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All posts for the month November, 2013


Every year Dengrove Studios in partnership with Makeup by Sam D publishes our Wearable Art series of calendars. The theme for this year’s calendar is Nature. It is the first time in the series that we are leaving the studio behind and taking to the great outdoors.

As I write this blog post, it is exciting to know that the 2014 calendar just arrived from the printer and looks amazing. But how did we get to this point?

Well it wasn’t easy, we dealt with many hurdles along the way including scheduling conflicts, inclement weather, dismal locations, and the setting sun, but I can honestly say this was the most fun we’ve ever had producing one of these calendars. And lucky for you folks, we documented the whole thing! Join us now as we continue to take you behind the scenes of the 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar.

Having managed to complete our first scene in the sunflower field, despite inclement weather and the looming threat of hungry sunflower munching cows, we had a huge feeling of accomplishment. The most daunting part of any large project is actually getting it started it’s difficult to know where to begin.

However, once you dive right in and complete the first step, you’re suddenly reinvigorated and the finish line seems definitely do-able. Armed with our new found confidence we began scouting locations for our second scene.

Rose Trellises at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Park)

Rose Trellises at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Park)

We knew we definitely wanted Roses to be a part of the calendar, and Tulips are a classic as well. But, it turns out there aren’t too many Rose Gardens in the nearby area, and especially so late in the season. We were nearing the end of August and most Rose Gardens look their best at the beginning of summer not the end. After 2 weeks of research we finally found our location. Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT.

Elizabeth Park is an amazing oasis just outside downtown Hartford. Featuring a 2.1 acre public Rose Garden with over 800 varieties of Roses, we immediately knew this was the place to go. Several photos online also showed lovely rows of Tulips there as well and a really cool pond. You may recall from Part I of our behind the scenes blog that Water Lilies and Lily Pads were also nature that were were planning to add to the calendar. It sounded like this place was a can’t miss, we’d be able to shoot 3 scenes here all in this one location.

Elizabeth Park, Day of Photo Shoot

Elizabeth Park, Day of Photo Shoot

It was settled, with our model Lea in tow, who came all the way from Brooklyn, we set out on the 2 1/2 hour trip up to Hartford, CT and Elizabeth Park. They say it’s not the destination, but the journey, and although we did have a lovely ride up to Hartford, we were all very excited about seeing the beautiful scenery that was waiting for us at our destination.

As we drove in to the gates we were amazed at how large the park is. From what we had read online we were expecting a small Rose Garden, a few trails and a pond. We found so much more, several formal gardens, and a restaurant venue they call the Pond House available for weddings and other catered affairs. And although the roses were no longer climbing the trellises due to the end of summer approaching the Rose Garden itself certainly didn’t disappoint!

As I walked around the park scouting out the perfect locations to shoot our photos, Sam got started on Lea’s makeup for the first scene, Tulips.

Lea gets her makeup done by Sam of Makeup by Sam D

Lea gets her makeup done by Sam of Makeup by Sam D

After touring the gardens I did return with some bad news. Apparently the Tulip season had ended and there weren’t any to be found on the property.

Fear not, luckily we did plan ahead and brought our own just in case! Good thing too, would’ve been quite a shame to travel all that way and then discover there were no Tulips.

Just a few feet from where we parked the car was the ideal place to shoot the Tulip scene. Benches and nice patch of grass, led us to choose that a striking close-up with Lea’s face framed by Tulips would be the perfect way to show them off. Why did we need a bench? So that we could have Lea lay on the ground and photograph her from above so the Tulips would remain in place. Having done an amazing job on Lea’s makeup, Sam began styling the Tulips around Lea’s head as I set up the lighting.

Here in these behind the scenes production photos you can see just what goes into creating a photo like this. I’m sure Lea must’ve been hoping I wouldn’t lose my balance on that bench for fear I would have landed right on top of her, but as a professional model even if that’s what she was thinking it never once showed on her face.

Sam of Makeup by Sam D styles Lea for her scene

Sam of Makeup by Sam D styles Lea for her scene

Scott Adjusts Lighting

Scott Adjusts Lighting

Scott Photographs Lea for the Calendar

Scott Photographs Lea for the Calendar

Want to see the finished product? You’ll just have to purchase your own copy of the calendar! The 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

It actually only took us about 25 minutes from setting up the scene to getting the final shot for the calendar. Good thing too as we had lots to photograph that day and it was already 4:30 in the afternoon by the time we finished the Tulip scene.

Since first finalizing the list of plants and flowers that we wanted to use for each month of the calendar, one thing was becoming very clear, we were going to have to be flexible as we kept discovering that several of the plants and flowers we had chosen were either out of season, or simply unavailable. Due to this we thought it would be a good idea to photograph some extra scenes at each location, just in case we needed to supplement a scene that we had planned for later on down the road.

Could you just imagine if we had waited until October to find out that we couldn’t use a particular flower and then there was nothing else around since the cold weather would have started rolling in already? These were the logistical nightmares that kept us up at night, and something totally new for us to have to worry about shooting on location instead of in the studio as in previous years.

While Lea was still dressed in her pretty pink dress we decided to walk around the gardens a bit and see where else we could get a few extra shots just in case. We came upon a lovely formal garden with groups of plantings including this beautiful plant with red feathery plumage. I had seen the plant before growing at Disney but none of us knew what it was called. However, we all thought it would make a great addition to the calendar if need be.

Photographing the scene

Photographing the scene

Photographer's point of view

Photographer’s point of view

As you can see in these behind the scenes photos (look at the sexy back of my head, maybe I should model?) we shot most of the scenes with a single fill light (yes the same light that Sam saved on our previous trip to the Sunflower field). Only this time we weighed it down a heck of a lot better! And what does the finished shot look like? Well since this one didn’t end up making it into the calendar we can absolutely show it to you here.

Final Finished Photograph

Beautifully Finished Photograph

What do you think? Isn’t it gorgeous? The colors, the styling, the makeup, and the scenery all combine to create an amazing shot! So just what are those feathery plants called? I actually did take a trip to Disney about 2 weeks after we shot this scene and saw them growing there again, so I decided to pay a visit to Guest Relations. There they showed me the “Big Book of Disney Horticulture”. It was amazing with photos, names and descriptions of every plant, flower, and tree growing in the parks.

But….you guessed it naturally that plant was the only one that I couldn’t find in the giant 3 ring binder they handed me. Disappointed I continued my search online and came across a site run by horticulture fans that also lists all of the plants and flowers in the Disney Parks. Eureka! I had finally found it at last! The plant is known as Cockscomb as in the red comb on top of a roosters head. Makes perfect sense right?

Speaking of last minute scene changes, I mentioned earlier about the pond that this park had and how we were going to shoot the Water Lilly/Lily Pad scene here as well. Turns out when we got there, it wasn’t so lovely, more of an algae filled mess with very little plant life growing around it. By now we were becoming experts at “rolling with the punches” and started searching around for another part of the park we could shoot a scene at.

We came across a lovely shade garden, not too far from where the Cockscomb was growing. A quick wardrobe change and some makeup refreshing and we were ready to shoot our next scene.

You can see the setup in these behind the scenes photos. I especially find the one taken from behind the model interesting as you can really get a sense of what Lea was seeing that day as I was photographing her. Big thanks to Sam for taking all the behind the scenes photos and giving us a great glimpse into the making of the 2014 Calendar.

Photographing the Scene

Photographing the Scene

 

Model's Point of View

Model’s Point of View

Sometimes while on location you come across a scene you weren’t expecting that just screams “this would be a perfect place for some photos”. Well on the way back to the car from the shade garden we came across this really awesome tree with low limbs. It was in the perfect position with the setting sun to make for some amazing fashion shots. I quickly set up the lighting and before you know it both Sam and Lea were up in a tree making photo magic! Since these photos weren’t for the calendar I can show you a finished one here.

Impromptu Fashion Shoot in a Tree

Impromptu Fashion Shoot in a Tree

By now it was really getting late in the day and the sun was setting. We had one more scene to shoot, the one that we actually came all the way to Elizabeth Park for…the Roses! This is to be Sam’s scene in the calendar. Here you can see one of the outtake shots.

Ring around the rosy

Ring around the rosy

Although her rose belt was really cool, those roses kept popping off every 2 minutes. This is how the scene went *snap* take a photo, *snap* take a photo, wait we lost some roses, *snap* “take a photo”,  hang on a few more fell off. It was really quite funny. Eventually we did get through it and ended up with a lovely shot for the calendar.

Want to see it? You’ll just have to get a calendar to see the finished shot. The 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

Of course you never know what your lens is going to capture at a photo shoot. Even though Lea had shot 2 scenes today and she knew Roses were going to be Sam’s scene one can’t help but think she might have been a little jealous and wanted it for herself.

I wanted to shoot roses!

I wanted to shoot roses!

Don’t worry no actual models were injured during the making of this calendar! The 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Hang it on the fridge, bring it to to office, or give it as a gift.

Stay tuned for more great behind the scenes posts about the making of this year’s Wearable Art: Nature Calendar.

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

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and you know what that means…time to get your new calendar! Every year Dengrove Studios in partnership with Makeup by Sam D publishes our Wearable Art series of calendars. The theme for this year’s calendar is Nature. It is the first time in the series that we are leaving the studio behind and taking to the great outdoors.

As I write this blog post, it is exciting to know that final preparations are being made to submit the 2014 Calendar off to the printer. But how did we get to this point?

Well it wasn’t easy, we dealt with many hurdles along the way including scheduling conflicts, inclement weather, dismal locations, and the setting sun, but I can honestly say this was the most fun we’ve ever had producing one of these calendars. And lucky for you folks, we documented the whole thing! Join us now as we take you behind the scenes of the 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar.

Each Wearable Art Calendar starts with a theme, an idea that will tie each of the 12 months’ photos together. The inspiration for this year’s theme, Nature, came from a photo shoot we had done earlier in the year with Model and Makeup Artist Samantha Dugan of Makeup by Sam D. It was just about the start of Spring with the weather getting warmer that we chose to do a photo shoot celebrating the beautiful flowers that would soon appear in fields and gardens across the Northeast.

Inspiration for this year's Nature theme

Inspiration for this year’s Nature theme

As you can see the photos turned out amazing and it got us thinking…wouldn’t this make a great idea for the 2014 Calendar. Of course these photos were shot in a studio vs outdoors.

Working in a studio is always easier, you can control the weather, the lighting, the location, basically all aspects of the shoot are under your command. For our previous calendars, shooting in studio afforded us the opportunity to work quickly and efficiently. Believe it or not, in the past, we were able to shoot the photographs for all 12 months over the course of just 2 Saturdays.

This year would be quite a different ballgame. We decided that the best way to truly capture the essence of our Nature theme would be to combine our beautiful models, with actual gorgeous outdoor locations. For the first time ever the Wearable Art Calendar production was leaving the studio…and taking the show on the road.

We had to move quickly however, it was already the beginning of July and we needed to get everything coordinated and photographed before the cold weather moved in. Locations had to be found and scouted, models had to be secured and scheduled, and most importantly each individual months’ idea needed to be finalized.

Here you can see a rare look at some of our initial production notes for the calendar. Lots of items have changed between these initial ideas and the finished product. For example did you know that Azaleas and Rhododendrons only bloom in the early Spring? That’s right, consequently when we showed up to photograph with them…they were all gone! Want to see which ideas actually made it in to the finished calendar? Well then you’ll need to get a copy of your very own, click here for information on how to purchase.

Initial Production Notes for 2014 Calendar

Initial Production Notes for 2014 Calendar

Once we had our ideas sorted out it was already the end of July and we were ready to photograph our first month, although it almost didn’t happen.

For many years now I had heard about Buttonwood Farms in Griswold, CT, and the amazing work they do for the Make-a-Wish foundation with their breath-taking sunflowers. They have 14 acres growing during the summer and it certainly is a site to behold.

However, the Sunflower Event at Buttonwood Farms only lasts just over a week every year, when then sunflowers are at their peak. With just 4 days to spare before they turn the cows loose in the field to munch on all the leftovers they don’t sell, we decided that would be the perfect place to shoot our first month.

As I said before, we knew shooting on location would present some challenges, but we didn’t know they’d be presented to us all at once!

We were already in a time crunch having just a few days to coordinate everything before the sunflowers got munched up by the cows, and to make matters worse it was a 2 hour trip to Buttonwood Farms from our studio. With such a long distance to travel and the hungry hungry cow countdown looming (thankfully it wasn’t hippos) this was really going to be our one and only chance to get the shot.

Naturally, to compound matters, the forecast that day called for rain. Knowing that this was our only opportunity we decided to push ahead for the 2 hour drive anyway, hoping that perhaps those fancy dancy weather apps were wrong. Along the way we did pass through quite a few storms, but it seems we got ahead of the rain as once we arrived at our destination everything was dry, though still quite overcast.

Stopped raining, but still overcast

Stopped raining, but still overcast

Certainly not the best weather to get a great summer sunflower shot, but we were determined to make it work. Since the sun wasn’t cooperating we made our own light. A couple of Nikon Speedlights did the trick, you’d almost never know that it was a gray rainy day when we shot these photos.

Making our own summer light

Making our own summer light

Some people got quite a surprise that day while strolling through the sunflower field and unexpectedly finding themselves in the middle of a photography session, but everyone was very supportive and excited to see the photos.

In fact we were so engrossed in what we were doing that we hardly noticed when it actually did start drizzling. If you look carefully enough you can even see the water droplets on the top of Sam’s head.

Look closely you can see the rain drops

Look closely you can see the rain drops

We didn’t mind too much though because it gave us the perfect opportunity to take a break and sample the other thing that makes Buttonwood Farms famous. The Buttonwood Farm Fresh Homemade Ice Cream! They have tons of flavors and if you’re lucky enough to find yourself there during the Sunflower for Wishes event like we were, you can sample their seasonal specialty flavor Sunflower Caramel. Let me tell you, that alone is totally worth the trip!

Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream (Photo Courtesy of Buttonwood Farm)

Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream (Photo Courtesy of Buttonwood Farm)

Once the rain subsided we thought we might try to get a really dramatic shot. There is a cool hill overlooking the sunflower field and we thought it would be a great idea to get a photo with Sam holding a colored drape fluttering in the breeze across the sunflowers.

Despite being slightly windy all day, with our luck of course when we were ready to shoot the wind had completely subsided; not a breeze in sight. We waited around a bit, but had basically given up and let our guard down when all of a sudden a giant gust came whipping across the field just as I clicked the shutter. Gusty enough that it even blew over my light stand mid-shot.

Always maintains her composure

Always maintains her composure

Although we weren’t able to get the drape fluttering photo we were hoping for, this one is definitely an awesome runner up. And as a testament to the amazing modeling skills of our stylist Samantha Dugan you can clearly see that she’s able to hold her graceful pose and perfect model facial expression no matter what the situation.

I’m pleased to report that with her help the light stand was saved and the umbrella suffered only minor damage, that was easily fixed.

All in all it turned out to be a very successful photo session for the calendar and a heck of a fun day. We ended up getting some great shots despite the universe throwing all kinds of obstacles in our path.

Want to see the finished photo that ultimately made it in to the calendar? You’ll just have to buy your own copy to find out! The 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Hang it on the fridge, bring it to to office, or give it as a gift.

And just in case you’re wondering as a thank you for letting us shoot in the sunflower field that day Dengrove Studios did make a nice donation to the incredible Make-a-Wish foundation. We hope it helps them to continue their very important work of helping our children.

Stay tuned for more great behind the scenes posts about the making of this year’s Wearable Art: Nature Calendar.

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