What? The New Year is here already? Yes!!! Have you ordered your calendar and planner yet? The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Weekly Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Supplies are extremely limited, get yours before they’re all gone.

But we still do have plenty of behind the scenes stories. Join us now as we continue behind the scenes of the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Planner.

Our next scene is a double feature, depicting not one, but two characters that we drew inspiration from. Not only a beautiful princess but her mother from the story as well. While the princess has gorgeous long hair and a thirst for adventure, her mother stops at nothing to shield her from the outside world so she can keep the magical powers of the hair all to herself.

What better place to set this scene than in a hair salon!

As we’ve already discussed in order to pull off our #Disneybound theme we partnered with several local businesses for locations to photograph.

We were lucky enough to get permission to photograph this scene in the chic New York City Hair Studio of one of the country’s top colorists and my friend, Clairol Color Director, James Corbett.

The luxurious James Corbett Studio is located in Chelsea, just steps away from Union Square. James and his team expertly give the celebrity hair treatment to all who visit their salon.

The James Corbett Hair Studio

The James Corbett Hair Studio

He was nice enough to allow us access after regular business hours so that we could have the place to ourselves and be sure to get the perfect shot.

We had a pretty large team with us that day, in addition to myself we had our models Sarah and Ashley, our Stylist Sam, my wife Jena who graciously agreed to take behind the scenes photos for us, which I think she enjoyed a heck of a lot better than building a snowman out of sand, and of course James Corbett himself.

We arrived early on a Sunday morning and Sam got started on Ashley’s makeup. Ashley traveled from way out Long Island to be with us this morning, never an easy thing to do getting up early on a Sunday. And no…Sam is not applying radioactive makeup to Ashley’s face, there was just some very strong top lighting where Ashley was sitting.

AshleyMakeupIMG_0235

Sam applies Ashley’s makeup

Meanwhile we reviewed final wardrobe choices with our other model Sarah. The dress we settled on ended up being a perfect inspiration from the film character. While waiting for Sam to finish Ashley’s makeup, it seems that James noticed Sarah’s her hair didn’t look quite right to him.

James was already being so gracious to let us use his space and not being ones to impose we never expected him to actually do any hair work. But ever the professional before we could blink he had Sarah in the chair and was expertly taming her beautiful brown locks.

I really love this photo because if you look closely you’ll notice that the entire working team can be seen reflected in the mirrors. Good thing I wasn’t picking my nose.

All of us hard at work

James styling Sarah’s hair and all of us hard at work in the background

As soon as Sam declared Ashley was camera ready, James had whisked her into a chair  and went way above and beyond by styling her hair into the perfect princess hairdo as well!

James styles Ashley's hair

James styles Ashley’s hair

With our models well in hand I began setting up the lights. Due to having the luxury of space I was able to set up our Paul C Buff PLM umbrella with a diffusion sock for our key light, and an Octobox for some fill.

Why is the Octobox sitting on a salon chair you ask? Sometimes in the field of photography we find ourselves with the need to improvise. That need becomes even more pressing when you arrive onsite to a shoot and realize the additional 2 lighting stands you hoped to pack are still sitting at home in the corner.

Oops forgot the light stands

Oops forgot the light stands

Yes dear friends as the famous photographer Joe McNally would say “this numnuts screwed up!”. Luckily there were plenty of salon chairs to choose from as stand ins. Note to self…always consult your checklist twice before leaving.

We started shooting and despite Ashley and Sarah only having met an hour ago they were interacting as if they’ve known each other for years. I would expect nothing less from 2 professionals such as themselves. Some people think that modeling only involves standing in front of the camera and looking pretty. I assure you there’s a whole lot more to it than that, as they can surely attest to.

SalonShoot1IMG_0339

Often times a model will need to employ some exceptional acting skills as well to portray the emotions or dynamic required by the scene. Ashley and Sarah clearly rose to the occasion and did an awesome job! What a perfect addition to our calendar.

SalonShoot2IMG_0350

SalonShoot3IMG_0345

Want to see the finished photo? The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which princess and movie inspired Ashley and Sarah’s wardrobe?

A very special thank you to our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan, Clairol Color Director James Corbett and the whole staff at James Corbett Hair Studio and our awesome models Ashley and Sarah for getting up early on a Sunday and putting inconveniences aside to help us get our shot.

James Corbett Hair Studio is located at 25 West 19th Street, New York, NY. Give them a call at 212-388-1296 today and book an appointment to give your hair the celebrity treatment it deserves

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

There’s just about 2 weeks until the start of the new year…have you ordered your calendar yet? The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Weekly Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

Even though the year may be winding down we still have plenty of months left in the calendar to show you posts about. Let’s continue now behind the scenes of the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Planner.

After 4 articles I’m sure a few of you out there are tired of hearing my voice so for this blog post we’re going to have a special guest blogger giving you a new perspective on creating one of our calendar scenes. That special guest is none other than one of our talented Hair and Makeup Artists, Rica Mendes of Rica The Artist.

A student of the Paul Mitchell Academy in Danbury, CT Rica has lent her services far and wide across Connecticut and New York. Her work has even been featured by Covergirl. Rica provided her expert hair and makeup services for our March and October scenes in the calendar.

So for this post I will narrate our behind the scenes journey as usual and Rica will jump in to wake you all up again after I’ve put you to sleep.

The princess inspiration for our next scene hails all the way from Scotland. The movie with it’s lush landscape, exciting medieval tournaments and themes of pre-determined destiny was a huge hit with families. One of the most memorable sequences is during the opening credits when the main protagonist princess rides through the country side on her beautiful horse Angus.

We immediately thought it would be really cool if we could incorporate a horse into our calendar scene. As with all scenes in this calendar scheduling was a true beast.

We first had to find a horse stable that would allow us to shoot at, a model with red hair, a horse that didn’t mind it’s photo being taken, and to top it all off, our Production Stylist Sam was unavailable due to a prior commitment so that meant we also had to find a hair/makeup artist as well.

Turns out that finding a shooting location was pretty easy. After contacting multiple horse stables I got a call back from Scott Tarter owner of the Twin Lakes Farm riding academy in Westchester. He was very excited about our project as he had 2 cute little girls who not only loved horses, but Disney as well!

twinlakessign

He graciously gave me a tour of his top-notch facility and I knew we had found the perfect place to shoot. It didn’t hurt that he had close to 100 horses for us to choose from for our scene.

The other pieces didn’t fall into place quite so easily. Over the course of trying to schedule our shoot we went through 3 different models and 2 different makeup artists trying to find the perfect fit and scheduling. Clearly locating the perfect redhead model was going to be tough. However, things were getting just a little bit easier as we finally found our hair/makeup artist.

I’ll let Rica explain it in her own words:

“One afternoon I was minding my own business when my phone rang. A photographer was in a desperate situation – his stylist, the talented Sam D, had a prior commitment, and he needed someone who could fill in for those two scenes of his calendar shoot. Though I had done several photo shoots before, I hadn’t done anything that I knew would be so high profile yet. Of course, I approached the call confidently and professionally, but when I heard the concept, I’m not sure that I could hide my excitement.”

I could tell she was very excited about it, one of the reasons I knew she’d make a great fit for our team.

This would be a thrilling opportunity for any budding stylist and makeup artist, but the bigger challenge was to make sure the hair and makeup styling didn’t look out of place and fit the standard set by the amazing artist for whom I was substituting!

With our hair and makeup needs secured all we needed now was a model for Rica to work her magic on. The answer came as most answers do from my very smart wife Jena. She put us in touch with a friend of hers and that’s how we came to meet our lovely model Sarah. Just look at her beautiful red hair!

Our princess Sarah

Our princess

We arrived at Twin Lakes on the morning of September 20th. The stable was very active at that time with riding lessons and practices in addition to the normal activities of caring for the horses. We’d have to work around all of that in order to get our shot.

I showed Rica where she’d be working and her and Sarah got started with hair and makeup. She was cool, calm, collected and professional as ever. Little did I know that her nerves were doing a number on her insides.

I was a trained actress, and one of the first things you learn is to never work with children or animals. I’d previously conquered the first curse by using my daughter as a model in the last, but animals? This shoot was going to take place at a horse stable – fortunately an animal for which I have fest affection – but I also knew how fussy and stubborn they could be. The other fun part? I had to style hair and makeup at an unknown location – indoors or outdoors? Windy or calm?

Rica works her magic

Rica works her magic

Turns out Rica was right to be nervous. But not for hair and makeup, she should’ve been nervous for us setting up to take the photo.

As Rica worked her magic, my wife Jena and I began scouting the are for the perfect place to set up. The horses were naturally curious as to what was going on, even poking their heads out to see what these strange people were doing.

All was going well until it came time to open up the lighting umbrellas. Now I’m no stranger to horses, I had ridden back in summer camp when I was little, but I never did try to take a photograph of one.

We learned very quickly that horses do not like shiny umbrellas. It immediately became clear that our standard lighting setup was just not going to work at this location and we’d need something much more minimal and compact so as not to cause any disruption.

Peekinghorses

We changed locations to take advantage of the natural morning sunlight and I supplemented it with a speedlight attached to the top of my camera.

Rica was finishing up with Sarah and feeling a lot better about the shoot…of course she wasn’t seeing what was going on when we were setting up the lights.

The gods were with us all – the weather turned out to be perfect! And, though outdoors, the deck was ample enough I could set up for both hair and makeup complete with easy access to electricity for my Paul Mitchell tools. Despite one stubborn section of hair that refused to cooperate, I managed to create a mane of loose and lovely ringlets and curls.

If I have one word of advice for any makeup artists out there it is do not underestimate the importance of face sheets before an event. Knowing your game plan in advance, and planning out your steps of application can be a lifesaver.

FacialSheetRedhead-small

Princess Facial Sheet

Despite nerves kicking in as I heard antsy horses and riders and the set up for the shot getting closer and closer, I was able to smoothly execute the vision I promised Scott like a paint-by-numbers project. Fortunately, the results were far more polished.

Having finished setting up for the shot we were all pleasantly surprised when Rica and Sarah walked around the corner. Sarah was the embodiment of our princess inspiration, Rica did a great job!

Sarah and Welsh Pony Toys R Us

Sarah and Welsh Pony Toys R Us

The wonderful staff at Twin Lakes brought us over a beautiful 16 year old Welsh Pony named “Toys R Us”. Not only was he a great looking pony but had a sweet natured temperament as well.

We started shooting and “Toys” as he sometimes likes to be called decided that the grass behind us was a lot more exciting than posing for pictures. On more than one occasion he would suddenly start walking around in a circle so he could get at the grass.

Toys marches to the beat of his own drum

Toys marches to the beat of his own drum

Sarah channeled her inner horse trainer, the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds and Toys R Us looked up just long enough for us to grab the perfect shot! We were all glad when the photo shoot finally came to an end, especially the horses.

We nailed it!

We nailed it!

Want to see the finished shot? You’ll just have to buy your own calendar or planner to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which princess and movie inspired Sarah’s wardrobe?

A very special thank you to our hair/makeup artist Rica Mendes of Rica The Artist, Scott Tarter and the whole staff at Twin Lakes Farm, and of course Toys R Us the Pony, without whom this scene would not have been possible!

Twin Lakes Farm is located at 960B California Road in Bronxville, NY, 914 – 961 – 2192. If you have an interest in horses definitely give them a call about any of their fine riding programs and horse shows.

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

When we decided that our #Disneybound calendar would draw inspiration from the princess characters, naturally we knew that Disney’s newest princess film would have to be given extra special attention. I think you know the film I’m referring to. It takes place in Norway in the ice and snow and is so huge that it stars not one, but two Disney princesses.

Yes…that’s right, it’s Lilo & Stitch! Just kidding, join us now as we continue behind the scenes of the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar…

The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Weekly Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

As I said before this scene was going to be big so we pulled out all the stops for this one. As you know from our other blog posts most of our scenes are very small production wise. We usually shoot with just myself, the model and our stylist with a single light or two. Not this time.

This one was a huge production. Not only did we have a large lighting and prop setup but we also had a full production team on site as well. Our 2 models Vonka and Jessica, myself, our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan, our set builder Jena Dengrove, and my assistant, Photographer Tatiana Robinson to document everything and assist with our lighting setup.

There was lots to coordinate and do, but boy did we have a good time!

In keeping with our theme of modernizing the princess characters our calendar drew inspiration from, we thought it would be a cool idea if we chose a setting that would occur after the end of the film. Once all the ice and snow cleared out and the nice weather returned where might our characters go to have some fun?

Why the beach of course! We choose a lovely little beach in Fairfield, CT to shoot our scene. In fact it’s the same beach that our August scene was photographed at last year for our Nature calendar. For those who don’t know much about Connecticut beaches almost all of them are located on the Long Island Sound, not the ocean and most of them make it very difficult for non-residents to get in during the summer months.

Our set for the day - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Our set for the day – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

We scheduled our shoot in mid-September. Well after labor day so we’d have easy access and hopefully less crowds. We pulled right up, staked out the perfect spot and got to work. Sure the few people who were enjoying a nice afternoon on the beach were a little surprised when we showed up and started scouting out an area.

I’m sure they had no idea what we were doing, but very soon it all became clear. Sam got to work on hair and makeup for our models, Tatiana and I started setting up lights, and my wife Jena started on building us a “snowman” made out of sand. I think she may have felt like she drew the short straw.

In case you’ve never tried it before, the first step in building a “sandman” is to create a big mound of sand. This is easier said than done. You see sand is not quite like snow and when it starts to dry out, it also starts to crumble. Well then your “sandman” very quickly begins to turn into sand avalanches.

I pitched in to help Jena as our sand mound started to grow.

It begins with a mound of sand - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

It begins with a mound of sand – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

We needed lots of water to keep the sand moist. This excited me greatly as you can see.

Look Ma I carried the water - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Look Ma I carried the water – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

The sand mound kept getting larger and larger.

More sand! More sand! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

More sand! More sand! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Meanwhile, our Production Stylist Sam was applying makeup to Vonka our model expertly transforming her into a princess fit to rule the beach.

Sam applies Vonka's makeup - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Sam applies Vonka’s makeup – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Sam applies Vonka's makeup - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Sam applies Vonka’s makeup – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Vonka the Princess - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Vonka the Princess – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Jena constantly needed more sand and water for her project and I was all too happy to help. Though I think I may have gotten a little carried away with the shovel. Before too long our “sandman” really started to take shape.

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

By now Sam had now moved on to our other model Jessica’s makeup. The beach was about to be filled with princesses.

Sam applies Jessica's makeup - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Sam applies Jessica’s makeup – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Sam applies Jessica's makeup

Sam applies Jessica’s makeup

Princess Jessica - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Princess Jessica – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Tatiana and I started to set up the lights. I think it was at this point that the other patrons on the beach realized it was a photo shoot that we were doing and not some form of strange sand therapy.

Now where did I put that...? - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Now where did I put that…? – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Shooting late in the afternoon allowed us to use the sun coming from the direction of the water as nice natural backlighting, but we needed strong lights from the front to balance out the sunlight.

For our lighting setup we decided to go with 2 of our trusty Einstein’s manufactured by Paul C Buff. We outfitted them with two 64″ Soft Silver PLM Umbrellas also from Paul C Buff. The PLM Umbrellas give a very flattering look to the light for our models while still maintaining a bit of a hard edge as if the scene was lit fully by sunlight.

Setting up the lights - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Setting up the lights – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

It was somewhat windy on the beach that day and we made sure to bury the bottom of the light stands in some sand and also added 20lb weights to each stand to prevent the lights from getting blown over.

With our lighting ready, our set built, and our props secure we were ready to bring on the models. Not wanting to offend any of the CT natives Jena made sure that Vonka wouldn’t have any wardrobe malfunctions.

Jena secures Vonka's bikini top - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Jena secures Vonka’s bikini top – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

A few last minute directions and we were ready to start shooting.

A little to the left... - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

A little to the left… – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Did I mention that this was Jessica’s first time modeling? Naturally she was a little nervous, so we had a little sing along of “Let It Go”, that put her right at ease.

Karaoke on the beach - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Karaoke on the beach – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

We shot a few photos and then stopped to check out the images. Have you ever tried to look at an electronic screen on a bright and sunny beach? Yeah, doesn’t work so well. So Sam took her scarf and made us an awesome impromptu “dark room” to review  our images.

Darkroom on the beach! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Darkroom on the beach! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Jena wanted in on the fun too and it started to get a little crowded in there. We’ll have to talk to Sam about adding on an extra room.

I can't see! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

I can’t see! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

We continued shooting, trying different poses to get the shot just right.

©Tatiana  Flowers-Robinson

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

At some point Sam decided to try her Russian grandmother impression…is there nothing that scarf can’t do?

Impressions on the beach - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Impressions on the beach – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Finally we got the shot we were looking for…not bad if I do say so myself.

Nailed it! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Nailed it! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Jena thought she might try some photography…step 1 remove the lens cap!

Why is everything so dark? - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Why is everything so dark? – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Of course our models wanted to see what we captured as well.

Oh yeah...we nailed it! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Oh yeah…we nailed it! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

As I started to wrap up and put the equipment away I overheard some sort of a commotion. It seems that our “sandman” got out of line and insulted our model Vonka. Well she wasn’t going to stand for that and threatened to destroy him! Jessica begged Vonka not to destroy her companion as she loved our little “sandman” and grew quite attached to him.

Please don't destroy my friend!

Please don’t destroy my friend!

As the battle became heated Jessica dropped to her knees and pleaded with Vonka one last time. “Don’t destroy him…he didn’t mean it!”.

"I'm begging you...no...dont!"

“I’m begging you…no…dont!”

But alas it was too late with one swift kick Jessica’s little buddy was no more.

Too late...

Too late…

All that remained was his carrot nose, the lasting legacy of her fallen friend.

"I'll miss you!"

“I’ll miss you!”

Special thank you to our entire team for pulling off such an expansive shoot and making it tons of fun along the way. Our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan for her hair and makeup expertise, Photographer Tatiana Flowers-Robinson for some awesome behind-the-scenes photos, our beautiful and talented models Vonka and Jessica for channeling their inner princess and convincing everyone they were sisters, and Jena Dengrove for her fine sand working skills.

Want to see the finished photo? It’s quite spectacular but you’ll just have to buy your own calendar or planner to get one! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Weekly Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

So far for our calendar this year we’ve worked as a seamstress, a veterinarian, and played with a few dogs. I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted and we’ve only shot 2 scenes! I think it’s time for a coffee break, which conveniently brings us to our third scene, join us now as we continue behind the scenes of the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar…

The inspiration for our next look comes from a princess who loves to read, and what better place to get some reading done than while sipping a delightful hot beverage. We knew we wanted our next scene set in some type of cafe, but one of the biggest challenges on this calendar was finding local businesses to partner with us.

We originally started looking for a coffee shop to shoot in. Not a huge corporate commercial chain type place, but a cute local shop that would give a nice homey feeling.

We met with one or two that while the location was perfect, weren’t interested in helping us for various reasons. Feeling rejected and almost nearly at the end of the yellow pages. We started brainstorming and thought that perhaps we might have more luck if we started looking into cafes instead of coffee shops.

Our answer came right down the hill from my studio in Port Chester, NY. Not even 3 blocks away, is a lovely little cafe called Zeppoleme. And let’s face it no one can argue that reading a great book with a delightful hot beverage is significantly an experience that is significantly elevated when you add some amazing homemade zeppoles!

Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY

Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY

In addition to the featured pastry, proprietors Marc and Robert have filled their menu with all kinds of yummy food. Everything from salads to paninis to pastas and trust me when I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried one of their savory zeppoles!

Marc and Robert were kind enough to let us set up in their space one Friday morning to shoot our next calendar scene. Our model Caitlin arrived from CT after stopping off to let our Production Sylist Samantha Dugan expertly take care of her hair and makeup. Carlos, one of the baristas was very accommodating in helping us to set up at a table and prepare for the shoot.

Before we knew it, he had whipped up an expertly prepared cappuccino and plate of delicious zeppoles. Caitlin definitely picked the right scene to model in as our other locations were not as tasty.

Zeppoles prepared by Barista Carlos

Zeppoles prepared by Barista Carlos

Some quick setup of the lights and we were off and running. A few patrons came in to sample the delightful fare Zeppoleme has to offer while we were setting up. Understandably they were a bit surprised to find a princess sipping cappuccino and reading a book but they were all very accommodating and we were able to shoot the scene in record time.

Metering the lights

Metering the lights

We lit the shot with a mix of Einstein studio strobes and speed lights. Placing an Einstein outside the window on a high light stand to simulate nice directional daylight coming through and lighting the model with a Nikon Speedlight in a 36″ Octabox for a nice diffuse interior lighting.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too many behind the scenes photos from this shoot as it was just me and the model on set so there really wasn’t anyone else around to take additional photos. It’s times like this I wish I had one of those flying photo drones, if anyone out there is listening…Christmas is coming up, just saying.

Want to see the final shot? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar or planner to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Caitlin’s wardrobe?

A very special thank you to Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY and proprietors Marc and Robert and their staff for allowing us access to their awesome cafe and providing some appetizing treats for us to photograph.

Zeppoleme is located at 321 North Main Street in Port Chester, NY, 914-481-5900. Definitely stop by when you’re in the area because as they say on their website when you have zeppole…you’re one bite away from the perfect day!

On to our next scene. Thinking up the perfect location and setting for our next scene was a bit of a challenge. After all if you were representing a character inspired by the wife of a half mortal – half Greek god known the world over for his superior strength what would you be up to in modern times?

A lot has changed since Ancient Greece and in today’s world there are countless women who are well known for their strength and fitness abilities. It seemed only natural that our modern princess would be into fitness and working out and probably teaching her husband a thing a or two about staying in shape.

But where would she work out? In a gym? A YMCA? Nah…we needed a natural setting, how about the beach?! Of course, by now we had hit the middle of September and really had to step up our production schedule in order to get everything photographed and off to the printer on time. So we needed to move quickly.

We found a lovely beach in CT and scheduled the shoot with our model Laura for September 13th. You may recognize Laura from her stage work in NYC and from several tv shows on the small screen. She was kind enough to make the long trip up from NYC to Norwalk to appear in our calendar.

As the day of the shoot rolled around naturally our usual luck with outdoor weather held true. All morning we had crazy thunderstorms with driving rains and stormy skies. What were we to do? We were running out of time and this scene HAD to get photographed today.

weather

Turns out the nasty weather actually worked to our advantage. We realized that perhaps the rolling storm clouds out over the Long Island Sound could make a really cool background for our scene. There was only one thing…would the rain stop long enough to allow us to shoot it?

After all, safety is always our primary concern when photographing these scenes and having Laura standing out in the middle of a beach with thunder and lightning all around was totally out of the question.

So with Laura making the long trip from NYC to Norwalk and everyone needing to coordinate schedules to get the shot done how could we ensure that after all that time and effort we’d actually get a chance to shoot?

Enter the ACCUWEATHER Mobile App. This amazing App claims to give you up to the minute super accurate hyperlocal weather. And you know what? It really does!!! After consulting the App it showed that there would be a 2 hour lull in the storm which would be just perfect for grabbing our shot.

We were all a little skeptical but as I said before the shot had to happen! So I picked up Laura at the train and off we went to Sam’s house for hair and makeup.

It was still raining even while Sam was expertly applying Laura’s makeup, but the App said it would stop in 30 minutes. We were this close to placing bets.

We piled into the car and off we headed to the beach. Naturally with the rain, wind, thunder and lightning we were the only ones crazy enough to visit a beach. When we arrived there wasn’t another sole in sight, which made for a great wide open landscape, and there was something else, the rain had stopped!

Never again would I doubt the AccuWeather Mobile App. We quickly setup the equipment and started shooting. The scene was lit with a single Einstein Studio Strobe from the Paul C Buff company outfitted with one of their 64″ PLM Umbrella’s.

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As you can see from the photos that’s a pretty huge umbrella, which when combined with the wind could either make a lovely sail or a dangerous flying object. We made sure to not only dig the legs of the light stand deep into the sand but also to place 20 lbs of weight on the bottom in order to anchor it down.

Notice that although we are shooting with only a single light we positioned it off to the side of our model to give definition and detail to Laura’s toned physique. Once the lighting was set up we decided to take a few test shots. This seemed to anger Laura as she appeared to be more like The Incredible Hulk than a Princess.

Laura taking a test photo

Laura taking a test photo

After a few minutes Laura calmed down and started to practice her poses. Perhaps she felt more comfortable since Sam jumped in to help stabilize the light.

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Laura practices her poses

Next thing you know, she breaks into some sort of calisthenics routine..what’s going on here?!

Calisthenics on the beach?

Calisthenics on the beach?

Eventually we managed to get the shot. Just look at all that detail in the finished photo. It’s certainly due to the fact that I had some very talented people working with me that day.

The Final Shot

The Final Shot

Special thank you to our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan for her hair and makeup expertise and of course getting some great behind the scenes photos, and to our Model Laura A. Feder who was a really good sport to stand out in the middle of a cold windy beach in a sports bra and take some crazy fun shots .

Before we knew it our 2 hour window was up and just as we loaded the last of the gear into the car it started pouring again. We got very lucky that day the photo gods were smiling on us with the weather, it truly made for an amazing shot…perhaps they’re Greek?

Want your very own copy of this amazing photo? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar or planner to get one! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar and Weekly Planner are on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Laura’s wardrobe?

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

The say a journey begins with the first step and with our first scene photographed our journey to the Dengrove Studios 2015 #Disneybound Calendar was well underway, join us now as we continue behind the scenes…

Is it just me or do you find that with any large project it seems infinitely easier once you get started? I recall back in school when I would have to write a term paper I could stare at the blank page for hours trying to get that first sentence out. But once written the words just seemed  to flow like water from a faucet.

This very much describes the process each year trying to get the calendar off the ground. We meet about it for weeks at a time discussing ideas, strategies, costs, and ultimately how the heck we’re going to pull it off.

During the process we go through many theming ideas, often starting out way too ambitious and ultimately ending up at an idea that although difficult to produce can usually be accomplished.

This is known as “blue-skying” and it is a process that is even employed by the Disney Imagineers when designing new attractions, shows, and venues for their Theme Parks. As you can imagine we go through several ideas for themes that never make it past some scribbles on a piece of paper, but much like the Disney Imagineers we never truly throw away an idea, just put it on the back burner for a time in the future when it might be more feasible to accomplish.

Once #Disneybound was chosen as the theme for this years calendar we felt we wanted to give it some sort of a modern twist. Several of the fairy tales that inspired our looks were written in 1600’s and 1700’s, and even some of the Disney movies for those characters were created almost 50 years ago.

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Cinderella Illustration from Grimm’s Fairytales

Snow White Illustration from Grimm's Fairytales

Snow White Illustration from Grimm’s Fairytales

 

Clearly a lot has changed between then and now, so we thought it would be a fun idea to imagine what if some of those stories were set in the present day, and think about what types of activities those characters would be doing.

We came up with a whole bunch of fun choices. Everything from exciting jobs such as being a veterinarian and seamstress, to leisure activities like having coffee and enjoying a relaxing beach day. You think it was easy coming up with all of these activities? It felt a little like being back in school and having to pick your college major.

Another hurdle we encountered was that now we had to find businesses that were willing to work with us and fit the activity that we chose. We knew we wanted to depict our second character inspired look as a modern day veterinarian. However, there was only one problem…where to find some animals?

Originally we thought, “hmm…shouldn’t be too hard to find a camel right?” Sure….because there are lots of those wandering around the greater New York area. In hindsight perhaps if we had tried to find an Elephant or a Ring-tailed Lemur we might have had better luck, but no we picked Camel.

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Even a call to a local zoo simply confirmed that this camel scene probably wasn’t going to happen. So what to do instead? Realizing that exotics are not the only thing veterinarians treat we decided to set our sights smaller…”maybe we could find some dogs and cats”. Ahh, blue-skying at it’s finest.

We found our solution at Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, NY the setting of our next scene for the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar. Adopt-A-Dog is a rescue sanctuary organization serving New York and Connecticut. They have a loving, caring facility which not only works diligently at finding permanent loving homes for it’s four-legged friends, but also promises to provide life-time shelter to those that are least likely to get adopted.

Adoptadog

Organization President Allyson Halm and her caring staff were kind enough to let us invade their shelter space for a few hours on the morning of August 28th to stage and photograph our next scene. Our model Fatima definitely looked the part outfitted with her trusty stethoscope and character inspired look.

Fatima preparing for her scene

Fatima preparing for her scene

During the shoot the Adopt-A-Dog staff provided us not one, not two, not three, but 4 different dogs to feature in our calendar, Daisy, Jax, Dixie and Rufus. Each one had a different personality but they were all super cute and would make amazing pets!

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I was very surprised that although our model Fatima was portraying a veterinarian and even had a stethoscope none of the dogs seemed to be nervous in any way. Daisy was definitely the most interactive and super friendly, even shaking paws at one point with Fatima’s stethoscope. It’s hard to believe that she’s been at the shelter for 2 years waiting to be adopted, I can’t imagine a more perfect companion.

Naturally Rufus being a puppy was amazingly cute, we had a hard time trying to not to smuggle him out in our camera bag once the shoot was over. The staff told us that this was actually the first time he had been out of his enclosure. I think he has a future in photos, what do you think? Even though he’s going to grow up to be a big boy…just look at the size of those paws, he’s going to make an awesome life-long companion.

Long-time readers of our behind the scenes blog may notice something different with our lighting setup for this scene. This marks the first time that we have used full studio strobes in one of our calendar shoots. As the shoot was scheduled to take place early morning outdoors on a bright sunny day, yeah I know it’s very strange for us to get actual sunlight, we knew we needed some powerful lights to match the power of the morning sun.

Having positioned our model Fatima and the dogs in such a way we were able to use the sun for some nice backlighting to give good separation from our background. To compliment the sun we used 2 Einstein studio strobe lights from the Paul C Buff company and powered them with a Vagabond Mini battery inverter.

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The key light has been fitted with a parabolic umbrella and the fill has been fitted with an octobox to help diffuse some of the light. Although I have used Einstein’s for several years I’ve never had the opportunity to take them out of the studio before. They are nothing short of amazing. I won’t bore everyone here with the details but if you’re interested in portable studio lighting at an affordable price you should definitely look into getting yourself some.

Want to see which dog made it into the final shot? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Fatima’s wardrobe?

A very special thank you to Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, NY and President Allyson Halm and her staff for allowing us access to their great facility to shoot our calendar scene and allowing us to meet some new 4-legged friends.

Adopt-A-Dog is located at 23 Cox Ave in Armonk, NY, 914-273-1674 or 203-629-9494. Call to make an appointment to find your life-long furry companion, Daisy is there waiting for you!

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Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

Summer may have recently ended and 2015 is still a few months away but I’m pleased to announce that we have already started working on the 2015 Dengrove Studios calendar in conjunction with our Production Stylist Samantha Dugan and you’re coming along for the ride!

As you may recall, last year we tried something new after publishing the calendar and released a series of behind the scenes blog posts. Well it turns out that our fans loved them!

So this year instead of waiting until the calendar is finished, we thought it would be fun to provide you with behind the scenes posts while we’re still in the middle of making it. That way you can follow along with us to see what really goes in to putting one of these calendars together and getting it off the ground.

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Let me start by telling you about some of the awesome things you can expect to see. It all begins with our really creative, fun theme. Gone is the  previous “Wearable Art” series. Why limit ourselves to one genre when there are so many great avenues to explore.

We were looking for something that allows us to combine modern fashion, fun inspiration, and a little bit of pixie dust. We found it in our 2015 calendar theme…#Disneybound!

Calendar Cover

The 2015 Dengrove Studios Calendar

Never heard of it? #Disneybound is the brain child of Leslie Kay, a fashionista from Toronto, Canada with a love of all things Disney. She uses her eye for fashion to create modern everyday outfits inspired by your favorite characters, parks, and attractions.

Those who choose to #Disneybound are almost like members of a secret club in that they can easily spot fellow #Disneybounders and the inspiration for their outfits, but those unaware of the fashion trend will simply see regular everyday clothing. You can learn more about it on Leslie’s tumblr.

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Fashionable clothing or secret character?
Photo courtesy of Disneybound Tumblr

What else can you expect to see in the 2015 calendar? Plenty! If you’ve seen any of our previous calendars you know we always try to top ourselves. While last years calendar saw us leaving the studio for the first time and embracing some great nature shots, for 2015 we’ll be taking it a step further. Partnering with local businesses that have graciously allowed us to use their interiors to bring our calendar to life.

We had a tough time securing locations for last year, dodging bad weather, coordinating schedules, and finding just the right types of flowers and plants. That is nothing compared to what we went through this year!

Locating compatible businesses, securing partnerships and of course scheduling not only a photographer, stylist, and models, but working around the existing schedule of our partner locations as not to impact their day to day business is a logistical nightmare of epic proportions.

Thankfully I took an epic proportions scheduling course in college and we got permission to shoot in some awesome locations.

But we’re done yet with our “what’s new for 2015” list. We saved the biggest announcement for last…this year’s Dengrove Studios 2015 #Disneybound Calendar will also be available as a monthly planner! That’s right…you asked for it and we listened, now you can have your choice of wall calendar or monthly planner that fits right in your hand.

Planner Cover

New for 2015…it comes in a Monthly Planner!

Now I did promise you behind the scenes looks at this year’s calendar, so let’s dive right into it. We shot our first scene for the calendar on July 19th at a cute little Tailor/Dry Cleaner shop in Rye, NY called Pins & Needles. Fitting name isn’t it? Located at … owner Eva was kind enough to let us use her shop for the setting of our first scene. Our model Jenna came in all the way from Chicago to star in the calendar.  Here’s our Production Stylist Sam applying Jenna’s makeup.

Sam applies Jenna's makeup

Sam applies Jenna’s makeup

We arrived on location and began setting up our equipment. Shooting indoors at a business allowed us the opportunity to bring a lot more lighting equipment than for our previous calendar where we had to walk long distances through various landscapes and therefore had to pack light.

Setting up equipment

For you photo buffs in the audience we are using a slightly modified setup this year. We still lit the interior of the scene with a Nikon speedlight on a light stand, however since we are shooting indoors we replaced the white shoot-through umbrella with a 36” Octabox to soften and diffuse the light a bit more.

When planning the shot we envisioned a bit of a somber scene with beautiful late afternoon sunlight streaming through the window. Naturally, mother nature had other plans. Isn’t it amazing how even though we were shooting indoors we still had the bad weather to worry about? As most of our fans know Sam and I don’t have particularly great luck where the weather is concerned, so naturally July 19th ended up being overcast and cloudy.

Difficult conditions to get beautiful afternoon sunlight streaming through a window to say the least. Fear not though as we have quite a bit of experience shooting in less than ideal conditions. Enter the power of photo lighting! Cue the superhero music…

Hmm...I don't think this angle is quite right

Hmm…I don’t think this angle is quite right

In order to create our own afternoon sunlight we used an additional Nikon speedlight placed high up on a light stand bare with no modifiers. It took a bit of trial and error to get the positioning just right but before we knew it there was light streaming through the window perfectly highlighting our model. Except for one thing…the light looked just a bit like high noon.

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Getting there…perhaps a little more to the left?

To give our artificial streaming sunlight a late afternoon feel we added a sheet of 1/2 CTO gel to our speedlight. CTO stands for “color temperature orange”…yeah photographers don’t really care for complex equipment names. In order to balance our indoor light with outside we added a sheet of 1/2 CTO gel to our indoor Octabox light as well. Here you can see the small sheet of gel attached to the front of our Speedlight.

A 1/2 CTO gel on the front of our Speedlight helps to give the illusion that it's a beautiful sunny day

A 1/2 CTO gel on the front of our Speedlight helps to give the illusion that it’s a beautiful sunny day

With the lighting all set, and our model Jenna looking amazing , we were now ready to shoot. We asked Jenna to pretend that she was sewing a dress together, which definitely wasn’t going to be a problem given the extensive collection of thread available at Pins & Needles. I say “pretend” because the dress she’s working on actually belonged to our Production Stylist Sam and one can only imagine how happy she’d be if Jenna actually started sewing her dress.

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We began to shoot and naturally since we were all ready with lights, the camera and our model, customers started walking into the store.

Amazing…during setup there was virtually no foot traffic but the minute we start the actual shoot business suddenly picks up. Although it meant we had to stop shooting from time to time to let a customer pass it wasn’t bad at all and we were able to get on a roll in between customers.

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Let the shooting commence

When shooting an important scene for publication it’s critical to inspect your photos  while you’re still on site with the entire production staff. That way if there’s a problem you can still make adjustments and take some more shots. Once the production wraps and you’re back in the office it’s a LOT harder to fix any mistakes that you didn’t catch on-site.

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Scott inspects the photos

Here we can see the photo looks sharp and crisp and is in proper focus. You can also see just a little bit of that beautiful artificial sunlight we created streaming through the window. Want to see what the whole photo looks like? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Jenna’s wardrobe?

I hope you enjoyed this little “look over our shoulder” while we photographed the first scene of this year’s calendar. Be sure to stay tuned for more great behind the scenes reporting as we have 11 more months to get through!

Special thanks to my wife and Art Direction consultant Jena Dengrove for capturing these awesome behind the scenes photos! And of course a very special thank you to Pins & Needles Tailoring and Dry Cleaning and owner Eva for allowing us to disrupt her business for an afternoon while we shot our first scene of the calendar.

Pins & Needles is located at 131 Purchase Street in Rye, NY, 914-481-1046. Specializing in Wedding Alterations and Tailoring be sure to pay them a visit for all your dry cleaning and alteration needs!

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Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several magazines and newspapers. In addition, his work can be seen on tour in various exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

Well folks there comes a time in every photographers life where he or she will need to get a photo taken. Naturally as photographers we don’t particularly relish this strange turn of events.

First off we usually don’t like to get our photos taken…that’s why we decided on a life behind the lens, if we did we would’ve become models instead.

Second, being photographers we are naturally very critical of photos especially photos of ourselves and that makes us a bad subject to photograph. It’s kind of like how doctors don’t always make the best patients.

What follows is a recount of the events of just one photographer’s journey to get his photo taken…me.

I found myself in the position of needing a new headshot/portrait for my website. It had been quite some time since the last one was taken and it definitely needed updating. But who would I trust with this monumental task?

For some time I’ve been mentoring various local photographers and I decided to call one of my talented proteges, Tatiana Flowers-Robinson.

Tatiana and I have been working together for many months now and I thought this would be the perfect challenge for her to undertake.

I recall she was very excited when I texted her about it, this seemed strange to me, perhaps she didn’t quite understand what she was getting herself into, being new to the photography game and all.

We decided that she would meet me at a local park…I recognized her immediately as she came up the walk

"Hi Tatiana"

“Hi Tatiana”

We exchanged pleasantries and set up the equipment. I told you photographer’s don’t make easy photo subjects. We’ll just say old habits are hard to break, so when Tatiana said “Let’s begin”, I immediately picked up my camera and started shooting her.

I started photographing

I started photographing

“What are you doing?!!” she exclaimed loudly. Naturally I was taken aback by her excited demeanor but not startled and remained focused and calm, as we photographers are trained to do.

Tatiana reminded me that this was my photo shoot not hers. Silly me…I had forgotten all about it. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, as I said before photographers don’t like to get their photos taken.

“Ok let’s get this over with” I said. And with that I again started taking photos…but this time of a different subject.

Scott taking selfies

Scott taking selfies

“Wait, wait, wait” Tatiana said emphatically. “Now what are you doing?” “Taking some selfies of course”, I replied. “You did say this was my photo shoot and selfies are all the rage with the kids these days”.

I could tell by the look of confusion on her face that I had lost her. After what seemed like an endless pause, her staring at me with her mouth wide open, she said “are you insane??” Now I may be paraphrasing a bit here but you get the general idea.

She continued to explain that she thought the whole reason she was here was that she was going to take my photo for me.

Her take the photo for me? I’ll admit the idea sounded just a little strange.

You shoot photos of me?

You shoot photos of me?

I thought about it for a minute. She did come all this way, and I trust in her skills. After all we had been working together for a while and she is shaping up to be a great photographer.

“Sure, why not?” I exclaimed, “that’s so crazy it might just work!” Tatiana had me try a few poses. You know the usual stuff…stand this way, look here, stop picking your nose. Finally she cried out “perfect…that’s a wrap!” The finished photo appears below.

I actually really liked it, can you imagine? I think she did a great job if I do say so myself…wonder where she learned how to shoot like that. What do you think?

"That's a wrap!"

“That’s a wrap!”

As you can see we did end up having a lot of fun with this shoot. It’s certainly a different perspective being in front of the lens for a change.

A very special thank you to Tatiana Flowers-Robinson for all the great shots and lending me her camera to use as a prop. Please do check out some of her photos on her website at tatianaflowers.wordpress.com you’ll be glad you did!

Tatiana taking my photo

Tatiana taking my photo

For those interested in the lighting setup, we used the lovely natural light of the setting sun supplemented with our typical location lighting of a speedlight mounted on a portable light-stand.

The speedlight was gelled with a 1/2 CTO filter to match the natural light but was bare with no modifiers except for the supplied diffuser cap.

If you’d like to hear more about this lighting setup please check some of our behind the scenes articles from our 2014 Calendar shoot earlier in the blog posts.

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several nationally circulated magazines and publications. In addition, his work can currently be seen in 2 exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios

Today I thought we’d do a bit of a different type of blog post and discuss a very special tour of The Museum of Metropolitan Art in NYC that my wife and I had with a couple of friends recently. But just so we don’t totally break the mold maybe we’ll throw in a little photography talk as well.

Last month we had the distinct pleasure to join the “VIP Night Tour at The Museum of Metropolitan Art” put on by the great folks over at MuseumHack.

Museum Hack

Museum Hack

As stated on MuseumHack’s website they are a very unique company “We lead fun, high energy VIP museum adventures. You will be entertained… and learn a bit along the way. This is not your grandma’s museum tour.”

They’re definitely right! Not only were our 2 guides Ethan and Marie a blast to be around but super knowledgeable about all that “The Met”, as we New Yorkers tend to call it, has to offer.

MuseumHack bills themselves as “Museum tours for people who don’t like museums”. The excellent tour guides they employ are not actually art or art history experts, but theater experts. This where the “entertainment” part comes in. And while my wife and I are not exactly their target audience, both of us being artists and absolutely loving The Met to pieces, we definitely were thoroughly entertained throughout the whole experience.

Our guide Ethan from MuseumHack

Our guide Ethan from MuseumHack entertaining us

On your tour you’ll see not only the more famous highlights of The Met’s collection but some lesser known very cool pieces of art as well. Ever wanted to see one of the first smart phones in the world…only this one was created over 500 years ago!

The astrolabe is an ancient tool of Greek origin that is used to locate and predict the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars, which means you can use it to tell time, figure out what latitude you’re in, help you survey the land all around you, and even cast your horoscope so you can see how your future will turn out.

Although astrolabes were used extensively in the ancient world, they really came into their own during the Medieval era when the Islamic world picked them up and started adding all sorts of new features. Now they could help you find the time that the sun and certain fixed stars will rise so you know when to schedule morning prayer. By the time the astrolabe matured people found over 1,000 different uses for it.

With all the things it can do the astrolabe truly was the world’s first smart phone way before electricity.

An astrolabe the world's first smart phone

An astrolabe the world’s first smart phone

This is just one of the many cool objects in The Met’s 2 million piece permanent collection. Naturally you won’t see all of them on the tour, in fact you’ll barely scratch the surface but the few that you do see will be accompanied by some amazing stories and a whole heap of enthusiasm.

Those of you who are not necessarily art lovers out there, might be thinking “Scott are you serious? How could ancient art possibly be cool? What do you mean there will be amazing stories, it’s not like there’s gonna be a scandalous story associated with a painting?”

Ah now that’s where you’re wrong! Just look at these examples:

Want to protect your kids at night in a super powerful forcefield surrounding their bed? You can with a 4000 year old magic wand.

4000 year old magic wand

4000 year old magic wand

Do cute lovable mascots put a great big smile on your face? Learn all about “William” a ceramic blue hippo from Ancient Egypt and unofficial mascot of The Met. Why was he found with 3 of his legs broken? You’ll just have to take the tour to find out.

Our guide Marie tells us about William The Met's unofficial mascot

Our guide Marie tells us about William The Met’s unofficial mascot

I did promise you scandal, didn’t I…you don’t have to look much further than Edouard Manet, a pivotal painter in the transition from Realism to Impressionism whose nudes not only caused controversy by flouting the conventions of the time period but also whose son might have actually been his brother. How’s that for scandal?

Some tour participants hearing the sordid details of the life and times of Edouard Manet

Some tour participants hearing the sordid details of the life and times of Edouard Manet

Now I don’t want to give away the whole tour experience as it is something you definitely should experience for yourself, but here are just a few more highlights of antiquities you might see along the way:

Greek StatueIvory Instrument
SphynxReligious Painting

I also promised you some photography chat as well. So just how do we take great photos like these in the middle of a fine art museum that doesn’t allow flash? Simple…first have your friend walk by and distract the guard. Maybe have him or her try to touch one of the paintings..that really pisses them off. Next take your flash photo and run like hell!

Ok, ok just kidding, DON’T EVER DO THAT!!! Not only will you most likely get thrown out or arrested you will probably be destroying art work worth thousands or even millions of dollars. So how can we get great photos in a low light setting such as the museum?

Faithful readers of our blog are probably thinking, hmm seems like a topic we might have covered before, and you’d be right! Taking photos in a museum is no different than taking them in any other low-light situation that we’ve encountered, except that these subjects will most likely remain perfectly still so you have an easier time getting the shot.

Let’s review some techniques that we have at our disposal.

First we can raise our ISO. Increasing our ISO will make the sensors on our digital cameras more sensitive to light, thereby allowing us to take a better photo in a low-light situation. Just remember not to raise it too high or you’ll get a lot of digital noise or grain in your photo.

We can also try using a slower shutter speed. This will allow the shutter on our camera to stay open longer and therefore take in more light. However, the slower our shutter the more susceptible our image is to motion blur since we will have to hold the camera steady longer.

If you do use a slower shutter speed then it’s best to try and find a steady surface to rest the camera on, or try to steady yourself against a wall or other stationary object for support, this will help eliminate motion blur. Just make sure you’re not resting on another piece of artwork! That falls into the category of…DON’T EVER DO THAT!!!

For more tips and techniques while shooting in low-light situations feel free to check out some of our earlier blog posts on the subject.

And don’t forget one of the most important rules when taking photos at the museum…make sure to get some people in your photos as well! People really help to add visual interest to a photo. You can photograph them observing the art, or even their reactions to viewing an unusual piece for the first time.

Here are some photos of the participants in our tour. That’s my wife with the pink hair…yeah she’s a bit of a badass.

Ethan our guide teaching about the artwork

Ethan our guide teaching about the artwork

Tour participants learning about the artwork

Tour participants learning about the artwork

Tour participants react to hearing a story about the artwork

Tour participants react to hearing a story about the artwork

I want to thank the folks over at MuseumHack for a lovely evening filled with fun, scandal, and some art. MuseumHack offers both daytime and evening “Hack the Met” tours and have recently started offering “Hack the Museum of Natural History” tours as well! Check out their website when you get a chance. I highly recommend giving one of their tours a try.

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several nationally circulated magazines and publications. In addition, his work can currently be seen in 2 exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dengrovestudios