MHP on IG

MHP on IG

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I’ve had an Instagram account for years, but didn’t start posting anything until a couple years ago on my Images of Acadia account. It’s really taken off, with almost 2,500 followers and some images tallying as many as 4,000 likes.

But earlier this year, I realized I needed a new account to feature my commercial work, so I opened a new Instagram for my commercial photography and video work.

Stop by, follow me, see where I’ve been.

New Video for ALDI

New Video for ALDI

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This summer has been packed with various assignments, and I’ve done a fair bit of traveling for work, both in and around Illinois, as well as in Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota. But in June, the third largest grocery store chain in the country, ALDI, contacted me to talk about shooting some video for their website. And it turns out the site they chose to do all the shooting at was my local ALDI, just five minutes up the road.

The job called for shooting several scenarios throughout the store, highlighting different aspects that make ALDI unique: their 25¢ grocery cart deposit, some of their special product lines, and several of their money saving programs that keep their prices lower than the competition, like having shoppers pack their own bags.

My assistant, Tim, doing his duty…

My assistant, Tim, doing his duty…

We squeezed a lot into the five hour shoot, starting at 6:30am when there were no customers around, using models as shoppers. Later, it was a challenge to not have recognizable “real” shoppers in the shot, though they pasted signs all over to let them know it was a possibility. We shot in 4K resolution, to output later to 1080p, and the clips will be used on an updated version of their website in the near future.

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The Pitcher's Wife

The Pitcher's Wife

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It’s no secret the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016. The city went crazy; anything and everything connected to the Cubs was suddenly gold. Everyone wanted to know about the team and the city was in a state of shock after a 108 year World Series drought.

One of my favorite clients over the last 12 years has been Naperville Magazine and in April 2017, we were able to do a story on Gina Grimm, wife of pitcher Justin, who grew up in Naperville. Unfortunately since the season was underway, Justin couldn’t make it but Gina was able to shoot at Wrigley Field on a clear Spring morning. I wanted a background that would be instantly recognizable to Cubs fans so I posed her on top of the dugout with the iconic ivy covered walls and scoreboard in the background. We weren’t allowed to shoot on the field (the mound would’ve been my first choice for a location), but I admit I partly wanted to shoot there just to know what it felt like to be on the ‘hallowed turf’…

We didn’t have a lot of time with Gina, but as a baseball fan, it was one of my more memorable shoots. After all, what other job will allow you to get into an empty Wrigley Field, take over part of the stadium for half an hour and and get paid to be there?

Gear | Canon 1DX Mark2, 24-105mm f/4L USM, 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM



Cannabis Times Shoot

Cannabis Times Shoot

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I worked on a cover shoot for Golf Course Industry magazine back in 2011, for GIE Media based in Ohio. The shoot involved a head groundskeeper and the story was about the great job he was doing taking care of the oldest public course in America. Fast forward a few years, and the art director for Cannabis Times, another GIE title, contacted me to shoot another cover story about grass of a different variety. In fact, they had me shoot two different cannabis farms for a couple different stories.

I’ve photographed presidents, royalty, billionaire CEOs and top executives and I’ve even shot in Cook County (Illinois) Jail a couple times, but the security at the two marijuana farms was the tightest I’ve ever encountered. I underwent a background check before I was hired for the shoots. Every door we went in required a key code to enter. And every corner of the facility, from the exterior to the cultivation rooms was under video surveillance. The State of Illinois regularly conducts checks on the facilities too. To say they run a tight ship would be an understatement.

I knew nothing about cultivating marijuana before I did these shoots and had never photographed in a grow room before. But I learned pretty quickly that they’re brightly lit... really brightly lit. Most of the workers wear sunglasses. But the color temperature of the hot lamps is something altogether different. My photos were coming out with a very yellow tint that needed to be corrected in processing afterwards.

Uncorrected 2500K raw file (left) and color balanced (2100K, +24 Tint) finished file

After shooting in the grow rooms, we moved into the lab, where their top ‘scientist’– if that’s what you call him– was tweaking the plants to produce the best strains possible. Again, I don’t understand any of it, but it was interesting watching him clip the plants, and siphoning off the resin in the lab. Apparently this guy was highly sought after; he was flown in from Colorado (where else?) on a regular basis to help out in their lab.

Both facilities are growing the marijuana for the potentially huge medical marijuana market. A lot of investors were involved in both facilities and there was a cautious excitement for the potential in their product.

I’ve never smoked pot- honestly, I have zero interest in it. But I was impressed with what I saw at these facilities. Yeah, some of the workers looked like they’d smoked too much weed, and there was a weird vibe outside one of the places, but the people in charge were professional businessmen and women and knew their stuff (and their cannabis).

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I’ve been in a lot of unusual situations in my career but these shoots were fun and I learned a lot. And that’s ultimately why I chose to be a photographer. I love to work in places few others get to see, collaborating with interesting people and having fun at the same time, and this ticked all the boxes for me.

Gear | Canon 1DX Mark2, 24-105mm f/4L II USM and 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM