The say a journey begins with the first step and with our first scene photographed our journey to the Dengrove Studios 2015 #Disneybound Calendar was well underway, join us now as we continue behind the scenes…
Is it just me or do you find that with any large project it seems infinitely easier once you get started? I recall back in school when I would have to write a term paper I could stare at the blank page for hours trying to get that first sentence out. But once written the words just seemed to flow like water from a faucet.
This very much describes the process each year trying to get the calendar off the ground. We meet about it for weeks at a time discussing ideas, strategies, costs, and ultimately how the heck we’re going to pull it off.
During the process we go through many theming ideas, often starting out way too ambitious and ultimately ending up at an idea that although difficult to produce can usually be accomplished.
This is known as “blue-skying” and it is a process that is even employed by the Disney Imagineers when designing new attractions, shows, and venues for their Theme Parks. As you can imagine we go through several ideas for themes that never make it past some scribbles on a piece of paper, but much like the Disney Imagineers we never truly throw away an idea, just put it on the back burner for a time in the future when it might be more feasible to accomplish.
Once #Disneybound was chosen as the theme for this years calendar we felt we wanted to give it some sort of a modern twist. Several of the fairy tales that inspired our looks were written in 1600’s and 1700’s, and even some of the Disney movies for those characters were created almost 50 years ago.
Clearly a lot has changed between then and now, so we thought it would be a fun idea to imagine what if some of those stories were set in the present day, and think about what types of activities those characters would be doing.
We came up with a whole bunch of fun choices. Everything from exciting jobs such as being a veterinarian and seamstress, to leisure activities like having coffee and enjoying a relaxing beach day. You think it was easy coming up with all of these activities? It felt a little like being back in school and having to pick your college major.
Another hurdle we encountered was that now we had to find businesses that were willing to work with us and fit the activity that we chose. We knew we wanted to depict our second character inspired look as a modern day veterinarian. However, there was only one problem…where to find some animals?
Originally we thought, “hmm…shouldn’t be too hard to find a camel right?” Sure….because there are lots of those wandering around the greater New York area. In hindsight perhaps if we had tried to find an Elephant or a Ring-tailed Lemur we might have had better luck, but no we picked Camel.
Even a call to a local zoo simply confirmed that this camel scene probably wasn’t going to happen. So what to do instead? Realizing that exotics are not the only thing veterinarians treat we decided to set our sights smaller…”maybe we could find some dogs and cats”. Ahh, blue-skying at it’s finest.
We found our solution at Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, NY the setting of our next scene for the 2015 #Disneybound Calendar. Adopt-A-Dog is a rescue sanctuary organization serving New York and Connecticut. They have a loving, caring facility which not only works diligently at finding permanent loving homes for it’s four-legged friends, but also promises to provide life-time shelter to those that are least likely to get adopted.
Organization President Allyson Halm and her caring staff were kind enough to let us invade their shelter space for a few hours on the morning of August 28th to stage and photograph our next scene. Our model Fatima definitely looked the part outfitted with her trusty stethoscope and character inspired look.
During the shoot the Adopt-A-Dog staff provided us not one, not two, not three, but 4 different dogs to feature in our calendar, Daisy, Jax, Dixie and Rufus. Each one had a different personality but they were all super cute and would make amazing pets!
I was very surprised that although our model Fatima was portraying a veterinarian and even had a stethoscope none of the dogs seemed to be nervous in any way. Daisy was definitely the most interactive and super friendly, even shaking paws at one point with Fatima’s stethoscope. It’s hard to believe that she’s been at the shelter for 2 years waiting to be adopted, I can’t imagine a more perfect companion.
Naturally Rufus being a puppy was amazingly cute, we had a hard time trying to not to smuggle him out in our camera bag once the shoot was over. The staff told us that this was actually the first time he had been out of his enclosure. I think he has a future in photos, what do you think? Even though he’s going to grow up to be a big boy…just look at the size of those paws, he’s going to make an awesome life-long companion.
Long-time readers of our behind the scenes blog may notice something different with our lighting setup for this scene. This marks the first time that we have used full studio strobes in one of our calendar shoots. As the shoot was scheduled to take place early morning outdoors on a bright sunny day, yeah I know it’s very strange for us to get actual sunlight, we knew we needed some powerful lights to match the power of the morning sun.
Having positioned our model Fatima and the dogs in such a way we were able to use the sun for some nice backlighting to give good separation from our background. To compliment the sun we used 2 Einstein studio strobe lights from the Paul C Buff company and powered them with a Vagabond Mini battery inverter.
The key light has been fitted with a parabolic umbrella and the fill has been fitted with an octobox to help diffuse some of the light. Although I have used Einstein’s for several years I’ve never had the opportunity to take them out of the studio before. They are nothing short of amazing. I won’t bore everyone here with the details but if you’re interested in portable studio lighting at an affordable price you should definitely look into getting yourself some.
Want to see which dog made it into the final shot? Well you’ll just have to buy your own calendar to check it out! The 2015 #Disneybound Calendar is on sale now at the Dengrove Studios website, click here to order. Can you guess which character inspired Fatima’s wardrobe?
A very special thank you to Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, NY and President Allyson Halm and her staff for allowing us access to their great facility to shoot our calendar scene and allowing us to meet some new 4-legged friends.
Adopt-A-Dog is located at 23 Cox Ave in Armonk, NY, 914-273-1674 or 203-629-9494. Call to make an appointment to find your life-long furry companion, Daisy is there waiting for you!