Paul C Buff

All posts tagged Paul C Buff


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our set for the day - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Our set for the day – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sand mound kept getting larger and larger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vonka the Princess - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Vonka the Princess – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

Sam applies Jessica's makeup

Sam applies Jessica’s makeup

Princess Jessica - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Princess Jessica – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

Setting up the lights - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Setting up the lights – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karaoke on the beach - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Karaoke on the beach – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

Darkroom on the beach! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Darkroom on the beach! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

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

©Tatiana  Flowers-Robinson

©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

Impressions on the beach - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Impressions on the beach – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

Nailed it! - ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

Nailed it! – ©Tatiana Flowers-Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please don't destroy my friend!

Please don’t destroy my friend!

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

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

“I’m begging you…no…dont!”

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

Too late...

Too late…

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

"I'll miss you!"

“I’ll miss you!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY

Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY

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

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

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

Zeppoles prepared by Barista Carlos

Zeppoles prepared by Barista Carlos

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

Metering the lights

Metering the lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_2583

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

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

Laura taking a test photo

Laura taking a test photo

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

_DSC4999-as-Smart-Object-1

Laura practices her poses

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

Calisthenics on the beach?

Calisthenics on the beach?

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

The Final Shot

The Final Shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

folkard_cindy1

Cinderella Illustration from Grimm’s Fairytales

Snow White Illustration from Grimm's Fairytales

Snow White Illustration from Grimm’s Fairytales

 

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

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

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

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

n-Camel-Face

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

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

Adoptadog

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

Fatima preparing for her scene

Fatima preparing for her scene

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

_DSC3989 _DSC4006 _DSC4030 _DSC4053

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.

IMG_0096

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

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

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

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

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