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Hardees & Cheetos – Thickburger Spot

I have yet to try adding Cheetos to my hamburger, but I did have fun working on this spot.  Again, working as Lead for Brickyard and with the very talented animator, Ed Hull, we churned this one out in record time.  The most challenging shot, weird as it may seem, was Chester behind the bun rack and deciding what his reaction would be once he was revealed.  For some reason, we just couldn’t nail down the right response.  I’m happy with the one we ended up with.

Tornado!?!

It was easily one of the scariest moments of my life.  The weather was changing from hot and humid to a cool, dry September day, requiring a powerful transition.  On Sunday morning, the wind started picking up so I went out to the backyard to roll down the patio umbrella.  As I did so, the umbrella was caught by the wind and started leaning in one direction.  In the next moment, it was leaning in the opposite direction.  My only thought was, ‘Uh oh.’

I raced inside just as the first tree came crashing down at the edge of the backyard.  Then another.  Then another.  I stood, mesmerized by terror as I felt this beast move from the backyard, down the space between our house and the neighbor’s house and out into the street before evaporating.  We had no time to react.  No time to run into the basement for safety.  I just stood at one end of the house waiting for I don’t know what – the other end of the house to get ripped off?  It seemed a strong possibility in that moment.  Surely, a tree or large branch would come crashing down through that side of the house.  All the trees falling over somehow missed the house.

The most haunting feeling I had was that this ‘thing’ had a presence.  It was a beast.  It moved quickly, but not so quickly you couldn’t track it’s movement.  I’ll never forget it.

In the aftermath, even though over fifty trees were either uprooted or snapped in half and discarded, there was very little property damage to the four houses in its path and, thankfully, no injuries.  Our neighbor’s shed was destroyed and cleanup will take months, but if that’s the worst after experiencing a tornado, I’ll take it.

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Cheetos: Ranger Danger

Here is the first of fives spots I animated for Cheetos. I worked as a contract animator for Brickyard VFX who have been doing the Cheetos commercials for a few year. Working with the team at Brickyard and the creatives on the spot was an amazing experience. I had a great time and had the opportunity to give some uniques spins to Chester’s personality.

Good times.

Fall Colors

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks on an animation project for a local studio.  Outside my window, the colors have been changing from green to gold to red to brown.  Every now and then, latte in hand, I’ll take a break and walk around the yard with my camera to try to capture some of the beauty.

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Toy Halls of Fame

Click the image above to see highlights of a project that I recently worked on.  The animations are featured on several screens – one screen 26 ft. tall – at the Toy Halls of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play.  The work was done through Northern Light Productions over a 5 month period and I created over 5 minutes of animation for such classic toys as Raggedy Ann, G.I. Joe, Barbie, Teddy Bear and others.

Needless to say, animating such iconic toys was a dream come true and the project itself was a joy to work on.  It was probably one of the smoothest projects I’ve been a part of.  Not least of all, I got to work with some wonderfully talented people – friends both old and new.

We spent a few hours at the museum recently and I highly recommend it.  Beyond the Halls of Fame is the classic arcade, the comic book section, Sesame Street and a number of other fun, interactive exhibits.

About the Bogs

This morning I decided I needed to clear my head.  I have too many things going on in my life at the moment.  They’re all good things, just too much for my little brain to process all at once.  It was time to force my brain onto one topic and one topic only.  So, while it was still cloudy and relatively comfortable, I grabbed the camera and headed out to the cranberry bogs.

This time, I loaded my Canon 60D with a Nikon AF-S 28mm lens that I bought for stop motion.  I really wanted to bring the Nikon 50mm instead, but couldn’t manage to get the adapter off the 28mm.  Whatever.

Again, I embarked on my mission to get up close and personal while reducing the background to a colorful haze.  The Nikon goes all the way down to f2.8 which gave me a nice, short depth of field.  I also prefer shooting on cloudy days as I find sunshine makes things to contrasty.  (I also don’t like the sun on a personal basis).  Clouds give objects a more pleasing diffuse shadow.

I admit, one or two of the images don’t quite fit with the others, but I liked them so I included them.

 

Vermont

On a recent visit to Vermont, I wanted to take up close and personal images of nature.  They say God is in the details.  I don’t know about that, but there is so much beauty in the details.  My thought was to get as close as I could to an object and take a picture with a shallow depth of field, turning the background into a blurry haze.

I’m pretty happy with the results, even though I brought the wrong lens with me.  I should have used a 35mm or 5omm prime lens with which I could get really close.  I didn’t, so I did the best I could.  Next time.

I’ve also been using Lightroom more and more and had a fun time getting lost in the image and marveling at the enormous change to the image that a tiny adjustment made to a single parameter made.  There was a certain zen in tweaking and tweaking, gradually working towards the final image.