behind the scenes

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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!

IMG_0035Owner

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

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.

Holidays are here already. There’s still time to get your very own calendar before New Year’s, but you have to act fast. It’s exciting to see the inventory of calendars get smaller and smaller as we fill orders. 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 successfully completed four months of the calendar we were feeling pretty confident that this whole shooting outdoors thing was going to work out. However, it would be impossible to keep up the pace of going to far off locations for each of our remaining shoots. The time and financial constraints would just be too much. We knew we had to find a local location that would accommodate several of our remaining months.

We happened to find just such a place at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, CT. Reviewing their website we were excited by the prospects of having access to so many unique landscapes. There were azaleas and rhododendrons, a meadow, vegetable garden, and various other formal gardens. A scouting trip to the arboretum was quickly scheduled.

BartlettMap

Well as with most things associated with this year’s calendar we were quickly learning to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.

Once we arrived we discovered that the azalea and rhododendron garden was quite out of season with nothing left but a couple of paths and empty bushes, the meadow was more of a cattail field next to the side of a busy road, and the formal gardens were more clumps of various flowers than lushly planned spaces.

A quick shuffling of our plans for the various months of the calendar was in order. Luckily, along with the surprises of what was not at the arboretum, we were happy to find that there were great unadvertised spaces we could definitely use.

There was a lush tropical garden with beautiful large leafy plants, it was a small parcel of rain forest right here in the middle of CT; a really awesome long wall of bamboo straight out of China, all that was missing was the pandas; and a majestic grove of trees growing ever skyward, in addition to some other great nooks and crannies with interesting plants we could use.

Yes it wasn’t the nature we were expecting, but it would definitely do!

With our location chosen and our beautiful model Fatima in tow we headed over to the Bartlett Arboretum on a nice warm September day. Her makeup was expertly completed by Sam of Makeup by Sam D. A few flowers to finish up the look and we were ready to shoot in the tropical garden.

SamDoesFatimasMakeup

Sam does Fatima’s Makeup

Fatima remarked how much the tropical garden reminded her of her grandfather’s house in Puerto Rico. Which simply confirmed to us we had picked a great spot to shoot.

Here you can see some behind the scenes shots of how we put together our photo in the tropical garden. Again you’ll notice we used a single speedlight in a shoot through umbrella on a light stand to fill in the shadows. As there were a few clouds in the sky we sometimes had to wait for them to pass and the sun to return but we managed to get the shot finished in just about 30 minutes.

Behind the scenes of Fatima's Photoshoot

Behind the scenes of Fatima’s Photoshoot

Behind the scenes of Fatima's Photoshoot

Behind the scenes of Fatima’s Photoshoot

Although the next shot was originally envisioned as something a bit more mysterious, we wanted some awesome fog coming through the trees, we couldn’t quite get mother nature to cooperate. We even tried using some Fog in a Can.

Scott…you say…I think you’ve been sipping too much Egg Nog, what the heck is Fog in a Can? Fog in a Can is a really cool thing that is used in theatrical productions when you need to create small bursts of fog.

Fog in Can - Filmtools

Fog in a Can – order at www.filmtools.com

For example, it is used extensively in the theatrical production of Hairspray when the script calls for the actors to spray their hair with hairspray. Not only is real hairspray flammable but it’s also pretty hard to see when it comes out of the can, so instead the actors are given Fog in a Can to use as a prop.

Fog in a Can is great when used in an indoor controlled environment with no wind, dim lighting and an enclosed space. Try it outside and well…not so good.

The wind carried it away instantly and the sun made it difficult to see. As we were shooting in the middle of a public botanical garden we couldn’t exactly bring in an industrial fog machine so instead once again we adapted our calendar plans to suit the area we were shooting.

By the way if anyone needs some Fog in a Can I just happen to know where you can get some…cheap ;)

The fog idea was out but instead we went with a more mother earth type of feel for the photo. Here we can see Fatima getting all decked out in her wrapping and leaves for the shot.

FatimaLeaves

Fatima wrapped in leaves

Want to see what Fatima looked like all wrapped up in her leaves? 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.

Fatima is not the only model we photographed at the Bartlett Arboretum, the lovely Emily was also photographed for the 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar there as well.

We actually photographed Emily in 2 scenes for the calendar at the Arboretum, but one of them didn’t make it in.

Even though the formal garden portions of the Arboretum were disappointing, we thought that we might be able to use one of the clusters of day lilies in a scene for the calendar.

Well turns out we were wrong, thus began our one calendar scene of the whole project the bombed. It was the one shoot in the calendar that we couldn’t salvaged and had to be completely re-photographed with a different idea.

What happened you ask, that made it turn out so horrible?

You see it was the beginning of September and it had already started getting dark earlier than during the summer. Due to scheduling conflicts we couldn’t begin shooting the Day Lily scene until 5:30PM on that particular day. We had also planned to use quite an elaborate makeup and by the time we finished applying Emily’s makeup the sun was no longer in the position we needed it to be.

Not only that but once we walked over to the formal gardens from the parking lot we discovered that most of the Day Lilies were either dead or horribly wilted and dying as it was the end of the season. We did go ahead and try to shoot anyway, but once we reviewed the photos we knew they just weren’t usable.

In fact I’m not going to even share any of them with you of the actual scene. What I will show you is a photo of some of the great makeup Sam did with Emily for the shoot. It really turned out amazing, it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t use it in the finished calendar.

Awesome Garden Makeup that never quite made it in the Calendar

Awesome Garden Makeup that never quite made it in the Calendar

Want to see the new idea we ended up using instead? You’ll just have to buy your own copy of the calendar, trust me it’s worth the purchase, the new scene is pretty awesome! The 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order.

For our second scene with Emily we wanted to do something a bit more artsy.

From our disaster with the Day Lilies we knew we had already lost most of the daylight, so this would have to be lit with speedlight strobes. Thankfully due to the artsy nature of this scene, the dark surroundings with strong contrasting light would work just fine.

Sam prepared Emily’s makeup and headpiece while I readied the lights. Here’s a photo of Emily getting her hair and makeup done complete with artistic twig headpiece.

Emily's Artistic Headpiece

Emily’s Artistic Headpiece

In order to light the scene properly and highlight the ferns on the ground, 2 lights were used for this scene. Our usual speedlight on a stand with shoot through umbrella, and a second light placed directly on the ground with no modifier to bring out the crisp contrast of the fern leaves against the dark surroundings.

Here’s the behind the scenes view as we were setting up and preparing to shoot. yes I know it doesn’t look particularly dark and contrasty, but if we wait just a little while…

Behind the scenes of Emily's Photoshoot

Behind the scenes of Emily’s Photoshoot

And here’s the finished shot. The dark background and strong contrast almost makes it feel like it was shot on a set in the studio, but as you can see we were live outdoors in the Arboretum.

Finished January Photo from the Calendar

Finished January Photo from the Calendar

I’ll tell you this though, once we were finished shooting it was very difficult finding that second speedlight on the ground , as the sun had long set and we could barely see. Thank god for cell phones and their light up screens.

Another month for the calendar complete!

Fast forward a few months and now it’s just a few days before Christmas. All of us involved with the calendar would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday! We hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes journey of how our 2014 Wearable Art: Nature Calendar came to be. It was our pleasure to share it with you, and remember there’s still plenty of time left to get your calendar before New Year’s!

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.

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

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

As some of you may already know our solo photo exhibit America: Coast to Coast concluded it’s most recent showing just a few weeks ago. Thank you to all who were able to come out and see it, and a special thank you to those who bought some photo pieces from the exhibit. I hope you enjoy them for years to come.

Putting together one of these exhibits is no small task and I thought all of you might enjoy seeing just what goes into getting it off the ground. There is a lot that happens between deciding “hey let’s put on an exhibit” to actually opening the doors. Today we peel back the curtain on the entire process.

America: Coast to Coast actually had it’s first showing at the Kanner-Kurzon museum at Temple Beth-El in New Rochelle, NY back in 2011. As the exhibit was drawing to a close I sent out a prospectus to multiple galleries and exhibit spaces in the are to see where it would go next.

Click here to see the original America: Coast to Coast Exhibit Prospectus.

America: Coast to Coast Exhibit Prospectus

America: Coast to Coast Exhibit Prospectus

One of the exhibit spaces interested in showing America: Coast to Coast was the Rye Free Reading Room in Rye, NY. However, their waiting list for exhibits was currently 2 years long. I put my name on the list and summarily forgot about it, thinking that I’d never hear back from them.

America: Coast to Coast went on to display in a few other spaces towards the end of 2011, and then it was placed into storage.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2013 and all of a sudden I get an email from The Rye Free Reading Room letting me know that my name finally came up on the list and would I still be interested in exhibiting.

To say this was a surprise would be an understatement. After 2 years I had totally forgotten I even had my name on their list. Not to mention America: Coast to Coast had seen better days. It had not been touched or looked at since going into storage 2 years earlier.

I made the decision that I would go ahead with the exhibit and prepared for the daunting task ahead. After reviewing the printed photos from the last showing of America:Coast to Coast it became clear that the exhibit would need some updating and refreshing. Not only had I taken many new landscape photos over the past 2 years, but some of the original pieces had also become damaged in storage as well.

I met with Maria Lagonia, the Managing Librarian. Details were worked out, decisions were made, and contracts were signed. America: Coast to Coast would run for a 1 month period during the month of May. Ultimately the dates were extended to run through the end of June with 2 wine and cheese receptions.

The first thing I do when planning an exhibit is obtain a measured floor plan of the space. I feed all that information into a 3-D rendering program on the computer to make a finished 3-D replica of the space. This way I can figure out how many photos can fit in the space, what sizes they should be and also how the finished exhibit will look even before a single photo is hung.

3-D rendering of the exhibit space

3-D rendering of the exhibit space

Of course some things inevitably change between the planning stage and actual hanging of the exhibit, but for the most part the 3D rendering is a pretty accurate representation of what the finished exhibit will look like.

Next comes the selection process. Pouring over years worth of photos to chose just the right ones to hang in the exhibit. Of course cost is a huge factor that guides these decisions as well. Large mounted photos are not cheap to produce, so there is always a balance that must be struck between paying for new pieces to be printed for the exhibit and re-using existing ones to save on costs.

For those that are wondering, all costs for the entire exhibit, including printing of the pieces, hanging, and the receptions is fully funded by Dengrove Studios. The exhibit spaces usually only provide a physical space to hang your work upon. However, they do usually help with promotion and press for the exhibit to drive traffic.

After evaluating the space and costs it was decided that this showing of America: Coast to Coast would have a total of 23 pieces and contain 50% new photos that had never before been exhibited.

The next few weeks are spent adding finishing touches to photos getting them ready to print, putting together a brochure for the exhibit detailing information about the photos and planning food and beverage for the receptions.

Before you know it installation day arrives! Now the fun begins…not only do you get to finally have access to the space and see how great your photos look in it, but you also get to see just how accurate your measurements were. Hopefully, all the pre-planning was not in vain and when you get on-site it is easy to measure out where the photos go and get them hung.

One thing to consider is that each space has different requirements with regards to the walls. Some allow to actually nail or screw directly into the wall, others require that you must use an alternative method and not dent or damage the walls in any way. In the case of the Rye Free Reading Room they have a unique gallery hanging system that allows you to hang the photos off of suspended hooks without creating any holes in the wall.

Here are my wife and I hanging the exhibit

Hanging the Exhibit

Hanging the Exhibit

Hanging the Exhibit

Hanging the Exhibit

 

Speaking of photos…just where do they come from?
Well America: Coast to Coast is a celebration of all kinds of landscapes across the United States, so guess where I had to go? All across the United States! Each photo actually has an interesting story behind it.
Take this one for example of The Grand Canyon, we call it “Mind the Gap”
"Mind the Gap"

“Mind the Gap”

This photo was actually taken during a trip to Las Vegas. I decided to go for a day tour of the Grand Canyon. There were 15 of us that day on our little tour bus, strangers at the start of the trip, but good friends by the end. While I was busy shooting photos of the scenery like “Mind the Gap” to later appear in the exhibit, luckily other members of the tour were taking their own photos of us and were kind enough to share them with me.
Creating "Mind the Gap"

Creating “Mind the Gap” (Photo credit Fraser Allison)

It’s amazing how much of the background story is lost about the creation of a particular landscape photo. When you see this “behind the scenes shot” it really adds a whole new dimension. Now you can clearly see why we call it “Mind the Gap” just look how close to the edge we are!
And notice there is no safety rail or harness. A few more steps backwards and it would be the last steps we ever take for it’s a sheer 1 mile drop to the bottom of the canyon.
Keen observers may notice something else that you might not consider if you’ve never actually visited The Grand Canyon before. Although this particular part of the canyon is in Arizona, you might be surprised to see us wearing winter hats, gloves and coats! That’s because it was only 40 degrees at the top of the canyon in March when we visited.
Crazy right! There was actually snow! Fraser who took the photo above had actually never seen snow before as he lives in Australia. He learned a very valuable lesson that day…snow is not just white and fluffy it’s also very very cold, always wear your gloves.
As you can see there are a lot of moving parts that go into creating a photo exhibit. It is a lot of hard work but in the end when people come to view your art the hard work fades away and it is totally worth it!
Here is the exhibit brochure showing all the final details of the exhibit. Thanks again to all who came out to show their support.
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