities — which were everywhere. I grabbed the sunrise over Lake Coeur d’Alene, risked frostbite shooting the raging Clark Fork River, trudged through snow on Lookout Pass and wandered around the Pattee Canyon area of Missoula.

 

Landscapes are a really nice break from shooting the typical photojournalism, wedding and portrait stuff — the bread and butter my job. It’s not that I don’t love those assignments, but it’s nice to just wander around with a camera and have plenty of time to prepare for the shot.

 

Here’s a few of my favorites from the trip. I even threw a few film shots on here too for the hell of it. And just in case you’d like to support a struggling local photographer — all of these shots (along with plenty others) are available to purchase on my website under the “Buy Prints” tab.

 

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FILM SHOTS

 

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15-35-58: A street photography project.

Well, I’ve embarked on my first-ever photo project – A mix of old-school film shooting, street photography, and some strangers.

 

The project, entitled “15-35-58,” is a collaboration of portraits taken of complete strangers in the downtown area of Spokane, WA. The 15 stands for 15 portraits, the 35 for the 35mm film and the 58 refers to the 58mm lens they were all shot with.

 

The camera used was a Pentax K1000 – my favorite 35mm film camera I’ve ever laid my hands on. The film was Kodak Ektar 100 – my favorite film.

 

And the lens was something special.

 

I used a Meyer-Optik 58mm f/1.9 screw-mount lens that was made in Germany in the 1950’s. It produces very unique bokeh (the out of focus areas) when shot wide open (which is how I took all the portraits).

 

The setup (clockwise from top): Pentax K1000, Meyer-Optik Görlitz Primoplan V 58mm f/1.9, Kodak Ektar 100

 

 

The idea of approaching people at random to ask if you can take their picture is something that will never cross most people’s minds – even most photographer’s minds. But I wanted to push myself. I wanted to break outside of my constantly-expanding comfort zone and try something most wouldn’t consider. Plus, I find people to be the most interesting subjects to photograph, by far.

 

The approach is simple — a quick introduction, followed by the purpose of taking the photo, concluded with the all-important question – “So, can I take your photo?”

 

Contrary to what you might think, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Not only did all but a couple people (who were in a hurry) comply, but most also showed a genuine interest in the project and in photography in general.

 

Quick conversations were sparked and a mutual respect for the project was felt and (hopefully) conveyed in the final images.

 

I learned several things too.

 

I learned just how easy we have it today compared to shooters of the past. Manually focusing, manually advancing film and manually turning knobs and rings to adjust your exposure puts a whole new set of challenges on shooting photos.  Not to mention never seeing the photos until they’re developed.

 

But it also gets you in the mindset of making each shutter click count.

 

Still, doing everything manually — particularly focusing — leaves more room for operator error, which I saw my fair share of. If you notice, there are 15 final portraits. I shot a roll of film with 36 exposures – you can do the math; there were some mistakes.

 

Simply focusing a few inches off from the subject’s face results in much reduced sharpness. All of these shots were taken in a timely manner – sometimes in a matter of a few seconds before the traffic light turned green or the subject’s bus arrived. I chose to shoot film because the more compact camera size is much less intimidating than my larger DSLRs.

 

Self-portrait in a window reflection.

 

The project validated the idea of everyone being a different, unique person, with different looks and personalities.

 

But there’s one thing that really stuck with me.

 

So often we look at people and judge them by the way they look, sometimes thinking less of them due to their appearance. But the reality is, no matter their looks, they’re still people. I approached all sorts of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of personalities. Not once did I feel any negativity towards the project or myself. Nobody acted bothered by me (The guy flipping the bird wasn’t directed at me, just a pose).

 

Despite what someone looks like on the surface, under their shell there’s likely a decent person, and that’s what I enjoyed most about this project — getting to know the people, even if only for a few seconds.

 

And now that I look back at the pictures, I can make a link between the photo and the person I made a quick connection with. And that’s what I enjoy most about this job.

 

P.S. If you were one of the subjects and would like a copy of your photo, email me at mike@mccallmedia1.com and I’ll shoot you over a copy.

 

My next project I’m planning is inspired by Dennis Darzacq. Look out.

 

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