Happy New Year!

Canon 7D with 40mm f2.8 lens

Now that it is 2014, I’m proud to present to you:
A new website!
A new camera!
A new blog template!

How exciting my tech life is these days.

New Website
I created a new website, HaleyMBrown.com, to showcase my photo and video work and provide an official way of contacting me, since now I have a new business email address (haley@haleymbrown.com) through the website. The website has been live since summer, but I haven’t made it known through this blog yet, so I thought now is a great time to share. It’s very visual, very media and I like it. Teal, turquoise and red are my favorite colors and I used an image that incorporated those colors from the background of a teleprompter that I had photographed on a prior shoot. I thought this photo represents what I do professionally very well: photography, video, teleprompting, production, all of that and then some.

New Camera
I have craved a new camera for quite some time now, especially since I’m a videographer and editor at my job. Since I work on high quality equipment at my job, I thought I should also invest and incorporate comparable gear into my freelance/hobby life as well, which will benefit me in the long run anyways. I felt like I pushed my older camera’s functions to many extremes, and it was starting to limit what I wanted to do such as more low-light and night photography, as well as time-lapses and VIDEO! Right before 2013 ended, Lorne, who I work with for Perfect Cut Productions, offered me a great deal on his Canon 7D + 40mm f2.8 pancake lens + accessories and I felt like the deal was too good to pass up, even though it was all of a sudden and right after Christmas. It was time to upgrade my equipment. And fun fact, I’ve actually used this camera many times on set with his crew so I knew it was in good hands prior to me buying it which tends to be a fear when buying (gently) used gear. So the deal worked, and now I’m able to offer photo and video services at an even higher quality than before! Plus, it’s a new toy for me and I’m eager to work on new projects, of course.

New Blog Template
Lastly, to round out my media upgrades, I unveil the new blog template that I just recently changed. To me, this layout feels fresh and bright and coordinates well with my website. Some of the previous blog posts may not be formatted well with the new layout, since I designed the original posts to work well with the former layout, but I’m doing my best to update those. I get to figure out how best to display my images within posts and what works well with my new layout. If you find any bugs with my blog or my website feel free to email me or drop a reply on here; I’m pretty quick about finding the solution.

More Projects
My tech life is always a work in progress, which reflects how much media shifts and evolves over time, but it’s something you can always use to improve your skills, challenge yourself and achieve creative results, which keeps media exciting! My New Year’s Resolution? To take more photos and video!

I know that later this month, I will help out on set of a featurette produced by Tugboat Pictures, and I also have a couple of photo sessions in mind for portraits/headshots. So I look forward to shooting more and in turn posting about my experiences and projects, accompanied with photos from my new camera!

Thanks for keeping up to date with my work.

Gobinon

Peter faces the smoke monsters in Gobinon.

In November, my co-worker and friend Byron Wolter asked me to help out on set of his independent feature film, Gobinon. I knew that the film had been a production-in-progress for over a year. Byron even joked to me about how he has used up almost every resource in town to complete the project. Byron wrote, directed and starred in Gobinon and I know he is treating the film like his child. He is caring and tending to it over a long time while undergoing the hardships and pressures of producing an independent film. Seeing that his film is really important to him, I wanted to help his production come to a close by assisting with camera, lighting and general production labor.

Just a few more action scenes needed shot for Byron’s film. These scenes alluded to the mysterious sci-fi movie that Byron had described to me before, shots where his character, Peter, has dream-like episodes where he portrays a janitor chased by smoke monsters.

A shot of Byron Wolter as Peter on the roof during the first night.  Instagram: @brown300

A shot of Byron Wolter as Peter on the roof during the first night. Instagram: @brown300

On the first night of shooting the last shots for the film, the smoke monsters chased Peter across rooftops. The temperature at night dropped really low and we had to shoot the rooftop scenes in harsh, biting winds. The crew persevered and kept working through the cold as we got the needed shots. Byron had wide jumps to clear from structure to structure on the roof. We got to incorporate the given architectural elements into the scene, such as Byron running through these big, pyramid-shaped skylights jutting upwards from the roof, which added unique visual interest and light. He also had to run and abruptly stop at roof edges and peer over them while staying balanced and cautious, which is unnerving at four to five stories high off of the ground.

Matthew Levandoski, Director of Photography.

Matthew Levandoski, Director of Photography.

Thomas Greenwood as a smoke monster.

Thomas Tiggleman as a smoke monster.

On the second evening and after a few takes of a continuous shot of Byron running through the town square, we condensed to shooting in a tight alleyway. We knocked out shot after shot with ease, as it was a closely shot, stare-down moment between Byron and smoke monsters. I had more time to shoot production stills while we kept filming, as set up time for each shot was minimal. Later that night, we wrapped the film. Byron had felt very bittersweet about this, since it was a film he was shooting for over a year but it was finally coming to a close—the beginning of the end of the Gobinon journey.

Recently, I was able to see a rough cut of the film, and I discovered it was layered with more mystery and ambiguity than I had imagined, and was way different from what I had thought. From what I interpreted from this edit—and without spoiling in detail—the dream sequences that Peter experienced shaped his graphic novel as well as complemented the life’s work of his significant other, Rachel, but Peter doesn’t piece this together until the end. Yes, that’s right, it’s also a love story of these two characters, a love story paralleled with the subject of Rachel’s work: the evolution of the species of fish called the Gobinon.

It’s almost no wonder that the quote, “You may change direction, but your heart keeps its bearing,” is central to this film through its story and in its characters and writer.

Now with the production wrapped, Byron can focus on editing and completing the film. He anticipates the night of the big premiere in town, knowing it will feel bittersweet to see the filmmaking process end for this story but remaining hopeful about the future of Gobinon and the film festivals he plans to enter with it. For him to finish the film and submit it to festivals is a huge accomplishment, and I wish him the best of luck saving the world with Gobinon.

Gobinon Official Trailer from ByronWolter on Vimeo.

Do the Dew. Do the Dream.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Have you ever wanted to ride a BMX bike down a slip and slide, hit a ramp, launch into the air, do a flip, and land in a 12 ft. deep pool? Did you not realize you wanted to do that until just now? On September 27, I got to film that stunt alongside Devin “Super Tramp” Graham and Parker Walbeck at Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp for Mountain Dew.

For over a year, I have followed Devin Super Tramp on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because I’m always impressed with the videos he pumps out every week on YouTube. From ziplining/highlining/rope swinging from canyons, to videogame reenactments, to human catapults in the mountains, to snowball fights, to flyboarding, to luging through city water systems, to playing with puppies, the Super Tramp videos are creative, fun, captivating and blood-pumping. They feel very personal yet also like they’re just beyond the audience’s reach.

The videos were shot in Tahiti, Hawaii, Utah, Los Angeles, Africa, Maldives, etc. and viewers dream of being on these shoots. They enjoy the virtual experience through YouTube just as much as the people shown in the videos. If you’re lucky, Devin and his crew may travel to a location near you, blast it on social media for all to come, and you’ll be able to take part in his adventurous world of YouTube videos that you’ve dreamed about.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

I was fortunate enough to get this chance, except I wanted to help create this experience behind a camera and be on his set, which is more of my dream than actually doing the stunts in front of the camera. That dream became a reality for me, but I didn’t know my dream would end up being in Ohio.

With only knowing the day before that I would help him shoot, I had gotten in an hour of sleep and was on my five-hour road trip to Butler, Ohio at 4:00 a.m. I don’t remember the last time I was on the road that early, but I would guess to catch a flight. I had never been to Ohio, so I was eager to see that Butler was in a hilly section of Ohio, much like Bloomington is in Indiana.

My boyfriend, Travis, took it upon himself to drive me to and from the shoot, so I could get more sleep and be a bit more rested for a day’s worth of shooting. (The fact that he’s a big Super Tramp supporter probably influenced his decision as well.) The sun rose as we passed through Columbus. By the time we got to Butler, it was a clear, bright day but a bit chilly. Nestled into the hills and gleaming from the sun, the white launch ramp could be seen from the road. It sat behind the still, blue swimming pool that would soon be disrupted from thrill-seeking slippers, sliders and divers.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

When I arrived, I got to meet Devin, Parker, Creighton and the rest of the Super Tramp and Ohio Dreams crews. The idea for this video actually came from a fan, when Devin publicized his Mountain Dew Road Trip tour information and location callout contest; a road trip for the fans, by the fans, if you will. I scouted the pool and slip and slide areas, equipped up, and filmed the entire day under the sun on this last Friday in September.

A bunch of people came from all over the Ohio area to bellyflop in bikinis and cannonball in costumes. It was pretty thrilling to be a part of this experience and film this adventure, both of which I am grateful for.

I had a lot of fun meeting people, making connections and of course shooting some visuals especially since it’s for a high-caliber YouTuber such as Devin, whom I admire greatly for not only filming but directing and producing these shoots as well, and of course for his business and marketing skills. And Parker, for his equally awesome camera work and his crazy-cool and hardworking editing. Not to mention Creighton, for his super friendliness and spirit, as well as his cable and rope work (even if sometimes it’s not feasible to rig up in time due to whatever reason). I’m so glad something this fun to shoot came to the Midwest and I can’t thank you guys enough for having me help film it and I’m glad you used my shots! The video turned out amazing, and I’m always free to lend a hand, a camera, a battery, a slider, a lens cloth, a towel to dry off equipment with, etc., etc… Hopefully I’ll see you all again in the near future! An Indiana girl can only dream, again.

#DEWroadtrip #OhioDreams #IndianaDreams? #MakeDreamsHappen #wordpressdoesnothavehashtags

Tennessee Vacation

Smoky Mountains.

One Sunday in August, I browsed through Instagram and saw that my friend had loaded his car up for his vacation. I knew he had this trip planned, but I didn’t realize he was going solo, just to take photos of mountains and night skies. I didn’t have any shoots or obligations for the week, so I took advantage of this opportunity, with his permission. That night, I packed my bags and left at seven in the morning to meet up with him in Madison, Indiana to travel with him to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

How refreshing it was to go somewhere I have not been, on this trip that was already planned out, just to go photograph mountains, skies and whatever adventure we decided to seek out. It honestly could not have panned out any better for us. We drove through Kentucky and Tennessee and I was sight-seeing the whole way down and back, taking in the landscape. We stayed in Pigeon Forge but hardly spent any time there; we hiked in the mountains for the majority of our time but explored Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge tourist attractions at night. We went to a couple of shops just to browse, and the only official souvenir we bought were pressed pennies that you crank and press by yourself. Our other souvenirs were more random but personal findings from along the trip, as well as a bunch of photos. We were fortunate enough to photograph a black bear and three cubs, lightning from a nearby thunderstorm, butterflies, trails, horizons, shooting stars at night and the “smoke” of the mountains –the dense fog.

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I was pretty much “unplugged” for the trip and tried keeping it that way. However, I decided I wanted to capture my travels and share my “selfies” with my friends on Instagram and Facebook but instead of using myself, I chose to use a finger puppet I won at the fair the week before the trip. The puppet is a tiger named Albert, named after Albert Einstein, and he’s framed in my iPhone to appear as if he is the one taking self-portraits in front of tourist attractions, in a sense to mark his territory or showcase where he has been. I ended up enjoying this small project enough that I have used him on other trips after the Tennessee vacation. I know it sounds weird, but let’s be real, you would rather see spontaneous tiger selfies instead of my face plastered at tourist traps. #TravelingAlbert doesn’t have a purpose, it’s just a photo thing I decided to do. (You can follow him on Instagram #TravelingAlbert.)

When it’s all said and done, even though I do photography/videography for a living, it doesn’t feel like “work” even when I’m on vacation. I still love capturing memories with beautiful imagery and feel lucky that this is what I do anyways as my job. I could go on some more about my vacation but will keep this simple, and filled with photos. If you have any questions or comments about my trip and want to know more, feel free to ask!

A few more of my photos (not Albert’s) can also be found on my Flickr account.

U.S.S. Indiana

An article in The Herald-Times back in June reported that the U.S.S. Indiana prow would reside at the Indiana University Memorial Stadium in the near future and join its mast and guns that currently live there. The prow of the U.S.S. Indiana was delivered to the stadium on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

USS Indiana in front of Memorial Stadium.

U.S.S. Indiana in front of Memorial Stadium.

The inside of the prow's shell.

The inside of the prow’s shell.

Before Thursday, the prow sat in a restaurant parking lot in California. Now, it sits in the stadium’s parking lot in Indiana awaiting restoration, preservation, parts added onto it, and its final placement amongst the mast and guns. It arrived around 4:00 p.m. on the back of a hauling trailer, and nearly all of the university student’s cars were gone. Nearing the end of business hours, there had yet to be any fanfare that I noticed from my porch outside my apartment.

I planned to capture photos of it after my dinner plans and during sunset. The evening was hot but the light was great during this golden hour. Being an IU alum and living by the stadium gives you plenty of nostalgic, historic photo ops that are hard to pass up. This one was special, because it was still early in the scope of its new life at IU.

During the time I took photos, only a couple of people drove by to take a look, a quick snapshot, and drove away. Bicyclists passed by on their routes elsewhere. For the most part, its arrival went unnoticed. The prow awaited for the new care that IU would put into it as they include it as part of a memorial and a symbol. But before all of that happens, I was able to capture how it looked at the very beginning of its transition.

Bicyclists are an icon to IU, much like the USS Indiana.

Bicyclists are an icon to IU, much like the U.S.S. Indiana.

USS Indiana

U.S.S. Indiana

A busy year.

I admit I haven’t been updating this as regularly as I need to, but that is because I have kept busy working on lots of projects. However, I do want to post an update of what has happened during this busy time.

For the past year, I have worked for the Kelley School of Business as a Multimedia Specialist where I am currently deep into the world of video, which I hadn’t been before. I shoot photos and videos of panel discussions, case competitions, guest lectures, marketing projects and school events.

Most of our videos are created for the Global Leaders Network, which is an academic resource for Kelley faculty, students, alumni and guests. Some videos are uploaded to the school’s YouTube accounts, which I help manage, and here are a few examples of videos that I have edited:

I have also blogged for BtownMenus.com, a Bloomington delivery service, and reported on area restaurant’s deals on food.

I have worked with BloomingtonOnline.net and had the opportunity to photograph the 2012 Homeward Bound Walk for Homelessness as well as the Monroe County Fair.

Then there is the greatest melodic death metal band, Starkill. I say the greatest because they’re the only band I listen to in that genre. I photographed on set of a couple of their videos produced by Perfect Cut Productions this past winter. It was a bitterly cold, long weekend in January but shooting these guys with the PCP crew was worth it.

Earlier this spring, I photographed a musical produced by the Edgewood High School’s theater department.

Finally, I must showcase the portraits that I have taken of my friends that they requested of me for professional or personal use.

I’ve certainly learned a lot in each experience and hope to see more challenges and opportunities, as long as it encourages growth. Here’s to another year of more fun places and people to document.

Taste of Bloomington 2012

In honor of August 24 being the first “Flavors of 4th Street” international food festival that I will be blogging about, I am posting some salivating photos from this year’s “Taste of Bloomington,” as a teaser.

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Holding on to Dust

In May, I photographed on the set of an artistic video directed by my friend, Dylan Cashbaugh. The video was co-produced and choreographed by Melissa Strain and it features her dancing to “The Lonely,” a song by Christina Perri.

Melissa Strain and Dylan Cashbaugh

The view from the pond on the building’s west side.

The Woolery Mill is closed now but it is used as a space for special events such as portraits, weddings, Bloomington’s Craft Beer Festival and films like “Breaking Away” and “Holding on to Dust.” Inside of the mill, the rooms are decorated here and there with graffiti, old clothing, broken glass, rusty equipment and other traces of human presence. From the outside it looks like a dark, abandoned warehouse; the structure is almost skeletal yet still sturdy and massive. However the open south entrance and the west window line allow the sunlight to pour into the space making it feel bright and warm in its charm, and we filmed on a hot, sweaty day.

Holding on to “Dusk”

Because we were shooting the video in a day, we raced with the sun for the shots planned for natural light. While the first half was fun, what was really exciting for me was that we were shooting well into the night and I was able to experiment with long exposures of the old mill and of Melissa dancing, both producing pretty cool effects. I just love shooting abandoned places, especially at night.

More photos on my Flickr account.

“I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most”

Filming.

“I’d rather fillet a roma tomato than dice a red onion.”

Avocado skins make for perfect portions.

It is 11:08 p.m. and I am finally at my computer, ready to blog about my experience of making a double-batch of guacamole. I aimed to perfectly craft guacamole in taste and appearance, to the best of my abilities.

My abilities took four hours.

I researched which guacamole I wanted to test out, and I decided on Alton Brown’s (no relation that I know of) recipe on foodnetwork.com. It’s Alton Brown, so the recipe’s perfect to near-perfect already, right? Scientifically and culturally proven to be perfect, usually! Or that’s how I perceive it on his TV show. Anyways, I had a whole spread planned out in my head of what I wanted to make for dinner and I went to the store to buy all the ingredients. I completed one “dish,” and it wasn’t even my proposed entrée.

If Alton Brown says to seed a Roma tomato, you do it.

My love for cilantro and garlic portrayed simply. This took time and distracted me, too. Creative Design by Haley Brown.

I’m not a chef; I cook for fun, and I don’t do it often enough. I believe that what I make shouldn’t be visually boring or flavorless. But I know sometimes that’s just its nature. I find myself looking at food photos online or in print and I just love coming across good photos/recipes. My bookmarks are piling up, and if I’m going to cook it, I need to share it. I love food, I love photos and I love food photos, so I might as well combine everything using the cooking/writing/photography skills that I have developed from my family, friends or on my own and by means of my college education. Alas, here’s my personal niche in food blogging/plogging (photo blogging). And if I’m not cooking it, I’m going out to restaurants to order it. (I’m already developing my food album on Flickr and Pinterest.)

I grew up not liking guacamole, avocados or onions, but somehow over the years I developed a better taste for guacamole. Still working on the onions but I really can’t stand them (unless they’re “masked” which is hard to do, but definitely not plain onions).

I think my appreciation for good guacamole happened during my Spring Break vacation in 2009. My mom, sister and I went to California to visit my aunt and we traveled along the coast from Oakland to Santa Barbara. It was at Post Ranch Inn where we took an evening to relax after hanging out on Pfeiffer Beach. We sat on the deck of Sierra Mar, Post Ranch Inn’s restaurant, atop the cliffs and looked down and across the Pacific Ocean during the sunset all while enjoying tortilla chips and a trio of salsa, black beans and guacamole. It was one of the most tranquil spots I’ve been in. The dinner we ate much later was probably the most exquisite meal ever, but I can’t even attempt to recreate that moment and that meal, and I am still overwhelmed by it and grateful for indulging in it thanks to my mom and aunt.

Later that week we headed to Santa Barbara. For lunch one day, we ate at Sandbar Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar and again ordered guacamole to go with our chips and salsa. I don’t eat guacamole a lot, or hardly ever, but I think I got a major craving recently because not only did I miss that whole trip and those memories, but let’s face it, a hint at a vacation every so often is nice if it has been awhile and you’re not preparing for one for the future.

Four hours of peeling, scooping, chopping, dicing, filleting, mixing, mashing and preparing guacamole and photographing it in between and after. Unfortunately I don’t have any cool gadgets to help out the process, such as the ones my grandpa used to collect, but I may need to invest. It took my Chicago Cutlery Santoku knife to halve the avocados, my C.C. paring knife to extract the fruit from its skin and a spoon to scoop it out. I managed to keep the skins intact to create serving boats for the guacamole and I added a finishing touch of minced cilantro on top.

Guac boats.

When I cook, I try being thoughtful, methodical and cautious. Baking is a slightly different story consisting of not-exact measurements and it usually doesn’t turn out as well as my cooking results do. At least guacamole is filling. (Avocado superfood!) My double-batch bowl of guac topped with lime juice, plastic wrap and a lid will hopefully hold over for a while in the fridge.

Tomorrow’s a new day and a new dish, and I’m thinking burritos.

If your chips don’t come in a bag like this, you’re doing it wrong. (The only tortilla chips from my local grocery store that I can approve.)

Side note: Not sure why I gravitate towards Mexican or Tex-Mex foods for cooking/blogging (Cheesy Gordita Crunch rendition was posted earlier). I even have a Spanish night planned. Italian will come later; I have a great pasta sauce recipe that I haven’t made in years. Plus I need to steal some family recipes and share what the Brown/Freeman/Stegman/Huffman/Carlson clans can whip up, but our tradition with sharing recipes is to leave out an ingredient so the dish is never the same/authentic. (Puzzler!)

Gail Hale’s Art Studio

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Gail Hale’s Art Studio, a set on Flickr.

For Homes & Lifestyles magazine, I interviewed Bloomington visual artist Gail Hale and explored her studio for a story on re-purposing clothing and trash items for the Center for Sustainable Living’s Trashion Refashion Show. The issue’s out now!

Homes & Lifestyles